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.

Blog Tour · Book Reviews · Nonfiction

Book Tour kick off for ‘Clouds: A Memoir’ by Laura Sobiech featuring the Disney+ movie cover

Thank You @thomasnelson & @tlcbooktours for my gifted copy of ‘Clouds: A Memoir‘ by Laura Sobiech & for letting me kick off the TLC Book Tour of this beautiful book! (Click HERE to go to my Instagram post & show it some love & support with a LIKE, maybe a Share or a Save.)

Originally published as ‘Fly a Little Higher in 2014 & now updated & revised to coincide with the film release of ‘Clouds’ (Disney+), Laura Sobiech tells the amazing, true story behind the song & the movie.

“Okay, Lord, you can have him. But if he must die, I want it to be for something big. I want someone’s life to be changed forever.” This is what Laura Sobiech prayed when she found out her 17-year-old son had only one year to live. With this desperate prayer, she released her son to God’s will.

At that point, Zach Sobiech was just another teenager battling cancer. When his mother told him to think about writing goodbye letters to family & friends, he decided instead to write songs. One of them, “Clouds,” captured hearts & changed lives, making him an international sensation.

(Click HERE to see Zach Sobiech sing ‘Clouds‘)

This story is a testament to what can happen when you live as if each day might be your last. It’s a story about the human spirit. It shows how God used a dying boy from a small town in Minnesota to touch the hearts of millions—including top executives in the entertainment industry, major music artists, news anchors, talk show hosts, actors, priests & pastors, & schoolchildren across the globe. And above all, it’s an example of the amazing things that happen when someone shares the most precious thing he has—himself.

“I’m not a musician; I’m just a filmmaker, and my prayer is that you get an opportunity—both through the reading of this beautiful book and the watching of our film based on it—to experience what I will fail to put into words: the magic and inspiration of Zachary David Sobiech.”

—Justin Baldoni, filmmaker and director of Clouds

The pain of losing a child is one I hope to never experience 1st hand, but last year my 2 oldest sons experienced the loss of their younger brother, S.W. (my ex-husbands son) to cancer. He was 20 & had been fighting cancer since he was 19. One year, endless treatments & hospitals, & then he was gone…& it all started w/ a backache. Much like Zach Sobiech, S.W. touched the hearts of everyone he encountered & was a remarkable human being.

Clouds‘ is so gripping, it left me absolutely breathless! I challenge anyone to read this book & not shed a single tear, sad ones or happy ones, or to feel their hearts fill w/ positivity & hopefulness as they read about the amazing young man who was Zach Sobiech. The courage & grace that he demonstrated while knowing he had only a year of his very young life left to live was just astounding, & the song he wrote, ‘Clouds‘, has been stuck in my head on repeat since I first heard it. The Disney+ adaptation comes out on 10/16, but I encourage you to read this absolutely moving, deeply compelling, inspiring & powerful memoir written by Zach’s mother. I seriously can’t recommend it enough!

Click HERE to visit the Fly A Little Higher website & read a chapter of the book.
Click HERE to add ‘Clouds’ to your Goodreads lists.
Click HERE to visit the Thomas Nelson publishing page for ‘Clouds’, listen to a sample of the audiobook. There are also links for ordering the book. The original version is already available & the new, updated, Disney+ cover version ‘Clouds’ publishes on 10/13.
Click HERE to visit my Instagram page & give this post a LIKE there to show the publisher, author (& ME) your support.
Click HERE to go to the hashtag #Clouds on Instagram & see pics from the movie & it’s actors.
Click HERE to see a trailer of the upcoming movie from Disney+.

In 2009 Laura Sobiech was living a very average life. She was married to her husband, Rob, for 20 yrs, had 4 children & was working 2 part-time jobs & volunteering as a firefighter/EMT at her local fire department.
Then, on a gloomy day in Nov 2009, everything changed. Her 14-yr-old son, Zach, was diagnosed w/ osteosarcoma, a rare form of pediatric bone cancer. As Zach battled cancer, Laura blogged about it on their Caring Bridge website.
In May 2012 Zach learned he had only a year to live &, as a way to say “goodbye” to his family & friends, he wrote a beautiful song called “Clouds.” The song touched not only family & friends, but through the help of a team of people who believed in Zach’s music & message, it reached millions of people across the globe.
In May 2013 a documentary called ‘My Last Days: Meet Zach Sobiech’ was released on the Soul Pancake YouTube channel. The video went viral & reached over 12.3 million people within months of it’s release. And the numbers continue to grow. The week of Zach’s death, on May 20, 2013, his song reached #1 on iTunes & made it’s way up Billboard’s Top 100 chart, debuting at #26, & topping the Rock Digital Downloads at #1.
Laura’s memoir, ‘Fly A Little Higher: How God Answered a Mom’s Small Prayer in a Big Way’, is about her family’s amazing, joyful & heartbreaking journey with Zach through cancer & his incredible last year of life.
Learn more about Laura, Zach and the book at flyalittlehigher.com. #flyhigher

