Strong, Courageous Women

Good morning, readers! Happy Mother’s Day weekend! Today on the blog I am writing about strong women. I have always loved the quote, “Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.” I am hoping to raise my daughter to become a strong woman and I know several of you wish the same for your daughters as well. I love to read books about women that have fought hard for where they are in life and haven’t taken no as an answer because in the midst of raising a strong woman, I’m still figuring out how to fully be one myself. I’m hoping these books are an encouragement to you just as much as they are to me.

Hill Women: Finding Family and a Way Forward in the Appalachian Mountains: Chambers, Cassie

Title: Hill Women: Finding family and a way forward in the Appalachian Mountains
Author: Cassie Chambers
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: January 2020
Page Length: 304 pages

Cassie Chamber’s mother grew up in the Appalachian Mountains of Kentucky. Her mother, Wilma, was the first woman in their family to leave the farm to attend college, which was always encouraged by Cassie’s grandmother. One of my favorite people in the book is her maternal Aunt Ruth. She wanted to attend college, but due to health reasons combined with needing to be on the farm, it was impossible for her to finish high school. Ruth could produce more on the farm than her brothers. She’s physically and mentally tough. Ruth worked odd jobs outside the farm in the community and took the money she saved to help send her sister to college. Cassie writes in the book that Ruth always remained strong outwardly, but wonders if she had difficulty coping internally with the fact that Wilma was able to receive an education to pursue a different job. Wilma attended Berea College, married a teacher’s assistant and they remained in Berea after graduation. I don’t want to spoil the book if you haven’t read it, however, I think the story of Ruth makes a lot of the book. Her grandmother also surprised me with how modern her thinking was for the time period by encouraging her daughters to attend school and work hard. She didn’t want them to be stuck in the mountains with lack of opportunities. She was a very smart women in that she knew not only how to manage a household, but also could take apart TVs and radios to fix them when needed. She didn’t read often because there was no time, but she listened to the radio frequently while doing household chores.

As a reader, I can tell that Cassie is still struggling about which world to belong in-the Appalachian mountains where opportunities are fewer due to location and way of life, and the Ivy League college she graduated from, that although full of possibilities, can seem intimidating when you are a second generation college student whose ancestors have primarily known life in the mountains. She writes about the close knit community she is from and that the people remain tough, hardworking and proud. She writes about attending an Ivy League college and adjusting to new social norms and how to dress for formal events. It seems that Cassie is coming to appreciate her family history more as she grows older and acknowledges how difficult it must have been for previous generations of women in her family to sacrifice their own dreams to earn a living. Cassie is an attorney who worked as woman’s advocate in the area for several years before turning to politics. She learned, as most of us do as we age, that people are afraid to leave the familiar and cross into the unknown, which means they can’t be forced to change. Leaving the mountains is leaving behind a whole way of life, family and community, that while may have its issues, is still in the realm of the familiar. Cassie decided to remain in Kentucky and currently lives in Louisville with her husband and son. She visits the Appalachian mountains often to see family. Hill Women is an encouraging read written by a strong woman about generations of strong women.

Author Interview - Cassie Chambers, author of Hill Women | BookPage
 Nathan Cornetet, Fusion Photography

From the author’s website:

Cassie Chambers grew up in Eastern Kentucky. Her earliest memories are of playing on her grandparents’ farm in Owsley County, Kentucky and exploring the campus of Berea College with her mother and father.

Cassie graduated from Yale College, the Yale School of Public Health, the London School of Economics, and Harvard Law School, where she was president of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, a student-run law firm that represents low-income clients. Chambers then received a Skadden Fellowship to return to Kentucky to do legal work with domestic violence survivors in rural communities. In 2018, she helped pass Jeanette’s Law, which eliminated the requirement that domestic violence survivors pay an incarcerated spouse’s legal fees in order to get a divorce.

