Reviews by Trish Ryan

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Greater Than Gold

Greater Than Gold

On 9/8 Trish Ryan wrote: Greater than Gold: From Olympic Heartbreak to Ultimate Redemption by David Boudia. I first saw David Boudia during the Rio Olympics last month. I was impressed by his diving, both in the synchro and individual events, and even more so by his testimony: it was heartfelt, focused, and it was so clear ... Book Review: Greater Than Gold

Trish's Rating:

4 Stars

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Heart Made Whole

Heart Made Whole

On 7/14 Trish Ryan wrote: This was a miss for me - not enough clear story, too many heart metaphors. The author's heart is an open door, a house with many rooms, a dark place waiting to be explored, a locked room she's trying to open... I love a good image, but it's a tool to help you say something, not a substitute for figuring ... Books!

Trish's Rating:

3 Stars

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Breaking Busy

Breaking Busy

On 3/1 Trish Ryan wrote: Breaking Busy: How to Find Peace and Purpose in a World of Crazy, by Alli Worthington. This a fast, confusing read. I like the author's voice, but this is a very surface-level book. Author Alli Worthington speeds too quickly through the stories she shares, never really going deep or allowing ideas to ... Book Reviews

Trish's Rating:

3 Stars

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Strong and Kind

Strong and Kind

On 1/15 Trish Ryan wrote: I got some good tips here that I put into action right away (I used one – a way to nudge a fibbing child toward honesty – approximately 30 seconds after reading it.) Robertson has a strong voice, a good use of humor, and thankfully doesn’t delve too heavily into the whole redneck thing that feels ... 3 books that surprised me

Trish's Rating:

4 Stars

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Midnight Jesus

Midnight Jesus

On 1/5 Trish Ryan wrote: I started Midnight Jesus with a bit of trepidation - I guess I was expecting one of those justice books that suggests that everyone should be just like the author. Wow, is this not that. Author Jamie Blaine is a musician, church psychotherapist, and assistant manager of a roller rink. He describes ... Book Review: Midnight Jesus

Trish's Rating:

5 Stars

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Hands Free Life

Hands Free Life

On 9/28 Trish Ryan wrote: In Hands Free Life: 9 Habits for Overcoming Distraction, Living Better, & Loving More, author Rachel Macy Stafford builds on the "Hands Free Life Movement" she established in her first book, Hands Free Mama. Her 9 suggested habits are: Fill the spaces, Surrender Control, Build a Foundation, Take the ... Book Review: Hands Free Life

Trish's Rating:

3 Stars

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Believe Student Edition

Believe Student Edition

On 7/13 Trish Ryan wrote: Believe: Student Edition - Living the Story to Become Like Jesus is a collection of Bible passages assembled according to themes of Christian faith. There's a chapter on what we believe about God, for example. I'd call it an excellent research tool if you're preparing a talk, or even just doing personal ... Book Review: Believe

Trish's Rating:

3 Stars

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Anything

Anything

On 6/18 Trish Ryan wrote: I found Anything by Jennie Allen to be both inspired and frustrating. Inspired because the Workbook in the back of the book is fantastic, with thought-provoking questions and an interesting layout. She has a nice teaching style. Frustrating, because in the main part of the book, the author repeatedly ... Book Review: Anything

Trish's Rating:

3 Stars

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A Fellowship of Differents

A Fellowship of Differents

On 6/1 Trish Ryan wrote: The opening chapter of this book stopped me in my tracks. In A Fellowship of Differents, author Scot McKnight posits that our local church determines the direction of our discipleship. Put plainly, he's saying that the type of church we grow up in --what that church focuses on, what it dismisses (because ... Review: A Fellowship of Differents

Trish's Rating:

4 Stars

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When Mockingbirds Sing

When Mockingbirds Sing

On 5/8 Trish Ryan wrote: When Mockingbirds Sing: A Novel Description: Leah is a child from Away, isolated from her peers because of her stutter. But then she begins painting scenes that are epic in scope, brilliant in detail, and suffused with rich, prophetic imagery. When the event foreshadowed in the first painting dramatically ... Book Review: When Mockingbirds Sing

Trish's Rating:

2 Stars

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Searching for Sunday

Searching for Sunday

On 4/26 Trish Ryan wrote: This might be the most growth I've seen in a memoirist from one book to another. In Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church, Rachel Held Evans (author of the somewhat snarky takedown of Fundamentalist Christianity, A Year of Biblical Womanhood), offers a heartfelt and achingly honest ... Book Review: Searching for Sunday

