Friday, February 26, 2016

Come Empty, a Devotional by Saundra Dalton-Smith {A Book Review}

Come Empty wasn't what I expected, and that in and of itself speaks VERY  highly of Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith's authentic writing style! My reason for getting a copy of Come Empty was to read it and determine if it would be a good book for me to recommend to friends and women I mentor. So, it came as a bit of a surprise when to find I was drinking in the first few chapters for myself, fully relating to Dalton-Smith's description of her life because I had been there. And, I needed her insight, reminders, and encouragement to recognize the need for me to continue to let go of self and daily turn to my Savior. Dalton-Smith writes in such a sweet and welcoming way--I truly believe any woman will be able to connect with this devotional and deepen her personal relationship with Christ.

The devotional is broken into sections, which allows the reader to begin with the area she feels she needs to turn over to God and allow him to fill that emptiness. Each day has three sections; 'Your Heart's Cry', 'His Reply', and 'Going Deeper Questions'. Dalton-Smith doesn't just put her spin on things, but encourages the reader with Scripture, too. The verses are sources of truth, hope, and encouragement. In addition to the verses, Dalton-Smith gives the reader a passage of Scripture to look up and read prior to completing the 'Going Deeper Questions'. The content of each day is very rich, yet it isn't overwhelming. Whether you are hurting, discouraged, in a drought with your walk with Christ, or seeking to experience a heart-stirred relationship with our Savior, you will find that Come Empty is a terrific resource.

*I received a complimentary copy per my honest review.*

Book info
About the book: 

Come Empty: Pour Out Life's Hurts and Receive God's Healing Love (SonRise Devotionals, March 2015)

When a water vessel is filled with dirt and stones, it cannot be used to quench a thirst.

But, when this vessel is emptied, there is an opportunity to fill it until it overflows with fresh, cool, life-giving water. Water that quenches. Refreshes. Soothes.

Our souls are the same: filled with fear, doubt, and disappointment. Running over with unanswered prayers and lingering questions. When we empty the mess of our lives in the presence of God, we're offered an invitation to come. An invitation that allows us to come empty --- so that we can be filled until we overflow.

Come Empty: Pour Out Life's Hurts and Receive God's Healing Love guides you through fifty days of experiencing the fullness of God's love and His ability to overcome life's hurts. Each day, you will receive assurance of God's presence in your difficult situations. Each devotion gives new vision and perspective when you're hindered by emotional blind spots, and leads you to experience God's peace and wholeness. When His invitation is accepted, He will set your captive mind and heart free to live fully by His grace. The question is not if you will get an invitation. The question is, will you come? 

Purchase a copy:

About the author:

Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith is a Board Certified internal medicine physician. She shares with audiences nationwide on the topics of eliminating limiting emotions, finding grace in difficult places, and experiencing personal renewal by drawing near to God. Dr. Dalton-Smith is a national and international media resource on the mind, body, spirit connection and has been featured in Women's Day, Redbook, and First For Women magazine. She is the founder of I Choose My Best Life. Her other books include award-winning Set Free to Live Free: Breaking Through the 7 Lies Women Tell Themselves.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Review of "Blue Ribbon Trail Ride" by Miralee Ferrell {Tween Fiction}


Blue Ribbon Trail Ride is the first book by Miralee Ferrell that I have read, but this certainly will not be our family's last. It is the fourth book in Ferrell's "Horses and Friends" series, and it is a great book for tween readers (although I enjoyed it, too!). My 11 year old daughter is beginning with the first book in the series (A Horse For Kate), and I believe this will really enhance her experience & enjoyment of the characters by reading all four books. That said, 'Blue Ribbon Trail Ride' can be read independently from the other books. Ferrell's descriptions of the main characters are extremely well-developed and easy to follow.

One reason I chose to review this book was to hopefully find a book (and, better yet, a series) that my 11 year old would enjoy that is interesting, intriguing, and appropriate. The book is a wonderful balance of friendships, mystery, conflicts, family interactions, positive resolutions and Christian perspectives. Horses are also a prominent part of each book's setting and plot, and this fourth novel revolves around a horse scavenger hunt. The hunt takes place to help raise money to send Kate's brother Pete to a summer camp held for autistic children. The "who done it" mystery begins when the money raised disappears. I definitely know my daughter will enjoy this book, and I feel very comfortable recommending it to everyone.

