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Book Review + GIVEAWAY: Shadows in the Mind’s Eye

Image Curtesy of Read with Audra

Synopsis from Read with Audra:

Charlotte Anne Mattas longs to turn back the clock. Before her husband, Sam, went to serve his country in the war, he was the man everyone could rely on—responsible, intelligent, and loving. But the person who came back to their family farm is very different from the protector Annie remembers. Sam’s experience in the Pacific theater has left him broken in ways no one can understand—but that everyone is learning to fear.

Talk spreads quickly around town after Sam nearly kills his own brother. When he claims to have seen men on the mountain when no one else has, Annie isn’t the only one questioning his sanity and her safety. If there were criminals haunting the hills, there should be evidence beyond his claims. Is he really seeing what he says, or is his war-tortured mind conjuring ghosts?

“Sam’s reactions to ‘normal’ stimulus are off the charts. If he hears a sound or sees a shadow, he immediately jumps into fight/flight/freeze reactions. As is normal for people when they’re first dealing with PTSD, he has no tools to hide his responses and lacks a bit of impulse control,” Tromp explains. “He’s a good, good man with an enormous heart and his reactions cause a horrendous amount of guilt for him. The last thing he wants is to put the people he loves in danger. Imagine watching yourself become more and more unstable and wondering if there’s anything you can do to stop it.”

Annie desperately wants to believe her husband, but between his irrational choices and his nightmares leaking into the daytime, she’s terrified he’s going mad. Can she trust God to heal Sam’s mental wounds—or will sticking by him mean keeping her marriage at the cost of her own life?

“Fear is the great consumer. Sam is afraid he’s going crazy and that he can’t protect his family. Annie is afraid she won’t ever be able to cope and that the Sam she married is lost forever. And when they (or we) focus on fear, there are no solutions, no ways to move forward because they cannot solve fear on their own. We aren’t trustworthy enough or strong enough to fix it,” shares Tromp. “I’m a huge proponent of looking for and celebrating the beautiful even when it isn’t pretty. Gratitude isn’t a pretty bandage to slap on a hemorrhaging wound. It is a way to shift your attention while the master healer does his work. As Sam’s mother Dovie May says, ‘Sometimes God uses broken things to save us . . . Ain’t no light that can get through something solid. It sneaks through the broken places.’”

Tromp’s inspiration for Shadow’s in the Mind’s Eye was her own grandparents’ stories of adjusting to life when her grandfather returned home from World War II. Back then, soldiers returning home rarely talked about their experiences and the difficult adjustment of “getting back to normal.” In the process of writing the story, the author did extensive research on treatments for what was known as battle fatigue at the time. She also drew on personal experiences in dealing with PTSD herself.

Readers will also learn more about the sordid history of Hot Springs being home to the largest illegal gambling racket in the country where the town served as a sort of gangster retreat for members of the mob. The setting and illegal activity provide an excellent backdrop for a suspenseful story. After reading Shadows in the Mind’s Eye, fans of psychological thrillers and historical fiction by Jaime Jo Wright and Sarah Sundin are sure to add Tromp to their favorite authors list.

Publisher: Kregel Publications

Source: NetGalley, signed up via the Read with Audra Blog Tours

Leslie’s Review: 4.5 Stars/I more than loved it!

I really loved Shadows in the Mind’s Eye by Janyre Tromp! Shadows in the Mind’s Eye tells the story of Sam, a father and husband returning from World War Two to his hometown of Hot Springs, and Annie, his wife. Returning home is not exactly how either Sam or Annie pictured. Sam is battling severe PTSD when he gets home and Annie thought things would be exactly as they were before Sam went off to war. As Sam is battling PTSD, he often sees things that are either not there or comes in waves of flashbacks of what he experienced during the war. Annie is trying her best to navigate life with this new version of Sam and raising their daughter, Rosie. As Sam’s PTSD gets worse, people start to think something is wrong with Sam. That is, until some of the things Sam has seen start to have some merit and some of Hot Springs deepest, darkest secrets come into the light.

What drew me to Shadows in the Mind’s Eye by Janyre Tromp is the psychological component and how it was written. Ms. Tromp writes Shadows in the Mind’s Eye in the voices of both Sam and Annie alternating the narrative. As you’re reading, you fully understand where Sam is coming from and where Annie is coming from–that is how flawless Ms. Tromp’s writing is. I loved the topics that were covered in the book and how they weren’t brushed under the rug, but brought to the forefront in a Christian Fiction Book. While it is a darker read, in terms of the realities a person with PTSD faces as well as their love ones who endure along side them, Shadows in the Mind’s Eye shines Hope in the middle of the darkness. I especially loved the ending and how everything wasn’t wrapped up in a nice little package, because it mimicked the realities of life.

Despite the realities in the book’s darker moments, I could still read moments of Hope that were doing it’s best to shine through. Yes, sometimes it’s good to read a book for the sake of an escape. But sometimes (like for me right now), it’s good to read a book that deals with the real stuff of the world, albeit in the fictional sense, to let you know that you are not alone in the world or to remind you that you can go through what life has dealt you because it’s not so bad after all. Shadows in the Mind’s Eye, I believe, will challenge you in a good way. If you are looking for a Christian read that could be outside of your comfort zone and challenge you, then I highly recommend Shadows in the Mind’s Eye by Janyre Tromp.

Have you read Shadows in the Mind’s Eye? What did you think of the book? In what ways did it challenge you and/or what did you take away from the book?

I would like to thank NetGalley and the Publisher for the opportunity to read Shadows in the Mind’s Eye. Special thanks to the Read with Audra Book Tour for giving me my first chance to be on a book-blogging tour and for the media information for this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Learn More About:

Janyre Tromp

Image Curtesy of Read with Audra

Janyre Tromp (pronounced Jan-ear) is a historical suspense novelist who loves spinning tales that, at their core, hunt for beauty, even when it isn’t pretty. She’s the author of Shadows in the Mind’s Eye and coauthor of It’s a Wonderful Christmas.

A firm believer in the power of an entertaining story, Tromp is also a book editor and published children’s book author. She lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan with her husband, two kids, two crazy cats, and a slightly eccentric Shetland Sheepdog.

You can find her on Facebook (@JanyreTromp), Instagram (@JaynreTromp), Twitter (@JanyreTromp), and her website, www.JanyreTromp.com where you can download a free copy of her novella, Wide Open.

Giveaway:

Image Curtesy of Read with Audra

Click the following link for a chance to win a copy of Shadows in the Minds Eye!

https://www.audrajennings.com/2022/04/shadows-in-minds-eye-giveaway.html

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Book Review: Behind the Lights: The Extraordinary Adventure of a Mum and Her Family

Image Curtesy of Amazon

Synopsis from Amazon:

In this inspiring debut memoir, Helen Smallbone, mother of seven creative children―including Christian music artists for KING & COUNTRY and Rebecca St. James―chronicles the family’s journey of faith across the ocean to go where God was leading. Written from a mother’s perspective, Helen shares stories of peaks, valleys, and a family trusting God for provision.

Helen Smallbone’s heartfelt story illustrates what it means to really let God lead, which almost always means living outside the box of how the world says to live. How did an ordinary Australian family produce two Grammy Award–winning artists―Rebecca St. James and for KING & COUNTRY? What happened to bring the Smallbones through closed doors and to new beginnings in the United States? In Behind the Lights, Helen shares not only these stories of her family but of the life lessons they all learned along the way.

In 1991 Helen and her husband, David, packed up their family and sixteen suitcases to move from Australia to the United States. Completely isolated from the support of family and friends, they relied on God to provide them with hope and direction. Helen watched her children join forces as Rebecca St. James’ career grew, soon followed by blossoming careers for the others―as artists, entrepreneurs, filmmakers―and the rise of Joel and Luke’s for KING & COUNTRY on Christian music charts. Helen shares untold stories and insights into how her family worked and stuck together, constantly relying on their faith to guide the way. Helen’s journey includes:

  • meeting her future husband with a cockatoo on her shoulder
  • the family’s move to the states in blind faith
  • the kindness of neighbors and the local church that gave them the encouragement they so desperately needed
  • years of touring alongside Rebecca and the formation of for KING & COUNTRY
  • the ways God led and enabled her to homeschool and think about education differently
  • an inside look at the stories and dynamics of the entire Smallbone family

No matter where you are in life, Helen shows through her own experiences that what God has done in her life, He will do in yours, too.

Publisher: K-LOVE Books

Source: NetGalley

Leslie’s Review: 4 Stars/I really, really love it!

I was intrigued when I saw the cover of Behind the Lights: The Extraordinary Adventure of a Mum and Her Family and knew I had to read it. Behind the Lights: The Extraordinary Adventure of a Mum and Her Family by Helen Smallbone tells the story of Mrs. Smallbone and her family’s testimony of how her family left their homeland of Australia and took a huge leap of faith settling in the United States. Mrs. Smallbone is a mother to 7 children–3 of which are involved in the Christian Music industry (the duo for KING & COUNTRY and Rebecca St. James). The first few years in America were difficult for the family, but God showed up in miraculous ways to provide for the family. After her daughter Rebecca St. James’ career took off and things started to even out, the whole family rallied around and worked together to do what God had called them to do. Through the ups and downs–the children starting their own independent lives, to the start of for KING & COUNTRY to the present–they did their best to trust God and walk out the adventure set before them.

I didn’t realize when I first chose to read Behind the Lights: The Extraordinary Adventure of a Mum and Her Family that it was written by the mother of Rebecca St. James and for KING & COUNTRY. I love how each chapter of the book opens up with a Bible verse that sets the theme for the chapter. I enjoyed every single word of Behind the Lights and the stories of Faith and Trust in God that were shared. I love that regardless of what happened to the Smallbone Family, they trusted God (no matter how hard it was) and they worked together as a family to make it. I love the message and testimony of trusting in God through the unknown that is weaved throughout the entire book. I love the brutal honesty and vulnerability of motherhood and life that Mrs. Smallbone talks about–what she deems to be failures and what she sees as successes. I love how Mrs. Smallbone champions the role of Motherhood and wants to pour into other mothers and empower them in a Godly manner. If you are looking for a encouraging read, especially if you are a mother, then I highly recommend this book.

Have you read Behind the Lights: The Extraordinary Adventure of a Mum and Her Family? What did you think of the book?

I would like to thank NetGalley and the Publisher for the opportunity to read this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Lean More About:

Helen Smallbone | Lisa Stilwell

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Book Review: Read It, See It, Say It, Sing It: Knowing and Loving the Bible

Image Curtesy of Amazon

Synopsis From Amazon:

Have you heard of the special book God gave to us? If not, this is something that we should discuss! This book is the Bible. It’s timeless and true. It’s God’s written Word—both for me and for you.

In Hunter Beless’s delightful, rhyming picture book, Read It, See It, Say It, Sing It!, four families grow in their knowledge of and love for the Bible as they

  • Read, or hear the Bible, 
  • See, or regularly read Scripture,
  • Say, or memorize and talk about the Bible, and
  • Sing, or worship God and remember Scripture together. 

A celebration of the perfect Word of God, Read It, See It, Say It, Sing It! elevates the Bible to its rightful place—the highest authority in our lives. Young readers will discover that when we read, see, say, and sing the Bible, God speaks to us, and our lives are changed forever.

A parent connection explaining the Scripture memorization method is included in the back of the book.  

Publisher: B&H Kids

Source: NetGalley

Leslie’s Review: 5 Stars/A favorite of 2022

Hunter Beless’ Read It, See It, Say It, Sing It: Knowing and Loving the Bible is a new favorite book of mine to teach kids the basics of the Bible. Read It, See It, Say It, Sing It: Knowing and Loving the Bible is a great introduction to teach kids and families the basics of God’s Word, why we need the Word and how to apply it in our daily lives. Read It, See It, Say It, Sing It is full of Bible verses to use in various situations and shows how having His Word changes our life.

As someone who works in Ministry, primarily with Children, I am always on the lookout for resources that are geared toward children that is easy for them to understand and is Biblically sound and I believe Read It, See It, Say It, Sing It: Knowing and Loving the Bible fits the bill. I love that there are so many Bible verses included within the pages of the book. I love the various scenarios that Read It, See It, Say It, Sing It gives on how you can apply God’s Word through out the day and in different ways–reading it, seeing it, saying it, and singing it. I love that it explains who Jesus is and why He came. I love how it explains sin and why we need Jesus. But most of all, I love how it teaches young ones to hunger for God’s Word and encourages them to incorporate it into their daily lives.

Read It, See It, Say It, Sing It: Knowing and Loving the Bible is beautifully illustrated and written so that children can understand and enjoy reading it. I love the “Parent Connection” section helps guide parents and families to apply what they had just read to their lives. I love Ms. Beless’ heart for writing this and am grateful that she wrote this book. I also love how Ms. Beless backed up everything she wrote with Scripture. I am looking forward to purchasing copies of Read It, See It, Say It, Sing It and sharing this book with those I know. If you are looking for a book to help teach the kids in your life about the Bible and how to apply it to their life that’s Biblically sound, then I highly recommend Read It, See It, Say It, Sing It: Knowing and Loving the Bible.

Have you read Read It, See It, Say It, Sing It: Knowing and Loving the Bible? What did your family think of the book?

I would like to thank NetGalley and the Publisher for the opportunity to read this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Learn More About:

Hunter Beless

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Book Review: Mrs. Witherspoon Goes to War

Image Curtesy of Amazon

Synopsis from Amazon:

A WASP Goes Above the Call of Duty to Free Captive American Soldiers
 
Full of intrigue, adventure, and romance, this new series celebrates the unsung heroes—the heroines of WWII.
 
Peggy Witherspoon, a widow, mother, and pilot flying for the Women’s Airforce Service in 1944 clashes with her new reporting officer. Army Air Corp Major Howie Berg was injured in combat and is now stationed at Bolling Field in Washington D.C. Most of Peggy’s jobs are safe, predictable, and she can be home each night with her three daughters—until a cargo run to Cuba alerts her to American soldiers being held captive there, despite Cuba being an “ally.” Will Peggy go against orders to help the men—even risk her own life?

Publisher: Barbour Publishing

Source: NetGalley

Leslie’s Review: 4 Stars/I really, really love it!

I absolutely loved reading Mrs. Witherspoon Goes to War by Mary Davis. Mrs. Witherspoon Goes to War is part of the Heroines of WWII series by Barbour Publishing. Mrs. Witherspoon Goes to War tells the story of Peggy Witherspoon, a Women’s Airforce Service Pilot (WASP), and her co-workers during World War Two. WASP Witherspoon lost her husband, also a pilot, fighting for the Allies over in Europe and is trying to raise her two daughters (with the help of her Mother). All the while, doing her best to serve her Country. At the the workplace, the WASPs feel as though they are often overlooked and treated less than fairly for all that they have done to help the United States during the War. At first the WASPs superior, Major Howie Berg (who gets the job because of an injury he sustained during the War), is not quite sure what to think of the WASPs and their abilities. As time progresses, Major Berg highly respects the WASPs and the work that they do. Peggy is also not sure of things since her husband died, especially when it comes to things of God. Peggy and her fellow WASPs are sent on secret missions they know nothing about. However, on one mission, Peggy figures out one of the secret missions and that, in turn, leads to another mission the US does not want to take–but Peggy and her fellow WASPs do. Peggy and her fellow WASPs decide to do this mission “under the radar” without anyone knowing. When Major Berg finds out about the mission, he agrees to help the WASPs because he would have done the same thing–no matter how dangerous the mission. Through their ups and downs at work, Peggy and Howie are able to form a bond and a respect that impacts both of their lives, as well as those of Peggy’s daughters.

I loved reading Mrs. Witherspoon Goes To War from beginning to end. I appreciated reading of Peggy’s struggles with her Faith after the loss of her husband and, as a reader, was sympathetic towards her. It was nice to see how Howie was also coping with his personal injuries and his Faith as well. Despite Peggy and Howie’s struggles, both personally and professionally, they were able to find and hold on to Hope in God.

I also loved the spit-fire and spunk of the WASP ladies. I loved how fearless they were in their missions and how they are true Patriots. I loved the intrigue in the missions and how they figured out codes and such to complete the missions. I really enjoyed reading a book based on a part of history that’s unfamiliar to me. If you are looking for an pleasant, suspenseful read that is full of Faith, then I highly recommend Mrs. Witherspoon Goes to War!

Have you read Mrs. Witherspoon Goes to War? What did you think of the book? Have you read any of the books in the Heroines of WWII series? What do you think of the series so far?

I would like to thank NetGalley and the Publisher for the opportunity to read this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Learn More About:

Mary Davis

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Book Review: Darkest Night Brightest Day: A Family Devotional for the Easter Season

Image Curtesy of New Growth Press

Synopsis from New Growth Press:

Start a new Easter season tradition with your family by reading this beautifully illustrated “upside-down” book from Marty Machowski that includes fourteen Bible stories. The first side, Darkest Night, has seven stories that recount the events of Passion week ending with Christ’s crucifixion and burial. Flip the book over and continue by reading Brightest Day with seven more stories that progress from Christ’s resurrection through Pentecost. Children are sure to remember the contrast between the darkness at the death of our Lord and the light-filled events from Christ’s resurrection onward.  

Machowski weaves each Gospel account together into one harmonized story and provides questions for family discussion. Focusing on the main events the week of the crucifixion, Darkest Night is designed for families to read one story each day, beginning on Palm Sunday. Once the week ends, they will start with Brightest Day on Easter Sunday. The stories for the week following Easter recount appearances of Jesus after the resurrection, his ascension, and Pentecost.  

This beautiful hardback book, illustrated by Phil Shorr, is sure to become a treasured favorite of the family to be used every Easter as a reminder of how God turned the darkest night into the brightest day. 

Publisher: New Growth Press

Source: New Growth Press

Leslie’s Review: 4 Stars/I really, really love it!

I really love Darkest Night Brightest Day: A Family Devotional for the Easter Season by Marty Machowski! Darkest Night Brightest Day: A Family Devotional for the Easter Season is a unique devotional that tells of the events leading up to Easter (Palm Sunday, The Last Supper, etc.) and the events leading up to Pentecost (Jesus’ Resurrection, Returning to Heaven, etc.). Darkest Night Brightest Day is a two week devotional to do the week before Easter and the week after Easter. Darkest Night Brightest Day is split into two sections–Darkest Night and Brightest Day. The Darkest Night portion deals with the events that led up before Easter. Brightest Day deals with the events after Jesus’ Resurrection and Pentecost. The Darkest Night and Brightest Day has 7 devotions each (14 devotions total) that you can read each day of the designated week. Each of the devotions has discussion questions at the end to reinforce what the family has learned.

Darkest Night Brightest Day: A Family Devotional for the Easter Season appealed to me for different reasons. I loved the uniqueness that I found in the devotional. I loved that the devotional covered the week before Easter and after Easter and the events surrounding them. I like that there are discussion questions at the end of each devotion. I liked how Mr. Machowski explained each of the events so that everyone in the family can understand. I liked how Mr. Machowski explained some of the traditions that we celebrate and why. I also loved the illustrations in the book.

I believe Darkest Night Brightest Day: A Family Devotional for the Easter Season would be a great read for the Easter season or any time of the year. I also believe that the devotional is adaptable to you and your family and how you celebrate Easter. (For example, when talking about Communion, I use juice to represent the blood of Jesus.) If you are looking for a unique Easter devotional, then I recommend Darkest Night Brightest Day: A Family Devotional for the Easter Season!

Have you read Darkest Night Brightest Day: A Family Devotional for the Easter Season? How did your family utilize the devotional?

I would like to thank New Growth Press for giving me a copy of Darkest Night Brightest Day: A Family Devotional for the Easter Season to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Learn More About:

Marty Machowski | Phil Schorr

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Book Review: Polly and the Screen Time Overload

Image Curtesy of Amazon

Synopsis from Amazon:

Introducing Kids to the Importance of Boundaries with Technology

Polly loves visiting her grandparents on their farm every year. She looks forward to seeing the animals, helping out in the barn, and playing with her cousins.

That’s until she gets a new tablet as a present. Suddenly, she spends all day inside playing games and watching cartoons. Staring at her tablet screen, Polly risks missing out on all the family fun happening around her on the farm.

With easy-to-understand language and engaging illustrations, Polly’s story will help families start an ongoing conversation about self- control and how to enjoy technology within boundaries.

TGC Kids illustrated storybooks engage the hearts and imaginations of kids aged 3–7 by teaching them biblical truths about how to live and grow as God’s children in today’s culture. Published in partnership with the Gospel Coalition.

Publisher: Crossway

Source: NetGalley

Leslie’s Review: 5 Stars/A favorite of 2022

I love Polly and the Screen Time Overload by Betsy Childs Howard! Polly and the Screen Time Overload tells the story of Polly. Polly is visiting her grandparents farm. Polly loves helping at the farm, helping out with the animals, being with her grandparents, and playing with her cousins. While at the farm, Polly’s birthday takes place. For her birthday, Polly’s Aunt gives Polly a tablet. Playing on her tablet is all that Polly wants to do. Polly does not want to help out with the animals, be with her grandparents, or playing with her cousins–just playing on her tablet. Once her tablet dies and needs charging, Polly realizes all she has missed. With her grandparents guidance, Polly figures out ways to set boundaries with her tablet in order to do all the things Polly loves.

I loved Polly and the Screen Time Overload from beginning to end. I was drawn to Polly and the Screen Time Overload because of it’s title and subject matter. I loved that Polly’s story was dealt with a Biblical approach and that it was written in such a way that young kids can understand and relate. The illustrations are adorable. There is also a “Note to Grownups” in the back that I believe has good tips and ideas on how to help the children in your life handle technology in a healthy manner. I believe Polly and the Screen Time Overload is a fantastic book for the whole family to read that teaches a timely lesson. If you are looking for a tool to help teach your child concerning technological boundaries with a Biblical perspective, then I highly recommend Polly and the Screen Time Overload!

Have you read Polly and the Screen Time Overload? What did you think of the book? What tips do you have for too much screen time?

I would like to thank NetGalley and the Publisher for the opportunity to read this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Learn More About:

Betsy Childs Howard | Samara Hardy

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Book Review: As Long As You Both Shall Live

Image Curtesy of Linda K. Rodante

Synopsis from Amazon:

Social worker Sharee Jones has enough to think about–anonymous phone calls, an attack on her life, and uneasiness about her relationship with missionary pilot John Jergenson. The last thing she wants is a marriage proposal.

Commitment to God was easy in the jungles of Indonesia, but when John Jergenson returns home, Sharee refuses his marriage proposal, someone tries to kill them, and a personal tragedy hits. As Easter approaches, will love prevail and his faith survive?

Publisher: Lone Mesa Publishing

Source: Linda K. Rodante

Leslie’s Review: 5 Stars/A favorite of 2022

I absolutely loved and enjoyed reading As Long As You Both Shall Live by Linda K. Rodante! As Long As You Both Shall Live is full of intrigue, suspense, and Biblical Truth that will leave you on the edge of your seat! As Long As You Both Shall Live tells the story of John Jergenson and his girlfriend Sharee Jones. The book opens up with John returning from a missionary trip and asking Sharee to marry him. Sharee refuses John’s proposal due to uncertainty and having someone who is essentially stalking her. As the story unfolds, John and Sharee try their best to hang onto their relationship at all costs regardless of the fact that their lives tend to be constantly in danger. As Long As You Both Shall Live tells the story of trying to hold on to your Faith despite insurmountable odds and standing up for what the Bible says no matter what.

I read a lot of Christian Suspense books (they are my go-to genre) and very rarely do they keep me on the edge of my seat the way Ms. Rodante’s As Long As You Both Shall Live did. Ms. Rodante has a way of writing Christian Suspense in such a way that the intrigue and keeping you on the edge does not detour or shy away from the Biblical Truth included within the mystery. I loved the characters of Sharee and John. I appreciated the realistic things that they struggled with as a couple and that they were approached and dealt with in a Biblical and Godly manner. I loved that As Long As You Both Shall Live had so many twists and turns that I was often surprised as the reader as to how things were actually going to turn out. I really appreciated how seamlessly the Biblical Truth and suspense were intertwined throughout the book.

As Long As You Both Shall Live is the second book in The Dangerous Series by Linda K. Rodante and the first Christian Suspense novel I have read from Ms. Rodante, but not the last. With As Long As You Both Shall Live being the second in The Dangerous Series, I was not lost like I get sometimes when I start in the middle of a series, because the books in The Dangerous Series can be read as stand alone books. If you are looking for an awesome, edge-of-your-seat read then I highly recommend As Long As You Both Shall Live by Linda K. Rodante!

Have you read As Long As You Both Shall Live? What did you think of the book? Have you read any of the other books in The Dangerous Series? What do you think of the series?

I would like to thank Linda K. Rodante for giving me a copy of As Long As You Both Shall Live to review and for help in obtaining media information for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Learn More About:

Linda K. Rodante

Image Curtesy of Linda K. Rodante

Linda is a Florida transplant now living in Tennessee. She loves sweet tea, apple butter and both the mountains and the oceans. Her work with crisis pregnancy centers and anti-trafficking groups gave her a heart for women struggling in today’s society, while still respecting the role God has given men.

She writes Christian romantic suspense novels. Her books wrap sweet romance in real-life issues women face today with an edge of mystery and suspense. She desires to entertain and encourage women in their walk with the Lord. Her books can be found on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Linda-K.-Rodante/e/B012OITZ2Y/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

She’s a past finalist of ACFW’s Genesis contest and a member of Word Weavers International.

Her two series, The Dangerous Series and The Spiritual Warfare Series, are each unique. Both are fun to read in order, but every book is also a stand-alone.

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Book Review: Good Morning, Little One: New Mercies and Prayers to Carry You Through the Day

Image Curtesy of Amazon

Synopsis from Amazon:

Reassure kids that God is carrying them throughout the day with these morning affirmations and whimsical illustrations from beloved author Amy Kavelaris. Adorable animals with gorgeous floral art and words of hope remind little ones of God’s love, security, and peace for the day ahead.

Through a child’s eyes, the world can be beautiful, wonder-filled, and a bit fear-filled all at the same time. Remind your little one that God is always near with this unique book of blessings. A beautiful companion to Amy Kavelaris’s popular Good Night, My Darling Dear, this inspirational picture book

  • reassures children ages 4 to 8 that God carries them through good days, hard days, and anxious days
  • shares biblical promises of God’s love, purpose, and protection
  • features the whimsical imagery of nature and animals that has made Kavelaris’s art beloved
  • encourages kids to discover God each day and joyfully live out who He created them to be
  • gives children confidence to be brave in scary and unexpected situations

This unique book of blessings and prayers will remind your little one of God’s loving promises revealed in nature: that He protects us from the rain, He covers us with His wings, He shines His light into the darkness, and most of all, He’ll always be with us. Good Morning, Little One by artist Amy Kavelaris

  • includes a stunning cover with a jacket over hardcover
  • makes a touching keepsake gift book for a child’s Easter basket, baby showers, and other new beginnings such as adoption, a new sibling, or the first day of school
  • is an enchanting piece of art for a botanical nursery or child’s bedroom
  • is ideal for any parent, grandparent, or family who wants to establish a tradition of blessing their child in the morning

There’s no better way to start the day than praying over your children with this sweet, Scripture-based book about trusting God to carry each of you in His gentle arms.

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Source: NetGalley

Leslie’s Review: 5 Stars/A favorite of 2022

Good Morning, Little One: New Mercies and Prayers to Carry You Through the Day is a beautifully illustrated and written book by Amy Kavelaris. Good Morning, Little One: New Mercies and Prayers to Carry You Through the Day is a prayer/poem backed by Biblical Truth geared towards 4 to 8 year-olds. Good Morning, Little One: New Mercies and Prayers to Carry You Through the Day is a sweet, encouraging book that lets kids of all ages know that God is always with them and is listening to them no matter what they go through.

First of all, I loved the illustrations and how they were woven perfectly with each stanza of the book. I loved the reminders of God’s Promises the book addresses no matter what we go through–rain or shine, happy or sad. I loved that Ms. Kavelaris focused on how God carries us through our situations and keeps us safe, not taking things away entirely. I believe that Good Morning, Little One: New Mercies and Prayers to Carry You Through the Day would be a great edition to anyone’s library. It would be perfect for a Christian education setting, Family Devotion time, or a bedtime story for the family. Not only is Good Morning, Little One: New Mercies and Prayers to Carry You Through the Day a good reminder of God’s Promises to children, but it is a good reminder to adults too. I highly recommend Good Morning, Little One: New Mercies and Prayers to Carry You Through the Day by Amy Kavelaris and believe it will be encouragement to all who read it.

Have you read Good Morning, Little One: New Mercies and Prayers to Carry You Through the Day? What did you think of the book?

I would like to thank NetGalley and the Publisher for the opportunity to read this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Learn More About:

Amy Kavelaris

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Book Review: Encouragement Exhortation and Miracles: 30-Day Devotional

Image Curtesy of Linda K. Rodante

Synopsis from Amazon:

Take thirty days to be encouraged in the goodness of God.

Taking real miracles that happened in the author’s mother’s life (and in her own), Linda Rodante offers a small book that will encourage and challenge and renew your faith. God still does miracles. Daily. He answers prayer. Daily. And he—daily—wants us to visit with him. Why? Because he loves us!

Publisher: Linda K. Rodante

Source: Purchased from Amazon

Leslie’s Review: 5 Stars/A Favorite of 2022

I absolutely loved and adored Encouragement Exhortation and Miracles: 30-Day Devotional by Linda K. Rodante! Encouragement Exhortation and Miracles: 30-Day Devotional is the Testimony of Ms. Rodante’s Mother, and in essence, a part of the entire Family’s Testimony as well. Encouragement Exhortation and Miracles has 30 entries to read during your devotion time. Each devotion tells a story from Ms. Rodante’s Mother’s life and how she lived for Jesus. Each devotion has a Bible verse at the end and a closing thought on the story that was told. Some of the devotion entries are written from other Family Member’s perspectives as well.

Ms. Rodante’s Mother got saved later in life and Jesus changed her entire world. Once Ms. Rodante’s Mother gave her life to Jesus, He led her on an adventure of lifetime. Wherever God told Ms. Rodante’s Mother to go, she went and God ALWAYS provided.

I really enjoyed Encouragement Exhortation and Miracles: 30-Day Devotional! It was such an encouraging and uplifting read. I enjoyed reading the devotional and learning about Ms. Rodante’s Family. I gleaned something from every devotion entry I read. I loved learning about Ms. Rodante’s Mother and her Testimony of Unshakable Faith and how she was fearless to do things for God. I loved how Ms. Rodante’s Mother did whatever she felt the Lord leading her to do and how God in turn, provided for her over and over again because of her faithfulness and obedience to Him. I loved how full of Biblical Truth Encouragement Exhortation and Miracles: 30-Day Devotional is.

We could all learn something from Ms. Rodante’s Mother’s Testimony. If you are looking for an uplifting read full of Biblical Truth, then I highly recommend Encouragement Exhortation and Miracles: 30-Day Devotional. I believe it will give you encouragement in your daily walk with the Lord.

Have you read Encouragement Exhortation and Miracles: 30-Day Devotional? What devotion entry stuck out to you?

I would like to thank Ms. Rodante for help in getting pictures and media information for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Learn More About:

Linda K. Rodante

Image Curtesy of Linda K. Rodante

Linda is a Florida transplant now living in Tennessee. She loves sweet tea, apple butter and both the mountains and the oceans. Her work with crisis pregnancy centers and anti-trafficking groups gave her a heart for women struggling in today’s society, while still respecting the role God has given men.

She writes Christian romantic suspense novels. Her books wrap sweet romance in real-life issues women face today with an edge of mystery and suspense. She desires to entertain and encourage women in their walk with the Lord. Her books can be found on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Linda-K.-Rodante/e/B012OITZ2Y/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

She’s a past finalist of ACFW’s Genesis contest and a member of Word Weavers International.

Her two series, The Dangerous Series and The Spiritual Warfare Series, are each unique. Both are fun to read in order, but every book is also a stand-alone.

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Book Review: The Acrostic of Jesus: A Rhyming Christology for Kids

Image Curtesy of Amazon

Synopsis from New Growth Press:

“Resurrection, because Jesus gives life to the dead;  
Before he was risen, he gave his life in our stead.  
See, all of us will die, returning back to the dust; 
But he’ll raise us like Lazarus—we just have to trust. 
Without sin, he is righteous, born of a virgin. 
By his resurrection, our salvation is certain. 
Now he is risen, ruling, and reigning, 
Soon he’ll be returning, to begin the final raising!”

Catechism can be fun! The Acrostic of Jesus is a joy to read over and over again, and a brilliant tool to help kids gain a greater understanding of Christ. Young readers will learn “Christology”—the study of Jesus. The more we learn about Jesus, the more reasons we have to love him!  

By giving children an alphabetical list of the names and attributes of Jesus written with a rhyming beat, Jonathan Gibson and Timothy Brindle make The Acrostic of Jesus fun to read and simple to memorize. Each characteristic, A to Z, weaves together a beautiful picture of who Jesus is and why he came to earth. 

Using the alphabet to teach about God has a rich history in the Bible, especially in the Psalms and Lamentations. Several of the psalms—notably Psalm 119—begin with letters of the Hebrew alphabet, forming an acrostic that spells out the entire alphabet. 

The authors make learning Christology easy and enjoyable. Their book shows Jesus as he is, not “just to know about him more in our brains, but to know him as the God of glory who reigns.” 

Illustrated by C. S. Fritz, The Acrostic of Jesus is the second in the series, An Acrostic Theology for Kids, introducing children ages five to eleven to systematic theology uniquely on their age level.  

Publisher: New Growth Press

Source: New Growth Press

Leslie’s Review: 4 Stars/I really, really love it!

The Acrostic of Jesus: A Rhyming Christology for Kids is a really neat book by Jonathan Gibson and Timothy Brindle. The Acrostic of Jesus: A Rhyming Christology for Kids takes the alphabet and comes up with some of the different names of Christ or attributes of Christ to match up with each letter. Each letter explains what the name or attribute means in regards to Jesus and has corresponding Bible verses to go with each letter.

I liked how the words for each letter were explained and how easy it is for children to understand. I loved that the Bible verses corresponded with each letter and how they are a perfect fit to that particular letter. The illustrations in the book fit well with each letter. There is also a QR Code of a rap/audio copy of the book located in the back of the book. I think The Acrostic of Jesus: A Rhyming Christology for Kids would be a good resource for ministers and families. The Acrostic of Jesus: A Rhyming Christology for Kids would also be a good resource for devotion time or a series of lessons. I believe that you will have fun learning about some of the names of Jesus and His attributes through The Acrostic of Jesus: A Rhyming Christology for Kids.

Have you read The Acrostic of Jesus: A Rhyming Christology for Kids? Which name or attribute of Jesus did you like best?

I would like to thank New Growth Press for giving me a copy of The Acrostic of Jesus: A Rhyming Christology for Kids to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Learn More About:

Jonathan Gibson | Timothy Brindle | C.S. Fritz

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Book Review: Out of the Dark: My Journey Through the Shadows to Find God’s Joy

Image Curtesy of Amazon

Synopsis from Amazon:

Grammy award-winning music artist Mandisa tells an inspiring story of peaks and valleys, trials and joys, wins and losses. Through her gripping narrative, she shows that our choice to trust God can not only overcome our need to understand why bad things happen, but can help us to embrace a life of joy and freedom.

Out of the Dark is Mandisa’s exploration of the journey she’s taken from when she first became a Christian, to her rise as an American Idol finalist and receiving multiple Grammy and Dove Award nominations, as well as the dark and challenging times she experienced along the way. She writes personally and openly about the hardships she has faced and the way she felt betrayed by God, but also about how God has brought her out of the valley into His glorious light. Along the way, she also shares her struggles in learning how to love her body and care for her health.

Just as Mandisa’s Grammy-award winning song “Overcomer” was topping the Contemporary Christian Music charts, her friend for whom “Overcomer” had been written passed away. After losing this close friend to cancer, despite months of prayers on her behalf, Mandisa descended into depression, isolating herself and turning to her familiar friend, food, for comfort.

Throughout Out of the Dark, Mandisa uses her experiences to address the following themes:

  • The pain of grief and loss
  • Surviving abuse
  • Embracing true beauty and a healthy body image
  • Coping with severe depression
  • Healthy―and disordered―eating
  • The role of faith in hope and healing
  • Letting go of shame
  • Following your unique calling and passion
  • How friends and family are crucial for healing
  • The challenges of 2020, including protecting mental and emotional health while navigating a public health crisis; quarantining; and coping with racial injustice
  • Trusting God daily for hope and healing

In the darkness, Mandisa knew God was there ― but she wondered if she could trust Him. Even at her lowest point where she saw no human way forward, God was at work, powerfully redeeming her story and calling her out of the dark.

Mandisa tells her story with warmth and vulnerability, challenging us all to focus on God’s purpose for our lives, surround ourselves with friends who will fight for us, and face life’s challenges with courage and faith. If you’ve ever found yourself in a dark place as the result of grief, depression, or loss, Mandisa’s story will reassure you that even when you’re walking through dark valleys, God can and will lead you on a path to joy and hope.

Publisher: K-LOVE Books

Source: NetGalley

Leslie’s Review: 5 Stars/A Favorite of 2022

I loved Mandisa’s Out of the Dark: My Journey Through the Shadows to Find God’s Joy. Out of the Dark is Mandisa’s personal testimony of how she was in the “deep dark” of depression and how God brought her through. Mandisa shares what led up to the “deep dark”, what she did while she was in the “deep dark”, and the wake-up call that made her persevere through the “deep dark”. Mandisa shares her story unafraid and to give others hope.

I loved how raw and real Mandisa was in her testimony and held nothing back. I loved how Mandisa saturated her writing with the Word of God, showing us Hope in the middle of the struggle. On a personal note, as one who has went through depression and still perseveres through anxiety and panic attacks almost daily, I appreciated what Mandisa said about counseling and how she chose her counselor. It was very similar to the way I chose mine and I am thankful that I was not alone in that aspect.

Reading Out of the Dark, you are reading a testimony of a woman who has went through it and survived. Surviving doesn’t mean you went through it unscathed, but that your relationship with God is stronger. I believe that you will be encouraged reading Out of the Dark: My Journey Through The Shadows to Find God’s Joy.

Have you read Out of the Dark: My Journey Through The Shadows to Find God’s Joy? What did you take away from the book?

I would like to thank NetGalley and the Publisher for the opportunity to read this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Learn More About:

Mandisa | Suzanne Gosselin

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Book Review: The Serpent Slayer and the Scroll of Riddles: The Kambur Chronicles

Image Curtesy of Amazon

Synopsis from New Growth Press:

Welcome, Traveler. You are on the Serpent Quest.   

To move from start to middle,  

Traveler, solve the riddle.  

What is poison to the heart?  

Find the answer. Make your start.  

Fleeing a neighborhood bully, Emmet and Nomi are pulled into an ancient quest, and now they must escape far more powerful enemies. Join them as they unlock secret riddles and follow the path of the Serpent Slayer.  

The Serpent Slayer and the Scroll of Riddles is a time travel adventure with a twist—middle school students will discover theological themes as they travel through God’s Word. By placing the characters into Bible events, Champ Thornton and Andrew Naselli show the Bible is far from being a boring book full of instructions. Readers will discover life-changing truths they’ll never forget. 

Publisher: New Growth Press

Source: New Growth Press

Leslie’s Review: 4 Stars/I really, really love it!

The Serpent Slayer and the Scroll of Riddles: The Kambur Chronicles is a really fun book by Champ Thornton and Andrew Naselli! In The Serpent Slayer and the Scroll of Riddles: The Kambur Chronicles, Nomi and her brother, Emmet find a unique object while escaping from a bully. As the Brother-and-Sister Duo are running away, they run into a bookstore owned by a man named Mr. Mag. While in the bookstore, Mr. Mag starts telling Nomi and Emmet about the scrolls that he has and describing the unique object they found (without knowing that Nomi and Emmet found the object). Returning to Mr. Mag’s bookstore, Nomi and Emmet show him what they found. Mr. Mag places the unique object near his scrolls and the object starts glowing! All of the sudden, Nomi and Emmet are transported to Bible Times. The only way Nomi and Emmet can return home is to solve the riddles that are in the scroll. Geared toward ages 9-13, The Serpent Slayer and the Scroll of Riddles: The Kambur Chronicles takes the reader on a fun adventure from the beginning of humanity with Adam and Eve to what Jesus did for us on the Cross.

I love how The Serpent Slayer and the Scroll of Riddles: The Kambur Chronicles starts with the beginning of sin and uses various Bible Stories to show how we are continuing to grapple with sin. I love how The Serpent Slayer and the Scroll of Riddles: The Kambur Chronicles builds upon the subject of sin and it’s impact on humanity. I love how The Serpent Slayer and the Scroll of Riddles: The Kambur Chronicles used the analogy of a snake to help describe/illustrate what sin is.

The Serpent Slayer and the Scroll of Riddles: The Kambur Chronicles did a great job of teaching Biblical Truth’s and breaking it down to where 9-13 year-olds can understand. I also liked the Reader’s Guide that is in the back of the book and believe it will make the reading more engaging. There are also pictures in the book that help you see some of the imagery that is mentioned in the book. I really enjoyed this book. If you are looking for a fun, captivating book full of Biblical Truth geared toward kids, then I highly recommend The Serpent Slayer and the Scroll of Riddles: The Kambur Chronicles!

Have you read The Serpent Slayer and the Scroll of Riddles: The Kambur Chronicles? What did the kids in your life think of this book?

I would like to thank New Growth Press for giving me a copy of this book to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Learn More About:

Champ Thornton | Andrew Naselli | Dana Thompson

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Book Review: Petal the Angry Cow

Image Curtesy of Amazon

Synopsis from Amazon:

Petal is everything you could want in a cow.

She is kind, thoughtful, a great baker and a wonderful artist.

She also has a temper. A very big, out-of-control temper. And it doesn’t help that her barnyard pals like to push her buttons . . .

On the day the farmer announces a fabulous trip to a water park, the horse steps on Petal’s foot and she has her biggest tantrum yet. The farmer tells Petal if she doesn’t get her temper under control, she won’t be able to go to the water park!

What else can she do but stomp away in a huff?

Then Petal meets a swan who shows her a thing or two about behaving. And not in the way you’d expect . . .

This laugh-out-loud story will tickle even the surliest reader, and Petal’s outsized tantrums will feel very familiar to parents and kids alike. But like Petal, this story also has a heart of gold and a core of pure warmth.

Publisher: Penguin Random House Canada

Source: NetGalley

Leslie’s Review: 5 Stars/A favorite of 2022

I absolutely love Petal the Angry Cow by Maureen Fergus! Petal the Angry Cow takes place on a farm and tells the story of Petal the Cow who is good at many things, but gets angry quickly and passionately. One day, the Farmer announces that they are going on a field trip soon. When Petal throws a temper tantrum, the Farmer tells Petal she cannot go on the field trip due to her outburst. After hearing of her punishment, Petal runs off and meets a swan who acts very similar to Petal when she is angry. Because of meeting the Swan, Petal learns an important lesson.

I love Petal the Angry Cow from beginning to end! Petal the Angry Cow is one of the funniest kids books I have read in a long time. I love the examples of anger that Ms. Fergus gave in the book. I love how easy the book is to understand for children. I like how the children can relate to the anger outbursts easily. I also love how we all can learn from the Swan’s behavior. The illustrations are also adorable!

Petal the Angry Cow would be a perfect read for any setting. If you are specifically looking for a book that deals with emotions and talks about anger, I believe it would be perfect. I also believe with the amount of humor that is in the book, it is a fun way to introduce and talk about anger.

Have you read Petal the Angry Cow? What did the kids in your life think of the book?

Thank you to NetGalley and the Publisher for the opportunity to read this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Learn More About:

Maureen Fergus | Olga Demidova

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Book Review: Who Is Jesus? 40 Pictures to Share With Your Family

Image Curtesy of Amazon

Synopsis from New Growth Press:

Children learn from the earliest age that Jesus loves them and that they should love him back, but do they really understand who Jesus is? How do you help a child get to know someone they can’t see and hear? Thankfully, God gives us a whole Bible of word pictures to help us get to know and love Jesus. In Who is Jesus?, Joe and Kate Hox combine illustrations and deep thoughts simply shared to bring forty word pictures of Jesus to life.  

The Bible is filled with stories and symbols that point us to Jesus as the Savior, the only One who can bring us back to God. God has the best plan, and the biggest and best story. Forty pictures of Jesus—twenty stories from the Old Testament and twenty stories from the New Testament—will guide family devotions and encourage rich conversations about who Jesus is, why he came to earth, and how we can get to know him now. The pictures tell stories about arks, rams caught in a thicket, snakes, sticks, rocks, shepherds, sheep, water, bread, and so much more.  

Each picture of Jesus includes a captivating illustration, a key verse to remember, Bible passages to discuss, a family devotion to read, reflection questions, and a song. Families will explore together the rich imagery of the Bible and learn about God’s great love for his people through Jesus Christ his Son.  

Who is Jesus? can be used any time throughout the year. This book is especially helpful to guide families through the forty days of Lent leading up to Easter.  

Publisher: New Growth Press

Source: New Growth Press

Leslie’s Review: 5 Stars/A favorite of 2022

Who Is Jesus? 40 Pictures to Share With Your Family by Kate Hox is a fantastic devotional for your family to use during the Lent and Easter season. Who Is Jesus? 40 Pictures to Share With Your Family contains 40 devotion entries that takes you on a journey from Genesis to Revelations. Each of the devotions has a introductory Bible verse, discussion questions, and Bible references at the end. The 40 devotion entries are divided into 20 devotions based in the Old Testament and 20 devotions based in the New Testament.

I loved how each devotion seamlessly intertwines the Old Testament and New Testament stories together. If a devotion entry primarily used the Old Testament as it’s base, it would always correlate to the New Testament and vice versa. I loved how much of an emphasis was put on both Testaments–that both the Old and New Testaments hold equal importance in God’s Word. I love how easy each devotion was to understand and how the discussion questions could evoke powerful family discussions. I love the simple, yet powerful illustrations that are in Who Is Jesus? 40 Pictures to Share With Your Family. Even though this book is meant to be used during the Lent and Easter season, it can be used any time of the year.

I believe Who Is Jesus? 40 Pictures to Share With Your Family would make a great addition to any family’s library and be perfect for family devotions during the Lent and Easter Season. I also believe it would be a great resource in a minister’s library. I highly recommend this book and believe it will be a useful and fun way to engage in God’s Word, not only during Easter and Lent, but all year round.

Have you read Who Is Jesus? 40 Pictures to Share With Your Family? How did your family incorporate it into your family’s devotion time?

Thank you to New Growth Press for gifting me a copy of Who Is Jesus? 40 Pictures to Share With Your Family to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Learn More About:

Kate Hox | Joe Hox

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Book Review: Sweet Sound: The Power of Discipling Kids in Worship

Image Curtesy of Yancy Ministries, INC.

Synopsis from Amazon:

UNLOCK THE POWER OF DISCIPLING KIDS IN WORSHIP

STOP just doing songs and START leading worship by making disciples who know what it means to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth.

No matter our age, each one of us was designed to praise, and for our praise to shift the atmosphere and usher in freedom and deliverance. Our worship is a sacrifice unto the Lord-this includes the praises of children. It’s powerful. It’s beautiful. It’s sweet. Can you imagine children singing out, with their whole hearts, praises to their King? It’s quite possibly the sweetest sound you will ever hear! It matters. Jesus himself said, “From the lips of children and infants, you, Lord, have called forth your praise.” (Matthew 21:16)

This book is full of prophetic, practical, and power-filled truth. It will change the way you view kids worship, as well as your own ability to lead. By using examples from the life of King David, as well as her own personal experiences, Yancy is purposed to empower you to raise up kids who desire to live a life of worship on a daily basis, not only on Sundays. This is about their future. Are you ready to be a part of that?

Together let’s learn to lift up the Sweet Sound of praise we were made for!

Publisher: Yancy Ministries, INC.

Source: Purchased 2 copies: Paperback from Yancy and E-Book from Amazon

Leslie’s Review: 5 Stars/A favorite of 2022

Very rarely do I purchase two copies of the same book–for myself–and plan on buying more copies to give out to friends and family, but once I started to read Yancy’s Sweet Sound: The Power of Discipling Kids in Worship I knew I had to tell as many people as I could about this book. Sweet Sound is a relevant book that teaches and reminds us what worship is–that it’s much more than a lifestyle, it’s a condition of the heart. Sweet Sound is a wonderful tool to help guide and teach the next generation to worship the One True King.

Sweet Sound is all about teaching young ones–toddlers, preschool, elementary aged– about worship that will make an eternal impact. Yancy gives us tools in Sweet Sound on how to introduce kids to worship and how to guide them through a worship service in age appropriate ways. Sweet Sound includes samples of song sets and playlists to give the Worship Leader tangible examples of how they can lead young ones to worship. Sweet Sound also includes information about copyright and how to do it appropriately in a church setting or activity.

Sweet Sound is one of the best books I have ever read geared to the Children’s Ministry audience! (Hence why I bought two copies for myself and literally highlighted almost every page.) Sweet Sound is full of thought provoking, Biblical Truth. I loved how Yancy backed up every single word with Scripture. I love how Yancy takes you on a journey through the Bible by showing us examples of worship. I love how Yancy shows and tells us that worship is a requirement because of the One who gave us life. I love how Yancy gets to the nitty gritty of worship, reminding us time and again that it is a condition of the heart that will help kids get through the tough things of life. Sweet Sound changed my mindset on how to approach worship and kids–it’s more than checking something off a to-do list during the Sunday morning service. Worship helps them in their relationship with Jesus and giving them something to build upon in the years ahead. I also loved that the worship ideas Yancy gave can be adapted and molded to fit your congregation, no matter it’s size. To me, Sweet Sound is much more than a book that teaches us how to teach our children to worship, it’s a reality check to us to make sure not only are we teaching our kids to worship, we are preparing their hearts and helping them establish a firm foundation for a relationship with Jesus. I believe whether or not you are in Children’s Ministry, you need to read this book! I know that this is a book I will read over and over (which I rarely do) and plan on buying more copies to give out (which I also rarely do). I believe Sweet Sound will impact your life in indescribable ways!

Have you read Sweet Sound: The Power of Discipling Kids in Worship? What have you gleaned from Sweet Sound?

I would like to thank Yancy for her help in getting pictures and media information for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Learn More About:

Yancy

Image Curtesy of Yancy

Yancy is a worship leader, songwriter and producer of hundreds of songs that make Jesus loud. Her Dove Award winning music is all the things kids love and everything adults value. She is a powerhouse at leading and teaching kids from birth to preteen how to worship, and creates popular worship resources for churches and homes around the world. Yancy is a passionate advocate of raising disciples to worship. She recently authored the book “Sweet Sound: The Power of Discipling Kids in Worship”. Because of her passion to serve the Church she created “Heartbeat”, a curriculum to teach kids the heart of worship. With a family legacy of children’s ministry, her authority and PK perspective help encourage and champion the Kidmin community that the seeds they are planting will reap a harvest that will go on to affect families for generations. Yancy lives with her husband and two sons in Nashville, TN.

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Book Review: 100 Words of Affirmation Your Daughter Needs to Hear

Image Curtesy of Amazon

Synopsis from Amazon:

Every one of us has tremendous power to either build others up or tear them down through the words we speak every day, and nowhere is this more evident than in our families. Are you being purposeful in how you use the power of your words to speak encouragement, strength, and love–breathing life into the heart of your children? Or are careless words having a negative impact on both your kids and your family legacy?

Matt and Lisa Jacobson want you to discover the powerful ways you can build your children up in love with the words that you choose to say every day–words that every son and daughter need to hear. These books offer you one hundred phrases to say to your son or daughter that deeply encourage, affirm, and inspire. Start speaking these words into their lives and watch your children–and your relationship with them–transform before your eyes.

Publisher: Revell

Source: NetGalley

Leslie’s Review: 4 Stars/I really, really liked it!

I really loved 100 Words of Affirmation Your Daughter Needs to Hear by Matt and Lisa Jacobson. Mr. & Mrs. Jacobson pull from life experiences with their own daughters as well as friends to write 100 Words of Affirmation Your Daughter Needs to Hear. In the book there are 100 entries on how to show love and affirm your daughter (or a daughter-figure in your life),

I found the 100 affirmations in the book encouraging and uplifting. I appreciated how the affirmations were based on real-life experience from the Authors and the lessons they learned. I also appreciated when the Authors explained the lessons they learned and that it is ok for your child to think and act differently, because that is how God wired them.

Even though I do not have children, I was able to glean things from 100 Words of Affirmation Your Daughter Needs to Hear that will help me be more effective to the girls I serve in my church community. It taught me to be more mindful of the girls and gave me tips on how to encourage them. If you have a daughter or a young girl you think a lot of, I highly recommend this book and really believe it would be a help to you.

Have you read 100 Words of Affirmation Your Daughter Needs to Hear? What affirmation really stuck out to you and why?

Thank you to NetGalley and the Publisher for the opportunity to read this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Learn More About:

Lisa Jacobson | Matt Jacobson

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Book Review: The Little Women Devotional: A Chapter-by-Chapter Companion to Louisa May Alcott’s Beloved Classic

Image Curtesy of Amazon

Synopsis from Amazon:

Devotional Inspiration from the Lives of Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy
 
The Little Women Devotional offers lovely inspiration that explores the themes of faith, family, contentment, wisdom, and joy in the classic Louisa May Alcott novel, cherished by generations of readers.

Each reading corresponds with a chapter from the book and invites you to embrace God’s guiding hand in your life as His cherished daughter. This beautiful chapter-by-chapter devotional includes original artwork throughout, and each reading includes examples from the novel, scripture, life application, and prayers perfect for groups, book clubs, or personal reflection.

Publisher: Barbour Publishing

Source: NetGalley, then purchased e-book from Amazon

Leslie’s Review: 5 Stars/A favorite of 2022

I was so excited when I found out that Rachel Dodge had written a devotional based on Little Women! The Little Women Devotional: A Chapter-by-Chapter Companion to Louisa May Alcott’s Beloved Classic by Rachel Dodge is one of the best devotional books I have ever read. Ms. Dodge goes through each chapter of Little Women and focuses on a spiritual aspect that she learns from the chapter. Each devotion includes a Bible verse at the beginning of the devotion and it’s end, a quote from that particular chapter in Little Women that helps set up the devotion thought, a devotion thought on that particular chapter, a personal application, and a prayer for the day.

There is nothing about the Little Women Devotional that I do not love–I loved every single page from beginning to end. I used the Little Women Devotional as part of my personal devotion time. Every single word that Ms. Dodge wrote ministered to me and was exactly what I needed to read at the time that I read it.

I appreciated that Ms. Dodge did not did not shy away from Biblical Truth’s and that each devotion gave you things to really think about to help you grow in your relationship Christ. The illustrations add a sweet touch to the devotional. If you are looking for good, well-rounded devotional with sound, Biblical Truth then I highly recommend The Little Women Devotional: A Chapter-by-Chapter Companion to Louisa May Alcott’s Beloved Classic by Rachel Dodge! (I also highly recommend the other devotionals that Ms. Dodge has written!)

Have you read The Little Women Devotional: A Chapter-by-Chapter Companion to Louisa May Alcott’s Beloved Classic? What did you think of the devotional? What childhood classic would you like to see a devotional of?

Thank you to NetGalley and the Publisher for the opportunity to read this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Learn More About:

Rachel Dodge

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Book Review: Praying Through Cancer: A 90-Day Devotional for Women

Image Curtesy of Amazon

Synopsis from Amazon:

Traumatized and terrified of cancer? Whether you or a family member is battling the disease, this beautiful, updated edition of the trusted, encouraging 90-day devotional will comfort and strengthen you. Written by women who have faced cancer themselves, this book reminds you that you are not alone and will help set your heart free from fear.

When you hear the doctor say the word cancer, your fears can be overwhelming. Thankfully, there is a place of peace you can experience. Through these pages, women who have walked this difficult journey themselves will pray through cancer with you and walk alongside you through your own journey.

This encouraging daily devotional is written specifically for women battling cancer, and it is written by women who have faced cancer themselves, containing insight, wisdom, and clarity found only through personal trial. Whether you are facing breast cancer, thyroid cancer, or any form of the disease, the testimonies and prayers in this book will strengthen and bless you in the months ahead.

This updated edition features a beautiful new cover. Each daily devotional includes:

  • Scripture verse and prayer
  • Inspirational story where fears and anger are transformed into confident expectation and pure worship
  • Intentional tip of the day to help you personally encounter God
  • Prayer references for encouragement

You don’t have to face cancer alone. As you read, you’ll feel as though you are meeting kindred spirits—old friends who will come alongside you in your journey, encouraging you and understanding what no one else can.

Contributors include Kay Warren, Pat Palau, Barbara Johnson, Joyce Wright, and many more.

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Source: NetGalley

Leslie’s Review: 5 Stars/A favorite of 2022

Full Disclosure: I have not been diagnosed with cancer, but I have had many family members and friends that have been diagnosed with cancer as well as many loved ones that have lost the battle. It is with this lens that I write this review.

I found Praying Through Cancer: A 90-Day Devotional for Women by Susan Sorensen and Laura Geist to be very encouraging. Each devotion is written by a cancer survivor and includes a Scripture, a thought by that particular author, a prayer, a tip for that day, and supplemental Bible verses. Each devotion gave first hand knowledge and experience from that particular author’s point of view on their cancer journey, encouraging the reader they are not alone.

I loved the personal stories of the authors and reading what they have learn through their journey. I appreciated how some of the devotion entries referenced the author’s family and friends and how they perceived and dealt with their loved one’s cancer. The tips at the end of each devotion gave me ideas on how I could bless and be there for those that have cancer. I recommend this book and believe that it would be an encouragement to those that have cancer and their love ones.

Have you read Praying Through Cancer: A 90-Day Devotional for Women? What did you find encouraging about the book?

Thank you to NetGalley and the Publisher for the opportunity to read this book. All thoughts and opinions are purely my own.

Learn More About:

Susan Sorenson | Laura Geist

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Book Review: An Amish Quilting Bee: Three Stories

Image Curtesy of Amazon

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Three charming stories of cozy quilting circles and budding romance

 Patchwork Promises  by Amy Clipston 

When Colin Zook and his beloved grandmother lose everything in a fire, their greatest loss is a beloved family heirloom quilt that helped keep her dementia at bay. When Joanne Lapp hears about the loss, she decides to re-create the quilt. Colin soon feels himself developing feelings for her, but he’s held back by the knowledge that a future with him would involve care of his grandmother and his farm. Will Joanne look past his list of responsibilities and see him for who he truly is?

A Common Thread  by Kathleen Fuller 

Susie Glick returns from a shopping trip laden with beautiful fabric for her quilting group. On the bus ride, Alex Lehman—her crush from three years ago—sits next to her. Alex left Middlefield to explore the country, and now he’s back and ready to join the church. Susie was just a kid when he left, but now she’s a woman—and she definitely has his interest. The women in her quilting circle aren’t as excited about Alex’s return, assuming that he’ll leave again in search of adventure. Susie is convinced they’re wrong, but just as they start dating, Alex tells Susie he has to leave. He says he’ll return, but Susie must decide whether or not she can trust the man she fears has captured her heart.

Stitched Together by Shelley Shepard Gray 

Rosie’s joy is her yearly project for the Pinecraft Mennonite Quilt Sale, and she dreams of being the top earner. But she’s worried that she’s bitten off more than she can chew with her latest entry. To make things even more confusing, after coming to terms with her single state, she’s recently formed a friendship with Tim Christner. He’s only in town for a month, but he has Rosie wondering if she’s found love at last. Now all she has to do is figure out how to get the quilt done so she can concentrate on him. But with her once very organized life in total disarray, everything comes to a head just before the sale. Rosie is forced to reexamine her priorities before she loses not only her place in the quilt show but everything else she’s ever wanted.

Publisher: Zondervan Fiction

Source: NetGalley

Leslie’s Review: 4 Stars/I really, really love it!

Patchwork Promises

I absolutely loved Patchwork Promises by Amy Clipston! I have been a big fan of Ms. Clipston’s work for years and when I found out she wrote for the anthology, An Amish Quilting Bee, I knew I had to read the book! Patchwork Promises tells the story of Colin and Joanne. Colin has lost his parents during his growing up years and recently lost his house in a fire, all while taking care of his grandmother who has Dementia. After Colin’s house is rebuilt, he feels his Amish Community has abandoned him in his time of need. Most nights, since the fire happened, Colin’s grandmother has cried out for her favorite quilt that was lost in the fire and her Dementia seems to be getting worse. When Joanne finds out about Colin’s situation, she goes on a mission to recreate Colin’s grandmother’s quilt and to be there for Colin, encouraging him and letting him know the Amish community has not abandoned him. In the midst of everything, Colin and Joanne begin falling in love.

I loved Patchwork Promises from beginning to end. I loved Colin’s admiration and dedication to his grandmother. I could understand and feel the gravity of the weight he carried and could see how he felt abandoned by the Amish Community. I also loved Joanne’s dedication and perseverance in getting the quilt made as precisely as she could, in hopes to give Colin’s grandmother peace of mind and Colin some much needed rest. I love that Joanne never gave up in helping Colin’s grandmother and how Joanne’s family all pitched in to help Colin where they could. Patchwork Promises is a sweet story of love, dedication, and community.

A Common Thread

I loved A Common Thread by Kathleen Fuller from the first page. A Common Thread tells the story of Susie and Alex. Susie and Alex reunite on a bus home–Susie traveling back home from a trip to buy quilting supplies from the next town over, and Alex from traveling the US for a few years before committing to the Amish Church. As they are traveling home, both realize they are not the same people that they were when they last saw one another. Alex and Susie start to fall for each other (or in Susie’s case, the feelings never left to begin with). Alex and Susie face a lot of obstacles as their feelings start to blossom. Alex struggles with feeling that no one will accept him after taking a break from the Amish Community before committing to it. Susie struggles with her mother preventing Susie’s relationship with Alex.

I love the characters of Susie and Alex and their personalities! Susie and Alex made A Common Thread a sweet read by how they fought in their own way through growth and perseverance to not only have a relationship with each other, but to be the people God meant for them to be. I love how Alex fell for Susie’s sweet and quiet nature and saw Susie for who she is as a person when it seemed that very few did. I loved how Susie’s shyness came across the pages. I sympathized with Susie’s obligation of being a dutiful daughter and not always feeling like you have the freedom to do what you feel in your heart that you should do. I love the ending of the story (no spoilers) and how it matched up with the beginning of the story, bringing the story full circle and giving the story closure. A Common Thread is a sweet story of accepting people for who they are, forgiving their past, and seeing who they are and taking a chance on the future.

Stitched Together

Shelley Shepard Gray is one of my go-to Amish Fiction authors. When I found out that Ms. Gray also wrote a story for An Amish Quilting Bee, I couldn’t wait to read her story! Ms. Gray wrote the story Stitched Together for An Amish Quilting Bee. Stitched Together tells the story of Rosie and Tim in Pinecraft, Florida. (I love Amish stories set in Florida!) Tim is an Amish Missionary who has recently returned to the States, after being out of the country, to help out his brother’s family in Florida. Rosie is a single Amish woman, who runs a quilt shop and teaches quilting classes in the community. Rosie also competes in quilting competitions. Tim’s brother is married to Rosie’s sister. At the time of Tim’s visit, Rosie’s sister, Bethany, is pregnant with her third child. Bethany and her husband often call upon Rosie and Tim to help watch their twin daughters (who can be rowdy at times). If Rosie’s plate isn’t already full enough, she is also tasked with showing Tim around Pinecraft. In between helping with her nieces and showing Tim around town, she is trying her best to complete a quilt for a competition that she hopes to win. During all of life’s craziness, Tim and Rosie fall in love. (Un)fortunately, life comes to a head for Rosie when her quilt for the competition gets ruined, teaching everyone important lessons unique to them.

I love how Rosie and Tim seemed like night and day at times. Tim has an easy-going approach to life while Rosie seems to thrive on structure and organization. It was nice to see Rosie and Tim’s bond flow and strengthen. I loved how Ms. Gray described the nieces because they added a humorous and fun element to the story. I loved how Tim and Rosie went with whatever was put on their plate and the lessons they both learned from it–especially Rosie. Stitched Together is a sweet story of acceptance, being thankful, and finding a contentment about life that only comes from God.

An Amish Quilting Bee (as a whole)

I loved how the theme of quilting is threaded through the entire anthology of An Amish Quilting Bee. I loved how all three stories were a light read that brought out important lessons. I love how I was drawn into each story and how I was able to escape into it. If you are looking for a sweet read to escape into, then I highly recommend An Amish Quilting Bee by Amy Clipston, Kathleen Fuller, and Shelley Shepard Gray!

Have you read An Amish Quilting Bee? What did you think of the stories?

I would like to thank NetGalley and the Publisher for the opportunity to read An Amish Quilting Bee. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Learn More About:

Amy Clipston | Kathleen Fuller | Shelley Shepard Gray

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Book Review: Precious in His Sight

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Synopsis from Amazon:

Every kid is precious in God’s sight!

This delightful devotional for your kids, ages 5 to 8, focuses on the theme of Jesus’ love for ALL children–boys, girls, brown, black, white, rich, poor, those with special needs, those with special gifts and talents. . .and more. Each reading teaches young hearts to love others just as Jesus does AND find value in each unique person they meet. More than 100 devotional readings and prayers touch on topics like: Loving Others, Celebrating Differences, Seeing Others through God’s Eyes, God’s Blessings, Forgiveness, Being More Like Jesus, and Created in God’s Image. A must-read for today’s kids!

Publisher: Barbour Publishing

Source: NetGalley

Leslie’s Review: 5 Stars/A favorite of 2022

I really love Precious in His Sight by Jean Fischer! Precious in His Sight is another excellent devotional published by Barbour Publishing geared toward 5 to 8 year-olds. Jean Fischer has written over 100 phenomenal devotions that carries the theme of being of precious in God’s eyes and reminds the reader that we are created in the image of God. Each devotion entry has a topic, a Bible verse that goes with the topic, a thought or explanation of the topic, and a prayer at the end of the topic.

I love how Ms. Fischer packed each devotion full of God’s Truth and let the reader know how precious they are to Him. Ms. Fischer often uses tangible and applicable examples to show the reader how precious and important they are to God. Ms. Fischer also gives the reader examples of how they can show the love of Jesus and serve others.

I loved Precious in His Sight as a whole. I love the tangible examples Ms. Fischer gave in the book and how the reader can apply them in their life. I believe it would be a great addition to any library and would be a great asset to any family devotion time (or a child’s personal devotion time). It would also be a great resource for Christian Educators and those in Ministry. I also believe that children will benefit greatly from this book and that in will help them in their relationship with Jesus. I highly recommend Precious in His Sight!

Have you read Precious in His Sight? What did the kids in your life think of Precious in His Sight?

I would like to thank NetGalley and the Publisher for the opportunity to read this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Learn More About:

Jean Fischer

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Book Review: Crosshairs

Image Curtesy of Amazon

Synopsis from Amazon:

Investigative Services Branch (ISB) ranger Ainsley Beaumont arrives in her hometown of Natchez, Mississippi, to investigate the murder of a three-month-pregnant teenager. While she wishes the visit was under better circumstances, she never imagined that she would become the killer’s next target–nor that she’d have to work alongside an old flame.

After he almost killed a child, former FBI sniper Lincoln Steele couldn’t bring himself to fire a gun, which had deadly and unforeseen consequences for his best friend. Crushed beneath a load of guilt, Linc is working at Melrose Estate as an interpretive ranger. But as danger closes in on Ainsley during her murder investigation, Linc will have to find the courage to protect her. The only question is, will it be too little, too late?

Award-winning author Patricia Bradley continues her Natchez Trace Park Rangers series with a story about how good must prevail when evil just won’t quit.

Publisher: Revell

Source: NetGalley

Leslie’s Review: 5 Stars/A favorite of 2022

Every book I have read from Patricia Bradley I have loved and is a favorite, and Crosshairs is no exception–I love it and it’s a favorite! Crosshairs is the third installment of the Natchez Trace Park Rangers series. I have read every single book in the Natchez Trace Park Rangers series and love every book thus far.

Crosshairs tells the story of Ainsley and Linc. Linc (short for Lincoln) and Ainsley are former high school sweethearts and both have ties to law enforcement–Linc, a former FBI agent, is an interpretive ranger, and Ainsley is a part of the Investigative Services Branch (ISB). Ainsley and Linc are forced to work together to solve a murder involving a pregnant teen. Not only do they have to solve a murder, but they are also solving the mystery of what happened to Ainsley’s Aunt and trying to figure out who is trying to kill Ainsley. On top of all of this, Ansley is dealing with family issues regarding her relationship with her father and what she perceives to be a failed music career. Linc is still reeling from the death of his best friend and trying to ward off the best friend’s sister who has feelings for him, all the while dealing with the anxiety of his FBI career. Plus, Linc has regrets about the way he handled things in regards to Ainsley’s music career.

Crosshairs is full of twists and turns, that kept me on the edge of my seat. Not to mention, there were surprises over halfway through the book that kept me guessing. I love reading mystery and suspense and at times the books in this genre are sometimes predictable to me. Not in the case of Crosshairs. I enjoyed the intrigue of the story and how Ms. Bradley wrote about the characters and how they evolved, both personally and in their relationship with one another, throughout the book. If you are looking for a book that’s full of mystery and intrigue that has many layers to it, then I highly recommend Crosshairs by Patricia Bradley! I cannot wait to read the next book by Patricia Bradley!

Have you read Crosshairs? What did you like about the book? What other books have read in the Natchez Trace Park Rangers series? What do you think of the series?

I would like to thank NetGalley and the Publisher for the opportunity to read this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Learn More About:

Patricia Bradley

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Book Review: Sam and the Sticky Situation: A Book About Whining

Image Curtesy of New Growth Press

Synopsis from New Growth Press:

Sam has figured out a way to get what he wants when he wants it—he whines. In fact, it works so well that he’s started whining more and more to get his way. Not only does Sam’s mother give into his whining very quickly—he learned how to whine from her. Both Sam and his mother find themselves in quite the sticky situation when Sam’s whining leads them to being covered with cotton candy and stuck on the top of a Ferris wheel!

All parents want their children to whine less, but few notice that they might have a problem with whining too. Best-selling author Ginger Hubbard, along with Al Roland, help families think about whining with a silly story that will not only make them laugh, but will also encourage them to see how whining stems from a heart that wants things more than God. The parent resource page at the end of Sam and the Sticky Situation: A Book about Whining presents a biblical framework and practical suggestions to help children understand why they whine and how to learn a better way of expressing themselves.

Children ages 4-7 will love the story with its bright, fun illustrations, and along the way will learn that there are better ways than whining to get what they want. 

Sam and the Sticky Situation is part of the new Teaching Children to Use Their Words Wisely series. 

Publisher: New Growth Press

Source: New Growth Press

Leslie’s Review: 4 Stars/I really, really love it!

Sam and the Sticky Situation is another great book from Ginger Hubbard and Al Roland in the Teaching Children to Use Their Words Wisely series published by New Growth Press! Sam and the Sticky Situation deals with the topic of whining and how to tackle it with a Biblical approach. One day, mimicking an example set by his Mother, Sam starts whining and complaining about everything in order to go to the fair and get everything he wants. Sam’s Mother gives in to all of his whining, giving him everything he wants until it gets too out of hand. When Sam’s Mother finally tells him “No.”, Sam finds a way to get what he wants, making it a “sticky situation” for everyone he comes in contact with.

Sam and the Sticky Situation is a book that really grows on you. Ms. Hubbard and Mr. Roland did an excellent job in illustrating how whining and complaining can effect everyone it comes in contact with. I love how the Authors portrayed the Mother as a whiner and how Sam mimicked his Mother’s behavior in order to get what he wants. While the cotton candy episode is an illustration of the destruction whining can bring to others, the mother-son dynamic of the book is realistic. I really appreciated how Sam’s Mom saw the error of her ways and asked for forgiveness and reminded her children that we all need to be more like Jesus. There are also parental helps in the back of the book to help assist you in teaching the children in your life about whining that I believe is beneficial.

I really, really enjoyed Sam and the Sticky Situation and I highly recommend it! Sam and the Sticky Situation is a perfect addition to any child’s library or any Christian Education setting. Sam and the Sticky Situation has a lesson not only for kids to learn, but adults as well.

Have you read Sam and the Sticky Situation? What lessons did you learn from the book?

I would like to thank New Growth Press for gifting me a copy of this book for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Learn More About:

Ginger Hubbard | Al Roland Veronika Kotyk

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Book Review: Chloe and the Closet of Secrets: A Book About Lying

Image Curtesy of New Growth Press

Synopsis of New Growth Press:

Chloe has a sneaky habit of making up stories. She thinks it’s no big deal, but one day crazy little fluffs appear every time she tells a lie. Chloe starts stuffing the fluffs in her closet, but soon it’s almost ready to burst. Not only that, she realizes that her lies are sinful and are hurting her relationships. But after her father confesses his own lie and asks God for forgiveness, Chloe gains the courage to let out all of her secrets.  

Most children (and adults too) struggle with being completely truthful. Even though we know it’s wrong to not tell the whole truth, it’s still hard to help a child understand why. Best-selling author Ginger Hubbard and Al Roland give parents practical suggestions for helping their children (and themselves) learn to speak the truth. The parent resource page at the end of Chloe and the Closet of Secrets: A Book about Lying gives a biblical framework to help children understand what a lie is, some reasons that they lie, and the power of confession and forgiveness.  

Children ages 4-7 will love the silly story with its bright, fun illustrations, and in the process be encouraged to always tell the truth. 

Chloe and the Closet of Secrets is part of the new Teaching Children to Use Their Words Wisely series.

Publishing: New Growth Press

Source: New Growth Press

Leslie’s Review: 4 Stars/I really, really love it!

