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Wednesday, 31 December 2014

2014 TBR Pile Challenge - Final Count

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I guess you're wondering how I did this year.
I didn't finish the pile, but I did get through most of it.

Since my last update I have read:

  • Cast of Characters by Max Lucado
  • Every Day Deserves a Chance by Max Lucado
  • God's Smuggler by Brother Andrew
  • Where Jesus Walked by Ken Duncan
  • Glory of Creation by Thomas Kinkade
  • Reflections of a Thankful Heart by Lori Wick
With these ones being finished, it means I read all but 5 of the list, which means 24 out of 29.
Of course, this was just some of my reading for the year. I actually read a total of 140 books for the year.

How did your year finish up? Did you achieve your reading goals? Did you get through your TBR pile?

Stay tuned for next year's challenge!

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Christmas Reading Wrap-Up

So, Christmas is over and so is my Christmas reading - the last book was finished this morning.

Following on from my last update (you can see it here):

A couple of compilations came next, the first was That Christmas Feeling by Catherine Palmer and Gail Gaymer Martin. Followed by A Victorian Christmas Tea by Catherine Palmer, Dianna Crawford, Peggy Stoks and Katherine Chute.





















Then came my favourite Christmas book - I've read it every year since it came out in 2010.
Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball by Donita K Paul.

My last Christmas book for this year is not strictly a Christmas story although most of the book does take place at Christmas time. The Substitute Guest by Grace Livingston Hill.


So what books did you read over this Christmas season?
Are there any that you read every year?


Tuesday, 23 December 2014

When Santa Learned the Gospel



When Santa learned the gospel, he first heard it from an elf.
This tiny Santa’s helper had just learnt of it himself.
*
A child had asked for Christmas to receive a Bible book.
This elf had made one in the shop, then paused to have a look.
*
He read all about Jesus and the call to follow him.
He learned how Jesus lived and taught and died to pay for sin.
*
He learned how Jesus rose again and how he will return
And then this elf read how he should respond to all he’d learned.
*
He shut the book, put down his tools, then closed his eyes and prayed.
Right there and then this little elf trusted in Christ that day.
*
The next day he told Santa. It was awkward, unprepared.
He knew he didn’t know that much, but what he knew he shared.
*
He told Santa the gospel. It was simple. It was short.
But a seed was sown in Santa’s heart, which grew into a thought.
*
Santa reflected on his life and the message he supported,
Then compared it to the gospel that the elf had just reported.
*
He’d always thought that everyone was naughty or was nice.
He had them all on two big lists. He even checked it twice.
*
He’d always thought that you got gifts only if you’d been good.
The naughty kids got lumps of coal. That’s what he understood.
*
They’d all line up in shopping malls and sit upon his knee
And claim that they were always nice. As nice as nice can be.
*
Of course, he saw them when they slept and knew when they awoke.
He also knew their nice attempts were pretty much a joke.
*
Their heads were filled not with nice thoughts of kindness, peace and joy,
But with the never-ending list of their desired toys.
*
He knew their hearts, but he had thought, “They’re trying to be good.
That’s good enough to make the list. Otherwise no one would!”
*
So every year their “good enough” with toys would be rewarded.
And every year (he realised) this message he supported:
*
THE “GOOD” WILL GET THE PRESENTS.
THE “BAD” WILL GET THE COAL.
AND TRYING TO BE GOOD ENOUGH
IS GOOD ENOUGH A GOAL.
*
That was the message that he knew, but now he knew another.
He had just heard the gospel. So he compared them to each other.
*
The message of the gospel turned his message upside down.
The good, the bad, naughty and nice, it switched it all around.
*
“There’s no one good but God alone” he’d heard Jesus concluded.
And those who claim they’re “good enough” are simply just deluded.
*
If there’s a list of who is “good”, the standard we’ve all missed.
And Santa saw that even he was on the naughty list.
*
That shook his world. That rocked his boat. That gripped him in his soul.
To think that even Santa Claus deserved a lump of coal.
*
But that was only half of what the gospel message said.
It also flipped what happened to the naughty on its head.
*
Instead of being written off as just not good enough.
The message to the naughty list was one of grace and love.
*
The gospel offered mercy to all those deserving coal.
The gospel offered forgiveness and cleansing of your soul.
*
The gospel told how Jesus died our death to pay the price
To reconcile us all to God – both naughty and the nice.
*
This offer was a real gift, unlike presents ‘neath the tree.
It was not earned by being good. It was offered for free.
*
For all his life Santa had claimed that if you had been bad
Then you would not get presents and your Christmas would be sad.
*
Santa compared his message with this new one he had learned.
His message said you get the presents your good deeds had earned.
*
The message of the gospel offered something so much greater…
Jesus had come to reconcile the world to their Creator.
*
When Santa grasped the gospel, he did not know what to do
And so the elf said nervously, “How ’bout I pray with you?”
*
Then that night at the North Pole, by the fire in his den,
With a simple prayer led by an elf, Santa was born again.
*
And now, in Christ, forgiven, free – his new life had begun
and Santa had a new message to share with everyone.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Unexpected Christmas


