“Your Heart’s Desire” by Sheri Rose Shepherd

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ImageWhat caught my eye with this book was the cover. A good cover will definitely get my attention. Your Heart’s Desire is written to several different groups of women. “For the married woman who desires more for her marriage. For the single woman who desires a godly man to love her. For the divorced woman who desires and deserves a second chance to find love again.” Sheri spends fourteen chapters talking about some of the desires women have concerning love:

1. Desiring a “happily ever after”
2. Desiring a godly man to marry
3. Desiring to leave a legacy for my loved ones
4. Desiring God’s design that me and my man become one
5. Desiring God to give me the power to remain pure
6. Desiring to give and receive love
7. Desiring to embrace my new life in Christ
8. Desiring to become a woman my man can lead
9. Desiring my son to grow to become a man of faith
10. Desiring a miracle to build a new foundation of love
11. Desiring expressions of love and romance in my marriage
12. Desiring to believe God can change a man and save a marriage
13. Desiring to glorify God by showing honor and respect
14. Desiring to surrender my whole heart to my Lord

Sheri also shares from her own marriage – the good and the bad. She does this in the hopes of letting God speak through her and help others. I read Sheri’s book, His Princess: Love Letters From Your King a few years ago and was excited to find similar “love letters” at the end of each chapter in Your Heart’s Desire. The only thing I would have liked was a little more attention given to single women, since that’s the group I’m currently in. Overall, a book any woman can find something to apply in her life. 

I received a copy of this book from the Tyndale Blog Network for my honest review.

“The Case for Christ” by Lee Strobel

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20121230-204126.jpgI began this book in December 2010. My intention was to read it for a small group I was co-leading at the time. However, the focus of the group changed shortly after I began reading, and I ended up put the book back on the shelf after three chapters.

Fast forward two years. I had been eyeing this book occasionally for the past few months, and found that now was the time to finish. Once I picked it up again, it was actually easier to get into. Yes, Mr. Strobel’s writing style is very direct and full of factual information, which does not necessarily mean easy reading. But once you set that style in your mind, it’s very interesting to delve into the wealth of information he has garnered from his studies and the scholars he interviews for each chapter of this book.

I have been a Christian for many years, but I liked reading through the information in this book nonetheless. It is a good reminder in some areas and a revelation in others about the truth of the power that God embodied in Jesus, and really, the power He wants to embody in us as well. I recommend taking the time to read it.

Finally the Bride by Cheryl McKay

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Finally The Bride: Finding Hope While WaitingFinally The Bride: Finding Hope While Waiting by Cheryl McKay
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I saw this book recommended on a blog discussion I read several weeks ago. It was among several women approaching their 30s who have a desire for marriage but no past or current relationship prospects to speak of (yes, I am one of them). It piqued my interest, considering I’ve seen so few books geared toward single women that reached beyond “what you need to do if you want a man.”

There is something so comforting about this book. It’s just so raw and real. Cheryl McKay writes to single women, as a single woman. She doesn’t sugarcoat her desire or her frustration; instead she bares all, including journal entries she wrote to God and the responses she received back, in the midst of providing important points and lessons to us on waiting and building our relationship with God.

At times her journaled frustrations and cries to God may seem to be repetitive, or in conflict with the points she’s trying to make about trusting God. But she’s human, and she doesn’t pretend that her attitude in her journal entries is always right. I actually found it comforting to see that she had to remind herself of the points that she would later write to others in similar situations. She wants to let her readers know that they are not alone in the circumstances they face, and I can appreciate that.

I was insipred to read from a spirit-filled single Christian woman who could really relate to where I am relationally, and I love reading what McKay has to say about the relationship we need to develop with God. I appreaciate the honesty of her story, and the stories she includes of those who came before her.

If you’re single, this book will inspire you. If you’re waiting, on anything, this book will encourage you as well. It truly is a book about finding hope in the waiting, regardless of what you’re waiting on.

“Full Disclosure” by Dee Henderson

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Paul Falcon is an FBI agent. Ann Silver is the Midwest Homicide Investigator. They could have crossed paths dozens of times over the years, but it’s only when an old case goes from cold to very hot that their lives intersect. As the case begins to reveal a long-dormant killer for hire, Paul and Ann deal with lifelong dreams and long-held secrets that, if exposed, would change both of their lives forever.

