Saturday, December 9, 2017

His Frontier Christmas Family

His Frontier Christmas Family
Frontier Bachelors #7
Regina Scott
34889575
Every single man in Callie's life has abandoned her or broken a promise. Now she's left caring for her younger siblings and her little orphan niece. When a minister named Levi shows up claiming to be her brother's friend and niece's guardian, she's scared. But with no other options, she joins him at his home for Christmas. When strange things start happening, Levi must confront his past and help solve the mystery before Callie is taken from him.

This was a nice addition to the series. I've read book 5 and 6 so I had a little idea of the concept of the town the families were creating and how Levi fit into the story. I don't really think it works well as a stand-alone. I would recommend starting from the beginning. I enjoyed the plot and the little bit of suspense the author wove into the story. I had a hard time connecting to the main characters, but the children stole the show. Overall, this was a fun story, but not my favorite by this author.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Brides of Minnesota

Brides of Minnesota
Lena Nelson Dooley
34733819
A Swedish family settles in Minnesota and helps settle the town. The brother's find love in unexpected ways as they navigate their new country. Three novellas written by one author are all written about the same family and town, but can be read as stand-alone stories. Each story focuses on one couple and their journey to love. The author weaves in elements of faith and romance to bring together a sweet book that will be enjoyed by readers of clean, historical fiction.

I really enjoyed this book. I've read a couple other novellas that included stories by this author, but this was the first entire book I'd read by her. I really enjoyed her writing style and look forward to reading more of her books. I think these stories, or at least one of them, was pulled from a previous book. Each story was well written and had intertwining characters that stood out and had depth. I would recommend this book if you enjoy clean romance and sweet plots.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Christmas Ranch Rescue

Christmas Ranch Rescue
Wrangler's Corner #5
Lynette Eason and Lauryn Eason
34889586
 Nathan, a DEA agent, is being sent back home to investigate his friend, a girl he'd been in love with, for drug trafficking. He can't imagine that she's involved. He also hopes to reconnect with his family, especially his father. But when Becca witnesses a murder and become a target, he needs to protect her and find the killer before she's murdered as well.

This was a fast paced story that started out with a major scene and didn't really let up the entire book. There is a strong sense of faith and family woven into the story along with elements of romance. I've only read one other book in this series, but that didn't detract from my enjoyment and I didn't feel like I was missing anything. Although I definitely plan on going back and reading the others books to catch up. The author left some openings for other characters to have their own story. I loved how she tied everything up in the end. Overall, this was a great story and I look forward to reading the next one.
 
I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Covert Kisses

Covert Kisses
Sons of Stillwater #1
Jane Godman
32336086
A gorgeous woman washes up on Cameron’s private beach. While that is unusual itself, she is a twin to his girlfriend who passed away last year. What Cameron doesn’t realize is that the woman is Laurie, his late girlfriends cousin sent to investigate him for trafficking. When someone tries to kill Laurie, Cameron realizes that he cares for Laurie’s as her own person and not because she reminds him of the past. 

I enjoyed the story. It moved quickly, had romantic and suspenseful elements, and also some twists. The plot felt rushed and the two main characters were the only ones who felt real to me. I think this could have had a little more depth. But overall, it was a fun romantic suspense and I’m willing to try the 2nd book in the series. 

I received a copy of this book from Goodreads. All thoughts expressed are my own. 

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Calico and Cowboys Romance Collection

The Calico and Cowboys Romance Collection
Mary Connealy
34733833
The author has written eight novellas that are full of lighthearted adventure in the Old West. Each story is a stand-alone, but I have read some of the stories in other anthologies or they were a part of a previously read series. The ones that belonged to the series were using secondary characters that needed their own story, but it wasn't enough to make into a whole book. They all tied together by using one family as the main theme throughout. Even the one story that was contemporary had the Hardin family in its family tree. Each story was sweet, romantic, clean, historical, amusing, and faith based. While I enjoyed all of them, since I love this author, I did have a couple of favorites. His Surprise Family and and Hope for Christmas were my two favorites.

This author does a great job of setting the scene so that the reader feels a part of what is happening. Each story is all about romance, but there is some intrigue and drama as well. And each story has family and faith at the very heart. While faith is a very strong element, the reader doesn't feel preached to. The faith is a part of the characters and their lives. So while the characters are flawed, they are authentic and relatable. I really enjoy reading this author's books and can't wait for the next one.
I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

The Second Chance Bride Collection

The Second Chance Bride Collection
Lauralee Bliss, Liz Tolsma, Pam Hillman, Pamela Griffin, Laura Hilton, 
Angela Breidenback Tiffany Stockton, Grace Hitchcock, Romona Cecil
33216274

Nine brides are given a second chance at love in these nine short stories. Each story is written by a different author and is tied with the other stories by the theme of second chances, faith, Love, and family. Each novella showcases the individual authors writing style and gives you a glimpse into what a full length would be like. The stories are perfect for when you only have a short time to read and want to get lost in romance and sweet plots. I enjoyed all of the stories, although a couple were my favorites.

