Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Encouraging and Motivating for Any Wife | Review of The Leader's Wife

Review Tour Organized by JustRead Publicity

About the Book (from Ambassador International)

As a woman leading a life of influence, you may find yourself without sufficient clarity or equipping for the challenges you face. For many, the role of wife of a leader is one thrust upon, rather than chosen. For others, it is a responsibility embraced but no less complicated to navigate. In either case, as one sharing a journey with a world-changer, this book is for you.

Debby Thompson has spent decades of listening to the voices of tried and tested women, and her experiences have instilled a sense of urgency in her to pass on the insights she has gleaned. Within The Leader’s Wife, she addresses some of the most difficult questions facing wives of leaders. With vulnerability and candor, Debby speaks from her own mistakes and discoveries.

The Leader’s Wife offers not a job description but a GPS. It is a blueprint without how-to’s and ought-to’s for igniting within you what the Creator has already designed. The biblical teaching, personal stories, and hard-won lessons Debby communicates will guide and empower you to live with eternal intentionality.

The Leader’s Wife encourages women to pursue
  • intimacy with Jesus
  • authenticity with others
  • a passion for their calling
  • a purpose for their influence

Available now as a Kindle ebook
Releases May 11, 2018 in paperback

My Rating


My Review

The Leader's Wife is an encouraging and motivating read for any wife who desires to follow Jesus in her marriage and all of life. While the author speaks to those who have the specific challenges of loving and working alongside a leader in Christian ministry, she offers lessons that can speak to every believer.

While the structure of the book doesn't feel entirely cohesive, there are a lot of helpful thoughts in here, especially pertaining to a wife's identity and relationship with Jesus. Debby shares a bit of her own experiences as a woman who married a leader and left behind family and her home country to serve as a missionary with her husband. I appreciate the way she shares about some of the challenges, along with the truths she had to accept in following God's will and trusting Him.

In some ways, I feel like the writing and subjects could have gone deeper, perhaps more detailed or more emotionally engaging. (I also admit I'm a little uncomfortable with what feels like "loose" or light treatment of the term "covenant" regarding commitments made within marriage.) Some of the concepts are things you'd find covered in other Christian marriage books, such as the importance of date night and sex, but there is an overall context of the unique struggles of a marriage in the spotlight...and how a leader's wife can feel separated from others, jealous when "sharing" her husband, or unsure of her own role.

Some of the lines I highlighted included thoughts on trusting God and prioritizing time with Him, as well as choosing to have a right view of your active role alongside your husband. There are great reminders and interesting glimpses into the lives of past leaders' wives in this book, with an emphasis on following Jesus above all as you strive to honor Him in your marriage.

*With thanks to Ambassador International through JustRead Publicity for providing me with a complimentary e-ARC of this book.*

Friday, April 20, 2018

Prepare a Cup of Tea for Sense and Sensibility! | Read-Along Invitation

Let's enjoy some delightful spring reading together, friends! I'd love to have you join me in reading and discussing Sense & Sensibility. This will complete our read-alongs for the main books of Jane Austen (started back in 2015), which is both exciting and bittersweet. ♥ But I so look forward to savoring this book for the first time and exchanging thoughts with you!

If I calculated correctly, the days and chapter numbers fit perfectly for this time period (woohoo!). Here are the details:
  • The read-along will take place May 1-25.
  • We'll read 2 chapters per day.
  • The discussions will take place on Fridays. We'll discuss Volume I on May 11, Volume II on May 18, and Volume III on May 25. 
  • Use the hashtag #SASReadAlong on Twitter to share in-the-moment thoughts and favorite quotes. 
Prepare your teacups and cozy reading nooks, for another read-along is about to begin!

(Past Jane Austen read-alongs: Persuasion, Northanger Abbey, EmmaPride & Prejudice, and Mansfield Park)

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

A Fascinating Look at Faith and Second Chances | Review of Arms of Mercy

About the Book (from Zondervan)

He lost her once to a rash decision. 
He will not lose her again.

On the eve of a new year, Catherine Glick is expecting her bu of five years to propose. Instead, the unexpected arrival of an old boyfriend, Elijah, sends her life spiraling out of control. When a rash decision damages her current relationship, Catherine leaves for Florida to work in her cousin’s bakery—anything to flee the source of her shame.

Elijah Graber knows he hurt Catherine when he left their Amish district six years ago. He’s determined to explain his actions, even if it means following her to Florida. Perhaps their two-day bus trip together will provide enough time for him to make his case and win her back.

Just when Elijah is starting to tear down the walls Catherine has built, their bus skids on an icy road—and amid the mayhem and tragedy that follow, Catherine disappears. Elijah’s friends urge him to prepare for the worst, but Elijah holds on to his hope in God and refuses to give up his search for Catherine. With supernatural nudging from the most unexpected places, Elijah sets out to find the love he once lost—no matter the cost.

Releases June 5, 2018!

My Rating


My Review

The first half or so of this story had me really engaged! Elijah and Catherine are interesting characters with a complicated past and conflicting feelings. Knowing the book's description from the get-go, there was an added layer of tension for me, wondering when and how the huge plot twist would arrive.

In that first half, the pacing was excellent, and there was a building sense of dread as things went from bad to worse. I wanted to know what would happen next and how things would turn out for Elijah and Catherine.

But I confess the second half of the book didn't grip me in the same way. The middle, while crucial to establishing new realities and difficult challenges, felt somewhat dragged out, and then the very end felt a bit abrupt, lacking a strong emotional pull and being too neatly resolved.

I've read one other book by this author (A Woodland Miracle) and really enjoyed it, and I think she has a great writing style! And while I'm personally a little uncomfortable with too much emphasis on angels, I think the author does a great job in this story by balancing the work of angels (and fellow believers) with honoring God above all (and showing the characters praying to Him and seeking Him).

Even though this book as a whole didn't end up being a favorite of mine, I still really appreciate the author's unique plots for Amish fiction. This one did intrigue me overall, even if the pacing felt off in the second half. Arms of Mercy takes a fascinating look at faith, life before and after tragedy, and second chances.

*With thanks to Zondervan through NetGalley for providing me with a complimentary e-ARC of this book.*

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: All About Audio

For this week's Top Ten Tuesday, we have a freebie topic—whatever we'd like to feature! I'm going with audiobooks. I've revived my Audible account so I can get some new audiobooks over the next few months, as I'm going to have a decent commute to my part-time summer job once that starts. :) So I'm going to share some faves and wish-list titles, but I'd also love to know what you'd recommend!

Currently listening to...

Narrated by Laura Knight Keating

I'm almost 40% through this book, and I'm thinking I'll stick with it! I've given up or set aside various audiobooks, but I'm mostly liking the narrator's voice for this one, which bodes well. The sister relationships are sweet and authentic, and the premise of private love letters being unknowingly sent out is interesting. An adaptation of the book is supposedly coming to Netflix in August! So far there has been a bit of crude language and innuendo, and I'm hoping that's the main extent of the rough content.

I enjoyed listening to...

#2 My Own Mr. Darcy by Karey White
Narrated by Heidi Baker

This is the last audiobook I finished, and I really enjoyed it! Here's my review:

The narrator (Heidi Baker) did a great job; her voice is sweet and enjoyable to listen to. She really seems to capture Elizabeth's voice and personality. It's like listening to a friend. But I think she did a great job with the guys too! The story is what you'd want and expect from a clean contemporary romance, with some drama and angst, an interesting love triangle, and some great characters and scenes. One thing I love about the books I've read by Karey White is the places she chooses to feature and how she describes them. It's like taking a tour while having a fun story unfold around you.

#3 It Took a War by Emily Ann Putzke
Narrated by Guyon Brandt

I received a digital copy of this audiobook from the author for review, and I thought the performance fit perfectly with the story! Here's a snippet from my review on Audible:

I was truly impressed with the presentation of this story as an audiobook! The narrator did a phenomenal job, even singing songs from the American Civil War era a capella (and pulling it off quite wonderfully!). This is a well-researched tale, one that provides an endearing glimpse into a family struggling to find themselves and understand one another through the difficulties of war. In a little over three hours, it's like experiencing an epic play outside the theater. All you need to do is pause halfway through for an intermission. :)

#4 Legend by Marie Lu
Narrated by Mariel Stern and Steven Kaplan

I believe I bought and listened to this one through iTunes when I was in college, and I remember loving the narration. Having the two narrators really drew me in to the dystopian, tension-filled world. Great listening!

#5 How a Star Falls by Amber Stokes
Narrated by Patrick Wilson Mahaney

Shameless self-promotion alert! This is an audiobook version of one of my inspirational contemporary romance novellas. :) I was absolutely thrilled with the narrator's work, and I'm so glad he was willing to take on this project. He brought Derrick to life! While I'd love to do more audiobooks someday, if it doesn't happen for a long time or ever, I'm just so grateful for this one.

I might like to listen to...

#6 Christy by Catherine Marshall
Narrated by Kellie Martin

Confession: I haven't read Christy all the way through yet. I've started it before, but haven't finished it, which is sad! I have a paperback copy, but the main reason I put the audio version on my wish list is because it's read by actress Kellie Martin, the one who played Christy in the TV show (and did an amazing job!). How delightful would it be to listen to her read the book? I believe I heard about the audiobook through one of the marketing videos for the new hard copy edition from Gilead Publishing. 

#7 Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller
Narrated by Marisa Calin

I've been seeing this book online and around the blogosphere, and it sounds/looks so cool! I do love pirate stories, and I wouldn't mind giving this audiobook a try. :) 

#8 The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers
Narrated by Susan Bennett

This is another book that's been talked about a lot, given the author. The audiobook seems to have great reviews, and I like that it's nearly 16 hours, so it would last for a little while and help pass the time on some car rides. ;)

#9 Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist
Narrated by Shauna Niequist

Not too long ago, I read another book by this author on my Kindle: Bread and Wine. I believe Present Over Perfect was a huge bestseller when it hit shelves, and given that I enjoyed the other book (and this topic sounds very meaningful and relevant), I'd be interested in giving this one a try. It's neat that the author narrated the audio version!

#10 The Problim Children by Natalie Lloyd
Narrated by Cassandra Morris

This author's middle-grade books are the sweetest! I've read A Snicker of Magic and the The Key to Extraordinary, and I might like to try this one sometime—perhaps in audio format.

* * *

Which audiobooks have been your favorites?
Which ones are you really eager to try?

Friday, April 13, 2018

Where Trains Collide | Blog Tour Invitation

I've shared the news on social media, but in case you haven't heard...I finally finished Where Trains Collide! You might recall that I revealed the cover back in February 2015, and I posted about some inspiration in September 2015 when I stayed at the Heceta Head Lighthouse Bed-and-Breakfast. It really shouldn't have taken three years to finish such a short novella, but perhaps the story needed me to gain some new experiences in the meantime. :)

In any case, I'm so excited to invite you to join the blog tour! If you don't have a blog but would still like to review the ebook on Amazon and/or Goodreads or share about the novella on social media, you're welcome to sign up too!

Thank you so much for your support, friends. ♥ More to come soon!

About the Book

Two hearts racing in different directions will meet where trains collide. 

Burned out and disillusioned with her chosen career path, Trisha Knolane gives in to impulse and hops on a train bound for Oregon, eager to escape the stress of college for a few days. But what begins as a fun little adventure takes an unexpected turn when she discovers that her ex-boyfriend is also on board.

All her hopes and dreams had once centered on Paul Benson. Now, when Trisha doesn't know where her current track will lead, Paul’s reappearance in her life only complicates matters and sparks difficult questions.

Questions that could change the course of her life.

A heartfelt and thought-provoking contemporary romance novella, Where Trains Collide faces the uncertain season of new adulthood head on and shows that sometimes a path of broken dreams can lead to life’s best destination.

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