Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Harvest of Rubies by Tessa Afshar

"Harvest of Rubies" by Tessa Afshar is the story of Sarah, a young Jewish woman, who becomes an accomplished scribe to gain the approval of her father.  The tale is set during the reign of King Artaxerxes of Persia where it is highly unusual for women to be able to read, lest write and keep accounting records.

Sarah becomes the senior scribe for Queen Damaspia, where she is able to foil a plot designed to completely erode the already strained relationship between the Queen and Amestris, the Queen Mother.  As her "reward", Sarah is given in marriage to a young lord, Darius, who has no desire to be with his new bride as a result how she "presents" herself at the wedding ceremony.

Of course, Darius does not remain indifferent to his bride, but if I told you more about this story, you wouldn't have to read it yourself!

I thought this was a truly enjoyable story.  There were so many times that I could really "feel" Sarah's gut-wrenching embarrassment and her pain of feeling unworthy and unloved.  The beauty of the book is Sarah's growing relationship with God, and how He was able to fill the void in her heart which allowed her to love and to be lovable.

This book was great and I could hardly put it down.  If you enjoy historical fiction, I would highly encourage you to pick up a copy for yourself.  I myself can hardly wait to read more from Ms. Afshar.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a free copy of this book by Moody Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

10 Great Dates by Larson & Arp

How well do you know your spouse?  How satisfied are you with your relationship?

"10 Great Dates" by couples Peter & Heather Larson and David & Claudia Arp explore the concept of how rewarding a marriage is with the relationship between spiritual closeness and emotional closeness in marriages.  These two couples come from different places in their life journeys to help couples gain a new level of intimacy in their marriages through "10 great dates".

Before the dates, you and your spouse each would read a chapter in the book that focuses on these topics:
  1. Connecting faith an love;
  2. Appreciating your differences;
  3. Experiencing God together;
  4. Getting into the Word;
  5. Loving your closest neighbor (not those that live next door...);
  6. Talking together with God;
  7. Building your marriage on a strong foundation;
  8. Facing the storms of life together;
  9. Guarding your hearts under God's canopy;
  10. Making your marriage a lighthouse.
During the "date", you each have an opportunity to answer questions on conveniently provided questionnaires that stimulate a deeper level of conversation than what most of us share unless we are truly being purposeful.

Although my husband and I have not yet gone on our first "date", I will say that it does take a commitment from both parties.  One cannot cram this idea down the other's throat and there must be a mutual willingness.  I do believe that this book has some very worthwhile ideas and think that even if you aren't able to do all 10 dates, there is value in any that you can do.

My nephew and his fiance are getting married next week.  I'll be getting a copy of this book to include in their gift.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a free copy of this book by Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion.


Sunday, September 1, 2013

My Mama & Me: Rhyming Devotions for You & Your Child by Crystal Bowman & Teri McKinley

Although I don't have small children anymore, I really wanted to review the newest book by Crystal Bowman & Teri McKinley called "My Mama & Me: Rhyming Devotions for You and Your Child".

This book is beyond delightful.  It is a simple way to share God with your little one(s).  Each devotion includes a Bible verse, a creative and fun rhyming devotion, a simple prayer that relates to the devotion as well as a fun idea that mama and child can do together.  Together with the sweet illustrations, this book makes me wish my children were little again!

So, even though I don't have small children, both of them thought the book was adorable.  In addition, my daughter (who is 12) has put this book in with her baby-sitting "gear" to share with children (with parental approval) she watches.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a free copy of this book by Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion.