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Twice a Slave Book Review

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One of my 2014 SMART Goals was to read a book a month just for fun, because my dear friend Abby teased me for reading a lot of books that are “good for me” and not enough just for fun.  While I haven’t stuck to the one a month goal, if twice a slaveyou switch that to twelve books for the year, I am on target to finish twelve books just for fun.  One that I just finished reading is Twice a Slave.  Twice a Slave is the story of a Cherokee slave, as told by one of his descendants.  The story illuminates a forbidden romance, and tragedies that build faith.

The story spans the nearly one hundred years between 1756 and 1852.  The real story begins, after the prologue, with the purchase of a young Cherokee slave named Ahyoka in the Dorchester, South Carolina by Agerton Willis.  His intent was to take her home to cook and clean.  As the story progressed, Agerton and Ahyoka (also known as Joy), fell in love and were married in a clandestine wedding.  They had one son, named Joseph Willis.

Joseph was raised as a slave, being of mix’t blood (a phrase that I personally despise, but was culturally acceptable during the time the book spans). When his father died, he included in his will that Joseph should be emancipated.  The law, however, required that Joseph remain a slave until his 21st birthday.  His uncle, Daniel, refused to honor the will and emancipate him.

The story follows Joseph throughout his live, as he changes the course of history in Louisiana.  Though he was born into slavery, Joseph was eventually granted his freedom when his cousin became a senator and introduced a bill to emancipate him.  Joseph is determined to find his purpose and discover his identity.  His mother was a woman of faith, and Joseph became the man most responsible for planting Baptist churches west of the Mississippi River.

He faced his own insecurities, prejudice from all sides, and seemingly insurmountable obstacles.  Even though Joseph’s life was threatened because of his race and faith, he became the first Protestant to preach the gospel west of the Mississippi River and started the first Baptist church west of the Mississippi.

While much of the story can be substantiated through historical accounts, the author does state where creative liberties were taken.

I’ll be the first to admit that I picked this book up several times and put it down without opening it.  I didn’t want to read a depressing tale about a man that fought for his freedom, only to be captured and enslaved again.  Once I actually started reading it, though, I didn’t want to put it down.  Twice a Slave is a poignant tale of how faith can trump circumstance.  It is amazing how one man can overcome undeniable tragedy to leave such a lasting impact on a nation.  I would heartily recommend Twice a Slave.

Twice a Slave is one of the Jerry B. Jenkins Select Line of books.  It is available on Amazon or or on or wherever Christian novels are sold.  Learn more about Twice a Slave at

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Bug Life Book Review

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Our household loves to read, for the past 2.5 years it has become a nightly ritual for us. With that being said, we are always delighted to add a new book to our collection. Miss A is a little over 2 years old and Little Dude is only a few months old, so books with fun story lines and great pictures are a must for us! We were recently introduced to the Insight Kids small world series book called Bug Life, which chronicles the life of ladybugs.

Bug Life

The Small World series is all about the natural world, designed with young readers in mind. Evocative yet simple storylines and stunning illustrations combine to unravel the intricacies of insect life. Zoom in to discover more about the hidden life of ladybugs. Join a ladybug on a fast-paced adventure, and on the way, learn about her environment and daily activities, coming face to face with both predator and prey.

Bug Life is filled with absolutely amazing graphics that are sure to capture the attention of children of all ages. I will say the text is a bit advanced for my kiddos, I would say this is more aimed towards children 6+, although it is listed as Grades PK – 5. Our family still continues to enjoy the storyline of a lady bugs life. We learned what they enjoy to eat, dangers they may face and even how their life begins! This is a book we will be sure to keep around for the future! If you have a child in your life who is fascinated by everything bug related, be sure to check out the small world series!

Check out Insight Editions on Facebook and follow @insighteditions on Twitter for more great titles.


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30 Days to a More Beautiful You

As I mentioned earlier in my How to Plan a Ladies Tea post, and in my You Are Beautiful Bracelet Review, I was recently able to hostess the annual Ladies Tea at my church.  I was thrilled that several of our youth girls attended the tea.  Our theme this year was Beautiful, so I was thrilled to be able to use the  30 Days to a More Beautiful You devotional, by Kylie Bisutti, as a door prize. Kylie Bisutti is a former Victoria’s Secret Runway Angel.

Kylie Bisutti is a former Victoria’s Secret Runway Angel. – See more at:
Kylie Bisutti is a former Victoria’s Secret Runway Angel. – See more at:

30 Days to a More Beautiful You

This devotional is pocket sized, at just 4×6 inches, but don’t let the size fool you.  It is full of devotional readings designed to touch a young girls heart and transform her heart, body, mind, and soul.  It will help her redefine the word beautiful in her vocabulary, and help her to see that true beauty has nothing to do with outward appearances.  In fact, the more we focus on what we look like on the outside, the more insecure we become.

Fortunately, God doesn’t measure our worth by how we look. We have value simply because we are His children. The more we focus on getting our hearts right with the Lord and honoring Him, the more secure and confident we will become—and the more we will exude true beauty.

This little power house devotional retails for just 99 cents for the paper version, or 94 cents for the Kindle version.  It is available on Tyndale or on Amazon.  It would make a great little “Hey, I thought about you” gift for any young woman in your life.

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Body & Soul Book Review

Body & Soul by Bethany Hamilton, coming May 6, 2014

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As a parent in the world we live in today, I think it is very important to teach our children at an early age to learn to accept and love their true identity through Christ, and encourage them to live and eat healthy. These may sound like simple things; but I remember my teenage years and as much as my parents tried to instill these same beliefs in me, I remember many times that I doubted myself and worried about my ‘image’, especially as a girl over everything else. Bethany Hamilton, an American professional surfer who told her powerful and inspiring story in Soul Surfer, survived a shark attack in which her left arm was bitten off, has now written a guide for girls to look and feel better, in light of God’s word and purpose, that I am happy to share with each of you today.

Bethany Hamilton has become a fitness expert by virtue of being a professional athlete who has excelled—and she’s done it while overcoming incredible challenges. In Body & Soul, Bethany shares some of her core experiences with body, mind and spirit. Sharing her expertise as an athlete, Body & Soul helps young girls develop a healthy lifestyle, gain confidence, and establish a pattern of healthy living starting at a young age. This book includes workouts specially developed for young girls by Bethany’s personal trainer Dustin Dillberg, fun and simple recipes, and information on healthy eating based on “Bethany’s food pyramid,” which follows the Mediterranean diet. Body & Soul also offers advice on deepening your spiritual health, for a total mind, body, and spirit wellness book perfect for growing girls. This is a book about becoming your best “you,” through physical and spiritual balance, because spiritual health is just as important as physical health.

Body & Soul is the the perfect book for the teen or tween girl in your life. It is filled with lots of information for healthy living — exercises, recipes, establishing routines and healthy eating. Bethany also strives to include God’s views on a healthy lifestyle by focusing on what He says about it. Throughout the book, Bethany and even Dustin, her trainer, share many tips on how to succeed at a healthier lifestyle.

 If you have a young girl in your life in need of some encouragement, I would highly recommend Body & Soul! Even though my little girl is only 2 years old right now, this is a book I will be keeping safe to introduce to her in another 8-10 years!


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God Gave Us You Book Review

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We are a book loving family, with a nightly ritual of a bedtime story for the kiddos. We really love educational and religious books and those that can capture the attention of a two year old.  We were recently introduced to an amazing personalized story book from Marblespark written by Philip Haussler with art by Brad Snead called “God Gave Us You”

This personalized book celebrates God’s deep love for each of us, colorfully showing children how “God had a plan at the very beginning… He had you in mind, when He set the world spinning.”

God Gave Us You book

Beautifully written God Gave Us You, tells of God’s endless love for each of his children.  Each beautiful illustration features the child’s name.  They’ll love finding the letters of their name hiding in leaves of a tree, strutting on the feathers of a peacock and shining brightly in the night sky.  Even the front, back and spine of this 8.5″ x 8.5″ hardcover book are personalized.

This book contains such an amazing message that can reach children of all ages. The personalization is a feature that Miss A loves! She loves hearing her name throughout the story and being able to find it on each of the pages, especially when she sees it on the fish!. We are glad we were able to add this to our collection.

God Gave Us You makes for a great gift that you can customize making it special for each child in your life.  Available at for $29.95

What better way to celebrate Mother’s Day or Father’s Day than to show your little ones that God Gave Us You.



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