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About the Book
Saved in the Jesus Movement of the seventies, Chris DuPré connected with countless Christians across the world. Yet too many of those Christians, Chris discovered, have years later lost the fire and stepped back from living out their faith. Why? Because they got stuck—stuck in rejection by others, stuck in fear of the unknown, stuck in loving a comfortable life, stuck in scores of similar ruts. What can set them free from their internal prisons? And what could Christians accomplish if we all just got unstuck?
Unstuck: Hope for Christians in a Dead-End Job, Dead-End Faith, or Some Similar Soul-Shriveling Rut is the first book I’ve read by Chris Dupré. And what a book it is!
Mr. Dupré has written an excellent book that provides insight and help for those struggling with their place in life. It is full of stories, quotes, and while the conclusions seem simple, they are difficult to solve if we remain “stuck” in our routines. The style is informal, almost as if Mr. Dupré is having a conversation with his readers. It is a quick and meaningful read and one that I will most likely reread over and over.
The chapter on comfort zones was one of my favorites. It is easy for humans to fall into them and are difficult to get out of. Fear is the driving force behind leaving our comfort zones and Mr. Dupré devotes a chapter to fear as well. I will say that reading this book helped solidify a life change I had been praying about for a while and I’m sure I’m not the only one!
The chapter on character demonstrates a profound understanding of human nature. People know when you are not being truthful about who you are. We want people to have integrity and are often disappointed when they prove they do not, and the author delivers his conclusions on character perfectly.
I also appreciated the idea presented that it is usually not one thing in our lives that can make us “stuck” in place. Moments in our lives build on each other and make us who we are, and trying to pin down what caused us to become complacent or fearful of leaving our comfort zones can be disheartening or even create bigger problems in our lives.
The emphasis on listening to God instead of others, even those who love us and want the best for us, is present throughout the entire book. Scriptures used by Mr. Dupré are abundant and relevant to the topic at hand.
I give this book 5/5 stars and recommend it to anyone struggling with feeling “stuck” in their lives. Those wanting an easy to read, informative book that will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading it should also read this book. You will not be disappointed in Unstuck!
**I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, Whitaker House, through CelebrateLit. All opinions are my own.**
About the Author
Originally from Upstate New York, Chris moved to Kansas City to work alongside Mike Bickle in establishing the International House of Prayer. Chris recently served as Associate Pastor at Grace Center Church in Franklin TN, and is now an associate pastor of Life Center in Harrisburg, PA. A pastor, teacher, worship leader, traveling speaker, and spiritual father to many, Chris may be best known for his song “Dance With Me.” He has produced eight albums and published three books, including The Wild Heart of God (Whitaker House, 2016) and The Lost Art of Pure Worship with James Goll. Parents of three daughters and grandparents of four grandchildren, Chris and his wife, Laura, reside in Harrisburg, PA.
Guest Post from Chris Dupre
I grew up in a small town about 30 miles east of Rochester, NY. Winters there could be brutal. One year, I received beautiful new pair of boots which I loved, particularly for the joy with which they enabled me to engage in the marvelous sport of puddle jumping. One day when the ice and snow had begun to melt, I eyed a nice puddle and jumped in the middle sending a freezing splash in all directions. But wait, something was wrong — this was no ordinary puddle! This one was made to capture people, and I was captured! Frantic, I pulled one foot out, but no matter how much I tried, the other foot would not budge. My boot was stuck. I was stuck! I pulled and pulled until finally my foot came free in a soggy sock. My beautiful boot had been left behind, buried beneath the slush. My little mind was faced with a choice. Did I care enough about to do something? It only took a second to act. I loved those boots. I found a stick and began to fish. After what seemed like an eternity, I finally pulled out my boot. That’s the first time I ever went fishing and was glad to catch a boot instead of a fish.
My desire with this book is to address some of those “stuck” moments we all face. I want to provide keys that will hopefully open a door or two that have held you back on the incredible journey of life. I say a door or two, or even three, because it’s almost always more than one thing that gets us stuck. Ah, but God—He is the change factor in all of this and in Him we can break free.
Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, December 28
Mary Hake, December 28
A Reader’s Brain, December 29
Carpe Diem, December 29
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 30
A Baker’s Perspective, December 31
New Horizon Reviews, January 1
proud to be an autism mom, January 2
Books, Books, and More Books., January 3
Kristin’s Book Reviews, January 4
A Greater Yes, January 5
Texas Book-aholic, January 6
Blossoms and Blessings, January 7
Janices book reviews, January 8
Bigreadersite, January 9
Pursuing Stacie, January 10
In honor of the tour, Whitaker House is giving away
Grand Prize: Unstuck: Hope for Christians in a Dead-End Job, Dead-End Faith, or Some Similar Soul-Shriveling Rut by Chris DuPré; The Wild Love of God: A Journey That Heals Life’s Deepest Wounds by Chris DuPré;” Covenant” Pillar Candle scented with ancient biblical fragrances from Abba Jerusalem, and a Whitaker House Grown-Up Coloring Book.
