Rookie Mistakes

Author: Kelly Bandas

Publisher: July 19, 2022

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Rating: 4 out of 5.

We all make mistakes; this book helps us learn to laugh at the mistakes and learn from them so we can have the best life possible.

Kelly Bandas is a comedian that uses her humor to help others by learning from the mistakes she has made and our own at trying to become a functional adult in this crazy world we live in. She was raised in a catholic home and all throughout her childhood Kelly was afraid to upset God, that she would never be good enough. As she grew, she tried to learn what it was like to live in a world that was cruel and hard at times and even though she felt alone, she was never alone. Each story that Kelly shares brings laughter and a sense of head nodding readers can agree with and feel connected to someone in ways they might not have expected.

As I read this book, I found so many of the stories relatable and made me feel better as a parent and person in this crazy life. We all make mistakes, every single day, but if we can learn from the mistakes and learn to do better without judging ourselves or others too harshly for it life will be better. If we can learn from our Rookie Mistakes and not keeping making the same ones over and over, maybe it will all be worth it.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

As Fast As Her

Author: Kendall Coyne

Publisher: Zonderkids

Release Date: January 18, 2022

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A fast story with an inspirational and powerful message for young readers. Even those not into hockey will get a lot out of this one!

US Olympian Kendall Coyne brings a message about never giving up on your dreams no matter what obstacles you might encounter, and she encountered many of them. When she was young, her brother was into hockey and as she got old enough to put on skates her parents put her in figure skating. It didn’t take for her to figure out hockey was where she needed to be even though there weren’t many girls playing. This would be a problem all throughout her time playing hockey, the inequality between the men playing and the women. One thing that set Kendall apart from the others was her speed, she was even able to keep up with the men in a national competition she almost won. Even though she was always told, “you’re not enough,” she started to believe it but not long enough to let it pull her in the wrong direction.

Throughout the pages of this book, readers will find inspiration and encouragement to stay the course and follow their dreams no matter how many people tell them they should give up or that they aren’t good enough. It is something that we all hear from time to time, and it can be easy to buy into the lies and let them hold us back from our full potential.

I started this book even though I am not a hockey fan and had honestly never heard of Kendall Coyne. This was an inspirational story from start to finish with great moments from her family and harsh moments with teammates and rivals. Throughout every moment and difficulty encountered, Kendall showed that it would have been easy to give up, but it wasn’t what she was meant to do. Not once did she give up and she finally made it to achieve her dreams and if we will believe in ourselves the way Kendall did over the years anything is possible.

I’ll Start Again Monday

Author: Lysa Terkeurst

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Release Date: January 4, 2022

Rating: 5 out of 5.

So much more than a book on eating healthy, readers will find great advice for not only healthy eating, but also a better overall way to live.

Eating healthy is never something that sounds fun but can sometimes leave you feeling worse for wear. Lysa TerKeurst delivers a wonderful new look at how eating healthy isn’t just about the food we put in our bodies. If we continue the cycle of losing weight and gaining it back, eventually we will see it’s not just about the food, the issue goes much deeper. I can think of many times I have craved foods that were not good for me, especially when I was trying to avoid them. Once I had them, I found out the craving didn’t always go away and I never fully felt satisfied.

I’ll admit, I’m not the target audience for this but was able to gain a lot of insightful information and came away after reading it feeling lighter and more satisfied than I had in a long time. It’s not just about the food, that is the main point driven home in this book; if we will look at the deeper meaning of our cravings and look to a higher power to help provide the sustenance we need, our lives will be fuller than we could have hoped for.

I recommend this book for everyone looking for something to fill the spaces they keep trying to use food for and see that God created us to crave Him instead of all the processed things that will never leave us satisfied.

100 Prayers Every Christian Should Know

Publisher: Bethany House

Release Date: October 19, 2021

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This book is packed full of prayers.  Literally!  It is broken down into different categories that readers may be seeking answers from:  Peace and Comfort, Guidance, Adoration, Changed Hearts, Justice, Moving a Nation, Pain and Grief, Strength, Thanksgiving, Mercy, Faithfulness, and Humility.  Each prayer comes from a historical figure that gives personal background for both the author and the prayer.  This is a great resource for many!

