Thursday, January 21, 2016

Book Review: Undaunted Hope

I had the opportunity to read another novel from one of the foremost historical fiction and romance authors of today- Jody Hedlund.  I have enjoyed two of her previous novels immensely and the newest in the Beacon of Hope series does not disappoint.  Undaunted Hope continues the story of Tessa Taylor- a young woman searching for hope, answers, and purpose.  Her strength and sass not always welcome in the era of the mid-end 1800's are what will help her survive the harsh winters of northern Michigan in a town full of miners.  Undeterred by the challenge of being an unwanted woman teacher- she forges ahead with tenacity- without realizing she would change almost as much as she changes her students and fellow townsman.  
The highlights of Hedlund's writing are the incredible storytelling, deep characterization, and commitment to remain true to the setting and real life people of the era.  Her deep research in lighthouse life and rural school teachers allow the reader to be fully enveloped in the unfolding saga.  I find Hedlund's writing to be fresh and unique compared to many of the stalwarts that have flooded the Christian romance market for years.

Undaunted Hope encourages you through a lovely story to not let your own misconceptions hold you back from personal growth and to not let fear stand in the way of your future.

I had not yet read the first two books in the series and did not feel lost or confused, but knowing the depth and quality of book 3 I am now eager to check out the earlier books in the Beacons of Hope series.

Another novel that doesn't disappoint!  Thanks to Bethany House for the free copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Book Review: Strong and Kind

I'll admit- I know very little about Duck Dynasty and the entire commander family.  I've watched and enjoyed a few episodes and have appreciate the news clips I've seen of the Robertson family standing up for their family, faith, and freedoms.  However, I had the opportunity to read and review Korie Robertson's newest book Strong and Kind.  The reason I chose to receive this book for free for review was the subtitle; Other important Character Traits Your Child Needs to Succeed.  It is my and my husband's desire to instill long lasting, Godly based characteristics in our children.  We desire for them to obey, love, and relate in a way that comes from deep within, from a Holy source, not just out of a need to please others or to stay out of trouble.
I'm pleased to say I throughly enjoyed this atypical parenting book.  What a refreshing take on parenting!  Instead of a psychological or medical expert explaining things through the lens of generalities, I felt as thought I was sitting in the coffee shop with a true friend while she shared stories of success and failure in her own parenting journey.  I loved how Korie never approached her chapters with a "we did it best" or "we are perfect" mentality.  Her stories along with quips from husband Willie are fully of honesty, humor, and Biblical truth.  The first half of the book focuses on possible character traits that parents may want to focus on to instill in their children.  The Robertson's have focused on two- Strong and Kind- to filter decision making and parenting all of their children and encourage others to do the same.  I appreciate they also mention how each family will look, sound, and feel different but it all comes from the same source and motivation of raising God-fearing, productive adults.

The second half of book encourages parents to be active and intentional as they strive to implement character building in their children.  I found this section to not be a daunting list of do's and don'ts to be the best parent I can be, but an encouraging word from a friend who has travelled much of the path  of parenting before me.  

Strong and Kind is full of wisdom, helpful stories, and most importantly it is all backed up with Biblical truths.  Korie Roberston is the sweet small group member, neighbor, or Starbucks friend you dreamed of having.  Her writing style (compliments also with her co-writer and mother Chrys Howard) is friendly and inviting without airs or frivolity.  I highly recommend this book to any parent at any stage and encourage parents to read together and not just leave it on the nightstand- but rather grab a paper or laptop and begin formulating ideas and action plans to establish your own family's legacy.

*I received a free copy of this book as part of BookLookBloggers in exchange for my unbiased review