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.

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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.*


Friday, April 28, 2017

Cynthia Ruchti's 'A Fragile Hope' Blog Tour and Giveaway


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A Fragile Hope Cynthia Ruchti
When your life's work revolves around repairing other people's marriages, what happens when your own marriage begins to fall apart? Find out what happens to Josiah Chamberlain in Cynthia Ruchti's new book, A Fragile Hope. Feeling betrayed, confused, and ill-equipped for a crisis this crippling, he reexamines everything he knows about the fragility of hope and the strength of his faith and love. Love seems to have failed him. Will what's left of his faith fail him, too? Or will it be the one thing that holds him together and sears through the impenetrable wall that separates them?

Celebrate the release of A Fragile Hope by entering to win Cynthia's Sign of Hope Giveaway!

 

One grand prize winner will receive:
Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on May 3. The winner will be announced May 4 on the Litfuse blog.



Book info


About the book:
Hope grows when seeds are planted-even in the muddy middle of life.
Josiah Chamberlain's life's work revolves around repairing other people's marriages. When his own is threatened by his wife's unexplained distance, and then threatened further when she's unexpectedly plunged into an unending fog, Josiah finds his expertise, quick wit and clever quips are no match for a relationship that is clearly broken.
Feeling betrayed, confused, and ill-equipped for a crisis this crippling, he reexamines everything he knows about the fragility of hope and the strength of his faith and love. Love seems to have failed him. Will what's left of his faith fail him, too? Or will it be the one thing that holds him together and sears through the impenetrable wall that separates them?

About the author:

Cynthia Ruchti tells stories hemmed in hope through her novels, novellas, nonfiction books, articles and devotionals, drawing from 33 years of on-air radio ministry. Ruchti has written more than 20 award-winning novels, novellas, nonfiction books and devotionals. Her books have received numerous awards and nominations, including the RT Reviewers' Choice, ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year nominations, two Selah Awards, Christian Retailing's BEST, was an ACFW Carol Award finalist and a Christy finalist, among other honors. Her latest release is the novel A Fragile Hope.
One of Ruchti's greatest joys is helping other writers grow in their craft. To that end, she has served as worship and devotions staff and faculty for the Write-to-Publish conference and teaches at other writers' conferences across the country and internationally as opportunities arise. She also serves as the professional relations liaison for American Christian Fiction Writers.
Ruchti speaks frequently for women's groups and serves on her church's worship team. She and her husband live in the heart of Wisconsin, not far from their three children and five grandchildren.
Find out more about Cynthia at http://www.cynthiaruchti.com.

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   My Review:
Cynthia's books are always so inspiring and full of heart.  Her latest, "A Fragile Hope," is no exception and it is a beautiful story of forgiveness, grace and hope.  Josiah's marriage is in shambles and he is oblivious to this face until a crisis.  Josiah is not sure how to handle this, being his own, as he is a professional in this area.  Karin is unhappy, she feels that others know and understand her better than Josiah, her own husband.  When Karin is in an accident Josiah learns unsettling news and is forced to put the pieces together and realize the true state of how things are.
Cynthia has done an amazing job of weaving together this story filled with heartache, and yet hope as well.  The characters are so real and are so easy to empathize with.  I also loved the "sayings" at the beginning of each chapter; this is such a nice touch and addition to the book.  I highly recommend this book, you will not want to stop reading once you start!

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

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



Sunday, April 23, 2017

Lisa Lloyd's 'Chasing Famous' Prize Pack Giveaway



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Chasing Famous Lisa Lloyd
Did you know you're constantly, often unconsciously, auditioning for a part? Learn how to master these issues and turn the spotlight on God with the help of Lisa Lloyd's new book, Chasing Famous. Chasing Famous is a redemptive book that teaches us how to take the focus off ourselves and shift it back on to the glory of God. Written by a professional actress who readily admits that she is the most self-centered person she knows, Chasing Famous provides practical and sometimes humorous examples of scriptural truth that will help you master the natural self-centered tendencies of life.

Discover what life really means when the focus is on God and enter to win Lisa's Spotlight on God Prize Pack!

 

One grand prize winner will receive:
Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on April 28. The winner will be announced May 1 on the Litfuse blog.



Book info

About the book: 

Have you ever considered your life as an audition?
Regardless of who or where we are, we are constantly, often unconsciously, auditioning for a part. Loving wife. Amazing employee. Crafting queen. Socialite. All we really want is to be loved, affirmed, and accepted. What if we could learn to live the life we have always been auditioning for without all the stress?

