Category Book Reviews

Dry Bones

Product DetailsDry Bones
by Craig Johnson
Penguin Books
Retail Price:  $16
Amazon Price: $13

Book Description:  The latest installment of Craig Johnson’s New York Times bestselling Longmire series—the basis for LONGMIRE, the hit drama series on Netflix

Craig Johnson’s The Highwayman is now available from Viking
 
When Jen, the largest, most complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton ever found surfaces in Sherriff Walt Longmire’s jurisdiction, it appears to be a windfall for the High Plains Dinosaur Museum—until Danny Lone Elk, the Cheyenne rancher on whose property the remains were discovered, turns up dead, floating face down in a turtle pond. With millions of dollars at stake, a number of groups step forward to claim her, including Danny’s family, the tribe, and the federal government. As Wyoming’s Acting Deputy Attorney and a cadre of FBI officers descend on the town, Walt is determined to find out who would benefit from Danny’s death, enlisting old friends Lucian Connolly and Omar Rhoades, along with Dog and best friend Henry Standing Bear, to trawl the vast Lone Elk ranch looking for answers to a sixty-five-million-year-old cold case that’s heating up fast.

Review

As a book reviewer, I’m always on the lookout for the next big thing, the kind of author with so much talent and drive that anyone who buys one of their works will be back the next day to buy the rest.  Craig Johnson is a new voice that I believe is the “next big thing” as is seen by his books being turned into a Netflix series.  I love the main character. Longmire is a likeable, gruff and very decent character and the reader is drawn effortlessly into his world.  Johnson skillfully immerses the reader in the rhythms and mores of the West, smoothly integrating history and folklore.  While this latest installment is Book 10 and can be read independantly of the others, I recommend reading the entire series.  You won’t regret it!

~Reviewed by Don M.

    Clearing the Emotional Clutter

    Product DetailsClearing Emotional Clutter
    By Donald Altman
    New World Library
    Retail Price: $15.96
    Amazon Price: $11.37

    Book Description:  A Fresh Start to a Healthy Emotional Life

    Is emotional clutter blocking success in your personal and professional life? You’ve likely heard about the psychological benefits of clearing out the clutter in your surroundings, but how do you handle your emotional clutter — the psychological version of the jam-packed closet or impenetrable garage? Shutting away and trying to hide old pains and traumas creates toxic patterns that can keep you from having the life of your dreams. Integrating mindfulness and cutting-edge neuroscience, international mindfulness expert Donald Altman teaches how to modify entrenched habits and patterns with only a few minutes of attention daily.

    Altman first helps you realize what your baggage consists of and how to transform or jettison it. He then shows how to avoid the daily danger of accumulating new emotional clutter. No matter how fraught your life or relationships may be, you can cleanse, heal, or accept the old wounds, mistakes, and disappointments. With Altman’s lifestyle tools, you’ll discover how to address your past, better deal with the present, and cultivate the best possible future. Start fresh with Clearing Emotional Clutter.

    Review

    This is a wonderful resource that will teach you how to live a stress free life. The author does an amazing job at bringing awareness to all the unnecessary negativity that’s often running our lives without us realizing it. And he provides detailed steps, strategies, and tools on how to get rid of stress, eliminate distractions and stay focused, keep healthy relationships, stay organized and calmed, and much more. If you want to learn how to live a peaceful, happy life, this book will help you achieve that.

    ~Reviewed by Jenna L.

      Eve

      Product DetailsEve
      By Wm. Paul Young
      Howard Publishing
      Retail Price: $16.00
      Amazon Price: $8.75

      Book Description:  From the author of the twenty-five-million-copy bestseller The Shack comes a captivating new novel destined to be one of the most talked-about books of the decade.

      Eve is a bold, unprecedented exploration of the Creation narrative, true to the original texts and centuries of scholarship—yet with breathtaking discoveries that challenge traditional beliefs about who we are and how we’re made. Eve opens a refreshing conversation about the equality of men and women within the context of our beginnings, helping us see each other as our Creator does—complete, unique, and not constrained by cultural rules or limitations.

      When a shipping container washes ashore on an island between our world and the next, John the Collector finds a young woman inside—broken, frozen, and barely alive. With the aid of Healers and Scholars, John oversees her recovery and soon discovers that her genetic code connects her to every known race. No one would guess what her survival will mean…

      No one but Eve, Mother of the Living, who calls her “daughter” and invites her to witness the truth about her own story—indeed, the truth about us all.

      As The Shack awakened readers to a personal, non-religious understanding of God, Eve will free us from faulty interpretations that have corrupted human relationships since the Garden of Eden.

      Thoroughly researched and exquisitely written, Eve is a masterpiece that will inspire readers for generations to come.

      Review

      I generally enjoy the books written by Wm. Paul Young so I was excited to read his latest book Eve.  While I don’t always agree with the author’s theology, I must admit that he always makes me think outside the box and examine my own beliefs.  This book had the same effect on me.  Eve was in interesting and thought provoking read that was basically two stories in one.  The first storyline follows a young woman who washes up on the shore of an island and her journey to health and wholeness. The second storyline is a retelling of the biblical account of creation and man’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden.  I am not totally sure I agree with his retelling of man’s fall, but it is interesting that he puts the blame squarely on Adam’s shoulders while most theological circles blame Eve as if she was alone in the garden when tempted.  All in I found this book enjoyable. The characters were well-written and interesting and I thought Young did a great job describing the setting.  I think readers will need to remind themselves that this is a fiction book, bordering on the fantasy genre, and should not be seen as a theological treatise.  If one can look at it this way, I think the book is more likely to be enjoyed.  Personally, I recommend it.  Let it stretch you.

      ~Reviewed by Jason C.

       

        The Pastor’s Kid

        The Pastor’s Kid
        By Barnabas Piper and John Piper
        David C. Cook
        Retail Price $12.99
        Amazon Price: $9.74

        Book Description: 

        The Only One Facing As Much Pressure As the Pastor is … The Pastor’s Kid
        Dad may be following God’s call, but the Pastor’s kids (PKs) are just following mom and dad. Often to devastating results.
        Barnabas Piper – son of Pastor and bestselling author John Piper – has experienced the challenges of being a PK first-hand. With empathy, humor, and personal stories, he addresses the pervasive assumptions, identity issues and accelerated scrutiny PKs face.
        But more than just stating the problems – he shares the one thing a PK needs above all else (as do their pastor/father and church) is to live in true freedom and wholeness.

        Review

        This book is very insightful and helps us to understand what it is like being the child of a pastor.  The author was a PK himself and shares his story in such a way as to both enlighten the reader and entertain them.  PK’s will relate to his words and find comfort in the familiarity of the author’s life.  Church members will learn how to accept PKs where they are and not put unrealistic expectations on them just because their parent is the Pastor.  This book was a good reminder that we are all human and, flaws and all, God loves us right where we are.
        ~Reviewed by Pat C.
         

          Get Your Joy Back

          Get Your Joy Back
          By Laurie Wallin and Joni Eareckson Tada
          Kregel
          Retail Price $13.99
          Amazon Price: $11.13

          Book Description: 

          An invitation and a promise for weary Christian parents of special needs kids from a parent who’s been there.“It isn’t the long day of monitoring a child’s precarious health or being hypervigilant about her mood and mental health challenges that weighs parents down; it’s the wishing that things were different. . . . Resentment, not the intense care they must provide their child, is the parents’ greatest stressor and source of pain.” —Laurie WallinParents of specials needs children are exhausted. They’ve done all the research, consulted all the experts, joined support groups, gotten counseling, fought for the best life for their children. Often just caring for their children’s needs and attempting to maintain a home maxes out parents’ mental, emotional, and spiritual reserves.Laurie Wallin knows firsthand the difficulties of this journey. With Get Your Joy Back, she steps forward to make a bold, audacious claim: in the midst of this long-term, intense task, it is still possible to have an abundant life, full of joy. The key to radically changing daily life and restoring joy to the weary is forgiveness. Wallin gives parents a lifeline to find that restoration, pulling them back to shore when they feel like they’re drowning.

          This book is full of practical, biblical insights and strategies to shed the resentments that leave Christian special-needs parents themselves spiritually, emotionally, and socially drained. Wallin meets readers right where they are, sugar coating nothing, but addressing issues with honesty, humor, and–above all–hope.

          Review

          One of the hardest things for me to describe about my experiences as the mom of a child with some special needs is how lonely it sometimes feels. It’s weird for me to say this because I have wonderful family and friend support. There is a plethora of people available to hear me and help me, should I need them. But I find it difficult to always adequately express what is bothering me about my 5-year-old daughter with special needs.  Some worries I can’t put into words. Often, there’s no concrete reason for my concern… it’s just a feeling I have.  This often leads to depression or a loss of joy in not only parenting, but life in general.  The author does  a wonderful job of walking beside you, sharing her story, and giving you tips and resources about getting your joy back by giving up the resentment (open or hidden) about your difficult situation.  I found it very encouraging and uplifting and I was able to apply so many things to my own life.

          ~Reviewed by Allie B.

            Faith in the Fairway

            Faith in the Fairway
            By Ben Crane
            Harvest House Publishing
            Retail Price $12.99
            Amazon Price: $9.61

            Book Description: 

            Some of the finest players of the PGA share a year’s worth of brief and personal daily reflections on keeping the faith–both in the high-stakes world of professional sports and in life beyond the greens. Find out how Ben Crane, Lee Janzen, Davis Love III, Stewart Cink, Zach Johnson, Bubba Watson, Webb Simpson, and many more remain spiritually grounded as they prepare for PGA events. Their penetrating insights and practical examples will encourage and inspire you to apply God’s Word to your own life on and off the course. You’ll also hear from some PGA wives as they endeavor to maintain peace and contentment at home while navigating the ups and downs of family life with a top-level competitor.You’ll discover how you too can bring your “A game” to your home, work, and leisure activities–by wrapping them all in your relationship with God.

            Review

            Athletes have a passion for sports that makes them unique, viewing life through a competitive lens. The desire to compete and their drive for success can mean seeing friends, family, church, and school as distractions. Usually the first to be sacrificed is their spiritual life. This book will help you to stay on track and put God in his rightful place in your life by sharing devotional insights by Christian players on the PGA tour.  There is a devotion for every day of the year that include a Scripture verse, short commentary, and applications on how to draw you into a closer relationship with God.   Makes a great book for golf enthusiasts or other athletes.

            ~Reviewed by Dave H.

             

              The Legacy Journey

              The Legacy Journey
              By Dave Ramsey
              Ramsey Press
              Retail Price $22.99
              Amazon Price: $16.55

              Book Description: 

              Dave Ramsey shares Biblical wisdom on the legacy we build with our wealth.What does the Bible really say about money? About wealth? How much does God expect you to give to others? How does wealth affect your friendships, marriage, and children? How much is “enough”?

              There’s a lot of bad information in our culture today about wealth—and the wealthy. Worse, there’s a growing backlash in America against our most successful neighbors, but why? To many, wealth is seen as the natural result of hard work and wise money management. To others, wealth is viewed as the ultimate, inexcusable sin. This has left a lot of godly men and women honestly confused about what to do with the resources God’s put in their hands. God’s ways of handling money caused them to build wealth, but then they’re left feeling guilty about it. Is this what God had in mind?

              In The Legacy JourneyNew York Times bestselling author Dave Ramsey takes you deep into God’s Word, revealing His perspective on wealth, your personal and family legacy, and how He wants to use you to further His kingdom work around the world. You can truly live—and leave—a legacy. The journey starts today.

              Review

              Honestly, I am not a huge Dave Ramsey fan.  I find him very abrasive.  But I have to admit that his teachings about money and debt are spot on and that his life reflects his teachings.  With that said, I found this book to be very intriguing because he does an in depth study of wealth and the responsibilities that come along with it.  While the content isn’t exactly new, it is fresh as He teaches you to spend less than you earn and build wealth so that you can use to you to be his hands and feet in this world.  It was an excellent read.

              ~Reviewed by Dave H.

               

                Her Brother’s Keeper

                Product DetailsHer Brother’s Keeper
                By Beth Wiseman
                Thomas Nelson
                Retail Price: 
                Amazon Price:$8.97

                Book Description:  

                Charlotte came to Amish country to find answers. What she never expected to find was peace.

                Charlotte Dolinsky is not above playing dress-up and telling a few lies to find out what happened to her only brother. In fact, that is exactly what she’s come to Lancaster County to do. Now, calling herself Mary and slipping on akapp, Charlotte will lie her way into the confidence of anyone who knows why Ethan had to die. Unless she gets found out first.

                But when Charlotte befriends a quiet Amish man named Isaac Miller, she begins to rethink her motives. And with a little help from a friend back home, Charlotte might find out that love comes packaged in ways she couldn’t have foreseen.

                Isaac’s been caring for his cancer-stricken father and sympathizing with his frustrated mother for three difficult years. And that means he hasn’t been dating. He believes Hannah King is the woman for him, but Hannah is still grieving the loss of her fiancé, and Isaac has all he can handle on the farm. When Hannah’s family plays host to a woman named Mary, their new cousin shakes things up for all of them.

                As Charlotte digs deeper into the mystery of Ethan’s death, she finds more than she’d bargained for in the community he once called home. But will she ever learn the truth? And what will the community—and her new family—do if they learn the truth about her?

                Review

                I love Amish fiction and I felt that this particular book was an excellent read.  It really was a faith-based book with a mix of several genres.  While I wouldn’t call it a romance novel, it did have some romance.  While I wouldn’t call it a mystery novel, it did have mystery.  You get the picture!  If you enjoy reading Amish fiction or if you never have before but want to try it out then this would be a good book to read. It’s a story of love, faith, and forgiveness. I do highly recommend this book.

                ~Reviewed by Barb M.

                  Heaven Help Heidi

                  Product DetailsHeaven Help Heidi
                  By Sally John
                  Harvest House
                  Retail Price:  $13.99
                  Amazon Price: $9.79

                  Book Description: 

                  Welcome to the Casa de Vida–eleven quaint bungalows located three blocks from the Pacific Ocean in tiny Seaside Village, California. Owner Liv McAlister never advertises vacancies beyond a small hand-lettered sign out front, preferring to trust that God will send the right tenant at just the right time. And He always does.

                  Heidi Hathaway’s life has been turned upside down. After an accident leaves her injured, unable to work, and incapable of negotiating the stairs in her multilevel oceanfront condo, she leases her home and moves into a cozy little cottage in the charming garden complex where her friend Piper lives. There she finds so much more than a place to rest and recover.

                  Piper Keyes knows Jared is not coming back from Afghanistan. After making it through the fifth anniversary of his death, she wonders if she’s at last ready to get on with life. She gingerly explores new avenues–photography, cooking, and buying her own boutique–and learns to open her heart again.

                  The most comforting thing about living at the Casa is that the women there become each others mentors and confidantes, learning from their own mistakes and arriving at new, healed places in their lives.

                  Review

                  This is the 2nd book in the Family of Heart series by Sally John and has become my favorite series.  Heaven Help Heidi is a perfect example of why that is!  John captures not only your interest but your heart.  The characters are warm, loving, and supportive, though all of them are flawed and their lives are not at all perfect.  The Casa is a place you will want to visit and secretly wish that you could live there!  While the main storyline is about Heidi, there are many rabbit trails to follow that end up being inter-connected.  The author has an intriguing way of weaving several storylines together to make one amazing whole. While this is a stand-alone book I would definitely read Between Us Girls first to get to know the characters more fully before moving on to this 2nd installment.  I highly recommend this book and this series!

                  ~Reviewed by Rosie B.

                    Eve

                    Product DetailsEve
                    By Wm. Paul Young
                    Howard Publishing
                    Retail Price: $16.00
                    Amazon Price: $8.75

                    Book Description:  From the author of the twenty-five-million-copy bestseller The Shack comes a captivating new novel destined to be one of the most talked-about books of the decade.

                    Eve is a bold, unprecedented exploration of the Creation narrative, true to the original texts and centuries of scholarship—yet with breathtaking discoveries that challenge traditional beliefs about who we are and how we’re made. Eve opens a refreshing conversation about the equality of men and women within the context of our beginnings, helping us see each other as our Creator does—complete, unique, and not constrained by cultural rules or limitations.

                    When a shipping container washes ashore on an island between our world and the next, John the Collector finds a young woman inside—broken, frozen, and barely alive. With the aid of Healers and Scholars, John oversees her recovery and soon discovers that her genetic code connects her to every known race. No one would guess what her survival will mean…

                    No one but Eve, Mother of the Living, who calls her “daughter” and invites her to witness the truth about her own story—indeed, the truth about us all.

                    As The Shack awakened readers to a personal, non-religious understanding of God, Eve will free us from faulty interpretations that have corrupted human relationships since the Garden of Eden.

                    Thoroughly researched and exquisitely written, Eve is a masterpiece that will inspire readers for generations to come.

                    Review

                    I generally enjoy the books written by Wm. Paul Young so I was excited to read his latest book Eve.  While I don’t always agree with the author’s theology, I must admit that he always makes me think outside the box and examine my own beliefs.  This book had the same effect on me.  Eve was in interesting and thought provoking read that was basically two stories in one.  The first storyline follows a young woman who washes up on the shore of an island and her journey to health and wholeness. The second storyline is a retelling of the biblical account of creation and man’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden.  I am not totally sure I agree with his retelling of man’s fall, but it is interesting that he puts the blame squarely on Adam’s shoulders while most theological circles blame Eve as if she was alone in the garden when tempted.  All in I found this book enjoyable. The characters were well-written and interesting and I thought Young did a great job describing the setting.  I think readers will need to remind themselves that this is a fiction book, bordering on the fantasy genre, and should not be seen as a theological treatise.  If one can look at it this way, I think the book is more likely to be enjoyed.  Personally, I recommend it.  Let it stretch you.

                    ~Reviewed by Jason C.