Category Archives: Nonfiction

Adored Review and Giveaway!

Adored

By Lindsay A. Franklin

The Story

In an ever-changing world, we can be certain of one thing: we are beloved by God.

Adored: 365 Devotions for Young Women tackles tough topics girls face, from bullying and social media to friendships and dating, all the while showing readers how infinitely precious they are in God’s sight.

Each day features an easy-to-read, relevant devotion paired with a scripture verse and journaling space to help readers reflect on the day’s message. With honest, poignant, and sometimes humorous text, every page will speak to the pressures and changes girls face, giving them real-world applications to find God in their hearts and in their lives. Perfect for everyday use, Adored will resonate with girls searching for truth and guidance. Gift givers will love this highly designed book featuring a beautiful, foiled cover, and two-color interior pages.

(Back cover summary from Zondervan Publishers.)

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Adored is a sweet, simple devotional aimed at young women. It begins with Genesis and ends with Revelation, appropriately. Differing from other devotionals for young women that can often focus on relationships, this devotional hits all aspects of life. It brings out doctrine, making truths from God’s word easily understandable and applicable. I enjoyed reading the verses from the NIV and also the insights that were written underneath. Each devotional is short, only a verse or two, with two or three paragraphs underneath and then several lines below that for journaling. Adored would be a good springboard for further personal study.

With pretty design and overall solid doctrine, this would be a nice Christmas present for a young woman in your life to encourage her in her faith. You also have the opportunity to win this devotional for you or a special young woman in your life! Just enter the Rafflecopter giveaway.

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About the Author

Lindsay lives in her native San Diego with her husband (master of the dad joke), their awesomely nerdy kids, two thunder pillows (AKA cats), and a stuffed wombat with his own Instagram following (@therealwombatman). You can find Lindsay on social media, too, if Wombatman hasn’t hijacked all her accounts. She’s @LinzyAFranklin on Instagram and Twitter, and she Facebooks at www.facebook.com/LindsayAFranklin.

(Biography from Lindsay Franklin’s website.)

I was provided a copy of this book from the publisher. The opinions expressed are my own.

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66 Ways God Loves You, and a Giveaway!

9780718087708-jpgBook Review: 66 Ways God Loves You

Author: Jennifer Rothschild

Review by Grace Olson

The Story

Back Cover from Amazon’s website for 66 Ways God Loves You:

66 books, one incredible message

God’s Word is many things—instructive, historical, poetic. Yet to Jennifer Rothschild, the Bible is also an incredible love letter. In 66 Ways God Loves You, she walks you through each of the sixty-six books of the Bible and shows, in concise and thoughtful ways, how every book reflects God’s love for each of us, such as:

In Genesis God fashions me with His hands.

In Esther He Makes me royalty

In Acts God’s Spirit comes to live in me.

In I Peter God gives me victory over suffering.

Each chapter includes a succinct, meaningful reading on the message of that book in the Bible, along with a simple takeaway to help you bring the message to light in your own heart and life.

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            I really enjoyed this book. I was encouraged as I read it, and very impressed by how Ms. Rothschild could take one book of the Bible, narrow its focus down so she could write two pages about how God’s love is portrayed in it, and make it applicable for us without taking it out of context. This book is visually appealing, but also appeals to the heart and soul as she teaches the reader more about how much God loves them.

Though it’s a small book focused on the love of God, 66 Ways God Loves You is also surprisingly rich in doctrine. I wasn’t sure what sort of doctrinal basis this book would have, if it would only focus on God’s love and forget His justice, but I was very impressed by Ms. Rothschild’s ability to balance that out. Inevitably, different doctrinal issues came up in this book, but I found we agreed on most everything, which I found interesting.

One of my favorite (because I can’t narrow it down to one!) chapters was the one from Zephaniah, The Mighty God Sings Over Me with Great Joy. It was such an awesome reminder that not only does God love me, He likes me too! And He delights in me.

            All in all, I really liked this book. It’s definitely a keeper for me, and maybe for you too! Today, courtesy of the publisher, I’m going to be giving away one copy to one of you! Make sure you enter to win this great book.

