What's On My Shelf (Aug 2021)

When's the last time a book you read sunk in deeply?

Was it a novel? Nonfiction? Poetry?

Words are tools to communicate truths about life. Sometimes through stories, other times through teaching, or by beautifully threaded grammatical devices. We observe through the lens of a writer a new perspective to increase our empathy for others or convict us of our need for growth.

Tony Reinke writes, “our goal is not to finish a book, or merely to talk about a book, but to use our books to grow Christlike character.” It could be easy to breeze through a book as we lay in the warm sun, basking on a beach, without letting it touch the deepest parts of us-without reflecting on the truths (or untruths) that emerge.

As I'm reminded of this, I find helpful tools like reading others' reviews and by writing them-even when it's a short note on Goodreads. Highlighting quotes or writing them down gives me opportunity to consider spiritual truths in a deeper way.

I hope you find these reviews beneficial as I share what's crossed my shelf the last while!


Carved in Ebony: Lessons From the Black Women Who Shape Us by Jasmine Holmes *

A collection of short biographies from an author who loves history! You'll meet women who used their skills and influence to impact the people around them. Find my full review here. (4 stars)

Paul: A Biography by N.T. Wright

I've had a hard time learning the sequence of events of Paul's life, between the missionary journeys in the book of Acts and the letters he wrote to the churches. So that's why this book caught my eye. It took me awhile to get through, but there's a lot of good stuff in it. It was written more academically. I'd love to read something a little simpler. (3 stars)

Christian Living

Taming the Tongue: How the Gospel Transforms Our Talk by Jeff Robinson

This was a timely read for me. With animosity and divisiveness spreading rampantly in our churches and communities, this book challenged me to assess how, why and what I speak. His first goal is "to convince readers that words are one of the most important aspects of a life lived before God, one of the best indicators as to our maturation and growth in Christ-likeness" and I think he does a great job accomplishing this by showing us nine ways our words are used as weapons.

His other goals are to show how the "fall turns our words into nuclear warheads" and thus the need to handle them well, and then how the gospel transforms them. It's a shorter book, 150 pages, to lead our minds and our tongues to the glory of God. (4 stars)

Identity Theft: Reclaiming the Truth of Who We Are in Christ Edited by Melissa Kruger

Friend, this is a must read!! If you've ever wondered or doubted who you are as a follower of Jesus, land here for rich biblical teaching. There are discussion questions at the end of each chapter that would be great for small group study. This is one I'll try to go back to every year. Find my full review here. (5 stars!!)

Atypical Woman: Free, Whole, and Called in Christ by Abigail Dodds

Along the theme of identity, here's another that dives into gospel-centred teaching on womanhood. She shares the variety of roles woman take on and how "the nature of being Christian women isn't based on what we do but on who we are-who he's made us." When our roles begin to define us, she calls us to redefine them in Christ. (4 stars)

Holier Than Thou: How God's Holiness Helps Us Trust Him by Jackie Hill Perry *

"If God is holy, then He can't sin. If God can't sin, then He can't sin against me. If He can't sin against me, shouldn't that make Him the most trustworthy being there is?"

Who we believe God to be impacts our relationship with him, how much we read the Word, whether or not we pray. Jackie challenges us to dive deeply into the glory of God's holiness, to behold him and become more like him. Find my full review here. (5 stars!)


Paths of the Righteous: Psalm 23 in the Lives of Missionaries & Witnesses for Christ by Cara Ray

Written by my friend Cara Ray, this short devotional leads us to through Psalm 23 and how it's truths are exemplified in the lives of missionaries, such as Amy Carmicheal, Lillian Trasher and Corrie Ten Boom. With reflection questions at the end of each chapter, you'll be encouraged by the rest, protection and provision of our Lord by seeing it in the lives of the faithful who have gone before us. I highly recommend it! You can also grab a copy of the ebook at her website here.

Christian Fiction

Labryinth of Lies by Irene Hannon *

The second book in the Triple Threat series, police detective Cate Reilly goes undercover at a girls private school to investigate the disappearance of a student. A agent she once knew shows up as a teacher on his own assignment. Their separate tasks continue to collide, and to stop a drug-trafficking ring they'll have to work together, but to work through the web of hurt from the past will take time and trust. If you enjoy high levels of suspense and mystery, this story will hit the mark.

Finding Lady Enderly by Joanna Davidson Politano

This historical fiction takes you into a cinderella story, but with a deceptive twist. Rag woman, Raina, is offered the chance of a lifetime, to play the part of a lady. The man she loves has been lost at sea and she's alone with nothing to lose. This story reminds me how appearances and first impressions are not always as they seem and how we can always use our circumstances for the good of others and the glory of God. I've really been enjoying this author's lyrical writing!

Lights Out by Natalie Walters *

Brynn's career in the CIA hangs on by a thread as a foreign spy goes missing on US soil. To track him down the CIA brings in a SNAP team, led by Jack Hudson, a man she once betrayed. It's a race against time as they track down leads to an imminent terrorist plot. Jack has to answer the question, how do you trust someone who's betrayed you? While Brynn seeks to learn how to trust others when she's only ever relied on herself. Lots of suspense here in this upcoming release.

* the asterisk notes ARCs (advanced reader copy) I've received through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.