Sunday, April 21, 2019

Book Review: Sweet on You by Becky Wade

About the Book:

Britt Bradford and Zander Ford have been the best of friends since they met thirteen years ago. Unbeknown to Britt, Zander has been in love with her for just as long.

Independent and adventurous Britt channels her talent into creating chocolates at her hometown shop. Zander is a bestselling author who's spent the past 18 months traveling the world. He's achieved a great deal but still lacks the only thing that ever truly mattered to him--Britt's heart.

When Zander's uncle dies of mysterious causes, he returns to Merryweather, Washington, to investigate, and Britt is immediately there to help. Although this throws them into close proximity, both understand that an attempt at romance could jeopardize their once-in-a-lifetime friendship. But while Britt is determined to resist any change in their relationship, Zander finds it increasingly difficult to keep his feelings hidden.

As they work together to uncover his uncle's tangled past, will the truth of what lies between them also, finally, come to light?

My Thoughts:

In Sweet on You, Becky Wade delivers a beautifully written friends-to-lovers novel filled with a unique mystery, laugh-out-loud humor, stirring character development, and sizzling romance!

The friends-to-lovers trope worked especially well in Sweet on You because Britt is such a well-developed character. Her personality is complex as are her reasons for avoiding romance with Zander. Beyond fear of ruining their friendship, much of Britt's reluctance to be more than friends derives from her life experiences and personality. She undergoes a character transformation as the novel progresses, but especially near the end of the book. It is only through these changes that the she finds faith to trust God and open her heart more fully to Zander.

Sweet on You caught my attention at the beginning and I read it in two nights. In some ways, it felt like an ode to chocolate and love. However, not everything was light and sweet. Embedded in the plot and character development are themes about trusting God, God's faithfulness, and letting go of one's pride and abilities. The novel also addresses the short-term and long-term effects of trauma. I loved the combination of sweet romance with deeper themes and issues.

Lastly, Sweet on You is the third and final novel in Becky Wade's Bradford Sisters Romance series. I enjoyed reading Britt's love story and the follow-up glimpses into Nora and Willow's lives. Though Sweet On You by Becky Wade could be read as a stand-alone, I recommend reading the series in order. They're all good and Falling For You is my personal favorite of the three.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Friday, April 19, 2019

First Line Fridays: The Edge of Mercy by Heidi Chiavaroli

Happy Friday!

First Line Fridays is hosted by Hoarding Books and participants share the first line from a nearby book.

Today I'm sharing the first lines from The Edge of Mercy by Heidi Chiavaroli:

"I slipped the two rings off my finger to cradle them in my palm."

Have you read this book? It's Heidi Chiavaroli's newest novel and just released earlier this month.

Read my review of The Edge of Mercy.

What are you reading this weekend?

Have a great weekend! Happy reading!

About the Book:

Two women, three hundred years apart, must face the devastation of all they hold dear...

Suspecting her husband is having an affair, Sarah Rodrigues fights to appear unbroken while attempting to salvage her family. Though distracted by her own troubles, Sarah is summoned to an elderly friend’s deathbed for an unusual request—find a long-lost daughter and relay a centuries-old family story.

Determined not to fail her friend, Sarah pieces together the story of her neighbor’s ancestor, Elizabeth Baker, a young colonist forced into an unwanted betrothal but drawn to a man forbidden by society. While Sarah’s family teeters on the edge of collapse, her world is further shaken by the interest of a caring doctor and a terrible accident that threatens a life more precious than her own.

Inspired by the unconditional love she uncovers in Elizabeth’s story, Sarah strives to forgive those who’ve wounded her soul. But when light shines on the dark secrets of her neighbor’s past and the full extent of her husband’s sins, will looking to a power greater than herself rekindle lost hope?

First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Book Review: What Am I Feeling?

About the Book:

Can show-and-tell day be saved?
It’s show-and-tell day at school, and Sam and his friends are feeling lots of emotions. He wonders why he feels flippy in his tummy. And why is Alex stomping his feet? And does Hudson usually have such a big grin?
After several unchecked feelings threaten to ruin the big day, Sam and his friends start to learn how to give each emotion a name and ask God to help them remember that “a feeling is just a feeling—it’s not in charge of you.” In a world where kids are dealing with everything from sibling rivalry to bullying, divorce to tragedy, What Am I Feeling? offers a biblically grounded way for children to verbalize their feelings, develop empathy and self-control, and understand their wonderful God-given emotions.
BONUS! Also includes a pull-out feelings chart for your wall! 

My Thoughts:

What Am I Feeling? held my children's attention as I read it and they liked the cute pictures. We talked a little about emotions and the book's message. It's not a book they want to read daily, but they pick it up sometimes.

The concepts of (1) naming a feeling, (2) asking God for help with it, and (3) not letting the emotion control your actions are good lessons. Really good lessons, that both children and adults (myself included) need to remember.

In the story, several children experience emotions that are generally perceived as negative. One girl feels sadness, one girl feels jealousy, one boy feels afraid, and one boy feels angry. While the first three got reminded in various ways to acknowledge the feeling and not let it control his/her actions, the boy who got angry never got the same reminder or any consequence. He did apologize for his anger later in the story, but it stood out to me that he did not receive a reminder like the others did. Perhaps that bothers me more than it will others, but as the book is perpetuating self-awareness of emotions, I think that one should have been called out as well.

In conclusion, my kids liked the story and illustrations in What Am I Feeling? by Dr. Josh and Christi Straub. I thought it missed the mark, but I still appreciate the premise of naming an emotion, praying for help, and not letting it dictate one's actions.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Author Interview: In Sickness and In Health by Dr. David Hawkins

Earlier this month, I reviewed In Sickness and In Health: The Physical Consequences of Emotional Stress in Marriage by David Hawkins, PhD, with Tyson Hawkins, MD, and Joshua Hawkins, MD.  In my review, I gave it five stars because of its honesty, information, and healthy perspective. Read my full review here.
Today, I'm returning to In Sickness and In Health with an author interview with Dr. David Hawkins, but first, a little about the book.

About In Sickness and In Health:
Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired? 
When you first met your spouse you probably had a physical response to the emotions you felt. You’d get butterflies in your stomach, your heart would race, and your palms would sweat. So why is it that after you’re married, it’s so hard to make the connection between your physical health and your emotional well-being when you’re facing relational stress?
If your emotional pain feels physical and your physical pain feels emotional, your marriage may be making you sick—literally. Join Dr. David Hawkins and his sons, an internist and a surgeon, as they explore the effects relational stress and trauma can have on our bodies. You will learn to . . .
  • recognize the link between emotional and physical pain
  • embrace the power of choice to become empowered by hope
  • find a path forward to ultimate restoration and regain your life
No matter what kind of pain you’re experiencing, or how long your health has been in decline, you don’t have to stay stuck. Discover hope and healing when you take control of your life.

Interview with Dr. David Hawkins:

What defines a toxic marriage?

Five Signs: 1. A relationship where you can’t seem to do anything right. 2. Everything is about them, not you. Your mate’s needs always trump your own. 3. You find yourself unable to enjoy good moments with him. 4. You’re uncomfortable being yourself around your mate. 5. You feel no freedom to grow and change.  

What is C-PTSD? 

Complex PTSD is chronic relationship stress, marked by the following: emotional dysregulation, difficulty with self-perception, interruptions in consciousness, difficulty in relationships, inaccurate perception of one’s perpetrators and broken system of meanings (loss of faith and meaning in life.)

Do you think that the C-PTSD that results from a toxic marriage has a disproportionate effect on women?


Often, women experiencing the kind of physical maladies you describe are also experience autoimmune disorders. Is there any correlation between these types of disorders and emotional stress?

There is no doubt a positive relationship between PTSD, CPTSD and autoimmune disorders, not to mention other psychosomatic illnesses.

What are the calling cards of the type of marriage that produces symptoms of physical stress?

A toxic marriage, or marriage of high-conflict and never-ending stress, is likely to lead to physical symptomatology. The body definitely keeps score when it comes to chronic relationship unhappiness.

How does your faith inform your views on psychology and medicine? How does it inform your views on marriage?

My faith is my foundation for everything I believe about my practice of psychology and marriage counseling. I believe in the sanctity of the individual and the marriage. All decisions I make as a clinician and solutions recommended need to align with Scripture.  

What are the steps towards healing that individuals can take to recover from an emotionally damaging marriage?

First and foremost is the importance of naming the truth of what is happening. You can’t change what you won’t own, you won’t own what you can’t see and you can’t see unless you are open to feedback from others. So, after naming the problems, seek steps to change and grow. Victims of emotional abuse need specialized help to heal and perpetrators of abuse need special help as well. Getting the right help can make all the difference, especially if they stick with the healing process.

Are there preventative measures individuals can take to stop their marriage from becoming toxic?

Yes. Couples can name the toxicity at the beginning of the destructive process rather than live in denial and waiting until things are very bad. Early detection and treatment are critical.

What do you hope that readers take away from your book?  

That they are responsible for their healing, for finding the best emotional, physical and spiritual help available, and that healing is available to all.

Monday, April 15, 2019

April 2019 Book Giveaway: Who I Am With You

Time for April's Book Giveaway!

This month I'm giving away my ARC copy of Who I Am With You by Robin Lee Hatcher. I enjoyed this story as I was reading it, but I'm not sure I'll ever read it again, so I'd like to share it with one of you!

I believe the next installment in the series comes out in a few months, so now is the perfect to time to read Who I Am With You, if you haven't already!

About the Book:

For these two broken hearts, the first step toward love will be a huge leap of faith.

Jessica Mason isn’t looking for love when she meets Ridley Chesterfield. Instead she is still reeling from the tragic, unexpected loss of her husband and daughter—and awaiting the arrival of her unborn child. Harboring the secret of her husband’s betrayal, her pain is deeper than anyone knows.

Ridley Chesterfield is hiding out in Hope Springs, Idaho, avoiding a political scandal and the barrage of false media headlines that have tarnished his good name. The last thing Ridley wants is a relationship—but when fate leads Ridley to form a friendship with his reclusive and pregnant neighbor, he wonders if this small-town hideout might be more of a long-term destination. 

When Jessica begins to read her great-grandfather’s Bible, she finds a connection with a man she never knew. Somehow the verses he marked and the words he wrote in the margins open her heart to healing. And as Ridley and Jessica help each other forgive the people who have broken their hearts, they must decide if the past will define them or if they will choose to love again.

Who I Am with You weaves together a modern-day romance with Jessica’s great-grandfather’s story from the 1930s, reminding us that some truths can cross generations and that faith has the power to transform families forever.

Who I Am with You is the first book in Robin’s “A Legacy of Faith” series.

About the Giveaway:

Enter using the Rafflecopter. Must be a resident of the US, 18 years of age, and legally able to enter. Book is in gently used condition and will be shipped via Media Mail. No purchase necessary.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Book Review: Choosing Real: A Devotional Thought Journal

About the Book:


When you enjoy God's company first--even in the uncertain moments of life--the heavenly Creator will transform your mind to view your schedule, work, relationships, parenting, and responsibilities as opportunities to dance in life's storms and honor how beautiful simple can be. That's the message of the Choosing REAL journal, where popular author and blogger, Bekah Pogue, walks with you into life’s unplanned circumstances. . .and she reminds you it is in these very moments that God invites you to notice, respond, and even celebrate how He shows up—in every little detail. Featuring quotes from Pogue's, Choosing REAL, alongside inspiring scripture selections and journal prompts, you will be encouraged to record your personal thoughts and feelings. . .and to accept the invitation to embrace life just as it is!

My Thoughts:

I have a serious love of journals, so I was pretty excited to receive Choosing Real: A Devotional Thought Journal by Bekah Jane Pogue. In addition to a looking pretty and feeling sturdy, the cover is textured! Maybe that doesn't impress everybody like it did me, but it makes my journal-loving heart feel warm and fuzzy. Also, I love the built-in bookmark. It's convenient and coordinates with the journal's color scheme.

Choosing Real: A Devotional Thought Journal is based on Bekah Jane Pogue's book, Choosing Real, which I haven't yet read. As I looked through this journal, I noted that there were some topics that appeared in groups. For that reason, I think I will go page by page rather than skipping around. Some topics covered: invitation to commune with God, times of resting and waiting, community and relationships, being content and thankful, plus many others.

Choosing Real: A Devotional Thought Journal features Scripture verses, a small devotional thought, and a question to reflect on. When opened for use, the left page has the Scripture verse at the top and the right page has the devotional thought and question. There's plenty of space to write out a reflection. However, I kinda wish the pages were swapped with the question on the left page (since it's the first in the spread) and the supporting Scripture on the right. But that's just my taste and it doesn't really bother me with it being as it is.

Choosing Real: A Devotional Thought Journal by Bekah Jane Pogue is a lovely journal that I look forward to using and I recommend it to any woman looking to deepen her relationship with God.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

Friday, April 12, 2019

First Line Fridays: Glory Road by Lauren K. Denton

Happy Friday!

First Line Fridays is hosted by Hoarding Books and participants share the first line from a nearby

Today I'm sharing the first lines from Glory Road by Lauren K. Denton:

"I'd been on the porch steps shelling purple hull peas for less than an hour and my thumbnails had already turned purple."

Have you read this book?

What are you reading this weekend?

Have a great weekend! Happy reading!

About the Book:

The only thing certain is change—even in a place as steady as Perry, Alabama, on a street as old as Glory Road.
Nearly a decade after her husband’s affair drove her back home to South Alabama, Jessie McBride has the stable life she wants—operating her garden shop, Twig, next door to her house on Glory Road, and keeping up with her teenage daughter and spunky mother. But the unexpected arrival of two men makes Jessie question whether she’s really happy with the status quo.
When handsome, wealthy businessman Sumner Tate asks her to arrange flowers for his daughter’s lavish wedding, Jessie finds herself drawn to his continued attention. Then Ben Bradley, her lingering what-could-have-been from high school, moves back to the red dirt road, and she feels her heart pulled in directions she never expected.
Meanwhile, Jessie’s fourteen-year-old daughter, Evan, is approaching the start of high school and navigating a new world of emotions—particularly as they relate to the cute new guy who’s moved in just down the road. At the same time, Jessie’s mother, Gus, is suffering increasingly frequent memory lapses and faces a frightening, uncertain future.
In one summer, everything will change. But for these three strong Southern women, the roots they’ve planted on Glory Road will give life to the adventures waiting just around the curve.

First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books