Click on the link and fill out the options to enter: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/fea9d3732/

About the Author

Biography from Thomas Nelson’s website: Jennifer Rothschild has written 13 books and Bible studies, including the bestsellers, Lessons I Learned in the Dark and Self-Talk, Soul-Talk. She has appeared on Good Morning America, Dr. Phil, Life Today, and a Billy Graham television special and spoken for Women of Faith and Extraordinary Women. She is the founder of the Fresh Grounded Faith conferences and womensministry.net. She lost her sight at age 15 and regularly travels and speaks around the country, sharing her story and all God has done in her life. Jennifer lives with her family in Missouri.

I was provided a copy of this book from the publisher. The opinions expressed are my own.

I Don’t Get You

51uqjmqR+eL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Book Review: I Don’t Get You, A Guide to Healthy Conversations

Author: Sherry Graf

Review by Grace Olson

The Story

Taken from Amazon’s description of I Don’t Get You:

Relationships can be confusing, and communication is a huge part of that confusion. I Don’t Get You aims to be a practical, accessible resource that helps readers navigate opposite-sex communication with intentionality.

This booklet explores how God designed our hearts and the variations between men and women. Men and women relate, attach, and express themselves differently. Even what we think and feel during a shared conversation may be misunderstood.

The 5 Categories of Conversation introduced in this booklet give practical and easy-to-apply guidelines for interaction. The material guides us to fulfilling relationships that respect emotional boundaries and promote healthy interactions. I Don’t Get You equips men to protect their own hearts and the hearts of women around them. It also reveals how we can intentionally pursue the heart of one special person. Women will learn to recognize the invisible emotional ties that easily form and to guard their hearts from uncommitted emotional intimacy.

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            This is quite possibly the best book I have ever read on emotional purity in relationships with all people. I had expected the book to be bigger than it was, but really it’s a booklet. I Don’t Get You is only 66 pages long, but it is so packed full of practical insight and advice, that you would think it’s a much bigger book. I have already recommended this book to many of my friends, because I believe it really has some great things to say that are truth.

The booklet talks about the heart of healthy conversations, which is really a matter of the heart. How we must guard our hearts (Proverbs 4:23) and how we can get involved in defrauding relationships. Next Sherry considers how to have healthy conversations and the 5 categories of conversations that bring people progressively closer. Dependency is also briefly discussed, those emotion-draining relationships with people of the same sex that can be difficult to deal with. Emotional purity in dating and in marriage are discussed individually and had a lot of great pointers and guidelines to consider. Finally, Sherry talks about pursuing emotional purity together. The book contains good, thought-provoking discussion questions that go deep and keep the reader from just brushing past.

About the Author

Sherry and her husband, Jeff, enjoy teaching about healthy conversations and emotional purity around the country. She loves helping others discover how to better “get” one another and enjoy deep and thriving relationships. To contact her, you can connect with her on Facebook or via email.

I was given a review copy of I Don’t Get You from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I received no monetary compensation for my review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild

 

Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild by Mary Kassian Featured resource on Building Relationships with Dr. Gary ChapmanBook Review: Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild

Author: Mary A. Kassian

Review by Grace Olson

The Story

Taken from Moody Publisher’s website description of Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild:

Inundated by popular culture, many women have lost their bearings and no longer trust the internal compass that intuitively affirms those things that are good, true, and noble about womanhood. And as Jesus’ favorite and most powerful teaching tactic was the parable, it is appropriate that Mary Kassian walks the reader through the compelling tale of the wild versus wise woman found in Proverbs 7. By using 20 points of contrast, the reader will be able to discern the difference between wild and wise. Is she living as a wise, biblically savy woman? Or has she bought into the one our culture holds as ideal: the wild woman?

Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild will captivate, convict, and challenge women to become decreasingly wild and increasingly wise. Includes questions for personal reflection at the end of each chapter.

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It took me a while to finish Girls Gone Wise, not because it was a bad book, but there is so much information packed into this little paperback that it takes a while to digest. I started this book back in June when I was working at a Bible Camp for the summer. Then it went back to my bookshelf for a while in lieu of fiction reads. I’d gotten about halfway through the book, and I knew it was one I wanted to review, so I pulled it out again.

Girls Gone Wise is an insightful, convicting, and straightforward book. Mary isn’t afraid to put it all out there and point out behaviors of a Girl Gone Wild. She also doesn’t shy away from labeling these behaviors as destructive and sinful. To back up her claims, she uses Scripture and real life stories of girls and women of all ages who’ve “Gone Wild”, and the destruction that followed.

I liked the way Mary went about contrasting the attitudes, behaviors, and habits of a Girls Gone Wise vs. a Girl Gone Wild. Instead of simply telling the reader what was good and what was bad, she used illustrations and stories to show her point.

If you’re looking for a convicting read, then I would highly recommend Girls Gone Wise. This book is for more than just the college girl, the newly wed, or the young unmarried single. This is a book that challenges the behavior of all women, young and old. It has the potential to change your life. I was convicted in areas that I had tendencies of a Girl Gone Wild.

What book, nonfiction or fiction, has recently challenged your views? Did you agree with what the author said?

About the Author

Biography from the Girls Gone Wise website: Mary Kassian is an award winning author, popular speaker, and a distinguished professor of women’s studies at Southern Baptist Seminary. She has published several books, Bible studies and videos, including: Girls Gone Wise, In My Father’s House: Finding Your Heart’s True Home, Conversation Peace, Vertically Inclined, and the Feminist Mistake. ~ To learn more about Mary and Girls Gone Wise, visit her web page: http://www.girlsgonewise.com/

 

Authorpreneurship: Build a Successful Business as an Author

Authorprenuership-3-d-coverBook Review: Authorpreneurship

Author: Sharon C. Jenkins

Review by Grace Olson

Before we get started on the book, there’s a little somethin’ I wanted to let you in on first. Onto Her Bookshelf’s first book review is going to be one year old on February 10th! Time has flown, and to celebrate, I’m going to be doing a giveaway of several books, including Fireflies in December, the book reviewed in that first post. So be sure to check back here on Monday to enter for a chance to win some great books!

The Story

Take control of your writing career!

What does it take to become a successful author in today’s publishing world? It’s not enough to write a powerful book – today’s author must understand and leverage the business side of writing. Authorpreneurshipby Sharon Jenkins takes the aspiring writer from curiosity to career, combining both sides of publishing – author and entrepreneur – to empower writers with direction, publishing options, marketing solutions and business savvy to grow their career.

You’ll learn:

  • What publishing model is right for you
  • Branding and how it sells your book
  • Your publishing personality, and how to leverage it
  • A business plan for a successful book launch
  • How to manage your time
  • How to create a powerful product
  • Winning traits of a personal support team
  • How to financially support your dream
  • Strategic and easy marketing secrets – online and off!

And resources to help you apply what you learn!

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Authorpreneurship is one book an aspiring writer, or even an already-established author, will want to have on their bookshelf. I was very excited to be given the chance to review this book, since I am in that aspiring writer category.

There are so many books out there about publishing, marketing, and refining your craft (a.k.a: writer jargon for writing stories, for those of you non-writers reading this), so sometimes it’s hard to know what will be a useful resource and not a waste of time and money. I found this book to be very helpful. For example, the idea of an author “brand” is bandied about within writer circles. Those of us writers trying to get our foot in the door may know what that word refers to, but we might have no idea how to implement a strategy to create a brand. Jenkins did a very good job of explaining what a brand is and how a person can develop one.

I mentioned that this book would be useful for an already-established author as well. You’re probably asking, how so? Well, Authorpreneurship covers a wide range of areas that all authors—published or otherwise—can be working on or toward. The book talks about time management (a skill I know I need help with), pursuing your dream, the ever-elusive concept of marketing, as well as quizzes to assess different areas of where you’re at on the topics discussed,. We aren’t just left reading information, however. Jenkins gives the reader rubber-meets-the-road “Practical Applications” where we can take the information given and put it into practice.

So, would I recommend this book? You betcha! This is a resource I will definitely pull out in the future. For the writer looking to make their book a success, Authorpreneurship is a must-have.

Ms-JenkinsokAbout the Author 

Sharon C. Jenkins is a literary project manager, author, motivational speaker and visionary who serves as the Inspirational Principal for The Master Communicator’s Writing Services. Formerly the managing editor of four electronic and print journals (business, community, health and wellness, faith-based) for one of the largest African American marketing and communications companies in Houston, she has also written articles in various national and local publications. These include Yahoo Shine, Diva Toolbox, Beauty Come Forth Magazine, Gospel Truth, d-mars.com, Houston Black Book and Small Business Today.

Jenkins is also the best-selling Amazon author of Beyond the Closet Door and has co-authored two other books, Songs of Three Sisters and Ready, Set, Succeed: Making Your Dream Come True.

Known as the Master Communicator, because she is proficient in communicating in multiple forms of media: radio, newspapers, magazines, and spoken word, her prevailing mission is to equip authors to live their literary dreams without emptying their bank accounts. She started this undertaking four years ago with the Desire to Inspire Workshops, which progressed to the 2010 – 2013 Authors Networking Summit, which were hosted in Houston and Detroit. To learn more about Sharon and her other books, visit her web page: http://www.sharoncjenkins.com/

Authorpreneurship is available for download or paper copy.

I was given a review copy of Authorpreneurship from My Book Therapy in exchange for an honest review. I received no monetary compensation for my review. The opinions expressed are solely my own.

Grace, Gold and Glory: My Leap of Faith

9780310740612_p0_v4_s260x420Book Review: Grace, Gold and Glory: My Leap of Faith

Authors: Gabrielle Douglas with Michelle Burford

Review by Grace Olson

She flies through the air and the crowd sucks in a collective breath. As her hands make contact with the bars once more, that breath is released in a deafening cheer. She did it! You may have already guessed this, but I’m speaking of Gabrielle Douglas’s uneven bar routine in the London 2012 Summer Olympics. What women’s gymnastics fan doesn’t remember the astounding heights to which Douglas flew as she represented her team and country? I have always enjoyed watching women’s gymnastics in the summer Olympics; it’s my favorite event, and along with many of the viewers from the U.S., I fell in love, so to speak, with Douglas. Her winning smile and down-to-earth personality captured our hearts, but her outspokenness about her faith is what had me intrigued. So when Grace, Gold and Glory: My Leap of Faith arrived from the library, I was eager to read about this young lady.

The Story

 Contrary to what we might think, Douglas’s path to the London 2012 Summer Olympics was lined with potholes and seemingly impassable barriers, not the gilded road of ease one might have expected. Douglas’ was born on December 31, 1995, and from before the very first breath she took, her life was in peril. Douglas would later be diagnosed with a rare blood disorder when she was only a few months old. This disease would later disappear, but it seemed to be a precursor to how hard she would have to fight to accomplish her goals.

Douglas and her family have encountered many trials during her life. Her mother and father’s separation played a big role in her life financially and emotionally. At one point, not long before that memorable day when she won gold at the Olympics, Douglas wanted to give up. She almost did, too, but through faith in God, determination, and a whole lot of family support, she persevered toward her dream of going to the Olympics and winning that gold medal.

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Douglas recounts her journey from being a sick, tiny baby to a double gold medalist in the Individual and Team Women’s All-Around Competition. Humorous anecdotes from her childhood stand beside the struggle, sweat, and frustration she experienced in her journey. I enjoyed getting to know Douglas better as she shared her life in Grace, Gold and Glory: My Leap of Faith. At the end of each chapter is a little thought or story about Douglas and her father, their relationship and what she wished/s it could be. These little reflections at the end of the chapters I thought were particularly insightful into Douglas’s life.

It was clear shortly after Douglas’s victory at the London 2012 Summer Olympics that she was a person of strong faith as she shared in an interview, “…I give all the glory to God. It’s kind of a win-win situation. The glory goes up to Him and the blessings fall down on me.” In her book, this was evidenced once again as she spoke of her and her mother’s faith in God. The book’s title underscores the explanation of her beliefs.

Douglas reveals the meaning behind the book’s title in this excerpt from the book.“Grace. Gold. Glory. Those three little words now have the biggest meaning for me. Grace—that’s all about how my Father’s love, mercy, and forgiveness will never (ever) run out. Gold—yes, that describes the pair of medals I will always feel so privileged to wear, but it’s also the standard we can use in how kindly we treat one another. Glory—when God shares it with us, there’s only one thing we can do: give it right back to Him.”

This teen’s understanding that the glory is not meant for her to keep, but to give back to God is refreshing. Douglas seemed a bright light to me during the Olympics as she freely spoke of her faith in God.

About the Author

Michelle Burford is a Harvard-trained journalist and a founding editor of O, The Oprah Magazine. Biography courtesy of Zondervan Publishers. To read more about Michelle, visit her website: http://michelleburford.com/index.html .

See above in this review under the section entitled The Story to read about Gabrielle or visit her website: http://gabrielledouglas.com/

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 I enjoyed reading about a gymnast who had caught my attention during the London 2012 Summer Olympics. Getting to know Douglas better was very cool as I went from seeing her as an Olympian to more of a real person. The book is well-written, (despite the several misprints I couldn’t help noticing), and is great read for anyone wanting a better look into this young lady’s life and faith.

Grace, Gold and Glory: My Leap of Faith is available for check-out, download, or paper copy.

Kisses from Katie

imgresBook Review: Kisses from Katie

Author/s: Katie Davis with Beth Clark

Review by Grace Olson

Children. They are called our world’s most precious resource. But if this resource is so precious, why are hundreds of thousands of them starving and living in abject poverty? Kisses from Katie reveals how one young woman lived and loved radically for her God and Savior, letting herself be used to change lives, one person at a time.

The Story

Katie Davis grew up in the Nashville, Tennessee area. She had a comfortable, happy life, but when she went on a short missions trip with her mom over Christmas break of her senior year in high school, her heart was forever changed. As she witnessed the extreme poverty and need in Uganda, Katie fell in love with the country and its people. Returning from the trip, Katie completed her last semester of high school and along the way realized she needed to go back. Once her parents realized she was serious about this desire, they allowed her to return to Uganda for one year to teach kindergarten in a small community outside of the city of Jinja. Once that year was up, the agreement called for her to return to the United States to enroll in college, but as Katie taught and was taught, her heart became irrevocably tied to Uganda.

God called, and Katie said “Yes,” which resulted in her disappointing her parents’ hopes for her to attend college, friends thinking she was crazy to give up her comfortable life in the U.S., and breaking up with her boyfriend, with whom she was in love.

Now Katie is twenty-two, living in Jinja, Uganda, and is in the process of adopting thirteen Ugandan children. She started the ministry Amazima, which feeds hundreds of children as well as sends them to school, all in response to God’s calling on her life.

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Katie’s story is written as though she were having a conversation with her readers. She shares her struggles over the years as well as the successes, but she always points to God and Jesus Christ for the credit.

The stories Katie shares in the book are at times heart-wrenching, bringing me to tears several times as I read about these poor children. I had to skim over several of the stories, so horrified was I at the conditions these people endure. Katie does not mince words; instead, frankly stating the facts of these children and adults’ appalling sicknesses and living conditions. My heart was stirred to compassion for these people who have so little; for these children of four, five years of age who have to dig through the fields or the trash for food for themselves and their families; for the seven and eight-year-olds who are responsible for taking care of their younger siblings, because their parents have left them or died from AIDS or other diseases.

In Kisses from Katie, Katie again and again states that she isn’t special. She isn’t courageous or extraordinary. What she does have is an extraordinary God who cares so much for these little ones. She just allows herself to be used by saying “yes”, when all the world might be telling her to say “no”. A beautiful picture of faith, Katie challenges her readers to say “yes” to being used by God in whatever capacity He is calling them.

About the Author

Beth Clark is a writer and publishing consultant who has ghostwritten four top-ten New York Times bestsellers. She runs a business called Thinkspot Communications in the rolling hills of Franklin, Tennessee. Biography courtesy of simonandschuster.com

See above in this review under the section entitled The Story to read about Katie.

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Kisses from Katie is a book that stirs the heart to compassion, but will that compassion turn to action? This is something I had to think about as I read the book, and I challenge you to as well. My heart hurts for these children, so what am I going to do about it? Neither you nor I need to go all the way to Uganda to be used by God. Though we might be called to go somewhere like that, we can be used right where we are. There are children hurting and in need of our help here in the United States, but the question that is begging to be asked is this: Will you say “yes?” Katie said “yes” to God, and He did extraordinary things in her life. What will your answer be? What will mine be?

Kisses from Katie is available for checkout, download, or paper copy.