Book Review: Under the Red Spotlight

Under the Red Spotlight by Shawn King
Under the Red Spotlight 
by Shawn King

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Tamryn is a slave in a circus, along with her aerialist partners, Torin and Patrick. They are beaten and starved, forced to perform for the cheering crowds, until one day Tamryn’s situation becomes desperate and Torin risks everything to help her escape. Separated from the only family she knows, Tamryn struggles to find a balance between survival and following her true heart. Torin vows to find a way to escape and be reunited with Tamryn, but the circus owner is ruthless and cruel. Escape seems impossible. In the middle of it all, Patrick seeks for comfort in the arms of Jessica, Tamryn’s replacement in their aerial act. Four young people searching for freedom, and they will only find it through knowing Christ.

I loved this book!!! I don’t know if it was the writing, the characters, or the dramatic plot… but this story pulled me in. There is so much action and running around and drama! Usually I don’t even like circus stories, but this one definitely captured my attention.
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Book Review: A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War

A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War by Joseph Loconte
A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War: How J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis Rediscovered Faith, Friendship, and Heroism in the Cataclysm of 1914-18 
by Joseph Loconte

I thoroughly enjoyed this book about the effect that WWI had on two of my favorite authors, how their experiences translated into the stories they wrote, and how their faith in God was strengthened and established despite the horrors of war.

This is heartbreaking to read, because it gives such detailed personal accounts of the war, the suffering and fear they went through, and the terrible losses of friends and family. But it is also wonderfully interesting to learn about the history of that time, and the misguided Utopian philosophies that were shattered by the war.

I was impressed with the scholarly yet accessible writing style, and the way in which the historical and personal information was organized and presented in each chapter. This clearly explained how Tolkien’s and Lewis’ personal experiences were entwined in the larger story of the war, and the popular philosophies and political thinking of the time.

Book Review: Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy

Bonhoeffer Student Edition by Eric Metaxas
Bonhoeffer Student Edition: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy 
by Eric Metaxas


5 out of 5 stars on Goodreads
It’s impossible to read anything about the incredible life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and not be inspired by his faith, saddened by his suffering, and full of questions about your own beliefs and faith. Does my life reflect the kind of fearless faith that Bonhoeffer showed? Is my heart filled with joy in the midst of dark circumstances the way Bonhoeffer’s was?
The answer is no. My faith looks rather puny next to his. My life looks pathetic next to his courage and generosity. One will always feel small when compared to giants, but at least we are looking up, striving for greatness, seeking to know God more intimately as they did. Continue reading

Book Review: Sex and the Single Girl

Sex and the Single Girl
Sex and the Single Girl by Juli Dr Slattery

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This Christian book is designed to be read in daily or weekly increments over 6 weeks, but I read it all in two days! It has reflective questions at the end of each section that can be answered alone or in a group study.
I loved that this book is saturated with Scripture! Almost every other page quotes Scripture or refers to a Bible example. The writing is thoughtful, and exhorts the reader to think carefully about God’s Word, and to examine our hearts circumspectly. It really puts a spotlight on the truth of spiritual warfare, and how our sexual nature plays a large part in that battle. Continue reading

Book Review: Jesus the King

Jesus the King: Understanding the Life and Death of the Son of God
Jesus the King: Understanding the Life and Death of the Son of God by Timothy J. Keller

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Excellent writing, inspiring insights, solid Bible doctrine, and a fresh look at the life of Christ through the lens of his death. I was incredibly impressed with this book. It’s accessible and easy to understand, although it deals with some deep cosmic ideas.

The whole book is a beautiful revelation of truth. I was crying in one chapter and then laughing in the next. It’s touching and thought-provoking. Every chapter is so deep and insightful. I was spiritually refreshed on every page!

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Book Review: The Missionary Call

The Missionary Call: Find Your Place in God's Plan For the World
The Missionary Call: Find Your Place in God’s Plan For the World by M. David Sills

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is full of practical and spiritual advice about how to know if you are called by God to become a missionary overseas. I really appreciated the way the book was organized, talking about the Biblical basis for missions, God’s heart for missions, and then branching into the history of missions since the Early Church, and exploring different branches of thought and belief that are present about missions and the missionary call today.

My favorite part was the Continue reading

Book Review: Changes That Heal

Changes That Heal: The Four Shifts That Make Everything Better…And That Anyone Can Do
Changes That Heal: The Four Shifts That Make Everything Better…And That Anyone Can Do by Henry Cloud

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book inspired me, gave me spiritual healing, and had incredible insight into why people are broken and how God can heal that brokenness.
I love that each concept starts with an example of brokenness, leads into the spiritual lesson with Biblical text, explains the real reasons behind our behavior, and then gives practical solutions to heal and change for the better.
And it’s not just about being “better”; it’s about being the person God truly created you to be.

The writing has a lot of spiritual depth, but also a common sense approach to applying the spiritual concepts. It’s clear enough that anyone can understand it and relate to it, but also deeply insightful so that you need to stop and think carefully and prayerfully about the ideas presented.

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Book Review: Living as a Christian: Teachings from First Peter

Living as a Christian: Teachings from First Peter
Living as a Christian: Teachings from First Peter by A.W. Tozer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Tozer goes through most of the verses in 1 Peter, giving an overall view of what it means to be a Christian: what the true Christian believes, how the true Christian acts, and how the true Christian lives in a fallen world.

I found some of the writing to be wonderfully deep and insightful, but other parts were almost childish in their simplicity. There’s also a lot of repetition of the same ideas, same words, over again, and that got on my nerves.

The content is excellent with strong doctrine, but the writing is flabby and could use more editing. Continue reading

Book Review: Confessions of a Church Kid: Honest Thoughts on Finding God and Becoming Myself

Confessions of a Church Kid: Honest Thoughts on Finding God and Becoming Myself
Confessions of a Church Kid: Honest Thoughts on Finding God and Becoming Myself by Elyse Murphy

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This is a cute little book, but I DNF’d it. The blurb say it’s a “cheeky memoir” about this girls experiences growing up as a church kid, and while I appreciate her basic concepts and moral lessons about being yourself and relying on God, it was a little too “cheeky” for me. Whatever that means.

It was cliche. It was a little shallow. No new or deep ideas about Christianity or what it means to part of a church. There’s all these cutesy little aside comments to the reader that got on my nerves. Continue reading