Growing Forward

 

FIRST OFF, SOME STATS:

Find the book on: Amazon and Goodreads
Pages: 208
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Release Date: January 1, 2019
Title: Growing Forward
Nonfiction

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BACK COVER BLURB

After life is shattered by loss or a traumatic experience–whether big or small–it can seem impossible to heal or even move on. Deep down you believe God intends good for you, but you just don’t have the energy or strength to figure out how to move forward.

Author Laurie Pawlik has been there, and here she shares how she flourished despite multiple losses. Through practical tips and thought-provoking questions, she helps you take small yet powerful steps toward healing and letting go. She also offers insights and encouragement from the lives of strong women in the Bible. You’ll glimpse the painful losses these women experienced and learn how they flourished despite seasons of hardship and grief. You’ll discover how God shows His presence and power in the valleys, deserts, and storms. And you’ll feel a fresh sense of hope that, with God, you can redefine yourself, remake your life, and grow forward into a beautiful new season.

WHY I CHOOSE THIS BOOK

I don’t actually remember why I requested this book. It looks interesting though, and I like learning what helps other people and seeing through the eyes of people who have gone through things I haven’t gone through.

WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT THIS BOOK

While reading this book it was easy to tell that the author was a blogger. I’m not sure how to describe the style, except that there were several “segments” in each chapter, and quite often those segments reminded me of blog posts or at least snippets of blog posts. I’ve this done before where it bothers me, but this time I actually found the style made the book easy to read. There were plenty of places where I could set it down and then pick it back up without feeling like the flow was interrupted. This was good for reading whenever I had a few extra minutes.

The author did a great job of showing that her life wasn’t perfect, but without going into a pity party or too much detail regarding what she had faced. I really thought she hit a good balance with that, and it showed that she really has found a healthy way to deal with a lot of bad stuff – growing forward – which is what the book is all about.

There was a lot of solid information in this book. We got to look at different characters from the Bible and learn from their stories – what they did and didn’t do correctly and how people around them were impacted.

Sadly, there was also some information that I didn’t agree with. There were multiple things that I think are okay for someone to do on their own, but it can be dangerous to teach it in a removed setting such as a book. For instance, while talking about a very traumatic experience, the author said that every time it came to mind she would play the “What Then” game with Jesus, where she says what’s horrible, and Jesus says “What then?” and they keep going until she’s realized that He’s with her and she’ll be okay. I’m not saying that I think this is wrong, but it felt a little bit sacrilegious how it was written in the book. Which brings me to another part I didn’t like: I felt like she made God seem almost too human in the book. Yes, He’s our friend. And Yes, He can relate to us. And Yes, He loves us and wants to have a special relationship with us. Yet, at the same time, He is holy and deserves respect, and although I’m pretty sure she didn’t mean to bring Him down to our level in a disrespectful way, at times I felt like she did.

There were a few more things I didn’t like or agree with, like this sentence, God created crayons, paints, paper, shapes, textures, and tones – use His handicrafts to talk to Him! I understand the point that the author is trying to make, and I agree with it. But God didn’t create crayons and paints and paper, and although it’s a little thing when the little things pile up they drop my rating of the book.

CONCLUSION

Overall, the book has a lot of good information, suggestions, and an easy-to-read style. I would say if you want to read it, go for it! Just read it with an open mind and match what she says against the Bible. 🙂

RATING

I’m giving Growing Forward 3 out of 5 stars.

((I got this book from Bethany House Publishers so I could review it, all thoughts and opinions are my own.))

936 Pennies {A Pretty Cool Book, Folks}

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Find It On:
Amazon
Goodreads

Why I Choose This Book:

I try not to choose books solely on the cover, but goodness, folks! This is one of my favorite book covers ever. The colors, the design, the fonts, the title, all of it comes together perfectly.

Plus, as y’all know I like parenting books – even though I don’t have any kids. There are several reasons for this, the main one being that I really enjoy the thought processes behind how and why parents parent the way they do, and the other is I figure the knowledge will be helpful one day. 😉

What I Thought Of This Book:

This book was different from most of the parenting books I’ve read recently. It focused a lot more on what the parents do instead of what the kids do, and that was a pretty neat perspective.

