Thursday, July 24, 2014

When Shmack Happens Book Review

Title: When Shmack Happens: The Making of a Spiritual Champion Author: Amber Neben Genre: Christian nonfiction/inspirational stories/sports autobiography Paperback: 172 pages Publisher: Neben Px4 (March 18, 2014) ISBN-10: 0991303008 ISBN-13: 978-0991303007 Purchase at: Amazon USA: Book website: Amazon UK and Amazon EU Have you ever been through a hard time in life? Ever wondered why bad things happen? Amber Neben has you covered. The 2x Olympic cyclist for Team USA knows a thing or two about shmack- her word for describing adversity that comes our way in life. Follow Amber’s journey as she overcomes major obstacles both on and off the bike-and encourages you to join her in developing the perseverance, patience, perspective, and power than only Christ can give us. Very few people may know or understand what road cycling is, but everyone knows what it means to be an Olympian. The champion road cyclist chronicles her disappointments and failures, as well as amazing comebacks and victories-while thrilling audiences along the way with gripping stories of faith and hope. After reading When Shmack Happens, you’ll feel equipped and encouraged to face life’s tough moments, and find yourself cheering for Amber to get back on the bike…one more time. Learn what it means to be a spiritual champion in God’s eyes.  
Excerpt: From Chapter 10 Fear gripped me as I skidded to a stop against the guardrail and looked up at the entire peloton riding toward my head. Another rider had just slid into my front wheel, causing it to turn violently sideways, ripping the handlebars out of my hands, and instantly halting the bike’s forward momentum. Since my body was still carrying the 30-plus mph speed and energy, I launched with my arms out like superman until I hit the pavement. Hard. The combination of the friction of my body on the road followed by the impact with the guardrail spun me around, so I could see what was coming at me. For a few seconds more, I was terrified of being run over until the peloton had passed. After this immediate danger was gone, I realized my finger was screaming at me. I hadn’t initially noticed it, but now it hurt like nothing I had ever felt. Fear grabbed me again as I connected the pain with the blood and the massive gash on it. I thought for sure I was going to lose the tip of it if I didn’t get help fast. I had no idea what had just occurred. We had crested a climb and started an easy downhill. I was still up front on the outside of the group. The corner was sweeping to the left, and I was looking far down the road…when suddenly I was tossed. It wasn’t until later that night that the rider who was behind me explained what had happened, and why I had no chance to react or had any sense that it was coming. I was in the middle of the 2009 racing season, coming off of the World Championship win the previous year. Only two days prior, I had won the time trial stage in this race, the women’s Girod’Italia. The win had catapulted me into the General Classification (GC) lead, and although I had cramped the next day and lost it, I was still close enough to fight back. There were enough hill-top finishes remaining, and I wasn’t planning on giving up the race so easily. However, in an instant, everything changed. I went from being in contention, to being bloodied on the side of an Italian road in the middle of nowhere, waiting for the race ambulance and a doctor.
Amber Neben is a decorated international road cyclist with victories in 11 countries and multiple UCI Category 1 stage race wins. She is a 2x Olympian, 2x World Champion, 2x Pan American Champion and 2x National Champion. She holds a B.S. from The University of Nebraska and an M.S. from UC Irvine. Amber and her husband, Jason, reside in Lake Forest, CA. For information on speaking engagements or coaching visit

My Review
I always find books about other people interesting. This book is all about Amber Neben and her exciting life as a champion with international road cycling. I honestly hadn't heard of her before this book but I don't follow anything on TV (we don't have it) and because of this I don't watch the Olympics much either. In any case this book was better than expected. It takes you into her life and really shows the reader how a personal relationship with Christ is possible, even when there is struggle. Amber has not had it easy, this book tells it all from accidents to being accused of taking drugs. She is a strong woman and I just have no idea what I would do in her place! Not only do you have to be strong physically but mentally and Amber is spiritually as well. This is a great book of picking yourself up and keeping on. 

"I received this book from the publisher and author for free in exchange for an honest review."

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Beautiful On the Mountain Book Review


About the Book

If you enjoyed the classic novel Christy and the bestselling Mitford series, then you’ll love Beautiful on the Mountain, a real-life tale about serving God in unlikely circumstances. In 1977, Jeannie Light left her fine plantation home amid heartbreak and came to Graves Mill, a tiny hamlet in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Alone in an utterly new kind of life, Jeannie was determined to find the courage to make a fresh start.

To Jeannie’s surprise, she found herself called upon by her new neighbors to open the old, deteriorated country church, a place that had once united the fractured community of mountain folk. With no training, and no small amount of trepidation, she undertook the task. And as she embarked on an unforeseen series of adventures, from heartbreaking to hilarious, Jeannie would learn more than she ever expected about faith, loving your neighbor, and doing the work that God sets in front of you. Because sometimes, God calls us to go where there is no path . . . and leave a trail. (Goodreads)

My Review

This book is a good one, but it most certainly did not make me think of the classic Christy. This is a young woman's memoirs so it is read like a biography. The book focuses on her time after her divorce and living in the country in Graves Mill. I really loved the first part of the book but when theology and seminary details started in full force it was more difficult to read. Jeannie does not become a pastor but she leads the people of the valley, starting with a Bible study. I think many people could read this book and pick it apart on what is theologically sound and look to different doctrines. I read this book and I found a woman who finds herself completely out of her comfort zone in the country surrounded by people who need love. She chooses to trust God and love and grow the community. She helps, she is honest, she doesn't need a fancy house, and she teaches others right from the Bible.
I love the setting and the story line is very well written. I really enjoy reading about other's lives and this book was very good. There were a few slow parts but it all came together and is a great testament to trusting in the Lord.

