Blog Tour · Book Reviews · Memoirs · Nonfiction

Help find your way out of the darkness with today’s self-help/memoir feature ‘Out of the Cave’ by Chris Hodges

Instagram Post (click HERE)

I keep a journal of my favorite quotes, & some of my favorite quotes in it are very relevant to the book I’m featuring today, ‘Out of the Cave: Stepping into the Light When Depression Darkens What You See’ by Chris Hodges…

“Maybe you have to know the darkness before you can appreciate the light.”- author Madeleine L’Engle

“However vast the darkness we must supply our own light.”- Stanley Kubrich

“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all the darkness.”- Desmond Tutu

“Even the darkest night will end & the sun will rise.”- Victor Hugo

“In the midst of darkness, light persists.”- Mahatma Gandhi

“Don’t fight darkness–bring the light, & darkness will disappear.”- Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

(and this one that is the first line in ‘Out of the Cave‘ in the book’s foreword, written by Rick Warren, a pastor & author of ‘The Purpose Driven Life’:)
“Sometimes you have to experience the darkness before you can appreciate the light.”

When Pastor Chris Hodges read the news that a fellow pastor had taken his own life, he set out to research more about the #1 health problem in the world that causes more deaths each year than cancer, & that caused his fellow pastor’s demise: depression. Depression doesn’t discriminate. Pastors, along w/ the followers of Jesus, aren’t immune from depression (or suicide), nor are they exempt from the umbrella of symptoms of mental health struggles, such as anxiety, which more & more people struggle w/ every day. (I do, & so do many people I know!).

Bestselling author and pastor Chris Hodges helps those struggling with depression find liberating solutions by drawing from the life of the prophet Elijah.

Shame about the dark thoughts swirling in your mind. Guilt about how powerless you feel to overcome negative emotions. Alternating bouts of sadness and numbness. You might be asking, Should a Christian even be having these struggles?

Depression is the number one health issue in the world today, yet those who suffer are still sometimes stigmatized–especially followers of Jesus. Many assume God’s peace, power, and protection should prevent us from ever feeling anxious, depressed, and afraid. But the Bible teaches otherwise, particularly in its depiction of the life of the Old Testament prophet Elijah.

In Out of the Cave, bestselling author and pastor Chris Hodges uses Elijah’s life to show us that everyone is susceptible to depression. Even when we’re walking closely with God, we can still stumble and get lost in the wilderness of tangled emotions. But we don’t have to stay there, because we serve a God who meets us in the darkness. Out of the Cave helps us:

  • remove the stigma of depression and realize we’re not alone;
  • understand the ways our temperament and view of God affect the way we handle depression; and
  • learn a comprehensive approach to wellness—mind, body, and soul—from Elijah’s journey.

With his trademark blend of Bible-based wisdom, practical application, and vulnerability in sharing his personal struggles, Hodges explores the causes of depression we can’t change, the contributors we can conquer, and offers transformative hope and spiritual power to help us win the battle.

This is an inspiring, motivating, uplifting, deeply personal & honest book about depression that will help many people, spiritual or not, overcome some of the feelings they’re dealing w/ while hopefully helping them to find the right road to recovery. Thank you Thomas Nelson Publishing, TLC Book Tours & Chris Hodges for my gift copy of the book!

Click HERE to visit me on Instagram & give this post a LIKE to show support to the author (& Me!😉)

“The darkness of depression is real even when you’re living in the light of God’s grace.”- Chris Hodges, from “Out of the Cave’

Purchase Links

Thomas Nelson | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Chris Hodges is the founding and senior pastor of Church of the Highlands. Under his leadership, Church of the Highlands has launched campuses all across the state of Alabama and has grown to more than 60,000 people attending weekly. He also cofounded the Association of Related Churches, launched a coaching network called GROW, and serves as chancellor of Highlands College, an accredited ministry training college. Chris and his wife, Tammy, have five children and seven grandchildren and live in Birmingham, Alabama.

Book Reviews · Memoirs · Nonfiction

Here’s one for all you curious foodie’s out there that enjoy learning something new as well as reading engaging stories!

Do you consider yourself a “foodie”? Do you like to try new or exotic fruits from the market/store that seem utterly odd to you, but hey, YOLO? (IE: Have you ever seen a jackfruit & did you know they are quite popular w/ vegans as a meat alternative for their protein content? And they are huge & look like mutant watermelons!)

If so, then ‘The Book of Difficult Fruit‘ by Kate Lebo will surely appeal to you & also to readers that enjoy well-crafted, engaging, lyrical writing & so much more. Thank you to Farrar, Straus, & Giroux Publishing for my gift copy of this delicious & intriguing book, released on 4/6!

