Book Review: Loving Grace (a novel)


Watermelons, beauty pageants, young hearts caught in a first love… April Smith ties it all together in Loving Grace, a novel from Ambassador International. Grace Summer is the protagonist appointed as a “Watermelon Queen”, which is part beauty contest winner and part watermelon product promoter. After the death of her loved ones, Grace struggles to bounce back from this loss and go on with life, but she finds a special spot in the hearts and lives of the Baron family, whose livelihoods rely on the harvest of watermelons. This clan, who sponsors her role as Watermelon Queen, includes two young men that help prove the point that things aren’t always what they seem, especially when it comes to love.

Who this book is for: Grace Summer, the main character, is about to enter her senior year of high school, and the story doesn’t have anything that isn’t family-friendly. So, if your daughter is in high school, or even junior high, this book would be an enjoyable read. College- age girls might also like this book as it accurately shows the highs and lows of a first love. All in all, Loving Grace is a cute story.

FTC Disclosure: I received a free copy of Loving Grace from the publisher, Ambassador International, in exchange for my honest review.



Easy last minute Christmas gifts

It’s down to the wire. December 25 is officially five days away, so if you haven’t started your Christmas shopping, you better get cracking. Whether you make a list and check it twice, or if you just fly by the seat of your pants, it isn’t too late to get going.

Whether it’s friends, family, a co-worker, or someone who has everything, this list of easy last minute Christmas gifts will get you started. Plus, they’re all affordable, so none of these ideas will break the bank.

What are you waiting for? Get going! Merry Christmas!

Book Review: a Biblicist View of Law and Gospel


Law and Gospel. Are they two separate things, or do they work together?

That is the question that Lester Stephenson aims to answer in his book, A Biblicist View of Law and Gospel. He uses Matthew 5:17-18 as the basis:

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” (KJV)

Stephenson points to examples in the Old Testament that link to the New Testament. But this book wasn’t quite what I was expecting.

There is a growing movement of Christians who would describe themselves as “Torah-observant” or who are learning about and putting a growing emphasis on the Old Testament. An online search can show examples of this – women who are covering their heads, men who won’t cut their beards, both genders who are Christians but who are celebrating the Jewish holidays and eating kosher only. And they are Christians. All this because they’ve searched the Bible and believe this is Biblical.

The answer to which traditions we should uphold and which the gospel frees us from… those are things I hoped this book would answer, but it doesn’t. I don’t think the author had those questions in mind. Over and over “the law” is mentioned, but he never really stops to say “This is what the law is”. There is a chapter that explains the 10 Commandments, and he also mentions “The Mosaic Law”, so I think it would strengthen the book if some explanation of what “The Law” is would have been placed in the front of the book, rather than leaving the Commandments towards the end.

FTC Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, Ambassador International, in exchange for my honest review.

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Book Review: Braving Sorrow Together



Life is hard. Relationships, jobs, health, and life are hard.

Ashleigh Slater gets it.

Her new book, Braving Sorrow Together, is a beautifully anointed work showing how so many people have come through sorrows like death, miscarriage, job loss, and more, able to share their stories with others.

I’m not a mom, but I love how she explains her journey of becoming a parent and how connected that was to her career. In explaining how she mourned her own career dreams not coming to pass, and coming to terms with how her own worth is more than just what she does for a living, she says:

“I realized that I’d put too much emphasis on my worth being tied directly to my aspirations and the fulfillment of them… I’d strongly believed that… my life would have greater value than it did at home changing diapers and filling up sippy cups with strawberry milk. I came to see that I was wrong.” (page 102)

Her words on this topic are a blessing to people who struggle to understand that their own significance is more than just what they do during their working days. She’s speaking to the self-worth that we all have.

Overall, Braving Sorrow Together is highly relevant and highly recommended.

FTC Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from Moody Publishers in exchange for my honest review.