Saturday, May 14, 2016

Guys Slimline Holy Bible


This bible is attractive with its chevron design. The imitation leather has a great feel to it. As stated in the description of the retail sites, it has a dictionary that the youth can use as an easy reference point to find the pertinent verses. For example, let’s say he/she wanted to look up the word lie. In other words, not telling the truth. It references Proverbs 30:8 – “First, help me never to tell a lie. Second, give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs.” This may lead to another discussion about poverty and riches. What does that mean? It can spark a discussion with their parents. The attractive ribbon bookmark makes it easy to save your place. It includes a 365 daily reading plan as well as colorful maps.

It appears to be a standard bible and I’m not sure that I would classify it as a youth bible. There’s no lesson plans for the youth to refer to. I do like the bold statement at the beginning of the bible that gives a great reminder of God’s love which states, “My victory and honor come from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me.” Psalm 62:7. I would recommend this bible for teens or an adult. 

I was provided with a complimentary copy of this bible from Tyndale and was not required to write a positive review.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Driftwood Tides by Gina Holmes


I hope you enjoyed the interview with Gina Holmes in my previous blog post. Here’s my review!

After Holton’s wife, Adele, dies in a freak car accident, he is unable to cope with the pain and guilt. He is a talented driftwood sculpture artist but loves his gin. Drowns in it. One day, Libby, shows up at his door claiming to be Adele’s friend but later admits that she’s her daughter. Libby is expectant of meeting her birth mom only to find out that she’s passed away. All that’s left is her father who is an alcoholic and claims to be responsible for her mother’s death. Libby was given a good life except her adoption mother wasn’t exactly the nurturing type. With mixed emotions, Libby convinces Holton to give her a summer job. Will the truth bring them together or push them apart? And how does his driftwood art come into play?

I enjoyed this book. I was able to feel the color of emotions throughout the book. The feeling of anger portrayed through Holton and his answer of turning to alcohol. The feeling of an expectant high of meeting a birthparent and then seeing that dream shattered in a million shards. I could see, smell, and almost touch the alcohol and how it affects another human being. But the author was able to balance both sides and portray the angst of not only being the alcoholic but being on the other side of the fence trying to help him.

When an author can make you feel those deep-seated emotions, she’s hit the mark. It’s easy to put an unknown person (i.e. birthparents) on a pedestal. But then to actually meet them and find out that they are human with flaws just like you can shake you to your core. And finding out that someone has betrayed you and how to reconcile those feelings. And how does God come into play?

This is a heart-warming story that you don’t want to miss. I was given a free eBook through NetGalley and Tyndale House Publishers.  

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Driftwood Tides by Gina Holmes!


Please welcome, novelist, Gina Holmes!  Gina is the founder of popular literary site, novelrocket.com. She is a two-time Christy and ECPA Book of the Year finalist and winner of the INSPY, Inspirational Reader’s Choice, and Carol Award. Her books regularly appear on Christian bestseller lists.

Gina, tell us a little bit about your newest release, Driftwood Tides.

Driftwood Tides tells the story of an aging, alcoholic driftwood artist turned beach bum, Holton Creary, and young Libby Slater. Libby grew up with an absent father and a loving but cold, socialite mother. Leading up to her wedding, Libby and her groom-to-be go through genetic testing and she learns her blood type doesn’t match either of her parents. She confronts her mother and is reluctantly told that she’s adopted. She goes searching for her mother, Adele, only to find her husband, Holton Creary lying face down on the carpet of his Nags Head beach shack.

She lies about her real identity until she is finally found out. Holton does not welcome the news. He never knew the wife he had given saint status too had given up a daughter for adoption. Together the two search to find the truth about Adele, Libby’s father and themselves.

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

At its heart, Driftwood Tides is really about discovering who we are, whose we are, where we belong and the need to accept and bestow forgiveness.

Why did you set the novel in Nags Head?

Oh, how I love that place! I’m not sure there’s a more peaceful setting in all the world. And the further out I get from civilization, the happier I am. I love the sand dunes, the untouched nature, the quaint towns. Just everything! Well, except sand in my bathing suit maybe :)

You seem to have a recurring theme in your novels about absent fathers, if it’s not too personal, why do you think that is?

