Isaiah's Daughter by Mesu Andrews

Isaiah's Daughter by Mesu Andrews is a Biblical story of a warring divided nation ruled by an evil king who mocks King David's legacy and leaves those faithful to Yahweh praying and clinging to Him. Affected by the war, Ishma, meaning desolation, is an orphaned Hebrew girl who is also a refugee after the war between Judah and Israel. Ishma comes to Isaiah's home as a household servant but is treated with love as a family member. She comes as a child who is full of fear and anxiety after watching the horrors of war take her parents. Yet, in a short time, she becomes friends with Prince Hezekiah. Through the years, they both grow and mature, and continue to love and serve Yahweh. Isaiah and Aya guide Ishma as she grows and matures, then adopt her, giving her a royal lineage fit for a king and change her name, as Yahweh instructs, to Hephzibah, meaning delight of the Lord.

Andrews has a gift for helping readers better understand the Old Testament Bible stories and the cultur…

A Voice Becoming by Beth Bruno

A Voice Becoming by Beth Bruno is a book designed to plan a year of coming of age for young women guided by their moms and other older women into living a life of purpose and meaning. I read A Voice Becoming with a sort of awe and I wondered what my life would have looked like if I had had this type of guidance and female role models.

A Voice Becoming is divided into three parts: The Art of Becoming Starts with Mom, A Scaffolding of Womanhood for Girls, and A Life Becoming. Throughout the book, Bruno shares her story, as well as the story of her family and her daughter, as they spent a year guiding one of her daughters into womanhood through a year of learning through experiences, discussions, and special events. Bruno set up a general plan for how their year would go and also tells you how you could guide a young woman of your own, while allowing room for personality differences to make the year special for any young woman. Bruno shares in the book that many cultures have coming of ag…

Finding Selah by Kristen Kill

Selah is one of those words that I have read in the Psalms, but I never quite understood it. In Finding Selah, Kristen Kill helped me learn just what this word means and how God can use Selah in our lives today. Throughout Finding Selah, she shares her story of growing her large family with her husband and how God also helped her find peace when she needed it.

I imagine many of us can relate to Kill's story. Our own lives have a different set of characters and set locations but many of us are beyond busy in caring for others and longing for peace in our lives. Early on in the book, Kill defines what Selah means. While she explains it several places so that we can apply it to our own lives, simply put, it is the pause between the notes in a song (psalm). For those who wrote the psalms, it was "a chance to stop and listen to the song God was singing over them." Kill learned to listen to God in the midst of her story and encourages readers to do the same. Kill says, "…

Death at Thorburn Hall by Julianna Deering

If you like British mysteries on PBS like Father Brown or reading mysteries by Agathie Christie or Dorothy Sayers, I imagine you will like the Drew Fathering series by Julianna Deering. Death At Thorburn Hall is the sixth book in the series.

In Death at Thorburn Hall, Drew Fathering is in Scotland for the 1935 British Open at Muirfield. He is looking for rest and holiday with his wife, but instead finds himself caught up in a mystery. When their host, Lord Rainsby, is killed in a suspicious riding accident, Drew digs to find out who had motives to kill Lord Rainsby. As with many mysteries, there were several guests with motives for killing him. Drew must sort through them all to figure out "whodunit." Of course, the killer, keeps one step ahead throughout much of the book to keep the reader guessing.

I grew up reading Nancy Drew mysteries and enjoyed reading various other mysteries. I also grew up in a golfing family so with this book set at the British Open, I thought it m…

Live Lagom:Balanced Living, The Swedish Way by Anna Brones

Live Lagom. Last year the buzz was all about Hygge--the Danish way of enjoying the simple things in life. Balanced Living the Swedish Way is a similar concept in Lagom.

Live Lagom, according to Brones, is a challenge for you to think about slow living. She says, "a slow life is an intentional life, one that doesn't take too much or cause any harm, and one that focuses on the essential." Live Lagom is divided into four sections: work, home, health and environment. Brones explains how Lagom in each area with lots of tips to live more simply and more mindfully. 

I enjoyed Live Lagom. I did learn what the Swedish lifestyle and culture was like. At the same time, the tips weren't really anything I didn't already know, as someone who reads a fair amount of books and articles on simple, healthy living. However, I did enjoy the recipes: Swedish Rye Bread, Dill Marinated Cucumber, Swedish Cheesecake and a few more. At the same time, I wish the book had an index or a list …

Your Best Year Ever by Michael Hyatt

While most of us make New Year's resolutions, the reality is that many of us don't actually keep those resolutions. Then, we may end up frustrated and just floating along through the year. I know I have "been there and done that" in the past. I want 2018 to be different and I imagine that you do too.

Your Best Year Ever from Michael Hyatt mixes practical advice and how to apply it with encouraging personal stories. Hyatt breaks the goal setting process down to five action steps that are easy to follow and understand. Each step contains three chapters and explains all of the details necessary to easily complete the steps. Then, at the end of each spelled-out step, there is a summary page with each of the five steps clearly laid out with directions to follow to make the plan your own. The back of the book also contains templates to use to lay out your goals.

Michael Hyatt's offers concrete advice on achieving goals in all areas of your life through his new book, Yo…

CSB Notetaking Bible from Holman Bible Publishers

The new CSB Notetaking Bible from Holman publishers is just gorgeous at first glance. While it is more important to read your Bible than look at it, this Bible just invites me to pick it up and read it--and journal in it.

While the print is 8 point type and not real large in this Bible, it does boast a single column text with 1.75 inch margins for notetaking. It is also not real large, at 8 inches long by a little over 6 inches wide and 1 1/2 inches thick, so it would be great to carry to church for sermon or Bible study notes. It is also a beautiful Bible for those who enjoy Bible art journaling. The pages aren't real thick but they would work great for colored pencils or using gesso to treat the pages for using markers or paints that would bleed through.The Bible has some great extras--a concordance, Bible maps, and a one-year reading plan. The CSB stays as literal as possible to the Bible's original meaning without sacrificing clarity, making it easier to engage with Scr…