Like Mother Like Daughter

Christmas this year was wonderful as usual. Church, family, love, presents, joy combined to make precious memories. Another "as usual" was my daughter's wish list: books, books, and more books. She received 37 new books this year- mostly young adult fantasy/dystopia.

I got 11-all Christian Fiction! I asked for some of my old favorites to have a keepers.
Lynn Austin's Chronicles of the Kings series, Ted Dekker's Circle series (and to add to that The 49th Mystic and Rise of the Mystics, which I haven't read yet).

 I also received an Amazon Gift Card, so I'm looking for some recommendations for what other books need added to my shelf!!  What were your favorites last year OR what are you looking forward to reading this year?

I would especially LOVE recommendations that my daughter (13 year old, reads at adult level) and I could enjoy together. As mentioned above, she enjoys fantasy, dystopian, and humorous books. 



New Growth Press’ Spirit of Giving Children’s Book Giveaway

Who doesn’t love giving and getting books for Christmas? (If you don’t, we may need to have a talk!)

Books are a great gift, especially for children. Not only do we want to encourage the love of reading and give them stories they will enjoy, we want to provide teaching moments. Plus giving little ones new books is really a gift to the parents as well. They need a break from the same old bedtime stories.

You don’t have to be a parent to buy for kids, you know! Maybe you have grandkids, nieces, nephews, neighbors, or want to bless some children from church.

New Growth Press is jumping into the gift giving season by giving away THREE children’s book gift boxes (retail value of $125 each). All of their children’s books are beautifully illustrated, entertaining, teach a lesson, and most importantly, are biblically based!

From November 19-25, you can enter to win one of three children’s gift boxes.

Each gift box includes five of New Growth Press’ new children’s releases and two of their best sellers:

This playful children’s book serves as a beginner’s theology book for young readers who love numbers and patterns. By discovering numbers in God’s world and in his Word, parents help their children foster a deeper love and knowledge of who God is and how he counts them as his. With countable illustrations and an easy-to-learn structure, children who are always seeking, finding, tracing, and counting numbers will be captivated by God Counts.

These three books are a part of the Good News for Little Hearts series. This is a new series of hardback, illustrated children’s books for three-to eight-year-olds—each centered on an animal family. The animal characters, colorful illustrations, and the real-life issues each animal family face will captivate children. The first three books address anxiety, anger, and failure, bringing biblical counsel and hope to issues every child faces. Together children and parents will be guided by the stories into meaningful conversations about living by faith in everyday life.

God Made Me and You invites kids to explore God’s design for ethnic diversity. Because Scripture teaches that ethnic diversity is not something that should be tolerated but rather enthusiastically embraced, Christian hip hop artist Shai Linne helps children, parents, and caregivers to celebrate this biblical truth through a lyrical, rhyming style and colorful illustrations.

God Made All of Me is an invaluable resource and beautifully illustrated story to help families talk about sensitive issues with two- to eight-year-old children. This helpful guide starts from the fundamental truth that God created everything and applies that truth to kids and their bodies. With the help of God Made All of Me, parents and caregivers can begin conversations with boys and girls about their bodies, navigating a discussion that can so easily be warped into confusion, embarrassment, and secrecy.

The Radical Book for Kids is a fun-filled explorer’s guide to the Bible, church history, and life for boys and girls ages eight and up. Vibrantly illustrated and chock-full of fun facts and ideas, this interactive book competes with screen time by stimulating children’s natural curiosity and sense of adventure! Along with the many fun and exciting stories of historical figures, young and old readers alike will learn about the roots of our faith and the importance of the gospel in our lives.

In case you don’t win the prize pack, sign-up for New Growth Press’ e-news at https://newgrowthpress.com/ to receive information about their Countdown to Christmas discounts so that you can order copies. Be sure to follow them on social media as well where they will be sharing daily deals throughout the Christmas season (facebook.com/ngpbooks | twitter.com/newgrowthpress | instagram.com/newgrowthpress).


No Less Days by Amanda G Stevens

Amanda G. Stevens is a new to me author. Browsing at one of the closest brick and mortar bookstore we've got (40 minutes from my house) I stumbled across No Less Days.  The cover drew my attention and the description was intriguing so I added it to my pile!
Here is the description from the back of the book:
How many lifetimes can God expect one man to live? Over a century old, David Galloway isolates himself childfrom the mortal humans who die or desert him by making a quiet life as a used bookstore owner in Northern Michigan But then he spots a news article about a man who, like him, should be dead. 
Daredevil celebrity Zachary Wilson walked away unscathed from what should have been a deadly fall. David tracks the man down, needing answers. Soon David discovers a close-knit group of individuals as old as he is who offers the sort of kinship and community he hasn't experienced for decades--but at what cost?
David finds himself keeping secrets other than his own...protecting more than himself alone. He'll have to decide what's worth the most to him--security or community. When crimes come to light that are older than any mortal, he fears the pressure is more than he can stand. What does God require of him, and is David strong enough to see it through?
 Driven by a unique plotline with interesting characters and an unexpected plot twist, I finished this one quickly. Once done, I took the time to think about how I would deal with not being able to die, so much to learn and see but also losing everyone that I love over and over again. I found some of the character development happened a little fast, but overall I would give this book 3.5-4 stars. I will pass it on with good recommendations.


The Spirit of God Illustrated Bible

God’s Spirit is living among God’s people.
He always was, always is, and always will be.
These are the stories that tell about him and what he does.

The Spirit of God Illustrated Bible, written by Doris Rikkers and illustrated by Fernando Juarez, presents over 40 Bible stories from the old and new testaments that show how God’s Spirit has been with his people from the beginning of time. Keep reading to learn more about this new release from ZonderKidz!

You can also enter to win a copy of The Spirit of God Illustrated Bible and other awesome kids' releases in a giveaway hosted by Read with Audra. Details below!

Would you like to win your own copy of
The Spirit of God Illustrated Bible?

Win a children's book prize pack from Read with Audra!

The prize pack includes a copy of:

Spirit of God Illustrated Bible
Adventure Bible Book of Daring Deeds and Epic Creations
NIV Kids Visual Study Bible
Explorer's Bible Guide
Words to Love By
Love Letters from God 

About the book:

The Spirit of God Illustrated Bible brings to life more than 40 Bible stories that help readers understand that God’s Spirit has been with us since the beginning of time and continues to be with us today. From the glory of creation through the powerful letters of Paul, God’s Spirit is living in his people. Old and New Testament stories such as Adam and Eve, Abraham, Joseph, the Baptism of Jesus, and Pentecost come alive with dramatic illustrations by Fernando Juarez and moving text by Doris Rikkers. With a cover that sparkles and shines with foil, this is a special storybook Bible that will appeal to both children and parents alike.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
If I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
If I settle on the far side of the sea,
Even there your hand will guide me,
Your right hand will hold me fast.
~ Psalm 139: 7–10

About the author and illustrator:

Doris Wynbeek Rikkers is a freelance writer and editor who has written many bestselling children’s books and Bibles. Although she loves the ocean, she lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan, surrounded by her books, her flower gardens, and her family and friends.

Spanish artist Fernando Juarez illustrates children’s books and also works as an art supervisor at the Madrid studio Ilion Animation. The company produces 3D feature films for children. Fernando has three kids himself, and if he has any time left after work and family, you might catch him playing guitar in a rock band.

My Thoughts:
 I love the premise of this Bible. Frances Chan has a book called The Forgotten God, about the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately that label is all too true today. The role of the Holy Spirit is so often overlooked or forgotten, and I believe that is especially true with kids. Some of the stories chosen for this Bible Story book are not necessarily the typical ones that you see in every other Kid's Picture Bible. They all focus on stories where the Holy Spirit is named as an active participant. 

 My one complaint is that I don't necessarily like that it seems the Spirit is depicted as smoke-like wisps across most of the pages. I feel like that takes away from who He is, and is inaccurate in that we do not always see smoke when the Holy Spirit is alive and working in and around us. 

What I love is that this Bible opens the door to wonderful conversation with your children about the Spirit's role in our everyday lives. It is an important topic to teach and nurture in your children. I know I want my children to know and be open to the Spirit's promptings and work as He counsels and equips us to love and follow Christ. 


Welcome to Kingdom Come Series Blog Tour and giveaway, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!


Dangerous to Know

I haven't finished this book yet. I started it yesterday and am 2/3rd of the way through. I have to admit that I am enjoying it. I am not a huge fan of the cover. I don't read a ton of straight romances and I find the image a little cheesy. My husband actually teased me about it; however the expression "don't judge a book by its cover" is valid here. If I had not been offered a copy to review, I may not have picked up this book and that would have been a mistake.
Now, since I haven't finished it yet, I can't vouch for a good ending, but I am crossing my fingers. Where I am now, poor Isabella Bankmill is surely headed for disaster. It is midnight and my book is still open on my lap. I had to set it aside to post my review because it was due today! 

Dangerous to Know is a quick read that stirs emotions and questions and has kept me turning pages. I am looking forward to seeing how Isabella handles the dilemma in which she finds herself. While I did find some of the relationships/feelings in the story seemed a little contrived, I am rooting for Izabella to make the right decision and rely on the Lord to lead her in that decision. I would recommend this book to others, probably giving in 3/5 stars, and I am planning to check out Megan Whitson Lee's other books via her website at www.meganwhitsonlee.com

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 



Either my comments are not working or no one wants a copy of Charles Martin's A Long Way Gone. My guess is you already have it, because Martin is a fabulous author, and this book looks so good.

My new giveaway this week is Rachel Hauck's The Wedding Chapel! This is another one that sounded so good to me that I purchased in twice. Tells you something about me, doesn't it?

How many of you buy books from Ollie's? I have left that store a couple of times with no books and been devastated that I couldn't find any I wanted because usually I need extra time to reduce my stack to a manageable pile! Anyway, here is your chance to win a free brand new copy of The Wedding Chapel. Just comment below for a chance.
Here is the synopsis from Amazon: 

A lonely wedding chapel built as a tribute to lost love just might hold the long-awaited secret to hope and reconciliation.
For sixty years, the wedding chapel has stood silent and empty. Retired football hall-of-famer Jimmy “Coach” Westbrook built the chapel by hand, stone by stone, for his beautiful and beloved Collette Greer, whom he lost so many years ago. The chapel is a sanctuary for his memories, a monument to true love, and a testament to his survival of the deepest pain and loss.
Photographer Taylor Branson left her hometown of Heart’s Bend, Tennessee, to make a new life for herself in New York. She had lots to run away from, not least of all a family history of broken promises and broken dreams. Love catches Taylor off guard when she falls for Jack Forester, a successful advertising executive, and their whirlwind romance leads to an elopement—then to second guesses. Jack, in spite of his very real love for Taylor, is battling his own demons and struggles to show her his true self and the depths of his love for her.
Taking a photography assignment in Heart’s Bend, Taylor is thrown back into a past of family secrets buried deep beneath the sands of time. When Taylor and Coach’s journeys collide, they each rediscover the heartbeat of their own dreams as they learn that the love they long to hold is well worth the wait.


The Hunter and the Valley of Death

I love allegories and symbolism in novels. I love digging deeper into the meaning behind the story and learning something new.

The Hunter and the Valley of Death is filled with symbolism. This is the first book in The Psalm Series and is based on Psalm 23. The Psalms themselves are rich with imagery and lyrical language, and Psalm 23 is one of the most well-loved chapters in the Bible. It is the perfect place to start a thought-provoking and challenging new series that will drive you straight back to the Bible.  I found images in this book that correlated with a number of different scriptures/stories outside of Psalm 23 as well.

The Hunter and the Valley of Death illustrates one's struggle with loss and God's faithfulness in spite of our unfaithfulness. It is a fast read with vivid images like our adoption as sons and daughters of the King, anointing heads and overflowing cups, resting beside still waters, a literal journey through the valley of death, and the King sacrificing Himself to save us.  Some connections required a brief explanation at the end of the book, others may still be waiting to be discovered during a second read through.

This book does its job by creating memorable images and drawing readers to the Word.  My only complaint is that I wanted a little more from both the story and the brief study at the end.
It releases July 2 in e-book format, but is available for pre-order now for only $0.99. The second installment is Psalm 137 by Mesu Andrews, followed by Psalm 42 by Carole Towriss. Both of these are $0.99 pre-order as well, and I am looking forward each of them.


What to Read Next?

I literally have hundreds of books lining the wall of my basement, probably hundreds more ebooks waiting to be read on my kindle. But I thought I'd share my immediate TBR list! Here are the books I hope to read this summer:

 Can You See Anything Now? by Katherine James
 The Hunter and the Valley of Death by Brennan McPherson
 The House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright
Freedom's Ring y Heidi Chiaveroli
Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
Missing Isaac by Valerie Fraser Luesse
The Lost Castle by Kristy Cambron 
If I Run by Terri Blackstock
The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck
The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk
The Last Disciple by Hank Hanegraaf and Sigmund Brouwer
The Promise of Jesse Woods by Chris Fabry
Joanna A Story of Love and Betrayal by Gene Everett Weatherly

This is what I currently have planned to read next, but you will probably understand if I stray from this list some! Something new may catch my eye, or a different book may jump out of the shelf at me one day! Anyway, what are you reading now?


Giveaway Time!! Long Way Gone

I've been so excited to be able to read again and blog again that I've been buying books like crazy. It seems on my recent trips to Ollie's that I have purchased some doubles.  I really must want to read these books! I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to host some giveaways!  This week's offering is Long Way Gone by Charles Martin.

From the back cover:
At the age of eighteen, musician and songwriter Cooper O'Connor took everything his father held dear and drove 1,200 miles from home to Nashville, his life riding on a six-string guitar and the bold wager that he had talent. But his wager soon proved foolish.  
Five years after losing everything, he falls in love with Daley Cross, an angelic voice in need of a song. But just as he realizes his love for Daley, Cooper faces a tragedy that threatens his life as well as his career. With nowhere to go, he returns home to the remote Colorado mountains, searching for answers about his father and his faith.   
When Daley shows up on his street corner twenty years later, he wonders if it's too late to tell her the truth about his past -- and if he is ready to face it himself.  
A radical retelling of the prodigal son story, Long Way Gone takes us from tent revivals to the Ryman Auditorium to the tender relationship between a broken man and the father who never stopped calling him home.  

We have so much to learn from the stories and parables of the Bibles. For a chance to win a new hardcover copy of Long Way Gone, comment with your favorite Bible story or verse! And don't forget to tell your friends to visit for a chance to win too! Winner will be posted here next week With more giveaways to come!


Story Peddler

What a fun new fantasy series with some great lessons and applications. Perfect for readers of all ages, I know my daughter will enjoy this book as I did.

Lindsay A. Franklin's story telling creates a world where words become color, stories crystallize into pieces of art, and "art has a way of revealing the truth."

Tanwen is a story peddler/story weaver, who creates tangible trinkets from her with her story telling. When she loses control of her gift, she finds herself being hunted by the king's guard. Rescued by an unlikely band of other weavers. Tanwen works with this group to attempt to restore the kingdom. My one complaint was with the romance/love triangle. I wanted to see the feelings develop slowly and naturally, but instead it felt rushed. Aside from that, I found The Story Peddler to be filled with unique and lovable characters with an exciting and fast-paced story, and I thought this was a super-fun read. 


Biblical Fiction at it's Finest

Mesu Andrews is one of my favorite authors, and I have read most, if not all, of her books. I finally got around to reading Miriam and I was not disappointed. Mesu Andrews does her research, and it shows in the rich historical detail. While her books are fictional, the plots always align with the corresponding Biblical accounts. Andrews brings the historical figures of God's Word to life, adding plausible emotions and personalities.

Miriam, set during the plagues and exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt, obviously centers around the sister of Moses. This book opened my eyes to new aspects of the Hebrews' journey to freedom: the suffering they experienced, the doubt many must have felt, and
the emotions and choices that everyone faced. I loved following Miriam's internal journey to growing faith in light of God's evident power. Her once strong faith was challenged when the God she thought she knew and understood seemed to change. While God worked, Miriam realized that Yahweh was the same loving and intimate God that she knew in El Shaddai. At the same time, His newly revealed power and miracles, brought new believers and follower in both Hebrews and non-Hebrews.

God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. That same Yahweh, who brought plagues that led to his peoples ultimate deliverance, is working in and through us to continue to deliver His people from bondage. WOW!!! He Is also that same El Shaddai who dances over us, whispers love to us, showers us with hope and joy---if we just open our eyes to Him.  Double WOW!! 

Thank You Lord, for your Word, for stories that reveal your power, your grace, and your love. Thank you for your intimate involvement in our lives, for including us in your plan and for having a plan for our lives. And thank you for story-tellers that bring Your Word to life, and drive readers back to the Bible hungry for Truth, hungry to know you better. 


A New Favorite

I have found a new author to add to my list of favorites. Ginny Yttrup's writing style is light and conversational. I knew from the first page that this book was going to be something special, but I didn't know how special.

Words switches points of view alternating between Sierra, an artist who is a recovering addict still grieving the loss of her child and Kaylee, a young girl who is living a literal nightmare and can no longer speak due to the horrors she has experienced. These two characters are vivid and heart-wrenching as God crosses their paths to deliver freedom to both.

As a pediatric occupational therapist assistant who works with children who have experienced trauma, this novel painted an accurate and haunting picture of how traumatic experiences effect all aspects of life. It also demonstrates the power of God's love in the healing process and the privilege of being used by the Lord to show others His power.

I loved this book, the writing, the characters, and the message. Ginny Yttrup has found herself another fan. In fact, I was on Amazon checking her other titles as soon as I finished this one. If you are curious, her other titles include: Home, Invisible, Lost and Found, and Flames.


Grace Got You

How often do you listen to the radio and even sing or hum along without really knowing the words to the song?
Today I happen to be paying attention and the words I heard made me smile and think of my daughter. As soon as I got home I looked up the song, Grace Got You by Mercy Me and played it for her.  She loved it too.

Listen to these words. How fun is this song? The first line is: Have you ever met someone who keeps humming when the song's through?  Do you have someone in mind? Maybe that's you!
Or how about this:  When you're standing in the rain again , You might as well be dancing -- YES!!!
Finally, the chorus!! Let's all live like this.
Choose one and do it today or do them all.
Sing! Glide! Dance! Laugh! Smile!

Sing, so the back row hears you
Glide, 'cause walking just won't do
Dance, you don't have to know how to
Ever since, ever since grace got you
Laugh, 'til your whole side's hurting
Smile like you just got away with something (This is my daughter's favorite line!) 
Why? 'Cause you just got away with something
Ever since, ever since grace got you


Avengers: Infinity War

Friday, my son comes home from school with a slip of paper asking if he can meet a friend at the movies. At eleven, I am still hesitant to let him go places alone, even in our little town. So I got to see Avengers: Infinity War on the opening weekend with a room full of die-hard Marvel fans.

I am not a movie reviewer and didn't watch it with a reviewer mind, but I will tell you my favorite aspect of the experience. Twice a new character showed up on screen and the room erupted in claps and cheers. Even though it took me a moment to realize that one character was Captain America and I only knew the other was Stan Lee because my son told me about his cameo appearance, I enjoyed the group excitement.

Then at the end of the movie, no one left. Well, maybe a handful of people, but the vast majority of the room remained in their seats, while a few stood in the back of the theater waiting. They had been given the heads up of a post-credit scene. At one point, the credits turned black and throughout the room, you could hear "shhhh" "shhh", "shhhhhhhh." Hilarious! Especially when, immediately more credits rose from the bottom of the screen. Finally after probably 15 minutes of credits, we witnessed the brief scene introducing the next chapter of the Avengers adventure.

I like comics, Marvel, DC, superheros, the works, but I am not a one that doesn't miss a new release. I haven't read the comics, and I haven't seen all the movies. I will tell you something though: the atmosphere is fun and exciting. There is not many things like it. It is mildly like walking into Disney- everyone is so excited and noticing all the little details around them, that even those who "aren't Disney people" can't help but get caught up in the excitement, you know!


Today, I'm Super Mom!

Some days, I get it right!

Today was actually a rough day. I finished work, wrapping up with 2 hours of trauma-based, child-led, sensory integration treatments in a room that is always too hot and dry. I had a swing, two tunnels, a yoga ball, bean bag chairs, tactile bins, orbees, and a rocker board to put away, not to mention rice to vacuum off the floor that had been tossed out of one of the tactile bins.

After accidentally locking myself out of the treatment room, I finally walked outside and lifted my face to the sun that had decided to show it's glorious face for a while. Tension pulled at the base of my head and neck.

Starting my new-used Dodge Grand Caravan (yes, I'm a van mom), I opened the sun roof to enjoy the short lived heat. It didn't last long though. Not because the clouds returned too fast, but because that tension in my neck was spreading. Squinting in the sun, I closed the roof, hoping to relieve some of the pain.

I picked up the kids from the local YMCA and headed home, letting them know that I needed to lay down for a little bit. An hour later the pain had not subsided, and it was time for the kids to get to AWANA. Usually, I would just ask my husband to drive them, but he has been battling an infection and had crawled into bed to fight the chills. So I got up- and gingerly walked to the kitchen to get an excedrin and an ibuprofen..

My youngest son could not find his shoes, so 10 minutes later I told them if we didn't leave soon I'd be laying back down and they'd have to miss tonight.  Thankfully they found the shoes and I got them to church, just a little late. 

