Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Take a forty-day journey through forty key chapters of the Bible

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Book Info

The Good Book 
offers a user-friendly guide to the Bible's biggest ideas.
A chapter from the Bible accompanies each chapter of the book, which helps readers understand the context and content of the Scripture passages in a way that can open the whole Bible.
Designed as a forty-day journey through forty key chapters of the Bible,  The Good Book will appeal to those who already love and read the Bible regularly as well as to those who are just beginning their Christian journey.
The Good Book:

-is a great evangelism tool for explaining the major themes of Scripture to those who want to know more about God, Jesus, and the core beliefs of Christianity;
-gives new believers an overview of the Bible and lays a framework to help them understand Scripture passages;
-helps longtime Christians rediscover the basic themes of Scripture and experience these truths in a new way; and
-encourages Scriptural literacy as it pushes readers to read both one chapter of the book and one chapter of the Bible each day for forty days.
The Good Book is great for individuals, and it can also be used by small groups in an eight-week church-wide program or a forty-week journey that focuses on one Bible chapter each week. 

The Good Book will help people understand and live by the transformative truths of the Bible.

Deron Spoo is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Over the past 16 years, Spoo has guided the church as it transitions from being simply a downtown church to a regional church committed to urban ministry. Church members describe him as "down to earth" and "authentic." His television devotionals, "First Things First," reach 100,000 people each week. Spoo is a graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Paula, have three children.
Find out more about Deron at http://www.readthegoodbook.com.

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My Review:
I wasn't sure what to expect with this book, how it would be laid out or what all would be within the book.  Deron has divided this book into 40 chapters, each chapter focusing on a section of the Bible, beginning with the very first chapter of the Bible, Genesis 1, and stressing just how priceless each of us are, as we are each made in God's image.  The Biblical text is shared at the start of each chapter followed by a discussion of the passage and personal application.  I found this book to be eye-opening as far as some of the common passages of the Bible,  but having them approached in a different way.  I love the messages and insights from Biblical scholars, historical figures and others included in this book as well.  I would recommend really taking your time reading through this book as there is so much included and so much self-reflection and study that can be done. 

To read other reviews included on this blog tour, go here!

*Thanks to the Litfuse Publicity Group for including me on this blog tour and for the complimentary copy of this book.*

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

"Trusting Grace"

Image result for trusting grace maggie brendan"Trusting Grace" is the 3rd book in Maggie Brendan's Virtues and Vices of the Old West series.
  This is such a sweet story and I really enjoyed the storyline and the characters.  Grace has always longed to be a mother, but her husband has passed away and they had not had any children.  Grace is also having to care for the farm and her elderly father.  This is not the life she has dreamed of for so long.  Robert was in for a shock when his wife passed away and he finds out she had children.  Robert is overwhelmed and shocked to say the least and puts up a wall against falling for another woman and experiencing these type of feelings again. 

Maggie does an excellent job with creating the scene, I felt as if I was out in the west living life running a farm.  Seriously, I felt as if I were actually there and part of the book.  Grace is definitely a favorite character of mine, although I have loved every single book of Maggie's that I have read, there was something about Grace that really warmed me to her.  I am sad to see this series end but excited to read whatever comes next!

*Thanks to the Revell Reads Blogger Program for the complimentary copy of this book.*

"The Whole Thing Together"

"The Whole Thing Together" is a brand-new read from Ann Brashares.  Years ago I read Ann's Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series and loved it, so I was thrilled to see that she had a brand-new book out!  This is the perfect beach read for this summer!  "We live in the same place, but never together" is the line on the back of the book and aptly sums up the story, but also is a great opener to it as well.  Sasha and Ray had never met face to face but they lived in the same home, on varying weeks and weekends, sharing the same space, making memories, but always separate.  Even though they share older sisters and have attended the same family events, their parents were always careful to plan out everything so their paths would not cross.  Now it is time to clean out the beach home and part with this home, this house that has been home to so many. 

I loved this book!  Ann's characters are so relatable and she writes with such emotion that it is easy to get lost in the characters' lives and in the story.  This is a great book that addresses family, what makes a family and issues families must cope with.  I highly recommend this book to be placed on your summer reading list!

For more info about this book, go here!

To learn more about Ann, go here!

"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."

Monday, May 15, 2017

"The Chapel Car Bride"

First of all, this cover is amazing, I love everything about it, the details, the colors, the lighting.  Then you open the book and start reading and Judith has done an amazing job with the story and characters as well!  "The Chapel Car Bride" is an excellent historical romance read with some mystery and adventure mixed in as well.  Hope has lived a sheltered life and is thrilled at the opportunity to join her father when he takes a position with the railroad and she is able to see more of the world and have adventure. 
This book helped fill the gap right now of being in between seasons of "When Calls the Heart" as it is the mining town and the miners and the living conditions in this community.   I felt as if I was back in Coal (Hope) Valley.  I found the chapel car and being a missionary on the rails such a unique storyline, it was fresh and different and thoroughly enjoyable.  I highly recommend this for anyone whom is a fan of historical romance!
*Thanks to the Bethany House Book Bloggers Program for the complimentary copy of this book.*    

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Becky Wade's 'True to You' Prize Pack and $100 Giveaway

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True to You Becky Wade
Do opposites really attract? John and Nora might just be the perfect match. Find out in True to You, book one in Becky Wade's new series! Genealogist and historical village owner Nora Bradford has decided that burying her nose in her work and her books is far safer than romance in the here and now. Former Navy SEAL and Medal of Honor recipient John Lawson is a modern-day man, usually 100 percent focused on the present. But when he's diagnosed with an inherited condition, he's forced to dig into the secrets of his past and his adoption as an infant, enlisting Nora to help him uncover the identity of his birth mother. Finding the answers they're seeking will test the limits of their identity, their faith, and their devotion to one another.

Celebrate the launch of Becky Wade's new series by entering to win a fabulous prize pack and $100 cash card!


One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of True to You
  • A $100 Visa cash card
  • A prize pack hand-picked by Becky

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on May 30. The winner will be announced May 31 on the Litfuse blog.

Book info

About the book:

It's the exciting start of a brand-new series by a contemporary romance fan favorite!
After a devastating heartbreak three years ago, genealogist and historical village owner Nora Bradford has decided that burying her nose in her work and her books is far safer than romance in the here and now.
Unlike Nora, former Navy SEAL and Medal of Honor recipient John Lawson is a modern-day man, usually 100 percent focused on the present. But when he's diagnosed with an inherited condition, he's forced to dig into the secrets of his past and his adoption as an infant, enlisting Nora to help him uncover the identity of his birth mother.
The more time they spend together, the more this pair of opposites suspects they just might be a perfect match. However, John's already dating someone and Nora's not sure she's ready to trade her crushes on fictional heroes for the risks of a real relationship. Finding the answers they're seeking will test the limits of their identity, their faith, and their devotion to one another.

About the author:

Becky Wade is a California native who attended Baylor University, met and married a Texan, and settled in Dallas.  She published historical romances for the general market before putting her career on hold for several years to care for her three children.  When God called her back to writing, Becky knew He meant for her to turn her attention to Christian fiction.  She loves writing funny, modern, and inspirational contemporary romance!  She's the Carol Award, INSPY Award, and Inspirational Reader's Choice Award winning author of My Stubborn Heart, the Porter Family series, and the Bradford Sisters Romance series.

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My Review:
Becky Wade is one of my must-read authors, I have to read every book of hers as soon as it's available, every single one is that good!  "True to You" is the first book in her brand-new Bradford Sisters series.  However, Becky wrote a prequel novel to the series, "Then Came You," that I highly recommend.  This novella is the story of the Bradford Sisters father and their mothers, and it is so unique as it is filled in various forms of correspondence between the various characters and through Garner's journal entries.  "True to You" focuses on the middle Bradford sister, Nora.  Nora whom is sweet, serious and single and agrees to volunteer on a Saturday morning with her younger sister and meets John Lawson.  John is a former NAVY Seal and when he learns that Nora is a genealogist he enlists her help.  As the two work together they are complete opposites but seemingly a good team at the same time.
I loved this story!  I also loved the bits and pieces about the other sisters whom will each have their own stories (hopefully sooner than later!).  Becky does such a great job with creating characters who I cannot help but love, but I can also picture completely and empathize with.  I highly recommend this book to contemporary romance fans!

