In Bloom: Trading Restless Insecurity for Abiding Confidence by Kayla Aimee | Christian Living Review

In Bloom: Trading Restless Insecurity for Abiding Confidence by Kayla Aimee

Book review disclosure.

Christian Living / Women's Issues

Every woman is intimately acquainted with feelings of insecurity and inadequacy. Whether fueled by a culture of makeover shows, by the lingering memories of mean girls, or by events much more wounding to the soul, we can become so conditioned by self-doubt that it becomes our inner monologue.

What we want is to be free of shame and comparison, to turn our uncertainty into a bold confidence. But to flourish in our own skin, we first have to rewrite the narrative.

In this fearless, funny, and refreshingly relatable chronicle of her own metamorphosis from the insecurity that once held her captive, author Kayla Aimee unfolds the blueprint for women to:

• Identify the deep-seated sources of our assumed inadequacy and replace them with steadfast truths of scriptural affirmation
• Replace our need for approval with the enduring promise of acceptance
• Uncover our purpose, unlock our potential, and celebrate the God-given gifts in our unique personality

To every woman who longs for belonging, this journey through Kayla’s inviting prose, biblical promises, and journaling prompts will help guide her from restless insecurity to a beautiful becoming.

Validation quote from In Bloom.

My Thoughts

If you are a woman insecurity comes just as naturally as breathing. Even the most seemingly put together woman deals with insecurity. Just when you think you have become a grown up and left junior high and mean girls behind, there they are right next to you.

But did you know that you don't have to live like that? Kayla Aimee helps us take an honest look at the insecurities that plague us. She shares her own humbling but hilarious experiences and allows us to take a peek inside her journey to confidence. She shows you how to flip insecurity on its head and walk in confidence through a trust in the abiding grace of Christ.

I really enjoyed Kayla's first book, Anchored, and I enjoyed this one just as much. Kayla is willing to be vulnerable in order to help others reach a deeper relationship with Christ. I really think young women and mothers will benefit the most from this book but I'm a 50+ woman and I also found the book to be thought provoking. I appreciated the way that she encouraged us to look back at all the awkward and sometimes painful events that fed our insecurities. But instead of wallowing in it she reminds you to acknowledge the ways in which Christ brought you through it and encourages you to see what you learned from it.

This is a quick read that also allows you to interact with it through questions. I think it is a lovely book to read yourself but it would also make a perfect selection for a small group of women to read together.

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Kayla Aimee

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A Moment to Breathe: 365 Devotions That Meet You In Your Everyday Mess from the (in)courage community | Christian Life Review

A Moment to Breathe: 365 Devotions That Meet You In Your Everyday Mess from the (in)courage community

Book review disclosure.

(in)courage community
Christian Life / Women's Issues

When the rush of regular life leaves you breathless by day’s end, this collection of everyday stories becomes the place where you can come as you are, and find yourself among friends. Friends who have been there. Friends who’ll lean in close and say, “Me too!” Through our stories the bonds of friendship deepen as we listen to each other, laugh with each other, and learn from each other. Because we’re better when we’re living this one beautiful life together.

With stories from 80 writers, these pages become the very place your soul can exhale, where you can:

· Connect with the hearts of women through stories that echo your own.
· Find beauty in the ordinary and sometimes messy moments of your everyday life.
· See your own stories as an offering of hope to those around you.
· Treasure the unseen ways God moves through even your most regular days.

With 365 readings, each day begins with a passage of Scripture, tells a story of everyday faith, and encourages you to take a moment to breathe with a simple but fun way to complete your day. So kick off your shoes and join us for a relaxing but special time, where friends come together and share the real stuff of everyday faith.

My Thoughts

I've said before that I'm not really a short daily devotional fan. I tend to prefer a more in-depth morning Bible study. But I'm always encouraged by the (in)courage community so I just couldn't resist taking a look at this new book.

The set up is simple. There's a short Scripture reading followed by an applicable story from one of the many (in)courage writers. Then it ends with a section called A Moment to Breathe. 

I've read through most of the readings and have enjoyed them. The women that contributed to this project shared from their hearts and their normal everyday lives. The stories could have been written by any one of us and that's part of the beauty of it. We all have more in common than not and it was nice to read about fellow sojourners and how they were able to face what was in front of them with grace while following Christ.

My favorite part was the ending section. Each day gave simple ways to put into action the core concept of the reading. When I say simple I mean simple. You don't need to run to the store for ingredients or supplies you just need to implement in small ways what you've just read.

This was an encouraging book for me personally but I also think it would be a nice gift for a young mother or a sweet woman that's going through a hard patch. The book itself is beautiful. It's a hardback but has a cloth-like cover and a ribbon to mark your place. I think I'm going to have to pick up a couple more to give as gifts.

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Christmas Blessing by Melody Carlson | Christmas Book Review

Christmas Blessing by Melody Carlson

Book review disclosure.

Christmas Novella
Historical Romance

Although Amelia would be on the train only until tomorrow morning, she unpacked a few things with the goal of making Jimmy and herself as comfortable as possible. To her delight, this cozy sleeping car felt just right for the two of them. Not only that, but as the train began to move, Jimmy relaxed and settled in. Almost as if he were glad they were finally on their way. Maybe he instinctively knew that life was about to get better for them. Perhaps he would enjoy meeting his paternal grandparents. At the moment the train pulled out of the station, anything seemed possible.

She's determined to give her baby a better life.
Could a Christmas miracle make it possible?

Not long after she receives the news in 1944 that her baby's father was shot down in the South Pacific, Amelia Richards loses hope. Jobless and broke, she has nowhere to turn for help but her infant's paternal grandparents. The only problem is, they don't know that she--or their grandson--exists.

When Amelia discovers the family is wealthy and influential, dare she disclose the truth of her relationship with their son? Or could the celebration of the arrival of another unexpected baby nearly two thousand years ago be the answer to her dilemma?

My Thoughts

The Christmas season just wouldn't seem complete without reading a Christmas novella from Melody Carlson. This year's offering is an historical romance set during WWII. The story is one that happened all too often during that time.

Amelia is working at the USO when she meets Navy pilot James and quickly falls in love. The two plan to marry but before they can go to the Justice of the Peace James has to ship out. Soon after James is MIA and presumed dead. And if things couldn't get worse Amelia discovers she's pregnant.

When the story begins we find Amelia struggling to provide for her and little Jimmy. She's a beautician but having a tiny baby isn't the easiest thing to juggle along with working. She's decided to head to Montana to possibly meet James' family and perhaps make a fresh start.

Poor Amelia sustains blow after blow until she ultimately can't stand back up again. She has agonizing decisions to make that force her to set aside her hopes and dreams and choose a selfless path.

As with all of Melody's stories this one tugged at the heartstrings and wound up being a lovely ending. (You can't have an awful ending for a Christmas story!) I'm once again impressed with her ability to pack so much into a small story without it feeling rushed. If you are a lover of Christmas stories treat yourself to this one. It would also make a wonderful little Christmas gift for someone that needs a little lift this time of year.

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Melody Carlson

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Blind Spot (Chesapeake Vaolor #3) by Dani Pettrey | Romantic Suspense Review

Blind Spot (Chesapeake Vaolor #3) by Dani Pettrey

Book review disclosure.

Chesapeake Valor #3
Romantic Suspense

The Wrath is Coming. 
But They Don't Know Where--Or When.

"The wrath is coming" were the final words that FBI agent Declan Grey heard the suicide bomber say. Now Declan is in the chase of his life--but isn't sure exactly what he's chasing after or when the threat will be unleashed on American soil. When his investigation's best clue leads him to a closed immigrant community, he turns to Tanner Shaw for assistance. She's sought justice for refugees and the displaced around the world, and if there's anyone who can help him, it's Tanner.

Tanner Shaw has joined the FBI as a crisis counselor . . . meaning she now has more opportunity to butt heads with Declan. As they work together to uncover the mounting threat, the tension between them also includes a spark she can't deny--and she's pretty sure Declan feels the same. But before anything more can develop, they find themselves in a race against time to stop the coming "wrath" that could cost thousands their lives.

Read an excerpt.
Read an excerpt.

My Thoughts

Usually the best book of the series is the first. The first book in this series, Cold Shot, was very good and the second book, Still Life, was good too but I think this third book is my favorite. I've been thinking about why and I have decided it is because I have come to know the characters better and the underlying story has developed to the point that I can't stand to put it down.

I'm a fan of Dani Pettrey's writing so I knew the suspense element would be good but I believe she's taken her talent for leaving the reader wondering what's next to a whole new level. There is a cliff-hanger at the end of this book that is almost not fair. When I turned that final page I couldn't believe she would torture us so! But of course that's the sign of a good writer's ability to keep the reader wanting more.

After reading Blind Spot I was wishing that I had the discipline to wait to start the series until it was entirely written. But of course I can't! The minute I know the book has been released I want it in my hands. If you enjoy a good dose of suspense sprinkled with some swoon-worthy romance then Dani Pettrey and this series particularly are worth your time. I can't wait for the next book and I think you'll feel the same way.

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Dani Pettrey
Photo Credit: © Michael Pettrey Photography

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Deadly Proof (Atlanta Justice #1) by Rachel Dylan | Romantic Suspense Review

Deadly Proof (Atlanta Justice #1) by Rachel Dylan

Book review disclosure.

Atlanta Justice #1
Romantic Suspense

Standing For What's Right Could
Cost Her Everything

Tapped as lead counsel in a corporate cover-up lawsuit against Mason Pharmaceutical, Kate Sullivan knows this case could make her career. What really drives her, though, is getting justice for the victims whose lives were ruined by the company's dangerous new drug. But when a whistleblower turns up dead, it paints a target on the back of everyone involved.

Former Army Ranger turned private investigator Landon James steps in to handle security for Kate. He's still haunted by mistakes in his past and is determined never to let something like that happen again. But it soon appears someone is willing to do anything--even commit murder--to keep the case from going to trial.

As danger closes in, Landon can't help but admire Kate's courage and resolve--but will her determination not to back down become too great of a risk?


My Thoughts

Deadly Proof is the first book by Rachel Dylan that I have read but I'm looking forward to reading many more. I enjoy a good legal thriller and that's exactly what I got with Deadly Proof. After reading the book and then looking the author up I'm pretty sure I know why it was so good. Rachel Dylan is an experienced attorney and I think that lends to the authenticity of her story.

The legal case involved is that of Mason Pharmaceutical knowingly causing the death of many people by allowing a drug to come to market when the adverse side effects were known to the company but hidden from the public. It's a class action lawsuit and Kate Sullivan has been appointed as the lead counsel to prosecute the case.

There's a lot at stake for everyone involved. Mason Pharmaceutical could lose millions in revenue and the directors seem to be willing to go to any lengths to avoid that. Kate's good friend and fellow lawyer, Ethan Black, has been retained to represent Mason Pharmaceutical. He quickly finds himself wondering just how far he's willing to bend the rules to win this case. Meanwhile people are dying, disappearing, and being threatened. Is Kate safe? Probably not but former Army Ranger turned P.I. Landon James along with his friends Cooper and Noah, are bound and determined to see that she survives the threats.

This is a very quick read because the action and intrigue is non-stop. It's a story that is written where you think that you are being told about what is happening from both perspectives, but look out because there's a twist at the end that I didn't see coming.

Deadly Proof  is book one in the Atlanta Justice series. I took a peak at the next book in the series and it looks like the main characters in this series are going to be the men, Landon, Cooper, and Noah. Book two is Cooper's story. It seems as if the series can be read as stand alone novels but we'll have to wait and see for sure. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series and if you are a fan of legal thrillers this should be your cup of tea as well.

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Rachel Dylan

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