Saturday, May 9, 2015

Book Review of From Good to Grace by Christine Hoover

I remember so clearly the early days of each of my babies. 
Baby #1. I had high hopes. Not just for them but more so for me. I'm gonna be a good mom and do all the things good moms do. I had a list.

Then came baby number two and dressed in tears I spoke a new promise ... "I'm gonna do better this time. I'm gonna try to get it right with this baby."

Then came baby number three. The words were there, underneath a suffocating cloak of shame. I was too burdened to speak them out loud because I had failed. Not once but twice. Dare I try again?

Cover ArtWow! If only I knew better back then what God is teaching me now. He never wanted good. He wanted surrendered. He wanted me ... covered in His grace. He doesn't want me to try so much and so hard. 

Christine Hoover's new book From Good to Grace is an exceptional book on exactly that. God never asked for us to be good enough. We can't. We won't ever be. And wishing for it only destroys His true purpose for us. He only wants us ... dripping in His grace.

Do you struggle with wanting to do better? Wishing for more energy so you could accomplish more? Praying for a second chance so this time you could get it right?

Stop right there.

You are living in what Christine describes as the "Goodness Gospel". That was never where God wanted you to be. Striving for that Gold Star or that pat on the back. That sweet "You did great" smile. Do enough. Be enough. 


That is not the gospel of our Lord and Savior. Christine reminds us, "we aren't enough, but God has made us enough by his grace." 

In a wonderfully enchanting manner, Christine uses examples from her own life as a mother, pastor's wife and child of God to impart to us the importance of recognizing the false gospel in our lives. She dives into scripture with the reader to point out the areas that we "try" when we should just lean in instead.

 Publisher's blurb:
God is calling you to something greater than good.
So many of us feel as if we do not do enough and, in fact, are not enough. We try hard to be good--a good friend, mom, wife, Christian, employee, or ministry leader--hoping for that "atta-girl" from God, some heavenly assertion that we matter. In the process, we find ourselves living by a lesser gospel: the gospel of goodness. It's a gospel without grace, and in the end, it's good for nothing.

With compelling illustrations from her own life and from Scripture, Christine Hoover helps you start asking, "What does God want for me?" before asking, "What does God want from me?" You'll find yourself breathing a sigh of relief at this powerful message of freedom and hope. Rather than serving God out of obligation or duty, you'll be compelled to love and serve God with great joy.

 A definite keeper. I recommend this book for any women, young or old, as an individual or a group study (discussion guide included). Even if you don't see yourself in the description of the book, you probably know a woman who does.

Christine Hoover authors a fantastic blog, Grace Covers Me. Check her out there. Also you can find an excerpt of the book on Baker Publishing website. Or visit your favorite Christian bookseller and get your own copy.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Book Review of From The Start by Melissa Tagg

Want a fantastic book by a fantastic author? Check out Melissa Tagg and From The Start. The story is fun, powerful and extremely delightful.

Publisher's blurb:
FromTheStart_300rgbKate Walker used to believe in true love and happily ever after. While her own love life may have left her brokenhearted, it hasn't kept her from churning out made-for-TV romance movie screenplays...until a major career slump and a longing to do something meaningful send her running back to her hometown of Maple Valley. 

Permanently sidelined by an injury, former NFL quarterback Colton Greene is temporarily hiding out in a friend's hometown to avoid the media and the reminders of all he's lost. Maple Valley seems like the perfect place to learn how to adjust to normal life. The only trouble is he's never really done normal before.

While Kate plays things safe and Colton is all about big risks and grand gestures, they both get what it's like to desperately need direction in life. An unexpected project gives them both a chance to jumpstart their new lives, but old wounds and new dreams are hard to ignore. Starting over wasn't part of the plan, but could it be the best thing that's ever happened to them?

This book was a true delight to read. The characters are deep and real, making the story easy to settle into. Both hero and heroine are stuck - their past and their future. They both had dreams that seemed to be falling apart around them. Then they are drawn to the heroine's hometown to help it recover from a tornado. 

A perfect setting to match the turmoil they each feel inside. 

They begin to work side by side to rejuvenate this little town and its citizens. Both characters are clinging to a thread of a new future plan, a sliver of hope. Then the town barely recovered from the tornado, faces a new threat of a flood. Sometimes starting over means all that we have now needs to be washed away. And that includes all the future plans of our characters too.

I loved this story. It is an "against-all-odds" kind of plot. It was so easy to cheer for the two main characters. They changed and they grew in their faith and in their trust. And then of course they grew in their feelings for each other. Amazing story!

I have nothing negative to add to this review. The book as an outstanding 5 out of 5!

And just because Melissa loves to offer fantastic stories, you can check out an e-novella available that extends the story line of two characters in From the Start. It's titled Three Little Words.

Sounds like this is only the beginning for Kate and Colton and the little hamlet of Maple Valley, Iowa. Stay tuned for more to come!

Thanks to Bethany House and the author for a chance to review this book. I was provided a free copy in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not required to review it positively.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Book Review of You're Loved No Matter What by Holley Gerth

Whew. Don't we all need to know this is true?
"She whispers it softly over a cup of coffee.
She pulls me aside and confesses it after a conference.
She sends a note to my inbox that shares it.
One little phrase: "I'm tired."
There's an epidemic of weariness among women today. And the ones affected the most are often the ones trying the hardest. To be good. To keep it together. To please God and everyone around them.
Are you one of them? I was.
So I asked God to help me understand why so many of us have settled for simply making it through the day. And this is what I discovered: We don't truly believe we're unconditionally loved."   Holley Gerth.

Once again Holley Gerth has written a book to touch and inspire the hearts of women everywhere. Her latest book, You're Loved No Matter What is a sweet, soft whisper to my tired and weary heart. And probably yours too.

Gerth explores why women are becoming weary from doing, doing and more doing and feeling like they can't possibly do enough. But, as the book walks us through, doing was never God's plan for us. No wonder we're tired. 

Each chapter has room at the end to explore the thoughts deeper and more personally with a few prompts and questions. As well as the back of the book has a Go Deeper Guide for individuals and groups.

Although this wasn't my favorite book of Holley's I found the truths in it powerful and inspiring. A few of my favorite parts were:

  • You have freedom to take risks. Holley writes: "Perfectionism is the great paralyzer. It tells us we shouldn't take a step, make a decision, or try anything new because it might not be just right." 
  • Pursue excellence, not perfection. And, Accept that not everything in your life can be excellent. "You only have so much time, energy and emotion in your day. It's okay not to be excellent at everything."
I found Holley's endearing and comforting voice to be refreshing. She writes as if I'm her friend (and you too) and we're sitting down at a small little bistro somewhere having coffee. A fantastic book that I recommend for all women who are feeling the pull to go, go, go. This one's definitely a keeper for my book shelf!

You're Going to Be Okay by Holley GerthIf you aren't familiar with Holley's other books, I strongly urge you to check them out. Her website and her blog are constant doses of love and encouragement.
I have had the amazing priviledge to review several of them and you can look back at some of the other wonderful works she's written.
What Your Heart Needs for the Hard Days.
You're Going to be Okay.
You're made for a God Sized Dream.
You're Already Amazing.

Thanks to the author and publisher for the opportunity to review this book. I was not required to review it positively.
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.