Monthly Archives: February 2014

Review of “Kisses From Katie” and A Giveaway!

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I remember the first time I saw a copy of Kisses From Katie; it was in a Christian Book Distributors catalog my family and I routinely get through the mail.

For some reason, as I flipped through the pages, my eyes landed on the cover and my heart was touched. Now I’m not one who usually judges a book by its cover.

Maybe that is why it took two years for me to finally come across a copy of Kisses From Katie at my local library. And there, in the midst of the novels and inspirational titles I brought home, was a story of love, redemption, and growth.

In Kisses From Katie, I met a girl who never imagined that she would live in Uganda, or that she would be a young, unwed mother to more than a dozen children, or that she would be a missionary.

Yet when God wrecked her life, she left it behind. Or in the words of Katie Davis, she “quit” it.

The story of Katie Davis is the story of a young woman who was called by God, not to follow the high and lofty dreams of her own heart, but to obey, to go, to serve.

When I read Katie’s story, I cried.

Not because it was depressing, but because it was encouraging, beautiful, inspiring. Because I want to be like Katie Davis.

But really, I just want to be the hands and feet of Christ.

That doesn’t mean I’m leaving for Africa, or that I’m making plans to be a vocational missionary, or that I’m adopting children from across the globe. What I learned in Kisses From Katie, was that no matter where I am, God has me here for His glory. And wherever I am, there are people I can serve.

My “Africa” is across the street and down the road, when I take the time to show others I care deeply.

That is why when a friend asked me, right before my twenty-first birthday if I had read Kisses From Katie, I answered yesAnd when she asked, “Wasn’t it life-changing?”, I nodded, because it was the best book I read in 2013. I would give Kisses From Katie an “A+”.

I would like to share with you a snippet of Kisses From Katie:

“Remember, God will never give you more than you can handle.”

People repeat this frequently; I heard it when I was growing up and I hear it now. It is meant to be a source of encouragement, and it would be if I believed it were true.

But I don’t.

I believe that God totally, absolutely, intentionally gives us more than we can handle. Because this is when we surrender to Him and He takes over, proving Himself by doing the impossible in our lives.

If you would like to donate, or find out more about Katie’s ministry, Amazima, and the work they do among the poor, orphans, and abandoned in Uganda, click here.

About the Giveaway:

Today is The Nerdy Bookworm’s first anniversary! To honor this special event, I have decided to host a Giveaway, and what better way to celebrate, than to give a copy of my personal favorite from 2013?

One winner will receive a hardcover copy of the New York Times Bestseller, Kisses From Katie by Katie Davis. The winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter.

Please click through the link below to earn entries, and be sure to share with your friends!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Review of “Soul Surfer”

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I have to admit, I had never heard of Bethany Hamilton  until three years ago, when one of my favorite actresses, Anna Sophia Robb, was portraying her in a film called Soul Surfer

“I have a mostly normal life.”

It wasn’t until last year that I finally watched the film, which is enjoyable, even despite Carrie Underwood’s horrible acting. (Note: the Soul Surfer film is a beach film, so expect bikinis. As for violence, if you are ok with Jaws, you’ll enjoy it.)

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A few months later, I came across Bethany’s book, which inspired the film, on the bargain rack at a Christian bookstore. I was interested to read her own account of the attack and her life, so I purchased it.

“It came, literally, out of the blue.”

To be honest, Soul Surfer is not the most well-written book I have ever read. But it is written by a fourteen-year-old, so I really can’t be too harsh.

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The story, however, is amazing. Bethany tells how her life was forever changed when, at the age of thirteen, she was attacked by a fourteen-foot tiger shark while surfing. She shares how God has been at work in her life, before and after the attack; how God brought her family to Hawaii; and how He has used her story to encourage others.

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Please do not let the title turn you off: I have never been surfing, and know absolutely nothing about surfing, but I found Soul Surfer to be an inspiring story, showing the Providence of God in Bethany’s life.

“Life is full of what-ifs. You can’t let it hold you back. If you do, you’re not really living at all.”

Parents should be aware that throughout the book there are photos from Bethany’s life, before and after her attack, some of them with her in potentially offensive swim suits. Also, while Bethany does describe the shark attack, it is not gratuitous or overly frightening.

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Overall, I found Soul Surfer to be an enjoyable, inspiring book. I would give the book a “B”, as the writing is not outstanding.

The copy I reviewed is the original 2004 printing. While I have not read it, I would recommend the 2011 movie tie-in printing, which is revised and expanded.

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Surprise!

Tomorrow is The Nerdy Bookworm’s first anniversary, so keep an eye out for a special announcement!

