September Reading (Book Reviews)

Once again sharing some great Christian books that I’ve been reading this month. Many of these books were sent to me by the publishers in exchange for an honest mention and/or review. As always, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.

Tried & True

Review Tried  and True

Tried & True by Mary Connealy

I am a big fan of Mary Connealy! They always have plenty of humor and hilarity, and she has a strong, feisty voice that really comes through her writing. In this series, with a bunch of girls mingling with the boys undetected, there was bound to be plenty of fun!  If you are a fan of very strong female characters then this book (and most by this author) is for you. Although she maintains some traditional values of the time period, Connealy’s female characters are always very strong and capable women.

Aaron is a great hero for Kylie, and it is fun to see the conflict between them work out. This story is a beautiful love story, but so much more than that! It is fun, and has such a sweet story of faith as well. If you enjoy historical Christian romance with a lot of personality, you won’t be disappointed.

Best of all, this is book 1 of the Wild at Heart series following the Wilde sisters, and Mary promises that the story of a great mountain man is coming up, so I’m especially looking forward to the rest of this series!

Before Amen

Reviews Before Amen

Before Amen by Max Lucado. 

This book is a great statement on prayer. It is in depth, yet short enough that it isn’t overwhelming for a busy mom. Furthermore, it’s on such an important subject matter that it’s worth taking the time to read. Max Lucado breaks down the sample prayer we are given with the Lord’s prayer, and pulls out important truths that we can apply to our own prayer lives. He sprinkles lots of personal anecdotes to add interest, and adds enough scripture throughout that the reader can be confident that the word being taught is Biblically sound. If you have ever struggled with not knowing how or what to pray, this is a great little pocket guide.

Blessed are the Peacemakers

Reviews Blessed are the peacemakers

The Berenstain Bears Blessed are the Peacemakers by Mike Berenstain

I grew up reading The Berenstain Bears as a kid, and I loved the stories! I am so excited to have these new gentler, and Biblically based stories available to read with my boys, with the same characters we know and love.

I appreciate the topic covered here. There is always a subtle lesson to be learned with these books, and as a mom of 2 boys, I appreciate the lessons on being a peacemaker. While I did appreciate the lesson to be learned, I was a bit troubled by the amount of time focused on the troublemaking as opposed to the peacemaking. However, I understand this can be a great way to begin such a conversation.

Your Family in Pictures

Reviews Family in Pictures

Your Family in Pictures by Me Ra Koh

This is a fun book. I would love to take more (and better quality) photos of my family. This book has a lot of great ideas that she calls “recipes” or ideas for what types of pictures to take and when. There were a lot of great ideas for photos, and a lot of great examples for inspiration.

My only complaint with this book is that when reading the description, I was expecting more tips and how-tos. While there were a lot of great examples, I didn’t find a lot of helpful tips. One of the tips she offers is “how to tell if your family isn’t in the mood.” Any mother worth her salt can figure this out without any tips. I was hoping for more technical advice with the photography and camera that I just didn’t find.

However, I seem to be in the minority, as it seems most have loved the book. So, if you are interested in a book with great photo ideas, this might be a good selection for you :)


Reviews Joyful

Joyful by Shelley Shepard Gray

Joyful is book 3 of the Return to Sugar Creek series. I have shared before that I live near a large Amish population, and I greatly admire their simple ways. So, I do enjoy reading Amish fiction from time to time also.

Although this is book 3 in a series, it works well as a stand alone novel also, and will be enjoyable to readers even if you haven’t read the beginning of the series.

From the description:

Randall Beiler is doing his best to put his family and the farm’s needs first, even forsaking love. But though he tries, Randall knows he needs help caring for his younger siblings and keeping the house together.

When his brother offers pretty Elizabeth Nolt a job taking care of the house and cooking for the family, Randall is furious—and guilty about the way he once broke Elizabeth’s heart. But when he learns that Elizabeth and her grandmother are struggling to make ends meet, he knows the offer, no matter how painful, is the right thing for everyone.

Elizabeth wants to refuse—to stay far away from the man who hurt her—but she needs the money. Though she vows to protect her heart, spending time in the Beiler household makes Elizabeth realize that, while she’s older and wiser, her love for Randall still burns strong.

I love stories of redemption, and redeeming a love that seems lost fits that bill for me! This story was such a sweet romance. Elizabeth finds herself in an impossible situation as she is forced to spend time with the man who broke her heart. However, as they grow closer together, it is neat as a reader to see them learn to trust God in the midst of the worries and situations that had once kept them apart.

A great book for readers of Amish or inspirational fiction.

NIV Pink Bible: An Invitation to Hope

Reviews NIV Pink Bible

NIV Pink Bible: An Invitation to Hope

This Bible is close to me because my aunt beat breast cancer 10 years ago. However, her cancer has recently returned in her back. it is inoperable and incurable as far as modern medicine is concerned. She is in pain and devastated at the news, but still keeps a smile on her face and hope in her heart because she trusts in Jesus Christ for her salvation, and that goes beyond modern medicine.

I appreciate this Bible and have sent her one for a gift. The devotions and stories included in the midst of these pages of life and truth (the Bible!) are just amazing and inspiring, and this Bible would make a great gift for anyone suffering through breast cancer, and their caregivers.

The Sacred Year

Reviews The Sacred Year

The Sacred Year by Michael Yankoski

I knew when I read the description that I needed to read this book. I have felt a calling, a longing within my heart to get off the hampster wheel already. To be in this world but not of it. And how do we do that when we are so caught up in worldly things. I have found myself seeking validation in worldly definitions of success.

But yet I look around me, and all around me are people who have achieved that success, but they are unfulfilled. Mainstream celebrities and Christian celebrities alike. The success is dead and they are unfulfilled. There has to be more to this life, and it is not found in any semblance of worldly success, even “Christian” success.

I really appreciated reading about the author’s journey through his sacred year. There were some times in this book that I felt it was a bit more “mystical” than I generally like. However, the main principles in his year and in the book are sound.

One important thing to me is that so many times with books like this the author comes across as having arrived and figured everything out. That is not the case with this book. Michael Yankoski is somewhat critical of some of the people he shares in his encounters, but overall he comes across as a seeker who is trying to figure things out, and sharing that journey with us through stories and experiences.


I love to hear your feedback and value your thoughts! All I ask is that we remain respectful and civil, even when we disagree. Thanks so much for reading. I appreciate you!

Thank you for joining in the discussion!