Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Trust My Heart {Christian Romance Novel--Book Review}

I don't read Christian romance novels very often (or romance novels of any kind actually), but I was intrigued by the plot line as the synopsis held a little bit of mystery within the book. Trust My Heart is a very sweet read; it holds layers of nostalgia, loss, hurt & sadness--but it also holds hope. And the combination of those elements helps bring depth to the conflicts, storylines, and character development--especially main characters Grant and Jami. For more information about the book, please read the author's synopsis. It is a wonderful book, and I highly recommend it.

*I received a copy  of the book from the publisher, but was under no obligation to write a review. My honest opinion has been provided without any requirement to give a positive review.**

Trust My Heart (Waterfall Press, October 2016)
Grant McAllister arrives in Murphy, North Carolina, with one aim: to sell his inherited property and leave as quickly as possible. 
The big-city lawyer has no interest in his late, estranged grandparents or the dilapidated mansion he just acquired. After his high-profile divorce, he should be avoiding perky reporters, too. But Jami Carlisle is honest, funny, and undeniably appealing.
After breaking up with her safe-but-smothering boyfriend, Jami is determined to ace her first big assignment. A story about the McAllister estate is too intriguing to ignore—much like its handsome, commitment-phobic heir. Thanks to her digging, the pieces of Grant’s fraught family history are gradually fitting into place, but also upending all his old beliefs.
The two draw closer as they share their dreams, until misread signals and misunderstandings begin to test their trust. But in the unspoiled beauty of the Smoky Mountains, there’s healing and forgiveness to be found. And for Grant, this unplanned detour may be just what’s needed to finally guide him home…
Carol J. PostFrom medical secretary to court reporter to property manager to owner of a special-events decorating company, Carol J. Post’s résumé reads as if she hasn’t yet decided what she wants to be when she grows up. But one thing that has remained constant through the years is her love of writing. She started as a child composing poetry for family and friends, then graduated to articles for religious and children’s publications. Now she pens fun, fast-paced inspirational romance and romantic suspense stories. Her books have been nominated for an RT Reviewers’ Choice Best Book award and selected as an RT Top Pick. When Carol isn’t writing, she enjoys sailing, hiking, camping—almost anything outdoors. She also plays the piano and sings with her music-minister husband. Their two grown daughters and their grandkids live too far away for her liking, so she now pours all her nurturing into taking care of a fat and sassy black cat and a highly spoiled dachshund.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Great Gift Idea for Moms {40 Days to a Joyful Motherhood}

"Littles are asleep, tea is brewed, and colored pencils are ready." 
~Rockin' My Mom Jeans Facebook post, September 23, 2016

What a fun way to have some creative quiet time with God! The devotional aspect itself would've made for a sweet book for mamas, but the coloring adds the opportunity for depth, growth, and a lengthier time of solitude. 40 Day to a Joyful Motherhood would definitely make for a fantastic Christmas gift!

*I received a copy of the book from the publisher, but was under no obligation to write a review. My honest opinion has been provided without any requirement to give a positive review.**

40 Days to a Joyful Motherhood: Devotions and Coloring Book to Nourish Mom (Abingdon Press, August 2016)
Nourishment for a mother’s soul through 40 days of devotion and . . . doodling! 
Wouldn’t it be marvelous if mothering came with a concrete set of instructions—an easy recipe we could follow? Instead, motherhood challenges women to find their faith, their true selves, and their family through daily doses of trial and error. It is a brilliant and healing time of life that is full of joy, pain, and beauty with a small side of crisis (and humor). What mothers do not know, they learn. And through this lifelong process of learning, they nurture and care for the most precious gifts on earth: children. In a modern society where moms often have a full and busy plate, these 10 minute daily devotions focus on six key topics of motherhood:
—Reconciling with grief, hope and expectations
In addition to the devotions, these beautiful pages are adorned with handmade illustrations to help you refresh from long days or even occasional sleepless nights. So, grab your colors and a little quiet time for yourself while doodling at the kitchen table. You will be grateful you did!

Friday, November 4, 2016

Great Book for Kids to help develop their own faith!