If you enjoy clean romance, stories about redemption and second chances, and finding new authors, than you’ll love this book. It would also make an excellent gift for the bookworm in your life.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Santa's Kitty Helpers

Santa's Kitty Helpers
Kayomi Harai
35320471
The holiday season is here. And what better way to wind down and relax than to color these adorable pictures of kittens and Christmas. Each page is perforated. The coloring page is on one side. The other side is quote, space for writing, and the name of the picture. The back page has some inspiration pages to show how the page might be colored. The lines are clean and detailed.  

I really enjoyed this book. The pages were more detailed than I expected. But they are still simple enough that my children enjoyed coloring with me. The book is the right size for coloring and the pages bend well. They are also thick which means that my markers didn't bleed or ghost. This is a great book to get for the holiday season when the family has some down time.

I received a copy of this book from Fox Chapel Publishing. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Tokyo Street Style

Tokyo Stree Style 
A Coloring Book
Lise Sukhu

The book is eye catching with a bright, colorful cover and a thick bendable cover with a band to keep it closed when not in use. There is a bookmark and prints on each page. The pages are not perforated. Most of the designs are about clothing and street style, but some scenery designs are also included.

I liked the diversity of the designs and the thick,  non-bleed pages. I would have preferred smaller designs; some of the pages had quite a bit of white space. My daughter who also loves coloring books took one look through it and fell in love. She actually liked the extra white space so she could add her own elements. Overall, this is a fun little coloring book that enthusiasts will enjoy.

I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books. All thoughts expressed are my own. 

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Holiday Secrets

Holiday Secrets
McKade Law #1
Susan Sleeman
34889588
Gavin, an FBI agent, is in town to see his ex-girlfriend, Lexie, about a case he's working on. Unfortunately for both of them it involves her father. When things go south, Gavin is forced to work with his bull headed father, a sheriff, if either of them have a hope of solving who is out to kill Lexie.

This author writes a dramatic and suspenseful novel. The plot starts out with shooting, intrigue, and drama. Explosions, murder, and horses all mix together to create a cowboy style romance that is full of tense moments and sweet encounters. This is the first book in a new series by the author and she's definitely set the stage well. I loved the chemestry between the two main characters. I also liked how she portrayed a flawed, but loving family. The message of faith is subtly woven throughout the story, creating a seamless message of hope and forgiveness during difficult times.The secondary characters all had depth and their own personalities, so it's easy to see how this can become a series with everyone playing a part. I can't wait to see who the next main character is going to be.

I received a copy of this book. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

You're Gonna Love Me

You're Gonna Love Me
Robin Lee Hatcher
34460574
Samantha needs everything to be perfect and safe. She knows her insecurities stem from the skiing accident that killed her father, but she can't seem to let go of her fears. She even breaks up with a boyfriend because he's too much of a daredevil. When he fails to respond to her apology, she writes him off and moves on. Two years later she temporarily moves to Thunder Creek, Idaho to care for her grandmother. She can't believe it when she meets Nick, the old boyfriend. And the story of why he never responded is almost unbelievable. Can Samantha let go of her perfectly crafted life and fears to experience the joy God wants for her?

I really enjoy this author so was excited to grab this newest book. Isn't the cover darling?! This is part of a series, but works well as a stand alone. I haven't been able to read the first book, and didn't feel lost. However, I definitely plan on going back and reading it. I loved the messages of love, family, forgiveness, and trust that the author wove into the story. The romance between the couples was sweet and fit well with the plot. The author wove faith and romance together well and I loved the sweet ending. Looking forward to reading more of her books.

I received a copy of this book. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Planes, Canes, and Automobiles

Planes, Canes, and Automobiles
Connecting With Your Aging Parents Through Travel
Valerie M. Grubb
25246072
The author began her journey of travel as a young child. But the story really began when her father passed away without taking a trip he'd always talked about. So she decided that this wouldn't happen with her mother. Thus begins her experiences with traveling with her elderly mother. There is advice on everything from packing, staying healthy, easing back into regular life, and how to keep the relationship great while spending so much time together. There are three appendix that include resources, packing lists, and itineraries.

While not a memoir or story, the book is filled with little stories and thoughts from the author that make it fun and entertaining to read. The writing was easy to read and often funny. But despite the humor, the author did a great job of covering everything I could think of and more about traveling with an elderly family member. Since my parents are senors this really hit home for me and was so informative. I would definitely recommend this book if you love to travel and want to spend time with your aging parents.

I received a copy of this book from Goodreads. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Monday, November 27, 2017

The Captive Brides Collection

The Captive Brides Collection
Susan Page Davis, Jennifer AlLee, Cynthia Hickey, Darlene Franklin, 
Angela Breidenbach, Patty Hall, Lucy Thompson, Carrie Pagels, Gina Wellborn
34380830
Nine authors have written historical novellas that all center around the theme of captivity or servant type relationships. Each story is a stand-alone and only ties in with the others by the topic of captivity. Each author brings her own personal style of writing to the book and offers a great opportunity to discover a new author or catch a short story by a favorite author.

