Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Vicious Cycle by Terri Blackstock

About the Book:

When fifteen-year-old Lance Covington finds an abandoned baby in the backseat of a car, he knows she’s the newborn daughter of a meth addict he’s been trying to help. But when police arrest him for kidnapping, Lance is thrust into a criminal world of baby trafficking and drug abuse.

His mother, Barbara, looks for help from Kent Harlan—the man whom she secretly, reluctantly loves and who once helped rescue her daughter from a mess of her own. Kent flies to her aid and begins the impossible work of getting Lance out of trouble, protecting a baby who has no home, and finding help for a teenage mother hiding behind her lies.

In this latest novel of suspense and family loyalty, bestselling author Terri Blackstock offers a harrowing look at drug addiction, human trafficking, and the devastating choices that can change lives forever.

My Review:

4.5 stars

Vicious Cycle by Terri Blackstock is book 2 in the Intervention Series and while it is great to know what happened in the first book you can easily read this book on its own. Like the first book, Intervention, this book reads fast and is hard to put down once you start. I really enjoyed this story and Terri Blackstock had me guessing all the way to the end.

I enjoyed following Lance, Barbara and Emily's life and enjoyed the different case that took place in this book. The over arching theme of addictions is still there but this time there is more than just that going on in this book. The only thing I didn't like about the book is it is heart wrenching watching the characters struggle so much with their is just so sad how many people out there that are trapped in that vicious cycle of addictions.

I would recommend this book to anyone who like a a good suspense story but is not afraid of the tough issues presented in the book.

* I received this book through Zondervan for the purpose of this review.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Accused by Janice Cantore

About the Book:

Detective Carly Edwards hates working in juvenile—where the brass put her after an officer-involved shooting—and longs to be back on patrol. So when a troubled youth, Londy Atkins, is arrested for the murder of the mayor and Carly is summoned to the crime scene, she's eager for some action. Carly presses Londy for a confession but he swears his innocence, and despite her better judgment, Carly is inclined to believe him. Yet homicide is convinced of his guilt and is determined to convict him.

Carly's ex-husband and fellow police officer, Nick, appears to be on her side. He's determined to show Carly that he's a changed man and win her back, but she isn't convinced he won't betray her again.

As the investigation progresses, Carly suspects a cover-up and strikes out on her own, uncertain whom she can trust. But when danger mounts, she begins to wonder if she made the right choice.

My Review:

4.5 Stars

Wow, what a fantastic story. This book hooked me from the beginning and didn't let go till the very end. I loved all the twists and turns and not being able to guess what happens in the end. This is not always the case with suspense books. One of the things I like about the book the most that it is written by a lady who use to be a real cop and can really tell she writes from experience not just research. I think that fact alone makes the book even more enjoyable. Janice Cantore really writes a winner with this book!

Accused by Janice Cantore is book 1 in her Pacific Coast Justice series with book 2 coming out in August, Abducted. I know I can't wait to read the next two books in this series and would highly recommend the book to anyone that loves a good mystery/cop drama.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Cottage by the Sea by Robin Jones Gunn

About the Book:

A daughter’s gift of time, a father’s silent wish.

Erin Bryce and her best friend, Sharlene, count the day they start their wedding planning business as a very happy day. So much so that they name their company The Happiest Day to reflect the fulfillment of their long-held dream as well as their clients’ longing for a wedding celebration to match the exhilaration of being in love. As a bonus, the two women utilize their business to help Erin’s son Jordan and his fiancĂ©e, Sierra, plan a grand wedding.

But the two friends aren’t prepared for the cloud moving in to cover the sunny, successful start of their business. Erin’s father, who lives in a small coastal Oregon community with his brusque, downright odd second wife, Delores, develops a medical problem that puts him in the hospital. Erin responds by rushing from Southern California to her father’s—and oh, yeah, Delores’s—cottage by the sea.

