Saturday, September 22, 2012

Everyday Matters Bible For Women

Recently I was given the opportunity to read and review a new Bible that has been geared toward women. This New Living Translation is written in a contemporary style that is easy to comprehend and flows beautifully. However, my review will be focused on the features. Twenty-four disciplines that will assist us to receive power and strength to do those things that we cannot possibly do on our own and enrich our lives are a wonderful and welcome part of this Bible. The colorful icons used are a great reminder of the meaning of each. Additional content from some of the most respected Bible teachers and leaders give insight to help the reader grown and expand her knowledge of how to apply the Scripture to personal circumstances.

Every discipline is explored in four ways
Everyday Matters. Two-page articles introduce major themes and focus on an essential part of understanding and practicing a discipline.
Everyday Profiles. Profiles of twenty-five Biblical women highlight a particular discipline.
Everyday Q and A’s. Short articles delve into a difficult aspect of the spiritual practice and offer practical help on incorporating the discipline into your daily life.
Everyday Reflections. Selections illustrate ways to personalize and apply God’s Word to your own situation.
More than 300 articles and features by more than 140 of today’s most well-known Christian leaders and writers, including: Kay Warren, Priscilla Shirer, Elisa Morgan, Nancy and John Ortberg, Richard Foster, Liz Curtis Higgs, and Lauren Winner. 

Special Features include . . .
• 4-color throughout
• Color-coded icons identify each Spiritual Discipline addressed in contributors’ material
• How to Use This Bible in a Small Group Study
• Index of Spiritual Practices
• Resources for further reading 

My personal favorite translation of the Bible is the Holman Christian Standard (HCSB), but I frequently use the NLT for a daily devotion from YouVersion. I do enjoy having more than one version to help me dig deeper in Bible studies, and am quite pleased with this Bible, and the way it is set up to help me delve into a greater study of subjects of interest. Whether it is guidance for yourself or someone else asking about a particular issue or for small group discussions, the Everyday Matters Bible For Women is a fantastic resource.

One thing on the negative side would be the lack of a concordance. That is a feature I use frequently, so this Bible would not be the one I kept handy at all times for a quick reference and Scripture source. Also, it has a pretty cover, and while that is nice, my preference is a soft cover for a Bible I use daily. The last hard cover Bible I purchased for myself was in three separate pieces when I replaced it. I will use this one, but it will be more of a reference Bible than the one I keep within arm's reach.

Everyday Matters on Publisher’s website:
Everyday Matters on Facebook:
Everyday Matters on TWITTER:

Disclosure:  I received a free copy of this book/Ebook/Product to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. We are disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. Each are part of The CWA Review Crew.

 GREAT NEWS for those like me who prefer soft-cover!!  I just found out that there is also a softcover version!! Of course, I haven't actually seen a copy, but it looks much like the Bible I use daily, so I feel certain that it is fantastic!

* One more tip: I have heard people complain about highlighters bleeding through pages on some Bibles. That used to drive me nuts, so I found a solution that works for me. I now use colored pencils. I can erase if I make a mistake (or a grandchild decides to help me "color" when she spots my Bible and pencils), and I don't have to worry about bleed-through.

52 Little Lessons from "It's A Wonderful Life"

52 Little Lessons from "It's A Wonderful Life" by Bob Welch is quite simply....a wonderful little book. There are probably few people who have not seen this classic 1946 film by Frank Capra. The fictional Bedford Falls is a small town whose inhabitants are a part of our culture and revisited each December. Mr. Welch uses the hero, George Bailey (Jiames Stewart), quiet with an inner strength Mary (Donna Reed), forgetful Uncle Billy (Thomas Mitchell), mean Mr. Potter (Lionel Barrymore), helpful angel Clarence (Henry Travers)...along with a multitude of other unforgettable characters to teach simple life lessons we can learn from each.

Of course, I read this book quickly, but it is one that could and should be savored slowly. In fact, there is one lesson per week that the It's A Wonderful Life aficionado can use as part of a time of reflection and application to one's own life. The memories evoked as I read each short chapter brought with it a visual of the film that re-enforced the lesson being shared. This is a delightful little book that is sure to be a hit with anyone who loves this timeless tale. There were a few tidbits of trivia included in the stories that I enjoyed. My one complaint was that I would have enjoyed even more...but that is not the purpose of this book. It is written from a Christian worldview, but not overly preachy. It is simply a reflection of what the reader can learn and even a non-reader will enjoy this visit with familiar friends.

"Remember, George: no man is a failure who has friends." ~ Clarence

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, September 21, 2012


People all over the world immediately recognize the smiling face of Nick Vujicic. Although he was born without arms or legs, Nick has not let this get in the way of  spectacular adventures, an inspirational ministry and a fantastic family wife. In fact, he recently announced he and his wife are expecting their first child next year. Relating stories from his own life and from others, Nick wants to share a message with others that they, too, can live a “ridiculously good life”! By putting your faith in action, Nick says it is possible to overcome adversity and difficulties. Learn how to become Unstoppable.

Take a peek at the first chapter of Unstoppable here.
You can also take a look at the video below:

Unstoppable will be available on Tues, October 2, 2012. Make sure you pick up your own copy. Nick Vujicic is an incredible and dynamic person who is certain to be an inspiration to you. I loved his last book, and I know I look forward for the chance to read this one too!!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Firebird by Brent McCorkle

Firebird, written by Brent McCorkle and Amy Parker, is the story of a baby oriole who loves the sunshine Each time a storm comes, Firebird gets upset and asks his mama why God allows rain. During one storm, Mama decides Firebird is old enough to find out for himself about what is on the other side of the storm. The lesson he learns is one that changes his attitude forever.

This book, written for children 4-10 years old holds profound truth that needs to be learned at an early age. Even for those of us who have learned it, sometimes we need a simple reminder. This was a easy to read book, beautifully illustrated by Rob Corley and Chuck Vollmer. The bright colors are sure to hold the attention of the younger child, and it is not too difficult for an older child to read. I like that the message should be easily comprehensible for a child to understand while reading, yet also is one that can be turned into a family discussion and teaching moment.

By the way, this is the book that Samantha Crawford writes in Unconditional (book and film) and Firebird is a perfect illustration of the premise. If you haven't read the novel by Eva Marie Everson (based on Brent McCorkle's screenplay) or seen the film, I highly recommend that you do both.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Unconditional by Eva Marie Everson

In Unconditional, Samantha Crawford, an acclaimed storybook artist, seemingly had it all until losing the love she cherished most. Now fighting despair, she is obsessed with tracking down the murderer of her husband. With no leads and no hope, Sam prepares to take her life until providence intervenes and she is reunited with her childhood friend, Joe Bradford.
Dying of kidney disease, Joe spends his last days serving fatherless children in an under resourced community. Observing Papa Joe's tireless love for "his kids," Sam begins to find new purpose until she comes face to face with her heart's desire. The innocence and hope of a child competes with the lure of revenge in an effort to show Sam how, even in life's darkest of circumstances, Love is above all.

I had been hearing buzz about the film for several months, so my curiosity was already piqued when I was asked if I had interest in reviewing the book. I have read several other books by Eva Marie Everson and knew I loved her style. I was not disappointed. Within the first paragraph, I was already drawn into the story and could not wait to find out what would happen next. I quickly learned to care about each of these characters and read the entire book that day.

The power of making the best use of your time and knowing God is with you each step of the way still awes me. I was also reminded of the quote I have seen in a variety of places: “Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass...It's about learning to dance in the rain.” (I have seen the quote attributed to several people). I don't want to give away anything in the book, but it is one of those that has numerous characters who strike a chord within me. It also one of the few I will give a top rating to simply because...several days later, I am still thinking about these people and comparing what changes I should make in my own life to live the life God wants me to live and make the best of the circumstances I am in.

The film, Unconditional, (written by Brent McCorkle) releases this weekend, and it is one I certainly want to see! Check out the trailer for it:

To read the author's blog about writing the book, click here.
Like Unconditional on Facebook.
To learn more about Elijah's Heart (Papa Joe's ministry), you can Like on Facebook or go to the Elijah's Heart website.

This is a Must-Read book and a Must-See film!! Also, there is a children's book, Firebird. (It will be my next review.)

Disclosure:  I received a free copy of this book in exchange for writing a review. I was not required to write a good review. All opinions are my own.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Rise Of The Elgen by Richard Paul Evans

Rise of the Elgen continues the story of Michael Vey, Taylor, Ostin, and the others who call themselves the Electroclan. You may recall that not only was Michael born with Tourette's syndrome, but also with astonishing electrical powers. In book 2, the Electroclan, made up of those with special powers and 3 friends without, have escaped from Elgen Academy in Pasadena. But Michael's mother needs rescued from her kidnappers and the Elgen are still determined to destroy this group of friends.

By using their powers, wits, skills, and Ostin's brain, they manage to escape an Elgen traps, but also must choose whether to trust a mysterious voice. They learn that Michael's mom is being held in the jungles of Peru, and that the Elgen plan on global dominance by controlling the world's supply of inexpensive, natural energy. Michael will stop at nothing to rescue his mom and Hatch is equally determined to stop and destroy Michael Vey.

Take a look at the trailer for Rise Of The Elgen:

This is an exciting read for teens and adults. I didn't enjoy this one quite as much as I did the first, but I am not a fan of rats or snakes and both were featured too prominently for my personal taste. However, to see the continued growth of the characters and see them work together to resolve personal differences and challenges to achieve their goals are a good example of teamwork. Of course, trying to stay alive and rescue a parent from an evil genius are not part of most of our lives, but books are an excellent and safe way to have an adventure. This series is well written, imaginative, and each does leave you anxiously awaiting the next book in the series.

The publisher graciously sent 2 copies of this book for me to offer as a giveaways. Please enter the Rafflecopter contest:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received this material from the publisher for a fair and honest review. There was no requirement that I write a favorable review and all opinions are my own.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Embracing Obscurity by Anonymous

"No matter how famous someone might be, the fact remains; most of the other seven billion people on Earth wouldn’t know him or her from the next person." ~ Anonymous

An established Christian author has chosen to remain unidentified to make a point about living a life that points others to Jesus rather than self in a new book called Embracing Obscurity. In a world where everyone wants to shine and be noticed by others, we do sometimes lose sight that Christians are called to glorify God, not ourselves. Would you choose to be a nobody. God chose to become nothing. Jesus lived in relative obscurity, and we are meant to become more like him. This isn't to say that fame is wrong, but how you use your fame makes a difference. The influence and impact we have on the lives of others should be focused on showing the way to God. Instead of trying to gain fame, perhaps you should embrace your obscurity.

Take a look at the book trailer for Embracing Obscurity:

It was an interesting book and one that did make me think. I know that I am part of a "Look at me!" culture, and it is easy to get caught up in wanting our own voice to be heard. But, how often do I use my tiny circle of influence to tell others about my hope in Jesus? I do, but not nearly as often as I should. And, while I am unknown to 99.99% of the world's population, it is tempting to draw attention to oneself. Or, since I do Social Media promotion, to others and their projects. So, I suggest that this would be a great book to help you examine your own motives and see if your priorities need to be tweaked. I certainly need to work on my own!

Make sure you LIKE them on Facebook, and check out the Twibbon feature you can use:


 Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Black Friday Giveaway: For those of us who are not out fighting the crowds, I have a simple giveaway of an Embracing Obscurity T-Shirt!!
Just leave a comment letting me know you want to be entered. Winner will be selected by 9pm (CST) tonight (11/23/12)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Deliverer by Kathi Macias

Book 3 of The Freedom Series by Kathi Macias is The Deliverer. In this final novel of the series, Mara has to make decisions about her relationships with Jonathan, her family, and God.  Can she learn to forgive those who have hurt her in the past, and to trust anyone? Mara has to deal with her doubts about having a relationship with Jonathan, and whether he cares for her or Sarah. As she also takes steps toward believing in God, Mara realizes that she must come to terms with her past in order to move confidently toward her future.

Lawan's story also continues in this book. She has miraculously been delivered from the brothel and now will be reunited with the baby sister who was adopted by an American couple. Facing an unknown future in a country that if filled with new foods, new customs, and and a new family also brings new fears. She has her faith, but can she ever let go of her past?

My view: This is a topic very important to me, so I did have much interest in the series. On one hand the book did offer hope for victims and resolution up to a point. Like with real life, you don't know exactly where these characters will end up, but you are left with hope. I just wish a few more loose ends had been tied, though, since it is fiction. I guess it is good, though, when you leave the reader wanting more...

Check out the trailer below:

Human Trafficking is a horror that faces more than we can imagine, and Kathi Macias writes a vivid portrait on this, and also on many other issues. Below is a recent interview with this gifted author:

While this is the third and final book in the Freedom Series, I’m sure there are people who are just learning about it. Would you please share what prompted you to write these books on such topic as relevant and difficult as human trafficking?

KM: I was finishing up my previous fiction series for New Hope Publishers (the Extreme Devotion Series, dealing with the persecuted Church around the world) when Andrea Mullins (the publisher at New Hope) asked me what topic I wanted to tackle next. We discussed a few possibilities, and then she suggested human trafficking. I was aware of it and thought it was terrible but had no idea how widespread it was. I agreed to do some preliminary research and get back to her. When I discovered there are more than 27 million people held in various forms of human trafficking (sexual slavery, forced labor or military conscription, involuntary donation of body parts/organs) and that many of them are children (including an estimated 100,000—300,000 MINORS held in sexual slavery in the US today!), I was horrified. I was also convinced that I had to do everything possible to help educate others about this widespread horror and to call them to join the fight. Not only have I now written/released the Freedom Series on human trafficking, but I’m speaking on it everywhere/every chance I get.

What was your original objective in writing these books, Deliver Me From Evil, Special Delivery, and The Deliverer? And, what are you hearing back from people who have read the books? How are they taking action?

KM: Originally my plan was to see the books alert readers to this horrific crime and, hopefully, challenge them to get involved in fighting it some way. That seems to be happening, but on such a larger scope than I had imagined. The response from readers is overwhelming! Pastors have written to say they are challenging their entire church to get involved on some level, and I’m being invited to speak all over the country on this topic. I am thrilled to see the Light being shined in this terrible darkness at last! As for specific actions, pastors and civic leaders are inviting me (or others in this ministry) to come and speak to their congregations/groups to help educate them on this massive tragedy. Readers tell me they are posting about my books all over the net to help snag people’s attention. I’m getting invitations to speak on radio and TV as well. I’ve also been contacted by readers who are getting involved in setting up safe houses for rescued victims, which is a huge need. I was even contacted by the Department of Homeland Security and invited to participate in group conference calls on the topic. Overall, I’m thrilled at the way God is using these books to help sound the alarm and to “rescue the perishing.”

It seems there is always someone in your books who is an intercessor. Why is that important for you to include?

KM: This is vital to me, and as you said, I almost always include an intercessor in my novels. I know there were intercessors in my own life who prayed me through some incredibly dangerous and difficult times, and I appreciate those heroes of the faith more than I can express. Highlighting their importance in my books accomplishes two things: it enables me to honor those faithful intercessors who often get no recognition in this world, and it also calls others to get involved in intercession as well.

You write books as you often call them, parables with a purpose, on topics such as human trafficking, the persecuted church, illegal immigration, and your Christmas 2012 book is about homelessness. Some might call you an advocate. Why is it important for Christians, and the church as a whole, to discuss these issues?

KM: You’re right that I call my novels “parables with purpose,” because I believe Jesus is our example and that’s what He told to His followers—parables with purpose. He didn’t just tell them “nice stories” to entertain them. He told stories that would grab them right where they lived, and then challenge them to change their hearts, their minds, and their lives. The Church has always been at the forefront of serious social change, leading the charge to abolish slavery for instance, and leading the charge on these other issues is right where the Church needs to be now. The first step is to discuss the issues, to make people aware of them, and then to call them to action. I believe gripping fiction is one of the most effective ways to do that.

Will you give us a glimpse, a taste of things to come -- without getting too far ahead -- of what’s in store for your next series and books on the horizon?

KM: In addition to the 2012 Christmas novel, Unexpected Christmas Hero, dealing with homelessness in America, I will be releasing a new series starting in January. The first of the three novels is called The Moses Quilt, and it deals with a contemporary interracial romance, set against the background of a quilt that tells the story of the courageous, faith-filled woman known as Harriet Tubman. A contemporary novel dealing with the issue of abortion will follow, with the first woman doctor in America, Elizabeth Blackwell, as our backdrop heroine. The final book will be built around the much beloved Fanny Crosby, as we deal with the issue of people with disabilities. That series is from New Hope Publishers, but I also have a book releasing in the Spring of 2013 from B&H Publishers called Last Chance for Justice. It’s part of the multi-author Bloomfield Series, and I’m very excited about it.

You also write a devotional blog. Can you tell us what the focus is and where we can find it?

KM: I started writing a weekly devotional several years ago, in response to a request from the then newly formed group CAN (Christian Authors Network). I sent it out as a group email and had about 40 recipients then. The devotional mailing quickly grew and expanded beyond the CAN group, with countless readers signing up to receive it. I also started posting it each week on my devotional blog (, which is part of my primary website (, where you will also find my “Easy Writer” blog, which is more writing-related. (You can also sign up there to receive the weekly devotional in your inbox.) Over the years the devotional has been picked up by Crosswalk, Black Christian News, Latino Christian News (I offer it in Spanish as well as English),, Christians in Recovery, etc., so the readership has mushroomed beyond anything I ever imagined. God is amazing, isn’t He?

Finally, we know you as an award-winning author, but you also enjoy speaking for women’s events, and other groups, as well. On what areas or topics do you focus your speaking presentations? How can a church or group find out more about having you speak for their event? 

KM: I speak on various topics, including the issues I address in my books, but on other topics too. One of my most requested topics is “When Passion and Purpose Collide.” That, along with several other popular topics, can be found in the speaking section of my website ( To see my current speaking schedule and/or to explore the possibility of having me come and speak, just go to and click on the Christian Speakers Services button to make contact. You can also see some of my speaking endorsements at

I have one copy of this book that will be given in a random drawing on Mon., September 17th to someone who follows my blog. So, make sure you are a follower [by 11:59 pm CST 9/16] to have your name entered.

For more opportunities for free copies of The Deliverer by Kathi Macias, please visit

I was given a complimentary copy of this book from the author in exchange for posting the author’s interview and/or book review on my blog. This blog tour is managed by Christian Speakers Services (

Monday, September 10, 2012

Eric Blehm/ Chris Kyle Webcast

Eric Blehm, author of Fearless will be sitting down with another New York Times bestselling author, Chris Kyle on September 10th at 3:30 ET. Chris' book, American Sniper, chronicles his life as a U.S. Navy SEAL and one of the most lethal snipers in U.S. military history.
Chris and Eric will be discussing their memories and recollections from 9/11 and talking about their books. Most importantly, Eric will be talking with Chris about the life of Adam Brown. Eric will recall how Adam reached the top level of the U.S. Navy SEALs in spite of injuries many would consider career-enders, including losing sight in one of his eyes and a Humvee crash that nearly severed the fingers on his dominant hand. Through struggles with addiction and physical challenges, Adam became a hero to his family and a hero to those he served and to his country. Adam achieved all this, not through some rare internal drive...but through his faith in Christ.

Livestream Details:
When: September 10th @ 3:30pm ET
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Send an email: Download this HTML email to send to your email list (view as a webpage)

Watch live streaming video from waterbrookmultnomah at

Saturday, September 8, 2012

God Is More Than Enough by Tony Evans

Tony Evans uses a small book, God Is More Than Enough, to do an indepth study on one of the most well-known chapters in the Bible, and shows the incredible relationship God wants to have with YOU. Psalm 23 is such a part of our culture, but too often seems relegated to being quoted during times of serious illness...or funerals. However, Tony Evans leads the reader on a discovery of the joy and peace to be found when applying the words of this poem to many aspects of your life —and to the Shepherd who is able to meet you where you are and provide all you need.

You can read an excerpt of the book here or download a chapter by clicking here.

God Is More Than Enough should have just been a quick read for me, but it was filled with so many nuggets of Truth that I chose to savor and absorb the healing and comforting words as he explained verse by verse just exactly how it pertains to my life. Whether you know nothing about these verses or if this is a portion of Scripture you memorized decades ago...there is much to be gained as you take a look at Psalm 23 through this book. The compact size makes it perfect for carrying with you to peruse when you have a few moments, to do slowly as a small group or private devotions, or to give as a gift. For the ones who are not huge fans of reading, this is a wonderful size. Great book and one I am sure to treasure.

Tony Evans
 Tony Evans is senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, and president of The Urban Alternative. He is the author of more than twenty books, including God Is Up to Something Great and The Fire That Ignites. Evans and his wife, Lois, have four children.

 I received this book courtesy of WaterBrook Multnomah's Blogging For Books program.  The opinions expressed above are purely my own.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

When Hope Blossoms by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Amy Knackstedt moves with her children to Weaverly, Kansas, to escape the speculation surrounding her husband's untimely death. She hopes the new location will provide a fresh start for them all. But her neighbor, Tim Roper, is not pleased to have a Mennonite family living next to his apple orchard. When the children try to befriend him, he resists. Tim left the Mennonite faith years ago and doesn't want any reminders of his former life. Yet Amy and Tim find their paths colliding far more than either could have foreseen. Will this tentative relationship blossom into something more?

Once again, Kim Vogel Sawyer  has written a book filled with characters that captured my imagination and a piece of my heart. Both Amy and Tim have suffered tragic losses in their lives, yet Amy found strength in her faith and Tim wandered a bit from his. To watch her steadfast determination to accept whatever comes her way, work to provide for her family by using her talents, and to trust in the Lord is surely a symbol of hope to other women. Tim was also an encouragement to others who have built a wall to keep people and God at an emotional distance. As the children begin to melt his icy heart, it is a joy to watch him slowing begin to return to a renewed zest for life, love, and faith. His life was broken and damaged, but restoration was available as soon as he reached out for it.

The children in the story were also a delight. Sweet, loveable Adri  loved and accepted everyone with open arms and heart and expected the same in return. Parker was very trusting and innocent, and longed to be able to spend time with Tim and to be his friend. Beckah was going through a time of wanting to know more about the world around her: rebellious, yet respectful--not yet an adult, but with more responsibilities and most girls her age.

The other characters in the book were all people you would want as your neighbors. Some may have seemed to have more of a gruff exterior, but we get to know and love them all as we see the many layers that make them the people they are. Maybe some of the story is filled with people who seem to good to be true or events that seem to resolve themselves too perfectly...but it happens sometimes. No matter what, this was a delightful read that kept my interest and filled me with joy and hope. I really liked it!

LIKE Kim Vogel Sawyer on Facebook.
LIKE Bethany House on Facebook.

 I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.