Non-Fiction Review: Scott Dannemiller’s “The Year Without A Purchase”

I loved this book! And as I laughed – out loud – no less than three times just in the Introduction, you can believe me when I say this book is hilarious. Mr. Dannemiller recounts his family’s experiment with honesty and humor, weaving together a great read.

Reading through the Dannemiller’s experiences stirred strong feelings of thankfulness. The book is not written as a scathing chastisement of consumerism, but as a priority and reality check for our lives. I am now newly aware, and immensely grateful for the abundance of things I possess, and how much more I can share with those around me.

I am also extra grateful for the family and friends I have. While I prize spending time with the people in my life, The Year Without a Purchase gave me many ideas for making that time more meaningful in the immediate, and fostering cherished memories. 

This is a book that sparks conversation. Previously I had never heard of the “Wise Men Gifts” tradition, of only giving three gifts at Christmas. That concept, and many others prompted some cool conversations for me and my family. We may not implement everything the Dannemiller’s did, but the discussions their ideas sparked will bring us our own family traditions, values, and memories.

Highly Recommended!

I received a review copy of this work from the publisher through NetGalley

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Non-Fiction Review: Timothy Dailey’s “The Paranormal Conspiracy”

This book is a definitive example of 1 Peter 3:15, one of the best I have come across. There is a fine line between articulating what you believe and clearly explaining why you hold those convictions, opposed to screaming your view at whoever is listening and walking away with a self-righteous sniff. This book is definitely the former.

Mr. Dailey is a professor, and I would love the chance to sit in his classes, as his writing style is that of a great teacher, clear and concise, with a well-researched, documented foundation. I learned a great deal about the history behind different movements and ideologies, but was never overwhelmed. The topic of “The Paranormal Conspiracy” is weighty, and takes time to work through, but is completely worth the time. I came away with greater understanding and clarity of the world around me, and how to relate to it through my faith.

I was reminded of Frank Peretti’s “This Present Darkness” and “Piercing the Darkness”, two of my favorite books to recommend. I see this as a great compliment to add to the stack the next time I loan them!

I received a review copy of this work from the publisher through NetGalley.

Non-Fiction Review: Elizabeth George’s “15 Verses to Pray for Your Husband”

This book isn’t released until September 1 of this year, and I’ve already personally recommended it to someone! I’m also planning to make this book my go-to for any wedding gift I will need in the future. It is amazing.

Personal fact, I am newly married. I’m so thankful I came across this work now, early on in my own marriage, as the fundamentals within are, and will be, so impactful for my husband and myself. It felt like long-standing blinders were coming off with each page, a deeper understanding of my husband in his roles, and a new clarity as to how I can best support him as his wife.

The work is not very long overall, but each page is packed with insights that explain and round-out the portions of a husband’s life to pray for, and the verses Mrs. George chose. It took a few days for me to work my way through the whole book, but I was completely refreshed and energized by the end!

I appreciated that Mrs. George often quoted her husband, his books, and his research, so that the reader could be assured that what the author was sharing was not assuming what a husband needs, but responding out of real experience and conversation.

You can hear the echoes of the strong bond of the author’s marriage in the way she writes, as well as the love she has for her husband, and for her readers. I loved Mrs. George’s encouraging and conversational style, it will make you eager to move mountains! I can’t wait to read more of her work.

I received a review copy of this work from the publisher through NetGalley

Non-Fiction Review: Brandon D. Crowe’s “The Message of the General Epistles in the History of Redemption”

P&R Publishing’s mission is “to serve Christ and his church by producing clear, engaging, fresh, and insightful applications of Reformed theology to life.” In that endeavor, they have hit the mark every time! I am now in the habit of picking up their latest releases, to see what new insights I may learn and wrestle with from the pages of the excellent works they produce.

There, in short, is how I came to be reading “Message of the General Epistles”. This book is incredible. Over and over I experience the rush of new understanding, of the “ah-ha!” moment. I have a feeling, as I work through these pages, and reflect upon the questions at the end of each chapter, that as I read through this book again later down the road (for it is MOST DEFINITELY going on my permanent shelf), that I will still learn more the next time, and the time after that.

This book takes an investment of time and focus. While written so anyone can read and understand, it still requires a methodical approach to fully comprehend.

I particularly like the fact that the author takes many of the ten-dollar words we hear in the church, and breaks it down for those who didn’t go to seminary, and don’t happen to have a dictionary nearby. And even beyond that, he then illustrates the concepts through specific Biblical text, and provides clear daily application. Mr. Crowe’s writing style has a great teaching quality to it, flowing from one point to the next seamlessly. I find myself journaling many notes, writing down quotes to mull over later and explore more fully.

This is a book to be shared. As I’ve read through, I’ve peppered my family and friends with “did you know…” and “what do you think about…”. While the application is firstly very personal and inward looking, the conversations and discussion it will bring with others help to fully round the experience.

I cannot recommend this book enough!

I received a review copy of this work from the publisher through NetGalley

Fiction Review: Marty Wingate’s “Between a Rock and a Hard Place”

Just released today – Between a Rock and a Hard Place!

I had a lot of fun reading this book. When I received it, I didn’t know it was part of a series, so it took a me a second reading of the first chapter to really understand the characters and how they all fit together. But it was worth the time, as these are characters you definitely want to meet!

It’s probably against some rule to giggle your way through a murder mystery, but I couldn’t help it – Pru is such a fun, real character, and the situations Ms. Wingate wrote her into were so funny. I couldn’t put the story down!

Ms. Wingate’s love for, and knowledge of, gardens comes through from the first page to the last. Yet she doesn’t talk over the head of her reader, but shares her enthusiasm for the beautiful outdoors in such a clear way, I could almost smell the flowers Pru walked through in the book. It definitely made me want to get out and take a walk, once I finished reading! 

The mystery had many layers, and kept me guessing until the end, with surprises I didn’t see coming. I definitely want to go back and check out the first few books in the series, to know these characters better!

I received a review copy of this work from the publisher through NetGalley.