I know I posted this last year, but I think it's a good reminder for every year.

God does unexpected things all the time!

Monday, 15 December 2014

Christmas Reading Part 2

As promised, I am letting you know what I've been reading that is Christmas themed. I'd originally planned to do this weekly, but my life has been crazy busy with finishing work for the year and some rather traumatic changes that are taking place.

So here we go ...

As you know my first book was The Christmas Cat by Melody Carlson.


As a cat lover, this was fun! And surprisingly, the cat on the front cover looks a bit like my sister's cat!!
















Next came Robin Jones Gunn's Christmas novellas: Finding Father Christmas and Engaging Father Christmas.



 Back to Melody Carlson for the next 3: Christmas at Harringtons, The Christmas Shoppe and The Treasure of Christmas.






















Moving on, Tracie Peterson's Silent Star.

























And just finished this morning, we have Forever Christmas by Christine Lynxwiler.


Friday, 5 December 2014

Silent Night


Ken's Christmas Message 2014 - Silent Night from Ken Duncan Group on Vimeo.


Thank you Ken Duncan for your beautiful photography and for being willing to share it with us.
Make sure you watch this full screen so that you can really see these beautiful images!

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Christmas Reading

A question ...
     ... when do you start reading Christmas books?

I started today. Some years I start earlier, and others never before December 1st.

This year my first book for the Christmas season is The Christmas Cat by Melody Carlson.


Are there books that you read every year?
Hmm ... I think I might do a Christmas reading series. Want to join me?
Please tell me your favourite Christmas books - I might just add them to my list for this year, or they could already be a favourite of mine!

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Books on the Bookshelf

So many people aren't interested in reading any more and that includes children.
My childhood was filled with books, and as many of you know I am still passionate about reading and frequently my posts on this blog are, in fact, about books.

Recently I was talking with a friend of mine who is a teacher and very much interested in literacy in children today. We had a very interesting discussion about the role books played in our growing up, including the types of books we each read and how we accessed them.

So I thought I would share some of my thoughts about how books have shaped my life.

I've always had access to books. We had a family shelf with books that had been given to us and bought by my parents - new and second had from Op Shops. They weren't always used for reading - sometimes a pile of them formed a stool to sit on or we would make them into the wall of a cubby house (large hardbacks were particularly good).


























I remember my first school reader - it was about a fire station. I was so upset because the book had no words and I had already learned how to read before starting school (thanks Mum).

We were also given at least 1 book for each birthday and Christmas, so our piles of books grew and Dad kept making more bookshelves to house our growing collections. Novels, biographies and all sorts of non-fiction made up the books we had to choose from.

Family holidays meant travel, so books were also provided for us to read in the car. My grandparents also had books for us to read when we visited. I can still hear my grandmother's voice when I read Mr Bell's Fix-It Shop.






































Trips to the town library were a common event - my brother, sister and I would ride our bikes down the street and get our fill of as many books as we could carry - my favourites were Baby Sitters Club series and a biography about Nancy Wake.