Chasing Famous is a redemptive book that teaches us how to take the focus off ourselves and shift it back on to the glory of God. Written by a professional actress who readily admits that she is the most self-centered person she knows, Chasing Famous provides practical and sometimes humorous examples of scriptural truth that will help you master the natural self-centered tendencies of life. Once you've mastered these issues, and you can, your story will turn the spotlight on God where, you'll soon discover, what it means to truly live.


Lisa is a speaker, emcee, actor, and writer. Since receiving her bachelor of fine arts in theater from Southern Methodist University, Lisa has been featured in many major performance mediums. Her television credits include What Would You Do?, Prison Break, The Young and the Restless, and The Bold and the Beautiful. You may see her on television commercials, highway billboards, or TV screens at the local airport. She has performed with many theaters, including the Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Montana Shakespeare, the Dallas Theater Center, and Casa MaƱana Theater. She is a highly sought-after speaker at women s retreats, conferences, and events across the country. She and her husband Markus live in McKinney, Texas, and have two boys.

Find out more about Lisa at http://www.lisalloyd.org.

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My Review:
"Chasing Famous" is Lisa sharing her heart of getting back on track with chasing God and living life with God as the focus instead of herself.  Every day we are each trying to improve ourselves for a certain role, be the model wife, be the mom who has the perfect home and the perfect kids, be the woman who can juggle all the hats she has to wear.  However, it is not the life that God intended for each of us to live.  Each chapter Lisa shares her story and her heart in, then a Biblical account was shared, drawing from various individuals from the Bible and their examples of living lives for Christ.  Lisa then ends each chapter with questions to reflect on and answer.  I really liked the layout of the chapters as it was easy to relate to Lisa as she was so open with her heart and life.  Also, the Biblical accounts were familiar, yet there was some new insight I gained as well.  Finally, it was easy to really take this book and relate it to my own life with the questions with each chapter.  This is a great, easy read that will have you thinking about your own life.

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

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

Saturday, April 22, 2017

"Never Unfriended"

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Friendships can be so tricky, and yet they are something that we yearn for in our lives.  Women can be "catty," but yet once you really connect with someone and have an incredible friendship with another woman you do not want to let that go.  Lisa-Jo Baker has shared her thoughts and encouragement on this subject in her new book, "Never Unfriended: the secret to finding and keeping lasting friendships."  This is such an incredible book and one that really made me think about what I want in friendships and what I have had and currently have in friendships.  Lisa-Jo shares so many great lines in this book, and one that really stood out is: "Maybe the most intimate, radical thing we can do for our friends is to show up."  This is the whole purpose of friendships - to be present, to be someone who can be counted on to share the good and the bad with, someone to be a sounding board, someone to laugh with, someone to cry with, someone to just be there when needed.  This is only one of the many, many insights that Lisa-Jo shares with the reader.  I highly recommend this for women whom are seeking to build their relationships and have friendships to last.

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

"Pursued"


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"Pursued" is book #3 in Lisa Harris' Nikki Boyd Files series and it is another exciting addition to the series.  Nikki is flying back into Nashville and is nervous and excited as she will be seeing Tyler and will have to figure out her feelings and where their relationship may be headed.  As Nikki and her seatmate Erika chat for a few minutes when the plane hits turbulence, and then crash lands, Nikki knows that Erika existed and was there even if no one else admits she was.  Nikki is determined to find out what happened and she is pulled into an investigation as she is notified that Erika was a witness who was returning to Nashville to testify, but the marshal with her was killed in the crash and Erika is no where to be found.  

Lisa dives right into the action and brings the reader right back into Nikki's world.  Nikki is such a great main character as she is easy to empathize with and I have loved seeing her character develop throughout this series.  This is one not to miss out on for romantic suspense fans!

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

Friday, April 21, 2017

"Sandpiper Cove"

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I just love Irene Hannon's Hope Harbor novels!  "Sandpiper Cove" is her latest and one of her best!  Irene does an incredible job of mixing romance and suspense.  Lexi is the Police Chief and Adam is an ex-con, so really they are opposites in so many ways, yet they are teamed up for a common purpose.  Adam never would have expected to be interacting with Lexi like this and Lexi is desperate to keep an at-risk teenager from ending up in a horrible situation and going further down a path of destruction.  Lexi and Adam's interactions portrayed forgiveness, hope and friendship and their relationship were so inspiring offering hoe and second chances. Hope Harbor is such a great place and I love the characters that show up in each story as they add much to the story and it is nice to see them again.  I am looking forward to the next book in this series coming out!

