Book Review · Books

Petals Of Rain

Rica’s life draws you in from the very start. This memoir is poetic, dreamlike, yet hard hitting in spots. Rica shares her life with you: the good, the bad, the hopeful, the shocking. Her home life growing up isn’t the greatest unless she’s at her grandparent’s house. At a young age she meets a cute guy who she marries young. Here is her ticket to a better life. After a few years and they’ve got two little boys: KJ and Sym. The latter is a wrecking ball of anger that is hard to keep at bay.

Rica tries church to see if adding this social element will help her family. For awhile things seem to improve. The boys start to get used to going and her husband seems to be settling in. That is until the one time he seems to disappear after they are all situated in their pew.

When Rica’s husband gets verbally abusive towards their son that is her last straw. The family she’s tried her darnedest to keep in tact is having a monumental shift. No more house or life like she’s known. The boys aren’t too thrilled with the life changes, but it is what it is.

Following Rica on her journey to find herself and place after all she’s been through is insightful. It’s hard to put down her story. Rica is inspiring. She writes as though you are sitting across from her over coffee and she’s sharing her deep soul with you.

I received my complimentary digital copy of Petals of Rain by Rica Keenum from The Book Reality Experience care of NetGalley. The views are mine and of my own choice.

Book Review · Books

Chasing Wonder

Do you ever feel stuck in a rut? This world can feel that way. Especially with how world events are panning out. Chasing Wonder, is the story of how the author, Ginger Stache, came out of her shell to live an adventurous life.

Ginger’s life didn’t start out glamorous, but through outshe’s learned to say, “Yes,” to God when he leads her. Being the Chief Creative Officer for Joyce Meyer’s Ministries has taken her on countless adventures overseas to help those less fortunate. These different adventures have taught her that even in the moments when inside she’s begging herself to say, “no,” that by her, “yes,” Ginger has grown in her faith and gratefulness.

Witnessing others who live in squalor, but have a joy that surpasses any American is humbling. Traveling to third world countries was life changing. Ginger got to experience sleeping in a hut in Zambia with a wild assortment of insects and cringe worthy animals. I don’t know if I could brave having wasps and bees trying to get through my mosquito net all night, or finding a huge spider under my pillow. Hello, panic attack.

I received my complimentary copy of Chasing Wonder by Ginger Stache, care of Worthy Publishing. The views are mine and of my own will. This collection of adventures showed me that I can find adventure and joy in the simple every day doings of life. I don’t have to go fancy and pricy to get a worthwhile time.

Book Review · Books

Over It

If you are a girlie girl then this book cover is going to make your heart happy. Pink everywhere. I haven’t liked pink since the first grade, but it’s starting to grow on me.

Kelsey talks candidly about how growing up in the evangelical world there are silent expectations. If you are a perfectionist then this is a challenging combo. You may feel the need to measure up culturally and spiritually. Is this realistic? It’s not. It causes anxiety and stress. Kelsey tries to measure up, but never feels arrived.

College felt like it would be a fresh new beginning. Being away from home can make you feel all grownup. That is until Kelsey discovers partying. As a perfectionist she does it with abandon.

When Kelsey Mets Chris at college she knows there is something special about him. There is something forbidden. He is a PK, adored by his family and church. He was Mr. Christian popularity. Everything seemed all sparkly, until Kelsey realized the underbelly wasn’t all charm.

Growing up in the evangelical world, a woman has her place. Kelsey wasn’t raised to speak up. Things aren’t that bad she reasons. Abuse only counts if it’s just physical. Kelsey dives deep into what it was like to be in a toxic relationship.

I received my complimentary copy of Over It by Kelsey Grimm from Worthy Publishing. The views are mine and of my own will. I’ll confess at first I felt like this book came across a tad spiritually fluffy, but not to worry there is spiritual meat in this memoir. I commend Kelsey for opening up about her experience. If the topics of toxic and abusive relationships are triggering then I caution you as you read this book. Kelsey is a survivor and an inspiration. Thank you Kelsey.

