Thursday, November 23, 2017

The Gift of Christmas Past by Cindy & Erin Woodsmall


My Thoughts:

The Gift of Christmas Past by Cindy Woodsmall and Erin Woodsmall is a must read this Christmas season! From the beginning I was hooked at Hadley's story. From growing up in the foster system and then making a break for it because she was trying to do the right thing. She is such a hero and I often think how many of us would do the same thing she did? This story ended up so much better than I thought it would. And Monroe, he seemed initially like a jerk, but as the story furthered, I found myself rooting for him and actually, feeling sorry for the lifestyle he had to endure. I think this book is wonderful and it gives such a great perspective on life. I enjoyed the banter back and forth between Hadley and Monroe, along with the romantic tension. I read this book in one evening. I give this book 5/5 stars. A favorable review was not required. 

After nearly a decade of being apart, tragedy brings together Hadley and Monroe. Take a break from the holiday busyness and settle in for a story of young love lost and second chances in Cindy Woodsmall and Erin Woodsmall’s The Gift of Christmas Past. Years of secrets and anger beg to be set free as Hadley and Monroe try to push aside past hurts and find common ground in order to help the traumatized child and her family. Can the love of Christmas past drift into the present, bringing healing and hope for all?


The Gift of Christmas Past(Woodsmall Press, October 2017)
Arson wasn’t the only fire that ignited between them.
Promises shattered.
Lies spoken.
She was arrested.
He returned to the safety of his wealthy parents.
Almost ten years later, Hadley and Monroe are both specialists in the field of speech therapy. They meet again . . . thrown together to help a four-year-old-girl rendered mute after being rescued from a fire.
Years of secrets and anger beg to be set free as Hadley and Monroe try to push aside past hurts and find common ground in order to help the traumatized child and her family.
Can the love of Christmas past drift into the present, bringing healing and hope for all?
Cindy and Erin Woodsmall


Cindy Woodsmall is the “New York Times” and CBA best-selling author of eighteen works of fiction. She’s been featured in national media outlets such as ABC’s “Nightline” and the “Wall Street Journal.” Cindy has won numerous awards and has been finalist for the prestigious Christy, Rita, and Carol Awards. Cindy and her husband reside near the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains in Flowery Branch, GA. ||**|| Erin Woodsmall is a writer, musician, wife, and mom of three. She has edited, brainstormed, and researched books with Cindy for almost a decade. She is very excited about their first coauthored book.
Find out more about Cindy and Erin at

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Worry Less, Live More God's Prescription for a Better Life By Robert J. Morgan

Worry Less, Live MoreGod's Prescription for a Better Life

By Robert J. Morgan 

How do you bury worry before it buries you?
Worry, which is essentially a strain of fear, is a rational response to real pressures and problems. Life is harder than we expect, and even the Lord Jesus, the Prince of Peace Himself, admitted, “Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34). He said, “In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33). On one occasion, He even said, “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say?” (John 12:27). Our souls are easily troubled. The world and its trials seem to only increase.
In nearly forty years of pastoral counseling, Rob Morgan has seen a lot of changes in our culture. People are anxious, and everyone seems increasingly tense and taunt. We’re overextended, running on empty, and often running late. We’re worried and we’re weary. One moment we’re alarmed about global politics and the next we’re frustrated with a clogged commode or a cranky boss. Stress can have a way of keeping us on pins and needles from dawn to darkness.
In this book Pastor Morgan leads the way through the investigation of the Bible’s premier passage on the subject of anxiety. Philippians 4:4–9 is God’s most definitive word about overcoming anxiety and experiencing His overwhelming peace. Dissecting the following eight practices this vital passage promotes will help you to wage war on worry:
The Practice of Rejoicing
The Practice of Gentleness
The Practice of Nearness
The Practice of Prayer
The Practice of Thanksgiving
The Practice of Thinking
The Practice of Discipleship
The Practice of Peace
When we study and employ these practices effectively, we have the power to erase anxious thoughts and compose our minds with peace in any situation.

