Disability and the Way of Jesus by Bethany McKinney Fox

As some of you may know, I consider myself someone with a disability. It may be invisible, but it affects my daily life much more than most realize. Most people question how I could be a Christian

Thank you Intervarsity Press for gifting me a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: The Gospels are filled with accounts of Jesus offering physical healing. But even as churches today seek to follow the way of Jesus, people with disabilities all too often experience the very opposite of healing and life-giving community: exclusion, judgment, barriers. Misinterpretation and misapplication of biblical healing narratives can do great damage, yet those who take the Bible as authoritative mustn’t avoid these passages either. Bethany McKinney Fox believes that Christian communities are better off when people with disabilities are an integral part of our common life. In Disability and the Way of Jesus, she considers how the stories of Jesus’ healings can guide us toward mutual thriving. How did Jesus’ original audience understand his works of healing, and how should we relate to these texts today? After examining the healing narratives in their biblical and cultural contexts, Fox considers perspectives from medical doctors, disability scholars, and pastors to more fully understand what Jesus does as he heals and how he points the way for relationships with people with disabilities. Personal reflections from Christians with disabilities are featured throughout the book, which concludes with suggestions for concrete practices adaptable to a variety of church settings. Bridging biblical studies, ethics, and disability studies with the work of practitioners, Fox provides a unique resource that is both theologically grounded and winsomely practical. Disability and the Way of Jesus provides new lenses on holistic healing for scholars, laypeople, and church and parachurch leaders who care about welcoming all people as Jesus would.

I was afraid of going into this book and reading the one thing Christians talk about with disability. Even though my disability isn’t visible, multiple of my chronic illnesses are still listed as such. I have been told by more people than I want to admit that my sin relates to why I am still sick. People have even tried to use multiple bible verses to back up their case. This is not true! I will preach that until the day I die. God has taught me A LOT through my disabilities. I would not be the person I am today without them, nor would I have such a strong faith in the Lord! I’m proud to say this book does a great job at focusing on how we as people and we as the church need to love just as Jesus did. I loved how Bethany focused on different ways the church has interpreted the stories of healing in the bible and how she recognizes the insight each interpretation brings. I loved this thought-provoking book and highly recommend it!

5/5 Stars

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How To Hack a Heartbreak by Kristin Rockaway

I treated myself last night to an at-home spa night with this book in hand because…well who DOESN’T want a spa night with a book in hand?!

Thank you Harlequin and Graydon Books for gifting me a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: By day, Mel Strickland is an underemployed helpdesk tech at a startup incubator, Hatch, where she helps entitled brogrammers—”Hatchlings”—who can’t even fix their own laptops, but are apparently the next wave of startup geniuses. And by night, she goes on bad dates with misbehaving dudes she’s matched with on the ubiquitous dating app, Fluttr. But after one dick pic too many, Mel has had it. Using her brilliant coding skills, she designs an app of her own, one that allows users to log harrassers and abusers in online dating space. It’s called JerkAlert, and it goes viral overnight. Mel is suddenly in way over her head. Worse still, her almost-boyfriend, the dreamy Alex Hernandez—the only non-douchey guy at Hatch—has no idea she’s the brains behind the app. Soon, Mel is faced with a terrible choice: one that could destroy her career, love life, and friendships, or change her life forever.

Well, I’ve done it again. I devoured a book in one sitting! The bathtub water was mighty cold for sure! This was adorable! I especially loved the female STEM aspect in this book (speaking as a female scientist by trade myself). We need more good role-model books like this! The only thing I struggled with in this book is understanding Mel as a character. I really thought I had her all figured out, but each chapter surprised me. I felt like I was constantly going, “What are you doing Mel? I didn’t think you would do/say that!” It added for a fun twist into figuring out where the story would go. Super cute and easy read! This one comes out July 30th, 2019 and you can pick up your copy here!

4/5 Stars

Bone Appetit: 50 Clean Recipes For Healthier, Happier Dogs by Debora Robertson

Let me first start off by saying, how ADORABLE is this cover? Anything kind of cookbook for dogs, I’m all paws in!

