Book Review: Kelly Tough by Erin Kelly and Jill Kelly

Book Description:81g0HcX146L._SL1500_

Do not let the title Kelly Tough fool you. This is not a “be all you can be, no pain–no gain” story. Toughness is overrated. And being Kelly Tough, well, you are about to find out what that really means and why it just might matter to you.

Kelly Tough is a story of love and hope: a love between a father and a daughter—Buffalo Bill’s former quarterback, Jim Kelly, and his oldest daughter Erin. Erin shares a deeply personal account of the love a family can have for each other during the darkest times, and a greater love that a heavenly Father has for you.

Whatever circumstance or heartbreak you find yourself overwhelmed by right now, it is not the end of the story. In fact, it just might be one of the greatest chapters as you, like the Kelly’s, find strength in weakness, hope in the midst of heartache, and joy in spite of suffering.

Yesterday I shared why I wanted to review Kelly Tough. Today I share why it might be the best non fiction book for the year.

As soon as I opened the first pages, tears started to form. It’s more than the lovely remarks people made or the foreward by Peter King. I truly believe this book is covered with God’s fingerprints and anointing. It was something I could have highlighted nearly every page, several lines. It was more than a book about NFL quarterback Jim Kelly and his family or recent cancer treatments. It’s a book for all of us.

Kelly Tough is written by Jim’s oldest daughter, Erin, and his wife, Jill.  Erin is in college now but writes with such authenticity and skill that I hope her future includes writing full time. She is generous with her memories and family experiences, even when they cloudy any image fans might have of the Kelly family. Thing is, she’s most generous with her faith. To have watched her beloved brother, Hunter, pass away, and then watch her dad battle cancer, you can tell through the grief and hard questions, she’s got a rock solid faith.

And no matter what your past or current situation, she wants you to consider having a solid faith in Christ, too.

Kelly Tough is something I want to aspire to as Erin shares many examples of what that means. It’s more than not quitting. It’s not just good manners that Jim instilled in the kids.  You need to read what Kelly Tough embodies.

The book was inspiring, emotional, informational and one I’m still thinking about even though I closed the cover quite awhile ago. One tidbit I was so impressed by was Frank Reich, the backup quarterback for the Bills when Jim was active. I’d read about his faith years and years ago but Erin and Jill did a tremendous job showing what Christlike is all about. The man was a servant on the field, content to be in the shadows while Jim saw the activity and got the accolades. When Jim was in such pain from the cancer and treatment, many of his teammates and former opponents came to cheer and encourage Jim. But Frank? What a takeaway visual on how to walk the walk, so to speak.

There’s so much I want to say because I loved Kelly Tough that much. But it’s a book you need to read, whether you’re a football fan or not. I think you’ll be impressed by what Erin shares and how well she does. I sure was.

To purchase Kelly Tough, click here.

I received Kelly Tough from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: The Doctor’s Second Chance by Missy Tippens

51WqUE3R3oLBook Description:

The Bachelor’s Baby 

Jake West’s troubled cousin leaves him with a most unusual parting gift—her newborn baby girl! And now the small-town contractor is forced to seek help from the very woman he resents—the new big-city pediatrician who practically stole his uncle’s practice, Violet Crenshaw. Violet knows she shouldn’t be consorting with the enemy. But she can’t resist the adorable baby and her handsome new caretaker. Violet traded her chance at motherhood for her career years ago. But raising a family with Jake could be everything she’s ever wanted.

This is one of six books sent to me from the Love Inspired Line as part of their Mother’s Day promotion. The books are on sale from April 21-May 28.



The Doctor’s Second Chance wastes no time starting the story with action and conflict. Jake’s a bachelor’s bachelor with work deadlines when his troubled cousin leaves her baby with him with little hope she plans to return. Jake has no idea how to handle a baby. Not even how to feed or place one in a car seat. He’s so desperate he has to visit the doctor he let the community know hurt his uncle and aunt in a business transaction.

Violet’s hurt that Jake worked so hard to damage her reputation but she’s focused on setting up a good practice. When he comes in with a baby in tow she has to set aside her anger and help. What she doesn’t count on is finding reasons to keep visiting. Both Abigail and Jake mean a lot to her.

But a lot of mystery surrounds Jake’s cousin and they all might be in danger. And Violet has a secret that no matter how many times Jake tries to understand her background, she’s not willing to share the details. Will they overcome the obstacles?

I loved The Doctor’s Second Chance. The author did an amazing job creating a hero to root for. Jake wants to keep his promise to his cousin but he’s not equipped. Jake’s compassionate and the transition Jake and Violet go through from enemies to friends is a natural one. Violet also is compassionate despite her desire to stay business-minded. I really enjoyed their journey. This was a fast read and an entertaining one. I think you’ll agree.

To purchase The Doctor’s Second Chance, click here.

I received The Doctor’s Second Chance from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Kelly Tough, Part One

81g0HcX146L._SL1500_I’m going to take two days to cover and review Kelly Tough by Erin and Jill Kelly. Today I want to give the backstory on why I wanted to review this book.

Most everyone knows I’m from Upstate NY. Although my hometown is Corning, I received my BA from the State University of New York at Geneseo. It was 1990-92 when I was there.

The school for the most part was divided into two categories: Upstate NY and NYC/Long Island. Now remember the time frame. Come Superbowl time, it was the Buffalo Bills and NY Giants. Talk about a battle. No, not the football teams. My friends.

When it came down to that one kick that unfortunately didn’t give the Bills a win, my dorm shook. No lie. The uproar between upstate and downstate probably scored on the Reichter scale.

Those were the Jim Kelly years and Geneseo was close enough to Buffalo somehow as an Upstate-er I felt a connection. There were times we heard the players used our track or were on their way to party at the exact places we were at. We had friends of friends of friends who had been to parties. He was part of my college scene by association and again, with that Superbowl moment, embedded into my college memories for life.

It seemed fitting as I graduated and moved on, the Bills kind of faded as well, at least as far Superbowl invitations and national fanfare. I’d hear Jim Kelly news here and there but I was busy carving out my place in Upstate NY.

The next phase where I felt a connection was after college, after marriage, after children. I was evolving as a woman of faith—not as tied to approval as I once was, but still not where I am today. It was the darkest time of my life. My dad was dying. My husband was on the precipice of moving to Ohio for a new job. Our baby was still sick with multiple breathing issues that often had her hospitalized. I wasn’t healed from her near death and how it came at a doctor’s hand. I heard about a women’s luncheon at our local radio station where Jill Kelly would be sharing. I knew Jill was married to Jim and that they had the little boy, Hunter. I thought it would be a nice break to see what she had to say.

Jill’s testimony remains a spiritual marker in my life. As she shared life with Hunter she talked about how each ER visit to them could mean his last. Our situations were different yet I knew that fear she spoke of. How many ER trips we’d endured. Our pede even gave me his personal cell in case I needed it. He had to convince me she was going to live to see her first birthday. When Jill spoke, the grief imploded and I sobbed as she spoke. She was so honest about her past and where her faith was at that moment. Where Jim was at spiritually. Then she shared a verse that was helping her through it all—the therapies, the ER visits, caring for her daughters, encouraging Jim.

 The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deuteronomy 31:8

I grabbed that verse and held on for dear life as we navigated more grief, sickness and change. I followed the headlines as Hunter left this world. I never forgot that verse. As our daughter stabilized I prayed for the Kelly family. I couldn’t even fathom the depth of their grief.

Fast forward and I then read about Jim’s cancer. I lifted up prayers and continued to follow headlines. When I read the cancer came back, I felt my gut drop. I wanted to do something for them, still remembering how Jill’s talk gave me the courage to move forward in faith. How so many great college memories were intertwined with Jim and the Bills. The only thing I could think of was to pray. I wrote one out on the Facebook page, returning that same verse to them in their great time of need.

During this time I saw Erin’s posts on social media. As difficult as her situation was, a young woman already fluent in grief, sharing their journey to encourage others. I saw such a gift in her writing and a maturity in her faith.

And here we are. Kelly Tough is Erin’s account of her life and faith and I want to say more than that, but I’ll wait for my review tomorrow. But for a family I’ve never met, somehow when I read the Kelly name, I always perked up.

And I think I always will.

Sabbath Sunday: Swampy Yard


There are times I think my life looks just like this.

Rain day after day after day after day.

Swampy yard.

Wormy smells.

Does it ever end?

It does.

Remember Job?

He lost everything to the point that his wife begged him to curse God.


His entire view was a swamp. As in all of Earth.

But one day the dove was able to land.

On those days where nothing goes right, all hope seems lost, remember it has purpose. It’s a growing season.

And soon, like my yard, you’ll be in bloom.

Saturday Confession: I’m Just Going to Shake…

It’s a line, or close to it, to Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off.”  I’m not a big fan of hers but I have to say, this one got me. No matter what role I play—mom, ministry worker, author…I get stuff like everyone else. It’s easy to get bogged down with it all.

Enough that we could choose the following when we hear “I’m just going to shake…”

  • Someone’s neck
  • Shake, Shake it off.


I’d love to tell you that every time it’s natural for me to choose to let it go (Hey, another song!) or shake it off.  It’s not. There are times I want to shake necks. Shake my fist and cry. Shake from anger and go with it.

How do I choose not to? Without prayer, I can’t. I’m too much of a justice girl to let stuff roll off me without supernatural help. I’m in constant communication with Jesus. Always talking or thinking about Him. And I’m honest. Boy, I’m honest.

Usually as marriage goes, my husband is in an opposite place as me so he can be a voice of reason as I fight temptation. Well, we’re both weary and ready to shake heads, shoulders, knees and toes (Hey, another song!!) It means I’m running to Jesus. We don’t need to encourage each other to act in the flesh against others, and we definitely don’t want to react that way toward each other.

This isn’t a deep post or one filled with answers and wisdom. It’s a confession. I struggle. I like the Taylor Swift song. I’m a work in progress, especially with the haters.

How about you?

Odyssey Adventure Club: Buck Oliver is Back!


Memorial Day is just around the corner, which means school will be out for the summer! Parents, does that fill you with dread, knowing all you’ll hear for the next few months is, “I’m bored!”? Keep reading because we have a deal for you-one that will only cost you a buck and that will keep your kids safe online while allowing them to have fun and to grow in their relationship with Jesus.

Buck Oliver is back in the latest Adventures in Odyssey album, and to celebrate, you can try the Odyssey Adventure Club for just a buck for your first month. Sign up before May 31st using the promo code BUCK! *This deal only applies to first-time accounts and is good the first month only.

Members receive:
-24/7 streaming access to more than 750 Adventures in Odyssey episodes (a $1500 retail value).
-A new, members-only Adventures in Odyssey episode every month.
-A subscription to Adventures in Odyssey Clubhouse Magazine.
-A web quest of video stories and online activities reflecting the biblical theme of that month’s episode.
-On-the-go access with the OAClub mobile iOS app.
-Growing access to Odyssey books, a daily devotion, access to select Radio Theatre dramas and more.

Additionally, a portion of each Odyssey Adventure Club membership benefits Focus on the Family partner organizations, such as Carry the Cure and Mission Aviation Fellowship, providing parents with an opportunity to teach children about the value of serving others. The Odyssey Adventure Club hopes to spend another 25 years hand-in-hand with parents seeking to teach biblical truth to their children while inspiring the theater of their imagination.
Your favorite Adventures in Odyssey characters are also Taking the Plunge in Album 59 and now you can, too! This summer, dive into your faith and grow closer to God by joining the Adventures in Odyssey Clubhouse Magazine Taking The Plunge Summer Challenge. It includes these simple things:

  • Learn 5 memory verses
  • Get active with 5 family activities together
  • Share God’s love and your faith in 5 different ways

When you commit to the Adventures in Odyssey Clubhouse Magazine Taking The Plunge Summer Challenge, you’ll receive:

  • A promo code for an exclusive Odyssey Adventure Club first month offer (for new members only)
  • Adventures in Odyssey special studio message
  • “Strange Journey Back” book excerpt
  • “Jones and Parker Mysteries” book excerpt

To learn more about the Odyssey Adventure Club, visit, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

 Don’t Forget!! 


And if you loved these books be sure to put your reviews on:




Barnes and Noble

Deeper Shopping


Novel Crossing

Library Thing

Net Galley (if reviewed via ebook)


When you post your reviews on these external sites, it really helps out the author!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

© 2015 Julie Arduini

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