Category Archives: Reviews

A fair and honest opinion about someone else’s work.

Book Review & a Giveaway: The Shadow

The Shadow unveils an obsession, a budding romance, and a marriage on the rocks.

Meagan is a young woman fighting for the lives of those caught in the trafficking industry. What she doesn’t know is, soon, she will be fighting for her own life.

Cole is a Marine fighting for his sister’s life. Guilt propels him. PTSD haunts him. And his secrets shroud him.

Steve is on a mission to prove himself. He’s a hot-shot FBI agent looking to move up the ladder. But something keeps getting in his way.

Kimberly Rae has created a powerful story around the mechanisms of the drug market, pornography and human trafficking. The result is action packed, terrifying and eye-opening. She has authored 20 books and has been published over 200 times and in five languages. Her work brings awareness, yet weaves a narrative that is hard to put aside.

Rahab’s Rope, the organization woven into the story, is a real place in Gainesville, Georgia, combating human trafficking and intersecting lives with hope. For more info go to Rahab’s Rope.

When people step into the battle to help each other, lives are changed, one person, one story, one thread at a time. I am proud to be a part of this giveaway, because it brings information to light about one of the biggest problems in our generation. I am giving away a signed copy of The Shadow to one reader in the continental United States. Leave a comment on my blog (at the top of this post, under the title) about a way you have become aware of human trafficking, and you will be entered into the drawing to be held on Thursday, November 16.

Join the conversation!

Sally

Disclosure of Material: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through The Blog About Network book review program in exchange for a fair and honest review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR Title 16, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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Book Review & a Giveaway: Adored: 365 Devotions for Young Women

 

Do you know that you are adored? You are! And Lindsay A. Franklin brings that to life so beautifully in her book, Adored: 365 Devotions for Young Women. Although I am not a teen or twentysomething, I soaked in the words from Scripture reminding me I have a purpose, and I have a heavenly Father who adores me and is with me through the daily adventure of navigating life and relationships.

Lindsay Franklin is an award-winning author, freelance editor, and homeschooling mother of three. Her personal tone identifies with pop culture (including a Spiderman application), yet provides instruction for a growing, thriving faith.

Lindsay says her purpose for writing Adored is so that we can learn more about our amazing God and His limitless love for us. Topics covered include:

What does holiness mean?

Where does our value come from?

What does God say about modesty?

How should I respond to bullying?

Does my reputation matter?

Why does God allow suffering?

What are spiritual gifts?

How do I combat sadness?

What does a Christian look like?

What does generosity have to do with me?

This is a wonderful book with 365 days of encouragement for the young women in your life. Published with Zondervan and Books & Such Literary Management, Adored is beautifully crafted with artwork and journaling space to nudge the process of building character and instilling values. It is the perfect gift for any occasion, or just a “thinking of you” day. I well remember that stage of my youthful walk with God, and how important books were to the shaping of my character. This is one of those books that is timeless in showing God’s promises are for each and every one. I highly recommend it!

I am giving away a copy to one reader in the continental United States. Leave a comment on my blog (at the top of this post, under the title) about one of the ways you know God treasures you, and you will be entered into the drawing to be held on Friday, November 10. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

Sally

Disclosure of Material: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through The Blog About Network book review program in exchange for a fair and honest review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR Title 16, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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Book Review: Daring to Hope

In the sequel to Kisses from Katie, Katie Davis Majors returns with the heartaches that drove her to relearn how to know God and shares the beauty that comes from vulnerability. In Daring to Hope, Katie views pain as a holy invitation and invites us to not avoid suffering, but to enter into it.

Who is Katie Davis Majors? She is the mom of 14 children, 13 of whom she adopted when she moved to Uganda. Her initiative, Amazima Ministries cares for women, children and families in Uganda with education, medical care and food.

Katie says she wants others to see her messy life, so that we can see Jesus there, and to know that He will enter into our messes, too. She shares about the questions that kept her awake at night and how prayer became a lifeline as she sat beside the deathbeds of loved ones. Katie says, “God didn’t take away my pain; He held me while I hurt.”

