Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews, Uncategorized

A Christmas Tale for Little Women – A Review

A Christmas Tale for Little Woman

About the Book

Book: A Christmas Tale for Little Women

Author: Linda Brooks Davis

Genre: Christian Historical Fiction

Release Date: September 15, 2020

A Christmas Tale for Little Women

Broadview is attired for Christmas. Oklahoma heiress, Adelaide Fitzgerald, is hosting two young girls who have chosen to celebrate Christmas with Auntie Addie rather than their family in Colorado.

Adelaide must give these girls a Christmas like no other. Has she thought of everything? What would top off this holiday in an extraordinary way?

The answer lies just the other side of Rock Creek. But what will it take for her to realize it is the Christmas topper she’s been seeking?

It’s 1912, and Adelaide Fitzgerald’s view of Christmas is about to emerge as a tale for a lifetime.

Click here to get your copy!

As I began reading this book, I fell in love with the time period, the characters, and the storyline. As a prequel to The Awakening of Miss Adelaide, it provides an excellent context for who Adelaide is and what matters to her. I definitely recommend reading both books. Set in 1912, the story quickly grabbed my attention.

Linda Brooks Davis creates well-developed characters, and with Adelaide provides insight into what true Christian charity means. Adelaide, a wealthy heiress whose parents have died and has not married desires to provide two children of her friend a memorable Christmas. She also wants to provide for a migrant family who has come into hard times. The story proceeds at a good pace and I love the Christmas setting. So check out this book for yourself.

 I received a complimentary copy of this book, but this in no way influenced my review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Davis_LindaBrooks_300dpi_2x2.5 copy

Linda Brooks Davis is a lifelong Texan who devoted 40 years to special education as a therapist, teacher, and administrator. She retired in 2008 and now writes full time.

Linda’s debut novel, Amazon best-selling The Calling of Ella McFarland,Book One in the Women of Rock Creek series, is set in 1905 Indian Territory prior to Oklahoma statehood. It won Jerry Jenkins Operation First Novel in 2014 and subsequently, ACFW’s Carol award for debut novel 2016. The sequel novella, A Christmas to Remember, is set in 1908Oklahoma. A second novella, A Christmas Measure of Love, is set in 1910 and is the prequel to Linda’s second full-length novel, which is set in 1914, Amazon best-selling The Mending of Lillian CathleenBook Two. The third novella, A Christmas Tale for Little Women, releases in 2020 and is set in 1912. It is a prequel to Book 3 in The Women of Rock Creek series, The Awakening of Miss Adelaide, which is set in 1918.

Linda and her beloved husband Al worship and minister at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio and dote on six grandchildren. Readers may contact Linda through her website, www.lindabrooksdavis.com.

More from Linda

Everyone worked at my home on a South Texas farm near the U.S. border with Mexico.

My playmates were children of Hispanic laborers. Language never hindered playing la casa, making mud pies, or rocking los bebésFrijoles and tamales served from stewpots over open fires tasted delicioso in either language. I learned outside their homes a broom works great on hardened soil.

Daddy paid workers on Saturdays, some by the hour, others by production. Lining up, they extended their hands, and he laid cash across their open palms. They checked the figures they had scribbled on paper scraps, trusting el patrón to correct discrepancies. Humble, grateful people, they showed respect.

My father verified immigration paperwork for those whom he housed. Others lived in the shadows, arriving around sunup and disappearing before sundown. Each evening a car or truck would rattle alongside the field, and the shadow worker would slip inside. Then the vehicle would clatter toward the horizon. And returned another day.

Occasionally, however, an alarm shouted in Spanish would sound across the field. Dropping his cotton sack, a worker would dash toward the cotton trailer in the turn row. Like hounds burrowing under a house, he and a compadre would leap over the trailer’s sides and dig a hole in the freshly picked cotton. The first crawled in, and the other covered him.

The immigration officer making his rounds would walk into the field and occasionally stomp around inside the trailer, searching for man-sized lumps. I never witnessed the discovery of a shadow worker, but I heard about them on other farms. Worst of all, I heard about tragedies. With very little oxygen between tightly packed fluffs of cotton, a man could suffocate and occasionally would. I wondered what would lead a man to take such chances and how my law-abiding, God-loving father justified his complicity. So, I asked, and he answered, “Desperation, sugar. All they want is work. A man wants to provide for his family wherever or however he can. I can’t turn them away.”

Sounded like work was a gift. Huh? my ten-year-old brain asked itself.

Years later, I understood this principle. The second chapter of Genesis shows us that God created man not to laze around all day, but to work.

The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. Genesis 2:15

Therefore, not only in “the beginning,” but on our farm in 1956, a man’s strength to work was God’s gift. The opportunity to work was Daddy’s gift to the men. The fruit of each man’s labor was the gift he sent home each week and the fulfillment of his need to provide for his family.

At Christmas we enjoyed preparing bushel baskets of meats, fruits and vegetables, candy and nuts, and toys for each family. I wondered about those who stayed around for a single day. Would their children find fruits, nuts, or even a piece of candy on Christmas morning?

Answers evaded me then—-as they do now—-but as a writer in my eighth decade of life, one truth I hold onto is that the strength for each day of writing and less pain in my arthritic hands and back are gifts from God. Each opportunity to write is an opportunity not only to entertain but to inspire readers to seek God in their everyday lives. Each word, unique turn of a phrase, or plot idea . . . is my gift to Him.

Protecting our safety is a far more complicated endeavor in 2020 than it was in 1956. Threats arise like none presented five decades ago, but work is still a gift. God wired it into our DNA. Come to think of it, the ideas for A Christmas Tale for Little Women and the subsequent novel—one set in the southern tip of Texas, a story about a loving, destitute man who wants only to provide for his family—are gifts.

Those diligent workers of 1956 and other years deserve a story that honors them. My gift to them and to Him is A Christmas Tale for Little Women.

Thank you, Lord.

Note: Photos from Pixabay

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 20

Blogging With Carol, October 20

Through the Lens of Scripture, October 21

Connect in Fiction, October 21

Get Cozy Book Nook, October 21

She Lives To Read, October 22

Artistic Nobody, October 22 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

For Him and My Family, October 23

deb’s Book Review, October 23

Splashes of Joy, October 23

Connie’s History Classroom, October 24

Jeanette’s Thoughts, October 24

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 25

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, October 25

Mary Hake, October 25

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, October 26

Ashley’s Bookshelf, October 26

KarenSueHadley, October 27

lakesidelivingsite, October 27

Pause for Tales, October 27

Older & Smarter?, October 28

Inklings and notions, October 28

Betti Mace, October 29

Captive Dreams Window, October 29

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, October 29

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 30

CarpeDiem, October 30

Texas Book-aholic, October 31

Batya’s Bits, October 31

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 1

Moments, November 1

Lighthouse Academy Blog, November 1 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Sara Jane Jacobs, November 2

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, November 2

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Linda is giving away the grand prize package of all 6 eBooks in the The Women of Rock Creek Series!! (The Calling of Ella McFarland, A Christmas to Remember, A Christmas Measure of Love, The Mending of Lillian Cathleen, A Christmas Tale for Little Women, and The Awakening of Miss Adelaide)

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10264/a-christmas-tale-for-little-women-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Uncategorized

Smart Kidz Radio: Member’s On-Demand Radio Program Library – A

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

We have been listening to Smart Kidz Radio: Member’s On-Demand Radio Program Library, an educational and inspirational radio station for kids, from Smart Kidz Radio. When our children were younger, we loved listening to audiobooks and music, especially when we traveled. So having the chance to review this online service that provides educational and inspirational music and stories for children grabbed my attention.

As a musical family who plays a variety of instruments and also enjoys singing, we really appreciated the music selection they include on this site.  The site includes music, stories, early learning programs, behavior skills programs, living skills programs, Kids Bible & Inspirational Songs, Let’s Celebrate America programs, as well as many more.

Smart Kidz Media, Inc (also known as SKM) represents a collaboration between two companies who used to be competitors in children’s music, SKM, and Twin Sisters. Over 30 years of experience, provide the management team with a wealth of knowledge and experience that allows this company to succeed.

Provided high-quality content remains the goal and focus of this company. The digital library represents the largest library in the United States of media aimed at character building, social skills, and positive value songs. Providing selections suitable for the entire family, this site offers a wealth of options.

The company also operates the Smart Kidz Foundation whose mission is to encourage young people to make a difference in their own lives, the lives of others, along with the global community. It aims to empower young people to use their own hands to shape their future into a better, and more peaceful one.

A portion of every Smart Kidz Radio’s membership is donated to the Smart Kidz Foundation, a non-profit foundation that financially supports programs that give opportunities to young people to make a difference by using their talents to make the world a better place. These opportunities allow young people to experience the joy of helping others while building self-confidence, compassion, and respect for the environment.

Because our family enjoys music, we concentrated on listening to musical selections.  Some choices included music for studying by the Let’s Celebrate America concert collection, America’s Heritage in Song- Smart Boyz Choir, the Children’s Gospel Choir Celebration, and various other selections.

The quality of the music included impressed our family.  The richness of the sound made us feel as though we were attending an in-person concert.  We also appreciated the introductions to the selections.  These introductions were both informative and interesting.

Let’s Celebrate America Concert collection includes songs like The Pledge of Allegiance, America the Beautiful, You’re a Grand Old Flag, This Is My Country and more.  We appreciated how the introduction included references to our founding father Thomas Jefferson and words he penned.

One of my favorite songs from the Children’s Gospel Choir Celebration is His Eye is On the Sparrow.  

We appreciate the fact that diversity consistently appears in the words spoken and sung on this site.

Just for fun, I also elected to listen to the story of Beauty of the Beast in the Learning Through Stories: My First Nursery Tales section.  I found the story to be produced well and enjoyable to listen to for individuals of all ages.

You can find Smart Kidz Radio on social media at the following links: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

So if you are looking for an online site offering educational and inspirational selections for kids, check out Smart Kidz Radio for yourself.

Other members of the Home School Review Crew are sharing their experiences with Smart Kidz Radio this week. So click here or on the graphic below to read more reviews for yourself.

#hsreviews #smartkidzradio #kidsmusic #childrensmusic #musicforkids #kidssongs #preschoolmusic #familymusic

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

Grow Over Your Wall – A Review

About the Book

Book: Grow Over Your Wall

Author: Matt Sorger

Genre: Christian Living/Spiritual Growth

Release Date: September 18, 2020

Experience Gods Unstoppable Blessings and Breakthrough!

