Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Book Review: Your Beautiful Purpose

Your Beautiful Purpose
By Susie Larson
Bethany House, 2013
English,  240 pgs

Popular Radio Host Shows Women How to Embrace God's Unique Call for Their Life

Listeners to Susie Larson's radio show and women she meets at events across the country tell her the same thing: I want to do something meaningful for God, but I don't know what to do, or how.

Drawing on her own hard-earned experiences, Larson shows readers how to overcome insecurities, busyness, and other obstacles in order to focus their gifts and passions on their unique God-assignment. With biblical insights and inspiring stories from a variety of women, this action-oriented guide will speak to every woman who has felt a nudge from God--from the visionary who wants to end poverty to the empty-nest mom who feels called to help the young single mother next door.

From the Back Cover

Let God Breathe a Fresh Purpose Into Your Soul

We so want each day to matter--to serve God in big and small ways. But how, especially when everyday responsibilities, work, fears, and other obstacles get in the way?

Like a trusted friend, Susie Larson shares practical, scriptural ways to overcome whatever keeps us from living fully in God's will. Susie will help you learn to:

- Discern the best use of your time and gifts

- Confidently pursue God's unique desires for you

- Stretch your faith and deepen your impact

Respond today to that nudge in your spirit--that desire to use your gifts and passions more fully in God's work. Lay down lesser commitments and lay hold of God's beautiful purpose for your life.

Includes a study guide for personal or group use. A DVD study companion is also available separately.

Susie Larson is a popular radio show host, national speaker, and author. She has a passion to see women everywhere strengthened in their faith and mobilized to live out their high calling in Jesus Christ. Susie and her husband live near Minneapolis, Minnesota.
I have spent the past 10 days in this book, devouring what Susie has to say, studying the questions at the end of each chapter. I have found so many good nuggets of truth. So much so that I've been driving my husband a little crazy! "You have to hear this!" "Read this paragraph!" Even though it's primarily written toward women, he's going to read it now that I'm done with it, just so he can share in the enthusiasm for God that I've picked up from reading this!

The book has 12 chapters, divided into 6 sections. They are just the right length for reading one a day for personal study, but they can also be done one a week with a group study. There are questions for personal study as well as group discussion starters at the end of each chapter.

The 6 sections are: Embrace Your Purpose, Trust God's Timing, Hear God's Voice, Believe God's Word, Walk By Faith and Take New Territory. It's incredibly exciting to progress through the book.

I have been journaling along with reading and doing the questions. There are so many things to think about in the book. From dealing with past hurts, understanding what it means to be called by God, trusting that we're in the season we are in (that's another part of the book) because God has a beautiful plan in His mind and we're just waiting and watching and praying while it unfolds within us.

One personal challenge I've been working on overcoming is finding a dream from God, for His purposes. I'm trusting that there is one He has for me and I'm opening my heart and ears for it.

I received a copy of the book from Bethany House in exchange for a review. No additional compensation has been received and I was not required to write a positive review.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Book Review: The Tutor's Daughter

The Tutor's Daughter
By Julie Klassen
Bethany House, 2013
English, 416 pgs

Emma Smallwood, determined to help her widowed father regain his spirits when his academy fails, agrees to travel with him to the distant Cornwall coast, to the cliff-top manor of a baronet and his four sons. But after they arrive and begin teaching the younger boys, mysterious things begin to happen and danger mounts. Who does Emma hear playing the pianoforte, only to find the music room empty? Who sneaks into her room at night? Who rips a page from her journal, only to return it with a chilling illustration?

The baronet's older sons, Phillip and Henry, wrestle with problems--and secrets--of their own. They both remember Emma Smallwood from their days at her father's academy. She had been an awkward, studious girl. But now one of them finds himself unexpectedly drawn to her.

When the suspicious acts escalate, can the clever tutor's daughter figure out which brother to blame...and which brother to trust with her heart?

I enjoyed this more than I have enjoyed a Christian romance in a while. I liked the suspense aspect of the story. I thought the author did a good job setting up the surprises with clues in the story (now that I've finished it, I can see clearly where she did so) and the romance part of the story isn't overly mushy.

I like that Emma is a strong, smart woman. Especially in comparison with Lady Weston and Lizzie. I like that she is learning about herself at the same time as the reader. It's fun to watch her grow and realize her heart.

The Westons are interesting. Lord Weston is weak and doesn't at all seem in control of his family or estate. The sons are so diverse and really well developed as characters. Even the secondary characters in the story (house maid, steward, local miscreant) are well done.

As for the story itself, I don't want to give too much away. It's suspenseful and satisfying. It's heartwarming and will leave you breathless in some parts.

The only negative I have is toward the ending. The characters who cause the most harm are not dealt with in any way. They're "punished" by the family instead of the law, which was often the case in this time period, but I was left wanting more.

I received a copy of the book from Bethany House for the purpose of a review. No additional compensation has been received and I was not required to write a positive review.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Book Review: Who Do You Think You Are?

Who Do You Think You Are?
By Mark Driscoll
Thomas Nelson, 2013
English, 256 pgs

How you answer those questions affects every aspect of your life: personal, public, and spiritual. So it’s vital to get the answer right.

 I don't really have anything bad to say about this book. It's well researched and written and very applicable to life. I just didn't find anything terribly special about it either. I almost feel like Driscoll is cashing in with a book that he spit out in a week or something. He's starting to be too public and too loud about what he feels is the way to live and be and worship. He seems to be getting divisive in his public image and it's making me not really want to read his books. I had to force myself to read enough of this to get an opinion and I stopped as soon as I had one.

I received a copy of the book in exchange for a review. No additional compensation has been received and I was only required to be honest.