Now, I know you're thinking- finally I can have an hour to rest with no kids and kick this headache but that wasn't going to happen. You see, my youngest son is turning 7 tomorrow, and we hadn't purchased his presents.  So of course, if I was really "supermom" those presents would have been purchased and wrapped weeks ago. I would have a class treat baked and ready to go to school with him tomorrow, but clearly that was not the case-yet.

I headed to Walmart, purchased presents, extra wrapping, balloons and candles. But no brownies. He had asked for brownies to take to school. Halfway home, I remembered the brownies. Ugh.  I pulled into Rite Aid, hoping upon hope that they would have brownies so that I didn't have to drive back across town to get them. (By the way, across town is maybe 3-4 miles, but today it felt like 20!) I won't hold you in suspense, Rite Aid pulled through. I got home and made 2 batches of brownies. And my husband, feeling a little better, wrapped presents for me.

The reason I feel like supermom is because even with a monster tension headache I took care of my family. It's my job, I know. It's what I'm supposed to do! Sometimes it's hard, and sometimes I'm not all that good at it. But today, I allowed my husband to lay down when he needed it, I got my kids to church, I have some presents that I know my son will love wrapped and waiting for him tomorrow and I have brownies cooling on the stove to pack up for him to share with his class.

So many times I drop the ball and don't get things done on time, or don't get it done right. My house is a complete disaster, and I just signed a permission slip for an activity that they have tomorrow that should have been turned in a week ago- but it did get done! I don't have it all together, but I choose to celebrate the successes.

It seems like a small thing to have presents and brownies ready for a child's birthday. Sometimes that would be a small thing, but today it was a big thing. And maybe the kids and even my husband will not realize how hard it was for me to do those things today, but that's okay. I thank God for the gift of my family and I am so glad that I loved them well today. I know that I was a SuperMom today becauseI know that being a "SuperMom" is in those small things that no one will ever fully understand but you.

Would you share a "supermom" story of your own?

I want to hear about your everyday mom sacrifices, and everyday mom-love because that's what makes you a super mom, too.


Daughter of Zion

The second installment of The Zion Chronicles moves into the heart of the Old City in Jerusalem and into the heart of Rachel Lubetkin, survivor of the holocaust camps at a great personal cost. Struggling with her identity and self-worth, Rachel sneaks into the Old City to help encourage those holding the city to stand firm. Her past catches up with her, and when the community find out what she has done, and who she has been, they have to decide whether she is worthy of there trust or guilty of betraying them all.

Again, the history and vivid historical setting is the strong point of this book. I love the detail. Rachel's flashbacks are poignant scenes that make me feel the emotions of the packed cattle cars and forced separation of families experienced by so many during World War II. I enjoyed the journey into the buried streets of the city of the past. The romance was an important aspect of this book; however, I found it slightly rushed and unbelievable. I also struggled with the omniscient POV, particularly the scenes focused around Shaul, the dog.

I"ll be taking a brief break from the series before reading the third book, The Return to Zion.


Untied sneakers

I thought you might like to get to know me a little bit better, especially if you want to trust my opinions and recommendations about books. I am the kind of person who rarely ties my shoes. I don't know how you'll interpret that, but I feel like that should give you some kind of deep insight into who I am.
Thankfully, I'm learning not to worry so much about what you (or anyone else) thinks of me because I know that I am loved and accepted by My Father in Heaven.
I am a Christ-follower, a wife and mother of three, a pediatric COTA/L, a fiction-lover, netflix binge-watcher, dance like nobody's watching kind of gal.
My favorite books are usually deep reads that make me think, or challenge me in some way. They might deal with a difficult subject like abuse or feature a character with a strength I want to emulate or a struggle with which I can relate.
Character development is of the utmost importance to me. My favorite shows on TV are character driven, even more so than story driven - think, West Wing.
I think my favorite word in the world is "hope." I'm not sure how one survives in this world without hope, and I am so very thankful for the hope we have in Jesus.
What's your favorite word and why?


Gates of Zion

Image result for gates of zion by bodieWith so many new books coming out each year, it is nice to pull out some of the older "classics." Bodie and Brock Thoene have written over 70 historical fiction books. According to their website, both the Zion Chronicles and the Zion Covenent series are used to teach college history classes because of their historical accuracy.
The Gates of Zion, originally published in 1986 (and pictured to the left), is book one of The Zion Chronicles Series, and this rich historical detail and setting are one of the most enjoyable aspects of this book. Reading the novel felt like a journey into the past, and I learned a great deal about life in Israel following WWII.

Image result for gates of zion by bodieThe Gates of Zion introduces many notable characters with their own quirks and characteristics. I love little Yacov, Miriam, and Uncle Howard, secondary characters with strong hearts and impacts. The story centers around Ellie, a strong, independent photographer searching for true meaning and value in life. She begins to find that meaning as she witnesses the violence and horrors around her and takes a stand with those closest to her.
My one complaint is the relationship triangle/twist. Without giving anything away, I felt like the shift in feelings was too fast and it did not feel authentic to me. I did enjoy the book thoroughly though and am currently working on the second one now, called The Daughter of Zion. (The updated cover is shown to the right, and it is such a great cover. Doesn't the image give the impression of intensity and intrigue?)


What to read next!?!

Okay, my avid reader friends here is the question of the day:

How do you choose what to read next?
No, seriously! I probably have a couple hundred books on my bookshelves in the basement, I just got 4 in the mail last week and I have 6 more in my cart on Amazon, not to mention our visit to the library. So, what is a girl to do? I would love some input. How do I decide which book to start next, which journey to take, which door to walk through? Why is it such a hard decision, I mean, is there really a wrong choice?
Photo by Eugenio Mazzone on Unsplash

Here is my current list of possibilities:

  •  Miriam by Mesu Andrews
  • The Promise of Jesse Woods by Chris Fabry
  • Daughter of Zion by Bode Thoene (the logical choice because it is due at the library on Saturday)
  • The Writing Desk by Rachel Hauck 
  • Salem Rising by Lis Wiehl. 
If only I read as fast as my daughter OR had as much time to read as she does, then I could finish most of that list by Saturday and make a new list for next Monday. Ah, wishful thinking.

Well, drop a comment if you have a suggestion or let me know what you are reading. I'd love to hear from your.  


Francine Rivers' Masterpiece

Francine Rivers is my favorite author. The Mark of the Lion Trilogy and Redeeming Love are the top two fiction books on my list! I was so excited to get this book. It is actually the reason I am reading again and writing again.
First of all, Ephesians 2:10 is I guess, what I consider my lifeverse. In the New Living Translation, it states "For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago."
Rivers' latest book centers around two unfinished masterpieces. Roman Velasco is a famous artist who seems to have it all: the huge house, amazing talent and success, and an endless supply of money. Roman's life is empty. He knows it, but he doesn't know how to fill the hole. Grace Moore is an out-of-work, out-of-luck single mom, trying to make a life for herself and her son. Grace knows and follows the Lord, but struggles greatly with guilt and pain of past mistakes. God weaves their lives together in a way that makes Him the answer. While there is a romantic aspect to this story, it doesn't overshadow the main point which is God's work in their lives. And He does work in and through both main characters to free them from their pasts and guide them into the works that He planned for them.

I truly enjoyed this book. I haven't read for pleasure in months, and now I can't stop! I am so excited to be back in the world of Christian Fiction. Francine Rivers did not let me down. The plot moved steadily, and the characters were beautifully written and developed. I closed the book feeling fully satisfied and fulfilled. I highly recommend this book and ANYTHING by Francine Rivers.


I'm Back!

So much has happened in the last couple years that have kept me from this blog, but I miss it! I miss writing, and I miss reading. I'm not sure what format I plan to use, or even what I'll write about. I'll probably keep doing some reviews. (I just read Masterpiece by Francine Rivers!) But I think I will be doing some other posts as well.

Let me start by introducing myself, again. My name is Megan! I am sitting on the couch, laptop in hand, watching "When Calls the Heart" on Netflix. I would love to visit Hope Valley and worship in the church by the lake with the mountains on all sides, and I have to admit to a little crush on Jack!!

 I started this blog years ago as a place to post reviews of Christian fiction. I love how these stories inspire and challenge me and other readers in so many ways! My daughter has adopted my love of reading and literally reads 2-3 books a week!  If only, I had that time. I might make a dent in my to-read pile.

I am now a COTA/L - certified occupational therapist assistant at a pediatric outpatient clinic. I love my job. I love the kiddos that I work with and I feel like I am right where God wants me to be.

So that brings us back to this blog. If you are anything like me, sometimes you forget to slow down and take some time for yourself. That's what I'm doing. I am taking time to read. And write. And study. And learn. And I hope to share some of that with anyone who checks in here. So welcome back to Inspired by Fiction! I can't wait to share more with you!