My Thoughts:
Worry Less, Live More God's Prescription for a Better Life by Robert J. Morgan gives what Robert believes as a Biblical answer to handling anxiety. In a society where prescription medication is prescribed the highest to treat anxiety, Mr. Morgan gives hands on solutions from a Biblical worldview to help those who are looking to experience the overwhelming joy and peace of God back in their lives. Coming from a ministry approach, he has seen a shift in society and those who walk into his office on a daily basis. He is all too familiar with the fear and life crippling thoughts Anxiety can bring. What I find very fascinating about this book is how he took the eight practices the reader puts into place from Philippians 4:4-9 and we get a great look at the life Paul led. The last portion of this book is a work book, so I recommend purchasing the book if you want to walk through and do it. Do not purchase for Kindle or Ipad. Having read other books on Anxiety through a Christian world view lens, I felt this book was a bit stretched. I think the author did well in providing practical solutions and allowing the reader to learn how to work through emotions. I don't think this addressed many of the deep issues behind anxiety, which is the reason why people look to books for help. The solutions are great, but the reasons behind the solutions are the reason why people need to fix it in the first place. Overall, I give this book 4/5 stars. I was not required to write a favorable review. All the opinions here expressed are my own. 

Children of the World Storybook Bible by Linda Washington

34448857Children of the World Storybook Bible

The Bible is the cornerstone of faith traditions around the world; here are 100 best-loved Bible stories presented in a beautiful hardcover edition for children aged 5 to 8. The stories are written in a manner that is appropriate for either a read-to-me audience or early readers, and the collection includes both Old and New Testament stories. The artwork that accompanies the stories is collected from children around the world, highlighting cultures across the globe and reflecting the diversity of visitors to the Museum of the Bible. Additionally, by showcasing the unique perspectives that children bring to their understanding of these stories, this collection will allow young readers to see the Bible as something with which they can personally engage.

My Thoughts:
"Children of the World" is a beautiful Storybook Bible illustrated by Children. What I love about this Bible is that it has the heart of Children in mind. The pictures are colorful, but they are realistic and with stories from the Bible, young children from all ages can read the text and comprehend it. I love that this did not leave out stories that many Children's Bibles often do because of the content. 
The country maps, table of contents places of index are great references and tools to teach your child how to navigate the Bible at a young age. This is just a wonderful Story Bible for Children eight and under. I give this Bible 5/5 stars. A favorable review was not required. 

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

What's the Bible All About? by Patricia A. Pingry, Pablo Pino

34448845What's the Bible All About?


Monday, November 20, 2017

Love Welcome Serve: Recipes that Gather and Give by Amy Nelson Hannon

34523666Love Welcome Serve: Recipes that Gather and Give

LOVE WELCOME SERVE is a cookbook of Southern comfort food from Amy Nelson Hannon, the owner of Euna Mae's, a destination kitchen boutique in Northwest Arkansas.

Having been a preacher's wife in the South for more than twenty years, Amy Hannon's heart for hospitality was established, confirming her long-held belief that people who are cooked for feel cared for. Modeled after her grandmother, Euna Mae, Amy's big-hearted lifestyle has become noticed by a disconnected world that is drawn to her mission of using food to love, welcome, and serve those around her. Amy encourages people to open their homes and their hearts, connecting with folks over food; and she offers home cooks simple, crowd-pleasing, comfort recipes, meals that can be prepared for whatever the hospitality affair. Recipes like Brown Sugar Chili over Cheese Grits, Cream Cheese Chicken Enchiladas, and Sam's Pulled Pork are perfect belly-fillers for gathering people in your home. And recipes like Comfort Chicken Pot Pie, Hello Dolly Brownies, and Layered Spaghetti Pie are ideal for giving to folks when they just need to feel loved. Combined with her refreshing enthusiasm and approachable recipes, Amy Hannon has ignited a passion in young cooks who are spreading their hospitality wings, and she has reignited that same passion in seasoned cooks who had forgotten how much joy comes from serving others. Love Welcome Serve, Amy's first cookbook, will encourage you to embrace hospitality so you can enjoy the life that happens when you make and serve food for your people.