Thank you Harper Books for my gifted copy in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: Forget processed store-bought food—feed your dog a nutritious, balanced diet that uses healthy quality ingredients with this charming full-color illustrated guide with fifty great recipes for your beloved companion. Modern dog people only want the best for their canine companions, and that extends to the food they eat. With Bone Appétit, you control the ingredients and the portions to feed your dog a practical, nutritious, and balanced diet—all from scratch! Debora Robertson teaches you how to make canine cuisine that is quick to prepare, simple to cook, and fits easily into your daily routine. She starts with the basics—pantry staples—giving you lists of ingredient dos and don’ts. She then provides information and tips for easy swaps and quick snacks. The irresistible meals dogs will love to eat day after day are the centerpiece of the book: dozens of recipes for one-pot dinners, treats and biscuits, feel-better food, and even a pup-approved birthday cake—all created in conjunction with a certified nutritionist. Packed full of nutritional information, including advice on feeding puppies and cooking for sick or recovering dogs, Bone Appétit teaches you how to meet your four-legged friend’s dietary needs in an easy, inexpensive, and environmentally friendly way.Using healthy ingredients you can find in your local grocery store (or may already have at home), Bone Appétit is a must-have canine cookbook and kitchen guide for creating balanced, nutritious meals for a healthy, happy dog.

My dogs drool over these recipes! I even made a special birthday treat for my pup from this recipe book. I’ve made quite a few meals and treats out of this doggy cookbook and they’re in love! I’m also super happy because they’re safe and healthy for them to eat! I’ve been wanting something like this for a long time, and I’m so excited to have found it! The best part? Each recipe has tips for how you can make it to eat for yourself! How cool is that?! The art in this cookbook is absolutely stunning as well! I want prints of these in my house! This is a must-have for doggy families 🐾

5/5 Stars

What Kind of Quiz Book Are You? by Rachel McMahon

My friend Emma and I would google search quizzes all the time in high school to send back and forth to each other because they are just so dang fun! If only we had this book back then, we’d never get anything done. I thoroughly enjoy taking the BuzzFeed quizzes online, so I was super pumped to give this a try!

Thank you Atria books for gifting me a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: Who hasn’t clicked on an online quiz that suggests your choice of Pop Tart flavor (or favorite Jonas brother) will reveal your relationship status or hidden personality traits? (Hint: hundreds of millions of people have done this, and counting!) Perfect for all ages and backgrounds, this fun, light-hearted, and thought-provoking collection features both brand new and popular quizzes directly from BuzzFeed’s viral sensation Rachel McMahon. Featuring additional irreverent commentary and breakdowns of quiz outcomes not previously published on such topics as who is your celebrity boyfriend based on what frozen yogurt you like to finding out whether you are more Phineas or Ferb based on your favorite sandwich toppings, What Kind of Quiz Book Are You? is an entertaining and laugh-out-loud collection like no other, destined to become as addictive as coloring books.

I’ve been so excited about this book. I brought it along with me on my recent long car trip to entertain myself and my family. As much as I loved the goofiness and quirkiness of the quizzes, I was left a little disappointed. Maybe it was just me, but every quiz I took, I scored even on all of the responses! For example, the quiz answers would say “If you answered mostly A’s you are….If you answered mostly B’s you are…If you answered mostly C’s….” For each quiz I took – I was all of them, A, B, C, you name it! Every single time! Frustrating! I tried taking the quizzes a bunch of different ways to prevent it from happening, but it was no use. I absolutely love the concept of this book, but I was left high and dry. Maybe there needed to be more quizzes with an odd number of questions? I’ll just stick to taking them on BuzzFeed I guess or look for another edition in the future.

2/5 Stars

Meals That Heal by Carolyn Williams

As most of you may know, I have a lot of chronic illnesses. I’ve always been pretty cautious of what I eat, sticking to a gluten and dairy free diet to prevent major health issues. Since having my daughter, I’ve struggled to lose a lot of the weight. A lot of it has to do with inflammatory issues that I think are truly brought on by the gluten free food I am eating. I needed something to help guide me into the right direction. In comes this amazing cookbook!

