Book Review: The Peaceful Wife by April Cassidy

This post was originally part of my old book review website “Christian Book Lady,” which I will be shutting down next week.

 

I give this book 5/5 stars.

 

Category: Non-fiction :: Target Audience: Christian Wives

The Peaceful Wife by April Cassidy is a treasure and a wonderful resource for any woman of God.

“Control and aggression kill romance for both men and women. Passivity also kills romance on either side of marriage.”

If this is true, what solution is there for having a happy, balanced marriage? This book sets out to answer that question using the Bible and practical, real-life examples.

This book is much more than a collection of blog entries from April Cassidy’s popular blog, peacefulwife.com. Instead it is a well thought out book that is extremely balanced and biblical in its approach to a God centered marriage. She does some very difficult things in this book effortlessly. April explains submission in a way that will help every wife to understand the beauty of what submission actually means, and also shares what things are inappropriate within a marriage for men and women. Although this book is written primarily to wives, I feel like there is definitely helpful information in this book for both men and women. The author of this book has taken all of her personal research and experience regarding learning how to be a godly wife, and lovingly compiled it into one book. Have you ever wondered why your husband shuts down in a seemingly random way? This book is for you.

One of the things I appreciated the most about this book is that it also warns women in dangerous situations to seek help, and never once equates submission with abuse, but distinguishes the two very carefully. This will be my go to book for future counseling sessions with wives. I wish I would have had a book like this when I first got married. Thank you, April. It is clear that you poured your heart and soul out in this book for our benefit.

Book Review: Jack by Chautona Havig

This post was originally part of my old book review website “Christian Book Lady,” which I will be shutting down next week.

 

I give this book 5/5 stars.

Category: Fiction :: Western

Jack (Ballads from the Hearth Book 1)

Chautona Havig always brings a fresh perspective to whatever genre she tackles, and this western set on the prairie is no different.

“Jack,” which is based on a song that the author’s father used to sing during her childhood about life on the prairie, is a wonderful book with themes of romance, pursuing your dreams (while respectfully rejecting the expectations of others), and overcoming bitterness. The author also included inspiration from Much Ado About Nothing, which will be extremely obvious if you have ever read the Shakespearean piece of literature. I loved the character development along with the authenticity of a story set in this time and place. You will have a hard time putting this one down. It is an easy and enjoyable read which is appropriate for any age.

Here is the book description as provided by the author:

A lot of hullabaloo on the prairie. 

Jack Clausen has led a hard, lonely life, but he’s content with a good job as a cowboy, a faithful horse, and the Lord. But when a near tragedy flings him into the path of a lovely young lady, Jack’s resolve to stay single and alone wavers. 

Hazel Meissner has everything a young man could hope for–kindness, gentleness, and just enough playfulness to keep things interesting, but when accusations tear at their relationship, Hazel’s true strength emerges. 

Without forgiveness, many lives will be irrevocably changed. 

Jack is the first book in the Ballads from the Hearth series. This book was inspired by the old ballad, “Cowboy Jack” and Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing.

I hope you enjoy this fun, but pensive read, as much as I did.

Book Review: The Fragrance of Surrender by April Geremia

This post was originally part of my old book review website “Christian Book Lady,” which I will be shutting down next week.

I give this book 4/5 stars.

Category: Fiction :: Women’s/Contemporary

The Fragrance of Surrender by April Geremia

This book by April Geremia is full of unexpected twists and turns, triumph and heartbreak. It is an emotional roller coaster that the reader will experience as the scent of oranges through the grove become almost real. When I began to read this book, I didn’t think I would like it. To be honest, I found the writing to be overly complex. I prefer simple writing. But the more I read, the more I had to know what happened. The characters won me over, especially Gabriella’s son, Sammy. This book definitely presents the gospel message, which is what Gabriella needs to overcome her intense despair. The only theological problem I had is that when she mentions heaven, the time seems to coincide with time on Earth, and we know that God lives apart from time. Besides that, though, the theology was spot on.