My Thoughts:
Love Welcome Serve is such a beautiful and warm cookbook. These are the kind of recipes that make you feel at home and loved.  With every page turned, you can feel Amy's love for cooking and her heart for good meals with family. If you're just starting out cooking, not to worry, Amy gives such amazing tips on how to get started or even if you're a seasoned pro, you'll still pick up some tips and trades along the way. If you want to learn new recipes with basic tools, you've come to the right place. Get ready for seven chapters of recipes with gorgeous photos and southern charm. From sweet tea, to roasted honey balsamic Brussels sprouts, or chocolate peanut butter dream pie, this book will make your stomach growl and your grocery bill sky rocket, but you'll love this cookie book. 
This is the perfect gift for the cook in your life for Christmas or maybe someone who is recently engaged for a Bridal shower. The simple recipes and tips in this cookbook are amazing.  I love the Southern Hospitality and charm, especially being a northerner. This book is simply beautiful, yet simple Thank you to the publisher for a copy. A favorable review was not required. I give this book 5/5 stars and highly recommend you put this on your Wish List! 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Wild and Wacky Things in the Bible by April Lotempio

34448835Wild and Wacky Things in the Bible

The Bible, particularly the Old Testament, is full of stories of strange and unusual happenings—strange because they are unfamiliar and unexpected and hard to understand. Frogs infest a palace. A donkey talks. Rivers turn to blood. These events may seem impossible, but the Bible says they all happened. This book will explore each weird and wacky event by looking at it through the lens of its cultural or theological relevance. And by pairing the story with engaging artwork, this collection will draw in even the reluctant reader.

My Thoughts:
What a great way to have your child learn about the Bible in short chunks who may have short attention spand or may need to learn in smaller bite size pieces. Or, may you're looking to have them teach you fun and amazing cool facts about the Bible? Maybe your child is one who loves to know unique things.. Whatever gifts and talents your child has been gifted with, Wild and Wacky Things in the Bible is a great book to have children 10 and under read. The color and pictures in this book are fantastic! It is book from the collection of the Museum of Bible books for Children. I highly recommend this fun and unique book. I give this book 5/5 stars. A favorable review was not required. 

Saturday, November 18, 2017

The Stable Cat's Christmas by Christina Vrba

34448872The Stable Cat's Christmas

"The Stable Cat's Christmas" is a beautiful hardcover book that tells the story of a small cat who returns to the stable the night Jesus was born. What is unique about this story is how each of the animals in the story use their God give animal instincts to prepare for the King. It's a story for children of all ages to enjoy with beautiful illustrations. The pages are beautiful in this book and what is super neat or fun in the end is why Tabby cats have stripes. All and all, children of all ages will enjoy this fun story. It's a great story to remind your children they all have a gift to give to give the King and it's a great way to kick off the Christmas season by reminding them to prepare for the arrival of a king. I give this book 5/5 stars. Thank you to Worthy Publishing. A favorable review was not required. 

Friday, November 17, 2017

God's Wisdom for Women: Topical Scripture and Encouragement by Patricia A. Miller, Rachel Gorman

34020302God's Wisdom for Women: Topical Scripture and Encouragement

Many people believe that the Bible has answers and encouragement for our lives--our questions, struggles, heartaches, and joys. But most people don't know where to find the answers within the pages of Scripture. People need a tether to Scripture and a map for journeying deeper and learning more from the Bible.
Organized by topic, God's Wisdom for Women is the perfect starting point for women to easily discover what God has to say about their lives and journeys. Within each topic readers will find truth from God's Word, encouraging quotes from leading writers, practical steps, and suggestions for further reading. More than 50 topics--such as decision-making, friendship, contentment, grief, worry, guilt, and social media--cover a range of experiences, hardships, and joys, allowing women to seek hope and encouragement from Scripture for themselves and others.