I really enjoyed these stories. Some were better than others, but all of them fit well together. I love the chance to pick up the book and read a short story, but not have to be lost if I can't get back to the book quickly. Each story brings faith, clean romance, and flawed, but good relationships to create a sweet, romantic stories that lovers of historical fiction will fall in love with.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Cute Christmas

Cute Christmas
Holiday Coloring Book
Jenny Newland and William Vanderdasson
35320470
Feeling stressed during the holidays? Grab an adorable coloring book and relax. Baby animals are the theme for this cute Christmas coloring book. Each page is perforated and the coloring page is on one side and a quote, space for writing, and picture title on the other page. Each page has detail, but is simple enough for a child to enjoy.

I liked the cute theme and the layout of the book. The artists did a great job of making the title a reality. I also really enjoyed the quotes on the back of each page. I prefer a little more detail personally, but both of my kids loved the coloring pages and couldn't wait to get started.

I received a copy of this book from Fox Chapel Publishing. All thoughts expressed are my own.

72 Inspiring Bible Verses

72 Inspiring Bible Verses
Soren Michael
35805026
The author was asked by a friend to provide some encouraging Bible verses during a time of struggles. The friend was appreciative and so the author decided to share these verses with others. There are 10 topics and 72 verses that cover a wide range of needs. 

I love the cover. The book is well put together and I think would make an excellent gift for that friend who needs that extra dose of encouragement. It would also be a great addition to any home library for a quick reference when you need that extra dose of inspiration and love from God.

I received a copy of this book from Goodreads. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Christmas Paper Crafting

Christmas Paper Crafting
Holiday Cards, Gift Tags, and More
35639353
This is a Christmas crafters dream. Six projects can be accomplished with all of the crafting materials. But the sky is the limit with the pages of cards, scrapbook paper, gift tags, bookmarks, and more. The colors are festive, the graphics are a mix of old and new that blend well together. The book begins with several informational pages and instructions on how to make envelopes or add embellishments. The paper is all card stock thickness. My only complaint would be that every page has another design element on the back side. So it isn't possible to use each page for something different. Overall, this is a wonderful book for the crafter in your family. It is full of tons of possibilities and pages for making Christmas special.

I received a copy of this book from Fox Chapel Publishing. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

I Love a Book

I Love a Book
Joe Rhatigan
34523852
Books are amazing and magical things that open the world of imagination and learning. Join the young reader as he learns about history and sharks and cows in trees. Find out why books are so awesome. Fall in love with literature just like the young boy in this spectacular book about reading.

The hardback book has large, colorful, glossy pages that are completely filled with amazing illustrations. I am in love with the artwork. My children were equally enthralled. The words are lyrical and remind me a little of the Dr. Seuss "Oh, the Places You'll Go". This would be an excellent addition to any library, either for home or school. It has a bedtime story slant, making it perfect to read to my daughter right before bed. This is now a family favorite that we will be adding to our own library.

I received a copy of this book from The Quatro Group. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Friday, November 17, 2017

The Austen Escape

The Austen Escape
Katherine Reay
34460584
Mary likes her life all wrapped up neatly and orderly. She works for an amazing engineering firm, although recently work hasn't been great. She has a good relationship with her dad and loves helping him with his business. But when he puts pressure on her to accept a trip from her estranged child hood friend, she isn't feeling very grateful. Once on the trip, life takes some turns that Mary never expected. She learns to open up and let go, things that haven't been a part of her in the past.

This novel has 3 main characters that play a huge part in the story. But the secondary characters are just as strong and really add to the depth. This was what I'd call a thinking book. It has a great plot that didn't go where I expected it, and some amazing lines. The characters were authentic and deep. But the best part for me was the emotional and mental changes the author took the character Mary through in her journey back in time as she experienced the trip with her friend. While the romance isn't strong and it took me a while to get the chemistry between both couples, it really wasn't a huge part of the story for me, so I wasn't disappointed. I finished the book liking it way more than when I was about half way through. There is something captivating about it that I just can't put into words. If you are a fan of Austen or love contemporary stories with unusual plots than you'll love this book.

I received a copy of this book. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

30 Days to Peace

30 Days to Peace
A One-Month Creative Journal
Take a step back and relax with this inspirational journal. Each day begins with an inspiring quote. Quite a few are from scripture, but the editor also added ones from well known people, such as Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa. On the next page is a prompt for either something to journal, draw or contemplate. The pages have faint designs, but the main part of the page is left blank. There are no wrong answers or ways to use the book. The designs can be colored or left as is. The prompts are only suggestions. The point of the book is to spend some quiet time gaining peace and relaxation.