You may be facing an issue that’s seems like an insurmountable barrier in your life. Or, your circumstances may be so difficult you feel surrounded by walls with no way out. You ask God to knock down those walls, just as He did for Joshua at Jericho. But they’re still standing. Sometimes, God removes the obstacles from our lives immediately and dramatically. But what can we do when the change doesn’t occur, when the breakthrough doesn’t come, when God’s promises aren’t fulfilled, even when we pray?

That’s when we have to plant ourselves in God’s Word and presence and let Him grow us over the wall. The breakthrough starts as our roots grow deep. This is what Joseph did when he was in the pit and the dungeon. He grew over his wall by adopting a heavenly perspective rather than an earthly one. The result was a multitude of blessings for him, his family, and the world: “Joseph is a fruitful bough, a fruitful bough by a well; his branches run over the wall (Genesis 49:22).

You can grow over your own wall of difficulty, opposition, hindrance, or limitation. As you grow, your wall won’t look as high as it used to. And one day, you will grow over it. Every negative situation will divinely position you to be where you need to be in life. You will grow over circumstances you thought were too powerful for you. You will grow over the wall of limitation that once surrounded you. You will grow over the dead end or impossibility that threatened to defeat you. The trials of life have no power to stop you from being abundant and fruitful in God, receiving His blessings, and fulfilling the plans He has for you. Like Joseph, let your branches grow over the wall. Then, your breakthrough will become a breakthrough and blessing for others, too, enabling them to grow over their own walls of difficulty.

Click here to get your copy!

Everyone encounters difficulties or difficulties in getting where they desire to go. This book helps remind us that God makes all things possible. It provides insights and assistances about how to approach those difficulties and allow God to move mightily in our lives.

The author has created a book suitable for either individual study or small-group study. I felt it was written well and it definitely kept my attention. So check out this book for yourself.

 I received a complimentary copy of this book, but this in no way influenced my review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Matt Sorger is a prophetic minister and a strong preacher and teacher of God’s Word, mentoring and equipping the body of Christ to live in the realm of God’s power and glory. He carries a unique anointing that fills entire rooms with the tangible glory of God, with many people saved, healed, set free, and filled with God’s presence. Through Matt Sorger Ministries, he has ministered in more than thirty-five nations and has reached more than two hundred nations by television and other media. He is the author of Power for Life: Keys to a Life Marked by the Presence of God. Matt and his wife, Stephanie, oversee Rescue1, an organization that rescues children from trafficking around the world. Their vision is to see at least 1,500 children set free. The Sorgers have two children and reside near Charlotte, NC.

More from Matt

Turn your pain into power and experience God’s unstoppable blessings and breakthrough.

Blog Stops

Sara Jane Jacobs, October 24

Artistic Nobody, October 25 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Texas Book-aholic, October 26

For Him and My Family, October 27

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 28

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 29

Simple Harvest Reads, October 30 (Spotlight)

deb’s Book Review, October 30

Older & Smarter?, October 31

Inklings and notions, November 1

Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 2

Spoken from the Heart, November 3

Captive Dreams Window, November 3

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, November 4

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 5

Through the Fire Blogs, November 6

Giveaway

To celebrate his tour, Matt is giving away the grand prize package of a $20 Starbucks gift card and finished copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/102aa/grow-over-your-wall-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews, Christian Non-Fiction Books

Courage to Thrive – A Review

Courage to thrive banner

About the Book

Book: Courage to Thrive

Author: Robert D. Flanagan

Genre: Christian Living, Depression & Anxiety

Release Date: June 30, 2020

CourageToThrive_Front (1)

When wrestling with depression and anxiety, getting out of bed is a courageous move. When panic attacks and suicidal thoughts strike, finding victories in the small things of life and reframing feelings can help a person flourish even in the midst of mental health struggles. Rev. Dr. Bob Flanagan knows all about that—he’s spent two decades combatting mental illness head on.

In his first-person spiritual journal Courage to Thrive, Flanagan takes the reader with him as he traverses the dark and scary landscape of his mind and then the paths of faith that lead him to the Source of light and hope. Through a vulnerable look at the realities of a priest battling mental illness and still thriving, readers—whether dealing with similar mental health challenges or the stressors of everyday life—are left with a quiet confidence that assures them they too can thrive and enjoy the gifts God has given them.

Each of the forty reflections concludes with a heartfelt prayer that revels in God’s healing mercies. Join Flanagan on a journey to joy, peace, and hope.

Click here to get your copy!

Courage to Thrive contains 40 devotionals geared towards topics such as letting go, strength, peace, joy, and more. Written by a priest who struggles with mental health issues, this book explores the subject with great depth. Each of the 40 devotionals contain a passage of Scripture, insights and information, a prayer, and journaling prompt.

To me, this book requires involvement rather than passive reading. Just because a person is a Christian or even a priest, mental health issues potentially rear their head and require attention. Whether you have struggled with these issues yourself or know someone who has, check out this book for yourself.