*I received a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review.*

Interested in this novel for your child? You can purchase your copy here.

copyright 2016 LeAnne D Klopfenstein

Monday, February 15, 2016

New from Terri Blackstock: ‘If I Run’ and a Fitbit Giveaway

I love murder mysteries, but a few years ago I realized I needed to find ones that weren't so full of foul language and sex. And, to be honest, I kind of gave up and just moved on to other genres. If I Run is everything I desired within a murder mystery and more!

The best endorsement I can give for If I Run actually comes from my 15 year old daughter, Kaitlin. Kaitlin, who really hasn't been interested in reading, saw my copy and asked to read it when I was done. She took it with her to school, in the car, and even went to bed early so she could read for a while! Kaitlin had it completed in a couple of days, and the first words out of her mouth were, "Ahh, I can't believe it ended like that! This book is you have the next one?"

First of all, I was thrilled myself to find out today that If I Run will be the first book in a series! I really enjoyed this murder mystery, and when I reached the final page I was hoping Terri Blackstock would continue the saga of Casey Cox and Dylan Roberts. One of my favorite parts of the novel is the fact the action begins on the very first page, within the very first sentence. From there, Casey is in a race to get far away from those who will frame her for the murder of her good friend Brent. In the meantime, Brent's family asks his friend Dylan to help find the killer, who truly appears to be Casey.

The twists and turns of this novel are wonderful, and I don't want to say much about them and ruin the suspense. But the layers of plot and subplot, trust & relationships are fantastic.

*I received a complimentary copy per my honest review.*

You can purchase If I Run here.
Casey Cox doesn’t fit the profile of a killer . . . but her DNA is all over the crime scene, and she's now a fugitive. Don't miss Terri Blackstock's next page-turner, If I Run. Unraveling her past and the evidence that condemns her will take more time than Dylan has, the war-weary veteran hired to find Casey. But as Dylan’s damaged soul intersects with hers, he is faced with two choices. The girl who occupies his every thought is a psychopathic killer . . . or a selfless hero. And the truth could be the most deadly weapon yet.

Join Terri in celebrating her new book with a Fitbit giveaway and a special $4.99 digital pre-order deal!

if i run-400 

One grand prize winner will receive:
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry! The giveaway ends on February 16th. The winner will be announced February 17th on the Litfuse blog.

Plus don't miss out on the special $4.99 digital pre-order pricing, now through February 15. Pre-order the book through your favorite e-book retailer; details here.

if i run - enterbanner

Friday, February 12, 2016

An Amazing Book on the Goodness of God in All Things {A Book Review of Bronner by Sherri Burgess}

Many of us have a hard time talking about and knowing how to deal with the loss of a loved one. And when it comes to the death of a child, our natural instinct is to avoid the topic and pray it never happens to us. Our avoidance often means we don't know the right response when a friend loses their child. And, quite frankly, we (both Christians and non-Christians) question how God could let a child die. We are left raw, angry, and consumed with grief when we can't find a way to see the eternal perspective.

So, who is the best person to give insight into what it means to trust in God fully & completely? To declare that God is good? To display that God is always ready to draw near to us when we draw near to Him? It's a parent who has lost a child and CLINGS to her God during the worst moments of her life. And Sherri Burgess takes her grief and her walk of faith to a very deep level by putting her emotions, loss, and journey of hope on paper in the book Bronner.

It would be easy to say that the book Bronner is a lovely tribute to Burgess' son Bronner, who died in a tragic accident when he was two. But it's not a tribute to Bronner--it's a tribute to God, who allowed Burgess to be Bronner's mom and whose life God used (and continues to use) to declare His steadfast love for us. Burgess writes with honest emotions, reflections, and openness about her need to actively trust in God even during the darkest hours. But my absolute favorite thing about the book is Burgess' continual use of scripture throughout the book. Page after page, Burgess provides verses that have helped heal her soul, speak the truths of God's grace, mercy & love, and point to the eternal perspective of life in heaven for those who have a personal relationship with Christ. And, page after page, Burgess implores the reader to see that "God is filled with good things. There is proof of his love everywhere....There is no one and no thing like Him. To know Him defies description. He is beyond measure. He is beyond wise." (p 161).

