Monday, October 17, 2016

From Mike Nappa - The Raven

My read during our trip to Arizona this week was The Raven, a new release from Mike Nappa. This book was slow to start, but eventually intriguing.  It’s an interesting look at business and politics explored through the lens of a magician and 2 detectives.  It’s also a long and deep look at bitterness and revenge.  One of the main characters, The Raven, is pretty quirky.  I almost put the book down because he drove me a little crazy at the beginning of the book.  But there is development of the character as well as redemption, as the story unfolds.

It's written in a time lapse format, starting in the present, then backtracking before going forward in the book again.  It's narrated by several different characters.  Parts are violent, but not too graphic.  The story does have elements of suspense and several good twists.

From the publisher:  "As part of his regular street performance, a deception specialist who goes by the name The Raven picks his audience's pockets while they watch. It's harmless fun--until he decides to keep the spare wallet a city councilman doesn't seem to miss, hoping for a few extra bucks. When he finds not money but compromising photos of the councilman and his "personal assistants," The Raven hatches a plan to blackmail the man. However, he quickly finds himself in over his head with the Ukrainian Mafia and mired in a life-threatening plot code-named, "Nevermore."  Private investigators Trudi Coffey and Samuel Hill must scramble to sort out the clues--and their complicated feelings for each other--to rescue The Raven and save hundreds of lives from a wildcard bent on revenge."

I would recommend this book to male and female readers age 15+.  I received this book as a gift from the publisher, so I am sharing my honest review.

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

New author to enjoy - Johnnie Alexander

When Love Arrives

by Johnnie Alexander

Enjoyable novel - fresh ideas, well-written and easy to read.  It's an easy novel to fall into - the characters are well-developed and the plot is very unique.  Readers will enjoy the story line, the glimpses into time's past, and the redeeming story of twisted characters.

From the publisher:  "Dani had planned to spy on Brett--so how did she end up on a date with him? Dani Prescott can't believe the lie Brett Somers is trying to sell to the media. During an interview about the plane crash that killed his parents, he blamed Dani's mother. But the crash killed her as well. Vowing to restore her mother's reputation, Dani has been following Brett and taking photos, hoping to find something she can use to discredit him. But when she catches his eye instead, she quickly finds herself agreeing to a date. Brett knows this mystery girl is hiding something--but he's got his own secrets to keep. What will happen when he discovers who she really is?"

The book presents a good opportunity for readers to reflect on family, fame, fortune, relationships, forgiveness, and values.  I would recommend this book to ladies age 18+.

I received this book as a gift from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

365 pocket prayers

Product Details

365 pocket morning prayers is subtitled strength and joy to begin each day. It is just that. 365 short but powerful reflections on scripture.

​  You'll find topics ranging from accountability, to forgiveness, to competition, to contentment to loneliness, to God's care, to motives.  I laughed when I saw multiplication in the concordance, because my daughter has been spending so much time learning her multiplication tables.  But I think they mean a different kind of multiplication.   :)  

​Each of the daily entries contains a title and an action, such as "A prayer about God's leading: Remembering the Past" or "A prayer about restraint: controlling my temper." Then there is a prayer to read, reflect upon and pray. Then there is a related scripture that you an meditate on or memorize.

The opening reflection of the prayer book talks about prayer as a privilege, the personal relationship that is nurtured by prayer, and the power of prayer.​
​I would recommend this to any believer that wants to grow his faith, especially his prayer life.  Youth or adults, male or female.

​Disclaimer: I received this book as a gift from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.​

Monday, September 12, 2016

new ice cream to try!

Mom filled the freezer with Mayfield ice cream when we went home for the weekend.  The first one I tried was a total score!

It's my new favorite ice cream to get from the grocery store.  I can't wait to try it again!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

This Road We Traveled by Jane Kirkpatrick

In This Road We TraveledJane Kirkpatrick transports her readers across the country in this historical fiction novel. It's not a long book, but it's not a quick read.  She is so attentive to detail and she writes about many complex characters.  You can feel the struggle to survive as families work together to navigate their way to newly settled Oregon.  You can feel their struggles with faith, fear, courage, hope and trust.  You can feel the bonds and the weaknesses among family members.  You can feel the intensity of emotions as characters work through  loss, forgiveness, sacrifice, and hopelessness.  You can feel the strength that people can muster when they have a vision, resourcefulness, a foundation of faith, determination, and a support system. 

From the publisher:  Tabitha Brown refuses to be left behind in Missouri when her son makes the decision to strike out for Oregon--even if she has to hire her own wagon to join the party. After all, family ties are stronger than fear. Along with her reluctant daughter and her ever-hopeful granddaughter, the intrepid Tabitha has her misgivings. The trials they face along the way will severely test her faith, courage, and ability to hope. With her family's survival on the line, she must make the ultimate sacrifice, plunging deeper into the wilderness to seek aid. What she couldn't know was how this frightening journey would impact how she understood her own life--and the greater part she had to play in history.

Kirkpatrick did an extraordinary amount of research to learn about Tabby's family and their journey to the wild west.  I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy historical fiction, and have the discipline to persevere through a book.