Travel was more extensive during my teen years as we had moved to Western Australia and summers frequently meant a road trip across the Nullabour Plain - 5 days in the car each way. Space was limited, so there were some favourite series that ended up coming along and being read each way. As soon as possible when we made it to Victoria we would head for the Op Shops to stock up on more books.

Books that were studied at school were a bit hit and miss - some were really interesting, others I wish I had never read because they were about awful topics that should not be forced on anyone.

However, in spite of that, I still read ... a lot!!





























These were my bookshelves a few years ago. Now books are double stacked on many shelves and I have boxes of books that just don't fit. Mostly I buy my own books these days, although I do still get books sometimes for Christmas and birthdays.

One thing about my shelves and the books on them is that I frequently loan books to my family and friends. Growing up I often borrowed books from other people - family and friends. However these days when e-books are so popular, this practice of sharing books is becoming a memory, not common practice.


I think this is one of the sad things about technology. We can't share e-books with each other. All you can do is recommend them to your friends. Sure, they would have been more convenient when we travelled - we could have had more choices. But some of the books we bought half way through our trip were given to my cousins so that they could read them.

So what's your book story?
How did you have books available to you?

Perhaps a Butterfly ...


Monday, 3 November 2014

ACRBA Tour - Her Tycoon Hero by Narelle Atkins



3 - 7 November 2014
is introducing

Her Tycoon Hero

Heartsong Presents


By
About the Book

Cassie Beaumont Believes in Second Chances 

Set on proving to everyone that she's no longer a party girl, Cassie is focused on her career as an event planner. But her dad's top executive, Ryan Mitchell, proves to be a handsome distraction. Especially when someone from Cassie's wild past tries to get her tangled in the life she's worked hard to escape.
Ryan is taken with his boss's beautiful daughter. But having been fooled by a brother who ran in her same circles, he is slow to trust. When Cassie's newfound faith works its way into his heart, Ryan soon finds he wants to claim both her faith and Cassie as his own.



About the Author

NARELLE ATKINS writes contemporary inspirational romance and lives in Canberra, Australia. She sold her debut novel, set in Australia, to Harlequin's Love Inspired Heartsong Presents line in a six-book contract. She is also a member of International Christian Fiction Writers group blog.http://internationalchristianfictionwriters.blogspot.com

Narelle is a co-founder with Jenny Blake of the Australian Christian Readers Blog Alliance (ACRBA). http://acrba.blogspot.com

Her debut book, Falling for the Farmer, will be a February 2014 release, followed by The Nurse's Perfect Match in May 2014 andThe Doctor's Return in August 2014.
Twitter: @NarelleAtkins https://twitter.com/NarelleAtkins



My Thoughts:

Narelle has written another nice Australian book.
One of the really good things about it is that one of the main characters is able to overcome their struggles with alcohol and does not give in to temptation.
My one concern is that Cassie's friend says nothing to her about dating a non-Christian. While some 'evangelism dating' works, most of the time the Christian will either walk away from their faith or end up being miserable in a marriage where their partner does not become a Christian.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

The Introvert in Me

One of the worst things about being an introvert is that the negative voices in your head are generally the loudest, so you hear them the most and start believing what they are saying.

To counteract this an introvert needs a really good group of friends who will allow them to be themselves, while also pulling you out of yourself and your own head.

So really one of the absolutely worst things for an introvert is not to have a few close friends. It doesn't need to be many, because that would be too much for this introvert, but the friends that are there need to be aware that they are going to need to be the ones to initiate things, pull the introvert into their circle and find ways to keep them there.


















I am one of these people.

And lately it has been the internal thoughts that have been taking over ... and most of them have been negative. As much as I try to stop those thoughts as they surface, there have been an overwhelming abundance of them of late.

Some of these thoughts have made it onto this blog, but not many - some because the issues are too sensitive to share, or just because I am trying my hardest to not let these negative thoughts take over my life.

Part of the problem and the source of some negative thoughts is the lack of friendship I have been experiencing. There are many reasons for this, some my fault, but most are not.

