Book Review : The Beautiful Ashes of Gomez Gomez

How can you resist a book with a title like that? Well, I could not!!

This is my first book by Buck Storm, but I promise it will not be my last, I was delighted by his story telling, his story in a story and his depth of characters.

This was a super fast read for me – honestly I just wanted to keep going. I was instantly connected to the characters, and wanted to spend all the time I could with them!

The story is fantastic, such a sweet story of friendship, grief, and love, most of all love! However, I am not a mushy romance reader, so the love is not just romance, there is family love and friendship love that overshadows the romance that is in there!

Seeing the gospel play out in real characters though might be the sweetest part of this book. In some books the struggle the characters are facing almost seems unreal. Not in this story, walking through as each of the characters sort out their lives really showed how the gospel can be applied in any season of our own lives.

This book is Book #1 in the Ballads of Paradise, and I know this will be a series I keep up with, as I cannot wait to connect with the characters in the next book!!

NOTE : I received a copy of The Beautiful Ashes of Gomez Gomes.

Book Review : Don’t Keep Silent

Elizabeth Goddard has delivered another suspenseful and fast paced novel in her Uncommon Justice Series.

Don’t Keep Silent is about an investigative reporter who steps in to help her brother when his wife disappears. Rae calls on the help of her father’s sources when he was alive and investigating his own stories to write. Meanwhile, Liam McKade, a face from her past, shows up when Rae starts following leads.

This is a fast paced story that you will not want to put down. There are a number of twists and turns, and while it may help a little to have read the first two books, it is not neccesary.

Elizabeth Goddard writes in a way that you connect immediately to her characters and feel like you are part of the story! She dives into the world of human trafficking in this book and gives the reader a clear view on how this is taking place in our world.

NOTE: I received a copy of Don’t Keep Silent in exchange for an honest review.


Investigative reporter Rae Burke will do anything to find her missing sister-in-law, even if it means facing Liam McKade, a man who almost lost his life saving hers. A former DEA agent, Liam thought he could find peace at his Wyoming ranch, but he just doesn’t feel at home anywhere anymore. When the reporter who blew his cover on an important investigation inserts herself back into his life, he’s less than thrilled. But Rae’s keen investigative skills have led her down the right path–and directly into the dragon’s mouth–leaving Liam no choice but to protect her. As the danger increases, the past they both tried to flee catches up to them, along with the feelings they once had for each other.

Bestselling and award-winning author Elizabeth Goddard plunges you into a fast-paced, high-stakes story of honor, forgiveness, and justice.

Book Review : The Key to Everything

I read this in 2 days. That should tell you something right there. Get this book!!

What an amazing story of adventure, coming of age, love and loss. Valerie Fraser Luesse has written a perfect story!

I loved every part of this story, I loved the characters so much!! Peyton is a young man dealing with the tragic loss of his father, while trying to get away from toxic family members out to destroy him and his mother. Yet, Peyton is a man who knows who he is, what he stands for and what it important in his life. As he embarks on an adventure he has divine interactions with so many people who make a distinct impression on his heart and his life.

It was delightful to travel along the coast of Florida, I felt like I visited his stops and met his people, in fact I want to go back!!

This is really a fantastic book and I highly recommend it, great summer read, beach read, or in a hammock in your backyard. (All my favorite reading places right now)

NOTE : I received a copy of The Key to Everything in exchange for an honest review, by Revell Publishers.

Valerie Fraser Luesse is the author of Almost Home and the bestselling, Christy Award–winning Missing Isaac. Her third novel, The Key to Everything, was inspired by a true story. An award-winning magazine writer, Luesse is best known for her features and essays in Southern Living, where she is currently the senior travel editor. Specializing in stories about unique pockets of Southern culture, she has published major pieces on the Gulf Coast, the Mississippi Delta, Acadian Louisiana, and the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Her editorial section on Hurricane Katrina recovery in Mississippi and Louisiana won the 2009 Writer of the Year award from the Southeast Tourism Society. The author lives in Birmingham, Alabama, with her husband, Dave—and a mischievous orange cat named Cheeto.

Book Review : Stories that Bind Us

Susie Finkbeiner weaves together a story of loss, tragedy and love in a way that makes you want to read the next page and then the next.

We all carry around our worst fears and author Susie explains that the loss of her husband is her worst fear, so she took hold of that idea and wrote The Stories that Bind, a story about Bette Sweet.

Bette Sweet does not know what to do when her husband of 20 years dies. In fact, nothing in her past has prepared her for her new life. Losing her mother at a young age, and dealing with a disengaged sister and a father who is lost in his own grief leads Bette to depend even more on her husband for everything.

I really enjoyed this book. It is a deeper look into what makes us tick and what we need to do to take the next step in our lives. So often we can be paralyzed by the unknown and not sure what to do, but when we take the next step we start moving in a direction.

While this takes place in a historical timeframe, I still felt like I could relate with Bette and what she is facing. I loved how her relationship bloomed with her nephew, almost filling the void of not having her own children. Ms. Finkbeiner also takes a hard look at mental health as Bette’s sister returns only to be plagued by what appears to be, the same mental illness that took their mother’s life. Too often we ignore the reality and depth of mental illness, so I always appreciate when authors allow us to see deeper into that world.

NOTE : I received copy of Stories that Bing Us in exchange for an honest review by Revell Publishers.

More about the book:

Betty Sweet never expected to be a widow at 40. With so much life still in front of her, she tries to figure out what’s next. She couldn’t have imagined what God had in mind. When her estranged sister is committed to a sanitarium, Betty finds herself taking on the care of a 5-year-old nephew she never knew she had. 

In 1960s LaFontaine, Michigan, they make an odd pair. Betty with her pink button nose and bouffant hair. Hugo with his light brown skin and large brown eyes. But more powerful than what makes them different is what they share: the heartache of an empty space in their lives. Slowly, they will learn to trust one another as they discover common ground and healing through the magic of storytelling. 

Award-winning author Susie Finkbeiner offers fans a novel that invites us to rediscover the power of story to open the doors of our hearts.

Book Review : Comparison Girl

“If you struggle with measuring up, if you’re worried about what people think, if you dread someone seeing you in a less-than-ideal situation, then you’re human. We all struggle with comparing ourselves to others in some way. That means we all need Shannon’s honest and wise words on the pages of this book. I know I did, and I’m betting you do too!”
~ Jill Savage, author of No More Perfect Moms, No More Perfect Kids, and No More Perfect Marriages

If you read my review of Control Girl, and you could relate, this is another great devotion book for you!! Comparison Girl takes a deep dive into the side of us that is constantly comparing.

With both of these books I was pleasantly surprised at how in-depth Shannon Popkin goes into digging up the root of what causes these issues in our lives. She really relies heavily on scripture to help us grow in specific areas and to help us see how these unhealthy ideas really hurt us.

The book is set up for a group study or even as a small group of friends. There are 6 main chapters with 4 sections in each chapter. It would work really well as a 6 week study! Talking about the points and ideas in the book would really help facilitate a greater amount of growth.

Shannon writes in a way that helps us realize our issues without feeling like she is judging us. I appreciate that, sometimes an author can sound like they have conquered the issue they are writing about in a way that feels judgmental, but Shannon does not come across that way, instead I feel like I am listening to a trusted friend help me work through things.

Comparison Girl is a great devotion book, and one that would really facilitate a healthier self image and a heart for others.

Note : I received a copy of Comparison Girl in exchange for an honest review.

More about Comparison Girl:

Women compare constantly—on social media, in their neighborhood, at church, even in the school drop-off lane. They glance sideways and ask themselves, “How do I measure up?” All this assessment feels like a natural way of finding a place in the world. But it pulls them into feelings of inferiority or superiority, guiding them into a trap of antagonism by the enemy.

Satan would like women to strive to measure up, constantly adding to a tally sheet that can’t ever be balanced. The way of Jesus is completely upside down from that philosophy. Instead, he says the last shall be first–and the greatest are those who empty themselves, lay down their lives, and serve each other.

Through conversations Jesus had and parables he shared, Shannon Popkin has created a seven-week Bible study to address this tendency to compare and judge ourselves and others. Each chapter is divided into lessons, allowing women on a time budget to read a Bible passage, engage in a complete train of thought related to the topic, and then make the content personal–all in one sitting. And the informal teaching tone will make women feel like they’re meeting with a trusted friend.

Suited for both individual and group study, Comparison Girl will guide women to leave their measure-up ways behind, connect with those around them, and break free from the shackles of comparison!

About Shannon Popkin:

Shannon Popkin is a writer, speaker, and Bible teacher who loves pointing others to the truth of God’s Word. She combines her gifts for humor and storytelling with her passion for Jesus. She regularly speaks at Christian women’s events and retreats, encouraging women of all ages to put their hope in God.
Popkin is also a regular contributor for the Revive Our Hearts True Woman and Leader Connection blogs. Her articles have been published by Family FunFocus on the Family MagazineMOMsense and others. She is the author of several books, including Control Girl: Lessons on Surrendering Your Burden of Control from Seven Women in the BibleInfluence: Building a Platform That Elevates Jesus (Not Me), and Comparison Girl: Lessons from Jesus on Me-Free Living in a Measure-Up World.
Popkin and her husband, Ken, have been married for more than twenty years and live in West Michigan. They have three children—one in high school and two in college.
Connect with Shannon Popkin by visiting, following her on Facebook (shanpopkin), Instagram (shannonpopkin), or Twitter (@ShannonPopkin).