8.30.2014

10 Things For Teen Girls and Enough: 10 Things We Should Be Telling Teenage Girls by Kate Conner {Review & Giveaway}



Kate Conner
Juvenile Nonfiction / Christian Life

You've got 1 future.
Here are 10 ways to change it.

Teen girl, you hear a lot of negative voices out there, voices telling you that you're not beautiful, sexy, smart, or valuable enough. But Kate Conner offers a different voice. 10 Things for Teen Girls is based on her blog post that pulled in more than 2 million views in just two weeks, proving that you and your friends are ready to hear a new message--one that points you away from the world's wisdom and toward God instead.

Using wit and grace, Kate tackles gotta-know topics such as 
  • The dangers of batting eyelashes and playing dumb
  • Navigating social media and avoiding social drama
  • Modesty and the superpower qualities of femininity
  • And the all-time worst advice ever
You and your friends will love Kate's humor, her honesty, and--most of all--her message. When the world's negative voices attack, her voice can be the one to remind you of the truth--You are beautiful. You are valuable. You are enough.


Enough: 10 Things We Should Be Telling Teenage Girls
Kate Conner
Christian Life / Women's Issues

You are beautiful.
You are valuable.
You are enough.

In a book based on her run-away blog post "Ten Things I Want to Tell Teenage Girls," which garnered more than 2 million views in two weeks, Kate Conner calls us to action in Enough. We all have teenage girls in our lives who we love, whether it's a sister, friend or daughter. Kate has identified 10 things these girls need to hear today from someone who loves her.

Peppered with wit and laced with grace, Kate's list tackles relevant issues like Facebook, emotions, drama, tanning beds, modesty, and flirtation. Woven into each chapter is a powerful message of worth that transcends age, and will touch the souls of women, young and old alike: You are beautiful. You are valuable. You are enough.

A former youth-worker, wife to a college minister, and a young mom in her twenties, Kate stands squarely in the generational gap, the perfect place from which to bridge it. Kate offers herself as a translator, helpin you to speak your teenager's language and equipping you with a fresh perspective from which to engage your teenage girl--one that may enable her to truly hear your heart (and your wisdom) for the first time since puberty.


My Thoughts:

You are beautiful. You are valuable. You are enough. Those three little phrases are what women, young and old, all long to hear. Yet in this crazy world of hyper-sexualism those words seem to get drowned out by others that begin to erode the very essence of who we were created to be.

In 2012 Kate wrote a spur of the moment blog post entitled Ten Things I Want To Tell Teenage Girls. In a short span of time the post went viral. Why? I would guess that it is because it spoke truth to fables that we have been trying desperately to make into reality. What are the 10 things you ask? I'll give them to you:
  1. If you choose to wear shirts that show off your boobs, you will attract boys.
  2. Don’t go to the tanning bed. 
  3. When you talk about your friends “anonymously” on Facebook, we  know exactly who you’re talking about.  
  4. Newsflash: the number of times you say “I hate drama” is a pretty good indicator of how much you love drama.
  5. “Follow your heart” is probably the worst advice ever. 
  6.  Never let a man make you feel weak or inferior because you are an emotional being. 
  7. Smoking is not cool.
  8. Stop saying things like, “I don’t care what anyone thinks about me.”
  9. Don’t play coy or stupid or helpless to get attention. 
  10. You are beautiful.  You are enough.
If you're a momma you're probably nodding your head and giving a great big hallelujah! If you're a teen girl, it is quite possible you're rolling your eyes. For both of those very reasons you need to get a copy of each of these books. Read them together. Each chapter in each book coincides with the other book. 

I know what you're thinking . . . you've already given us the link to the blog post and the list of the 10 things. Why should we get the books? As I said earlier, Kate wrote the post on a whim. In the books she delves deeper and expounds on each subject. As a momma I'm telling you there is nothing more important than instilling in your girl that she is valued. She is a child of the King. She is royalty and she should learn to act like it. Someone gave His very life for her. She needs to know these truths. You need to know these truths! If you have a little bitty girl, get the books now and read them over and over so you will have a head start on raising her to know that above all things she is enough.