Indeed, Daring to Hope is not just about one woman’s sacrifice for God, but about the sacrifice of all of us, as we offer our hearts for His service, right where He has planted us. Katie reminds us that we don’t have to move to another continent to make a difference for the Lord, but to view every job we have, as an opportunity to work for the Lord, there.

Do you struggle with trusting God? Katie says, “In the wrestling, He makes us who we are meant to be.”

Do you wonder if you are making a difference? Katie reminds us that loving people brings us to the very end of ourselves, so that we can truly have the heart of God.

Do you feel stuck? Katie can relate to the barren season, and wants you to know your reaching out for God is not in vain. God is who He says He is and uses delay to grow your belief in Him.

Katie’s experience of pouring herself out for the Ugandan people isn’t as much about a radical lifestyle, as it is about the hidden life of seeking God and the immense responsibility of loving well.

Get this book and be reminded of the Lord’s vast love for you. It is about a love story with Jesus and a budding romance with Katie’s husband-to-be!

Now through November 7th, Amazima is celebrating the release of Daring to Hope with a gift from Ugandan artisans. Receive 15% off PLUS a free necklace when you purchase Kisses from Katie!

In the Foreward, Ann Voskamp says, “When you know the embrace of His love… daring to hope becomes the way you breathe.”

May you breathe in “the hard” and “the healing,” and find God there.

Sally

FTC disclaimer: “I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.”

Book Review & a Giveaway: Loved Baby #LOVEDbaby

Did you know 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage, 1 in 160 deliveries end in stillbirth, and 2% of all pregnancies are ectopic? Sarah Philpott has written a sensitive devotional for moms who find themselves caught in those statistics. Life doesn’t always happen the way we hope, but Loved Baby can bring comfort from someone who’s been there.

Sarah Philpott had two miscarriages and used her pain to springboard the Loved Baby pregnancy loss support group and the #HonorAllMoms Mother’s Day movement. She shares the stories of more than 40 women so that others will feel less alone in the journey of grief.

I tucked this hand-size book into my carry-on bag, to read during  the airplane trip to my aunt’s funeral, and was reminded we all face death in some form or another. Whether grieving the loss of a baby, parent, spouse, sibling, or friend, there are some universal truths about grieving. There are no easy steps to follow; no time table that will be the same for all. Everyone grieves uniquely. You may feel a pang of guilt while experiencing a glimmer of joy. But, that’s normal. Laughter and tears intermingle.

The book promises to come alongside someone who has experienced the loss of a baby. Sarah says the only way to process grief, is to embrace it. And, “Understanding how we grieve can help us navigate this walk.”

The question of “why?” surfaces. But Sarah says asking “why” sabotages our story. We can second-guess our actions, but never feel released from the guilt of loss. Instead, she says the better question is “What now?” What steps forward can I take now? Where do I go from here? How will I reach out to others that are hurting?

Loved Baby is an important work to read, even if you’ve never experienced the loss of a baby. Some parts of Loved Baby echo the loss I felt after my total hysterectomy. I would never be able to have children again and felt loss of my choice to do so. This book enables you to get a glimpse of the pain, so that you can more effectively show compassion to one who is hurting. It equips and educates, so that hurtful words will not be said unintentionally as result of misinformation.

“The release of Loved Baby coincides with the National Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness month. Throughout the month of October the launch team will be spreading pregnancy loss awareness and offering hope to mamas – so they know they are not alone and that they are loved.”

“We are also excited to partner with Fashion & Compassion. F&C has created a stunning, custom gold dangle bracelet to be the perfect companion to pair with this devotional. This bracelet will only be available with the purchase of Loved Baby through Fashion & Compassion October 2 – 25, 2017 for a special bundle price of $39.99.”

