Book Reviews

I love to read! I tend to read books that encourage my heart or have a message of hope. These books come in many forms, from devotionals and Christian living to a variety of fiction. I love historical and realistic fiction that teach biblical principles and life lessons. I will never recommend a book I have not read or presents a message that is in conflict with scripture or my personal convictions.

When you decide that you may want to read one of these amazing books, all you have to do is click on the picture or link, and you will be taken to Amazon where you can purchase the book in a variety of formats.

What a fun and inspirational book. Lana Stenner blends her love of life on the farm with practical and biblical application. Her writing invites you into her home and heart in a way that makes you appreciate God in the simple things of life, like baby goats and fluffy chickens. Her recipes are simple and delicious! I have already used her bread dough recipe for pizza and cinnamon rolls and made her super easy goat cheese. The pictures are beautiful and make me want to go out and buy a goat and a good camera to take more pictures. Every time I pick up this book and read a section, I find myself smiling. Now that is the kind of book we should all be reading!

Angela Hunt is not only a master storyteller; she is a scholar. Her latest book in The Jerusalem Road series, The Apostle’s Sister, draws the reader into life in first century Tarsus and Jerusalem with vivid descriptions of sights, sounds, and fragrances to complete the story. The accurate use of the Hebrew language woven throughout the story immerses the reader more fully into the culture of the time and people.

The inspired Scripture gives us the perspective of the writers. It is complete and lacking nothing. Angela’s story helps the reader to understand potential perspectives of other participants in the stories contained within the Scripture. 

In this narrative, the Apostle Paul’s free-spirited sister, Aya grows up in the shadow of her brother who is a student of the Torah. We travel with her as she marries, leaves her home in Tarsus and the freedom to sing and teach others music, and moves to Jerusalem with her new husband, also a student of the Torah who has committed his life to the study. 

Through the eyes of Aya, we are given a front row seat to observe the goings on leading up to and surrounding Paul’s conversion and his impact on the known world. 

One of the most difficult aspects of writing historical fiction is studying and researching and understanding the history of the time and bringing it to life for the reader. Angela has not disappointed. Her work will teach and inspire you. It will give you a better understanding of the struggle of women, children, Jews, and believers in the first century. 


Book Review

The Grumble-Free Year by Tricia Goyer

 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.

Philippians 2:14-16

Driving to the airport this morning, the book “The Grumble Free Year” started echoing in my head. I buy into all of Tricia’s ideas of how not to grumble, but, honestly, it is almost too much to ask for me drive on our Southern California freeways and not grumble. 

All of that to say, Tricia reminds us of what it means to have a heart of gratitude and grace rather than one of grumbling and grumping. Rather than grumping about the crazy flow of traffic or the lack thereof, maybe I should be grateful that I have a car to drive my husband to the airport where he will be able to take a plane to the other side of the country in a couple of hours where he will learn and teach new skills to help him be more successful in his job. 

Tricia is a full-time author, homeschool mother of nine and minister’s wife who understands the benefit of having a home and heart of peace and lack of grumbling. Each of the family members helped to identify their own ways of grumbling; eye rolls, crossed arms, whispering words of criticism, outright complaining etc. They all agreed to work with each other to encourage hearts of gratitude. After a while it became a habit to NOT complain, and Tricia was able to see genuine change in her family and their home. 

We get to receive the benefit from their work. Tricia journaled the family progress, what worked and what did not. She challenges the readers with activities after each chapter to help us also become grumble free. I recommend this book to people of all ages with 5 stars. 

Becoming Us by Robin Jones Gunn

Becoming Us by Robin Jones Gunn takes the reader on a tour of real life. Emily, new to Southern California, and characters we have met in other stories come together with their insecurities, trials and triumphs in ways that give the reader hope as they walk through their own paths. Robin does not mind taking on the tough issues such as infertility, alienation, and surrender but does it with such grace that the reader might even feel the hugs as we are guided to God’s Word as the way to face “life.” It doesn’t stop there though, Robin also brings us into the celebration of friendship and womanhood with laughter, adventures, and parties. The story is sprinkled with practical ideas for embracing our “community” and developing deep, meaningful friendships. We see Emily grow from an uncertain and embarrassed failure to one who becomes content and embraces what God has given her as enough.  I look forward to the next book in the Haven Maker series, Being Known.

A Woman of Words by Angela Hunt

Jerusalem Road Series (3 Book Set) A Woman of Words, Daughter of Cana, The Shepherd’s Wife

Not often do I want to read a book slowly, but this one was one to savor. This book is not just a good story; it contains spiritual struggles and truths that give the reader much to consider, look inward and apply in our daily walk with God.

Have you ever wondered how Matthew was able to so articulately tell stories from Jesus’ youth? In A Woman of Words by Angela Hunt, the history of the New Testament is masterfully researched and brought to life through a story of the writing of the book of Matthew. Angela Hunt, a biblical scholar herself, uses over forty scholarly writings in her research to bring a historically and biblically accurate telling of a fictional account of Mary revealing to Matthew many of the events of her life as the mother of Yeshua. Biblical truths are carefully woven together with imaginative portrayals of how they came to be recorded. I can almost see the dust of the Jerusalem roads, taste the dried figs and honey water and smell the aroma of baking bread as I read the artfully written story that draws the reader into the days of the early church. 

Check back here often as my book list will undoubtedly grow.

As a student of human behavior, I have often heard the story of the children on a fenced in playground enjoying recess with reckless abandon, while student on a fenceless playground huddled together toward the center of the play area. The fence gave students a sense of security and freedom. It kept them within the school boundaries, but it also kept bad people, stray dogs, and other potential harm from coming into their space.

We should learn from this that, at every age, boundaries are important. They protect us from harm and keep us from overextending into potentially dangerous territory. God gave the Children of Israel very clear boundaries in the Ten Commandments.

Throughout Scripture we are given boundaries that are in place for our protection and for that of our family, friends, and communities. As Christians, we sometimes have problems setting boundaries, because, after all, aren’t we supposed to bear on another’s burdens.

We are supposed to quote “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” and just keep adding to a load that is already too heavy to carry. Friends, the Christian life does not have to be a life sucking, exhausting, overwhelming journey of carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders kind of life.

Boundaries, by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend guides the reader through scriptural, life-altering methods for setting and respecting biblically based boundaries. There is freedom in understanding how to protect your heart, mind, and time. There is also freedom in understanding how to respect boundaries set by others. Understanding that an unreturned text or phone call is not a personal afront, it may be that the phone is silenced for a reason.

November 6, 2020

There is nothing better than getting a new book in the mail, except when that book is from a kindred spirit, fellow alum, and amazing author! Angela Hunt walks us all over the countryside of ancient Israel as we accompany the brothers and sisters of Jesus in their journeys of faith and family. I could feel the dust between my toes, smell the earthiness of the animals in the story and see the places Jesus walked as the story unfolded.  I got goosebumps as Jesus’ siblings realized his divinity and sacrifice. 

Robin Jones Gunn is one of my favorite authors. She is a master story teller who does not compromise her beliefs in order to tell a better story. Instead she used those deeply rooted biblical principles to serve as a foundation for her stories. I have had the honor of meeting Robin and spending time with her. She is as real as she seems when you are reading her books. I recommend starting with her very first series.

The Christy Miller Series is young adult fiction, but with deep and abiding truths that are good for all of us to remember.

Victim of Grace is an amazing book that will encourage you to focus your eyes, not on how bad life is, but on how good God’s grace is and how to find it even in the storms of life. You will enjoy Robin’s story telling as she reveals God’s unique way of designing her life.

You can find all of her books on

“Forgiving What You’ll Never Forget”

I “accidentally” found the book, “Forgiving What You’ll Never Forget” by Dr David Stroop, in the airport bookstore. The back cover described counsel I needed to let wash over me. Dr. Stroop packages forgiveness as a gift that we all need to give and receive. He biblically distinguishes between forgiveness and reconciliation as well as explains the ongoing process of healing that forgiveness brings. He helps the reader understand that, of course, we won’t always forget everything we need to forgive. Not forgetting, yet surrendering the pain and bitterness to the cross, helps us to not repeat the offense, guards our hearts from further hurt, and protects our children and loved ones from similar offenses. Forgiveness offers freedom in so many ways. Dr. Stroop guides his reader to that freedom.

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