A Murder for the Books
by Victoria Gilbert
A Murder for the Books is the first book in the new Blue Ridge Library Mystery Series. Author Victoria Gilbert is obviously passionate about reading, writing, and libraries. Her main character, Amy, a former university librarian rebounding from a bad romance, moves to the town of Taylorsford to live with an aging but still feisty aunt. She puts her research skills to good use in attacking a mystery involving several local families, including her own. The murder of an elderly lady in the library’s archives draws her into this case which has intriguing connections to historical happenings in the town. This mystery has interesting characters, a complex plot, and good pacing. When the main “who done it” has resolution, the story continues with a surprise development and ending. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series, set for publication in July.
I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Crooked Lane Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Notes: short discussion of possible paranormal activity, but certainly not a major factor in the book as the main character does not believe in it
Publication: December 12, 2017—Crooked Lane Books
The age of shushing librarians had gone out with card catalogs, despite what popular culture might portray.
“He was a canny old devil. He read the whole situation like words in a book in that one afternoon.”
I loved the smell of books. Although I appreciated the value of computers and online research, nothing could replace the magic of rows of books filling shelves.
Praying the Scriptures for Your Adult Children
by Jodie Berndt
What better way to start off the new year than with a book on prayer? Parenting doesn’t end where the empty nest begins, but the whole approach changes when our children become adults.
Jodie Berndt has written several books on “praying the Scriptures.” What she means by that is the very simple concept of taking scriptural promises and turning them into requests inserting a name. For example, in praying for a child who has a job loss or financial difficulty, Berndt turns II Chronicles 15:7 (“But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.”) into a petition: “Help _______ be strong and not give up. Reward her for her work.” Praying the Scriptures is certainly a powerful way of approaching the throne of God with the pleadings of our hearts.
The format of the book is equally simple. The reader is encouraged to study the whole book, but can also go directly to sections that are of particular concern. Each chapter has an appropriate title and starts with a summary Bible verse. For example, “Praying for Protection from Harm” opens with Psalm 34:7: “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him.” Next the author shares a real life story from her own family or from parents she has interviewed who have had this particular struggle. She inserts “prayer principles” in the story to add focus and for easy reference. One in this example chapter is “Asking God to put his angels in charge of your child’s safety encompasses more than just physical protection. We can trust Him to stand guard over their hearts and minds too.” The next section, “Poised for Prayer,” expands more on the parental attitude to prayer in this specific case. Most importantly, the chapter ends with “Prayers You Can Use” which holds two sections. The first holds a few Scriptures turned into prayers for parents to use for themselves as they turn to God by supporting their child through prayer asking for wisdom and understanding while releasing the adult child to God’s care. The second is a longer section containing about a dozen prayers asking God to intercede in their child’s life.
Praying the Scriptures for Your Adult Children acknowledges that parents are just people searching for answers and help. It does not play a guilt game over past parenting faults (real or imagined). It just leads the parent to find appropriate ways to pray without interfering. The book does not claim cookie cutter solutions to the many very difficult issues we all encounter as God works differently in each person’s life.
The challenge and help of this book can easily be extended to anyone praying for any other adult and even for oneself as you seek God’s will and help through a tough season. The personal accounts show how differently God works in each situation and are comforting as they show that you are not alone in your struggles. The verses that are aptly chosen give a quick and focused path to prayer, but certainly, anyone could use the same approach on their own in searching out Scriptures that apply to their situations.
I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Zondervan for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Notes: This book can be a bit overwhelming when read in one fell swoop, but having done that and with the bigger picture in mind, the reader can then zoom in on a particular chapter and apply its principles.
Publication: December 5, 2017—Zondervan
The things you give to God in prayer—your worries, concerns, and needs—are the ties that bind your heart to his. Our struggles are his entry points.
The more we allow the Bible to shape our prayers, the more our requests will line up with God’s plans.
“We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” I realized that it didn’t matter whose plan we were following; the outcome was up to the Lord. My job was to get out of his way.
God is not just interested in results; he wants relationship.