She is a lawyer and the current vice chair of the Kentucky Democratic Party. She lives in Louisville with her husband, Bryan, their dog, Brixton, and their cat, Spaghetti.
https://www.cassiechambers.com/

Further Reading:

Cassie Chambers on Hill Women and Finding Strength in Her Background
https://southernreviewofbooks.com/2021/02/04/hill-women-cassie-chambers-interview/

Cassie Chambers: Creativity, intelligence and grit in the Appalachian Mountains
https://bookpage.com/interviews/24755-cassie-chambers-biography-memoir#.YJVsrLVKgdU

Beyond Bootstraps: An Appalachian memoir that rejects the narrative of Hillbilly Elegy in favor of something more complicated
https://slate.com/culture/2020/03/cassie-chambers-hill-women-interview-hillbilly-elegy.html

Quirky Bookworm is reading:

Title: Maid: Hard work. low pay and a mother’s will to survive
Author: Stephanie Land
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication Date: January 2019
Page Length: 288 pages

I am halfway finished with Maid by Stephanie Land. I love her insight into the world of domestic housekeeping. Stephanie dated a man during the summer and became unexpectedly pregnant with her daughter. Shortly after, she and the man broke up and Stephanie found herself as a single mom with no formal education and in need of making a decent income. She writes about the brutal truth of being on government aid and the vulnerability and shame it brings. She shares the stories houses can tell about the people that live inside them based on messes left behind and objects scattered about. Stephanie had always wanted to be writer and how that dream was left behind for awhile. She, however, overcame the odds her writings are now published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian and The Atlantic. Maid was on President Obama’s 2019 Summer Reading List and Amazon’s and The New York Time’s Top 100 Books of the Year. Maid is set to premiere on Netflix later this year and will star Andie MacDowell and her daughter, Margaret Qualley. Click here to purchase.

Title: All The Single Ladies: Unmarried women and the rise of an independent nation
Author: Rebecca Traister
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Publication Date: October 2016
Page Length: 368 pages

I am really looking forward to reading All the Single Ladies by Rebecca Traister, who discovered that singlehood for women is not new and has been a growing trend for decades. Statistics show that only 20 percent of women marry by 29 in today’s society, compared to 60 percent in 1960. Traister looks at the history, economics, friendships and lifestyle of single women. Single Ladies is a New York Times Notable Book of 2016, Best Books of 2016 selection by The Boston Globe, Entertainment Weekly, NPR and Chicago Public Library. Rebecca lives in New York with her family and is also the award winning author of Big Girls Don’t Cry. She has been a contributor for The New Republic, Salon, The Nation, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Vogue, Glamour and Marie Claire. Click here to purchase.

Title: Memorial Drive: A daughter’s memoir
Author: Natasha Trethewey
Publisher: Ecco
Publication Date: July 2020

Page Length: 224 pages
Memorial Drive by Natasha Trethewey has been on my TBR list for a few months. I discovered the book when I was compiling a list for Black History Month. Natasha writes about tragically losing her mother at the age of 19 in this intimate memoir. She writes of grief, love and loss and also how her mother’s legacy of resilience shaped her to be the prize winning author she is today. Natasha is a recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, Cave Canem Poetry Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Grolier Poetry Prize, and Pushcart Prize. She teaches creative writing at Emory University. Click here to purchase.

Title: The Right Kind of Strong: Surprisingly simple habits of a spiritually strong woman
Author: Mary A. Kassian
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: July 2019
Page Length: 224 pages

I discovered The Right Kind of Strong at the public library over this past week. I’m always wondering what does it mean to be a strong woman according to the Bible. Does this mean I have a “I can do it all by myself with no support, thank you very much” or does it mean maybe seeking advice from wise family members and friends? How much is asking too much? Award winning author Mary A. Kassian answers these questions based on Paul’s writings in 2 Timothy to the women in the church of Ephesus. Mary writes about how to develop healthy friendships, managing our emotions, confessing our sins, controlling our minds by taking every thought captive, embracing our human weaknesses, live out what we are learning, developing confident convictions and rely on the Lord. Mary Kassian was a professor at Southern Baptist Seminary for several years, and is now a women’s speaker and award winning author of Girls Gone Wise. Click here to purchase.

