Monday, April 27, 2015

Book Review of You're Loved No Matter What by Holley Gerth

Whew. Don't we all need to know this is true?
"She whispers it softly over a cup of coffee.
She pulls me aside and confesses it after a conference.
She sends a note to my inbox that shares it.
One little phrase: "I'm tired."
There's an epidemic of weariness among women today. And the ones affected the most are often the ones trying the hardest. To be good. To keep it together. To please God and everyone around them.
Are you one of them? I was.
So I asked God to help me understand why so many of us have settled for simply making it through the day. And this is what I discovered: We don't truly believe we're unconditionally loved."   Holley Gerth.

Once again Holley Gerth has written a book to touch and inspire the hearts of women everywhere. Her latest book, You're Loved No Matter What is a sweet, soft whisper to my tired and weary heart. And probably yours too.

Gerth explores why women are becoming weary from doing, doing and more doing and feeling like they can't possibly do enough. But, as the book walks us through, doing was never God's plan for us. No wonder we're tired. 

Each chapter has room at the end to explore the thoughts deeper and more personally with a few prompts and questions. As well as the back of the book has a Go Deeper Guide for individuals and groups.

Although this wasn't my favorite book of Holley's I found the truths in it powerful and inspiring. A few of my favorite parts were:

  • You have freedom to take risks. Holley writes: "Perfectionism is the great paralyzer. It tells us we shouldn't take a step, make a decision, or try anything new because it might not be just right." 
  • Pursue excellence, not perfection. And, Accept that not everything in your life can be excellent. "You only have so much time, energy and emotion in your day. It's okay not to be excellent at everything."
I found Holley's endearing and comforting voice to be refreshing. She writes as if I'm her friend (and you too) and we're sitting down at a small little bistro somewhere having coffee. A fantastic book that I recommend for all women who are feeling the pull to go, go, go. This one's definitely a keeper for my book shelf!

You're Going to Be Okay by Holley GerthIf you aren't familiar with Holley's other books, I strongly urge you to check them out. Her website and her blog are constant doses of love and encouragement.
I have had the amazing priviledge to review several of them and you can look back at some of the other wonderful works she's written.
What Your Heart Needs for the Hard Days.
You're Going to be Okay.
You're made for a God Sized Dream.
You're Already Amazing.

Thanks to the author and publisher for the opportunity to review this book. I was not required to review it positively.
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Book Review of Sabotaged by Dani Pettrey

Fantastic book! Pettrey rounds out her series within another victory.

Sabotaged - Alaskan Courage Book 5 - by Dani Pettrey
Dani Pettrey, author of the Alaskan Courage Series presents the final book in the series and the final McKenna sibling to find love. And it was definitely Reef's time!

If you've been following the series you will probably agree that it was time for "bad boy" Reef to settle down. If you're new to the series, you might find a hard time understanding the full extent of the love story. However the plot of the story could probably stand alone, the cast of characters might feel overwhelming. So, I recommend reading more than one. If you are just starting out with the Alaskan Courage and you don't want to read all four previous stories, try starting with Shattered. It is book 2 but it introduces the kind of person that Reef is ... was. Love can change any heart.

Here is the Publisher's blurb:
Growing up, goody-two-shoes Kirra Jacobs and troublemaker Reef McKenna were always at odds. Now paired together on Yancey’s search-and-rescue canine unit, they begin to put aside old arguments as they come to see each other in a different light.
Then a call comes in from the Iditarod that will push them to their limits. Kirra’s uncle, a musher in the race, has disappeared. Kirra and Reef quickly track the man, but what they discover is harrowing. Frank’s daughter has been kidnapped. In order to save her, the man must use his knowledge as a mechanical engineer to do the kidnapper’s bidding or she will die.
Kirra and Reef, along with the entire McKenna family, are thrown into a race to stop a shadowy villain who is not only threatening a girl’s life, but appears willing to unleash one of the largest disasters Alaska has ever seen.

My thoughts on this book are quick and painless today. I really enjoyed the story. The plot was fantastic and exciting. I enjoyed the ticking time bomb of the race ending equaling disaster. Then as each hour and day passed the suspense was ramped up further. The setting of the Iditarod was unique and fun. I have never read a story from that perspective. Overall I am filled praise for the final chapter of this family saga. A great read.

My only concerns are few and perhaps a little petty. I found a lot of repetition in the wording. I assumed it was because the couple drives, flies and traverses over alot of ground in the short time of the story which made for a lot of "he held the door for her" kind of repetitive statements. Also the massive amount of travel made it hard to keep the setting straight and where each of the characters actually was.

As for the romance of the book, I really enjoyed the story of Reef and Kirra. It was nice to see Reef mature into a strong and capable partner for Kirra. He lost his 'black sheep' persona and was able to present himself as a great hero.  Sometimes the slow brewing of a love story from characters who have know each other for a very long time is a deeper, more mature form of love story. I really liked it.

However my best point for Pettrey's story was the handling of the sensitive topic imbedded into the plot. I do not want to add a spoiler here, so you won't know what I truly mean unless you read the story, but Pettrey does an amazing job. Sometimes, as a writer you want to portray the deep anguish a characters feels without softening them into a wad of saggy Kleenex. Again ... kudos to you Dani! I think you truly succeeded at making Kirra strong and vulnerable at the same time.

I have read all five of the Alaskan Courage series and have reviewed them on this blog as well. If you are interested in checking them out, here are the links to my reviews. Submerged. Shattered. Stranded. Silenced.