I received this book as a gift from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

A Book About Me!

This is a very cute and clever fill-in-the-blank and fill-in-the-picture book for children. 

From the publisher: "Inventive, hilarious and joyously colorful, this fill-in journal was designed to help kids capture nearly everything that’s uniquely rad about them. With design-savvy, yet completely kid-friendly illustrations, they’re asked to draw or write about a bunch of interesting things — like what their hair looks like, what their band name would be, what they’d bring to outer space, and how they feel about lightning, lizards and pickles. There may or may not be a place for super-secret stuff inside the book jacket. Whether kids complete their entire compendium on a rainy day, or finish it over a year, it’ll become a treasure to look back on and smile."

I love the huge scope of questions that they ask from funny jokes, to favorite clothes, to spy names, to what I wish was in my refrigerator.

They encourage dreaming with question such as, "If I had a shop, it would be called ___ , and we would sell____".

They encourage physical activity with challenges such as: "number of jumping jacks i can do before i get tired."

There is even a little math on the "I am __ inches tall" page!

Great book for kids who enjoy (or need to practice!) reflection questions and writing. I would recommend this for 2nd-6th grade boys and girls.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Historical Fiction with a Challenge

A Heart Most Certain by Melissa Jagger's. I've never read a book like this. It was a very creative historical novel set in 1905 in the town of Teaville in Southeast Kansas.

The publisher describes the book this way:  "While Lydia King's reasons for joining the Teaville Moral Society might be suspect to some members, her heart is in the right place. Because of her father's debts and her mother's persistent illness, her best chance at a secure future and curing her mother is to impress the politician courting her. Her first task--to ask the town's wealthiest man to donate--seems simple enough . . . until he refuses.  Despite appearances, Nicholas Lowe wants to help others, but prefers to keep his charity private. When Lydia proves persistent, they agree to a bargain, but Nicholas still intends to do things his own way. Neither predicts what they'll learn about true charity or foresee the complications their actions will bring to the town, forcing Lydia to decide where her beliefs and heart truly align."

I like the questions the author poses about church. Should Christians be biased judges of sin? Or should we be willing to get our hands dirty and go meet the people that are hurting, and help them change their ways under God's love and God's power. She also challenges the notion of doing God's work in our own power/knowledge vs. taking time to be filled with God's word and God's spirit before we go do God's work. She also challenges views on marriage - should you marry for money or marry someone with a similar passions for life?

The characters are very well developed and it's easy to get lost in their story. You can feel their fears and aspire to their dreams.  Best of all, perhaps, readers will learn and be inspired as they read.

I look forward to reading more of her books. I would recommend this book to women age 16 plus. there is no inappropriate content, but I recommend for later reading age because of prostitutes in the story.

I received this book as a gift from the publisher in exchange for my honest review

Montana Historical Fiction

A Beauty Refined (Sapphire Brides)

A beauty defined, a new novel by Tracie Peterson, 
has a very unique storyline, set in 1907 in Helena, Montana, as the main characters travel from Germany on business.  With every chapter, another layer of family deceit​ unfolds for Phoebe Von Bergen and she build another layer of courage to face the changes unfolding.  Part coming of age, part mystery, part love story, readers are sure to get blissfully and curiously lost in the moving story.

I appreciated the character struggles of honesty vs. harm, loyalty vs. deceit, love vs. fear, anger vs. self-control and independence vs. heritage.

​This is the second book in the Sapphire Bride series, but I never one felt left behind, even though I didn't read the first book in the series.​

I would recommend this book for ladies age 14 and older. There is no inappropriate content, but the violence in the book ​can be emotional to read.

I received this book as a gift from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

a book for birthdays!

Happy Birthday to You!

Aug 23, 2016
by Michelle Medlock Adams and Sandra Rodriguez

My 17m old son loves reading this book because of the Happy Birthday tune that it plays.

My 9year old daughter likes reading it to hiim because of the colorful and celebratory pictures.

I love the idea that it teaches young children important lessons about birthday parties, such a welcoming guests, honoring them, taking turns during games, making wishes before blowing out candles, being grateful for presents, and saying cheerful goodbyes. It;s not an educational book per se, but the illustrations and words give parents a natural opportunity to teach these lessons. I also love that the book closes with the mention of prayer and celebrating your child for who he is.  And there is a photo pocket that will hold a picture of the birthday boy or girl.  Finally, the reader can push the song button to hear the traditional birthday song played on the piano with flair, before joyful voices proclaim, "Happy Birthday!"

I would  recommend this book for children ages 4 and under.

I received this book as a gift from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Choosing to be Grateful!

With an increasingly self-focused and selfish culture, it's important to practice gratitude and encourage others to be grateful for the many gifts God has given us.

Tyndale Publishers has just produced a tool to inspire gratitude: Gratitude: A Prayer and Praise Coloring Journal.  

It's filled with prayers, scriptures, quotes, reflection questions that are certain to inspire thoughtfulness and gratitude.  The art is lovely and eye-catching with plenty of space to doodle, draw, write and color.

