A Fresh Batch of Book Reviews #14

If you are a new mom, a mom of tweens, a mom of teens, a techie mom, or an adoptive mom, there's a great #parenting book here for you

Welcome to a special parenting-themed Fresh Batch of Book Reviews. If you are a new mom, a mom of tweens, a mom of teens, a techie mom, or an adoptive mom, there’s a book here for you!

This book will encourage mothers to choose a godly path.

Why Motherhood Matters: An Invitation to Purposeful Parenting

September McCarthy is a mother of ten who writes from many years of experience. I appreciate her encouraging voice about the challenging aspects of motherhood.

She doesn’t hide the sticky, Cheerio-covered parts of motherhood. The times when she argued with her husband about how to handle family devotions. The times of conflict with her children. The struggle to handle all the work despite feeling depleted.

She doesn’t hide the heart-wrenching moments either. Three of her babies died. I found her accounts of the deaths to be the most poignant and powerful passages in the book.

She speaks gently but firmly about setting boundaries and breaking entitlement. I liked the suggestion to do away with the practice of counting-to-three. This is what I used with my children–I encouraged first-time obedience, and it increased mutual respect.

She encourages from the trenches. Again and again she offers practical suggestions for self-care. She shows you ways to reach out for help and to involve your children in ministry.

In every aspect of her motherhood, she trusts God to provide, sustain, and empower her role.

Powerful quotes:

  • Motherhood may feel like a sprint, but it is a slow, careful run to the biggest victory plan ever.
  • Mothers are mood makers, and it is our job to set the tone in the lives of those we are given to steward.
  • Mothers, imagine the power over the nations, the generations, if you are willing to model and speak peace into the very fiber of your home and your children.

This book is perfect for a new mom, a discouraged mom, or a grieving mom. A mom seeking new ways to handle the challenges of her role will be comforted and uplifted by Why Motherhood Matters.


A great book for moms with tween daughters.

Building Circles of Grace: A Joint Bible Study for Tween Girls & Their Moms

As a mom of a tween girl, I am delighted by the this book’s format. It contains a portion written for your daughter, a portion to discuss together, and a portion for you to read. It covers eight weeks of lessons about topics so prevalent for tween girls, including gossip, body image, and friendships.

Author Catherine Bird is a mom to two girls who offers wise and encouraging perspectives. I like her positive, cheerful voice. She shares compassionate stories from her own childhood and builds each chapter around Bible truth.

This book has bonus features for group study and creative learning activities. You could use it for Sunday school or small group study. I plan to use it one-on-one to facilitate faith-based conversations with my daughter.

Inspiring quotes:

  • The time that you spend talking, texting, and laughing with your gal pals is the kind of carefree transparency that God longs to have with you.
  • Loving your neighbor as God calls us to do does not mean you will share the innermost part of your heart with every person you meet.
  • Change is tough–especially when those changes are happening inside you and to your own body. the constant through all these changes is God.

This book will help me open conversations with my daughter about issues she’s facing right now. I can use it as a tool to strengthen her faith and strengthen my foothold in God’s Word.


Encouraging guidance for teens and parents in the world of technology use.

The Teen’s Guide to Social Media… and Mobile Devices: 21 Tips to Wise Posting in an Insecure World

All three of my children received their first devices last year. Since then I’ve been struggling to know how much monitoring to do. This book is written for teens, but it greatly encouraged me in my learning curve as a mom in the information age.

The author speaks to many churches and groups year round. He knows his stuff well. This book is full to the brim with anecdotes, news stories, and statistics, and they are shared in an engaging way. The author also deftly weaves in biblical wisdom in a way that promotes common sense and good values. He has a gift for speaking with teens, and I think my 13-year-old son will like his style.

Using a breezy 21-tip format, this book is ideal even for teens who aren’t into reading. It presents warnings that don’t feel melodramatic. I was surprised at how affirming this book was to me as a mom. The author says most parents don’t monitor their child’s online activity, and that’s okay because it gives your teen a chance to develop personal responsibility. That fact relieved the guilt I was experiencing. But I also want to encourage my children’s critical thinking skills, and this book will open up some fruitful conversations in our home.

Great quotes:

  • Keep your phone in your pocket during meals with friends or family, and see if it becomes contagious.
  • Anonymity is actually only perceived anonymity, and it breeds carelessness.
  • Don’t get so caught up in posting the moment that you miss the moment.
  • Likes don’t determine your value.
  • Your phone is not the problem. The problem is when we let our phone captivate us so significantly with the unimportant that we ignore the important all around us.

If you’re unsure how to talk to your teen about social media use, The Teen’s Guide to Social Media will serve as a valuable road map.


Practical help for the phone-addicted.

Calm, Cool, and Connected: 5 Digital Habits for a More Balanced Life

I had the pleasure of meeting Arlene Pellicane in person at She Speaks 2017. When she said her new book was coming out this fall, I jumped at the chance to review it. I have heard her speak several times on Focus on the Family, and I enjoy her practical approach.

This book is not only for parents, but anyone who feels like their phone has become a dominating, overwhelming force. I am not much of a phone person, but I live with several people who are. I enjoyed the practical offerings and non-judgmental tone of this book. It will help me encourage healthier habits for those I love.

Calm, Cool, and Connected is a short read, perfect for busy people. It begins with a self-evaluation quiz to understand how much space your phone takes up in your time. Then, it offers five key areas for balance:

  • Hold Down the Off Button
  • Always Put People First
  • Brush Daily: Live With a Clean Conscience
  • I Will Go Online with Purpose
  • Take a Hike

I enjoyed her creative analogy of a digital pacifier. It was new to me, and it’s a perfect description of what smartphones are to many people (including my children). I can help them break that habit, just like I helped them break the habit of sucking their thumbs when they were little.

She offers suggestions for practicing wisdom in online shopping and powerful methods for increasing productivity. I especially enjoyed her productivity tips, and I’m using them this week to better effect.

If you or a loved one struggles with too much involvement on digital devices, this book offers gently corrective prescriptions.

I am grateful to Moody Publishers for providing a free review copy of this book.


Encouragement for adoptive families.

Peace in the Process: How Adoption Built My Faith & My Family

Since I link up every week with Kristin Hill Taylor, I was happy to serve on her launch team for Peace in the Process. This book is her memoir of infertility, adoption of three children, and parenting journey. She writes with a faith-filled, gentle voice that encourages other mothers on similar paths.

She includes stories from many other moms to enrich this book. Even though I have not experienced either infertility or adoption, I like reading memoir and I enjoyed listening to her faith journey.

Favorite Quotes:

  • To tell the story of God’s faithfulness, I go back to the wilderness, when I didn’t see God working.
  • God had my season of infertility in His hands. He was working even when I doubted and wondered and tried to do it all myself.
  • For me, nothing has been more sanctifying than becoming a mom.

Thank you Kristin for the free review copy of this book!


Disclosure: Some of the above links are affiliate links. Unless otherwise mentioned, these books were free copies provided by Netgalley. I love this service, and I encourage other bloggers to use it too!

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14 thoughts on “A Fresh Batch of Book Reviews #14

  1. Great resources, Sarah.
    I really enjoyed Kristin’s book as well. It’s so helpful to gain insight into aspects of parenting that we don’t necessarily experience ourselves, but which deepen our appreciation for the struggles others may be going through.

    1. Thank you, Esther! When I get time, I will try to write a post for that…I’ve been nominated by two other dear bloggers, like you. I am honored!

  2. Thanks for including my book! I’m glad you enjoyed it and I appreciate your support. Also, Why Motherhood Matters is one of my favorites!

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