A Fresh Batch of Book Reviews #17 {Giveaway!}

I have two new book reviews for you today, and I will also announce the 12 winners of my 12 Days of Christmas Book Giveaway! PLUS: if you didn’t win, you have one more chance to win ANOTHER giveaway today! See details below.

Talking to Jesus: A Fresh Perspective on Prayer

So many books have been written on prayer that it can be hard to find one with a truly fresh perspective. But Talking to Jesus delivers on its promise, and I’m delighted with its format.

Author Jeannie Blackmer asks us to consider the interactions Jesus had with regular people as models for conversation with him today. She says, “I started to read the encounters other men and women had with Jesus while he walked on earth as prayers. They were simply talking to Jesus–isn’t that prayer?” I had never considered it from that perspective, and I love the practical application.

She takes another creative step by beginning each chapter with a fictionalized story based on a Bible passage. For example, she took the story of the leper in Matthew 8 and imagined more details about Simon’s life. She breathes life into the story by filling it in with historical details, which helps me gain even more from scripture. Jeannie is careful not to take away from or add to the words of Jesus in her storytelling, and I appreciate her wise approach.

She covers many people you’ve read about in the Bible: the bleeding woman, the Canaanite woman, John the Baptist, the rich young man, and Peter. You’ll love the way she brings their stories to life and pulls fresh truths out to inspire your prayers. This book is ideal for personal study or group study, and additional book resources can be found here.

Jeannie has won me over with her gentle voice, personal anecdotes, humility, and thoughtful questions. After reading this book, I feel like I can approach Jesus more creatively, using the stories of these biblical figures as a springboard for my own prayers.

I received a free review copy of Talking to Jesus from the BlogAbout Blogger Network.

Three people will win a copy of this book! Enter to win by subscribing to my email list at the very bottom of this post. Please let me know that you subscribed in the comments so I can verify you showed up on the list. If you’re already a subscriber, I will send registration instructions in my Tea on Tuesdays email on Nov. 14 and Nov. 21. I’ll announce three winners in a special email on Nov. 22.


Wounds Are Where Light Enters: Stories of God’s Intrusive Grace

Do you like short stories? Do you like memoir? I adore both formats, and Walt Wangerin combines them masterfully in this unique book on faith.

Walt was a pastor in the Chicago area and spent much of his career ministering to poor inner city residents–but I think he’d say they ministered more to him. He also adopted one mixed-race daughter and one African-American son. The stories he shares of his life and the lives of those around him are powerful, beautiful glimpses of God’s work in all kinds of people, and how his healing shines through their painful wounds. The stories are a truth-in-love balm for our current cultural wars, spoken in an inimitable style and seasoned with decades of godly wisdom.

This book brought me to tears for several reasons. One, tears of repentance over my own blindness and prejudice I didn’t realize I hold onto so tightly. (I live in Missouri, two hours south of Ferguson–have you heard of it?) Two, tears of compassion for so many broken people. Three, in awe of God’s blazing displays of power in so many ordinary stories. I love the self-effacing insights, the unique glimpses of Jesus, the dramatic dialects, and the colorful characters. 

Here’s a taste of his style, describing the scene after he chased down a boy who had stolen from the church parsonage:

“Know what I just did?” I said. I was a head shorter than Lucian, nor ever athletic. You can imagine the pride with which I told him everything that had happened, describing in detail my defeated adversary.

For the first time that evening, Lucian spoke. He said, “I know him.”

“Know who?”

“That boy. His mama named him Centurion. We call him One Cent. Now his mama calls him Five Dollah, because he the onliest one left to look after her. They poor. Cain’t buy medicines for her. She need her medicines.”

If you enjoyed reading American literature in high school or college, this book will remind you of the stories you loved then. The best part is, it’s all about faith, and it has a surprisingly contemporary feel, even though most of the stories are from the mid- to late 20th century. It’s a book that doesn’t quite fit into one category over another, and I like it for that very reason. I like it most because it’s softening my heart toward people who aren’t just like me.

I received a free review copy of Wounds are Where Light Enters from the BookLook Blogger Program.

Announcing the Winners!

Many thanks to everyone who entered my 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway! Congratulations to the 12 winners!

Debbie P. / Noelle / Marva / Leigh E. / Debra S. / Mandy F. / Mary G. / Lisa E. / Diana A. / Kim J. / Nicole K./ Emily W.

Winners, I sent you an email last night. Please respond no later than Thurs., Nov. 16 at 5:00 p.m. Central time with your mailing address. Otherwise, I will choose another winner. Your package will be sent via USPS and should arrive within two weeks of the mailing, due to the Thanksgiving holiday.

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44 thoughts on “A Fresh Batch of Book Reviews #17 {Giveaway!}

    1. Thanks Debbie! You were my top winner, and I’m so happy with all the sharing you did. Others have nominated me too, and I haven’t gotten around to a post yet. But thank you for the nomination–it’s an honor, friend! Blessings to you!

