Autumn Reading Recommendations


autumn reading recommendations
Therefore I Have Hope by Cameron Cole

therefore i have hope

What do you do when the Worst happens?

Cameron Cole’s life was changed forever on November 11th 2013 when he woke up to  receive the devastating news that his three-year-old son, Cam, had inexplicably died in his sleep.

Having lived a relatively pain-free life up until that point, Cole had previously wondered if his faith could possibly survive tragedy; however he testifies that:

“Throughout the journey of my worst nightmare- my descent into a dark, sad, valley- the Holy Spirit would remind me of truths that comforted my soul and sustained my life…  I could not conceive how anyone could survive such pain if they did not believe certain biblical principles.”

This book outlines 12 of the key principles, which helped him as he dealt with the loss of his son.  They are split into three sections- truths that are helpful for dealing with the initial shock of a life-changing tragedy, truths that help in discovering a new normal and finding a way forward, and truths that sustain over the long haul.

There are truths you might expect- such as the promise of eternal life and an end to pain and suffering- but also some that are more surprising- for example, that grasping the truth of our sinfulness can help us avoid bitterness or a sense of entitlement to an easy and comfortable life.

While he shares a lot of his own journey of grief, he also applies the principles more generally.  He writes with the authority of one who has been there, who has experienced great suffering, but who has known God’s help and comfort in the midst of it.

There are no platitudes or easy answers, but there is a narrative of hope, based on deep biblical truth, which I think will bring great encouragement and comfort to anyone navigating a painful or tragic situation.

You can find Therefore I Have Hope on Amazon at these links: UK, US.

Beginning Unlimited by Liz Grier

beginning unlimited

Many of you who have read this blog for a while know that one of the greatest blessings I have experienced over the last few years has been the unexpected calling to be part of a new church plant.  It has been exciting to be part of something new and different, and to look around now, two years into our journey as a church, and be able to see several examples of lives that have been impacted and ways that God is using our church in our local community.

This book is a diary of a church plant over its first ten years, so I was keen to read about the experience of those a bit further down the line than our little church.

What I didn’t realise though is that this is the diary of a church plant specifically focussing on young people in Exeter.  As I was involved in youth ministry very close to Exeter for two years shortly before the period covered by the book it was a double blessing to read as I recognised several of the places and events mentioned, and it was encouraging to read of the continuing work with young people in the area.

The book is a very honest account of life in ministry- both the ups and the downs.  It is an easy and enjoyable read, and there are lots of helpful and thought-provoking reflections on the challenges of church planting and life in ministry, but also on the huge potential to impact lives for God.

I think it would be an encouraging read for any Christian, but especially those involved in youth ministry or church planting.

You can find Beginning Unlimited on Amazon at these links: UK, US.

The Seven Deadly Friendships by Mary Demuth

the sevn deadly friendships
If you’ve ever struggled with a difficult friendship, this book is full of helpful insights.

Mary DeMuth identifies seven types of deadly friendships and helpfully outlines some of their typical characteristics to enable the reader to better understand these relationships and begin to identify them in their own lives.

The book is filled with personal examples and stories from DeMuth and others, and this is helpful in highlighting the different challenges friendships can present.

There are also great tips on dealing with deadly friendships, drawn from the biblical examples of Joseph and Jesus- accepting that we can’t change others, knowing when and how to set boundaries or even end a friendship, and discovering how we can choose a godly attitude even when others are treating us badly.

You can find The Seven Deadly Friendships on Amazon at these links: UK, US.

What about you?  I’d love to know what good books you have been reading recently.

I’m grateful to Crossway, Instant Apostle, and Harvest House for access to complementary digital copies of these books.  These are honest reviews and I only share books here that I genuinely believe will be beneficial to my readers.
Amazon links are not affiliate links, but simply provided for your convenience.

Inspire Me Monday

heart encouragement


24 thoughts on “Autumn Reading Recommendations

  1. While all three sound most interesting, I have had my eye on the Friendship one as I have been seeing it around quite a bit. Thank you for this wonderful review!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Lesley, I attended Mary DeMuth’s session at She Speaks this summer, and she was a wonderful speaker. I’ve read a few of her books since then, and I’m so impressed. Looking forward to checking out her friendship book too.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey Lesley … I love that we both did book posts today.

    The deadly friendship book looks intriguing. I’ve been on the receiving end of a few of those along the way. They almost did me in until I realized I didn’t have to live like that.

    Makes me wonder / hope that I haven’t been a culprit myself. I do treasure the friendships God has brought my way.

    Thanks for sharing these new-to-me books, friend! I hope you’re enjoying your October free of 31 Days …


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Look forward to reading your post too- it’s always fun to talk about books!
      You’re certainly a good blogging friend and I’m sure you’re a blessing to your “real life” friends too!
      While I’ve loved Write 31 Days, it was definitely the right decision not to take part this year. This week has actually been really busy but I’m hoping to have a bit more space over the next couple of weeks.


  4. Lesley, somehow I missed that you were involved in a church plant! Wow, that is so great. The book looks really interested. My husband and I were involved in church planting for 1,5 years in Los Angeles and 7 years in the Middle East. We are in the baby step beginning stages of a new outreach ministry in Austin, Texas.

    I’m just starting Into the Deep by Lauren Gaskill.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Betsy! I loved the church planting book. All of them are great, but it’s definitely the one I relate to most at the moment. That’s great that you have been involved in church planting too- I’m sure you have some great stories! I hope you enjoy Into the Deep-I’ve head a bit about it but haven’t read it yet.


  5. Thank you for these book recommendations, Lesley. I can’t imagine losing a child. I don’t think I could survive without God. The perspective of grasping our sinfulness to avoid bitterness in the midst of tragedy gives me reason to pause and reflect. I’m sure Mary’s book comes from a place of painful experience, too. Love and hugs to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Trudy! Yes, I really don’t know how someone can survive losing a child, or any other tragedy, without God. The insight about the importance of understanding our sinfulness was an angle I hadn’t thought of before but it makes sense- he explains it much more fully and better in the book than I did here! Love and hugs to you too!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Those look like great books 🙂 Intense, but great!

    I’m reading Organic Love by Meg Weyerbacher right now — such a good novel. I just finished It’s All Under Control by Jennifer Dukes Lee — fantastic non-fiction. And I have Heidi Chiavaroli’s The Hidden Side ready to go!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. These all sound like good books, Lesley. I’m about halfway through “It’s All Under Control” and loving it. Also have about four novels from the library laying around my house in various stages of being read. 🙂 I hope you are having a productive October so far!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Lois! Yes, It’s All Under Control is great! I’ve had a busy October so far- not as productive as I’d hoped in terms of writing but good in other ways. I’m hoping to have a bit more time over the next couple of weeks.


  8. Growing Forward When You Can’t Go Back – Review Request

    Dear Lesley,

    I hope this finds you well — and not currently in need of the book I recently wrote! Growing Forward When You Can’t Go Back will be published by Bethany House in January 2019.

    When we lose someone we love — whether by divorce, disease, or death — we’re never the same. Heartbroken, we’re left to pick up the pieces. We know we have to move forward, but we just can’t find the strength. We need help and hope…but where do we start?

    I’m Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen, author of Growing Forward When You Can’t Go Back (on Amazon In this book I share stories of contemporary and biblical women who transcended extraordinary pain and grief. I weave in my own experiences of growing up with a single schizophrenic mother, living in foster care, teaching in Africa for three years, and coping with infertility.

    Growing Forward When You Can’t Go Back offers a fresh, practical perspective for women walking through loss into a new season of life.

    Every chapter includes five Blossom Tips that highlight a different aspect of who we are: spirit, heart, soul, body, and mind. By the end of the book, readers have 50 spiritual, emotional, creative, physical, and intellectual ways to move forward. This holistic approach gives women a variety of tools for healing, and honors different personalities, cultures, interests and abilities.

    My “She Blossoms” blogs attract more than 20,000 unique visitors per day. I write tips-based articles to help readers walk through loss. I send a newsletter every Wednesday to 5,500 subscribers, and my “She Blossoms” Facebook Group is an active, warm, supportive community.

    Author Bio: Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen, MSW, writes in her treehouse overlooking the ocean in Vancouver, Canada. She created the “She Blossoms” books and blogs in 2008, and has earned a living as a writer since then. Her experiences with a schizophrenic mother, foster homes, family estrangement, attempted rape, infertility, and three years teaching in Africa taught her that choosing to grow forward is essential — especially when you can’t go back! Laurie’s degrees are in Psychology, Education, and Social Work. Visit

    Would you be willing to read and possibly review Growing Forward When You Can’t Go Back? I’d be happy to send you a print or digital copy in early December.

    I look forward to hearing from you, and wish you all the best.

    Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen
    (604) 910-4624

    Liked by 1 person

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