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Conquer Your Deliverance

Author: John Rameriz

Publisher: Bethany House

Release Date: October 12, 2021

Rating: 4 out of 5.

In Conquer Your Deliverance, evangelist John Rameriz shares his personal story of being ensnared by the devil and how he was shown the truth and freed!  This is written in a very plain manner that readers can use the information to apply to their personal lives.  If someone is struggling with their belief system or understanding what is happening in today’s world, this book is a key resource to help them either get their life on track or back on track. 

While it does read as a manual, it is also probably the closet thing to an autobiography for Rameriz to understand his past and why he is so passionate about what he does!

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Messy to Meaningful: My Purse Runneth Over

Authors: Monica Schmelter, Rhonda Rhea, Kaley Rhea

Publisher: Bold Vision Books

Release Date: February 2, 2021

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A fun, engaging book that kept me laughing and smiling with the turn of every page and an uplifted spirit.

Do you ever feel weighed down with extra baggage, both spiritually and physically? Whether you carry a backpack, purse, fanny pack or small clutch, we all have something that holds the things we need as we go throughout the day. Some of us have everything plus the kitchen sink while others get by with the bare minimum. What we carry with us can say a lot about us and what is going on in our lives and what we value. I make sure anywhere I go I have a book in my bag, you never know when a line might be long or stuck in traffic that could allow you to get a few pages in. We also have the baggage the world can put on us, feelings of failure and a lack of peace. Each of us need to find a way to let go of the things that won’t bring us anything good and fight for what matters to keep in our bags. When we have what we need in our bags, our purse will runneth over and we will feel full inside and out!

I’ve read Rhonda and Kaley Rhea several times before and knew that anything they teamed together to write would be on my shelf. Now, with the addition of Monica Schmelter, there was so much more to love and laugh about within the pages of the book. I love when you get a group of writers that can craft a story in a way that makes you laugh but also leaves an impression with you of what they are trying to teach you. Each chapter gives a lesson with humor, one of the best nonfiction tools for me. A lot of times nonfiction is very hard for me to get through, just doesn’t hold my attention, but with these books it is easy to let the pages fly and enjoy the lessons within. I recommend this book for all those struggling with what is right and best to keep in their “bag.” No matter how big or small the bag we carry may be, we all need the right tools to help us through the crazy times we are living in.

This is such a fun book that I believe many readers will enjoy it. Find it on Amazon!

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Fix Her Upper: Christmas

Authors: Beth Duewel & Rhonda Rhea

Publisher: Bold Vision Books

Release Date: November 24, 2020

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Fix-Her-Upper Christmas is a wonderful addition in this season, especially in the year we are all going through. Everyone can gleam something wonderful from this spectacularly fun book!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, or the most stressful time for some. If this season of shopping, family, decorations is getting a tad overwhelming, you are not alone. Throughout the pages of this book, you will find story upon story from Beth and Rhonda of trials and struggles they have gone through and the way they worked through them with humor and faith to discover the real reason for the season was worth more than any gift they could buy. The message is clear, even in the frantic season we are in, our focus should be on Jesus, He is the reason for the season, and if we forget that, there really is nothing to celebrate. Less is more is a main theme throughout, and I love that. The devotions are spot on with just the right amount of humor and insightful tidbits to bring us joy and helpful holiday tips.

Anytime you pick up a Rhonda Rhea and Beth Duewel book you know you are going to be rolling on the floor laughing and come away feeling refreshed. This time of year, we could use with a little laughter and refreshing. No matter how hard this year has been, and for some it has been unbearable, we can all find some cheer within the pages and rely on the hope that Christmas is about the birth of our savior and nothing is more important than that. If we fix our eyes on Him, this could very well be the best Christmas we have ever had.

Walk Run Soar

Author: Dorina Gilmore Young

Publisher: Baker Books

Release Date: September 29, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

No matter your pace, whether you walk, run, or soar, this book will give you some insights for the path you are taking.