Book Review · Books

Holy Hot Mess

Christianity can scream for perfection, especially when it comes to women having to come across perfect in their looks, life and schedule. I’ll confess. I like to look at the author photo. I wasn’t disappointed. The author, Mary Katherine is stunning. Honestly I was afraid I was in for one of those cheesy, feel good Christian books. I wasn’t wrong. MK’s book is one of those such books, but it’s not all warm fuzzies and hot cocoa.

MK tackles some deep topics. There are topics that I can really relate to. The chapter on growing up and wanting to be accepted and be friends with a particular girl at school, well I’ve been there and got burnt as well. Going to church and not being in the mood to go? Yes, I am guilty of that more times than I can count. But you know what? I miss that family atmosphere. Yes, there is always going to be church drama. Imperfect people crammed into one building all trying to learn about God, Christ and the Holy Spirit that equals a recipe for spiritual/faith drama.

I loved Holy Hot Mess. MK never is condescending or uppity, she gets right across from us and shares her heart, soul and some extra leftovers because she doesn’t want any of her readers to be left hungry or left out. She is funny, serious, vulnerable and most important readable. She doesn’t dumb down the tough subjects, but her writing is conversational, personable and memorable.

I received my complimentary copy of Holy Hot Mess by Mary Katherine Backstrom from Worthy Publishing. Views are my own and my own choice. I am so thankful I got to read this book. I love getting to discover new favorite authors. Thank you Worthy and thank you MK. I can’t wait to go read more of your books.

Book Review · Books

Peaceful On Purpose

Currently in the world, peace seems like the last thing that’s a possibility. We’re dealing with a world wide pandemic, there are raging fires and earthquakes that feel like they are just ramping up for a big one. Life feels like we are stuck on mental rollercoaster mode and we just want to get off this trying ride.

I admit I was a tad skeptical on the topic of being peaceful on purpose. How is that remotely possible? Christian or not. It sounds too pie in the sky and wishy washy. I’m sure lots of readers may be rolling their eyes. It’s understandable. Times aren’t exactly screaming peace.

Joel’s book is short with a powerful point. God is in control. We may be not be able to see the bigger picture or outcome, but He is in control. Not that we shouldn’t be responsible or accountable for our actions, but knowing He does have us in the palm of His hand should be comforting. We try to hold tight control to so much. That stubbornness just gives us more frustration and anxiety. Do we need more of both when times are already nuts? No. We need less.

I received my complimentary copy of Peaceful On Purpose by Joel Osteen from FaithWords in exchange for my honest review that is fully mine. This book was definitely thought provoking and even though the topic is very Christianese, it’s even more relevant for today.

Book Review · Books

Self Love Poetry

I’ll confess the title had me thinking something vastly different. This collection of poetry is stunning, thought provoking, moving, shocking and most of all POWERFUL. I almost finished it in one day. I couldn’t stop reading. Each poem spoke to me. I wanted to pause, to highlight and take notes. I’ll have to wait till it’s released, but it’s already sitting on my Amazon wishlist. Yes, it was that great of a read.

Poetry is primal and personal. It digs into your soul like it’s a pumpkin and your guts get squeezed out, but underneath all that orange slime are seeds that take root. These seeds water your soul with hope, bravery, compassion, humor, love, acceptance and joy. This poetry won’t leave you empty. It will inspire to keep going.

I received my complimentary digital copy of Self Love Poetry by Melody Godfred from Andrew McMeel Publishing, care of NetGalley. The views are mine and of my own choice. If you enjoy poetry I highly recommend this book of poetry. I think it will make a great gift this upcoming fall.

Book Review · Books

The Essence Of Nathan Biddle

Kit is a deep soul who adores his girlfriend, Anna, until the day he gets his own personal Dear John letter. Why can’t she love him like he adores her? She’s gorgeous, smart and did I mention gorgeous again? Kit feels stuck in a rut. How can his life go on like normal?

Kit is so distraught over the breakup he doesn’t want to acknowledge that he goes on a little joyride with his ex job’s vehicle, crashing it. Kit swears he experiences an NDE and died at the scene, but was revived by Anna’s stepfather, the Ghoul. Now with a busted leg he’s stuck healing at the hospital.

Waiting in the wings to be noticed is his friend’s sister, Sarah. She’s even smart, or smarter than Anna and she’s equally as gorgeous. Will Kit give her the time of day that she deserves? It’s like Kit is for Sarah, what Anna means to Kit.

