The Great Chattanooga Bicycle Race $75 Amazon Giveaway with Mike Mizrahi

Take a ride through 1895 Chattanooga as it’s turned upside down when a young woman has the audacity to ride a bicycle-in bloomers-in Mike H. Mizrahi’s new book, The Great Chattanooga Bicycle Race! Anna Gaines, 19, struggles to conquer her insecurities after a horrible fall years ago from her beloved horse, Longstreet. On a visit to Brooklyn, she’s drawn to the new pastime of bicycling. But back at home, cycling is a scandalous sport for a proper lady. Anna has her eye on Peter Sawyer, president of the Cycling Club. As community outrage grows, an unexpected turn of events pits Anna against Peter in a race between the sexes.

This book receives a 2/5 from me. I liked the idea of the book, especially now with all that is going on with women’s rights. I thought it would be interesting to read about a woman’s right to do something so trivial in today’s time like riding a bike.

I liked bits and pieces of the book. Honestly, it was a bit chaotic for me. There were a lot of side stories going on that made it seem very disjointed. While they may have added a little bit, in my opinion there was not a very good flow from one story to the next. At times it was hard to follow along with which story line was the focus at the time. Because there were so many story lines to keep up with, I don’t feel that there was very much depth to the characters even though I think that is what the author was going for.

What I did find interesting were Anna’s inner thoughts. She wrestled with the unwanted responsibilities that come with being a leader. There was one chapter where she talked about how she had become a role model to younger girls and how she was scared about the weight of that role. I think any leader has these moments where we have to think about how each thing we do has meaning to those around us. And that sometimes doing the right thing for the greater good will come with some harsh comments from naysayers. Change can be hard.

It was also interesting to think that there was a time that women had to fight to ride a bike or to wear pants in public. We have come a long way, but it also made me think, what is it of our time that our kids will look back and say how ridiculous it is that we had to fight for that equality. This book mentioned several times about equal pay and hiring standards, and it makes me sad that we are still fighting that fight today. I hope that things will be better for my daughter so she doesn’t have to endure things like this.

There is a giveaway to celebrate the release of Mike’s new book. You can enter to win this $75 Amazon gift card giveaway!

One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A copy of The Great Chattanooga Bicycle Race
  • A $75 Amazon gift card

Enter today by clicking the banner below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on June 14. The winner will be announced June 15 on Mike’s blog.

Book Review and Give Away: A Fragile Hope

When your life’s work revolves around repairing other people’s marriages, what happens when your own marriage begins to fall apart? Find out what happens to Josiah Chamberlain in Cynthia Ruchti’s new book, A Fragile Hope. Feeling betrayed, confused, and ill-equipped for a crisis this crippling, he reexamines everything he knows about the fragility of hope and the strength of his faith and love. Love seems to have failed him. Will what’s left of his faith fail him, too? Or will it be the one thing that holds him together and sears through the impenetrable wall that separates them?

Celebrate the release of A Fragile Hope by entering to win Cynthia’s Sign of Hope Giveaway!

One grand prize winner will receive:

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on May 3. The winner will be announced May 4 on the Litfuse blog.

I received this book for my honest review.
Honestly, it was a 3/5 for me. It was good, but not amazing.
Here is my one con:
  • It took me about 10 chapters to get invested. It should never take me that long to get into a book. This is the only reason why I didn’t love the book. It just was extremely repetitive. We get it he was lost in despair and uncertainty. I think having that rough start gave me a weird overcast for the rest of the book.
Here are my praises:
  • While the first part seemed to drag on, ultimately there was an element of wanting to see improvement for the characters that kept me coming back.
  • This book was relateable. I liked how it showed the inner-thoughts of doubt and betrayal. I think we have all been there when our faith has been shook to the core. This story approached very real humanness and how we can overcome to forgive. I also love the fact that his job is to fix marriages and offer sage advice as a counselor, but he failed to notice how much his own marriage needed help. I think this goes to show that it is hard to hold a mirror up to our own issues and deal with them. She did a great job discussing this aspect of faith and healing.
  • The author was very intentional about the details of the book. For example, the quotes at the beginning of every chapter come from one of the characters print shop. It was nice little touches here and there that I though added a little fun to the book.
  • Ultimately, the message is really powerful. Everything in our life will not be perfect no matter how orderly we try to make it. Things will get messy and possibly shake us to our core. God will never leave you, we just have to be willing to lean in on him.

So it may have taken me awhile to get into the book, but it kept me engaged. The end result was worth it! I love reading stories that talk about real emotions and problems that are all around us, but also with the foundation of our relationship with God.

Good read indeed.

Book Review-40 Days to a Joyful Motherhood

I am always searching for a good devotional, so when this book came along paired with adult coloring pages it really seemed to be up my alley.

This book was tailor made for moms. From what I could see it was a love letter/words of encouragement from one mom to another. The scriptures and devotionals picked were like your own cheering section at the end of the day that we are all doing ok.

I love to color, and I have a really hard time calming down and just being. I, however, find most “adult” coloring books to be too complex and stress me out even more. These coloring pages were fairly simple, and they allowed me to let go and relax at the end of the day. I will say though that I usually do my devotional right before bed, and I did find it hard to do the coloring there. It takes me about 30-45 minutes to color a page, and I found myself dozing off before I could get done if I did them in bed. (This has nothing to do with the author, I am just an exhausted mom.) So I do the coloring while I am watching my TV shows after George goes to bed, and then I read the devotional portion right before bed and write my joys and concerns for the day in the margins.

I have really struggled with making time for scripture and knowing how to pray, so devotional or guide books like this help me in my walk with the Lord.

Each page (or day) had a scripture, a brief explanation of application, and a simple prayer. I like this approach because it helps things come alive for me. As I said then I will add my thoughts for the day in the open spaces.

This is a great devotional for moms who need to focus on self-care but find it hard to do so. It’s things like this that can keep us grounded and be the best for our families. The idea of combining a stress relieving activity with a devotional was genius in my opinion!

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You can buy your own copy here.

Have you tried adult coloring books? What is your way to focus on self-care?

Melissa Spoelstra’s ‘Total Family Makeover’ Family Fun Night Giveaway

Begin to build your family discipleship and become the key disciple-makers in your children’s lives with Melissa Spoelstra’s new book, Total Family Makeover.

George is two. In the short time we have been in year two, we have seen George explore his emotions and who he is as an individual. With that has come tantrums and unfortunately George being a bully. There have been days where I wonder if he will ever learn to listen.

This book could not have come at a better time to give me hope and encourage me as a mom of a spirited young man.

There were a couple statements that really resonated with me.

  • My son’s behavior is not a report card on me as a parent. She went more in depth about where this will lead you, and I sat in tears realizing this is what I had become. I was comparing myself to other mom’s because my kid was hitting. I was doubting how to control this little being, and I was extremely embarrassed.
  • Along with that, God is the perfect parent, and we disappoint him regularly. I do at least a couple times a day. So how can I expect myself to be perfect and raise a perfect child? That is just setting myself up for failure to have that expectation on myself.
  • It is a different mindset of shifting how our kids respond to things to how we are actually teaching them. In other words, I need to focus on my spiritual direction in order to be able to train George.

This book has a great format too. It makes it really easy to pick up and read for the practical ideas and not feel weighed down by text.

Spoelstra weaves in scripture with practical activities for you to explore for modeling and training. I really like this aspect because I can be really dense sometimes, and at the end of the day when I am reading before bed, sometimes I just need someone to tell me the bottom line.

With George’s increase in communication and sense of awareness, Tom and I have talked at great lengths at what we want to model and hopefully instill in George as a Christian family. We want him to learn about Jesus and have compassion for the world, and these are definitely things we can start now even though his sentences consist of two words or just “No” or “mine.”

While I believe this book was intended for moms, Tom and I are really using it to give us a better foundation as parents and set the tone as a team. It has opened our eyes to different things we should be considering and habits that we should be creating now. It also reaffirmed some of the things we were already doing. To be honest though, it is hard to think about being responsible for your own spiritual development as an adult, but then to tack on the daunting task of helping a child build their own concept of God, it can be a lot. This was great to see that our worries are common and reaffirmed that we are on the right track. At the end of each chapter there are discussion questions that we can talk about and that has been great for our marriage as well. While we have been together for 10 years, we learned a lot by going through this book together.

And the examples she gives where invaluable for me at least. I love to hear what other parents do so that was my favorite part of the book.

There is a lot of scripture throughout which I think would lead this book to be a great Sunday School class option or for any new parent class that a church may do. If anything it would be a great gift for a baby shower.

This book is great. I didn’t feel like I was getting lectured to; it was more like getting coffee with a mentor. It is filled with ideas and things that just make sense. It focuses on the basics of establishing values, and to me that is so much more important than how to teach my kid how to dress himself. (Although that is a basic that eventually I would like for him to fully master.)

Disciples are made, not born. Whether your children are babes in arms or teenagers getting ready to leave the nest, making disciples at home starts with you! Give your family a makeover with this practical approach to helping your children learn what it means to be a follower of Jesus.

Plan an evening of fun, pizza, devotionals, and games with your family! Melissa is giving away a Family Fun Night Prize Pack.

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One grand prize winner will receive:

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Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on October 7. The winner will be announced October 10 on Melissa’s blog.

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A Book Lovers Dream

It’s no secret that I love books. One of the most important things I am trying to pass on is that love of reading to George.

I am excited to be sharing about Usborne and all the book greatness that it has to offer. They have been part of our journey to make George a reader for over a year now. I was super excited when my sister-in-law became a consultant so we could ride this addiction together! And I love supporting her small business endeavors. So here I am hosting a party to share the goodness!

But books…this is all about them books!

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Are you familiar with Usborne? They are the 2014 Children’s Publisher of the Year – widely respected in the industry, but more importantly, widely loved by KIDS! Their books are also backed by a lifetime half-price replacement guarantee, for whatever reason. If your kids are anything like George, books tend to get well loved (aka destroyed) so I really love that I can replace his favorites easily and cost-effectively.

Did you know that growing up in a home with a large collection of books has a huge impact on educational attainment? A child in a home with 500 books will complete an additional 3.2 years of college and earn nearly $1 million more in their lifetime. Isn’t that crazy? Usborne has really motivated us to have books EVERYWHERE. We have a bag full in the car, he has a reading tent in the living room, a whole bookcase full in his room, and we even have about 10 in his bed. We are well on our way to helping George in that million more earned.

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Did you know that reading imaginative and relatable fiction helps children learn to read for comprehension? Not only that, but by taking an objective look at how characters relate to others, it actually helps children develop empathy. Check out Usborne’s selection of fiction here! (We love the Dirty Dinosaur!)

I love how these books make it fun to LEARN! Peter Usborne, the founder of Usborne Publishing, has said that books should be magnetic, stylish, and promote wondering…and they DO! George has learned body parts and animal sounds and how to say things like “tractor” from these books. I am attempting to collect all the Big Book series!

Want to know the secret to keeping your kids occupied while you make a phone call? These books will keep your kids occupied and happy while they PLAY all day long. We have gotten the Wipe Clean books for our nieces who just started school. Super fun!

Our personal favorite books for George are the “That’s Not My Series” and the “Noisy” sound books. He has learned so much from these books, and I honestly attest his obsession to tractors/construction vehicles to these books. George even sleeps with the “That’s Not My” books. We love the phonics book series-they are fun for me to read with their sing songy rhymes. We use the Muddle Match books in the car because they are more interactive, and they have taken George a lot longer to beat up. We are also going to be going after all the astronaut/space stuff here soon because Tom loves space and that is a great way for them to bond. There is a lot of research out there about the importance of the father reading to their sons, so having a subject that Tom loves encourages that more.

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They do some really cool things with books. I recommend looking at the shine a light books, busy books, and the ones where you build stuff. I am constantly amazed at the ridiculously cool things that they do with books! It is making me relive childhood all over again through George.

If you want to see our wishlist for ideas, here are the books we are interested in.

Ready to shop? I have a party running for the next week so I hope you get as excited about the books as I do! Be sure to think ahead to any upcoming gifts you might need for birthdays, homework helpers, or boredom busters too! I love stocking up on books to save for presents all year round. There is really something for everyone!

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Have you seen stuff that you would love in your kid’s hands? You can shop my party here until August 14th.

Once payment is received, the books will be on their way to you within 48 hours!

Let me know how I can help! I LOVE giving personalized recommendations, and I could speak about Usborne for days!

In addition to these videos, here’s a mini catalog you can flip through to get ideas. Every time I go through the catalog, my wishlist gets longer and longer…

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 Thanks for your interest! If you’d like to host your own party via Facebook to earn FREE BOOKS or would like information about working with Usborne Books & More, contact Emily (my awesome sister-in-law) by clicking here. She’s a teacher so she knows a lot about how to prepare students for reading. She’d be happy to answer any questions you have about specific books or offer recommendations!
Thanks for reading about Usborne and consider supporting my party. You wont be disappointed!