 I received a complimentary copy of this book, but this in no way influenced my review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Flanagan Bio Pic

Rev. Dr. Bob Flanagan has struggled with mental illness and managed to thrive for over twenty years. He holds a doctorate of ministry degree in Christian Spirituality and is an adjunct faculty member at General Theological Seminary in New York City, teaching on Christian spirituality. He has served for over ten years as a state and federal advocate for and board member of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. His previous book, Growing a Sustainable Soul, won a bronze medal in the Reader’s Favorite International Book Contest. Bob lives with his wife, Lanie, in Bridgewater, Connecticut. They have two grown children.

More from Robert

Courage to Thrive: Finding Joy and Hope in the Midst of Mental Health Struggles is a pioneering and beautiful book that will help people feel better about themselves and their mental health struggles. I smile knowing that readers will feel the love of God and God’s healing mercies by spending time journaling about their own challenges.

As a priest who struggled with suicidal ideation during seminary and anxiety and depression at various times in my live, I feel this book is a way to change the conversation about mental health within the Christian community.

Trivia

I was a top athlete during college.

My favorite type of dog is the Newfoundland. While that is the best dog in the world. I only have a cat right now.

I became a Christian when I was five and remember my baptism.

My wife and I are avid gardeners. We have a big garden that includes sunflowers, potatoes, and many herbs that can be used as medicines. Its based on the English physic gardens that pastors grew in the 1700s.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, October 15

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 16

Sara Jane Jacobs, October 17

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, October 18

Captive Dreams Window, October 18

Artistic Nobody, October 19 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

deb’s Book Review, October 20

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, October 21

For Him and My Family, October 22

Ashley’s Bookshelf, October 23

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 24

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 25

Inklings and notions, October 26

Mary Hake, October 26

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 27

Writing from the Heart Land, October 28

Giveaway

To celebrate his tour, Robert is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon Gift Card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10257/courage-to-thrive-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews, Christian Non-Fiction Books

A Glorious Mess – A Review

About the Book

Book:  Glorious Mess

Author: Mary McCullough

Genre:  Christian Nonfiction/Biblical Studies

Release Date: March 10, 2020

A woman struggles with a messy home situation, brokenness, rejection, and shame.

Know a woman like this?

Are you a woman like this?

Hannah, a powerful biblical example, was just such a woman. Through her life women can glean answers for their own life problems. Hannah didn’t stay in her grief and pain. She came to the end of her own striving and poured out her heart to the Lord—who answered her prayer.

Experience God’s love and healing in your own “messy” situations as you explore Hannah’s heartbreak and struggles in a Bible study just for women who don’t have it all together. This interactive six-week daily Bible study will help you pray transparently, praise wholeheartedly, and break off the shackles of spiritual barrenness, the need for approval, and perfectionism.

Hannah’s story will empower you to rise from your ashes, leave your messes in God’s hands, and live in service to the King of kings.

Wounds you thought would never heal will become scars that no longer hurt but remind you of the journey from broken to beautiful. As you wait, healing will come. Your soul will find rest even when the situation doesn’t change.

Click here to get your copy!

Glorious Mess contains 6 weeks of study materials broken down into daily lessons. Ever since I first read about Hannah in the Bible, I have been captivated by her story. Each lesson contains 4 sections: the actual lesson, a section for reflection, Prayers, and discussion questions.

Sometimes circumstances make us want to scream, “Quit already!” but Hannah’s story points us to God who is faithful, patient, and intimate. The story and study drew me in and made me want to continue. I felt the lessons contained enough material to be interesting without being overwhelming.

The study draws me closer to God, which I feel everyone can benefit from. So check out this book for yourself.

 I received a complimentary copy of this book, but this in no way influenced my review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Mary McCullough worked as an elementary school teacher for twenty-three years and is now an assistant elementary principal and building administrator. The co-founder of God First Friends, a ministry that helps women flourish as disciples of Christ, she is a longtime Bible study and Sunday school teacher for children and adults. She and her husband have been married for thirty-two years and have four adult children and three grandchildren. They live in Decatur, Indiana. Glorious Mess is her debut book.

More from Mary

Glorious Mess is the Biblical study of Hannah. As a perfectionist and control-freak, I had a neat and tidy life. That is until everything fell apart, and I found myself crying out to God for healing when life got out of control in so many areas. The more my world spun out of control, the more I identified with Hannah. She taught me about authenticity, grace, and perseverance. Her rival, Peninnah, taught me how to handle mean-spirited people and brought my own flaws to the surface so God could deal with them.

Year after year, I cried out for the healing I so desperately wanted at the foot of the cross. Mistreatment from others, the pain of watching others hurt, and my own weaknesses led me back to Hannah’s story time and again. It was Hannah’s journey from broken to bold and beautiful that kept me going. I wanted her confidence in the Lord. I wanted to stand up from my pain and never look back again on the pain but to know the God she knew. Some may think pain is in vain, but the Lord never wastes anything if we allow him to use it. I have learned of his kindness, faithfulness, and goodness beyond understanding. I’ve learned what it is like to be broken, and now I know what it means to be whole.

It is my prayer that each individual who goes through this study will be changed for eternal glory!

