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Empowered by Catherine Parks–Book Review

Back Cover Copy

Through the inspiring stories of eleven faithful women, Empowered will show girls that God is the true source of their power, strength, and purpose in life. In the pages of this book, girls will encounter women they may never have heard of and will learn some of the character traits that go along with the Christian walk. But they will also encounter a God who is faithful to complete the work He has begun in them.

The stories in Empowered are about faithful women, but even more about a steadfast God. Girls don’t have to do the things these women have done to live a life of purpose; by making a direct connection to their daily lives, readers will have a bigger and a more personal view of their Father and His love for them. The same God who was faithful to give Corrie ten Boom the love she needed to forgive her prison guard can help girls love the unlovable bullies at school. The love for Jesus that compelled Sophie Scholl to sacrifice her life for a higher cause can empower a young girl who sees injustice in the world around her. In a culture where the youth see value in terms of Instagram likes and viral videos, the life of Pandita Ramabai will show the value of humble worship. 

Empowered flips the popular idea of what it means to be a strong girl on its head, showing that real power comes from our loving Father through His Son and removing the pressure girls may feel to conquer the world on their own.

My Review

Although it was written for young girls, I learned so much studying through this book myself. Some of the women I had heard of, others I had never heard of. It was inspiring to read through the accounts of each woman, and I loved the way Parks takes a character trait from each woman’s life and helps you apply it to your life and shows you how each woman even though she was used greatly by God was still just like me and you. While my girls are too young to read this on their own yet, I plan to read it to them, and I can’t wait to study these amazing women with them! I believe every woman, young and old should read this. It truly blessed me, and I know it will bless you as well. I can’t recommend this book enough!

** I received a complimentary copy of this book from BH publishers for review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Hadassah: Queen of Persia by Diane Wallice Taylor–Blog Tour

About the Book

Book: Hadassah

Author: Diana Wallis Taylor

Genre: Christian Historical Fiction

Release date: July 2, 2019

Hadassah

One of the great heroines of the Old Testament, Hadassah was a beautiful, graceful young woman who put her faith in God and her guardian, her cousin Mordecai.
She dreams of marrying Shamir, a tall, handsome, studious young man who is the rabbi’s son. Her heart beats faster when she hears the sound of his deep voice as he reads the Torah. And she hopes that he will visit Mordecai soon to present a betrothal request.

Then, an upheaval in King Xerxes’s palace changes everything. Queen Vashti has been banished and an edict goes out for all qualified young virgins throughout the empire to be taken to the palace as he searches for a new queen.

Fear strikes in the hearts of many, including Mordecai, as he realizes Hadassah will be taken. To hide her identity as a Jew, he tells her to go by the name of Esther. Since he works as a record-keeper at the king’s gates, he can keep tabs on how she is doing.

Hadassah: Queen Esther of Persia imagines what life was like for the woman who saved her people—and perhaps found love in the process.

Click here to grab your copy!

My Review

I have always loved the story of Esther. It’s been one of my favorite books of the Bible, to see God’s provision and protection for His people, even when they don’t understand the circumstances. Diana Wallis Taylor does a wonderful job of bringing the story to life. There were things she added in that certainly make you think. when reading the account in the Bible I don’t always think of what went through Esther’s mind, what happened to Esther after the Biblical account left off, or the historical things happening at the time that might not be mentioned in the Bible. I know some things in the book may be just speculation, but it really gave me a fresh appreciation for the story. I could not put this book down, I highly highly recommend it! You will not be disappointed!

**I received a copy of this book. I was not required to write a positive review, and all thoughts and opinions are my own.

About the Author

Wallis-Taylor, Diana

Diana Wallis Taylor was first published at the age of twelve, when she sold a poem to a church newsletter. After receiving her B.A. in Elementary Education at San Diego State University, she was an elementary school teacher for twenty-two years. Diana has also sold real estate, opened two coffeehouse/used book stores, and was a conference director for a private Christian college.
She has an extensive portfolio of published works, including a collection of poetry; an Easter cantata, written with a musical collaborator; contributions to various magazines and compilations; and several books, including Lydia, Woman of Philippi; Mary, Chosen of God; Ruth, Mother of Kings; and Halloween: Harmless Fun or Risky Business?

Learn more at www.dianawallistaylor.com.

