Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Power of Meaning

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This wise, stirring book argues that the search for meaning can immeasurably deepen our lives, and that it is far more fulfilling than the pursuit of personal happiness
There is a myth in our culture that the search for meaning is some esoteric pursuit that you have to travel to a distant monastery or page through dusty volumes to figure out life s great secret. The truth is, there are untapped sources of meaning all around us right here, right now. Drawing on the latest research in positive psychology; on insights from Aristotle, George Eliot, Viktor Frankl, the Buddha, and other great minds; and on interviews with seekers of meaning, Emily Esfahani Smith identifies four pillars of meaning: Belonging, Purpose, Storytelling, and Transcendence.
To bring those concepts to life, Smith visits a tight-knit fishing village in the Chesapeake Bay, stargazes in West Texas, attends a dinner where young people gather to share their experiences of profound loss, and more. She also introduces us to compelling seekers of meaning from the drug kingpin who found his purpose in helping people get fit to the artist who draws on her Hindu upbringing to create arresting photographs. And she explores how we might begin to build a culture of meaning in our schools, our workplaces, and our communities.
Inspiring and story-driven, "The Power of Meaning" will strike a profound chord in anyone seeking a richer, more satisfying life."

My thoughts: This is an excellent book on how to live a life that is more meaningful. I know a lot of people decided their word for the year was present, as in to be present in the moment, so I think that this book is an excellent one to add to that thought.
I like the point that was made early on that happiness and meaning are not the same thing.
I highly recommend this book.
I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Take ten: Books I am thankful for

This week, the subject over at Broke and Bookish is all about books we are thankful for. So, here is my list! It does include affiliate links.

1. Life After

This book is incredible! I love the message of getting out there and living the life we have, since we never know when life as we know it will end.

2. Under the Overpass

This one is incredible book about two young men who decided to be homeless for a year. It's been a while since I read it, but it made me look at the homeless in a whole new light.

3. The Mother Letters

I'm not going to lie, this one makes me cry, since it is such a beautiful collection of letters that are written to inspire mothers. They are so encouraging!

4. Control Girl

This one has been an amazing book to go through with the women's group I am in! It has made me look at women in the Bible differently, and made me think how I want to be remembered.

5. Mere Christianity

This is another incredible book that our group went through this year. It sparked some interesting discussions!

6. The Circle Maker

We did the 40 day prayer challenge/devotional, and it was one of my favorite devotionals! I highly recommend this one.

7. In Our Backyard

This is an excellent book on sex trafficking that opened my eyes to just how prevalent it is. I love that this book equips readers to do something about it.

8. Door to Freedom

The whole series is excellent and deals with some difficult subjects.

9. A Harvest of Thorns

Honestly, this book could of been better, as far as the writing and story line went, but I did appreciate that it brought up the dangers of working in the sweat shops in third world countries.

10. The Lost Girl of Astor Street

This one was just enjoyable, though by no means a fluffy read. It was one of my favorite books of the year!
What books are you thankful for? Do you tend to lean towards fiction or non fiction?

The Beginners Gospel Story Bible

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How do you explain the gospel to toddlers and preschoolers?

Often adults are stumped, but Jared Kennedy’s focus on the promises of God makes the gospel come alive to the littlest hearts. Through fifty-two Old and New Testament stories, The Beginner’s Gospel Story Bible highlights God’s perfect promises. Every page pops with bright colors, playful illustrations, fun learning opportunities, and, best of all each story points children to Jesus.

Kids know the value of a promise. Through the gospel, our good and all-powerful God keeps his word and fulfills his promises to us better than we could have ever thought or imagined!

In The Beginner’s Gospel Story Bible, author Jared Kennedy traces God’s perfect promises through fifty-two Old and New Testament stories, retold in simple and compelling ways with toddlers and preschoolers in mind. Each gospel-centered story highlights God’s tale of redemption through Jesus and the unexpected and surprising ways that God’s grace and mercy are revealed throughout the Bible. Children will hear the good news of God’s love for them clearly expressed in ways that will speak to their young hearts. Brightly colored illustrations highlight the stories and add fun teaching elements of counting, opposites, patterns, and object recognition to keep even the youngest child’s attention. Every story also ends with a question that parents and caregivers can use to further reinforce the message.

Through reading this book one chapter at a time to your children—or letting them read it to you!—even the youngest kids will come to know that God’s promises are especially for them, and that God always keeps his promises.

My thoughts: We love this book! The pictures are colorful and engaging, which my children have taken too. I love that this book has so many stories in it, including a lot of Bible stories that other children's Bibles gloss over (like Hannah). Each story has some verses to accompany the, and then there are questions to help engage young ones in the story that was just read. I know we will be enjoying this book for years to come!
I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

I always Cry at Weddings

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Ava Larson is going to bring all the other brides to tears.

Engaged to a wealthy NYC socialite's son, Ava is ready to set the city abuzz with her glamorous wedding. At least until she realizes her relationship isn't what it should be. Then, in a move as daring as a red satin dress, she does the unthinkable - she calls it all off and makes a promise to God that from now on, she'll save sex for marriage.

She's convinced the future is hers for the taking, especially when an undercover cop promises a new romance...and an unexpected friendship with the homeless guy under her stoop brightens her days.

But when her carefully balanced life teeters out of control, weddings aren't the only thing to make her cry. Ava has to figure out what life she really wants to live... and what is the world love really means.

My review: This book wound up being totally different from what I was expecting, and I mean that in the best way possible! I enjoyed getting to know Ava, as she went through a lot over the course of the story. I didn't always agree with her choices, especially with Julian, since things could of ended badly, but I thought she was a very real character as she tried to change her life around after setting on a new course. This is an excellent story by a talented writer. I look forward to reading more of Sara's books!
I received this book from White Fire in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Charming the Troublemaker

About the Book


Title: Charming the Troublemaker


Author: Pepper Basham


Genre: Contemporary Romance


Release Date: November 1, 2017

Troublemaking never looked so good…

When Dr. Alex Murdock is demoted to a university in rural Virginia, the last thing he expects to find is a future. But country charm never looks as good as it does on Rainey Mitchell.

Rainey Mitchell doesn’t need a high-class flirt in her wounded world, but trouble and temptations wafts off the new professor as strong as his sandalwood-scented cologne.

When circumstances thrust them together to save her tutoring clinic, can the troublemaker find the hero inside and encourage the reticent Rainey to open her heart again.

My review: I enjoyed the first book in this series, so I was thrilled to get a copy of this one. Charming the Troublemaker didn't disappoint! It's a lovely, quick witted modern story set in the Appalachian mountains. I love that Rainey has her own story with this one! I loved returning to the Mitchell family, since they are a heartwarming, small town family. I highly recommend picking this one up!
I received this book from Celebrate Lit in exchange for my honest review.

Click here to purchase!

About the Author


Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes novels inspired by her love for history and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Her Penned in Time series has garnered recognition in the Inspys, Grace Awards, and the ACFW Carol Awards. Her contemporary romance novel, A Twist of Faith, received 4-stars from Romantic Times, and most recently, her newest release, The Thorn Healer, received a Top Pick from RT with 4 ½ stars. Her newest contemporary romance, Just the Way You Are, releases in April 2016. You can get to know Pepper on Facebook, or over at her group blog, The Writer’s Alley, or Instagram.

Guest Post from Pepper Basham

I have a thing for underdogs.


Lots souls who desperately need to find where they belong.

I can’t help it! Call it a ‘fix-it’ mentality or an awareness that God rescued me and now I want to rescue other people…even fictional characters, but I’m definitely a softy for those characters that people are less likely to root for. Catherine from The Thorn Bearer/Keeper became my first rescue…and I just HAD to find another.

I guess that’s how Charming the Troublemaker came into existence.

Dr. Alex Murdock desperately needed to be rescued.

In a bad way.

If you’ve had a chance to read my first book in the Mitchell’s Crossroads series, A Twist of Faith, you’ll know that Alex doesn’t seem to be made up of much hero material. He’s a flirt, a little arrogant, and…well, kind of like a lost puppy.

As book 1 grew and came to a close, I knew Alex and Rainey’s story would be next…but I immediately ran into a real problem.

Who in the world was Alex Murdock? We really didn’t get to know him very much in book 1. He zoomed in a few times, ruffling feathers and then finally showing off some interesting kindness/compassion in the end, but…he was still a big-time flirt.

So the question emerged: Can a flirt be a hero?

What is Alex hiding behind that ready smile and sense of humor? Why does he seem so lost?

The answers were surprising!! Just wait.

The Mitchell family draw him right in, as they did with Dee, and his world is forever changed.

And then there’s Rainey. Strong-willed and independent, she is deeply wounded by her ex-husband’s betrayal. Though she gives off all these ‘confident’ vibes, she hides her insecurities behind a tough exterior in a desire to keep people at a distance – well, everyone except her family.

Alex rocks her world with his ready charm.

And she sees beyond the plastic grin to recognize another wounded soul.

Throwing them together into a book has been a hilarious and heart-stirring adventure, I wasn’t prepared to encounter. They’re so much fun!

AND…he’s ADORKABLE!! Seriously!! He is SUCH a dork, but makes me grin. And…he looks like Armie Hammer 😉

Let me just give you a hint to some of my favorite scenes:

Anything with Sarah!


All of the scenes in Rainey’s house

And those in Mama Mitchell’s

Okay, I like the WHOLE STORY…and I can’t wait to see what you think too.

Blog Stops



To celebrate her tour, Pepper is giving away a grand prize of a paper copy of A Twist of Faith, a mug from the Blue Ridge Parkway, one driftwood scented candle, one mango scented candle, and a Troublemaker snickers 😉 highly appropriate. Chocolate with a nutty personality :)!!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

World View

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How could our world be different if Christians were recognized for not only speaking the truth, but also demonstrating mercy?

What would our lives be like if we reacted to our common culture with not just biblical facts, but also grace and compassion?

For more than 25 years, Marvin Olasky has offered this kind of viewpoint in his columns as the Editor-in-Chief of World Magazine, the leading news magazine written with a Christian perspective. In this collection of far-ranging columns, Olasky’s commentary on world events and affairs, as well as his own personal interactions, encourages readers to respond with both grace and truth in every encounter.

A leading voice for standing for biblical truth in the public square, Olasky also believes Christians should incorporate the biblical virtues of humility, kindness, and mercy in all of life. His call for biblical values to include both truth and mercy makes his voice stand out in a world that often falsely divides those goals and settles for a poor imitation of the robust Christianity described in Scripture. These short and punchy columns offer readers a new way to consider challenges in today’s world and shows them how to respond to any encounter biblically, but not hysterically, providing a wake-up call for the complacent, while also calming the frantic.

My thoughts: I thought that this book was a wonderful one for Christians to pick up, since it is a call to become involved in the world around us, a call to be the change in the world that we wish to see. I didn't always agree with Marvin, but I did think this was a wonderful book to read, since it was easy to get through and made me think. I highly recommend it.
I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for an honest review.

Wonder Woman: Warbringer

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Daughter of immortals.

Princess Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mortal. Diana will soon learn that she has rescued no ordinary girl, and that with this single brave act, she may have doomed the world.

Daughter of death.

Alia Keralis just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn’t know she is being hunted by people who think her very existence could spark a world war. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery.


Two girls will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. Tested beyond the bounds of their abilities, Diana and Alia must find a way to unleash hidden strengths and forge an unlikely alliance. Because if they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war.

My thoughts: I'm still a little on the fence when it comes to Wonder Woman. After all the hype about the movie, I was a little bit disappointed in it. That said, I thought that this book was well done. It is an excellent story of friendship, with all the usual super hero elements: romance, action, and snappy dialog. If you enjoyed the movie, then I highly recommend this one! Even if you are on the fence about the movie, as I was, it is still a fun book to pick up.
I received this book from Blogging for books in exchange for my honest review.