Title: The Women of the Bible Speak: The wisdom of 16 women and their lessons for today
Author: Shannon Bream
Publisher: Broadside Books
Publication Date: March 2021
Page Length: 256 pages

The Women of the Bible Speak caught my attention on NetGalley a few weeks ago. I was looking for a Christian book that would speak about the lives of women and I looked up reviews, which were positive. Shannon writes about 16 women of the Bible and how their lives are able to inspire us today. The Women of the Bible Speak by Shannon Bream is a #1 New York Times Bestseller and a Fox News Book selection. Shannon is currently host of Fox News @ Night and the network’s Chief Legal Correspondent. Click here to purchase.

Mended hearts and fun reads for spring

Happy Monday! Today on the blog I have four books written by strong women. They have faced challenges and have come out on the other side willing to share their story to help other women. I hope you find encouragement from them just as much as I did. You can check out my additional reads on my Goodreads page by clicking on the link located on my blog homepage or click here.

Title: The Beauty of Broken: My Story and Likely Yours Too
Author: Elisa Morgan
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: 2013
Format: Paperback
Length: 256 pages

Elisa Morgan, the previous CEO of MOPS International for 20 years, shares her personal story. Morgan writes how we have bought into the myth of the perfect family, when in reality there is no family that is perfect. She writes “We all come from a broken family because God’s family is broken. The thing is, this isn’t the tragedy we assume. Broken is right where God wants us-and right where he can powerfully reassemble us,” (p. 30). She writes about her family’s struggles with alcoholism, drug addiction, infertility ,adoption, teen pregnancy, abortion, divorce, homosexuality and death. Morgan is relate-able in her writing and I found encouragement as a mom.

Five out of five bookworms. Excellent read!

About the author…

From the author’s website:

Elisa Morgan was named by Christianity Today as one of the top fifty women influencing today’s church and culture and is one of today’s most sought-after authors, speakers, and leaders. She has authored more than twenty-five books on mothering, spiritual formation, and evangelism, including The Beauty of BrokenHello, Beauty FullShe Did What She Could: Five Words of Jesus That Will Change Your Life, the NIV Mom’s Devotional Bible. Her newest release is The Prayer Coin: Daring to Pray with Honest Abandon

Her blog, Reallyplatforms both Elisa’s voice and the voices of a myriad of women who are committed to living out their influence in real life.

For twenty years, Elisa Morgan served as CEO of MOPS International (www.mops.org). Under her leadership MOPS grew from 350 to over 4,000 groups throughout the United States and in thirty other countries, influencing over 100,000 moms every year. Elisa now serves as President Emerita.

Elisa received a BS from the University of Texas and an MDiv from Denver Seminary where she now serves on the board. As a co-host of the syndicated radio program Discover the Word Elisa offers a daily fifteen-minute real-time conversation around the written and living Word of God. She also writes regularly for the Our Daily Bread Devotional. She is married to Evan (Founder and President of christianuniversity.org) and has two grown children and two grandchildren who live near her in Denver, Colorado. Wilson and Coach, her Rottie-wannabes, take her on walks in the open space behind her house.

Connect with Elisa on Instagram (elisamorganauthor), Facebook and Twitter (@elisa_morgan).

Title: Beautifully Broken
Author: Kimberly Jones-Pothier
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Publication Date: 2015
Format: Paperback
Length: 136 pages

Kimberly Jones-Pothier, a pastor and speaker, shares her testimony in Beautifully Broken. God called Jones-Pothier to be a pastor from a young age. She was raised in an evangelical family that was legalistic. Women were not allowed to sing, preach, wear jewelry, or slacks. She rebelled and didn’t want to be part of religion. God allowed healing in her life that eventually allowed Jones-Pothier to fulfill her dream of becoming a pastor. She shares how the broken pieces of our life and our trauma can be used to fulfill God’s will in our life. She has experienced rejection, abandonment, and divorce. She tells her story in a way that provides the opportunity for the reader to experience her own sense of healing. I have been following her FB page and have found encouragement as a believer.

Five out of five bookworms. Excellent read!

About the author…

From the author’s website:
Kimberly Jones‐Pothier, known as Real Talk Kim, travels the world fulfilling her passion and purpose of loving people back to life. 

She is a wife, mother, pastor, entrepreneur, best-selling author, entertainer and most importantly a worshiper after God’s own heart. Pastor Kim and her husband Mark Pothier are the Senior Pastors at Limitless Church in Fayetteville, Georgia and together have four sons.

She is a human rights advocate with a passion for giving back and believes in the compassion of the Holy Spirit, delivering it to those who need it most. Pastor Kim is an advocate partner with Rock Paper Scissors Foundation, a Non-profit Organization, which exists to foster healing and give a voice to those who have been silenced from all forms of abuse and human trafficking.

Pastor Kim has been featured on The Doctor Oz Show, Oxygen’s Network Series’ Preachers of Atlanta, Your World with Creflo Dollar on BET, ABC’s Nightline, The Word Network, CNN, Praise in the Park’ Atlanta and numerous magazines and radios shows. She is truly a living and walking testimony of God’s redemption plan in action. Follow her on FB and visit her website, RealTalkKim.com

Title: The Glass Castle
Author: Jeannette Walls
Publisher: Scribner
Publication Date: 2006
Format: Paperback
Length: 288 pages

Jeannette Walls shares her story of growing up in extreme poverty with parents that were eccentric. Her father was incredibly smart and well read on various academic subjects, but could not keep a job for long periods of time. The family was constantly moving and at times were homeless. Her mother had a degree in education and was a skilled artist, but refused to get or keep a job. She would rather spend all day working on her art. Walls and her three siblings were forced to take care of each other. Her years of growing up with an eccentric family was both a blessing and a tragedy. The Glass Castle is an amazing story of determination. Walls shares her family story in a beautiful way-not out of anger or bitterness, but of forgiveness and learning to understand what made her parents the way they were.

Five out of five bookworms. Excellent read!

About the author…

From the author’s website:
Jeannette Walls graduated from Barnard College and was a journalist in New York. Her memoir, The Glass Castle, has been a New York Times bestseller for more than six years. She is also the author of the instant New York Times bestsellers The Silver Star and Half Broke Horses, which was named one of the ten best books of 2009 by the editors of The New York Times Book Review. Walls lives in rural Virginia with her husband, the writer John Taylor.

Title: Girl Meets Change
Author: Kristen Strong
Publisher: Fleming H. Revell Company
Publication Date: 2015
Format: Paperback
Length: 224 pages

Kristen Strong writes about the stresses of expected and unexpected change in her book, Girl Meets Change. She writes about the several seasons of change that have been part of her life. The three stages of change according to Strong are acknowledgement, acceptance and adapting. Change can be a way for us to draw closer to God and allow Him to grow us an individual. Her book is filled with practical advice for women in how to deal with the changes life brings. She doesn’t preach or write in a condescending way-just as an encouragement for women that find themselves in difficult seasons life and are experiencing loneliness and heartache.

Five out of five bookworms. Excellent read!

About the author…

From the author’s website:

I’m Kristen, and I’m so happy to meet you. I’m wife to a U.S. Air Force Veteran, mama to three delightful teens, and your change mentor, belonging helper, and all around listening friend. I write to offer you fresh air encouragement for every season of your life by helping you see your specific season through the filter of God’s care and provision. I love to write stories that help you make sense of your own and help you see your season with more hope and less worry.  Visit Kristen’s website, Chasing Blue Skies.

Spring is around the corner…

Y’all, I am ready for spring. I want warmer weather and days where the sun is out longer. While the weather may not be our best friend right now, I have some authors that write lighthearted novels that will help chase away with winter blues.

Mary Kay Andrews
Robyn Carr
Dorothea Benton Frank
Jane Green
Elin Hildebrand
Debbie Macomber
Hannah McKinnon
Mary Alice Monroe
Wendy Wax

What Challenges You?

I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day Weekend. I ate way too much (I had my cheat day yesterday) and spent my time burning off some calories at spin class this morning. This was my first spin class and it was a challenge. Challenges can be good. They keep us going. My current challenges are hot yoga, spin class and weight lifting. These are not only good for me physically, but also mentally and emotionally. I also need to get my daughter through her summer reading list for school. Send prayers. We currently are doing a tech free summer where she can’t have any mobile devices. None. She can watch TV. I find myself watching the most random videos on YouTube-makeup tutorials, hair tutorials, family videos and people playing video games. I watch everything with her except the video games. My challenge has been trying to keep up with everything she finds. What is she watching? Is it appropriate? My husband and daughter know way more about technology than me. I use Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and MyFitness Pal . That is about as far as my use of technology goes. I usually read, watch TV, workout or listen to podcasts. I have a difficult time sitting still. I always feel I need to be moving unless I am reading. My husband will try to get me to binge watch TV and I make it through two episodes and I am just done. I need to be working on the house, doing errands or something other than just sitting still.

What challenges you? What keeps you going? If you struggle with depression, like myself, I encourage you to find an area of interest that challenges you or maybe even a project that needs to be done. It may also help to find a friend that will encourage you in your new journey.

List of things that challenge me:

  • Organizing the house and cleaning out closets
  • Yoga
  • Reading
  • Trying new recipes
  • Giving back to the community. We do local mission projects with our Sunday School class.
  • Raising my daughter
  • Finding books to order for our library
  • Making new friends
  • Following a budget. This can be difficult when it comes to shopping for clothes. I get a set amount each month, but I have been known to go over.
  • Scrapbooking. I love to scrapbook, but have fallen behind on this. I need to catch up.
  • Organizing a schedule/routine for our family to follow. I try to keep each week consistent, but sometimes life just happens.

Make a list of what challenges you so far. This will also help you realize how much you accomplish and that you are stronger than what you believe.

I went through a season of life a few years ago where I just found myself not on a schedule. I felt overwhelmed and was trying to do too much at once. This is very common with parents of newborns/toddlers. You just can’t do everything. I can’t volunteer for every project or attend every event. Lysa Terkeurst challenges you to set your priorities and to not be afraid to say no. Take time for you. I listed above challenges I face. Those are also priorities in my life right now. I do serve the community, but I don’t say yes to everything. Serving at VBS? I can’t. I work full time. What I can do? Serve an occasional Saturday in the community. Host meals for Sunday School a few times a year. As I read this book, I realized I was not prioritizing my schedule. Now I pick out a few things which also leaves room for personal challenges of my own that I need to accomplish. Terkeurst does an excellent job in explaining how to make the best choices based on your current family demands right now. I read The Best Yes and it helped change my life.
Purchase here.

From the author’s website:

Lysa TerKeurst is president of Proverbs 31 Ministries and the New York Times best-selling author of Uninvited,The Best Yes, Unglued, Made to Crave, and 16 other books.

Lysa was recently awarded the Champions of Faith Author Award and has been published in multiple publications such as Focus on the Family and CNN online. Additionally, she has appeared on the Today Show as one of the leading voices in the Christian community.

For more information Lysa TerKeurst and to follow her blog, click here.

Redeeming Love is one of the best reads and one that I read last year when I was facing numerous challenges. As women, we tend to be confused about love and what that looks like. Francine Rivers creates a story of fiction based on the book of Hosea in the Bible. God calls Hosea to love a prostitute. In this novel, her name is Angel. She leaves him, but God keeps calling Hosea to chase her, even though he is left brokenhearted. God loves us unconditionally and forgives. God uses Hosea’s story as an example of how he loves us. Redeeming Love is a good read for the soul that has felt abandoned, used or brokenhearted and will challenge how we love others.
Purchase here.

From the author’s website:

Francine Rivers began her literary career at the University of Nevada, Reno, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Journalism. From 1976 to 1985, she had a successful writing career in the general market and her books were awarded or nominated for numerous awards and prizes. Although raised in a religious home, Francine did not truly encounter Christ until later in life, when she was already a wife, mother of three, and an established romance novelist. Shortly after becoming a born-again Christian in 1986, Francine wrote Redeeming Love as her statement of faith.  First published by Bantam Books, and then re-released by Multnomah Publishers in the mid- 1990s, this retelling of the biblical story of Gomer and Hosea set during the time of the California Gold Rush is now considered a classic work of Christian fiction and continues to be one of the Christian Booksellers Association’s top-selling titles; it has held a spot on the Christian bestseller list for nearly a decade.

For more information about Francine Rivers, click here.

Blogs I Love

ModernMrsDarcy.com
A book and lifestyle blog that features podcasts, reading guides and Ebook deals.
TheEverygirl.com
A lifestyle blog that focuses on finances, wellness, style, traveling, shopping and living.
DailyDoseofLuxury.com
A blog focused on self-care.
GirlBoss.com
A blog on women and their careers.
EmilyMay.me
Emily is the #1 reviewer on Goodreads. She also has a good book review to share on her blog.l
SuperFoodsLife.com
A blog focused on nutrition.
Raisin-Toast.com
A blog focusing on art, home and garden.
APinchofCrazy.com
A blog that has healthy recipes for your whole family to enjoy.
ToLoveHonorandVacuum.com
A blog on marriage and family.
Unveiledwife.com
An encouragement blog and podcast for wives.
MessyMotherhood.com
A blog on motherhood from a Children’s Therapist turned SAHM.
MomentsaDay.com
A blog on personal growth for families written by a certified parent educator.
AMotherFarFromHome.com
Ideas on establishing routine and order in your home to take the chaos out of parenting written by a SAHM of 4.

A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes

I was a dreamer growing up as a little girl. I dreamed not only of Prince Charming, but of living in NYC working for a glamour magazine. True story. I wanted to be in a big city, surrounded by lots of people, doing what I love and raise a family. I never did make my dream of living in NYC and working for a glamour magazine. Our dreams may be far fetched, but dreaming is what makes life worth living sometimes.

I believe as adults we still dream. There are still sights to see and goals we want to accomplish. Our dreaming curbs as we grow older. Life seems to bring its fair share of disappointments and heartache. We wonder if our dreams are worth pursuing, if we still dare to dream at all. Our dreaming may change over time. We grow to adulthood, face everyday realities and want different things out of life. Doors close to some of our dreams which means that those particular dreams weren’t meant to be. I have faced my share of heartache, but deep inside is still the little girl that loves to dream.

I happened by chance to read a few books based on dreams this week which got me to thinking about dreams of mine that have become real. I’m fortunate in this life to have had several come true. I wanted to be married, as most young girls do. I am married to the love of my life. He is my ride or die. Just yesterday we were in the gym meeting with a trainer and my husband mentioned that I am his motivator for continuing to workout. It was a small moment, but a sweet one. I always wanted a daughter since I was little girl myself. She’s here and and she’s my mini-me. We go shopping, get manis, brunch, hang out, and sometimes drive each other crazy, but I wouldn’t change a second of it. I love reading and work at a job where I’m surrounded by books all day. Life is truly sweet. Did I mention that I have two of the cutest nephews? They have a million aunts who spoil them like crazy and always brag about how great they are. They make life a little sweeter.

What are some of your dreams and goals? What closed doors have you faced that changed how you dream? I believe our heartaches not only make us stronger, but guide us towards the life we were meant to live.

Title: Park Avenue Summer
Author: Renee Rosen
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: April 30, 3019
Format:Paperback
Length: 368 pages

Park Summer Avenue is based on real life Helen Gurley Brown, senior editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine for over 30 years. She changed how single women saw their life in the 1960’s and gave them courage to pursue their dreams. Alice Weiss, the novel’s fictitious main character, lands the job of being Brown’s assistant due to connections, all though her dream job is to become a photographer. Park Avenue Summer is an encouragement to women that our thoughts and ideas matter. If you love The Devil Wears Prada, you will love this new read by Renee Rosen. Purchase here.

Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC.

From the author’s website:
Renee Rosen is the bestselling author of historical fiction. Her novels include Windy City Blues, White Collar Girl, What the Lady Wants and Dollface as well as the young adult novel, Every Crooked Pot. Her most recent novel is Park Avenue Summer (April 30, 2019 from Penguin Random House/Berkley).Renee is a native of Akron, Ohio and a graduate of The American University in Washington DC.  She now lives in Chicago where she is at work on a new novel, The Social Graces, a story about Mrs. Astor and Mrs. Vanderbilt vying for control of New York society during the Gilded Age. (Coming in 2020 from Penguin Random House/Berkley). Read more about Renee Rosen here.

Title: She Dreams: Live the Life You Were Created For
Author: Tiffany Bluhm
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Publication Date: February 5, 2019
Format: Paperback
Length: 224 pages

Tiffany Bluhm encourages women to explore their dreams and live the life they were called to. God creates in each woman’s heart desires that long to be fulfilled. How do we make those dreams a reality? What happens when our dreams are not fulfilled? Bluhm studies the life of Moses and how God called him to lead the Israelites out of slavery. Maybe our dreams may not look like what we originally intended, but God has a purpose for each one of us that will lead to fulfillment if we pursue after him. Purchase the book here. Purchase the Bible study guide here.

Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC.

From the author’s website:

Tiffany Bluhm, author of She Dreams and Never Alone, is a speaker, writer, and podcast co-host of Why Tho. Tiffany speaks regularly at conferences and events, and her work has been featured on outlets such as TODAY Parents, YouVersion Bible app, the Hallmark Channel, ScaryMommy.com and The Jenny McCarthy Show. She lives in Tacoma, Washington, with her husband and two sons. To find out more, visit 
www.tiffanybluhm.com

Title: It’s a Love Story
Author: Lincee Ray
Publisher: Revell
Publication Date: April 30, 2019
Format: Paperback
Length: 208 pages

Most young women dream of love. We want the Cinderella story. We love being in love and having someone to love. Lincee Ray writes a humorous memoir of all the loves of her life, including pets, boyfriends, friends and family and all the emotions that come with it. God gave the author new dreams and a new life after a heartbreaking divorce. It’s a Love Story is an encouragement to women everywhere to never give up on love and finding your calling. Purchase here.

Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC.

From the author’s website:

I began blogging accidentally when I wrote a recap for the beloved show everyone loves to hate — The Bachelor. What began as a place for closeted fans to commune and discuss the wonder that is Our Host Chris Harrison slowly morphed into a place where I share stories about everyday life.
One day, my Bachelor recap landed on the desk of an editor at Entertainment Weekly. That sweet woman quickly deduced that I am a pop culture weirdo who probably watches all of the teenybopper shows on The CW. She was right. When I’m not watching TV for a living, you can probably find me speaking to various groups of women, including business and church groups. If all else fails, look for me in a darkened movie theater or at a live music venue. To find our more, visit
http://www.ihategreenbeans.com/

On a less serious note…

So…….this blog post today was supposed to be reviews on parenting books from NetGalley. I have a 6 year old, whose one gift for Mother’s Day turned out to be a huge temper tantrum over the fact I wouldn’t give her the phone. According to her, I am stupid and she also hates this world. So clearly, I am winning at parenting. Maybe I will get lucky and she will become a soap opera star due to her drama abilities and take care of me. She went to bed early so that was my Mother’s Day gift to me.

Anyway, all the books turned out to be DNF’s (did not finish). I requested several and they were not helpful, to say the least. One book looked promising until I started actually reading it. The issue with me is that her way of parenting is so successful that none can compare! All you have to do is sacrifice everything for your children. Your needs, your wants, your life. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. So simple, right? SMH. Have a career? That’s too indulgent. Are you a SAHM and spend time on a hobby you enjoy during the day? You have children that need their mother 24/7 for heaven’s sake! I could only make it halfway through the book. I understand her children are grown and she is an empty nester. I’m sure her knowledge far outweighs mine. However, she didn’t even share how she became a judgmental wonderful parent. No mention of her children ever causing scenes in public. No bad parenting decisions. She gave birth and instantly was filled with all surpassing wisdom, not like us mere mortals with our inferior offspring. UGH. Pass.

The next book looked hopeful. It promised a new style of parenting. According to the authors, this style of parenting is so outstanding that we wouldn’t believe it could work. I read about a quarter of the book and I agreed with the authors. I don’t believe it could work. For example, if Johnny refuses to take out the trash when you ask him too, we are supposed to acknowledge his feeling of irritation and then negotiate a time that would work better for him. Maybe after he is done watching TV so he’s not irritated about being interrupted. You can’t make this stuff up. That was an actual example from the book. This style of parenting encourages the parents to reach their children’s hearts and allow for mutual understanding. I came to an understanding with my parents too, but it didn’t look like the example from the book. “I’m the adult, your the child. I pay the bills which is why we have cable in the first place, you do chores as I say so you learn to be responsible” (and lets be honest, eventually leave). See? Understanding. I wrote the publisher and told them I couldn’t finish the book. I have a strong willed child so if I negotiated every chore, nothing would ever get done and there just aren’t enough hours in the day.

