Saturday, October 28, 2017

Cozy Fall Reading: Book Reviews

I first read her well-known book The Lifegiving Home and mentioned it a few times on here and how much I loved it. So when I saw she had a new book called The Lifegiving Table that focused on food and meals, I was all in! I am such a fan of food and I've always connected it with celebration...when you have a party or gathering or even a friend over for tea, there has to be food! Author Sally Clarkson takes it a step further by connecting not only celebration with food but also spirituality. She explains how the warmth, comfort, and welcoming of a delicious meal can nurture conversation as well as evangelization. This is particularly important in raising our own families, but also in inviting others in (similar to my post about inviting the lonely). I not only loved the message of this book but also the layout and 'extras.' The first few chapters focus on the core message of the book. The rest of the chapters are divided into ways we can live this out (birthday meals, everyday meals, Christmas meals, meals on the go, etc.). Each chapter includes some devotional verses and questions, as well as practical ideas to put into practice. Sally Clarkson is fast becoming a favorite author/mentor for me, and this book affirmed that. Five stars.

[Thank you to Tyndale Publishing for my complimentary review copy. This review contains my honest and original thoughts.]

Two of my favorite books are One Thousand Gifts and The Greatest Gift (an Advent devo!) by the popular Ann Voskamp. She is a beautiful, beautiful word-weaver and her messages are profound. But somehow this book just didn't do it for me. Be the Gift is a gift-type book and collection of passages from previous books. The message is for all of us to be a self-gift to others (love the Theology of the Body implied there!) no matter how broken we feel. That by giving, we can not only heal and help others but ourselves as well. Her reflections are always touching and gorgeous, but this particular book just felt somewhat redundant which make the message lose some of its lackluster. It was also a bit confusing because the reflections were not separated by dates or chapters so you didn't quite know when you were in a new story or section (just a fancy capital letter beginning the story each time.). I think in some ways, this is still a rich book for meditation, and I love the 'extras' in it-- space for journaling your giving, ideas of intentional ways to give, and even some cute tags to add to food gifts for others. But overall, I found myself less drawn in than I usually am with her books. 3 out of 5 stars.

Thank you to Book Look Bloggers for my complimentary review copy. This review contains my honest and original thoughts.]

Last but not least, I've mentioned how crafty I've been feeling lately and I ordered this book to go out on a limb and see if I can master a new skill: watercolor. The title itself was tempting: Everyday Watercolor, Learn to Paint Watercolor in 30 Days. Honestly, I love this book. But honestly, it's much more in-depth than I anticipated. I think my best explanation would be that yes, you could learn to do watercolor in 30 days but it would be more like taking an actual course for those 30 days rather than slipping in a quick chapter and five minutes each day, if that makes sense. So the book is still EXCELLENT and I really look forward to learning, but it's not quite going to be the short naptime activity I thought it might. I envisioned learning some quick stroke techniques to be able to paint pretty flowers and leaves around some calligraphy quotes. But instead the book covers not only strokes, but also principles such as hue, saturation, value, shadows, gesture, volume, background and foreground, and much more. Again, I think it's a great resource and I love that they divided the concepts into 30 days, but I would definitely be aware that the book is very thorough and technical as well. I would give it a 4 out of 5. 

[Thank you to Blogging for Books for my complimentary review copy. This review contains my honest and original thoughts.]


  1. I've had it in the back of my mind that I need to look into Sally Clarkson's books since you started talking about the Life Giving Home, and now I'm convinced that I need to get around to her books SOONER rather than later, because they sound totally awesome.

  2. I love reading what's on other people's bookshelves! And I definitely added that first one to my to-read list :-) That watercolor book sounds a little intense! If they'd work for you, there are really great youtube videos that I've found helpful.