(I dedicate this blog post to Zach Sobiech’s family & also to my son’s brother, S.W….rest peacefully in Heaven…

Book Reviews · CrimeThriller · MurderinoMonday · Nonfiction · True Crime

It’s Murderino Monday! (and this one’s a tough one to read/write about…)

It’s Murderino Monday! Thank you @stmartinspress for my gift copy of ‘The Perfect Father: The True Story of Chris Watts, His All -American Family & a Shocking Murder’ by John Glatt (pub 7/21) ** Click HERE to go to my Instagram post & give it some LIKE love!**

In The Perfect Father‘, New York Times bestselling author John Glatt reveals the true story of a Colorado family whose storybook life turned into a nightmare….

In the early morning hours of August 13th, 2018, Shanann Watts was dropped off at her Frederick, Colorado home by a colleague after returning from a business trip. It was the last time anyone would see her alive. By the next day, Shanann and her two young daughters, Bella and Celeste, had been reported missing, and her husband, Chris Watts, was appearing on the local news, pleading for his family’s safe return.

But Chris Watts already knew that he would never see his family again. Less than 24 hours after his desperate plea, Watts made a shocking confession to police: he had strangled his pregnant wife to death and smothered their daughters, dumping their bodies at a nearby oil site. Heartbroken friends and neighbors watched in shock as the movie-star handsome, devoted family man they knew was arrested and charged with first degree murder. The perfect mask Chris had presented to the world in his TV interviews and the family’s Facebook accounts was slipping–and what lay beneath was a horrifying image of instability, infidelity, sexual ambivalence, and boiling rage.

In this first major account of the case, bestselling author and journalist John Glatt reveals the truth behind the tragedy and constructs a chilling portrait of one of the most shocking family annihilator cases of the 21st century.

You guys, this is a really tough story to write about for obvious reasons. It’s been 2 yrs since Watts murdered his family & for several mos. after, you could still see Shannan’s IG page w/ her smiling face, her adorable little girls & her seemingly doting husband, who is truly a heinous, cheating, vile POS. I did look at her IG page & the video of 4 yr old Bella singing in her sweet voice about how wonderful her daddy is & how he is a hero still haunts me & brings tears to my eyes when I think about it.

Glatt compiled 18 mos of research, evidence, & interviews into this fast-paced, true story. Friends, co-workers & many family members gave interviews & insight on the young Watts family, the debt they were in [even though you would have never guessed it given their lifestyle], Chris’s quiet nature compared to Shannan’s outgoing, social media presence, the bickering parents of both C & S, & just so much more. At times I did feel that there was some victim shaming/blaming going on & making it look like “Poor Chris, he got over-shadowed by his successful wife, so he had an affair, snapped & killed his whole family”, but not necessarily by the author, more so from others.

As a parent this book became especially difficult to read once I hit Part 3. I had to take breaks every couple pages or so & just go do something mundane like wash dishes, get a drink of water, fold some laundry, etc. I’ll never begin to understand how a husband can murder his wife, but I cannot even fathom how a parent can take the lives of their children: innocent, little humans that they themselves helped to create. And even though I knew how this tragic story ended, the last chapter of the book left me w/ a pain in my heart, tears in my eyes, a veritable gut punch. My husband was home, thankfully, & I just had to hug him tightly right away, as if to sanitize the memory from my brain.

What Chris Watts did to his wife & three children (don’t forget, Shannan was pregnant w/ their son to be named Nico) is unthinkably horrific, cowardly & selfish. But the book, ‘The Perfect Father‘, is an unputdownable, chilling, & utterly riveting book that readers will never forget. I will definitely be reading more of John Glatt’s other 21 true crime books in the near future, but I’ll need a break from these sort of books for a couple weeks or so.

Click HERE to add ‘The Perfect Father‘ to your Goodreads lists.
Click HERE to use BookStoreLink & find this book at a local independent bookstore.
Click HERE to give my Instagram post some LIKE love so others will see the post & review as well.
Click HERE to go to John Glatt’s website & read more about this book & his others.

