Book Review | The Forgotten Life of Evelyn Lewis by Jane Rubietta

the forgotten life of evelyn lewis

Book Description:

In a desperate attempt to save her company from bankruptcy, designer Evelyn Lewis decides to sell the only memento from her past worth anything—the family farmland. Determined to get in and get out of the abandoned property, she finds the valuable land tangled in a trust, and wonders who she can really trust, Not the property manager and affable southern gentleman, Taylor Simpson.

Caught up in the mechanics of a farm, a legal document she can’t break, and pressure from her company for money, Evelyn turns to her own wiles and willpower…but can she resist the South’s wooing?

I know Jane Rubietta as a non-fiction Christian author/speaker and have appreciated her insight over the years.  She is inspirational and enthusiastic about her Christian faith.  In 2015, I reviewed: “Worry Less So You Can Live More” – [https://freshlyprinted.blog/2015/05/21/worry-less-so-you-can-live-more-by-jane-rubietta/%5D. And I will continue to read anything she puts out, non-fiction and fiction alike.

This book was such a refreshing novel for me.  The writing was splendid, and I knew this was Jane’s first attempt at a novel.  I was so intrigued to see how it would go.

If you’re unfamiliar, Jane has a unique writing style that is very descriptive and seems to bring beauty to words in a way unparalleled.

For instance, in describing laughter, “Silver wind chimes of his child’s laugh pealed and filled his soul”, or someone’s eyes, “Those eyes could set fire to wet timber”, and finally, “Handel never heard a more beautiful chorus of amens.” Rich terms to give visuals that stick.  Her books continuously flow with these gifted words.

So, on to the actual review: this book will stay with me for a long time. I almost wish there was a follow-up novel to continue the direction the book was going.  If you’re a Hallmark movie lover like myself, yes, this book is reminiscent of some of those happy town scenes and relationships built.  But there was so much more.  The depth of character that Jane was able to produce, in the main character Evie with her struggles in business, relationships and life in general, in Taylor with his grief and family struggles, in the townspeople who were seeing a city girl come to make change, they were so incredible, you feel like you’ve actually met them!

There is definitely conflict and the ability to overcome at certain points in the book (and I certainly won’t spoil the situations, as each moment is so vivid and unique). That is why this book stands out to me.

The aspect of Evelyn Lewis losing a part of herself throughout her life is something most of us can relate to.  And in witnessing her journey through tears, pain, conversations and relationship, her growth and desire to change was so encouraging.  I felt like I knew her!

I also appreciated her love interest in the story and the way their relationship developed.  It was written so believably, especially in how it included “the good and the bad”. I love stories that are not entirely perfect.  And this one was fantastic!  There were so many parts I would love to point out and address, but I wouldn’t be letting the book do the talking.  So I’ll just encourage you to grab the novel, get a cold glass of sweet tea and read it on your front porch.  It’ll be a sweet ride, one that leaves you with a smile and a Southern sigh at the end. Kudos Jane, you are a gift!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Jane Rubietta. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and I appreciate the opportunity to receive an advanced reader copy to do so. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review | Daring to Hope: Finding God’s Goodness in the Broken by Katie Davis Majors

daring to hope

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Katie Majors is the author of “Kisses from Katie” and the founder of Amazima Ministries in Uganda.  She adopted 13 girls and made them a family.  And her second book details her life in Uganda, heartache when children are taken away to live with biological parents, friends and loved ones die from disease, and endings don’t go as planned.  I don’t want to share any details, simply because I wouldn’t do them justice.

I grabbed a box of tissues and curled up on the couch, only to weep, read her words and have my heart break with her.  But her story isn’t all sadness and despair.  Her words of truth in describing death and pain draw us nearer to our Heavenly Father and point us to Jesus and the hope that HE is for us.  You just have to read it for yourself.  Allow your heart to break, to hear the Lord’s voice, to see the Lord move and to find a renewed sense of faith in Him.

I am grateful to be a part of Katie’s launch team as she publishes her second book, brings awareness to another part of our world we’d much rather not focus on, and shares the pursuit of hope.  Thank you to Waterbrook/ Multnomah for the Advanced Reader Copy and the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.  Keep Katie on your list for future publications.  Her eloquence and wisdom is necessary for today’s journey with Jesus.

