Monday, February 12, 2018

If I'm Honest

There’s a song by Francesca Battistelli that speaks of being honest, laying our fears and secrets down at the cross, and finding healing in God’s love. It’s what I’m borrowing the title of this article from, and it’s part of the inspiration for what follows. If you like to listen to music while you read, be sure your volume’s turned up and click the below video before moving on to the next paragraph.



“Not one to wear her heart on her sleeve—at all.”
~ The Heart Between Us by Lindsay Harrel ~

Wearing one’s heart on one’s sleeve is all about being vulnerable and sharing the deepest part of oneself. I’m not always great at either. Yet, here I am, typing up this gut-deep article. The way I see it, if I can’t be honest with myself and with you, then what’s the point of writing at all?

Oh, trust me: All the rest of my articles prior to this point (and afterward) have been (and will be) honest. But I haven’t always dug very deep. I haven’t always made myself be very vulnerable with you.

It’s hard to put myself out there, to say what’s moving my heart in monumental ways. It’s even tougher to admit what’s holding me back.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Secrets She Kept by Cathy Gohlke

Continuing the WWII reading journey I've been on lately, I'm currently reading Saving Amelie by Cathy Gohlke. I'm halfway through it and really enjoying it, heartbreaking as it is. Since my review for that one isn't ready for you yet (I have to finish the book first!), I want to share my review of another of Ms. Gohlke's WWII novels. She is quickly becoming a new favorite author of mine for gut-wrenching historical fiction stories. I hope you'll give her a try next time you're in the mood for some wonderful WWII fiction.

Compassion in Nazi Germany

"I would rather die for something than live for nothing."
Secrets She Kept by Cathy Gohlke

Sacrifice. Selflessness. Compassion.

Do you see these things played out in today's society? They are difficult to find, I'll admit, but they are still there.

But were they around in Hitler's Germany?

Monday, January 29, 2018

The Melody of the Soul by Liz Tolsma + Giveaway!

Lately, I've been on a WWII reading kick. There are so many great books in this particular part of the historical fiction genre. One book I recently had the pleasure of reading was The Melody of the Soul by Liz Tolsma. It was my second of Ms. Tolsma's books, but it definitely won't be the last. She creates beautiful, detailed stories that make me weep and laugh and hope, sometimes all within the same scene.

Be sure to stay tuned through the end of the article, because there's a GIVEAWAY to celebrate the release of this book.

DISCLOSURE: I receive complimentary books from publishers, publicists, authors, and sites like Netgalley, Litfuse Publicity Group, and Blogging for Books. They do not require me to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Bravery in the Face of Fear

What a powerful, exquisite story. It was gripping, emotional, and heartrending. From the very first line, it was immersive and well expressed. The beautiful setting of Prague, Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic and Slovakia), came alive with the inclusion of the Charles Bridge and other sights, sounds, and scents. The heartbreaking setting of Theresienstadt Concentration Camp also came alive with the stench, frailty of the inhabitants, and cruelty of the German guards. My heart squeezed every time one of the characters was in that place.

Monday, January 22, 2018

All About Love + February's Reading Challenge

Romance. Love. Valentines.

February is the month in which we celebrate the passionate side of life. It's when we're more in tune to those we love and the hints they give out for what will bring them joy. We love to get a little sneaky and plan a few happy surprises for our closest loved ones.


As you may have figured out by some of my previous articles, I am single, which means Valentine's Day is bittersweet for me. Honestly, it's usually just another day on the calendar, another day of work if it doesn't fall on a weekend, and another chance to work on a book or read a book or watch a few movies if it does happen to be on a Saturday or Sunday.

However, I have my own way of celebrating the love I carry within me. This love is for my future husband, wherever and whoever he may be, but it's also a fountain of love for my God. He is my first Love, and it is important to me to remember, celebrate, and apply the love for Him He has given me. He pours His love into my heart so that I may pour it right back into His. It's an exquisite circle of love that I have been exploring more and more in recent months. I plan to delve even deeper into it in the years He may continue to provide for me.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Those Who've Come Before

by Andrea Renee Cox

As I'm working on the Bible study God's called me to pen, I've been thinking about those studies I've worked through and appreciated that were written by other authors. I only got into Bible studies and nonfiction books about biblical topics a few years ago. While I've collected enough of them to keep me busy for a decade, I've only read through a a handful or so in the last three or four years.

Stay tuned to the end of this article. I'll be asking for your advice!

Here are some of the books that have made a positive impact on me. They are written by authors I admire, ones I've gleaned knowledge from as I've read their books. It is my hope that the Bible study I'm working on will someday make a similar impact on the hearts and lives of my fellow nonfiction readers.



Monday, January 8, 2018

Remembering You by Tricia Goyer

by Andrea Renee Cox

Recently, I read a pretty amazing story that resonated well in my soul. It's one of the books I read for the TBR Extravaganza reading challenge I'm hosting this month. Today, I am sharing my review of this book with you.

Let me catch my breath! This book took me on quite the ride. From the magnificent landscapes to the stories of the WWII veterans to the roller coaster romance, Remembering You contained something special that will be hard to forget. Despite having a crude joke and one expletive (those inappropriate words really kill the momentum and mood of a story for me), this book is a new favorite for me, one I can see myself rereading many times over the coming years. The emotions were deep and complex, drawing me in completely and keeping me invested. The lead's journey to discover more about her grandfather while trying to save her job really intrigued me. The conflict within her about faith and what she believed about God and prayer really resonated well, though at times it felt a smidge flat, like there wasn't enough spiritual growth in the lead. I think the reason for that might have been in the subtlety of the faith message. Perhaps another reading will help me see more depth to that aspect of the story. The pacing was good, though a couple of "secrets" were given away with too large a hint, at least for me. One "secret" in particular didn't produce a single tear for me, a weeper, because I figured it out right when the first hint was given. That did cast a shadow over the "big reveal" for me, but it was still a great finale.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year and a TBR Extravaganza!

by Andrea Renee Cox



May many blessings and joys come your way this new year. What goals do you have for 2018? I am aiming to learn a lot more about grace (my One Word for this year), but I'm also diving back into a couple of different writing projects. Firstly, there's the fictional story I began during last November's NaNoWriMo. I want to finish the first draft this month and tackle my first round of edits during February and March. Secondly, I'm jumping back into a Bible study I began writing about a year or so ago. (The time frame eludes me, quite honestly; it's been on my heart for a long time now, I know that!)

Here's a little more about both projects (both copyrighted by me):