Photo by Enrique Pastor

English-born John Glatt is the author of Lost and FoundSecrets in the CellarPlaying with Fire, & many other bestselling books of true crime. He has more than 30 yrs of experience as an investigative journalist in England & America. Glatt left school at 16 & worked a variety of jobs―including tea boy & messenger―before joining a small weekly newspaper. He freelanced at several English newspapers, then in 1981 moved to New York, where he joined the staff for News Limited & freelanced for publications including Newsweek & the New York Post. His first book, a biography of Bill Graham, was published in 1981, & he published For I Have Sinned, his first book of true crime, in 1998. He has appeared television & radio programs all over the world, including Dateline NBC, Fox News, Current Affair, BBC World, and A&E Biography. He & his wife Gail divide their time between New York City, the Catskill Mountains & London.

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

Murderino Monday GIVEAWAY! Featuring ‘Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee’

Click HERE to go to IG post!

Murderino Monday GIVEAWAY! Thank you @caseycep for my gifted/autographed copy of ‘Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud & the Last Trial of Harper Lee‘ by Casey Cep! (pub 5/7/19)

A New York Times best seller, an Amazon Best Book of May 2019, A Time mag Top 10 Best Non-Fiction book of 2019…

“Nobody recognized her. Harper Lee was well known, but not by sight, and if she hadn’t introduced herself, it’s unlikely that anyone in the courtroom would have figured out who she was.”
― Casey Cep, Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee

The stunning story of an Alabama serial killer & the true-crime book that Harper Lee worked on obsessively in the years after ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’.

Reverend Willie Maxwell was a rural preacher accused of murdering 5 of his family members for insurance money in the 1970s. With the help of a savvy lawyer, he escaped justice for years until a relative shot him dead at the funeral of his last victim. Despite hundreds of witnesses, Maxwell’s murderer was acquitted–thanks to the same attorney who had previously defended the Reverend.

Sitting in the audience during the vigilante’s trial was Harper Lee, who had traveled from NYC to her native Alabama with the idea of writing her own ‘In Cold Blood’, the true-crime classic she had helped her friend Truman Capote research 17 yrs earlier. Lee spent a year in town reporting, & many more working on her own version of the case.

Now Casey Cep brings this story to life, from the shocking murders to the courtroom drama to the racial politics of the Deep South. 

“But to the apprehensive locals, Lee was everything Capote was not: warm, empathetic, and familiar enough that they felt their stories were safe with her. “Absolutely fantastic lady. I really liked her very much,” Harold Nye, one of the KBI agents who worked on the Clutter case, said of Lee, but of Capote he confessed, “I did not get a very good impression of that little son of a bitch.”
― Casey Cep, Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee

Told in 3 parts, The Reverend (thrilling, true-crime), The Lawyer (courtroom drama) & The Writer (short bio on Lee) & equaling pure gold for true crime enthusiasts! It’s an absolutely riveting, all-consuming, well-researched, & utterly gripping story. Richly detailed & full of insight, depth & emotion, it’s just fantastic!

I have 1 hardback copy of for grabs. (**The following is for FYI purpose only. All giveaways entries must be done on the Instagram post. Click HERE to go to @mom_loves_reading on IG now.)

To enter, do the following:
*LIKE this post. (Like some others, too, while you’re here.)
*Must be following @mom_loves_reading
*Tag a couple bookish buds. (unlimited entries, up to 5 tags per comment)

BONUS entries: (5 ea)
*Share this post in your stories & tag me (You can do this daily, 5 entries ea time.)
*RE-post this post on your IG wall & tag me.

Open Internationally. If winner is outside of US, book will be shipped via Amazon or BookDepository. Giveaway begins 8/24 & ends 8/27/20 11:59pm EST. No follow-to-UNfollow or you will be excluded from all future MomLovesReading giveaways, & there are a LOT. Entry on Instagram post only. Giveaway is not affiliated w/ Instagram.

Click HERE to go to IG post!

Casey Cep is a writer from the Eastern Shore of Maryland.
“Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee” is her first book. It was an instant New York Times, WSJ, & Indiebound bestseller. The book earned rave reviews from Michael Lewis, Sarah Jessica Parker, Al Roker, David Grann, and Helen Macdonald. Also ONE OF PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA’S FAVORITE BOOKS OF 2019, NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF 2019 BY Time, LitHub, Vulture, Glamour, O Magazine, Town and Country, Suspense Magazine, Inside Hook. Casey is currently a staff writer at New York Magazine. You can follow Casey Cep on Twitter (@cncep), Instagram (@caseycep) or visit her website (www.caseycep.com).