We all know I'm a crazy reader. If it has words, I'm reading it! But I do realize that not everyone is as taken with reading as I am. So hear my heart on this. If you get only one book, get Enough. Then read chapter 10 and absorb it until it is part of your very essence. Then love your daughter enough to share it with her until the truth contained becomes part of who she is as well.

These books would make a fabulous small group study in your youth group. Make a retreat weekend out of it. Get copies of 10 Things For Teen Girls for all the teen girls and copies of Enough for all the adult women leaders. If we could instill these truths into all the girls in our circles of influence we could change a generation. Remember, If God Is For Us . . . Who Can Stand Against Us?!!

Connect with the author:




The Giveaway:

We have partnered with Family Christian and B&H Publishers to offer one of our readers a copy of 10 Things For Teen Girls and Enough: 10 Things We Should Be Telling Teenage Girls. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents and will run through midnight on Saturday, September 13, 2014. You must be at least 18 years old to enter. The winner will be contacted by email and will have forty-eight hours to claim the prize. If unclaimed, a new winner will be drawn. The winners’ entries will be verified. Please enter the contest using the Rafflecopter form below. All entries are optional.


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8.27.2014

A Christ-Centered Wedding: Rejoicing In The Gospel On Your Big Day by Catherine Strode Parks & Linda Strode {Review & Giveaway}



Catherine Strode Parks & Linda Strode
Christian Life / Love & Marriage

Back of the book:

HOW DO I KEEP THE FOCUS WHERE IT BELONGS?

Wedding planning has spawned a major industry. The average cost of the occassion now exceeds $25,000, and societal pressure to create the "perfect day" is so strong that even Christian couples forget what God originally intended for the sacred marriage ceremony.

A Christ-Centered Wedding serves as a guide to believers who want their wedding to portray the relationship of Christ with the church and to reflect the gospel to all in attendance.

There are chapters filled with practical information about everything from premarital counseling and wedding locations to other resources like a planning checklist and time line, music suggestions, guidance on potential issues of conflict, a listing of traditional financial responsibilities, sample vows, and other great ideas from couples who have successfully put together a Christ-centered wedding.



My thoughts:

As Christians we are called the bride of Christ. Even in all of our flawed earthly bodies God has chosen to use the institution of marriage as a glimpse of the perfect marriage with our perfect groom, Christ. With that in mind we often set out to make our wedding ceremonies reflect our longing and desire for a Christ-centered life.

If you are already married or well into the planning process you know first hand how out of control all the planning and preparations can become. What happened to that simple ceremony declaring that we are Christ followers and are now joining as one to honor and serve Him in our home? Sure we want it to be memorable as well as beautiful, but it can also be meaningful and held in check to accomplish what the ceremony is meant to do.

Linda and Catherine have put together a wonderful book full of great suggestions and resources for you to draw upon. They have used their own experiences as well as those of others who have chosen to honor Christ on this very special of days. What sets this book apart from others is that it isn't just a great big to do list. The introduction sets the tone of the whole book by reminding you that there really are only a couple of times in your life that you will have the opportunity to unabashedly share the gospel with your friends and family. Those occasions are weddings and funerals. In the first couple of chapters they go through the "best marriage ever" and discuss the bride of Christ and the gospel. I personally loved this background because it was a gentle yet powerful reminder of what the true purpose of marriage is.

The following chapters will then begin to walk you through everything from engagement, pre-marital counseling, bachelor/bachelorette parties, rehearsal dinner, wedding ceremony, reception and everything in between. As I said earlier it isn't a to do list, instead it is more a conversation about what they have heard about that works. One of the most fascinating concepts that they covered was called a reverse ceremony. The description was intriguing and I thought it could be particularly moving.

If you are a soon to be bride, mother of the bride, or even a mother and daughter that assume that you have a wedding in your future, I would recommend this book. It is a beautiful look at how we can honor Christ while committing to the one our heart loves.

About the authors:


Catherine Parks writes from home in Nashville, Tennessee, where she lives with her husband, Erik, and their two young children. She has sung some terribly cheesy songs in weddings over the years, and gave one of the worst rehearsal dinner speeches in history to her college roommate. She blogs at cathparks.com.

Linda Strode is a pastor’s wife and has been involved in multiple aspects of wedding planning over the years. She survived the bridesmaid fashion horrors of the 70’s and 80’s and has quite a few photo souvenirs to prove it. Linda and her husband, Tom, live in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

The Giveaway:

We have partnered with B&H Publishers to offer one of our readers a copy of A Christ-Centered Wedding. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents and will run through midnight on Wednesday, September 10, 2014. You must be at least 18 years old to enter. The winner will be contacted by email and will have forty-eight hours to claim the prize. If unclaimed, a new winner will be drawn. The winners’ entries will be verified. Please enter the contest using the Rafflecopter form below. All entries are optional.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


The Story For Children by Max Lucado ~ A Storybook Bible Review



Max Lucado, Randy Frazee, and Karen Davis Hill
Illustrated by Fausto Bianchi
Juvenile Nonfiction

About the book:

The Story for Children isn't just another collection of Bible stories--it's The Story--the big picture of God's enormous love for his children!

Presented by bestselling author and pastor Max Lucado with Randy Frazee and Karen Davis Hill, these forty-eight pivotal stories show how God has a great and grand and glorious vision, beginning with creation and ending with the promise that Jesus is coming again.

Each story is personalized with God's Message and accompanied by vibrant illustrations from accomplished artist Fausto Bianchi that help bring the Bible to life for readers young and old.



My thoughts:

It is always a delight to come across a resource that is far above the other offerings in that same category. The Story For Children is in that class. The book is downright hefty simply because it is packed so full of God's messages to His people.

Max Lucado, Randy Frazee, and Karen Davis Hill, have put together a publication that will aid you in teaching your child about the major themes of the Bible. They have chosen forty-eight of the pivotal stories from Scripture. Each chapter unveils an important truth. It is told in the iconic Lucado style, with words that paint pictures and bring about understanding to even the youngest reader or listener. I particularly like how at the end of each segment is a portion called God's Message. It is designed to show the reader that the story that was just covered has everything to do with our modern day lives. 

I must also comment on the artwork. The visions that Fausto Bianchi has put together are stunningly beautiful. They compliment the storyline so well by bringing the central truth being depicted to life. 

If you are looking for a new book to read and teach your children about the timeless message of the Bible, you really shouldn't pass this one up. It would make a great addition to any home and can be enjoyed by the entire family.

Connect with the author: 




8.26.2014

Miracle in a Dry Season by Sarah Loudin Thomas ~ A Contemporary Fiction Review



Appalachian Blessings, Book 1
Sarah Loudin Thomas
Contemporary Fiction

Back of the book:

In a Drought, It's the Darkest Cloud 
That Brings Hope

It's 1954 and Perla Long's arrival in the sleepy town of Wise, West Virginia, was supposed to go unnoticed. She just wants a quiet, safe place for her and her daughter, Sadie, where the mistakes of her past can stay hidden. But then drought comes to Wise, and Perla is pulled into the turmoil of a town desperately in need of a miracle.

Casewell Phillips has resigned himself to life as a bachelor...until he meets Perla. She's everything he's sought in a woman, but he can't get past the sense that she's hiding something. As the drought worsens, Perla's unique gift divides the town in two, bringing both gratitude and condemnation, and placing the pair in the middle of a storm of anger and forgiveness, fear and faith.


READ AN EXCERPT

My thoughts:

My first introduction to Sarah Thomas' writing was her novella Appalachian Serenade. That story sets the stage for Miracle in a Dry Season. I was thoroughly enchanted by that tale and the characters. I couldn't wait for the release of Miracle in a Dry Season just to find out where the story was going.

The time frame is the mid '50s and the setting is the rural community of Wise, West Virginia. The main character is Perla Long. She's a young mother that has come to stay with her aunt and uncle to hopefully escape some of the nasty things being said about her in her hometown.

Perla is looking for a chance to start fresh with her daughter and she's hoping that is possible in Wise. Unfortunately small towns are small towns. Tongues begin to wag and speculations abound. The one person that Perla confides in begins to distance himself from her. A never married woman with a child is like a pariah in a pious church congregation.

Through a very dire set of circumstances the townspeople begin to realize that they need the gifts that God has bestowed upon Perla. The journey through the crisis is a heart rending experience for everyone. Casewell Phillips is attracted to Perla, but he just can't seem to get past the idea of her having a child out of wedlock. But as the days go on and he begins to submit to God's leading, he teams up with Perla to help the townspeople.

 Miracle in a Dry Season is a beautiful love story. It reminds you that God's ways are not our ways. Things that seem to be a stumbling block can easily be removed when God is in control. It is also a story about forgiveness. We're reminded that we are called to forgive just as we've been forgiven. That also pertains to forgiving ourselves and continuing on the path that has been set before us.

I look forward to reading more of Sarah Thomas' work in the future. If this debut novel is any indication of what her potential is, I'm betting we're going to be reading her novels for some time to come.


Connect with the author:

Photo Credit: © Kristen Delliveniri









8.24.2014

A Bouquet of Love by Janice Thompson ~ A Weddings By Design Series Review



Weddings By Design, Book 4
Janice Thompson
Contemporary Romance

Back of the book:

She didn't expect to fall in love--but roses aren't the 
only thing blooming on Galveston Island

Cassia Pappas has found herself in a nearly impossible situation. She wants to spend her time immersed in her new job at a Galveston Island floral shop, arranging blooms and brightening occasions with her lovely creations. But her boisterous Greek family--especially her father--has other ideas. They've all relocated to Galveston to open up a new family restaurant located on the Strand--directly across the street from iconic pizza place Parma John's--and they want Cassia's full participation.

To make matters worse, as Cassia is trying to develop a strong professional relationship with Galveston's premier wedding coordinator, Bella Neeley, her own father is intent on stealing all of the Rossi family's faithful customers. Not exactly the best way to get into this former Rossi's good graces!

Still, at least Alex, that hot delivery guy from the nursery, is always hanging around the flower shop.

READ AN EXCERPT

My thoughts:

When I'm looking for a hilarious yet touching read I turn to Janice Thompson's work. She's sure to delight all of her loyal fans with this newest peek into the beloved yet wacky Rossi family. This time around there is a new family on the block. If you thought the Rossi clan was over the top, just wait until you get to know the Pappas family.  The Pappas family has moved to Galveston and set up their Greek restaurant directly across the street from Parma John's. Let the rivalry begin!

The storyline this time around centers on Cassia Pappas and her big Greek family. Cassia loves flowers and even went to school to learn floral design, but her father has other plans for her. He thinks she should be a good Greek daughter and stay and help run the family business, Super Gyros. In an impulsive moment Cassia applies for and gets a job at Patti-Lou's Petals. Unbeknownst to her at the time, the flower shop is owned by the rival Rossi family. The problem is she likes them and wants to continue on. How in the world is she going to convince her Babbas to give his blessing?

While I think you would benefit from reading the whole series and perhaps even going back and reading the beginning series, Weddings by Bella, you can just snatch this book up and read it on its own. All the zany characters are included and the shenanigans of the Rossi family are now being topped by the Pappas family. What more could you want for a lazy afternoon's entertainment?!! 

This story is full of fun. The characters are at times annoying yet moments later endearing. Once you begin reading about them you are going to wish you could meet them in real life. Or maybe you already have . . . after all don't we each have that crazy relative in our lives that we just can't live without? If you've got a quirky family that you love, I think you're also going to love the Rossi and Pappas families.

Connect with the author:






 


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