I’ve learned that your messes don’t define you, but they will refine you if you will lay them at the foot of the cross.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, October 14

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 15

Captive Dreams Window, October 15

Texas Book-aholic, October 16

Rebecca Tews, October 17

For Him and My Family, October 18

Inklings and notions, October 19

deb’s Book Review, October 19

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 20

Remembrancy, October 21

Ashley’s Bookshelf, October 22

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, October 23

Mary Hake, October 23

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 24

Artistic Nobody, October 24 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 25

Godly Book Reviews, October 25

Splashes of Joy, October 26

Sara Jane Jacobs, October 27

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Mary is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and signed copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/101f8/glorious-mess-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

Taming the Dragons – A Review

About the Book

Book: Taming the Dragons

Author: Brenda Wilbee

Genre: Christian Living / Women’s Interests

Release Date: May 12, 2020

Are you overwhelmed, in despair, heartsick, or in danger? Not sure which way to turn? Whom to trust? Once upon a time . . . the raging dragon . . . a damsel in distress. It worked out well in our fairy tales, but what about real life?

In this highly creative approach to problems all women face today and in varying degrees throughout their lives, Wilbee identifies six choices women have when beleaguered by conflict and challenge. She partners six biblical women with characters from The Wizard of Oz, naming choices for Innocent, Orphan, Pilgrim, Martyr, Warrior, and Wizard. She then skillfully weaves in characters from other stories and tales, accounts of women from history and today, and experiences from her own life to illustrate how these choices empower women in difficult times, moving them from want to abundance—for themselves and others.

Beginning with Eve the Innocent, Wilbee asserts that while some of us might want to go back to the garden of Eden, where innocence dwells, no one can. It’s only by making choices to tame our dragons—and by walking the metaphorical yellow brick road of our inner journeys—that we can, and do, find the happily ever after of our fairy tales and the abundant life Jesus promises us all.

Each chapter concludes with a motivational section that includes journaling pages, “Something to Ponder,” and prayers for courage and hope.

Click here to get your copy!

Taming the Dragons by Brenda Wilbee draws the reader into and provides help in dealing with pain and conflict. It illustrates the choices women may elect to consider. I love the combination of six Biblical characters with characters from The Wizard of Oz. Her own life story provides additional content for the book, along with additional fairytale characters.

While some may not care to include fairytale characters, I found the usage added to the message meaningfully for me.  Journal pages appear at the end of each chapter, which I appreciated.  Characters from stories like Winnie the Pooh and Jane Eyre provide direction for women to help find choices for dealing with pain and conflict and taming our own dragons.

I feel this book provides a powerful and meaningful message Christian women need to read.  I feel all women can benefit from reading this book. So check out this book for yourself.

 I received a complimentary copy of this book, but this in no way influenced my review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Brenda Wilbee is passionate about helping women in their everyday lives. The author of over 10 books with more than 700,000 copies sold, Brenda is a long-time contributor to Guidepost’s Daily Devotionals. Her work appears in Zondervan’s Women’s Devotional BibleInside Religious Publishing, and Guidepost’s Best Loved Stories. She holds an MA in professional writing, with an emphasis on myth, fairy tale, and folklore. She divides her time between the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, and the Canadian Yukon.

More from Brenda

Author Brenda Wilbee wrote Taming the Dragons to help Christian women understand that they have choices when up against conflict and challenge. In this highly creative approach, she partners six biblical women with the characters from Wizard of Oz, naming choices for Innocent, Orphan, Pilgrim, Martyr, Warrior, and Wizard. She then skillfully weaves in characters from other fairy tales and stories, accounts of women from history and today, and experiences from her own life to illustrate how choice empowers women to tame the many dragons they face. She contends that by walking the metaphorical yellow brick road of learning choice, women find inner healing and restoration.

She begins with Eve the Innocent, asserting that even though we might like to go back to a garden of Eden, where innocence dwells, we can’t. But by making choices to tame the dragons we encounter as either Orphan, Pilgrim, Martyr, Warrior, or Wizard, we can, and we do, return to the happily ever after of our fairy tales and the abundant life Jesus, in John 10:10, tells us is ours.

Each chapter begins and ends with narrative to first explain a choice and to then offer the caveat. An Orphan asks for help, but by doing so she learns self-reliance. A Warrior fights to save herself and those she loves but has to be careful lest she become like her enemy. Each chapter concludes with journaling pages for personal thought, a study guide with Scripture to consider, and questions to ponder.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 17

Emily Yager, October 17

Texas Book-aholic, October 18

For Him and My Family, October 19

Inklings and notions, October 20

Spoken from the Heart, October 21

deb’s Book Review, October 21

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, October 22

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 23

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 24

Ashley’s Bookshelf, October 25

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 26

Splashes of Joy, October 27

Artistic Nobody, October 28 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Sara Jane Jacobs, October 29

Mary Hake, October 29

Pause for Tales, October 30

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Brenda is giving away the grand prize package of a signed copy of the book and a $25 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10259/taming-the-dragons-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in 2020 Home School Review Crew Posts, Home School Review Crew Posts, Homeschooling, Math, Online Homeschool Programs, Uncategorized

THINKWELL’S INSTRUCTOR-LED GEOMETRY – A Review

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way.

Thinkwell Homeschool overs online courses such as Thinkwell’s Instructor-Led Geometry . As a student, I loved math and excelled at it. However, the math genes appear to have skipped my children. So I am always on the look-out for math programs for our children. Our daughter especially seems to struggle with math. So I wanted her to try an instructor-led program for Geometry from Thinkwell Homeschool. However, our daughter was not ready mentally for this program. Plus, I felt it best to go through the program myself first to see if I believed she could handle the pace and activities of this online course.

Thinkwell Homeschool offers a variety of instructor-led courses including THINKWELL’S INSTRUCTOR-LED ALGEBRA 1, and THINKWELL’S INSTRUCTOR-LED ALGEBRA 2.  Placement tests are provided to ensure students enroll in the correct class for them.  Another advantage of these courses rests in the fact the courses are NCAA approved. 

With this program families get:

  • An 18-week, online subscription to our 1st semester Geometry course
  • Emails weekly that contain courses assignments as well as lesson plans
  • Regular student progress reports
  • Instructional videos that are detailed
  • Automatically graded assignments with step-by-step answer feedback
  • Downloadable and printable course worksheets, and answer keys
  • Illustrated course study notes – great for referring back to
  • Section quizzes that are automatically graded
  • Chapter and Practices Tests, a Midterm, and a Final Exam
  • Animated interactive activities and more

HOW IT WORKS:

Families purchase the course through their online store. Then you create an account username and password in order to gain access to the online course on the start date. Students then follow the assignments, which are emailed out weekly. The work is automatically graded and tracked in real-time. Virtual office hours provide additional help and interaction. Upon request, transcripts, grade reports, and certificates of completion may be provided.

Each week we receive an email telling us what the requirements were for each week. Here is an image of an email.

Each week, a warm-up is the first activity students complete. I found the warm-ups to be reasonable in scope and detail. Here is a completed warm-up.

Dr. Edward Berger provides the actual instruction in videos. We aimed to complete videos, worksheets, and warm-ups, and quizzes and tests three days a week with the other two days geared towards the office hours provided for additional help. Here is a sample of a Course Notes page.

Students may take part in office hours twice a week. They conduct these sessions on Zoom. Instructor Julie Welch & T.A. Sarah Flood provide ample opportunities to check on students’ progress, answer questions, and provide time to interact and even to play games.

Because the end of the grading period is Friday, October 23, this week we received an email telling us that they would send progress reports out next week. As a parent, I can see the grades for tests and quizzes on the website for those activities which have been completed. I appreciate how immediately after completing a worksheet, quiz, or test, the course provides immediate feedback on the submitted work. Students see what questions they answered correctly or incorrectly, but also the explanations for the answers. Another feature I love is they may repeat how most if not all activities multiple times. Because I believe students need to master mathematics to move forward, this feature resonated positively with me.

I firmly believe students should have a firm foundation in math before attempting this course.  I also believe students struggle with math may or may not be successful with this course.  I think it depends on the dedication of the student.  I definitely feel like the instructors will provide all help needed for students to thrive in these courses.

You can find Thinkwell Homeschool on Social media at the following links:  Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

So if you are looking for an instructor-led math course for your high school students, check out Thinkwell’s Instructor-Led Geometry for yourself.

Other members of the Home School Review Crew are sharing their thoughts and experiences with this course as well as THINKWELL’S INSTRUCTOR-LED ALGEBRA 1, THINKWELL’S INSTRUCTOR-LED ALGEBRA 2, So click here or on the graphic below to read their reviews.

#hsreviews #thinkwellhomeschool #mathonline #onlinehomeschooling #homeschoolalgebra #homeschoolgeometry #onlinemath #algebrahelp

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews, Christian Fiction

Sand & Mistletoe – A Review

Sand and mistletoe banner

About the Book

Book:  Sand & Mistletoe

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre:  Contemporary Christian Romance (Holiday)

Release Date: November 24, 2018

Sand & Mistletoe

What’s Christmas without family drama, an accident, and mistletoe?

If you ask Portia Spears, it’s a horror movie—especially since she’s never the one caught under that mistletoe. And who thought it was a good idea to spend the last Christmas as a family unit away from their family home?

Her bossy older sisters, that’s who.

Christmas at his parents’ house with his son—just the way Reese Whitaker likes it. But a chance encounter on the beach might just change everything. How often do you meet someone who loves kids and knows American Sign Language?

Not often. Trust him.

However, with just two weeks to get to know each other and two families that couldn’t be more different vying for their time, will they even have a chance to test out that mistletoe they found?

Find out today in Sand & Mistletoe.

Click here to get your copy!

Any time I receive the opportunity to read and review a book by Chautona Havig, giddy excitement fills my soul. Chautona Havig writes books that capture my imagination, soul, and spirit. And this book delivers in a major way.

With a family of parents, five daughters, a spouse to one daughter, three grandchildren, and a beach house, a lot is going on in this book. But I loved reading every page. I loved getting to know the characters and reading the story of one sister meeting a deaf boy and his father.

Add in an accident, a possible, disagreements between family members, and family dynamics and this book became one of my favorite books this week. I adore how Ms. Havig not only writes scenes, but she also allows her readers to discover what her characters are thinking and feeling. So when Portia and Reese interact, I actually felt like I was present.

So if you like books set at Christmas, set at the beach, or about families, check out this book for yourself. I promise it delivers.

