Aggressively Happy

Aggressively Happy: A Realist’s Guide to Believing in the Goodness of Life by Joy Marie Clarkson is a new Christian nonfiction book. Joy comes from a family full of authors and I have enjoyed a few books from their family. This new book is Joy’s first solo book and the setup is unique and each chapter has suggestions to use what she writes about in your everyday life. I think this was just not a good time for me to read this book. I struggled to stay engaged while reading. Every book is not for every reader. Thank you to Bethany House Publishers for this review copy.

About the Author

Joy Clarkson ( is a lover of God and people, a crafter of words, and a dedicated evangelist for the soul-enriching benefits of teatime. Joy has pursued her doctorate in theology, imagination, and the arts at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and hosts a podcast called Speaking with Joy. Someone once tried to insult her by telling her she was aggressively happy. She took it as a compliment and wrote a book about it.

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One Word for Today

One Word for Today for Spirit-Filled Living: A 90-Day Devotional is a new Christian nonfiction book. This book makes reading it easy and convenient to do one word a day. Each word has a short two pages focused on that particular word. There is a scripture verse with each one. There are ways to apply the word and its meaning to your life. Thank you to Chosen for this review copy.

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The Girl Who Could Breathe Under Water

The Girl Who Could Breathe Under Water by Erin Bartels is a new contemporary fiction book. Not every book will be enjoyed by every reader and unfortunately this one was not for me. I enjoyed the setting of a lake in Michigan and that the main character was an author. There was a mystery element to the story. I didn’t care for the characters and the way the story was told by the main character having an ongoing narrative to her estranged friend. Thanks to Revell for this review book.

My favorite from this author is We Hope for Better Things.

About the Author

Erin Bartels is the award-winning author of All That We Carried, 2020 Christy finalist The Words between Us, and We Hope for Better Things, a 2020 Michigan Notable Book, 2020 WFWA Star Award-winner, and 2019 Christy finalist. A publishing professional for nearly twenty years, she lives in Lansing, Michigan, with her husband, Zachary, and their son. Find her online at

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A Trip to Magnolia

The Silos in Waco, TX

My daughter and I were able to travel to Waco, Texas for her 13th birthday in December 2021. We flew into Austin, TX and drove 1.5 hours to Waco, TX. We are fans of Chip and Joanna Gaines and their TV shows, Fixer Upper and Magnolia Table. We spent one and a half days visiting The Silos and all things Magnolia. On the first day we had about 3 hours at The Silos. I would highly recommend getting a passport at your first location and once you visit everywhere, then you get a small prize. Our first stop was Magnolia Press and we had a mocha, latte, coffee cake muffin, and apple pie cinnamon roll. They were all delicious.

Mocha and Apple Pie Cinnamon Roll from Magnolia Press.

We visited all of the shops and our favorites were No. 16, Chapter One, Juniper + Crew, Magnolia Market, and Seed + Supply. There were not a lot of options for dinner there since most of the food trucks closed early so we ate pizza from the food truck both nights and it was good.

Chapter One

We spent the morning driving by Fixer Upper houses and even their farm. We used the list from this post. We visited the Little Shop on Bosque and bought a few discounted items.

Joanna’s first store on Bosque.

We had lunch at Magnolia Table and it was amazing. I would highly recommend getting reservations. My daughter had the peppermint mocha and I had the merry berry juice. We shared Jo’s buttermilk biscuits with strawberry butter. My daughter enjoyed the pancake breakfast and I had the avocado toast. My choices were based from the Fixer Upper Season 5 episode 18 where they renovate the restaurant.

Jo’s biscuits and strawberry butter.

We spent the rest of the day at The Silos enjoying the sunshine and the garden. We played some corn hole and soccer too. We had delicious cupcakes from Silos Baking Co. We had the campfire and the chocolatier. We had a wonderful time and can’t wait to visit again.

The Silos

Prepare Him Room: A Daily Advent Devotional

Prepare Him Room: A Daily Advent Devotional by Susie Larson is a new book for the holiday season. It is the beginning of December and a great time to focus on the reason for the Christmas season. This advent book gives examples and resources to prepare our hearts for the holiday season. Each chapter is broken into a daily reading and has great reminders to focus on.  Thanks to Bethany House Publishers for this review copy. This would make a great gift for someone this holiday season.

About the Author

Susie Larson ( is a national speaker, bestselling author, and the host of the daily talk show Susie Larson Live, heard on the Faith Radio Network with over 2.3 million downloads. Susie has written 18 books and many articles. She’s been a guest on Focus on the Family, Life Today, and Family Life Today, as well as many other media outlets. Voted twice as a top-ten finalist for the John C. Maxwell Transformational Leadership Award, she is also a veteran of the fitness field. Susie has been married to her dear husband, Kevin, since 1985, and together they have three wonderful sons, three beautiful daughters-in-law, two beautiful grandchildren, and one adorable pit bull named Memphis. Susie’s passion is to see people everywhere awakened to the value of their soul, the depth of God’s love, and the height of their calling in Christ Jesus.

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The Happy Crab

The Happy Crab by Layla Palmer (Author), Kevin Palmer (Author), Guy Wolek (Illustrator)is a new children’s book. My kids and I have enjoyed getting to read this fun book full of colorful illustrations. This book is based on a true story and portrays a good lesson about thinking of the need of others. The publisher’s recommended age for this book is 3-8 years. My 7 and 10 year old have been enjoying it. Thanks to Bethany House Publishers for this review copy.

About the Author

Layla Palmer has been writing online at for over thirteen years.

Kevin Palmer is a published songwriter who has sold over a million albums worldwide over the past nineteen years. In 2016, they adopted their effervescent Haitian son, Steevenson. A year later, they encouraged Kevin’s retired parents to move in with them too. Today, they all live together in Pike Road, Alabama.

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The Whole Bible Story: Everything that Happens in the Bible

The Whole Bible Story: Everything that Happens in the Bible by Dr. William H. Marty (Author), Heath McPherson (Illustrator), Troy Schmidt (Editor) is a new book for families. My family and I have been enjoying reading through this book together. The kids (7,10, and 12) have been enjoying it and asking great questions based on what we have been reading. It breaks the Bible stories into shorter stories that are easy to read with the kids and explains things on their level. Thanks to Bethany House Publishers for this review copy.

About the Author

Dr. William H. Marty has taught at Moody Bible Institute for 40 years. His main emphasis has been teaching an Old and New Testament survey to freshman at the Chicago campus, and the fruit of his focus on teaching the storyline of the Bible has been published in The Whole Bible Story. Dr. Marty has also written The World of Jesus and The Jesus Story and coauthored A Quick-Start Guide to the Whole Bible. Bill lives in Chicago with his wife, Linda, and they have two children and two grandchildren. Bill is an active triathlete and has competed at the national and international levels.

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Tacos For Two

Tacos For Two by Betsy St. Amant is a new fiction book. This rom com is a You’ve Got Mail retelling filled with tacos, food trucks, and a little competition. I enjoyed this romance and the cast of characters were delightful. Romance books can be predictable, but sometimes it is comforting to read one and know how it will turn out. This one was creative and all of the tacos and food mentioned throughout the book have you wanting a yummy snack while reading. Thanks to Revell for this review copy.

About the Author

Betsy St. Amant is the author of more than fifteen inspirational romances, including The Key to Love, and a frequent contributor to She lives in north Louisiana with her husband, two daughters, a collection of Austen novels, and an impressive stash of pickle-flavored Pringles. When she’s not composing her next book or trying to prove unicorns are real, Betsy can usually be found somewhere in the vicinity of a white chocolate mocha–no whip. Learn more at

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A Christmas In The Alps

A Christmas in the Alps: A Christmas Novella by Melody Carlson is a new Christmas novella. This hardcover book was short and an easy read. I personally did not love this book which just means that not every book is for everyone. If you are looking for a short book that is set in France then you may enjoy this one. I thought it was too short for where the plot was trying to go and it did not really read as a holiday book. A young woman sets off to solve a family mystery and there is romance and travel in the story. Thanks to Revell for this review copy.

About the Author:

Melody Carlson has written more than 200 books (with sales around 6.5 million) for teens, women and children. That’s a lot of books, but mostly she considers herself a “storyteller.” Her novels range from serious issues like schizophrenia (Finding Alice) to lighter topics like house-flipping (A Mile in My Flip-Flops) but most of the inspiration behind her fiction comes right out of real life. Her young adult novels (Diary of a Teenage Girl, TrueColors etc.) appeal to teenage girls around the world. Her annual Christmas novellas become more popular each year. She’s won a number of awards (including Romantic Time’s Career Achievement Award, the Rita and the Gold Medallion) and some of her books have been optioned for film/TV. Carlson has two grown sons and makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and yellow Lab dog. To find out more about Melody Carlson, visit her website at

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Help, I’m Drowning: Weathering the Storms of Life with Grace and Hope

Help, I’m Drowning: Weathering the Storms of Life with Grace and Hope by Sally Clarkson is a new Christian non-fiction book. This book is a timely read and one I needed in my own life. The author wrote this once the pandemic started and shares her life experiences with all of the hardships since it started and other storms that she has weathered over the years. I have read and enjoyed most of Sally Clarkson’s books and this one was no exception. Thanks to Bethany House Publishers for this review copy.

About the Author:

Sally Clarkson ( is the beloved author of many bestselling books, including Awaking Wonder, Own Your LifeThe Lifegiving Home with her daughter Sarah, Desperate with Sarah Mae, and Different with her son Nathan. As a mother of four, she has inspired thousands of women through Whole Heart Ministries. She advocates relentlessly for the power of motherhood, the foundational importance of family, and the influence of home through her Mom Heart conferences, speaking to audiences on several continents. Mentoring women to understand how to love God in a more personal way and how to live a satisfying Christian life are threads through her messages. Sally’s podcast, At Home with Sally Clarkson and Friends, has more than 14 million downloads.

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