The lady who wrote the book has three little boys, so we get to see life from the perspective of someone who’s still very much in the midst of crazy motherhood. She talks a lot about the decisions she’s made in order to be a more intentional mother, and how she’s been working at redeeming the time to pour as much into her children’s lives as she can.

The premise of the book is how parents have 936 weeks with their children from the time they are born until they are eighteen. When I first heard that number it sounded like quite a lot, but after pondering it for a little bit, I could see how it would feel like it was going by really fast. It’s so important as parents (and from my perspective as an older sibling/aunt/friend) to make sure that you invest in children and really use those weeks wisely.

Miss Eryn tells about different ways she’s learned to invest in her children, from having specific screen-free times of the day to getting outside with the kids, to taking time to read and cuddle. The book is really practical, well-written, easy to read, and lyrical.

I could tell Miss Eryn was a blogger. I’m not sure how to explain it, but her writing style was just very much the style of a blogger. It was beautiful, descriptive, peaceful, and somewhat wordy. Reading the book made me feel restful, like sitting on a porch swing and sipping lemonade.

Conclusion:

I’m not a mother, so I try not to have very many opinions (at least that I share) on parenting books, but I thought this one was pretty spot-on. 😉

*I’m thankful to have received this book for reviewing purposes

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In Hidden Places {Book Review}

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Find It On:
Amazon
Goodreads

Why I Choose This Book:

Miss Tracie’s books are really hit or miss for me – either I am delighted at how she weaves the story together with the history of that day, or else I’m annoyed by the romances and can’t stand the book. This one is set in San Fransico, a city I actually like, and therefore I decided to give it ago. (I don’t like a ton of cities, folks, I’m so much more of a country/small town girl.)

What I Thought About the Book:

First off, I’m quite amused that every other chapter in the book they were talking about how dangerous San Fransico is. In fact, I felt like we didn’t get much of a glimpse into the world building there, except for the dangerous side. Which, considering the book is about her brother who totally disappeared, I guess that makes sense. It simply made me laugh that I was like “Oh, I like this city so I’ll read this book” and then the book was like “This is a scary and dangerous place to be.”

Land sakes, people. The main character. Sheesh, she was one little stuck up snob, but not in the way that characters are generally stuck up snobs. It actually tickled me as much as it ticked me because she was really well written. And her character arch was really good. And she was all around a character who seemed very believable. But wow, she still has a far piece to come.

There were a few things that confused me – like why the main girl needed to get a job right away. It eventually made some sense to me, but I wish the need would have been developed more.

The friendship between the girls was nice, and somewhat of a spin on how I feel a lot of books are. The writing was descriptive. The facts well-displayed. It was interesting to immerse myself in that time period and realize how much has changed in the last 115 years.

I really liked this book, to the point where I would have given it four stars if it weren’t for four things:
1. The romance – most of the book it was fine and I didn’t mind it, but then at the end, it moved way too fast and I wanted to roll my eyes and be like “Yo! You don’t know each other so slow it down”
2. There were so many points of views. I know this is totally a preference here, but I have a really hard time when I get to know exactly what’s going on in everybody’s head. For instance, several of the characters think one guy is bad, but instead of letting the reader try and figure it out for themselves, we hop over into that guy’s head and find out if he’s bad or not. That took away a lot of the mystery and suspense for me
3. There was a little bit with the conclusion of the mystery that made me feel cheated. We’d come so far to figure it out and then poof! Mystery solved just like that
4. The writing wasn’t tight. Sometimes I think that when an author gets really good, they kind of ride on their own success, instead of ensuring that each book is as polished as it really should be

Conclusion:

This book isn’t one I would recommend for anyone under the age of sixteen. Part of the story takes place inside a brothel, which didn’t go into much detail, but still. Also, there’s some violence, but nothing detailed or creepy.

*Thanks to the publishing house for giving me a copy to review

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A Refuge Assured {One of those books I’ve been really excited about reading}

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Find the Book on:
Amazon
Goodreads

Why I Choose This Book:

A few years ago I got pulled into the beauty of Miss Jocelyn’s fantastically built historical settings and I’ve felt the same draw ever since. The stories aren’t always my favorite, but the way she makes history come alive? I’ve been blown away by her writing time and time again.

What I Thought:

When I was twelve or so I read a book that took place during the French Revolution and was completely horrified. Like, crying for days and being unlike myself for a couple of months. Looking back it’s no wonder – I had no clue as a preteen that the Regine of Terror had existed, and there was no need for me to at that young age. But, because of that horrible experience I’ve avoided any and everything from that time period, except what I had to learn for school. And then this book came along. I didn’t exactly pay attention to what it was about when I requested it for review, because come on, it’s written by Jocelyn Green.

This story, folks. This story had the exactly perfect balance between letting us know what happened during the French Revolution, and not going into too much detail. You can feel the sorrow, feel the frightened confusion, feel the horribleness of it all, and yet in a balanced, vague way that won’t leave you in a depressed funk for days.

In the space of about two weeks, I (totally unplanned) read three books that took place during this time period, and this book was by far my favorite. Miss Jocelyn makes history come alive in her stories and makes me feel like I’m there, watching from the sidelines. She also has this fantastic habit of picking settings/facts/people that aren’t exceedingly well known, and therefore I’ve had so much fun researching what was true and what wasn’t when I’m done reading the book, and I’m always surprised by how much of the setting/little details are true.

As for the story and characters themselves? Well, they aren’t generally my favorite for some reason; I think it’s just because I don’t really connect with them. That sadly takes my rating down, but I think a lot of other people would enjoy them far more than me and have a much higher rating.

Conclusion:

This book isn’t one for little children – I would say probably sixteen would be the youngest I’d give this story to. The book talks about mistresses (but in a clean, vague way) and of course all the stuff that went on during the French Revolution.

*I’m thankful to the publishers who sweetly gave me this book so I could review it

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The Pros and Cons of Free Books & Unboxing {Vlog}

It’s another Thursday morning – my favorite blogging day of the week. I have so much fun working on these vlogs and I hope that you enjoy them as much as I do.

I was away from home for a couple of days, so therefore I didn’t film this vlog until last night. I don’t generally (ever?) film at night, so it was a bit different for me and I had to edit out a lot of stuff that didn’t make sense. 😉

Have a great day, y’all!

Yes, I’m Still Reading Parenting Books {Aka, Another Book Review}

8 Simple Tools for Raising Great Kids

BY: Dr. Todd Cartmell

Find it on:

Amazon
Goodreads 

First Person • Nonfiction • One Point of View • 208 Pages

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About the Book (Backcover Blurb):

Finally, a practical book for busy parents!

Whether you find parenting intuitive or impossible, we could all use a hand here and there. And we could use it quick! In 8 Simple Tools, child psychologist and father Todd Cartmell walks you through the nuts and bolts of healthy, effective parenting.

Using examples from his home and 20 years of professional practice, Todd gives eight essential and practical tools to help you:

  • Listen well and respond wisely
  • Use affirmation to influence your child
  • Develop a nurturing home culture
  • Correct behavior in lasting ways
  • Maintain a healthy relationship with your child

Designed with busy parents in mind, 8 Simple Tools breaks each tool into five short chapters, perfect for when you only have a second. Plus, each chapter ends with a practical “Tip” section that summarizes the main point and helps you apply it right away.

Use even half of the tools in your parenting, and your family dynamics will thrive. Your relationship will be built on love and trust, providing you with fertile ground for planting God’s wisdom in your child’s heart and, ultimately, seeing your child flourish.

Why I Choose this Book:

Jill Savage wrote the forward of the book, and I’ve enjoyed her writing before, therefore I thought that this would be a good book. Plus, parenting books are intriguing to me.

What I Thought about this Book:

 

As always, I’ll start out with the disclaimer that I’m not a parent, and therefore my thoughts on the book are quite subjective.

This book was full of great information, and it was delivered in bite-sized increments which made the book really easy to pick up when I had a few moments to spare. Each chapter was only 2-4 pages long, and ended with a tip which was spot-on and simple, although not always easy, to apply to life.

From learning how to tune your attention to see your kid’s good qualities to praising effectively to teaching your kids to problem solve, this book really was full of simple tools that would help any child/adult relationship thrive.

I not only learned from this book, but I also enjoyed reading it. The author wrote in a very down-to-earth, practical, and interesting way.

Conclusion:

There were only a very few small things I didn’t agree with, and wouldn’t hesitate to let any of my parent-friends borrow the book. And, if I was a parent, I think I would recommend this book to others. As a non-parent though, I don’t want to be that annoying friend who thinks she has it all together. 😉

Rating: 

I’m giving 8 Simple Tools for Raising Great Kids 4 out of 5 stars, and 10 out of 10

*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Calm, Cool, and Connected {Y’all Should Read This Book}

Calm, Cool, and Connected:

5 Digital Habits for a More Balanced Life

BY: Arlene Pellicane

Find it on:

Amazon
Goodreads 

First Person • Nonfiction • One Point of View • 160 Pages

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About the Book (Backcover Blurb):

For those feeling overloaded with technology…

Let’s face it: most of us are on our phones or computers way more than we’d like to be, and more than what’s even beneficial. We know that overuse of technology is harmful to our health and relationships, but how can we rewire our digital habits for a healthier life?

In Calm, Cool, and Connected, Arlene Pellicane will walk you through an easy 5-step plan that will help you center your life on Jesus and love others by decluttering your screen time. By introducing a few easy habits into your daily routine, you can transform your relationship with technology and enjoy more time with God and others.

It’s easy to become consumed and preoccupied with our devices. In turn, we begin to suppress or ignore what’s most important, focusing instead on the urgent and sensational. Let this book guide you toward balanced technology use, and thus a more balanced life.

Why I Choose this Book:

This author. I’ve read another book by her and it was totally spot-on. Plus, I’m always looking at ways to be more balanced in life – particularly when it comes to technology. I’ve been working on it an extra amount during the last few months, so reading this book was quite timely.

What I Thought about this Book:

Y’all. You should read it. Really. It’s so easy to read – like to the point that when I went to write this review I was like “I think it was maybe 70ish pages.” And was quite surprised to see that it was actually 160 pages long, because I flew through it, enjoying and learning from each page.

We live in an era where there’s so much we can learn and do because of technology…but at the same time we can lose so much if we don’t put technology in the correct place. Just because we have the access to something doesn’t mean it’s a good thing. And just because something is good doesn’t mean it’s the best thing.

I’d been working on learning this concept and putting technology in the right place in my life even before I got this book for review. Reading Cool, Calm, and Connected totally inforced what I’d been thinking, as well as giving me practical advice as to how to better apply it in my life. The advice that stuck out most to me was how to be intentional. The author said that when you go to pick up your phone or click on the internet on your computer, think through what you’re going to do

The advice that stuck out most to me was how to be intentional. The author said that when you go to pick up your phone or click on the internet on your computer, think through what you’re going to do on it so you don’t end up mindlessly spending your time. For instance, when I get on my phone now, I stop and think “What am I doing?” And then I answer that question before proceeding. The answer might be “Texting so-and-so” or “Posting on Twitter” or “Reading on my Kindle” or “Making a memo for myself” or even “Chilling for five minutes on Facebook.” And then I make it a point to do what I got on my phone to do, and then putting it back away. It makes a big difference. (Same thing applies to the internet on my computer.)

One of the best parts about this book is it doesn’t condemn you for poor choices in your past, instead, it empowers you to make the correct choices in your future. Reading this book was encouraging. It was inspiring. And it made me want to buy a bunch of copies and hand them out to basically everyone I know. It’s also really practical and simple. And y’all should read it.

Conclusion:

I can’t think of anyone I wouldn’t recommend this book to. I mean, obviously not a three-year-old, but you get my point. There were a few small mentions of different addictions that the internet helps make easily accessible, so parents might want to skim those parts before handing this book to kids, but if I remember correctly then it didn’t go into any details.

Rating: 

I’m giving Cool, Calm, and Connected 5 out of 5 stars, and 10 out of 10

*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review