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, 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

Pursuit of Proverbs 31 (book review)

 I don’t know about you, but most of the time I feel like I could never possibly live up to the ideal wife/mother/business owner portrayed in Proverbs 31. Fortunately, we don’t have to. Amy Bayliss, author of the brand new Pursuit of Proverbs 31 e-book, shares from her heart how to let go of unrealistic expectations.

First, Amy shatter the myth of the unattainable superwoman. Proverbs 31:10-31 is an acrostic poem filled with principles, not an impossible list of achievements. Phew! Then, she focuses on several principles found here that should be the desires of our hearts: a relationship with God, being a godly wife, being a godly mother, being a good manager of our households, being resourceful, and being transformed by God.

The only fault I could find within the pages of Pursuit of Proverbs 31 is that the leap from the poem in Proverbs 31 to the list of principles it holds was not clear. Of course, Amy does reinforce throughout the book that we are to study the Scriptures for ourselves (and the first chapter includes specific how-tos and resources); if we do that, then it’s not much of a leap from the impossible to a poem to the principles.

Each chapter gives very practical suggestions for how to apply the poem’s principles to our daily lives. The chapter titles are as follows:

  • Shattering the Myths
  • The Real Woman of Proverbs
  • Living In Relationship with God
  • Be His Wife, His Helpmate
  • Create a Biblical Marriage
  • Being a Mother
  • Home and Family Management
  • Pocket Full of Resources
  • A Woman of Ministry
  • Matters of the Soul

Lest we get hung up on the idea that Amy writes from a lofty position of having arrived already, she shares honestly and openly about her own struggles. She makes me feel life if she can pursue the ideals in Proverbs 31 without losing her sanctification, then I surely can, too.

Ready to be released from the seemingly impossible to-do list in Proverbs 31? Visit the Pursuit of Proverbs 31 website to purchase it for Kindle or as a PDF for only $4.99.

I highly recommend Pursuit of Proverbs 31 for any Christian woman/teen who wants to be a godly woman, but who feels too intimidated to open that chapter in her Bible.

Disclaimer: The author provided me with a fee PDF of this book in exchange for a review; however, the opinions expressed are my own.


My Foolish Heart (book review)

my foolish heart cover


    What could be more foolish than a house-bound single woman giving advice on love? How ‘bout giving it on a syndicated, nightly radio show. In spite of her unusual circumstances, Isadora usually manages to dole out pretty decent advice. Then a hunky new guy moves in next door. As his first few attempts at getting to know Isadora flop, he decides to tune into My Foolish Heart. He starts falling in love, but is he falling in love with a radio show host or his next door neighbor?

Susan May Warren brings light-hearted humor, romance, and a wonderful representation of God’s grace to her latest installment in the Deep Haven series. No matter what our circumstances, Susan shows us that no one and nothing is beyond God’s healing grace. I give My Foolish Heart two enthusiastic thumbs up for easy, bedtime reading.

The Tyndale Blog Network graciously provided a copy of this book for me to review, but the opinions expressed are my own. If you’re ready to purchase it, head on over to the Tyndale website.



Bound by Guilt (book review)

bound by guilt cover


  C. J. Darlington’s second novel, Bound by Guilt, follows in the same vein with the same characters as her debut novel, Thicker Than Blood. Roxi, a throwaway teenager on the run from the law and aching to please her cousin, and Abby, a burned out police officer who’s lost what matters most to her, seem to have nothing in common. Nothing, that is, except for a murder and an expensive first edition of The Great Gatsby that seems to show up in all the wrong places. Will guilt consume them both, or can forgiveness set them both free?

Bound by Guilt kept me flipping pages long past my usual bedtime. It’s a story about family, unconditional love, and forgiveness. My only beef with C. J. is that she killed off one of my favorite characters! Overall, I give Bound by Guilt two enthusiastic thumbs up!

The author graciously sent me a copy of Bound by Guilt to review, but the opinions expressed are my own. If you’re ready to purchase it, head on over to Tyndale House Publishing’s website.



