Monday, August 27, 2012

Book Review: When a Woman Overcomes Life's Hurts by Cindi McMenamin

Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (August 1, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736948589
ISBN-13: 978-0736948586
Price: $12.99
Purchase: Amazon | BN | CBD



Only God can take the bitter things and turn them into blessings in your own life and the lives of others. But healing cannot take place until you uproot the faulty thinking that often accompanies life’s wounds and replace it with the truth about how God views you.

As Cindi McMenamin shares powerful examples of the ways God has changed broken lives, she offers encouraging counsel that will…

·       take you from feeling insignificant to realizing how much the Lord loves you

·       take you from feeling undesirable to seeing your true beauty

·       take you from feeling you’re not good enough to recognizing how special you are

You’ll find this book filled with grace, redemption, and transformation. It will lead you toward a renewed focus on God, a resurgence of inner joy, and better relationships with others.


Cindi McMenamin shares her heart on each page of this book. Her desire is for women to be set free from the bondage of their pasts and to know their identity in Christ.

Each chapter begins with a woman’s tragic story and their redemption.

At the end of each chapter, there is a section entitled, “Let the Healing Continue” where there are practical exercises help to incorporate healing. There are also scriptures to reflect upon and a prayer for healing.

When a Woman Overcomes Life’s Hurts is broken down in three sections:

            Part I: Uncovering the Wounds
            Part II: Unraveling the Lies
            Part III: Unveiling a New Heart

As much as I found this book encouraging, I did have a difficult time reading some of the women’s stories.

However, I appreciated the fact that there is hope and redemption as well. Who doesn’t like a happy ending?

One thing I am realizing in my own journey toward healing and wholeness is that it isn’t always pleasant or fun, but grueling. Healing doesn’t always feel good and at times, it can be messy.

However, When a Woman Overcomes Life’s Hurt is very helpful as it gives you ten steps toward healing and wholeness.

Cindi McMenamin teaches throughout this book, that there is healing, hope and redemption through the pain and hurt. Sometimes we may not understand why certain things happen, however, this book clearly shows how God wastes nothing.

God desires to heal us. He desires our freedom from the lies we believe. Ultimately, He wants us to know how much He loves us.

In order to heal, we must face some ugly and painful things. But, we don’t have to stay there.

When a Woman Overcomes Life’s Hurt gives you the tools to overcome your past hurts and be set free.

I highly recommend When a Woman Overcomes Life’s Hurt for women. This book could used alone or as a guide in a woman’s group.  

In conclusion, I want to personally thank Aaron Dillon of Harvest House Publishers for a complimentary copy of this book.

Cindi McMenamin, an award-winning writer and national speaker, is the author of When Women Walk Alone (more than 100,000 copies sold) and Women on the Edge.  As a pastor's wife, director of women's ministries, and Bible teacher, her passion is to bring women into deeper intimacy with God.  Cindi lives in Southern California with her husband, Hugh, and daughter, Dana.

Book Review: The Breakthrough by Jerry Jenkins

Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (August 17, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1414335849
ISBN-13: 978-1414335841

Price: $14.99
Purchase: Amazon | BN | CBD


After years of turmoil, Boone Drake seems to be back on track. He is the youngest bureau chief in Chicago Police Department history, he heads up the city's Major Case Squad, he has a new family, and his relationship with God has never been better. Still, Boone can't fight the feeling that something is about to go terribly wrong . . . again.

When disaster strikes, it seems Boone is destined to repeat the past, as tragedy threatens those closest to him. And when his own family's safety is at stake, Boone is forced to make a difficult choice--stay with his wife, Haeley, who desperately needs him, or pursue a human trafficking ring from the narrow streets, alleys and hovels of the famed hutong district in Beijing, China, to the ancient city of Tianjin. The stakes have never been higher for Boone as the all-too-personal case grows increasingly dangerous . . . and time is running out.

I believe the last book I read by Jerry Jenkins was Left Behind, which I enjoyed immensely.  This was a different kind of story, but had the same element of having you at the edge of your seat.  

Jerry Jenkins is a great writer and develops stories which are suspenseful and entertaining. He hooks you into the story from page one.

The development of characters were believable. He writes so well, I was able to see and feel everything.

Personally, I had difficulty with the main theme of the story, the harsh reality of human trafficking. I had to put the book down a few times because it was causing me anxiety.

The Breakthrough also touches on faith in a real way. 

The main character Boone Drake is a Christian. Everything seems to be going well in his life. Until he gets a text out of the blue from his pastor which says, “Yet man is born to trouble, as the sparks fly upward.” Job 5:7

Suddenly, everything starts to turn upside down in his life in a major way; from his wife Haeley to her abducted son. Boone is faced with some very difficult situations and decisions to make.

Thankfully, this book has a happy ending.

If you love suspense, I highly recommend this book. The Breakthrough does not disappoint.

In conclusion, I want to thank Tyndale Publishers for an advanced complimentary copy of this book.

Jerry B. Jenkins is the author of more than 175 books. His books can be found regularly on the New York Times Best Sellers List. He and his wife, Dianna, live in Colorado Springs.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Book Review: "Let's Write a Short Story!" by Joe Bunting

Purchase at Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Let's Write a Short Story! is an eBook about the process of writing and publishing short stories. The book will guide you through the process of researching publications, writing your story, editing, and submitting your work to literary magazines.It's also a primer in how to make a career in fiction writing. If you've ever wanted to be a writer, this book will help get you started.
      • Why all the great writers started with short stories, and why you should, too.
      • How to build a fiction platform with short stories rather than just another blog.
      • How short stories are structured differently than novels.
      • What theme to write about to give you a greater shot at being published.
      • How to break through your writer's block when you get stuck.
      • How to submit your short stories to literary magazines (and which ones you should submit to).
Let's Write a Short Story! won't just give you the information you need. It will challenge you to take the next step in becoming a writer and help you get your writing published.


I have had the pleasure of following Joe Bunting's work on his amazing website called Write Practice. I have really grown to appreciate him and his talent.  He is also kind, generous, helpful and very intelligent.

If you are serious about learning how to become a better writer, I highly recommend Write Practice.

Have you ever wanted to write a short story, but thought you couldn't do it?  I admit, I didn't think I could write a short story until I read Let's Write a Short Story!

I can't tell you how thrilled I am to have come across this gem of a book, because I learned so much. This is the kind of book you'll want to keep referring to throughout your writing career.

Joe Bunting is a brilliant and prolific writer who takes difficult concepts and makes them easy to understand. He is generous and offers a variety of pointers too.

In Let's Write a Short Story!, Joe Bunting goes step by step explaining how to build a well-written short story from scratch.  Not only that, he gives you resources and tips on how to submit your stories to literary journals, etc.

I have read many books on writing and found some of them to be boring.  But not this book, I didn't want to put it down. I found it  informative as well as inspiring.

Let's Write A Short Story! is valuable resource to any writer, whether novice or seasoned.  This book contains everything you ever wanted to know about writing short stories and more.

I highly recommend this book. I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

My name is Joe and I write novels, articles, and, of course, short stories. I want to help you write stories, too. I wrote Let's Write a Short Story! to create a community of writers who want to help each other write short stories and get better at the craft of writing.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Book Review: When You Need A Miracle by Linda Evans Shepherd

Publisher:   Revell (July 1, 2012)
Language:  English
Pages: 205
ISBN-10: 080072108X
ISBN-13: 978-0800721084
Price: $12.99
Purchase:  Amazon | CBD | BN

"God makes the impossible possible every day." ~ Don Piper


When we are hurt, we want a God who is big enough to rescue us from heartache and circumstances beyond our imagination. But even if we believe that such a God exists, we don't always know how to approach him, much less how to ask him for impossible.

Linda Evans Shepherd knows what it's like to be in a desperate need of a miracle. And she knows what it's like to receive God's answers to her prayers. In this powerful book, she shows you how to reach out to God and simply ask. She shows how God's answers may not come packaged in the ways we would expect, but they do come in ways that will transform our lives. Through solid biblical teaching and dramatic real-life stories, Shepherd walks you on a journey of renewed hope and the assurance that God still works miracles.


When You Need a Miracle is predominantly a book about prayer. Linda Evans Shepherd takes you step by step in learning how to pray and also what hinders prayers from being answered.

She shares from a deep, personal place reflecting on some of her own life experiences. She discusses two incidents when she especially needed a miracle. One had to do with her brother and the other had to do with her daughter.

When You Need a Miracle really touched me in many ways. My heart ached in certain parts of the book.  Especially when she discussed what happened to her daughter.

But, my heart also rejoiced when the Lord answered her prayer and did a miracle. 

The chapter which spoke the most to me was Chapter Five, entitled The Forgiveness Factor. There was much truth dispelled on each page.

In this chapter, Linda Evan Shepherd discusses a tragic situation which occurred in someone's life. I had difficulty reading this chapter because I identified strongly with what had occurred in this person's life.

When tragedy happens to people at the hand of another person, it's not so easy to forgive. This chapter delves into the importance of forgiveness.

My favorite chapter was Chapter 7 entitled, Fighting the Enemy. I learned some very powerful prayers in this chapter which I will continue to implement in my own life.

Overall, there is much to glean and learn from When You Need a Miracle. I recommend this book to anyone struggling in their life and desire a miracle through answered prayer.

In conclusion, I want to thank Revell for sending me a complimentary copy of this book to read and review. 

Linda Evans Shepherd is an award-winning author, a successful speaker, and a media personality. The president of Right to the Heart Ministries, she is the author of When You Don't Know What to Pray and When You Can't Find God. She lives in Colorado. Visit for more information.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Book Review: Fully Alive by Ken Davis

Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (July 10, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0849948428
ISBN-13: 978-0849948428
List Price: $19.99
Purchase: Amazon | BN | CBD

Sample Chapter

Monday, August 6, 2012

Book Tour: Praise of Motherhood by Phil Jourdan

Welcome to the book tour of Praise of Motherhood by Phil Jourdan. The following is an interview for you to get to know more about him and his book.

1. Who was your mother? Hey, perhaps the obvious thing is that she was the single greatest person in my life--a woman who set everything aside to help me when I went through a few rocky years, a lover of animals and nature, a professor of mathematics and computer science who worked because she needed something to do… She was that lady who'd bring clothes out to the homeless people in the streets when it was cold. She spoke Portuguese, French, English, and Russian fluently. She took people into her life and made them stronger, happier. She drove very carefully. She was one person among many to die from something as trivial and terrible as an aneurysm; just one out of all the people who died on November 11th, 2009, for no reason, and without saying goodbye to any of us. And, now, she's the subject of my book.  

2. Who are you? I'm a bearded, forever-anxious guy in his mid-twenties living in the UK. I'm working on a PhD in Literature and Religion. I have a band, I run a press, I write articles for various publications, and I pace around a lot when I talk about things that interest me.  

3. Why did you write Praise of Motherhood? Because I couldn't bear the idea that my mother's death might be just another sad event in the lives of a few people. I wanted my mother to be remembered somehow — not just by those who knew her, but by those who could end up wishing they had known her. It's not easy losing a parent, and I wanted to write my way out of some dark places. To focus on the good things. To remember with gratitude the way she did everything she could to make her children feel okay.  

4. Were you a mama's boy? Of course, I was. She was worth the teasing from my young classmates. I loved her even when I was furiously angry with her.  

5. When were you furiously angry? From the age of 14 to 16, I was so psychologically unstable that I had to leave school for a while to stay in a private clinic and "recover" — which means they pumped me full of medication and made me sleep for a few weeks. This happened twice. My mother's support was crucial back then, because I was a mess. I hallucinated, I was paranoid, and I wanted to die. Of course, like any screwed up kid, I took it out on my mom. I'd get so angry that I couldn't breathe. Everything seemed to hurt me--physically and emotionally. Because I trusted my mother so much, I took her for granted, too. I knew she wouldn't abandon me if I broke down or lashed out. She was a saint about my outbursts.  

6. Is that what Praise of Motherhood is about? In part. What you'll find in Praise of Motherhood is a series of short chapters on various ways I related to my mother. Let me be clear that it's not a book about mothers in general. It's a memoir about my relationship with my mother, before and after her death. It deals with my weird adolescence, then it moves on to questions about her private life that I'll never be able to answer, and then it turns toward fiction. I imagine a world in which mother didn't die on that day. I try to reconstruct conversations I had with her and my father. Then I end the book because I could go on forever and I think it's best to be brief.  

7. What was it like to show the book to your family? It was less terrible than I'd anticipated. My great fear was that someone might object to the way I'd written it. It's not "conventional" — there's a scene in which I imagine my mother breaking into pieces and my sister and I have to tape her back together before she accuses me of having killed her. That scene worried me: what if my sister hated it? I'm happy to say it all went well. My sister found that chapter moving, and my grandparents each expressed their support. My father, who hadn't been married to my mother for over a decade, was equally moved and helped me through the various drafts.  

8. Is everything you write in Praise of Motherhood true? If you read it, you'll see that some of it is obviously fiction. I don't think the right distinction here is between fiction and nonfiction; it's between truthfulness and untruthfulness. The book is certainly truthful: if I make things up, as in the chapter where I imagine what my mother's "secret life" as an occasional spy might have been like, it's to show what I think about when I wonder about her as a private person. I paint myself pretty much as I was back then: irritable, self-involved, afraid. I paint my mother just as she was: patient, terrified of losing her child, and often helpless but willing to do anything. The events that I depict in the more "conventional" chapters are true. The dialogue is obviously not going to represent exactly what was said, but the spirit of the past is contained within it.  

9. Who is this book for? It's for people who have lost someone they loved and want to know how someone else handled their pain. It's for parents who need a reminder that their children can and will end up appreciating all the sacrifices, all the patience, all the secret suffering. And it's for anyone who is interested in teenage depression, psychosis and anxiety, and wants to read a memoir about how those conditions affect family relationships.  

10. What's next? A novel that begins with a mother's funeral… and then goes in a totally new direction. I started it just as I was wrapping up Praise of Motherhood, and I was ready to let go of those memories for a while, but the image of my mother's coffin going into the earth has stayed with me so vividly that I had to begin a work of fiction with it. But beyond that, it's an entirely different thing.  

As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Praise of Motherhood eBook edition is just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes. The prizes include $500 in Amazon gift cards and 5 autographed copies of the book. All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment--easy to enter; easy to win!  

To win the prizes:
  1. Purchase your copy of Praise of Motherhood for just 99 cents
  2. Enter the Rafflecopter contest on Novel Publicity
  3. Visit today’s featured social media event
About the book: Praise of Motherhood is a son's tribute to the woman who not only gave him life, but helped him live: through various psychotic breakdowns, tumultuous teenage years, and years of feeling out of place in the world. Get it on Amazon.  

About the author: Phil Jourdan fronts the lit-rock band Paris and the Hiltons, runs the fiction press Perfect Edge Books, and occasionally works on a PhD. Visit Phil on his blog, music site, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Book Review: Wrecked by Jeff Goins

Paperback: 176 pages
Publisher: Moody Publishers (August 1, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0802404928
ISBN-13: 978-0802404923
Price: $11.99
Purchase: Amazon | BN | CBD


Wrecked is about the life we are afraid to live. It's about radical sacrifice and selfless service--how we find purpose in the midst of pain. It's a look at how we discover fulfillment in the least likely of places. It's about living like we mean it. It's a guide to growing up and giving your life away, helping you live in the tension between the next adventure and the daily mundane.

This book is for us--a generation intent on pursuing our life's work in a way that leaves us without regrets.

Author Jeff Goins shares his own experience of struggling as a missionary and 20-something who understands the call to live radically while dealing with the everyday responsibilities of life. Wrecked is a manifesto for a generation dissatisfied with the status quo and wanting to make a difference.


​"Life is not about you." ~ Jeff Goins

I have been following Jeff Goins' blog for some time now.  I read everything he writes.  He is one of those remarkable people you meet in life.  Everything this man writes is gold.  He is wise beyond his years. He continually blesses me with his blog posts and now he completely ​Wrecked​ me.

I don't even know where to start.  How do I put into words my experience reading this book?  Every single page of this book is phenomenal, truly. 

Wrecked​ will make you see the world differently. Wrecked​ will convict you. Wrecked​ will not make you feel comfortable. Wrecked will challenge your complacency. Wrecked​ will propel you into action.

When we think of the word "missionary", we envision countries like Africa, India or Guatemala.  However, these countries aren't the only places that need our help.

Wrecked ​discusses serving and making a difference where you live. We do not need to travel thousands of miles away to serve others in need. We can choose to serve right in our own communities.

I admit, I was one of those people who thought I needed to go to some far off land to make a difference. There was a lot of romanticism connected in being a missionary overseas. Yet, the Lord wasn't asking me to go anywhere.

I had it in my head that this is what He wanted me to do. I figured if I sacrificed going to another country like Africa and serve as a missionary, I would finally arrive in becoming this great Christian. Nothing could be further from the truth.

There was a part in the book which especially spoke to my situation. I had this "dream" of becoming a missionary in Africa.  The whole idea became bigger than life to me.

God had other plans for me though. I met my husband, got married and had two boys. I remember when I had my first son, he was diagnosed with all sorts of health issues. I realized then my dream of becoming a great missionary in Africa was over.

I really was struggling in my new role as wife and mother. I had a difficult time understanding why my son was born with all sorts of health problems. I didn't understand what the Lord was doing and questioned Him a lot. I wasn't a happy camper.

This is why these excerpts spoke to me:
"When I felt the call to be a missionary, I thought I would end up traveling the world for the rest of my life. You know, pack my coffin, move to Africa, and have the natives bury me--that sort of thing. But that's not what happened. In fact, that may never happen. After a lot of struggle, I'm okay with that. I'm finally embracing this is not my life; it doesn't belong to me.  I'm not the master of my own destiny. I've started to find what I was made to do, and it has little to do with going or staying and a lot more to do with obedience."
"When you are thirty-five, doing the uncomfortable thing may mean cleaning the house or paying the bills. It may look like making sure the kids aren't late for school or that you don't miss a soccer game. It's less glamorous, but the less is the same: your life is not about you."
Well, that pretty much sums it up. I came to realize this after the Lord broke me of my idol. Funny thing is, I was exactly where God wanted me to be all along.
​I highly recommend ​Wrecked​ to everyone. This book will change your life.

If you order this book through August 4th, Jeff Goins will send you six exclusive gifts valued at over $158. Please check out what you will get here.

In conclusion, I want to personally thank Jeff Goins and Moody Publishers for allowing me the opportunity to read and review an advanced copy of this book. I am sincerely grateful.

Photo by Ashley Goins
Jeff Goins is a blogger, speaker and author. He works for Adventures in Missions, a nonprofit, where he serves as the Communications Director. In his free time, he writes books and shares ideas worth spreading.

Originally from the suburbs of Chicago, Jeff graduated from Illinois College with a double major in Spanish and Religion. There, he spent a semester in Spain, an experience that opened his eyes to the needs of the world.

After he graduated, he spent the next nine months on tour with a band and the following three months training other musicians. Then, after a year of traveling around North America, he moved to Tennessee to “see about a girl.” In 2008, he married her.

Since 2006, Jeff has worked out of his home, overseeing marketing, communications, and innovation teams from afar. He is passionate about not only telling great stories, but living them, as well.

His blog,, is one of the fastest-growing blogs on the web and is a well-respected resource for writers and difference-makers. In 2011, it won the Top 10 Blogs for Writers award on Each month, he receives over 80,000 visitors to his website.

Jeff’s work has been published online and offline in a variety of publications, including RELEVANT Magazine (with a circulation of more than 150,000 readers) and (one of Time Magazine’s Top 50 Websites for threes years in a row).

Jeff and his wife, Ashley, live just outside of Nashville, TN with their son and dog.