Accurately described as a “glorious mash-up of memoir, love note & cookbook” by Vulture magazine in an article called Best New Books of 2021, ‘The Book of Difficult Fruit‘ is an amazingly original feast of words, with surprising facts, an abundance of insight & information, & one of those books you’ll be happy to have stepped out of your readerly comfort zone & read.

Inspired by twenty-six fruits, essayist, poet, & pie lady Kate Lebo expertly blends natural, culinary, medical, & personal history..A is for Aronia, berry member of the apple family, clothes-stainer, superfruit with reputed healing power. D is for Durian, endowed with a dramatic rind & a shifty odor–peaches, old garlic.

M is for medlar, name-checked by Shakespeare for its crude shape, beloved by gardeners for its flowers. Q is for quince, which, when fresh, gives off the scent of “roses and citrus and rich women’s perfume,” but if eaten raw is so astringent it wicks the juice from one’s mouth.

In this work of unique invention, these & other difficult fruits serve as the central ingredients of twenty-six lyrical essays (and recipes!) that range from deeply personal to botanical, from culinary to medical, from humorous to philosophical.

The entries are associative, often poetic, taking unexpected turns & giving sideways insights into life, relationships, self-care, modern medicine, & more. What if the primary way you show love is to bake, but your partner suffers from celiac disease? Why leave in the pits for Willa Cather’s Plum Jam? How can we rely on bodies as fragile as the fruits that nourish them?

Taking you on an engaging, illuminating, culinary adventure, Kate Lebo’s unquenchable curiosity promises adventure: intimate, sensuous, ranging, bitter, challenging, rotten, ripe. After reading ‘The Book of Difficult Fruit‘, you will never think of sweetness the same way again.

Click HERE to go to my post on Instagram, & while you’re there, check out my latest giveaways (2 of them!) by clicking HERE & HERE.
You can also click on the highlighted book titles above to add ‘The Book of Difficult Fruit’ to your Goodreads lists. There are currently 50 copies of the book up for grabs in a current Goodreads giveaway (ends 5/23, US only). Click HERE to go to the giveaway.

Kate Lebo’s first collection of nonfiction, The Book of Difficult Fruit, is forthcoming from FSG and Picador in April 2021. She is the author of the cookbook Pie School (Sasquatch Books), the poetry chapbook Seven Prayers to Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Entre Rios Books), and co-editor with Samuel Ligon of Pie & Whiskey: Writers Under the Influence of Butter and Booze (Sasquatch Books). Her essay about listening through hearing loss, “The Loudproof Room,” originally published in New England Review, was anthologized in Best American Essays 2015.
Her poems and essays have appeared in This is the Place: Women Writing About Home, Ghosts of Seattle Past, Best New Poets, Gettysburg Review, Willow Springs, Moss, Catapult, and Poetry Northwest, among other places.
Through the Center for Washington Cultural Traditions she is an apprenticed cheesemaker to Lora Lea Misterly of Quillisascut Farm. She lives in Spokane, Washington. 

Book Reviews · CrimeThriller · Giveaway · Memoirs · MurderinoMonday · Nonfiction · True Crime

It’s Murderino Monday and GIVEAWAY time!

Murderino Monday & a GIVEAWAY! (Please note: the giveaway can be entered by clicking HERE & going to the giveaway post on Instagram. You can comment on this blog post for additional bonus entries, but must enter initially on the IG post.)

Thank you @grandcentralpub for my gift copies of ‘We Keep the Dead Close‘ by Becky Cooper! (pub 11/10)

Things that happened in 1969: American’s landed on the moon for the first time; Charles Manson’s cult members murdered 5 people including pregnant actress, Sharon Tate; Matthew McConaughey & I were both born (I mention him because I just finished listening to his book, ‘Green Light’, which I will be reviewing soon!😉); & a women was murdered at Harvard only to have the mystery of the crime swept under the rug by the university (& even her family) & remain unsolved for half a century.
Enter, Becky Cooper….

You have to remember”, he reminded me, “that Harvard is older than the U.S. government.
You have to remember because Harvard doesn’t let you forget.

1969: the height of counterculture and the year universities would seek to curb the unruly spectacle of student protest; the winter that Harvard University would begin the tumultuous process of merging with Radcliffe, its all-female sister school; and the year that Jane Britton, an ambitious 23-year-old graduate student in Harvard’s Anthropology Department and daughter of Radcliffe Vice President J. Boyd Britton, would be found bludgeoned to death in her Cambridge, Massachusetts apartment.

