Psalms of Praise: A Movement Primer by: Danielle Hitchen

Psalms of Praise: A Movement PrimerPsalms of Praise: A Movement Primer by Danielle Hitchen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14

With outstretched arms, you and your child will be praising God with action and words. A primer book that will instill worship in the youngest of hearts. And yes! Babies can worship because they are in awe of anything new and especially you as a parent that loves that child, they will have a heart of worship that can last a lifetime.

Going thru the Psalms with action and a verse is a wonderful way to spend time with your child and with our Father! I will be getting these books for my own grandchildren and I recommend that you should too.

A Special Thank You to Harvest House Publishers and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

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Between Me and You by: Allison Win Scotch

Between Me and YouBetween Me and You by Allison Winn Scotch
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

All the ways that love goes wrong, then all the ways it corrects itself. When you stop seeing each other and begin to see the other in all their faults and vulnerabilities.

A love story that is magnified of its vulnerabilities in the backdrop of Hollywood. Tatum a rising star that rose to the top with her husband Ben’s writing. A part that was made for her. Tatum has acted all her life. As a coping mechanism, she gets in her roles and becomes her roles. Her husband Ben sees thru her and the past she has overcome. Ben has his own issues with a overbearing father. Never good enough to be enough. Love begins to fall apart when insecurities become what drives the other.

With their own voices, you hear their pain, insecurities, failures and their own triggers that affect their relationships. Tatum with her alcoholic father. Ben dealing with the loss of his father and the responsibility he feels with his drug addict brother. Together, they begin to drift apart driven by secrets and coping with reality.

A raw look at being vulnerable in a sense that love needs to be seen in the ugly and the good. To take the ugly and make something beautiful. Ben and Tatum each tell their story in full circle that can be confusing and at times exhausting but love always comes full circle. A never ending circle.

Caution: Strong language (true Hollywood backdrop)
Surprisingly the sex gauge is low.

A Special Thank you to Lake Union Publishing and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

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The Daniel Dilemma: How to Stand Firm and Love Well in a Culture of Compromise by: Chris Hodges

The Daniel Dilemma: How to Stand Firm and Love Well in a Culture of CompromiseThe Daniel Dilemma: How to Stand Firm and Love Well in a Culture of Compromise by Chris Hodges
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Rating 3.5 Stars

The focus of Daniel’s Dilemma for us is culture. The coal of changing ones identinty, the test of true worship, and the greatest sin of pride. The balance of self-reliance and being humble with humility. These are all that Daniel faced in his day and that we are in our own day.

While reacquainting myself with Daniel and reflecting the challenges that Christians face today, I thought of the phrase how is God relevant in my life? This question leads to pragmatism and consumerism mind set. The question needs to be asked how am I relevant to God. I don’t think Daniel was basing his life on God’s relevance but his courage came from his closeness to God. Knowing the word and praying 3 times a day is well documented in the scriptures. However, when we see God as creator, we see ourselves relevant to the will of God and we can say with confidence not my will but yours. I don’t say this lightly because it is all based on how closely am I connected to the word of God. This was strongly encouraged in this text by numbering our days.

But the real reason for the this text is how we can more faithful to the will of God and still love others that will disagree.

The text comes in 3 parts

Culture’s Greatest Impact: Confused Identities. I think the whole book could have been written with this and is such an important aspect of Christianity and the culture. The culture has honed in the word identity. With #blacklivesmatter, #metoo #iamsam . All these issues deal with identity and believe it or not Christianity as much to say on identity. We are created in the image of God. Daniel understood his identity in that. There was no debate.

Culture’s Greatest Test: Who Will I Worship We are tested in this everyday. By how we live, how we love, what we value. Daniel was tested in this very thing and his example is straightforward and intentional. He knew whom he served. Do I?

Culture’s Greatest Question: Who is in Charge of my life? . Pride is in each one of us and God has given us the example of Nebuchadnezzar. His pride led to his defeat. We see this time and time again. What is the antidote of pride. Reliance on God. Again, knowing our days our numbered and how are we using them.

Culture’s Greatest Culprit: Unfocused and Busy Lives. There is so much that takes us away from being focused and focusing on what really matters. We all know this. A divided heart will never know the closeness of the Lord until it knows the Lord is all there is. Daniel did not blame his circumstances but prayed for the Glory of God and all would be know his Glory.

Culture’s Greatest Need: Truth and Grace Connecting before correcting is the key to this part. Building relationships not on what we know but how we care.

All in all this was a reminder of influencing the culture and not being swept away from the culture.

A Special Thank You to Thomas Nelson and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

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Everything Here Is Beautiful by: Mira T. Lee

Everything Here Is BeautifulEverything Here Is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Love is everything. But now, I think love is just romantic way of explaining selflessness.

It is beautiful. I didn’t do the ugly cry or even a tear but this story gripped me. Lucia’s story. It is a mix of culture, travel, sisterhood, love and mental illness.