The Corruptible (book review)

the corruptibleThe Corruptible by Mark Mynheir is book 2 in the Ray Quinn mystery series. PI Ray Quinn, incidentally an ex-cop from Orlando, again is in a race against time to find some missing documents. At stake is a huge amount of money that could solve his financial woes. The problem is that the person last seen with those documents is dead. And, the person who confessed to stabbing him didn’t actually kill him. So, that leaves Ray, his bum leg, and his over-eager if not over-bright employee in a bind.

Aside from pretentious adjectives and TMI at the medical examiner’s place, The Corruptible is a fast-paced mystery with a healthy dose of real life and the gospel. It’s an easy read with multiple plot twists and an unpredictable ending. If you like cynical, real-life mysteries, you’ll like Mynheir’s work.

Ready to purchase? Click here. I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review, but the opinions expressed are my own.



The Beauty of God for a Broken World

The Beauty of God for a Broken World by Dr. John K. La Shell is not your typical defense of Christianity. It answers the hard questions using real biblical truths and the writings of Jonathan Edwards. God is a beautiful Creator, Redeemer, Judge, and Trinity. Dr. La Shell answers such questions as “How can predestination be fair?” and “Why would a good God allow suffering?”.

Expect to be challenged. Find answers for yourself–especially if you consider yourself to be an ex-Christian or a seeker–or for your friends and family. The Beauty of God is not an easy, quick read, but rather a thought-provoking theological treatise. Don’t let that scare you away, though, Dr. La Shell mixes in real-life anecdotes and definitions to make sure no one is left out in the dark. I highly recommend this book!

The Beauty of God may be purchased directly from the author’s website or from Amazon.

Disclosure: I received this book for free from the author, but the opinions expressed are my own.


Red Ink

How much are you willing to give up for the Gospel of Jesus Christ? How much physical and emotional abuse are you willing to suffer for your beliefs? Zhen-Li adopts her husband’s Christianity and internalizes it as her own–even when her family has her kidnapped and her second baby aborted–even when she is imprisoned. Her verbal dedication to Christ affects many people, both in China and around the globe.

You will be saddened and appalled at the current persecution of Christians in China as you read this story. You’ll be encouraged and strengthened in your own Christian walk as you read how the determination of one person can affect so many more. I highly recommend Macias’s third installment in the Extreme Devotion series, which is loosely based on the life of Li Ying, a Christian magazine editor currently imprisoned in China.


The Price

The Price is Kathi Macias’s second installment in the Matthews and Matthews Mystery series. If you want to catch up, I reviewed the first book, Obsession, a few weeks ago. Just when Toni and Abe thought life was getting back to normal after they solved her father’s murder and rescued Melissa from kidnappers, tragedy strikes again. In spite of the police report’s stating that the high school shooter had acted alone, Toni can’t shake off the doubts–or the urge to investigate.

Strong themes of forgiveness and the price of true love permeate this book. Realistic, tangled relationships pulled me in as I identified with the miscommunications and the misplaced feelings. I highly recommend The Price for a solid mystery with a healthy dose of romance.

Disclosure: I received the book mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s guidelines.



Obsession, Mathews & Mathews Mystery Series #1   -              By: Kathi Mills-Macias

Toni Matthews just thinks she has it all together: a fiancée, a family, and a future. But, everything falls apart when she receives a phone call that her detective father has been in a fatal accident–or was it really an accident? Toni aims to find out while she tries to sort out her father’s unfinished business. In the process, she discovers that she may not have it as together as she thought.

Macias blends together a mystery, a love story, and a story of a young woman’s search for herself. Realistic situations conclude with a twist you won’t see coming. I was a tad disappointed in the way the love story ended, but I’m confident that I’ll get over it. 

Obsession is the first book in the Matthews & Matthews Mystery Series. Pick up a copy for yourself from CBD or Amazon for only $9.99 (retails @ $12.99).

Disclosure: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”