Thursday, December 01, 2016

Flip Bible Book - great for dining room table!

Candle Day by Day Walk with Jesus: The Story of Jesus Retold in 40 Days
Candle has a new Bible storybook out for children called Day by Day, Walk With Jesus. The subtitle is "Read the story of Jesus in 40 days". There is a table of contents that outlines all 40 stories and the pages where they start. Each day has a key verse, a one-page story, and illustration, and a reflection question or statement. The stories are well told. The graphics are simple, but cute. They offer a wonderful way to let your children meet our savior through stories from  the Bible.

Product Details

Candle also has a New Day by Day Bible. It's actually a flip stand book that could sit on your counter top or table to remind you to read your Bible story each day. There are 365 stories from a combination of the Old Testament and New Testament. Each daily reading is numbered, so you can keep on track if you want to. Each day is titled with a short story that is anywhere from 1 to 4 short paragraphs. A bright picture usually encompasses about half of the page , so the reading in total for each day is probably 2-4 minutes. The words are also somewhat simple, so a 2nd or 3rd grader could probably read the text out loud.

Candle sent me both of these Publications in exchange for my honest review. I think both publications are great. I especially like the flip stand Bible storybook - my 10-year old daughter read it cover to cover in a few days, and my 12-year old son is halfway through it. I would recommend this product for families with children ages 4 to 10.

Glacier National Park in Fiction

Product Details
I’ve never been to Glacier National Park, but I feel like I’ve seen some of it after reading Susan May Warren’s new book, Wild Montana Skies. Wow, what a beautiful place!  I enjoyed the light-hearted story and the way she developed characters and relationships over long spans of time. A little bit of mystery, a little bit of challenges, and a little bit of love – all woven together in a nice package. The storyline is very creative and full of small unexpected twists.  I appreciate the themes of love, forgiveness, hope, healing, faithfulness, and standing up for yourself.  

I would recommend this book to readers age 15+.  It would be a good book to read with a friend or as a mother/daughter, as an opportunity to talk about decisions made throughout the book.

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

If I had judged the stuff by its cover, I probably would not have read it, but now I have discovered that Michael Phillips can really write.  In The Cottage, Phillips paints a wonderful description of the Shetland islands in this new release, and leaves readers wanting to see the beauty of the islands in person. She develops her characters well, she tells a tail full of twists, and she gives readers I wonderful journey to another world via the pages of her books.  

This was actually the second book in the Secrets of Shetlands series, but I didn't feel lost, even though I hadn't read the first book.

I actually shared this book with a friend, and her comments echoed mine.  She said, "I didn't think it was going to be very good, but I actually enjoyed it."

I would recommend this book to female readers age 14 plus and some males will enjoy the book as well. I received this book as a gift from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Tangled Webs by by Irene Hannon

I love finding new authors that can tell a captivating story without giving me sensuality and gore that isn't good for my heart.  I'm excited to say that Irene Hannon appears to be another author for my 'to read' list!

Her book, Tangled Webs, started with a bang, and didn't keep changing until the very end.  It's a light-hearted easy read with well-developed relationships, character struggles, and sweetness.  It's a love story wrapped in suspense. 


From the publisher:
After a disastrous Middle East mission ends his six-year Army Ranger career, Finn McGregor needs some downtime. A peaceful month in the woods sounds like the perfect way to decompress. But peace isn't on the agenda once he crosses paths with publishing executive Dana Lewis, a neighbor who is nursing wounds of her own. Someone seems bent on disrupting her stay in the lakeside cabin she inherited from her grandfather. As Finn and Dana work together to discover who is behind the disquieting pranks, the incidents begin to take on a menacing tone. And when it becomes apparent Dana's foe may have deadly intent, Finn finds himself back in the thick of the action--ready or not. Bestselling author and three-time RITA Award winner Irene Hannon draws readers into a web of psychological suspense where danger lurks in dark corners . . . and keeps them captive until the very last page.

I would recommend this for readers age 15+. Because of the love story, I think this will lean more towards a female audience.  I received the book as a gift from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.  The book is part of Hannon's Men of Valor series, so I look forward to reading the other books in the series.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Mammoth Cave from a different perspective

Guide Me Home

I loved visiting Mammoth Cave with my hubby just before we had baby #3, so I was thrilled to stumble upon a novel about the Mammoth Cave area.  Guide Me Home, written by Kim Vogel Sawyer, is a delightful novel set in the early 1900s.  It's a great look at the culture of the times, from family ties to family responsibilities, to the dichotomy between rich/poor and educated/uneducated, to gender roles. It delves into the issues of guilt, forgiveness,  independence, rebellion, faith, hope and salvation.  I judged the book by it's cover, which wasn't very appealing, and almost set it aside. But I was immediately drawn into the story when I started reading. Very well-developed characters, beautiful descriptions of the cave/grounds, well thought-out plot, just enjoyable all the way around.  I also appreciate Sawyer's well-researched descriptions of the cave and it's surroundings - it makes me want to visit again and learn more about the cave!

From the publisher:  "Working as a guide in Mammoth Cave might allow Rebekah the chance to bring joy back to her family. But will the cave claim more than it gives? After tragedy leaves its mark on Rebekah Hardin’s family, she plans to help her parents and six siblings honor her beloved brother’s memory and alleviate their poverty by working as a guide in the dangerous cave system. Kentucky’s renowned Mammoth Cave presents profitable opportunities for hardworking, capable men. But Rebekah is determined and if it means presenting herself as a himself, then she’s up to the job.  Under the wing of experienced guide Tolly Sanford, “Reb” begins to learn the complexities of the cave. The two are joined by an aspiring young cartographer, Devlin Bale. The university student has traveled to the hill country to map tunnels—not to fall for a girl in disguise. Can the God who designed miles of underground astonishment shape Devlin’s ambitious plans and free Reb from the weight of her past?"    

This is the first book of Sawyer's that I have read, and I look forward to reading more!

Thanks to the publisher for inviting me to be a reviewer of this book.  I appreciate sharing my honest review.

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.