First Place Prize: Unstuck: Hope for Christians in a Dead-End Job, Dead-End Faith, or Some Similar Soul-Shriveling Rut by Chris DuPré; The Wild Love of God: A Journey That Heals Life’s Deepest Wounds by Chris DuPré;” “Man of God” Ceramic Mug, CTAInc.com; and a Whitaker House Grown-Up Coloring Book.
Second Place Prize: Unstuck: Hope for Christians in a Dead-End Job, Dead-End Faith, or Some Similar Soul-Shriveling Rut by Chris DuPré; and The Wild Love of God: A Journey That Heals Life’s Deepest Wounds by Chris DuPré”.
Click the link to enter! https://promosimple.com/ps/c457
About the Book
Life After by Katie Ganshert is the kind of book that makes you think. About life, and death, and finding purpose after tragedy.
One of the characters in the book says a quote that I feel demonstrates one of the themes that Ms. Ganshert was striving for in her book: “It’s not easy to keep going. It’s not easy to get back up after life knocks you a hard one.”
Autumn Manning, the main character, knows this well. She’s the sole survivor of a train bombing and the book picks up a year after the event. In that time, she’s learned about the people killed and is struggling with survivor’s guilt.
Paul Elliot is the other main character, and his wife died in the train accident. He’s raising their two kids alone now and is trying his best. He avoids mentioning his wife to the kids, which causes problems for him and his daughter.
This book is a well-written and heartbreaking examination of tragedy, loss, survivor’s guilt, and God’s plan for our lives. Questions of “why did this person have to die and why did I get to live” permeate Autumn’s entire story arc, and the resolution of it is so satisfying I nearly cheered—and probably would have if it wasn’t close to midnight when I finished reading it
As a family member, Paul’s grief and guilt is different than Autumn’s, but is also excellently examined. The resolution of his character arc is as emotionally charged as Autumn’s as well and also immensely satisfying.
This book is heart wrenching. Several places had me in tears, and I identified with Autumn more than I want to admit to. Ms. Ganshert has seamlessly woven in real events into her book and the world the characters live in feels very real. All of the characters feel like people you’d meet in real life, and the different stories of the family members of those killed do not feel as if they are there only for Autumn and Paul’s character development—they seem like real people’s stories you’d hear after a tragedy.
I read Life After in one sitting and I cannot say enough about this book. I don’t want to spoil any of the character’s arcs, as discovering their secrets and motivations is an essential part of the reading experience, but I urge you to pick up Ms. Ganshert’s book.
Life After is not easy reading, but it was well worth the emotional upheaval I felt while reading it. I will be pondering this book for a while.
I give this book 5/5 stars for the characters, the examination of the core themes of tragedy, loss, and survivor’s guilt, and the full immersion into the lives of the characters I experienced while reading it. I will be adding Life After to my keeper shelf and know I will return to it when life’s losses get to be too much for me.
**I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, Waterbrook Multnomah. All opinions are my own.**
About the Author
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About the Book
Abbie tends the wounded stranger in her home only to realize he assumes they’re married. Although she knows she needs to correct Nathaniel’s mistake, his presence calms Gramps and provides a way to prevent eviction from the lighthouse.
The longer the charade continues, the harder it gets for Abbie to tell Nathaniel the truth, more so as she begins to fall in love. Everyone she’s ever loved has abandoned her. Will Nathaniel leave her too, once he discovers he’s not really her husband?
Mistaken identity and amnesia stories can be tough to read, though I do enjoy them. It is imperative that the reveal of the true identity is handled correctly and that the character who recovers from the amnesia receives time to process it. For me, how it is handled can break my enjoyment of a book.
And Jody Hedlund handles it wonderfully in Never Forget. I won’t spoil when or where it happens, but both the hero and heroine are given appropriate reactions and time to come to terms with it.
Never Forget is the story of Abbie and Nathaniel, both wounded souls, though in two very different ways.
Abbie is struggling to keep her home on the island as lighthouse keeper as she worries what will happen to her Grandfather, who has a form of dementia, if they are forced to leave. She has a husband who’s gone missing and is trying to run the lighthouse herself. She is also working through feelings of abandonment over her mother and husband, and wondering why people she loves won’t stay for her. Abbie is a great character. She is busy and so her time with God and her faith have become almost an afterthought in her daily routine. She also feels guilty she’s lying to Nathaniel about the fact they aren’t husband and wife. Abbie’s growth from beginning to end is a logical progression of the events in the story.
Nathaniel is a wealthy young man who drinks and sleeps with women. It doesn’t actually happen in the book (it is only mentioned) but if you don’t like that in your heroes you may not like this part of Nathaniel’s character. He is in a yacht accident and loses his memory, and through a series of circumstances thinks he is Abbie’s husband Nate. It’s obvious once he becomes “Nate” that he actually is a good person, as he helps Abbie and her grandfather around the island and with the lighthouse, but he knows he wasn’t a good person before his accident. It’s absolutely wonderful how Nathaniel grows in this story into the person he’s supposed to be instead of burying grief and anger through his prior actions.
The setting is fantastic. It is so well drawn that the bay where the lighthouse stands almost becomes its own character. Abbie’s love for the lighthouse, the area, and the water shines through so clearly. The secondary characters, including Abbie’s sister and brother-in-law and Nathaniel’s mother and brother, do not appear much in the story but create impact through their own actions.
I’ve never read any books my Ms. Hedlund, but I will be buying her other books. I truly enjoyed this one and it will be going on my keeper shelf.
I give this book 5/5 stars and recommend it to people who like Christian Historical Romance, lighthouses, water, and stories of redemption over guilt and grief.
**I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author through CelebrateLit. All opinions are my own.**
About the Author
Guest Post From Jody Hedlund
Which Do You Prefer: Series or Standalones?
By Jody Hedlund
Readers usually have strong opinions about whether they like series or standalones.
Some readers refuse to read books that are inter-related. Others can’t get enough books about their favorite characters.
I see the pros and cons of both.
For series, I don’t like feeling lost as I try to wade through previous characters along with their backstory. I recently started a series by a well-known author and was disappointed to realize the first book was connected to a previous series she’d already published. From the get-go, I felt left out as though I didn’t quite know who all the characters were or their significance.
On the other hand, for standalones, I sometimes feel as though I would like the story to continue. I’ve invested in the setting and characters and so enjoy when I can return to that place and continue to glimpse the characters I’ve fallen in love with—even if from a distance.
My favorites are books that fall in the middle between standalone and series. I like to think of them as standalones within a series. Becky Wade’s Porter brother series is like that. Each of the books centers around one of the brothers (and a tomboy sister). While characters from other books make an appearance in the stories, each plot is separate and complete without any reliance upon another book.
My Beacons of Hope lighthouse series falls in the middle too. The books are related in that they all take place at lighthouses and share a symbolic “cross of hope” that is passed on from one book to the next. A minor character in a previous book becomes the hero or heroine in the next book. But each book can be read by itself without having read any of the others.
In other words, readers can pick up my newest release, Never Forget, which is the fifth and final book in the series, and they wouldn’t be confused about who the characters are or what their history is. The plot starts with a bang and ends with a satisfying sigh. It is complete story unto itself.
And yet, for those who’ve read other books in the series, they’ll get to see the happily-ever-after of a character from a previous book. And they’ll also get to find out where the cross of hope finally ends.
If you’re not a fan of series, I encourage you to give the Beacons of Hope series a try. It might satisfy the need for standalones and series all in one neat little package.
To that end, I’m giving away all FIVE books in the series as part of the Celebrate Lit blog tour to one lucky winner!
Tell us: What is your preference: Standalones, Series, or Standalones within a Series?
January 10: Reading Is My SuperPower
January 10: Karen Sue Hadley
January 10: Bookworm Mama
January 11: Faithfully Bookish
January 11: Inklings and Notions
January 11: Blossoms and Blessings
January 12: Smiling Book Reviews
January 12: Genesis 5020
January 12: Christian Chick’s Thoughts
January 13: God’s Little Bookworm
January 13: The Scribbler
January 13: Bibliophile Reviews
January 14: Daysong Reflections
January 14: Blogging With Carol
January 14: Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner
January 15: Moments Dipped in Ink
January 15: Books. Books. And More Books.
January 16: A Greater Yes
January 16: Bigreadersite
January 17: Connie’s History Classroom
January 17: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS
January 18: Book by Book
January 18: Jeanette’s Thoughts
January 19: Carpe Diem
January 19: A Bakers Perspective
January 19: Splashes of Joy
January 20: Christian Bookaholic
January 20: Stuff and Nonsense
January 20: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations
January 21: Radiant Light
January 21: cherylbbookblog
January 21: His Grace is Sufficient
January 22: Neverending Stories
January 22: A Path of Joy
January 23: History, Hope, Laughter & Happily-ever-after
January 23: Henry Happens
January 23: Onceuponatime
To celebrate her tour, Jody is giving away the entire Beacons of Hope series. Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/ad6d
Book Review: "The Mental Game of Writing: How to Overcome Obstacles, Stay Creative and Productive, and Free Your Mind for Success" by James Scott Bell
I have read a lot of “craft of writing” books over the last fifteen years, which is how long I’ve been working toward a full-time writing career. The most recent one I’ve completed, James Scott Bell’s The Mental Game of Writing: How to Overcome Obstacles, Stay Creative and Productive, and Free Your Mind for Success is one of my favorites.
It’s not technically a “how to structure a sentence” craft book. What is actually does is provide simple, easy to follow tips to become a productive writer. As someone who struggles with time management and consistently sitting to write, this book is full of tips, encouragement, and a number of exercises which I cannot wait to test out.
Mr. Bell’s style in this book is conversational. I feel as if I am in a room with him and he is telling me these tips personally. The tips, while easy to follow, are meant to send the writer soul-searching. I have so many tabs in the book it looks like I’m going to start quoting the book straight through for an essay! I will include one of my favorite quotes from the book, though: “You are a writer when you decide to be a writer.”
This quote is fairly early into the book but stuck with me because I have trouble telling people that I am now working as a writer. It’s scary and uncertain but I know it’s what I am meant to do, and so I am trying to take this quote to heart. It’s now taped to my computer as a reminder that I am a writer and I can do this. There are many times in the book where I highlighted phrases I liked or activities I want to try to improve my craft.
I give this book 5/5 stars and recommend this book to anyone who struggles with time management or writing consistently, doubts about your chosen career as a writer, or doubts about your ability as a writer. So, basically everyone who is a writer.
This is one of my favorite historical romances ever. I read, on average, 75-100 books a year and I've been reading historical romance for almost twenty years, and this one has remained near the top of my list. It’s the book I give to friends who are interested in reading historical romances.
First off, I adore the hero, Kit. He is my favorite type—a “happy-go-lucky” façade covering deep emotional hurt. Kit is charming, yes, but he is also deeply scarred from his time as a soldier and his guilt over his brother’s death (no spoilers about what happened between them, as it’s an important part of Kit’s story in the books).
I spent four years in the US Army and deployed to Iraq. Kit has a quote near the end of the book that perfectly encapsulates my own feelings about what happens after war and it remains one of my favorite pieces of dialogue. I’m not going to quote it below as it’s rather long and I think a bit of a spoiler regarding Kit’s actions for much of the book, but it occurs near the end.
It took me a little longer to warm up to Lauren, but once I did, she is perfectly wonderful character as well. She had an embarrassing encounter in the previous book in front of the entire ton (her fiancé’s presumed dead wife shows up on the wedding day) and she is scared that she will never find love. Her composure after these events plays nicely off Kit’s charm and humor. Of course, Lauren’s humor and “fun” side of her personality is exposed as she spends more time with Kit and his family, who are at odds with each other.
The premise of the book is that Kit and Lauren agree to pretend to be engaged for the benefit of both of both. Kit’s parents are trying to arrange a marriage for him with Freyja Bedwyn, a next-door neighbor who he previously engaged in a relationship with even though she was promised to his (now dead) brother. Lauren wants to escape society and live a quiet life, and having two failed engagements will make her scandalously unmarriageable and she’ll retire to a country cottage.
Watching the relationship turn into friends and then as they fall in love is a delight. They complement each other perfectly and I fully believe the feelings between them. Kit falls for her quickly and it takes Lauren longer but the resolution between them is wonderful. Lauren is also an integral reason why Kit and his family begin to repair what had fractured with his brother’s death and his younger brother’s injuries from war.
I would recommend this story to anyone who wants a quiet, character-driven romance with a few surprises as the couple fall in love. The amount of outer conflict is minimal (though there are some attempts by other people to break the engagement) and this is a story that features real internal conflict for both of our main characters. But it never seemed to drag despite all the introspection, and in fact, that is one of the reasons I enjoy this book and this author.
Mary Balogh is one of my favorite authors and she is one of the few I automatically buy new releases for. I haven’t liked everything she has written but I believe this is one of her best and give this book 5/5 stars.
Writer/Editor. Voracious Book Reader. World Traveler. Veteran. Bakery Owner.