Saturday, July 26, 2014

Book Review: Home Behind the Sun

From the Book JacketTimothy Willard and Jason Locy show readers how to discover the brilliance of God in the shadows of everyday lifeLife opens up before each of us, it beckons, it tempts, it thrills, it betrays. And what do we desire? All of it and none of it.

We’re not in this to survive, but to live. We want to experience joy in the everyday grind of work, relationships, and parenting. We want healing in our suffering. Forgiveness in the midst of our pains. Purpose through the journey. We want to break free from the temporal and live with an eternal perspective. We want to be brilliant.

In Home Behind The Sun coauthors Timothy Willard and Jason Locy invite you to step out of the shadows and into the brilliance. They want to introduce you to the God of the mysterious. A God who combats despair with joy, topples bitterness with forgiveness, and eliminates cynicism with belief and whimsy.

You’re invited home. Home, behind the sun.

My ReviewWhile this book landed in my lap for review purposes, I could not have imagined when I opened the cover of the very first page how much it would enlighten my life.  Yes, enlighten!   I'm a busy wife and mom with 4 kids to juggle and sometimes I have to remind myself that it's a blessing, a gift my hard-working husband has given to all of us so I could be a stay-at-home-mom.  In between the massive amounts of laundry, cooking, cleaning, more laundry, more cleaning, and oh! The dogs want a walk - again!   Life is that vast walk with God and all the entertainment that comes along with it - keeping our eyes on Him and knowing each day, no matter how hectic or convoluted or busy, there is always SUNSHINE waiting at the end. 

This book carries 14 informative and lovely chapters to read.  Each chapter is centered around a target topic, filled with scripture and anecdotes and lovely stories from the author's daily lives with their families.  I was able to see similarities and welcomed the head nods I caught myself doing with "yep, been there - I hear you." At the end of the book is a great discussion guide tool.  I'd recommend this book to adult Sunday school classes where thoughtful theological discussions would be welcomed, especially among young families and parents with children. 

There were parts of this book where reflection had me teary eyed.  The gift we call gratitude that is sometimes overlooked should be part of our daily walk.  Like the cars that are old and falling apart, yet they get us from place to place.   I love the author's reflection of "we all want something more in this life."  Often-times we may catch ourselves daydreaming of a better life, a better house, vacations we see in pictures and wonder if we will ever get there ... the list goes on.  But truthfully, there is a gift in everything, all around us. 

Read this book! You'll be enriched.  You'll fall in life with your life and all it's 'pull your hair out'  craziness.

Be brilliant ♥

About the AuthorsYou can learn more about the authors and their lives here on the website:

Disclaimer:   I was given a copy of this book for review by BookLook for an honest review. The above opinion is that of my own entirely.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Book Review: Everyday Uplifting You


Book Jacket:  What started out as a tool to bless and encourage an aunt quickly became an idea to bless as many people all over the world as possible. Everyday Uplifting you, is a book filled with daily nuggets to jumpstart your day. After watching an aunt broken due to the many obstacles she had been facing, Val decided to do something special for her and started writing nuggets for each day to show her aunt how much she is loved and remind her of the blessing that she is. The book is designed to bless, motivate, uplift and challenge you with powerful nuggets to empower you from the inside out. 
My Review:  Val Knowles' lovely book on daily blessings is a breath of fresh air!  I received a ebook version of this book and it's beauty sprang forth as I moved through each page and imagine a print copy of this book would be even more breathtaking.  The graphics are soothing and serene, beautifully photographed to match each coordinating month and date.
If you read it all on one day, like I did (for review purposes!), it's a short but moving read at just 62 pages.  I recommend the reader take one's time to go through this as intended,
month by month, blessing by blessing.  It was refreshing to look ahead at my birthday, and the birthday of my children and husbands as each day is highlighted by a passage, uplifting words and blessing. 
There is no doubt, Ms. Knowles was meant to write!  She has a gift with words and her poetic flowing of verse on paper is one to do exactly what she offers:  Uplift.  Each of us has a struggle within, no matter how large or small.  Each of us can be blessed in some way, prayed for, and pray for others.  Sometimes it's easy to get stuck on what to say,
or even knowing what's in your heart.  This is an incredible tool to open and read and remind each of us that there is the greater of goodness waiting and that God's blessings were already there!

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.  

Author Bio:Val Newton Knowles was born in the beautiful island of Nassau, in the Bahamas. She is a passionate about helping people. Val's new book, "Everyday Uplifting you," is now available. Val started writing daily nuggets to encourage an aunt who had been going through some challenges, the book was such a blessing, that she decided to make it available as an encouragement for others. Val seeks to uplift, motivate and encourage to be the best they can and never allow failure to cause them too give up.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Book Review: NIV Teen Study Bible


From the Book Cover:   The Bible keeps up with you, to help you keep up with God! As an on-the-go teen, you’re moving fast. God is moving faster! The NIV Teen Study Bible will help you keep in step with all he has done, is doing, and will do in the world—and in your life. This bestselling Bible will also help you discover the eternal truths of God’s Word and apply them to the issues you face today. Features include:
  • “We Believe”—Unpacks the Apostles’ Creed to reveal the biblical foundation of faith
  • “Panorama”—Keeps the big picture of each book of the Bible in view
  • Topical indexes—Help with in-depth Bible study
  • Book introductions—Provide an overview for each book of the Bible
  • Bible Promises—Highlighted Bible verses worth memorizing
  • Q & As—Test Bible knowledge
  • 4 full-color pages—Includes a presentation page and information about the Apostles’ Creed
  • 8-page, color map section
  • Biblical advice about friends, family, school, and other issues
  • Easy-to-read font size
  • Complete text of the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible.
With over 3.5 million copies sold, the Teen Study Bible continues to be a teen’s top resource for discovering the foundational truths of the Bible.

My Review:   Being a mom of 4 children, 3 of them teenagers, in today's secular world is no easy task.  The temptations, distractions, constant reminders of things they could be doing with all the electronics on the market rather than read are many!  To have a wonderfully written book like the NIV Teen Study Bible available to them is a wondrous thing! 

The NIV Teen Study opens with The Apostles Creed and it's history, which unifies us as believers of Christ and unites Christians around the world.  I know you might be thinking there are many of these on the market.  What makes this one different from all the other ones?   Well, there IS a difference!  The Teen Study Bible is 1,614 pages BIG!  In between pages 1-1614 is a multitude of information that teens NEED to read.   This book gets down in the trenches, it's straight talk with topics and hits home on more levels than I have read in other additions.  For example, one of my teen daughters has acne, so pronounced that we take her to a dermatologist who has worked with her and put her on several medicines to help her heal.  Neither her pastor or Sunday School teacher have ever brought up pimples!  But page 346 does exactly that - it talk about 'zits'!  Imagine!  From a Godly perspective, God said to Samuel in the anointing of the King, "Do not consider his appearance or his height .. The Lord does not look at the things people look at.  People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."  Straight talk, people.  Things kids want and need to hear.  They don't want lectures, or sermons that drone on,  they want to hear what is relevant to them in their daily walk, and that walk includes talks of God on their level. 

One amazing feature in this NIV Teen Study Bible is the "Dear Jordan" sections through-out the chapters where kids/teen have asked a variety of questions and Jordan answers them in matter-of-fact, non threatening ways.  Such as, what I argue, what if I'm at a party and there is drinking, what if one of my parents like me better than my siblings?   Sometimes, it is not easy to ask adults the things that kids have on their minds and lay heavy on their hearts.  The quick reference questions which are quick-fire style "Why did God kill Uzzah?" and answer "Uzzah put his hand on the ark of the covenant, which no one was allowed to touch."  Love the quick reference pro quo! In addition, the Instant Access spiritual reference is a great tool for kids to look up the references and have explanations in addition to their entire bible, book by book. 

The pages are a little thin, almost like onion-skin, so this book needs to be treated with some delicacy but it's absolute perfection in style and written with the true teenager in mind.  From open discussions of virginity, sexual promiscuity, drinking, drugs, bullying, shop-lifting, divorce, idolatry of stars, and so much more, this book just brings home all the topics you can imagine that you need to discuss with your teen and have on hand for those 'need scriptural reference' moments.  In addition to the worrisome topics, it's jam packed with the goodness as well, like serving as a Christian teen, witnessing, service projects, reaching out to others, and many more. 

I'm so blessed to have had the chance to review this teen study bible and will use this as a definite guiding tool with my own children.  This book would also benefit those working in the Christian field of teaching, Sunday schools and ministries.  It would also make an excellent gift! 

I was given a copy of this book to review.  The opinions expressed within are purely my own for an honest review of the book.

~Kelly Santi

Book Review: When I fall in love

From the Book Jacket:  Hawaii was the last place Grace Christiansen ever imagined she’d vacation, much less fall in love. But when her family surprises her with a cooking retreat in paradise, she is pulled—or maybe yanked—away from her predictable, safe life and thrown headfirst into the adventure of a lifetime.

Max Sharpe may make his living on the ice as a pro hockey player, but he feels most at home in the kitchen. Which is why he lives for the three-week culinary vacation he takes each year in Hawaii. Upon being paired with Grace for a cooking competition, Max finds himself drawn to her passion, confidence, and perseverance. But just when Grace dares to dream of a future beyond her hometown, Max pulls away.

Wrestling with personal demons, Max fights against opening his heart to a love he knows he should never hope for. And as his secrets unfold, Grace is torn between the safe path in front of her and what her heart truly desires. If love means sacrificing her ideal happily ever after, Grace’s faith will face its toughest test yet.
My Review:  Each Summer, I find book (or three!) to toss in my bag and read at the beach or pool.  When I Fall in Love  by Susan May Warren is just that delightful book!  From the moment I opened the first page, Grace and Maxwell captured my heart and I just had to read on until the wee hours of the night!
This book is my first novel by Susan Warren but I will be scooping up the other two after reading this one!
Both characters are so detailed and richly written, they soon become like old friends.  The mystery of their meeting and consequences of them ending up in the same place and time makes you feel for the art of destiny.  As most people that meet or are 'thrown together under circumstance', both Grace and Max have a past, baggage, fears and uncertainties that they bring to the table.  As
an avid cook in the kitchen, the added flair of the cooking competition where they truly learned to master falling in love - both with cooking and one another - is written beautifully.  I honeymooned in Hawaii and I can tell you, the author's writing style and descriptions were so spot on, I felt transported back!
Thing is, God is ever present in so many of our situations.  Max was a man who struggled with a past and brought it to the pages of this book.  But Warren does an amazing job of keeping the pace and reminding us that in all things, God gives us strength.  Flawless, delightful, and a must read for those that love contemporary Christian romance with all that's good and nothing that's bad!  *5 Stars!*

I was given a complimentary copy of this book by Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I have not been compensated.
About the Author: Susan May Warren is the bestselling, Christy and RITA Award–winning author of more than forty novels whose compelling plots and unforgettable characters have won acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. She served with her husband and four children as a missionary in Russia for eight years before she and her family returned home to the States. She now writes full-time as her husband runs a lodge on Lake Superior in northern Minnesota, where many of her books are set. She and her family enjoy hiking, canoeing, and being involved in their local church.
Susan holds a BA in mass communications from the University of Minnesota. Several of her critically acclaimed novels have been ECPA and CBA bestsellers, were chosen as Top Picks by Romantic Times, and have won the RWA's Inspirational Reader's Choice contest and the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year award. Five of her books have been Christy Award finalists. In addition to her writing, Susan loves to teach and speak at women's events about God's amazing grace in our lives.

For exciting updates on her new releases, previous books, and more, visit her website at

List Price:
Release Date:
July 2014
Page Count:
Trim Size:
5 1/2 x 8 1/4