I gave up on parenting books and decided to read a thriller. I have several in my to read list and would share them today instead of parenting books. I love thrillers as much as the next person except I haven’t been reading them much as of late. There are so many authors trying to copy Gillian Flynn. I’m just going to write it. Gillian Flynn is to the thriller genre what Oprah is to talk shows. You can’t imitate her work and claim to be the next Gillian Flynn. She is a master at her craft and has a gift that very few authors have. If you are writing “the sky turned dark” and “the door creaked” that is not classified as a thriller, Nancy Drew.

Anytime I am reading a book, I want to hear the author’s unique voice. I can tell when they are attached to their storyline and characters or when they are hoping to make a quick buck based on the popular genre of the moment. I have been in a reading slump since I’ve read Dorothea Benton Frank’s novel. She is a romance writer, but doesn’t try to imitate Danielle Steel or Nora Roberts. She writes using her own voice, her own personality and what she loves. One of her homes is located in the Lowcountry of South Carolina and that’s where her novels are set. She has knowledge and a love for her home which shows in her writing. If the author isn’t being genuine to themselves, I don’t finish reading the work no matter how popular it is.

I am still in my reading slump, but managed to find a few from NetGalley that I loved. Y’all know I love works that classify as humor so listed below are two that I recommend.

Title: Mama, Mama, Only Mama
Author: Lara Lillibridge
Publisher: SkyHorse
Publication Date: March 5th, 2019
Format: Hardcover
Length: 208 pages

I love the author’s sense of humor and style of writing. I feel like she could be one of my BFF’s. In her humorous memoir, she shares her frustrations, fears and successes as a single mom for 6 years to two young boys whom she refers to as Big Pants and Little Pants. Recipes and parenting tips are shared. Even if you aren’t a single parent, you can still relate to some of Lillibridge’s feelings and experiences in the book.

Thank you to NetGalley for the free copy in exchange for my honest review.

From the publisher: Lara Lillibridge sings off-beat and dances off-key. She writes a lot, and sometimes even likes how it turns out.
She is the author of two memoirs, Girlish: Growing Up in a Lesbian Home, Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards Finalist (Skyhorse Publishing, 2018) and Mama, Mama, Only Mama (Skyhorse Publishing, 2019).
Lara Lillibridge is a graduate of West Virginia Wesleyan College’s MFA program in Creative Nonfiction. In 2016 she won Slippery Elm Literary Journal’s Prose Contest, and The American Literary Review’s Contest in Nonfiction. She also was a finalist in both Black Warrior Review’s Nonfiction Contest and DisQuiet’s Literary Prize in Creative Nonfiction.

Title: How To Be A Perfect Christian
Author: The Babylon Bee
Publisher: Multnomah
Publication Date: May 1st, 2018
Format: Hardcover
Length: 203 pages

How to be a Perfect Christian is satire about modern day Christianity. There were so many lines I highlighted. One of my favorites was, “Whether you’re watching Christian movies in which the world lights up like a big ball of fire and only Kirk Cameron is left standing or you’re reading a bonnet ripper about Jebediah the Amish farmer casting his steely gaze at Abigail the spinster, remember to turn your mind off and let your own efforts rack up credit in heaven with the Lord. Don’t think critically about any of these things. They have been approved by cultural Christianity, so they’re undoubtedly wholesome.” I laughed so hard I had tears.

The book does make you think about how Christianity is portrayed in our culture and that is sad. I’ve grown up in the church my whole life and while I would feel comfortable in the environment, I can easily understand why many don’t. I will give a warning and say that this book may be offensive to some believers. For example, if you are offended by John Christ’s posts on social media, you will more than likely be offended by this book. However, if you love John Christ, this book is perfect for you.

Thank you to NetGalley for the free copy in exchange for my honest review.


Visit the Babylon Bee’s website.