Talking with Teens about Sexuality

Today is a low-key Saturday – I get to go into work, but just for a few hours and at my convenience. So, this morning I spent an extra hour or so reading books for review, then put on an audiobook and meal prepped three different dishes for the week. Then I figured I’d have time to review a book for y’all before I head off to work.

Disclaimer: If you’re one of the kids who read my blog posts, this is a review you should skip unless you talk to your parents first. Thanks! ūüėČ

Find the book on: Amazon and Goodreads
Pages: 208
Publisher: Bethany House
Release Date: February 16, 2021
Title: Talking with Teens about Sexuality
Nonfiction

About the Book

When Dr. Robinson asked her freshman psychology students what today’s parents need to know about teens and sex, they said parents do not have a realistic view of the world their children live in. A healthy sexual identity requires more than just a list of what not to do. In today’s culture of sexual identity confusion, ubiquitous pornography, and #MeToo, teenagers need to know how to protect themselves as well as how to treat others. 

Talking with Teens about Sexuality will help you understand your teen’s world and give you effective strategies in the midst of cultural pressures. Drs. Robinson and Scott provide scientifically reliable and biblically based information about gender fluidity, types of intimacy, online dangers, setting boundaries, and much more. Along the way, the book provides useful conversation starters and insightful guidance.

Don’t let fear keep you from engaging in vital conversations. Learn how to talk to your teen with knowledge and confidence, guiding them toward a sexually healthy future.


What I Thought about the Book

First off, the normal disclaimer that I give whenever I’m talking about a parenting book: I’m not a parent. Therefore, all of my thoughts proceed from the viewpoint of a single person. I think it’s sometimes interesting to read a review from the perspective of someone the book wasn’t exactly intended for. So here we go. 

I requested this book for review because sexuality is a topic that seems to be everywhere nowadays. It’s something that is being talked about by people politically, spiritually, socially, academically, and in entertainment. It’s super important to have God’s perspective on the matter, as well as studying it scientifically. I was hoping this book would go into both realms, and it did. 

The book certainly wasn’t fun to read, and it wasn’t easy, but it was very non-awkward, and that’s a huge plus. The authors cover a wide range of topics, as well as giving examples of different situations, and generally including practical ways you can bring up the topics with your teens. 

Since I don’t have teens I can’t vouch for the usefulness of the tips, but overall the advice they gave out seemed sound. There were one or two parts I didn’t agree with, but for the most part, I thought the book gave solid answers and would be very helpful for parents in today’s world.

Conclusion 

If you currently have teens, then this would be a good book for you to check out. 

Rating 

I‚Äôm giving Talking with Teens about Sexuality 5 out of 5 stars. Thank you to Bethany House Publishers for sending me a copy of the book so I could post this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

A Mom’s Guide to Lies Girls Believe

Y’all. This book is so amazing that I rearranged my schedule so I could read it before I left for vacation so I could get this review posted for you. If you’re a mom of a tween girl, then this book is one for you. If you’re not, then you can at least read my review and then buy a copy because you’re curious. ūüėČ

FIRST OFF, SOME STATS:

Find the book on: Amazon and Goodreads
Pages: 240
Publisher: Moody Publishers
Release Date: February 5, 2019
Title: A Mom’s Guide to Lies Girls Believe
Nonfiction

1

ABOUT THE BOOK

You can’t change the world, but you can prepare her for it.

Your daughter is facing challenges you never dealt with at her age! From skyrocketing anxiety rates to bullying on social media, the Enemy’s lies are everywhere. How do you help the girl you love walk in freedom?

Mom’s Guide to Lies Girls Believe, the companion book to Lies Girls Believe is your tool to come alongside your daughter in the fight against the lies the world is telling her. Based on in-depth research and focus groups led by Dannah Gresh, author of Secret Keeper Girl and Lies Young Women Believe (Coauthored with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth,) Lies Girls Believe teaches your daughter the Truth she will need to navigate the challenges she is facing. The Mom’s Guide provides research, cultural trends, and case studies about the problems tween girls face, but also offers encouragement and biblical insight to empower you to talk with your daughter about God’s truth.

Together, these books give you the tools you need to start important conversations at an age-appropriate pace. Topics include:

  • Lies about God
  • Lies about Friendship
  • Lies about the Future
  • Lies about Myself
  • Lies about Boys
WHY I CHOOSE THIS BOOK

I really don’t remember what made me choose to request this book for review, but I’m glad I did.

Disclaimer: I’m not a mom, therefore I’m not the target audience, so my thoughts are more subjective than the average reviewer.

WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT THIS BOOK

I started this book on a Wednesday night, just after having a conversation with one of my tween friends at church. The conversation included her showing me her Instagram and breaking into a happy dance because her crush had voted on her story. It saddened me to see a girl – who should still be enjoying the simplicity of childhood – being wrapped up in the drama of social media.

Then I came home and began reading this book and cheered for it on nearly every single page. Y’all. This book is full of gold.

The book itself is bright, cheery, reminiscent of childhood, colorful, and interactive. It was late at night when I opened the pages, but it was so interesting I kept reading, and reading, and reading, even though I had only planned to read the first few pages. Two days later and I’ve finished the book.

This book is supposed to be read at the same time your daughter is reading Lies Girls Believe. In fact, this book includes a lot of the pages from the Lies Girls Believe, while giving the mom ideas of how to have good conversations with their daughters, as well as helping the mom see how she can model the various truths taught.

In addition to being full of truth, this book was also very interesting and kept me engaged as I read. It quoted the Bible a lot (in a different color and font which was pretty cool), added statistics, case study stories, and facts. If I had a tween daughter this is most definitely a book I’d want to go through with her.

There are twenty lies in the book, along with twenty truths to combat them. These lies/truths include a wide range of topics, from how to see God correctly, to body image, to bullying, to social media, to what it’s like to be a girl (exploring topics like periods, etc…). The book covers tons of territory in just over two hundred pages and I was very impressed.

CONCLUSION

Y’all. This book was truly fantastic. Tweens these days are bombarded by so many lies, and the best time to teach them truths is¬†right now. I highly applaud the authors of this book, as well as the publishers to work at getting this important message out into the world.

RATING

I‚Äôm giving A Mom’s Guide to Lies Girls Believe¬†five out of five stars¬†‚Äď Moody Publishers was very kind to send me a copy of this book so I could review it.

Shadow of the Storm By Connilyn Cossette – Book Review

Shadow of the Storm 

By Connilyn Cossette

Find it on: 

Goodreads 

Third Person

Fiction

352 Pages

About the Book (Backcover Blurb):

In the Depth of the Storm’s Shadow, Only Truth Can Light Her Way¬†

Having escaped Egypt with the other Hebrews during the Exodus, Shira is now living in freedom at the foot of Mt. Sinai, upon which rests the fiery glowing Cloud containing the¬†shekinah¬†glory of God. When the people disobey Yahweh and build a golden idol, the ensuing chaos gives Shira an unexpected opportunity to learn the arts of midwifery. Although her mother wishes for her to continue in the family weaving trade, Shira’s gifts shine brightest when she assists with deliveries. In defiance of her mother, Shira pursues her heart’s calling to become an apprentice midwife.

When a delivery goes horribly wrong, Shira finds herself bound to a man who betrayed her, the caretaker of three young children, and the target of a vengeful woman whose husband was killed by Shira’s people, the Levites. As contention between the Hebrew tribes and the foreigners fans the flames of another dangerous rebellion, Shira will come face-to-face with the heartbreak of her past that she has kept hidden for so long. How can she let go of all that has defined her to accept the love she’s denied herself and embrace who she truly is?

Why I Choose this Book: 

I read the first book in the series back in May and really enjoyed it. When I saw the second book was coming out, I jumped at the chance to read it, too.

What I Thought About this Book:

The book had so many beautiful descriptions in it. I savored the words and flew right into the world they were portraying. I was stuck between wanting to read the book as fast as possible to find out what happened next, and to slow down and drink in the way the words swirled together. 

I also found the first third of the storyline to be fantastically gripping. Then came a plot twist I had 100% not expected. The plot twist nearly made me drop the book. It was crazy. It’s probably my lack of mercy, but I had a really hard time with how the main character dealt with what happened. I won’t say more because of spoilers, ya know, but I’m still not sure I feel like it was adequately addressed in the rest of the book. That’s what took the book from a very solid four stars down to three stars.¬†

There was also a fair bit more romance in this book than I remember being in the first book, which also took the book down a little bit for me. 

Conclusion:

All in all, Shadow of the Storm was compelling, beautiful, and really helped the Exodus from Egypt come alive for me. Miss Connilyn does a fantastic job of skillfully weaving her words together and I look forward to reading the third book when it’s published.¬†

Rating: 

I’m giving Shadow of the Storm 3 out of 5 stars and 6 out of 10.

*I received this book free from Bethany House Publishing*

Answers to the Most Important Questions about the End Times By Dr. John Hart: Book Review

Answers to the Most Important Questions about the End Times
By Dr. John Hart 

Find it on: 

Narrative 
Non-Fiction
189 Pages

About the Book (Back cover Blurb):

For everyone who is curious, confused, or even fearful about Jesus’ second coming, the Antichrist, the end of the world, the book of Revelation, and biblical prophecy, Dr. John Hart clearly and respectfully offers real, biblical answers. He reveals exactly what God’s Word says as well as what it¬†doesn’t¬†say, explaining how it impacts your family and friends. This slender volume answers everyone’s most-asked questions, and even includes a list of Bible references for further study.

Why I Choose this Book: 

I haven’t read very much about the end times, so I was pretty curious¬†to learn more about it from people who have¬†studied the matter extensively.¬†

What I Thought About this Book:

Unfortunately it wasn’t really my style. Now this is going to sound quite lame, but the fact is, I like stories. I like being able to relate to people. Don’t get wrong, nonfiction books are great – but I don’t feel a draw toward a book when it’s just fact after fact. I literally don’t know a single thing about the author from reading the book (except that he’s obviously studied the end times). I am able to engage in a book much better when they illustrate points by telling short stories that are true. Since we’re studying the end times though, I can see how that didn’t exactly fit into the picture. (All that to say, you’ll probably like the book, so you should check it out.)¬†
¬†I did learn stuff from reading the book though, and although I didn’t agree on 100% of his interpretations, it was encouraging to see how often he quoted or referenced the Bible. There were hundreds, if not thousands, of references, so yay for authors who really take the Bible as the authority.¬†
The book discusses questions like “Who is the ‘False Prophet’?” “What is the Role of Israel in the End Times?” “What Nations Will be in Power in the End Times?” and many other similar ones. There were some explanations that didn’t make a ton of sense to me, but I have a feeling that if I would study the matter more throughly, then they would.¬†
Conclusion:

Overall it’s a pretty good overview of what the end times look like. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it, but that’s only because it wasn’t my style.¬†
Rating:


I’m giving¬†Answers¬†to the Most Important Questions about the End Times¬†3 stars out of 5, and 4 stars out of 10.¬†

*I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review*

Intercessory Prayer By Dutch Sheets: Book Review

Intercessory Prayer
By Dutch Sheets 

Find it on: 

First Person
Non-Fiction
286 Pages

About the Book (Backcover Blurb):

Called foundational, revolutionary, illuminating, and motivating,¬†Intercessory Prayer¬†continues to be a classic work after more than 20 years. This rich, biblical teaching is full of fresh insights showing how vital our prayers are and how God has always planned to work in partnership with us through prayer. As Dutch explains the nuts and bolts of prayer with wisdom, gentleness, and humor, readers will find inspiration and courage to pray for the impossible–and the persistence to see prayers to completion.¬†

Why I Choose this Book: 

