Monday, March 18, 2019

Eat Live Thrive Diet by Danna Demetre and Robyn Thomson

We older women know it is harder to lose weight and stay fit. This book is for women over forty-five to help them deal with issues making weight loss hard. The main issue seems to be unknown food sensitivities. The authors recommend an elimination phase, starting with eliminating wheat and sugar. After a time is a discovery phase where foods are reintroduced, one at a time, helping discover the sensitivities. There is lastly a lifestyle phase, after we have discovered how our bodies deal with various foods.

There were two areas I really appreciated in this book. One was the emphasis on nourishing ourselves with real food. Processed foods are discouraged. Carbohydrates are carefully controlled. While vegetables can be unlimited, fruits and grains are limited. Refined foods are to be avoided.

Another area I really liked was on the importance of our thoughts. There is no permanent way of changing our behavior without changing our thoughts. The authors help us identify the lies we believe about food, take unhealthy thoughts captive and replace them with the truth. We are to practice healthy self talk daily. This was a game changer for me.

I recommend this book to older women who have had trouble losing weight through calorie or portion control. You'll find it's not just the amount of food you eat but also the kind of food you eat that is important to weight loss. The authors write that about thirty percent of our weight is determined by genetics and gender. About seventy percent we control by what we eat and how we exercise. You'll get some great teaching on that seventy percent in this book.

You can read the first chapter here. You can watch the book trailer here.
You can follow their blog at

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Danna Demetre, RN, is an author, speaker, and cofounder of Lean Healthy Ageless. She has been a guest on a variety of national and local shows. She is in her sixties and lives with her husband in the foothills outside San Diego.
Robyn Thomson, an advance clinical weight loss practitioner, has worked with cutting edge nutritional companies and received training from some of the top doctors and scientists in the industry. Through seminars, workshops, and coaching, she helps people lose weight, improve their nutrition, and get more active. She is in her fifties and lives with her husband near the beach in San Diego.

WaterBrook, 272 pages. This book releases March 29.

I received a complimentary ARC of this book from the publishers. My comments are an independent and honest review.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

This is How We Pray by Adam Dressler

This book is unlike any other I have read on prayer. Dressler writes about his experiences of prayer and his thoughts about them. He adds insights from the Bible and books he has read. I would describe this book as thoughts on a philosophy of prayer. It is not a how to book but I have learned more about prayer from it than many others I have read. This book has made me think about prayer, the why and how of doing it. I was surprised Dressler writes about our prayers and how they relate to our character. That gave me much to think about.

One particular aspect of the book I really like is Dressler's honesty. He writes about his feelings when he prays and nothing changes. He feels disappointed and that God is ignoring him. Yet he senses that there is a greater reality than what he is seeing and feeling. And he keeps praying. He writes on topics like pain, silence, repentance, and more.

He reminds us that we cannot know spiritual reality like we do physical reality. Yet we continue to pray to our unseen God. We continue to seek the friendship and love of God. He suggests when we get distracted we try to see God in it and ask what He wants us to learn in this situation. He writes about our wanting control and our frustration when God does not do as we think He should. He writes about a life of prayer in that we recognize the presence of God all the time.

I recommend this book to readers who are on the journey of knowing God through prayer. Perhaps you are puzzled by prayer, the doing of it or the meaning of it. You will gain insight from Dressler about simply being present with God, growing in your relationship with Him. You'll be challenged too.

My rating: 5/5 stars.

Adam Dressler is the lead pastor of Grace Community Church on Clarksville, Tennessee. He has a bachelor's degree in theology from Oral Roberts University and a MTS in Christianity and culture from Harvard Divinity School. He lives in Clarksville with his wife and their four children.

FaithWords, 240 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Beauty in Flight by Robin Patchen

This is the first novella in a three part series. It sets the stage for readers and leaves them hanging at the end. The main character, Harper, is pretty well crafted. She is a beautiful woman who loved life in Las Vegas but got mixed up with the wrong guys and went to prison. She has been working in a nursing home since being released. Her life in danger, however, and she takes the opportunity to go to the east coast and care for the elderly father of Derrick, a man she has recently come to know. But danger follows her and Derrick may not be who she thought.