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Review of “How to Ruin Your Life By 30”

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With a title such as How to Ruin Your Life By 30, and a cover featuring a man with his head in a blender, I just couldn’t pass up this book by Steve Farrar.

As a twenty-something, I was intrigued. What mistakes might I be making right now that could potentially ruin my life in less than a decade? Quite a frightening thought!

Broken down into nine, easy-to-read, and informative chapters, Farrar walks readers through some of the bad decisions that people in their twenties are prone to make, yet are terribly destructive.

Covering topics as diverse as irresponsibility, isolation, and sex outside of marriage, Farrar gives fatherly wisdom, rooted in Scripture, and laced with touching stories from throughout history.

I was completely captivated by the amusing, yet deep lessons found in How to Ruin Your Life by 30, and read the entire book in one night. Don’t worry, it isn’t a hefty volume– rather an approachable 135 pages!

As a Christian twenty-something, I believe How to Ruin Your Life by 30 is one of the most insightful and encouraging books I have ever read, and I came away inspired to live my life fully, purposefully, wisely.

I would highly recommend How to Ruin Your Life by 30, especially for young people in their late teens and twenties. I would give the book an “A”.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Moody Publishers Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 .

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Review of “Restless”

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The very same day that I picked up a copy of Jennie Allen’s Anything on the bargain rack at my local Christian bookstore, I had the opportunity to review her new book Restless. And while I have not yet read Anything, I found myself unable to put down Restless. 

A book about dreams, calling, purpose, and bringing Glory to God, Restless touched my soul and gave me wings.

Through sharing her own personal life experiences, the stories of some of the people closest to her, and the Biblical account of the life of Joseph, Jennie encourages readers to take off the masks, face their fears, and embrace who God created us to be.

Using the analogy of “threads”, Restless helps you through the journey of identifying  your own gifts and passions, and how the darkest, most painful moments of our lives are often the moments God uses to shape us most.

There is no randomness in the Christian life. God works everything to the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28), always. Even when it hurts, even when we can’t understand why, God is there, creating something beautiful, for our good, and His Glory.

Overall, I found Restless to be a Biblically-sound and enriching book, that encouraged me to run whole-heartedly after God. I would give the book an “A”.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 .

 

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Review of “Spiritual Warfare”

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Update: Earlier today a faulty link was published, and I apologize to all my readers. Enjoy the review!

We live in a day when we are constantly bombarded by a plethora of views on Spiritual Warfare, with stances as varied as beliefs that there is no Satan, demons, angels, or hell, to an obsessive interest in Spiritual Warfare. Thus, I was unsure what to expect when I began reading Brian Borgman and Rob Ventura’s Spiritual Warfare. 

I was so pleased to find that Spiritual Warfare lived up to it’s subtitle, giving a Biblically sound and balanced view of the Spiritual battle that rages around us.

Securely grounded in Scripture, Borgman and Ventura’s Spiritual Warfare walks the reader through Ephesians 6:10-20, sharing many helpful anecdotes that gives historical context. One aspect of Spiritual Warfare that I especially appreciated was the amount of quotes incorporated by the authors. And for a relatively small book (only 124 pages) that is written in layman terminology, I was impressed by the number of footnotes.

The first Appendix in Spiritual Warfare should not be overlooked, as I found it to be the best discussion on Satan and the Sovereignty of God that I have ever read.

Overall, I found Spiritual Warfare to be an excellent and valuable piece of exposition. Easy to read and understand, yet solidly biblical, I would highly recommend it.

I would give the book an “A”.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Cross Focused Reviews bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 .

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Review of “Crazy Love”

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For several years I have heard about Francis Chan’s books, particularly Crazy LoveIt wasn’t until I read David Platt’s Follow Me, with a forward by Francis Chan, that I decided I should really find one of his books. Thankfully, my local library had a copy of Crazy Love, and I began reading.

I was completely unprepared for what I found. Crazy Love is a challenge to the ‘American Dream’ view of Christianity, and an encouragement to break free from the status quo and seek an authentic faith, a faith filled with deep intimacy with God.

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Throughout the book I felt like I was having a bucket of cold water poured over my head. Crazy Love is Chan’s wake-up call to a slumbering and paralytic church, inspiring and convicting all at once.

One theme throughout Crazy Love is do not assume you are good soil. Just because you go to church on Sunday and tithe doesn’t make you a Christian. What distracts us from Christ? What prevents us from being in love with Jesus?

I came away from Crazy Love encouraged to seek a passionate relationship with Christ, focusing on what He has for me to do, whatever or wherever that may be. I would highly recommend Crazy Love to anyone, and would give the book an “A”.

 

 

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