So if you are reading this, know me, and live anywhere near me, think about how you might be able to get into my life more, and help me get my thoughts off the negative and onto something else.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

2014 TBR Pile Challenge - 3rd Quarter Update

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So by now you are well aware that my progress is going really slowly in this challenge.
The year started off well, but that was because I was reading fiction, not non-fiction, which made up about half the pile.
Plus most of the fiction is historical, which I'm not as interested in right now (still not quite sure why).

So, since June I've only finished another 2 books:

  • The Sword by Gilbert Morris
  • Treasure in the Hills by Paige Winship Dooly
I am in the middle of another, but have hit a snag. There was an error in printing and some pages have not been included in the book, while others have been printed twice. I've been in touch with the publisher, but have not yet had a response. It is a book that I read a long time ago (during my teen years), but the copy I was reading is an updated edition.

With the 2 books above, I've now read 18 of 29.

At this point I doubt I will finish the list, but maybe I will challenge myself again for next year. I'll keep you posted.

Meanwhile, how are you going with your TBR Pile?

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Invited


When I was young I was taught that it was rude to invite yourself to something.
I've continued to follow that - if I'm not invited I won't go, even if I know it's on.

It wasn't so bad back then - no Facebook, no instant communication (other than phone calls), so mostly I just didn't even know something had happened.

These days you get updates before, throughout and after an event from all forms of social media. So it's hard to see everyone else doing things. Not to mention the fact that I already feel completely left out and disconnected from all my peers. So when I find out that I wasn't even invited to a significant event of someone I consider to be a friend, it hurts - A LOT!!

So, let me tell you, if you want me to be there, you need to invite me!!

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Monday, 22 September 2014

Waiting


I've been waiting for a long time.

14 years for a husband.

4 years for another best friend.

Sometimes it makes it hard to remember that God is in control and has a plan for my life.

Sometimes it makes it hard to trust that God will really answer my prayers.

Waiting is wearisome.

Added to waiting is grief - 
for missing loved ones who have gone before;
for friends who are hurting because of choices they have made,
or choices that others have made.

It's hard to remember that through all the waiting and grief there is hope!
Hope that prayers will be answers;
that longings will be filled;
that loved ones will be seen again in heaven;
and that through all this God really does have my best interests in mind.



Monday, 15 September 2014

Frustration

Why is it that whenever you have a good idea for a blog post, you have just turned off your computer or you can't get to one?

Last night I had a great idea for a post, but I'd just turned off my computer. I thought, sure, I'll remember that - but do you think I could remember it this morning? No. I really should have written it down, because now it's completely gone. My mind is ... BLANK!

So, next time I must remember to write it down.

The other thing that happens to me is that I get great ideas while driving. Of course I can't write them down then.

How about you?

When do you get your best ideas?

Monday, 18 August 2014

ACRBA Tour - Dynamic Ageing by Ray Hawkins



18th - 22nd August 2014
Dynamic Ageing
(Even Before 1 February 2014)

By

Ray Hawkins



About the Book


Discover how to make the ageing experience into an adventure. Join the Lord's plan for ageing dynamically. Understand why God's seniors are priceless. God's grace for dynamic ageing more than compensates for physical limitations. 


About the Author



Ray Hawkins, retired after over 40 years as a Churches of Christ minister, enjoys sharing themes from the Scriptures through Devotional writing. Married to Mary, multi-published inspirational romance author, they have three children and five grandchildren. Ray shares his insights in his first two books on Marriage and Children with more ideas to come about ministry and much more. Living in Beauty Point Tasmania Ray heads up a new Christian Fellowship as well as doing relief preaching, community work and writing.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Friend Envy

Yes, there is such a thing.

Anyone with very few friends experiences at various times in their lives

It hits you at times when you are most vulnerable ... it hits hard ... and it makes you wonder if you are really worth anything to anyone.

But it's a sin - the 10th Commandment - "You shall not covet ... anything that is your neighbour's" (Deuteronomy 5:21).

And so there is the problem.

I have 2 good friends - best friends; one I see fairly regularly and we have a set catch up time once a month, but she is a busy Mum and with all her family commitments there isn't the opportunity to just 'hang out' together. My other best friend is serving God on the mission field half way around the world (and is very bad at keeping in contact). With her, I used to be able to just hang out, chat, watch movies, do whatever or not do anything other than just enjoy being in each other's company. But with her move overseas, the distance has separated us, and I am left behind. Now she has recently got married and our times will never be the same again when she does return (if she returns).