I love the concept. The layout is well done and fosters creativity. The book is smaller and hardback so would fit perfectly in a bookbag or purse for use when you have a few spare moments or need a second of calm. The prompts are clear enough to give some ideas, and not so vague that the reader is left with no concrete thoughts. I'm going to use the journal myself, but also think it would make an excellent gift, especially the advent season.

I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

My Fair Lord

My Fair Lord#1
Once Upon a Bride
Wilma Counts
35704304
Henrietta has turned down quite a few proposals. She knows the men are in love with her wealth and not her. Because of this, she assumes she'll never marry. When her stepsister goads her in to accepting a dare, she heads to the docks to choose a man that she can change into a gentleman to win the bet. If she loses, she'll lose her beloved horse. But she doesn't realize that Jake is not an ordinary dock worker. He's undercover for his country and now must play the part of a low born dock worker when in his natural environment. It just might be the act of a lifetime.

This was such a fun and entertaining story. The characters fit well with each other. There were some slightly suspenseful moments, humor, and sweet romance. There are a couple of "bedroom scenes", but the book is mainly about the interactions of the main female character and her family and the man she's training to be a gentleman. The story ended well, but left an opening for the next book in the series. I thought the author wrote a great romance and I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Dangerous Illusions

Dangerous Illusions
Code of Honor #1
Irene Hannon
34020275
Trish is overwhelmed with the deaths of her father and husband and helping her mother who is now disabled from the accident that killed their spouses. She's starting to forget some of the simplest things. But when a death is attributed to her forgetfulness, she will need the help of Detective Colin Flynn to sort out the strange occurrences that are happening all around her. 

This story was intriguing from the very beginning. The chemistry between the couples was sweet and clean. I enjoyed how the author portrayed friendships and loyalty. The book was full of suspense and twists. There was one that, despite clues, I didn't see coming. I'm going to have to go back and read the book now that I know what to look for. The Christian element wasn't strong in this book. It was more of an implied thought than a theme. The romance also took a back burner to the mystery and suspense. If you've read any of the author's other books than you'll know what I mean when I say this one followed her typical formula. But that doesn't mean that I didn't enjoy the book. I enjoyed it immensely and read it all in one evening. If you enjoy suspense and mystery with a touch of faith and romance thrown in, than you'll enjoy another book by this great author.

I received a copy of this book from Revell Reads. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Mail-Order Christmas Baby

Mail-Order Christmas Baby
Montana Courtships #1
Sherri Shackleford
34889572
Sterling, a rancher, is at the train depot to pick up some sheep that he ordered. But there is another package waiting for him. It's addressed to him and a single young lady in town. But who in the world would deliver a baby by train? Especially considering the baby doesn't belong to him or Miss Heather. And too bad that a crowd of people see the note attached to the darling little baby and assume it's Miss Heather's since they share the same beautiful red hair.

This book was so fun to read. It was set historically in a small won in the west and followed all of the things that great stories do - there was marriage, adorable children, a "bad" guy out to ruin them, faith, and family. The author really brought out the strengths in the two main characters while showing that they were flawed and in need of a savior. The story was tied up nicely at the end, and yet left an opening for the next book in the series. I look forward to reading it and many more books by this author.

I received a copy of this book. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Women of the Bible

The Most Important Women of the Bible
Arron and Elaina Sharp
34020185
The Bible is full of stories about women who changed the lives around them in profound ways. The authors has chosen 31 women that have amazing stories filled with love and faith. Each chapter begins with a quote that will tie in with the subject. The authors share the scriptures that they pulled the story from. Then they give a brief biography about the lady. The chapter ends with two sections - By the Numbers and Things We Wondered. The numbers section shares information such as how many children the leading lady had, how many miles to cities mentioned, how old she was, or other pertinent information. The last section is unanswered questions that reading about this lady brought to the author's minds.

I really enjoyed this book. It was well laid out, full of information, and well written. The writing flowed well and wasn't bogged down with the tiny details, since these were shared at the end. I loved the concept of pulling important women from the Bible and showcasing their role in history. This book would work well for a women's small group as well as for personal devotions.

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Too Far Down

Too Far Down
The Cimarron Legacy #3
Mary Connealy
34020168
Cole returned to his father's ranch because of the stipulations in his will. But he's more at home running a business, so he focuses on the gold mine. But when an explosion that is obviously planned ends in murder, Cole accepts the help of Melanie, a woman from a neighboring ranch.  He'd thought the troubles at the ranch were all in the past, but clearly they haven't weeded out the true culprit or they wouldn't be fighting to save their ranch.

I really enjoy this author. She writes descriptive plots that include humor, faith, romance, and mystery. I enjoyed the conclusion to this series, but was also slightly sad to come to the end.The mystery at the mine was my favorite of the three stories. I also loved the relationship between the two main characters. And I won't spoil the plot, but there is a super sweet part with a little boy that I just love. I am kinda hoping the author writes a story about his mother next. Overall, I really enjoyed the conclusion to the series and look forward to the next book she writes.