To read other reviews included on this blog tour, go here!

*Thanks to the Litfuse Publicity Group for including me on this blog tour and for the complimentary copy of this book.*

Thursday, May 11, 2017

time to rethink your finances?

Image result for never enough? ron blue"Never Enough?: 3 keys to financial contentment" is an excellent book for anyone who feels like they need a fresh approach to their finances and where their money is going.
  Ron Blue and Karen Guess do an excellent job with presenting the key points to this book.  The principles are very straight-forward and simple and the authors add in stories to further explain and really get the points across.  I love the pie chart that is utilized showing how money is divided (should be divided) and paying careful attention to the size of each wedge in the pie.  I really like how the "give" section is discussed and how we are encouraged to make this a bigger wedge of pie as we all learned as a child "God loves a cheerful giver."  In all seriousness, giving to our church, giving to missions, having a giving heart is important and will be rewarded and needs met.  This book is such a great read and a great reminder and also new tidbits to think about as far as how I approach money and how I need to reprioritize things. 

*Thanks to the B&H/Lifeway Bloggers Program for the complimentary copy of this book.*

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

God knows you're beloved; do you? Find out in @BlumLee's new book, Brave is the New Beautiful!

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Book Info

Our culture bombards women with "thinspiration" messages and pressure to "do it all" while wearing the mask of perfection. 

Women are left feeling alone and overwhelmed. How can they stop comparing themselves to others? How can they live out who they really are?

Lee Wolfe Blum offers stories from everyday women who have answered these questions with their lives-and found true beauty in the process. In Brave Is the New Beautiful, Blum weaves reflections from her own journey with inspirational stories from everyday women who chose to take off their masks and live authentically. Through call-to-action questions and ideas, she encourages readers to be brave enough to be who they really are and the beloved that God knows they are.

Lee Wolfe Blum is an energetic and passionate speaker who loves to help women find hope in healing from perfectionism and addictions. She works as a mental health practitioner in the field of Eating Disorders and Chemical Dependency. She lives in Minnesota with her husband and three boys.

Find out more about Lee Wolfe at leewolfeblum.com.

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My Review:
"Brave is the new Beautiful: finding the courage to be the real you," by Lee Wolfe Blum, is an excellent read for each and every woman who feels like she cannot do it all and is feeling overwhelmed with all the pressure to be perfect and do everything.  Lee shares personal stories and stories of women she has met whom are choosing to be themselves, rip off the masks they are hiding behind, a perfect front that they are putting on to the world and those they interact with in their everyday lives.  One of my favorite sections (one of many!) in this book is: "I think the journey to discovering our true identity is one we walk our whole lives.  Our understanding doesn't always unfold in the time frame we'd like, but God is always at our side, urging us onward, holding us close to him."  This is just one part that jumped out at me and I read it again and underlined it.  This is such an inspiring book that has me thinking about who I am, who I want to be and who I present to others.  I love the questions for reflection at the end of each chapter, for personal thought, but also to discuss with others. 

To read other reviews included on this blog tour, go here!

*Thanks to the Litfuse Publicity Group for including me on this blog tour and for the complimentary copy of this book.*

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Guest Book Review Post: "Glimmer Girls: Light up New York"

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I am Kristie's daughter Allessandra. I am 8 years old and in 2nd grade.  I love to read and write stories, I want to be an author when I grow up!

My Review:
The story Light up New York was about that the Glimmer Girls were going to New York City. The Glimmer Girls were VERY exited about going to New York City. The people that were coming were: Mia, Maddie, Lulu, Miss Julia, the kids' Dad, and the kids' Mom. Also, Mia said when the kids were in the car, she said: "watch your elbows Lulu''. So, that part of the story told me that in the car, the kids were quite uncomfortable. Then, they got there!  Then, they made plans for what to do.  "Solve a mystery!" Lulu shouted. Dad gave Lulu a serious look because sometimes when the Glimmer Girls do mysteries, they get into trouble. The family planned: to go to the Library, the Museum of Art, go ice skating, see the Statue of Liberty, and the Dad said to find a perfect cup of coffee. Lulu is very funny because when the family went to the Hotel, the family saw there was snacks in the Lobby, the Mom said: "at least we know there is snacks in the Lobby." Then Lulu said: "midnight snacks!" Then the Mom said that how about an apple or granola bar because the family knew that Lulu meant junk food. Then, that is all I can tell so I DO NOT  ruin it for some people. Enjoy reading!

