Inscribed Bible Study Collection: Review from Book Look

I really have enjoyed reviewing books through Booksneeze over the last few months. They’ve recently changed their name and look of the blog. BookLook is the newly updated review group and I’m really excited to still be part of it. 
I was recently given the wonderful opportunity to review the first four titles in a new series of Bible studies called inScribed. The series is written by different women of all different backgrounds and walks of life. This particular fact intrigued me initially because so many Bible study series are by the same author. While this is nice because you know what to expect I liked the idea of hearing from different ladies. It has the feel of going to a ladies retreat and listening to different speakers all from the comfort of your own home. Knowing the publisher is Thomas Nelson gave me the assurance these books, although by different authors, would align with my theological convictions. I like knowing publishing companies before I start reading because it gives me a good idea of the perspective from which the author is coming.
Each title focuses on a different portion of Scripture. The variety represented is wonderful! 
In Amazed and Confused we dig deeper into the Minor Prophets. Studying the Minor Prophets is no easy task, but Hether Zempel does so with grace and humor right from the start. I appreciate her conversational writing style and obvious love for God’s Word. Each chapter actually makes me want to open up to the Minor Prophets, which is something most other studies on this subject lack. While these books of Scripture are important, they are often difficult to understand and therefore apply. Zempel takes the difficulty out of the picture leaving no excuse for neglecting these short books of the Old Testament.

Dive Deeper focuses on the rich letter of Ephesians by Paul. Ephesians is one of my most favorite books and Jennifer Jernigan has done an excellent job on this study. I very much like the study charts included for the reader to complete. It gives wonderful visual insight into the truths written so long ago. She clearly shows how the ancient words of Paul, inspired by God are as relevant to us today as they were when they were first penned. 
Living So That looks at the Scriptures which teach why; the “so that” verses. I honestly never thought of the words “so that” as being very important as I read them. Wendy Blight has changed my perspective completely through this study of God’s Word by focusing on Scriptures which contain these very important little words which give instruction and purpose to our Christian walk. I love the idea of studying the “so that” verses and can’t wait to dig more deeply into this study. 
Leaving the Ordinary invites us to encounter God through prayer and a better understanding of the tabernacle. While the tabernacle can also be a more difficult study Donna Gaines does an excellent job of taking the mysterious and helping readers understand how it can apply to us in our culture and lives so far removed from those ancient tents. 
Although each authoress has her own unique style of writing, it’s as if you are in conversation with each over a cup of coffee. The easy writing style invites the reader to dig more deeply into Scripture without feeling like you are attending a formal class. I really like how each study is arranged according to the style of the author. The questions and even the pages for response are each formatted differently. This personal touch just adds to the feeling of individual teachers with the same passion for the Word of God. 
In addition to the solid biblical content contained within these pages, the simple beauty of the covers beg you to open the cover. Even my young girls have repeatedly asked what these “pretty books” on my shelf are. Even the feel of the cover and pages is comforting and inviting. 
This series has just recently been published and I am excited about new titles which will soon be printed. This is a wonderful collection to my personal study collection and I look forward to studying this with friends soon. This series lends itself well to one-on-one discipleship as well as group study. Such deep content will be sure to leave you hungry for more of the Word. 

Disclosure:  I received this book free from the publisher through the® <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Forgiveness: Booksneeze Review

Forgiveness is hard whether you are extending it or receiving it. Forgiveness is one of the most difficult graces from God to respond to appropriately. We don’t feel others deserve it from us. We are hesitant to ask for forgiveness, especially when we don’t think we did anything wrong. We can’t imagine God actually giving it to us. We should feel blessed God knew this would be an issue and gave us so many verses to help us in Scripture. While I would encourage anyone to start with Scripture, sometimes hearing others’ stories of forgiveness is helpful.

Matthew West is known for beautiful music which speaks to the soul. Several years ago he asked for stories. He wanted to hear stories from real people about forgiveness. He has collected several of these stories in his book, Forgiveness. Each story is followed by thoughts from Matthew West about each story. I really appreciated these insights after each story.

It is divided into four sections: Forgiving Others, Asking Forgiveness, Forgiving Yourself, and Accepting God’s Forgiveness. I appreciate they are categorized this way because there are so many different facets to forgiveness. Matthew West’s responses are grounded in Scripture. He has spent significant time studying God’s Word as he gives incredible insight for each story presented.

This light read will get you thinking deeply. Although it is a short book it is not one to be read in one sitting. The way to get the most out of this is to read it thoughtfully one section at a time in order to let it rest in your heart and mind. Whether you feel you are struggling with forgiveness or just want to explore the theology behind it, this is an excelling devotional to get you started.

Disclosure:  I received this book free from the publisher through the® <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

City on Fire: Booksneeze Review

I’m a huge fan of Christian historical fiction and I’m usually game for trying new authors. This is my first time reading a Tracy L. Higley novel and I was hooked from the first chapter.

The story opens with the burning of the temple in Jerusalem and quickly fast-forwards several years. The young Jewish girl introduced at the beginning has been enslaved by a hideous senator in Rome. She is able to escape by pretending to be a male gladiator. While she is still enslaved in this life, it is better than the treatment she received by her other master. As the story unfolds she is introduced to a kind Roman who increasingly dislikes the incessant lust and violence pervading the culture and chooses to fight against it in the political realm.

It is set in the final days before Pompeii’s destruction. I very much enjoyed following their spiritual journey as they encounter Christians and the early church. It was a different view of this time than I have seen before.

I was also struck by how much the Roman culture mimics our own today. The insatiable desires for things which go against God’s Word is unmistakable throughout the novel and I could not help but compare it to our on society.

