The Last Way Home By Liz Johnson

Eli is forced to return home after leaving in anger 11 years ago in an argument with his brother.  His budding NHL career is in shambles and shame.  He has nowhere else to go. There is more to his story than is being told. Violet has become a very loved and important part of the family.  She has untold secrets too.  She is very suspicious of him, his motives and possibly breaking his mother’s heart again. Neither believes they can be loved and forgiven because of their failures.

His big return home coincides with his mother’s and Violets beloved pottery business being destroyed by fire.   As he steps in to help his family (who other than his mother or not very happy to see him) his and Violet’s relationship begins to grow. 

This is such a beautiful story of forgiveness and healing, not only between family members but also with God. It isn’t an easy path the character’s move along but you can clearly see the Lord working in what they see as impossible situations to bring about His will.

I loved Eli’s personality, so fun loving, cheerful and compassionate; totally the opposite of Violet’s in the beginning.  The story shows that no failure is so great that God cannot bring good and blessings out of it.  That many times by caring the burden alone we keep the Lord from helping us and make our pain greater.  

I love Ms. Johnson’s books and romance always is done in good taste.  It is this time also but I found some the romantic moments and bit long and rather extreme in passion for my taste. I found myself skimming through those parts.   All in all another great book from the author! 

I received this book from LibraryThing and Revell Publishing in exchange for an honest review.  The opinions stated are my own.

Falling Apart, Falling for You By Chris Posti

I was so happy to see a book about much older women!   I love the ones about youth but how refreshing to one about ladies my age and their experiences and perspectives!

I have not been to a high school reunion since I graduated 40 years ago.  My classmates are frozen in my mind from that time.  I still picture them as 17 and 18.  For four decades they have lived, changed and have an entire different life I know nothing about. 

Suzanne, Marla and Rachel are 3 high school friends that reunite for their 40th reunion for the first time since graduation.  Their lives have taken them on vastly diverse paths.  The old bonds are still there but they are very different women.

Susanne has lost her career of 19 years.  Rachel who has spent her life being a homemaker has suddenly lost her husband. (I related most to Rachel). Marla a highly successful, famous, professional has just sold her multi-million dollar business.  Each of these women facing loss, albeit unalike, still they must make many choices to refine their futures and new identities.  This was one of their many challenges I could relate now and as I neared my senior years.

Not only was it interesting for me to catch up on their pasts, but to have the full picture of how their lives had changed and been impacted since their teens.  Each woman was at a different level in her faith walk with God.  I loved watching them mature in the Lord with the challenges they were dealt.  Marla’s generosity and gifts to her friends was such fun to be a part of, like a fairy tale especially Rachel.  No matter what their level of success or how their lives had unfolded, each one had something special to offer each other and their community.  I look forward to reading book 2 of the series!! 

I received this book free from the author in exchange for an honest review.  The opinions I have stated are my own.

Cinched Companion Workbook: Applying 10 Lessons from Rahab to Our Lives Today By Kristine Brown

I am very picky about study guides that go with the books I read, and for a good reason.  I need them to be user friendly and help me study what I have learned. Some have too much in them to the point I struggle to work through them.  Others have just “fluff” lots of questions but no real meat to grasp and apply.  This one is just right! Ms. Brown has done a fantastic job!

The first plus I saw was that there is lots of room to write your thoughts, and answers.  When I study I like to record not only what I learn but also those special insights from the Lord.  Two or three blank lines are not enough for me.

Secondly there are numerous scripture references for each of the 10 lessons.  This is a must on my list.  How can I apply what I learn and seek the Lord without His Word?

Third, her questions are very thought provoking and prompt personal self-examination.  I dislike study guides that ask a lot of obvious questions. It makes me feel like I am doing busy work instead of learning.   This workbook is a guide for the reader to go even deeper looking into where their trust in God truly stands.

I received this book free from the author in exchange for an honest review.  The opinions I have stated are my own.

Cinched: Living with Unwavering Trust in an Unfailing God By Kristine Brown

This book came at a perfect time for me.  I am the queen of “what ifs” and my mind runs into crazy cycles of what catastrophic things could befall me or my loved ones.  Ms. Brown story humbled me and made me ashamed of my emotional “drama” I have been spinning over my minor health issues compared to her breast cancer diagnosis. 

With many Bible stories we become familiar with them through a lifetime of hearing and reading.  It becomes easy to miss the fact that these were real people who lived in that moment and the lessons God wants us to learn. So it was with me and Rahab’s story.  The author not only brought her to life for me but awakened me to all her possible emotions, doubts and fears she experienced.  Not at all different from my own.

This in turn led me to take a deeper look into my life when the future is unknown and frightening.  What stood out most is that I had not considered before was Rahab’s great faith and trust in God.  She staked her life and that of her family on a handful of men who promised to keep them safe when the city was invaded.  Yes she believed they would be true to their word, but foremost her trust was in God.  Did she worry; wonder if she made the right choice, struggle at following their commands?  I would say she did, just as I do when the future is filled with unknowns. 

At the end of each chapter are 2 sections: “Untying Old Habits” and “Living it Out”. The first is a prayer and focuses realizing the destructive patterns we fall into when confronted with problems.  The proverbial “old shoes” we slip into.  By identifying these we can begin to make God’s truths a part of our hearts and minds.  The second poses questions or suggestion on how we might personally apply the concepts we have learned.

I found this book very inspirational.  I feel it has helped me to not only recognize where I fall short in trusting God but also in changing my way of thinking and emotional choices.

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.  The opinions stated are my own.