Category Archives: Non-Fiction

Tricked into Sickness

Tricked Into SicknessTitle: Tricked into Sickness
Author:  Lola Hardaway
Publisher: Here’s to Your Health
ISBN # 978-0-989916-0-8

“When we submit ourselves to God, we invoke His divine protection, closing the door to all of satan’s entries into our affairs, and that includes our health,” Lola Hardaway writes in her book, Tricked into Sickness.

~ What ~
This two-hundred-and-fifty-four-page ebook targets readers looking for relief and healing from sickness via God and His natural herbs, plants, and fruits that He created. Sixteen chapters cover the topic, ending with endnotes and the author’s contact information. Using mainly the King James Version of the Holy Bible, the NKJV and NIV are also referenced.

Written by a vibrant Christian health food practitioner who has operated a health food store for decades, Hardaway pens how satan tricks us from focusing on God, attacking us with illness. Explaining that the devil is powerless but only performs if given permission, she encourages us to claim God’s power of healing. A few of the topics range from the spiritual aspects of having childlike faith, ardently praying, resting in Christ, dealing with pride, and loving others to holistic healing using whole and green foods, MCHA calcium, and CoQ10.

~ Why ~
I loved how much Scripture was quoted throughout the book and especially that it was from the King James Version. With so many concepts about health, sin, and healing, the writer offers a no-nonsense attitude of faith in God and His power. While there was some content of the author’s personal healing experiences of buying a house, accidentally drinking bleach, being paralyzed, and quitting smoking to name a few, it was not overdone, exaggerated, or the main focal point of the book. Also appreciated is that she never capitalizes satan as does not respect the being.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not have or want a personal relationship with Jesus Christ will not be interested in this book about calling on God to cure health issues such as depression, stroke, heart attacks, and other health issues.

~ Wish ~
Not being a charismatic Christian, I appreciate the obvious deep love and compassion the writer has for God yet minorly disagree with some of her ideas. I wish the book written in 2014 were rechecked for grammar/punctuation errors so have marked it down a half point.

~ Want ~
If you are seeking a closer walk with God through prayer as you are challenged to speak sickness away, this book that promotes God’s ways are not our ways may help you on your healing journey that includes holistic treatments.

Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars

Blessings to the author for this purchased book that I am reviewing freely.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Filed under Christian, Home / Garden / Food, Non-Fiction

Morning & Evening Devotions

David Jeremiah Morning and Evening Devotions: Holy Moments in the Presence of GodTitle: Morning & Evening Devotions
Author: David Jeremiah
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
ISBN: 978-0-7180-9261-0

~ What ~
At 768 pages, this brown embossed devotional hardbound is meant to be read every morning and evening. Using mainly the New King James Version of the Holy Bible, also referenced are the CEV, ESV, KJV, NASB, NIV, NLT, RSV, TLB, HCSB, God’s Word, Phillips, and the Message. A ribbon marker is attached.

Containing two devotions for each day of the year, the opened pages have the morning’s contents on the left side of the pages with the evening’s on the right. After a title, there is a short written out Bible verse, followed by a few paragraphs about the topic. While an introduction is at the beginning of the book, sources and several lined blank notes pages are at the back.

~Why ~
I appreciate devotionals that have little information about the author but focus on God in day-to-day living, and this book does that nicely. The readings are brief and to the point, often beginning with a couple of sentences regarding a person, place, or thing, explaining how it correlates to God.

One of my favorites was May 2nd. The morning’s devotional is titled God Never Sleeps with Psalm 121:4 written out. While discussing Elijah’s contest with the prophets of Baal mentioned in the Old Testament, the writer stresses that God is there all hours of the day for us. The opposite page has the title of Succeeding at Failing with 2 Timothy 4:11. When Mark, the cousin of Barnabas, departed from Paul’s ministry, many considered him a failure, but Paul later counts him as a valuable coworker, showing how God uses our circumstances.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ may not want to get a daily devotional that focuses on getting closer to the Almighty. Others may wish each read were longer in length.