My Thoughts:
God's Wisdom for Women is a topical scriptural and encouragement, spiral bound book for women by authors Patricia Miller and Rachel Gorman. What I love about this book, is the several topics and the subtitles that are underneath each topic. Some of the topics include Daily Struggles, Knowing God, Lifestyle, Encouragement, Relationships, Difficult challenges, and more. It then unpacks more topics in expansion in various translations such as English Standard Version, NIV, NKJV, NLT, The Message and other translations. 
The cover is gorgeous and the spiral bound is lovely to study topics in depth. This is such a great tool and I love that this could be used in the counseling area with Christian counselors who are looking to refer to a Bible verse quickly, especially when in a session. I love that this has topical readings on social media, money, decision making and time management. This is such a great tool, I can't get over it! It's so easy to read and informative. I give this book 5/5 stars. A favorable review was not required. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck by Bethany Turner

The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck

Becoming a Christian is the best and worst thing that has ever happened to Sarah Hollenbeck. Best because, well, that's obvious. Worst because, up to this point, she's made her very comfortable living as a well-known, bestselling author of steamy romance novels that would leave the members of her new church blushing. Now Sarah is trying to reconcile her past with the future she's chosen. She's still under contract with her publisher and on the hook with her enormous fan base for the kind of book she's not sure she can write anymore. She's beginning to think that the church might frown on her tithing on royalties from a "scandalous" book. And the fact that she's falling in love with her pastor doesn't make things any easier.

With a powerful voice, penetrating insight, and plenty of wit, Bethany Turner explodes onto the scene with a debut that isn't afraid to deal with the thorny realities of living the Christian life.

My Thoughts:

Honestly, I don't feel like my review can do this book justice. First, this book will make you laugh as Bethany Turner takes a character and uses whit, charm and humor to have her dialogue a character who is going through difficult stuff as a Christian and we are seeing it through the lens of Sarah Hollenbeck who is very comfortable with writing, but not comfortable with this Christian thing. This is a book that I could not put down because I was laughing out loud so much. You'll find humor, romance and fun sprinkled throughout this book.
I give this book 4.5/5 stars. I cannot wait for the next book and I was so impressed with this being the author's debut novel. This book should make your Christmas list! Thank you to the publishers for providing a complimentary copy. A favorable review was not required.

About the Author:
Bethany is a born and bred Kentucky girl who relocated to Colorado in 2001, three years after meeting the love of her life in a chat room, back before anyone knew that wasn't always a good idea. Thankfully, it worked out in this case, and she and her husband are the proud parents of two boys. In 2014 Bethany walked away from her career as a bank vice president to step out in faith as a writer. Since then, God has not only opened doors in the publishing world, but has also called her to full-time ministry serving on a church staff. She is an innovative systems administrator for a rural church that is passionate about reaching the unchurched.

Bethany's debut novel for Revell is a romantic comedy which stays true to her pop culture roots, and will be published in October 2017. Her home on the web is

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Dangerous Illusions (Code of Honor #1) by Irene Hannon

Dangerous Illusions (Code of Honor #1)

Trish Bailey is on overload trying to deal with a demanding job, an ailing mother, and a healing heart. When a series of unsettling memory lapses leads to a tragic death--and puts Trish under police scrutiny--her world is once again thrown into turmoil.