I know prayer works, and that it’s extremely¬†important, but far too often I¬†don’t pray as much, or the way, that I¬†should. Recently I’ve¬†decided to read¬†some books about prayer and implement more¬†structured prayer into my life.¬†

What I Thought About this Book:

Going into the book I really wasn’t sure what to expect. I was soon drawn in by the author’s writing style, and then the information grabbed me, too. Mr. Sheets wrote a book with a lot of seriousness, but he found a good balance of throwing in funny little stories or rabbit trails at just the right time to help balance the book. There was one time when I literally laughed out loud, which was totally unexpected for me.¬†
Intercessory Prayer explores the topic of prayer to great levels. Mr. Sheets doesn’t shy away from “hard” (aka confusing) questions, like “Is prayer really necessary? Isn’t God sovereign? If so, then why do we have to pray?” Instead, he delves into the Bible and explores hundreds of verses, going into the Greek and Hebrew origins of different words, and helping give a more complete picture of why prayer is important.¬†
The fact that Mr. Sheets uses so many verses from the Bible while explaining his standing was a huge plus. It’s always encouraging to me when people go to God’s Word as their standard, instead of just quoting other people or using logical. (The book uses all three examples, so yay.)¬†
Mr. Sheets also told of multitudes of miracles and answers to prayers that he’s experienced, or else known people who have experienced them, over the years. That was quite encouraging and inspiring and helped remind me in more than one way how important it is to pray. Mr. Sheets also gave some ideas of specific things to pray about in certain situations, drawing from the Bible for examples.

Overall, I enjoyed the first half better than the second half, but both of them had lots of good information. Some of what Mr. Sheets pointed out about different Hebrew and Greek words was totally new to me and helped me learn a lot. It also helped me to understand prayer to a greater degree. I always knew it was important, but this helped spotlight the reasons it’s important.¬†

Conclusion:

There were some¬†things I didn’t¬†agree with in the book, as¬†well as some doctrines that I need to study more¬†before I agree or disagree with them. I suggest people who read¬†the book do so willing to set aside¬†their¬†own preconceived ideas and really study God’s Word. At the same time I¬†caution people not to¬†blindly accept¬†everything the¬†author says. Overall though, the book was¬†edifying, uplifting,¬†challenging, and full of God’s Word.

Rating:


I’m giving¬†Intercessory Prayer¬†4 stars out of 5, and 8 stars out of 10. I recommend it to Christians who want to serve God.¬†

*I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review*

(un) Natural Mom By Hettie Brittz – Book Review

It’s a delightful Monday morning, and wonders of all wonders, I plan on being home all week! I’m seriously excited about that, and all that I’ll (hopefully) be accomplishing. This morning has gotten off to a great start, although it’s a good thing I built some leeway into my plans, because yeah… I’m already seeing I’m going to need it.

Today I get to review an interesting book for y’all. I also have three more books awaiting their debut onto Noveltea’s stage. I’m currently reading Intercessory Prayer by Dutch Sheets, and although I’m only on page 57, I’m pretty impressed with it. The plan is to review that book on here sometime this weekend.¬†

And sitting on my desk, just waiting to be picked up, I have The Intercessors Handbook by Jennifer Eivaz, and Rare Leadership by Marcus Warner and Jim Wilder. How’s that for a fantastic sounding to-be-read pile? ¬†This month has been a bit slow-going when it comes to reading. I’ve only read four books, and three of them¬†were ones I had agreed to review. It’s been a good¬†month though, and the plan is to read one or two of the¬†aforementioned books before September¬†comes rushing in. (September! Yay! Autumn and¬†beauty and all sorts of¬†wonderfulness.)¬†

Now for today’s book review…

(un) Natural Mom
By Hettie Brittz 

Find it on: 

First Person
Non-Fiction
278 Pages


About the Book (Backcover Blurb):

Do you feel like you’re the only mom who serves store-bought birthday treats, dreads school plays, and misses the days of going to the bathroom by herself?