Here are a few samples of the art and the reflection questions.

I would recommend this book to Christian readers age 12+.  It would be a great book for mothers and daughters to go through at the same time.

I received this book as a gift from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, August 19, 2016

What should I feed this little munchkin?

If you have ever had questions about feeding a baby or toddler, then I have a book that you need to read!  Since we are raising child #4, you can bet that I've asked my share of questions such as:  Is he eating enough? How much milk does he need each day? How can I get my picky eater to make better choices? Which foods should I avoid? Do you think he could be allergic?

The Pediatrician's Guide to Feeding Babies and Toddlers by Anthony Porto, MD, and Dina DiMaggio, MD. is a wonderful resource for parents!  The subtitle says it all:  "Practical Answers To Your Questions on Nutrition, Starting Solids, Allergies, Picky Eating, and More"

The book is divided into these categories:
chapter for each developmental stage: 0 to 3 months, 4 to 6 months, 7 to 8 months, 9 to 12 months, the toddlers years, each stage contains milestones, nutritional guidelines, growth patterns, medical concerns, and healthy recipes.
common medical conditions and resources
nutrition tables
growth monitoring
allergy tips
helpful websites

It's probably not a book that you will sit down to read cover to cover in a week.  It's more of a resource that you will use as your baby/toddler progresses from one stage to another.  You'll pick it up to read before the baby is born, as he starts eating solids, as he turns 1, as he starts to potty train...  Or when you are facing a struggle related to eating, such as allergies, vomiting, growth patterns constipation..  It's a book that you will find yourself reviewing again and again, searching for answers to the nagging questions that swirl around in our heads about the thriving of our little munchkins.

This is a fantastic resource that I would recommend to every caregiver.  I received this book as a gift from the publisher in exchange for my honest review, and it is a book that I will recommend often.  I'm even going to share my copy with my pediatrician!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

great book for young children!

This is an adorable hardback book for babies, toddlers and young children with bright cheerful pictures and a wonderful messages that every child needs to hear. 

The author talks about how God made each of us uniquely with a plan in mind.  He made our bodies just the way they are.  He knew what would make each of us smile.  He gave each of us a propensity for brightening others’ days through silliness, gentleness, kindness and love. He made our minds, thoughts, and dreams . He gave us each unique gifts and talents to fit his plans for us. 

She closes with one of my favorite scriptures:  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11 NIV.

I would recommend this book for any family with a young child or children.  And I would encourage you to read it to children often!

I was delighted to review this book from  Worthy Kids ideals.  I received the book as a gift in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Christian Fiction by Mike Dellosso

Kill Devil (Jed Patrick)
I just read Kill Devil by Mike Delosso, a new fiction author for me.  This was the 2nd book in his Jed Patrick series, but I was able to read it as a stand alone book without reading book #1.

It was a good suspense and adventure novel that reminded me of the Bourne books/movies.  But it also has messages of faith woven throughout the book, primarily in conversations/reflections with Patrick's young daughter.  The reminders of God's presence and comfort through trials is a message we all need to hear!  But there are also disturbing scenes of psychological torture and hearing voices.  I enjoyed most of the book, but could have done without some of the more disturbing elements.

From the publisher: "Jed Patrick is convinced he’s doing all it takes to keep his family safe―new names, new location, new identity. But just when he thinks he finally has his life back, trained men claiming to be CIA agents break in and threaten his wife and daughter, proving once and for all his family will never truly be safe until he eliminates the agency dead set on hunting him down. Not knowing if Karen and Lilly are better off by his side or in hiding, Jed is determined to protect them while finding a way to use the classified information that he possesses to dismantle the Centralia Project. But he soon learns that eliminating Centralia may require compromising his own values. As danger escalates, Jed isn’t sure whether there’s anyone or anything he can trust―including his own senses."

I would recommend this book to male and female readers age 15 or older.

I received this book as a gift from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Delilah - a fictional account by Angela Hunt

This is another book that's hard to put down.  It's a fictional account of the biblical narrative of Samson and Delilah.  Told from the perspective of both main characters, the reader gets to peek into the culture and life of Bible times.

From the publisher:  "Life is not easy in Philistia, especially not for a woman and child alone. When beautiful, wounded Delilah finds herself begging for food to survive, she resolves that she will find a way to defeat all the men who have taken advantage of her. She will overcome the roadblocks life has set before her, and she will find riches and victory for herself. When she meets a legendary man called Samson, she senses that in him lies the means for her victory. By winning, seducing, and betraying the hero of the Hebrews, she will attain a position of national prominence. After all, she is beautiful, she is charming, and she is smart. No man, not even a supernaturally gifted strongman, can best her in a war of wits."

Hunt is a very good author.  Her storylines are interesting and easy to follow.  Themes throughout the book remind the reader of God's providence, God's protection, God's faithfulness, God's calling for our lives, God's forgiveness, and God's presence.

I would recommend this book to readers over age 16, because there are some graphic scenes and some sexual innuendos. There is also sexual and physical abuse.

This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.