This blog uses affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Capital Gaines


Capital Gaines: Smart Things I Learned Doing Stupid Stuff is Chip Gaines' story of his journey in both life and business thus far. As half of the 'Fixer Upper' duo, co-owner of Magnolia Homes, and multiple other businesses, Chip is also a devoted husband and father.

Capital Gaines has plenty of business advice, but it is also Chip's personal story--he recounts his mistakes, the things he's learned along the way, and his bigger vision for his life. He shares his story in a conversational way, which resonated with me as a reader and as an entrepreneur. His overriding message is to not let a fear of failure cripple you, and to not let past mistakes stop you in your tracks. Also, don't hesitate to adjust and modify along the way as needed for health, happiness, and sanctity of family.

I enjoyed reading Chip's story, and find it to be a wonderful companion piece to his and Joanna's previous book. Chip manages to write a business/personal growth self-help book without being too business-y for the common reader. I appreciate his candor and his encouraging manner. Everyone needs a coach like Chip in their corner.

The publisher provided a review copy of Capital Gaines.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

A Plain Leaving


A Plain Leaving (The Sisters of Lancaster County) by Leslie Gould is an Amish story that begins The Sisters of Lancaster County series.

Jessica Bachmann returns home for her father's funeral after leaving her Amish community three years prior. As she struggles to adjust and to figure out where her life is going, she learns about her ancestor  Ruby Bachmann, who faced a similar struggle back during Revolutionary War times. As the parallel stories are told, I found myself connecting to the characters more and more. This unique novel is compelling with beautifully developed characters and an intriguing plot.

I enjoyed the historical aspect of Ruby's story, as well as the way the author dealt with the family turmoil. These elements along with the surprising way the story is told--with Jessica and Ruby's points-of-view juxtaposed--add to the uniqueness of this novel. A Plain Leaving leaves you guessing, making it hard to put down.

Unlike many books in the Amish genre, A Plain Leaving is not predictable and leaves me wanting to stay with these characters as I anxiously await the second book in the series.

The publisher provided a review copy of A Plain Leaving.

Friday, October 20, 2017

NIV Reader's Bible

The idea behind the NIV, Reader's Bibleis that by omitting the verse numbers within the text, it reads more like any other narrative. It is a unique experience to read the Bible this way, and it helps you become immersed in the stories of the Bible. But, no worries--the verse references appear at the top of each page, and there are comprehensive footnotes following every book.

The contemporary, simple format of NIV Reader's Bible includes a gold and gray cloth-over-board cover, lay-flat binding, and large fonts on bright white pages. It is a very readable format, and the color and design scheme are modern and elegant.

NIV Reader's Bible features:

  • Complete text of the accurate, readable, and clear New International Version text
  • Readable single-column, black letter text
  • Line-matched text for the optimum reading experience
  • Verse numbers removed throughout text
  • Footnotes follow every book
  • Scripture reference included at the top of each page
  • Ribbon marker
  • 10.5-point type size

I love the idea of being able to read the Bible in this way. This edition is like reading a novel, other than the tissue thin Bible pages. With the notes appearing at the end of each book instead of on each page, the reading experience is unencumbered. It takes a little more work to match the notes up at the end, but it also helps you focus and just read. 

This Bible contains a table of weights and measures, but otherwise is no frills. There are no maps or other supplementary information beyond the footnotes. 
The publisher provided a review copy of NIV Reader's Bible. 

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Picturing Heaven

Have you joined the adult coloring book craze? Picturing Heaven: 40 Hope-Filled Devotions with Coloring Pages by Randy Alcorn is a wonderful way to spend some creative time.

Picturing Heaven is a coloring book, devotional, Bible study, and stress-reliever all in one. The beautiful designs in this book, accompanied by Scripture verses and devotionals are beautiful and centered around the imagery of Heaven.

The heavy-weight cardstock pages are suitable for exploring a variety of art mediums such as colored pencils, markers, and even paint. The format of the book encourages users to get creative as they meditate on the verses and let their inner artist flourish. One feature I wish the publisher had done is to make the pages perforated at the binding. The pictures are so pretty that they would make nice wall art.

The designs in Picturing Heaven depict items from the New Earth, including trees, lakes, animals, people, and heavenly treasures, as well as geometric designs with lots of details. The large size pages are detailed without being so intricate that they would be difficult to see where to color the spaces. Each page is accented with gold print.

I love the way the devotions are written, and the topics covered really speak to my heart. Especially the ones related to weather, pets, and animals:

"We know that God will fashion the New Earth with fruit, trees, and renewed bodies of water for His chldren to enjoy. So why whouldn't we expect Him to include renewed animals? Lions, wolves, and lambs will live there, as well as leopards, goats, and calves (Isaiah 11:6)...All living beings will together enjoy our Creator and Redeemer and His fantastic new universe!" (p. 56)

Overall, Picturing Heaven provides a fun way to delve deeper into Bible study and reflection.

The publisher provided a review copy of Picturing Heaven.