Blog Tour · Book Reviews · Nonfiction

Blog Tour and Book Review: ‘Love Her Well: 10 Ways to Find Joy and Connection w/ Your Teenage Daughter’ by Kari Kampakis

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Thank you @thomasnelson @karikampakis & @tlcbooktours for my gifted copy of ‘Love Her Well: 10 Ways to Find Joy & Connection w/ Your Teenage Daughter’! (pub 8/18) And thank you for inviting me to be part of the blog tour!

As a mother to 5 (1 daughter- the middle child, & 4 sons- the 2 youngest are twins), I can’t even tell you how many times over the yrs my hubs & I have said “Thank God the twins were boys!” TRUTH! I don’t know if I could survive going through these current teen yrs (again) if my twin sons were daughters. And during a pandemic? I just got chills thinking about it.

Moms are eager for tips and wisdom to help them build strong relationships with their daughters, & Kari Kampakis’s ‘Love Her Well’ gives them ten practical ways to do so, not by changing their daughters but by changing their own thoughts, actions, & mind-set.

For many women, having a baby girl is a dream come true. Yet as girls grow up, the narrative of innocence & joy changes to gloom & doom as moms are told, “Just wait until she’s a teenager!” & handed a disheartening script that treats a teenage girl’s final years at home as solely a season to survive.

Author & blogger Kari Kampakis suggests it’s time to change the narrative & mind-set that lead moms to parent teen girls with a spirit of defeat, not strength. By improving the foundation, habits, & dynamics of the relationship, mothers can connect with their teen daughters & earn a voice in their lives that allows moms to offer guidance, love, wisdom, & emotional support.

As a mom of four daughters (three of whom are teenagers), Kari has learned the hard way that as girls grow up, mothers must grow up too. In ‘Love Her Well, Kari shares ten ways that moms can better connect with their daughters in a challenging season, including:

  • choosing their words and timing carefully,
  • listening and empathizing with her teen’s world,
  • seeing the good and loving her for who she is,
  • taking care of themselves and having a support system, and more.

This book isn’t a guide to help mothers “fix” their daughters or make them behave. Rather, it’s about a mom’s journey, doing the heart work and legwork necessary to love a teenager while still being a strong, steady parent. Kari explores how every relationship consists of two imperfect sinners, and teenagers gain more respect for their parents when they admit (and learn from) their mistakes, apologize, listen, give grace, and try to understand their teens’ point of view. Yes, teenagers need rules and consequences, but without a connected relationship, parents may never gain a significant voice in their lives or be a safe place they long to return to.

By admitting her personal failures and prideful mistakes that have hurt her relationships with her teenage daughters, Kari gives mothers hope and reminds them all things are possible through God. By leaning on him, mothers gain the wisdom, guidance, protection, and clarity they need to grow strong relationships with their daughters at every age, especially during the critical teen years.

I love the easy way ‘Love Her Well‘ is laid out. Easy to read, short, to the point chapters; inspirational quotes & proverbs; lists (boy, do I love lists!); reflection questions & space to write your answers at the end of each chapter; & so much relevant, useful & easily employable advice from an author who has been on the front lines of raising daughters for many years (she has 4 daughters).

Love Her Well‘ may quite possibly change your life if you are a mother to a teen or pre-teen daughter. It’s insightful, practical, compassionate, & packed with many pearls of relatable wisdom. I will be utilizing some of Kampakis’s advice in my relationship w/ my 22-yr-old as well. Have your pen, highlighter & post-it flags ready when you read this well-written, informational guidebook & be sure to check out Kari’s blog & other books as well. (Links below)

Click HERE to be nice & give my Instagram post a LIKE.
Click HERE to pre-order ‘Love Her Well’ on Amazon. (I also encourage you to shop local indie bookstores first!)
Click HERE to add ‘Love Her Well’ to your Goodreads TBR.
Click HERE to read more about ’10 Ultimate Truths Girls Should Know’ also by Kari Kampakis.
Click HERE to read more about ‘Liked: Whose Approval Are You Living For’ also by Kari Kampakis.
Click HERE to visit Kari’s Instagram page.
Click HERE to visit Kari’s blog.
Click HERE to visit Kari Kampakis’s podcast, ‘Girl Mom Podcast’.

Kari Kubiszyn Kampakis is an author, blogger, & national speaker from Birmingham, Alabama. Her books for teen girls, 10 Ultimate Truths Girls Should Know & Liked: Whose Approval Are You Living For?, have been used widely across the country by teen youth groups & church groups to empower girls through faith.
Kari’s work has been featured on the TODAY Show, TODAY Parents, Yahoo! News, EWTN, Proverbs 31, Ann Voskamp’s blog, The Huffington Post, & other national outlets. She & her husband, Harry, have four daughters & a dog named Lola.