 I received a complimentary copy of this book, but this in no way influenced my review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Chautona

Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her at chautona.com and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

More from Chautona

What Happens When an Author Rewrites History

To be fair, almost none of us wanted to be there.

And really, that wasn’t fair. Two of our daughters planned as a “destination Christmas” bash for the whole family—just a nice getaway in San Diego for the “last” Christmas we’d probably all be in the same place on the same days.  The kids were getting older, getting married, and even moving out of state. It was a beautiful thing for them to try to do for us.

But Havigs are homebodies who like their traditions, and most of us left in Ridgecrest weren’t too thrilled being “dragged” four hours south to celebrate Christmas in a beautiful house on a cliff overlooking the San Diego countryside.  It had everything, game room, lots of space, yards, hiking trails, an infinity pool, a hot tub…

Yeah. That hot tub kicked off the weekend with a splash all right.  With no lighting around it, and no railing either, my husband stepped out of it and right off the ledge—down a hill (at least fifteen feet), bouncing off boulders and thankfully, stopped by a fence. Otherwise, he’d have rolled for a LONG way.

Get this.  He broke nothing.  Don’t even ask me how (because we all know Who took care of that, right?).

Still, I spent my Christmas Eve sitting in an ER waiting for someone to tell us the damage (superficial scrapes and deep bruising). The whole time I thought, “This has got to be a book.”

Two years later, it was.

I say this at the end of the book, but I need to say it again.

People who know our family will recognize some of my kids (I left four of them out of the story).  They will also say, “Wait, she’s not like that!”

And that’s the point.  I put just enough of real people in it to really capture the feel of the personalities, meshed some quirks (including the ones that got left out), and then set them in a stressful situation and really way over-exaggerated actual responses.  I want to say this here again.  None of us acted just like I portrayed us in Sand & Mistletoe (although, frankly, I wouldn’t have blamed a couple of them if they’d wanted to). Unlike A Bird Died, I didn’t even try to stick to facts.

Instead of San Diego hill country, I put us at my favorite beach—Ventura. I stuck our rented beach house where the Pierpont Inn is/used to be (don’t even know if it exists anymore). Reese’s parents live in the house I lived in when I was nine—right there on Pierpont just a block from the beach.  And where they went to get mistletoe… one of my favorite places in the world.

So, here’s my version of the tale—the one I wrote instead of told.  Just like Francie Nolan learned from her teacher in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.  When I tell the story, I tell it exactly how it happened.  However… I wrote what should (not) have happened!  (this is much more interesting than the real story).

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, October 12

Emily Yager, October 12

The Book Chic Blog, October 12

Inklings and notions, October 13

Get Cozy Book Nook, October 13

For Him and My Family, October 14

Blogging With Carol, October 14

deb’s Book Review, October 15

lakesidelivingsite, October 15

Ashley’s Bookshelf, October 16

Splashes of Joy, October 16

Labor Not in Vain, October 16

She Lives To Read, October 17

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, October 17

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 18

Mary Hake, October 18

Livin’ Lit, October 19

Artistic Nobody, October 19 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Sara Jane Jacobs, October 20

Spoken from the Heart, October 20

Lots of Helpers, October 21

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, October 21

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 22

Batya’s Bits, October 22

As He Leads is joy, October 23

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 23

Simple Harvest Reads, October 24 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

SusanLovesBooks, October 24

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, October 25

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, October 25

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, October 25

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away the prize package including a signed paperback & a handmade ornament!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/101f6/sand-mistletoe-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Christian Non-Fiction Books, Frontgate Blogger Reviews

Take Back Your Life – A Review

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Take Back Your Life is a forty-day interactive journey designed to help you identify and then fight your internal battles. This journey allows you to take back your life. Everyone has mission to fulfill and God-ordained potential to affect the world, even when they do not recognize it. Life presents challenges, detours, and traps to keep us in hopeless and helpless loop consisting of anxiety and fear. With Biblical truth and perspective, this book contains a step-by-step journaling process designed to help you:

  • get out of your own way and allowing you to think right so you can live right
  • find purpose by discovering that God will do great things with your imperfect progress, and
  • learn that your pain is not an obstacle to being used by God but an opportunity to be used like never before.

More than a book, it provides an intimate tool of self-anaylsis that helps you identify what’s weighing you down or holding you back, which allows you to tackle it head on with God’s help.

Levi Lusko


Levi Lusko is the founder and lead pastor of Fresh Life Church, located in Montana, Wyoming, Oregon, and Utah. He is the bestselling author of Through the Eyes of a Lion, Swipe Right, and I Declare War. Levi also travels the world speaking about Jesus. He and his wife, Jennie, have one son, Lennox, and four daughters: Alivia, Daisy, Clover, and Lenya, who is in heaven.

You can purchase your copy of the book by clicking here.

Check out the resources for parents and children by clicking here.

Life cannot be perfect, and that means it may become a battle, but this book provides tips and ideas for creating a path to the life God meant for us. I love how each chapter includes insights, a Scripture reference, and a prayer along with journaling activities to help the reader focus on their own life experience.

The book contains 6 sections that include Look in the Mirror, Turn Off the Dark, Cross the Barbed Wire, Run Toward the Roar, Be the Difference, and Think Right, Live Right, I love the idea of getting up and show up. If we fail to get up, then we fail to accomplish our purpose.