This is my first opportunity to read a novel by this author, but I am certain it will not be my last. The character development was fantastic as was the intertwining of historical facts. I appreciated that I learned a lot without feeling like I was reading a history book. The plot took unexpected turns which kept me turning pages.

I also liked how the feeling of impending doom from the volcano was included as an aside from the story. The parallel between the citizens physical fate and their spiritual fate is beautifully implied and left me feeling so sad for those who died without knowing Christ. It also urges me to share the gospel more with those around me who don’t know the truth of where saving faith really comes from.

I highly recommend this book even if you don’t typically read this genre. Although I love historical fiction, this particular period has never interested me before. Now I’m very intrigued and interested to know more. I would strongly suggest this for adults only because of some of the intensity of the content and implied actions of the Romans.

Disclosure:  I received this book free from the publisher through the® <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Gunpowder Tea: Booksneeze Review

I’ve just finished the second book in a month just for me. It has been so long since I was able to read just for my own pleasure and the latest title from Booksneeze was a lot of fun.

Gunpowder Tea by Margaret Brownley is the third installment in The Brides of Last Chance series. I have not read the first two, but am now very interested as characters were referenced from the earlier novels. An unlikely friendship develops between Annie and Branch, undercover agents seeking to track down a criminal who has become quite a nuisance in the local area. Their undercover work sets them both on edge and sometimes at odds until their true purpose for being at Last Chance Ranch is finally revealed. An unspoken attraction develops and realizing they are actually on the same side of the law only serves to complicate matters.

This lighthearted mystery/romance was a relaxing and fun read. I often shy away from mysteries because of their tendency for intensity, but the comic relief provided from the colorful characters made this simply fun. I enjoyed the banter between characters as well as trying to solve the identity of the criminal before Annie and Branch. There were times I was confused as the author would switch back and forth between the characters assumed identities and their real names. There was also a bit more description of the physical attraction between the two than I usually like to read about. There was absolutely nothing inappropriate at all, but in my opinion the focus on this aspect didn’t particularly add to the story.

I loved the character perspective change throughout the book. This unique use of the 3rd person limited point of view has become quite popular in modern literature and I enjoy the character insights which it provides the reader.

This was a lot of fun to read and I stayed up very late several nights to read just one more chapter. A sure indication this is a good read!

Disclosure:  I received this book free from the publisher through the® <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Beloved: Booksneeze Book Review!

It has been a really, really long time since I have read a book purely for my own pleasure. Yes, I did receive this through Booksneeze to review, but it was a joy to read and fun to have something just for me for a change.

I’ve been a fan of Robin Lee Hatcher for a while. Her other books have captured my interest because of their historical background. I love historical fiction, but am very picky about my pleasure reading material. Robin Lee Hatcher has the unique ability to be historically accurate without sounding as if she is writing a history text as she weaves captivating tales of love and faith for her readers. I know whenever I pick up one of her books I won’t be disappointed!

Beloved from Zondervan is the final novel in a trilogy about the life journey of siblings on an orphan train. Dianna Brennan is the female protagonist whose is immediately thrown into turmoil in just the first few pages. I was hooked from the first paragraph and caught myself reading way past my usual bedtime. I couldn’t wait to see what happened in her life!

One unique aspect of this novel was that each chapter ended with a flashback which gave a glimpse into the characters’ back-stories prior to the opening of the novel. This unique way of story-telling was interesting and helpful for explaining the various moods and actions of Dianna and her once thought-to-be-dead husband, Tyson. I love also how the plot ebbed and flowed with emotion. It was not all high intensity action and I found myself laughing at many moments.

I haven’t yet read the first two books in the series, but I’m anxious to do so. I cannot wait to hear the journeys of Dianna’s older brother and sister.

Disclosure:  I received this book free from the publisher through the® <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Robert Griffin III: Athlete, Leader, Believer by Ted Kluck: Review

I’m so pleased to have my first guest-post from non other than my dear husband. We are a Redskins family and my girls all enjoy cheering on the team with their daddy. Enjoy my husband’s review of this new biography of the Redskins rising star, #10. (The pictures of the team are from our trip to Redskins training camp a few weeks ago)
I typically do a lot of reading and research while at work, I therefore don’t do very much reading for pleasure. Every so often, however, a book catches my eye and I just have to read it. Since I am a huge Washington Redskins fan Robert Griffin III: Athlete,Leader, Believer by Ted Kluck, was one of those books. I have been a Redskins fan my entire life. I have been a fan through some great years and remained a fan through some tough years. Ever since the Redskins drafted Robert Griffin III I have had high hopes for the Redskins. 
The book begins by talking about what made Robert Griffin III into the athlete he is today. I learned how we was raised in a military family, his work ethic, and the support and encouragement he received from his parents. As I read through the book, I loved how chapter after chapter described the steps Griffin III took to get to the NFL and what happened once he was there. Being the Redskins fan that I am, I thoroughly enjoyed the chapters that recounted the 2012 NFL season. It was as if I could replay the games in my mind as the author described the details of the games.
Not only does this book talk about Griffin III’s NFL career so far in the NFL, it also addresses his faith. I love knowing how Griffin III’s faith fits in to who he is as a person and how it helps him as an NFL quarterback. According to the book he is a man of integrity which is a result of his faith in God, something lacking in many modern athletes. In a society where we hear of more and more athletes being jailed for more shocking and horrendous crimes, it is refreshing to learn about those who have not compromised their faith in the face of fame. 
The only disappointing thing about the book for me was the number of misspellings and grammatical errors. While I still highly recommend the book, it would benefit from another round of editing.

This book is a great read for any football fan and especially a Redskins fan. It’s a book that will be hard to put down and could easily be read in a single sitting. 

Disclosure:  I received this book free from the publisher through the® <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.