Detective Colin Flynn isn't certain what to think of the facts he uncovers during his investigation. Did Trish simply make a terrible mistake or is there more to the case than meets the eye? As he searches for answers, disturbing information begins to emerge--and if the forces at work are as evil as he suspects, the situation isn't just dangerous . . . it's deadly.
Irene Hannon is the best-selling author of more than 35 novels. Her books have been honored with the coveted RITA Award from Romance Writers of America, the HOLT Medallion, the Reviewer's Choice Award from Romantic Times BOOKreviews magazine and the Daphne du Maurier Award for mystery/suspense. Irene and her husband make their home in Missouri, USA. Irene invites you to visit her at her website, 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Lady Jayne Disappears by Joanna Davidson Politano

Lady Jayne Disappears

Joanna Davidson Politano freelances for a small nonfiction publisher but spends much of her time spinning tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives. Her manuscript for Lady Jayne Disappears was a finalist for several contests, including the 2016 Genesis Award from ACFW, and won the OCW Cascade Award and the Maggie Award for Excellence. She is always on the hunt for random acts of kindness, people willing to share their deepest secrets with a stranger, and hidden stashes of sweets. She lives with her husband and their two babies in a house in the woods near Lake Michigan and shares stories that move her at

Monday, November 13, 2017

Why I Believe: Straight Answers to Honest Questions about God, the Bible, and Christianity by Chip Ingram

34020307Why I Believe: Straight Answers to Honest Questions about God, the Bible, and Christianity

In our post-Christian, pluralistic society, responding to the perception that Christians are prejudiced, anti-intellectual, and bigoted has become a greater challenge than ever before. The result is often intimidation, withdrawal, and even doubts among God's people about what we really believe. Bestselling author and teaching pastor at Living on the Edge, Chip Ingram, wants to change that.

In Why I Believe, he gives compelling answers to questions about

- the resurrection of Christ
- the evidence of an afterlife
-the accuracy and intellectual feasibility of the Bible
- the debate between creation and evolution
- the historicity of Jesus
- and more

The solid, biblical, logical answers he shares will satisfy the honest doubts that every believer experiences now and then, and will provide practical, thoughtful answers that can be shared with family and friends. This is the perfect resource for churches, small groups, and individuals who long not only to really know what and why they believe, but also to be equipped to explain the intellectual justification for their faith in everyday language.

My Review:
It’s no secret that those who believe in Christ are increasingly judged by “the world,” and criticized for putting our faith in what the Bible says is true. Chip Ingram’s new book “Why I Believe” is a must-read for any Christian living today. He takes a very practical, and realistic approach to answering this question in the context of many scenarios we face every day.

In his book, Chip says he was a skeptic of Christianity growing up. After coming to faith in high school, his skepticism was met with overwhelming evidence. “It wasn’t intellectual evidence, but relational authenticity and love,” Ingram says in his introduction to “Why I Believe.”

As Americans, we are skeptical of everything we read, and we find ourselves questioning and wanting answers. This book is written to the one who is skeptical of Christianity, as well as the one who believes in Christ but wants deeper intimacy and relationship. I give this book 4/5 out of stars. A favorable review was not required.

About the Author :
Chip Ingram is the senior pastor of Venture Christian Church in Los Gatos, California, and president of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over twenty-five years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. Chip is author of twelve books, including Overcoming Emotions that Destroy; God: As He Longs for You to See Him; The Invisible War; and Love, Sex, and Lasting Relationships. Chip and his wife, Theresa, live in San Jose, California.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Perennials By Julie Cantrell


By Julie Cantrell 

When two estranged sisters reunite for their parents’ 50th anniversary, a family tragedy brings unexpected lessons of hope and healing amid the flowers of their mother’s perennial garden.
Eva—known to all as Lovey—grew up in Oxford, MS, surrounded by literary history and her mother's stunning perennial gardens. But a garden shed fire and the burns suffered by one of her best friends seemed to change everything. Her older sister Bitsy blamed her for the fire—and no one spoke up on her behalf. Bitsy the cheerleader, Bitsy the homecoming queen, Bitsy married to a wealthy investor. And all the while, Lovey blamed for everything that goes wrong.
At eighteen, Lovey turns down a marriage proposal, flees from Oxford and the expectations of attending Ole Miss, and instead goes to Arizona—the farthest thing from the South she can imagine. She becomes a successful advertising executive, a weekend yoga instructor, and seems to have it all together. But she's alone. And on her 45th birthday, she can't help but wonder what's wrong.
When she gets a call from her father—still known to everyone as Chief from his Ole Miss football days—insisting that she come home three weeks early for her parents' 50th wedding anniversary celebration, she's at wits end. She's about to close the biggest contract of her career, the one that will secure her financial goals and set her up for retirement. But his words, "Family First," hit too close to home. Is there hope for her estranged relationship with Bitsy after all this time?
Eva's journey home, to the memory garden her father has planned as an anniversary surprise for her mother, becomes one of discovering roots, and truth, and love, and what living perennially in spite of disappointments and tragedy really means. Eva thought she wanted to leave her family and the South far behind . . . but she's realizing she hasn't truly been herself the whole time she's been gone.

