Marriage and Family Life

Help with Marriage preparation, planning the ceremony and guidance in your married life.
Help with raising children within a Christian family.

Parenting A Violent Child

- Steps To Taking Back Control And Creaiting A Happier Home

by Islay Downey & Kim Furnish

This book is obviously niche to the clientel relating to the title.  A problem faced by increasingly more parents, but not one spoken about openly.  Having said that, the steps explained as the progress towards 'taking back control and creating a happier home' are common requirements to all successful parenting. The authors here, simply apply these steps well to the specific demands of parenting violent children.

It might not be for everyone, but I personally related to the style of the guidance presented by taking the reader through a series of parenting group meetings, allowing you to feel that you are not the only person facing this challenge. Relating the challenges of true-to-life examples shared through the fictional characters gives them a much more practical feel than a theoretical proposal.

Each chapter is looked at through a subsequent group meeting and progress and details are revealed about each of the families we are following. The chapters have helpful group style exercises for the reader to try out, each ultimately contributing towards you the parent being able to take the first steps in changing the situation at home. We are also allowed the privilege of the tears and laughter experienced as each method is tried out in family life.

Due to the many years experience in leading and guiding such groups, the authors, Islay & Kim,  are able to share successes and failures in the exercises and not just paint a perfect picture. The reflection exercises at the end  of each chapter allow you, the reader, to participate as though you were in the group itself.

This book sensitively addresses a tough issue which those facing may rather keep hidden and perhaps therefore not openly ask for help. Taking such a bold step forward as to start reading it is itself a strong step in parenting, possibly the most important step in the progress to a happier home! 

Review by Barry Mason  (19/08/15)
Publisher: DLT (Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd)
Published: 09 February 2015
ISBN: 978-0-232-53147-3
Price: £9.99

The Power of a Praying® Parent

by Stormie Omartian

Stormie Omartian's bestselling The Power of a Praying® series (more than 28 million copies sold) is rereleased with fresh new covers and new material to reach a still-growing market of readers eager to discover the power of prayer for their lives.

After 20 years of raising her son and daughter alongside her husband, Michael, Stormie looks back at the trials and joys of parenting and the power in praying for her children. In these easy-to-read chapters, Stormie shares from personal experience as to how parents can pray for their kids' safety; character development; adolescence; peer pressure; school experiences; friends; and relationship with God.

This resource will help you to be an amazing praying parent whether your kids are three or thirty-three.

Review by x  (15/06/15)
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
Published: February 2014
ISBN: 978-0-736-95767-0

Getting Your Kids Through Church Without them Ending Up Hating God

by Rob Parsons

It is every Christian parent's fear: what if my child falls away because of something I did, or said, or was? Rob is extremely reassuring. His pragmatic, candid approach provides both parenting advice and guidance for parents about their own spiritual development. Rob identifies five traits which can quench faith in your child: busyness, cynicism, hypocrisy, judgementalism and over-familiarity (your children never know when they should take off their shoes). He teaches that disappointment is an inevitable part of growing up. There will come a time when they are disappointed with Christians, the Church, themselves and even God. We should teach our children how to love God even when things fall apart. Do not hide your children from the world: instead, help them to discriminate. Above all, provide them with a vision of what they can be and can achieve. Peter became a fisher of men.

Review by x  (07/05/14)
Publisher: Monarch imprint of Lion Hudson
Published: April 2011
ISBN: 978-0-857-21053-1

The Sixty Minute Grandparent

- Becoming The Best Grandparent You Can Be

by Rob Parsons

This is the next in the popular series of of Rob Parsons' "Sixty Minute" books, and is exactly what it says. It can be read right through in sixty minutes but to get the most out of it a little longer is needed!

Eleven short chapters introduce a variety of themes beginning with one that attempts to dispel some of the myths, and goes on to suggest various ways in which grandparents can be a real benefit to both grandchildren and their parents. It covers subjects such as the pitfalls of grand-parenting, helping without interfering, about acting as carers and also living far away, also the thorny issue of families falling apart.

Most chapters conclude with a "Sixty Second Page" containing some very succinct and worthwhile advice.

I like the way the book is set out, and found the contents easy to read and digest. As a grandparent myself, I shall be noting some of good advice for my relationship with my own grandchildren-there's always something new to learn and little books like this can be extremely valuable.

Very worthwhile.


Review by Graham Wise  (21/03/14)
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Published: February 2014
ISBN: 978-1-444-74570-2
Price: £7.99

Imitating Mary

- Ten Marian Virtues for the Modern Mom

by Marge Fenelon

Imitating Mary is a commendable aspiration. Who better to give mothers a role model?

The subtitle, however, is somewhat misleading as it implies a readership of "Modern Moms", which might put off a sizeable potential clientele. This would be a shame as this is a well written and thought provoking book in which the author opens up very imaginatively incidents from Mary's life - from her fear of unwed pregnancy, living as a refugee, coping with an enigmatic son, his barbaric death, to joyous resurrection and the assurance of Pentecost.

The reader is drawn into the author's own experiences of family life, and how a deeper awareness of how Mary coped helped her in her role as mother.

Each of the 10 chapters includes thoughts to ponder, reflection and application, and ways to imitate Mary's virtues to enhance the upbringing of children. This is a very worthwhile book for young mothers especially, but also of value to all - Catholic and non-Catholic - who want to penetrate imaginatively the example of the mother of God's Son.

Review by Margaret Walker  (07/10/13)
Publisher: Ave Maria Press from Alban Bks
Published: April 2013
ISBN: 978-1-594-71364-4
Price: £9.99

The Church of Scotland Theological Commission on Same-Sex Relationships and the Ministry

by Asssembly Arrangements Committee of the Church of Scotland

Human sexuality remains the hot potato of British Christianity and this report joins a long line of Commissions and Committees to explore all the theological, ethical and pastoral issues involved. Like most church reports the presentation and style of this one does not encourage reading, and yet to the persistent enquirer this report contains many of the key points of dispute. What it lacks is sustained exposure to the voices of gay and lesbian Christians whose voices must be heard if church pronouncements are to carry integrity.

As might be expected the report is structured to place the document within the narrative of the Church of Scotland's theological development; this makes the report firmly parochial in a denominational sense that is both its strength and purpose, if limiting in its appeal.

The two sections of most interest present the polarised sides of the debate - Revisionist verses Traditionalist. The fundamental diffferences in approach that each side represent are instantly grasped as the Revisionist approaches sexuality from the perspective of love and the Traditionalist from an (almost) literal understanding of scripture. Communication between two such divergent theological worldviews is going to be tricky for the language used by one is largely unintelligible to the other.

Therein lies the crux of this entire issue that no report in itself will overcome - how can we learn to listen to one another so that we hear and understand that which we find repugnant - whatever side of the fencce we sit on?

Review by David Ford  (07/10/13)
Publisher: APS Group
Published: May 2013
ISBN: 978-0-857-59008-4
Price: £10.99

To Walk Or Stay

- Trusting God through shattered hopes and suffocating fears

by Lara Williams

This is a courageous book on the part of both the author and her husband, whose marriage had steadily deteriorated in its infancy. To the outsider they seemed a happy Christian couple with three young children. Behind the doors, however, it was a different story - tension, suspicion aand then the shattering realisation of betrayal.

Slowly Lara comes to let God take control of her fears and challenges as she wrestles with the idea of forgiveness. The book's subtitle sums it up - Trusting God through shattered hopes and sufffocating fears. Through the power of the Spirit and the guidance of His word Lara resists the idea of divorce and now lives with her husband and children in North Carolina.

Each chapter ends with questions for group discussion and pointers for those who want to "dig deeper". This is a book not only to help those whose marriages are failing, or which have failed, but for all facing seemingly insoluble problems, and who need the encouragement and renewed belief in the transforming power of the Holy Spirit.

Review by Margaret Walker  (18/09/13)
Publisher: Christian Focus Publications
Published: January 2013
ISBN: 978-1-781-91128-0
Price: £7.99

Readings For Weddings

compiled by Mark Oakley

A new edition with a new cover and introduction. This is still an excellent resource for churches or couples looking for help with wedding readings.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (03/09/13)
Publisher: SPCK (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge)
Published: July 2013
ISBN: 978-0-281-07095-4
Price: £10.99

Would Like to Meet...

by HopefulGirl

An extremely enjoyable read in which "HopefulGirl" (pseudonym of the 30-something or other author) goes about various ways of trying to find "Mr Right" chronicling her encounters in diary format.

She cleverly names the possible suitors with their attributes. Hence Mr Shy, Mr Haughty, Mr Executive etc., which makes them memorable and easy to recall when mentioned in later scenarios. The dates she goes on are through friends' contacts, through church singles groups and through Christian dating agencies.

This book would be particularly helpful to the many "singles" who now use internet dating sites. The author does not denigrate these, but through her personal experiences gives tips and helpful advice on how to go about it, and how to get out of fraught situations.

Written with great gusto, humour and honesty this book is a delight to read - and no - I won't spoil the end! Anyone out there hoping to end their single status by meeting "Mr Right" could not do better than to read this book, and thus armed and inspired, enter the fray with hope and prayer.

Review by Margaret Walker  (03/07/13)
Publisher: BRF (Bible Reading Fellowship)
Published: January 2013
ISBN: 978-0-857-46152-0
Price: £6.99

The Sixty Minute Grandparent

by Rob Parsons

After recently reading a parenting book, which rambled on for 300 pages, this book on grandparenting was a welcome contrast. It delivers what the title suggests, and after reading it - in 60 minutes (yes it can be done!) you will be well on the way to "becoming the best grandparent you can be", which is the book's sub-title.

Concise, well informed, and written with a commendable mix of common sense, wisdom and humour, this is a book I would recommend to all grandparents - would-be ones and those already 'underway’.

For Rob Parsons, a father and a grandfather, this book is another triumph to add to his previous books on parenthood, marriage and teenagers.

Beautifully produced - this small hardback is well worth the price and is wholeheartedly recommended.

Margaret Walker
(mother and grandmother)

Review by Margaret Walker  (07/05/13)
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Published: April 2013
ISBN: 978-1-444-74569-6
Price: £11.99


- Helping Your Little Girl Become an Extraordinary Woman

by William Beausay, Kathryn Beausay

Having raised two daughters of my own and currently viewing a grand-daughter about to enter her teens, I read this book hoping to find affirmation that I had done a reasonably good job, but keen to learn modern methods of "girl-rearing".

The authors have drawn on their own experience and those of 25 other mothers to attempt to help you give your daughter confidence and leadership skills, to encourage positive attitudes and creativity and to build a strong spiritual foundation.

In a culture when we hear so much that is negative about our children, and when we are aware that parenting courses are so often seen as being only for dysfunctional families, it is heartening to find a book which is so affirming and encouraging about bringing up your daughter.

If you are willing to translate some of the wisdom and ideas from a very definite American culture then you will find this book a heartening, if rather a lengthy read.

In my view an edited version of this book - perhaps with bullet points - would make it more alluring and useful to the modern day parent who does not have the luxury of time to wade through 233 pages, some of which I found repetitive.

Review by Margaret Walker  (06/04/13)
Publisher: Revell imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: August 2012
ISBN: 978-0-800-75666-6
Price: £8.99

Duties of Parents

by J C Ryle (edited Alan Witchalls)

This book is a modern English version of Bishop J C Ryle's book on parenting first published in 1888. The editor, Alan Witchalls, points out in his foreword that many modern parenting books are full of expert opinion and wisdom that "ignore God as the author and director of life". J C Ryle's book stands apart by being rooted in the Scriptures.

The 17 chapters are all short and go straight to the heart of the matter. Mr Witchall has preserved the genius of Ryle's plain and direct language so that no-one can miss what he is saying. Subjects covered include your children and Jesus, prayer, church, obedience and idleness.

Be warned: if you are a Christian parent this book will challenge you to reconsider your priorities and methods of parenting. Here are a couple of examples: "Don't be so concerned about how good they are at using knowledge, instead be concerned about how good they are at using the Bible." "Parents, do we wish to see our children happy? We must take care then that we train them to obey when spoken to."

If parents only read one book on parenting then this is as good as any. Read it yourself, give it to your friends: it is a little gem.

Review by Alan Hill  (06/04/13)
Publisher: 10Publishing from CLC Wholesale
Published: January 2013
ISBN: 978-1-906-17343-2
Price: £4.99

20 First Dates

- My Search for Mr Right

by Rebecca K Maddox

This was such a refreshing book to read. Rebecca Maddox writes from the perspective of a young, single Christian, to encourage those who are wanting to find the love of their life, but who need help in how, when and where to start.

She embarks on an innovative process of setting herself the target of going on 20 first dates with 20 men whom she has met in various ways. Some are disastrous, some are boring, but others are interesting and have potential.

Rebecca writes with such enthusiasm that even the most timorous of readers would find it hard to resist her call to "get out there and see where it leads you".

Although it is written by a woman dating men, the advice is, on the whole, applicable to men wanting to date women.

Thoroughly up to date, the book includes advice on speed dating and Internet sites, and explores potential traps and pitfalls of dating. The final section seeks to empower the reader to feel that he / she has the emotional steadiness and self-belief to go out in search of a partner.

The energy and the humour with which this book is written is empowering in itself. Had I not already been married to Mr Right for 50 years I would certainly be "out there searching" in response to this unusual and most entertaining book.

Review by Margaret Walker  (22/01/13)
Publisher: Authentic Media
Published: February 2012
ISBN: 978-1-850-78991-8
Price: £8.99

Remarriage is adultery unless…

- What The Bible Says About Divorce And Its Outcome

by David Pawson

Too much about what is said and written about divorce is separated from what the Bible says. For this reason alone this is an important book. David Pawson focuses completely on what the Bible teaches. The book does not seek to address the complex scenarios that can arise when people have divorced and remarried but rather looks at the key passages in the Old and New Testaments.

The author's overall conclusion is unusual for an evangelical but not unique: Remarriage is adultery unless the spouse has died. He believes that "nothing that arises after marriage can justify divorce" (p 122).

However I was not convinced that his own analysis supports this view. For instance, in discussing 1 Corinthians 7 he admits that God's word here allows a Christian to grant an unbelieving spouse a divorce if that unbelieving spouse wants to end the marriage.

One fascinating section is his analysis of Matthew 19:9. He believes that Jesus is only talking about a very special circumstance: divorce between two Jews who are betrothed but not yet married where the man discovers his fiancée has engaged in illicit sex. This conclusion is novel but worth reading.

For those who want to understand what the Bible teaches about divorce this is a helpful book. It is likely to challenge your current thinking and force you to think carefully about what the scriptures say.

Review by Alan Hill  (14/01/13)
Publisher: Anchor Recordings
Published: July 2011
ISBN: 978-0-956-93769-8
Price: £7.99

Permanent, faithful, stable

- Christian same-sex marriage

by Jeffrey John

This is a revised and updated edition of Jeffrey John’s groundbreaking defence of same-sex marriage first published in 1993. Made famous by the church’s withdrawal of his candidature to the post of Bishop of Reading ten years ago, John - the Dean of St Albans - argues very persuasively in favour of same-sex marriage on theological, moral and pastoral grounds.

At the core of John’s argument is a call for the church to be both accurate and consistent in the way it reads scripture. John poses a challenge for conservative Christians who read scripture selectively by, for example, applying the Holiness Code inconsistently, failing to understand the context of Pauline passages used to condemn homosexuals or totally ignoring Christ’s own inclusivity.

The church’s double standards come under considerable scrutiny. Why for instance, is the church so liberal with regard to divorce where Jesus’ teaching is very explicit, yet so prejudiced with regard to homosexuality about which Jesus was apparently silent?

Given the legislation currently before Parliament, Christians of all theological persuasions need to study this book with some urgency. Those - like myself - who agree with John will find here all the arguments we need to support same-sex marriage in church. Those who differ will find John’s calm, balanced and reasoned approach very difficult to dismiss easily.

The book includes a select - yet quite extensive - bibliography and a very useful set of questions that would be ideal for small group study.
An ideal - if unusual - choice for study during Lent.

Review by David Ford  (20/12/12)
Publisher: DLT (Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd)
Published: 30 November -0001
ISBN: 978-0-232-52957-9
Price: £6.99

Gospel-centred Marriage

- Becoming the Couple God Wants You to be

by Tim Chester

This book has an excellent theme running through it. Just as our life should be Christ-centred so should our marriages. Tim Chester brings out well the purpose of marriage (companionship) and the key Biblical principles (sacrifice and submission). He also shows that all marriage relationship problems are problems of the heart.
However the book places too much emphasis on sex, even talking about the duty to have good sex. The book begins with the subject and devotes a third of book to the subject. Some will find his language too graphic.
This book also leaves much unsaid. He does not devote space to the importance of the spiritual life that is the need to pray together, worship together and serve the Lord. He misses out completely the issues that older couples may face such as ill health and aging.
In conclusion although the book has many good points it left me unsatisfied. Maybe the best people to write books on marriage are elderly Christians who have a wide experience of married life.

Review by Alan Hill  (02/10/12)
Publisher: Good Book Company
Published: 2011
ISBN: 978-1-907-37780-8
Price: £4.99

A New Shape

- For When Parents Decide to Separate

by Anna Payne

Anna Payne, mother of three, uses her story-telling skills to write this book to deal with potential trauma experienced by children whose parents are about to split up. She deftly avoids the assumption that the adults in question are a married couple, by referring to them always as ‘mum and dad’.
Using the analogy of a tree, once sturdy and fruitful, but suddenly struck by lightning which cleaves its trunk into two, the author addresses the hurt that children may feel when the family splits.
In this well-illustrated story the wise old family friend, Theo, props up the two cleft pieces of the tree trunk with poles, and he assures the children that the tree is not dead, but will grow in a different shape.
This is not a book to be merely given to children facing parental split, but one to be shared with them by a sympathetic adult, be it parent or trusted family friend. The message is not only the hope of re-growth in the family, but also one of advice to children to find someone to whom they can express their feelings.
The three end-pages of guidelines for parents and families gives sound advice not only for children, but also for the parents themselves.
CWR’s strap line is ‘Applying God’s Word to everyday life and relationships.’ This book succeeds without once mentioning God!
Highly recommended for its sensitive approach to a highly charged subject.

Review by Margaret Walker  (25/08/12)
Publisher: CWR (Crusade for World Revival)
Published: 2011
ISBN: 978-1-853-45606-0
Stapled Paperback
Price: £4.99

Teen Talk: Girl Talk

- Friendships, Self Esteem, Puberty, Choices, Body Image, Boys

by Sharon Witt

Teen Talk: Girl Talk is not at all a shy retiring skirt around the issues book, nor is it a boring technical dry treatise on being a teenage girl with all the body changes and issues that come with that. Rather it is a well presented, engaging, honest, frank and considered Christian book that deals with periods, pubic hair, boobs, boys, penises, pregnancy and a whole host more and all of it with a tone that speaks to, and not at, teenage girls. Yes there are diagrams of various sexual organs, yes there are honest descriptions, using modern vernacular, of things teenage girls will go through and face and worry about and deal with, but all within context and with respect – that’s what makes this book so very good and so important to those just becoming teenage girls. It really is an excellent book and one that any parent would do well to give to their budding teenager, do it in time and it may even help alleviate some of those most awkward of conversations and save on a few blushes too.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (13/08/12)
Publisher: Authentic Media
Published: April 2012
ISBN: 978-1-860-24814-6
Price: £5.99

Family Fun for Summer

- 30 Summer Activities for Families to Share

by Jane Butcher

What a fantastic little resource book to have on hand for times when the children are off school. Its entitled holiday activities, but truthfully a lot of these activities would work anywhere, anytime that children are a bit bored and you need inspiration for what to do with them! Each activity has a biblical theme or reference tied into it, so that makes this a good book for anyone involved with children’s ministry too because there are some activities that can be tailored to Sunday school sessions. Simple crafting activities, food based activities, outdoor fun and some simple wordsearches and spot the difference pages make this a really good all round tool that could be a lifesaver for a harried parent or time pressed children’s leader and at such a great price too – under £5, now that's a real bargain and most of the activities inside of the book are only going to cost pennies as well. Fantastic value indeed.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (30/07/12)
Publisher: Barnabas imprint of BRF
Published: May 2012
ISBN: 978-0-857-46061-5
Price: £4.99

School's Out Dad's About

- And Other Who Let the Dads Out? Follow on Ideas

by Mark Chester

So ok I'm not a dad, I'm not a mum either come to that, but I do know many fathers who adore their children and really want to spend more time with them, but don't always get the chance to do so.
This book offers a great way that dads and their children can get together, along with other fathers and their children in a great environment the likes of which are normally associated with mums and their children.
This is a follow on book to Who let the Dad's Out and offers a new after school club initiative School's Out Dad's About. It also offers a five session parenting programme for Fathers with solid session outlines dealing with essential issues involved in parenting and growing as a parent: issues such as 'leaving a legacy', 'making memories' & 'inspiring respect'. What's great about these sessions is that they are not preachy, religious or touchy feely but are instead down to earth, cleanly presented and really accessible.
The next sessions after the 'Daddy Cool' parenting classes are the 'Soul Man' Sessions, six sessions that are more aimed at moving into a consideration of the spiritual - but again clear clean sessions, simple (but profound) topics covered in an excellent way – now ok they are aimed at fathers, but really these sessions are just so excellent that they would work brilliantly with any group – and that older teen group? Oh I can so see these working well there too!
This is an excellent resource and one that churches should pick up and consider using to set up a group for the fathers in their church and area's soon!

Review by Melanie Carroll  (30/07/12)
Publisher: Barnabas imprint of BRF
Published: April 2012
ISBN: 978-1-841-01886-7
Price: £6.99

The 21-Day Dad's Challenge

- Three Weeks to a Better Relationship With Your Kids

edited by Carey Casey

Many ‘self-help books’ are all well and good in theory, but not necessarily practical when it comes to application. I have just been through a 3 week renovation of my fatherhood skills, which were tested daily on the application front. I have enjoyed the encouragement and challenge laid out in each of the 21 days, from a range of Dads with various experiences.
Each chapter was simple and enjoyable to read through and able to be squeezed into 5 minutes or so before I went to bed, then dreaming about how I would act on it the next day. The book gives practical action points to implement within the next 24 hours, but helps to lay down foundations which will hopefully continue for much longer.
Before even finishing the book, I have seen the positive impact it has had on the relationship with my daughter and eldest son (my new born baby is yet to show response, but I’m sure it’ll come) and ultimately this has a knock on blessing to my wife and our family life. My favourite challenge has been the initiation of ‘Daddy dates’, which went great and we are already looking forward to the next. The truth is ‘it’s never too late to start, and it’s always too early to quit’.

Review by Barry Mason  (14/07/12)
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers from TMD
Published: October 2011
ISBN: 978-1-589-97681-8
Price: £8.99

Faithfully Parenting Autism

by Nicola E Maybury

If only we had this book to hand when we first realised there was a problem with autism within the family!
Nicola Maybury has written from first hand experience of learning to deal with an autistic child. Her suggestions are full of sound common sense based on what she has learnt about the subject and what she has done to cope with the very special needs of her autistic son.
I recognised so much of what she has written. Page after page I thought, ‘Yes, that is just how it is – if only we had been able to read this book earlier’.
This is a Mother sharing what she has learnt, not pretending to know it all but offering a helping hand to other struggling families. Her guidance on teaching her son about Jesus and a loving God and her invention of a TOYT(Thinking of you token) are excellent and worthy of wide publicity.
If you think your child has a behavioural problem then it is well worth your while looking at this quite short but very clearly written title.
Available from

Visit the author's

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (07/07/12)
Publisher: Lulu UK
Published: 03 March 2012
ISBN: 978-1-471-08509-3
Price: £8.75

Christian Marriage

by D. Martin Lloyd-Jones

The book is made up of eleven sermons from volume six of Dr Lloyd-Jones Ephesians series first published in 1973.
I found this a challenge to read, not just because of the subject matter but because of the dense arguments that Dr Lloyd-Jones is propounding. No doubt the original listeners, who heard one sermon at a time, were enthralled by his arguments and had their attention held by his delivery.
Dr Lloyd-Jones uses Paul’s teaching to show how marriage should be. How the wife must behave to her husband and how the husband must behave towards the wife. There is no choice in these matters. Lloyd-Jones is absolutely positive about this and goes on to relate the belief of the church being ‘the bride of Christ’ to the marriage state and what that means to true believers, stressing the obligations and rewards that this implies.
This thought provoking preaching is worthy of deep consideration.

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (28/06/12)
Publisher: Banner of Truth Trust
Published: 2012
ISBN: 978-1-848-71124-2
Price: £7.00

Unconverted Sons and Daughters: Hope For Hurting Parents

- Family Focal Point

by Carl Muller

This short book of only 88 pages is offered as a hope for hurting parents and as such it works well. Each small chapter is in effect a look at why not to give up hope that your child, usually adult child, will come to Christ. These gentle meditations offer a blend of scripture, prose and anecdote to show how change can happen in people’s hearts in time. It also offers encouragement to carry on praying and talking to your children, even in the face of rejection and discouragement, not only from them but often from society at large also.
However mostly the aim of this book is to offer comfort to the parents and encouragement at the same time, pointing out that there are numerous reasons for unbelief and yet our God is so much bigger that he can effect change in all peoples lives, even up until the last moment. It's a simply written book that has a good style to it and I think would make a welcome gift to people who feel the burden of their children’s rejection of their parent’s faith.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (20/06/12)
Publisher: Day One Publications
Published: 2012
ISBN: 978-1-846-25307-2
Price: £5.00

Marriage Forecasting

- Changing the Climate of your Relationship One Conversation at a Time

by Tim Muehlhoff

Is your marriage stormy? Is it seemingly calm, but chilly? How can you create a healthy marriage climate?
Using the analogy of climate and weather-forecasting, the author, a Professor of Communication in California, helps the reader – or hopefully both marriage partners – to take a reading of their ‘relationship climate’ and if necessary build a warmer one.
The book looks honestly at forces affecting marriage and family climates: ‘hurrysickness’, ‘affluenza’ and an overly romantic view of love and marriage. It then gives tips on improving communication and dealing with conflict. It is written in an easy and readable style.
The ‘think it over’ section at the end of each chapter raises issues for couples to discuss. I found these sections off-putting in that they were reminiscent of exam questions. However they would form a useful base for those leading pre-marriage sessions or marriage counselling weekends, as would the questionnaires (e.g.: on a scale of 1 to 5 ‘I trust my spouse to be committed to telling me the truth’)
Scripturally-based, this is a book more likely to be bought and read by Christian couples, who could well find it a help in creating a warm marriage climate, whose outlook is good. I feel it offers wise counsel not only to those entering marriage, or newly-weds, but also would act as a spur to older couples to rekindle and refresh their bonds of love.

Review by Margaret Walker  (12/04/12)
Publisher: Authentic Media
Published: October 2011
ISBN: 978-1-850-78968-0
Price: £7.99

Protecting Your Child From Sexual Abuse

by Joanne Marie Greer

The sexual abuse of children makes for headlines these days but it is nothing new, we have just become so much more aware of it and what we can do to prevent it. This means teaching our children what is acceptable behaviour and what is most definitely NOT and what their reaction should be. This quite slim book has a lot to say on the subject, written by a lady who has specialised in this.
Perhaps you think you know how to protect your child, but think again, have you thought of everything you can do? I certainly picked up one thing I missed when rearing my daughters, and I now regret it, though no harm was done. The point is that one small thing could have been the start of a disastrous situation.
If you have children, young or older, then reading this book will be a help to you, even if all it does is clarify a situation.

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (08/03/12)
Publisher: Kevin Mayhew Publishers
Published: 12 July 2011
ISBN: 978-1-848-67402-8
Price: £6.99

Family Fun for Easter

- 30 Lent and Easter Activities for Families to Share

by Jane Butcher

This would be a nice book to give to a family who was new to celebrating Lent and Easter. It contains all the good basic ideas you need such as a recipe for pancakes, simnel cake and hot cross buns, instructions for making an Easter Garden or having an Easter egg hunt in your garden and a few ideas for games such as pin the tail on the donkey, egg and spoon races and hunting for silver.
There are a few wordsearches for children, an outline for how to hold a Passover meal and some cooking suggestions such as making ‘empty tomb’ rolls and Easter biscuits.
There is a useful page at the beginning of each section to explain what Lent, Shrove Tuesday, Mothering Sunday etc are all about. Following this is the relevant Bible story told in a child friendly way.
For church leaders and Sunday school teachers, there won’t be much for you in this book that you didn’t know already, but it would be a lovely gift for a family who is new to church and would give them a good grounding in what Lent and Easter is all about.

Review by Kathy Bland  (26/01/12)
Publisher: Barnabas imprint of BRF
Published: November 2011
ISBN: 978-0-857-46049-3
Price: £4.99

Where has My Little Girl Gone?

by Tanith Carey

The author of this book is a seasoned journalist, already writing for a variety of magazines and newspapers, including the Guardian, the Independent and the Daily Mail, in which this well-researched how-to book has been serialized. Tanith Carey writes that celebrity children such as Suri Cruise, designer brand names, social networking sites like Facebook, game consoles, mobile phones, the internet, easy access to porn and lewd music videos have created a generation of girls who are old before their time. She encourages parents to talk frankly to daughters about sex and complain to broadcasters about unsuitable violence in popular shows such as Waterloo Road – adding that big corporations hate bad publicity. She says that many mothers don’t kick up a fuss because they are afraid to appear politically incorrect and mentions the name Mary Whitehouse more than once, but stresses that a daughter is not a confidante, or a best friend, but an ultimate responsibility. This is a refreshing and honest book which should be on the shelf of every mother and mother-to-be.

Review by Alice Collins  (13/10/11)
Publisher: Lion
Published: Summer 2011
ISBN: 978-0-745-95542-1
Price: £7.99

Side by Side With God - In Everyday Life

- Helping Children to Grow With God at All Times

by Yvonne Morris

Everything has its time and there is a time for everything, but in our fast moving, ever changing society too often family time is pressured and cultivating a time to get alongside our children and a good book is squeezed out, let alone time to talk through some of those existential questions!
This book offers a helpful rhythm to sharing and unpacking bible stories with children in the home. Arranged thematically based on Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8, each section starts with the bible to set the scene; leads onto ‘wondering questions’; encourages conversation; identifies further ‘bible links’ before ‘capturing the question’ we might want to ask God; a further story enables us to ‘dig deeper’ before we ‘chat with God’.
This is not a book that gives a neatly packaged interpretation or message; it is a gem that will stimulate thought, engage with uncertainties and provide a safe place to explore new understandings as parents nurture their child’s developing spirituality. Make time to journey closer to God side by side with your children.

Review by Siân Hancock  (05/10/11)
Publisher: Barnabas imprint of BRF
Published: August 2011
ISBN: 978-1-841-01855-3
Price: £7.99

Outside the Womb

- Moral Guidance for Assisted Reproduction

by Scott B. Rae & D. Joy Riley

This book is dedicated by both authors to those who have to deal with the pain of infertility, whether they are an infertile couple, concerned professionals or simply friends who ‘walk alongside’. Scott Rae writes as an ethicist and Joy Riley as a physician. Both write as ethically conservative Christians.
The book is in two parts. In the first, a general overview is attempted. This introduces the reader to the ways in which people experience infertility and to the many bewildering medical terms they will encounter as they consider the possibility of reproduction Outside the Womb. Throughout these chapters related biblical themes are also interwoven and explored.
In the second part, the authors consider a number of techniques and procedures including: intrauterine insemination and egg donation; GIFT, ZIFT and IVF; surrogate motherhood; prenatal genetic testing. Technical terms and complex techniques are fully explained.
The book does, however, approach all of this from a very definite standpoint. This is summed up in an Afterword by Susan Haack, an obstetrician-gynaecologist: ‘Our understanding of embryos as persons who are beginning a journey of their own, created and ordained by God, must be the primary principle governing our approach to the use of any technology.’

Review by Alan Billings  (27/09/11)
Publisher: Moody Press from Trust Media Distribution
Published: 20 February 2011
ISBN: 978-0-802-45042-5

We Really Need to Talk

- Steps to Better Communication

by Paul J.Donoghue & Mary Siegel

This is a very good book on the art of talking and listening; easy to read but with real depth to it, it covers the range of situations from spouse, children, work and friends in a clear way, giving insight into how sometimes we can trigger reactions without meaning to and how to avoid them, at the end of each section is also a ‘reflections’ section with questions that really make you think. It then goes on to address the ways we shouldn’t talk, ie in a judging or blaming manner etc and finally has a good section on how we should talk – the skills needed like listening and effective communication strategies. On the whole it is a great book for anyone looking to learn communication skills and could also be used as the basis for a training manual for groups and teams either engaged in ministry or just to build up better church and group communication.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (19/07/11)
Publisher: Ave Maria Press from Alban Bks
Published: October 2010
ISBN: 978-1-933-49523-1
Price: £10.99

The Pregnancy Book

- Spiritual & Emotional Survival for First-Time Parents

by Will & Lucinda van der Hart

Full marks to this vicar and his wife for writing a book about pregnancy and the first year with a baby, while adjusting to these life-changing events in their own lives.
Will and Lucinda write with immediacy, honesty and humour, and never play down their times of anxiety, fear and tiredness. The reader is therefore ready to trust their integrity and their carefully and prayerfully thought out ways of preparing both emotionally and spiritually for the addition of their new family member.
The sharing of the writing between husband and wife makes for a balanced book which is enhanced by a useful reading list and prayers for pregnancy, birth and the early days of parenthood. Expectant parents would do well to read this valuable book which I really enjoyed.

Review by Margaret Walker  (14/07/11)
Publisher: IVP(Inter Varsity Press)
Published: May 2011
ISBN: 978-1-844-74440-4
Price: £7.99

What Did You Expect?

- Reclaiming the Realities of Marriage

by Paul David Tripp

Tripp’s book is obviously designed to help those who are struggling in their marriages, but the foundations and practical applications are exactly what’s needed for every season of marriage. As the man himself writes, this book is “a detailed description of the daily work of love that must be done with commitment and joy when a flawed person is married to a flawed person and they are living in a fallen world.” That covers everyone in every situation this side of eternity.
The book begins with some key principals that underpin the rest of the work, namely the problem of selfishness, the focus on day by day small decisions/actions that lead to the big crises of life, and most importantly the realistic hopefulness that comes from the Gospel. After these foundations come six commitments, each of which receive multiple chapters. Each chapter features the story of a couple in crisis, how they got there and then Tripp offers the solution that is drawn from the application of the commitment, those being drawn from the foundational principals, which in turn are all drawn from the Gospel. This is the reason that I give absolute, unabashed recommendation for this book. Tripp doesn’t lead his readers down some self-seeking inwardly-fixated therapy session. He is not prone to the modern tendency to blame one’s parents, environment or breakfast. Instead, he calls sin for what it is, points to Jesus as the only way to deal with sin and then models that same forgiveness in marriage. One of Tripp’s vital themes is the healing that comes when we align our lives with God's Kingdom.
You see and feel the heart and pulse of a pastor on every page! Possibly in the top four marriage books of all time! Written with intensity, passion, skill and biblical verve. Top drawer meaty stuff!

Review by Johnny Douglas  (21/04/11)
Publisher: IVP(Inter Varsity Press)
Published: 18 June 2010
ISBN: 978-1-844-74474-9
Price: £9.99

A Time to Care

- Loving Your Elderly Parents

by Emily Ackerman

Regardless of who we are, we all have parents and they will at some stage face their lives shrinking as they get older and possibly suffering from ill health. At what point do we become more involved in their lives, taking on the caring role for them that they will be needing in the last few years of their life?
Emily Ackerman is a doctor who has seen the caring from both perspectives – looking after her own aging parents and then becoming a parent in need of care herself due to physical ill-health. This is no dry list of what we should and shouldn’t do as Christians for our parents when they become frail. It is inherently a practical book dealing with most aspects of an aging parent’s life and current health problems. She strives to encourage us not to feel guilty that we can’t be in several places at the same time, with our own work and family commitments and then on top with a parent or two that we have chosen to care for.
She deals practically with some of the issues facing carers, and also looks spiritually at how we can best honour our parents when they have become less independent and the parent/child relationship appears to have become reversed. What makes this a very authentic book is that the author is coming from a place of ‘really knowing’ what it’s like to be in the carer’s position and to then have had the roles reversed, and she has been able to consider and learn from her own situation, writing with compassion and depth.

Review by Jackie Scott  (20/01/11)
Publisher: IVP(Inter Varsity Press)
Published: 17 September 2010
ISBN: 978-1-844-74487-9
Price: £7.99

Just the Two of Us?

- Help and Strength in the Struggle to Conceive

by Eleanor Margesson & Sue McGowan

“It may vary in intensity with different women and men, but as one of my friends put it, infertility is a chronic grief: the long unknown.” p160 In this book we meet a number of people who have and are still struggling with infertility. Some have tried a number of treatments while others have resigned themselves (not joylessly) to life without children of their own.
As someone who has been diagnosed with ‘unexplained infertility’ I found this book immensely helpful. While I do not relate to every story, I have over the years experienced heartache at the start of another cycle, disappointment when the third pregnancy test is still negative but have over the last few years come to accept my lot in life. We may still go for treatment or consider adoption but I am content to follow where God leads. Nonetheless, I was challenged to think about what the future will look like, keeping my marriage strong and how I saw myself without a family. I know that in the future there will be more struggles to come and that is exactly why I think that anyone who has known someone or is suffering with infertility should own a copy of this book.
Broken into four sections Eleanor and Sue look at where God is in all this pain, coping with the stress of childlessness. They briefly discuss how the professionals can help before challenging you to think about the future. All these sections have personal experiences from a number of aliases.
Each section ends with a small ‘reflection’ which gives you something to read, something to do, a section for friends and pastors and further reading.
I would highly recommend this not only for those who are diagnosed with infertility but also for anyone who knows someone in this struggle as well as councillors and pastors.

Review by Charmaine Hill  (17/01/11)
Publisher: IVP(Inter Varsity Press)
Published: 16 July 2010
ISBN: 978-1-844-74475-6
Price: £7.99