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

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Are you lacking real faith in or love or Jesus? You might be "Getting Jesus Wrong."




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Book info

About the book:

Jesus is not a life coach, a movement leader, a cultural visionary, or a blessing dispenser-but you might not know that by listening to many Christians talk about their faith.
Feel-good slogans promote a caricatured Jesus made in our own image who cannot save us and leave us feeling guilty for not saving ourselves. Following the wrong Jesus disappoints us and produces anxiety, pride, and despair.
The first half of 
Getting Jesus Wrong recounts pastor and author Matt Johnson's personal encounters with a string of false saviors-false saviors that many, especially young adults, will recognize. Johnson's humor and transparency in recounting his own painful experiences will appeal to those who have tried a "brand" of Christianity and found it lacking.
The truth is, we all want something from Jesus. Some are just hoping for a little help to get through life-a new direction, a purpose that will get us up in the morning, an exercise plan, a way to get organized. But that approach to Jesus doesn't result in real faith or love.
Whether we've followed a false Jesus or attempted to coopt the real Jesus, 
Getting Jesus Wrong ultimately offers us hope because it helps us see Jesus as he is. 
Getting Jesus Wrong shows that the message of the Bible is about Jesus coming to us as we are-which is good news for exhausted and disillusioned disciples. It shows us that getting Jesus right means a whole new way of thinking (the way up is down) and a whole new way of life (daily dependence on the one who knows the beginning from the end). Getting Jesus right gives us more than spiritual vitamins or a blueprint for living; it gives us a full, rich life spent exploring the depths of gospel love together.

About the author:
Matt Johnson is a husband, father to two little girls, and is an armchair student of theology living in Seattle. He is also a freelance writer and editor. Until recently, Matt spent 7 years as an associate volunteer pastor in counseling and recovery ministry.
Find out more about Matt at https://www.therealmattjohnson.com.


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My Review:
"Getting Jesus Wrong" is such a thought-provoking read.  It will have you thinking about your beliefs and your personal walk with Jesus throughout this book while at the same time think ah I have never thought about this or that in that light before.  Each of us have a personal relationship with Jesus, and each of us views Jesus a certain way.  We are all influenced by our families, how we were raised, the church we grew up in or are a part of and how we have interpreted the Bible, among many other factors.  However, some may be inaccurate and cause us to see Jesus a certain way while in fact Jesus Himself is trying to give us another message or really is something all together different from what we belief.  This is a great book to help the reader feel stronger in his or her beliefs and really build that relationship with Jesus to a healthy and more "right" way of thinking and living. 

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

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


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

"Life After" - a book you do not want to miss!

Image result for life after katie ganshertKatie Ganshert has an amazing talent of completely engaging the reader in the book that she writes, into the characters' lives and into the world that she has created. "Life After" is an emotional and thought-provoking read that will leave the reader asking her purpose in life and why things have happened that have happened in her life. 
Autumn is the sole survivor of the Tragedy on the Tracks, an incident that happened one morning when a bomb goes off on a train in Chicago.  This is a typical Chicago morning, blustery, commuters going about their everyday lives, but it was not a typical day when 22 individuals are killed and only 1 individual survives.  Autumn is left questioning why she survived, why is she the chosen one, what purpose was there to this tragedy.  Autumn collects everything she can about the tragedy and the individuals lost, much to her family's dismay, and spends her sleepless nights completing one jigsaw puzzle after another.  However, things take a turn when she receives letters and comes face to face with the daughter of the one of the individuals whom was killed because of the tragedy. Paul is shocked when he finds out what his daughter has been doing behind his back and he wants nothing else than to forget that awful day when his wife and the mother of his children was killed, it was a horrific event and he just wants life back to normal. Paul fears that Autumn is going to wreck any progress they have made with moving on. 
This story grabbed my attention right from the very first page.  It was so easy to become a part of the story, I could picture myself there on the train, sitting quietly, observing the other commuters who were mindlessly checking email on their phones, texting messages, looking out the window, something that is a part of their everyday routine, not expecting anything out of the ordinary to happen.  I could imagine Autumn's apartment with her puzzles, her closet of clippings and information and it was so easy to empathize with Autumn, Reese, and Paul as they are trying to adjust to their new normalcy.  I highly recommend this book as you will forever be changed. 



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Monday, April 17, 2017

"Vibrant India"


This is nice hardcover cookbook that is filled with recipes, rich with family history and with beautiful photographs interspersed throughout.  "Vibrant India" is a book that is more than a cookbook, it is a collection of family history to pass onto others and recipes to try and make new family memories of one's own. I was introduced to Indian food by my sisters during a sisters lunch a few Christmases ago, and I loved it.  There are so many flavors with each dish, such variety and so visually appealing.  The recipes included in this book will also help you to get more vegetables into your diet and not be bored with the same thing over and over again.  There is such a wide variety of types of dishes included in this book such as ones for breakfast, salads, stir-fries, festive dishes and sweets.  I am excited to try so many of these recipes and rotate more of these into my weekly menus.

For more info about this book, go here!

To learn about the author, go here!


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

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Tracie Miles' 'Unsinkable Faith' Prize Pack Giveaway


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Unsinkable Faith Tracie Miles
Have negative thought patterns overtaken your life and shaken your faith? Learn how to anchor your heart in God despite what storms roll in in Tracie Miles' new book, Unsinkable Faith. Each chapter explores Tracie's and other women's personal stories, showing how they rose above their circumstances by transforming and renewing their minds. Unsinkable Faith is a breath of fresh air for anyone longing for a heart full of joy, an unbreakable smile, and a new, more optimistic perspective on life.

Join Tracie and other readers on April 25th for a fun Facebook Live event and the Anchored in Faith Prize Pack Giveaway (details below)!

 

One grand prize winner will receive:
 

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on April 25. The winner will be announced at the Unsinkable Faith Facebook Live event. RSVP for a chance to connect with Tracie and others searching for unsinkable faith, as well as for a chance to win other prizes!

RSVP today and spread the word-tell your friends about the giveaway via social media and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 25th!

Book info

About the book: 

For many people, remaining optimistic and feeling positive about themselves and their lives is a constant battle - especially when circumstances are difficult and life is hard.
For others, negativity is something that only sneaks up from time to time, yet still wreaks havoc in their hearts. Regardless of the root causes, once pessimistic thoughts permeate our minds, our feelings and emotions begin to control us instead of us controlling them. Eventually it doesn't seem possible to stay positive, happy, and full of joy, and negative thought patterns shake our faith, causing us to sink emotionally, mentally, and spiritually over time. But it doesn't have to be that way. Despite what storms roll in, hearts anchored in God don't sink. When we change the way we think, we can change the way we feel and live, even if our circumstances remain the same. Intentionally embracing the opportunity to experience a transformed heart and a renewed mind opens the door for a changed life, because a positive mind will always lead to a more positive life.
In 
Unsinkable Faith, author and Proverbs 31 Ministries speaker Tracie Miles offers hope for women who struggle with negativity. Each chapter explores Tracie's and other women's personal stories, showing how they rose above their circumstances by transforming and renewing their minds. 
Unsinkable Faith is a breath of fresh air for anyone longing for a heart full of joy, an unbreakable smile, and a new, more optimistic perspective on life. This book will equip you to:
-Replace pessimism with positive thinking by becoming the captain of your thoughts;
-Learn how true joy and happiness are based on choice, not circumstances;
-Overcome unhealthy habits of negative thinking by intentionally implementing three easy mind-renewing steps;
-Stop feeling hopeless and pitiful, and start feeling hope-filled and powerful instead; and
-Discover that when you change the way you think, you change the way feel, and in turn you can change your life completely.

About the author:
Tracie Miles is a national speaker with Proverbs 31 Ministries and a bestselling author who's spent the last twelve years inspiring women to become who God called them to be. She's the author of "Your Life Still Counts" and "Stressed-Less Living," and a contributor to Proverbs 31 Ministries daily devotions.
Find out more about Tracie at http://traciemiles.com.

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My Review:
"Unsinkable Faith" is one of the best women's book that I have read!  Tracie Miles has written a book that really caught my attention and is filled with so many tidbits of wisdom.  It was as if Tracie was speaking right to me as she wrote in a conversational style and we were chatting over mugs of coffee.  Tracie begins the book with sharing Molly Brown's story, a life of hardship, but she persevered through so many hardships throughout her life and was nicknamed rightly so "unsinkable."  Tracie then shares her heart and a personal incident that left her reeling and in a negative mindset that she fought to overcome.  This book is divided into 10 ten chapters and each one builds upon the other and each one is just as important as the other.  The strategies, reflections and the challenges that are shared at the end of each chapter are great as it really helped me to apply each of the chapters to my own life and to really delve deeper into what was being shared in the book.  I highly recommend this book and am eager to read more by Tracie.

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.*