Dorina Gilmore Young, with her husband Shawn, bring a fifty-two-week devotional for people that like to be active at whatever pace.  Dorina is a runner, both for competition and for fun, and she shares many of the insights that she has gained by running.  She lost her first husband to cancer and spends time dwelling on that relationship throughout many of the devotionals.  She also spends time on learning to hear Jesus, serving his mission, and conditioning our bodies for his work.  Each chapter is provided with a short narrative called Faith Fuel, an action item called Faith Step, a short couple of sentences for Inspiration, and a word of encouragement from her husband, Coach Shawn.  I have spent time reading a devotional each day after my bible reading and have found it very uplifting.  Each devotional also gives a section to write down notes during each day’s workouts and/or runs.  My husband uses this as he is an active runner and it has helped him think through some things when he runs.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Jesus Freaks

Authors: D.C. Talk & Voice of the Martyrs

Publisher: Bethany House

Release Date: October 27, 2020

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

An updated edition of the inspiring story of those who have stood up for Jesus and paid the ultimate price.

Around the world Christians are being persecuted for their faith; they stand for Jesus until their very last breath. The stories are inspiring can help each and every one of us in our own walk with Christ. Within these pages we can read about the first martyrs up to ones in the present day. Jesus Freaks is part of the Richard Wurmbrand’s Voice of the Martyrs organization showing faithful Christian leaders who suffered many years ago in Communist prisons. Wurmbrand has even testified before Congress showing wounds he received while being tortured for his faith. He, like so many others, have gone through hardships we can only imagine.

I picked up Jesus Freaks on a day I was feeling sorry for myself and some of the things I was going through. Reading through these stories helped me put into perspective how grateful I need to be for all that I have, including my faith and freedom to live and express my faith freely. Across the world, others are not so lucky. They profess a faith in Jesus and get tortured and even killed for it, and they do so willingly in order to share the good news of Christ. To have a faith like that and be excited about prison, torture or death is hard to imagine. I believe but going to that level would be hard for so many of us. I strive to strengthen my faith each day and reading this while going through a difficult time was just what I needed. At first, it was hard reading about the difficult and painful times these believers went through, and I have so little to complain about, but as I read, I used their stories to help me gain perspective. There are places and people in this world that are not safe for believers to go, but those are the places that these believers go and preach and bring the lost to the lord. I for one am thankful for these stories, they remind me that no matter how bad things are, if I lift my eyes I’ll see where my help is. It’s not always easy, and when it’s the hardest that’s when we will see the biggest rewards.  I recommend this to all those going through a hard time and needing a reminder of no matter the cost our faith is worth it.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

365 Ways to Love Your Child

Author: Julie Lavender

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: October 20, 2020

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A perfect book that showcases all the little ways we sometimes forget can be used to experience love with our children.

365 Ways to Love Your Child is a book written for all parents. Within its pages, readers will find encouragement to show kids each and every day how loved they are. It doesn’t always have to be a grand gesture, sometimes it’s the simple things that mean the most. Write a letter to leave in their lunch box that says you are always thinking of them. Give them an extra hug, squeeze a little longer and a little tighter every chance you get. So many of the actions she gives as examples are so simple, I caught myself smiling and shaking my head as I read many of them thinking I should do those more often. In our world right now, we often find ourselves so busy even the smallest task added to our list can be overwhelming. When its those little tasks that can mean the most to our kids, and in turn leave a lasting impression on both them and us.

We only have a short amount of time with our children and if we don’t make the most of it, we will regret it. One thing the last few months of COVID and quarantine has taught me is to enjoy the time we have together. While things shut down and we had nowhere to go and nothing to do, playing games together and going for walks and bike rides became fun again. Eating together and talking about the day and all we had to be thankful was a nightly ritual and it didn’t go unnoticed by me or my family. Just telling someone you love them isn’t always enough, showing them by your actions and taking the time to do stuff together can often mean more than just saying the words. Lavender does a fantastic job of pointing out all the little things we forget can mean showing love to our kids. Something as simple as putting your phone away and looking them in the eye.  In the world we live in that is very rare and I think it is time we start doing more to show our kids they are more important than an electronic device to us, because when they get the electronics we know that is where there attention will be focused just as ours can tend to be. I would recommend that all parents pick up a copy of this book and highlight certain sections that are most relevant to them and can be best implemented in their daily lives together.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.