Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Book Review: Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

About the Book:

Sense and Sensibility. Frankenstein. The Scarlet Letter. You’re familiar with these pillars of classic literature. You may even be able to rattle off a few quotes, but do you really know how to read them? Do you know how to read them as a Christian?
Through this beautifully designed series, bestselling author, literature professor, and avid reader Karen Swallow Prior will guide you through a selection of classics. She will not only navigate you through the pitfalls that trap readers today, but show you how to read them in light of the gospel, and to the glory of God

My Thoughts:

I chose to read Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad strictly because I am a fan of Karen Swallow Prior’s work. After reading her informative, spoiler-free introduction, I knew it would be a heavy read, but I hoped that I might get something out of it. 

The story was terrible. Cruelty, racism, greed, hatred… and it was all in the extreme. Although the publisher altered/replaced some of the most offensive words, the story and the characters’ actions demonstrated unfathomable disregard for human life. I couldn’t stomach it and it took me a long time to read through.

Karen Swallow Prior’s introduction is well-written. It provided information on the author’s life, a historical background of the work, an overview of themes in the work, and suggestions to consider while reading Heart of Darkness.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a copy of this book by the author or publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.

June Reading Recap & Expected July Reads!

My June 2020 Reads: 

In June, I finished:

  1. A Mosaic of Wings by Kimberly Duffy - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ - Read my review.

  2. Start With Me by Kara Isaac - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ - Review to come.

  3. The Story Hunter by Lindsay A. Franklin - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ - Read my review.

  4. The Story Peddler by Lindsay A. Franklin - ⭐⭐⭐⭐.

  5. The Story Raider by Lindsay A. Franklin - ⭐⭐⭐⭐. 

  6. At Love's Command by Karen Witemeyer - ⭐⭐⭐ - Read my review.

  7. The Woman in the Green Dress by Tea Cooper - ⭐⭐⭐ - Read my review.

  8. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, Karen Swallow Prior - ⭐⭐ - Read my review.

Expected July 2020 Reads:

In July, I hope to read:
  1. How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster - I started reading this one in early May, but didn't get very far in before life went crazy. I just started reading it again and it's quite interesting!

  2.  A Bride of Convenience by Jody Hedlund - I love Jody Hedlund's books!

  3. Ruby Moon by Jennifer Knipfer - Both this book and it's sequel have been sitting on my shelf for months! Sometimes I get soooo behind! 

  4. A Gilded Lady by Elizabeth Camden - My local book club's pick for July!

  5. Coming Home to Maverick by Sophia Summers - Looking forward to this one too!

What will you read this month?

Book Review: The Woman in the Green Dress by Tea Cooper

About the Book:

A cursed opal, a gnarled family tree, and a sinister woman in a green dress emerge in the aftermath of World War I.
After a whirlwind romance, London teashop waitress Fleur Richards can’t wait for her new husband, Hugh, to return from the Great War. But when word of his death arrives on Armistice Day, Fleur learns he has left her a sizable family fortune. Refusing to accept the inheritance, she heads to his beloved home country of Australia in search of the relatives who deserve it more.
In spite of her reluctance, she soon finds herself the sole owner of a remote farm and a dilapidated curio shop full of long-forgotten artifacts, remarkable preserved creatures, and a mystery that began more than sixty-five years ago. With the help of Kip, a repatriated soldier dealing with the sobering aftereffects of war, Fleur finds herself unable to resist pulling on the threads of the past. What she finds is a shocking story surrounding an opal and a woman in a green dress. . . a story that, nevertheless, offers hope and healing for the future.
This romantic mystery from award-winning Australian novelist Tea Cooper will keep readers guessing until the astonishing conclusion.
Purchase Links
Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble
(Affiliate links included)

My Thoughts:

The Woman in the Green Dress by Tea Cooper features an eye-catching cover for this dual timeline, historical fiction novel. The story was a slow start for me as I struggled to find a connection between the two storylines. Somewhere around the 40% percent mark, my interest in the novel heightened. The story’s strength lies in the questions, searches, and mysteries, but I think greater character development would have enhanced the story.

Bert ranked as my favorite character in The Woman in the Green Dress. Though he was a secondary character, he drew the two timelines together and I liked him more and more as I traveled through the story. I also liked how certain characters’ histories and motives, some of which were surprising, remained a mystery until the proper reveal. 

The Woman in the Green Dress by Tea Cooper is written for the general market and published by Thomas Nelson. It’s mostly clean with only an occasional crude word in the dialogue. 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a copy of this ebook by the author or publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.

About the Author:

Tea Cooper is an Australian author of historical and contemporary fiction. In a past life she was a teacher, a journalist and a farmer. These days she haunts museums and indulges her passion for storytelling.

Connect with Tea: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Friday, June 26, 2020

First Line Fridays: Stories That Bind Us by Susie Finkbeiner

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 line from Stories That Bind Us by Susie Finkbeiner:

"My Norman had never understood why I liked to hang laundry on the line when I had a perfectly good dryer inside."

Have you read this book? Book blurb below and you can read an excerpt on the publisher's site.

What are you reading this weekend? I'd love for you to share your book's first line!

Happy reading!

About the Book:

Rediscover the power of story to open the doors of our hearts.

Betty Sweet never expected to be a widow at forty. With so much life still in front of her, she tries to figure out what's next, never imagining what God had in mind.

When her estranged sister returns to town, Betty finds herself taking on the care of a five-year-old nephew she never knew she had. In 1960s small-town Michigan, they make an odd pair. Betty with her pink button nose and bouffant hair. Hugo with his light brown skin and large brown eyes. But more powerful than what makes them different is what they share: the heartache of an empty space in their lives. Slowly, they will learn to trust one another as they discover common ground and healing through the magic of storytelling.

First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: Forever Home by Amy Grochowski

Forever Home JustRead Blog + Review Tour 

Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour and Giveaway for Forever Home by Amy Grochowski, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!


Forever Home by Amy Grochowski Title: Forever Home
Amish Dreams on Prince Edward Island #1
Amy Grochowski
Ambassador International
Release Date:
June 9, 2020
Inspirational Amish Romance

A Canadian Amish farmer
A Lancaster Amish businesswoman
A Prince Edward Island foster child 

Providence brings together a mismatched family, giving all three a second chance for love. Only love may never have had such a tough job.

Lydia Miller is an anomaly among her Amish people-a single woman in her 30s, running her own store, determined to forge a life on her own. But when Joel Yoder comes into town to sell his property, Lydia suddenly finds all of her hopes and dreams crumbling around her and a new opportunity placed in her lap.

Joel has his own problems. Recently jilted by his fiancée, Joel has seen his own dreams of moving to a newly established Amish community begin to falter. The new community welcomes married couples only. With his dreams quickly slipping from his fingers, Joel suddenly sees the only option he thinks he has--a marriage of convenience for both of them.

 As the new couple begins life in a new settlement, they are even more surprised when a foster child in need of a home finds her way to them. Yet what will happen when the English world and the Amish world collide?

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & NobleBook Depository | Christianbook  



Chapter One

October 2016
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania

A sensible Amish woman aspired to marry, as Lydia Miller was reminded daily.
She also knew any wise Amish woman ought to bypass schemes destined to failure. Yet here she stood, determined to avoid the first and ready to plunge headlong into the second.
Lydia sucked in a breath and slid into a seat on the second-to-last row of chairs under the auction tent. She may not win the bid for the farmhouse at today’s estate sale, but at least she’d know she tried everything to keep her business.
The air smelled of autumn—the cooling rest of the earth after yielding her summer labor. Under the heavy canvas of the tent, the two-mile stretch of Amish farmland known as Millers Creek was hidden from Lydia’s view.
A wet trickle of perspiration trailed from underneath her prayer kapp, then down the back of Lydia’s neck. She almost allowed Ben to bid for her; but her brother wasn’t familiar with her finances, nor was his future on the bidding block.
Nay, the task was up to her alone.
The wooden seat beside Lydia creaked under the heft of her neighbor, Miriam Stoltzfus, who emitted a groan of her own as she sat.
“Have you lost all of your good sense?”
Ever since Lydia’s mamm died, Miriam had taken the mother role upon herself. Lydia was used to the older woman’s more-often-than-not good intentions, which were more than Lydia needed at the moment.
“I still have all my wits about me.”
The click of Miriam’s tongue against her teeth issued her contradiction. Lydia’s vision settled onto the handle attached to her bidder card. The rounded edge of the re-purposed tongue depressor pressed into her palm. Lydia prayed a silent prayer of forgiveness for the unkind urge to use it on the other woman.
Gott’s will couldn’t be plainer if Moses himself carved it on a stone tablet for you to read.” Miriam’s prayer kapp bobbed up and down with the surety of her conviction.
The Almighty’s will? Or Miriam’s? Lydia had to wonder.
Lydia shoved the tongue depressor between her knees for safe-keeping and pressed her lips tight to keep from disrespecting her elder, who continued in a not-so-quiet whisper. “The sale of this property—including your Amish Shoppe—is a clear sign the time has come for you to quit this spinster nonsense and settle down with a goot Amish husband.”
“And marry whom?” Not your cousin, Hiram Glick. Miriam knew full well Lydia couldn’t accept Hiram. “I could own a business, not just rent the building.” Lydia turned to face her neighbor. “You know why this is important to me.”  She didn’t dare say the reason aloud. Miriam was one of the few who knew the reason for her determination to support herself.
Ya, I know. Even so, I tell you, Lydia, this is a mistake. The Lord has a bigger plan for you. He is not bound by the past. Remember, with Gott all things are possible.”
“Well then, it’s still possible I might buy this house and save my shop today.”
Miriam sank with a deflated plop against the back of her seat.
Lydia had the last word, but satisfaction didn’t follow. Miriam’s words nagged at her conscience. Not the part about signs and plans. Lydia didn’t believe she deserved such consideration. Rather, she was struck by the existence of a Power great enough to overcome the past. If only the past had not bound her.
But she was Lydia Miller, humble mortal.
Lydia shifted in her seat. She’d attended many auctions, but never bid for anything. She bit her lower lip. Did she know what she was doing with such a large sum and stakes so high? All the money she’d earned from five years of teaching in the Amish school had been poured into renovating the farmhouse into a shop. Now, she had only her business savings to try and outbid the fancy men here today.
Ouch. Lydia jumped from a sharp jab in the ribs.
“I wasn’t talking about Hiram, if that’s what you’re thinking.” Miriam aimed the offending finger toward an Amish man whom Lydia had never seen.
Tall with powerful strong shoulders, he stood alone on the far side of the tent, tapping his straw hat against his leg. The Amish stranger’s face was tanned and his hair the blackest she’d ever seen. His dark eyes, set deep under thick brows, met her own. Lydia ducked her head, but not before she noticed his square, unshaven chin. Unmarried.
“What in the world?” Lydia leaned into Miriam to keep her voice low. “Now you’d try to match me with a man we don’t even know?”
“He’s Canadian Amish. Beulah Yoder’s grandson.”
“Oh…so, you’d have me marry the man responsible for this…” Lydia’s throat tightened. If she attempted to describe what this horrible day really meant to her, she’d be in tears. She couldn’t afford the distraction. As far as Lydia was concerned, the man should have stayed in Canada where he belonged. He hadn’t been around these parts even when his grandmother was alive. All was fine and dandy if he wanted to sell his inheritance, but a little more notice would have been appreciated.
“Maybe he’s a bit responsible, but…”
The auctioneer interrupted Miriam by calling for the first bid. Lydia jumped to join with the rest of the bidders. Was her eagerness too obvious? She wished her datt were still alive to give her advice.
The rumble of the first bids began like the intermittent thunder of a faraway storm. As the bidders increased, the fervor pitched faster. Lydia sat on the edge of her chair as though lightning might strike her. All of the sudden, the bidding slowed. Several bidders had thinned to a few, and Lydia was amazed to find herself still alive among them.
She had better free her mind of distractions—the smell of the straw beneath her feet, the flap of the canvas roof above her… Focus, focus. Wasn’t that what Datt used to say? Focus on the task at hand.
She concentrated on the auctioneer and an Englischer in the corner of her periphery. She’d met many non-Amish neighbors and businessmen since opening her shop, but she didn’t recognize this one. Unlike the Amish stranger who watched with his jaw squared in concern, this man was relaxed as he upped the price time and again. He was confident about something, for sure. Was the auction a game to him?
Her pulse buzzed in her ears. This was her life, not an amusing way to pass the time.
The auctioneer looked at her. The third-to-last bidder must have bailed. Lydia lifted her card to an amount that squeezed every penny from her account. She had no collateral or credit for a loan. The bid had to be her last.
The man countered and waited. So smug.
She had rented the large farmhouse, remodeled it with her savings from five years as a teacher in the Amish school, and then turned it into a profitable business. Yet this man waltzed into her community to buy it right out from under her.
Lydia raised her number.
His expression remained unchanged. He bid again.
She’d go until she saw him sweat. Her card sailed into the air over and over again.
The Amish men began to murmur. The handsome Amish stranger was staring at her. With concern or admiration? She couldn’t take time to wonder. She looked back at her opponent.
The Englisch bidder no longer slouched against the tent pole. He upped the price. And Lydia countered. The auctioneer’s cadence carried across a room full of people gone silent.
Miriam grabbed Lydia’s hand and squeezed hard enough to break every one of her fingers. If the man didn’t bid, Lydia was in worse trouble than she’d thought possible from this day.
One last bid. Lydia held her breath. The cotton fabric of her apron pressed into her palms as she dried them. What would she do if he didn’t go for it?
The man wiped perspiration from his forehead and raised his card.
“Going, going…gone.”
The gavel dropped with a thud, and the echo of splintered dreams reverberated through Lydia’s heart.



