Book Review: A Love for the Strangers

A Love for the Strangers by Rachael Kathleen Hartman

A Love for the Strangers: What the Bible Says About Loving Immigrants
by Rachael Kathleen Hartman (Author)
4 out of 5 stars
The Bible talks about “strangers” and “aliens” hundreds of times, calling Christians “strangers” in the world because our true home is in Heaven. The Israelites were commanded to welcome “strangers” into their community. God tells us more than once to love our neighbor (no matter where they come from) and to be compassionate toward those in need.

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Non Fiction Review: Too Good To Be False

Too Good to be False by Tom Gilson

Too Good to be False: How Jesus’ Incomparable Character Reveals His Reality
by Tom Gilson 
5 out of 5 stars

If you examine Christ’s life, his personality, his teaching, his leadership style, one thing becomes abundantly clear, Jesus is too good to be false. There has never been a human being who lived the way He did, and it would be impossible to make up a story of a man like Him. There’s no way that Jesus could be anyone other than who He claimed to be: God Incarnate.

I love the way this book follows logical steps of reasoning and evidence from the Bible and from history to build an irrefutable argument for the reality of Jesus. The writing is forceful and vivid, but it leads the reader gently down a path of truth to the convincing conclusion that Jesus is the only perfect human to have ever lived and died and risen again. Each step of the way is coherent and meaningful.

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Non Fiction Review: Prayer

Prayer by Timothy J. Keller
Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God
by Timothy J. Keller

5 out of 5 stars


This book on prayer gives clear examples from history, hundreds of Scripture references, and inspiring ideas about prayer and how God draws close to us.
The topics include why we need to pray, how great and marvelous prayer truly is, what prayer is and is not, and how to truly encounter God and approach His throne. There are also chapters about traditional ideas of prayer, rules for how to pray, how to prepare our heart for prayer, the elements of confession and adoration that go into a prayer, and an analysis of The Lord’s Prayer.

I especially loved the chapters about meditation, with advice on how to meditate on God’s Word and incorporate quiet meditation into your prayers along with petitions, thanksgiving, and confession. Continue reading

Non Fiction Review: The Women of the Bible and You

The Women of the Bible and You by Arionne Yvette Williams
The Women of the Bible and You: A Weekly Devotional
by Arionne Yvette Williams

1 out of 5 stars
I hated this book! It is unBiblical and humanistic.
This book has 52 weekly devotional studies about women in the Bible. It is designed to be used in a group study, or to be read alone. There are questions to prompt group discussion or to reflect on by yourself.

The author shares some personal stories that would have been better left out of the book altogether. I can see that the author is trying to be relatable, but it made me lose confidence in the author.
Some of the lessons are contrived and not at all what I think the focus of the Bible verses should be. Continue reading

Non Fiction Review: The Bible In 52 Weeks

The Bible in 52 Weeks by Kimberly D. Moore
The Bible in 52 Weeks: A Yearlong Bible Study for Women
by Kimberly D. Moore

5 out of 5 stars


This Bible reading plan guides you through an entire year of reading the Bible! There is a list of Bible chapters to read for 6 days, and you can use the 7th day in the week to catch up if you fell behind. Each week has an encouraging few paragraphs to point out Biblical truths and lessons to look for.

Then there are “Points to Ponder” with some questions you can answer in a journal style, writing in your thoughts about the reading for that week.
Each week ends with “Actions for the Week” that gives you prompts on how you can apply the lessons you read to make your life more joyful, peaceful, and positive.
Some weeks have a “This Is My Prayer” section, with a prayer written out that you can pray for yourself.

I love how this book talks about going after your dreams in faith, relying on God for every need, trusting His purpose for your life, and releasing stress and bitterness to embrace peace and joy. The writing prompts and action for the week are really thoughtful and help the reader to be more mindful with their reading. It’s really inspiring, and makes me want to pick up the Bible and read and pray! Continue reading

Non Fiction Review: Make Great Decisions

Make Great Decisions Christian Workbook for Teen Girls by Jocasta Odom
Make Great Decisions Christian Workbook for Teen Girls
by Jocasta Odom

4 out of 5 stars

This Christian workbook has wonderfully positive encouragement for young girls, reminding them that they are daughters of the King, more than conquerors through Christ, and they can navigate tough decisions in life with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

This book is peppered with Bible verses on every page, and excellent affirmations and Biblical truths to boost the confidence of the young Christian. The Scriptures are taken from various translations like NIV, MSG, NASB, and ESV, so the reader might want to read along with their own preferred Bible edition.

One of the special things about this workbook is the variety of activities included. There are quizzes, true or false questions, meditations and prayers, creative writing exercises, and ways to serve God in your family, school, neighborhood, and church. Continue reading

Non-Fiction Review: Treasury of Bible Stories

Treasury of Bible Stories by Donna Jo Napoli
Treasury of Bible Stories
by Donna Jo Napoli (Author), Christina Balit (Illustrator)

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


These are retellings of Biblical stories from Genesis to Daniel as interpreted by the author, and reimagined with embellishments and dialogue. Starting with Creation, this book includes 28 Old Testament stories, ending with Daniel in the Lion’s Den. Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Samson, Elijah, Job, Jonah, David, Solomon, Esther, and Ruth are all included with their struggles and failures, and the power of God in their lives.

The writing can be flowery at times, and the author takes a few little liberties with the history. However, there are also some really wonderful cultural and historical additions that enhance the stories as the reader learns about ancient cultures. I wouldn’t trust this as a source of my religious belief, but it is an enjoyable imagining of what Biblical times could have been like. Continue reading

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.