The Christianity in this first novella is subtle. I think Harper is searching for meaning to her existence and I trust that will come in the following novellas. There is quite a bit of action included and the end certainly leaves us wanting more.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Robin Patchen writes Christian suspense, romance and romantic suspense. She lives in Oklahoma. You can find out more at

JDO Publishing, 162 pages.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Navigate Your Faith by Ron Pratt

This book packs a punch. Like prey being trapped by a spider, Pratt suggests Christians have been caught in a web of the devil's cunning lies. Many Christians have fallen prey to the spirit of cultural entertainment. Some would prefer to pursue human independence rather than the lordship of Christ. “Many Christians have relaxed their views and developed a tolerance for what was once called sin.” (64) People who profess to follow Jesus are actually following a godless culture.

Pratt is straightforward in his concern, calling out Christians who are more enamored with the things of this world than with Jesus. He writes about the media, movies, alcohol, flirting, sex, and much more.

I am impressed with how Pratt communicates his teaching. He has crafted a fictional story about a couple who ultimately face their own spiritual condition. Each chapter starts with a scene from the couple's story and then includes Pratt's teaching on the issue. That technique works well. It is as if we see his teaching come to life through the story.

I recommend this book to Christians who wonder why they are missing the abundant life Jesus promised. Pratt suggests it is because we have turned our hearts to fleshly desires rather than seeking God to fill the empty places in our hearts.

Every Christian would do well to read this book. It is a good reminder of how far we have wandered away from the Lordship of Christ and into the culture of our day.

You can watch the book trailer here.

My rating: 5/5 stars.

Ron Pratt is president and founder of This Generation Ministries, which aims to reach the lost of Alaska. A native of Southern California, Pratt started his ministry to young people in Modesto, California. He moved to Alaska in 1998. He has ministered internationally in addition to bringing healing and hope to remote villages in Alaska. He and his wife life in North Pole, Alaska. You can find out more at

Charisma House, 208 pages.

I received a complimentary digital copy of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

The Third Jihad by Michael Youssef

This is an enlightening book. Youssef makes reference to a third jihad because there have been two already. He takes readers through the wars of Islamic conquest (622-751) and the wars of Islamic expansion (1302-1924). An American Islamist Imam in Washington DC called for an Islamic State of North America by 2050. Could that mean a third jihad is being planned?

Youssef is concerned that we in the West are not taking seriously the work of Islamists. He reminds us of the history of Islamic terrorism, dating back to the 1780 and the Barbary pirates. He is concerned that American leaders have not learned from history and few try to really understand the Muslim worldview.

I like his distinction between Muslims and Islamists. Islamists are zealous to make Sharia law the ultimate authority. There would be rules for every part of life. I like that Youssef explained the history of Islam so we can better understand their motives and strategies.

Youssef is concerned the church is sleeping rather than being salt and light to the world. He is concerned we are not aware of the nonviolent way Islamists are making inroads in education and areas of western culture.

Christians need the information contained in this book. We need to understand Islamic ideology and what it means for our future. I did find that Youssef was quite pro-Israel and pro-Republican and it colored some of his comments. Other than that, his book is informative and timely with critical information Christians need to know today.

You can read an excerpt here and watch the book trailer here.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Michael Youssef is the founder and president of Leading The Way, a worldwide ministry that leads the way for people living in spiritual darkness to discover the light of Christ. ( He is also the founder pastor of The Church of The Apostles in Atlanta, Georgia. Born in Egypt, he became an American citizen in 1984. He holds numerous degrees, including a PhD in social anthropology from Emory University. He has authored more than 35 books. He and his wife have four grown children and eight grandchildren.

Tyndale Momentum, 256 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Remarkable Hope by Shauna Letellier

We experience a string of catastrophes and we wonder about the hope we are to have in the promises of God. Hope is to be the anchor of our soul but we feel like our boat is capsizing. We are overwhelmed by disappointment.

Letellier shares her teaching on hope in a unique way. She expands on stories from the gospels, adds a teaching and then a prayer. Her stories are of people experiencing disappointment in their relationship with Jesus. There are Simeon and John the Baptist. Both had expected a liberating Savior. Simeon saw a baby and John saw the inside of a prison cell. Mary and Martha expected Jesus to come immediately and heal their brother Lazarus but watched him die instead. The disciples on the way to Emmaus had expected great things but wondered if they had believed in a false Messiah. Letellier tells eight stories.

My favorite story was of Jairus. Letellier began her story showing how Jairus cared for the synagogue. She caught me up in Jairus' emotional desire to have Jesus heal his daughter and the pain he must have experienced when the notice came she had died. How irritated he must have been at Jesus' delay by healing the bleeding woman. How disappointed he must have felt, thinking all was lost.

I like her teaching after each of the stories. She helps us understand God does not always remove the trials. God's timing is not ours. We think it is too late and surely God has abandoned us. Yet in the end we receive more than we could ever ask or think.

This book is good for people puzzled by the unpredictability of God. It is good for people who like to learn through stories. It is good for people who want to learn how to dive into a Bible story through imagination. Letellier challenges us too, such as in the story of Peter walking on the water. Our we devoted to Jesus Himself or to what we think He should be doing for us?

I like this way of teaching but I do have one caveat. I am always a bit hesitant with fictionalized accounts of Jesus and His ministry. Imagining what Jesus might have said and putting it in print makes me nervous. I do recommend this book, however, as an innovative way to gather glimpses of how God revives hope in a way we could never have imagined.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Shauna Letellier is the author of Remarkable Faith and has had her writing featured in a number of periodicals. She is a graduate of Grace University in Omaha, Nebraska. She has degrees in family and biblical studies and teaches in her local church. She lives in South Dakota with her husband and three sons. You can find out more and read her blog at

FaithWords, 224 pp.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

The White City by Grace Hitchcock

This is the first in a new series of historical romance novels based on true crime events in the U.S. This one is centered on a man some call the first American serial killer, Herman Mudgett. As in the novel, he most often went by the name of Dr. H. H. Holmes. The setting is Chicago in 1893, during the World's Fair.

Hitchcock did a good job of creating Winnie, the daughter of a Chicago police inspector and a very adventurous woman. She sees a woman being abducted while she is visiting the fair. She is determined to find the man and get evidence to see him convicted. Her father is concerned for her welfare and assigns a policeman to watch over her. We wonder if romance can blossom under such circumstances especially in a time when no one would want their daughter falling for a policeman.

Reading the Author Afterward and doing a little research, I think Hitchcock has done a good job in creating the setting and the social atmosphere of the time. Holmes is a well portrayed creepy character.

I felt the first part of the plot was a little slow. The action really intensified, however, near the end. All in all, I enjoyed the novel and recommend it to readers who like historical fiction based on an actual event and including aspects of it. It looks like Hitchcock will have another novel in this series coming out next year. I'll be watching for it.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Grace Hitchcock has written a number of novellas. The White City is her first novel. She has a Masters in Creative Writing and a BA in English with a minor in History. She lives in southern Louisiana with her husband and son. You can find out more at

Barbour Publishing, 256 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Breakthrough by Joyce Smith with Ginger Kolbaba.

If you wonder if miracles happen today, read this book. Fourteen year old John Smith fell through ice and was in forty degree water for a half hour, totally submerged for half of that time. Finally rescued, he had no heartbeat for an hour, until he did. But then there was no brain activity and his organs were failing. The doctors were sure there was no hope.

This is a very well written account of what happened to the young teen. His adoptive mother was like a grizzly bear, desperately praying for the life of her son. Others came to pray for days. There were spiritual attacks and the struggle to maintain faith. The account is captivating.

Some may wonder why God would heal some and not others. Joyce, John's mother, reveals much of her life, letting readers know she was not some super spiritual individual. She had made her mistakes in life and came before God as we all do, asking for His grace and mercy.

I highly recommend this book. It is an amazing account of an inexplicable event. It can only be explained by God's intervention. A doctor's letter is included, verifying the miraculous recovery.

You can watch the trailer for the movie here and find out more about it and the people involved here. The movie releases on Easter.

I am sure the movie will be good but read the book first.

My rating: 5/5 stars

Joyce Smith worked in accounting for twenty five years but feels her biggest accomplishment has been as a wife and mother. She and her husband live in St. Charles, Missouri. They have four sons and five grandchildren.
Ginger Kolbaba is an award-winning author, editor and speaker. She has written or contributed to more than 30 books. She has published more than 500 magazine and online articles and is a contributing editor for Focus on the Family magazine. She is the former editor of Today's Christian Woman magazine, Marriage Partnership magazine, and the founding editor of, all award-winning resources of Christianity Today.

FaithWords, 256 pages.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Holy Noticing by Charles Stone

Mindfulness is a popular practice today. Stone reminds us that the practice, holy noticing, is a spiritual discipline Christians have used for centuries. It is a way to be more aware of God and what He is doing in us, others, and the world. It is also good for our physical, emotional and spiritual health. And Stone has the research results to convince us.

He offers the specific practice of holy noticing around the acronym BREATHe.

B: Ponder and Yield Your Body
R: Review and Renew your Relationships
E: Notice and Engage your Environment
A: Label and Release Your Afflictive Emotions (Affect)
T: Be Conscious of Current Thoughts
H: Pay Attention to your Spiritual Life (Heart) and the Spirit's whispers
e: engage the world like Christ

I can tell that Stone has a scientific background. He is the first person who has explained what deep breathing does in the brain. Understanding the why of it has helped me be more committed to the doing of it. He is also very precise in his holy noticing instructions. He gives specific directions for each of the BREATHe exercises. He provides anchor Scripture passages, specific steps to take, and additional resources available at the book's website.

My favorite aspect of the book was the breathing exercise using the Jesus Prayer or something similar. I know we are to be aware of God's presence always. Yet our minds wander so easily, loosing focus in just seconds. Doing the breathing exercise with the short prayer is a great way to get focused back on God's presence.

The benefits of the kind of practice Stone outlines in this book are great. If you have been intrigued by the idea of mindfulness and wonder how the practice can be a spiritual discipline, this book is for you. If you are already convinced of the benefits of the spiritual discipline but needed specific instruction to do it, you will find it here. If you want to keep God's purposes and perspectives in mind, this book will help you in your effort.

The ultimate reason we would want to practice the spiritual discipline of holy noticing is as Stone emphasizes – to become more Christlike.

You can find out a bit more about the book and watch a trailer at

My rating: 5/5 stars.

Charles Stone is the lead pastor at West Park Church in London, Ontario. His passion is intersecting neuroscience with Biblical truth. He and his wife have three adult children. You can find out more about him and follow his blog at

Moody Press, 240.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

The Coffee Club Mysteries

I enjoyed this collection of novellas. I liked that it centered around a group of women who appeared in each of the mysteries. The main character was different in each story but the supporting characters were consistent and gave a good sense of cohesiveness to the collection. As is often the case with a collection of authors, the quality of the writing varied. None of them was bad, however, and I was pleasantly surprised at that. The plots range from a murder to stolen money but they all involve some kind of mystery. The lengths of the novellas are different too, succeeding ones getting shorter, it seemed.

The setting of the stories is a small town. The women involved are good friends and come to the rescue when needed. Their investigations were out of the ordinary, much to the dismay of the local sherrif. The ages of the women involved are on the older side but there are young characters too so women of all ages would enjoy this collection. The women meet at a coffee shop and there is lots of talk of food. In fact, there is even a recipe for fruitcake included.

Readers who like women amateur sleuths will enjoy this collection. It's a good way to be introduced to new authors too.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Authors: Darlene Franklin, Cynthia Hickey, Elizabeth Ludwig, Dana Mentink, Candice Prentice, Janice Thompson.

Barbour, 448 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Breaking the Power of Negative Words by Mary Busha

Words can hurt, regardless of that childhood saying. And the hurt can last a life time. This is a good book for anyone who has been hurt by words or has hurt others by words.

Busha has included a great deal of good teaching. She addresses words said to us, words we say to others, and words we say to ourselves. She illustrates her teaching with many stories as examples.

There are many aspects of this book I like. I like her epiphany, realizing that hurtful words said to her revealed much more about what was going on in the heart of the speaker than herself. I like how Busha helps us understand what God says about us, that He loves us. She also reveals how we must battle to be in the Word and replace negative words with God's truth. She writes about being offended and that it is up to us how we respond.

This is a good book about the power of words, both for hurt and for blessing. Readers who want help in forgiving and moving on will find good teaching. Readers who need to be reminded how important our words are to others will find that here too. Readers who are looking for general knowledge about words and communication will gain insights as well. Busha's writing style is pleasant and this would make a good book to be studied in a group of trusted friends.

My rating: 4/5.

Mary C. Busha is a writer's coach, an editor, and a writer whose work has appeared in various periodicals. She has worked for decades to help writers all around the country bring their work to bookshelves all over the world. She currently lives in Florida. Photo Credit: Frank N. Hornyak Photography

Revell, 224 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

I Love to Tell the Story by Susan Barnett Braun Blog Tour and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: I Love to Tell the Story  
Author: Susan Barnett Braun  
Genre: Memoir

Is it possible to emerge unscathed from an evangelical upbringing? Yes, as surely as David slew Goliath! I Love to Tell the Story is Susan Barnett Braun’s account of growing up Baptist in a small midwestern town, touching on many cultural icons common to those who came of age in the 1970s. Braun recounts childhood obstacles, which loom as large as the walls of Jericho in her eyes. She encounters a trio of Sunday school mean girls who make King Herod look tame. She worries about being “ugly as sin” due to her chubbiness, glasses, and braces. She’s so consumed with the idea of Jesus’ imminent return that she wonders whether it’s even worthwhile to brush her teeth at night. Humorous, poignant, and ultimately triumphant, I Love to Tell the Story will stay with readers long after the last Vacation Bible School craft stick cross has fallen apart.

Click here to get your copy.

My Review

What a kick. Reading this book was like revisiting my own childhood. I remember singing those songs. I remember VBS, the night Nixon resigned, the 8-track tape players, and so much more. This memoir is a trip down memory lane. The writing is not sophisticated and I do wish Braun had included more of her thoughts on her childhood experiences and how they helped shape her into the person she is today. I like the addition of humor. My favorite is Braun remembering when she figured out that euthanasia had nothing to do with children in China.

This is a good memoir for readers who would like to know what it was like growing up in a conservative Christian environment a generation ago. 

About the Author

Susan Barnett Braun earned a BS in retail management from Indiana University and an MA in education from the University of Alabama. She taught for eight years in northeast Indiana, earning a Lilly Endowment Teacher Creativity Fellowship and a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Study Scholarship. Susan has had work published in Parents, Children’s Ministry, and The Secret Place. She also writes online for Fort Wayne Visitor’s Bureau and blogs at Girls in White Dresses. She is married with three wonderful young adult daughters. Susan enjoys reading, playing piano and organ, and spending her time with her family and pets (currently three rabbits and a chinchilla).

Guest Post from Susan

One of the reasons I began blogging, ten years ago now, was to document my childhood memories for my kids. Why? When I was a teacher, before I had kids, I used to tell my students stories from my youth. They loved them and begged for more. Same thing when I had my own kids. I wanted to document these tales, but the problem always came in finding the time and the motivation to actually get around to writing them down. Childhood Memories Friday posts on my blog helped get me moving in the right direction. Eventually, I began thinking I’d like to compile a bunch of the memories into book form. Since many of my most vivid memories revolved around church, I decided that that was the perfect theme. And “I Love to Tell the Story” was born. Each chapter is titled with a hymn that reflects its theme. As I delved into the writing, I had a lot of fun reliving the decidedly memorable life I had led as a youth :). I realized, too, that many aspects of my conservative midwestern upbringing don’t exist anymore in the 21st century. I became nostalgic thinking about the many cultural markers of the 1970s — Lawrence Welk, the Flintstones, — even macrame and latch-hook! Another goal in writing this book was to put out a positive Christian memoir. So many that I read started out fine, but then dissolved into abuse, disillusionment, or even worse. I began to wonder if anyone had grown up in the church and actually enjoyed the experience … surely I wasn’t alone, was I? Treat yourself to a stroll down memory lane. It’s my hope that you’ll enjoy yourself.  

Blog Stops


To celebrate her tour, Susan is giving away a grand prize of a copy of the book and a $20 Barnes and Noble gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

I received a complimentary digital copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Celebrate Lit.