This book is very interesting and contains elements of suspense and romance (through two married characters, and even the younger characters have what seems to be an innocent love interest). I would recommend it to other readers who are looking for a more serious read.

Book Review: Philippians – Pursuing Spiritual Maturity by Gregory Brown

This post was originally part of my old book review website “Christian Book Lady,” which I will be shutting down next week.

I give this book 4/5 stars.

Category: Nonfiction :: Target Audience: Christians

In, “Philippians: Pursuing Spiritual Maturity,” Gregory Brown has done an excellent job explaining the book of Philippians. Brown’s systematic style which he uses in his “The Bible Teacher’s Guide” series is shown in this book. It is perfect as a resource for anyone who wants to run a small group, or just better understand the book of Philippians.

I don’t know how Brown does it, but he always stays neutral in areas where other authors cannot. In this book that is important because one of the main themes in Philippians is unity, and the author spends a large chunk of this book describing the importance of unity as well. Whatever end of the theological scale you are on, I guarantee you will find this book helpful, and respectful of your denominational beliefs.

The main theme of this book is pursing spiritual maturity. Brown answers important questions. “What is the right attitude we must have in order to pursue maturity?” “Why is it important to have the right attitude — a holy discontent — in order to pursue spiritual maturity?” “In what ways is God challenging you to be more disciplined in your spiritual life?” “How do we keep the right focus?” But he goes through the important foundation for our spiritual maturity in the first half of the book by establishing our need for Jesus Christ, sanctification, unity, and living a life worthy of the gospel.

This book is another great addition to “The Bible Teacher’s Guide” series, and I look forward to reading many more.

Book Review: Granddad’s Story by Roger Deloach

This post was originally part of my old book review website “Christian Book Lady,” which I will be shutting down next week.

I give this book 4/5 stars.

Category: Fiction :: Target Audience: Christians / Middle Grade

Granddad’s Story by Roger Deloach is a sweet tale. It is exciting to hear the story from the grandfather’s perspective as he tells his grandchildren. And what a story it is! I do have two small criticisms of this book. The first is that the grandfather telling the story is Jess, which was not obvious. I had to go back and reread that several times to make sure. That is not a spoiler, but is an important part of the story. The second is that sometimes the characters sound like adults instead of 11-year-olds. I found this to be especially true with Chuck’s dialogue. There were some things that I thought were too coincidental, but in the end they made sense. This is a fun book that I would gladly let my 9-year-old read. I’m sure she will love it! Thank you Roger Deloach for such a heart warming tale.

This book is totally clean. I didn’t anything even remotely bordering on edgy or inappropriate.

Book Review: Spring Thaw by Tammy Fish

This post was originally part of my old book review website “Christian Book Lady,” which I will be shutting down next week.

I give this book 5/5 stars.

Category: Historical Fiction Target Audience:: Christians

Imagine you have been through unbearable grief, and have to start your life over again from nothing. That is the position that Selena, the protagonist from Spring Thaw, finds herself in. This is the sweet story of forgiveness and restoration amongst the scars that bitterness and anger have a tendency to penetrate into our hearts. Follow Dirk, Selena, and Dirk’s young son Wade, as they try to figure out who Jesus is, what His forgiveness means for their lives personally, and how God can use even the most difficult times in our lives to prepare us to serve Him in the future. I loved this book so much. It was well written, and there were times when I felt so strongly for each of the different characters. This book will make you laugh and cry. Thank you Tammy Fish, for all your diligence in writing this story. It is a wonderful novel that will encourage many.

Book Review: Sweet On You (Meddlin’ Madeline) by Chautona Havig

This post was originally part of my old book review website “Christian Book Lady,” which I will be shutting down next week.

I give this book 5/5 stars.

Category: Fiction (Historical Mystery)

Madeline is one of those characters that you route for from the beginning. “Sweet On You,” by Chautona Havig is an introduction to a new sleuthing series about a young girl who has just started to realize that she wants more from life. Being the mayor’s daughter definitely isn’t dull, but Madeline wonders what her life would be like if she didn’t have to constantly struggle against the idea that young ladies are only good at raising children and overseeing the servants. At the same time she doesn’t understand the suffrage movement, and fails to understand why women want to vote. As the mayor’s daughter, she has had enough politics in her life. Her natural ability to notice details that most miss, gives her purpose but also gets her into a few tricky situations.