Lucia and Miranda are sisters. They are Chinese Americans and before their mother died, Miranda was given the task to watch out for her sister. Lucia is restless and always searching for something. She is well liked and like a child without walls. Miranda is reserved but loyal.

The narration is done in different voices and each voice has a different rhythm. It is strong in character and the plot is driven by their relationship with Lucia.

One of those voices is Yonah. A Jewish shop keeper whom Lucia married. He was the easy going and loved life. Always saying how everything was beautiful; he was in his own reality. Their marriage was carefree and happy until Lucia started listening to the voices in her head. It is then she left and met Manuel. Another voice

Manuel met Lucia at the Laundromat in New York. Manual was in New York illegally from Ecuador always looking over his shoulder wondering if he was going to be deported. Their relationship in many ways was the same as their conditions. Him living in fear of deportation and her of having control of her life in spite of the voices. When their daughter was born, it came to Lucia’s undoing. This lead to another voice

Lucia was sent to the mental hospital. It is the hospital where there are many voices that you come to know Lucia in a deeper way and the illness that she suffers from. The agony of losing control of your life and how it affects the people that love you.

Each of these voices give credence to mental illness and the guilt that comes with it. Even though it was tragic in many ways, there was hope as well. I think that was how it drew me in. Highly recommend this to those that love a human interest story and the tragedy of mental illness.

A Special Thank You to Penguin Group and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

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The City of God and the Goal of Creation: An Introduction to the Biblical Theology of the City of God by: T. Desmond Alexander

The City of God and the Goal of Creation: “An Introduction to the Biblical Theology of the City of God” by T. Desmond Alexander
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For those who are united to Jesus Christ, eternal life begins here and now, as does citizenship of the city that will one day be created by God on a renewed earth. Jesus challenges his followers to look forward in faith, to pray and work for the spread of God’s rule here and now. They are to exercise true humility, remembering that they have been redeemed from evil only by the grace of God and not by their own achievements or piety. They are to witness to an alternative worldview that promotes belief in a Creator God, highlighting the inadequacy of a purely materialistic view of human existence. They are to be peacemakers, reconciling those who are alienated, especially from God. They are to make disciples of Jesus Christ extending God’s kingdom throughout the world through self-sacrificial love.

There is a question we must ask. What kingdom are we building? If we are building are own kingdom, we are likened by the City of Babylon. What this text does it teaches on the significance of Babylon and the contrast of building the Kingdom of God.

It always starts at the beginning. God’s original creation plan – to live with his creation. Not for his need but for his enjoyment and our good. Looking at cities, we see not only the what but the why.

Chapter 1 The Godless City
Chapter 2 The Temple City
Chapter 3 The Holy Mountain City
Chapter 4 The Royal City
Chapter 5 Envisaging a Transformed Jerusalem
Chapter 6 Hope for Jerusalem Beyond Divine Judgment
Chapter 7 Seeking the City that is to Come
Chapter 8 Anticipating New Jerusalem

Each of these chapters reflect our need for God first by reflecting a Godless city. What is worship and what is rule. All this transforms the heart of believers to sacrificial love and mercy. Not a pie in the sky ideal but a defeat of evil that testifies to God’s mercy and love.

A unique bible study.

A Special Thank You to Crossway Publishing and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

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The Wife Between Us by: Greer Hendricks

The Wife Between UsThe Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was happy I think, but I wonder now if my memory is playing tricks on me. If it is giving me the gift of an illusion. We all layer them over our remembrances, the filters through which we want to see our lives.

I cannot give anything away but just this…there is a twist. Nothing is what it seems. It is calculated emotional baggage. A marriage that is an illusion of bliss but is actually controlled. A woman who does not know the trap she is in until she takes control. Is she insane or does she lose herself in the deceit.

A husband who has it all. Who is attentive, generous, but to what gain.

The narrative is engaging because you know enough until you know it all.

Marriage is never what it seems.

A Special Thank You to St. Martin’s Press and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

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Lie to Me by: J.T. Ellison

Lie to MeLie to Me by J.T. Ellison
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

None of it was adding up. It was like trying to solve a puzzle whose pieces came from different boxes.

A wife disappears leaving just a note not to look for her. A husband is beside himself. He knows it looks bad. A newby detective that believes there is something more.

Sutton and Ethan Montclair’s have it all. Each successful authors and each with secrets. A build up of secrets that come unraveled and a marriage that becomes exposed. When Sutton disappears, Ethan must find his wife before he is charged for any wrong doing. With Sutton’s friends pointing fingers and the media at Ethan’s door, will he find what happened to his wife.

The narration is starts with a confession. You don’t know who is confessing but you know that a plan to destroy lives is taking place. Ethan takes the narration as he describes his marriage and how it fell apart. Sutton takes over as the pieces come together.

Without giving to much away. It reminds me of Gone Girl but with a twist. A baby that mysteriously dies and the reader not knowing the whole story until the very end. A prose that leaves a trail of secrecy, deceit and ultimately a game changer that you don’t see coming.

A Special Thank You to Harlequin and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

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