Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Review: Brave Is the New Beautiful: Finding the Courage to Be the Real You by Lee Wolfe Blum

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

About the Book:

Our culture bombards women with "thinspiration" messages and pressure to "do it all" while wearing the mask of perfection. 

Women are left feeling alone and overwhelmed. How can they stop comparing themselves to others? How can they live out who they really are?

Lee Wolfe Blum offers stories from everyday women who have answered these questions with their lives-and found true beauty in the process. In Brave Is the New Beautiful, Blum weaves reflections from her own journey with inspirational stories from everyday women who chose to take off their masks and live authentically. Through call-to-action questions and ideas, she encourages readers to be brave enough to be who they really are and the beloved that God knows they are.

My Review:

I love the cover of this book - that and the title is what drew me to it.  Something about the title made me think of women I knew who were struggling to be brave in the face of life's difficulties and how much I admire them.  You might think by the title that this book is about outward beauty.  It's not.  This book dives deep into real life and the bravery it takes to face whatever situation you're going through.  And EVERYONE is going through something.   Also, you're not alone!  If you're going through something you think no one else has experienced - think again.

Each chapter is a story about an everyday woman who is living the everyday struggle of real life and how they find the courage to be real with themselves, with others, and with God.  The stories are not pretty but they show the beauty of being brave, having hope, and finding faith and healing.  At the end of each chapter are questions for reflection that help you focus on the thoughts and points that were made.
"Be vulnerable. Be real. Be raw and let your naked bravery shine bright. In doing so, you help others see hope. You help others have faith. That is brave. That is beautiful.  Now go forth and be that for one another, you brave and beautiful women!"   (Brave is the new Beautiful, page 215)
This is a well written and inspirational book and by the end of it, you'll be inspired to be more real with yourself and God and allow healing to take place and to help others do the same.

*Thanks to Litfuse and the publisher for a complimentary copy of this book. I was not paid or required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are my own.*

View all my reviews on Goodreads.

About the Author:

Lee Wolfe Blum is an energetic and passionate speaker who loves to help women find hope in healing from perfectionism and addictions. She works as a mental health practitioner in the field of Eating Disorders and Chemical Dependency. She lives in Minnesota with her husband and three boys.

Find out more about Lee Wolfe at leewolfeblum.com.

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 Brave Is The New Beautiful

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Friday, May 12, 2017

Blog Tour Review & Giveaway: True to You by Becky Wade

~Don't forget to enter the GIVEAWAY below!~

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

About the book:

It's the exciting start of a brand-new series by a contemporary romance fan favorite!
After a devastating heartbreak three years ago, genealogist and historical village owner Nora Bradford has decided that burying her nose in her work and her books is far safer than romance in the here and now.
Unlike Nora, former Navy SEAL and Medal of Honor recipient John Lawson is a modern-day man, usually 100 percent focused on the present. But when he's diagnosed with an inherited condition, he's forced to dig into the secrets of his past and his adoption as an infant, enlisting Nora to help him uncover the identity of his birth mother.
The more time they spend together, the more this pair of opposites suspects they just might be a perfect match. However, John's already dating someone and Nora's not sure she's ready to trade her crushes on fictional heroes for the risks of a real relationship. Finding the answers they're seeking will test the limits of their identity, their faith, and their devotion to one another.
My Review:

I loved this light-hearted but deeply emotional story about a cautious and studious young woman and the modern-day Navy SEAL who sweeps into her life and turns it upside down.

After the heartbreak of her last relationship, Nora has barricaded herself behind a facade of dowdy clothing, old fashioned hairstyles, and her work as a genealogist and the owner of a historical village.  Who better to break through this barricade than a Navy SEAL?!  With his gruff gentleness and his forced need to dig into his past, John breaks through those defenses quickly.

Nora's character was so much fun.  The first scene with her had me laughing and I thoroughly enjoyed her transformation throughout the book as she comes out of her self-imposed shell and let's herself fall in love and trust again.  I loved how sure she was of herself when she is engaged in her work of genealogy and how she turns to books, period TV dramas, and hot tea when she needs comfort.  :)  By the end of the book, Nora learns some important lessons in love, faith, and self-worth.

John's character grabbed my attention from the beginning with the whole macho Navy SEAL exterior and hurting, uncertain of his future, inner man.  His world is in a tail-spin since being diagnosed with an inherited condition that will affect him the rest of his life.  When he first meets Nora, he's not immediately attracted to her but as he spends more time with her, he starts to see beneath the surface to the wonderful young lady behind the facade.   He also has a girlfriend so when he starts feeling attracted to Nora, he has to decide if he wants a "safe" girlfriend or if he wants to risk a deeper relationship.  John also learns some important lessons in faith and trusting God with his future and his past.

I loved Nora's interactions with her sisters and look forward to reading their stories in future books.  I also enjoyed the scenes with her employees (a ROFL moment when one employee in particular meets John!) and the teenager she has taken under her wing.

This is a light-hearted, funny, but also deeply emotional story with some swoony romance and a twist that made me gasp!  You'll want to read this book!  :)  Although I believe this book can be read as a stand alone, you'll get a better grasp of the three sisters background if you read the novella, Then Came You, first.

*Thanks to Litfuse for a complimentary copy of this book. I was not paid or required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are my own.*

About the author:

Becky Wade is a California native who attended Baylor University, met and married a Texan, and settled in Dallas.  She published historical romances for the general market before putting her career on hold for several years to care for her three children.  When God called her back to writing, Becky knew He meant for her to turn her attention to Christian fiction.  She loves writing funny, modern, and inspirational contemporary romance!  She's the Carol Award, INSPY Award, and Inspirational Reader's Choice Award winning author of My Stubborn Heart, the Porter Family series, and the Bradford Sisters Romance series.

Visit our blog Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Find us on Pinterest View on Instagram

Do opposites really attract? John and Nora might just be the perfect match. 
Find out in True to You, book one in Becky Wade's new series! 

Celebrate the launch of Becky Wade's new series by entering to win a 
fabulous prize pack and $100 cash card!

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of True to You
  • A $100 Visa cash card
  • A prize pack hand-picked by Becky

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on May 30. 
The winner will be announced May 31 on the Litfuse blog.

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 True To You

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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Review: Life After by Katie Ganshert

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Snow whirls around an elevated train platform in Chicago. A distracted woman boards the train, takes her seat, and moments later a fiery explosion rips through the frigid air, tearing the car apart in a horrific attack on the city’s transit system. One life is spared. Twenty-two are lost.

A year later, Autumn Manning can’t remember the day of the bombing and she is tormented by grief—by guilt. Twelve months of the question constantly echoing. Why? Why? Why? Searching for answers, she haunts the lives of the victims, unable to rest. 

Paul Elliott lost his wife in the train bombing and wants to let the dead rest in peace, undisturbed and unable to cause more pain for his loved ones. He wants normalcy for his twelve-year-old daughter and young son, to see them move beyond the heartbreak. But when the Elliotts and Autumn are unexpectedly forced together, he fears she’ll bring more wreckage in her wake.

In Life After, Katie Ganshert’s most complex and unforgettable novel yet, the stirring prose and authentic characters pose questions of truth, goodness, and ultimate purpose in this emotionally resonant tale.

This was an amazing book! This is the first full length book I have read of this author (I've read a few of her novellas) and I really like her writing style.  The emotions and struggles that Autumn and the other characters go through are so well written that they grip your heart and you HAVE to keep reading to find out how it all turns out. 

The angst of turning teenager Reese and the emotions she's going through and the anxiety she's causing her father is so heart-breaking.  And then there is Paul's secret about Vivian and how his guilt is eating at him.  Paul and Reese have to learn to be open and honest with each other and those around them in order to start the process of healing.

Autumn's guilt about being the only survivor has totally changed her life.  She has so many issues to work through but she slowly opens herself up to her family and those around her again.  I love how her family is there for her even though they overwhelm her sometimes.  Autumn's interaction with the victim's families for the video is precious and helps further the healing process for all involved.  

This is a complex story with a depth of emotion that will take you from sorrow and guilt to healing and hope and leave you with the beautiful truth that God doesn't always give us the miracle but he will always comfort us if we let Him (Jesus wept!). 

*Thanks to the author and publisher for a complimentary ARC copy of this book. I was not paid or required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are my own.*

View all my reviews on Goodreads.

K.E. Ganshert (Katie) was born and raised in the exciting state of Iowa, where she currently resides with her family. She likes to write things and consume large quantities of coffee and chocolate while she writes all the things. She's won some awards. For the writing, not the consuming. Although the latter would be fun. You can learn more about K.E. Ganshert and these things she writes at her website katieganshert.com.

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Thursday, May 4, 2017

Blog Tour Review & Giveaway: For Love and Honor by Jody Hedlund

~Don't forget to enter the GIVEAWAY below!~

To purchase your copy, click here.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book: For Love & Honor
Author: Jody Helund
Genre: Young Adult Historical
Release Date: March 7, 2017

Lady Sabine is harboring a skin blemish, one, that if revealed, could cause her to be branded as a witch, put her life in danger, and damage her chances of making a good marriage. After all, what nobleman would want to marry a woman so flawed?

Sir Bennet is returning home to protect his family from an imminent attack by neighboring lords who seek repayment of debts. Without fortune or means to pay those debts, Sir Bennet realizes his only option is to make a marriage match with a wealthy noblewoman. As a man of honor, he loathes the idea of courting a woman for her money, but with time running out for his family’s safety, what other choice does he have?

As Lady Sabine and Sir Bennet are thrust together under dangerous circumstances, will they both be able to learn to trust each other enough to share their deepest secrets? Or will those secrets ultimately lead to their demise?

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Swagbucks: May Referral Bonus

The May flowers are here, and Swagbucks has brought a $5 bonus! Swagbucks is a rewards site where you earn points (called SB) for things you're probably doing online already, like searching, watching videos, discovering deals, and taking surveys. Then you take those points and exchange them for gift cards to places like Amazon, Starbucks, Walmart, Target, or PayPal cash.

When you sign up through me this month, you can earn a $5 bonus! Here's how:

1. Sign up using this link
2. Earn 300 SB total before 6/1/17. You'll get a $3 (300 SB) bonus for it!
3. If you spend at least $25 through Swagbucks Shop* you'll get another $2 (200 SB) bonus on top of the cash back you'll get from shopping. If you have some shopping to do online, just go to Swagbucks first and visit the store through them. It doesn't cost you anything extra, but you'll get SB points for every dollar you spend (on top of the bonus)!

That's it. It's super easy, and Swagbucks is for real. I use it myself, and I've earned as much as $100 a month. *You must receive your shopping SB before July 1st

Swagbucks really works!
I've earned as much as $100 a month. It really does work!
I usually get Amazon gift cards because they don't expire and you can
save them up and have several hundred dollars for special occasions!

I'm a Swagbucks Influencer - Start Earning Now