In Bloom by Kayla Aimee Review

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Description:

Every woman is intimately acquainted with feelings of insecurity and inadequacy. Whether fueled by a culture of makeover shows, by the lingering memories of mean girls, or by events much more wounding to the soul, we can become so conditioned by self-doubt that it becomes our inner monologue.
What we want is to be free of shame and comparison, to turn our uncertainty into a bold confidence. But to flourish in our own skin, we first have to rewrite the narrative.
In this fearless, funny, and refreshingly relatable chronicle of her own metamorphosis from the insecurity that once held her captive, author Kayla Aimee unfolds the blueprint for women to:

• Identify the deep-seated sources of our assumed inadequacy and replace them with steadfast truths of scriptural affirmation
• Replace our need for approval with the enduring promise of acceptance
• Uncover our purpose, unlock our potential, and celebrate the God-given gifts in our unique personality

To every woman who longs for belonging, this journey through Kayla’s inviting prose, biblical promises, and journaling prompts will help guide her from restless insecurity to a beautiful becoming.

My Thoughts:

First of all, Kayla Aimee is a very gifted storyteller. I knew of Kayla many years ago, as she was a big part of the scrapbooking community. I then followed her blog during her extremely difficult time after her daughter was born as a micro preemie. I’ve found everything that she writes to be very enjoyable and funny so I was eager to read this book that deals with the subject of insecurity.

Kayla discusses her life and many times where she has felt excluded or rejected and I found myself relating wholeheartedly to most of her experiences. I wish we could have known each other in our Junior High years, as I think we would have bonded over our love for The Babysitter’s Club.

I highly enjoyed every moment of this book but did find that it felt much more like a memoir than a book for personal or spiritual growth. There were a few things thrown in that added to the “spiritual” aspect but for the most part, it really seemed mainly like a memoir that helps women realize that they’re not alone in their insecurities.

Kayla has a witty and sometimes sarcastic sense of humor, which I enjoyed but by the end of the book, I grew a bit tired of. This is just a matter of personal taste but at times I felt like she was trying a bit too hard to be funny.

Overall, this was a very fun book to read that I thoroughly enjoyed but there wasn’t a lot that I took from it.

My Rating: 3 stars

I received this book from the author/publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Loving Grace by April Smith Review

lg

Synopsis:

Grace Summer lands herself in a melon load of trouble when she becomes torn between the boy of her dreams and the boy almost next door. As the newly-crowned Watermelon Queen, she is thrust into the spotlight, meets the dreamy Warren Hartley, and continues trying to get over an accident that rocked her world. Mix in working with Beau Baron who Grace happens to fight with just about as much as breathing and the metaphorical sparks fly.
Like most things in life, Grace must learn to take the good with the bad. While the good is the handsome and fun Warren Hartley, the bad is Beau Baron—or at least being around his annoying and rude self way more than she would like. For Beau, Grace is nothing more than aggravating and an irritating reminder from the night of the accident. Tensions soar as Grace and Beau fight to love themselves and maybe, just maybe, each other.

My Thoughts:

This was a super cute and sweet story (no pun intended) about a girl named Grace who becomes the Watermelon Queen. Grace is dealing with a lot of difficult things in her life and finds herself caught between two boys…one who she finds super dreamy and the other who drives her crazy.

Under the surface of the fun and cute scenes of watermelon pageants and banquets is a plot with depth and drama. The character of Grace was lovely and the way she handled her grief was very realistic. There were moments when I just wanted to wrap her in a hug.

I enjoyed the story but found that the pacing was a bit slow at first and took some time to get going.

This is a very clean, sweet story that teenagers would really enjoy. It’s a great alternative to the mainstream contemporary that is in the market today.

My Rating: 3 stars

I received this book from the author/publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

An Unexplainable Life by Erica Wiggenhorn Review

UL

Description:

If you’ve ever read the book of Acts, it probably didn’t take you long to notice: The early believers were on fire! They were full of the Holy Spirit, had wonder for God, and did great things in His name. And sadly, many of us seem nothing like them.

An Unexplainable Life is a call to reignite the mission and movement of the early church individually and collectively. This in-depth Bible study transports readers back to the early days of the Christian church, challenging our modern-day assumptions and inviting us to join Jesus in His work today.

Divided into 10 weeks, this study:

Guides participants verse-by-verse through Acts 1–12
Equip readers for transformation through challenging Scripture application
Teaches basic principles for personally studying the Scriptures
Brings Scripture to life with historical, cultural, and theological backgrounds
Provides a “going deeper” section for curious students
Ideal for groups, this study will help readers spur one another on toward adopting the qualities and passions of the early Christian church, providing built-in accountability.

The fervor of the early church isn’t restricted to the first century. Unlock the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and join His great work today.

My Thoughts:

I’ve been working my way through this study for the past 4 weeks and I have found it to be very challenging and intense (in a good way). It’s divided into 10 weeks that consist of 5 days of study, with each day taking about 20-30 minutes to complete.

The study dives deep into the book of Acts and challenges the person who’s studying to live an “unexplainable life”. I really like the author’s writing style and the way she helps the reader to really think further about the verses and how they can apply them to their own lives.

I do find that some of the questions are difficult to answer…there are times when I don’t know what the author is asking in the questions.

There are sections at the end of each day to reflect and pray and to write anything that the Lord reveals.

Overall, this is an excellent study on the book of Acts that is challenging and will definitely help the reader to grow in their faith.

My Rating: 4 stars

I received this book from the author/publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Honeysuckle Dreams by Denise Hunter Review

hd

Synopsis:

After Brady Collins’ ex-wife dies, he receives devastating news—his nine-month-old son Sam isn’t his son at all. And Sam’s wealthy maternal grandparents want custody of the child. Brady knows he’s in for the fight of his life. But regardless of what any blood test says, Sam is his son, and Brady will go to any lengths to keep him.

Brady’s attorney tips him off that one major life change would virtually assure him of winning guardianship of baby Sam at the final hearing: an impending marriage. And his friend Hope is willing to step in as the loving and devoted fiance.

Local radio celebrity Hope Daniels has been driven by a solitary goal her entire life, and after a happy accident she’s finally offered her dream job. But if the truth comes out about her arrangement with Brady, she may miss the chance of a lifetime and stand in the way of a dear friend’s dreams.

As Brady and Hope make sacrifices to help each other in their times of need, they risk uncovering a truth neither of them expects to find.

My Thoughts:

This is the second book in the Blue Ridge Romance series but it worked great as a standalone novel. I have not read the first book in the series but the author explained everything in a way that I never felt confused or as if I was missing information.

The story follows Hope and Brady as Brady finds himself in a difficult situation where he needs to go to court for custody of his son. It’s a  modern day marriage of convenience story that I found very unique and endearing.

The characters in the story felt very real and I truly cared about them. The romance in this story is slow burning and the timing was perfect. I loved that it was a love that began as a friendship. I also really appreciated the way the author handled the intimacy issues that were inevitable in the plot…it was handled in a clean way but also was realistic to the relationship and situation that the characters were in.

The story kept me gripped from the beginning to the end and I am eager to read more books by Denise Hunter. I highly recommend this sweet story!

My Rating: 4 stars

I received this book from the author/publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.