Book Review: Into a Silent World by Carmina Edwards

My Thoughts

I give this book 5/5 stars.

Into a Silent World‘ is quite the wild ride as far as stories go. I couldn’t put it down! The first half of the book had a slow pace as the author spent a lot of time helping the reader understand what the intriguing world of an aspiring nun was like for Amy, our fearless protagonist. But at exactly half way in, crazy and interesting things start to happen. If I gave you a preview of all the schemes Amy gets into, you probably wouldn’t believe me, so I suggest you read it for yourself. Amy is a lovable, timeless character you will never forget!

An additional note for readers of my blog– I found this book really helpful as research for better understanding what religious instruction in an institution like the one where Amy lived might be like. This comes into play in my NaNoWriMo book as the protagonist attends a school in religious instruction before he can be sworn in as a time traveler.

I was provided a copy of this book by Celebrate Lit in case I wanted to write a review. All opinions are my own.

Purchase your copy here.

About the Book

Title: Into a Silent World

Author: Carmina Edwards

Genre: Biography, Memoir

Release Date: August 15, 2016

Following Amy’s adventures in A Door Cracked Open, she heads into a world which will test her faith and perseverance to the limit. Instead of settling into a simple, safe and unchanging life like she imagined, Amy is strongly drawn to a vocation with even higher requirements, prompting her to plan some seemingly impossible missions in order to reach her goal.

About the Author

I am a mother of two wonderful grown up children and currently living in the UK, after living in Sweden for three years where I wrote my first book, “A Door Cracked Open.” I was blessed to be able to spend six months in USA before returning to the UK, my home country, to work with my editor in California on the edits of this book and visit friends.

I am an avid reader and linguist, having also spent some years living in France and have been fortunate enough to have taught Swedish and French over twenty-five years and translate for businesses and manuscripts in both languages. Being unemployed the past few years, has led to me becoming homeless. However, I never give up hope. As I try to portray in my books, God has always had His hand on me. Once again, He has stepped in right at the last minute. I now have a new job in Sweden and will be moving back there. Because I feel passionately about helping the homeless, a large percentage of my royalties will go directly to them.

Guest Post from Carmina Edwards

“Into a Silent World” follows on from Amy’s story in “A Door Cracked Open.”

With a new beginning ahead of her, a long standing dream about to be realized, she was unprepared for the events which were about to unfold over the next two years.

Why would God send her to this place of “absolute conviction” and allow her to remain there for that long, if He never meant for her to be there? Amy struggles to understand and seeks His will, but determined that it was His plan, she persevered in order for her dream to be fulfilled.

Blog Stops

Just Jo’Anne, November 7

Mary Hake, November 8

Kristin’s Book Reviews, November 9

Janices book review, November 10

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 11

History, Mystery & Faith, November 12

Reading Is My SuperPower, November 13 (Interview)

The Power of Words, November 14 (Interview)

margaret kazmierczak, November 15

Splashes of Joy, November 16

A Reader’s Brain, November 17

Multifarious, November 18

Artistic Nobody, November 19 (Karin Perry guest post)

Texas Book-aholic, November 20

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Carmina is giving away

Grand Prize:

Paperback copies of A Door Cracked Open & Into a Silent World

1st – 3rd place:

Ebook copy of A Door Cracked Open!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c3c4

The Book We Thought We’d Never Finish

Today is launch day! It seems like I’ve had a lot of those lately, but this one is different for several reasons. Holy Sex Reboot: My Sexual Identity in Christ was like an illusive beast, hard to catch and even more difficult to keep pinned down. Besides the fact that it was our first co-authored book together as spouses (one of many we hope), and my first co-authored book ever, it was on a topic that exhausted our brains and in many ways broke our hearts. There is so much confusion and misinformation when it comes to ones sexual identity, and that is just as true in the Church of Jesus Christ. Every time we sat down to work on this book, we shredded more and more away. For me, that is always a painful process. Then there were the arguments… What should we add? Who was going to write that part? Did that addition make the difference that we wanted it to make? Add physical injuries and illness into an already complicated mix and you get… a really cool book?

The Book We Though We’d Never Finish

I am excited to say that this is one of the best books I’ve written, and that puts Travis way ahead of me since it’s his first book ever. But don’t take my word for it, here’s what readers are saying:

“As a single person I have often been frustrated with the Christian community’s lack of guidance on this subject. There is often a sex is taboo until you say ‘I do’ mentality. This book changes the discussion by pointing out how, even in my singleness, God has a plan for my sexuality.

The Spencer’s have done a wonderful job portraying the truth about God’s plan for sexuality in all walks of life. Their openness about their own journeys in purity are honest and insightful. I am so thankful to have a book on sex that I can recommend to all my friends; whether single or married. This book has been a blessing to my life and it will be a blessing to yours.” -Tabitha Burns, Hip Single Lady (24 years old), Serving in Full Time Ministry

“Travis and Kristin tackle a subject that many Christians shy away from, but they do so with much finesse and with valuable Biblical and personal insights. Holy Sex Reboot helps in understanding the divine principles of sexuality and in averting some of our misconceptions.” -Árpád Horváth Kávai, Pastor, Husband, & Father

This review is my favorite. It comes from a friend who volunteered to read it, even though she’s not the target audience:

“As a reader, I can give a chance to all kinds of books. If I like the subject matter, I read them. If I don’t, I ditch them. This particular book was something I would never imagine reading. Mostly for two reasons. First, it is written by Christians, and it’s addressed to Christians. Second, I didn’t know Christians would actually bring themselves to discuss the S-word in such detail. The Spencers have amazed me with their openness, honesty, courage and deep knowledge of the scriptures. They both seem to know what they’re doing, and they base all their advice on passages from the Bible. I believe Christians will be relieved to know that questions that have been torturing them regarding sex, can actually find answers in Holy Sex Reboot.

Now, the reason I think non-Christians will want to read it as well is very simple. Either single or married, people from all walks of life have been struggling with sexual frustration for years. Reading this book will not “convert” them to Christianity, but it will definitely help them regard sex as something more than a matter of the flesh. Especially married couples can revisit their behavior towards sex and proceed to have a healthier and more intimate sex life. The authors have been counseling couples, so it is certain that they know a thing or two on some of the factors why husbands and wives don’t always see eye to eye about certain things. I bet the topic of sex must come up very often during their sessions.

I was genuinely moved by the two authors’ confessions about their own mistakes and shortcomings and, for that, I salute them. It isn’t easy to expose yourself in such a way to help others. I think these two did a very good job.”

I hope you will find that this book bridges the gap for you between what ideas the Church accepts about sex and what the Bible actually says. If you have any questions we would love to hear from you.

Get your copy of Holy Sex Reboot: My Sexual Identity in Christ now for 33% off the normal price, a launch day special!

Happy Reading,

Kristin N. Spencer on behalf of me and T. E. Spencer

Victim Shaming Authors – Not Okay

I woke up to a lovely blurb on Goodreads by an author that I’ve read before. She included the publisher’s explanation of why they included dashed out profanity in a non-fiction book. Her purpose in doing this was to leave a strong exhortation that people should not waste their money on this book because such language is an offense to God. Here is the publisher’s note:

“The story you are about to read is true. The events depicted include violent situations and vulgar language of a kind that typically doesn’t appear in books we publish. But after careful consideration, we decided to include some dialogue that, though potentially offensive, is accurate, helps to capture the intensity of the events in an authentic way, and gives a truthful illustration of the human condition.”

Victim Shaming Authors

I left a polite (too polite of a comment, really) challenging this person that Jesus Christ entered into our sufferings. He didn’t tell us what we could and couldn’t share with Him about these sufferings. Jesus Christ has already witnessed the horrible things, including the profane words, that Ruth Everhart experienced while she was held hostage and raped at gunpoint. And to instruct her on how to tell her story is wrong. To admonish other Christians not to read her book because she tells the truth about what happened, including the colorful details we want to wish away, is victim shaming. I absolutely hate victim shaming, and I hate it even more when it happens in the church of Jesus Christ. As Christians we ought to know better.

Here is a link to her book, “Ruined.” I plan to read it. Let me know if you want to read it together 🙂

Here is my question: what about the offense to God of rape? What about the offense to God of the church shaming people for being of loose morals when sexual abuse happens? Yes, I am a witness to such behavior. Though there are some churches that have great support systems in place for survivors of abuse, it is shockingly rare. It is wrong to victim shame authors that feel the need to share in a blunt manner. I think this is especially true when someone is writing non-fiction. I could talk about this topic all day, but I actually have a page on another blog that discusses how we can support survivors in a Christlike way.

Now to get back to editing Kerfuffle, which also deals with not one, but two very sensitive topics that in general Christians don’t want to discuss. Because that’s who I am. That’s what I do. Transverse the bubble with me.

Happy reading,

Kristin

P.S. Here is the synopsis of Ruined, in case you are interested in context.

“It happened on a Sunday night, even though I’d been a good girl and gone to church that morning.”

One brisk November evening during her senior year at a small Midwestern Christian college, two armed intruders broke into the house Ruth Everhart shared with her roommates, held all five girls hostage, and took turns raping them at gunpoint. Reeling with fear, insecurity, and guilt, Ruth believed she was ruined, both physically and in the eyes of God.

In the days and weeks that followed, Ruth struggled to come to grips with not only what happened that night but why. The same questions raced through her mind in an unrelenting loop—questions that would continue to haunt her for years to come:

Why me? Where was God? Why did God allow this to happen? What am I being punished for?

Told with candor and unflinching honesty, Ruined is an extraordinary emotional and spiritual journey that begins with an unspeakable act of violence but ends with tremendous healing and profound spiritual insights about faith, forgiveness, and the will of God.

Book Review: That Book for Wives by Sally Poyzer

That Book for Wives by Sally Poyzer

I give this book 3.5/5 stars.

While I appreciate the great advice that Sally Poyzer offers in her book, “That Book for Wives,” I felt that overall her approach to becoming a better wife was oversimplified. The theme of the book seems to be, “If you just do what I’m telling you, everything will be ok.” I do think that wives should strive to do all of the things Poyzer says. For example, she has an entire section on how to apologize well, even if your spouse doesn’t apologize first (or at all). I think that is great. Her four point approach is strategic and should be fairly easy to implement. But I feel that the book missed a lot of background, the roots, of how we can change to be better wives. Even if you do everything the book advises, if you aren’t doing it out of a strong and secure devotion to Jesus Christ, being firmly rooted in His love and grace, you will fail. It seems to me that she is assuming the people that read this book already have a really strong and mature walk with the Lord.

I love the way she approaches the book from the perspective that even if your husband isn’t willing to work on your marriage at all, there are still things the wife can do on her own that can improve the marriage relationship.

The next critique is a specific sensitivity for me, and may not apply to all readers. Poyzer glosses over the complications previous sexual abuse can have on a couple’s sexual relationship, suggesting that Jesus can heal, and it may also be a good idea to receive Christian counseling. As someone that works with survivors of sexual abuse, I can tell you that finding a healthy way to relate to your spouse after surviving earlier sexual abuse is a lot of hard work. It takes a lot of counseling, and re-learning truth. It isn’t something that prayer alone can solve, from what I have seen. I know that opinion isn’t very popular, but if that is how we are going to approach sexual abuse, why not simply pray for a better marriage instead of using a book like “That Book for Wives,” to help guide us?

I feel that the book leaned heavily on her own stories, and could have been more scripture focused.

She also doesn’t take boundaries within marriage into consideration, and if you have really bad in-laws, she suggests you do your best to grin and bear it for your husband’s sake. She doesn’t ever mention that there are times when a wife and her husband must place boundaries in their familial relationships for their spiritual and emotional health. Though she does give a list of boundaries she uses to keep herself pure and distanced from the very real threat of adultery. I use the same boundaries in my own life, and have found them to be very effective.

Overall, I think there are a lot of nuggets of wisdom tucked throughout this book. If I was going to recommend a book of this type to a friend though, I would rather recommend “The Peaceful Wife” by April Cassidy.

Book Review: From Fiery Trials by Marisa De More

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: Adults

From Fiery Trials by Marisa De More is true, challenging, and encouraging. If you have struggled with mental illness, depression, or demonic influence, this book will encourage you as you turn to Jesus Christ for deliverance. Marisa De More’s testimony of her childhood is intense, but encouraging. I love how she approached everything in such humility. She also approaches issues that all Christians have in a very biblical way, explaining the seasons of growth she went though individually and also in her marriage with her husband, Barry. I loved this book so much, and I believe it will encourage many others.

One of the main themes of this book is, “Why has God created me? What am I supposed to do with my life?” I feel like the answer will encourage so many people in their quest to serve the Lord.

Personally, God used this book to minister to me during a very difficult time in my walk with Him. The illustrations and visions paint a perfect picture of God’s love, grace, and mercy. Thank you for your transparency and honesty Marisa! May the Lord continue to bring you closer to Him

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: 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.