I am so excited about this series. I feel like we get to watch Madeline grow up, and this book was a great beginning. This book is everything you would expect from a mystery set in America’s past. I loved the style and rich vocabulary. The characters are so endearing. This will be a fun read that stretches your thinking muscles.

Book Review: The Union of the North and the South

This post was originally part of my old book review website “Christian Book Lady,” which I will be shutting down next week.

I give this book 5/5 stars.

Category: Historical Fiction :: Target Audience: Christians

The Union of the North and the South,” by Ann Mock is an extremely well written tale of Lauren, a woman who has lost everything, well almost everything, when several unfortunate events take place in her life after the Civil War. Things in the South have gotten downright depressing after war. With confederate money being worth nothing, many prominent families are forced to leave their plantation homes and make another way in the world. Though Laura’s family has survived the economic devastation of the war, that doesn’t mean they are free from trouble.

This book was a delight to read. I couldn’t put it down. But at some points I felt very sad for Laura. Is God’s plan for her good? It seems like one tragedy follows another, and then there is the matter of the man that keeps trying to kill or injure her. She isn’t sure which is his goal. If you like historical fiction, you will love this book. The details were definitely well researched. There wasn’t one inappropriate moment in it, either.

Book Review: The Leap of Forgiveness by April Geremia

This post was originally part of my old book review website “Christian Book Lady,” which I will be shutting down next week.

I give this book 4/5 stars.

Category: Contemporary Fiction :: Target Audience: Christians

Boy meets girl, girl falls in love with boy. You would think that the simple beginning of “The Leap of Forgiveness” by April Geremia would lead you down a predictable path to marriage and happiness, but normal doesn’t come easy for Joshua. His past is full of dark secrets, and many of them are unknown even to him.

Just when you think this story couldn’t get any darker, lavender envelopes start magically appearing the mail, offering with them the hope the protagonist needs to press forward. Maybe the stories they tell will be just the thing to help Joshua sort out his past and embrace his future.

I loved the complex characters in this book. The care that Geremia takes with each character’s story arc must be celebrated, as each one grows in their faith and confronts the past.

I did find some of the descriptions to be too much detail. I feel that several thousand words could have been edited out of the book, as I found myself skipping over full paragraphs in search of the continuing plot. That is why I gave this book four out of five. I can’t wait to read Geremia’s next project, whenever it comes out.

Book Review: Ante Up by Chautona Havig

This post was originally part of my old book review website “Christian Book Lady,” which I will be shutting down next week.

I give this book 5/5 stars.

Category: Contemporary Fiction :: Target Audience: Christians

Ante Up,” the final installment in the Aggie’s Inheritance Series is frustratingly real.

I have been an Aggie fan since I read the first book several years ago, and I was ecstatic when I read that author Chautona Havig was going to write a fourth book for the series.

If I’m being completely honest, I would say that this book is not at all what I expected. I wanted to see Aggie and Luke together, overcoming problems, and living in victory over their past difficulties. I know real life isn’t always like that, and I think that was what the author was trying to portray in this book. Although I found this story heavy and depressing, I don’t think that means you shouldn’t read it. It is well written and deals with difficulties that every family faces at one time or another. Aggie’s struggles broke my heart for her and the rest of the family. Sometimes I just wanted to shake her. But that is how life can be.

We all have seasons of joy, and sometimes we indulge ourselves in dangerous seasons of pity and bitterness. God is always there waiting. I will say that I hope we get another book where we get a version of Aggie that is more familiar, but has also grown through her struggles. There are important story lines for the other characters in the family, especially Vannie, Tavish, Kenzie, and Laird. Plus we get a hint as to what is going on with Tina and William, which I found exciting. Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to anyone that lives in the real world, where God is constantly making us into vessels for His honor.