Embracing Your Second Calling ~ Dale Hanson Bourke

EmbracingI am so glad I offered to review this book. It is one of the best I have read in many years. It’s specifically for women in their “second half” of life. Dale quotes Carl Jung’s statement, “We cannot live the afternoon of life according to the program of life’s morning.” This is what this book is all about. I am well into my afternoon of life, but hadn’t spotted the shift until I read this book. Now I feel free to be me the “Me” that I’ve become, and allow the “Me” of the morning part of my life to relax.
I read the book in every available gap of time throughout the day and meditated on the questions for reflection while I was doing other things. I am now going back over it, taking a few pages at a time, and journaling as I go.
There is so much more to this book than just a reading book. I would love to go through it with a group of women who are in the afternoon of their lives, and Dale includes “Act”s for group discussion. Sadly, at this stage the book is not available in South Africa or I would definitely try to arrange this.
Dale also uses the story of Naomi to illustrate many of her points, which makes for a fascinating Bible Study in itself.
My only disappointment with this book has nothing to do with the author. I don’t know if the publishers used a different type of material with the book cover, but the plastic covering was starting to peel off when I received the book, and it eventually got so bad I pulled it off. Not what I’ve come to expect of Thomas Nelson books. Maybe I was just unfortunate.
This doesn’t in any way affect the book itself though, and I would strongly recommend it to women in their 40s and later. As Dale has shown me, there comes a time in our lives when we move on from our first calling. So many women seem to spend the second half of their lives trying to continue or revive the program for the first half, instead of embracing their second calling. Thank you Dale for an excellent and thought-provoking book.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Free Books in Exchange for Reviews by Narelle Atkins

Today I want to welcome Narelle Atkins to this blog. I have asked her to tell us how a book alliance can benefit us all.

Narelle Atkins - ICFWNarelle: The digital age of publishing has provided new opportunities for authors to publish their books. No longer constrained by limited shelf space, online booksellers have the ability to list an ever expanding number of books, both print and electronic, in their online catalogues.

Readers can visit their local book stores and browse the shelves, looking for their favorite authors or a new author to read. They can purchase online and are encouraged by book sellers eg. Amazon, to post online book reviews. They can join groups eg. Goodreads, or The Book Club Network, and share information about books online with other book lovers. Online and in-person book clubs provide more opportunities for readers to discover new authors.

The increasing range of available books is good news for readers. The challenge for authors and publishers is how to make their books stand out in the marketplace. What marketing and promotion strategies can they utilize to reach the target audience for their books?

Authors and publishers provide free review copies of new releases to help promote their books. Reviewers can sign up with publishers to receive advance reader copies of upcoming releases. Authors often have ‘Influencers’ who receive a review copy of their book on the understanding they will help promote their book in a positive way.

Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool. We tend to listen to our friends when they talk about books they like and dislike. Their opinions can sway our book purchasing decisions.

A blog alliance is another way authors and publishers can promote their books.

Bloggers who are interested in reviewing books can join a blog alliance. Depending on the rules of the blog alliance and their geographic location, blog alliance members can request books to review in either print or electronic format. Blog alliance members choose the books they are interested in reviewing, and post a review on their personal blog during the book tour week.

Last year I co-founded the Australian Christian Readers Blog Alliance with avid reader Jenny Blake. We tour fiction, non-fiction and children’s books, and we welcome international members. We are looking forward to touring Shirley Corder’s non-fiction book, Strength Renewed, on April 15th – 19th.

Readers now play a bigger role in spreading the word about books. They have opportunities to receive free books in exchange for sharing their opinions online. They have the ability to tell the world about their favorite authors and books they love. I encourage readers to consider how they can become involved in the exciting new world of book marketing and promotion.

Shirley, thank you for hosting me on your blog today.