Sarah challenges moms to find something to cherish. “Cherishing forces us to stop fixating on the negative and instead search for the positive gifts God has provided.” So, for the giveaway question, answer this: What positive gift has God given you today?

I am giving away a copy of Loved Baby, courtesy of Broadstreet Publishing, to one reader in the continental United States. Leave a comment on my blog (at the top of this post, under the title) and answer this question, “What positive gift has God given you today? You will be entered into the drawing to be held three days from now, October 7. I can’t wait to hear the blessings you’ve noticed!

Sally

Disclosure of Material: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through The Blog About Network book review program in exchange for a fair and honest review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR Title 16, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Book Review & a Giveaway: The NIV Faithgirlz Backpack Bible

Do you remember when you first began reading the Word of God? Do you remember the feel of the soft pages and the excitement of your newfound faith? Imagine giving that gift to a girl in your life!
Zonderkidz has come out with a compact Bible, perfect for carrying to school or church or a hike in the outdoors. The Leathersoft cover features an embroidered heart with an embossed reminder to “Follow your heart.”
The Faithgirlz Backpack Bible includes:
• Fun pink color in Leathersoft ™ design
• Twelve full-color pages of Faithgirlz fun that helps girls learn the “Beauty of Believing!”
• Words of Christ in red
• Ribbon marker
• Complete text of the bestselling New International Version


Zonderkidz™, the children’s division of Zondervan, inspires young lives through imagination and innovation. As a leader in Christian children’s communications, it creates products that awaken the hearts and touch the souls of kids under 12.”
I promise the gift of a Bible can make a lasting impact in a preteen. Hidden within its pages are the treasures for a full life and the key to understanding God’s purpose for daily living.

Enter the drawing! I am giving away a gift pack of the NIV Faithgirlz Backpack Bible and Brave Beauty: Finding the Fearless You, courtesy of Zonderkidz Publishers, to one reader in the continental United States. Leave a comment on my blog (at the top of this post, under the title) and answer this question, “What is your earliest memory of learning from the Bible?” You will be entered into the drawing to be held six days from today, September 27. For an extra chance to win the drawing, leave a comment on my review of the Brave Beauty: Finding the Fearless You!
Sally
Disclosure of Material: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through The BlogAbout Network book review program in exchange for a fair and honest review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR Title 16, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review & a Giveaway: Brave Beauty

At an age when girls are beginning to make some of their own decisions, they need a friend to come alongside and give encouragement. Lynn Cowell has written Brave Beauty: Finding the Fearless You with 8 – 12 year olds in mind, and provides a calm voice for the tumultuous growing up years. Brave Beauty is a devotional, a short story compilation and a journal, wrapped up into one great resource.
Lynn Cowell is a mom of three who is passionate about helping others find confidence in God’s unfailing love. She brings fresh insights to stories from the Bible, telling them in ways preteens and adults alike can relate. Lynn puts her thoughts into words that draw the reader into character-building values.


Brave Beauty incorporates quizzes and questions to prompt brainstorming and introspection in the process of self-discovery. A Topical Index makes it easy to come back to favorite issues, and projects to tackle include writing a note, sitting with a new friend at lunch, ways to be brave, planting seeds, making bath salts, starting a gratitude journal, taking action steps and thinking about dreams to pursue.
In our world of easy access to news via social media, what child is immune to fear, the comparison trap or bullying? Lynn’s voice provides a safe haven to talk about the issues at hand, and reassurance of a God who sees and hears. She describes what a Brave Beauty Girl does to treat people with dignity and kindness. Lynn tackles self-esteem issues, reinforcing self-worth, defeating insecurity, and embracing courage and bravery.