~ Wish ~
It would be thoughtful to include a short prayer at the bottom of the pages so one could apply the devotional to that morning or evening when talking to God.

~ Want ~
If you like devotionals that have both a morning and evening read, this is an excellent choice for one seeking a closer walk with Christ, but it should not take the place of daily Bible reading.

Thanks to Book Look Bloggers for this complimentary book that I am freely evaluating.

GRAMMARY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Spoken from the Heart: Living a Life of Obedience

Spoken from the Heart: Living a Life of ObedienceTitle: Spoken from the Heart: Living a Life of Obedience
Author:  Cheri Swalwell
Publisher: Spoken by the Heart
ISBN # 9781545139851

“It wasn’t until I truly understood how much God craves a relationship with me, His child, that I began to understand why He also desires my obedience,” Cheri Swalwell writes in the introduction of her book, Spoken from the Heart: Living a Life of Obedience.

~ What ~
This one-hundred-twelve-page book targets readers looking for a quick Christian women’s devotional that can be read daily over a thirty-two day period. Referencing the New International Version of the Holy Bible, it also uses The Message. With a dedication, list of other authored books, written out Bible verse, and note from the author at the beginning, its ending has a thank you, acknowledgments, contact information, and her biography.

With more than a month of short two- to four-page devotions, the book examines the author’s journey learning to obey God, no matter what the cost. Beginning with written out Bible verses or quotes from a well-known writer or pastor, the chapters cover obeying God, stepping into His promise, waiting on His schedule, being one of His sheep, and learning obedience is hard to name a few.

~ Why ~
Everyone has different experiences when they have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and Swalwell shares her struggles, fears, and frustration as she learns to obey the Savior more. I like how she discusses the importance of having a deep relationship with Christ to want to obey Him, hopelessness to hopefulness, and examining the Israelites and Biblical characters such as David and Paul. She divulges how she deals with anger, depression, a miscarriage, job changes, eating addictions, and her husband’s illness by being in the Word, fasting, and trusting God.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not have or want a personal relationship with Jesus Christ will not be interested in this book. Some may not like devotions that include the author’s experiences, fears, and reflections by correlating it to her family’s pet reptile, leeches, fixer-up shows, glass pearls, and a puppy. Others may wish more Bible verses or Biblical examples were added.

~ Who ~
An ardent Christ follower, Swalwell is a wife, mother, and writer who lives in the Midwest with her husband and family. She has written over a dozen books with many in this series as well as been a contributor for another devotional.

~ Wish ~
Being one who prefers devotionals that have little of the author’s personal information, I found this is a woman’s journal of how she deepened her relationship with Christ by obedience. Although others may like this type of devotion, those I read that have a lot of personal content are given 4 stars out of 5 because I try to only focus on Jesus when adding to my daily Bible reading.

~ Want ~
Similar to most devotionals, this book reflects the thoughts and personal feelings of a Christian who desires to be closer to Christ. Although it mainly contains the author’s experiences, readers may find it a helpful reminder to obey God in conjunction to daily reading Scriptures.

Thanks to the author for this complimentary book that I am reviewing freely.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

 

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Spoken from the Heart: Walking in Freedom

Spoken from the Heart: Walking in FreedomTitle: Spoken from the Heart: Walking in Freedom
Author:  Cheri Swalwell
Publisher: Spoken by the Heart
ISBN # 9781544762579

“For me, it means realizing true freedom is living by God’s rules, the rules He put into place to bring me life, not to punish me or deny me fun,” Cheri Swalwell writes in the introduction of her book, Spoken from the Heart: Walking in Freedom.

~ What ~
This eighty-two-page book targets readers looking for a quick Christian women’s devotional that can be read daily over a thirty-two day period. Referencing the New International Version of the Holy Bible, it also uses The Message. With a dedication, list of other authored books, written out Bible verse, and note from the author at the beginning, its ending has a thank you, acknowledgments, contact information, and her biography.

With more than a month of short three- to four-page devotions, the book examines the author’s journey from fear to faith in freedom. Beginning with written out Bible verses or quotes from a well-known writer or singer, the chapters cover conviction versus condemnation, communion, healing and non-healing, wrestling with God, everything is God’s, fearing Him, His unconditional love, and walking in freedom to name a few.