You can click here or on the graphic below to enter to win a copy of Take Back Your Life.

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

Cross Addicted Celebration Tour – A Review

Cross Addicted (1)

About the Book

Paula was broken, traumatized, and bound by many addictions, but today she is free. And that is God’s desire for you, too!

Paula Jauch’s life was controlled by trauma and addiction. Born into neglect and addiction, she inherited self-destructive patterns and emotional prisons she could not escape She experimented with crack at age thirteen, became pregnant at fifteen, was initiated into a Hispanic gang, and bore her second child by the time she was eighteen. Starved for acceptance and worth, she began cutting her body, and developed a near-fatal disorder for twenty years.

Cross Addicted follows Paula’s raw, stumbling journey toward freedom. You will find renewed hope and practical steps of recovery.

  • Recognize that there is nothing wrong with you.
  • Learn how to forgive yourself and others.
  • Understand addiction and trauma and the healing process through recovery.
  • Find freedom by understanding what Jesus did on the cross.
Click here to get your copy!

As I began reading this book, I found myself quickly caught up in the struggles and life events of the author Paula Jauch. She shows that no matter what our past may be, God still loves us and wants us to be part of His Kingdom. Each chapter includes personal history, questions to answer, and a Scripture reference.

If you have suffered from abuse, this book may be hard to read. However, I found the message of God’s love and mercy to be powerful. I find it so meaningful when people share the struggles and traumas of their lives to show God’s ability to set us free through His love and mercy. We just have to take that first step towards Him. So check out this book for yourself.

 I received a complimentary copy of this book, but this in no way influenced my review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Paula Jauch’s life experience enables her speaking and writing to empower people from all walks of life. She shares her inspirational story all around the world through speaking and radio. Her goal is to carry this message to the forefront. She loves encouraging and motivating her audiences to live a life of freedom in Christ. She is a happily married mother of four and a proud Nana. In her spare time, you might find her at a favorite Mexican restaurant. Paula lives in West Michigan.

Paula’s work experience led her to realize she needed healing from childhood trauma after growing up in abuse and addiction. After she graduated from an alternative education high school and had two children by age eighteen, her heart was drawn to jobs to help children like herself. She worked seven years at the Juvenile Court Schools in Las Vegas, Nevada, and five years at the Clark County Department of Family Services, as a juvenile service assistant, working with troubled teens. In 2004 she relocated to Terre Haute, Indiana, where she worked for two years at Gibault Inc., as a youth specialist, working with teen boy sex offenders. After leaving the Gibault home, she worked a few months at the Vigo County Courthouse as a bailiff, but decided to leave her job when it became uncomfortable, because her family name was well known in the court system.

What she learned through all of her work experience is that if these kids didn’t get the proper help they needed, they would get involved in a gang, addicted to drugs or alcohol, land in prison, or even face death. Paula knew she was being called to take a step of faith and action and get the help she needed so she could help others who experienced similar childhoods.

Even though Paula’s story and passion centers around youth, men and women of all ages will be inspired by her story of restoration. Connect with Paula www.paulajauch.com or follow her on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @paulajauch.

More from Paula

Why did you write the book?

After graduating from an alternative education high school and having two children by the age eighteen, my heart was drawn to jobs to help children like myself. I started out by working seven years at a Juvenile Court Schools in Las Vegas, Nevada, and five years at the Clark County Department of Family Services, as a juvenile service assistant, working with troubled teens. In 2004, I relocated to Terre Haute, Indiana, where I worked for two years at Gibault Inc., as a youth specialist, working with teen boy sex offenders. After leaving the Gibault home, I worked a few months at the Vigo County Courthouse as a bailiff. However, I eventually decided to leave my job within a few months because it became uncomfortable since my family name was well-known in the court system. My work experiences led me to start asking questions and made me realize I needed my own healing from childhood trauma after growing up in abuse and addiction.

What I learned through all of my work experiences and my own life struggles is that if kids don’t get the proper help they need, they will either get involved in a gang, become addicted to drugs or alcohol, end up in prison, or even death. I knew God was calling me to take a step of faith and action to get the help I needed, so I could help others who experienced similar childhoods.

Trauma may be the greatest mission field of the 21st century, and the most misunderstood issue of our day.

My healing journey began when I could no longer pretend everything was okay. After being stuck in my trauma and my own addictions for years, I knew I needed to write a book and let others know there is a way out. My book was birthed out of my healing process. Cross Addicted: Breaking Free from Family Trauma and Addiction offers a hopeful path to recovery for those who are hurting and traumatized.

One in four U.S. students will witness or experience a traumatic event before the age four, and more than two-thirds by age sixteen.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, October 10

For Him and My Family, October 11

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 12

Simple Harvest Reads, October 13 (Author Interview)

Captive Dreams Window, October 13

Inklings and notions, October 14

Through the Fire Blogs, October 15

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 16

Artistic Nobody, October 17 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 18

deb’s Book Review, October 18

Ashley’s Bookshelf, October 19

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, October 20

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 21

Sara Jane Jacobs, October 22

Splashes of Joy, October 23

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Paula is giving away the grand prize of a signed copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/101f5/cross-addicted-celebration-tour-giveaway