I am a fan of this book! It speaks to me as an adult who also faces life-tests, and reminds me to cling to the One who helps me be brave. Isn’t that the best kind of gift we can give to the preteens in our lives?
Enter the drawing! I am giving away a gift pack of Brave Beauty and the NIV Faithgirlz Backpack Bible, courtesy of Zonderkidz Publishers, to one reader in the continental United States. Leave a comment on my blog (at the top of this post, under the title) and answer this question, “How have you taught 1 Timothy 4:12 to the preteens in your life?” You will be entered into the drawing to be held six days from today, September 27. For an extra chance to win the drawing, leave a comment on my review of the NIV Faithgirlz Backpack Bible!
Sally
Disclosure of Material: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through The BlogAbout Network book review program in exchange for a fair and honest review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR Title 16, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review: Whisper by Mark Batterson

Has noise consumed your world? Whisper: How to Hear the Voice of God will help you rethink your addiction to distractions. The author says, “When our lives get loud… we lose our sense of being.”
With descriptions of the vastness of the solar system, to the infiniteness of the inner ear, Mark Batterson goes to great lengths to reveal how much God wants to have a relationship with you.
Mark Batterson is an author and a pastor who believes, “If you aren’t willing to listen to everything God has to say, you eventually won’t hear anything He has to say.”
Whisper is filled with insights that unlock Bible passages and bring clarity to what God is saying through His Word. Batterson suggests starting a Bible reading plan and developing a holy curiosity, because we’ll only have something to say that is worth hearing when we listen to God.
Batterson says, “Creation is God’s symphony,” and shows how the natural phenomena of our world gets our attention, so that we will listen when God whispers to us. Helen Keller says, “The only thing worse than blindness is having sight but no vision.” And Batterson provides the “wow factor,” where so many illustrations of God’s bigness lead us to our knees in submission to the One who loves us immeasurably.
Get a copy of Whisper. In it, you’ll find Keys to Hearing, 3 Traits that should Define us as Christ Followers, and 5 Tests for Discerning the Will of God. But most of all, you’ll find a nudge to lean in closer to the voice of God.

Similar to Batterson’s book, In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day, you’ll be encouraged to pursue dreams that are too big for you to tackle in your own power. He says, “Nothing keeps us on our knees like God-sized dreams. They force us to live in raw dependence upon God. Without Him, the dream cannot be realized.”
Are you ready to fully rely on God? He’s ready to seize the opportunity and turn it into a defining moment!
Sally
P.S. Each person who leaves a comment on my blog will also receive a free pdf, “Your Declaration of Faith,” from Whisper, by Mark Batterson!
FTC disclaimer: “I received an Advance Copy of Whisper: How to Hear the Voice of God from Blogging for Books for this review.”

Book Review: The Gene Rift

From the beginning hook to the ending cliff hanger, The Gene Rift provides a swift moving tale of switched identities. Escape from The Institute, and its control over her life, brings Kate Dennard into a world that turns her own upside down. In the process of protecting her son, as well as the love of her life, Kate makes difficult choices and fights against the system that would steal her ability to do so.

The author, J. Andersen is the mastermind behind the sequel to The Breeding Tree. Also author of Lemons, and award winning finalist for At What Cost, J. Andersen demonstrates a willingness to tackle tough subjects for the YA genre. Themes of abortion, euthanasia, murder and manipulation are woven through stories that cannot be put down. They are entertaining and spellbinding!

Kate’s choices took her away from the normalcy of a life she thought she wanted, into a life of uncertainty. She said, “Life was simpler, and I didn’t feel the need to stand up for what I believe in and thus change the course of my entire life.” Kate’s line of thinking sounds a lot like ours, when faced with difficulty. Will we settle for the easy road or challenge the status quo?

Like the author, take a courageous risk by asking questions of the people around you. Find out what they value and use the open door to dare digging deeper into what you believe.

You’ll be entranced by The Breeding Tree and The Gene Rift saga. The tension between characters creates realistic relationships and keeps you on the edge of your seat!

Sally

Disclaimer: I received an Advance Reader’s Copy from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Book Review: Congo Dawn by Jeanette Windle

Where is God in suffering? Why does He permit darkness in the paradise He created? Congo Dawn tells the story of woman asking those questions. Her post-Marine assignment as translator for an international corporation takes her deep into the jungle and face to face with injustice and greed. In her quest to do what’s right, Robin Duncan finds out the good guys and the bad guys aren’t always readily distinguishable.

