Saturday, January 14, 2017

Chasing Slow: Courage to Journey Off the Beaten Path By Erin Loechner Review



Chasing Slow: Courage to Journey Off the Beaten Path

Before age 30, Erin Loechner built a fan base of more than 1 million online and earned the title “the nicest girl online.” Through a series of steep climbs—her husband’s brain tumor, bankruptcy, family loss and public criticism—the former HGTV.com personality shares how she found the strength to surrender it all.

 Her newfound clarity and freedom will refresh readers’ perspectives, renew priorities and shift focuses to the journey that matters most. Loechner shares her journey away from fast, fame and frenzy to a new-fashioned lifestyle of less. Less want, more contentment. Less busy, more rest. Less pressure, more happiness. Less striving, more acceptance. Less fast, more slow and how she found God in the everyday rhythms of life.

I recevied a complimentary copy.

Cassandra's Review- The author lays it out as far as feelings, realness and heart in her pages.  You go on a life journey in a few pages, but take so much more from finishing it.   It is a combined grace and rawness for the readers in a way that will bring simple down to a level of understanding in clarity.  It will overtake you spiritually and mentally in a good direction.

Craving Connection: 30 Challenges for Real-Life Engagement Review

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Craving Connection: 30 Challenges for Real-Life Engagement 

We all long for meaningful relationships, the Colossians 3:14 kind that fulfill our desire for unity and connection with God, our friends, and our community.

But where do we start? Craving Connection is a journey with (in)courage writers sharing real-life stories, practical Scripture application, and connection challenges that will encourage readers.

The (in)courage community invites you to grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair to the table, and commit to creatively and prayerfully fulfilling your cravings for connection. How could your life be different after prayerfully and intentionally connecting with God, friends, and your community.



About the Author:

At (in)courage you are welcome to a place of faith, connection and friendship, where you will always find yourself among friends. Founded in 2009 by DaySpring, the Christian subsidiary of Hallmark Cards, Inc., the vision for (in)courage was to create a new home for the hearts of women, where women take turns pulling up a chair to share their stories of what Jesus looks like in their everyday, gloriously ordinary, and often messy lives. Since then, (in)courage has grown into a vibrant community that reaches thousands of women every day, welcoming them just the way they are, offering a space to breathe, loving support, and resources for meaningful connection.

Crystal Stine serves as editor of this (in)courage series. A self-proclaimed "accidental community builder," Crystal is a coffee & chocolate loving, full-time working mama married to her high-school sweetheart. Crystal is passionate about cultivating a community where faith, fitness, and friendship come together. Author of "Creative Basics: 30 Days to Awesome Social Media Art," she is a speaker and host of Write 31 Days. Crystal writes regularly at crystalstine.me and offers encouragement on Twitter and Instagram as @crystalstine and lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, Matt, and daughter, Madison.


I received a complimentary copy.

Cassandra's Review- This is a book that you can easily sit with or discuss and share, while still getting so much from it.  It soaks your spirit and encourages positivity.   The stories are real and heart tugging.  Everyone can get something from reading this, but it may be a different experience for every reader.

Beyond Mars and Venus By John Gray Review



Beyond Mars and Venus: The Power of Evolutionary Relationships

For more than twenty years, John Gray’s Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus has helped couples deepen their intimacy and rejuvenate their love lives. Men and women, it revealed, communicate so differently, we might as well be from different planets. By learning to speak each other’s language, millions of people dramatically improved, even saved, their relationships.

But the world has changed.

Today, what it means to be a man or a woman is more nuanced and complex than ever. Both men and women are moving beyond stereotypes and embracing their true natures—with important implications for today’s relationships.

In Beyond Mars and Venus, Gray provides a more modern look at the keys to healthy relationships. As the roles of men and women evolve, relationships must evolve as well. Beyond Mars and Venus takes the Mars-Venus framework to the next level, helping readers to take their relationship to a more profound level of intimacy.

Through real-life examples and simple exercises, Beyond Mars and Venus shows you how to bring you and your partner closer than ever before.

I received a complimentary copy.

Cassandra's Review- The book is deep and delves even further into relationships.   It is a more updated version of an original book.  The author has strong knowledge and obvious research under his belt and that shines through in the wording.   While some might find this a bit too harsh for its newer outlook on relationships, this is a book that will help to open eyes and minds.

Baa! Oink! Moo! God Made The Animals By Rhonda Gowler Greene Review

9780310752271, Baa! Oink! Moo! God Made the Animals, Rhonda Gowler Greene

Baa! Oink! Moo! God Made the Animals, written by award-winning author Rhonda Gowler Greene and illustrated by David Walker, is set on a farm and follows a conversation between a mother and child as the child repeatedly asks "Mama, who made . . . ?"

In the end, children learn that God is responsible for creating sheep, cows, pigs, horses, goats––all the animals on the farm… including puppies! Together, parents and children will discover the wonder of God’s creation when they open Baa! Oink! Moo! God Made the Animals.

I received a complimentary copy.

Cassandra's review - Each page has beautiful illustrations and a very short rhyme about each animal.  This is a faith filled book that teaches the creations and love of God.   Because it is so short you can easily read it during bath time or bedtime to your little treasure and pass on the great joy of God's work.

Black, White, Other In Search Of Nina Armstrong By Joan Steinau Lester Review

9780310761518

Identity Crisis.

As a biracial teen, Nina is accustomed to a life of varied hues—mocha-colored skin, ringed brown hair streaked with red, a black father, a white mother. When her parents decide to divorce, the rainbow of Nina’s existence is reduced to a much starker reality. Shifting definitions and relationships are playing out all around her, and new boxes and lines seem to be drawn every day.

Between the fractures within her family and the racial tensions splintering her hometown, Nina feels caught in perpetual battle. Stranded in a nowhere land of ethnic boundaries, and struggling for personal independence and identity, Nina turns to the story of her great-great-grandmother’s escape from slavery in hopes of finding her own compass to help navigate the challenges before her.

http://www.zondervan.com/black-white-other-3


I recevied a complimentary copy

Cassandra's review- It is so real to read this book, I could not believe it was fiction.  The characters are written to life and the story is mixed with intense emotion.  I would recommend it for mature teens who can handle the very real situations.   The book could bring up a few discussion points that would make it useful for study or youth groups.

Dark Sons By Nikki Grimes Review

9780310761501

This Coretta Scott King Honor book for young adults from New York Times bestselling and award-winning author Nikki Grimes tells the dual stories of Sam, a teen whose dad leaves him and his mother for another woman, and Ishmael, the son of Abraham, who must deal with a different type of rejection when Isaac arrives.

A guy whose father ripped his heart out too.

You and me, Ishmael, we’re brothers, two dark sons.


Destroyed, lost, and isolated, the perspectives of two teenage boys—modern-day Sam, and biblical Ishmael—unite over millennia to illustrate the power of forgiveness.


I received a complimentary copy.

Cassandra's Review-  There is a strong sadness as well as inspiration in the writing of this book. It pairs two great stories in a way that may help some teens cope.  It is a longer read for a teen, but I feel like it is worth it because the author opens eyes and hearts with her words.


A Girl Named Mister By Nikki Grimes Review

9780310761464

Mary Rudine, called Mister by almost everyone, has attended church and sung in the choir for as long as she can remember. But then she meets Trey. His long lashes and smooth words make her question everything, and one mistake leaves her hiding a growing secret.

Another Mary is excited about her upcoming wedding, and has done everything according to Jewish law. So when an angel appears and tells her—a virgin—she’ll give birth, Mary can’t help but feel confused, and soon finds herself struggling with the realities of God’s blessing.

While feeling abandoned, Mister is drawn to Mary’s story, and through reading begins to understand the future laid before her.


I received a complimentary copy.

Cassandra's Review-  I have never had a lot of luck with deep poetry, so this book was a bit distracting because it is a story in poem form.  While it does make it super simple to put down in between poems, I felt that picking back up was kind of a challenge and getting through it was a bit dragged about.    This is more for older teens and adults in my opinion because any age younger does not need to hear it and most may not understand it.

Light Up New York By Natalie Grant Review

9780310752745, Light Up New York, Natalie Grant

Join twins Mia and Maddie and their sidekick little sister, Lulu, as they travel the country finding adventure, mystery, and sometimes mischief along the way. Together with their famous mother, singer Gloria Glimmer, and their slightly wacky nanny Miss Julia, the sisters learn lessons about being good friends, telling the truth, and a whole lot more.

In this fourth book in the Faithgirlz Glimmer Girls series, the Glimmer family is headed to the Big Apple—New York City! Gloria has been asked to perform a concert in Times Square and the whole family joins her. Miss Julia immediately starts planning a sightseeing trip for the sisters that will be better than all the rest, but plans never turn out exactly as they imagine when the Glimmer girls are involved. So what happens when sibling rivalry, random acts of kindness, and a little mystery all meet up at some of the most famous sights in New York City?

I received a complimentary copy.

Cassandra's Review-  The book is going to be great for girls, because it inspires them as well as shares a good feeling or two.  It is well written in a way that will connect while placing positive thoughts into your child's reading.   The book is a part of a series and it was also able to be read as a standalone.

Talk Yourself Happy By Kristi Watts Review

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Former cohost of The 700 Club Kristi Watts reveals the pitfalls that keep Christians from true joy and demonstrates the transformational power of speaking the words and promises of God.


How does a person bounce back after being beaten down personally, professionally, and emotionally? What impact do words, thoughts, and beliefs have in determining one’s level of happiness? Kristi Watts asked herself these questions after her marriage dissolved and she left a high-profile position as a cohost of The 700 Club. Initially excited to walk into a new season of life that she thought held the key to happiness, she soon stumbled into emotional pitfalls that left her discouraged, disappointed, and distant from God. Known as the upbeat host who was always filled with joy and laughter, she was anything but—yet she was determined to get her happy back! But how? By learning, as Kristi did, that true happiness is not simply acquired but rather cultivated.


When one’s words focus on faulty perspectives, faith is quickly derailed, but by remembering God’s blessings and verbally claiming His promises, hearts change. Using biblical principles, Talk Yourself Happy illustrates the importance of relying on God to tame our tongues and train our minds, and it exposes the hidden traps that keep Christians from living lives of happiness, empowering readers with the ultimate transformation of their hearts.

I recevied a complimentary copy.

Cassandra's Review-  Using God as a tool to happiness?  Immersing in faith to uplift you?  This book will share a connection for you and let you as a reader feel deep in your heart this author's story.   I would recommend this to anyone on the downside of life that would like a pick back up.