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New novel by Kim Vogel Sawyer

I enjoyed reading Grace and the Preacherby Kim Vogel Sawyer this week. The characters were unique and well-developed.  Several themes were woven throughout the book including:  deceit vs. honestythe connectedness of small town communitiesthe impact of loving role models that invest in other people's livesthe power of the gospel and the Bible to change peoplegiven family vs. a family that embraces you and molds you
I would recommend the book to any reader age 15+, but probably more for women and girls. It would be a good mother-daughter book, because there are so many character lessons available to discuss together.
I received this book as a gift from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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Other readers have compared Miller's writing to Jane Austen, and I think that's probably a good description. The characters are very well developed.

It was a slow read for me, yet charming, sweet and full of raw emotions. It's the story of characters finding true love, aside from family and societal expectations. It's the story of forgiveness and acceptance. It's the story of true and deep beauty in contrast to harsh and selfish hearts. It's the story of humility and learning to serve people in the depths of despair.  One of these themes is sure to challenge each person that reads this book.

Though her writing is very good, it's not a book I can recommend to everyone. It's clean and appropriate, but it's a book that takes dedication to read.  It's not long, but it took me two weeks to read it - I wasn't sucked into the story like many of the authors I love.  But for someone that likes classic literature, this will be an enjoyable book.

I r…

Favorite Political Fiction Author

Joel C. Rosenberg is an amazing author - I love his political action and suspense novels. His newest novel, Without Warning, doesn't disappoint.  From the first chapter, the main characters keep running, chasing, discovering, deepening, and seeking justice. 

The author definitely does his research! Even though I know it's fiction, Rosenberg's writing gives me a glimpse into world politics, and helps me to understand current events.

This is the third and final installment in the J.B. Collins series.  I haven't read the first two books in the series, but I didn't feel lost in the story.

I was captivated by the story, and I didn't want to put the book down. When I finished the book, I immediately handed it to my 15 year old son, who devoured it in just a few days. 

I would recommend this to male and female readers age 15+. Younger readers might need access to the internet or a friend who can educate them on political acronyms.

I received this book as a gift from the pu…

A Novel of the Great Depression

A Trail of Crumbs A Novel of the Great Depression By Susie Finkbeiner
Set in the great Depression, this novel is about the ups and downs of life. Themes include hope vs. despair, persevering vs. giving up, light vs. darkness, acceptance vs. rejection, and friendship . isolation.  It is a sad story, but rich with emotions. Finkbeiner has done a very good job with developing her characters - you can feel their every struggle.  it is an interesting peek into history.
It's a heavy read - not a beach read. It's not for readers who want light-hearted fiction. But if you want to sink into another time, another place, another family, and another era of history, you might enjoy reading and pondering over this book.
I would recommend this book for male and female readers age 15+.  It would be a very good book for a book club that is interested in historical fiction.
I received this book as a gift from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

words and art combine to make this beautiful devotional coloring book

Images of Grace: An Inspirational Coloring Book by Jacqui Grace

I love this little devotional coloring book. The illustrations are beautiful and whimsical. The devotions are well-written, encouraging, uplifting, and challenging. The four weeks of devotions are short - only one page - and very easy to read. I love the idea of pondering God's truth while coloring an illustration inspired by a verse, and I know other readers will want to spend time reflecting on the devotion while coloring.   Each week has a different them related to grace: knowing who you are, intimacy with God, when life gets tough, and now this is living.  Each week ends with discussion questions or individuals or groups. I would recommend this coloring book to women ages 15+. I can't wait to share this with ladies in my life!  I received this book as a gift from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Must Read for Parents!

QuickTips for Busy Families by Jay Payleitner
The subtitle says it all - there are 144 ideas to 'Bring Out the Best in Your Kids--and Yourself!'.  This book is filled to the brim with great parenting advice.  It's not so much philosophy of parenting, but more about embracing the daily moments with your children. The ideas will help you be intentional with building relationships that are well poised to make a positie impact on your children. most of the tips are short and to the point - 1 page, maybe two. They range from responsibility to kindness/compassion, to discipline, to teachable moments, to safety, to boundaries, to accepting help.  There really is something for every parent. Read it with a friend or with your spouse, and share your favorite ideas. Prepare to dog-ear pages or take notes. And I'm sure you'll find youself sharing payleitner's tips with your friends.  I'm grateful that the publisher asked me to review this book, and in exchange, I've…

Tennessee

I asked my students to write poems about their home state of Tennessee today, and when I realized they were struggling, I decided to write one with them.

From the trickling creeks to the raging rivers, From the mountain peaks to the valleys below, From the rolling hills to the acres of lush farmland, From the sprinkling rain to the lashing thunderstorms, From the thick forests to the wide open spaces, From the city delights to the peace of the quaint countryside, From skyscrapers to tiny cabins, From vibrant green leaves to a blanket of colorful leaves, From the winter snows to the summer warmth, This is the land I love, Filled with the people I love. I’m grateful to call this beautiful Tennessee home.