"Messy Beautiful Friendship"

I really enjoyed Christine Hoover's book, "Messy Beautiful Friendship: finding and nurturing deep and lasting relationships;" it is a great book filled with so many little tidbits of wisdom.  Friendships can be so tricky, as women we are wearing so many hats and balancing so many roles in our lives.  We are overwhelmed with responsibilities and frankly, just exhausted at times and little time left over for friends, social things, free time.  One of the chapters that really spoke to me was about opening our hearts and our homes.  We are worried that we don't have time for friendships, or our homes are not clean enough or our children well-behaved enough.  Christine encourages that we be a back-door friend, someone who is not presenting ourselves in a certain way, really not presenting ourselves at all, just being ourselves, letting our friends see the smudges, the weariness, who we really are. 

At the end of the book there are also questions included to discuss with other friends; I love this addition to the book.  There are also several verses included at the end that discuss friendship as well that gives a Biblical perspective and reinforces Christine's writing. 
This is a must-read for anyone who is seeking to build her friendships and really have deep meaningful friendships with other women. 

*Thanks to the BakerBooks Bloggers Program for the complimentary copy of this book!*

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

"Catching the Wind"

Melanie Dobson has written another amazing novel that is filled with historical details and wonderful characters.  "Catching the Wind" tells the story of a few different individuals during different time periods.  Daniel and Brigitte escaped from the Gestapo in Germany, but were separated when they arrived in England.  Daniel has spent the last 70 years trying to find Brigette and he seeks help from Quenby, a journalist.  Quenby and Lucas, Daniel's lawyer, team up to search for Brigette, as she is fascinated by her story. 

Melanie does an incredible job with this story as she ties together individuals from different decades and weaves together the time periods and their stories.  World War II is a time period that I have read a lot about and one that I enjoy, and Melanie brings a unique spin to things so it is all a brand-new story to read.  I cannot imagine the horror that Daniel and Brigitte saw and suffered through.  It was easy to get lost in their lives and in the story.  I loved Quenby's role in the story as well and she was an easy character to like.  This is a must-read book for historical fiction fans and one with a gorgeous cover as well!

*Thanks to the Tyndale Blog Network for the complimentary copy of this book.*

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Prepare your heart as a parent for your kids' independence

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Book info

About the book: 

With readings of encouragement and inspirational quotes, this devotional helps parents prepare their hearts for their children's independence, whether their kids are just starting kindergarten or graduating from college.

Parents let go of their children every day, even in ways they don't realize. The 52 devotional readings within shine a light on all the times readers have loosened their grip on their children and encourages them to continue to let go in life-giving ways. Written by a parenting and education expert, The Joy of Letting Go will comfort and inspire parents in all seasons of parenting.


About the author:
Dr. Vicki Caruana is the author of 20 books and the blog Apples & Chalkdust-named after her bestselling book that has touched the lives of a million educators around the world. Caruana is one of four parenting experts on "Starting Points," Focus on the Family's parenting DVD series. Formerly a public school teacher and a homeschooling mom, Vicki is now an assistant professor of education at Mount Saint Mary College in New York. She lives with her station wagon loving husband, Chip, in Newburgh, New York and has two grown sons in Colorado Springs.
Find out more about Vicki at http://vickicaruana.blogspot.com.

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My Review:
This is a book I will need to read many times, many, many times over the next several years leading up to the time that my children will be adults and heading out on their own.  "The Joy of Letting Go" is a nice little book that is divided into 52 short chapters, one for each week of the year.  Vicki points out that we are not letting our children go at the big milestones such as graduating high school or entering college, but really we are letting go of them each day of their lives beginning from birth as they meet each milestone.  This book is a great reminder that once I became a mother, I will always be a mother, but that role will change and grow with my child.  Each chapter ends with "thought pokes" that are great to reflect upon and help add extra insight from the reading of the book.  This is a great collection of devotionals that have me seeing transitions differently and the process of letting go not quite as scary.

To read other reviews included on this blog tour, go here!

*Thanks to the Litfuse Publicity Group for including me on this blog tour and for the complimentary copy of this book.*

Putting technology in its place

Image result for the tech-wise family"The Tech-Wise Family: everyday steps for putting technology in its proper place" by Andy Crouch is a must-read for every single parent.  This book not only had me thinking about my family's technology use, but my own use and when I use it and my children seeing me use various devices.  I do not ever want my children to think whatever I am looking at on a screen is more important than spending time with or listening to them. 
Andy shares his perspective on what a smart family technology wise is and he ties in research and statistics that have been concluded from various studies.  This is a small book but there is so much valuable information packed into the pages.  As a society we are glued to screens - our phones, tablets, e-readers, social media.  We are connecting with others via text messages, Snapchat, sharing our daily lives with others through Facebook and Instagram and we are reading and watching television shows through our e-readers and tablets, our own individual screens.  Books are being replaced with e-readers and this is affecting our brains just as much as playing video games and watching television as it is a whole different experience for our brains to process. 
Andy shares all this information and then strategies and tips to be smart as far as technology usage and finding a right balance for yourself and your family and having it have its rightful place in our daily lives and our family's routine. 

*Thanks to the Baker Books Blogger Program for the complimentary copy of this book.*

"Think Again"

Book info

About the book: 

Evaluating yourself-being mindful of who you are and what you are doing-is necessary and can lead to positive change.
But what about the dark side of introspection? Do you ever feel weighed down and exhausted by your own self-analysis? Perhaps you made a mistake, said a careless word, or even messed up big time. Your self-examination spirals into a full-blown cross-examination. You keep revisiting what happened. Your mind circles around the event, fruitlessly trying to somehow make the outcome different so you don't feel the embarrassment, shame, and regret.
The modern self-esteem movement has left us empty and self-focused. We exhaust our healthy introspection and pervert it into constant self-evaluation, wrong views of ourselves, self-accusation, and false guilt. Introspection was never meant to bear such weight.
Think Again offers real relief from the burden of introspection that so many of us carry each day. Pastor Jared Mellinger, who tends to overdose on self-analysis himself, shows us how the hope of the gospel can rescue us from the bad fruit of unsound introspection. Mellinger's short, story-filled chapters help readers identify and turn away from unhealthy introspection.
There is an outward-focused God who delights to rescue an inward-focused people and lead them into a better way to live. When we truly understand it, we'll see that the gospel actually sets us free from thinking about ourselves too much. We can seek after and pray for the peace and joy-the sanity-that comes from thinking about ourselves less often. 

Think Again includes practical instructions for self-examination, fighting false guilt, breaking free from hyper-introspection, and more. Ultimately, Think Again demonstrates that the solution to thinking too much about ourselves is to look to Christ, and it gives readers the tools to begin to turn from the mirror.

About the author:
Jared Mellinger joined the Covenant Fellowship Church pastoral team in 2006, upon graduating from Pastors College of Sovereign Grace Churches. He became senior pastor in 2008. Jared graduated from Kutztown University in 2001 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Art Education. He enjoys reading, rollerblading, poetry, drinking coffee, building fires, and listening to Josh Garrels. Jared is the author of Think Again: Relief from the Burden of Introspection. He resides in Glen Mills, PA with his wife Meghan and their six children.

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My Review:
"Think Again: relief from the burden of introspection" is a great read.  We are constantly analyzing ourselves, how we are as a mother, a wife, a friend, how we look, how we are perceived by others.  Jared shares personal stories as well as Biblical accounts throughout this book to help the reader work through exploring how her views of herself and self-analysis are impacting her life.  I really enjoyed the section that Jared shared about "selfies" and how this and social media play such a huge role in today's society. While some view selfies as a reflection of narcissism, some see them as reflecting self-esteem and a way of exploring how one feel's about herself.  Being constantly hard on ourselves can drag us down and leave us never happy with ourselves.  Jared helps each of us work through our thoughts and how we think about ourselves.  Each chapter end with questions to think about and reflect upon to help apply and really make changes in our thinking and how we live. 

To read other reviews included on this blog tour, go here!

*Thanks to the Litfuse Publicity Group for including me on this blog tour.*