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 | How You Can Be Sure You Will Spend Eternity with God by Erwin Lutzer

eternity with God

From the Back Cover:

“Be wrong about social security, be wrong about baseball, be wrong about your career choice, but don’t be wrong about where you will spend eternity.”

How You Can Be Sure You Will Spend Eternity with God—it’s a big promise, but this short book delivers. It answers a host of questions, such as:

  • Will good deeds help me get into heaven?
  • Who goes to heaven and who doesn’t?
  • What role do I have in my own salvation?
  • Can I lose my salvation if I commit a serious sin?
  • Is it wrong to doubt my salvation, and what should I do if I doubt?

Dr. Lutzer takes many scriptural teachings and siphons them into clear, cohesive truths. The result is a concise, accessible book about how to be saved and be sure you are saved. It is straight gospel—applicable to the skeptic, newly saved, and long-time believer alike.”

Do you know with absolute certainty where you are headed when your physical life on Earth is over?  There are many temporary things in life we can afford to be uncertain about, but this is one question that needs to be answered by every living person, who will one day stand before the King of Kings, and the Lord of Lords.

If you’ve ever heard a sermon by Dr. Erwin Lutzer, the senior pastor of The Moody Church in Chicago, then you know he is very blunt and direct, however he is Scriptural and truthful.  I’ve been listening to him for years, and have read several of his books.  I have absolute respect for him as a pastor, and fellow Christian brother.

This book was a fast read, and one that gave me a lot of things to think about.  As a practicing Christian for almost twelve years, I have been asking the Lord many things about my future, salvation, who is in and who is out, how do we know for sure, and where do I stand?  And because of a desire to know the truth, I have been digging deeper into the truths of the Holy Bible, and chose to do a book review for Moody Publishers.  When I saw that it was from Dr. Lutzer, I jumped at the chance.

If you are seeking confirmation of your eternal future, this book is for you.  And if I can shut some doors on false teaching for you, let me start by sharing this truth from page 18,

“Recently I was discussing the credentials of Christ with a woman who said, ‘I believe that there are many paths to God.  People can come in their own way.’ I told her I wished that were true, but I was confronted with a choice- do I believe her well-intentioned opinion, or do I believe in what Christ Himself had to say?

…Christ insisted that there was a narrow road that led to eternal life, but in contrast, there was a broad road that led to spiritual death.  Clearly there are separate gates, therefore two roads and two very different destinations.”  This can be found in Matthew 7:13-14.

Dr. Lutzer explains three different approaches to eternity: The Ladder Climbers, The Religious Types, and The Mystics.  To get a better understanding of these, please pick up a copy of this book today to see how these three groups are misguided in their attempts to reach Heaven.  You may feel an immediate offense, but I can assure you, that he makes his case airtight against these methods.

Now if you are like me, you may have tried earning your salvation, using religion, and even questioning other methods that didn’t involve sitting in a church pew.  But the truth is that salvation is not secure in any of these routes.  The grace of God is sufficient for anyone who realizes their humanity and their helpless condition.  Because Jesus died on the cross and rose again, He not only fulfilled years of prophecy to be the ONE and ONLY MESSIAH, He made the way for us to be in relationship with His Father, GOD, and we can therefore declare our salvation in Him alone.

“God has entered the cemetery.”

Did you know that before your life with Christ, you were considered “dead in sin”?  Ephesians 2:1 declares us to be.  And the wonderful truth is that when we turn to Jesus, we can become ALIVE in Christ.  Be reassured by Romans 6:11.

I loved this book, and will keep it on hand for family, friends and even myself, if I should end up on the spiritual treadmill inadvertently.  Knowing for sure that I will be with my Lord is the only thing that matters on Earth for me.  And the other thing that I’ve been tasked with is to make sure that others know how as well.

“…when you come to Christ, you do not come to give, you come to receive.  You do not come to try your best, you come to trust.  You do not come to be helped, but to be rescued. You do not come to be made better (although that does happen), you come to be made alive!” – Dr. Lutzer

Do you know Him?  https://needhim.org

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Moody Publishers.  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 | Dysfunction Interrupted by Audrey Sherman, PhD

dysfunction interrupted.jpg

The title for this book may sound like a quick self-help book, but let me assure you, Dr. Sherman goes very in-depth.  For those struggling with anxiety and depression, this book is all-inclusive and a vital asset to the sufferer.

She breaks the book down into three parts.

Part One concisely breaks down common dysfunctional home scenarios (namely parenting types that include: violence/abuse, verbal abuse, sexual abuse, substance abuse, depressive, histrionic, abandoning, invalidating, perfectionistic, controlling, and non-disciplinarians) and she presents case studies of clients who exhibit symptomatic manifestations as a result of upbringing.