I have always struggled with friendships.

Primary school years there is only one person I would say was a close friend, but we only saw each other at school. The rest of the time there were always friend groups that I was on the outside of - I didn't play netball, and didn't go to their church, so other than school there was nothing to build a friendship on.

Church life was hard too - the only other children, for the most part, were my brother and sisters; and we didn't always get along.

Between primary school and high school we moved, not just a short distance, but to the other side of the country. The people there all had their established friendship groups, as they had been together throughout primary school. Once again I went to a different church where there were no teens my age, or if there were they had other friends.

I changed schools again for my final 2 years of school and thought I had found a good group of friends. I had people to be with during recess and lunch and I was accepted in a group. No really close friendships though, as they were all non-Christians. But then came the final school event together and they suddenly showed their true colours - I was no longer welcome in the group and some very nasty things were said and spread around about me.

We did finally have some others at Church the right ages and I found one friend, but then I moved back to the other side of the country and she became better friends with my sister.

During my Uni days I managed to have 2 groups of friends - one at Church, the other at Christian Union (CU). There was one girl who I got close to - or so I thought. The trouble was I expected more of her than she could give and we both ended up badly hurting each other. The church friends had been together for a long time, so there was that trying to get into the group issue again.

I moved again and the contact I had with those friends has gradually dwindled. Most people keep in contact with friends from their past - they have life-long friendships that stand the test of time - as for me, it seems I only have friends for a season. Part of that could be my fault because I'm not good at keeping in contact - but friendship is also a two-way thing. Unless both people put into it the friendship cannot survive - this is something I've learned the hard way, as I put effort in to trying to have a friendship with people who do not reciprocate.

My experience over the last 10 years has been hard. The Church I attend has a lot of cliques. They say they welcome everyone - and to a point they do - but for the most part the ones of a similar age to me have been together for their whole lives, at both church and school. Because of this, they have their best friends and their friend group but don't include new people into that. This has been further complicated by all the weddings that have taken place - I am now the only woman around my age who is still single, and one of just a handful of single people over 30.

It's a lonely place to be.

And so here I am, longing for a friend, but also being too afraid of rejection to really try to get close to anyone any more. I'm tired of being the one to do the approaching; I need to be approached so that I know they really want to be my friend, not just me be theirs.

So, I guess I'm at war with myself. Pleading with God to let me have just one friend who is here; being reminded that when that person does come along not to make an idol of them; being scared of rejection; and in turn being frustrated that I haven't yet found another friend.

For 4 years I have been waiting for another friend; for 14 I have been waiting for a husband (but that's another story).

The hardest part is the war in my heart. In reality, God should be enough, with the friend and husband the icing on the cake. My head knows this, but my heart ...

Monday, 21 July 2014

ACRBA Tour - Better Than A Superhero by Belinda Francis



 21st - 25th  June 2014
is introducing

Better Than A Superhero
(Wombat books 1 May 2014)

By

Belinda Francis, illustrated by Kayleen West






About the Book

Who is better than a superhero? Find out about Jesus as you explore what he did and who he was. And most importantly how Jesus really can be your best friend!


About the Authors


Belinda Francis
Award winning journalist turned children's author Belinda Francis worked in newspapers, magazines and electronic media for ten years in South Africa before she and her family immigrated to Queensland.

Shortly after arriving in Australia, her elder son was diagnosed with ASD and she devoted the next few years to his early intervention, which with God's guidance, has paid off miraculously. Her second son, who had been born ten weeks prematurely, is now healthy and strong – evidence of yet another miracle. She and her family recently celebrated the arrival of their third child, a much-prayed for daughter.

While raising her children, Belinda wrote Better than a Superhero, her first published book, and threw herself into the local church and community. She runs the Sunday school program at her church campus.

Belinda is passionate about raising children up in God's kingdom and excited about the ministry opportunities the book will undoubtedly open up.