Book Review | The Domino Effect by Davis Bunn

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I loved this book!!  It follows the story of Esther who is a high risk analyst at a very high profile bank.  Her ability to see trends and decipher some kind of pattern in her bank’s behavior alerts her that something heavy will affect the stock market and result in a 2008 mirror effect of today’s economy.  She goes to her bosses with her urgent intel, only to find out that they have an escape plan for what’s coming, and she’s not part of it.

Among the constant urgency that can be felt throughout the book are two additional subplots: one is that her brother was in a very tragic accident that left him in a nursing home and she is the only survivor in her family to take care of him.  Due to his dependency on her, she is forced to deal with some painful memories from their childhood.  And in addition to visiting him on a regular basis, she also meets a man who has quite an effect on her, and helps her learn to let go of some things and to love again.

I enjoyed the overall story line, even though I’ll admit, some of the banking and economical words were over my head.  But even for a layperson reading this novel (hoping it’s not prophetic!), it’s a simple read with depth page after page.  I would definitely read another book by this author.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through Baker Publishing Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and I appreciate the opportunity to receive an advanced reader copy to do so. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review | Eight Twenty Eight: When Love Didn’t Give Up by Larissa Murphy

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Eight Twenty Eight was a very easy, yet emotional read.

Larissa Murphy writes a first-person account of meeting a young man and falling in love with hopes of a picture perfect wedding, only to have those dreams shattered when her new love survives a very tragic accident that changes both of their lives forever.  She writes deeply about the love that she has for him which was maintained during learning what it’s like to live with someone who can’t do things by themselves anymore.

Ian and Larissa, both young Christians, demonstrate intense faith amidst great tragedy.  Much of what is in the book comes from Larissa’s journals during that time, and she struggles very candidly with whether or not she has the level of love needed to continue the new relationship with Ian.  Trust in God becomes a new trial and she questions God’s grace and purpose in all of it.  But with a renewed sense of who she is and who God is making Ian, she pushes forward to care for, live with and pursue a relationship, and ultimately a marriage with the man she knows God had in mind for her.

It’s beautiful how she writes through the pain, allows us to see the heartache, and the hunger for God during her questioning, struggles and uncertainty.  With raw emotion, she details exchanges between herself and Ian’s family, friends and others whom she encounters.  And she’s not afraid to admit her anger during her grief.  I enjoyed this book a lot and shed many tears through its pages.

The flow of the story was disjointed at times, and I believe it was because her emotions were the focus of the story and not a chronological timeline.  It’s still understandable, but that would be my only con.  Other than that, a great read about faith being strengthened, relationships growing and grace persevering.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through B&H Publishing and NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and I appreciate the opportunity to receive an advanced reader copy to do so. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review | Your Sacred Yes by Susie Larson

your-sacred-yesThis book was a strengthening journey of confirmation for me on the benefits of saying yes and no.  Choosing whether to say yes or no to something can be hard, especially if you are a people-pleaser and want to make everyone happy (hopefully by now, you know that’s an impossible, futile task).

This is the first book I’ve read by Susie Larson, although I’m sure I’ve heard her radio program over the years (http://myfaithradio.com/programs/live-the-promise/).

What a phenomenal writer!  I enjoyed her perspective, her insight, and her godly wisdom. She shared personal stories, lessons learned and ways to say no without feeling guilty. We can honor God by using our time the way He means for us to use it, and it doesn’t mean every obligation is ours.  This theme of listening to God for time management is paramount in the lives of Christian women today.  We have duties to our relationship with Jesus primarily, spouses, families and then wherever God needs us.  When we let that slip, we become overwhelmed and drained.  That is not the way the Lord wants for us to live.

Her chapters are organized very intelligently: Sloppy Yeses, Shackled Yeses and finally Sacred Yeses.  Sadly, we all fit somewhere on the spectrum.

      your-sacred-yes-3  your-sacred-yes-2  your-sacred-yes-1

My prayer is that you will take some much needed time to read this book, as time allows 😉 and tuck away the Scriptures she gives, so you can give yourselves permission to steal away time for rest and regeneration with your Lord.  It’s an essential reward.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review | I’m Happy for you (Sort Of…Not Really) by Kay Wills Wyma

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I loved this book!  Kay Wills Wyma has such a way with words.  The topic is one that women everywhere can relate to, and I love the humor she infuses into her stories.  In answering a question that makes most of us squirm, she really points us in the right direction of how to recognize when we are in the business of comparison, but also what it says about us, and how to deal with our insecurities that are motivated by our socially driven culture in America.

