Tag Archives: Revell Publishing

Depression Invades. Hope Prevails.

hope-prevails-cover-dr-michelle-bengstonWho better to walk alongside you than someone who’s travelled that road? That’s what makes Hope Prevails a powerful, effective resource and trustworthy companion. Certified neuropychologist Dr. Michelle Bengston shares her personal journey through the dark tunnel of depression to where light beams again and hope prevails. Her candid transparency breathes compassion as her words dissolve the crippling shackles of loneliness often snapped tight around the heart of someone suffering from “the blues”. And confirms you are not alone in this. Someone who’s been there understands what you’re going through and can help pull you out of the dark valley too. Like a friend in this battle guiding you step by step.

Her words expose the truths that get shrouded under depression’s thick, heavy veil while equipping you with tools and knowledge to kick depression and prevent it from knocking on your door in the future. She starts you off with an inspiring hope-full “A Letter to My Depressed Self” with Scripture to back up what she’s saying. Then lays the groundwork for the healing by clarifying the definition and symptoms of depression in addition to explaining the underlying causes and questions to ask yourself to determine if you have depression. Each chapter ends with Your Rx (doctor’s prescription) with tools, questions to ask yourself, or steps to take, My Prayer for You, and Recommended Playlist of encouraging and comforting music.

While not dismissing other treatments and therapy as part of the recovery process, Hope Prevails targets the spiritual root cause of depression. Weeding depression at its source is preventative as well as restorative. Even for those who don’t suffer from it, her advice and relevant, applicable, uplifting Bible verses she includes are useful to stay healthy and shield against the arrows and lies the enemy aims to make us vulnerable to depression. Regardless of what predisposes us to it.

Everyone can gain from reading Hope Prevails because it affects us all in some way or another. The book puts us in a strong position to defeat depression, prevent depression or support someone else who’s suffering from it. Because it may be hard for someone in the midst of the suffering to find motivation or energy to read, an audio-book version, video series, or have a friend read it aloud could strengthen its impact and expand its reach.

Dr. Bengston steers the way out of depression with clear directions to recover our joy, reclaim our peace, and re-establish our identity (the things the enemy seeks to steal and destroy). From beginning to end, it is laced in hope, the unfailing truth that no matter what depression does or takes away, happiness and brighter days await on the other side. In the end Hope Prevails!

Many thanks to Revell Publishing for the opportunity to participate in the Hope Prevails Blog Tour and the complimentary copy of the book in exchange for this unbiased review.
I am a hope writer

 

Sea Rose Lane

Sea Rose Lane CoverSometimes life gets punctured by loss. Dreams evaporate. Love life disappears in a mist of deception. Aging body ransacked of usefulness and energy. Precious loved ones taken, leaving a gaping void.

The characters Irene Hannon brought to life in Sea Rose Lane know all about that kind of pain and loneliness; heartbreak and disappointment. Yet, the shattered pieces of their lives, like multifaceted rare and radiant gems, come together to become a mosaic resplendent of something beautiful, strong, and resilient. In Hope Harbor. The place where “hearts heal…and love blooms.”

Book Two of the Hope Harbor series was enchanting as it was inspiring and thought-provoking. It’s the perfect beach read where you can easily lose yourself in the storyline unraveled by characters I immediately fell in love with and had compassion for.

The first people we meet are the recently relationship-scorched architect BJ, the new face in Hope Habour, and Eric, the lawyer knocked off the fast-track to the partnership he longed for with the wave of a pink slip. Sparks fly as they literally run into each other on the road…by accident.

Transforming the house Eric grew up into the bed and breakfast his widowed father dreamed of shaped the framework for a restorative romance with BJ. It also introduced Luis, the Cuban refugee struggling with the death of his wife and career as a physician swept to the wayside by bureaucracy and impossible hurdles.

BJ’s desire to help others, combined with her gift for home repair, draws the window into the life and heart of elderly Eleanor whose ailing health makes her question “Why I’m still here God?” Serving no useful purpose – no worthwhile role to play.

Then there’s Charley, the professional artist who sporadically opens up his fish taco stand on the side. He stole the show for me with his loveable, quirky personality that doubles as Hope Harbor’s resident sage with uncanny sixth sense.

Sea Rose Lane is a heart-warming story laced with faith, hope, and wisdom. The people and setting captured my heart and imagination and left me refreshed, inspired and happy. I loved and appreciated Charley’s reminder that brightening someone’s day, adding a touch of joy when they might need it most, has great merit and is something anyone can do. Also these encouraging words from Eric’s father, “No one ever said life was easy. Besides, taking the easy route doesn’t always lead to the best views.” I also liked how he pointed out when things don’t go as hoped it may be an opportunity, not a disaster at all.

Turning the last page was bittersweet.The ending brought tears of joy to my eyes for the way things worked out. But was sad to leave Hope Harbor, the town and the people that were true-to-life and unforgettable.

Many thanks to Revell Publishing for the opportunity to be part of the Sea Rose Lane Blog Tour and the complimentary copy of the  book in exchange for this unbiased review.

I am a hope writer

 

Did you know you’re already amazing?

You're Already Amazing LifeGrowth Guide Cover - Holley Gerth.jpgDid you know you’re already amazing? Any doubt will swiftly vanish after going through You’re Already Amazing LifeGrowth Guide by Holley Gerth. Step by step, in six practical, doable sessions, she accompanies you on the journey where you come to behold your wonderful, amazing self while discovering the purpose meant for that unique masterpiece God created you to be.

In her warm, “best friend” style that makes you feel like you were having coffee together, Holley expands on her best selling You’re Already Amazing with clarity and compassion. The tools and format are simple, yet powerfully effective and useful. The guide is brilliantly pieced together to perfectly suit individuals, study groups, or on-line communities and matches everyone’s pace and lifestyle.

You’re Already Amazing LifeGrowth Guide is a wildly valuable, interactive resource that offers Get Creative ideas, Go Deeper Guide for more in-depth individual reflection or group discussion, and Your Life Coach components for each session. It also includes a generous measure of blank pages for notes, journaling and Get Creative activities in addition to a detailed resource, with everything you can possibly imagine, for group facilitators.

And, oh yes, my very favourite part!  Holley comes on board in the companion video for each session (available free on-line and conveniently as a DVD) that ties everything together. This is what really made it for me. With encouragement and relevant stories she presents a meaningful, personal dimension to the table, making the experience a shared adventure. A lot like having a supportive cheering section with you all the way.

What’s ultimately indispensable about this workbook is how it’s designed to have an everlasting shelf-life, serving as a starting point and launching pad. Holley helps you find your “sweet spot” where you best love and serve, drawing the blueprints you can go back to review regularly. And thrive. For a lifetime.

As a bonus, the book is enhanced with lovely printables as beautiful reminders that you’re already amazing. No doubt about it.

Many thanks to Revell Publishing for the invitation to take part in the You’re Already Amazing LifeGrowth Guide Blog Tour and the complimentary copy of the book in exchange for this unbiased review.

I am a hope writer

Oh, and speaking of Holley, we get to link-up with her today for more inspiration and encouraging Coffee for Your Heart. 

                                              

 

Lullaby for the Soul

and Sky Cover - Christie Purifoy

It’s a lullaby for the soul. Soft and soothing, Roots and Sky is a memoir that washes in tranquility through sunshine-draped celebrations and turbulent, sometimes unsettling storms. In lyrical, poetic style, Christie Purifoy shares the riches of her experience through the first year in their new home. Maplehurst, the farmhouse situated in the hills of Pennsylvania, served as the vantage point for unearthing grounds of joys and sadness, hope and fears, laughter and tears, refuge and daunting challenge. The perfect quiet landing that beckons to slow down, relax and take in the sacredness of ordinary moments in our everyday lives.

It’s a book about “roots and sky” – solidly down earth; dipped in a taste of heaven. It brings to life “pie in the sky” dreams that nourish a burning desire to plant something and appreciate, in a huge way, the gifts and beauty that come up from the earth. And those that sprout roots in our heart and soul.

“We must plant our dreams in real earth. We must dirty our hands. It’s the only way. Whether we dream of planting flower gardens or churches, every dream needs a place in which to take root and grow. Ever dream needs a home.”

Ultimately, it’s about making a home on earth built by love and care and hearing the whispers of our eternal home. Like a mother bird, Christine’s words intertwined into the nest that cradled her vision of “growing roots, cultivating beauty and opening up doors to neighbours, wanderers and pilgrims – near and far. It was a vision of home.”

As you walk alongside the author through the seasonal transitions of life on the farm and the liturgical calendar, be prepared to see life differently as she ties ribbons of faith from page to page. You may even be swept away with a passion to raise livestock or tend to a garden of earthly delights. With God as the source of every good thing that grows. Good things with roots in the earth and eternal blessings that scrape the sky and lift us heavenward to our Maker. That happens when a book like this wraps itself around your heart.

Thank you to Revell Publishing for the invitation to take part in the Roots and Sky Blog Tour and the complimentary copy of the book in exchange for this unbiased review.

I am a hope writer

God Will Fight for Us

The Prophetess by Jill Eileen Smith - Cover

Woohoo! Double blessing. A book about one of my favourite bible characters and by a new writer for me to discover and tell you about. The Prophetess delivered an inspiring story crowned with biblical truth accentuated with brilliant jewels sparkling of contemporary relevance.

Deborah was a judge, prophetess, and warrior. A courageous heroine for her time. Wise and strong. A woman used mightily by God to bring victory to her nation. A captivating icon larger than life beckoning to know more about who she was and what it must have been like to be a female leader through troubled times.

Yet the Bible provides few details about the life and times of this influential woman who changed the course of history. Questions like how did she become a judge? What made her stand out as a prophetess? Did she become a mom at some point? What circumstances brought together the supporting actors, like Jael, the woman who cleverly dealt the final fatal blow, into the drama that would restore peace and holy reverence to God’s chosen people? Questions this book rises up to address.

At first, I wrestled with how much the novel leaned towards the author’s imagination. By the time I turned the last page I felt satisfied and came out with a richer understanding of that period in history and the God who never gave up on the very people who turned away from Him.

Main characters, such as Deborah’s children, were completely fictitious, yet purely believable. They may not have truly existed but were fleshed out true to life. Their lives embodied the hopes and dreams, challenges and fears typical of their generation. In fact, Deborah’s made-up daughter, Talya, was my favouite character.

Maybe things didn’t play out exactly as penned by Jill Eilleen Smith but no doubt she painted an accurate, colourful portrayal of the situation under Canaanite oppression and idolatry. I found she did her homeowork and presented a credible storyline that evoked faith and compassion.

When I went back to the biblical text to compare, I got so much more out of it. What happened became real and alive in powerful ways. Jill’s persuasive narrative in sync with the bible account unveiled a clearer vision of Deborah’s role, of what being a judge in those days entailed, the horror of terrorism, and the jealous God who commands our allegiance and is forever faithful.

Ultimately, this book pointed to the God who forgives, redeems and restores. Back then and now. It spoke to my heart reminding me that victory came to Israel after 20 long years of oppression. It may take years for God to work things out for you and me too. In the meantime, He goes before us preparing the way, equipping us with everything we need for success according to His will.

Like the people in Deborah’s time, even in our darkest hour, we can recall how God has never let us down in the past. We can trust Him to keep His word today. No matter what we are up against or the challenges we face, God will fight for us. He will never leave us nor forsake us. Never.

Disclosure: Many thanks to Revell Publishing for the invitation to be part of The Prophetess Blog Tour and the complimentary book in exchange for this unbiased review.

I am a hope writer

Where is God when horrific things happen?

It’s been 10 years since Nikki Boyd’s sister Sarah was abducted. And she blames herself. Still. Now special agent to the Tennessee Missing Persons Task Force the school teacher turned officer throws herself into fighting with everything she’s got to spare others from the devastating trauma her family knew all too well.

The call caVendetta by Lisa Harris Cover me from her boss while rappelling not too far from the cabin where another teenage girl, the daughter of his diseased friend, disappeared. Coincidence? Maybe not. Especially when similarities to her sister’s kidnapper kept surfacing. Mingled with clues conveniently scattered like bread crumbs to taunt and tease while luring her to fall into a lethal trap. Could it be the man dubbed the Angel Abductor is back? Is there hope Sarah is still alive and both girls will be rescued?

If you’re the type like me who loves the challenge of solving a mystery as it unfolds, Vendetta will keep you at the edge of your seat, guessing, second-guessing; surprised and enthralled as the fast-paced, action-packed suspense builds. I got so wrapped up in the story I found myself praying, pleading as if it was all happening in real life.

While my heart was breathlessly racing from the chase to bring justice, my imagination took off in wild awe and reverence for the great Smoky Mountains. Scene after scene of dangerous trails and breathtaking beauty; of nature at its finest and most deadly. Making the spine-chilling plot more intense, captivating, and believable.

There was plenty of drama, twists, turns, head-spinning, and questions begging for answers to keep me riveted from beginning to end. More than that, Lisa Harris’s gift for infusing warmth and humanity, even romance, into a thrilling storyline made for an extraordinary reading experience.

With haunting sensitivity she pinpoints what it feels like to experience loss and the effect it has on people. Without syrupy sentimentalism or in-your-face-religion, she made it easy to empathize with the three-dimensional main characters, plagued with doubt, yet clinging to faith. Battling to stay strong even “when you do everything right and it still isn’t enough.” All the while inviting a huge appreciation and respect for those out there taking risks and making the sacrifices to protect, defend. and rescue. Laying their lives on the line to make the world a better, safer place.

In narrative style she draws out the cost of revenge and the challenge of letting go of the past; of finding your way back home or out of the darkness after tragedy strikes. Her words casting a window to the heart that asks “where is God when horrific things happen?”

Vendetta is the compelling first novel in the Nikki Boyd Files series. And I can’t wait till the next one comes out in the summer of 2016! Especially since the excerpt from Book Two promises to be every bit as exciting. Maybe even more so.

Disclosure: Many thanks to Revell Publishing for the invitation to be part of the Vendetta Blog Tour and the complimentary book in exchange for this unbiased review.

Another author that has made a huge impact on me is Holley Gerth.  Linking y’all with her today to be uplifted by why our lives don’t have to be a perfect performance and share heart-warming Coffee for Your Heart together with other encouragers.

Thank you  Holley Gerth
for the Coffee for Your Heart image

Change is on its way…all the way to God’s Next Best Thing for you!

Girl meets Change Cover - Kristen StrongYou could probably hear my squeal of delight for miles around when I got the news about being selected to join Girl Meets Change Launch Team! Was over the moon, thrilled to bits, over the opportunity to give back to Kristen Strong for the times her words brought me joy, encouragement, lessons, inspiration and laughter. Oh, and just think, how many more people will now hear about and be blessed by her first book. Pure bliss I tell you.

I couldn’t wait till today, launch day, to tell you all about this practical, uplifting book. Because change affects us all.

Because sometimes change takes us by storm. Sometimes by surprise. Often it takes us to hard, painful places marked by grief, loneliness or confusion. Wherever change takes you, from pink slips to divorce papers; negative pregnancy tests to positive cancer diagnosis, Girl Meets Change will guide you through acknowledging, accepting, then adapting till you reach the point where thriving becomes your faith-full destin(y)nation. Not in spite of change, but because of it.

If you were sitting next to me while I read the book, you’d hear a lot of “wow!” in between tears from triumphant, touching stories or sweet reminders of the everlasting, unchanging love of my heavenly Father who is always for me. While I took 21 pages of notes!

Because of this transforming book, I will never see limitations in the same way – or the word “bravo.” I picked up what a God-timistic attitude looks like and the gift of dropping expectations. I see windowless rooms – real and figurative – in a whole new light. Above all was grasping how God uses change and loss as stepping stones to the next best thing He has in store for me. That change is not in the way of God’s plan for us but on the way.

Big thank to Elton Baretto for this photo of Northern Ireland. <3

Big thank you to Elton Baretto for this photo of Northern Ireland!

This book is filled with a wealth of hope-filled, encouraging truths you’ll want to hang on to and hold dear. Delivered with a warm, me-too and not you-do style. Reading Girl Meets Change was like sitting in a comfy couch having a conversation with Kristen over dessert and our favourite warm beverage. While we chat like long-time friends, she shares her own struggles and stories, loops them together with stories from other’s experiences, stories from the Bible, and God’s Word, to richly resonate like a beautifully orchestrated symphony of words to live by. Then we wrap up each chapter-visit with the powerful prayer that completes the chapter.

Do I recommend Girl Meets Change? Yes, oh yes! With all my heart. I believe Kristen’s first book will quickly become a best-seller that will spark a movement where we embrace change, with all the blessings we find in it, to bless others. Where the change that comes to us changes us to change the world. For the better.

I’m also happy to announce the Girl Meets Change landing page  is all set up to welcome you with more about the book, testimonials, gorgeous graphics and click to tweets to inspire and share.

More great news: if you purchase Girl Meets Change today through the end of the month you will receive the companion guide absolutely FREE! So, pick up your copy today and be doubly blessed ASAP!

Oh, and one more thing, you gotta check out this most fun, creative, helpful quiz ever which includes a outcome-tailored excerpt after completion. You may even want to take it before you start reading and again when once you’re done.

Girl Meets Change Quiz graphic - Kristen Strong