Book Review: Fading Starlight

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Kathryn Cushman’s latest novel, Fading Starlight, was just released in May of this year.  It was a sweet story and an easy read.

After having a huge accident in her career, Lauren Summers heads to a private community to live for the summer.  She attempts to regain what she can of her career, invest in her hobbies, and reach out to her neighbors.  One neighbor in particular is not interested in her friendship.  Lauren must decide if she wants to pursue her old career or become the hands and feet of Jesus to her neighbor.

I appreciated how the main character has to grapple with personal pain and disappointment while also attempting to do right by her cantankerous neighbor.  In so many books, it seems that Christian characters don’t really struggle that much.  Lauren does have some things that she is working through.  I did, however, think that one of the key verses that she kept going back to was taken out of context.

While not a new personal favorite, I did think that Fading Starlight was a sweet story.  It was a fun addition to the books I took on our recent road trip.

Note: I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for this review.


Book Review: Hope Unfolding

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I first discovered Becky Thompson’s blog when a post of hers went viral on Facebook.  As a result, I started following her and quite a few of her posts were very encouraging. When I discovered she had written a book, I was excited to get a chance to read it.

hope unfolding

Her book, like her blog, is easy to read but oozing with encouragement.  It is so obvious in every chapter that her heart truly cares about her readers even though she has never met us.

Overall, it was a little too conversational for my taste.  Each chapter started with a personal anecdote or some sort of story.  The anecdote was literally half or more of the chapter.  So for me personally it was a little too drawn out.

When she got to her main point…it usually wasn’t earth-shattering or revolutionary.  But it was just a whisper of something that my heart needed to hear as a Mom.  There were a couple chapters in particular that were great reminders for me and brought me so much encouragement.

If you are a Mom who wants a friend to sit down over coffee with you and encourage you to persevere in motherhood…this is a great book!

Read Becky’s bio here and join her online at her web site or on social media.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.


Book Review: Counted with the Stars

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Counted with the Stars is a wonderful historical fiction book.  As I have said before, I am a harder sell when it comes to fiction, but I have really enjoyed this book.

Connilyn Cossette writes about an Egyptian girl, Kiya, who is sold into slavery by her father.  She is right in the thick of it when suddenly her beloved homeland is struck by terrible plagues.  Hearing rumors about a man named Moses, she tries to piece things together as she wrestles with what kind of terrible god would do such a thing.

I love this book because it is not predictable.  It immerses you into the story as if you were truly experiencing it as one of the Egyptians.  I have read the story in the Bible numerous times.  It’s an incredible story.  But to think of it as if I was experiencing it made the fear and terror come to life.  It made me think about the account in new ways.

Kiya eventually is able to leave her mistress and escapes with her family after the final plague.  They travel with the Hebrews, following Moses and God.  She is faced with questions about just who this Yahweh is.

The only criticism I would make is a minor one and that was with the Hebrew girl Kiya befriends.  A pet peeve is when Christian authors paint the Christian characters as habitually bubbly, happy, and smiley.  Joy does come from knowing God, but joy doesn’t always equal bubbly or happy.  But as I said, minor detail and does not detract from the whole story.

I will definitely be keeping this book for a re-read later!

Note: I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for this review.


Book Review: The Mapmaker’s Children

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The Mapmaker’s Children is an easy-to-read yet intriguing book intertwining present day and Civil war history.

I have always enjoyed Civil War history and I have read quite a few historical fiction pieces on the Underground Railroad.  Sarah McCoy does a great job getting her readers into that world.

The book goes back and forth between Eden, a woman in 2014 going through infertility and marriage difficulties, and Sarah Brown, the daughter of the famed abolitionist John Brown.  At first I didn’t appreciate how much the author jumped back and forth between the two, but I quickly became engrossed in the story.

I appreciated the history, the dialogue, the descriptions, and the character and plot development.  There is some language that some readers might find distasteful (one instance of s— and several instances of d—) so I do want to point that out so that no one would be caught off guard.

mapmaker's children

I enjoy fiction that is not stereotypical and predictable, and this book was far from it.  Read more about the author, Sarah McCoy, and her other books here.

Note: I received this book from Blogging for Books for free in exchange for this review.



Book Review: Risen


I have been attempting to broaden my fiction collection.  The description of the book Risen intrigued me as it was not the cliched plot of typical Christian fiction.

Upon receiving the book, I realized that it is the novelization of a movie by the same title…Risen.  The novelization is by Angela Hunt.

I must say that I enjoyed the book.  Clavius, a Roman centurion, is tasked to look into the mysterious disappearance of the body of a Jewish man who had been crucified.  Of course, the body cannot be found, and Clavius must come to grips with the reality that Yeshua has indeed risen from the dead as His followers claimed.

Of course, we do not know that these events took place.  Thus the fiction part of this historical fiction book.  But it seems a fair guess that some of this did indeed go down as Rome was forced to deal with the impossible.

One aspect seemed to take the fiction part a bit far, in my opinion.  In the book, Clavius becomes romantically involved with a young Jewish widow.  They begin sleeping together.  It is not graphic in the book, however it seems somewhat far-fetched and mostly irrelevant to the story.

I have read the account of the resurrection many times in the Bible.  Reading it in this context, however, caused me to think about aspects of the story I had not thought of before.  It put me more in the story in a way I have not done in a long while.  Some of Jesus’ words struck right to my core.

Overall, I definitely enjoyed this novelization, and I was pleased to also see the film in the theater this past week.

Note: I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for this review.


Book Review: Instant Happy Journal

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I am all about journaling.  And writing with an actual pen and actual paper.  And I have been trying to work on fostering a grateful and joyful spirit.

Enter Instant Happy Journal by Karen Salmansohn.

Instant Happy Journal

This book contains 365 prompts.  Sometimes it’s an inspirational quote and sometimes it’s a thought-provoking question sometimes.

For example, one of the days says, “What blessings can you find in the lesson that a challenge taught you?”  Another day’s prompt is, “If today had a soundtrack, what song would be playing?  What song would you want to be playing tomorrow?”

It is a fun book designed to give you a few minutes each day to focus on the positives of your life.  Sometimes changing your outlook comes down to a choice to revel in the good.  Even a few minutes a day of choosing to be positive can make a big difference.  I look forward to going through more questions and filling them out!

Note: I received this book from Blogging for Books for free in exchange for this review.


Making Babies and GIVEAWAY


I heard about this book a little while back.  I decided to check to see if it was on Paperbackswap and indeed it was, so I requested a copy.

Making Babies: A Proven 3-Month Program for Maximum Fertility by Sami S. David MD and Jill Blakeway, LAc

TTC infertility making babies

It is so good.

I thought I knew the basics about human anatomy and how it works to, well…make babies.  But I learned so many things.  Not only did I become even more fascinated with the intricate and complex way we were created, but I realized some mistakes (or potential mistakes) we were making in trying to conceive.

I have heard it said that if you are considering starting a family, you should do all you can to get into optimal health before trying to conceive.  I always rather dismissed it, thinking it must be talking to people who are obviously unhealthy.  But after reading this book, I agree.

If you are thinking about or are currently trying to get pregnant, I definitely recommend pursuing an overall healthy lifestyle.  This book is a great way to do it.

First of all, the book explains the basics of a woman’s cycle, important lifestyle choices, ways to de-stress (including self-fertility massage), and a general TTC diet guide.

Then it talks about different fertility types and includes an in-depth quiz so you can determine your fertility type.  Then the authors talk about specific things for you to do, based on your type, to achieve health, ranging from exercise to diet to supplements.

In my doctor visits, I have definitely noticed that doctors tend to put you in a box and don’t ask a lot of questions.  What is normal for one woman’s cycle may not be normal for another woman’s cycle, and it is not enough for a doctor to dismiss symptoms as “normal cycle variance” just because there is a wide range of normal. This book addresses all of those things and takes your body into account so you can achieve maximum health.

From the back of the book…

“With a joint approach that is uniquely complementary, reproductive endocrinologist Dr. Sami David and founder of the YinOva Center, Jill Blakeway, draw on the best Western and Eastern medicine to create the Making Babies program, designed to help any woman get pregnant as naturally as possible.  With 4,000 successful pregnancies under their belts, David and Blakeway explain what might be stopping you from getting pregnant and how you can tailor a three-month action plan to meet your needs.  With the Making Babies program, you will:

  • Prepare your body for healthy, natural conception by implementing lifestyle changes as well as early intervention strategies
  • Discover common (and not so common) problems impeding your fertility that can be easily resolved (sometimes a simple course of antibiotics is all you need)
  • Determine your ‘fertility type’ and learn how to personalize an easy-to-follow prescription plan”

I have been so impressed with many of their testimonials, as they describe many patients who came to them after years of infertility, only to discover their problem was as simple as using the wrong kind of lube or an infection that their Dr failed to test.  Or even for the testimonials where there are more serious issues, there have been amazing results from people following the Making Babies program.

Obviously, I can’t guarantee that you will get pregnant after reading this book and utilizing their suggestions.  But I feel so much better after reading it and I am betting you will too.  I feel more knowledgeable (and there is a sense of “empowerment” in that) and definitely more proactive as I am making healthier choices.

Giveaway Time

I would love to bless someone else with a copy of this book.  If you would like a chance to win, click the link below to enter via Rafflecopter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Note: Life With You is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

31 Days ttc infertility

Reading List

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Well I didn’t get my regular 3 month reading list in.  So here is a belated list of the books I’ve read since April.  I think I missed recording some….but this is at least most of them.

And I promise I have more posts coming up soon!  I’m actually working on a series for October to join in with the 31 days of blogging challenge.  🙂

reading list


Dragon and Priest by Heidi Joelle

Beyond I Do by Jennifer Slattery

Bridge to Haven by Francine Rivers

God Gave Us Sleep by Lisa Tawn Bergren (review posted here)

Hotline Girl, The by RJ Conte


Every Drunken Cheerleader…Why Not Me? by Kristine Waits

Exercising Through Your Pregnancy by James F. Clapp, III, M.D. and Catherine Carm, MS.

I Tried Until I Almost Died by Sandra McCollom (review posted here)

Motherwell Maternity Fitness Plan by Bonnie Berk

Newbie’s Guide to Positive Parenting, The by Rebecca Eanes

Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages, The by Shaunti Feldhahn



Book Review: God Gave Us Sleep

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I have been wanting to build my little guy’s library and was excited to see this children’s book available to review.


God Gave Us Sleep is a sweet story about a mama bear and her young bear.  The child learns about the reasons God designed sleep and other aspects of life.

The rhythm of life, or the dance as it is described in the book…work and rest, play and rest.

The bear learns that God created sleep so that we can have energy for the day and patience to go through it.  She learns to pray for good sleep and for sweet dreams.

It is a sweet story and the artwork is very well done.  I am glad to add this book to my son’s shelf.

Check out this page to see more about the author and other books she has written.  I have read adult fiction by her as well, not knowing she also has quite a few children’s books!

Note: I received this book from Blogging for Books for free in exchange for this review.


Book Review: Crash the Chatterbox

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I agreed to review this book when I read the back cover.  “In Crash the Chatterbox, Pastor Steven Furtick focuses on four key areas in which negative thoughts are most debilitating: insecurity, fear, condemnation, and discouragement….Learn how to live out God’s truth no matter what is going on in your life or thoughts.  Learn how to crash the chatterbox…and hear God’s voice about all others.”


I have a chatterbox.  A very loud chatterbox.  It seems there is a constant refrain going through my head, saying things like, “You’re not good enough.”  “You’re a failure.”  “You always mess up.”  “You are a terrible wife.”  “You are a bad Mom.”

I have been hearing from several sources lately about how critical it is to speak the truth to yourself.  How your internal dialogue and self-talk can profoundly influence the way you think and act.

That’s what I love about this book.  Steven Furtick is relevant and I love his current cultural references.  But he gets to the heart of the issues and reminds his readers to speak God’s truth.

I am redeemed.
I am forgiven.
I am more than conqueror.
I am loved.
God will provide.
God will protect.
I am His masterpiece.
God is for me, not against me.
God showed Himself trustworthy when He ____, and I know He will be trustworthy now.

This book is full of suggestions on how to push aside the screaming voices that are lying and instead to hear God’s still small voice of truth.

That being said, I must address one thing.  After I began reading the book, I decided to look up more about the author.  The author has made several troubling statements, including things about how theology and doctrine are not important, and the only thing that matters is evangelism.  I would be extremely careful when reading any of his books or listening to his sermons.

Note: I received this book from Blogging for Books for free in exchange for this review.