unNatural Mom gives you permission to say that mothering doesn’t always come naturally to you. Parenting expert and self-proclaimed unnatural mom Hettie Brittz helps you…

  • Recognize how unrealistic our culture‚Äôs standards of mothering are
  • Move beyond the myths of ‚Äúsupermom‚ÄĚ
  • Complete the¬†Parenting Style Assessment¬†to determine your own parenting style
  • Understand and forgive the mothers who hurt you
  • Embrace your capabilities as well as your challenges

Come find new hope in discovering that every mother has unique gifts. In Christ, the ‚Äúunnatural‚ÄĚ mom becomes the supernatural mom who is just right for her family!

Why I Choose this Book: 

Although I’m obviously not a mother yet, I do have a lot of kids in my life and I’ve found that sometimes it helps me be a better human when I study books like this one. Also, I would like to be a mother one day, so the subject is quite interesting to me. Plus, mothers are just incredibly amazing and I am pretty overwhelmed them, so reading a book by a mother about mothering seemed smart.

What I Thought About this Book:

It was quite interesting. There were many things that didn’t apply to me at this stage in life (duh), but I was surprised at how much I still gleaned from the book. Miss Hettie pretty much created her own “personality system” for mothers, using trees for the different categories. Since I have a fond place in my heart for studying personalities, this book was right up my alley.

Miss Hettie writes with a lot of honesty and some humor. I was happily surprised at her creative way to weave the different personality traits into the book and found myself eager to keep reading. I found areas in life I could relate, even though I don’t have kids of my own, and look forward to hopefully reading this book again down the road if I ever have kids of my own.

Conclusion:

Her book was definitely written from the mother-to-mother point of view, and even though there weren’t lots of details, it’s not a book I would hand to a young teenage girl.

Rating:

I’m giving (un) Natural Mother 4 stars out of 5, and 7 stars out of 10. (The book was close to a 3-star book for me, but I’m fairly certain it would have gotten a solid 4-star review if I was a mother, which is the intended audience, hence the rating.)

*I received this book free from Litfuse in exchange for an honest review*

Service Tails by Ace Collins – Book Review

This morning I was sitting down to eat breakfast when it suddenly hit me that the month was passing by exceedingly fast and I’d most likely missed the deadline for one of my Litfuse book reviews. After some searching of my emails, I realized that was indeed the case. Thankfully I was only a day late; sadly, I hadn’t even begun reading the book yet. It’s a good thing I schedule reading time into my world as an author, because I was able to move around plans and curl up with a nice mug of coffee and race through the book.¬†


Service Tails 
By Ace Collins 

Find it on: 

Third-Person Narration 
Non-Fiction Contemporary
200 Pages

{The cover won’t load for some reason, but I’ll try again later.}

About the Book (Backcover Blurb):

Heart-tugging true stories of the courage, faith, and loyalty of remarkable service dogs.
Not all heroic dogs wildly toss themselves into lifesaving situations. Some save lives simply by their incredible commitment to duty and service. Some lead the way to independence for people whose disabilities were supposed to limit their lives.

In¬†Service¬†Tails: More Stories of Man’s Best Hero, prolific author Ace Collins introduces us to leaders whose entire lives are wrapped in the banner of¬†service. Their stories are remarkable snapshots of the value of vision and teamwork, as well as devotion to duty and unconditional love and acceptance—stretching the way we see both canine and human potential. Their training was intense, their loyalty unquestioned and each step of the way they constantly adapt to better serve those they lead. These unforgettable dogs are more than heroes; they are models from which we can learn how to love and serve unconditionally.


Why I Choose this Book: 

Although I’m not an¬†animal-lover to the degree¬†that lots of people are, I do enjoy dog stories from time to time. Plus, I’ve been intrigued by service dogs for quite a¬†while. And, well,¬†there’s a Golden¬†Retriever on the¬†front cover, and Golden¬†Retrievers¬†are such beautiful creatures.¬†

What I Thought About this Book:

I’m simply amazed at how smart dogs are (and at how patient humans are to train them so well). Service Tails is a collection of 12 true stories about dogs and how they served their masters who had disabilities.¬†

If this book wasn’t true, it wouldn’t have held my interest, but since it was true, it was pretty intriguing. I probably won’t re-read it, but overall I don’t have any negatives about the book, other than the fact that it felt a bit redundant at times. The fact that most of the stories take place (or at least end) as recently as 2012 makes it pretty cool, because I know I can look up the various people they mentioned who have been in the news.¬†

Told in a simple style, but with easy to picture details, Service Tails is a book that should appeal to dog people everywhere. It’s also eye-opening as it talks about struggles people with different disabilities go through. (Blindness, deafness, being paralyzed, etc…)

Overall, it was quite enjoyable to learn about the different dogs and all the amazing¬†things they’ve¬†done to help¬†their¬†masters over the years. It’s also really encouraging and inspiring to hear about the people themselves –¬†all they went through and overcame, and how they didn’t let¬†their¬†problems stop them from living life.¬†
Conclusion:

Although I wouldn’t consider¬†this¬†to be a christian book, it was clean¬†and¬†and free from¬†violence, so it’s a good read for the whole family.¬†

Rating:

I’m giving¬†Service Tails¬†4 stars¬†out of 5, and 7 stars out of 10.¬†

About the Author 

Ace Collins¬†defines himself as a storyteller. He has authored more than sixty books that have sold more than 2.5 million copies. His catalog includes novels, biographies, children’s works as well as books on history, culture and faith. He has also been the featured speaker at the National Archives Distinguished Lecture Series, hosted a network television special and does college basketball play-by-play. Ace lives in Arkansas.
*I received this book free from Litfuse in exchange for an honest review*

A Beauty Refined By Tracie Peterson: Book Review & Giveaway

Hey y’all! I get to be part of another book release blog tour today. How much fun is that? So, without further ado, here we go:¬†
A Beauty Refined 
By Tracie Peterson 

Find it on: 

Third-Person
4 Points of view (I think)
Fiction
320 Pages


About the Book (Backcover Blurb):

Phoebe Von Bergen is excited to accompany her father when he travels from Germany to purchase sapphires in Montana. Little does she know that her father’s plans–for the gemstones and his daughter–are not what they seem.

Ian Harper, a lapidary working in Helena, finds the young woman staying at the Broadwater Hotel more than a little intriguing. Yet the more he gets to know her, the more he realizes that her family story is based on a lie–a lie she has no knowledge of. And Ian believes he knows the only path that will lead her to freedom.

Meeting Ian has changed everything. Phoebe is determined to stay in America, regardless of her father’s plans. But she may not be prepared for the unexpected danger as the deception begins to unravel.

Why I Choose this Book: 

I’ve read a couple of other Historical Fiction books by Tracie Peterson¬†that I¬†enjoyed a lot. Historical Fiction is one of my favorite¬†genres to read, as long as they aren’t too¬†romantic. Note: After I read this book and¬†didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would, I¬†looked back and saw¬†I only gave two stars to the¬†last Tracie Peterson (co-authored) book I read…¬†

What I Thought About this Book:

Hum… This book. It had so much promise. And then it fell rather flat for me. It still (barely) squeaked 3 out of 5 stars for me though (4 out of 10), and so I figured the best thing I could do was write a pros and cons list for you.¬†
Reasons I liked the book:
* The plot was intriguing 
* I liked the main character (at least to begin with) 
* The writing style felt unique to me. For a while I couldn’t tell if the writing was actually a pro or con, but it drew me in and kept my interest, so I decided it was a pro
* Although I wouldn’t say the main characters were unique as far as characters go, they were easy to distinguish from each other and I never got them confused¬†
* I liked Kenny and felt as if he was well-written 
* Hearing about the jewels was interesting 
* I liked where it was set and reading about the lifestyle the FMC (female main character) was used to
* As someone who cooks a lot, it was pretty cool to hear all the meal descriptions 
Reasons I didn’t like the book:¬†
* It felt like the author took a great story and massacred it. I’m pretty sure I would have enjoyed the story far more if it had just been told from one point of view. As it was, we saw something happen, then heard about it as the next character found out about it, and then again with a third character. It was tedious and made the book feel really slow
* The Romance. Oh help us all… It wasn’t that anything necessarily inappropriate happened between the FMC and MMC (male main character), but wow. I have a huge, huge, huge problem with the romance in most books because it’s like “Oh, look! A good-looking human. I’ve never fallen in love before even though I’m twenty-two years old, but I think I’ll do so at this very moment after seeing him twice in my life.” Please, no. I would consider what they had to be infatuation, or a crush. Not love.
I don’t think the book would have lost anything if it would have taken out the “romance” and it probably would have garnered at least half a star more from me. (I don’t recall the romance being a huge part of the story, it was just glaring.)¬†
* A lot of the story ended up feeling trite and cliché and made me want to shake my head
* I wish we wouldn’t have had so much of the MMC’s backstory… I found the FMC much more interesting¬†
Conclusion:

There was a little bit of violence near the end, but not too much detail. There were¬†certainly good points in the book, but I¬†wouldn’t¬†necessarily recommend it, mostly because I didn’t enjoy it.¬†
Rating:

I’m giving¬†A Beauty Refined¬†3 stars¬†out of 5, and 4 stars out of 10.¬†

*I received this book free from Litfuse in exchange for an honest review*

Oh! And yay, happiness! There’s a giveaway. (Remember, just cause I don’t like a book doesn’t mean you won’t!) Enter the giveaway here.¬†

The Pros and Cons of Receiving Books in Exchange for Reviews

It was several years ago when I first discovered the concept of getting books free in exchange for reviews. I was fantastically excited about people actually giving me books, sending them to me for free, and all I had to do was read and review them. 
When I started looking into different review sites, I was excited to find out that I already had enough followers to qualify for the first site I wanted to sign up with. Over the years I signed up for several more reviewing program, but it wasn’t until this last year that I semi-kept up with requesting and reviewing books.¬†
Although I’m not an expert on the matter, I have done a handful of reviews. I figured if any of y’all are interested in receiving books in exchange for posting reviews, you might like to hear some pros and cons, so here’s a list.
Pros for receiving books in exchange for reviews:
* Reading free books (including shipping)! What could be better? 
* You get to keep the books you review (at least with the programs I work with), and can do whatever you want with them, from selling them, to giving them away, to adding to your personal library 
* It’s a win-win-win situation that benefits everyone: Reviews are extremely helpful for promoting books. Authors, as well as publishers, are willing to invest a lot to lunch books, and being part of a launch is fun¬†
* Review sites are most often easy to navigate and simple to work with 
* Book reviewers have their own little community on-line, and it can be a lot of fun 
* I always tweet the links to the reviews of the books I enjoyed, and “tag” the author if they’re on twitter. That’s pretty cool because sometimes they then come and comment on the review¬†
* Knowing you’re going to review a book helps you to pay closer attention to your thoughts about it as you’re reading
Cons for receiving books in exchange for reviews: 
* Some books have specific time frames that the reviews are supposed to be published during. This can be difficult to keep to if something unexpected comes up, or if you’re juggling too many books at once¬†
* Since a lot of the books are newly (or unpublished) ones, it can sometimes be difficult to find out much about them. That means that sometimes a book you request isn’t what you thought it would be. This has happened many times to me, but only twice was the book actually made me seriously uncomfortable. In both situation I contacted the review site and explained the situation and requested permission to discontinue reading the book. I also told them since I’d agreed to read it, I would if they wanted me to, but I would be skim-reading and it would only be getting one star. Thankfully in both cases it was an e-book and they graciously told me it was totally fine not to finish
* It’s really not fun to read a book and not like it, knowing that you have to send the review back to the review site/publisher/author. You can generally soften the blow though, by being kind with how you express your dislike of the book. (Note: Don’t tag the authors on twitter if you didn’t like there book)
* It’s actually fairly easy to get confused and mix up what books you got from what review site/publisher/author. Although I stick with three main review sites, I review books from multiple other places as well. And yeah, it can be confusing
* * * 
That’s obviously not an all inclusive list, but it’s what popped into my head right off the bat. What about you? What are some of the pros and cons you can think of regarding reviewing books?¬†
By the way, the three main review sites I work with are: 
and Litfuse 