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Lord Hunter's Cinderella Heiress

Lord Hunter's Cinderella Heiress
Lara Temple
35273980
Helen is wonderful with horses and can hold her own with anyone in that area. But place her in front of her shrewish aunt and bullying father and she crumples. But finally one day she snaps and stands up to her aunt's hatefulness. The next day she rushes back to school, unaware that the man she met the previous day, when showing him a horse, will be the person to save her from her awful family.

This was a unique twist on the whole Cinderella plot; no sisters or glass slipper involved. The characters were well defined and fit well with the story. The author did a great job of capturing the time period and I felt the chemistry between the main couple was romantic. This is the first book in the series and I look forward to reading the next ones.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Friday, November 3, 2017

First Line Friday

First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books
 
Welcome to First Line Friday, hosted by Hoarding Books.

Grab the book nearest to you and leave a comment with the first line!

Today I am posting a line from  -
Make Room For What You Love by Melissa Michaels
 26265926

"Your home should be your sanctuary, your safe haven in this crazy world."

Let me know what you are reading this week. And don't forget to post the first line in a book.
Happy Weekend!


Thursday, November 2, 2017

Total Christmas Makeover

Total Christmas Makeover
Melissa Spoelstra
33607371
The Christmas season can leave you feeling rushed and frazzled. While a lot of the things we fill our season with are important, we can easily become distracted and lose the focus of why we celebrate the season. The author has written a devotional that will redirect the reader in the direction of celebrating Christ during the holiday season. The book is divided up into three sections - Ritual, Relationships, and Rest. Each devotional consists of the author's thoughts on the topic of the day. At the end are question for reflection and an idea on how to put the thoughts into a practical application.

Each day is short enough to allow for some quick reading. But the questions and application part make for a meaningful, thought provoking devotional. I really enjoyed the practical application. This devotional would make an excellent gift for the holiday season. But I think everyone should get their own copy.

I received a copy of this book from Litfuse Publicity. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Descriptions and Perscriptions

Descriptions and Perscriptions
Michael R. Emlet
35670666
As Christians we often view mental illness incorrectly and either dismiss medicine completely, or forget the faith that plays such an integral part in our lives. Some people feel that taking medications for a mental illness is of the devil, while others take or advise taking the medicine blindly without any regard as to the side effects, reasons for needing the drugs, etc. The author has taken a Biblical approach to show both the benefits and downsides of both approaches. His desire in writing the book was to give Christians a look at both perspectives with a hope that the reader can see the middle line and choose something that will fit them and their Christian lifestyle.

As a person suffering from a mental illness myself, I was intrigued with how the author would conclude his perspective. I've had Christians on both sides of this "counsel" me and I was looking forward to seeing his conclusions. 
The book is very thin (98 pages), so will make for a quick read. I was surprised at how technical the writing was. If you aren't very medical, it will be very easy to get bogged down in the first few chapters. The author uses several stories to help tell what he is talking about so this does lighten up the depth a little. He concluded with the idea that there isn't a right or wrong, but rather a mixture of the two with regards to every single patient being different and therefore needing different things. The concept is great, but I finished with the feeling that I wasn't really helped in any way. And that the author's real feelings on the matter were that the ultimate goal was to not have to take any medication if at all possible. So while the theory was probably correct, this book didn't really help me at all. I think this book would be better suited for a person who works with mental illness and not a patient in search of the correct balance.
I received a copy of this book from Litfuse Publicity. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Christmas at Carnton

Christmas at Carnton
Carnton #.5
Tamera Alexander
34460582
Aletta is war widow. She's trying to hold onto her home and raise her six-year old son. So when life forces her to take another job, she jumps at the chance to make some extra money. But she'll need the help of an injured Captain. He's staying at the Carnton Estate at the request of his boss while he waits on healing so he can return to the war. 

 This is the prequal to a series that will be coming in the future. This book wold work well as a stand-alone, since it doesn't leave the reader hanging. I wasn't even able to tell who the next book would feature. The characters were authentic and fit well together. My favorite was actually a minor character, a cook on the estate. The story was shorter, but sweet and fits perfectly with the Christmas season. I've read books by this author before and this book falls into her normal category of well written, thought provoking, faith themed, and had elements of romance. I enjoyed reading this start to the series and look forward to seeing what comes next.

I received a copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Life Giving Table

The Life Giving Table
Sally Clarkson
34569995
Studies have shown that children who eat supper (or any sit down meal) with their families, do better in life. It provides a time to connect and have in-depth conversations; a time to renew relationships, and bond; a time to enjoy food and fellowship. The author played on a previous title "The Life Giving Home" and shared her families recipes, traditions, and experiences that were shared around their family table. She pulls from scripture and personal experience to write about the joy of friendship, food, and ministry.