Read an Excerpt

Besides the usual vendors, there were strange, sweaty men with beady eyes who were looking to get rich from the additional population.

In the wee hours of the morning, while Mordecai sat with his head in his hands, silently praying, Jerusha stopped breathing, slipping away so quietly that Hadassah thought she was still sleeping.

One day, to the people’s relief, the news was spread that the unwelcome banquet guests had been ordered back to their provinces—to prepare for war.

Instead of bowing, Hadassah smiled unabashedly and gazed directly at the king, who at that moment had turned his head.

“Do not give your name as Hadassah, but tell them it is Esther, which is a Persian name. I would have you hide your Jewish heritage for now.”

She felt their eyes silently appraising her; some with open interest, some with sympathy, and others with calculating shrewdness.

Esther asked each maid gentle, innocuous questions about her homeland, favorite foods, culture, and the like, listening attentively to their answers and making sure to speak to them by name both to let them know they were important to her and also to help her remember who was who.

“If you maidens help me to be my very best when I am called to the king’s chambers, if he honors me by selecting me as his queen, I will not forget you, who helped to put the crown on my head.”

Esther had seen some of the women pass her quarters so laden with jewelry they could hardly walk. She wanted to laugh out loud, but suppressed even a smile.

Recognition came. “Ah, the maiden in the crowd. I thought about you many times.” He moved closer. “I remember your hair, like a cloud around your face.”

Blog Stops

Back Porch Reads, July 4

Retrospective Spines, July 4

Hallie Reads, July 4

My Devotional Thoughts, July 5

Through the Lens of Scripture, July 5

For The Love of Books, July 5

Fiction Aficionado, July 6

The Becca Files, July 6

For Him and My Family, July 6

EmpowerMoms, July 7

Madeline Hope, July 7

Locks, Hooks and Books, July 7

A Baker’s Perspective, July 8

Godly Book Reviews, July 8

Moments, July 8

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, July 9

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, July 9

Emily Yager, July 9

Aryn the Libraryan, July 10

Purposeful Learning, July 10

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, July 10

Through the Fire Blogs, July 10

Lights in a Dark World, July 11

Mary Hake, July 11

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 11

Splashes of Joy, July 12

Simple Harvest Reads, July 12 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 12

Bigreadersite, July 13

Pause for Tales, July 13

Texas Book-aholic, July 13

Creating Romance, July 14

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, July 14

janicesbookreviews, July 14

Older & Smarter?, July 15

She Lives To Read, July 15

A Reader’s Brain, July 15

For the Love of Literature, July 16

Just the Write Escape, July 16

Inklings and notions, July 16

Henry Happens, July 17

Hebrews 12 Endurance, July 17

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, July 17

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, July 17

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Diana is giving away a grand prize of a $20 Starbucks card and a surprise book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/e5a0/hadassah-celebration-tour-giveaway

Easter is Coming–Book Review

Back Cover Copy

Mommy and her little ones are settling in for story time, and this time it’s the biblical story of Easter that she’s telling. As the youngsters hear God’s tale unfold with its sometimes somber notes about sin and death, they are softly and continually reminded, “But Easter is coming!” By the end of the book, the anticipation has built and the children can celebrate the ending and the glory of Easter Sunday.
 
In a time when children’s Easter excitement often focuses on only egg hunts and candy, this book offers a different—and true—reason for joy and expectancy. It’s designed to be read and reread on the days leading up to Easter, telling the greatest story and building a sense of anticipation and celebration in little hearts.

My Review

Each page of the book is beautifully illustrated. Your kids are sure to love this book. It builds anticipation as page after page you get closer and closer to that first Easter, and what it really is about. I can’t wait to share this book with my children. I plan on giving it to them for Easter, but I know they are going to love it, and will be a favorite!

**I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, and all thoughts and opinions are my own.

The Truth About Romantic Comedies by Sean McMurray–Book Review

Book Blurb:

Sixteen-year-old Timothy Gephart’s life is a chronicle of loser-hood. Trapped by the decaying walls of his family’s trailer and saddled with the responsibility of caring for a grandmother stricken with a wicked combination of Alzheimer’s and cancer, Timothy isn’t exactly thriving in the teenage chapter of his life. To make matters worse, his girlfriend inexplicably dumps him through a text message. Heartbroken, Tim drives his grandmother to and from her radiation treatments as if the last page of his life has already been written. And then the enigmatic Rachel Wilson struts into the cancer center’s waiting room.

Self-proclaimed social scientist Rachel Wilson hasn’t reconciled herself to her mother’s cancer, but she’s doing her best to stay positive…and distracted. With his dry wit and easy acceptance of her bright blue hair, Timothy might be the answer to a prayer Rachel hasn’t had the strength to ask.

As a fast friendship blossoms into something more, Timothy and Rachel learn that Rachel’s father’s job will soon take her family to a new life across the country. Knowing that their time together is running out, Timothy and Rachel go all in on an experiment that will put every romantic comedy cliche to the test, to say nothing of the foundation on which their relationship was built. Happily-ever-after has never been so hard.

My Review

This is an amazing book! It’s from a different perspective than I’m used to, as typically it seems like these books are from the girl’s perspective and this one is from the boy’s perspective, and I genuinely loved it! I felt like the characters were very relatable even though they have their own quirks. I found myself ending each chapter wondering what was going to happen next, will Rachel’s mom beat cancer? how will their relationship end? and how will their novel end? All these questions kept me reading and reading until the book was finished, and I got all my answers. I highly recommend you read this one, and I truly believe your teens and young adults will love this book!

**I received a copy of this book for free. I was not required to write a positive review and all thoughts and opinions are my own.

About the Author:

Sean C. McMurray grew up on the mean rural roads of southwestern Ohio where he honed his storytelling skills on anyone willing to listen. Now he does it professionally as an author and history teacher. Sean still lives in rural Ohio with the love of his life and his favorite audience, their three little children.

Website:  https://www.mcmurraymuses.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/McMurrayMuses/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/McMurrayMuses

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/McMurrayMuses

Jelly Bean Blessings by Thomas Nelson–Book Review

Book Description

Jelly Bean Blessings is a cheery seasonal board book that celebrates all springtime blessings! Kids will be drawn to the charming cover and whimsical art, and they’ll love the idea of exploring the many reasons we love spring.

From picking flowers to jumping in puddles to eating delicious jelly beans, these activities are a fun way to thank God for the beautiful parts of the season that we get to enjoy together!

With charming art and an adorable cover, Jelly Bean Blessings is the perfect way to celebrate all the wonderful blessings of spring.

My Review

Beautifully illustrated, this book will make your kids super excited for spring to arrive! And if you’re from the North, or anyplace that has had a lot of snow and cold recently, you too may be ready for Spring…I know I am! From eating Jelly Beans, to flying kites, and jumping in puddles, these are just some of the many activities found in this book. This book will get you and your children in the mood for Spring, and have you ready to spring into Spring!

**I received this book free from the publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

When I Pray for You by Matthew Paul Turner–Book Review

As a parent you pray for your children constantly. This book puts perfectly just how parents pray for their children, and in just the perfect way for children to understand and enjoy! My girls truly loved this book as I read it to them! Plus the illustrations are absolutely beautiful! I know you and your children are going to love it too!

**I received a free copy of this book. I was not required to write a positive review and all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Atoning for Ashes by Kaitlin Covel–Book Review

Back Cover Copy

Josie Chadwick dreams of marrying for love in Cornwall, England, but with her father’s debt threatening to destroy all she holds dear, her romantic options are dwindling. When her elder sister Delia is disowned, Josie finds herself heiress of Chadwick Park, torn between dreams and duty. After sacrificing her heart to atone for Delia’s sin, Josie clings to the hope she will learn to love a distant husband, whom she fears is incapable of requiting her affection.

Charles Radcliffe’s heart has been scarred and hardened by rejection. He fears hurting his new bride, but his fears of betrayal and rejection are stronger, making it impossible for him to trust her love―let alone the love of her God.

As Josie and Charles face their new life together, ominous events warn of dark family secrets that could shatter them both. More than a loveless marriage is at stake if they cannot stand as one. They must learn to trust God and each other before it’s too late. Will they turn to God for answers as He redeems their past and restores their future?

With Wings As Eagles – Guest Post by Kaitlin Covel

Isaiah 40:31

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Eagles must be near and dear to God’s heart because He makes many allegorical references about them in His Word as noble, majestic creatures. Perhaps that is why the Bald eagle was selected as the national emblem of the United States of America by our founding fathers.