NARELLE ATKINS writes contemporary inspirational romance and lives in Canberra, Australia. She recently sold her debut novel, set in Australia, to Harlequin’s Heartsong Presents line in a six-book contract. Her first book, Running to Love, will be a February 2014 release.
She has published Bible Studies on Smashwords and blogs regularly at http://30MinuteBibleStudies.wordpress.com

Narelle is a co-founder of the Australian Christian Readers Blog Alliance (ACRBA) http://www.acrba.blogspot.com
To learn more about Narelle, please visit her website.


Given Lives – A Novel by Anna Jensen


Not my Favourite Read

Historical Fiction is not my favourite read, but when the author gave me an ARC to read with a view to leaving a review, I could hardly refuse. And I’m so glad I didn’t.

Welcome to the village of Eyam

From the moment I started reading, I was drawn into the lives of Kitty and the residents of the small village of Eyam. As I got to know the fictitious but very believable young woman, Kitty, and the family she stayed with, I had to read more about their story. Would they get the plague? How would they relate to others who were ill?

As more and more of the residents fell ill with the deadly pestilence, I couldn’t put the book down. The village faced an epidemic, not unlike our current situation. Yet there were no antibiotics, no sanitisers or masks for sale, and certainly no thought of a vaccine.

Seeing how the residents faced this horrific scourge, and how they cared for one another while keeping their faith in God, makes for a fascinating read, all the more because of our own current pandemic. How amazing to know that the story is true – and it happened in the village of Elyam over 400 years ago.

How about you?

If you enjoy historical fiction OR nonfiction, this book will make an excellent read for you. But if you, like me, don’t normally enjoy historical fiction, at least give the book a try. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Although I received my copy with a view to writing a review, I was not asked for a positive review. My opinions are entirely my own.

For an interview with the author of this book, follow this link to read about Anna Jensen.

Purchase this book  at https://books2read.com/givenlives.
South Africans may buy the paperback direct here, or from Anna’s Facebook or Instagram author page.

God’s Poetry by Anne Hamilton

Book God's Poetry

Short Book Description:
What’s in a name? Shakespeare said a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. But is that true? Are names simply labels to be swapped around indiscriminately? Or are they more significant? God’s Poetry is about identity and destiny as well as the ancient concept of the power of names to body forth purpose and meaning. It’s also about why most of us never come into the calling prophetically breathed into what we are called.
Genre: Non Fiction

My Review: “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” claimed Shakespeare. Anne Hamilton would not agree.

God’s Poetry is in no way a book of poems, and it took me a while to understand where the author was coming from. The book is an extraordinary mix of historical facts, astonishing revelation and mind-blowing research woven together with what at first appear to be unrelated anecdotes. Yet the message is clear. The author believes that as we understand the meaning of our names, so we are able to find our true identity, and pursue our true calling as children of God.

On one hand, I found this book extremely well written, and therefore easy to read. On the other hand, I found it to be extremely deep, with some complicated examples that had me reading and re-reading as I tried to follow the author’s reasoning.

Anne is clearly passionate about names, and has been since a young age. I therefore think this would be a wonderful book for a person with a similar interest. If I had the time, I would like to take each example and thoroughly research it for myself. The author has done a great amount of research and presents her information in an unusual but appealing way.

I’m not sure I’m totally convinced by some of her hypotheses, but her point of the importance God attaches to names is a valid one—and she’s done the research, not me. I would recommend this book for someone with an interest in the topic, who is prepared to spend time digging into the many fascinating facts and theories Anne has to offer. And the cover is gorgeous!

Anne Hamilton
About the Author:
Anne Hamilton, a longtime writer and mathematician, has a number of publications to her name. Anne has a trilogy of short books about how maths integrates with God’s great creation called The Singing Silence The Winging Wor an The Listening Land. She has just had published her 27 year project a young adult fantasy Many-Coloured Realm.


Good Morning, Lord by Sheila Walsh

Good Morning LordThis book can best be summarized by the words on the back cover: “Delightful and insightful, Sheila Walsh shares life-learned trust that says, ‘I don’t know where you’re going today, Lord, but I’m going with you!’