Amy Grochowski 

Amy Grochowski's deep appreciation for the Amish faith and way of life stems from six years of living and working with a Beachy Amish family, as well as her own Anabaptist roots. Her debut novel, Forever Home, was a pre-published winner of Romance Writers of America's Maggie Award and a semi-finalist in ACFW's Genesis Contest. She is a member of ACFW and Word Weavers Int'l. 

Amy spent her childhood in Melbourne, Australia, where her parents worked as church planters. After returning to the States, the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwest Virginia became home. Her real-life romance began on a travel nursing assignment to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where she met her husband, David.

After a nursing career of more than twenty years, Amy is now fulfilling her long-awaited dream career as an author of inspirational romance. She is also a full-time homeschool mom for her two boys, one of whom has Autism Spectrum Disorder, and lives with her family in the bustling foothills of North Carolina.

CONNECT WITH AMY: Website Facebook Twitter Instagram  



(1) winner will receive a signed author copy of Forever Home, a classic 200 recipe Mennonite Family Cookbook, a Magic Amish cloth (it really does clean like magic with no chemicals), and a $25 Amazon gift card!

Forever Home JustRead Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway will begin at midnight June 22, 2020 and last through 11:59 PM EST on June 29, 2020. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!


*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Book Review: The Story Hunter by Lindsay A. Franklin

About the Book:

Redeeming the past is a fatal quest.

In the wake of a deadly coup, the capital city of Urian has descended into chaos. Heartbreak and bloodshed await Tanwen and her friends as they discover the unlikeliest leader now rules Tir.

If they want to save the realm, Tannie and the Corsyth weavers must rescue Queen Braith and unmask the Master, ending the strife once and for all. But the success of their hunt depends upon an ally no one trusts.

The Master has a new target in sight: fragile, trauma-scarred Digwyn, whose unique weaving ability could turn the tide of any war. When the desire for vengeance proves too powerful for Digwyn to resist, Tanwen must face a terrifying truth: the fate of Tir rests in the hands of a volatile, shattered girl

My Thoughts:

I binge-read The Weaver Trilogy by Lindsay A. Franklin and The Story Hunter capped off the series with a thrilling conclusion. I didn’t want to put this novel down. I loved seeing the culmination of relationships as well as certain characters finding redemption, confidence, and empowerment. Although the Corsyth weavers fight evil in all the books, The Story Hunter felt more gritty as the characters faced their own natural human vices (selfishness, envy, etc.) in addition to an outside evil force. The Story Hunter is my favorite book in the series.

Trigger warning: One of the characters has experienced sexual assault and it affects her actions and choices. The narrative includes some passionate, beautiful statements aimed at speaking truth and creating a healthy sense of empowerment. 

I recommend reading The Weaver Trilogy in order. The characters go through so much in this trilogy and I was sad to say goodbye to them. Their stories lingered in my mind for days and I expect to reread the series in the future.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a copy of this book by the author or publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Book Spotlight: Not a Fine Gentleman by Donna Hatch

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Not a Fine Gentleman
(Rogue Hearts, #5)
By Donna Hatch
Historical Romance
Paperback and ebook, 448 Pages
June 18, 2020 by Mirror Lake Press LLC

Lady Margaret secretly yearns for love, but fate has exchanged wedded bliss for a lie. When she is caught hovering over her cheating husband’s dead body, she is instantly doomed to hang for his murder. Without hope for justice, Margaret flees into the night alone.

A cynical Bow Street Constable, Connor Jackson, vows to bring the fugitive Lady Margaret to face the law—but, he doesn’t expect sparks to fly between them. Could the strong yet tender lady truly be a killer?

As more suspects—and even more condemning evidence—surface, the less certain Connor is of his duty. He must choose between his growing feelings for Lady Margaret and the demands of justice. Will the truth tear them apart or set them free to find love?

(Affiliate link included.)

Other Books in the Series

(Linked to an Amazon affiliate link.)


Margaret had no one to blame for her current misery but herself. She’d been so blinded by the opportunity for an advantageous match, and so proud she’d garnered the attention of a handsome, charming marquis, that she’d failed to notice his legion character flaws until too late. Now, sixteen years into her marriage, she had few options but to keep a brave face and pretend her heart hadn’t been broken a hundred times over.

As she climbed out of the carriage, Margaret stopped her line of thought. No need to become maudlin. She marched up the front steps of the Hennessy London House and passed the neoclassical columns flanking the entrance. Lights blazed in the windows and spilled out through the fanlight over the front door, even though neither Margaret nor her erstwhile husband had been at home this eve.

Gibbs met her at the door and looked down his nose at her. “Good evening, Lady Hennessy.” The butler’s first loyalty clearly lay with his lord; he served Margaret with a subtle but unmistakable resentment. 

“Good evening, dear Gibbs,” she said in a mockingly sweet voice as she handed him her cloak and gloves, and contemplated stabbing him with her hatpin just to see if he’d bleed. 

About the Author

Multi-award-winning author of more than twenty best-selling Regency Historical Romances, Donna Hatch is a hopeful romantic and an adventurer at heart. Each book she writes is filled with wit and heart and plenty of swoon-worthy romance. Donna sings, plays the harp, and loves to ballroom dance. Her family, including six children and two cats, recently left their native Arizona for the Pacific coast of the US. No matter where they live, she and her husband of over twenty years are proof that there truly is a happily ever after.

Tour Schedule

Tour Giveaway

- One winner will receive ebooks of the first four books in the Rogue Hearts series, The Stranger She Married, The Guise of a Gentleman, A Perfect Secret and The Suspect's Daughter.

- Four winners will each receive an ebook of the first book in the Rogue Hearts series, The Stranger She Married.

- Open internationally
- Ends July 1, 2020

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Friday, June 19, 2020

Book Review: At Love's Command by Karen Witemeyer

About the Book:

He's fought through ruthless outlaws and injury. But with her, he's tempted to surrender.

Haunted by the horrors of war, ex-cavalry officer Matthew Hanger leads a band of mercenaries known as Hanger's Horsemen who have become legends in 1890s Texas. They defend the innocent and obtain justice for the oppressed. But when a rustler's bullet leaves one of them at death's door, they're the ones in need of saving.

Dr. Josephine Burkett is used to men taking one look at her skirts and discounting her medical skills. What she's not used to is having a man change his mind in a heartbeat and offer to assist her in surgery. Matthew's dedication to his friend during recovery earns Josephine's respect, and when her brother is abducted, he becomes her only hope for rescue.

When plans go awry and Josephine is caught in the crossfire, Matthew may have to sacrifice everything--even his team--to save her.

My Thoughts:

At Love’s Command kicks off Karen Witemeyer’s new Hanger’s Horsemen series. The novel certainly felt like a Western with the outlaws, shootings, and amazing heroes. In between the action and suspense, the story was peppered with bits of humor, spiritual lessons, and witty banter between Josie and Matthew. Unfortunately, I had a hard time engaging with the story. It didn’t hold my attention the way I expected it to.  As I pondered why, I realized it came down to several situations and attitudes that worked out conveniently well for the characters and lacked natural repercussions. Not every situation fell under the “too-easy” umbrella and I appreciated the themes about trusting God and surrendering to His will.  

I’ve expressed my thoughts, but I recognize that some readers may be looking for a lighter read and will find At Love’s Command enjoyable. It is likely the novel will appeal to readers who have previously enjoyed Karen Witemeyer’s stories.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a copy of this book by the author or publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.

First Line Fridays: The Heart of a Hero by Susan May Warren

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 line from The Heart of a Hero by Susan May Warren:

"In the daylight, Jake Silver wasn't the devil."

Have you read this book? Book blurb below and you can read my review here.

What are you reading this weekend? I'd love for you to share your book's first line!

Happy reading!

About the Book:

Jake Silver may not be able to put the memories of his time as a sniper and Navy SEAL behind him, but at least he can put his skills to use as a part of the Jones Inc. rescue team. Saving the life of pediatric heart surgeon Dr. Aria Sinclair on Denali helped too. But now he can't get her out of his head.

Aria has dedicated her life to helping children born with defective hearts. After all, she was one of those children. Driven to succeed, she lives a lonely, stressful life. One she would have lost on Denali if it hadn't been for Jake. Jake is exciting and handsome, but he's also dangerous, and she's already lost one person she loves. She can't bear it again.

It's not until she finds herself trapped in the middle of a Category 4 hurricane that she can admit she needs Jake desperately. With their very survival in the balance, can they hope for a second chance at life . . . and love?

First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Book Spotlight: Let Them Be Kids by Jessica Smartt

Let Them Be Kids Blog Tour 
Welcome to the Blog Tour for Let Them Be Kids by Jessica Smartt, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!


Let Them Be Kids by Jessica Smart Title: Let Them Be Kids
Author: Jessica Smartt
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release Date: June 9, 2020
Genre: Christian Living/Parenting

As every parent hopes to raise kids with good manners and values, Jessica Smartt’s practical guide fills the gaps of uncertainty and provides tips on how parents can equip their children in purity, faith, and creativity.

Former English teacher and homeschooling mother of three, Jessica Smartt felt the weight of helping prepare her kids for life, especially with all the outside pressures and influence of the world. She struggled with how she could raise her children with a sense of adventure, self-confidence, manners, faith, and the ability to utilize technology wisely.

Let Them Be Kids is Jessica’s offering of grace and confidence to moms, giving them practical ideas to meet these challenges. Her well-researched, tested methods, woven together with her personal stories and witty humor, deliver wisdom on the tough topics of life, such as
  • family time vs. outside activities,
  • being “cool” or not,
  • boredom,
  • technology usage
  • sexual purity, and
  • showing grace when kids disobey.
Part story and part guidebook, every chapter includes doable strategies and encouragement for the journey.

Let Them Be Kids helps moms feel confident and equipped with ways to provide a safe, healthy, Christ-centered childhood for their children. It leads them to conquer fear and find truth that transforms them and their families as it reminds them how to enjoy and cherish the special memory-making moments of building family values together.

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & NobleBook Depository | Christianbook  



Most of us are not raising children who carry a past with profound levels of trauma. (Although some of us are, and to those of you, I say a prayer that you feel the strength for this incredible job. You have my deep respect.) But while many of us are not raising children who experienced complex trauma, none of us have unvarnished children with perfect habits.

We have children for whom we wish we could do this differently or that differently. We have kids who have seen things we wish they hadn’t seen or know things we wish they didn’t know. We have kids who have developed habits we wish they hadn’t developed. We may be tempted to feel we are reading some of this too late to help.

Thankfully, this is not true.

Even if you are reading this as a thirtysomething grown-up, it is not too late for you to change. It is not too late for you to have adventures, to break unhealthy technology habits, to resurrect play and imagination, to return balance and manners and faith to your life. And if it is not too late for you, it is certainly not too late for them.

This is because three things are true.

1. We can learn, or relearn, how to enjoy simple pleasures.
2. We can build new habits.
3. Innocence can be restored.

For instance, kids who have been addicted to video games can become unaddicted and instead learn to love being outside. Kids who never enjoyed children’s classics such as Little House on the Prairie or The Boxcar Children can learn to read them and enjoy them. Even kids who don’t have grit or manners can learn either—or both.

There is hope for childhood. Not in the abstract, blank slate of future children but in your children, the ones in your home.

As you read, promise me that you will not lose hope. The virtues you read about here are powerful and real and worth fighting to regain. Do not despair. Change is possible.

Taken from “Let Them Be Kids” by Jessica Smartt. Copyright 2020 by Jessica Smartt. Used with permission from www.thomasnelson.com.



Jessica Smartt

Jessica Smartt is a former English teacher turned homeschooling mama of three. A week after her first baby was born, she began her motherhood blog “Smartter” Each Day. Jessica and her husband live in beautiful North Carolina, where she loves hiking with kids (mostly), steaming coffee in the afternoon, family bike rides, and anything that’s ever been done to a potato.

CONNECT WITH JESSICA: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram  

Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!


*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.