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

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.


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.


Homeschooling Gifted and Advanced Learners (book review)

Kids who are gifted and/or academically advanced are in a category unto themselves. While I’ve seen many resources for parents of kids who have special needs, this is the first resource I’ve seen that addresses gifted and advanced learners in the homeschooling arena. I only wish I’d seen it before I graduated my then 15-year-old from our homeschool!

The author, Cindy West, is a veteran homeschooler with gifted children; she knows what she’s talking about. She includes practical ideas, websites, and resources, not just pie-in-the-sky theories. She also addresses practical ideas for those who struggle in certain areas (even if they’re gifted in other areas). Cindy has information about all of the core curriculum areas, including how to find curriculum that will challenge your advanced learners. She helps parents think through the best course of action for each student; this is not just a one-size-fits-all solution manual. Cindy even incorporates practical ideas on how to find creative outlets for talented kids and how to find true intellectual peers.

Homeschooling Gifted and Advanced Learners is available from Prufrock Press, Inc. for just $24.95 (paperback) or $19.95 (PDF). I highly recommend this resource if you’re already homeschooling or considering homeschooling kids who are gifted.

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book for free in exchange for a review. The views expressed are my own.


The Ultimate Prescription (book review)

 . . . What the Medical Profession Isn’t Telling You. Are more prescriptions really the answer to our wide-spread health issues? “Take 2 and call me in the morning” just isn’t cutting it anymore.

Board-certified cardiologist Dr. James Marcum explains the biblical plan for spiritual and physical health that will help us feel energetic and beat stress naturally. I don’t know about you, but this fits in nicely with my New Year’s resolution to be more healthy and more natural.

Marcum reviews the 7 days of creation and then explains how each element (air, water, rest, etc) is necessary for our well being. That’s our ultimate prescription. Simple, yet complex in our modern-day lives. On the road of life, God is not a police officer; rather, he is our support team. Marcum says that God’s love and God’s directions will set us free from the stressors that can cause heart problems–and many other chronic health issues, I suspect.

Purchase your own copy from CBD or Amazon.

Disclaimer: Tyndale provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for a review; however, the opinions expressed are my own.