~ Why ~
Everyone has different experiences when they have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and Swalwell shares her struggles, fears, and frustration as she learns to lean on, trust, and obey the Savior more. I like how she discussed Satan condemning while God convicts, learning to make time for the Sabbath, and understanding offering blessings to others. She divulges how she overcame her fear of driving in the snow, eating addictions, trust issues, and false guilt as she learns to pray more often, realize she is loved no matter what, and find freedom.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not have or want a personal relationship with Jesus Christ will not be interested in this book. Some may not like devotions that mainly include an author’s experiences, fears, and reflections. Others may wish more Bible verses or Biblical examples were added.

~ Who ~
An ardent Christ follower, Swalwell is a wife, mother, and writer who lives in the Midwest with her husband and family. She has written over a dozen books with many in this series as well as been a contributor for another devotional.

~ Wish ~
Being one who prefers devotionals that have little of the author’s personal information, I found this one is a woman’s journal of how she deepened her relationship with Christ. Although others may like this type of devotion, those I read that have a lot of personal content are given 4 stars out of 5 because I try to only focus on Jesus when adding to my daily Bible reading.

~ Want ~
Similar to most devotionals, this book reflects the thoughts and personal feelings of a Christian who desires to be closer to Christ. Although it mainly contains the author’s experiences, readers may find it a helpful to daily reading the Word of God.

Thanks to the author for this complimentary book that I am reviewing freely.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Psalm Hymns: Worship Leader Books 1, 2, & 3

Psalm-Hymns Worship Leader: Books 1, 2 & 3 (Volume 1)Title: Psalm Hymns: Worship Leader Books 1, 2, & 3
Author: L.L. Larkins
Publisher: Capture Books
ISBN: 978-1517796884

“By reciting or singing these psalms, God makes Himself, His records of testimonies of His deeds more accessible,” L.L. Larkins writes in the introduction of her book, Psalm Hymns: Worship Leader Books 1, 2, & 3 (Volume 1) – Dramatic, Contemplative, Singable, Recitable Psalms!

~ What ~
This two-hundred-and-ninety-page oversized paperback targets those who are seeking a compilation of rewritten psalms from the Bible that are set to the music of famous songs and hymns. By using a plethora of different versions of the Holy Bible, three books in one are included in this series that covers Psalms 1 through 89.

After an introduction and historical uses, the eighty-nine rewritten psalms cover two to eight pages each, ending with the Ten Commandments, author’s biography, and a proposed fifteen-week performance syllabus.

Each psalm is written out in poem format with the psalm title at the top of the page, followed by the type it is, tune it is set in, author of the original song, and year published. After several stanzas are written, notes are included, explaining the history of the original psalm and more information.

~ Why
This book would be helpful for a church or Sunday school group that is studying Psalms by singing corresponding rewritten wording to a famous song’s melody. With the added notes regarding the history or background information, it can become an in-depth study of the Word of God that is set to music. I like that old hymns are used such as What a Friend We Have in Jesus, Leaning on the Everlasting Arms, and Rock of Ages.

One example I enjoyed was the short Psalm 23 that is arranged in four stanzas to the tune of Away in a Manger by James R. Murray in 1887. The notes explain the name of God is Jehovah Roi as well as three other names for Him. Also mentioned are sheep and their characteristics, habits, and utter dependency on their caretaker, just like we need to be personally taken care of by Jesus.

~ Why Not ~
Those who have no interest in singing, worshiping, or learning more about Psalms in the Bible will not be interested in this book. Others may not like the translation or rewritten versions of the poems and songs of the Old Testament.

~ Wh0~
A transcriber of psalms for singing and reflections and mentor /counselor in performance and theory of worship, Larkins used to be a leader of praise and worship in church, youth, and various African groups.

~ Wish ~
It would be helpful to include an index that listed the musical arrangement that went with each psalm.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a praise/worship book for a church, choir, or singing event, this may be a helpful source that focuses on the more than half of the Biblical Psalms.

