100 Words of Affirmation Your Wife Needs to Hear

wifeAuthor: Matt Jacobson

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: October 1, 2019

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jared Higgins

The absolute best book for any married couple to read, no matter if you have been married a year or fifty, it will remind you of the little things you can be thankful for in your spouse.

Inside each and every one of us, we have the ability to “Speak Life”, as TobyMac says or bring others down with our words. It is important to remember that the person we share our lives with should hear those words of life from us and often. How do you speak to your wife? Is it with love? How do your children hear you speak to their mother? These are all important questions that we need to ask ourselves as we go throughout our daily lives. She wants to know what you think, but she also wants to know what you think of her.

My wife and I have been married for over fifteen years and we work to grow our relationship every day. I read through this book and agreed with everything that it had, but I realized that I don’t actually say all of these things to her.  I hope that she knows them, but maybe she needs to hear them too.  We sat down and talked about several of the items and what importance they play emotionally. She goes above and beyond for our family, but I don’t’ always tell her.  It’s the little things that can have the biggest impact.

I enjoyed the way Matt Jacobson used little examples from his life to help readers see that he isn’t trying to prove he is better than anyone else, he is showing us that we can all do better and be better for each other and our spouses. So much wisdom and truth in the pages, this is a book that will need to be read again and again to help us remember how much we have to be grateful for in who we married.

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

100 Words of Affirmation Your Husband Needs to Hear

HusbandAuthor: Lisa Jacobson

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: October 1, 2019

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

The absolute best book for any married couple to read, no matter if you have been married a year or fifty, it will remind you of the little things you can be thankful for in your spouse.

Inside each and every one of us, we have the ability to “Speak Life”, as TobyMac says or bring others down with our words. It is important to remember that the person we share our lives with should hear those words of life from us and often. How do you speak to your husband? Is it with love? How do your children hear you speak to their father? These are all important questions that we need to ask ourselves as we go throughout our daily lives. How often do you actually tell your husband the little things that mean so much for him to hear from you?

I feel like I have a great relationship with my husband and as I read through this list I agreed with everything written within but realized I am seriously lacking on telling my husband many of them. I don’t know that I have ever told him I want to grow closer or thanked him for having my back. And even though he knows I trust his judgment I don’t think I have actually told him that in a very long time. My husband provides for us above and beyond but I don’t think to tell him he is a big success. So many little things that could make such a difference if we just think to tell the man in our lives these positive affirmations.

I love the way Lisa Jacobson used little examples from her life to help readers see that she isn’t trying to prove she is better than anyone else, she is showing us that we can all do better and be better for each other and our spouses. So much wisdom and truth in the pages, this is a book that will need to be read again and again to help us remember how much we have to be grateful for in who we married.

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

Unruffled: Thriving in Chaos

UnruffledAuthor: Edie Melson & Rhonda Rhea

Publisher: Bold Vision Books

Release Date: September 24, 2019

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Edie Melson and Rhonda Rhea bring together a delightful combination of wit, charm and charisma to help us deal with the craziness in life that can cause us to become unruffled.

When life gets busy and stressful, we can find ourselves unruffled and squirming to make sense of our lives and all we have going on. The chaos can become overwhelming and we lose focus of the choice we have to rest and reset our focus on the One that can help us in these most difficult of times. Edie Melson and Rhonda Rhea bring about difficult topics that everyone can relate to and give readers tools to help cope with the hardships.

For me, one of the most helpful chapters was dealing with Smoothing the Emotional Ruffles. Edie Melson hit home with every sentence she wrote. Emotions, especially my own, can easily get the best of me and when I react to a situation based purely on emotion I become unruffled in the worst way. Each and every chapter helps to see that even in the chaos we encounter, we can find ways to thrive and grow to become the very best version of ourselves we can be. The personal examples both authors provide throughout the chapters help readers to see that these aren’t words on a page without experience and meaning behind them. These two ladies know what they are talking about and want us all to be able to thrive.

As the holiday season approaches, the chaos and unruffling will undoubtedly increase for a lot of us and it is nice to have a resource to turn to that will help get our mind where it needs to be so we can keep our heart where it should be as well. I recommend this book to everyone! It doesn’t matter if you are in chaos now, already been through it, or it might be coming your way, there is something here for everyone and every situation you might be facing.  Take heart and get ready to Thrive.

The Photo Ark Vanishing

photo arkAuthor: Joel Sartore

Publisher: National Geographic Society

Release Date: September 10, 2019

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

As always, National Geographic provides an information book with amazing pictures!

Broken into four main sections, National Geographic profiles animals that have gone extinct or are likely to go extinct.  The first section is labeled Ghosts and provides details and photos about when select animals were no longer seen by humans.  The next section is Disappearing which documents animals that are on the brink of extinction or classified as critically endangered on the Iucn Red List.  Fading provides a look at the animals that are classified as general endangered.  The last section labeled Dimming shows animals that have been labeled as vulnerable.  With incredible photos, stories, and incredible facts, this book is a must have for those interested in protecting our animal habitats.

The most appealing part of this book is the photos.  I love these type of books that I can sit down with my kids and go though the different photos of animals and explain to them what is happening to these creatures.  However, this book is so much more that just a picture book.  It gives the history of when and why certain animals went extinct as well as what is going on today with animals.  The facts surrounding these are incredible and sad at the same time.  I was blown away by how much I had learned in this and my kids are loving finding out more too.

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

The Only Skill That Matters

Only Skill that Matters

Author: Jonathan A. Levi

Publisher: Lioncrest Publishing

Release Date: August 27, 2019

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Learn the attributes to speed reading and retaining information.

 Jonathan Levi is known for the program SuperLearners, which is geared toward expanding memory and increasing reading speed.  The program has been very successful and isn’t focused on a specific subject, such as business, but is tailored toward the specific goal of the learner.  This could be learning a musical instrument, a new language, or even mathematics.  In Levi’s newest book, he describes the steps in the program to master this skill and explains the importance of each step.

 I’ve heard of the SuperLearners program but haven’t actually tried it out.  Reading this book gave the an inside look at the program and a shortened version of how to be successful.  I liked that Levi gave personal stories about why he was not initially successful with different personal endeavors and what he did differently to learn better.  There were several other personal stories of participants that include links to watch interviews.  The flow of the book was smooth, and paragraphs were broken up physically so that readers checking this out wouldn’t be intimated with less white space.  I like that he gives examples and references throughout so that readers can easily return to a section that they feel may need more attention.

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

Reclaim Your Happy Space

Fix Her UpperAuthors: Rhonda Rhea & Beth Duewel

Series: Fix Her Upper

Publisher: Bold Vision Books

Release Date: June 27, 2019

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Sometimes we all need a little help finding our happy space when life tries to hide it from us. Rhonda Rhea and Beth Duewel deliver a wonderful guide to help readers reclaim the happy that many haven’t even realize is lost.

If we are to find our joy in the Lord, why do we feel so down at times? Is your life in need of a renovation to find your lost happy and restore the joy when it seems all is lost? These questions and many more are answered in a way that will bring a smile to readers faces and show how to live your very best life. We were not meant to survive, we are meant to thrive with the Lord beside us. The authors of the previous Fix Her Upper books bring a new installment that is sure to excite readers and bring back the lost Happy!

I don’t know about you, but sometimes it is rather hard to be happy. Even when things are good, it can still be hard to believe it is okay to be happy. I absolutely loved the way this book showed me it was okay to be happy, we deserve to be happy. Our Father wants us to be Happy. Think about that for a minute, our Father in heaven truly wants us to be happy, that is the most wonderful thing of all. Rhonda describes it beautifully when she says, “It’s impossible to whine about the “robe of righteousness.” It’s borrowed from Christ. And though this whiny woman doesn’t deserve it, it fits perfectly.” We don’t deserve the mercy and goodness we receive, but we receive it nonetheless. Each chapter is laced with happy goodness and scripture that hits the point home that we have so many reasons to be happy. Along with scripture, both Rhonda and Beth deliver the message with such humor I found myself laughing out loud at times and praising God for the happy moments of reading these words and taking to heart what was written within. At times it really can be hard to be happy, life is tough and sometimes the darkness can seem overwhelming. During those times, we need to remember these resources we have at our fingertips to bring the happy back to the forefront. I recommend this book to everyone!  No matter what you are going through, look to this book to help you find something to be happy about and remember how much the Father loves us all.

Powerful Prayers for your Son

Power prayers

Authors: Rob & Joanna Teigen

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: April 16, 2019

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A wonderful tool for all parents of boys as they grow and go through the difficult times life will throw their way.

 As parents we always want to pray for our kids. Sometimes finding the right prayer can be difficult. Rob and Joanna Teigen write that even when we as parents don’t understand our son doesn’t mean God doesn’t understand what they are going through and what they need. This book offers prayers for many different situations and even stories from parents going through hard times, how they prayed for their kids and what God did to answer those prayers. Also included are sections that explain what is important for boys to learn as they grow and how parents can pray for the lives of their children

 I absolutely loved reading this book. I have two young boys and constantly want to pray the right things for them. In the day and age, we are living in a time when there is so much bad in the world that our kids are exposed to, we need to be on guard and pray constantly. I loved the areas with Prayer Stories that gave good examples of what some parents have gone through and how they prayed for their son and how God answered those prayers, even if it wasn’t exactly what they prayed for. Even when we don’t know the right words to pray for our children, if we will call out to God He will answer our prayers in the way He knows is right; it may not always be what we think is right but later if we look back we will see how right it truly is. Certain sections really resonated with me as I see my son going through those tough times and wonder if I am doing enough for him and want him to seek God and hope I am setting the right example.  The payers don’t have to be long, they are just enough to say what is on the heart, that we love our children and truly want what is best for them.  I recommend this book to parents of kids young and old.  We should never stop praying for our kids and can always use more resources to add to our arsenal for them.

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

Eat, Live, Thrive Diet

eatAuthor: Danna Demetre & Robyn Thomson

Publisher: Waterbrook Press

Release Date: March 26, 2019

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

For midlife women looking to help get their health back on track comes a book that will explain why women gain weight as they age and give tools to fight back.

Eat, Live, Thrive Diet is a book written to help show women how they can lose the extra body fat they have accumulated and improve overall health as they age. Included is an eating plan written by two very experienced health coaches who give their own personal examples of battling weight loss and emotional eating. This is not a short-lived diet, but a long-term lifestyle change for those needing it.  One point the book makes is the dangers that can be found in many of the fad diets that are so popular today.

Eat, Live, Thrive Diet is an in-depth look at how your body can change, as you get older. The book explores several different phases of eliminating certain food groups from your diet that can help you feel your best. One of the things I liked about their approach was saying that not everything would work for every individual.  Our bodies are all different and we will react in different ways to cutting out or adding foods or supplements.  The charts are very helpful to readers wondering what to cut out and when. I personally am not a huge fan of the Keto diet and appreciate how this book shows the difference in their approach to Keto and other fad diets on the market today. I have always tried to live with the motto of everything in moderation. With that being said, there are several things that I do believe have no place in our bodies; sodas are at the top of my list, diet or regular, I see no need to put that in our bodies. I gave up drinking sodas when I was about 13 and have had no desire to pick them up since. If we can make sure and stay hydrated by drinking water, our bodies will thank us. Sometimes when we think we are hungry it is really our bodies saying we are thirsty. Danna and Robyn both do a great job of giving examples into their own lives with the changes they are proposing so readers can see a firsthand example of what they might be experiencing. The last section of the book provides readers with recipes for meals that will stay within the guidelines and be enjoyable to eat for the whole family. For the most part this isn’t a meal plan you can follow if you are a picky eater, but if you are willing to branch out and try new things you might be surprised how good it can make you feel. I recommend this to any midlife readers looking to kick start their metabolism and change their life.

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

God’s Favor

Gods favor

Author: Gary Wilkerson

Publisher: Chosen Books

Release Date: February 19, 2019

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

When it can seem hard to find God’s favor in your life, that is when we need to look deeper to see all that we take for granted and thank God for all that he does that we might not even realize.

 As Christians we want to find favor from God. The problem is we can easily take for granted all that we are favored with and don’t even realize.  Pastor Gary Wilkerson gives us a more in-depth picture of what it really means to find God’s favor. Even when we don’t see it, God is pouring out his blessings, forgiveness, restoration, joy, peace, and so much more in our lives. By God pouring out this favor on us, we can in turn show his love and favor to family and friends. God’s favor isn’t meant to end with us, there is a whole wide world out there waiting to experience all God has to offer.

 When things are going well, it is easy to thank God for his favor and blessings. When things are not so great, that’s a different story. In this book, Wilkerson shows us in scripture how to look beneath the trouble we see and find a deeper blessing in the hard times. We are never promised a trouble free life if we believe, but we are promised that God will be with us through the good times and the bad. I have found lately that we must take these bad times for all they are worth and use them to help us appreciate the good times even more. One of my favorite lines in the book is at the beginning, “When things go south know that God is up to something!”  When it is hardest to see God working for us is when He is fighting the hardest to bring us what is best for us. It may not be exactly what we want, but that’s ok, it will be even better than we could have imagined if we will just remember who He is. God loves us and wants us to feel his favor, he is never against us and we can relish in the fact that He is always at work FOR us! I recommend this book especially to anyone going through a hard time finding God’s favor in their life and needing reassurance of His love.

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

Top 2019 Nonfiction

Moving onto our next category, here are our top picks for nonfiction.  Ranging from fitness to espionage, these are sure to be must reads.

breaking cover1. Breaking Cover by Michele Rigby Assad

Personal stories from an ex-CIA operative coupled with a faith basis made this our top pick for the year.  Grab a copy while you still can.

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Tunnels2. The Tunnels by Greg Mitchell

With a descriptive,  yet informative narrative about the initial weeks after the Berlin wall went up, this read more like a fast paced fiction novel.  Such an educational novel to those that don’t really know the history behind the wall.

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

 

 

Mothers book of blessing3. A Mother’s Book of Blessings

With inspirational stories at every turn, this book really knows how to lift mothers up.

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

 

The Spartan Way4. The Spartan Way by Joe De Sena

Spartan up!  Aroo!  This book will entice you to get off the couch and change your life.  With plenty of Spartan Race stories, this will get you energized for the new year!

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

 

 

SOTT5. The Spirit of the Trail by Carrie Morgridge

Another great inspirational read that will set your new year off right.  This book accounts a day by day trek of bike riding the continental divide!

Read the full review here.