I cannot recommend this book enough. Is it an easy read? No. But it is one that stirs the heart in a phenomenal, life-changing way that brings comfort to the soul and a better understanding of what it means to have a 'peace that passes all understanding'.

*I received a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review*

Can God use pain and suffering in our lives to teach and refine us? Journey with Sherri Burgess in her new book, Bronner, to discover the purpose behind pain through the powerful story of her son Bronner’s earthly death. An empowering resource for book-club discussion or small-group Bible study, this is much more than simply a retelling of an inspiring story. It is a call to action beckoning us to know our Holy God like never before.

Join Sherri in celebrating the release of her new book, Bronner, with a blog tour and a Kindle Fire giveaway!


One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of Bronner
  • A Kindle Fire HD 6
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry! The giveaway ends on February 12th. The winner will be announced February 15th on the Litfuse blog.


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

A Son's Vow by Shelley Shepard Gray {A Book Review}

A Son's Vow by Shelley Shepard Gray is a Christian Amish Novel and Book One of her The Charmed Amish Life Series. It is a fantastic novel, and I looked forward to Gray publishing the other books in the series!

The novel centers around Darla Kurtz as she deals with the countless dynamics that she must encounter after her dad dies is a factory fire (many in the town blame him for the fire and the deaths of four other men due to the fire) and then her mom abandons Darla and her siblings. Darla is a strong woman who continually focuses on doing what's right. Unfortunately, she is living a fairly lonely life--her brother has serious anger issues and a weak work ethic, her sister isn't all that helpful, and four other siblings are still pretty young and rely on Darla to care for and provide for them. Still, Darla stands firm and Gray has written this character not merely as a strong protagonist, but as a female with depth and personality.

Lukas Kinsiger is the male protagonist of the novel, and hopes to see Darla become part of his life again. Childhood friends who grew up together now find themselves at opposite ends of the spectrum. For while Darla's dad was blamed for causing the fire, the owner of the lumber mill has also been criticized for not maintaining a safe environment. The owner, as you may guess, was Lukas' dad, and he too died in the lumber mill explosion. Not only did Darla and Lukas lose their dads, but their friendship was also fractured. Adding to the distance within their friendship is the distain their siblings have towards the other family, blaming one another's dad for the tragedy. Although the fire was deemed to be an accident, the Kinsiger and Kurtz children want someone to blame and can't imagine a life that includes Lukas and Darla's former closeness.

Other characters in the novel add additional dynamics to the reading. Darla's brother Aaron is headed down a path of violence and abuse. He just can't cope with the loss of his parents, and doesn't know how to 'man up' and find his way. Hannah is a young woman who lost her boyfriend in the fire at the mill; her escape & healing comes in the form of nannying for a non-Amish family. A Son's Vow presents Amish life in a very relatable way, and I look forward to reading additional Amish works by Shelley Shepard Gray.

*I received a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review.*

A Son’s Vow
A Son’s Vow (Avon Inspire, January 2016)
Three months ago, everything changed for Darla Kurtz and her family.
Darla’s father was responsible for a terrible fire at Charm’s lumber mill which killed five Amish men. And though he, too, lost his life, the town of Charm hasn’t looked at her family the same since. Even Lukas Kinsinger—with whom Darla used to have a close friendship.
Now her brother’s anger at the town is spilling over onto Darla, and she has the bruises to prove it. The accident already cost five lives, but if something doesn’t change soon, Darla fears it will cost her—and her family—even more.
Lukas Kinsinger wants to mourn the loss of his father, but he can hardly find the time to breathe. Suddenly the head of his father’s lumber mill and responsible for taking care of his three siblings, he’s feeling the pressure. He has also never felt more alone—especially with the new tension between he and Darla. But when he learns of her troubles at home, Lukas knows he can’t simply stand by and watch. Someone has to help her before another tragedy occurs.
As Lukas and Darla attempt to repair their families, they discover something deeper than friendship growing between them. But will Lukas and Darla’s love be accepted after so much loss? Or will the pain of the past overcome any chance of future happiness?
Shelley Shepard Gray’s first book in her Charmed Amish Life series is set in the quaint Amish village of Charm, Ohio, and tells the stories of the Kinsinger siblings who are each struggling to find both forgiveness and love in the face of tragedy.
Learn more and purchase a copy of A Son’s Vow.