The concepts in this book are great. The cover will entice the reader to pick the book up. The recipes aren't complicated or too time consuming. The author sprinkles quite a few of her personal stories of how mealtime nurtured their family. My only complaint was the tone of the book. If family mealtime isn't your thing yet, this book can be incredibly overwhelming and come across as too complicated, described by someone who has "arrived". The author is a bit more into the touchy feely parts of life than I am. My family would not be remotely interested in candles at meal times. I guess the best way to describe it would be that it felt too perfect. As in, no way to make it my reality. But if you can look past the more dated style of "setting the atmosphere", this book has recipes, suggestions, and thoughts that will be great for the family who wants to connect more and build their faith and ministry by utilizing the hospitality gift.

I received a copy of this book from Tyndale. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

12 Days at Bleakly Manor

12 Days at Bleakly Manor
Once Upon a Dicken's Christmas #1
Michelle Griep
33554888
 Clara receives a strange an anonymous invitation to visit Bleakly Manor for the Christmas holidays. But she has no idea who lives there or why she's received the invitation. All she knows is that she's been promised financial compensation if she stays for the whole 12 days. Since her life has taken a very wrong turn in the last year, she is really tempted to accept, despite her aunt's bad health. Upon arriving she finds out that other guests have been invited too, including the man she thought ditched her at the alter.

This was a very unique book. It has so many twists and turns. This is book one in a Dickens Christmas series set during the Victorian era. I loved the visuals that the author portrayed as well as some of the character development. The book focuses on the 12 days that the applicants spend in the manor, but also has some back story on the two main characters and how they ended up needing help. The pros - while I haven't read much Charles Dickens, I can say that I could see the nod to his work as well as Agatha Christie. I liked the uniqueness. 
Cons - The Christmas and Christian elements were very weak, the chemistry between the couple didn't show up for me, the accidents that kept happening didn't fit in with the plot and how it ended.
Overall, I liked the story, but felt there were some weak elements. The book could have been longer so that it had more time to explain some of the plot lines that were vague or missing.
So I will definitely pick up the next book in the series and withhold judgement until then. I think fans of mysteries and Charles Dickens will enjoy this short story.

I received a copy of this book from Barbour Publishing. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Regency Brides Collection

The Regency Brides Collection
34524307
 Seven authors come together to tell stories of romance and faith in England during the Regency period. Each young lady searches for a lasting love based on faith and friendship. Each author brings her distinct writing style to these faith based, romantic stories. Each story brings humor, suspense, drama, love of family, faith or intrigue that makes this an enjoyable and fun book.

I loved each of the stories, but one of them was my very favorite. A couple of them didn't have the distinct feel that regency romance typically has, but all of them were well written and had the feel of clean romantic relationships. I loved the romance of each of these stories. Whoever put these particular authors together did a great job, so that the reader enjoys a different type of story, but all the same genre. This book would be  perfect for the busy person who has little time to read so needs a short story. It would also make an excellent gift for Christmas.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Newborn Promise

Your Newborn Promise Project
A Christian Pre-Parenting Primer for Husband and Wife
Callie Grand, Audra Haney, Charissa Kolar
30535643
The three authors write books for young children. As they were working on various books, they realized the great need for a book for parents before their new little one comes home. This book is written for new parents and acts as a primer for how to bring faith into the home and prepare the parents hearts for God. It acts as a gap stop between pre-marital counseling and when that bundle of joy arrives home from the hospital. Each chapter begins with a question, followed by an applicable scripture. Then follows the authors thoughts on how the scriptures answer the questions. Almost every chapter ends with a way that the parents can grow, learn, or make the lesson applicable.

While I no longer have a newborn, I remember those early days of parenting and wish I'd had this book then. Each chapter is well thought out and clearly written. While parts of it were a bit dry, I muscled through and learned a lot. As I was reading, I wished that there were questions at the end so that it would be easy to study with another new parent or a spouse. I later found out that it comes with a study guide. Overall, I think that parents of faith should grab a copy before their little one appears.

I received a copy of this book from Goodreads. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Social Media

The Teen's Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices
Jonathan McKee
34380833
There is so much technology out there available for teens and yet they often don't have the knowledge or maturity to deal with the consequences that often result from unfortunate choices. The author has broken down the various social media sites and walks the reader through the pitfalls and nuances of using each site. The book is broken up into 21 chapters, or tips, with a series of questions at the end. There is also an introduction with a letter to parents. 

I was expecting a dry and more adult focused book. Thankfully I was wrong. This book is actually written for teens and is perfect for the target audience. The letter to the parents is wonderful and after reading the into and the rest of the book, I had no worries about passing the book onto my teenager. My son actually wanted to read the book and sped through it. I couldn't believe that it kept his attention since he prefers fiction. The author did a great job of pointing out some of the dangers and addressing them without coming across as preachy. Loved this book and will be keeping it for my daughter when she gets older. I would definitely recommend this book for any parent with teens.

I received a copy of this book from Barbour. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

NY is for New York

NY is for New York
Paul Thurlby
35355034
New York is a wonderful place to live or visit. Follow the author/illustrator as he shows some of the facts about New York that make it so fascinating.  Each page is filled with interesting details about different aspects of NY and colorful illustrations. The Statue of Liberty, Central Park, Coney Island, and Times Square are just a few of the many items in this fun children's book.

My daughter loved the huge, colorful illustrations. The book peaked her interest and gave her a desire to go see New York city. The author did a great job of creating facts that were interesting to children without too many details. This book would also make an excellent addition to classrooms.

I received a copy of this book from Goodreads. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Adored

Adored 365 Devotions for Young Women
Lindsay A. Franklin
34460481
Young women today face a multitude of problems and experiences. From bullying, social media, friendships, and dating women today need the encouragement and knowledge that they are loved and adored by their Savior. The author takes this concept and created a beautiful book for young women. Each devotional is short and can be read quickly. It begins with a scripture and there is a small space for notes or prayers at the end. The cover art is carried throughout the book for a visually pleasing look. Each devotional is numbered, but not dated. So the book can be started at any point during the year.

I wanted this for my daughter who is nearing her teen years. I think she will love it, because I did. It's small size would allow her to take it with her to school or on a trip. The cover is gorgeous. I think the author did a great job of addressing the issues that young women face today without coming across as preachy or boring. Each page is short, but meaningful. I can't wait to give this book to my daughter and think it would make an excellent gift for any young woman.

I received a copy of this book from Handlebar Marketing. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Friday, October 20, 2017

First Line Friday

I'm back!!!
Combine a crazy busy schedule with sick family members and you have the recipe for missing a lot of fun things. A few things have changed since I last did First Line Friday. We've grown. So a little bit of the format has changed. But it's all for the better. So let me know what the first line of a book you are reading is and join in the fun.
First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books
Welcome to First Line Friday, hosted by Hoarding Books.

Grab the book nearest to you and leave a comment with the first line!


Today I am posting a line from  -

Too Far Down by Mary Connealy.
34020168
"An explosion brought Cole Boden to his feet. His chair slammed backward into the wall."

I'm going to dive into this book in a few minutes so stay tuned for a review later this week or next. And don't forget to let me know what you are reading. I love hearing about new books to add to my ever growing pile.

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I currently have a give-away going on my blog. Head over here to check it out.
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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Understanding Color in Photography

Understanding Color in Photography
Bryan Peterson
33313364
I am an amateur photographer and am still learning so much about composition, exposure, and color. So I knew I had to read this book. The author begins with an introduction about himself, his photography journey, what he hopes the reader gains from the book, and what prompted him to write the book. The book is then divided up into four sections - Light, Exposure, And Color; Color and Composition; Color and Mood; and Using Tools to Enhance Color. Each page is filled with beautiful photographs by the author that help to showcase what technique or point he is trying to get across. The text is woven throughout these pictures. As a newer photographer, I felt that the writing was technical, but not so complicated that I was lost. 

I learned a lot from each section and feel like it has made me a better photographer. This book would be great for any camera or photographer enthusiast who wants a glimpse into the world of an amazing photographer. Even if you consider yourself a pro, there is always something new to learn. I will definitely be hanging on to this book.

I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Book Give-Away

I posted a review yesterday of this fun, little activity book. 
Now I'm going to give away a book so you can have one of your own. 

Fill out the rafflecopter questions and I'll use a computer app to select the winner. 


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Monday, October 16, 2017

A Far, Far Better Thing to Do

A Far, Far Better Thing to Do
A Lit Lover's Activity Book
Joelle Herr
Illustrated by Lindsey Spinks
31423312
 This book is best described by the introduction. I can offer no better words of my own.

"If you're reading this, chances are you're a card-carrying (library card, natch), TBR-stacking, unabashed book nerd. That you require both hands to count the number of times you've devoured your favorite classic novel. That you own more books than all of your other possessions combined. That you have a pet named after a literary character. That you imagined yourself as the mistress of Pemberley. That you know the book Pemberley is from without even having to think about it."

Since every single part of that description describes me, I had to have this book. And I loved every page. I couldn't stop showing pages of it to my family. There are activities, coloring pages, quotes, and so much more. The book is well designed, beautifully illustrated, and so much fun. This was perfect for those times that I couldn't fit in much reading, but had a few seconds to spare and wanted something to do. It is small and soft bound so that it fits easily into my purse, but not so tiny that my old eyes have to strain to see the pages. This was fun for me, but I also think it would make an excellent gift for that book lover on your Christmas list.

I received a copy of this book from Running Press. All thoughts expressed are my own.

**Stay tuned for a give-away tomorrow.**

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Coloring Christmas Devotions

Coloring Christmas Devotions
34460494
The Christmas season is almost upon us again and what a better way to get into the spirit of the holidays than with this fun and inspiring book. Each (right side) page is filled with detailed and delightful pages that highlight the different aspects of the season. Each left side page has a thoughtful devotional that focuses on the reason we celebrate Christmas. They all begin with a scripture and after the devotional thought, end with a short prayer. There are also several pages with Bible verses that can be colored as well. The pages are thick enough that ghosting or bleeding through isn't an issue. Each page is also perforated so they can be torn out and shared or hung up. The binding is soft and the book is small enough to fit into a purse or satchel. 

I'm a huge fan of Christmas and coloring books, so this was a win for me. The devotionals were very well done. The author did a great job of sharing personal stories and antidotes that fit well with the scripture and thought she was trying to portray. I enjoyed each one. The coloring pages were varied, but fit with the theme. They were intricate and clearly designed for adults, which I really enjoyed. This would make an excellent gift, but I'd recommend picking one up for yourself as well as it will fit in perfectly with the coming Advent season.

I received a copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Brides of Kansas

Brides of Kansas (50 States of Love)
Tracey V. Bateman
33216277
The first story begins with a young woman who is trying to raise her little niece. When she's stranded in a small town due to lack of funds, she finds an advertisement for a wife and agrees to marry a stranger with children. After some difficulties, the two learn to manage their home together and have a possibility at love. The second two stories take the younger generation and tell their story of love in Kansas.

I'd read a couple of these stories previously, but enjoyed reading them again and together in one book. I think it's great that the publisher is reissuing these older books and putting them together in a collection. The book is part of a series by different authors. Each book is a Christian romance set in a different state. The author does a great job of weaving family, faith, and love into a light-hearted, romantic story.The characters were authentic and stood out despite the large number of family and town people added to the plot. There were a couple of times in several of the books that I wasn't crazy about (plot twists, characteristics of people, ways of handling a situation), but overall, I enjoyed the books and would read more by this author.

I received a copy of this book from Barbour Publishing. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Montana Bride by Christmas

Montana Bride by Christmas
Linda Ford
34472856
Hugh, a minister, has finally located his missing son. He can't keep a nanny and so he does the next best thing. He advertises for a wife. But when Annie applies for the position, Hugh is reluctant to accept her offer. He's seen Annie in the past and he doesn't trust that she'll stay and be responsible. His son has some severe issues stemming from the trauma he experienced while missing and Hugh needs a mature, responsible woman who can help his son speak again. Annie convinces him to agree to a trail period and moves her grandfather and herself into his home. Both will need to learn patience and trust as they work together for his precious son.

This was a unique start to the whole marriage of convenience type story. I loved the grandfather and the little boy and how they added depth to the story. The writer did a great job of creating interesting and authentic characters. She wove the important messages of faith, trust, and reliance on God into the plot without making it come across as a sermon. The book is clearly part of a series, but can be read as a stand-alone. I enjoyed this book and look forward to more by this author.

I received a copy of this book by NetGalley. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Christmas on the Ranch

Christmas on the Ranch
Arlene James, Lois Richer
35429583
Two Christmas stories, written by two different authors, share only the theme in this little book about romance, faith, family, forgiveness, and the holiday season. The first story is about miscommunication, a second chance at family, and judging by appearances. I enjoyed the unique plot, the message of forgiveness, and the way it was wrapped up in the end.
The second story is also about second chances. The plot was sweet, heartwarming, and all about small town living. I enjoyed how the author portrayed the good and sometimes frustrating aspects of small town living. The romance between the couple was sweet. And the message of faith was woven throughout the story seamlessly. Overall, it was an enjoyable book that put me in the mood for Christmas.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Big Sky Daddy

Big Sky Daddy
Montana Marriages #2
Linda Ford
22521788
Caleb feels like he's let his son down. Now Teddy can't walk and Caleb is working for a rather unpleasant guy to try to earn the money for better doctors. Sow when they find a wounded dog, Caleb finds himself asking the "enemy" for help in healing both of them. What he doesn't expect is to find the family he's wanted from the very beginning.

I've enjoyed a few books by Ms. Ford before and I love historical fiction. This book did not disappoint. The flawed, but loving family that was portrayed really set the tone for the book. My favorite character was the little boy, but I enjoyed all of them. The little bit of suspense that was woven throughout the story was intriguing. The author set the book up to end well, but leave a bit of intrigue for the next book in the series. I wasn't able to get my hands on the first book before reading this one. Although it was clear that there was a previous story, this book could definitely work as a stand alone. But I made sure to purchase the other books in the series, since I didn't want to miss any more of the story.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Brides of Montana

Brides of Montana
Kelly Eileen Hake
34380835
Three young women from three different generations face hardships and obstacles in their path to love in Montana. But love and faith have a way of winning in the end, and each one finds the man who will stand the test of time and make them the bride.

I enjoy this author's writing style and so knew I would enjoy this set of novellas. Each story can be read alone, but all tied to a small town and a generational family that began with the first story. I enjoyed each story and felt the romance and sense of family was spot on with each couple. Each one had authentic characters that while flawed, showed their faith in God and the importance of family. I did get a bit confused into the second story because of the added numbers of people. Otherwise, I loved the book and can't wait to read more by this author.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. All thoughts expressed are my own.