Book Reviews, devotional, writing

How to Write a Devotion Review

How to Write a Devotion, by Melanie Chitwood

Have you felt called to write a devotion or a devotional blog post, but you’re not sure where to start? How to Write a Devotion by my friend Melanie Chitwood is the perfect place to start. This concise, easy-to-follow book outlines five simple steps to writing a life-changing devotion! Melanie shows you everything from choosing a read-worthy topic to addressing your readers’ needs to finishing with a bang (or a prayer). 

This is not just a book, but it’s also a workbook for us hands-on gals who like to make notes right in the text! It’s packed with examples and practical advice for helping you to get your devotion written now! 

Melanie has written hundreds of devotions for Proverbs 31 Ministries as well as several books. She’s currently a writing coach and editor at Next Step Coaching Services. This book will give you the confidence you need to write and publish your devotion, so it’s ready for publication—whether you’re clicking “post” to your own blog or sending a devotional book proposal off to an agent or publisher.  

Everything you need to confidently write your next devotion is in this 45-page book in five easy steps. Just add prayer and Scripture! I’m giving this wonderful resource a resounding thumbs up! Run over to her website and grab your copy today!

Book Reviews, divorce, encouragement, moving on

When Happily Ever After Shatters (book review)

The big white dress. The flowers. The church. The kids. The years. The breakup. Wait–what? What do you do when your (or your friend’s) marriage disintegrates before your eyes? When you can stop crying long enough to read a chapter at a time, dig into Sue Birdsey’s When Happily Ever After Shatters, published by Focus on the Family in conjunction with Tyndale Publishers. Sue has first-hand experience in not only dealing with abandonment, divorce, and single parenting, but thriving through it.

Sue offers practical advice for those going through every step of this life-altering tragedy. She also offers advice for friends and families of those suffering. This book was so good that I read it straight through in two sittings. I highly recommend it for everyone because we all know someone going through divorce right now.

Disclaimer: This book was provided to me free of charge from Tyndale Publishing in hopes that I would provide a review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Book Reviews, homeschool, organization, organizing

Bookshelf Reorganization


I’ve been rearranging. Yes, again. It’s been a while since I showed you my Expedit bookshelf, so I thought it was time for an update. I believe it’s in its fourth different room since coming to live with me. It doesn’t seem to mind, though, and it’s actually fairly easy to move–after removing all of the books.

One block is homeschool teacher’s manuals and such, one block is reference materials for editing, another block is teaching homeschool writing, but 2 blocks (almost) are devoted to teaching college writing. One block has my fiction books, while another block holds my yearbooks and diplomas (yes, I should probably recycle the yearbooks, but I can’t quite bring myself to do it). One plastic bin is my filing cabinet, while the other one holds extra file folders, printer paper, and similar stuff.

The black bins? Well, let’s just say they’re holding stuff, which is what they’re designed to do 🙂 The white tray is my to-file bin. I’d like to say that I file stuff once a week so that the bin is usually empty. Sadly, I can’t say that. Hey, just keepin’ it real here, folks.

Of course, you’ll also notice that I’ve got a few pretties on my shelves as well. Organization can be pretty!

Q4U: How are your bookshelves doing?

Book Reviews

A Promise to Protect (book review)

Liz Johnson delivers again with A Promise to ProtectNavy SEAL Matt Waterstone knows about keeping people safe. When his best friend’s sister is attacked, Matt promises no harm will come to Ashley Sawyer–not on his watch. But Matt’s not the only protective one. Ashley will do anything to safeguard the residents of the battered women’s shelter she runs. She’s sure she can handle the threats she gets in return. What she can’t handle is the way Matt scales the walls around her heart. Yet when she falls prey to a crime web more sinister than she’d realized, trusting Matt could be the only way to survive. (Summary provided by author.)

I loved the book! It was the perfect blend of intrigue and romance with just-right characters. I couldn’t put it down once I’d started it. I can wait until Liz’s next book!