Kayleen West
An award winning artist, her work hangs in private and corporate collections in France, United States, Italy, and the Australian Embassy in Ireland and in government collections in Australia.

Although an initial childhood dream was to write and illustrate for children, Kayleen was encouraged to venture into a career of an exhibiting fine artist and later a graphic designer.
Returning to her original passion in 2009, Kayleen is now a published children's Author and Illustrator working on her third children's book and writes Christian content for magazines and blogs.

Kayleen is the author and illustrator of Without Me? (Wombat Books, 2013) and the illustrator of Better than a Superhero (Even Before Publishing, 2014).
For more information: www.kayleenwest.com.au  



My Thoughts:
This is a fun book! I enjoyed reading it to the children I had in creche a couple of weeks ago. The illustrations are great, they just jump off the page!

Thursday, 10 July 2014

The Skinny on Prayer - Skit Guys


Don't be put off by the beginning of this or the way it seems to make a mockery of prayer - make sure you watch it all the way to the end!

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

The Value You Place

I've often had people tell me that they don't read Christian fiction because you can't learn anything about God from those books.

That is ABSOLUTELY NOT TRUE!!!

Some of the things I have learned best have at least had their beginning through reading a Christian fiction novel. Here are some of my thoughts on this:

1. As you read a book you begin to walk with the characters through their "life" (yes, it's fictitious, but for that time you are in the pages they have become real), and as you do, the lessons they are "learning" become absorbed into your subconscious or even take hold of your conscious thoughts.

A character will "share part of their life story" with another character and that becomes real - it's like when someone shares their story with you and you realise that they have dealt with an issue like you are currently facing and you ask them for advice (of course, you can't ask the character for advice, but the other character either does that or offers their story of how they coped/dealt with something).

In the case of a novel, the struggles a character is having and the way they allow God into their life can challenge/encourage/motivate you to do the same.

Some authors will even have their characters going to church and put in the book parts of the sermon they are listening to - which will generally have been a sermon the author has personally heard when they were attending church one Sunday. Lori Wick is one such author.


Others who have really impacted me through their novels include Robin Jones Gunn, Dee Henderson, Irene Hannon, Cathy Marie Hake, Janette Oke and Colleen L Reece.

Many of the novels on my shelves have little post-it-note tags where I have found something that impacted my life and got me thinking more about God, learning more about His character or things I can listen to, learn from and put in practice in my life.

2. If you are witnessing to someone, they may not willingly pick up a Bible to read, however a well chosen novel that gives a clear Gospel message can be a way to share with them in a way that is not so obvious, but nonetheless powerful and effective.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Flat Pack Furniture

I'm getting really good at putting flat pack furniture together.
I've put together at least 15 items from Ikea, not to mention numerous others from a variety of stores. Just don't get me started on the desk I bought from Aldi - let me just say NEVER AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My most recent experience (that is within the last 4 hours) has been crazy.
A cupboard from Bunnings. Firstly, we needed an extra shelf - which they sell - but was located about 10 aisles from where the cupboard was. Then the package was REALLY heavy - but some very helpful staff got it on the trolley for us and put it in the car. Once we got it home, we decided the easiest way to get it into the house was to open the box and carry the individual pieces in one at a time. So far, so good.

So the basics are the same with all pieces of furniture ... screws, tools needed ...
However, this time the instructions were not complete - you had to download them from the internet. What if you don't have access to the internet at home? Or wherever you are putting it together? The instructions in the box were certainly not detailed enough to put the cupboard together.

Then, there is the issue of how much space you need to actually be able to construct the piece - about 3 times as much space as the finished product will take. So, furniture was moved around so that I had enough space to put it together (which of course means I have to put it all back when I've finished).

Well, it has been finished - except that one of the hinges popped off because the chipboard split, so now we have to figure out how to fix that. GRRRRRR.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

2014 TBR Pile Challenge - Mid Year Update

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I haven't forgotten this challenge that I set myself, but I also haven't read any books on my original list since April.

During April I managed 4 taking me to just over half of the pile 16 out of 29:

  • Home Warming by Emilie Barnes
  • The Golden Road by L M Montgomery
  • The Simple Home by Sharon Hanby-Robie
  • Australian Stories of Hope and Joy by various authors
Lots of books were added to my TBR pile since April and I have been reading them plus a few old favourites!

Ok, so when you think about it I'm really not doing so bad to be half way through the pile by the middle of the year, but most of the ones still on the list are non-fiction and I never read them as quickly or as often as fiction.

Hopefully I will keep you updated more often and will actually get through more of my pile!

How are you going with your TBR pile?

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Lonely


This is the song (at least the first few lines) that has been running through my head lately. It pretty much matches how I've been feeling.

Monday, 16 June 2014

ACRBA Tour - Dear God It's Me and It's Urgent by Marion Stroud


16th - 20th  June 2014
(Monarch Oct 13)

By

Marion Stroud




About the Book
Dear God It's Me and It's Urgent' provides prayers for private devotion and meditation, or for sharing with other women. Inspiring and challenging they are rooted firmly in everyday life. Topics range from A Bride's Prayer on the Eve of her Wedding,Reluctant Hospitality and After Chemotherapy, mixing wisdom and compassion with a touch of humour.In a world where people often seem too busy to listen or care God is always available. No appointment is required.


About the Author



Marion Stroud has written 3 children's books, and 23 non-fiction titles. She lives in Bedford UK the town in which John Bunyan wrote his famous Pilgrim's Progress. She is a cross cultural trainer for Media Associates International [www.littworld.org] which works to help Christian writers, editors and publishers write and publish culturally appropriate material in the 'spiritually hard places' of the world. You can contact Marion at www.marionstroud.com


My Thoughts:
I really enjoyed reading through this book. It was both challenging and encouraging. As I said with another of Marion's books last month, there are a few ways you can use this book. One is as a prayer focus during your quiet time each day - the prayer can be used to prompt your own prayer on the topic or when you don't know what to pray, use it as your prayer.

There are also quotes and Bible verses to encourage, inspire and challenge you in your walk with God. While not every topic may be relevant for you at the moment, there are gems for everyone in this book.

Monday, 2 June 2014

ACRBA Tour - Charter to Redemption by DJ Blackmore


2nd - 6th  May 2014
is introducing

Charter to Redemption
(Even Before Publishing 1 May 2014)

By

D.J. Blackmore



About the Book
At the close of 1821, the penal colony of Newcastle looks to be every bit as black as it's painted. Emma Colchester charters a ride to Australia with a promise of marriage to a man she has never met. But appearances aren't always as they seem. And with a commitment unavoidable Emma learns that shackles are not always forged from iron. Tobias Freeman longs for redemption and hope. After a rough journey to New South Wales, Tobias learns the rations, the regulations, and the reprisal. But neither Emma nor Tobias expect the repercussions.

About the Author

D.J. Blackmore grew up in the wine growing region of the Hunter Valley, New South Wales and is currently based in Central Queensland.
She draws inpiration for her historical fiction novels from her love of age-old crafts such as spinning and cheese making. She considers being the mother of five, her greatest achievement.







My Thoughts:
While the writing in this book is good, I didn't particularly like the story. Part of this comes down to my current interests - I'm not as interested in historical fiction these days. It was nice to have a story set in convict times that wasn't based around Sydney.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Letters From War by Mark Shultz & Travis Thrasher


Many of you will have heard this song and been greatly moved by it, but have you read the book?

I've just finished it! It is different from many other books - style, content, and the fact that if you've heard the song, you kind of know what will happen by the end of the book.

But it is a powerful story nonetheless.

At the back of the book is an interview with Mark Schultz, and one of the last questions is this:

'What would you most like readers to take away from Letters from War?
I hope it brings awareness and thankfulness for those men and women who serve in the military and the families that they leave behind. I also hope that Beth's faith will inspire readers.'

In Australia, there is less emphasis on military service than in many other countries, but we do still have people serving, and we have been involved in many conflicts. But for me, it was the faith of the main character who has inspired me to want to grow closer to God and walk with Him more and more.


