Book Review: UnStuck by Chris Dupre

My Thoughts

‘UnStuck’ by Chris Dupre

Category: Christian Non-Fiction

I give this book 5/5 stars.

It’s been a habit of mine to read a Christian Non-fiction book whenever I’m fasting or waiting on God for an answer. Usually though, the books I’m supposed to read find me instead of the other way around. ‘UnStuck’ by Chris Dupre was no different. It was just the book that I need to read during this season of my life. I found the stories and biblical applications so encouraging and inspiring. To me this book was like having a series of conversations with an old friend. I want to mention that some may find the story of the woman not wanting to sing worship on stage during large services odd. It is unfortunate that this is one of the first things we read because it is a bit of a strange story. But please, keep reading. The rest of this book is a treasure. Here are two of my favorite quotes (I actually cheered aloud when I read them):

“Our influence is not in the abundance of our words, but in the abundance of His character within us.”

“There’s a big difference between reacting and responding.”

This is a wonderful book for anyone that is pondering, “Why am I going through this, God?” I know we’ve all been there. Allow Chris Dupre to tell you why it isn’t a bad thing to be stuck, and how God will propel you forward spiritually if you so allow Him.

I was given this book as part of a CelebrateLit Blog Tour. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.

About the Book

Title: Unstuck

Author: Chris Dupre

Genre: Self-help, personal growth

Release Date: November 14, 2017

Do you feel like you missed the boat? Are you burnt out? Have your feet been dragging the sidewalk? Do you catch yourself dreaming of what could have been? Of if-only-I-had, or if-only-I-hadn’t? This book is for anyone sitting in the audience who should be on stage, anyone reading blogs who should also be writing them, anyone supporting ministries who should be leading them. It’s for the Christians who know there is a better life, but who are just stuck in the one they’re living.

Saved in the Jesus Movement of the seventies, Chris DuPré connected with countless Christians across the world. Yet too many of those Christians, Chris discovered, have years later lost the fire and stepped back from living out their faith. Why? Because they got stuck—stuck in rejection by others, stuck in fear of the unknown, stuck in loving a comfortable life, stuck in scores of similar ruts. What can set them free from their internal prisons? And what could Christians accomplish if we all just got unstuck?

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Author

Originally from Upstate New York, Chris moved to Kansas City to work alongside Mike Bickle in establishing the International House of Prayer. Chris recently served as Associate Pastor at Grace Center Church in Franklin TN, and is now an associate pastor of Life Center in Harrisburg, PA. A pastor, teacher, worship leader, traveling speaker, and spiritual father to many, Chris may be best known for his song “Dance With Me.” He has produced eight albums and published three books, including The Wild Heart of God (Whitaker House, 2016) and The Lost Art of Pure Worship with James Goll. Parents of three daughters and grandparents of four grandchildren, Chris and his wife, Laura, reside in Harrisburg, PA.

Guest Post from Chris Dupre

I grew up in a small town about 30 miles east of Rochester, NY. Winters there could be brutal. One year, I received beautiful new pair of boots which I loved, particularly for the joy with which they enabled me to engage in the marvelous sport of puddle jumping. One day when the ice and snow had begun to melt, I eyed a nice puddle and jumped in the middle sending a freezing splash in all directions. But wait, something was wrong — this was no ordinary puddle! This one was made to capture people, and I was captured! Frantic, I pulled one foot out, but no matter how much I tried, the other foot would not budge. My boot was stuck. I was stuck! I pulled and pulled until finally my foot came free in a soggy sock. My beautiful boot had been left behind, buried beneath the slush. My little mind was faced with a choice. Did I care enough about to do something? It only took a second to act. I loved those boots. I found a stick and began to fish. After what seemed like an eternity, I finally pulled out my boot. That’s the first time I ever went fishing and was glad to catch a boot instead of a fish.

My desire with this book is to address some of those “stuck” moments we all face. I want to provide keys that will hopefully open a door or two that have held you back on the incredible journey of life. I say a door or two, or even three, because it’s almost always more than one thing that gets us stuck. Ah, but God—He is the change factor in all of this and in Him we can break free.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, December 28

Mary Hake, December 28

A Reader’s Brain, December 29

Carpe Diem, December 29

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 30

A Baker’s Perspective, December 31

New Horizon Reviews, January 1

proud to be an autism mom, January 2

Books, Books, and More Books., January 3

Kristin’s Book Reviews, January 4

A Greater Yes, January 5

Texas Book-aholic, January 6

Blossoms and Blessings, January 7

Janices book reviews, January 8

Bigreadersite, January 9

Pursuing Stacie, January 10

Giveaway

In honor of the tour, Whitaker House is giving away

Grand Prize: Unstuck: Hope for Christians in a Dead-End Job, Dead-End Faith, or Some Similar Soul-Shriveling Rut by Chris DuPré; The Wild Love of God: A Journey That Heals Life’s Deepest Wounds by Chris DuPré;” Covenant” Pillar Candle scented with ancient biblical fragrances from Abba Jerusalem, and a Whitaker House Grown-Up Coloring Book

First Place Prize: Unstuck: Hope for Christians in a Dead-End Job, Dead-End Faith, or Some Similar Soul-Shriveling Rut by Chris DuPré; The Wild Love of God: A Journey That Heals Life’s Deepest Wounds by Chris DuPré;” “Man of God” Ceramic Mug, CTAInc.com; and a Whitaker House Grown-Up Coloring Book

Second Place Prize: Unstuck: Hope for Christians in a Dead-End Job, Dead-End Faith, or Some Similar Soul-Shriveling Rut by Chris DuPré; and The Wild Love of God: A Journey That Heals Life’s Deepest Wounds by Chris DuPré”.

Click the link to enter! https://promosimple.com/ps/c457

Book Review: Reintegration by Ashley Bogner

Welcome to another installment of ‘Kristin’s Book Reviews’ where I tell you exactly what I think about some of the most exciting new releases. Today’s book is special in the fact that it’s author Ashley Bogner’s first novel! Ashely has been a faithful reviewer of my books (even though we don’t always agree 100% on things) and I’m so excited to finally be able to return the favor. I was also able to interview Ashley about her writing process, which I know all my readers that write will enjoy. Without further ado, here is the interview. Make sure to keep reading to find out how much I enjoyed and ‘Reintegration’ along with a brief synopsis.

Interview with Author Ashely Bogner

What is the most difficult thing (or things) you struggle with as a writer?

World-building and scenery description, definitely. I’m so jealous of authors who craft richly-detailed, epic fantasy or sci-fi settings that make me feel like I’m actually in the story.

Are you part of a writing group? Why or why not?

I used to be part of a writer’s group that met once a month and I loved it. Unfortunately, my family moved and I haven’t been able to find a Christian writer’s group near me. It’s very disappointing, as I love meeting other writers and learning from their experiences.

When do your ideas usually come to you? When you’re writing? When you’re walking around? Reading a good book?

On car trips, actually! There’s something about watching the scenery go by while listening to music that just tends to inspire story ideas.

Although, I am also plagued quite frequently by the ideas that come when I’m trying to fall asleep and am too tired to write them down. 🙂

What kind of writer are you, a planner, a pantser, or a plantser (combination of the two)?

Definitely a planner. I never start a book without doing a gazillion outlines and synopses (I always want to write this synopsises—it’s very fun to say!). I don’t like getting half-way through a manuscript then realizing I either have no idea where I’m going or I have a major plot loophole. It’s also helpful for when I have to abandon a project for a while. I can just reread my outline and pick up right where I left off!

How many drafts do you write, and which of those is the most difficult for you?

This question made me laugh, because for me, there is actually no telling how many drafts I’ll have. Reintegration had one draft followed by some small edits. I’m currently on the fourth draft of the sequel. Once I finish the Reintegration trilogy, I’ll start my tenth draft of an old fantasy manuscript of mine. The number of drafts I’ll have is such a mystery.

Honestly, rough drafts are the most difficult. As I mentioned earlier, I do a lot of planning so I don’t run into a lot of writer’s block. Rough drafts are hard for me because I’m a perfectionist and I want everything to be just right the first time. Oftentimes, I’m not even half-way through the rough draft and I’m already dying to go back and edit. I really have to push myself to finish before I start rewriting.

Are there any character traits you have that you try to instill in your characters? Are there traits you wish you had that you give to your characters? What are they?

You’ll actually find a lot of “me” in my characters, especially my female protagonists. I want my characters to feel authentic, so oftentimes the fears and dreams and values and flaws and doubts they have are based off my own. I try to make them unique characters, but also have them be characters I relate to.

My characters have a lot more courage than I do. They’re more willing to take action when they need to. I’m that person who has to think through all the options before making a decision, and I sometimes miss opportunities because of it. That’s why I love speculative stories so much—the characters inspire me to be braver, even if I’m not involved in a world-saving adventure. 🙂

What genre is your new project?

Reintegration is a YA dystopian novel told from a Christian worldview. It’s also the first of a trilogy!

What was your world building process like for this project?

Dystopian is an interesting genre because it’s so theme-driven. World-building has always been a struggle of mine, but with Reintegration it came a lot easier than with previous stories. With dystopian fiction, I found that the “key” to world-building (at least for me) is building the setting around the theme. My characters live in a world where tolerance and relativism have been taken too far. I looked at each element of the setting from this perspective. What government type would reflect this idea best? What would the education system be like? How would people interact with each other? Then I filled in the details with things like clothing, food, vocabulary, etc.

My Thoughts On ‘Reintegration

I give this book 4/5 stars.

Categories: Speculative Fiction, Young Adult, Religious Fiction, Dystopian

This book is touching and thought provoking with plenty of twists and turns. There is some violence toward the end, which is why I don’t recommend this book for readers under the age of 13, but besides that I found it to be totally clean and appropriate. If you like futuristic dystopian style novels, ‘Reintegration’ will definitely keep you entertained and turning the pages. I couldn’t put it down and ended up reading it in one sitting. The only complaint I have is that sometimes there were paragraphs of Katherine’s inner thoughts that seemed to go on too long. Those scenes would have been more powerful without as much repetition and length. I think that is one of the main reasons why I haven’t seen very many five star reviews for this book… the too-long inner dialogue bogs down the flow of the otherwise smooth yet punchy story line. However, I remember what it was like to write my first novel, and I think given time Bogner will learn to avoid this mistake.

The themes in this book center on what happens when the true meaning of tolerance is forgotten and twisted into moral relativism, the importance of family, and establishing boundaries within the context of righteousness. Does God exist? And if yes, what would Katherine be willing to risk to get that information into the hands of her peers? Matthew was definitely my favorite character!

I can’t wait to read the next book in this series whenever it comes out, and I would definitely recommend it to my friends. I wish there was more Religious Fiction in the world like ‘Reintegration’.

You can purchase it here on Amazon, here on Barnes & Noble, and here on CreateSpace.

Reintegration Synopsis

TAG LINE:  A perfect citizen. A captured rebel. One decision could destroy them both…

SUMMARY: As a Regulator, seventeen-year-old Katherine Holliday’s duty is to protect the people of the Federation from a group of violent rebels who have exiled themselves to the mysterious wilderness. When one of these rebels is captured within the Federation, the government leaders propose an alternative to execution, a procedure they call Reintegration. The procedure involves erasing the rebel’s memory and attempting to make him a member of society. The rebel, a young man named Matthew, is not the violent criminal Katherine expects, and she can’t help but befriend him. A few weeks after Matthew’s Reintegration, Katherine realizes the procedure failed and she is now presented with a choice no one else can help her make. Can she warn her superiors that Reintegration failed, which could mean death for Matthew? Or will she defy everything she knows to help him escape—and risk her own execution?

AUTHOR BIO: When Ashley Bogner was in third grade, she decided she would be a published author when she grew up. Ashley is a homeschool graduate and has lived in seven different states. She completed a year of Bible college and in the fall will begin pursuing a degree in Communication Studies. After college, her plan is to work in the Christian publishing industry. When not writing, she can be found baking, posting book reviews on her blog, and watching her favorite movies over and over to the point of memorization.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:

Blog: http://www.ashleybogner.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ashleybognerwriter/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/@AshleyBWriter

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16953932.Ashley_Bogner

As always, happy reading!

Kristin N. Spencer

Book Review: The Girl Who Could See by Kara Swanson

Click here to purchase.

The Who Could See is a Speculative Fiction book set in contemporary times. Note for those with younger readers: This book does contain some violence.

I give this book 4/5 stars.

Category: Speculative Fiction (Young Adult)

I loved the worlds that Kara Swanson created in this book. The setting takes place mostly in Los Angeles (my home town!). If you like dystopian, you will love this book. It has all the edgy qualities a dystopian novel would have, but is still set in contemporary times. Fern is a very interesting character, and her backstory is interesting, studded with pain and horror. This is a type of redemption story as Fern tries to find healing from her past and present afflictions, all while trying to discover if her imaginary friend is really imaginary after all. I also enjoyed the 2D characters in this book. Fern’s niece is adorable. I don’t want to give too much away, but the relationships in this story are complex and magnetic. Also, the villain rocks (as far as villains go). The Girl Who Could See is a great read.

I was provided a copy of this book by Celebrate Lit in case I wanted to write a review. All opinions are my own.

Be sure to keep reading for an interview with the author as well as information on her awesome giveaway.

About the Book

Book title: The Girl Who could See

Author: Kara Swanson

Release date: June 1, 2017

Genre: Science Fiction/Urban Fantasy/Young Adult

All her life Fern has been told she is blind to reality—but, what if she is the only one who can truly see?

Fern Johnson is crazy. At least, that’s what the doctors have claimed since her childhood. Now nineteen, and one step away from a psych ward, Fern struggles to survive in bustling Los Angeles. Desperate to appear normal, she represses the young man flickering at the edge of her awareness—a blond warrior only she can see.

Tristan was Fern’s childhood imaginary hero, saving her from monsters under her bed and outside her walls. As she grew up and his secret world continued to bleed into hers, however, it only caused catastrophe. But, when the city is rocked by the unexplainable, Fern is forced to consider the possibility that this young man is not a hallucination after al—and that the creature who decimated his world may be coming for hers.

About the Author

As the daughter of missionaries, KARA SWANSON spent sixteen years of her young life in the jungles of Papua New Guinea. Able to relate with characters dropped suddenly into a unique new world, she quickly fell in love with the speculative genre and was soon penning stories herself. At seventeen, she independently published her debut fantasy novel, Pearl of Merlydia. Her short story is included in Kathy Ide’s 21 Days of Joy: Stories that Celebrate Mom. She has published many articles, including one in the Encounter magazine, and she received the Mount Hermon Most Promising Teen Writer award in 2015.

Guest Post from Kara Swanson

Did you have an imaginary friend growing up? I did. And I think most of us probably understood what it was like to use our childhood imaginations to create friends and take us places.

The Girl Who Could See follows Fern Johnson, a young woman who’s imaginary friend, Tristan, first appeared in her life when she was eight years old—and has never left. Now nineteen, Fern still sees Tristan, only he is no longer her friend. Now he is her curse. The source of her insanity. The reason Fern cannot keep a job and has been passed from one psychologist to another. The reason she is one step away from a psych ward. However, Tristan disagrees. He says that he’s not a figment of Fern’s imagination and is determined to prove it. But, if his existence is real, it has dangerous implications not only for Fern, but for her world. Because the creature that decimated Tristan’s planet is coming for Earth—and only the girl everyone says is crazy can stop it.

I wrote the novella as a way to explore the idea of what would happen if someone had an imaginary friend who never left. What would the psychological and daily implications be? And what if that imaginary friend wasn’t imaginary? The story that grew from those sparks of ideas became an adventure that I hope you’ll enjoy as much as I did. 🙂

Blog Stops

June 27: A Baker’s Perspective

June 27: A Simply Enchanted Life

June 27: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

June 28: Kristin’s Book Reviews

June 28: Christian Chick’s Thoughts

June 29: Fiction Aficionado

June 29: Genesis 5020

June 30: Smiling Book Reviews

June 30: The Fizzy Pop Collection

July 1: Blogging With Carol

July 1: remembrancy

July 2: Inklings and notions 

July 2: Ashley’s Bookshelf

July 3: Zerina Blossom’s Books

July 3: God1meover

July 4: Book by Book

July 4: Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses

July 5: Dragons Read History

July 5: Through the Open Window

July 6: It’s Storytime with Van Daniker 

July 6: Baker Kella

July 7: Pause for Tales

July 7: Edits and Reviews By Leslie

July 8: Books, Books, and More Books.

July 8: Pursuing Stacie

July 8: The Important Things in Life: God, Books, & Chocolate

July 9: Reader’s cozy corner

July 9: A path of joy

July 10: Neverending Stories

July 10: Henry Happens

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Kara is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/b7f6