Part Two deals with symptom sets and explains in detail where they stem from (namely anxiety, attachment problems, attention and focus problems, boundary issues, caretaking, codependency, chronic anger, depression, hypervigilance, learned helplessness, locus of control, low self-esteem, personality disorders, poor coping strategies, relationship and trust issues, and underachievement).  These are quite concise and explanatory.

Part Three gets to the meat of the situation and shows how to address the issues found in parts one and two, and where to go from there.  This is an amazingly comprehensive book that doesn’t beat around the bush.  Dr. Sherman is straight-forward, and compassionate about helping those who struggle with anxiety and depression.  To get a better handle on your own symptoms, check this book out and see if it doesn’t get you on the road to healing.

I was given this book for free by Netgalley and Concord Publishing in exchange for an honest review.  Many thanks for the gift and opportunity to present my opinion.

Book Review | Falling Like Snowflakes by Denise Hunter

falling like snowflakes

This book garners five stars from me!!  I loved each delicate moment.

Eden Davis is on the run.  She and her son Micah have witnessed the murder of Eden’s husband and Eden knows they are not safe anywhere, as the marshals left to protect them have been murdered as well.

The story begins in a restaurant off of the freeway, where Eden and Micah are having a quick breakfast.  After she and her son return to their booth from a bathroom run, they realize a book bag that had all of their cash inside has been stolen!  And to make matters worse, the car she’s driving is unreliable and in desperate need of repairs.  She is able to make it to a shop to get the work started on it, but has to create new names and identities for herself and Micah.

In need of a job to pay back the shop for the work on her car, and to get back on the road to get to a cabin she’s planned to get to, she stops at a ranch where she meets the Callahans and is able to begin work.  Through months of secrecy and trying to maintain her cover while she plans her journey to the cabin, Eden finds herself enjoying the hospitality of everyone at the farm.  She is guarded and trying to protect her son, but also begins to feel love like she’s never felt.  While Eden determines whether to trust and love again, Beau Callahan is falling for her and Micah.

This story was so well written, and very easy to follow.  I loved the characters, the Callahan family, the way you could feel the urgency for Eden’s safety, the intensity of her protection over Micah, and the love that bled through Beau’s interactions with her and her son.  It’s a wonderful love story, and one that takes time to build up, but is done with grace and ease.  There are no boring lulls, or ends left untied.  I highly recommend for a story that reassures your hope in lovable Christian fiction!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher’s BookLook Bloggers 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 | Scary Close: Dropping the Act and Finding True Intimacy by Donald Miller

scary close coverDonald Miller is on a search again for deepening human value and connection.  In his newest read, he readily admitted he had issues within himself that were preventing him from connecting with others in a beneficial way.  This book expounds on the journey he took to answer some deep questions about his struggle, and how he came to process his need to just live instead of pleasing everyone.  Through counseling with trusted friends, observing interactions between other friends and their home lives, and a program through Onsite (http://www.onsiteworkshops.com/), he was able to identify some clear reasons with his inability to connect.

One thing he said that really hit me, was “Grace only sticks to our imperfections. Those who can’t accept their imperfections can’t accept grace either.”  To me, it was pretty clear-cut and profound, but I’m not sure even Donald realized how close to his sharing of the gospel he came!  Donald made a remark that should simply point us to the cross, and then to the saving grace of Jesus and why we extend that same grace to others.

Prior to this revelation, he was unable to receive love from his new fiance, Betsy, and his rejection of her attempts was proof of him wearing a mask that was shown for the purpose of keeping his true self safe.  He couldn’t be vulnerable.  I can’t say why, as that would be a breach of your reason to read the book.  But what I can say is that there is a part of us all that can identify with wearing masks to stay safe in front of people we think have expectations for us.  And instead of outward approval, we just need grace.

This book reads as a philosophical memoir, as Donald shares personal conversations, interactions and revelations.  He admits to some insights coming from his faith and the Bible, but predominantly he comes to conclusions based on books he’s read that describe theories from other men in the same emotional mature state.

It left me wanting to sit down with Donald myself.  I would love to share that while I appreciated his growth stages, and I loved that he was finally able to take off the mask to be exposed for the man he really is, I want to share with him who Jesus really is.  It seems like some of the roadblocks he was encountering could simply be changed by deepening his reading of the Word, and trusting in God instead of feeling like he has to have a plan for everything.  Then again, maybe Donald hasn’t had his light bulb a-ha moment yet.  Maybe he’s wading into the water with this book, which ends on his wedding day, and now, God will be tugging on his heart as he seeks to serve his wife in a godly manner.  Maybe Donald will begin to seek God differently and realize that worldly wisdom, though helpful at times, will always leave us wanting something even deeper than counseling sessions and ninety-day business plans.  Overall, I appreciate his honesty, simple insights, basic truths and his ability to be transparent in his journey.

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 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.”