Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Book Review - Breathe Again, How To Live Well When Life Falls Apart


You can thrive, not just survive, no matter what life throws at you.

No one gets to skip the tough stuff. Niki Hardy knows. After losing both her mother and sister to cancer, she too was diagnosed. Eventually she discovered that it was possible to find hope, peace, trust, joy, and even laughter in the midst of it all and that life doesn't have to be pain-free to be full.

With plenty of her British humor and loads of practical advice, Niki shows you how to

· replace soul-destroying myths of suffering with the hope-building truths of God
· escape the suffocating mire of survival mode by learning God's life-giving practices for thriving
· uncover more joy, peace, comfort, and connection, despite your circumstances
· laugh when all you want to do is cry, scream, or dive headfirst into a gallon of ice cream


Niki Hardy is a speaker and writer who, alongside her husband, Al, founded CityChurch in Charlotte, North Carolina, where they now live with their three kids and two crazy Goldendoodles. A cancer survivor, tea drinker, and teller of bad jokes, she'd love to connect with you at www.nikihardy.com if she can't hug you in person.


The greatest thing about this book is that Niki teaches us how to thrive rather than survive. I had always thought that if you survived the hard things, you were doing well, but she shows us how we don't have to just survive but we can actually live abundantly through Christ during the difficult things that life throws at us.

This was not always an easy book for me to read as she went through having an ostomy, bag the same as I did and that was one of the absolute hardest things I've ever been through. It brought those hard times slamming into my head again and I had to really not get too caught up in those memories. However, having said this, her encouragement far outweighed any uncomfortable feelings I had reading about this.

I really like how she gives us questions throughout the book for us to ponder and answer as we focus on thriving. She encourages us to grieve the hard things but also to embrace the lovely things that are also a part of our life even when things are hard.

The fact that she opens her heart and truly shares her life and feelings makes this a book that's easy to read. You really feel like you're sitting down with your best friend over tea and having them share their heart with you. I found myself in tears and also laughing with joy while reading this book.  It's real and straight from her heart.

I can highly recommend this book and give it 5 stars.

*This book was provided to me by Revell. I received a copy of this book to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this book.

Blessings - Julie

Book Review - Awakenings


Awakenings is a collection of Ryan Phillips' responses to the truth of God's Word that came during a season of solitude and reflection in the remote and beautiful hills of Laupahoehoe, Hawaii, as he awoke every morning and had time to reflect on the Word and listen to the Holy Spirit.

This time of beautiful surroundings, quiet devotion, and writing helped Ryan grow spiritually, and his hope is that you will also be awakened to who God is calling you to be and become, and that his devotional journey will encourage you to deepen your walk with God and to embrace your identity as a believer in Jesus.


This is a lovely little book that has one page readings that are full of wonderful writings and observations about the world and God's creation in it. Each writing is based on a Scripture and then the author shares his own insights regarding these Biblical wisdoms.

This was such a great book to read for making me open my Bible and read further and also for giving me an encouragement when I needed one. Because of how the book is set up, it would make a wonderful devotional for your quiet time. The subjects of each Scripture will also give you a book to turn to when seeking Biblical help in an area - for instance, there is a page on jealousy, holding your peace, sacred things, and more.

I really enjoyed this little book and think you will, too. It's an easy yet profound little book that I give 5 stars.

*This book was provided to me by Ambassador International. I received a copy of this book to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this book.

Blessings - Julie

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Book Review - Relative Fortunes


In 1924 Manhattan, women’s suffrage is old news. For sophisticated booklover Julia Kydd, life’s too short for politics. With her cropped hair and penchant for independent living, Julia wants only to launch her own new private press. But as a woman, Julia must fight for what’s hers—including the inheritance her estranged half brother, Philip, has challenged, putting her aspirations in jeopardy.

When her friend’s sister, Naomi Rankin, dies suddenly of an apparent suicide, Julia is shocked at the wealthy family’s indifference toward the ardent suffragist’s death. Naomi chose poverty and hardship over a submissive marriage and a husband’s control of her money. Now, her death suggests the struggle was more than she could bear.

Julia, however, is skeptical. Doubtful of her suspicions, Philip proposes a glib wager: if Julia can prove Naomi was in fact murdered, he’ll drop his claims to her wealth. Julia soon discovers Naomi’s life was as turbulent and enigmatic as her death. And as she gets closer to the truth, Julia sees there’s much more at stake than her inheritance…


Born near Boston, Marlowe Benn grew up in an Illinois college town along the Mississippi River. She holds a master's degree in the book arts from the University of Alabama and a doctorate in the history of books from the University of California, Berkeley. A former editor and college teacher, Benn lives with her husband on an island near Seattle.


This is the best book I've read this year! It's almost hard to believe that this is the debut novel for this author. The story takes you on twists and turns that have you captivated from the very first page.

Set in the 1920's in New York, the story takes us through what it's like to be living during this time. The story focuses on Julia, who is in Manhattan to meet with her brother and finalize her inheritance as she will soon be turning 25.  She barely knows her half-brother who is older than her and has been writing the checks that kept her in school and on a living allowance after both her parents died. She has been living in London and, during her travels aboard ship, she meets up with an old school acquaintance.  This chance meeting sets up a huge mystery that Julia is determined to solve as it becomes important to her personally to do so.

The author shows us what it's like to be a woman living during this time. Women do not have a lot of options as far as money or status goes. Or even legal rights, which we can't even imagine today. They are expected to act and live a certain way, and when they don't, they are shunned by both family and friends.

As the book progressed, I truly thought I knew who the culprit was in the story, however, over and over I was wrong and the ending was a huge surprise that delighted me! In fact, this whole book was a delight to read and I can't wait to read her next novel.

If you read nothing else this year, get this book and read it! It was such a good story with characters you truly learn to care about (or loathe, depending on who they are) and a book you won't soon forget. I'm giving it 5 stars, although, it truly deserves 10!

*This book was provided to me for my honest review by Little Bird Publicity. I received a copy of this book to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this book.

Blessings - Julie

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Book Review - When You Need to Move a Mountain


There's prayer--and then there's intercessory prayer, the kind of prayer you pray when you need to move a mountain for yourself or a loved one. What do you pray at such a time? What secrets do you need to know to pray effectively? And what response should you expect from God?

In this practical and encouraging book, Linda Evans Shepherd explains what intercessory prayer is, how to pray as an intercessor, and how to experience victory. With chapters devoted to praying for family, others, provision, health, breakthroughs, salvation of loved ones, church, community, country, and more, you'll quickly find the specific help you need to pray for the needs close to your heart. You'll also learn how to develop your own intercessory prayer battle strategy and to celebrate each victory with thanksgiving.


Linda Evans Shepherd is the author of over thirty books including When You Don't Know What to Pray: How to Talk to God about Anything and When You Can't Find God: How to Ignite the Power of His Presence, and the co-author of the popular series the Potluck Club and the Potluck Catering Club. Linda is an international speaker and media personality and is the creator of RightToTheHeart.tv and appears as a frequent host of Daystar's Denver Celebration.


If you are like me, you are always wanting to make your prayer life an important part of your daily life. It's not always easy to pray or to know how to pray but this book is an excellent resource on being a prayer warrior.

I like that the author brings a personal note to this book.  She shares about her own prayers and when they were answered and when they weren't answered in the way she thought best. She addresses the fact that God will not always answer our prayers the way we want and how we can deal with this. She also brings many stories from the Bible to show how important prayer is and how Jesus implores us to pray.

The chapters cover different subjects of prayer such as praying for our families, our nation, for healing, for provision and more. I love the sample prayers as it gives you a spring board on which to start your prayers if you're unsure of how to start your prayers.

Over all, I really liked this book and felt like I came away from it with a great understanding of prayer and a deeper desire to pray in all things. I highly recommend this book and give it 5 stars.

*This book was provided to me by Revell.  I received a copy of this book to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this book.

Blessings - Julie

Friday, July 5, 2019

Bible Study Review - Bible Workbook Old Testament and New Testament


Whether a student is beginning their faith journey and wants to better understand the Bible, or a teacher wants his students to have the basics down, the workbooks help readers work through the fundamental themes and teachings of the Old and New Testament. Each workbook includes detailed maps, helpful exercises, and questions for students to do on their own to serve as a foundation for the work in the classroom. Highlights include:

• An introduction and overview of the Bible as a whole • Overviews of the main books in the Old and New Testaments including author background, literary themes, timing, key texts, and outlines • A chronological study of the Old Testament and a brief study of all the books in the New Testament • An overview of the period between Malachi and Matthew, known as the “400 Silent Years” • Detailed walk through Paul’s Epistles • A parallel study of Revelation

While not designed to be exhaustive Bible studies, the workbooks help spark the interest of students so they will want to dig in more through classroom discussion and further study.


Catherine Walker (B.A., Wheaton College; M.A., Columbia Bible College; M.R.E. and D.R.E., Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) previously served as an instructor at the Indonesian Baptist Theological Seminary in Semarang for 26 years. Upon retirement she served as special assistant for intercessory prayer at Foreign Mission Board headquarters. She is author of Bible Workbook Volumes I and II and six theological textbooks in the Indonesian language. She also co-authored Disciples and Prayer Life.


I enjoyed these workbooks so much! They are so well thought out and are really enjoyable as you go through them and fill in the answers. I really liked that they give you a clear understanding of the Bible when you're done.

These are not intended to be an exhaustive Bible study but to encourage you to read the Bible in a deeper way on your own. These workbooks do exactly that - they make you want to dig deeper into Scripture to understand God's Word.

These workbooks would be great for a new Christian, however, even as a life-long Christian, I learned things and felt that it enhanced my understanding of the Bible. These would be great workbooks for a small study group!

These studies are punched for a 3 ring binder and the pages are perforated so you can put them in a notebook and lay the pages flat, if you'd like. You could add notebook paper to your binder for taking additional notes, as well.

I really love these workbooks and high recommend them! I give them 5 stars.

*I received these workbooks from Side Door Communications. I received a copy of this book to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this book.

Blessings - Julie