Thursday, October 28, 2010


I just finished reading the book, Masquerade, by Nancy Moser. On the pages of this book, I found two very different girls. Charlotte Gleason finds out that her family's wealth has been lost, and her father has been named for his indescretions. In order for Charlotte to be provided for in the way she is accustomed, her parents sent her across the ocean to New York City to marry into a prestigious and wealthy family. Her ladies maid, who had also become a close friend, agreed to accompany Charlotte on the trip. Charlotte does not want to be told who to marry and contrives a plan to switch places with her maid/traveling companion, Dora Conners. Dora agrees to the plan and both girls find themselves in situations they could never have imagined.

This was not a book that really grabbed my attention in the first few chapters. The story line was nothing new at first. It was the usual rich family loses their wealth type beginning. However, as I continued to read I was pulled in by the plot. Masquerade never did become the type of book you just can't put down, but I did change my original impressions as I continued to read. The characters for the most part were well-developed and some had unexpected qualities that I did not originally foresee. There were some moments that caught me off-guard during the story, as well as some predictability. Overall, however, I do think Masquerade was an enjoyable book to read. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Within My Heart

Once again Bethany House has published another great fiction book. I have not read a lot by Tamera Alexander, but what I have read I have thoroughly enjoyed. This book, Within My Heart, is no exception. Set during the late 1800s, Within My Heart, is the story of a young widow. Rachel is struggling to keep her ranch from going under. Her two young sons are her motivation. She loves her town of Timber Ridge and the people in it. However, the one man she wishes to avoid seems determined to cross her path at every turn. The financial insecurity, death of a close friend, scare of an epidemic, and fear of losing her two sons draw her closer to her Savior and the one man she never dreamed she could love.

This book had my attention from the first page. I was transported back in time and felt like I was there in Timber Ridge. Not only did I feel like I was a part of Rachel's life, but the many secondary characters as well. The fears, laughter, insecurities, love, and frustrations became a part of me as I read. Most of all, I felt the trust Rachel had in her Savior even when her flesh was weak. I had a hard time putting this book down in order to tend to other responsibilities and was kept reading until late at night long after I should have been in bed. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good fiction book. Tamera Alexander will be added to my list of favorite authors. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Strategically Small Church

Brandon J. O'Brien uses his book, The Strategically Small Church, to show that the size of a church does not necessarily indicate the success of the ministry. He focuses on the fact that a small church often has more to offer than a mega church. In today's society we have been trained to think that bigger is better. O'Brien seeks to retrain our thinking when it comes to the local church. He gives examples of small churches and their unique ministries and how those ministries have great potential for advancing Christ's kingdom. Specific dos and don'ts are not the purpose of this book. Every congregation is different. O'Brien uses the words "strategically small" on purpose. Even large churches can accomplish having a "small" church. These large churches need to analyze and learn from the strategies of small churches.

I found this to be a very interesting book. Having been in small churches all my life, I can identify with the mindset of wanting to grow numerically. I appreciate the real-life examples of small churches and how effective they are because of their size. I also like the fact that there are examples of large churches that have learned to become "strategically small." While I don't necessarily agree with everthing in this book, I can agree that Christians need to retrain their thinking. Bigger does not always mean better. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Monday, October 11, 2010

City On Our Knees

Toby Mac has used the words from his song City on Our Knees as the theme for his book City on Our Knees. The book has four sections and each section's title comes from a phrase in the song. In each section Toby Mac has written short stories of men, women, and children who have given of themselves, their time, resources, or money in order to further Christ's Kingdom. These are stories of real men and women like us that lived hundreds of years ago as well many who are still living today. All of these people have made a difference by using the talents, positions, and resources that God has given them. Some of the stories had huge widespread results, while others worked to change one small corner, but throughout each story the reader can see how God uses ordinary people to help change the world. At the end of each section Toby Mac uses that sections theme to challenge the reader.

This is a very inspiring book. It was interesting to read the many different stories and the effects these people had in many ways and places. It will help you realize that there is so much more we as individuals can do to advance the kingdom of Christ. I appreciate the challenge at the end of each section. Toby Mac causes you to think about what you are already doing or what you can do to make a difference in the lives of others. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.