Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges: nonfiction; Christians can become so preoccupied with major cultural sins that they tolerate and/or are oblivious to other so-called "lesser sins". Bridges dives into these subtle, hidden sins that many so easily accept--to include jealousy, anger, pride, selfishness, etc. Each chapter explores a different sin, how to combat it biblically, and specific Scriptures to memorize and use as prayers in your battle against them. A study guide is included at the back of the book. I found this a very convicting and encouraging read.
Gate of Myth and Power, Books 1-3 by KM Shea: the newest trilogy for Shea's very popular Magiford series. Chloe doesn't fit into any of the major magic categories (vampire, wizard, shape-shifter, fae) as she turns into a housecat. While trying to escape a seelie territory battle, she is captured (in cat form) and adopted by an elf king, long thought to have been extinct. Imagine her surprise! Chloe spends the majority of the first book as a cat, which is quite ingenious and fun. The rest of the trilogy leads to Chloe learning more about her magic and old battle lines and prejudices being countered. This was such a fun read. Lots of laughs. I always recommend Shea's books, but read the entire series in order!
Frindle by Andrew Clements: In an attempt to sidetrack his formidable Language Arts teacher Mrs. Granger, ten year old Nick Allen invents a new word for pen--frindle. Mrs. Granger challenges Nick's mischievousness, and some chaos ensues. This was such a fun read aloud. The boys and I loved it. It was like a walk down memory lane for me. I may have teared up during the last few chapters.. A great read aloud for families.
A Lady's Guide to Fortune Hunting by Sophie Irwin: Kitty is left orphaned with several younger sisters and a pile full of her father's debt. Then her fiancé jilts her not long after the funeral. She is in dire straits. What is a girl to do but rush to London for the season in hopes of ensnaring a rich husband? Failure is not an option, and Kitty will do her utmost to keep her sisters together. This was such a thoroughly enjoyable novel! Highly recommend it. I had to reread the ending to savor it.
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson: Cussy Mary Carter is one of the last of her kind--one of the blue people of Kentucky. She has fought against the racism and prejudice of her neighbors in order to become a book woman for Eleanor Roosevelt's Kentucky Pack Horse Librarian Project. She has a treacherous route delivering books, magazines, and scrapbooks to the illiterate, book-curious, and avid readers. She faces some horrendous scenarios, but the book ends in a hopeful manner. I had to put this book down several times for something more lighthearted. It is meaty, and the content was really hard to read.
The Reluctant Duchess by Roseanna M. White: Christian historical fiction; Rowenna, a Scottish noble's daughter, has been violated by her fiancé whom she thought loved her. To prevent her from marrying her aggressor, Rowenna's father (a piece of work himself) sneakily orchestrates a scenario in which a marriage of convenience to a young English duke is the only option. Neither knows how to proceed, but via prayer they learn to accept and thrive in their marriage. But the duke has dangers following him around as well (see book 1), and everything is about to come to a head. This is book two in a series I began in Germany. It took a bit to get used to the Scottish dialogue, but the story was well-written and the characters had great arcs.
The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry: set in a finishing school in Ely, England. The seven young ladies are astounded when their headmistress and her good-for-nothing brother fall over dead in the middle of dinner. Cyanide. The girls don't want to return to their respective homes so they do the only logical thing they can think of: bury the bodies in the vegetable garden, and impersonate their headmistress. But the poisoner thinks he or she did not succeed and is determined to strike again! So enjoyable! Funny monikers, great backstories for the girls, and hijinks galore!
Counterfeit Kingdom: The Dangers of New Revelation, New Prophets, and New Age Practices in the Church by Holly Pivec and R. Douglas Geivett: the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) is a fast-growing movement pioneered by Bethel Church in Redding, California. In particular, it emphasizes Christians performing signs and wonders greater than that of Jesus and that God is giving new revelation through prophets and apostles. The authors are apologists and NAR experts and they dig into the key tenets of NAR to counter their illegitimacy with Scripture. They offer practical tips for teaching your kids the difference between biblical Christianity versus NAR, keeping watch at your church for NAR adjacent lingo, and offer help and encouragement for those who have been hurt by this movement. Some crazy Bethel antics are discussed including grave-sucking, the "Wake Up Olive" controversy, sozo therapy, and the practice of waking up angels. An entire chapter is dedicated to Bethel Music as well. This was incredibly interesting and so saddening. Those who claim to be Christians need to read their Bibles instead of relying on what others tell them is in the Bible.
All My Knotted-Up Life by Beth Moore: memoir; Moore delves into her childhood, marriage, parenthood, and ministry in this book. I have no critique on her own life experiences. It was an interesting read. She has had some terrible struggles in her life, and clearly God has provided for her. I used to be an avid Beth Moore fan. I did her Bible studies, read her books, and attended a few of her conferences. Her Breaking Free book was a huge help to me while struggling with anxiety. However, over the last five years I have slowly shifted in my views. Her pro-Critical Race Theory stances and book recommendations, her husband's lack of any spiritual interest (she admits this a few times in her book), and her disavowal of several doctrines that are clearly and historically labelled as Biblical truth have fostered this move. After I closed the book, I realized that I could not recall a single moment where Beth shares the gospel in her book. Or even a particular point when she shares her brokenness over her own sin and her realization of her need for a Savior. Yes she mentions Jesus and how much she loves Him, but without these two key areas, Beth missed out on a great opportunity to share the truth of the Gospel. It is sad and disappointing, especially for a self-proclaimed Bible teacher.
Deathmark by Kate Stradling: necromancers have run amuck in Alderyth for almost a century causing a plague that always kills its victims. Nell lost her family to it. When an old hag collapses in her arms, suspicion runs rampant. Is Nell a carrier? Will she die the same death as her mother? She decides to make a run for it under cover of night. Her escape is almost thwarted by a hermit man whose reputation is swirled with a variety of rumors. He may not be trustworthy, but he appears to be her only hope. This is a darker novel, but still clean content wise. I could not put it down. I have loved all of Stradling's books. If you end up enjoying this one, try The Heir and The Spare as well.
A Newport Christmess by Jess Heileman: Quinn is an Instagram baker left heartbroken and insecure since her husband walked out. She is hired by famous influencer Nikki Aker to create the gingerbread centerpieces for her Christmas wedding. Quinn reluctantly agrees, travels to Newport, and begins work in the bride's brother's empty house. Imagine both of their surprise when he walks in one night to discover his home inhabited and she believes he is a murderous intruder! This is a fun, Hallmark-ish book. It was a quick read and would be a cute Christmas movie.
The second and third episodes of Haunted Cosmos are super creepy. Don't listen at night if you are a scaredy-cat like I am.
Risen Motherhood just wrapped up a series on grief and suffering. Episodes include interviews with women who have been widowed, suffered miscarriages, lost their children, intense health issues, etc. Despite the suffering we will face, God is still good and trustworthy. Great episodes.
Unshaken Faith has a recent episode that needs to be listened to regarding the popular Sunday school Orange Curriculum.