Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Book Review: Becoming Unconsumed by Lynne Britton

In this touching and insightful devotional for women, author Lynne Britton inspires those of us who have become all consumed with this world to step back, trust in the Lord, and spend time in the Word to build a better relationship with "ourselves, each other and, ultimately, God."

Becoming Unconsumed: A devotional for every woman struggling in today's all-consuming world, will refocus your attention on what really matters: family, friends, faith, and the Word of God. It helps you realize that living in this fallen world, we easily allow our attention to drift away as we get consumed with being everything to everyone.  It makes you stop and think about the messages you are listening to and what you're giving your life to each day.

The book designer, Meghan Mason Design, did a superb job of creating a beautiful and calming cover, complemented by a few carefully chosen fonts inside and out that work well together to create a meaningful reading experience; something I feel is truly important in a devotional. Each day starts off with a Bible verse, then a short reflection by Britton, followed by a prayer. At the end of each day is a page dedicated to any personal notes the reader would like to add.

Perhaps my favorite part of the book is that it grows with you. The first twenty days follow the format above, with the reflections deepening as you go along. On the twenty-first day, Britton invites the reader to reflect on her own. A Bible verse starts the day, and then there are blank lines for the reader to write out her own reflection and response. There are forty days to this devotional, just like the forty days and forty nights Jesus spent in the wilderness where He was tempted by the devil. The symbolism of our wandering in the wilderness here in Satan's world being tempted daily was not lost on this reader. But just like Jesus' journey was not over after those forty days, the reader's journey is not over either. Britton encourages the reader to continue the habits this devotional has inspired, offering another twenty days where she can choose her own Scripture, reflect and respond, because "In Messages, Prayers And Connection, We Thrive." This is Britton's lasting message to her readers, and it is a powerful way to end a devotional that can truly impact your life in many ways.

Becoming Unconsumed by Lynne Britton has already made an impact on my life. I pray it will bless many women around the world and they, in turn, will grow in their relationship with the Lord. I highly recommend it for women from all walks of life.

Paperback: 176 pages
Publisher: Grace & Impact (April 24, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0692089365
ISBN-13: 978-0692089361

I received a copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Book Review & Giveaway: Hot Mess: A Practical Guide to Getting Organized by Laurie Palau

Looking to get organized? Looking to free yourself from all types of clutter? Then pick up Hot Mess: A Practical Guide to Getting Organized by Laurie Palau.

In this fun and practical book, readers learn how to get organized and stay organized. Palau helps you identify your dominate clutter and other types of clutter that keep you feeling overwhelmed and disorganized. She gives you ideas on how to uncover your clutter pitfalls. Then she provides you with overall solutions and tips on how to get organized by room (kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, etc.). Finally, she provides the reader with ideas on moving forward and a bunch of helpful resources to get organized and stay organized.

Organization has always been my thing. I credit it to those years in retail sorting clothes by sleeve length and colors. But life got hectic over the last few years and my house has become a jumbled mess of stuff. It doesn't help we are moving my mother-in-law in with us. Already, using just a few tips from Hot Mess, I have been able to make progress through cleaning up my in-laws house. With this book in hand, I'll be turning my attention to our house next to get it ready for her to move in.

What I appreciated most about Palau's approach is that she acknowledged our "emotional" clutter: our need to keep something because of our emotional connection to it. In my basement, there are boxes and boxes of projects my kids made and school work. Hot Mess made me realize I need to look at these things with a new strategy. The other highly motivating factor was admitting my "calendar" clutter: how I try to fit it in too many things. Isn't there a saying that if you want things done, ask a busy person? This busy person is eager to use Palau's tips for conquering calendar clutter to make life and all that other clutter more manageable.

For those of us struggling with clutter in any form, Hot Mess: A Practical Guide to Getting Organized by Laurie Palau may be the most important and helpful book we read all year.


Paperback: 232 pages
Publisher: zolopublishing (October 12, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0692921621
ISBN-13: 978-0692921623


I received a digital copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.


Excerpt:

We’ve talked a lot about organizing your stuff, but how about finding time in your day for you?  Calendar clutter, in my opinion, is the driving force behind so much of our daily stress, anxiety, and frustration.  So many of us run on autopilot, especially when the kids are small, or when we are busy taking care of ailing parents or building a career.  It’s easy to see how we can lose sight of making time for other things in our life that are important, like self-care.

As a society, we have a difficult time knowing how to unplug.  Life is filled with distractions, and unless you make a conscious effort to prioritize time for yourself, it will never happen.  Maybe you want time to exercise, join a book club, volunteer, or take up a hobby, but figuring out the logistics may seem impossible.

...Only when I took a step back to look at what my goals were, and actually wrote down what I had been doing, was I able to see where I needed to change. Note the key phrase: “I needed to change.”  I had to reclaim control over how I chose to spend my time.

GIVEAWAY 

Laurie Palau will be awarding a FREE 30 minute phone consultation to help address specific organizing challenges to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Monday, May 14, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? - May 14




It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's a great post to organize yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.

Happy Monday! I hope you had a great weekend and, for all who it applies, a lovely Mother's Day. The kids took me out to lunch after church, which was really nice.

Trying to catch up on reading while working my tail off makes for a hectic, but fun schedule. Finished these two this weekend:



Here's what I really should be reading next because all of these books are overdue reviews. 










What I want to read next is this one...


I would also like to finish this one now that I've found it....



Not sure which direction I will go yet. What are your reading plans this week? 

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Beyond the Books - Self-Care



Beyond the Books is a weekly feature hosted by Kissin Blue Karen. Beyond the Books is a weekly writing prompt where she throws out a topic (mostly non-bookish) and others blog about it.

I read this topic and just about fell out of my chair from laughing so hard. Self-care? Who has time for that? Whether you are a stay-at-home mom or a working mom (though those terms are pretty much redundant), you are busy and self-care is the last thing that happens.

For me, I miss exercising. Never thought I would say it, but I felt so much better when I was working out. Haven't had the time or energy to do it in so long. Started a new devotional and I'm hoping it will clear my mind and recenter me. I'm only looking for three mornings a week for exercise. Can it really be that hard?

Sometimes I'll get  my hair colored or my nails done, but pretty much self-care in my world boils down to getting enough sleep each night...and that doesn't always happen either.

How do you handle self-care? Are you working toward it or are you already a pro?

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Books With My Favorite Color On the Cover (or In the Title)



Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Top Ten Tuesday has to be one of my favorite memes. It is so creative, and I'm sorry to miss it so often. Today is a fun topic. I think everyone who knows me is aware that my favorite color is red. When I was a kid I used to dream of owning a candy apple red corvette. The closest I ever got was a maroon Camaro. I work for a company whose colors are red, black, and white. My iPhone is red. Many of my clothes are red. The only place you won't find much red is in my house decor. Not sure why, but it worked out that way.

Now, I get to share books with red on the cover or in the title. These might be books I've read, but they might not. I'm simply going for color.

Books With My Favorite Color On the Cover (or In the Title)



Read this. Loved it!


Read the whole series. Was so bummed when it ended.


Only had a chance to read the first book in this series. Need to order the next two.


Didn't know how I would feel about this book, but I ended up loving it all.


Enjoyed this one. I want to pick up her Watson Chronicles too.


Either I picked this up or someone gave it to me as a present.


Picked this up as a Kindle freebie. Read a bit and loved it, but haven't had time to dig back into it.


Met this author at a writers conference. Liked his style and bought a copy of this before I left. 


Bought this one a couple years ago. Haven't read it yet, but want to dig into it one day. 


Not my typical read, but I like to be unpredictable sometimes. Love the red purse. Haven't been able to find one in real life that looks as nice as on that cover.

What books are you talking about this week? 

Monday, May 7, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? - May 7




It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's a great post to organize yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.

How is it Monday again? Gosh, the time slips away faster and faster. Today, the hubby turns 50! How did that happen? At least he will always be two months and five days older than me. :)


Lil' Diva, hubby, & father-in-law


I've been trying desperately to keep reading a few days out of the week. It's been tough with work, but I really want to whittle away my book piles. I donated 45 books to the library book sale last week, so once I do some more reading and purging I'll have room for new ones. :) 

On Thursday, I reviewed The Pirate Bride by Kathleen Y'Barbo. Great book in a superb series. Will be tackling The Captured Bride by Michelle Griep next. Love the cover. 



I'm almost done with Hot Mess: A Practical Guide to Organizing. Once I read that, I'm done with scheduled book reviews. While I definitely have other books authors are waiting for me to review, there is nothing due by a certain date. Thank God!!!! I want to read something without having to worry about finishing it on a certain date. 

I'm also in the middle of this book:



One of my friends wrote it and I am thrilled to be part of her launch team. Look for my review of Becoming Unconsumed by Lynne Britton this week. 

After that, I might finish...


I mislaid this book in the middle of reading it. As I was going through my shelves to purge a few things, I found it. 

That's it from me this week. Hope you share what you're reading. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Book Review: The Pirate Bride by Kathleen Y'Barbo

Filled with romance and adventure, The Pirate Bride by Kathleen Y'Barbo is an excellent addition to the Daughters of the Mayflower series.

Maribel Cordoba is just a girl when she joins her father to sail to the Caribbean. Their adventure is cut short when Captain Jean Beaumont takes possession of their ship, but a new adventure is awaiting Maribel just around the corner.

I have to admit, this is not what I expected based upon the write up. Yes, we end up with a bride, but it's many years in the making. I loved Maribel--who one reviewer has called a "swashbuckling Anne of Green Gables." I see the comparison, but I think Anne fell into trouble, while Maribel went looking for it. When Maribel and the privateer reconnect, the true adventure begins.

This is a strong addition to the Daughters of the Mayflower series. It's a fun, adventurous story. Loved all the characters, especially the secondary ones: the bonds they shared, the love of the privateer lifestyle, their strong faith. There was a great little surprise at the end too.

This is a total stand along novel, but I encourage readers to pick up The Mayflower Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse, which is the first book in this series, because of the family relations. I'm also one of those people who likes to read a series from the very beginning, so I often encourage that.

History, adventure, faith and romance make The Pirate Bride a perfect story.


Series: Daughters of the Mayflower (Book 2)
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Barbour Books; Gld edition (April 1, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1683224973
ISBN-13: 978-1683224976

I received a copy of this book from the publisher. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.