Monday, 19 May 2014

ACRBA Tour - It's Just You and Me Lord by Marion Stroud


19th - 23rd  May 2014
is introducing

About the Book
Women are most likely to express their deepest thoughts to a trusted friend. At its best, prayer is simply that; a conversation with a friend who is never too tired, too busy or too pre-occupied to listen and respond.

From personal prayers to prayers about family,friends and the wider world, interweaved with Scripture and thought provoking quotes, this inspirational resource helps women of all ages to genuinely connect with God,and build and maintain a strong prayer life.

About the Author


Marion Stroud has written 3 children's books, and 23 non-fiction titles. She lives in Bedford UK the town in which John Bunyan wrote his famous Pilgrim's Progress. She is a cross cultural trainer for Media Associates International [www.littworld.org] which works to help Christian writers, editors and publishers write and publish culturally appropriate material in the 'spiritually hard places' of the world. You can contact Marion at www.marionstroud.com


 My Thoughts:
I read these books the wrong way around for the tour, so I haven't actually started reading this one yet. However, I'm really enjoying the other one (review to come next month).

The way I see it there are a few ways you can read this book.

One is to use it as a part of your daily devotional reading, particularly to direct part of your prayer time.

Another way is to use it as a tool when you don't know what to pray when faced with certain situations. The topics covered in this book are very wide and relevant for women (and men) in all stages of life, regardless of marital status or age.

However you decide to read this book, it will be worth it. You may get a different perspective on prayer, be encouraged in your walk with God, or find help in a time of need.

Monday, 5 May 2014

ACRBA Tour - Imogen's Chance by Paula Vince and Giveaway



5th - 9th  May 2014
is introducing

Imogen’s Chance
(Even Before Publishing April 2014)

By 

Paula Vince 

About the Book


She has given herself a chance to fix her personal history. But will old mistakes bring up new emotions?

Imogen Browne longs to make up for past mistakes before she can move on. She quietly resolves to help the Dorazio family, whose lives she accidentally upset. Her biggest challenge is Asher, the one person who may never forgive her. And he is facing a crisis of his own. Imogen must tread very carefully, as trying to fix things may well make them shatter.


A sensitive story about misplaced loyalty, celebrating life and falling in love. Can family secrets concealed with the best intentions bear the light of day?

About the Author

Paula Vince's youth was brightened by great fiction and she's on a mission to pay it forward. A wife and homeschooling mother, she loves to highlight the beauty of her own country in her stories. Most of them are set in the lovely Adelaide Hills, where she lives. Paula's books are a skillful blend of drama and romance. Together with elements of mystery and suspense, you will keep turning pages.


My Thoughts:
I'm in two minds as I talk about this book. For some people I would be reluctant on one hand to recommend it - those people are ones who are  currently physically suffering or are close to someone who is - and that's because this book may either give them hope or make their situation seem  hopeless. However, there are some real gems of wisdom, and this is my favourite:

'I want you to stay alive. If you die, I'll be a mess. I'm afraid of taking those words in the Bible as a definite promise of what God's going to do for you, though. He doesn't heal all that many people. If a body has cancer, it doesn't often go away. That's the law of nature.'
'It is a law, but higher laws can override it.'
'What are you talking about now?'
Well, gravity is a law, but an aeroplane overrides it by using a stronger law of aerodynamics. That's the sort of thing I mean. The law of sickness and disease is valid, as you say. So is the law of positive thinking. But neither of those laws is as great as the law of God's sovereign power. I believe he loves me. Then all I need to do is trust that he wants the best for me, and that he can bring it to pass. If that means overriding those other laws and healing me completely, then he'll do it.  If he doesn't, then for whatever reason, it wasn't the best. He knows more than we do.'

I've personally experienced this very thing with someone very close to me - my Dad. God did not heal him, but there are reasons. One has been that another person has chosen to live their life serving God through the example of my Dad. Other reasons may not be made known until we are all in heaven.

This is a well written book. The characters are real and so are the situations they are in.

I'm choosing to give away my copy of this book, because I believe there is someone out there who will benefit from reading it. So if you would like to enter the give away draw, please leave a comment on this post (Australian entries only due to postage costs) by 12th May 2014.