Free From the World’s Captivity

Since the beginning of creation, God has desired daily interaction with His children. At the same time, His children have desired to interact with the world that He created rather than Him. That has left each of us, at times, feeling a void and deep pain. God has also desired to teach us His ways instead of the world’s and yet we are continually held captive by the world and its many snares, oases, and traps. In Into the Free by Julie Cantrell, we are introduced to a cast of characters, each with his or her own desires, snares, oases, and traps. Millie Reynolds is a young girl who is trapped by the conditions of her home but also by the fears and disappointments of her life. Her parents are trapped by failed dreams, addiction, and loss. Millie’s foster family is trapped by outward appearances, lost dreams, and blindness.

However, within this imperfect world are guardians and angels who teach us about God’s love, grace, and mercy. They teach us how to forgive and unconditional love. In Millie’s world she encounters Sloth, her elderly next door neighbor in the former slave quarters where Millie and her family lived. Later she meets the gypsies, the Romany travelers who teach her about herself and her strength. There is also Mabel, the housekeeper who works for her foster family, and Bump, the cowboy who wins her heart by teaching her about love, patience, forgiveness, and ultimately freedom.

If you have battled with the forces of this world and feel trapped, downtrodden, and scared – then this book is for you. If you are a champion of the outcasts of this world – then this book is for you. If you are a child of God – then this is definitely for you!

Follow Julie Cantrell

I received this ebook free for review from Net Galley at netgalley.com.

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Rainy Days and Mondays

Just about anyone who listens to contemporary Christian music has heard Laura Story’s song “What If Your Blessings Come Through Raindrops.”  If you have not hear this song before, please listen to it here:

spotify:track:6lV8cAancMB859zfBUqpPZ

Story’s book by the same title breaks down the verses of her song into thirty chapters that can be used as a devotional. For instance, in chapter 18 entitled “When We Cry Out in Anger,” Story writes, “Sometimes, it’s very easy to become angry: angry with ourselves, angry with other people, and even angry with God. Sometimes, we face life-threatening situations that shake us to the very core of our souls. but more often than not, our frustrations are of the more mundane variety. More often than not, we are angereed not by earth-shaking events, but by the inevitable distractions and disappointments of everyday living: jammed traffic, difficult people, financial headaches, and a near-endless stream of minor inconveniences masquerading as major hardships. Our challenge is this: to display anger when it is appropriate and to rein in our tempers when it is not. How can we learn to maintain better control over our tempers? We do so by learning to focus our thoughts, not on the inevitable disappointments of life, but instead upon the innumerable blessings that God has given us (Philippians 4:8). When we allow our faith in God to become the cornerstone and the touchstone of our lives, we cultivate trust in the righteousness of His plans. When we do so, we begin to see God’s hand as it works in every aspect of our lives – in good times and in hard times – as He uses every circumstance to fulfill His plan for us. So the next time you become frustrated by the inevitable challenges of life, do yourself a favor: turn away from anger and turn, instead, to God. Turn to Him, as best you can, with open hands, a clear mind, and a trusting heart. When you do, you’ll discover that defeating anger is difficult but not impossible – because with God, all things are possible.”

In each chapter, Story also includes quotes from notable Christians that are related to the subject of the chapter. She also includes Scripture and a section to journal your own thoughts. She ends the book with additional Scripture on a variety of topics. This small book of 220+ pages is an excellent addition to any library or better yet – your coffee table! Share it with friends and strangers alike.

If you are interested in keeping up with Laura Story:

Artist Web Site

Follow on Twitter

I received this ebook free for review from Net Galley at netgalley.com.

To Fear or Not To Fear

This is the first time that I am writing a review of a book that I hope to read. Fearless by Eric Blehm is the story of Adam Brown a Navy SEAL, husband, and father who lived with astounding faith and died fearless. Please take the time to check out this book!

Adam Brown was a proud Arkansas father of two who embarked on the mission deep into the Afghanastan mountains on the search for enemy combatants. He never returned home to his wife, children, and parents or the dirt of Arkansas. This story is about Adam, his faith, determined strength and his upbringing to “do what is right.”

Download and read the first chapter

You can order this book here.

Dross Is as Dross Was

Life. That one word brings everything from smiles and sighs to raging tirades. Life has both excitement and disappointments. Ephesians 5:20 says, “And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” It does not say give thanks for the good only – for the great house, perfect job, and amazing spouse. It says to give thanks for EVERYTHING – the good, the bad, and even the ugly. That can be difficult. Kay Arthur talks about how to turn your disappointments in life into God’s appointments in her book As Silver Refined Answers to Life’s Disappointments. Just in reconfiguring your perceptions of life’s disappointments into God’s appointments begins to turn a cloudy, stormy day into just a partly cloudy day. It is the first step in moving from seeing life pessimistically to seeing life optimistically.

I chose this book to read because of the synopsis on the Blogging for Books website. One line jumped out at me and intrigued me – “You can be defeated by life’s unavoidable disappointments, or you can become stronger because of them.” Powerful words! First of all Arthur highlights the first point that disappointment is unavoidable. It is going to happen, the only questions are when, in what fashion, how bad, and how am I going to react to it? And that is the next point that she so aptly makes – are you going to react or intentionally act? Choosing to be intentional rather than haphazard is the way to turn those disappointments into His appointments. It kind of reminds me of a childish chant about “turning that frown upside down” but it is just that intentional.

You can keep up with Kay Arthur at:
Author’s Web Site
Follow on Twitter
Author Bio
More Info
I received this book free for review from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

Pre-Harry Potter

I found Net Galley through Thomas Nelson Publisher and just about wet my pants one day looking through the galley of books. I saw Eoin Colfer’s books listed and they were talking about new releases! I hurriedly requested the two books and began reading. Now this was on my laptop – pre-Nook days. I had read almost half of Artemis Fowl before I was completely sure that I had read this book before. Sure enough, I had actually read that book and the other book from Net Galley, The Arctic Incident, and had even read the third book, The Eternity Code.

Eoin Colfer’s series of books is listed as Fairy Tales, Folk Tales & Myths genre on amazon.com. Artemis Fowl is a 12-year-old genius who has figured out the mysteries of fairies, leprechauns, and other mythical creatures. In the first book, Artemis kidnaps a fairy, Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon Unit. Colfer weaves this tale in such a manner that, as an adult, I could fully understand how children could become enthralled with this genre of literature. I was hooked! In the second book, Artemis must become partners with the fairies in order to save his father from Russian kidnappers. Finally in the third book, Artemis once again pairs up with Holly to save his beloved butler – named Butler who was seriously injured when Artemis attempts to fulfill his last criminal deed.

If you love Harry Potter and other books in this genre, I am sure that you will be intrigued by Artemis and his adventures! I received the two ebooks free for review from netgalley.com.

You can purchase the books at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.

Pearls of Wisdom

Breaking the Ten Commandments Discover the Deeper Meaning is a book in which the author, Eric Butterworth, has uncovered discernments concerning each of the commandments that takes the reader beyond the surface. Butterworth wrote this book originally in the 70s and it was re-released this year in paperback. I chose to read this book via ebook to review it. I honestly expected the book to be a dry read. I was completely taken aback by the honest appraisal of each commandment beyond the typical biblical discernment. Reading about each commandment was like the opening of a new flower – petal by petal, layer by layer.

I found myself going back to reread a section and then making a connection in applying it to my life. My pastor had linked the Sermon on the Mount to the Commandments so I had already begun a journey of unpacking the magnitude of Jesus’ words. I also found myself choosing to pneumonically tying an image to each of the commandments based on his explanations and discernment. For instance, the sixth commandment says, “You shall not kill” (Exodus 20:13). Butterworth opens the discussion by saying this: “Four words, plain and simple, no qualifications. Does the frenetic advocate of the Decalogue keep this commandment and accept its implications unequivocally? No killing at all…no destruction of life of any kind…no eating meat…no killing insects…no killing in self-defense…no capital punishment…no war. Suddenly our ‘back to the Ten Commandments’ man runs for cover. Then begins his array of rationalizations: ‘But we must eat meat to get sufficient protein…and actually Jesus ate meat. We have a right to kill in self-defense. Society has a right to kill offenders. A nation has a right to kill enemies in war.'” Butterworth finishes that thought with, “We are left with the inescapable conclusion that no one really takes it literally.” Within that same chapter, he discusses the reason that pearls are created – irritation! Irritation is the beginning emotions for anger that leads to rage and in many cases – murder. Hence the image of a pearl will help me remember to not kill or become enraged.

I would encourage anyone who wants to uncover and disect the truths found in the Ten Commandments to pick up a copy of this re-release of Eric Butterworth’s book.

I received this book free for review from netgalley.com.

Lady of the War

England. World War I. High society. This is the setting for Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle written by The Countess of Carnarvon, Lady Fiona Carnarvon. Lords and Ladies. Dukes and Duchesses. This is the language of every little girls fairy tales, except this is also real life. Lady Fiona Carnarvon weaves the story of the Carnarvon family during the years that Almina Wombwell, illegitimate daughter of Alfred Rothschild and Marie Wombwell (who was married to Fred Wombwell), was Lady Carnarvon married to the 5th Lord Carnarvon. The Lord marries Almina in order to use her money to erase his sizeable debts, but Almina becomes the beauty and driving force behind Highclere Castle. She turns the Castle into a comfortable and soothing hospital for the injured from the frontline of WWI.

Downton Abbey is not the story of the Carnarvons but the Castle is the setting for the series and the story of high society is similar. However, it is not the story of Lady Almina. Having never seen the series, this book peaked my interest in the series and I had to do some research online as well as interviewing my mother to learn about the series. The series sounds intriguing but the book is a sure winner in my library. It is historical and well written about life in England during the late 1800s and early 1900s. It features a great storyline about Lady Almina and her hospital as well as Lord Carnarvon and his discovery of King Tutankhamun’s tomb. This book is well worth reading!

I received this book free for review from Read It Forward.

Spirit-led Music

Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” This is the premise behind K M Logan’s book, The Matthew 633 Teacher, about being a Spirit-led music teacher. Logan answers every question that one would have about becoming either a self-employed music teacher or a teacher employed by a store, school, or other entity. Her book is written with much thought and care concerning both the teacher and the students. Not being a music teacher, I had not realized that there was so much involved preceding a decision to enter the world of teaching music. However, I found this book to be simple in language, engaging to the reader, and complete in the knowledge.

Logan points out that when God is the center of your life and the advisor you seek for all decisions, you will find success in your life by following His leading. She uses both Scripture and her vast span of knowledge to outline the process to parlay your love and education into a successful career. I found her book to be a valuable asset to add to your library if you are either a student of higher education or a seasoned music teacher.

I received this book free for review from the author.