While mending in the hospital Kit has to see a shrink. Oh, the horror. What can he say? He wasn’t trying to die. Going over his life with the shrink he has to come to terms with his uncle’s dark past, to piece together a mystery so bizarre he can’t believe he’d even consider something so wild as a possibility. What’s the true connection between himself, his uncle and his cousin, Nathan who sadly passed? Is his uncle truly cuckoo?

I received my complimentary copy of The Essence Of Nathan Biddle by J. William Lewis from Greenleaf Book Group Press, care of TLC Book Tours. The views are mine and provided of my own will. This novel is a chunk, but keep reading because you’ll want to find out what happens. This book does a great job of showing just how deep a first love can be and how catastrophic a breakup is. It gives a great example of how one can wrestle with what you are taught about life and how that affects your reaction to what life throws at you.

Book Review · Books

To Shatter Glass

To Shatter Glass provides an array of poems that showcase the challenging life the author has lived so far. Sister Sharon dealt with alcoholism in her family, death and many other challenges.

I feel that Sister Sharon brings to life the turmoil of wanting a special Christmas, but not knowing if your parents are going to chose celebrating it or choosing booze instead. Another theme she describes is the loss of family, something no one is ever ready or prepared for. Especially when that family member is young. Sister Sharon also, writes about her faith journey.

I received my complimentary digital copy of To Shatter Glass by Sister Sharon Hunter, CJ from Paraclete Press and Iron Press, care of NetGalley. The views are mine and my own choice. The poems in this collection are vivid, sobering, thoughtful and inspiring.

Book Review · Books

The Most Beautiful Disaster

I can’t deny that the berry color on the cover of The Most Beautiful Disaster drew me in. What drew me in even more so, is Hope’s personal story of redemption. Airing one’s dirty laundry in order to help others takes cojones and bravery.

Hope shares her life’s journey through having an affair while being a pastor’s wife and having her own ministry. She shares about the aftermath and all it took for her to gain back redemption. This memoir isn’t an easy read emotionally or spiritually. Hope gives helpful end of chapter sections called: Think About This and Scripture to Meditate On. She doesn’t merely share her very deeply raw story, but gives guidance on how we are raised helps mold how we handle future relationships.

What I love most about Hope’s memoir is how she encourages us, no matter what life has thrown at us, by our own choices aka consequences that we can lift out of our dark mire through taking it to God, asking for forgiveness and starting fresh. Life doesn’t have to be crappy. Even if it currently is we can work through it and clean it off.

I received my complimentary copy of The Most Beautiful Disaster by Hope Carpenter from Faith Words. The views are mine and my own choice. This memoir I think would make a great women’s Bible study read. I think it’s a topic that is taboo and kept hush unless the media gets wind of it, if you are a big name. None of us are ‘arrived’ and I think it would help women to see they aren’t alone.

Book Review · Books

The Miracle Collectors

Do you believe in miracles? The authors Joan and Katie do. Both had life altering events happen in their lives that made them believers. Once they believed they wanted to explore the topic of miracles all over the country with no holds barred regarding religion or culture. What they discovered on their exploration is that miracles don’t favor. Each chapter offers different miracle stories they’ve been told. Some range on believable while others might take a lot of faith to comprehend.

I, myself believe in miracles. Being the result of one is humbling and yet in a way a bit of a burden of sorts. Your miracle is always connected with you like an umbilical cord. It’s always part of an intro when you are being introduced to someone new. It’s sort of like an invisible birthmark of sorts. You can never run away from your own miracle story. Coming to terms with it is something that both Joan and Katie share.

I received my complimentary copy of The Miracle Collectors by Joan Luise Hall and Katie Mahon from Faith Words. The views are mine and my own choice. This book is inspiring. I was thinking it was going to be from a strictly Christian perspective, but since the authors wanted to hear from a wide range of beliefs there is a variety pack of sorts on the faith spectrum. If you need a boost of inspiration I recommend this book of wonder. See if your mind can be changed about the reality of miracles. What’s your own miracle story? If you feel comfortable feel free to share in the comments below.