Thank you Tiller Press for my gifted copy in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: Low energy. Bloating or other digestive issues. Inability to focus or memory loss. Eczema or skin irritations. Arthritis, joint pain, or onset of autoimmune issues. Any of these symptoms sound familiar? These conditions are more common than you think, and recent research suggests that chronic inflammation caused by unhealthy food choices could be the culprit. Here’s the good news though: you can prevent future diseases, as well as heal or improve most conditions by making a few simple changes to your diet, and Meals that Heal can show you how.These 100+ quick and tasty recipes feature fresh, healthy ingredients that have researched-backed abilities to cool inflammation, balance gut health, and detox the body. Featuring a complete list of anti-inflammatory foods (including the top inflamers to avoid) as well as on-the-go eating guidelines, Meals that Heal can help you improve and maintain your overall health. Now you can gain more energy, improve concentration, eliminate headaches and skin conditions, slow the aging process, and much more! All recipes are backed by the latest research and reviewed by a James Beard award-winning registered dietitian allowing you to do the easy part: eat, enjoy, and feel your best!

This is my new kitchen bible! This was EXACTLY what I needed! It is an AMAZING guide to eating anti-inflammatory foods – something way more people need to be making note of! This cookbook isn’t just for people with chronic illnesses, it truly is for everyone. It has information on what it means to eat to heal your body, cheat sheets for quick ideas on lunches, salads, breakfasts, and more, and has pictures with every recipe. The best part? Each meal has limited ingredients, tastes amazing, and takes less than 30 minutes to make!  I have been following this “diet” strictly for 2 weeks and my stomach feels WONDERFUL! No bloat! I also noticed that I truly did go through a detox moment which was something I really needed. Go get your copy here!

5/5 Stars!

The Heart Keeper by Alex Dahl

A lot of my book friends have RAVED about Alex Dahl’s previous book, so I was SO excited to be apart of the blog tour for her latest book, The Heart Keeper.

Thank you Berkley for my gifted copy and letting me be apart of the tour.

Synopsis: When Alison’s beloved daughter Amalie drowns, her world turns impenetrably dark.  Alison tries to hold it together throughout the bleak Fall, but in the darkest days of the Norwegian Winter she completely falls apart. In another family, Amalie’s passing is a new beginning. After years of severe health problems, young Kaia receives a new heart on the morning after Amalie drowns. Her mother Iselin has struggled to raise Kaia on her own and now things are finally looking up. She’s even made an affluent new friend who’s taken a special interest in her and her daughter. Alison knows she shouldn’t interfere, but really, she’s just trying to help Iselin and Kaia. She can give them the life they never had, and by staying close to them, she can still be with her daughter. Kaia is just like her, and surely, something of Amalie must live on in her. As her grief transforms into a terrifying obsession, Alison won’t let anything stop her from getting back what she has lost.

I didn’t expect this book to be as emotional as it was, but in a good way!! I could not imagine what it feels like to go through what Alison did. Alex did a phenomenal job in putting me right there in the thick of it. The obsession was real and raw and thrilling! I wasn’t the biggest fan of the story being divided into three parts because I felt like the book started out strong and lost some of it’s oomph in the end. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed this read! Alex Dahl will be an author I will always look out for!

4/5 Stars

Finding Holy in the Suburbs by Ashley Hales

We are currently on the search to buy a house. This book couldn’t have arrived at a better time!

Thank you Intervarsity Press for gifting me a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: Suburban life—including tract homes, strip malls, commuter culture—shapes our desires. More than half of Americans live in the suburbs. Ashley Hales writes that for many Christians, however: “The suburbs are ignored (‘Your place doesn’t matter, we’re all going to heaven anyway’), denigrated and demeaned (‘You’re selfish if you live in a suburb; you only care about your own safety and advancement’), or seen as a cop-out from a faithful Christian life (‘If you really loved God, you’d move to Africa or work in an impoverished area’). In everything from books to Hollywood jokes, the suburbs aren’t supposed to be good for our souls.” What does it look like to live a full Christian life in the suburbs? Suburbs reflect our good, God-given desire for a place to call home. And suburbs also reflect our own brokenness. This book is an invitation to look deeply into your soul as a suburbanite and discover what it means to live holy there.

I spend way too much of my time looking for the perfect house – is the kitchen updated? Are the bedrooms the right size? I get caught in the materialistic spiral of our daily lifestyle and completely become blind to the more important things in a home. Being with family and friends, loving on them, showing kindness and hospitality, making sure others and myself know that we are valued no matter where we end up – those are the kinds of things that are important. Forget about finding how close Target is to my future house, I want to focus on the excitement of hosting board game nights with new friends! I have this book to thank for putting this crazy time in my life into perspective.  Whether you are looking for a house or live in the suburbs now, this book is for you.

5/5 Stars