Thursday, October 14, 2021

Spouse In The House by Cynthia Ruchti and Becky Melby

A complimentary review copy was provided to me.


When I first learned about Spouse in the House, I was a little worried it could be too much of a self-help book but the humor the two authors and those that they reached out to share in the story makes it a light-hearted way to read about a serious challenge and think about things differently. Some of the topics are more about sharing a home but most are about the shift when suddenly you find yourself with a SITH (spouse in the house) - love that term by the way. They provide many practical tips to help you cope with changes in your own life. They refer to their husbands (who share a first name) by nicknames throughout the book. This adds a bit of humor to their stories but I especially enjoyed when they also shared their husbands thoughts on the topics, helping give a fuller view to the story.

This book was very timely with the current situation where many people are finding themselves at home with their spouse (and their kids in some cases too) close to twenty-four hours a day. This book is a great read for not only those that are facing the reality of having a spouse home all day due to retirement but has applicability to those that find both spouses at home because they now have the opportunity to work from home or can take college courses online. It's a good read for those that are newlyweds (or about to weds) that haven't had to share a home with a spouse before. It really examines the realities of being home together, especially when you haven't been used to it.

One thing that was particularly interesting to me as I read was the point of view because in my household, I am the one that suddenly found myself at home all the time about 2 years ago. I had worked outside the home for the prior 23 years (and other than a brief underemploymnet period about 18 years earlier) while my husband had worked from the house first in sales and then in computers. When my company eliminated my role, I was suddenly at home all the time and then, when I found a job, it was fully remote. So, now we are both working from home. We definitely operate on different schedules which can be both good and bad. For a while, I tried to adjust to eat lunch with him but decided that although it was nice to take a break together, it really was easier to stick to our own schedules most of the time. Now, we take time for lunch together only occassionally. We each have our own time where we fit in exercise, although on occassion we will walk together. He has his space in the home office and I am primarily based in the kitchen and will use the game table or the office for calls, depending on whether he is using the office or not. We have found the way to coexist during the work day. We balance household things while making sure that we each are able to get our work done.

The stories, humor and practical tips flow easily with the conversational style of the book. So much of what they share and the stories they tell are very relatable and you feel like you get to know quite a bit about the authors and their husbands. I would recommend this book to anyone that has a SITH and is looking for insight on how to best coexist.

Enter to win a copy of Spouse in the House:

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About the Book

A frank and funny look at what to do when together is too close

Two’s company, especially for those who love each other. So what happens when—due to retirement, working from home, or even running a business together—spouses find that being in the same space all the time is awkward, complex, annoying, and just plain challenging? How can partners coexist without co-exhausting each other?

Cynthia Ruchti and Becky Melby know all too well how adjusting to a new, all-the-time closeness can cause the bliss of marriage to form blisters. Drawing from their experiences, and from men and women across the country in the same situation, the authors take a deep breath and dive into the root causes. They dig into what God’s Word has to say, and they offer practical tips for learning the spiritual, emotional, relational, and even physical steps that can help readers replace irritation with peace.

For any couple who wants their home to be a refuge of peace and serenity for all—not just themselves—and who wants to know they aren't alone in the mental and physical claustrophobia of too much togetherness, Spouse in the House is a vulnerable, charming, and pragmatic breath of hope.

Click here to read an excerpt from Spouse in the House.

About the Authors

Cynthia Ruchti tells stories hemmed in hope through her novels, novellas, devotions, and nonfiction, and through speaking for women’s events, retreats, writers’ conferences, and workshops. She draws from 33 years of experience writing and producing the 15-minute daily radio broadcast, “The Heartbeat of the Home.”

Ruchti’s more than thirty books have garnered reader, retailer, reviewer, and other industry awards. She serves as Professional Relations Liaison for American Christian Fiction Writers, is a founding board member of the Deliver Hope ministry and is part of the worship team at her church. She’s also a literary agent with Books & Such Literary Management.

Ruchti and her husband, Bill, live in the heart of Wisconsin, not far from their three children and six grandchildren.

Learn more about Cynthia Ruchti and her writing at cynthiaruchti.com or by following her on Facebook (@CynthiaRuchtiReaderPage), Instagram (@cynthiaruchtiauthor), and Twitter (@cynthiaruchti).