The Ringmaster’s Wife by Kristy Cambron: Book Review

Yay, everyone! I get to be part of a blog tour. How much fun is that? Today I’m posting a book review for Kristy Cambron’s latest book, The Ringmaster’s Wife.¬†

Back when I signed up to review this book I never imagined I would be sitting in a hospital waiting room in North Dakota with my adopted dad in open heart surgery as I wrote this review. I guess it’s true that life is full of surprises.¬†

The Ringmaster’s Wife

Find it on: 

Third-Person
4 Points of view (I think…)
Fiction
368 Pages



About the Book (Backcover Blurb):

What is revealed when you draw back the curtain of the Greatest Show on Earth?

Rosamund Easling is no stranger to opulence. As the daughter of an earl, she’s grown up with every comfort money can buy. But when hard times befall the family’s Yorkshire estate in the aftermath of the Great War, Rosamund’s father sells her beloved horse, setting the stage for a series of events that would extend beyond even her wildest dreams.

Though expected to marry for a title instead of love, Rosamund feels called to a different life ‚Äď one of adventure outside the confines of a ladies‚Äô parlor. She abandons all she‚Äôs known and follows in pursuit as her horse is shipped to the new owner ‚Äď an American entertainer by the name of John Ringling. Once introduced to the Ringling Brothers‚Äô circus and knowing she has much to learn, Rosamund agrees to a bareback riding apprenticeship in the shadow of the Ringlings‚Äô winter home‚ÄĒCa‚ÄôD‚ÄôZan. It is at that mansion, in what would become the last days of the enigmatic Mable Ringling‚Äôs life, that Rosamund finds a deeper sense of purpose in the life she‚Äôs been given, and the awakening of faith in her heart.

With a supporting cast of characters as mysterious and dazzling as the Ringlings‚Äô big-top world, Rosamund‚Äôs journey takes her from the tradition of the English countryside to the last days of America‚Äôs Roaring ‚Äė20s‚ÄĒa journey that forever changes what one life might have been.
Why I Choose this Book: 

I’ve read Kristy Cambron’s other two books and really liked one of them, and was rather disappointed in the other. I figured I had a 50/50 chance on either really liking or feeling “meh” about her third book.

What I Thought About this Book:

Humm… I think I’ve done so much editing recently that I’m having a hard time just¬†appreciating¬†a book, so please keep that in mind throughout this review.¬†

Scene by scene I enjoyed the book. There¬†were¬†some beautiful word pictures, the setting was fairly well developed, and there wasn’t questionable content (yay!). The characters¬†also started¬†out with promise.¬†

Unfortunately, the story didn’t¬†exactly make sense to me. It felt¬†disjointed, as if a bunch of scenes were thrown together to create a partial story that didn’t have much of a¬†plot line¬† I kept waiting for a lightbulb moment to go off and have everything make sense, but that never happened. There was a slight lightbulb moment around page 330, that if it¬†would¬†have been at page 30, it would have totally changed the trajectory of the book and would have made a huge difference. Since that¬†didn’t happen though, the book was a fail for me.¬†

Conclusion:

I’ve seen a lot of 4 and 5 star reviews floating around for this book, which means my assessment isn’t very popular and therefore you probably shouldn’t take my word for it. Instead, y’all should read some other reviews and see what other readers are saying about the book.¬†

Rating:

I’m giving The Ringmaster’s Wife 3 stars out of 5, and 4 stars out of 10.¬†

*I received this book free from Litfuse in exchange for an honest review*