March 29, 2012

Book Review: Unashamed to Bear His Name by R.T. Kendall


      In this day in age, to be marked a Christian is to be marked a lunatic: the world views us as creature wrecked with insanity for believing in a Being far greater than ourselves.  In this apologetic book, R.T. Kendall teaches how we as Christians must unabashedly share the love of God, despite persecution from around the world.  He tells us not to give in to peer pressure, and shows us that in the end, remaining true to Christ, and honoring Him, will eventually be the best choice. Even though it seems hard now, in the long run, Going for Christ is better.
I ♥
·         His passion for Christ. R.T. Kendall is passionate about sharing the gospel,  and it really comes through in his writing.
·         The Cover. While simple, it displays the theme of the book perfectly.
·         The overall simplicity. I liked how this book was easy to understand, yet still knowledgeable.
I didn’t ♥
·         Its somewhat tedious sections. While it was a great premise, some portions of this book were REALLY hard to get through.
Overall: I think this book would be fantastic for anyone somewhat embarrassed or ashamed of his or her faith. If you can push through the more difficult parts, the book as a whole is fantastic.
This book was given to me by Bethany House Publishers for this review.

March 28, 2012

Book Review: By Faith, Not by Sight by Scott Macintyre

This book was given to me for free by Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for this review.
“Is it possible to be high on a mountain and deep in a valley at the same time?"
Scott Macintyre had been asking this question since he was diagnosed with kidney failure at the young age of 19.  Being a prodigious child, Scott’s musical abilities far excel the talents of those the same age. Not only could the kidney failure be fatal to Scott’s career, it could also be fatal to Scott.  His story is an interesting one. One of a scholar, a songwriter, a student, an American Idol contestant, and most importantly, a child of God. With prayer, perseverance, and praise, Scott’s roller coaster-like biography proves the goodness of God even in the most trying circumstances.
I ♥
·         His writing style. I felt as if I was having coffee with him, or at least hearing him speak at an event. You can see his personality through his writing, and it is one of the best parts of this book.
·         His detail. While some readers would complain that too many details are a bad thing, I think it is rarely true. Scott added the perfect amount of detail: Enough to describe accurately the setting/person/thing, yet not enough to cause readers to become uninterested.
·         His story. It is very uplifting, and fascinating. Usually in biographies/memoirs, there is at least one portion of the book that is somewhat dull. Not this one!
·         His attitude. He remained with a great attitude towards his problems, never giving in to moping or discontent, despite his blindness.
·         His humility. I think in autobiographies, a lot of times, the author can come across as prideful, even if they are not doing so intentionally. Fortunately, Scott is extremely humble.
I didn't ♥
·         I cannot honestly think of something that I disliked about the book. While it is not for the light of heart, it is easily rated a G. It is fantastic.
Overall, I think if you are into American Idol, Biographies, or books in general, this one is a great one to add to your library!

March 24, 2012


Our family is so pleased to announce the arrival of my baby brother, Tru Joshua Hartwig! He was born at 1:35 pm on March 24th, 2012, weighing 6 lbs. 13 oz. Mom and Baby are both doing fantastically!

March 21, 2012

Book Review: Song of My Heart by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Sadie Wagner has the perfect opportunity. When her stepfather is horrifically wounded, she must figure out some way to earn money for her family’s support.  When she receives a letter with a job offer from her favorite cousin, Sid, she decides to take a job as a clerk in Goldtree, Kansas. When she is forced into more than she bargained for at work, as well as starting to fall for the ruggedly handsome sheriff, she questions if it was really God’s will for her to be in this small, cute town. When she accidentally discovers illegal activity, she must choose whether to do what is right, or forsake all hopes of supporting her family.
I ♥
·         The characters. As always, Kim Vogel Sawyer does not disappoint.
·         The plot.  So that I do not give it away, I’ll just say I loved it immensely.
·         Thad Mckane. Yup.
·         The detail. Kim is fantastic at building detail. Really.

I didn’t ♥
·         Actually, there was nothing about the actual story I disliked. Just at the end I had a little confusion about a certain gunshot.
I would say this book is a fantastic read for anyone who likes historical fiction. The setting of the story takes place in an area reminiscent of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman (one of my favorite shows) I would say a perfect book for ages 15+. This would be a perfect book for your to-read list!

Bethany House Publishers gave me this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

March 20, 2012

Book Review: Beckon by Tom Pawlik

The plot
Some things were supposed to be unknown to humankind. Once these eerie secrets are released, however, there is no going back. Three unconnected strangers are all drawn to the peculiarly small town of Beckon, Wyoming. All for different reasons. All to be in more danger than ever before.
When Anthropologist Jack Kendrick Falls down into a cavern while searching for his long lost father, he discovers something much more fierce than a simple kidnapping. Police officer Elina Guiterrez arrives in Beckon after tracing a white van smuggling illegal immigrants into Wyoming. She is then mercilessly thrown into a dungeon. Together, they must find a way out of this  haunted town.

I liked:
·        The twists. Most of the time, you really did not see it coming.
·        The suspense. I will not lie; it was intense towards the end.
·        The interwoven stories. I liked how each of the characters wove into the other somehow.
I did not like:
·         The gore. It was REALLY gory, and there was almost no lull in the violence.
·         The talk of human sacrifice. While I understand it was important to this story, I don’t understand why you would choose to write about it.
·         The sickness. They talked about it so much. It just made me nauseous.
·         And most importantly, the lack of mention about God. While the book did mention God a few times, it was not nearly as much as it should have been. Everything done in the book was done by humans, not God. *SPOILER ALERT* Even once they are saved, it is no thanks to God. It was complete reliance on themselves.
I believe it is hard for me to recommend a book that had very little redeeming quality. While I am not saying to never read it, I am saying exercise EXTREME caution before doing so.
This book was given to me from Tyndale in exchange for this review.

March 19, 2012

Book Review: The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck

The Thickening Plot
Life is good for Charlotte. She is the owner of a chic, modern bridal salon in Birmingham, Alabama she is engaged to an awesome man, and she is certain she will find the perfect dress for her wedding. It is smooth sailing until she purchases a hundred year old trunk, with the lock on front welded shut. Her curiosity piqued, she goes to great lengths to find out the mysterious history behind the lovely wedding dress the trunk contains. Through her journey, she begins to discover more about herself, and doubt her upcoming wedding. In the end, she must find out the truth of her beautiful heritage.
I ♥
·        The multiple stories woven into the book. Each one was so unique, yet so very similar.
·        The characters. I love it when the character seems like a friend.
·        The detail. Just the way the author described the dress, and the way she described the characters. It is a true art.
I Didn’t ♥
·        A couple romantic paragraphs. Not awful, but something for parents to be wary of.
·        The beginning was a bit slow, not unbearably, but it takes a minute to get into the book.
This book is worth your time. The perfect book for an airplane ride, or a road trip. This book would also be fun to give at a bridal shower, or as a party favor at a bridal shower. I would say this book is worth your money.

This book was given to me for free by Booksneeze, in exchange for this honest review

March 17, 2012

Belle Lune ♥

{This photo was only cropped. You can see the original image here}
Isn't this just dreamy? I couldn't believe how well it turned out! 
I am entering this photo in the lovely Miss Lucia's contest :)

lucia, etc.

March 08, 2012

Book Review: Made to Crave for Young Women by Lysa TerKeurst and Shaunti Feldhahn

{This book was given to me for free from Zstreet team}

     Every single person, man, woman, boy or girl, has a longing on the inside of us. The longing for something more. We have longings to be loved, to feel happy, even if for a moment. Those longings, while natural, will destroy our lives if not handled correctly. We were made to fill those longings with God. Not chocolate chip cookies, or a handsome boyfriend, or those adorable shoes at the store. In this fantastically written book, Shaunti Feldhahn and Lysa TerKeurst show that it is God's plan for us to run to Him instead of to food, material possessions, or even other people. If we run to God, we can experience eternal happiness rather than short-lived enjoyment.
     This book was exceedingly better than I could have hoped. This book was perfect for me at this time in my life. I have always seemed to have a problem with self control. This past week, however, I have been trying to walk in more self-control. This book could not have come at a more perfect time. This book has helped me so much, I can't even begin to tell you. Though hard to pick, I think one of my favorite quotes is this one,
"The key, friends, is not to simply follow a rule- it's to be wise about our choices so we rely on God rather than something we crave."

Talk about a perfect quote! Using scripture throughout, this book easily makes the best non-fiction book I have read this year. Overall, I would one-hundred percent recommend this book. It is one of the few books that is COMPLETELY worth your money. I guarantee it.

Libbi H.

March 05, 2012

Book Review: Dawn Comes Early by Margaret Brownley

{Thomas Nelson gave me this book for free in exchange for this review}
The Lowdown: Kate Tenney was not cut out to be a cowgirl. Her destiny was to become a renowned author. Unfortunately, her book was banned, causing her to flee to a barely civilized town in Arizona Territory. She answers an unusual add for a heiress. The only catch? She must never marry. Kate couldn't be happier. Her father left her when she was five, and her grandfather left soon after. Every man she had ever begun to trust has left her. She begins work on the ranch, and discovers that the manual labor is even more difficult than the scorn and disregard she faced in Boston. Regardless, she tries to hold up her end of the bargain, but will it be enough?

I Liked:
  • Luke Adams. 'Nuff said. 
  • The vivid details. Absolutely lovely. 
  • Luke Adams.
  • I loved the way Margaret Brownley is able to get into the characters head, it really is a gift. 
  • The humor. I literally laughed out loud on a few of the sentences. Especially the ones about Lula-Belle and Bessie. 
  • And mostly, I like Luke Adams. Truly. His character is so perfectly developed, and the poster he wrote at the end? Fantastic.
I Disliked:
  • A couple comments, and a couple paragraphs made me slightly uncomfortable.
Overall: It was a great book. It is definitely  worth your money. It has a super fun, yet suspenseful plot, and I found myself transported back into that town. 

Libbi H.