I really love Chloe and the Closet of Secrets by Ginger Hubbard and Al Roland! Chloe and the Closet of Secrets is part of the Teaching Children to Use Their Words Wisely series that is being published by New Growth Press geared toward ages 4-7. Chloe and the Closet of Secrets tells the story of Chloe, a girl who has trouble telling the truth. Every time Chole tells a lie, a fluff ball appears. As Chloe tells more lies, she tries to hide each fluff ball until there are too many and each fluff ball gets bigger and bigger. When the fluff balls become too much, and when she sees her father’s example of making things right, Chloe comes clean about her lying.

I love the message and Biblical truths that are in Chloe and the Closet of Secrets. Ms. Hubbard and Mr. Roland did an excellent job of breaking down the subject of lying and writing it in such a way that all ages can understand. I also love how the book showed Chloe confessing what she did wrong to the people in her life and not only asking for their forgiveness, but asking Jesus for forgiveness as well. The parental helps in the back of the book are also a excellent resource.

I can’t say enough how much I enjoyed Chloe and the Closet of Secrets! The imagery with the fluff balls is an awesome way to illustrate how lying can get out of control and effect things. The illustrations are beautiful as well.

I highly recommend this book! I believe it would be a great addition to any child’s library. It would also be perfect in a Christian Education setting. I am looking forward to the next installment in the Teaching Children to Use Their Words Wisely series!

Have you read Chloe and the Closet of Secrets? What did you think of the book?

I would like to thank New Growth Press for giving me a copy of Chloe and the Closet of Secrets to review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Learn More About:

Ginger Hubbard | Al Roland | Veronika Kotyk

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Book Review: Mission Accomplished: A Two-Week Family Easter Devotional

Image Curtesy of New Growth Press

Synopsis from New Growth Press:

Nearly 2,000 years ago, a simple wooden cross and an empty tomb served as the setting for the greatest rescue mission in history—the good news of a loving Father going to great lengths to save his broken children. Every year at Easter, with a joyful shout of  “Christ is risen!” we declare again the climax of this great story. Although Easter Sunday only happens once a year, the truths behind it are big enough to shape our lives every single day. Starting on Palm Sunday, your family will spend two weeks (fourteen devotions) walking in time with Jesus as he finished the work his Father had given him. Extending your devotional time into the week beyond Easter Sunday will encourage your family to follow the risen Jesus as he calls his disciples on a Spirit-filled mission to spread the good news to all nations. Your family will learn that God calls every Christ follower to that very same task, promising that his power and presence will help us as we go. Each devotion takes just ten-minutes and is suitable for all ages of children. Included are suggestions for hymns to sing and family activities that give you a chance to remember and apply the truth that Christ is risen indeed!

Publisher: New Growth Press

Source: New Growth Press

Leslie’s Review: 3.5 Stars/I more than liked it

I really enjoyed Scott James’ Mission Accomplished: A Two-Week Family Easter Devotional. Mission Accomplished: A Two-Week Family Easter Devotional is designed to be started on Palm Sunday and to finish the week after Easter. Each entry has a Bible reference, a “Think About It” section, a “Talk About it” section, and a “Pray About It” section. Each entry also alternates between a “Sing About It” section with a hymn that corresponds with the devotion or a “Family Activity” to do that corresponds with that particular devotion.

I am always on the look out for devotionals that help children celebrate Easter and Christmas and I believe Mission Accomplished: A Two-Week Family Easter Devotional meets that need. I like how Mission Accomplished explains certain aspects of the Easter Story so that everyone can understand what is going on. The book even suggests certain Bible translations to make the Bible reference easy to understand. I like how well the “Think About It” and “Talk About It” sections are intertwined. I also like how the questions in the “Talk About It” section also give guided suggestions on how to answer the questions if the kids get stuck. I loved how it introduces children to traditional hymns that they may not have known about.

I think Mission Accomplished: A Two-Week Family Easter Devotional is a good resource to help your family celebrate Easter. I believe that each devotion will help your family keep the meaning of Easter before you and that everyone in the family will learn a lot. I highly recommend this book!

Have you read Mission Accomplished: A Two-Week Family Easter Devotional? How did you incorporate it into your Easter tradition? What did you think of the devotional?

I would like to thank New Growth Press for gifting me a copy of Mission Accomplished: A Two-Week Family Easter Devotional to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Learn More About:

Scott James

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Book Review: 60-Second Refreshment: Daily Messages from God’s Heart

Image Curtesy of Amazon

Synopsis from Goodreads:

You’ll discover everyday inspiration and encouragement from God’s Word in the 60 Second Refreshment: Daily Messages from God’s Heart, where you’ll find 365 days of love and hope straight from the heavenly Father Himself. An ideal any-occasion gift or personal pick-me-up, this encouraging book is guaranteed to brighten your day and lighten your way! This gift will keep on giving for years to come!

Publisher: Barbour Publishing

Source: NetGalley

Leslie’s Review: 3 Stars/I liked it

Barbour Publishing’s 60-Second Refreshment: Daily Messages from God’s Heart is an encouraging book. 60-Second Refreshment: Daily Messages from God’s Heart has 365 different encouragements for the year. Each entry can be read in 60 seconds like the title says. Each day either had a quote, a thought, or a Bible verse.

I used 60-Second Refreshment: Daily Messages from God’s Heart as part of my devotion time. Some days I would read multiple entries. It was nice just to pick up the book and get nuggets of encouragement as I needed them. I found the book encouraging, but I personally would have liked more Biblical references in some of the entries to back up what the book was saying about God and Jesus. Despite my personal preference, I still enjoyed the book and believe it will encourage others.

Have you read 60-Second Refreshment: Daily Messages from God’s Heart? What did you think of the book? How did it encourage you?

I would like to thank NetGalley and the Publisher for the opportunity to read this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Learn More About:

Barbour Publishing

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Book Review: High-Wire Heartbreak

Image Curtesy of Amazon

Synopsis from Amazon:

In 1936–A party at the Ringling mansion Ca d’Zan in Sarasota, Florida, leads to a robbery–and possibly death.

A successful historical mystery writer, Chloe Whitfield comes to Ca’ d’Zan to research her next novel. Chloe’s fascination with the circus is rooted in family stories of her great-grandmother Lucinda Conroy, who reportedly was a trapeze artist of some renown. She’s heard hints of scandal—and perhaps larceny, but no details.

Chloe’s grandmother—rumored to be Lucinda’s only offspring—was raised in an orphanage and never knew her mother. Intrigued as she is, Chloe has no intent of writing about Lucinda until she sees a poster featuring Lucinda as the star performer for a 70th birthday gala for John Ringling in May of 1936. From there the trail goes cold.

Who was Lucinda and what happened to her?

Publisher: Barbour Publishing

Source: NetGalley

Leslie’s Review: 4 Stars/I really, really love it!

I love mysteries and I love books set with the circus as a main theme/topic, and Anna Schmidt’s High-Wire Heartbreak fits the bill! High-Wire Heartbreak is part of the Doors of the Past series curtesy of Barbour Publishing, which I also love. High-Wire Heartbreak is a spilt-time novel that takes place primarily in the 1930’s and present-day. The book opens in present-day with Best Selling Author Chloe Whitfield getting a chance to stay at the Cat d’Zan property, the home of John Ringling and his wife, Mable, owners of the Ringling Brothers Circus. Chloe’s purpose for staying at Cat d’Zan is two-fold: Chloe is researching for her latest mystery novel which takes place at Cat d’Zan and to do research into her family tree. Chloe’s great-grandmother, Lucinda, was a famous trapeze artist for the Ringling Brothers Circus and put Chloe’s grandmother up for adoption in the 1930s. The split-time story tells the story of what really happened to Chloe’s Grandmother and Great-Grandmother and helps bring closure to the her family.

Anna Schmidt did a great job with High-Wire Heartbreak! High-Wire Heartbreak is well written and well researched. I easily felt swept away into the backdrop of the 1930s circus world. The time-slip transitions flowed effortlessly throughout the book. I loved the mystery and how Chloe tried to figure out what happened in her great-grandmother Lucinda’s life and how she tied into the Ringling Brothers Circus. My heart broke for Lucinda’s side of the story. I found myself rooting for Lucinda to get the best out of her life and for Chloe to solve what really happened back then so that she could give her entire family closure. I also enjoyed the Author’s Note in the book and have been inspired to do further digging to look into the circus world during it’s heyday.

I highly recommend High-Wire Heartbreak for the way it transports and gives you an escape to another world. If you are a mystery lover or time-slip novels are your jam, then I believe you will enjoy this book. I am looking forward to reading more in the Doors of the Past series in the future!

Have you read High-Wire Heartbreak? What did you think? What other books have you read from the Doors of the Past series?

I would like to thank NetGalley and the Publisher for the opportunity to read this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Learn More About:

Anna Schmidt | Cat d’Zan | Doors of the Past series

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Book Review: Letting Go and Trusting God: 180 Devotions for Life’s Tough Decisions

Image Curtesy of Amazon

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Tough decisions will always come, but the strong God who loves you shows you where to go, if only you will listen and follow. Letting God and Trusting God is a devotional that takes a look at both the well-thought-out choices and impulse decisions of biblical people. These 180 devotions can gently help you understand how to make wise decisions, no matter what life throws your way.

Publisher: Barbour Publishing

Source: NetGalley

Leslie’s Review: 3.5 Stars/I more than liked it!

I’m a big fan of a majority of the devotionals that Barbour Publishing comes out with and when I found out about Letting Go and Trusting God: 180 Devotions for Life’s Tough Decisions by Pamela L. McQuade, I knew I had to read it. Letting Go and Trusting God carries the theme of trusting God all through out all of it’s 180 devotions. Each devotion has a Bible verse that corresponds with the title of that particular day’s devotion and a story from the Bible that goes along with it.

I used Letting Go and Trusting God: 180 Devotions for Life’s Tough Decisions as part of my devotion time. I liked how short, yet impactful each devotion is. Sometimes I read multiple devotions a day to help me get through my hectic day. I liked how the devotional used various Bible stories from both the Old and New Testaments to illustrate how God can ALWAYS be trusted. This devotional was a great reminder to me that we can trust God no matter what life throws at us. I believe this book will encourage whoever reads it.

Have you read Letting Go and Trusting God: 180 Devotions for Life’s Tough Decisions? What did you think of the devotional? What’s something new that you learned in regards to trust?

I would like to thank you to NetGalley and the Publisher for the opportunity to read this devotional. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Learn More About:

Pamela L. McQuade

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Book Review: Harmony on the Horizon

Image Curtesy of Kathleen Denly

Synopsis from Kathleen Denly

Her calling to change the world may be his downfall.

On the heels of the Great Rebellion, Margaret Foster, an abolitionist northerner, takes a teaching position in 1865 San Diego—a town dominated by Southern sympathizers. At thirty-seven years of age, Margaret has accepted spinsterhood and embraced her role as teacher. So, when Everett Thompson, the handsomest member of the School Board, reveals his interest in her, it’s a dream come true. Until her passionate ideals drive a wedge between them.

After two decades of hard work, Everett Thompson is on the verge of having everything he’s dreamed of. Even the beautiful new teacher has agreed to his courtship. Then two investments go south and a blackmailer threatens everything Everett has and dreams of.

As Everett scrambles to shore up the crumbling pieces of his life, Margaret unwittingly sets off a scandal that divides the small community and threatens her position as teacher. With the blackmailer still whispering threats, Everett must decide if he’s willing to risk everything for the woman still keeping him at arm’s length.

Publisher: Wild Heart Books

Source: Complementary copy from Kathleen Denly

Leslie’s Review: 3.5 Stars/I more than liked it!

Harmony on the Horizon by Kathleen Denly is a sweet, uplifting story about forgiveness and grace. Harmony on the Horizon is the third book in the Chaparral Hearts series. Harmony on the Horizon centers around Everett and Margaret as well as Fletcher and Katie. The story splits it’s time between San Francisco and San Diego in 1865.

Everett and Margaret’s story deals with a lot of misunderstanding, secrets, and standing up for one’s convictions. Everett is on the School Board in San Diego and has many business ventures in both San Diego and San Francisco that all seem to be having some kind of trouble at the same time. Margaret comes from the North, with the promise of a teaching position, to San Francisco, but the position falls through. After a God-ordained meeting, Everett offers Margaret a teaching job in San Diego without any references or recommendations. Margaret is thirty-seven and her teaching methods are unconventional to the townspeople, but effective. Margaret sees people for who they are and does not mind about the color of their skin, which a lot of the townspeople disagree with. Even though Everett shares the same convictions as Margaret, he fails to vocalize them like Margaret does. Regardless of his secrets, Everett and Margaret still fall for each other and Everett’s secrets almost cost him everything.

Fletcher and Katie’s story also mingles with misunderstanding, secrets, and standing up for one’s convictions. Fletcher has a passion to right the wrongs in society, and sometimes doing things that some would deem Un-Christlike. Katie is a sweet, easily distracted young lady that tries her best to honor Christ. Both try to stand up for what they believe is right. Throughout the book as Fletcher and Katie’s friendship blossoms, so do their feelings for one another. But like with Everett, Fletcher’s as well as Katie’s secrets almost cost them everything.

I liked the complexities of all the characters and the lessons of Forgiveness and Grace they all learned. I also loved how also the characters stories were intertwined with one another. I loved and appreciated how the author did not shy away from realities of the day regarding race, jobs, and society as a whole. Not only did Ms. Denly not shy away from the injustices of the time, she has elegantly sprinkled God’s Truth throughout the book.

This is the first book I read by Ms. Denly and it won’t be my last. The book is very detailed, well-researched, and well-written. While this is the third book in the Chaparral Hearts series and the first book I have read from the author, there were times while I was reading that I felt that I was missing something because I have not read the previous books yet. To me, this isn’t a bad thing necessarily. If anything, it spurs me on and makes me want to read the rest of series to find out what has happened previously–which I cannot wait to do! If you are looking for a sweet escape with Truth to get swept into, I highly recommend this book.

Have you read Harmony on the Horizon? What did you think of the book? What did you learn from the characters?

I would personally like to thank Ms. Denly for the opportunity to read this book and for giving a blogger a chance in the book review world to get started. All thoughts, opinions, and views are my own.

Learn More About:

Kathleen Denly

Photo Curtesy of Kathleen Denly

Kathleen Denly writes historical romance to entertain, encourage, and inspire readers toward a better understanding of our amazing God and how He sees us. Award winning author of the Chaparral Hearts series, she also shares history tidbits, thoughts on writing, books reviews and more at KathleenDenly.com.

Kathleen lives in sunny California with her loving husband, four young children, and two cats. As a member of the adoption and foster community, children in need are a cause dear to her heart and she finds they make frequent appearances in her stories. When she isn’t writing, researching, or caring for children, Kathleen spends her time reading, visiting historical sites, hiking, and crafting.

Connect with Kathleen:

Website | Newsletter| BookBub

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Book Review: The Wonder of Creation: 100 More Devotions About God and Science

Image Curtesy of Amazon

Synopsis from Amazon:

In this captivating follow-up to the bestselling kids’ devotionals Indescribable and How Great Is Our God, discover more mind-blowing, faith-building scientific facts and biblical truths about the wonder of God’s creation from author, speaker, and founder of the Passion movement Louie Giglio.