What greets Erin when she arrives sends her tumbling down a bewildering path to a different kind of happiest day. Her journey tosses her through highs and lows of hurt and healing, betrayal and renewal, wrong assumptions righted, and the brightest future one could ever hope for. All just around the corner, at the cottage by the sea.

My Review:

4 Stars

Cottage by the Sea by Robin Jones Gunn is a great story filled with hope, healing, forgiveness and more. I was quickly whisked away into the story and found myself finishing it within the day. It is a short book at around 250 pages, but that is not a bad thing since the story is so good and powerful. Erin is a great character that faces a lot and has to make some hard decisions and learns how to balance it all. I had never read anything from Robin Jones Gunn but I know I want to read more now. She is truly a talented and blessed storyteller. I would recommend this book to any who who enjoys Christian Contemporary fiction. 

Flame of Resistance by Tracy Groot

About the Book:

Years of Nazi occupation have stolen much from Brigitte Durand. Family. Freedom. Hope for a future, especially for a woman with a past like hers. But that changes the day American fighter pilot Tom Jaeger is shot down over occupied France. Picked up by the Resistance, Tom becomes the linchpin in their plan to infiltrate a Germans-only brothel and get critical intel out through Brigitte, a prostitute rumored to be sympathetic to the Allied cause.

D-day looms and everyone knows that invasion is imminent. But so is treachery, and the life of one American pilot unexpectedly jeopardizes everything. He becomes more important than the mission to a man who cannot bear to lose another agent and to a woman who is more than just a prostitute, who finally realizes that her actions could change the course of history.

My Review:

Flame of Resistance by Tracy Groot was a book that I was really looking forward to reading and when it came in the mail I couldn't wait to dive in. The book sounded so different then the many others I have read and appeared to have an interesting and intricate plot. I started reading the book rather quickly and soon found out it was going to be a slow read because of the complicated story line. That is a not a huge deal to me, but what ended up happening the further I read the more and more confused I became and just could not get into the story or figure out what was going on. There are many positive reviews for this book out there  but I think I came to the conclusion that it was not for me. I do not want to say this was a bad book or anything like that. It is clear that the author took a lot of time researching the history and fine tuning all the details of the book. Like everything in life not everything is for everyone!

*I received this book through the publisher and Radiant Lit, my honest opinion was all that was requested.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Love in Disguise by Carol Cox

About the Book:

Can she solve the crime before they uncover her true identity?

Jobless and down to her last dime, Ellie Moore hears about a position with the Pinkerton Detective Agency and believes it's the perfect chance to put her acting skills and costumes to use. Reluctantly, the agency agrees to give her one assignment, one chance to prove herself. Disguised as Lavinia Stewart, a middle-aged widow, Ellie travels to Arizona to begin her investigation. When the need arises, she also transforms into the dazzling Jessie Monroe, whose vivacious personality encourages people to talk.

Mine owner Steven Pierce is going to lose his business if he can't figure out who's stealing his silver shipments. In his wildest dreams, he never expected to receive help from a gray-haired widow... or to fall in love with her beautiful niece.

Then the thieves come after Lavinia and Jessie. Ellie isn't safe no matter which character she plays! Should she give up and reveal her true identity? What will Steven do when he realizes the woman he's falling in love with doesn't really exist?

Set in 1880s Arizona, Love in Disguise blends romance, humor, and mystery for a can't-put-down read.

My Review:

5 Stars

Love in Disguise by Carol Cox has it all and you don't want to miss it. With a plot full of romance, danger, mystery and disguise you can't go wrong and it will keep you guessing what is to come till the end of the book..

I loved this book and it has easily become one of my favorites. I loved watching Ellie switch between the two roles of Lavinia and Jessie and couldn't imagine being able to keep up with  it. She took acting to a whole new level and something many could not pull off. It was also fun watching the romance side of the story develop and I absolutely loved the way Steven acted when he found out the truth about Jessie/Lavinia/Ellie. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a good mystery that is mixed with romance.

*I received this book through the author and Bethany House for the purpose of this review.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Anniversary Waltz by Darrel Nelson

About the Book:

At their sixtieth anniversary party, Adam Carlson asks his wife, Elizabeth, for their customary waltz. After the dance they gather the family and share their story—a story of love and courage overcoming adversity and thriving in the face of overwhelming odds.

It’s the summer of 1946, and Adam has just returned from the war to his home in Reunion, Montana. At a town festival he meets Elizabeth Baxter, a young woman going steady with his former high school rival and now influential banker, Nathan Roberts.

When Adam and Elizabeth share a waltz in a deserted pavilion one evening, their feelings begin to grow and they embark on a journey, and a dance, that will last a lifetime.

My Review:

4 Stars

The Anniversary Waltz by Darrel Nelson is a sweet romance set in the 1940's after World War II has ended. This is Darrel's debut novel and he does a great a job at telling the story and making the romance feel real. I enjoyed how the story felt more realistic then a fluffy love story like many romance stories are. Actually, Darrel mentions in the back of the book that the story is loosely based on his family history, though the story at large is fiction. I found this to be an easy and enjoyable read and was able to finish it easily within a day. This is another fine example that not just women can write wonderful romances. Great job Darrel.  I would recommend this book to anyone that likes a good, clean and sweet romance story.

* I received this book through Glass Roads Blog Tours for the purpose of this review, my honest opinion was all that was requested.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Skip Rock Shallows by Jan Watson

About the Book:

Lilly Gray Corbett has just graduated from medical school and decided to accept an internship in the coal camp of Skip Rock, Kentucky. Her beau, Paul, is doing his residency in Boston and can’t understand why Lilly would choose to work in a backwater town. But having grown up in the mountains, Lilly is drawn to the stubborn, superstitious people she encounters in Skip Rock—a town where people live hard and die harder and where women know their place. Lilly soon learns she has a lot to overcome, but after saving the life of a young miner, she begins to earn the residents’ trust.

As Lilly becomes torn between joining Paul in Boston and her love for the people of Skip Rock, she crosses paths with a handsome miner—one who seems oddly familiar. Her attraction for him grows, even as she wrestles with her feelings and wonders what he’s hiding.

My Review:

4 Stars

Skip Rock Shallows by Jan Watson takes readers into a small coal town where at first the idea of a lady doctor is rejects. Only after saving a young miner she starts to win there trust but even then it is slow and not all want her there. Though there are many residents who become very fond of her and she of them. Throughout the story Lilly faces many battles and wrestles with what to do with the future. Should she stay in Skip Rock or go home to Boston?  Then there is the character from her past, who is he and why is he so familiar. Lilly will not only have to face the future but the past as well but she is one strong lady with a trust in God that will help through all she does. Join Lilly and the cast of characters in this fun novel.

This book for me was fun to read and I enjoyed meeting all the residents of Skip Rock but the only thing for me was it never fully drew me in. I was easily able to set it down for awhile and come back to it. I am definitely glad I read it and would recommend it to those who love book about lady doctors in a time where that was not common. Overall good job Jan Watson!

* I received this book through Tyndale for the purpose of this review. My honest opinion was all that was requested. Thank you Tyndale.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Shadow of Your Love by Susan May Warren

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About the Book:

A beautiful blanket of snow may cover the quaint town of Deep Haven each winter, but it can’t quite hide the wreckage of Noelle and Eli Hueston’s marriage.

After twenty-five years, they’re contemplating divorce . . . just as soon as their youngest son graduates from high school. But then an accident erases part of Noelle's memory. Though her other injuries are minor, she doesn’t remember Eli, their children, or the tragedy that has ripped their family apart. What’s more, Noelle is shocked that her life has turned out nothing like she dreamed it would. As she tries to regain her memory and slowly steps into her role as a wife and mother, Eli helps her readjust to daily life with sometimes-hilarious, sometimes-heartwarming results. But can she fall in love again with a man she can’t remember?

Will their secrets destroy them . . . or has erasing the past given them a chance for a future? Read the story behind the story here:

About the Author:

Susan May Warren is an award-winning, best-selling author of over twenty-five novels, many of which have won the Inspirational Readers Choice Award, the ACFW Book of the Year award, the Rita Award, and have been Christy finalists. After serving as a missionary for eight years in Russia, Susan returned home to a small town on Minnesota’s beautiful Lake Superior shore where she, her four children, and her husband are active in their local church.

Susan's larger than life characters and layered plots have won her acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. A seasoned women’s events and retreats speaker, she’s a popular writing teacher at conferences around the nation and the author of the beginning writer’s workbook: From the Inside-Out: discover, create and publish the novel in you!. She is also the founder, a story-crafting service that helps authors discover their voice.

Susan makes her home in northern Minnesota, where she is busy cheering on her two sons in football, and her daughter in local theater productions (and desperately missing her college-age son!)

A full listing of her titles, reviews and awards can be found

My Review:

What would it be like to not remember how you got to where you were? That is what Noelle is about to discover when she is in a bad accident that on the outside leaves very few injuries but on the inside she can not remember the last twenty five years of her life. Her husband Eli, their children and the tragedy from three years ago are gone from her mind and now she needs to figure out who she is, who they are and what happened. Secrets will be uncovered and in the end trust and faith is what they need for healing to begin.

The Shadow of Your Smile is book five in Susan May Warren's popular Deep Haven series and while I have not read the others (which now I can not wait to do so) I was able to enjoy this story. It was have been nice to have read the others so I would know all the back stories and would get that feeling like I was visiting with dear friends.  Susan May Warren is a very gifted storyteller and draws the reader in with an intriguing plot filled with characters that will make you both laugh and cry. This book is filled with hope, rediscovery, love, faithfulness and trust. So many lessons can be learned by reading this book. As much as I loved this book it is not for everyone. This is not a light and fluffy book, it deals with some tough issues: loss of a child, divorce, amnesia and more. I give this book a solid 5 stars!

*I received this book through Litfuse for the purpose of this review.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Heart Echos by Sally John

About the book:

In the aftermath of a massive Los Angeles earthquake, the perfect existence Teal Morgan-Adams has built begins to crumble. Teal’s daughter, Maiya, is determined to learn the identity of her biological father, despite the loving devotion of her stepdad, River Adams. But that’s a secret Teal hoped would remain buried forever. She has never shared the truth with anyone . . . not her family, not River, not even Maiya’s father.

As Maiya’s rebellion escalates, Teal receives tragic news from her sister and decides to take Maiya home to Cedar Pointe, Oregon, a place she’s avoided most of her adult life. But will her already-strained marriage survive the distance and the secrets she’ll be forced to face there? And can Teal erase the lies that echo in her heart?

My Review:

Heart Echoes by Sally John is the third book in her Side Roads series but it can be read completely on it's own as well as the other two books in the series. Each book in the series deals with handling and coping with life when things happen that take you of course and you find yourself on a 'side road' of life. This book is something that in a way everyone can relate to, even if you have not dealt with what the characters are we have all had to deal with stuff that was unplanned. This type of book is great because it can help us realize that we all deal with things and no matter how hard things are there is a way out and that God is there for us. I really enjoyed this novel and found it be very interesting from page one. This is definitely a contemporary novel that deals with some hard issues and decisions and is not a simple light read. I know I loved it and look forward to reading other books by Sally John.

*I received this book from Tyndale Publishers for the purpose of this review, my honest opinion was all that was requested.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Glamorous Illusions by Lisa T. Bergren

About the book:

The first book in the Grand Tour series, Glamorous Illusions will take readers on a pilgrimage through Europe-and straight into the soul.

It's the summer of 1913 and Cora Kensington's life on the family farm has taken a dark turn. After burying the only father she's ever known, she lost her beau in a tragic accident. Then a stranger comes to call. In one fateful afternoon, Cora discovers that her birth father is a copper king-a man who invites her to tour Europe with her new family. As she travels from England to France, Cora faces the hardships as well as the privileges of assuming the family name. And though now she knows more of her true identity, she soon discovers the journey is only beginning.

About the Author:

Lisa Tawn Bergren is the best-selling, award-winning author of over 30 books, with more than 1.5 million copies sold. She just finished writing a Colorado historical trilogy (the first book,Breathe, Sing and Claim), and has begun a teen series called River of Time.

Lisa's time is split between managing home base, writing (including a fair amount of travel writing), consulting and freelance editing (with a little speaking here and there). She's married to Tim, a liturgical sculptor, graphic designer and musician. They have three kids-Olivia (15), Emma (12) and Jack (7).

All five of the Bergrens make their home in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

For more information on Lisa and to view other books written, please visit her website:

My Review:

5 Stars

What a grand adventure this book is. I just loved every minute of this book from page one to the final page and can not wait to read the rest in the series. Lisa Tawn Bergren does an amazing job at bringing this story to life and knows how to write in narratives which is just awesome. Oh, before I forget I just love, love, love the cover. Its the type of the cover that would make me want to buy the book without even reading the back.

I really loved Cora's character and can't even begin to imagine what it was like for her to go through what she had, and to learn who she really is without even knowing she wasn't who she thought she was. She was a fun girl who was easy to love and made the story even more of an adventure.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves historical romance and to read in general. Great job Lisa on a great book.

*Thank you Litfuse and David C. Cook for providing me with this copy for the purpose of this review.


What is our "true" identity? Join the conversation at Lisa Tawn Begren's Glamorous Illusions Author Chat Facebook Event Page. On the evening of 6/27 we'll gather to talk about our spiritual journey, share our stories and a few laughs.

In the meantime, celebrate with Lisa by entering her Glamorous Illusions Giveaway!

One "glamorous" winner will receive a "Glam Prize Pack":

  • A $350 Visa Cash Card (Oh ... think of what you could do: treat yourself to a mani/pedi, a fabulous new dress, dinner for two, or even a two-night escape in a lovely hotel - you're only limited by your imagination!)
  • Glamorous Illusions (by Lisa Tawn Begren)

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends 6/26/12. Winner will be announced at Lisa's "Glamorous Illusions" Facebook Party on  6/27 {Fun begins at 5pm PDT / 8pm EDT}. Lisa will be hosting an evening of meaningful chat, fun trivia, laughter, and encouragement - bring your friends! She'll also be giving away some GREAT prizes: gift certificates, books, and a Book Club Prize Pack! (Ten copies of the book for your small group or book club and a live chat with Lisa via video or phone.)

So grab a few of your friends and your copy of Glamorous Illusions and join Lisa on the evening of June 27th for an evening of fun.

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter
Don't miss a moment of the fun. RSVP TODAY and tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 27th!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Not in the Heart by Chris Fabry

Intriguing! Interesting! Though Provoking! These are the words that come to my mind when describing Not in the Heart by Chris Fabry. This is a book that is so different than others I have read. It is not romance, historical, or even really suspense, I am no sure what genre I would put it in. This is truly an excellent book that left me thinking. The book deals with the death penalty and an inmate who the word thinks is guilty but he know he is innocent but has accepted he is going to die and trusts God that he knows what he is doing. In the end all he wants to do is to be able to donate his heart to a young man and to tell his story. Though through all this Truman, the guy that is going to tell his story finds out he may be innocent and is caught with the decision to do the right thing. The ending in this book came at a total surprise, I thought I had an idea of how it would all turn out but not at all in the way it did. This is a story of redemption, forgiveness, right and wrong, and healing. This is a great book when you are looking for something to make you think, it is not light and fluffy but the story does flow well.

Final Rating 4.5 out of 5 stars!

*I received this book through FIRST wild card tours and B&B Media group for the purpose of this review. Thank you!

Forsaking All Others by Allison Pittman

Forsaking All Others (Sister Wife)

Forsaking All Others is the sequel and conclusion to For Time and Eternity and I both books are amazing to read. This book being a sequel I highly recommend reading the first one before it as this one picks up right where the first left off. In all reality they could be one book. It would be very confusing to try to read this book by itself.

Camilla Fox who had just left home in the first book was caught in a snowstorm, the good news is that she is alive and currently with the US Army under Colonel Charles Brandon. After many months of healing from the affects of being in the snowstorm the Colonel helps her return to Salt Lake City to see her children she left behind while waiting for spring to be able back to her parents home in Missouri.

While back in Utah, things are harder then she was expecting but eventually finds a way to escape and head to Missouri, again with the help of the Colonel. Finally back home she builds her strength and her case to legally divorce Nathan and claim her children. Will Camilla find the freedom she needs? Will she be able to bring her children home and raise them in her faith, not the Mormom faith?

I loved this book, as well as the first, and found myself not wanting to put the books down. They are such a great story of standing for your faith and not backing down. I would recommend this book to everyone. Defiantly a 5 star book, if not higher!

I received this book from Tyndale through the Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for my honest review.

Waiting for Sunrise by Eva Marie Everson

About the Book:

Sometimes finding your future means making peace with your past

Patsy Milstrap wishes she could leave her past behind. Though she tries to put on a brave front for the sake of her family, the wounds still ache, and the scars on her soul are still deeply felt. At her concerned husband's gentle insistence, they take a vacation from South Carolina on Cedar Key, an idyllic island on Florida's Gulf Coast. A week in paradise will do them good, he says.

When a familiar--and most unexpected--face greets her at a seaside restaurant, Patsy knows she can no longer run from the past. But what will opening old wounds mean? And what will the future hold?

With a large helping of Southern charm, Waiting for Sunrise is a touching story of family, young love, and the need for forgiveness. Eva Marie Everson expertly draws out the bittersweet moments of life, weaving them into a tale that will envelop your soul.

My Review:

3.7 Stars

I was very hesitant to read this book after reading book one, Chasing Sunsets, which I did not like at all. I was pleasantly surprised that this book was so much better and I found it hard to believe that they are in the same series and written by the same author. Waiting for Sunrise tells Patsy's story, who was a secondary character in book one, but is set the past and there is only one chapter that even references anything from the first book. That makes this book great as a stand alone. While I enjoyed reading this book, that did not take me long at all to read, I can't say it was a favorite. In the end it felt very anti-climatic and really kept a sad tone throughout the book. It does deal with some heavy issues such as mental illness in the 1960's. I do want to put out a warning that I can't really say that it is a christian book, while there was no language or other moral issues there was no real faith aspect to it all, a reference here and there. In the end, I am not really sure what I think, and it left me wanting more.

*I received this book from Revell Books for the purpose of this review. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

By Faith, Not By Sight by Scott MacIntyre

About the book:

A moving story of hope, faith, persistence and the power of dreams.

A piano prodigy, a nineteen-year-old college grad, a Marshall scholar, and an American Idol finalist. This guy had it made. He could sing.

He could ski blind. What couldn’t he do?

Even if you saw him in concert, you might not believe that Scott MacIntyre is blind, and you’d never guess that at nineteen, he faced a diagnosis that rocked his family and nearly took his life.

So how did he do it? How did he overcome the odds?

This is Scott’s story, but he’d be the first to tell you that it’s not really about him. This is the story of how God used a dedicated family, a selfless acquaintance, hardship, and a host of characters to give him life, faith, determination, and experiences most can only imagine.

Peek behind the scenes to see how he learned to overcome his disability, how he made it in the music industry, how he found the love of his life, and how God taught him that in all things, we can truly achieve our dreams By Faith, Not by Sight.

My Review:

4 Stars

By Faith, Not By Sight is a very inspiring story of a young man who has had the odds stacked up against him and he has triumphed. Scott MacIntrye was born blind and the doctors could find no cause but that didn't stop him from living his life and pursuing music. His blindness made it harder for him to interact in the world, but it made him even more determined to do it. I would think he has accomplished more in his life so far than many people ever do! If blindness was his only problem his story would almost be boring, but Scott also had to deal with a life threatening kidney issue that lead him to dialysis and a transplant. Even with that, he was not stopped. He auditioned on American Idol and made it onto the show. He even placed in the top 10. This story really inspired me and helped show my that disabilities don't have to be disabilities but are more of a different way of interacting in the world. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to be inspired by this young man.

* I received this book through for the purpose of this review, my honest opinion was all that was requested.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Winning Balance by Shawn Johnson

About the Book:

Twenty-year-old American gymnast Shawn Johnson is a four-time Olympic gold and silver medalist; a national- and world-champion athlete. Already a popular role model to all ages, in 2009 she captured the national spotlight again when she won the widely popular Dancing with the Stars. Yet Shawn is no stranger to hard work and adversity. Her loss of the major gymnastics prize everyone expected her to win in Beijing, the all-around Olympic gold medal, was the loss of a dream she’d worked for since childhood. And later, she suffered a potentially career-ending injury in a skiing accident that forced her life to a halt and made her rethink what was really important. She wasn’t sure who she was anymore. She wasn’t sure what her goals were. And she wasn’t sure she was satisfied with where she was with her faith and God. Could she find the right kind of success in life—the kind that doesn’t involve medals or trophies, but peace, love, and lasting joy? This is the amazing true journey of how the young woman who won an Olympic gold medal on the balance beam became even more balanced.

About Shawn Johnson:
Shawn Johnson is an Olympic gold and three-time silver medalist in women’s gymnastics. She was the 2007 all-around World Champion and the 2007 and 2008 U.S. all-around champion. Shawn won the eighth season of Dancing with the Stars as the youngest competitor in the show’s history. She has appeared on Oprah, Today, Late Show with David Letterman, The Tonight Show, and other programs. Shawn earned ESPN’s ESPY Award for Best U.S. Female Olympian in 2009; she also won the Teen Choice Female Athlete of the Year Award in both 2009 and 2011.

My Review:

5 Stars

Shawn Johnson was a 2008 Olympic gymnast who won three silver medals and one gold and also captured the heart of America. Her energetic smile, pint size body and precious heart attracted many and know she is here to tell her own story. Her story is not the typical Olympic medalist story at all and its not a chronological autobiography either. Winning Balance is more of a memoir filled with lessons learned and how Shawn learned to keep balance in her life. Nothing about her life was typical but at the exact same time she was your typical American girl. She went to public school, participated in school activities, dreamed about her future, but all while she was doing your typical things she was falling in love with gymnastics. She never thought about going to the Olympics till she was older and thought that it was possible. Through it all she was able to live her dreams and more, but had to re learn many times what it takes to keep balance in her life and what really is important.

I can't even tell you how much I loved this book. To be honest I had never heard of Shawn Johnson before I saw this book was coming out (I missed watching the olympics 2008)and I have always been fascinated with the sport. I just knew I had to read her story and I was not disappointed at all. I fell in love with Shawn and her story and find her raw talent and passion to be so encouraging. Shawn drew me into her story so much that I finished the book within 24 hours! Since reading the book I have enjoyed going on and watching her many gymnastic performances and her dances from Dancing with the Stars. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves gymnastics, wanting to be encouraged by her strength and faith, and anyone who has already loved her and wants to know her story!

Some fun Q & A with Shawn Johnson that I was provided with through Tyndale:

Why did you decide to write a book?

I decided to write a book because so many stories have been covered about me. People always try to
get the story, get the inside scoop. But I don’t think anybody’s really pinpointed it yet and I wanted to
tell my story from my perspective and tell people the details and behind the scenes stories that they
didn’t know—the hardships I went through, the good times I went through—and hopefully inspire
people to do something a little differently and find a passion that can drive them.

Tell us about your book, Winning Balance.

People have kind of fabricated and put this image of who I am together over the years and my
personality and the kind of person I am. This is my way of sharing my story and my journey and my
thoughts instead of having someone else say it for me. I am extremely honest in this book. There are
always things that you share and you need to keep to yourself, but it’s a collaboration of my diaries and
journals, and poetry, and good times and not so good times and just sharing all the details.

I, by no means, know everything and I doubt I have even begun to learn anything really. But I feel like I
have some things to share and hopefully something that a younger girl or a grandma can read and take
away from it.

You’re going through that same selection process again for the 2012 Olympics. What’s it like this time

Going through it the first time and having to live through the reality at the end of the day that you’re
going to be lined up and told you are or aren’t going, I’ve kind of accepted it. I learned the hard way for
the first time that you can’t get too wrapped up in it because at the end of the day it’s what’s best for
the team. I feel like I’ll take it a little easier this time, but I don’t know. It’s still nerve wracking because
it’s a point of a finger that tells you if your dream’s coming true or not.

If you let that one line and that one finger point define the rest of your life, then you’re either going to
be crushed or you’re going to be made. And if you let that define you, that’s not fair. You’re worth so
much more than that and I’ve learned that and I think that’ll make it a little better this time. Life moves
on. It always does. And working your entire life for one moment that lasts a minute and thirty seconds,
you have to be okay with the fact that it’s just a minute and thirty and as soon as it’s over, it’s over. And
you have to move on and I think that’s what makes it exciting, but makes it nerve wracking because you
put so much into that short ninety seconds.

What role does your faith play in your life?

I think my faith is everything to me. The stress, the pressure, the good times, bad times, everything can
overwhelm you so much that if you don’t have someone or something to give it to then you just get
consumed and my faith kind of takes over that role and makes it easier for me to put it all in His hands
and rely on Him and know that it’ll all work out in the end somehow.

Useful Links:

Official Book Trailer:
Official Book Twitter: @ShawnJohnsonBk
Shawn Johnson’s Twitter: @ShawnJohnson
Shawn Johnson’s Official Facebook:

* I received this book through Radiant Lit and Tyndale, an honest opinion was all that was requested. Thank you both for this wonderful book.

My Hair & God's Mercies...New Every Morning by Yvette Maher

About the Book:

Yvette Maher, a Kentucky farm girl, shares her life’s traumas, trials, and triumphs. Before Yvette became a Christian, she dealt with emotional pain by filling the voids with drugs, alcohol, and empty relationships. Yet God did not abandon her. Through poignant stories laced with humor and irony, Yvette reveals how God has redeemed her devastating childhood by enabling her to forgive her murderous and unfaithful father and cope with her mother’s debilitating depression. She tells how God has blessed her marriage even though she was several months pregnant when she walked down the aisle. Throughout the wild changes that have occurred in Yvette’s life, God has been with her, ever-present and offering grace at each turn.

My Review: 

3.8 Stars

My Hair & God's Mercies....New Every Morning is overall a short and simple story (only 168 pages) but brings the powerful message that God grace is with us no matter where we go and where we can from. Many people could identify with Yvette ( I could not personally, but do know what trials and struggles are like, just different ones) and many will find there background may be similar to hers. Yvette may not have come from the best of background but she proves that with faith anything is possible and that the future does not have to repeat the past. She is not a perfect person, and the book really shows that, but is still a child of God and pursues God's plan for her the best she can. I would recommend this book to someone that wants to be encouraged from someone else's testimony and wants a short simple read.

* I received this book through Netgalley for the purpose of this review.