Becky Melby has authored more than twenty novels and novellas. Spouse in the House is her first non-fiction book release.

The Melbys have four sons and fifteen grandchildren and make their home in southeastern Wisconsin. When not writing or spoiling grandchildren, she may be found touring the country with Bill in their camper or on their Honda Gold Wing motorcycle.

Find out more about Becky Melby’s books at beckymelby.com or follow her on Facebook (becky.melby.9) and Instagram (@beckymelbybooks). She also shares short blog posts each Friday on the Fill My Cup, Lord page on Facebook.
The Giveaways are not hosted by A Busy Mom of Two but are part of the book tour, please see giveaway for official rules and guidelines. No compensation was received for this review. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family. A complimentary review copy was provided to me.

Monday, October 11, 2021

The Unlikely Yarn of the Dragon Lady by Sharon J Mondragon

A complimentary review copy was provided to me.


I am always surprised by the seeming connectedness that happens in life. I recently read the book The Unlikely Yarn of the Dragon Lady, that chronicles several weeks of the Heavenly Hugs Prayer Shawl Ministry's experiences, as they are forced to move their weekly meetings into the real world while the chapel where they normally meet is being painted. Each week they meet to pray and knit prayer shawls for those that need them. In spite of the the time that they have been meeting as a group, there are things about themselves that they haven't shared. Through this experience, they come to be known as Radical Knitters, meet several people, and in connecting with these new people they wind up learning more about themselves and each other.

Earlier this month, my daughter had her Confirmation, which had been delayed due to a combination of change in our Bishop and the pandemic. One of the gifts that she received was a lap blanket from the church's prayer shawl ministry. I honestly don't know that I knew there was a prayer shawl ministry at our church and of course, saw a post about the group in the bulletin too. It just seemed so interesting to me that as I was reading about the experiences of a prayer shawl ministry that I learned about the ministry at our church and that my daughter received a gift from them.

The book was constructed of shorter chapters, making it easy to pick it up and quickly read a chapter. The settings were basic and allowed the author to focus on the character development. The characters were fun to get to know and I could see people I know in many of them. Watching them discover themselves and one another as they interacted and established connections with others in the community, was a great way to further learn about them. There were a few self-discovery scenes that were a little odd but once the story unfolded they made more sense. It was great for them to blossom through their new experience and for them to find new ways to minister in their community and see the difference that they were able to make in others' lives. Seeing the same familiar faces week after week allowed the evolution to be made visible in the story.

About the Book

A knitting group's change of scenery changes lives in unexpected ways

Margaret, Rose, Jane, and Fran had a good thing going: meet every week in the quiet of their peaceful chapel and knit prayer shawls. No muss, just ministry. That is, until their pastor boots them out of the church in his last-ditch effort to revive the dwindling congregation.

Uptight Margaret isn't having it. Knitting prayer shawls where people can watch is the most ridiculous idea she's ever heard of, and she's heard plenty. Prayer belongs in the church, not out among the heathen masses. How are they supposed to knit holiness into these shawls if they're constantly distracted by the public? But with no choice, the others embrace the challenge. They pack their knitting bags and drag Margaret--grumbling the whole way--to the mall with them. She can't wait to prove them all wrong when it fails miserably, and show the pastor that she always knows best.

Without the familiar mold the group has been stuck in, their own losses, pain, and struggles rise to the surface. And the people and situations they encounter every time they try to sit quietly and knit are taking them a lot further out of their comfort zone than they ever imagined. Can they find the courage to tackle the increasing number of knotty issues they learn about in the community--or will the tangle be too much to unravel?

Sharon J. Mondragon's debut is warm and delightful, full of real laughter, grief, and personality. It beautifully illustrates the power of women across generations to reach people for Christ

About the Author

Sharon J. Mondragon is not just a nice lady who knits. She’s the author of award-winning fiction that takes you to the place where courage and kindness meet.

Like some of the characters in The Unlikely Yarn of the Dragon Lady, she was once content to live well within her comfort zone. At the age of 19, however, she realized that she would not have much to show for such a life. She accepted the challenge and recklessly prayed for adventure.

The ensuing years as an Army spouse and the mother of five wildly individual children were filled with both thrilling and devastating moments, undergirded by the faithful hand of the God who inspired the prayer.

The Army years are over, but the adventure continues in Midlothian, Texas where Sharon lives with her husband, her laptop, and her yarn stash.

Learn more at sharonjmondragon.com.


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The Giveaways are not hosted by A Busy Mom of Two but are part of the book tour, please see giveaway for official rules and guidelines. No compensation was received for this review. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family. A complimentary review copy was provided to me.

Monday, August 30, 2021

Husband Auditions by Angela Ruth Strong

A complimentary review copy was provided to me.


In the summer, I especially enjoy reading light-hearted books. Books that are easy to read and that I can complete in a weekend, if I want. The new book from Angela Ruth Strong, Husband Auditions was a book that perfectly fits this bill. This rom-com book certainly had some predictable elements but as with rom-com movies, it did not detract from the story or the want to see how things wound up. I love the premise of 'testing' out a list of 'ways to get a husband' from the 1950s...test the timelessness of the ideas (and realize how much we have changed as a society in that time). Capturing and sharing the adventure on YouTube is such a modern day fit; a great way to share the successes and challenges of the list with others. I totally could see myself hooked on a series like Meri Me and watching to see what the next adventure from the list was.



This was the first book that I read by Strong and I look forward to reading more from her. Her style is easy to read and she does a great job helping the readers get to know the characters. I found myself laughing and crying with the characters; cheering for the characters to take a chance and of course, for them to win (which meant sometimes I was actually cheering for them to fail in one thing so they could win overall). I enjoyed the story so much and would love to see this book reimagined on the big-screen.

About the Book

How far would you go to find the perfect husband? All the way back to the 1950s?

In a world full of happily-ever-after love, Meri Newberg feels like the last young woman on the planet to be single, at least in her Christian friend group. So when she's handed a strange present at the latest wedding--a 1950s magazine article of "ways to get a husband"--she decides there's nothing to lose by trying out its advice. After all, she can't get any more single, can she?

Her brother's roommate sees the whole thing as a great opportunity. Not to fall in love--Kai Kamaka has no interest in the effort a serious relationship takes. No, this is a career jump start. He talks Meri into letting him film every silly husband-catching attempt for a new online show. If it goes viral, his career as a cameraman will be made.

When Meri Me debuts, it's an instant hit. People love watching her lasso men on street corners, drop handkerchiefs for unsuspecting potential beaus, and otherwise embarrass herself in pursuit of true love. But the longer this game goes on, the less sure Kai is that he wants Meri to snag anyone but him. The only problem is that he may not be the kind of husband material she's looking for . . .

With droll comic timing, unbeatable chemistry, and a zany but relatable cast of characters, Angela Ruth Strong has created a heartfelt look at the reality of modern Christian dating that readers will both resonate with and fall for.

About the Author

Angela Ruth Strong sold her first Christian romance novel in 2009 then quit writing romance when her husband left her. Ten years later, God has shown her the true meaning of love, and there's nothing else she'd rather write about.

She is the author of the Resort to Love series and the CafFUNated mysteries. Her books have since earned TOP PICK in Romantic Times, won the Cascade Award, and been Amazon best-sellers. Finding Love in Big Sky was recently filmed on location in Montana and will air soon. Her latest release is Husband Auditions.

Strong also writes non-fiction for SpiritLed Woman. To help aspiring authors, she started IDAhope Writers where she lives in Idaho and teaches as an expert online at Write That Book.

Learn more at www.angelaruthstrong.com, and follow her on Facebook (Angela Ruth Strong Fan Page), Twitter (@AngelaRStrong), and Instagram (@ang_strong).


As part of the launch, you can enter to win a free copy of the book:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And, another opportunity to win, Angela Ruth Strong is giving away a free round trip ticket on Allegiant Air. Click here to enter.

The Giveaways are not hosted by A Busy Mom of Two but are part of the book tour, please see giveaway for official rules and guidelines. No compensation was received for this review. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family. A complimentary review copy was provided to me.