A newspaper photograph of Britton’s body being moved from her building. Then-journalist Mike Widmer (in tie and light-colored trench coat) never forgot the tragedy.FROM DAILY WORLD LOUISIANA

Forty years later, Becky Cooper, a curious undergrad, will hear the first whispers of the story. In the first telling the body was nameless. The story was this: a Harvard student had had an affair with her professor, and the professor had murdered her in the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology because she’d threatened to talk about the affair. Though the rumor proves false, the story that unfolds, one that Cooper will follow for ten years, is even more complex: a tale of gender inequality in academia, a “cowboy culture” among empowered male elites, the silencing effect of institutions, and our compulsion to rewrite the stories of female victims.

We Keep the Dead Close’ is a memoir of mirrors, misogyny, and murder. It is at once a rumination on the violence and oppression that rules our revered institutions, a ghost story reflecting one young woman’s past onto another’s present, and a love story for a girl who was lost to history.

Jane Britton. (DON MITCHELL)

Not since Ronan Farrow’s book ‘Catch & Kill‘ & Michelle McNamara’s ‘I’ll Be Gone in the Dark” have I read a book so well-researched, positively captivating, & addictively all-consuming. Part-memoir, part true-crime/whodunit murder mystery that you will solve right along w/ the author, until the shocking end when the crime is solved. (Tip: Don’t Google about the murder before hand or risk ruining the mystery for yourself.) Cooper’s decade long obsession w/ Jane Britton & who murdered her is reminiscent of McNamara’s fixation on the Golden State Killer.

We Keep the Dead Close‘ is fascinatingly informative, hypnotically engaging, & vividly atmospheric.True crime fans will love this comprehensive & twisty tale. And I have a hardback copy to send to one of you! To enter this giveaway, click HERE to go to the Instagram post. (*Giveaway is not affiliated w/ Instagram.)

Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

About the author: Becky Cooper is a former New Yorker editorial staff member and Senior Fellow at Brandeis’s Schuster Institute for Investigative Reporting. Her undergraduate thesis, a literary biography of David Foster Wallace, won Harvard’s Hoopes Prize, the highest undergraduate award for research and writing. Research for this book was supported by the Fund for Investigative Journalism and the International Women’s Media Foundation’s Howard G. Buffett Fund for Women Journalists. She is also the author of Mapping Manhattan: A Love (and Sometimes Hate) Story in Maps by 75 New Yorkers (Abrams, 2013).

Audiobooks · Book Reviews · Comedy · LibroFm · Memoirs · Nonfiction

Audiobook Love and book review of ‘Sh*t, Actually: The Definitive, 100% Objective Guide to Modern Cinema’ by Lindy West

Are you a fan of audiobooks? I am! I listen to almost a book a day most weeks! Did you know you can get them online & support your local bookstore, too? If you haven’t tried one yet, start w/ a memoir or an essay collection read by the author, such as this one!

Thank you @librofm & @hachetteaudio for my gift audio copy of ‘Sh*t, Actually: The Definitive, 100% Objective Guide to Modern Cinema‘ by the awesome Lindy West! (pub date 10/20) Click HERE to give my Instagram post a LIKE!

NYTimes opinion writer & bestselling author Lindy West was once the in-house movie critic for Seattle’s alternative newsweekly The Stranger, where she covered film w/ brutal honesty & giddy irreverence. In ‘Sh*t, Actually’, Lindy West returns to those roots, re-examining beloved & iconic movies from the past 40 yrs w/ an eye toward the big questions of our time: Is ‘Twilight’ the horniest movie in history? Why do the zebras in ‘The Lion King’ trust Mufasa–who is a lion–to look out for their best interests? Why did anyone bother making any more movies after ‘The Fugitive’ achieved perfection? And, my God, why don’t any of the women in ‘Love, Actually’ ever freaking talk?!

From ‘Forrest Gump’, ‘Honey I Shrunk the Kids’, & ‘Bad Boys II’, to ‘Face/Off’, ‘Top Gun’, & ‘The Notebook’, West combines her razor-sharp wit & trademark humor w/ a genuine adoration for nostalgic trash to shed new critical light on some of our defining cultural touchstones–the stories we’ve long been telling ourselves about who we are.

At once outrageously funny and piercingly incisive, ‘Sh*t, Actually’ reminds us to pause & ask, “How does this movie hold up?”, all while teaching us how to laugh at the things we love w/o ever letting them or ourselves off the hook. It’s is a love letter & a break-up note all in one: to the films that shaped us & the ones that ruined us. More often than not, West finds, they’re one & the same.

I laughed so hard listening to this book & completely agreed w/ most of Lindy’s cinematic observations. (Lindy, please write a book dissecting TV shows now! I will be more than happy to provide some shows to rip on, like ‘Friends’ & ‘King of Queens’.) I have never seen ‘Love, Actually’, but I have seen all of the other movies referenced in this book & had many of the same observations. In my home, breaking down movies & their plot holes is one of our favorite things to do as a family! I seriously loved this book & I think it is definitely one of those best enjoyed on audiobook where you can listen to Lindy & all of her beautiful snarkiness.

Libro.fm is pretty much just like “the other” audiobook app/subscription service out there, but there’s one HUGE difference: Libro.fm supports indie bookstores from our purchases. No lining the pockets of a bajillionaire. Bookstores have been struggling to survive for some time due to the convenience of the internet & right now, many are in serious danger of flatlining in 2021 (or sooner) due to the pandemic. I can’t imagine my community not having access to physical bookstores in the future. I LOVE spending an hour or two picking out books, holding them, smelling them, buying them, & taking them home w/ me right then. And if it means spending a couple extra $$’s to keep them there so I CAN do that, it is 100% worth it!

Readers, please support your local bookstores this holiday season & always by buying books, gift cards and/or Libro.fm memberships for your friends/family/self! Many of the indie stores even have online store fronts, too! Go to the Libro.fm website to learn more & use my code MOMLOVESREADING for a BOGOF.

Click HERE to go to Libro.fm & ‘Sh*t, Actually’.
Click HERE to give my Instagram post some LIKE love, (actually).😉
Click HERE to add ‘Sh*t, Actually’ to your Goodreads lists.

Lindy West is a Seattle-based writer, editor, & performer whose work focuses on pop culture, social justice, humor, & body image. She’s currently a culture writer for GQ magazine & GQ.com & a weekly columnist at The Guardian, as well as the founder & editor of I Believe You/It’s Not Your Fault, an advice blog for teens. In 2015 she wrote & recorded a story for This American Life about confronting an Internet troll who impersonated her dead father. She also was listed as “Internet’s Most Fascinating of 2015” by Cosmopolitan.com, & helped launch the viral #ShoutYourAbortion hashtag in defense of women’s reproductive rights.

Blog Tour · Book Reviews · Memoirs · Nonfiction

Book Tour and Review of ‘Breathe Again: Choosing to Believe There’s More When Life Has Left You Broken’ by Stacy Henagan

Click HERE to go to IG post & give it a LIKE.

Thank you @thomasnelson & @tlcbooktours for my gifted copy of ‘Breathe Again: Choosing to Believe There’s More When Life Has Left You Broken‘ by Stacy Henagan! (pub 9/22)

What Do You Do When It Seems God Hasn’t Come Through for You?

When the miracle-working God whom Pastor Stacy Henagan loved and served did not answer the prayers on behalf of her terminally ill one-year-old daughter as expected, she was left crushed with grief and struggling to understand.

How could a loving God allow this to happen?

What do you do when it seems God has let you down?

Is God trustworthy?

Rather than choosing to remain in overwhelming pain and doubt, Stacy emerged with a much greater belief that God is good and trustworthy, even when we don’t think His plans make sense.

Breathe Again‘ is a honest, deeply moving & raw reflection on experiencing the devastating sense of loss, grief & pain of losing a child to a terminal illness. When we are feeling lost & broken, vulnerable & grief stricken, sometimes letting go of someone we love & giving in to our faith in something greater can be what helps us to get through life’s worst trials & tribulations we experience as human beings.

As a parent of five, Stacy’s story touched my heart & soul & nearly everyone who reads this book will find a way to relate to it in one way or another. You don’t have to be a parent or even a religious person to be profoundly touched by this heart-breaking, yet redeeming, story. It’s beautiful, well-written, genuine & quite thought-provoking.

Click HERE to add ‘Breathe Again’ to your Goodreads lists.

Click HERE to order the book from Thomas Nelson publishing.

Click HERE to visit Stacy Henagan on Instagram.

Click HERE to visit my post on Instagram & give a LIKE (please & thank you!)

About the author:

Stacy Henagan is copastor of Keypoint Church in northwest Arkansas, a multicampus church she founded with her husband, Casey. Stacy also hosts an annual women’s conference and speaks at other events in the United States and overseas. Stacy and Casey have four children: Haven, who is waiting for them in heaven, and Holland, Hayes, and Hudson.