My Thoughts:
Perennials is a book that I highly recommend. Cantrell weaves together a beautiful story of a woman's journey through pain, forgiveness and family and what it looks like to get on the other side of it all. I love that this book isn't easily explainable with answers as life often isn't. The characters go through unmistakable pain, which makes this book rich in plot, theme and character. Cantrell offers no easy solutions to the problems the character face. They are down right raw, real and frustrating In fact, in reminded me of family dynamics I have experienced in the past. This book doesn't disappoint, but you're going to have to go on a journey to get to the other side. If you enjoy fiction, you'll enjoy this book. This was my first read by Julie and I was blown away by her southern writing. I loved this book and all the gardening that came with it, and even it's Christian theme. I highly recommend this book. The pages will turn fast and you'll have tears in your eyes. I give this book 5/5 stars. A favorable review was not required. 

About the Author:

Julie CantrellJulie Cantrell is an award-winning New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, teacher, and speaker. She has served as editor-in-chief of the Southern Literary Review and has earned starred reviews by both Library Journal and Publishers Weekly. Cantrell is a recipient of the Mississippi Arts Commission Literary Fellowship and was named a finalist for the 2017 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Fiction Award. Perennials is her fourth novel.

Friday, November 10, 2017

The Gift: The Amish of Hart County by Shelley Shepard Gray



The Gift: The Amish of Hart County (Avon Inspire, November 2017)
A special Christmas story about love and blessings in the next book in the Amish of Hart County series
The Schwartz family is happy to be spending Christmas on their new farm in Hart County. But when Susanna Schwartz hears gunshots that causes her buggy to overturn, and then her little sister falls through a wooden bridge into the icy creek, it becomes clear from these dangerous “accidents” that someone wants them gone.
Neil Vance has been heartbroken ever since his parents lost their family farm. He knows it’s not the Schwartz family’s fault, but he can’t help but be resentful. Until he meets Susanna. She is kind-hearted and bold, and Neil can’t stop thinking about her pretty green eyes.
Neil thinks the accidents are just that, but Susanna’s father is convinced the Vance family is responsible. Susanna refuses to believe Neil would do anything to harm her. She’s fallen in love with him and knows he is a good man. But her family is ready to pack up and move, and time is running out to uncover the truth before someone gets hurt . . . or worse.

My Thoughts: 
The Gift by Shelley Shepard Gray introduces the reader to the Schwartz family has longed dreaming of owning their own farm and has recently purchased land in Kentucky. Little did they know the life they had dreamed of would not be they had expected. Rather than a warm welcome to their new home and community, they were greeted with nothing but coldness. The Schwartz family begins to experience anger, trust and is the target of someone who is out to get them. The community begins to reach out with kindness, and help, but with the many accidents are they able to trust anyone? 
This book will make you have so many emotions and wait till you try to solve the mystery of who is causing all of these mysterious accidents. The suspense of this book around the holiday season of this book is refreshing. You will not be able to put this book down! It unlike any other book I have read by Shelley. I highly recommend it and think this would make a great Christmas gift. I give this book 5/5 stars. A favorable review was not required. 
Shelley Shepard Gray


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.
Find out more about Shelley at