  1. Sarah, I love (and needed) both of these reviews! I just spoke with my pastor last week and asked him to recommend some books that will challenge me. The last couple books I’ve chosen on my own were church books that talked church speak to church people (you know, the same kind of stuff we already know, warmed over). I think both of these books will give me the fresh perspectives and heart growth I’m looking for! Thank you!

    1. Hi Karen! I do know what you mean about those kind of books. If you check out my book reviews page (www.sarahgeringer.com/book-reviews), you may find even more books that you’ll like. Do you use Goodreads much? I love it! I’m trying to meet my goal of 100 books this year. Almost there…and thank you so much for sharing the post on FB too!

  2. I love book reviews. I’m reading one you might enjoy called Dare Mighty Things by Halee Gray Scott. It’s about the challenges of Christian women in leadership. So insightful and inspirational.

    1. Hi Angela. Thank you so much for sharing this recommendation! I’ll add it to my list. Blessings on your day!

  3. I am already subscribed but I like to enter the contest. I am focusing alot on prayer for I want to be on our Christmas alter team so I believe that this could help.thank u for giving us a chance to win

  4. Thank you for the reviews! I love getting more information about books to help me decide which ones to squeeze into limited time!

    1. Hi Melissa! I am an avid reader and I love sharing my book thoughts with my friends. Glad you stopped by, and I’m really enjoying your blog posts too!

  5. Sarah, I can see why you liked the book, “Talking to Jesus.” You have a beautiful way of fleshing out the stories found in Scripture too. I remember vividly one that you wrote and shared here. Thanks for pointing us to valuable and helpful resources, my friend!

    1. Hi friend! Thanks for the kind compliment. Yes, her stories reminded me of my own fictional takes that I tried this summer. It was fun to do that and I may try my hand at it again soon in a Christmas series…if I can find the time! Blessings to you–hugs from afar!

    1. It’s a brand-new release, but you can probably ask your library to order it. I’ve done that before, and my library is very accommodating!

  6. Both books sound so interesting – I couldn’t help but be interested in the title of the one, “Wounds are Where Light Enters.” So true! Sometimes our wounds are ways God gets us to look at things differently. Also, I enjoyed the part about One Cent being called Five Dollah because I actually know of someone called Nine Dollah. He always said he was worth more than a dollar but I never could see why he didn’t call himself Ten Dollah!

    ~~ Jerralea

    1. Hi friend. Wow, what a interesting link the book has to you! Every chapter is a powerful, concise glimpse at the light pouring through a wound. It’s a profound book, and the stories are still resonating with me. Your book from the contest is going in the mail today, friend!

    1. Thanks Karen! I am so happy with the BlogAbout Blog Network’s generosity, along with the other publishers who give me free book copies for review. They are on my thanksgiving prayer list this year. Happy Thanksgiving to you too!

  7. Great reviews,Sarah! I was trying to imagine one of ur rooms filled with books because of how you love books so much 🙂

    I am so glad for the win as well 🙂
    Happy thanksgiving !!

    1. Thank you friend! Your book is packaged and I’ll take it to the post office today. Happy Thanksgiving to you too!

    1. Me too, Donna! I have way more books than I can finish right now, but just having them near is a comfort!

  8. Sarah, thank you for these book reviews! I don’t read near as much as I should right now and your reviews help save time in picking out the books to read. These sound like really good ones! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Sarah,
    I always enjoy good book reviews. My time to just read is so limited, that I appreciate viewpoints from people I respect. Thanks for the inside scoop on these two!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx
    Ps. Was sick the whole time I ve been away so no time to read your goodies 🙁 Hope to do some reading one day soon!

  10. Sarah, thank you for sharing these books. They both sound great; the second painful but wonderful. If I were to pick one, that would be my choice because of the challenge it brings. What is it about a challenge? Great to meet you. I’m visiting from the #grit-up. Have a blessed Thanksgiving! ~andy

    1. Hi Andy! I’ve enjoyed my recent trips to your site. Thanks for stopping by–yes, the “Wounds” book is one of my favorites from 2017. Painful yet gloriously beautiful, and well worth the time spent reading. Blessings to you as well!

  11. Thanks for sharing these book reviews.

    The first book discusses a topic I actually blogged about not too long ago. That sounds like a great read!

    The second book sounds like a very engaging read.

    1. Hi Karen! I’ll check out your blog about the first topic. Would you please share a direct link? Thanks!

    1. Hello Karrilee! I hope you enjoy both of them when you have the time…do you have a new baby? (I like your avatar!)

  12. These sound like wonderful books, Sarah! I love it when a book can convict us and grow us and bring us to tears all at the same time!

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