What a brilliant book for kids! It does a wonderful job of creating a very interesting storyline for tweens as they get to become a junior detective....but it isn't written at all in a way that is childish or condescending. On the one hand, the students are trying to find out information about an old skateboard. And on the other hand, the students go through information about Christ- did he really raise from the dead? Are miracles real?-and the interweaving of the two separate topics flows in a way that is extremely natural and interesting.
I have read this book, and will be giving it to my kids--I'm certain they will like it. More importantly, I hope that the book helps them look beyond what we teach at home and what they learn at church, & come to their own understanding that Jesus truly is who he says he is.
*I received a copy of the book from the publisher, but was under no obligation to write a review. My honest opinion has been provided without any requirement to give a positive review.**

Cold-Case Christianity for Kids(David C. Cook, October 2016)
Between the ages of 8 and 12, kids often start to wonder if Christianity is true. 
In Cold-Case Christianity for Kids, detective J. Warner Wallace draws readers into the thrill of high-stakes investigation by showing them how to think rather than telling them what to think. In this children’s companion to the bestselling Cold-Case Christianity, detective Wallace gets kids excited about testing witnesses, examining the evidence, and investigating the case for Christianity. Includes author illustrations and links to a website where kids can download activities, fill in case notes, and earn a certificate of merit.
Learn more and purchase a copy.

J. Warner and Susie Wallace have been training young people in the church setting for over a decade. J. Warner is a cold-case homicide detective who has been featured on Dateline, FOX News, Court TV and other crime-related television shows. A former atheist, he is the author of Cold-Case Christianity: God’s Crime Scene and Forensic Faith. He has a master’s degree in theology and is the founder of Susie has a master’s degree in speech pathology and co-writes (and edits) all the kids books in this series. J. Warner and Susie have four children and live in southern California.

Great Final Books for Charmed Amish Life Series! {A Sister's Wish & An Amish Family Christmas}

I had read the first two books in the Charmed Amish Life series, and had hoped this third book would be well-developed, too. Whether it's due to the writing style, the plot, the character development, or my previous investment & history with the characters, A Sister's Wish is my favorite. Within each book after the first one, Shepard Gray chose main characters I did not expect for the newest storylines. Each time it caught me off-guard, but then I appreciated the way she took a pair of minor characters and creates a storyline unique to their relationship. In A Sister's Wish, Amelia Kinsinger is the young sister who now gets the spotlight, alongside her brother's best friend--Simon Hochstetler. Although Simon is a great guy, a troubled past and time away from the Amish community have Amelia's family declaring the relationship off limits. It's a great look at sibling dynamics, grace, forgiveness and love, and I truly enjoyed the book.

**I received a copy of the book from the publisher, but was under no obligation to write a review. My honest opinion has been provided without any requirement to give a positive review.**

An Amish Family Christmas is the 4th (and sadly final) book in The Charmed Amish Life series. The final book focuses on Levi Kinsinger, who has recently returned to Charm and to the Amish community. During his absence his siblings have, gotten married, tried various jobs, had a serious accident, fallen in love, expecting a child, and other daily life that Levi is finding his footing as to where he 'fits'. He has been welcomed home with open arms, and buys a home separate from the family home. He meets his neighbor Julia when she loses her house keys, and a friendship between Levi, Julia & Julia's daughter develops. But Julia is hiding a secret that has big potential to destroy any relationship she has with Levi. This fourth book in the series has the most complex storyline and weaving of characters, and is a great ending to a wonderful series.

**I received a copy of the book from the publisher, but was under no obligation to write a review. My honest opinion has been provided without any requirement to give a positive review.**

A Sister’s Wish (Avon Inspire, September 2016)
In Shelley Shepard Gray’s third book in her Charmed Amish Life series, a respectable young woman finds herself falling for an Amish man from the wrong side of the tracks.
Amelia Kinsinger is the perfect Amish woman—at least according to her neighbors. And while Amelia takes pride in her role as homemaker, she’s also harboring a secret: She’s been in love with bad boy Simon Hochstetler for as long as she can remember. Too bad he’s about as far from “perfect” as an Amish man could get… but that’s exactly why she’s so drawn to him.
Life hasn’t been kind to Simon. He ran away from an abusive home at fifteen and things went downhill from there. Eventually, Simon landed in prison. But the experience changed him. Now back in Charm as a grown man, he’s determined to make a new life for himself and not think too much about his wild past…unless it pertains to Amelia.
He’s loved Amelia for years. To him, she represents everything good and kind in the world. When he realizes that she returns his affections, he starts calling on her in secret, even though her older brother Lukas—who just happens to be Simon’s best friend—has made it perfectly clear that Amelia deserves better. Simon disagrees and believes he’s the only one who can truly make her happy.
But when Amelia gets hurt, it sets off a chain of events that forces them to consider their future together—and face their past mistakes. There’s a chance for love… but only if Simon dares to trust Amelia with the secrets of his past.
Shelley Shepard Gray is a "New York Times" and "USA Today" bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town’s bike trail.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Life Creative: Inspiration for Today's Renaissance Mom {Book Review}

Life Creative: Inspiration for Today's Renaissance Mom is written to build up and encourage moms who may feel they've given up their desires and dreams because they are pouring into & rearing their young children. The authors present honest, raw emotion, both from their own lives as well as the lives of other moms. The book recognizes the various seasons of motherhood, and how our creativity ebbs, flows, pauses & grows throughout our motherhood journeys.

