Friday Links n' Thinks

Today I have several book reviews. Two of these books are soon-to-be-released and I appreciated the honor of reading them before their publish date. Hopefully these new books will whet your bookworm appetite! A widowed mother of six, Miranda Hanford is reluctant to uproot her family when her pastor announces his plan to move the entire church to a different state. But before she can break ties with her controlling pastor, she suffers a devastating fall off a cliff near her home. She is compelled to allow her estranged, "worldly" brother-in-law come help care for her children while she recovers.

This novel, When Sparrows Fall, is a realistic portrayal of the dilemmas many women face inside controlling, abusive churches. Meg Moseley has done a great job exploring the themes of spiritual abuse, religious freedom and the secrets that bind us. Her book is available in stores on May 3rd--but is available for pre-order now on Amazon.

"My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior...For behold, all generations will call me blessed." (Luke 1:46-48)

This quote and many like it--one for each day of the year--fill this slim, beautiful volume called Through The Year with Mary: 365 Reflections. As someone who grew up with a deeply suspicious view of Mary, this book has been truly helpful to me. It has been illuminating to read what hundreds of Christian writers--from St. Augustine to Thomas Merton--have written about her. Understanding the heart of Mary, the heart of the Mother of our Lord, has brought me to a deeper appreciation and love for Christ. I have gone from neglecting Mary to loving her (she is, after all, Christ's mother. And I'm sure Heloves her quite a bit, don't you?). This book is has been a lovely, gentle addition to my Lenten observance. Highly recommend.

A collection of thoughtful essays and stories, Just Moms: Conveying Justice in an Unjust World, is poignant, challenging and inspiring. Melanie Mock and Rebekah Schneiter have brought together a unique group of women who write about their experiences as mothers desiring to teach their children the values of social equality, justice, peace, pacifism and faith. I couldn't help but admire these beautiful women for their passionate gentleness, profound kindness and deep self-awareness. These are the kind of mothers who are being the change they want to see in our world.

The book is available in stores on April 5 and is available now for pre-order on Amazon.