Award-winning author and speaker Jeanette Windle knows the intricacies of living in a third world country; she grew up in Colombia. Her travels abroad add flavor to her writing and her knack for developing characters creates an intriguing story. Congo Dawn won the Golden Scroll 2013 Novel of the Year. All Saints, Jeanette’s newly released book with Michael Spurlock, is being released today as a movie

Congo Dawn raises interesting questions about our responsibility to address the injustices in front of us. In fact, Robin’s friend, Dr. Stewart says “refusing to address injustices that pushed people into rebellion was as much calling evil good and good evil as the rebels themselves.”

At a time when our country is battling racial divides and inequities, the topics tackled in Congo Dawn are as relevant as ever, to finding peaceful solutions. We cannot say we worship the same Creator, while spewing hostilities at each other. “But to make a stand against evil is always the right decision, whatever the consequences.”

Do you feel you can’t make a difference against evil? Dr. Stewart’s sister says your candle can pierce the darkness, and with others, can “make up a mighty bonfire against the night.”

Get a copy of Congo Dawn. It will entertain and enlighten you, but it will also stretch you to look at your sphere of influence in a new way!

Sally

Book Review & a Giveaway:  Hope Prevails

Have you dealt with depression? I have. And that’s why I was excited about getting my hands on this book. But Hope Prevails is so much more than a how-to about tackling the darkness of soul. It also takes a look at the lies we believe, the way we compare ourselves to others, and how worry says “I can‘t trust God to take care of me.”

The author, Dr. Michelle Bengtson is a board certified clinical neuropsychologist with more than 20 years of experience in the diagnosis and treatment of medical and mental disorders. However, Dr. Michelle says her greatest shock came when she tried the same treatment suggestions for her own depression that she typically offered her patients – and they didn’t work. She learned there was another element that needed to be addressed, and that was the spiritual side of depression.

Dr. Michelle asks, “How would you like to be free not only from depression but also from the fear of depression, the shadow of depression?”

To the normal person, this might not seem like an important question. But to someone who struggles with depression, the shadow is a part of daily life. To break free of that shadow would mean you, too, can have a good day when the sun is shining. You won’t look at others and wonder why you’re different. 

Did you know depression is a silent epidemic? Dr. Michelle says 1 in 4 adults suffer, 1 in 8 teens suffer, and 1 in 33 children suffer from this malady. She offers free resources on her website for those seeking to help a loved one and her book is a handbook to the many layers of depression and finding the steps out of it.

We live in a culture that glorifies busyness. Yet, Dr. Michelle says stress, whether good or bad, can contribute to depression. She includes a prescription, prayer, and praise songs at the end of each chapter to guide a time of reflection. Through personal examples, the author doesn’t diminish despair, but shows how she wrestled with it and pushed through it. Dr. Michelle equates depression with Scripture’s reference to a spirit of heaviness. She reminds us that David, too, experienced the pit of depression. Yet he called out to God and found hope in the One who heals our broken and wounded places.

I wish I could get a copy of Hope Prevails into the hands of everyone I know, because the principles go beyond dealing with depression, to learning how to live a victorious life. The next best thing I can do is offer a giveaway!

I am giving away an autographed copy from the author, courtesy of Revell Publishers, to one reader in the continental United States. Leave a comment on my blog (at the top of this post, under the title) and respond to this question, “Have you had any tough times that you are now thankful for?” You will be entered into the drawing to be held five days from today, August 15. I can’t wait to hear your stories!

Sally

P.S. Each person who leaves a comment will also receive a free pdf, “What God Says About You,” from Dr. Michelle Bengtson, in Hope Prevails!

Disclosure of Material: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through The Blog About Network book review program in exchange for a fair and honest review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR Title 16, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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