My favorite line from the book is found on page 38: "Your life at home is where it all begins, not just in the great big, inspired moments, but also in the small, simple, ordinary ones. So keep it up!"

If you are a mom who has laid down her creativity to care for your little ones, this book is for you. If you are a mom whose brain is spinning, full of new ideas & desires (or dusting off the cobwebs of past dreams), this book is for you. And if you are a mom who is establishing yourself within your creative field, or spending private moments creating a joyful world all your own, this book is for you as well.

As someone who has spent most of motherhood longing for my college days when I would sit and journal, or experience the rush that came from putting pen to the paper in my non-fiction writing classes, this book was a great encouragement! Sometimes, God lets us grow in and continue to develop our creative makeup--and other times He adds different situations and circumstances that pushes us onto a different path, weaving together a new path and plan. My perspective on "what my life will look like when I grow up" continues to develop, and I'm excited to see what my future holds as I more intentionally follow my dreams.

**I received a copy of the book from the publisher, but was under no obligation to write a review. My honest opinion has been provided without any requirement to give a positive review.**

Life Creative: Inspiration for Today’s Renaissance Mom (Kregel, September 2016)
What was God thinking when He created you creative and then gave you children?
Creative moms often feel as though they must lay their passions down. But God had something special in mind for the creative woman during this intense season of mothering.
In this Pinterest age of handcrafted children’s parties, Instagram photos of beautifully decorated homes, and blogs filled with poetry and prose, it is clear that we are in the midst of a brand new artistic renaissance. Not one born in Italian cathedrals or Harlem jazz clubs, but rather in kitchens, nurseries, and living rooms around the world. Mothers, working in the cracks and crevices of each hectic day, are adorning the world with their gifts, and they’re showing all of us the beauty of this Life Creative.
In this book, you’ll learn:
—Why the world needs your art
—How this Life Creative begins at home
—When art can turn a profit
—Your part in this modern day Renaissance
Life Creative paints the stories of moms, just like you, who are fitting their inspired lives into the everyday, ordinary places of motherhood. Women like home decorator Melissa Michaels and jewelry designer Lisa Leonard, author Angie Smith, recording artist Ellie Holcomb, and many more.

Wendy Speake is a trained actress and heartfelt teacher. She ministers to women’s hearts through storytelling and life applications, utilizing drama, comedy, poetry and the study of God’s Word. During her career in Hollywood, Speake found herself longing to tell stories that edify and encourage women. She is the author of "Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses" (BRU Press, 2015). Speake is a wife and homeschooling mother of three boys. ||**|| Kelli Stuart is a writer and a storyteller at heart. She has written for several websites including The Huffington Post, 5 Minutes for Mom, The MOB Society, (in)courage and Compassion International. She is the author of three books, including "Like a River from Its Course" (Kregel Publications, 2016) and a noted speaker. Stuart her husband live in Florida with their four children.PREVIOUS CAMPAIGN

The 10 Myths of Teen Dating {Book Review. For Parents of Teen Daughters}

This book is a "real world" presentation of teenage dating life, from people who know teens best--high school teachers. We parents may want to think we know it all because we remember our teenage years, but it is extremely helpful to have the insights of Daniel & Jacqueln Anderson (who are father & daughter), who have spent years teaching high public high school. Both authors are Christians, yet they make it clear this book is a wonderful resource for any parent who desires to see their daughter build healthy relationships and understand the journey to her lifelong happiness and well-being.

As a mom of several daughters, I truly appreciate this book. I especially like the writing style, as Daniel Anderson presents his viewpoint and experiences, and then Jacquelyn Anderson follows up by remembering her teen experiences (which is an honest portrayal of the areas her dad made mistakes as a parent, the ways he could have approached topics better, and also her viewpoints now as an adult). The tag-team of the authors brings a unique, reliable voice to The 10 Myths of Teen Dating, and it is a resource to which I will continue to refer.

**I received a copy of the book from the publisher, but was under no obligation to write a review. My honest opinion has been provided without any requirement to give a positive review.**


The 10 Myths of Teen Dating: Truths Your Daughter Needs to Know to Date Smart, Avoid Disaster, and Protect Her Future (David C Cook, September 2016)
There’s no greater moment of panic in a parent’s life than when their daughter begins to date.
Due to their lack of knowledge about the world their teens face coupled with the scant dating information they received as teens, many parents feel ill-equipped to guide their daughters through the minefield that is teen dating.
And by the same token, teenage girls crave information about dating and relationships. And left to their own devices, many will develop their own assumptions about dating by talking to their friends or watching the latest TV shows and movies. But that will only lead them down a path toward heartbreak.
So how do you engage your daughter in discussions about dating, relationships, and her future happiness? Expert educator Daniel Anderson and his twenty something daughter, Jacquelyn, help you navigate the biggest dating myths, including: the myth that a boyfriend will make your daughter happy, that she should trust her feelings, or that sex will enhance her relationship. Combining the latest scientific research with poignant personal stories, as well as proven truths and practical application, The 10 Myths of Teen Dating will equip you to teach your daughter how to date smart for today . . . and tomorrow.
Daniel Anderson is a former college All-American basketball player, an expert educator, and a father of two grown daughters and a son. As a veteran high school teacher in the public school system, Daniel was troubled by how his students approached dating and relationships. He and his daughter, Jacquelyn Anderson—a twenty something and also a high school teacher—decided to address this need by equipping parents with "The 10 Myths of Teen Dating," their first book together. Daniel and Jacquelyn both make their home in Portland, Oregon.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Love Our Vets: Restoring Hope for Families of Veterans with PTSD {Book Review}

While I do not have any family members who live with PTSD, I do have some friends who live with it. Because of that, I wanted to read this book and then determine if I should buy a copy for them, too. My answer is ABSOLUTELY!! I myself gained so much insight, understanding, compassion, clarity, wisdom and very aware of the importance of love and grace by reading this book. I truly believe if a broader range of people read Love Our Vets, our society would have a whole new outlook on what PTSD is and how we respond to those who have it. And those who have PTSD would not feel as isolated!

Author Welby O'Brien is extremely qualified to write this book, which is a key reason for my 5-star rating. She holds a Master's degree in counseling, and her husband has lived with PTSD for a very long time (which means it has affected her life for quite a while, too!). In addition to her qualifications, O'Brien brings something critical to this book--the words, voices, feelings, and advice of countless others who live within a PTSD-affected environment. The book is broken down into 3 parts, and within each part are questions that are looked at and answered. The book format is wonderful in that you can look at certain topics specifically, or learn a wealth of information from reading the whole thing. The final perspective O'Brien brings to the book is how important our prayer life and spiritual growth are in helping us fill our cup and pour out love. We can't accomplish this heavy task on our own--but with God's help, we can gain hope, love wisdom & grace--and then we can share God's love with those who need it so very much.

I received a copy of the book from the publisher, but was under no obligation to write a review. My honest opinion has been provided without any requirement to give a positive review.

About the book: 

Love Our Vets: Restoring Hope for Families of Veterans with PTSD (Deep River Books, April 2015)

Chances are that if your loved one has seen war, he or she has Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder at some level, and you who love your veteran will also be deeply and profoundly affected.

Finally, the cries and needs of the loved ones have been addressed in this comprehensive, practical book, now newly updated in its second edition!

Love Our Vets answers more than 60 heartfelt questions, providing down-to-earth wisdom and much-needed tips for taking care of yourself. Sharing as a counselor and from her personal experience of living with a 100% disabled veteran with PTSD, Welby O'Brien gives hope, encouragement, and practical help for families and loved ones who are caught in the wake of the trauma. This book addresses a broad spectrum of issues and concerns and offers realistic wisdom from a wide variety of individuals who share from real hearts and lives.

Now newly revised and updated with additional material, the second edition of Love Our Vets continues to be enthusiastically welcomed by VA and other counselors. This is not just another book about PTSD; rather, it is a tremendous resource for families and loved ones who struggle heroically along with their vets to face the day-to-day challenges.

Purchase a copy:
About the author:

Welby O'Brien
 holds a Masters Degree in counseling (Portland State University) and a teaching degree (Biola University). Author of Formerly A Wife, and Good-bye for Now (Wingspread); contributing author, Shepherding Women in Pain (Moody Press), and Chicken Soup for the Soul, Divorce and Recovery. Founder of Love Our Vets support network; wife of veteran with PTSD.