Thursday, December 8, 2016

What Am I Reading (December Edition)

It's been a while since I updated on what I've been reading, but boy have I been turning the pages.. I've got a few really great reads for you this month.

Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely by Lysa TerKeurst

This particular book really hit home with me.  Maybe you've felt alone and uninvited in a room filled with people? I know I have.  

Lysa TerKeurst writes from the heart as she describes the struggles that she's felt feeling alone and vulnerable even when surrounded by others.  She describes the feeling of rejection that stemmed from a broken home with a father that left her at an early age and the guilt she felt growing up feeling she was the root cause of why.  But Lysa also reminds us that no matter where we are or how we feel, the Lord is always with us and is always wanting us to be near him and to have a relationship with him regardless of any actions we might have taken to push him away.   

In the past, I've really tried to "get into" Lysa TerKeurst's teachings but something about her grates on me - however, I didn't feel that way reading this particular writing.  Maybe it's because it is a topic she feels very strong about, or that she put herself out there for her readers - there's a vunerability to this writing that many can relate to.  There's no deep philosophical preaching - just a rawness that touches the heart and makes you realize that even someone like Lysa TerKeurst can feel out of place and away from God at times.

I also highly recommend the video study that goes with this book.  Both are pretty amazing.

Spaceman: An Astronaut's Unlikely Journey to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe by Mike Massimino

Who hasn't thought at one point or another, especially as a child, of becoming an astronaut? I know
growing up, the unrealistic dream of flying in a space craft to realms unknown crossed my mind. Well, I never achieved that dream and as I got older, that dream was replaced by others (some also not met). Astronaut Mike Massimino also had that dream, spurred on by the first lunar landing and watching Neil Armstrong take those first steps on the moon's surface on a grainy black and white screen.   While other aspirations and life choices veered him off course from time to time, eventually all things led back to that dream.  In Spaceman, Massimino tells of the hardships, sacrifices and 
obstacles  he had to face in order to fulfill that dream.  He also talks of the heartbreaking losses of his fathers death as well as the Columbia disaster that killed 7 friends he trained with. Through it all, he learns that family doesn't necessarily mean related by blood.

Massimino is a great writer who brings humor with the heartache as he walks you through his education, astronaut training and two space flight to repair the Hubble telescope.  He talks of the disasters that rocked NASA and the Space program to the core and he speaks of how so many people along the way helped him to achieve his dreams, even when he didn't know what those dreams might be. 

The Ruby Moon by Trisha Priebe and Jerry B. Jenkins

In this delightful sequel to The Glass Castle, The Ruby Moon continues the story of Avery and the hidden thirteen year olds as she searches for her brother.  Geared for the young reader genre, both my daughter and myself found this book (along with the first in the Thirteen series) delightful.  

Ruby Moon picks up where The Glass Castle lets off, with Avery and the other orphaned thirteen year olds trying to discover the long lost heir as well as avoid detection by the King and Queen.  When situations arise that require the colony to relocate into the tunnels below the castle, Avery soon discovers that there is more to who she is and who her friends are than meets they eye.  Avery puts her life in danger in order to gain audience with the King by disguising herself as a boy in order to run in his race. 

Priebe and Jenkins are great at including both Biblical as well as life lessons in this story as we see growth with the main character.  Teenagers and preteens will both be able to relate to Avery's story and learn these lessons with her.  Overall, this is a great book that lacks and questionable material and would be suitable for readers around age 11 upward. 

A Primary Decision: A Novel (The Worthington Destiny) by Dr. Kevin Leman  and Jeff Nesbit

I am a huge fan of Dr Kevin Leman and his various non fiction selections on both relationships and
parenting but I was completely unaware that he had entered the fiction realm until I picked this book up and started reading.  

A Primary Decision is the third book in the Worthington Destiny series.  This series focuses on a wealthy family, the Worthingtons and the various skeletons hidden in the family's closet.  I had not read the two previous books of this series, which focus on the two bothers of the family.  

This book focuses on Sarah Worthington, the youngest and only female of the family.  Sarah is currently being vetted for the position of US Attorney General after being nominated by the current President, while also investigating government corruption that ultimately led to a bombing.  However, her investigation brings her face to face to many high ups in the government, as well as breaks open the secrets that the Worthington family has worked so hard to protect. 

There were times when I was a bit lost as to the back story, since I had not read the first two books, but the authors do a well enough job of filling in gaps as the story progresses to allow the reader to enjoy this book without the previous knowledge of the other two.  I could definitely recognize Dr Leman's "Birth Order" work as he and Nesbit weave together very believable characters and situations through their writing.   

Wild Montana Skies (Montana Rescue #1) by 

This is the first book of the series and it's a good one, building solid characters (both the main characters and the supporting characters) that will prove to be a great series in the long haul.  Warren does a great job making her supporting characters more than just background, helping the reader to relate to them along with Ben and Kacey so that as subsequent books in the series focuses more on those characters, readers will already be familiar with them as part of the story's whole.  The love story between Ben and Kacey is sweet and touching and the storyline between them is not forced, making it believable that the two can reconnect the way that they do as opposed to just throwing them together without a buildup.  The only character I could really do away with was Hollie, Ben's duet partner, as I thought her character felt almost as an afterthought and her behavior towards Kacey seemed very forced, in order to make some conflict.  

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I look forward to seeing how Susan May Warren builds upon the existing story and those of the supporting characters in the next installment. 

31 Women of the Bible: Who They Were and What We Can Learn from Them Today by Holman Bible Staff 

When reading the Bible, one comes face to face with the many men written about but the women tend
to take a backseat.  However, that's not to say there aren't many very important women among the scriptures.  There are - and there's plenty of lessons that can be learned from those women, even if they are mostly supporting characters. 

31 Women of the Bible gives the reader a easy to understand biography of 31 women found in both the Old and New Testaments.  Some names are very familiar such as Mary (Mother of Jesus) while others such as Gomer might be a mystery to even the most avid Bible reader. But each of these women and the way they lived their lives offer a great insight to who these women were and what we can learn from them today. 

This full color book offers profiles, discussion questions, and scripture references about each woman.  There's enough information given to whet the appetite in regards to each woman, even some discussion as to how each woman may have felt in regards to their situations.   

This book can be a great platform for launching an even more in depth study of each woman and will be a handy reference to have on hand when coming across each of these ladies during time with the scriptures. 

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