Friday, November 27, 2015

"You First" by Lea Michele

This is a wonderful journal for all ages.  The book sleeve comes off for those that want a more personalized and less celebrity-driven look.  Inside the pages of the book, readers will first journal about their ancestry and family recipes.  Then they will write about exercise and health / wellness.  There is a section for friendships and relationships.  Then there is goal-setting in general and how to journal about work-related issues.  What I like about this book is that it offers ways to get better.  For instance, instead of just saying "do you think you are healthy?" there are journal entries about "how can you get healthy?  how can you change your diet and exercise habits?".  Afterwards, there are tips from Lea herself.  The writing space is plenty big, and the font is nice in purple cursive.  Overall, this is a very nice journal and would make an excellent gift. 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

"Make Every Word Count" by Moshs Doron

This book is all about prayer.  But it's not just about praying repetitious prayer or saying prayers in one's head.  Rather, the book is about praying out loud and from the heart.  After a brief introduction, the book goes into questions and answers.  Some questions are: how does one pray?, what if I don't know what to pray?, why pray if G-d knows our thoughts?, can I pray if I have sinned?, when should I pray?, where should I pray?, and more.  The language is easy to follow and not intimidating.  Furthermore, the book is written for the ordinary person and not some lofty rabbi.  Readers will feel important and valued when they read this book--not judged.  This book is rather small and can be read quickly all at once or just used as a reference guide.  Overall, excellent guide on how to pray from the heart.  To HaShem!  :o)

Sunday, November 15, 2015

"On This Foundation" by Lynn Austin

As always, Austin does not disappoint with her historical Biblical fiction.  In this story, readers follow Nehemiah as he leaves his Persian home to rebuild Jerusalem's walls.  He faces both political and spiritual oppression as even those closest to him betray him.  Struggles for power and wealth collide as Nehemiah urges landowners to forgive debts, free bondsmen, and stop charging interest.  Austin doesn't just give Nehemiah's perspective.  She also gives the point-of-view of Nava.   Nava is a bondswoman who must serve six years to help her father pay off debt.  Nava wants to marry Dan but must work as a servant.  Tensions arise when the son of Nava's master sets his sight on Nava and is infatuated with her.  Then there is the perspective of Chana.  Chana is the daughter of a Jerusalem leader.  She is one of the few women working on rebuilding the wall--a man's job.  Furthermore, she is engaged to a wealthy landowner.  The lives of rich and poor are told, and there is the notion of faith woven throughout.  How can one pray when they are sold as a servant?  How can one pray when they are separated from the love of their life?  How can one pray when their sincere attempts to rebuild are thwarted?  Readers will enjoy this lively story that makes the Bible come alive.

Monday, November 9, 2015

"Proverbs Prayers" by John Mason

This little book is stock-full of wisdom.  It is a great holiday gift for any occasion.  The way the book flows, there is a chapter of Proverbs followed by a chapter of prayer.  While I say "chapter," it is really not more than a page or two.  Beyond that, there is an index of sorts in the back that links specific topics to Bible verses.  These topics cover joy, sadness, motivation, and more.  This book is very easy to read on quick breaks on in-between errands on the run.  This book is pretty gender neutral and can be read by men or women.  When the book gets to Proverbs 31, there are separate prayer chapters for men and women since Proverbs 31 deals with marriage.  However, these prayer chapters are written assuming the reader is married and not single.  All in all, great book.

Monday, November 2, 2015

"Horse of my Heart" Edited by Callie Smith Grant

This book  is a collection of short stories (no more than a few pages each) of how horses have impacted lives.  From the wild horse who is eventually tamed to the abused horse who learns to love and more, these stories will warm your heart.  Besides horses, there are even stories about donkeys and mules.  Additionally, there are quotes and pictures and historical notes sprinkled throughout the book.  Should the reader be curious about the individual authors, there are mini-biographies of each writer at the back of the book.  What I loved about this book was how it conveyed horses.  Having ridden and cared for horses before, I know the freedom horses provide.  I also know the emotion and intelligence in their eyes.  This book is a must read for all.   Whether you are a pony-obsessed girl or a macho cowboy, you will find the horse of your heart here.