Well-known for his powerful and highly visual messages about science and the Bible, Louie Giglio has a passion for inspiring kids to notice, enjoy, and marvel at God’s creation. In The Wonder of Creation, children will find new delight in God’s creativity with 100 devotions that explore:

  • animals—from honeyguide birds to flying snakes to white rhinos
  • space—from black holes to volcanic moons to gamma-ray bursts
  • people—from optical illusions to brain freezes to our immune systems 
  • Earth—from rainbow rivers to blue lava to flowing glaciers                                                    
  • and much, much more!

With engaging illustrations and striking photography, this fun and informative book is ideal for children ages 6–10. Each of the 100 devotions features a scientific fact or an easy activity for exploring faith, a short Bible verse, and a closing prayer.

With a beautifully bright and colorful cover and a ribbon bookmark, The Wonder of Creation

  • is ideal for science-loving kids, Bible-loving kids, and any child ready to go deeper in faith
  • continues a well-loved devotional series that has impacted over a million children, parents, and teachers
  • includes informative content call-outs inviting kids to “Explore the Wonder”
  • makes a great addition to a homeschool STEM curriculum or a bedtime reading routine

As kids explore this awe-inspiring devotional, they’ll be amazed at the many wonders God has made!

Check out these other books in the bestselling Indescribable Kids series:

  • Indescribable
  • Indescribable for Little Ones
  • How Great Is Our God

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Source: NetGalley

Leslie’s Review: 4 Stars/I really, really love it!

The Wonder of Creation: 100 More Devotions About God and Science is not the first book I have read by Louie Giglio, but it is the first Children’s Devotional I have read from Mr. Giglio. The Wonder of Creation: 100 More Devotions About God and Science is geared toward 6-10 year-olds. The Wonder of Creation has 100 devotional entries that look at parts of Creation and science through a Biblical lens. Each devotion takes an illustration from creation and science and brings it back to Jesus and His Word. Each devotion entry includes a Bible verse, a prayer, and a neat scientific fact that corresponds with the devotional. A devotional entry may cover information about animals, how our bodies work, space, taking care of the planet, amongst other topics.

Science is not really my forte (usually because I have a hard time understanding it), but I really enjoyed the devotions in The Wonder of Creation because the science in the devotions were written in a way that I could understand it–especially how seamlessly it was tied back to Jesus. In other words, if I can understand it, it’s highly probable that a 6-10 year-old will understand it and enjoy it as well. I like how short, impactful, and easy to understand each devotion entry is and how the author always found a way to point what he was talking about to the Word of God. The illustrations are awesome too. I think this book would be perfect to utilize in a Christian Education setting or to incorporate in homeschool lessons as well as personal devotional time. I highly recommend The Wonder of Creation: 100 More Devotions About God and Science and believe kids will enjoy it! I am looking forward to reading the other children’s devotionals that Louie Giglio has written too!

Have you read The Wonder of Creation: 100 More Devotions About God and Science? What did you think of the devotional? How have utilized the book?

I would like thank NetGalley and the Publisher for the opportunity to read this book. All thoughts, ideas, and opinions are my own.

Learn More About:

Louie Giglio | Tama Fortner | Nicola Anderson

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Book Review: Christmas at the Amish Bakeshop 

Image Curtesy of Amazon

Synopsis from Goodreads:

USA Today bestselling authors Shelley Shepard Gray, Rachel J. Good, and Loree Lough celebrate the spirit of the season, the warmth of simple traditions, and of course, the joy of holiday treats, with this faith-affirming collection of three connected holiday novellas about the Christmas surprises in store for those who work and shop at a charming Amish bakery.

As the most joyful holiday draws near, three couples discover the recipe for love includes faith, hope, and the sweetest blessings…

A CHRISTMAS CAKE FOR REBECCA by New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Shelley Shepard Gray
When carpenter Aden returns to Lancaster after twenty years away, bakeshop owner Rebecca is dismayed to find he’s still as handsome and kind as ever. He broke her heart when he left the community back then. Will a holiday emergency provide a second chance at love, this time forever?

BEST CHRISTMAS PRESENT EVER by USA Today Bestselling Author Rachel J. Good
When a lonely widower with a sick daughter and a new cake decorator meet at the bakeshop, they discover they were once childhood playmates. But as each of them helps the other care for family, their neighborly kindness inspires a gift that only love could make possible…

THE CHRISTMAS CUPCAKE by USA Today Bestselling Author Loree Lough
A builder who never learned to read believes he must hide his fond feelings for a kind schoolteacher. But after they run into each other at the bakeshop, she offers to teach him–and as Christmas approaches, each of them learns a lesson about the great gift of love…

Publisher: Kensington Books

Source: NetGalley

Leslie’s Review: 3.5 Stars/I more than liked it

A Christmas Cake for Rebecca

I am a big fan of Shelley Shephard Gray’s work and when I found out that she was a contributor to Christmas at the Amish Bakeshop I knew I had to read it! After being separated for many years, Aden and Rebecca are reunited through the circumstances of life. When Aden sees how hard Rebecca works at her shop, Rebecca’s Porch, he offers to help any way he can. Through Aden’s help, Aden and Rebecca’s relationship and the feelings they had for each other are rekindled.

Ms. Gray’s A Christmas Cake for Rebecca is sweet, while predictable at times. The predictableness is easy to overlook, because it is a Christmas story and Ms. Gray’s writing is so good. The description of Rebecca’s famous Christmas cake is mouthwatering. I loved the characters and reading A Christmas Cake for Rebecca.

Best Christmas Present Ever

Rachel J. Good is a new author to me. Ms. Good’s story Best Christmas Present Ever has made me a fan. Best Christmas Present Ever centers a round Christian, a widow taking care of his daughter, Johanna, who has cancer, and Lizzie, a young down-on-her-luck Amish woman who has moved back home to take care of her ailing Aunt. The primary setting for the story is Rebecca’s Porch, just like it was in the previous story, A Christmas Cake for Rebecca. While getting to know one another, Christian and Lizzie realize they were childhood best friends (which actually surprised me a bit).

I really liked Best Christmas Present Ever. Like the story before, it was predictable in some parts (but not the childhood best friend part–at least to me), but the story was sweet and Christmassy enough to overlook it. I enjoyed that the story had included characters from A Christmas Cake for Rebecca. I loved how caring, sweet, and understanding the characters were with one another and genuinely cared for the people around them. I love that Christian and Lizzie did not realize that they had grown up together until halfway through the story–it was a pleasant surprise as the reader.

The Christmas Cupcake

Loree Lough’s The Christmas Cupcake is a sweet story that centers around Asher and Tessa. Tessa is the school teacher for her Amish community and Asher is a furniture builder. Tessa has a rough home life that hardly anyone knows about and Asher has trouble reading and writing. After bumping into one another at Rebecca’s Porch, they start getting to know each other. As Asher does his best to protect Tessa and Tessa teaches Asher to read and write, their friendship and feelings deepen.

In The Christmas Cupcake, real life issues (abuse and illiteracy) are more center stage than the previous stories and Rebecca’s Porch is not a major part of the story like it had been in the previous stories, in my opinion. I appreciated how The Christmas Cupcake dealt with real life issues, in the midst of a seasonal story, and it was still able to have an uplifting ending. I enjoyed reading about Asher and Tessa and am happy with the story’s outcome.

Christmas at the Amish Bakeshop (as a whole):

I really enjoyed Christmas at the Amish Bakeshop as a whole. Each story was a really nice read that I could escape into. I know I said that it was predictable in some parts to me and that is true, but I don’t see that as a bad thing necessarily. When I read a Christmas read, I want to know that everything will be wrapped up in a tidy bow and will have a happy ending. I want to be able to escape into a Christmas read and destress. Christmas at the Amish Bakeshop did that for me.

Have you read Christmas at the Amish Bakeshop? What did you think of the stories?

I would like to thank NetGalley and the Publisher for the opportunity to read this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Learn More About:

Shelley Shepard Gray | Rachel J. Good | Loree Lough

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Book Review: Saturdays with Billy: My Friendship with Billy Graham

Image Curtesy of Amazon

Synopsis from Amazon:

Most Saturdays for 15 years, Don drove the long road to meet with Billy at his home in Montreat, North Carolina. There the two friends spent hours talking about family, politics, sports, and their spiritual lives.

Now, in Saturdays with Billy, Don shares:

  • More than 20 heartwarming stories of his times with his friend, illuminating the qualities in Billy’s character that were true to the end and revealing the heart of the man whose light still shines
  • A quote from Billy before each chapter, as well as dynamic color photography throughout

Just as Billy’s words changed Don’s life, they have the power to change ours–a testament to a man who leaned on God’s grace into eternity.

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Source: NetGalley

Leslie’s Review: 5 Stars/A favorite of 2021

Saturdays with Billy: My Friendship with Billy Graham by Don Wilton is a great tribute to Mr. Graham. Don Wilton had the privilege of being Billy Graham’s pastor. Mr. Wilton took great care in writing the book, being ever mindful and respectful of his role and relationship of being Billy Graham’s Pastor without breaking confidentiality.

I loved the stories told in Saturdays with Billy. Mr. Wilton’s stories helped to show that the Billy Graham the world saw is the same Billy Graham that one would see in private. Saturdays with Billy shows the humility of Billy Graham and Mr. Graham’s heart to share Jesus with others.

Reading Saturdays with Billy: My Friendship with Billy Graham reiterated how important it is to tell others about Jesus to everyone we come in contact with. Jesus is the Hope that the world needs and the Answer to what everyone needs in their lives. Saturdays with Billy helps us see that we can share Jesus with Humility and Grace. Saturdays with Billy also shows us that Mr. Graham was just like us–he was concerned about his family and the moral compass of the world, but He trusted God’s Hand in everything.

Have you read Saturdays with Billy: My Friendship with Billy Graham? What did you think of the book?

I would like to thank NetGalley and the Publisher for the opportunity to read this book. All thoughts, ideals, and opinions are my own.

Learn More About:

Don Wilton

Billy Graham

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Book Review: God’s Power in Me: 52 Declarations and Devotions for Kids

Image Curtesy of Amazon

Synopsis from Amazon:

God’s Power in Me is an interactive 52-day devotional that encourages young readers 8-12 to break free from negative thinking and focus on the positive truths of who God made them to be. Through daily devotions paired with a 90-second affirmation kids can say aloud every day, readers will grow closer to God and learn to challenge the personal doubts that might be holding them back.

I’m not good enoughI don’t deserve to be their friend. And things will never change. Kids tell themselves things like this every day, and popular Bible teacher and speaker Margaret Feinberg wants to help them defeat those self-doubts and stop believing the lies—because God only tells us the truth about ourselves, and that truth is we are all meant to have a joyous and powerful life.

Throughout the devotions in God’s Power in Me, kids will discover:

  • Quick daily affirmations they can hold on to, biblical teachings, and practical applications for their own lives
  • Inspiration to banish any negative thoughts and ideas they may have
  • Encouragement to stand in their own truths while also growing closer to God in the process

God’s Power in Me:

  • Has an engaging two-color interior
  • Is perfect for anyone ages 8-12 going through their pre-teen years, and can be used by girls and boys
  • Provides kids with the tools to actively attack automatic negative thoughts every day while also encouraging spiritual development
  • Can be used over and over as a daily devotional
  • Is a great gift for Confirmation, Easter, birthdays, or to offer encouragement

Publisher: Zonderkidz

Source: NetGalley

Leslie’s Review: 4 Stars/I really, really love it

I absolutely love Margaret Feinberg’s devotional, God’s Power in Me: 52 Declarations and Devotions for Kids! God’s Power in Me is geared toward 8-12 year-olds and has 52 devotional entries. Each devotion centers around a truth based in the Bible and a lie that Satan or the world tells us. Each devotion had a corresponding Bible verse to go with it and a main point that is often to the side somewhere within that devotion. At the end of each devotion entry there is a “Declaration” journal prompt.

I loved that right off the bat, in the beginning of the devotional, there is a list of declarations about being a Child of God. I loved how Ms. Feinberg shares relatable stories from her life to help get the point of the devotion entry across. I loved how in God’s Power in Me there is a “Declaration” journal prompt at the end of each devotional entry. I also liked at the end of the devotional there is another list of the declarations from the beginning, but it includes Bible verses that correspond with each declaration.

God’s Power in Me: 52 Declarations and Devotions for Kids is a great devotional for kids 8-12 year-olds. This would also be a great devotional for kids to do with their families or guardians. I believe it could be used as part of a Christian curriculum, class, or Bible study for 8-12 year-olds.

Have you read God’s Power in Me: 52 Declarations and Devotions for Kids? How did you use the devotional? What did the kids in your life like about the devotional?

I would like to thank NetGalley and the Publisher for the opportunity read this devotional. All thoughts, ideas, and opinions are my own.

Learn More About:

Margaret Feinberg

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Book Review: The Wish Book Christmas

Image Curtesy of Amazon

Synopsis from Amazon:

Best friends Audrey Barrett and Eve Dawson are looking forward to celebrating Christmas in postwar America, thrilled at the prospect of starting new traditions with their five-year-old sons. But when the 1951 Sears Christmas Wish Book arrives and the boys start obsessing over every toy in it, Audrey and Eve realize they must first teach them the true significance of the holiday. They begin by helping Bobby and Harry plan gifts of encouragement and service for those in their community, starting by walking an elderly neighbor’s yellow Lab—since a dog topped the boys’ wish list for Santa. In the charming tale that follows, Audrey and Eve are surprised to find their own hearts healing from the tragedies of war and opening to the possibility of forgiveness and new love.

Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers

Source: NetGalley

Leslie’s Review: 5 Stars/A favorite of 2021

Lynn Austin’s The Wish Book Christmas is one of the best Christmas reads I have ever read. What drew me to the book was the historical setting and the Sears Christmas Wish Book itself. The book takes place in the 1950s and is a follow-up to Ms. Austin’s book, If I Were You. (If I Were You is still on my TBR list, but I did not feel entirely lost while reading The Wish Book Christmas.) The Wish Book Christmas center’s around Bobby and Harry, the young sons of Audrey and Eve.

Bobby and Harry are obsessed with the Sears Christmas Wish Book and want everything that’s in the Wish Book (for boys that is). I remember when I was a young girl myself, writing down everything in the girls section and giving the list to my family in the late 80s-early 90s. It was nice to be swept up in the nostalgia and memories of Christmas past while reading the book.

Besides the nostalgia and the time period, what I loved most about the book is the Message woven throughout. Audrey and Eve do not want their sons to become greedy and expect to get everything they have asked for. Inspired by the Christmas Story from the Bible and the boys’ role in the Christmas Play as Wise Men as reference, Audrey and Eve come up with plans of ways for them to give back to their community.

At first, it’s a rough go, but once the boys get the hang of it, they don’t want to stop giving! Bobby and Harry then understand what the True Meaning of Christmas is: Jesus. Audrey and Eve also learn lessons of God’s Forgiveness and Grace and His Giving Nature. The grownups in their circle of friends and family are blessed by Bobby and Harry’s giving and are impressed to give themselves.

The Wish Book Christmas is a sweet Christmas read that helps to remind us what the True Meaning of Christmas actually is and what Jesus gave us. I highly recommend The Wish Book Christmas. The Wish Book Christmas has definitely become one of my favorite reads that I wouldn’t mind reading again (which is rare for me) and is one of my favorites of 2021.

Have you read The Wish Book Christmas? How did you like the book? Do you have a special Sears Christmas Wish Book memory?

I would like to thank NetGalley and the Publisher for the opportunity to read this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Learn More About:

Lynn Austin

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Book Review: Jesus Came for Me: The True Story of Christmas

Image Curtesy of New Growth Press

Synopsis from New Growth Press

Jesus came for us. Because Jesus was born at Christmas, we can know that he is with us always. This board book by author Jared Kennedy helps toddlers and preschoolers understand the true meaning of Christmas in a personal, memorable way.  

Jesus Came for Me is part of The Beginner’s Gospel Story Bible series. For children ages three to five, this beautifully illustrated book begins with the announcement of John the Baptist’s birth to Zechariah and ends with the visit of the wise men. Jesus, our great God, was born as a little baby, and his birth is good news and great joy for all people—including your child! 

Help your little one know that Jesus is always present, and he helps us believe and wait for him. Because of the compelling content and modern, vivid illustrations, children will live in the joy of the greatest truth of all: Jesus is with us! 

This conversational book simply tells the story of the gospel and invites children to respond. Jesus Came for Me helps toddlers and preschoolers celebrate the true meaning of Christmas.

Publisher: New Growth Press

Source: Purchased from New Growth Press

Leslie’s Review: 4 Stars/I really, really love it

Jesus Came for Me: The True Story of Christmas by Jared Kennedy is a fun book to read at Christmas time to your little ones. Mr. Kennedy has written the book so that young ones can understand the Christmas Story. I loved that Mr. Kennedy went beyond just telling that Mary gave birth to Jesus, the Shepherds, and the Wise Men, but also included (briefly) parts that usually get left out when telling the Christmas Story to toddlers. In Jesus Came for Me, kids will be introduced Elizabeth and Zachariah (which is one of my favorite parts of the Christmas Story) and to King Herod.

I also loved how Scripture References were sprinkled throughout the book along with questions to help your little one understand. The questions also help to see where the child is in comprehending the story which could lead to important conversations about Jesus. The pictures are adorable as well. (I loved how they showed how Zachariah couldn’t speak–too cute!) I believe Jesus Came for Me is a great way to introduce young ones to the Christmas Story in a understandable way.

Have you read Jesus Came for Me: The True Story of Christmas? How did your family enjoy the book?

Learn More About:

Jared Kennedy | Trish Mahoney

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Book Review: The Story of the Christmas Cow

Image Curtesy of Amazon

Synopsis from Amazon:

Most of us are familiar with the Christmas story-Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem, the angels in the night sky, and, of course, the birth of Jesus, the Savior of all mankind. Yet in The Story of the Christmas Cow, you will experience the joy, excitement, and unforgettable peace of this Christ-centered holiday through the eyes of the Christmas Cow. Within the pages of this captivating children’s tale, author Ray Berilla shares one cow’s adventure from Mary and Joseph’s pasture to the stable that welcomed the Son of God into the world. After being forced to stay behind when her donkey friend was chosen to carry Mary to Bethlehem, the Christmas Cow finds the courage to follow her masters to join the donkey for an experience of a lifetime. Although she faces tests, trials, and challenges along the way, the Christmas Cow presses onward to her goal, believing in her heart that something wonderful awaits at the end of her travels. Discover the power of following your dreams in this lively, heartwarming book that will inspire you and your child through beautiful reminders of God’s goodness, the purpose of faith, and the wonder of Jesus Christ. The Story of the Christmas Cow is an uplifting holiday classic that will bring encouragement to the whole family all year round.

Publisher: Xulon Press

Source: NetGalley

Leslie’s Review: 5 Stars/A favorite of 2021

The Story of the Christmas Cow by Ray Berilla has quickly become one of my favorite Christmas books of all time. In the vein of The Donkey No One Could Ride, The Story of the Christmas Cow tells the story of a cow that is owned by Mary and Joseph. After Mary and Joseph’s Donkey brags to rest of the animals that he his going to Bethlehem with Mary and Joseph, the Cow that Mary and Joseph own decides to sneak off and follow them. The long, arduous journey about does the Cow in and her perseverance helps her reach her destination and goal.

The Story of the Christmas Cow is a uplifting and heartwarming story that helps tell the true Christmas Story. It reminds the reader not to give up and to keep going after what the Lord has laid on their hearts to do. The illustrations are elegant and complement the story well. I really enjoyed the Message in the book too. This is a perfect Christmas read to read with the family during this special season. I highly recommend this book and believe it would be a great book to implement into your Christmas festivities, not only this year, but for years to come.

Have you read The Story of the Christmas Cow? What did you think of the story? What’s your go-to Christmas story book to read each year with your family?

I would like to thank NetGalley and the Publisher for the opportunity to read this book. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Learn More About:

Ray Berilla

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Book Review: A Christmas in the Alps

Image Curtesy of Amazon

Synopsis from Goodreads :

After a time of heartache and loss, Simone Winthrop discovers a tantalizing letter from her French great-grandmother, which seems to suggest that she is heir to a family treasure. Ever practical, Simone assumes the claim is baseless, but her best friend encourages her to find out for sure. Despite her deep-rooted fear of flying, Simone boards a jet to travel to Paris at Christmastime to uncover the truth.

During the long flight, Simone meets the charming Kyle Larsson, who’s on his way to France to become an apprentice clockmaker. Though they abruptly part ways, an unexpected rendezvous in the French Alps at Simone’s family’s clock factory may lead to the discovery of the family treasure . . . and so much more.

For anyone who is wearying of staying home, Melody Carlson invites you to spend Christmas with her in the beautiful French Alps this year. So pull on your mittens, tie your scarf tight, and prepare yourself for a magical mountain holiday.

Publisher: Revell

Source: NetGalley

Leslie’s Review: 4 Stars/I really, really love it

Melody Carlson’s A Christmas in the Alps is a perfect, cozy read for the festive season. Ms. Carlson takes you on a picturesque trip to the French Alps as the main character, Simone, is on a quest to find her great-grandmother’s family treasure. Simone, who takes the trip begrudgingly and at a friend’s urging, meets Kyle on the plane. Throughout the trip, Kyle and Simone’s paths keep crossing and in the process Kyle assists Simone in her quest to find her great-grandmother’s family treasure.

I am not a newcomer to Ms. Carlson’s books-especially her Christmas stories-and when I heard about A Christmas in the Alps I knew I had to read it. Ms. Carlson’s eloquent writing makes you feel as though you are in the French Alps yourself, walking along it’s streets and through the places with Simone and the people she meets. While the plot is somewhat predictable in some parts, it still leaves the reader engaged. A Christmas in the Alps is a sweet and pleasant read for the festive season. If you are looking for a good read to help you escape the hustle and bustle (if only for a little bit) then A Christmas in the Alps would be an excellent read and you won’t be disappointed! I highly recommend it! (I also think it would be a AWESOME holiday movie!)

Have you read A Christmas in the Alps? What did you think of it? Do you agree that it would be a good holiday movie?

I would like to thank NetGalley and the Publisher for the opportunity to read this book. All thoughts and opinions in this review are my own.

Learn More About:

Melody Carlson

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Book Review: Prepare Him Room: Celebrating the Birth of Jesus Family Devotional

Image Curtesy of New Growth Press

Synopsis from New Growth Press

Guide your family into the heart of Christmas with this gospel-focused, four-week Advent curriculum.

Prepare Him Room by children’s best-selling author Marty Machowski takes a biblical, theological approach to the Old Testament promises and New Testament fulfillment in Christ in a way kids can understand.

A tool for families hoping to focus on Jesus during the Christmas season, readers will have the resources necessary to counter the commercialism, materialism, and sentimentalism our culture celebrates each Christmas. Prepare Him Room includes an original Christmas short story and thirteen family Advent devotions—three for each of the four weeks of Advent and one more for Christmas—plus crafts, activities, and carols to sing together.

Prepare Him Room will change the way you and your family celebrate Christmas. The corresponding devotional, Prepare Him Room: Celebrating the Birth of Jesus Family Devotional is sold separately. A companion CD, Prepare Him Room: Celebrating the Birth of Jesus in Song, is also available through Sovereign Grace Music. Challenge your family to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas.

Publisher: New Growth Press

Source: New Growth Press

Leslie’s Review: 5 Stars/A favorite of 2021

Marty Machowski’s book Prepare Him Room: Celebrating the Birth of Jesus Family Devotional is a great Advent Devotional. The book is intended to be started 4 Sundays before Christmas. Prepare Him Room is divided up into 4 weeks of devotions, with 3 devotions per week. At the end of each week there is a chapter of a short story called Bartimaeus: A Christmas Story. There is also a special devotion entry to read on Christmas Day.

Before you start the devotional, it is suggested to do a Advent Wreath. The book explains how to do and utilize the Advent Wreath, which I appreciate from the perspective from someone who is new to the Advent tradition. Each devotion includes a Scripture reference, a thought or idea to bring the devotion entry together, a prayer, songs to sing and family activities to do together. Prepare Him Room: Celebrating the Birth of Jesus Family Devotional is a companion to the Prepare Him Room curriculum and music CD. You can use the devotional without the companion products. (I did.)

I loved the freedom and flexibility that the use of Prepare Him Room brings. As the adult and reader, I felt as though I had the flexibility to choose how and when to use the devotional. If I didn’t start the devotional in the recommended time frame, and I didn’t, that was ok because I could start the devotional when it was right for me. I also liked how it only had 3 devotional entries a week. That way if you needed to adjust the readings to your family’s schedule its easy to do so and doesn’t overwhelm you.

I loved the Bartimaeus short story at the end of each week. It was one of my favorite parts of the book. I liked, not only the flexibility of the devotional, but that each devotion entry is easy to understand yet truthful and that the discussions had from the devotions could be great ones. I appreciated that a big emphasis of the book is about giving back and sharing the Love of Jesus in tangible ways through the activities that are in the book and that the activities are meant to include the whole family. There are also cute illustrations sprinkled throughout the book.

I highly recommend this book–it’s become one of my favorite’s of the Season!

Have you read Prepare Him Room: Celebrating the Birth of Jesus Family Devotional? What did you like about the devotional? How did your family incorporate it into your Advent/Christmas celebrations?

Thank you to New Growth Press for giving me a copy of Prepare Him Room: Celebrating the Birth of Jesus Family Devotional to review. The review and opinions expressed are purely my own.

Learn More About:

Marty Machowski

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Book Review: Wonders of His Love: Finding Jesus in Isaiah Family Advent Devotional

Image Curtesy of New Growth Press

Synopsis from New Growth Press

Advent is the perfect time for families to gather together and celebrate the birth of Jesus. Using pictures of Jesus from Isaiah’s prophecies—the Light, the Branch, the Shepherd, and the Savior—brings to life the true meaning of Christmas.  

Hundreds of years before Jesus was born, God spoke to his people through the prophet Isaiah, promising them a Savior. To communicate God’s message, Isaiah used striking, stunning, and surprising imagery—the “wonders” of his love! Isaiah pointed God’s people to the future, when one day, through his birth, death, and resurrection, Jesus would deliver his people from sin and sorrow forever.    

Perfect for busy families with younger children, each week of Advent focuses on one of Isaiah’s images and has readings related to the week’s theme—Jesus the Light; Jesus the Branch; Jesus the Shepherd; Jesus the Savior—and, on Christmas Day, Jesus the Bread. Each week also includes fun stories, discussion questions, crafts, recipes, games, and suggestions for family service projects. 

Written by Champ Thornton and illustrated by Jeremy Slagle, this four-week devotional will draw families closer to Jesus and to each other.

Publisher: New Growth Press

Source: Purchased from New Growth Press

Leslie’s Review: 4 Stars/I really, really loved it

Wonders of His Love: Finding Jesus in Isaiah Family Advent Devotional by Champ Thornton is a four week devotional that focuses on the prophecy of Jesus’ Birth in Isaiah. Each week focuses on a different “wonder” of the Christmas Story with 5 devotions that corresponds with each “wonder”. There are various activities and ideas for the family to do together that week. A QR code is also included in the back of the book to access crafts that you can also do as well.

I liked how each devotion is easy for any age to understand and that it included discussion questions. I loved the illustrations and the historical facts surrounding Jesus’ Birth that were sprinkled throughout the book. For me, this is a great starter devotional to introduce families to the Advent Season. The activities and suggestions included help to make the Meaning of the season stick.

Learn More About:

Champ Thornton | Jeremy Slagle

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Book Review: Divine Disruptions

Image curtesy of Amazon

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Divine Disruption explores the many hardships we experience in life and how God breaks through with the power of hope. In the book, Dr. Tony Evans and his four children—Chrystal Evans Hurst, Priscilla Shirer, Anthony Evans, and Jonathan Evans—discuss their faith-shaking experiences: from the deep grief of losing six loved ones in less than two years’ time, with the most devastating blow being the death of Lois Evans, the matriarch of the family, to a deep dive into dealing with the various hard, unexpected things we all face. Life throws many curves—whether the loss of a job or health due to the ongoing worldwide pandemic, or marriage and relationship issues, problems with children, even the recent racial and political unrest.  

The authors step together into a unique Kingdom Legacy partnership, opening themselves to the honest questions, raw emotions, and solutions they learned to cling to amid their various struggles as they honor their mother’s wish to work together. Through their bond and individual strengths, they demonstrate how even the most devastating tragedies can bring glory to God as He continues to meet their needs and build their faith.

Publisher: Thomas Nelson-W Publishing

Source: NetGalley

Leslie’s Review: 5 Stars/ A Favorite of 2021

I absolutely loved Divine Disruptions by the Evans-Hurst-Shirer family! It is a uniquely written book as it written by Dr. Tony Evans and his four children, making it the first time they all have written a book together. Each chapter covers a situation the family has went through or something that God has taught them. Most of the chapters include all of the family writing a piece of the chapter. I appreciated that at the beginning of the book it was explained how the book is laid out. The book is written by Dr. Evans and his four children and when the narrative changes, the author’s name is at the top of the paragraph.

What I read in Divine Disruptions shows that we all have ups and downs in life no matter who we are. What I read in Divine Disruptions shows that we have a choice every day to believe and trust God no matter what comes. What I read in Divine Disruptions shows that with a foundation and a relationship with Jesus Christ we can make it through the tough things of life.

I loved how Divine Disruptions is written as if you were talking to the authors themselves, as though they were your friends. The testimony the family tells is relatable and real. Divine Disruptions is a wonderful book that encourages and gives practical, Biblical advice through the seasons of life.

Have you read Divine Disruptions? What did you think of the book?

I would like to thank NetGalley and the Publisher for the opportunity to read this book. This is an honest review and all opinions and thoughts are my own.

Learn More About The Authors: