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Book Review

The Lines Between Us by Amy Lynn Green

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to participate in my very first cover reveal! Amy Lynn Green’s novel was one I was eagerly anticipating, and helping her with the reveal was just icing on the cake! (Check out my reveal post here!) When The Lines Between Us was released in August, I was beyond excited to finally get my hands on this most-anticipated read! And the best news? This new novel is just as amazing as it looks and sounds.

About The Lines Between Us:

(From the publisher): A WWII novel of courage and conviction, based on the true experience of the men who fought fires as conscientious objectors and the women who fought prejudice to serve in the Women’s Army Corps.

Since the attack on Pearl Harbor, Gordon Hooper and his buddy Jack Armitage have stuck to their values as conscientious objectors. Much to their families’ and country’s chagrin, they volunteer as smokejumpers rather than enlisting, parachuting into and extinguishing raging wildfires in Oregon. But the number of winter blazes they’re called to seems suspiciously high, and when an accident leaves Jack badly injured, Gordon realizes the facts don’t add up.

A member of the Women’s Army Corps, Dorie Armitage has long been ashamed of her brother’s pacifism, but she’s shocked by news of his accident. Determined to find out why he was harmed, she arrives at the national forest under the guise of conducting an army report . . . and finds herself forced to work with Gordon. He believes it’s wrong to lie; she’s willing to do whatever it takes for justice to be done. As they search for clues, Gordon and Dorie must wrestle with their convictions about war and peace and decide what to do with the troubling secrets they discover.

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Book Review

Yours is the Night by Amanda Dykes

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Last year, I received a copy of Amanda Dykes book, “Set the Stars Alight” and I fell in love. (If you haven’t read it, go order a copy here!) So when I heard that Yours is the Night was coming out this year, it quickly became one of my most anticipated reads of 2021. Now, the problem with most anticipated reads is that sometimes, you hype them up so much in your head beforehand, that when you actually read the book, it pales in comparison. But let me tell you, this was NOT a problem with Yours is the Night. This book completely met all my expectations for a beautiful story full of hope and light.

Amanda writes in a way that is lyrical and magical. Her words chip away at the darkness and spill light through the cracks and crevices of the characters’ broken stories. I’m not the type of reader to highlight sentences in novels, but if I was, this book would be filled. There were so many times I had to stop and simply soak in the beauty of a phrase or paragraph. (Keep reading for the rest of my review!)

About Yours is the Night:

(From the publisher) The trenches of the Great War are a shadowed place. Though Platoon Sergeant Matthew Petticrew arrived there with a past long marked by shadow, the realities of battle bring new wounds–carving within him a longing for light, and a resolve to fight for it.

One night, Matthew and his comrades are enraptured by a sound so pure, a voice so ethereal, it offers reprieve–even if only for a moment. Soon, rumors sweep the trenches from others who have heard the lullaby too. “The Angel of Argonne,” they call the voice: a mysterious presence who leaves behind wreaths on unmarked graves.

Raised in the wild depths of the Forest of Argonne, Mireilles finds her reclusive world rocked when war crashes into her idyllic home, taking much from her. When Matthew and his two unlikely companions discover Mireilles, they must embark on a journey that will change each of them forever . . . and perhaps, at long last, spark light into the dark.

On the 100th anniversary of the dedication of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier comes an emotive tale inspired by the courageous soldiers of World War I.

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This post contains affiliate links; as an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

One of my favourites things is listening to stories.

We each have them. The story of how we came to be — of what shaped us and transformed us. The words that describe us. The gritty and grace-led moments that spread their way across the pages of our lives. It’s uniquely ours.

And the stories that I love most are the ones that feel authentic and messy. The ones that grapple with real-life questions and face them head on, rather than hiding beneath filters or Instagram-perfect poses. The ones that point to an over-arching story that reaches far beyond our day-to-day lives. The story that points us to Christ. To a greater story.

This is the premise that immediately drew me to Sam Collier’s book.

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I usually inhale books. The pages dance beneath my fingertips, blurring and whirling as I hungrily suck in words. But every once in a while, a gem is uncovered. A book so meticulously crafted, I can’t help but savor it, letting it steep and soak into the recesses of my imagination. It’s a pleasant surprise to unfurl the first chapter and immediately know, this one’s a keeper.

Set the Stars Alight was that book.

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Summer Book Giveaway!

I don’t know about you, but summer is one of my favourite seasons for reading. Lounging in the sun by the lake, a cool drink in one hand and a book in the other — does it get any better? That’s why I am super excited to share with you this AMAZING summer giveaway! Sponsored by Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, one of my Canadian readers is going to win a box of eight, beautiful books — perfect for any end-of-summer getaways!

Rules:
  • Enter at the bottom of this page.
  • Contest is ONLY open to those with a Canadian mailing address
  • ONE winner will be drawn on Friday, August 14, 2020.

Ready? Here’s what you could find in your summer reading pile: Read more

The grave was impossibly small: a flattened bit of earth and grass that covered the infant-sized casket beneath. I was twenty-two years old and burying my baby. There was no preparation for something like this — no guideline for how grief should look and feel. I felt alone and overwhelmed by the intensity of my grief: What was normal? What was okay? What did the Bible say about loss?

I needed to feel the weight of shared pain and knowledge, a sacred story of motherhood that had been held by more than just me.

I needed to know that this grief was more than just pain, it was love.

I needed to find the voices of those who had walked this road before me: to weep and remember within a community.

These are some of the books I found throughout my grief journey. They’ve encouraged and challenged me, reminded me to keep my eyes fixed on Christ, and allowed me to see the beauty within every story. I hope they will do the same for you. Read more

When it comes to the church, we all have stories. Some stories are of ones where we feel welcomed and included, comfortable and free to worship; while others are stories of pain and confusion, uncertainty or discomfort.

I remember my first few months away at college, hopping from church to church in a small prairie town, trying to find the one that felt most like home. One Sunday evening, while out for a walk with a friend, we encountered two elderly ladies on their way to an evening service in the school gym. I’ll never forget how excited they were when we agreed to join them, how overjoyed they were to show us off to the other attendees during after-gathering cookies and coffee. The love of Christ radiated off our new, white-haired friends. That church wasn’t the one for me, but I’ll never forget that feeling of being welcomed so warmly. That was what I was looking for in a church family: community, a warm and open invitation, and most of all, Jesus.

In Traci Rhoades new book, “Not All Who Wander (Spiritually) Are Lost,” readers are invited to look past the denominational differences that separate us and instead find Jesus amidst the differing worship styles. As she says, “We don’t all practice our faith the exact same way, but our God is big enough to embrace all the ways we encounter Jesus. And Jesus sits at the head of the table. Always.”

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“God is calling His warrior women to invest their lives in something that is bigger than themselves: the kingdom of God. These kinds of women give their lives to relentless prayer.”
– Sheila Walsh, “Praying Women”

If we’re honest, we’ve all had times in our lives where prayer has been a struggle. We may find ourselves in seemingly impossible situations, wondering if God actually hears us. Can He truly fix this? Why hasn’t He answered? Or perhaps, we enter into prayer time with the best intentions but immediately find ourselves daydreaming or drifting off to sleep. We equate prayer time with a chore, a box to check.

When it comes to prayer, we all come to the table with baggage and history. With wounds and scars. Thankfully, prayer isn’t about perfect people. It’s not about knowing the right words or being doubt-free.

It’s about our hearts. It’s about step-by-step transformation. It’s about trust, even in the silence. It’s about coming and laying it all before Him. 

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We made it!

52 books in 52 weeks and our annual challenge is once again drawing to a close. This year was a fun one with categories like, “an ugly cover,” “a book about time travel,” and, “a beach read.”

In just a few days, we will launch the 2020 Challenge! This challenge will look the same as the previous two years: 52 different categories to check off and read throughout 2020. With brand new categories and a thriving Facebook group for ideas, suggestions, and accountability — this is the book challenge to participate in this year!

And in case you’re still not convinced, here are a few more reasons why YOU should join next year’s challenge:

  1. It’ll help you read MORE! I recently posted an article on 12 Ways to Read More — one of which is “reading challenges.” If you’re looking for motivation, tracking your reads and setting an attainable goal is always a good first step.
  2. It might be time to mix up your reading. Let’s be honest, we all fall into reading ruts from time to time. We all get comfortable with our favourite authors and genres. But maybe this year, it’s time to try something new. With 52 different categories, this challenge invites participants to expand their regular reading and pick up books they might not otherwise read. Who knows, you might just find a new favourite or two?
  3. It’s a TON of fun! One of my favourite parts of this challenge is lining up which books fit which categories. I love researching books and looking beyond my usual line up. I also love the community of readers who participate in this challenge every year — with bookworms from around the globe, your “to be read” pile will only grow!

So, what do you think? You in?

While I let you decide, here’s a look at my final reads for 2019:

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We’re in the home stretch. There is now officially one month left in our 2019 Reading Challenge! And, I don’t know about you, but there is something very satisfying about getting these last few categories checked off.

With the release of the 2020 Challenge earlier this month, many of us are already eagerly planning out potential reads for the new year. (If you want to participate, be sure to join our Facebook group! It’s the perfect place for book suggestions, encouragement, and all-round “bookiness.”)

Until then, I have a few more categories left for 2019. Here are my November reads:

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“You have two kids! How do you manage to read so many books every year?”

If I had a book for every time someone asked me this, I’d need a new bookshelf. (I mean… I do need a new bookshelf, but that’s beside the point…) I often share my love of books. I host a popular, annual reading challenge and regularly post book reviews. On average, I read 130 – 150 books per year.

And that often leads to the question: “How do you do it?”

Truthfully, I’d like to be reading more too. But as we all know, life is busy. This season is full of diapers and laundry, packed lunches and school runs, errands and grocery stores and crying babies that stretch bedtime out far beyond what’s necessary. So I get it. We all want to read more. But finding time for it? Well, that’s a different story…

BUT, despite the pressures of daily life, there are a few tricks and tips we can use to maximize the time we spend reading.

So today, I’m excited to share with you twelve of my favorite ways to read more: Read more

October has been a CRAZY, busy month for me.

If you’re following along here or on social media, you’ve likely seen numerous posts about my new book, Embrace (available now, where ever books are sold!) So many of you have already purchased books and I am incredibly grateful for your support. Writing has been a dream since I was a little girl in pigtails and it’s surreal to see a book of mine nestled in the living room shelf. In fact, I’m still pinching myself — I’m an author? Really?

So to celebrate, I may have included my own book in this month’s reads. (It makes this whole book thing feel even MORE official.) 😉

And, EXTRA exciting news, the new 2020 Reading Challenge will be released NEXT month. Check back here mid-November to plan ahead for 52 brand new categories!

But for now, here’s my October reads:

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