Monday, February 20, 2017

Baseball Faith ~ Rob Maaddi

Book: Baseball Faith
Author: Rob Maaddi
Publisher: Shiloh Run Press
Publishing Date: March 1, 2017

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and am under no obligation to post a review. 

My interest in this book: My husband and son are huge--I mean play it, talk it, watch it "huge"--fans of baseball. My 10 year old son can list you a ton of baseball facts and stats but when it comes to reciting a bible verse? That's a little more complicated to get him excited about. Until now.

Type of book: Devotional/Christian Life

Main ideas / Message: Each page starts with a scripture quote and is followed by a player's definition of why that scripture is important to him. Each page can be read in less than 2 minutes. The following two pages are devoted to some of the player's stats and an interesting fact; like "Matz is the only pitcher and the 26th player in the last century to collect at least four RBIs in his major league debut"; "The average annual value of Kershaw's contract, $30.7 million, is the largest ever for a baseball player."

Favorite moments: To be honest, I didn't even have to read any of the internal content before falling in love with this book. From the cover design to the page set ups to the back cover copy: "Baseball Faith will inspire you in your faith journey as 52 MLB players--past and present--share their stories and how they are chasing the success that only comes from being God's man and following His plan. These men are committed to living their lives with eternity in mind. Empowered by God, they are looking beyond the competition to a larger goal: following God's game plan for their lives as team players, husband, fathers, sons and then using their influence to point others toward Him." And these are not just "devotions." These are real men, successful men, who are showing my son the Way.

Overall: I LOVE this book! I am so glad Barbour/Shiloh Run published Rob Maddi's collection. It's a quick read that will entice even the least avid reader to take a peek; the stats are interesting; it's writing is easy to read for my 10 year old and still interesting for my husband. This book is very relational and I feel that's how lives are changed. Not by teaching, not by dictating, but by relationship. It's why Jesus taught by storytelling. He made the information relatable to the hearers. Rob has done exactly that and I couldn't be more excited to have this book in our home. THIS is the type of man I want my son to become; from the players to the author, all are examples of what you can do with your love of God and baseball.  I really can't stop gushing about how pleased I am with this book! Well done Barbour and Rob Maaddi.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill ~ by Julie Klassen

Author: Julie Klassen
Publisher: Bethany House
Publishing Date: December 6, 2016

I received a copy of this book from in exchange for an honest review.

My interest in this book: Julie Klassen has a beautiful, poetic way of telling a story and of drawing you in to a 19th century town in England. 

Type of Book: Historical Fiction  

Ideas / message / plot: This is a growing tale that will envelop three moving novels, so we get to experience multiple plot ideas and messages along the way.

Favorite characters, quotes / lines: Each character in this story is woven into the location player by player. I love it all! It's like an onion--you have your core, and then layer upon layer is added, be it a character or his/her story being revealed. Depth upon depth, Julie does a masterful job of creating a living, breathing town of Ivy Hill.

Of Thora: "She was ready to frown at all times. Life had taught her to expect little else."
Of Mercy Groves: "And then there was the rare woman who had every right to look forlorn, yet did not. Women who lived in expectation of pleasure against all logic."
This town has diversity that in and of itself creates story and tension beyond just circumstance. 

When I finished this book I felt: satisfied and excited to read the books to follow. You'll love the hints and winks at Austen and other favorites along the way.

Overall: If you enjoy PBS Masterpiece classics like Downton Abbey, Poldark, and Cranford--where you can get lost in the close-knit communities, you'll love this series. Her characters are deep and real. There is struggle and love and intrigue. Above all, it's a story that you'll be glad to spend your valuable free time indulging in. 

Be sure to visit the extended website: to get a personal look at Ivy Hill, excerpts from the book, and more.

I will have a copy of this series on my shelves. Well worth the read!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Chase the Lion by Mark Batterson

Book: Chase the Lion
Author: Mark Batterson
Publisher: Multnomah
Publishing Date: September 6, 2016

This is the book you'v been waiting for. This is a book to not only ignite the dreams in those who are searching or hungry for something more, bur it's a call out the mighty men of God. Chase The Lion, is a Dream-Pursuer's fuel.

Just as Eldridge's book "Wild at Heart" talks about needing something to chase, this is a book to awaken the passion to pursue the call on your life. Reading this creates a hunger to set chase to something BIG!

The thought provoking stories within this book stir hope and inspire you to dream, to keep dreaming, to not let go of your dream. This book belongs on your bookshelf because it's one that you'll go back to time and time again. It wont go out of date. It's content is biblical, it's real-life, it's genuine. Mark Batterson's writing style is fresh, like he's sitting in your living room having a conversation about dreaming your dream with you. I can't tell you how many quotes I posted to FaceBook in even just the first chapters. Truth is truth and there's no avoiding it. We live our lives through story and that's how Batterson relates his message here; through story. 

This is a MUST READ, MUST OWN book! 