This book contains over 100 morning devotional readings. Each begins with the words, “Good morning, Lord! Today help me to . . . “ The message that follows combines personal anecdotes with Scriptural insight. read more

Heavenly Haven by Christine Lindsay

Heavenly Haven (1)Heavenly Haven is a beautifully-woven short story by Christine Lindsay.

It is Shaina and Jack’s tenth wedding anniversary, and Shaina has great plans for the evening. She is devastated when her husband announces he has to work, and their marriage turns as icy as the weather outside. In an attempt to deal with her disappointment, Shaina makes a foolhardy decision that puts her and her young children in deadly peril.

Christine’s gift with words comes to the fore as she describes the scenery in 3D–without for one minute slowing down the action. I could see the ice-encrusted trees and ski-slopes thick with heavy banks of snow. I could feel the terror of the climax and held my breath as I sped through the words, anxious to see how the story would end.

This is a Christmas story with a difference, and I recommend it for a cosy evening’s read.

I received this story in return for an honest review, and I didn’t hesitate to award it five stars on Amazon.

Christine Lindsay


Irish-born Christine Lindsay writes multi-award-winning inspirational historical novels. Her great-grandfather and grandfather both worked as riveters on the Titanic, so perhaps the excitement of her ancestors has encouraged her great way with words.


Helsinki Sunrise, ~ by Marion Ueckermann Review & Interview

Passport to Romance Blog Tour Logo

This post is a combination close look into the background of Helsinki Sunrise, a Passport to Romance book, and an interview with author Marion Ueckermann.

Interview with Marion Ueckermann

 SC: Hi Marion. Great to have you visiting my blog. I have lots of questions for you so let’s get started.
SC: Where were you born?
MU: Firstly, thanks for hosting me today on your blog, Shirl. I was born in Mufulira, Zambia a handful of decades ago. My paternal grandfather was a pure Scot and this gave me the incredible privilege of holding a British passport—a great money, time and effort saver when travelling.

Countries Visited

read more

Hidden Agenda ~ by Lisa Harris

Hidden Agenda

“Michael Hunt staggered from the impact of the blow.”

This is the opening sentence of Lisa Harris’s Hidden Agenda, and the tension escalates from that moment.  Michael, an undercover cop investigating a drug cartel, has had his cover blown and has only a few hours to live. He is rescued by Ivan and Olivia, the son and daughter of Antonio Valez, the head of the cartel.

The story is fast-paced and believable, as the trio makes their escape from a heavily-guarded island, only to discover that Michael is also wanted by the police for a number of serious crimes.

There is an emotional tug each time Olivia and Ivan discover key people from their past are not who they believed them to be.  This is a direct contrast to the united and caring Hunt family who don’t hesitate to drop everything and come alongside Michael and Olivia.

The plot line is clever and keeps you guessing while each character is well defined. As a refreshing change for this genre of book, the three main characters all share a strong faith while still being far from perfect.  Where Olivia has difficulty releasing a protective control over her younger, deaf brother, Michael too is overly protective of his family and later Olivia. Even the two main “bad guys” have their soft spots and you can’t help having a smidgeon of sympathy with them, despite their evil way of life.

Despite the seedy background of drug running, Lisa has managed to keep the language clean while not in any way watering down the vivid narrative.

I read this book in less than 24 hours, reading until late at night and sneaking in a reading time the following afternoon to finish it.  If you enjoy suspense stories with some  romance, you will enjoy this book. I don’t hesitate to give it a 5-star rating. Hidden Agenda can be purchased here.

Thank you to Revell Reads for giving me this book for an unbiased review.Lisa Harris(2)

LISA HARRIS is a Christy Award finalist for Blood Ransom, Christy Award winner forDangerous Passage, and the winner of the Best Inspirational Suspense Novel for 2011from Romantic Times.

She has over thirty novels and novella collections in print. She and her family have spent over ten years living as missionaries in Africa where she homeschools, leads a women’s group, and runs a non-profit organization that works alongside their church-planting ministry