Check out Tyndale Publishing to learn more!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

All for a Story Book Review


About the Book

Monica Brisbane loves being a modern girl in the Roaring Twenties. Her job writing a gossip column allows her access to all the local speakeasys in Washington, D.C., where she can dance the night away--and find fodder for her next article. But when the owner of the "Capitol Chatter" newspaper passes away, Monica wonders what will happen to her job, and the lifestyle she loves.Max Moore may hold the title of editor-in-chief for evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson's paper, "The Bridal Call," but Aimee calls all the shots. So when Max learns that his uncle has passed away, leaving him all his earthly possessions, Max resigns and heads to D.C. Determined to take over the "Capitol Chatter," infuse it with his values, and turn it into a respectable paper, Max is soon bumping up against the equally determined Monica Brisbane.Under Max's direction, Monica embarks on her most challenging assignment yet: infiltrating and reporting on the Anti-Flirt Society. Though reluctant at first, as Monica meets and mingles with the young women of the club, she begins to question the innocence of her flirtatious lifestyle. And when romance begins to blossom between Max and Monica, she must choose where her loyalties lie: with the young women of the society or the alluring pull of the speakeasy and its inhabitants. (Goodreads)

My Review

I have now read all of the books in this series, having read this one last. The books really don't need to be read in order because there are mostly different characters in each book. This one takes the reader into the more rowdy side of the '20s. Monica is all about having a good time and getting a story for her column Monkey Business. She gets to go to the secret type places where booze and sex are frequently in the same setting. Allison Pittman doesn't give details but these topics are discussed. Monica's life made me feel like I had entered an old black and white movie and I really loved the setting and the characters. The story takes a few turns that I was not expecting but the ending is still good. The Anti-Flirt Society is fun to read about and added a lot to the story.

I really enjoyed this story even though at times things were a bit slow.

Four stars.

Aaaargh!!! Book Review

About the Book

This six-book series centers around two 23rd century goofballs, Tuna and Herby, who travel back in time to study TJ Finkelstein for their history project. TJ will someday become a great leader who demonstrates honesty, integrity, thoughtfulness, self-sacrifice, respect for others--all traits she hones and grasps through her adventures in this series. Unfortunately, Tuna and Herby get stuck in TJ's time (modern day), so she has to deal with their schemes while juggling the normal issues of a seventh grader who has moved to a new city, is trying to fit in, and is coping with her mother's death and her family's new life. In "AAAARGH!!!," Tuna and Herby try to help TJ with a book report by getting the author to write it for her, but all three of them quickly see the consequences of cheating spiral out of control. Meanwhile, TJ's cute neighbor and classmate Chad Steel is getting ready for a big surfing competition--and learning his own lesson about honesty. (Goodreads)

My Review

This is the second book in the Time Stumblers series. I liked this book because of fun Pirate and Treasure Island references. As usual many odd and random things go on with Tuna and Herby as they "help" TJ and discover a lesson on cheating. These books take creative thinking to read them which is why they are perfect for young adults and kids. I liked some of the other books in this series better but this one still teaches a good lesson while being a fun read.

For more info check out Tyndale Publishing!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Firewall Book Review


About the Book

After a whirlwind romance, Taryn Young is preparing to board a plane at Houston International Airport, bound for a dream honeymoon, when a bomb decimates the terminal. Injured but still alive, she awakens to discover her husband is missing and they’re both considered prime suspects in the attack. Further, the FBI is convinced her husband isn’t who he appears to be.

Agent Grayson Hall’s number-one priority is to catch those responsible for the day’s act of terror. All evidence is pointing to Taryn and her new husband. But his instinct tells him her pleas of innocence are genuine. Is her naiveté just for show, or could she truly be another victim of a master scheme, possibly linked to the software she recently developed for her company?

With both their lives and reputations on the line, and the media outcry for justice increasing with each passing minute, Taryn and Grayson have no choice but to trust one another . . . and pray they can uncover the truth before they become two more casualties.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Firewall, go HERE.

My Review

I loved this book. From the first few pages this story takes of in a suspense that totally threw me for a loop. I loved Taryn's character and how she uses her brain and wit throughout the book. Reading about a terrorist attack is intense but to be thought of being guilty, that's a unique perspective! Diann Mills takes the reader on the opposite side of the situation and shows how easily things could happen and how the FBI works. There was really never a slow moment and as the ending neared I was trying to figure out the last "clue". By the last page I couldn't believe what I had just read, I had not seen that coming at all.
For a fast paced read this book is a must read!

"I received this book from CFBA for free in exchange for an honest review."

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (July 1, 2014)
DiAnn Mills


DiAnn Mills believes her readers should “Expect an Adventure.” She is a fiction writer who combines an adventuresome spirit with unforgettable characters to create action-packed novels. Her books have won many awards through American Christian Fiction Writers, and she is the recipient of the Inspirational Reader’s Choice award for 2005, 2007, and 2010. She was a Christy Award finalist in 2008 and a Christy winner in 2010.

DiAnn is a founding board member for American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Inspirational Writers Alive, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and is the Craftsman Mentor for the Christian Writer’s Guild. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops.

DiAnn and her husband live in Houston, Texas. Visit her website or find her on Facebook at

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