Disclaimer: The book was provided to me free of charge in hopes that I would post a review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Book Reviews, homeschool

The Year of Learning Dangerously (book review)

While I wouldn’t classify homeschooling as dangerous, Quinn Cummings, former child actress, does in her new memoir, The Year of Learning Dangerously: Adventures in Homeschooling. And the way Quinn humorously describes their forays into a variety of homeschooling methods could certainly fall under the adventurous category. Her dry wit and humor had me giggling on every page.

Homeschooling isn’t just for a select few; it’s gone mainstream in America, even for people who hate math. Yes, Quinn, Alice, my girls, and I seem to share the same feelings for that subject, and I know we’re not alone.

In one year, the Cummings family tried out three different methods of homeschooling and perused several others; that’s real commitment to figuring out the best way for them to homeschool. It’s also a good starting point if you’re curious for a (mostly, okay not at all) unbiased glimpse at some of the ways all those other homeschoolers manage their learning. Their family adventure just proves that there is no single, correct way to school at home.

While you’re taking a break from your own homeschooling adventure by reading about Quinn’s, I’m going to audition for a part in The Real Housewives of Classical Education.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the publisher (actually, from the author’s editor at Penguin) in exchange for a review, but the opinions expressed are my own.

Book Reviews, homeschool

Tattoo a Banana (book review)

Tattoo a Banana? Say what? Don’t you recognized the famous David on the banana on the cover. Phil Hansen’s premise is that anyone can be an artist with anything. Even me, and I can’t draw a stick figure. Turns out I don’t have to with this fun how-to book that includes templates and directions for original, creative, outlandish works of art.

Fun, fun, fun! Our only problem was deciding which project to tackle first!

Disclaimer: The publisher sent me this book totally for free, but the opinions expressed are my own.

Book Reviews, change, encouragement

Unglued (book review)

Lysa TerKeurst’s new book, Unglued, was written specifically for me. Okay, maybe not, but it sure felt like it as I worked through it! Why is it that when I’m at church or out with casual friends, I can be Mrs. Calm, Cool, and Collected, but just let one of my kids leave dirty socks in the back of my car (oh yes!), and I become completely unglued in the mouth? I’d love to say I’m not a freak-out kind of person, but I’d be totally lying. I usually try to stuff it all in, but when that fails, watch out!

Lysa honestly, lovingly, and clearly unpacks the glue to help us put ourselves back together. She gives us permission to make imperfect progress, thank goodness. She backs up and applies her practical wisdom with God’s ultimate wisdom.

I give Unglued two enthusiastic thumbs up. Gather a group of girlfriends and start letting God glue yourself back together. Go buy it & the participant’s guide over on Amazon (not an affiliate link).

Disclaimer: The publisher provided me with an ARC copy of Unglued in order to preview and review it, but the opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Book Reviews

The Voice (book review)

Looking for a fresh word from The Word of God? Look no further than The Voice, a brand-new, dynamic translation of the New Testament. It’s presented as a “collage of compelling narratives, poetry, song, truth, and wisdom.” Its creation was meant to promote longer, narrative, dramatic, public readings of the New Testament. Its unique screenplay format will draw audiences in like no other previous translation.

The Voice invites readers to “step into the story of Scripture.” Additions and expanded material not found in the original languages are clearly marked in this thought-for-thought translation. Included are introductions to each book and selected readings for all of the ecclesiastical observations.

The Voice is not for everyone. But, if you’re looking for a novel, dramatic way to present the story of the New Testament to an audience, then it’s for you.

Disclaimer: I received a free e-copy of The Voice from Thomas Nelson via Net Galley in exchange for a review. The opinions expressed are my own.  

Book Reviews

Eyes of Justice (book review)

Lis Wiehl and April Henry have done it again. They made me stay up way past my bedtime, cowering under the covers, finishing Eyes of Justice. Allison the prosecutor, Nicole the FBI agent, and Cassidy the crime reporter return in this latest installment of The Triple Threat Club. But then, one of them is brutally murdered.

The other 2 members of The Triple Threat Club, though thoroughly shaken, are determined to bring the killer to justice. They think they’ve succeeded, but then he strikes again. Will he ever be caught? Will The Triple Threat Club ever be the same again? Read it for yourself; you won’t be disappointed.

Disclaimer: I received this e-book for free from Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for a review. The opinions expressed are entirely my own.