It is too personal, but I don’t mind answering (wink!) When I was 6 years old, I was packed up by my stepfather and driven to my father’s house. Overnight I had a new Mom, new sisters and brother, house and life. It was as traumatic an experience as I can imagine. There were few explanations that made sense to me and I missed my other family desperately. I think ever since I’ve been trying to settle some pretty deep-seated questions. Writing books is wonderful for that.

The novel you’ve written that seems to be a fan-favorite is Crossing Oceans, do you ever see yourself writing a sequel?

I love that book too. Makes me cry just thinking about certain scenes. I would love to write a sequel, prequel or off shoot stories. I love those characters dearly. I’m under contract for three different novels, so I’m not sure when I’ll have the time, but I’d love to explore Craig’s story and of course, Bella’s. I miss Mama Peg very much!

You’ve said that your favorite novel you’ve written is Wings of Glass. Why is that your favorite?

Well, for storyline, I think Crossing Oceans is the strongest. I think my writing in Wings of Glass was my best, plus when I was very young I watched my mother in one abusive relationship after another, and then two of my sisters. I had been there too, despite thinking I was better than that. I know the mindset that keeps a woman (or man) in a relationship like that and I wanted to give insight to those who don’t understand. I’ve received enough letters to know I did what I set out to do.

You’re originally from NJ but write all your novels from the South, why do you set your novels down South if you’re from up North?

Ha, you found me out! Yes, I was born and raised in NJ. As much as I love my friends and family, I am definitely more suited for the slower pace of the South. I’ve lived in Southern VA for half of my life and I plan to spend the rest of my life here if I can help it. I try to write books from settings that make me happy. So I write where I want to be. (Although, I’ve got to say, NJ food is amazing and you’ve got to love a boisterous NJ laugh!)

What do you like most about being a writer? Least?

Most, I like being able to have a platform to share lessons I’ve learned in my life that I know others would benefit from. And more than that, I just love to tell a good story.

Least, would be the unpredictability of the business. Sometimes it seems so random and the lack of control makes me uncomfortable sometimes. (Which is probably right where God wants me!)

Do you have any advice for aspiring novelists?

My advice is pretty much always the same. 1. Write. So many people want to have written but don’t actually do the work. 2. Get to a writers conference because there’s so much  you don’t know, that you don’t even know you don’t know. If you don’t you’ll be spinning your wheels for years, wasting valuable time. 3. Run, don’t walk, to the nearest bookstore and buy yourself a copy of Self-Editing for Fiction Writers. Then apply it. (Best money I ever spent!) 4. Join a good critique group and get a nice thick skin, ‘cause you’re sure going to need it!

If you could go back to the pre-published writer you were, knowing what you do now, what advice would you give her?

Well, I wouldn’t have told myself how many novels I’d write that would never see the light of day, because I would have given up. I wouldn’t have told myself how little money there is actually to be made or how lonely writing can sometimes be. I wouldn’t have told myself that I’d still have a day job with 4 novels out in stores, including 3 bestselling novels… okay, but that wasn’t your question… I would tell myself to relax. Some of this, most of this is, is out of your hands, and that’s okay. It’s not going to be at all what you think it is, but it’s going to be so much more. You won’t get rich, but you will touch lives. At the end of the day, that’s going to be exactly what will fulfill you.

Where can readers find your books and more about you?

Thanks for asking. My books are in B&N, BooksaMillion, Amazon, Lifeway, Parable, Family Christian and hopefully a good number of independent bookstores. You can find me at Ginaholmes.com. Thanks so much for hosting me!

Gina, it was such an honor! I can relate to your story and believe this will have a powerful impact on your readers. I look forward to your future books. No pressure! :)

Middle School: The Inside Story by Cynthia Tobias and Sue Acuna


This book doesn’t disappoint. Emotions are part of everyday life but when it comes to middle school students, the impact is magnified. If someone looks at them wrong, it could signify the end of the world. This book gives you a peak into the minds of these precious kids. In today’s world, it’s more compounded with the increase in technology, video games, social media, and the Internet. The book has four parts, which include: changes, parenting, friends, and school.

I really enjoyed this book. I loved that they interviewed middle school students and the transparency that they shared and I enjoyed reading how these students view the world. In the parents’ world, we can only see the outside many times and have no clue what our kids are thinking or feeling on the inside. This book gives you that insight. I love all the quotes sprinkled throughout the book. I enjoyed the personal stories and the guidance provided to help our children grow into responsible adults. I enjoyed the thoughts at the end of the chapters. The book is easy to read and pleasing to the eye.

I recommend this book to middle school parents to read on their own and then discuss it with their middle school student.

Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to write a positive review.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Writing Days: 52 Devotionals for the 52 Weeks in a Christian Writer’s Year by Jan Thompson


I gulped down this book. It’s supposed to be stretched over 52 weeks but I read it in a week. I wanted to stop, I really did. Or, at least make it last longer. I liked that she touched on a verse each week as well as gave you a daily action plan. The idea is to take a daily action plan for each day for that week.

Week 43 entitled Press On reminds us that every success comes from God. Sometimes we think we should have a bigger blessing than we receive. It reminds me that our life is not our own. God will reveal blessings in His time not ours. This is just one devotional and just a snippet for that week.

Now that I have swallowed it whole, I shall read it again at a much slower pace and take it to heart. I recommend this book to writers whether published or not for weekly encouragement. I’ve been looking specifically for a devotional for Christian writers and this one came to the top. Is that a God thing to encourage me to keep writing? I believe it is. Now, I just need to obey.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Heaven: What's It Like? How Do We Get There? (First Steps) by Stephen Elkins



This is a wonderful book for young hearts to learn about Jesus. It’s comprised of 60 rhyming stories. The book is divided into three sections as follows: What is heaven like? How do we get there? How do we live like Jesus until then? The illustrations are sure to capture a young person’s eye. The stories are fun and give a child a sense of hope in Jesus. In the back, it has a glossary of bible words, which explains key points in a simple, yet effective manner. For example, prayer is simply talking to God.  

My child is much older than the recommended age. However, it was fun to read the poems together. It’s easy to complicate matters as we get older and forget that prayer is simply talking to God and that this world is not our home. There is hope. This book would be great to read many times with your child. Poems are fun and easy to read. It’s a way to plant seeds in a fun and creative way.

I would highly recommend the book for any parent, grandparents, church daycare, or anyone who is part of a young child’s life. I was provided a complimentary copy of this book free directly from Tyndale House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

How to Be Rich by Andy Stanley


Andy Stanley never disappoints. He admits that when he was growing up that he wanted to be rich enough that he never had to worry about how much something would cost. What’s interesting is that we think we are poor. Our house is not big enough. Our car is too old. We open up our closets and we have nothing to wear; however, every hanger has a piece of clothing on it. Yet, we feel poor. If you earn more than $37,000 a year, you are in the top 4 percent of wage earners in the world!

A great quote from the book is, “Rich” is a moving target. No matter how much money we have or make, we will probably never consider ourselves rich.” How true this is! I remember earning a whopping $3.35 an hour but today I earn much more but it’s still not enough. We become greedy. It’s the American way. Another interesting fact is that the more someone earns, the less they give away. It’s actually not entirely true. If you are a giver, you will give more as your income increases. If you are not a true giver, you hold your fist tighter. It’s only when we release our fist and be willing to give, that blessings flow.

Anything past food, shelter, and clothing is extra. We are rich. We have Internet, smart phones, TV’s, and even fresh water. We take so much for granted. Andy Stanley reminds us that we are rich. We have extra stuff that we want versus what we need. Personal challenge. Look around your house, how many items do you have that you really need? Most of it, you don’t. They were wants. And the more wants we buy, the more wants we desire.

I was thrilled to receive a DVD with this book. They complement each other. Andy Stanley is a dynamic speaker. There are four sessions in the DVD titled as follows: Congratulations, Side Effects, Dollar Cost Living, and Diversity. Endorsed by Dave Ramsey, this book and/or DVD will not disappoint. I recommend this as a small group study.

Disclaimer: I received this book free through Harpercollins book review program.  http://booklookbloggers.com. I was not required to write a positive review.