Trish's Rating:

5 Stars

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The Story for Kids, NIrV

The Story for Kids, NIrV

On 3/25 Trish Ryan wrote: I'm on a middle-grade reading kick, and so when I saw this Bible laid out like a story for young readers (ages 8-12), I was excited to check it out. I was surprised how much I liked it. It reminded me of reading the Narnia books or Lord of the Rings. The chapters seem like they'd be perfect to read aloud, ... Review: The Story for Kids

Trish's Rating:

4 Stars

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Aloof

Aloof

On 2/19 Trish Ryan wrote: When I reviewed Scary Close by Donald Miller, I said that the highest compliment I can give a book is 61eoTiwpF4Lthat I didn't want it to end. Today I'm floundering about for new level of praise for Tony Kriz's Aloof: Figuring Out Life With a God Who Hides, because it's equally fantastic. I mean, I ordered ... Book Review: Aloof

Trish's Rating:

5 Stars

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Scary Close

Scary Close

On 2/6 Trish Ryan wrote: The highest compliment I can give a book is that I didn't want it to end. That's the case with Donald Miller's newest, Scary Close: Dropping the Act and Finding True Intimacy. This is Miller's strongest book in years, and the chapters live up to the subtitle--Miller is extremely candid about the rough ... Book Review: Scary Close

Trish's Rating:

5 Stars

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Make it Happen

Make it Happen

On 1/21 Trish Ryan wrote: Author Lara Casey has had interesting things happen in her life that could have been the stuff of a good memoir. But Make It Happen is more of a self-help book, and I'm not sure it stands up to the competition in that crowded category. Casey discusses various challenges she's faced, but in a very surface ... Book Review: Make It Happen

Trish's Rating:

2 Stars

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Lean On Me

Lean On Me

On 12/7 Trish Ryan wrote: Lean On Me: Finding Intentional, Vulnerable, and Consistent Community by Anne Marie Miller is a moving memoir of how the author rebuilt her life and faith in the aftermath of divorce. It's a bummer that it's presented as an advice book on finding community, because it's not really that at all, and the ... Book Review: Lean On Me

Trish's Rating:

3 Stars

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Forever Mom

Forever Mom

On 11/14 Trish Ryan wrote: This one was a surprise. I expected it to be a memoir of author Mary Ostyn's adoption journey -- she and her husband have adopted 6 children of different ages from Korea and Ethiopia. This book did not disappoint - it offers very candid accounts of each one of those decisions and how each child took ... Book Review: Forever Mom

Trish's Rating:

4 Stars

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Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet

Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet

On 10/29 Trish Ryan wrote: I was captivated by this cover from the first time I saw it online. It is simply gorgeous. The memoir inside is equally beautiful, and I'm so glad I read it. Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet: Tasting the Goodness of God In All Things is Sarah Hagerty's story of figuring out the challenges of adulthood. Existential ... Book Review: Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet

Trish's Rating:

5 Stars

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Walk to Beautiful

Walk to Beautiful

On 10/16 Trish Ryan wrote: Oh My Gosh I love this book. I started it YESTERDAY. Finished it TODAY. It is 376 pages, including a center section with photos I had to keep flipping forward and back to as I got to certain parts of the story. I gave up sleep to keep reading. If all this doesn't say Must Read Page Turner, I don't ... Book Review: Walk to Beautiful

Trish's Rating:

5 Stars

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The Sacred Year

The Sacred Year

On 9/14 Trish Ryan wrote: The Sacred Year is a big of a hodgepodge. But it's a charming hodgepodge, and I'm glad I read it. Author Michael Yankoski spent a year immersing himself in a variety of spiritual practices. He was burnt out from the Christian speaking tour, doubting his connection to God and his place in the world. ... Book Review: The Sacred Year

Trish's Rating:

4 Stars

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Tables in the Wilderness

Tables in the Wilderness

On 8/30 Trish Ryan wrote: Tables in the Wilderness: A Memoir of God Found, Lost, and Found Again is the story of one man's struggle with faith during his college years at Baylor University. I struggled with this book. The author is very earnest, but he hides behind endless layers of metaphor and philosophy. At key moments in ... Book Review: Tables in the Wilderness

Trish's Rating:

3 Stars

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Let's All Be Brave

Let's All Be Brave

On 8/20 Trish Ryan wrote: I really liked this one! Let's All Be Brave: Living Life with Everything You Have is Annie F. Downs' first offering for adult readers (she's the author of three books for teens) and she's built a good bridge for herself between these two readerships. She writes like a friend, vacillating from the tone ... Book Review: Let's All Be Brave

Trish's Rating:

4 Stars

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The Butterfly and the Violin

The Butterfly and the Violin

On 8/5 Trish Ryan wrote: I wanted to love this book. The cover is gorgeous, and I've enjoyed novels exploring life in Europe during the horrors of Nazi occupation. (Ayelet Waldman's Love and Treasure for example). This book missed the mark for me, though. I was never clear WHY the present-day protagonist, Sera, cares so much ... Book Review: The Butterfly and the Violin

Trish's Rating:

3 Stars

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Yawning at Tigers

Yawning at Tigers

On 7/24 Trish Ryan wrote: Sometimes I read a book to review and think, “This is a fine book, I’m just not the target audience.” Such is the case with Yawning At Tigers by Drew Dyck. This is a book for people who perhaps grew up in a traditional evangelical faith environment and have lost sight of God as large and awe-inspiring. ... Book Review: Yawning At Tigers

Trish's Rating:

2 Stars

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No Place to Hide

No Place to Hide

On 7/6 Trish Ryan wrote: The author is a neurosurgeon who takes us with him as he deploys to a military hospital in Balad, Iraq. He writes in very personal prose that makes you feel like you're right there. He shares candidly about everything: the horror of war, small humorous moments and unexpected observations, the toll on ... Book Review: No Place to Hide

Trish's Rating:

4 Stars

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Soul Keeping

Soul Keeping

On 6/20 Trish Ryan wrote: I've enjoyed several books by John Ortberg. His writing is funny and engaging, and he has the gift of pastoring through pages as he nudges readers toward perspectives and connections they might not have considered otherwise. So I was excited for the chance to review his latest, Soul Keeping: Caring for ... Book Review: Soul Keeping

Trish's Rating:

3 Stars

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Love, Skip, Jump

Love, Skip, Jump

On 6/5 Trish Ryan wrote: I can't say I was a fan of this one. Author Shelene Bryan has good stories to tell about the ways God has pushed her beyond her comfort zone in order to help others. I wish she had focused more on taking us inside those experiences, and let us draw our own conclusions as she shared what she learned. ... Book Review: Love, Skip, Jump

Trish's Rating:

3 Stars

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Plain Faith

Plain Faith

On 5/4 Trish Ryan wrote: This one surprised me. I expected a rather dull, sad story about a family pulled away from their faith by the heartbreak of losing their two daughters in a buggy crash. Instead, I found a smart, moving story about a family prompted by this heartbreak to consider their beliefs and practices in light of ... Plain Faith

Trish's Rating:

5 Stars

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Where the Wind Leads

Where the Wind Leads

On 4/21 Trish Ryan wrote: I loved this book. Where the Wind Leads is the story of a family forced out of Vietnam in the aftermath of the Vietnam war. The first part of the book chronicles the life they abandoned when they fled and their harrowing journey as unwanted "boat people" in desperate search of a place to land. Then ... Book Review: Where the Wind Leads

Trish's Rating:

5 Stars

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Moment Maker

Moment Maker

On 4/7 Trish Ryan wrote: This was not one of my better picks. The concept - making the most of every day, noticing things, finding meaning - is great. And the author brings great enthusiasm to the project. But he comes off like a narcissistic little kid, making everything about himself and his need for attention - he has fascinating ... Book Review: Moment Maker

Trish's Rating:

2 Stars

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InScribed Collection

InScribed Collection

On 3/30 Trish Ryan wrote: One of the interesting review opportunities I've had this season is the four-part Inscribed Bible Study series. These are studies written by women (more unusual than you might think) and are inspired by this cool passage from the book of Proverbs: "Stay focused, do not lose sight of mercy and truth…meditate ... The Inscribed Collection

Trish's Rating:

4 Stars

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Restless

Restless

On 2/20 Trish Ryan wrote: Restless: Because You Were Made for More by Jennie Allen is a fun push to believe that God made you with specific gifts and talents you should embrace and grow, rather than shrink away from. The book is a mix of personal sharing by the author, suggested exercises, and vision casting for the larger things ... Encouraging and Fun

Trish's Rating:

4 Stars

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Futureville

Futureville

On 2/3 Trish Ryan wrote: I wasn't sure what to expect when Futureville: Discover Your Purpose for Today by Reimagining Tomorrow arrived at my door. What I found was a collection of thought-provoking ideas buried behind a mediocre title. So I'll start by saying: this is a really interesting book, and well worth the read. Author ... The Book Is Better than the Title

Trish's Rating:

4 Stars

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The People Factor

The People Factor

On 1/7 Trish Ryan wrote: The People Factor by Van Moody is the best book on relationships I've ever read. That sounds like hyperbole, but this is the first time I've ever had a complete "Oprah Moment" and thought, I want to buy 1,000 copies of this book and give it to everyone I know. I can't think of anyone who wouldn't gain ... Best Book I've Read This Year

Trish's Rating:

5 Stars

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Let Hope In

Let Hope In

On 12/18 Trish Ryan wrote: Let Hope In by Pete Wilson is a good book with a misleading title. It is filled with wise words for living out the life of faith, but it's not really a guidebook to hope, so much as the author's thoughts on Christian basics. And they're good thoughts. For example, early in the book, he says this about ... A good book with a misleading title

Trish's Rating:

4 Stars

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The Wall Around Your Heart

The Wall Around Your Heart

On 12/5 Trish Ryan wrote: The subtitle of this book caught my attention: How Jesus heals you when others hurt you. It's a beautiful sentiment, and I believe that it's true. I was curious to see how this widely-published author would set out principles of grace, forgiveness and faith against the backdrop of her own life. The ... The Wall Around Your Heart

Trish's Rating:

3 Stars

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Jesus, My Father, The CIA, and Me

Jesus, My Father, The CIA, and Me

On 11/20 Trish Ryan wrote: This is the second book from Ian Morgan Cron I've reviewed. I enjoyed Chasing Francis so much that I requested this book from the publisher, looking for more from this author.This memoir was a mixed experience. I was never sure what this book was about, exactly. He writes vividly of his mentally ill, ... Book Review: Jesus, My Father, The CIA & Me

Trish's Rating:

3 Stars

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Chasing Francis

Chasing Francis

On 7/5 Trish Ryan wrote: This book snuck up on me. I was surprised to discover it was a novel rather than a memoir, and the first few chapters were a little clunky. But I'm so glad I kept reading, because the story that unfolded was a real gem.Chasing Francis is about a pastor who has lost his faith. He travels to Italy to visit ... Book Review - Chasing Francis: A Pilgrim's Tale

Trish's Rating:

5 Stars

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New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, New Living Translation

New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, New Living Translation

On 6/21 Trish Ryan wrote: I'm a bit of a Bible junkie.  Having Bibles around makes me happy--I like having wisdom within arm's reach at all times. And yet, it's a strange thing to do a book review on the Bible. I mean, it's not like I'm in a position to opine on the author's use of symbolism or plot development.  But ... Book Review: The Bible (!)

Trish's Rating:

4 Stars

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Nearing Home (Paperback)

Nearing Home (Paperback)

On 6/4 Trish Ryan wrote: I jumped at the chance to review Billy Graham's new book, Nearing Home: Life, Faith & Finishing Well.  It took forever to arrive, and when it did, I was up to my ears in another big title, Lean In.  I laughed, quite sure publishers never imagined these two works being read (then underlined, ... Book Review: NEARING HOME

Trish's Rating:

4 Stars

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Stumbling on Open Ground

Stumbling on Open Ground

On 2/28 Trish Ryan wrote: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a review.  I've put off reviewing it because it wasn't my kind of book.  I hate publishing negative reviews--I know how much work goes into getting all those words out onto the page, and so when I read something that's not my style, ... Book Review: Stumbling on Open Ground

Trish's Rating:

2 Stars

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Who Do You Think You Are?

Who Do You Think You Are?

On 1/5 Trish Ryan wrote: I'm an unlikely fan of Mark Driscoll's preaching & books, but I'm a fan. He's thoughtful about the Bible and I appreciate his candor.  (As I said last year when I reviewed his book Real Marriage, I like his "straight/no chaser" approach.)  When his publisher offered me a review copy ... Who Do You Think You Are?

Trish's Rating:

4 Stars

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Dear Deb

Dear Deb

On 12/4 Trish Ryan wrote: One of my favorite things to do is to share books the work of other authors. I love getting book recommendations, and I love passing them along.   So when Thomas Nelson offered to send me books that might interest me (and you) in exchange for candid reviews, I said, “Sign me up!”The first ... Book Review: Dear Deb by Margaret Terry

Trish's Rating:

3 Stars

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