Sunday, December 15, 2013

Book Review: A Forest of Doors

An Orphan's Quest:  A young child, orphaned by addiction and isolated from her
siblings, dreams of reuniting her family after decades of seperation.  She begins
a quest and gains more than she ever dreamed possible along the way.
A Forest of Doors is a powerful true story of loss, love, spirituality, coping
and redemption.

My Review:  A Forest of Doors is a riveting book about life gone wrong, 
and finding redemption.  This is a quick, quiet read - no bells and whistles
but the message is loud and clear at the same time.
This book deals with profound loss of a family unit, 
being placed in an orphanage and seperated from siblings.
Reading it doesn't take long  - it's a short, fast read - but
it hits home and stings greatly at the very ideal that this 
is not just one woman's journey, but the reality for many.

Lynann and her family lived the life of military children, 
a father who 'ran away' a lot and a mother who drank.
Often leaving them alone for long periods of time
and having to fend for themselves.
It's a book that touches on subjects of abandonment,
loss, seperation and fear, pain and confusion on the greatest level for children.  I'm sure writing this book was both extremely painful
and cathartic at the same time.
This book will hurt your heart and make you yearn for turning
back the clock to reach out a helping hand.

AA, Al-anon, Ala-teen groups could benefit from this
biographical self discovery journey.
4/5 stars for this gem of a self-help book!

~Kelly Santi

Disclaimer:  A copy of this book was provided to me (to review and give my honest opinion) by The B&B Media Group.  The opinion expressed above is my own.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Book Review: Come back to Jesus .. And Don't Forget your Blackberry

In Come Back to Jesus - and Don't Forget Your Blackberry Tanya Logan addresses finding your balance with crazy, busy schedules and finding time for God. She gets to the heart of making God a priority when we are so busy with everything else that time for Him gets away from us. 
Be it the computer, social networking, tv, or social events ... Take a step back and ask yourself ... Do these things bring you closer to God?
If you answered no, it might be time to take another look at your faith walk.
And this book is an amazing guide for that journey!

This book is written in such a down to earth and comforting tone. It reminds me of talking to an old friend over a cup of coffee. 
It's direct and instructional enough to make you stop and ponder and "brings to the table" core issues that you might need to see in order to make changes.
It reaches out to all of us .... The soccer mom, the diaper changer, the parent who drives through the fast food place because you don't have time to get a meal on the table. 
It's you, it's me!

Broken into a 6 week study, scriptures, reading, question and answer section, and a personal reflection area give this guide depth and spiritual glimpses into your faith walk. It will help you get in touch with core issues you might be lacking.  It helps fill in the blanks and brings to light hope for the journey.
Tanya states in her book "real worship engages the spirit in the pursuit of truth."
In the busy-ness of life, reading this book asks are you being authentic?
This guide will sure help answer that and help you in your journey!!
5 well deserved stars!

Review by: Kelly Santi 

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book/Ebook/Product to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Book Review: Faith - Joseph's Story

Faith  Joseph’s Story

At the age of seventeen, Joseph, the favorite son of Jacob, faces the wrath of jealousy, hatred, and deceit from his own brothers. He is thrust into a world of slavery, lust, and power. Joseph experiences a culture so different from his own that he must adapt quickly just to survive. He learns to trust in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and be content in the difficult circumstances that challenge him far too often.

Narrated by Joseph, Faith—Joseph’s Story communicates the power of this young man’s faith—faith that began in the midst of a plot to murder him and ends with his rise to power in Egypt. It shows the perseverance one must find to overcome the negative experiences that happen in life, and it provides a testament to the importance of placing complete faith and trust in God.

With Bible study materials and a leader’s guide included, Faith—Joseph’s Story tells how, from the depths of a pit, to the darkness of prison, to the grandeur of a palace, a young man remains committed to God’s divine plan.

My Review:  Faith, Joseph's Story by Sandra Lea Hardage is one of the most inclusive and detailed bible study books I've ever had the joy of reading.  Her knowledge, writing style and bible study are among the very finest due to her exceptional wisdom and views!

From the opening line "I am Joseph", the author brilliantly steps into the role, and life of, Joseph and tells his story.  His love of his family, faith, and trials and tribulations are told from his point of view.  There is no doubt, Sandra Hardage knows the bible!  

What I found most effective in addition to the 9 inspirational chapters is the incredibly thought provoking bible study guide. It's not a small section at the end of the book - it's half of the book!  It's broken down into graphs, questions and answers, areas for personal reflection and reflective bible verses, as well as a helpful Leader's Guide.  

One of the BEST faith based books on the market!  I'm blessed to have had the opportunity to receive this book.  It will stay among my very top favorites.

About the Author:  Sandra Lea Hardage, an Arkansas native, is an educator, Bible teacher, and founder of the online ministry, My Journey of Faith. She has taught Joseph’s story many times, including an online study of Genesis. She continues to teach via video for Connected! Online Bible Study, found at

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book/Ebook/Product to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Book Review: Clothed in Thunder

Clothed With Thunder horse book against evolution

Book Description:  After sitting through a 4-H demonstration on the evolution of the horse, Rosie and Carrie are determined to present the arguments for creation at the club’s next meeting. The demonstration proves harder to put together than they imagined as everyone offers the girls their opinions. The lessons Rosie learns about creation extend into her life in surprising ways as she faces her old adversary, Billy King, who cheated her out of her first trophy with her pony, Scamper.
You cannot pick up a non-fiction horse book today without reading about the evolution of the horse. The images showing the progression of eohippus, merychippus, etc. into modern equus are constantly portrayed as though they are fact.Clothed With Thunder presents the other side of the story - that horses are magnificent creatures meticulously designed by an awesome and loving God.
My Book Review:  Vicki Watson has done it again!  The 3rd installment of the Sonrise Stable horse themed book series  not only delights but it surpasses with an exuberance for reading! Clothed with Thunder is a children's book with a christian theme base and centralized around the love of two friends, Carrie and Rosie, and their united love of horses.   They live with their doting grandma who shows them unconditional love and relationship that heals and mends and is based on an level of faith that children can understand and follow along.  In this installment of the book, the girls hear a presentation at their 4-H club that gets them to thinking about the process of critical thinking between evolution and creaiton.  They are determined to show that their beloved ponies were a creation from the Heavenly Father!   They show a beautiful spirit through-out and their determination and courage is evident in these young girls, proving once again that our foundation of passing on the baton of faith begins at home and at a young age!!

IMHO,  it helps to have read the first two books in this installment as they have a continuation theme through-out and the overall flow of the book is better knowing the backgrounds. However, this book, should it be the only one you are able to read in the series, still stands firmly on it's own and is remarkable in it's own rights.  What a charming, fantastic children's book - I"m proud to have this series grace the bookshelf of my son, who is 8!  Yes, it's for girls and boys and a beautiful life lesson for all ages.
Learn more about the author and series:
Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this book/Ebook/Product to review.  I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew.  

Reviewed by:  Kelly Santi

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Book Review: A Letter to Evan

From the back jacket:  Divorce changes everything. It is disorienting, painful and disruptive. One dad steps forward to illustrate how to rise above the destruction of divorce, become a better person, and yes, even a better father to his children. Roy Page exposes his heart in A Letter to Evan. What began as affirmation and instruction for his son has become a journey of healing, growth, and inspiration to men everywhere. Being a loving, effective parent when you are not a part of your child’s daily life is challenging whether you are a father who travels or is ivorced. Roy Page shares how he has maintained a presence in the lives of his children. As a man who enjoys hunting, fishing, sailing, and woodworking and possesses a deep desire to share these times of adventure with his son, Roy learns to navigate his extensive travel schedule along with Evan’s hectic baseball schedule to find a way to connect. Even if it means writing a letter.
ROY PAGE is CEO of Third Degree Advertising.
He jets between North Carolina and Oklahoma to keep his business and family going. Losing his father to Alzheimer’s disease and his wife of twenty years set Roy on a path to reset his priorities, discover the good in people, and dream of a better future. Laugh, cry, relate, grow, and heal with Roy in A Letter To Evan.
My review: 
Hat's off to Roy Page!  What a triumphant and brave author, father and inspiration to pen a letter to his son for ALL of us to share.  A Letter to Evan is a poignant and profound journey through a letter written to a son from his father after a heart-breaking divorce.  Through bitterness, resentment and loss grows a beautiful love between a father and son.  

A Letter to Evan is beautifully written, faith-filled and inspires us from the core of parenthood to reach inside and take a good look at our relationships with our own children.  After reading this book, as a mom (not a father!)with 4 children of my own, A Letter to Evan is eye opening journey for all of us.  If you're a child of divorce, this book is for you.  If you are a parent with a child(ren) after divorce, I encourage you to pick this book up!  It's invalauable.
A copy of this book was provided to me (to review and give my honest opinion) by The B&B Media Group.  The opinion expressed above is my own. 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Book Review: Shadow Stalker

Book Review:  Shadow Stalker
Barbara Ann Derksen

From the book jacket:  An ominous shadow hangs over her, as Christine Finder, alias Melissa
Rompart, visits the brutal slayings of her parents most nights in a dream.
The threat of discovery propels her to search for the whereabouts of the killer
to see the man brought to justice.  In the meantime, the killer stalks her mind while
she operates Finder's Keepers, an agency that searches for the people her clients
hire her to find.  Nathan Brent is only four years old and missing.  Will she find
him in time or will the killer find her first?

My review:  This is my first book by author, Barbara Ann Derksen, it was a marvelous read - as intriguing and suspenseful as a good mystery should be!

Shadow Stalker is a twist and turn mystery with colorful characters and an adventurous plot.  Christine Finder, alias Melissa Rampart, was the lone survivor when her parents were killed when she was just a small child.  She was adopted into a family that raised her as if she was their own.  She starts an agency called The Finders as detective agency and the story plot follows her searching for a missing young boy.
With her wonderful canine companion, Chief, and the interesting relationship with Jeremy, this book owns the title of a page turner.

Ms. Derksen writes with an amazing sense of description!  To save she uses a vast vocabulary to vastly describe the scenes, emotions and feel for a character would simply be an understatment. She is truly a gifted artist and writes with a passion and clarity!  I thoroughly enjoyed reading Shadow StalkerI so look forward to future novels.  This is a first in a series of Finder's Keepers Mystery books and await the reading of the sequel and hopefully the return of Christine and Jeremy!

You can read about the author here!

  Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this book/Ebook/Product to review.  I was not 
required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew.  

Reviewed by:  Kelly Santi

Friday, August 16, 2013

Book Review: Into the Whirlwind

Book Review: Into the Whirlwind
by:  Elizabeth Camden

From the book cover:  As owner of the 57th Illinois Watch Company, Mollie Knox's future looks bright until the night the legendary Great Chicago Fire destroys her beloved city. With her world crumbling around her, Mollie will do whatever it takes to rebuild in the aftermath of the devastating fire.

Zack Kazmarek, an influential attorney for one of Chicago's finest department stores, is a force to be reckoned with among the city's most powerful citizens. Bold and shrewd, he's accustomed to getting exactly what he wants--until he meets Mollie Knox, the beguiling businesswoman just beyond his reach.

In the tumult as the people of Chicago race to rebuild a bigger and better city, Mollie comes face-to-face with the full force of Zack's character and influence. Zack believes this may finally be his chance to win her, but can Mollie ever accept this man and his whirlwind effect on her life, especially with her treasured company on the line?

My review:  This is one of those rare books that has an intriguing title and story line bold enough to catch your eye.  But under the pages of this exceptionally written novel is a pure, adventurous and romantic tale of two lost souls finding each other in the midst of tragedy and betrayal.  What a rush this book was!

Told in a tone of rich characters and knowledgeable depiction of this era, Ms. Camden hit the mark.   The story between Zack, seemingly a rough, shrewd lawyer bent on getting what he wants, when and how he wants it, sets his eyes on the lovely Mollie, a watchmaker's daughter who is beautiful, loyal to her dedicated and dear employees, and represents all that is good.  Unknown to her, Zack has loved her from a distance, dreaming of this being the woman to be by his side.
In the midst of the tragedy of the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, they are thrown together in choas, dispair, and uncertainty - but one thing is certain, their feelings that ring true for each other.  Like most good romance novels, this one has it's up and downs - betrayals, misunderstandings, and wounded prides.  
However, this novel's underlying hope for these two wonderful characters to prevail against the odds brings such a warmth to the book.  

I am delighted to have had the opportunity to read such an beautifully written, gorgeously detailed book.  Into the Whirlwind swept me off my feet and kept me reading long after the sun went down just to get to the very end!  This is a book I'll be sure to read again - and again. 

5 well deserved stars!

*Disclaimer:  I received this book for an honest review from Bethany House, a division of the Baker Publishing Group and was not required to write a positive review.  Any reflection of such is my own.


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Book Review: There is a Miracle in 21

Book Review: 
There is a Miracle in 21: God Completes

From the book Jacket:
 With a unique candor and glimpses of desperation, God allows Lorieen to use There is a Miracle in 21; God Completes! as therapy.  Welcome to Lorieen's therapy with God!  Journey with her through the mess to the miracle!  It is an unorthodox book, where she shares her struggles while simultaneously pouring out her heart, hope, and inspiration and encouragement as the Lord allows.  Whether she is sharing feelings of inadequacy, confessing faults, or sharing words of encouragement, she does it with a heart to glorify God.

My review:  Is your life in a slump?  Is your spiritual life suffering? Does staying in bed on that Sunday morn sound a little more comfy than heading out to church?  Do you long to know Him more, serve him better, be a better spouse, parent, sibling, friend yet you find yourself just STUCK ... here, day after day, discontent but not really changing much?  If you said yes to any/all of the above, I can assure you - this book moves mountains!

This book, There is a Miracle in 21, is spot on written, created and bound together for the *soul* purpose of reminding us not only are we human, and that we fail, but that God was there each step of the way!  I wish I could convey in enough words how very much this book touched the very core of my being. As author Lorieen Henry states, it's not so much a how to book, but how I got through book. 

It's touching. It's relatable.  It's totally written in layman's terms where you will feel compelled to take that long hard look at the where you should be verses the were you are, and make you want to change yourself for the better.  Remember your Psalms 3:4 "To the LORD I cry out; and he answers me from his holy hill."
She reminds us that God hears us crying out, restores you, and you will have that redemption if you believe!


About the author
Who is Lorieen D. Henry?
I am daughter of “The King” (JESUS). Therefore, I am royalty! By gift, I’m an exhorter. I love going about my day encouraging others and putting a smile on their faces. I love living, I love giving and I love loving!!!
God has bestowed upon me so many graces. As a homemaker, I serve my wonderful husband of nine years, Ronnie and my adorable four year old daughter, Reagan. In my previous season, I was a United States Army Officer. And as for my future, I am pursuing a Master’s in Education from the University of Phoenix.
I look to obtain a Christian Life Coach certification within the year while I work to complete my 3rd title, Seasoned for this Season (December 2013).
Lastly, I hold a BA degree in Journalism from the University of Southern Mississippi. My family and I currently reside in Germany.

Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this book/Ebook/Product to review.  I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew.  

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Book Review: Undeniably Yours

Becky Wade's Undeniably Yours is a carefree, romantic novel with a twist of faith - simply beautiful! 

ISBN: 978-0-7642-0975-8
Product #: 51399

Back cover:  When Meg Cole's father dies unexpectedly, she becomes the majority shareholder of his oil company and the single inheritor of his fortune. Though Meg is soft-spoken and tenderhearted--more interested in art than in oil--she's forced to return home to Texas and to Whispering Creek Ranch to take up the reins of her father's empire.

The last thing she has the patience or the sanity to deal with? Her father's thoroughbred racehorse farm. She gives its manager, Bo Porter, six months to close the place down.

Bo's determined to resent the woman who's decided to rob him of his dream. But instead of anger, Meg evokes within him a profound desire to protect. The more time he spends with her, the more he longs to overcome every obstacle that separates them--her wealth, his unworthiness, her family's outrage--and earn the right to love her.

But just when Meg begins to realize that Bo might be the one thing on the ranch worth keeping, their fragile bond is viciously broken by a force from Meg's past. Can their love--and their belief that God can work through every circumstance--survive?

My Review:  This is an absolutely fantastic, summer read and a sweet novel for those that love christian romance novels.  The story line is crisp and the dimensions of the characters are reflective.  Reading this, I feel like I've stepped right into the farms and ranches of a Texan town and watching from the sidelines, it's that rich in description.  The stirring of a romance from Megan and Bo is pure sweetness.  They both have good hearts, good souls and a passion for Christ to bring that final fulfillness to their lives.  Though dealing with the sadness and blow of losing her father, Megan begins to put together a life in his shadows ~ running his Cole Oil company, keeping a farm afloat because she gave her word, and trying to do the right thing, keeping God as their center.  As Megan states, "she recognizes these small interventions for exactly what they were: God throwing her a lifeline through the words and hands of His people."  

From the budding romance of Megan and Bo, the grace of their selflessness to open their home and hearts to those in need, and to the antagonistic ex-husband who is determined to get what he wants at all costs, this novel is a page turner.  I stayed up until 2:30 am to finish it in one sitting!  From the excitement of this novel, I'm now anxiously awaiting reading other books written by Becky Wade.  

*Disclaimer:  I received this book for an honest review from Bethany House, a division of the Baker Publishing Group and was not required to write a positive review.  Any reflection of such is my own.

Reviewed by:  ~Kelly Santi

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Book Review: The Art of the Follower

Have you ever had those great big, new year goals where you list all the things you plan to acheive, yet by March you realize you haven't even started?  Have you ever been in a situation where your plans are 'this big', yet your confidence, uncertainly keep you from accomplishing them?  Are your dreams as big as the sky yet cold feet keep you grasping that one passion you have?
This book, The Art of the Follower, by Dag Heward-Mills is a reminder of why you should.  Even more ... a reminder of why God calls us to follow - not just your personal dreams and goals, but Him.

The Art of the Follower is a christ-based, faith-filled chapter book filled with the instrument of learning biblical terms and stories in scripturally sound language.  It's not a quick, easy read.  Take your time with this book and have a high-lighter on hand as there are many points that are crucially wrapped into a story or discussion of a referenced biblical character.  It's complex, well-organized and methodical, reading like a college textbook.  The author writes with informative, definitive strokes.   As I read, I got the image of a professor lecturing at the podium on topic after topic - put the book down long enough, you might be hard-pressed to remember where you left off.  I think the book could have flowed a little better and been smoother in writing, rather than just press a bunch of facts and scriptures together in a 'textbook' form.  If you are looking for more of a learning manual or an instructually based book rather than a softer, more approachable book, then this was it definitely it.  I give this 4 out of 5 stars based on the knowledge and teaching materials this book beholds but would have much rather read a little more down to earth approach with this same material. 

 The Art of the Follower is a book filled with 3 sections: Why following is Eternally Significant: As Dag Heward-Mills states "Through the careful art of following, you will become wiser, more mature, more passionate and a more effective disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ."  It also includes a section of following God's champions with 11 insightful and refreshing views on biblical characters whose lives were effected greatly by following Christ's example, such as Abraham, David, Esther and more.  Lastly, following at home is a crucial depiction of how we not only learn following behavior outside (schools, job, peers, etc) but in our own homes - as infants and as parents with children of our own.  "God intentionally shaped your individuality to shape your relationship with the Father", says Dag-Heward-Mills and the Psalms 139.

You can read read about the author, Dag Heward-Mills, here:

Disclaimer: I received this book free from The B & B Media Group, Inc. as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Friday, June 14, 2013

Book Review: Changing Churches: A View from the Pew

Are you a "church hopper" or thinking of becoming one?  
Do you look down on Christians who change churches? 
 Did you know that 76% of "church switchers" are devout Christians? 
 Do you wonder about vast changes in church? 
Do you wonder what will bring church unity and transformation? 

Changing Churches describes, through the eyes of one couple, the difficult journey that "church switchers" travel-a journey often precipitated by disruptive church changes. The book encourages Christ-like transformative change in churches rather than man-devised makeovers. 

As you read you will learn about: 
The right reasons to leave a church. 
 How to manage the pain and angst of leaving a familiar church. 
 How to search for another church-the anxiety and adventure. 
 How to handle conflict between spouses about leaving and searching. 
How to find the new church that fits you and fits God's plan for you. 

Changing Churches is helpful in understanding the sweeping changes in churches and what we can do to build up the church.

My Review:  Changing Churches: A view from the Pew is vastly different from the genre of christian books I read and review.  Frankly, this was the first time I've encountered this topic in print!  And let me tell you, from it's bold and brave opening glance at Dottie and Mike's personal journey with churches, I was instantly drawn in.  She speaks from the heart, opens her soul, and shares so much of her personalized christian life through her writing and journal entries.  Dottie is not only genuine and comforting in her knowledge and experience, she writes as if she is an old friend, and it's very refreshing.

Although my husband and I belonged to just one church before our previous one (and we left that one due to it's destruction from a major Hurricane!), I have personally walked the walk of wondering how you can feel so alone, so alienated, so isolated in the House of God?  How can people you deem 'christians' spew hate and cliche-ish like behavior, ostracizing the ones they do not deem worthy?  I felt sadness beyond belief, I felt shame in the not knowing and the wondering what did I do or not do and most of all, I felt very ALONE.  When I picked up Dottie's book, I can tell you, I was already enchanted with the book:  It's not always our fault, it's not always in our control, and that church just might not be the one for you.  I felt her pain, I felt her words speaking to my heart, christian to christian, because I, too, have been 'there'.

More than the two parts to this book, and the 14 informative chapters packed within, there is a journey to take in it's words.
Dottie explores that while change is sometimes good (and good for the soul), and it might not always be easy ~ The heart of the man plans his way; but the Lord establishes his steps. -Proverbs 16:9
One of the passages that jumped out to me the analogy as our spiritual tanks being like cars - we run on empty, we run out, and we need God to refresh us - fill us!  I was also moved with the author sharing her need for deep repentance and went on a 'searching and fearless inventory." I was drawn to her personal conviction and brave approach to facing personal sins and righting the wrongs she believed strongly in.  What a testimony!
This book brings a strong feeling of healing and life beyond reasons for leaving a church - whether by choice or by force or simply God-lead.   For it's specific topic and theme, this book is right on the mark!  Thank you, Dottie Parish, for the opportunity to review your book: Changing Churches: A View from the Pew.

About the Author

Dottie Parish brings a seasoned counselor’s wise viewpoint and the soft heart of a child of God to her first book called Changing Churches: A View from the Pew.
A longtime resident of the greater Cincinnati area, Parish holds a Master of Social Work degree from Ohio State University and a bachelor’s degree from Bucknell University.
She has more than 30 years of professional experience as a counselor at two family service agencies as well as in private practice. Her experience included diagnosing and treating individuals representing a wide variety of problems, socioeconomic backgrounds, and ages as well as short and long term therapy. Her private practice included individual, marital and family therapy with special interest in helping couples resolve marital differences.
She organized and led The Third Option educational group for married couples from 1996-2007 – in two locations
Parish also wrote a weekly advice column, “Family Counselor,” for more than fifteen years for the Hamilton Journal News, Hamilton, Ohio.
Dottie Parish is a wife, mother and grandmother and she loves Jesus and His Church. Her current devotion to God and His church stems from extreme misgivings about drifting away from God and church after graduate school. She and her husband lived for decades without faith. Their return to faith in 1990 begins the journey described in Changing Churches.
Blog: Dottie blogs on a variety of subjects at and on Marriage and Family issues on

Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this book/Ebook/Product to review.  I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew.  

Book Review:  Changing Churches

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Book Review: Get Real ~ Jamy Whitaker

Jamy Whitaker/ Get Real: Stop Hiding Behind the Mask
ISBN-10: 1449764045 | ISBN- 13: 978-1449764043 | 
List Price: $11.99 Softcover, $3.99 Kindle |Format: Soft cover and Kindle | Page Count: 122
Synopsis:  The author writes:  "As a wife and mother of five, I know all too well how destructive building a facade that everything is fine can be.  Tearing down this wall and letting people see the real me - the pain, the struggles, the tears, and the triumphs has been difficult but rewarding.  Get REAL: Stop Hiding Behind the Mask examines how to do just that.  It delves into discovering a person's true identity, centered on God's view of each of us, letting go of the insecurities that so easily entangle our lives and finally, living with eternal perspective - keeping our focus heavenward
 instead of inward.
My review:  In this wonderful journey we call life, we have probably all had those moments where we think, or say, or even act a certain way that we want others to perceive us to be.  We put on that smile even though inside the pain, betrayal, hurt, frustration, exhaustion or just plain 'ol need to 'save face' are just too much to bear and we brave it all with that mask.  There.  No one else can see anything more than what we want them to see!  Except, the problem with that?  
It's tough on the soul, it's tough on our guilt, it's tough on our faith because God commands our honesty, integrity and full witnessing.

When I first started to read Get REAL: Stop Hiding Behind the Mask, I felt as if Jamy Whitaker was a close personal friend - the book is that spot on!  She writes from a place of great intelligence, gentle prose and thought-provoking passages that HIT HOME.
This book is for each and every one of us. 

 This book is divided into three sections:  Identity (Discovering who you truly are), Insecurities and Perspective, with 12 chapters and a bible study section for each chapter.
One analogy that was beautifully portrayed in this book was the author's description of our lives as picture frames, given to us by the graciousness of God.  Each one of us designed to go around God's artwork.  We should never cover up that frame or mask it , rather embrace the gift of God's gift!  

Another key point that was remarkable for me and spoke volumes was the feeling of having to 'dig deeper.' Just as the woman in the bible searched for her lost coin (Luke 15:8-9), it's easy to relate to those lost car keys, lost remote control, all things misplaced (even temporarily!)
While we are scrambling around looking for that which is lost, the same holds true for God's Word:  dig deeper, look further, so not only can you find it and use it, but share it with others!

The bible study section is another one of my favorite parts of this book.
For each chapter, there are a series of questions that follow that further explore the topics discussed.  It is thought-provoking and gives a great way to exercise the mind and soul and further explore the impact that hiding and putting on a facade can affect our faith.  It lets you see in writing that you just might need to Get REAL! 

5 Stars for Get REAL: Stop Hiding Behind the Mask.   I'm so impressed with Jamy Whitaker's writing style and how this book is written to the level for each of us.  With a bible in hand for cross referencing scriptures if needed, this book is essentially a how-to guide for becoming a "more real" christian.  More than that, it's a deeper grasp of how being true to one's own self and taking the faith one step further so that we may truly honor God!

About the Author
Jamy Whitaker graduated with a degree in English from
 Indiana State University. She lives in Indiana with her husband 
and 5 children. Visit to learn more  
about Jamy, her writing and speaking.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book/Ebook/Product to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

A Cause to be Thankful: Book Review

Paperback: 110 pages

  • Publisher: Yolanda Shanks (March 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0985361611

  • ISBN-13: 978-0985361617

  • Have you ever considered how often we neglect expressing genuine 
    gratitude? The bank teller. The store clerk. The person driving our kids to school.  The restaurant waitress.  The mailman. Even the customer service representative who takes our call - we may offer a casual "thank you" out of habit, but how much more impactful would it be if that thanks was a genuine acknowledgment of and appreciation for their efforts?
    What if we took that renewed spirit of thankfulness and
    applied it to our relationship with God?
    Using the biblical story of the ten lepers as a reference,  A Cause to be Thankful by Yolanda Shanks will unpack the Biblical model for thankfulness, showing how a spirit of entitlement has overshadowed our spirit of thanks.  In this straightforward and challenging book, you will not only learn how to return as one leper who expressed gratitude, but you'll come away with a clear plan for including consistent and genuine thanks in your prayer life and day to day encounters.

    My review:  A Cause to be Thankful by Yolanda Shanks is the second of her books I've had the privilege to review and I must say, I'm as equally impressed.  This author speaks from the heart and writes from a place of genuine grace and faith.  She writes from a place in her heart where only God's ultimate healing and mercy and love for us as His chosen children can turn around that despair and grace it forward in the form of her writings.  

    Filled with 7 insightful chapters, each one is highlighted by a chosen bible verse and anecdotes a coordinating faith-filled philosophy.  The one denominator that resonates through-out this book is the comparison of leprosy in biblical times and current times.  Even in the times of Moses, it was important to obey the laws as it pertained to Jesus as a means of remaining obedient.  Our sins today as of equal significance - spiritual leprosy and sin prevent us from fully being in the glory of God!

    A Cause to be Thankful is an essential guide to getting back on track when a lack of gratitude is in the forefront.  So often, we take things - and people - for granted and often have - or need - a reality check!  What an awesome tool this book is to help you do just that.

    About the author:  Multi-published author, speaker, blogger, teacher, wife, grandmother—Yolanda Shanks wears many hats, but the one she most resonates with is her role as an advocate for living life to its fullest.  Shanks’ award-winning first book, Destined to Live, Despite Me, continues to be a source of hope for those battling effects from a prior suicide attempt. It garnered an enthusiastic Kirkus review, which stated the book was “a commendable guide for finding meaning after considering suicide.” Her second book, Not Just a Hearer but a Doer (released June 2012) challenges the body of Christ to act upon scripture. Destined to Live, Despite Me – A Cause to Be Thankful is Yolanda’s third book.

    Check her website ( for book events in your area and for weekly wisdom from this lover of life and committed Christ-follower.
    Reviewed by:  Kelly Santi

    Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book/Ebook/Product to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew.