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Book Reviews // 30 Days to Joy & The Daily Question

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Recently, there has been an abundance of journaling type products available most likely resulting from the popularity of adult coloring books. There are so many different types of journals and creative type products available that it can become overwhelming to determine which ones are actually helpful, meaningful and worthy of one’s time. I had the opportunity to be on the WaterBrook Creatives launch team and am excited to share with you today two of their latest journaling type books that fall into the three criteria mentioned above. The first journal I received from WaterBrook is titled, 30 Days To Joy

This small books is just under $10 from Amazon and is great for anyone who wants to creatively explore what it means to be joyful according to Scripture. What I appreciate about 30 Days To Joy is the different Scripture passages about joy that are included within it’s pages. There are also quotes about joy from various sources. 30 Days To Joy includes prompts that ask questions and allow readers to answer via written response or drawing. Overall, I found the prompts to be helpful and intriguing although there were a few that leaned more on the fluffy side including ones that ask readers to journal about their favorite dessert and favorite color.

For women wanting to think about what it means to have joy in Christ, 30 Days to Joy is a great starting point. I also recommend Lydia Brownback’s 30 day devotional titled, Joy, for a further in depth look at the subject according to Scripture.


The second creative book I received from WaterBrook is The Daily Question: My Five-Year Spiritual JourneyPersonally, I have never seen a journal quite like this before and am excited to begin my five year journey with the start of the new year. There is a prompt for each day of the year and each page has five spaces to record responses over a five year period.

Some of the prompts included are, “What in Scripture are you grappling with these days?” (Entry for June 28th) and, “What is one of your favorite New Testament verses or stories?” (Entry for September 24th). Overall, I’m excited to answer The Daily Question and since the response space is short, I believe filling this journal is something that is attainable even in the busy season I’m currently in. I’m truly excited to begin writing in this journal and look forward to reviewing my entries from years past. 

30 Days To Joy and The Daily Question are available now at all major booksellers.

I received 30 Days To Joy and The Daily Question compliments of WaterBrook in exchange for my honest review.

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Book Review // Unwrapping the Names of Jesus

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With the plethora of Advent devotional books released in recent years, it is becoming more challenging to find one that is just the right fit. For me, I’ve found that Unwrapping the Names of Jesus by Asheritah Ciuciu is exactly what I’ve been looking for. I became familiar with Asheritah as she followed me on Instagram and I returned the follow. When I saw that she had written a book designed for Advent, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy.

In Unwrapping the Names of Jesus, Asheritah begins by stating, “We spend much of the holiday season creating our own little winter wonderlands: cookies and cards, lights and decorations, carols and get-togethers. But what exactly are we doing to prepare spiritually? Most christians agree that Christmas is all about Jesus, yet few of our calendars would reflect that priority” (pg. 10).

From this point forward, Asheritah’s daily readings and weekly activities take readers through the various names of Jesus presented in Scripture and reminds them of who Jesus is and the importance of what He has done for those who trust in Him for salvation.

Each daily reading is Christ centered and Scripture saturated which to me, is much needed and so encouraging, especially during this busy season. I also appreciate that the book is beautifully designed and have enjoyed placing it on display with my other Christmas decor.

As I read through the book, I noticed that since the daily readings are all about Jesus, this devotional truly could be use apart from Advent if one were desiring to study what the Bible has to say about who Jesus is.

If you’re interested in receiving a 3 day sampler of the devotional, be sure to sign up here.

I highly recommend Unwrapping the Names of Jesus and look forward to reading it annually.

Unwrapping the Names of Jesus is available now at all major booksellers.

I received Unwrapping the Names of Jesus compliments of Moody Publishers in exchange for my honest review.


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Book Review // First Bible Basics

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First Bible Basics: A Counting Primer is the first in the Baby Believer series created by Catechesis Books. This small and simple board book is geared toward children three and under and focuses on simultaneously teaching them to count while learning about God and the Bible. Through the use of aesthetically appealing illustrations, this book is sure to capture and keep the attention of little ones and guide them in learning how to count to ten.

The heart of the series, as explained on the back cover of First Bible Basics is, “Baby Believer Primers help you teach your children the central tenets of the Christian faith that they may never know a day apart from the Lord.” Considering this, I am really excited to see First Bible Basics join the growing number of theologically sound books for young hearts.


Although this book is for babies, it is rich with truths from God’s Word and I look forward to reading it to my daughter and purchasing her the upcoming books in the series.

I received First Bible Basics compliments of Harvest House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.




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Book Review // The Beginner’s Gospel Story Bible

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The Beginner’s Gospel Story Bible is the latest children’s Bible for children three and younger and honestly, it is one of the best. With aesthetically appealing illustrations and truths from the Old and New Testaments, this Bible is great for introducing youngsters to the truths of God’s word in a comprehensive, deep and understandable way. My husband and I have really enjoyed reading through this Bible with our 20 month old daughter each night. We appreciate that the stories point to Jesus and each person’s need to turn from their sin and trust in Christ alone for salvation.

The stories are short enough to hold the attention spans of young children and are impactful as each one is faithful to Scripture and ends with questions to discuss with little ones (if they are developmentally able). While pregnant with my daughter, we received a plethora of children’s Bibles that were either really cute but lacking theologically or too lengthy for children three and under. The Beginner’s Gospel Story Bible is a combination of the elements most needed in a children’s Bible and is desperately needed in it’s genre. I’m excited to see how this book will impact children and their families by pointing them to the good news of salvation through Christ alone.

The Beginner’s Gospel Story Bible is available now at all major booksellers.

I received The Beginner’s Gospel Story Bible compliments of Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

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Book Review // A Woman Overwhelmed

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A Woman Overwhelmed: Finding God in the Messes of Life is the latest from author Hayley DiMarco. I first became familiar with Hayley when I read her book The Fruitful Wife. I really enjoyed The Fruitful Wife and am thankful for the impact it’s had on my marriage but with A Woman Overwhelmed I didn’t quite feel the same way. With 31 brief chapters, A Woman Overwhelmed reads like a devotional type book although it is not one. When I first received my copy of the book, I found this aspect confusing because I wasn’t quite sure what the intention of the book is.

Through the 31 chapters, Hayley takes women through various scenarios in which she’s experienced feeling overwhelmed and how she responded. I did enjoy reading these as I found them very relatable. I also deeply appreciated the questions Hayley provided at the end of each chapter to get to the heart behind why women feel overwhelmed and how they can respond to these feelings in a godly manner. The questions, however, often did not seem to relate to the scenarios Hayley described, which I also found to be a bit confusing. Overall, I’m thankful for Hayley’s heart to point women to God and His Word, and while I did find aspects of this book enjoyable I don’t know that I necessarily view it as a must read.

If you are a woman who has wrestled though living a life overwhelmed by worldly cares rather than Godly ones, I do believe that the questions in this book may be helpful to you. Consider however, that they may not necessarily flow with or relate to the content of the chapter.

A Woman Overwhelmed is available now at all major booksellers.

I received A Woman Overwhelmed compliments of Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

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Book Review // Pass It On

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Pass It On: A Proverbs Journal for the Next Generation by Champ Thornton is a book that combines the styles of a commentary and Bible study to create a journal that is unique and purposeful. When I first received the book, I figured it was just another journaling type product amongst the many that are popular right now. I was pleasantly surprised, however, to learn that the heart behind this journal is to do what the title says, and pass it on to someone younger spiritually as a means for imparting the wisdom you gain while filling its pages. The old adage, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” is hard for me to follow as I truly appreciate aesthetics. Pass It On is as aesthetically pleasing as it is rich in content.

The first few pages of the book are dedicated to providing readers with a brief overview of Proverbs. After the overview, there are 31 entries that begin with a chapter of Proverbs. At the conclusion of each chapter, there are questions with space for readers to write in answers. The questions truly get to the heart, drawing on the text of each proverb as well as the reader’s personal experience. One of the most important components of this book is a section at the conclusion of each chapter titled, Connecting the Gospel. This section is so important and helpful in creating an understanding of the role Proverbs has within the whole of Scripture and how it points to Jesus. I’m truly grateful for the faithfulness of Champ Thornton and the legacy he is leaving through Pass It On and I’m excited to see the impact it has for those who complete it.

I give Pass It On my highest recommendation and look forward to reading more from Champ in the future.

Pass It On is available now at all major booksellers.

I received Pass It On compliments of Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

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Book Review // Descriptions and Prescriptions

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Descriptions and Prescriptions is the latest book from doctor and Biblical counselor, Michael R. Emlet. This book is unique in that author has a background in medicine yet is also a Christian who affirms the sufficiency of Scripture. In college, my major was psychology and I once had someone ask me how I could be a psychology major and a Christian. At the time, I didn’t understand how the two might conflict and was confused and a little hurt by the question. After being introduced to the Biblical counseling movement however, I understood a bit more of why that questions was asked of me. There are indeed, secular aspects of psychology/psychiatry, which are mentioned in this book, but, as Emlet explains, these aspects aren’t always correct and don’t necessarily provide us with the answers behind the “why?” questions when it comes to mental illness.

In this short, but in depth look at the world of mental illness, Emlet reminds readers that, “diagnosis is not destiny,” (pg. 37) and is not the sum of an individual’s identity. He also points out that where secular counseling is lacking, Christians have an opportunity to love people and serve them by pointing them to the hope of Jesus Christ. Rather than writing in a completely negative tone about the secular aspects of psychology and psychiatry, Emlet explains that there could be some useful aspects of those fields. An example of this is the Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM), an industry standard source in psychology/psychiatry that lists symptoms of various mental illnesses. Emlet wrote that the DSM could be useful in that it often helps us understand what is going on with an individual but, it doesn’t often explain the reason behind why they are ill. He also relayed how Christians need to proceed with caution with secular sources, such as the DSM because it tends to excuse sinful patterns and behavior and write them off as mental illnesses. One such example included in Descriptions and Prescriptions is pedophilia.

As one who holds a degree in psychology and who also loves and treasures Jesus more than life itself, I really, deeply appreciate this book. There was a time in my life when I had learned that the common thought in the church is that mental illnesses don’t exist but sin does and I wrongly started to agree. It wasn’t until I experienced postpartum depression that the Lord greatly softened my heart toward those who suffer in the church (often silently) in ways that most cannot and do not understand.

This book was so encouraging as Emlet reminds readers that sin often plays a part in they “why” aspect of mental illness but there are many other aspects that need to be considered before a proper diagnosis can be made. Readers are also reminded that diagnoses need to be made on a case by case basis and it is often helpful for counselors and ministry leaders in the church to first come alongside those with mental illnesses and be a compassionate friend who points them to the compassion and comfort found in Christ. He also encourages counselors and ministry leaders to look at the big picture of what an individual is experiencing when it comes to their mental illness to truly help them walk through it.

In a chapter titled Implications for Ministry, Emlet wrote, “Long before psychiatric categories existed, wise pastors and shepherds took seriously the spiritual, physical, temperamental, relational, and situational factors of especially troubled individuals in their care and saw this approach as congruent with Scripture,” (pg. 40).

Ultimately, this book is an invitation for the believer to fulfill the command of Romans 12:15 and, “. . . weep with those who weep.” Regarding this, Emlet wrote, “Diagnosis or not, we need to listen well to people’s stories. Many counselees I meet with don’t have a ‘diagnosis’ but they rightly expect that I will listen to their problems with compassion, ask good questions, help them understand their struggles from a biblical perspective, and encourage them to take wise steps to address both sin and suffering in their lives,” (pg. 27).

Coming in just shy of 100 pages, this book is a quick yet profitable read for the Christian who is interested in learning about Biblical counseling and how to care for those who suffer from mental illnesses.

Descriptions and Prescriptions is available now at all major booksellers.

I received Descriptions and Prescriptions compliments of Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

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Book Review // Irenaeus of Lyon

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Irenaeus of Lyon is one of many books by Simonetta Carr in the Christian Biographies for Young Readers series. I first became familiar with this series a little over a year ago when friends of mine introduced me to the book in the series about Martin Luther. My husband and I ended up purchasing the Martin Luther book and have read it with our niece. She loved it and we did too so I knew I would also enjoy the book about Irenaeus.

Prior to reading Irenaeus of Lyon, I had never heard of Irenaeus but I’m so thankful I now know who he is. Irenaeus was taught the Bible by Polycarp who received his Bible knowledge by spending time with the apostle John. During the time Irenaeus was alive, there was much tension in his culture between Christians and non-Christians. This book goes into great detail about the cultural context of the time and explains that many Romans would stop at nothing to see that Christians were put to death. What I appreciate about this series is that it remains true to church history yet explains it in a way that is appropriate and understandable for children.

It was inspiring to learn that in a time when the philosophy of the Gnostics was popular, Irenaeus set about to study the claims of the Gnostics and compare them with Scripture. He was so dedicated to Christians knowing who Jesus is according to the Bible that he even wrote a book titled Against Heresies to combat the error of Gnostic teachings with Scripture.

Filled with beautiful illustrations and photos of historically relevant documents, this short chapter book is perfect for children ages 8 and up (and even adults too!).

One of my favorite parts of the book is that Simonetta Carr is faithful to include the message of the Gospel in simple terms. On page 32 she wrote, “To Irenaeus, the greatest comfort comes from knowing God’s loving plan of salvation for His children. The Bible teaches that evil and suffering came into the world when Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, rebelled against God, but evil doesn’t have the last word. Through his disobedience, Adam has separated us from God, but Jesus, through His obedience, has reconciled us with God. That’s why the Bible calls Jesus the ‘second Adam.’ Even if sin and suffering are still in the world, one day they will be gone forever. Irenaeus encouraged Christians to keep their minds on that final goal.”

If you desire to learn about church history, I highly recommend Irenaeus of Lyon.

I received Irenaeus of Lyon compliments of Cross Focused Reviews in exchange for my honest review.


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Book Review // She’s Got the Wrong Guy

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When I received an email notifying me of the release of Deepak Reju’s latest book, She’s Got the Wrong Guy, my interest was very much piqued. Being one with poor experiences in dating and not marrying until the old age of 26 (at least it seems old when you’re single in the church), I had an inkling this book would be profound and my hunch was right. Reju beings the book by stating, “. . . in the midst of the contemporary challenges to dating and marriage, the greatest need for a single woman is to ground her life in Christ,” (pg. 1 ). I couldn’t agree more with this sentiment and realized that it is true even for me although my relationship status is different.

This book is divided into three parts titled, From Problems to Faith, Am I Dating the Wrong Guy? and The Quest for A Godly Man. A majority of the book explores 10 different types of guys women encounter while dating that make poor choices for a mate. Some of the types of guys mentioned include The Control Freak, The Unbeliever, The Angry Man, The Commitment-Phobic Man and The Passive Man. I really enjoyed this section and desperately wished that this book was around during my dating days.

Reju’s content is derived from his experience as a pastor and biblical counselor and he draws his examples from situations he has helped others work through. He is also a husband and a dad and as I read, I could tell that these roles have shaped his thoughts on the grey area of dating. This book is FULL of Scripture references throughout each chapter and through a tough yet tender tone, it is made patent that Reju cares deeply for his sisters in Christ and wants what is best for them when it comes to romantic relationships.

One aspect of this book that I really appreciate is Reju asks hard questions and that makes this a necessary resource. An example of this is found on page 7 where he wrote, “From the outset, it helps to be honest – as a woman, is your deepest desire for a husband, or for Christ? In a confusing world of dating, amongst the many challenges to women the twenty-first century, your starting point needs to be clear dependence on Christ.”

Often, there are many single women who love the Lord but due to various circumstances may not have someone to walk alongside them in the pursuit of dating and ask the hard questions. To that end, I am excited to see how this book encourages single women to pursue a man who loves Jesus more than them and encourages single men to pursue women in a way that honors God.

If you are single or have been and you love Jesus, this book is a must read. She’s Got the Wrong Guy is chalk full of Biblical encouragement for men and women both single and married. Reading this book is a great way to show our care for the singles in our midst, especially in the church. Encouraging the single ladies in our churches to read it and take heed is a great way to protect their hearts and help them navigate the murky waters of dating.

She’s Got the Wrong Guy is available now at all major booksellers.

I received She’s Got the Wrong Guy compliments of Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.



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Book Review // Total Christmas Makeover

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When I received the opportunity to be on the blog tour for Melissa Spoelstra’s latest book, Total Christmas Makeover, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I had never heard of Melissa before but the concept of her advent devotional sounded practical and applicable to me and I’ve really enjoyed it so far.

Spolestra introduces the book by explaining that it is organized into three sections titled, Ritual, Relationship and Rest. There are a total of 30 devotions to read through, making this the perfect supplement to regular Scripture reading in preparation for celebrating Christmas. I appreciate that each devotion is full of Scripture not only in the intro but in the content itself. Melissa ends each devotion with Questions for Reflection and practical suggestions for families with children of varying ages (personally, I’m looking forward to trying the Jesse Tree suggestion as my daughter grows older).

What I appreciate most about this book is that Melissa encourages readers to study the heart behind why they do what they do when it comes to Christmas traditions and each devotion pushes readers to redeem the season by making it Christ centered. I liked some of the practical ideas she included in the book such as using Christmas light viewing as a means for reminding our children and ourselves that Jesus is the light. Regarding making the Christmas season purposeful, Spoelstra wrote,

“If we put up a tree, we can remind ourselves and our family that Jesus came as a baby but died on a tree. As we string up lights or go look at them, let’s focus on Jesus’s statement that He is the Light of the world. When we make wreaths, decorate our mantle or get our special holiday dishes, we can remember we do things differently for a purpose. We change the look of our surroundings as a ritual to celebrate something great. God loves us. His plan was to redeem us through Christ,” (pg. 32).

In the Day 3 devotion on Prayer, I was so encouraged by Spoelstra’s words, “Every time I actually take the time to pray, I am blessed and so glad that I did it. I can never remember regretting time spent with the Lord in prayer,” (pg. 20).

Overall, I really enjoyed reading Total Christmas Makeover and look forward to reading more from Spoelstra in the future. I highly recommend this book for women who are looking for unique and purposeful ways to redeem the Christmas season.

I received Total Christmas Makeover compliments of Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.