Favorite Quotes:
"Too often the church complains about culture instead of creating it. The energy we spend on criticism is being stolen from creativity. It’s sideways energy. We need fewer commentators and more innovators. I try to live by Michelangelo’s maxim: criticize by creating. Quit complaining about what’s wrong, and do something that makes a difference!" -Chase The Lion @markbatterson

"God honors big dreams because big dreams honor God." -Chase The Lion

"No conflict. No story. We accept that fact when it comes to movies. Epic movies demand epic conflict. That’s what makes them epic! And what’s true of great movies is true of great lives. Great conflict cultivates great character. Of course, it’s easier to watch on the screen than it is to walk through it. If you want to live an epic life, you have to overcome some epic challenges. You have to take some epic risks, make some epic sacrifices. For David it was picking a fight with Goliath. For Benaiah it was chasing the lion." -Chase The Lion

(I was given a copy of this book through in exchange for an honest review. In all honesty, I fell in love with this book. I didn't read the first one--In the Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day--but this one caught my attention and kept it. Love it! And yes, another copy will be purchased and on my coffee table.)

Monday, October 24, 2016

Newton & Polly by Jody Hedlund

Author: Jody Hedlund
Publisher: Waterbrook
Publishing Date: September 20, 2016

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

My interest in this book is: I really enjoy Jody Hedlund's ability to tell a story and when I heard she wrote one about John Newton and Amazing Grace? This worshiper couldn't wait to get her hands on it!

Type of Book: Historical Fiction  

Ideas / message / plot: Forgiveness, Grace 

Favorite characters, quotes / lines: "The words were soft and anguished as if he'd torn them from his soul."

When I finished this book I felt: How great is God's love! It's amazing to contemplate how your life can relate to the message experienced while reading someone else's story. You can't help but bask in what God is doing--and has done--in your life after reading this. Elizabeth Camden stated of this book, "A powerfully moving account of one man's epic journey from doubt and despair into a world of radiant faith." So, so true.

Other books to read by this Author or theme: Oh, so many of her books are available and a great read. Just search my blog for other stories by Jody Hedlund that I've reviewed or head on over to her Amazon page

Overall: This really is a book that will encourage your own faith journey and pull on your soul. Jody has a masterful way of relating history with His-story, and yours. She has a God-given talent to tell story--the kind that echoes of eternity and history, of faith and power and love and redemption. I read her books and my soul longs to be in worship to the One True King. You can't help but fall more in love with God after reading the stories she relates. 

Five Star. Yes, it should be on your book shelf! 

Monday, April 4, 2016

Daring Sacrifice

Book: Daring Sacrifice
Author: Jody Hedlund
Publisher: Zondervan
Publishing Date: March 1, 2016

Type of book: England 1390

My interest in this book: I immediately fell in love with the first book in the series, Uncertain Certain Choice, and jumped at the opportunity to read the next in the series. 

Since just over a year ago, I have twice been privileged to dive into the medieval world of 1390 England where knights ride valiantly and noble daughters stand up for what is right. As daughters of the King, we each have a claim to nobility with the opportunity to stand up for what is good and right and noble. 

What I love about this book: it's just flat-out an excellent story! The content is realistic and applicable to modern readers. 

What I love about Jody's stories is not only her heart to connect with readers through quality Christian writing, but to create life change. In this series, she reveals true emotions about being young and in love and includes an invaluable discussion guide at the back of her books. I strongly recommend that this book series—if not this book alone—be read as a small group, using the questions in the back. You will be able to easily discuss topics like: “What are some of the characteristics that drew Juliana and Collin to each other?…What made them a good fit for each other?” “…Why do you think it’s important for couples to spend time really getting to see the other person in their daily life (rather than always prettied-up on dates)?” “…Why is modesty so important for both men and women? And what does modesty mean to you?” I’m not often a fan of the discussion questions contained in novels—they seem like afterthoughts. Not so here! These questions bring up topics that might otherwise feel awkward in a discussion between mom and daughter if brought up on their own. 

5+ stars & bookshelf worthy

I will be reading this series with the girls of our church and my daughter!

To celebrate Jody's second book in the Uncertain Choice series, let's do an Amazon giveaway for one of her books. You're choice of eBook or paperback. 

Here are ways to enter:

Leave a comment on a difficult YA topic that might be easier to discuss if a book like this one were written about it. 

Follow Jody Hedlund's author page on Amazon. (Let me know in the comments)

Tweet about this giveaway. (Give link in comments)

Giveaway end 4/10/2016

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Where have you been?

Between moving twice and adding this adorable fella to the mix, my life has been crazy busy...not to mention sleep deprived. BUT it's time to take back time that so easily slips away and start hanging out with you guys again! There are so many fatastic books that have come out & are do out over the next few months. I can't wait to talk about them with you. 

In the mean time, I pray your Easter weekend is filled with love, family & friends. What an incredible time of year !
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