Thanks to Capture Books for this complimentary book that I am reviewing freely.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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The Gatekeepers

The Gatekeepers: How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every PresidencyTitle: The Gatekeepers
Author: Chris Whipple
Publisher: Crown
ISBN: 978-0-8041-3824-6

“Each chief can make or break an administration, and each president reveals himself by the chief he picks,” the front jacket flap states in Chris Whipple’s book, The Gatekeepers: How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency.

~ What ~
At three-hundred-and-eighty-four pages, this hardbound targets those interested in the behind the scenes of the highest office in the United States, the presidency. After an introduction, nine chapters cover the different presidential chiefs of staff from 1968 to 2013, followed by an epilog, notes, bibliography, author’s note, acknowledgments, and index.

From Nixon to Obama’s terms in office, the chiefs of staff are dissected in how they got the position, their goals, frustrations, and perspectives, what they did or did not accomplish, and why they were fired or left the position.

~Why ~
I found this read extremely detailed and informative when it came to explaining how the presidential office runs and who helps or hinders history. By reading its contents, I remembered the blaming of Halderman for a causing Watergate, Rumsfield being effective keeping Ford on track, the press core loving Cheney, Baker and Duberstein rescuing Reagan from the Iran-Contra scandal, Panetta bringing discipline into Clinton’s administration, Card not empowered to control Bush’s advisers, and Obama’s Emanuel to name a few. Having written-out audio tapes, memos, and documents show the strengths and weaknesses as well as successes and disasters of both presidents and their top aides. By having to do grunt work and telling it like it is, all chiefs had few moments of peace performing the daunting task of advising their presidents.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like recalling the political turmoil of several of our past presidents may show no interest in reading this book. Others may find its contents sometimes gossipy and name-dropping with the who’s who of politics and Washington D.C. socialites.

~ Who ~
An acclaimed documentary filmmaker, Whipple is also a writer, speaker, and journalist who has won several awards.

~ Wish ~
I wish more photographs were included.

~ Want ~
If you are curious about who has been the United States presidents’ chiefs of staff the past fifty years, this well-written book offers a plethora of differences and similarities of the men holding the second most powerful job in government.

Thanks to Blogging for Books for this complimentary book that I am freely reviewing.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Devotions from the Kitchen Table

Devotions from the Kitchen TableTitle: Devotions for the Kitchen Table
Author: Stacey Edwards
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
ISBN: 978-0-7180-9187-3

“God is still present no matter what a day may bring. God does not hide Himself from us. He can be found by anyone whose heart seeks Him,” Stacey Edwards writes in one of her inserts in her book, Devotions .for the Kitchen Table.

~ What ~
At two-hundred-twenty-four hundred pages, this book is meant to be read at one’s kitchen table as a devotion that targets women. Using mainly the New International Version of the Holy Bible, also referenced are the ESV, HCSB, NASB, NLT, and Message. A ribbon marker is attached.

Containing ninety devotions, each one is one to one-and-a-half pages with beautiful full-color photographs on their opened pages of homey, comfy scenes. Having short titles such as First One Awake, Meal Train, Pinwheels, Slow Cooking, Power Lines, Dad’s Voice, The Garage Door, Bird Feeder, and Grampa’s Toolbox, each begin with a written out Bible verse followed by several paragraphs correlating the topic to God and a closer relationship with Him. The endings have one to three sentence prayers regarding the devotions’ content.

~Why ~
I appreciate devotionals that have little information about the author but focus on God in day-to-day living, and this book does that. The stories are brief and to the point, often beginning with a question but rarely using the words “I” or “me.” Sometimes Old and New Testament characters or Scripture are noted as the writer shows the struggles, goals, and achievements of daily life with Christ.

A favorite was Raindrops on a Window that offers the Bible verse I Corinthians 1:9 regarding fellowship with Jesus. The author asks if you have ever noticed the raindrops on a window pane and how the view is skewed. She reminds us that when we are lonely, we must not fall into the trap that God is far away; but we need to have an accurate view of Him always being nearby, no matter what our circumstances. A short prayer is at the end asking for a proper perspective.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ may not want to get a book that focuses on getting closer to the Almighty. Others may wish there were more than ninety devotions included.

~ Who ~
No information is provided about the author.

~ Wish ~
With the stunning photographs throughout the book, it draws away from the writing, so I may be one of the few that wish there were less artwork and more than ninety devotions that could be read throughout the year.

~ Want ~
If you like devotionals with beautiful photographs and short reading, this is an excellent choice for a Mother’s Day or birthday present or gift for a friend who are seeking a closer walk with Christ, but it should not take the place of daily Bible reading.

Thanks to Book Look Bloggers for this complimentary book that I am freely evaluating.

GRAMMARY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Counting Down the Beatles

Counting Down the Beatles: Their 100 Finest SongsTitle: Counting Down the Beatles
Author: Jim Beviglia
Publisher: Roman & Littlefield
ISBN: 978-1-4422-7154-8

“As always, these rankings are based solely on my opinions of the songs, not any chart success or cultural impact or anything like that,” Jim Beviglia writes in the introduction of his book, Counting Down the Beatles: Their 100 Finest Songs.

~ What ~
This two-hundred-and-eighteen-page hardbound covers one-hundred songs of the Beatles in an order chosen by the book’s author. After acknowledgments and an introduction, the counted down one-hundred-to-one songs are dissected and explained. The ending includes notes, bibliography, index, and author’s biography.

In this countdown based on the author’s opinions, approximately two pages are written on each song that has the song, album, and year produced in its title. Usually, the paragraphs cover why the artists wrote it, what the song is about, what it sounded like, comparisons to other songs including by other artists, or conflicts about it.

~ Why ~
Without giving the author’s number one favorite Beatle song and not “Because” “I Don’t Want to Spoil the Party,” I liked flipping through to my favorites and reading tidbits about the music or behind-the-scenes interactions. I found interesting that McCartney’s “Michelle” was originally a French tune he had played before he became a Beatle, Lennon was paying tribute to Dylan in “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away,” Harrison took a line from James Taylor in “Something,” and “Rain” had Starr’s favorite bit of drumming in it.

~ Why Not ~
Some may not agree with the countdown list of the author, wishing their favorite song or songs were in the top ten. Others may feel there were too many assumptions on the writer’s part of how or why a song may have been written or arranged.

~ Who ~
A writer for American Songwriter magazine, Beviglia has been reviewing and writing about music for ten years, including books of several musician’s countdowns. He lives in Pennsylvania with his family.

~ Wish ~
Being more of a visual person, my husband wished there were pictures of the albums or band included in the book. I found too many of the listings had references to other songs by the band or other artists.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a book that is a collection of the why, what, and how of a myriad of Beatles songs, this may be your “Ticket to Ride.”

Thanks to Bookpleasures and the author for this complimentary book that I am freely evaluating.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Attend

Title: Attend
Author: Laura Davis Werezak
Publisher: FaithWords
ISBN: 978-1-4555-4148-5

“We who stretch our faces toward Jesus with attention reflect the bright Image of God to others,” Laura Davis Werezak writes in the introduction of her book, Attend: Forty Soul Stretches Toward God.

~ What ~
This two-hundred-and-forty-page hardbound targets women who want to improve their attentiveness to God. Using mainly the English Standard Version of the Holy Bible, the NIV, NASB, KJV, NRSV, and The Message are also referenced. After an introduction, the book is divided into four parts that contain a total of forty chapters, ending with a conclusion and acknowledgments. The eternal plan of salvation is included.

In this compact book, the author reminds readers that in today’s busy world, we should pay and give more attention to God instead of ourselves. The four sections include returning, resting, quieting, and trusting in Him as we do exercises that will strengthen our relationship with Jesus and those around us. Including forty suggestions that concentrate on our physical posture to God, added are hymns, quotes from the Anglican Book of Common Prayers, Apostle’s Creed, and references to Biblical characters such as Abraham, Ezekial, Paul, Simeon, and Jesus to name a few.

From simple tasks such as making your bed, playing with a child, having a snack, giving a gift,  or making a to-do list to uncommon ideas such as spending ten minutes with an onion, praying with beads, listening for the monastic bell, and saying a creed aloud, the topics cover about three to five pages each, sometimes offering Bible verses.

~ Why ~
Christian women often feel out of touch with God when they multi-task between having children, keeping a home, and working. I like that each subject is short and to the point with a plethora of everyday or unique activities.

~ Why Not ~
Some may not like the many references to the writer’s life and memories relating to her C-section, two daughters, husband, knitting, or perfectionism.  Older Christian women may have already experienced these types of exercises and have looked back, witnessing how they already have affected their relationship with Christ. A few readers of other denominational beliefs may not care for the added Anglican prayers.

~ Who ~
Living in New York with her husband, an Anglican minister, and their two young daughters, Werezak has a MCS in Christianity and the Arts.

~ Wish ~
Since I tend to be more Baptist in my belief, I wish there were less concentration on the Anglican Church and the writer’s personal experiences. Having more Bible verses would be more helpful. I think the book works best for young women.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a small book that reminds you to focus on the Almighty God, this may be helpful if you are a young woman looking for forty simple-to-do “soul stretches.”

Thanks to the Hachette Book Group for this complimentary book that I am reviewing freely.

This review will be posted on Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Godinterest, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+, and Twitter.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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31 Verses to Write on Your Heart

31 Verses to Write on Your HeartTitle: 31 Verses to Write on Your Heart
Author: Liz Curtis Higgs
Publisher: Waterbrook
ISBN: 978-1-60142-891-2

“Best of all, when God’s Word is written on our hearts, it goes with us everywhere,” Liz Curtis Higgs reminds the reader in the introduction to her book, 31 Verses to Write on Your Heart.

~ What ~
At two-hundred-and-twenty-four pages, this hardbound targets women who are seeking to be closer to God as they memorize His Scriptures.  Using mainly the New International Version of the Holy Bible, over thirty other versions are referenced. After an introduction, thirty-one chapters cover thirty-one verses, ending with a recap of memorizing tips, study guide, acknowledgments, and notes.

In this compact book, the author provides an easy way to memorize short Bible verses by breaking them down into short phrases and explaining them. Each chapter begins with one verse written out, followed by four or five pages that segment it with explanations and interpretations. The ending has a short prayer with a page that gives a numbered tip, the verse written out from the NIV, and a space to write in a favorite translation. Including both the Old and New Testaments, one verse a day can be read and memorized throughout a month.

~Why ~
Having a Bible verse seared into memory is important as one goes through daily life. I like how the writer does not focus too much on herself but the Word instead. One example I liked was #21, Proverbs 27:17 “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another,” as the author explains blacksmithing and the process of sharpening iron. She discusses how character, friendship, and conscience interact with others. The prayer is thanking God for friends and asking for help in speaking in love. The tip is to make memorization personal via a life experience.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not have a personal relationship with Christ Jesus will not see the value of this book that concentrates on memorizing Scripture. Others like me may prefer using only one translation in the book instead of referencing many variations; however, there is a space to write in your favorite version when memorizing. One example I struggled with regarding versions was #6 from Philippians 4:13 “I can do all this through him who gives me strength” as I have already memorized the King James Version that states “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

~ Who ~
The author of more than thirty books that have sold almost five million copies, Higgs is a professional speaker and Bible study teacher who has spoken at more than seventeen hundred conferences in the United States. She lives in Kentucky with her husband.

~ Wish ~
As mentioned above, I would prefer only one Bible version offered instead of referring to so many. Being older in years, I like the King James Version and wish the reader could pick a version to match her needs.

~ Want ~
If you are looking a reminder to read and memorize Scripture daily for a month, this may be a good option if you do not mind the main version used.

Thanks to Blogging for Books for a sample that I am freely reviewing.

This review will be posted on Blogging for Books, DeeperShopping, and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Godinterest, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+, and Twitter.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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