This long-awaited new release by Dee Henderson (her last new release was in 2006) is great. Not perfect, but very good. Dee continues her introduction of new characters alongside characters from her previous books (you will not be missing the O’Malley family for long). And the mystery surrounding the police cases being tackled have good, if not entirely unexpected, twists. I’m not sure if I focused more on the mysteries in Dee’s previous stories or if she did, but this time around the flow of the story is a little different, and seems to focus more on the characters as their relationship grows. In fact, at times the pursuit of the case seems almost to fade completely into the background of the budding romance, or at least the characters’ focus on it.  The cases don’t stay in the background for too long once the story ramps up, but the focus of this story is squarely on the developing relationship between Paul and Ann.

I liked the relationship, and the way previously known characters were pulled in to be part of the story between the two leads. I did, however, find myself entirely distracted by the new take Dee gives on her previous characters. As a closet wannabe writer, I found myself wondering more than once just how much of Ann’s story could be Dee herself, or if I was reading too much in the characterization that was written. It took me out of the story a little bit as I tried to discern the level of fiction I’ve been reading all this time. (Is this pure fiction? Fiction with an element of truth? Heavily-veiled nonfiction?)

But when I allowed myself to focus on the story purely as entertainment, I liked what I read. I’ve truly missed Dee Henderson’s writing, and it’s great to have her back. I enjoyed this new story, the different elements she put into it, the new perspective on her old characters, and the promise of more stories from the new characters. This Paul and Ann’s story might be a transition piece of sorts, but it’s a good one. As always, I’m looking forward to what else is in store.

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I received an Advance Readers’ Edition of this book for free from the publisher, Bethany House, via LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own.

“Grace for the Good Girl” by Emily P. Freeman

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Grace for the Good Girl by Emily Freeman is a look at a struggle that Christian women sometimes don’t recognize, or refuse to acknowledge. It’s that struggle to make sure that we’re always doing the right thing. Whether borne out of a need to atone for the sins of the past, or fear of not being good enough for the future, or simply the constraints of a life always lived in the mindset, many Christian women expend so much effort trying to maintain their Good Girl status. Emily takes a hard look at what that status resembles, and its underlying struggle. She then takes us beyond the Good Girl framework, into what it really means to be free to trust God with details of a Christian life.

This book is such a wonderful book. It’s relief-inspiring, really. It was eye-opening to recognize struggles I’ve faced, to see the root cause of those issues, and to learn truth that can free me from the vicious cycle of trying and failing to be good all the time. Basically, it all boils down to this: Stop trying so hard and trust God with your rest! The rest of your world, the rest of your life, the rest you need right now. You can’t get it, truly get it, unless you trust God, truly trust Him. And you can’t trust Him when you’re just trying so hard to look the part of someone who trusts Him.

Lay down your good girl tools and all the toil the bring, and rest.

All of you.

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You can win a copy of The Books They Gave Me, an unique compilation of the impact of hundreds of books over hundreds of lives. I’m excited to say I got to contribute an entry to this book, and I’m looking forward to reading everyone else’s adventures in reading as well! Check out this link here for you chance to win an advanced copy of The Books They Gave Me!

“Matched” by Ally Condie

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“Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander’s face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham’s face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. The Society tells her it’s a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she’s destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can’t stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society’s infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path that no one else has dared to follow” (Amazon).

This is a good book🙂 This is a YA book unlike any other I’ve read. The idea of a society controlling everything down to the food portions, customizing them to meet the nutritional needs of each person blows my mind. She does a fabulous job with the details, painting a very vivid picture of the world in which Cassia lives. And unlike most YA books where I find myself pulling for one of the two guys, I like both Xander and Ky. They’re very different from each other but both have likable qualities. And Ally kept me guessing the whole way through. Towards the end of the book there’s a scene that caught me completely off guard – a twist making me dislike the Society very much – and when I finished, I already had Crossed on hand so I could continue Cassia’s journey. This is a book with a theme that makes you think…

You can find out more on the Matched trilogy and learn about the final book, Reached, coming out this November.