One of the stories she shared was about having women over in her home for bible study, and then all of the sudden getting consumed with the idea that her girlfriend Alyssa opened the fridge and found whatever shape the lettuce was in that had been placed in a towel from possibly two weeks prior!  I could not stop laughing.  I’ve had similar moments when I’ve realized there were chicken parts in the garbage and a friend just lifted the lid!

If you’ve not had that type of panic moment in the presence of other women, you may not get the gist of this book, but there are so many other examples she illustrates that I’m sure you’ll connect with.

I highly recommend this book for the pure joy of laughing at the parts of ourselves we wish we didn’t have. But I also recommend reading it to see how she redirects us back to the arms of our Father for comfort and contentment.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher’s Blogging for Books book review bloggers program.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions expressed are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 (http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html): “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”




 


Book Review | Anything: The Prayer that Unlocked my God and my Soul by Jennie Allen

“God, we will do anything.  Anything.”

This is the first book that I’ve reviewed by author Jennie Allen.  She has become quite a prominent face in the Christian community and is known for her boldness of faith, ability to create meaningful bible study materials, and being the founder of the IF:Gathering movement.  For more, check this link: IF:Gathering.

When I chose to read this book, I was excited, simply because the tagline states that this prayer to the Lord for anything “unlocked [her] God and her soul”.  It sounded like it would push me to pray differently, and if you’re a typical overwhelmed believer in our day and age, you may want that extra push too!

She began by giving a background of her life growing up, learning about Jesus, and eventually she began to question a few things.  She would wrestle with the idea of Jesus, if what He taught was true, if He was who He said He is… haven’t we all been there?

Packed with Bible verses, her interpretation and how the verses influenced her decision for Christ and thereafter, Jennie shares many deep stories of the steps she took to be bolder in her faith, the ways that God came through for her and her family, the directions that they went after praying this prayer and the lack of hesitation she now has when she is asked by our Lord to be obedient.

I don’t want to reveal any of it here.  Truly, I don’t, because as a reader into this motivational but heartwarming story, I don’t want to take away any of her impact.  It’s best to be heard from her.

This is a great book for those who seek to be jump-started in their faith.  If you’re unsure of the Lord and His presence in your life, read this book.  Jennie comes to many amazing conclusions based on Scripture that can be used to help point you to the One who is worthy of accomplishing ANYTHING in your life.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review | The Matheny Manifesto by Mike Matheny and Jerry Jenkins

I recently finished reading my first ever sports book!  Though I tend to read novels, thrillers and Christian help books, I wanted to challenge myself to read something outside of my normal scope, and I was pleasantly surprised at this easy read.

The Matheny Manifesto was the name of a letter that Mike Matheny wrote to parents of a group of Little Leaguers that he was coaching in 2008.  He read it out loud to them during a meeting, and though it was met with resistance at first, it proved to be beneficial for all of the children, parents and himself.  It became a code for life that he lived by.

This book is peppered with eight keys to success: leadership, confidence, teamwork, faith, class, character, toughness and humility.  Mike uses stories of baseball greats that he has encountered, or admired over the years and built a framework for life from their examples.  He brought their ideas and lessons learned to each baseball practice and helped to build stronger players as a result.  His own career is also highlighted in the book, along with some mishaps  and disagreements, but both are necessary to show how he dealt with these instances.

 I highly recommend this book to anyone who is seeking how to help raise children in our time, since the truths of this book are still applicable to today.  These truths don’t just apply to baseball.  The mindset learned by these characteristics affect our life choices, how we interact with those in authority and how we perceive disaster.  Mike points to his Christianity in times of trials, and that is always the best direction to go.  If you love baseball, you’re in for an extra treat, as you journey with Mike.  And remember, “Nothing worth doing right is easy.”

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher’s Blogging for Books book review bloggers program.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions expressed are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 (http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html): “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”