Our God is a loving Heavenly Father whose understanding is infinite (Psalm 147:5) and whose compassions fail not. (Lamentations 3:22) Yet, as His children, how many times do we doubt His wisdom? It is easy to trust Him on the mountain top, but when we pass through the valley’s shadows our trust wavers like a flame in the wind. It is in those times we must choose our focus: to contemplate who our God is or to rely on ourselves.

Eagles are a beautiful illustration of “tough love” as parents. In raising their chicks, they have faithfully provided for their every need. They built them a safe nest, hunted for their every meal, and shielded them from predators and the elements beneath the shelter of their wings. The God-given instinct instilled in the eaglet’s body makes him restless as he begins to outgrow the nest he calls home and beat his growing wings to strengthen the muscles in preparation for flight. This nest is the only world he has ever known, but beyond the nest a beautiful world beckons, waiting to be explored. Then the fateful day arrives in the young eaglet’s life when he must learn to fly.

As the eaglet peers over the edge of the nest, his vision collides with the imminent danger. He is so focused on the dizzying height and jagged rocks below that he fails to recognize that his very survival depends on his ability to fly. However, his parents coax him closer to the edge, knowing this in their maturity of years. When the eaglet fails to jump, his parents shove him out of the nests with their beak. The eaglet panics in the thin air as he begins his plummeting descent, realizing he must learn to do this on his own. He begins to flap his wings madly in an effort to save himself.

Meanwhile, his parents take flight and circle above him, prepared to swoop beneath him and catch him on their wings if his wings aren’t strong enough to fly yet. Only in trying will the eaglet discover his ability to fly.

God gives us abilities. He is the same God who formed us in our mothers’ wombs and the same God who knew our name before the beginning of the world, but in his sovereign wisdom, He knows that we will only discover our ability when we are forced to step out of our comfort zone in a leap of faith.

He knows the time has come for us to experience growth, but growth makes us uncomfortable. We don’t want to leave the safety of our cozy, warm nest. In His wisdom, God allows us to take a “leap of faith”. We may think He has abandoned us as we focus on the terrifying sensation of “falling”, but He hovers over us with tender loving patience, prepared to catch us.

Exodus 19:4-5

Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:

Deuteronomy 32:11-12

As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: so the Lord alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him.

Are you tumbling in a terrifying free-fall wondering where your God is right now? May I encourage you, dear reader, to look up? He is hovering over you, prepared to catch His beloved child and bear you up on eagles’ wings.

Psalm 103:2-5

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

In the free-falls of life, we find the Heavenly Father who loves us too much to leave us in our comfort zone, but delights in providing a safe place for us to land in our journey of growth.

As we exercise the abilities He has given us to strengthen them the way an eaglet does his wings, may we remember that He has created us to soar beyond the reach of the troubles of this world. May we seek Him out as our safe place to land, trusting the Heavenly Father who has promised to never leave us nor forsake us. He will renew our strength as He bears us on eagles’ wings until we mount up with wings as eagles.

My Review

You are sure to enjoy this gripping story. I loved every minute of it. So many unexpected twists, and each one has you wondering what will happen next. I fell in love with Josie. I think my favorite aspect of Josie is her faith in God. I loved how no matter what happened, she gave it to God. Sometimes she had to ask for forgiveness for trying to do things her way first, but she always remembered that God is in control, and can work in ways she can’t. Charles I fell in love with in a different way. From the beginning you know that he is struggling with something, you just don’t know what, or to what extent it has affected him. Throughout the story you can see his struggle to love Josie the way he knows she deserves to be loved, and to get over his past. Find out if they can overcome the past, and get their happily ever after. You won’t be disappointed, I promise.

**I received this book from the author for review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all thoughts an opinions are my own.

Author Bio

Kaitlin Covel has a thirst for adventure much like the heroines of her stories. She is an old-fashioned romantic, and if she could time travel to any historical period, it would be the Regency Era. Here in the 21st century, she is a certified Nutritional Therapy Technician, but writing is her passion, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction. She has honed her craft since childhood, benefiting from the insights of other writers through professional writing associations such as the Jerry Jenkins Writer’s Guild and Hope*writers. She lives with her family in Maine, where she enjoys teaching the teen Sunday school class at her church. Her favorite things are family, books, history, chocolate, music, the ocean, and strong cups of tea.

Giveaway


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