So, if you like adventure and fast paced suspense you will enjoy this story. If you like sweet romance with a strong faith element, then you will like Sabotaged. If you're still on the fence, visit Dani Pettrey's website for some fun facts and interesting info on all the books. Or read a beginning chapter excerpt.

Thanks to Bethany House and Dani Petrrey for a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I am not required to rate it positively.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Book Review of More: From Messes to Miracles by Tammie Head.

More. Don't we all just wish we had more?
More time.
More sleep.
More attention.
More money.
More love.
More passion.
More ... more ... more.
What do you crave more of?

Tammie Head offers a glimpse into her own life and story of how she found "more" in Christ. Her amazing story of redemption from the "trash can" of life to the cherished daughter of a King is worth every word.

Her latest book, More: From Messes to Miracles is a powerful book filled with awe, angst, but most of all Delight. Delight in the One who redeems ALL things.

Publisher's Blurb:  People everywhere are looking for something more. Churched and non-churched alike. They’re in the grocery store aisle behind you, in the nail chair beside you, singing praise songs in front of you, and perhaps in the mirror staring back at you. People feel messy; plagued by looming feelings of ineffectiveness, indifference, depression, and purposelessness.Does this sound like you?Perhaps you keep wishing your life were better than what you are currently experiencing now. What if more of God is actually what’s missing from your life? Do you encounter the freedom God brings each day? Whether it’s a messy life or a messy problem in your life, it can become a walking miracle when we see God anew and wholly surrender to Him.
You were made for more than surviving. Old stale religion never satisfies. Neither do the solutions the world has to offer. What all of us need is an encounter with God that reveals truth and sets our hearts ablaze. Tammie has seen this in her own life as well as in countless lives around her. Join her in More for a picture of how you can move from a life marked by messes to one that is truly miraculous.

For me the best part of the book was Tammie's wonderful and gracious attitude. She feels like a friend you'd invite over for coffee for MORE. Her sense of passion and wonder is infectious. Her words are encouraging and inspiring. If you've ever wondered if there is more out there, more you were meant to be doing, or just curious if there is a way out of where you are at, then you need to sit down with Tammie. She will expand the fire (whether it's a flicker or a flame) in you to be all God created you to be.

The next best part of the book was the gorgeous and fun word art at the beginning of each chapter. They are both beautiful to look at and wonderful to absorb their truths into your life. For example,

I enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it to others. My only concern was who. The beginning part of the book has such a powerful witness I wanted to share it with a couple people who are hurting and need the grace of God in their lives. Tammie's testimony will rule out anyone's concern that "God couldn't love someone like me." Tammie is living, breathing proof that the opposite is true.

However, the last part of the book is definitely penned to believers. She challenges those in the faith to reach out for "more"; that our walk with God isn't about surviving. It's about thriving. That living a dutiful Christian life is never what God intended. He is totally ok working with, touching and believing in those of us who are "messy" through and through. Tammie exhorts us as believers to stop stretching our muscles, straining our eyes and over-exhausting our spirits to appease us, others or God. That He desires only our worship. Our devotion. And our surrendered heart.

Whether you get the book to share with a friend who is lost and hurting or you get it to inspire a deeper love for your redeemer, be sure to check out this new book from Tammie Head and B&H Publishing.

Thanks to B&H Publishing and Icon Media Group for a free copy of this book in exchange for my review. I was not required to post only positive remarks.

Tammie Head is a Bible teacher, published author, and speaker. Rescued by God from a life in the sex industry, she works to spread the news that miracles still happen today. Tammie is married to her husband Erin, and the two have two daughters, Peyton and Savannah.

If we've piqued your interest read further to hear from Tammie some things she wants you to know about her book.

1. Tammie, what do you want readers to learn from reading your book?

People everywhere are looking for something more. Churched and non-churched alike. They're in the grocery store aisle behind you, in the nail chair beside you, singing praise songs in front of you, and perhaps in the mirror staring back at you. People feel messy; plagued by looming feelings of ineffectiveness, indifference, depression, and purposelessness. However, all of us were made for more than surviving. Old stale religion never satisfies. Neither do the solutions the world has to offer. What all of us need is an encounter with God that reveals truth and sets our hearts ablaze. I have seen this in my own life as well as in countless lives around me.

2. Your life was a bit of a mess before you came to know Christ. How has He used your story to advance His kingdom? 

I have watched God use my story repeatedly as a tenderizing agent for hardened hearts toward God. People cannot believe what God has done for me. In turn, I have also been privileged to lead many people to Christ, to the One who changed me. People are glad to know God loves and pursues even the messiest of people. 

3. What encouragement do you have for men and women who feel like their lives are too messy for God to use? 

If God can use me, He can use anyone! But even more profound than "He can" is this: He wants to! God specializes in taking the most broken of lives and turning them around for His glory. The Bible is full of broken men and women who, after encountering the Lord, were used dramatically by God and for His kingdom.

4. What encouragement do you have for men and women who are yearning to have more in their lives? 

The more we're longing for, at the end of the day, is God. More of His presence. More of His love. More of His power. And so on! What I want men and women to know is God wants "so much more" of us than we could ever want "so much more" Him. The deal is, we must risk making more room for God. The key is sitting with Him, soaking Him in, allowing Him to minister to us on a deep level and, lastly, deeply surrendering our lives to Him day-by-day. 

5. What are some resources for readers who are ready to take the next step and start living for more? 

I have written a Bible study called Duty or Delight: Knowing Where You Stand with God. I think that would be a great resource for digging deeper into more of a relationship with God. 

6. Where can readers connect with you online? 

Readers can connect with me at several social media sites.

Twitter: @tammiehead 
Instagram: @tammiehead 
Facebook: Tammie Head 

My website and blog: