Tuesday, August 15, 2017

I'll Run

I'll Run till the Sun Goes Down
A Memoir About Depression & Discovering Art
David Sandum
25997894
David began experiencing stress related symptoms with work. Soon he was so immersed in depression that he was unable to work or even function. After multiple hospital stays and lots of different doctors and therapists, David found that painting was his therapy. 

I'm not usually a fan of memoirs, but this one was very interesting. I enjoyed the authors candid honesty about not only his issues, but his triumphs as well. The writing flows well and the details are clear and help tell the story. The author shares some hard emotions, but does so without bringing the story down or make the story "depressing". I actually learned a lot about mental illness and how patients and their families deal with the issues that surround it. I would recommend this book to art enthusiasts or anyone who is dealing from mental illness.

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

Friday, August 11, 2017

First Line Friday

First Line Friday

I am super excited to be starting something fun with a bunch of fellow bloggers. The first book I've chosen is True to You by Becky Wade.
She's a relatively new author, but has quickly become one of my favorites for her humor, clean romance, and interesting plots.
32497077
"Finding oneself at the mercy of a crazed gunman isn't all fun and games."

Not exactly what you'd expect from a contemporary romance novel, is it?!
My review is HERE.

Now it’s your turn!

Grab the book nearest to you and leave a comment with the first line and then head over to see what First Lines these friends are sharing today:

Radiant Light / Reading is my Super Power / Robin's Nest / Singing Librarian Books / With a Joyful Noise / Kathleen Denly / A Baker's Perspective / Joy of Reading / Moments Dipped in Ink / C Jane Read / Molly's Cafinated-Reads / Romances of the Cross / It's Storytime With Van Daniker / Iola Goulton / Christian Fiction Girl Reviews Bibliophile Reviews / Bookworm Mama / Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen Faithfully Bookish /  Fiction Aficionado

If you would like to host First Line Fridays on your blog, contact
Carrie at Reading is my SuperPower.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Lord, Have Mercy

Lord, Have Mercy
Ellen Miller
30956094
 Just when we think we finally have mothering figured out, our kids change or get on our very last nerve. Motherhood can be the best thing that ever happened to you, filled with joy, blessings, and love. But it can also be painful, numbing, and heartbreaking. The author has written a book to be read in 90 days that helps moms laugh, be encouraged, and be strong. The book is intended to help you find humor, your faith, and a renewed faith in God. The author pulls stories, some from personal experience, to help bring across her point. Sprinkled throughout the book are sections on prayer and scripture reading that tie in with the previous few days.

The book was well written. The addition scriptures and thoughts on prayer were a bonus. The author definitely added some humor as I found myself laughing several times. But I had to wonder how many overwhelmed moms would keep reading after the first day. The book was nice, but it didn't grab me. It had some thoughts throughout, but I didn't feel encouraged or motivated to keep reading. I honestly don't think I would have finished the book if I wasn't writing a review. It's nice, but just not for me.

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

Friday, August 4, 2017

New Posts

Guess what?!

 

I'm super excited to be joining a great group of ladies every Friday. 

I will be finding a book and posting the first line from that book. At the bottom of the post will be links to all of the other blogs that are participating. It's a great way to find new reading material, as well as new book blogs to follow. Join me and post a line from a book in the comments each week, so I can find a new favorite book as well.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Base Camp Las Vegas

Base Camp Las Vegas
101 Hikes in the SouthWest
Deborah Wall
33199514
 Las Vegas is the best starting place to explore the south west and all it has to offer to the hiker enthusiast. Use Vegas as your base camp and hike on trails that will take your breath away and show you the beauty of nature and the wonders of history. The author begins by giving some instructions and insights into hiking. There are lots of things that could be dangerous if not handled properly. The rest of the book is divided up into sections such as Red Rock Canyon, where multiple hikes can take place. The author goes into detail about the area. There are maps, things to take into account when hiking those specific trails, and lots of gorgeous color photos. She mentions things like flash flood areas, which ones are more strenuous, and weather conditions that might affect the hike.

I enjoyed reading through the book and recognizing several of the places I've hiked in the past. The author did a great job of being informative, without dry and boring. I found myself wishing I'd had the book a few months earlier when I was hiking on some of these trails. There were several places that I noticed had more hiking trails in the park or area that weren't mentioned. But considering the thickness of the book, would have probably made it overly large and cumbersome. Overall, it was a wonderful book that I intend to add to my travel collection to use the next time I'm in the area.

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

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Just Look Up

Just Look Up
Courtney Walsh
32980228
 Lane has left the small town of Harbor Pointe behind and is now working in a large design firm in Chicago. She has worked incredibly hard to shed her small town image, including the extra weight. She hasn't returned home in years and has no plans for doing so in the future. She's up for a promotion and is working almost around the clock to ensure that it happens. But when her brother, the only one in her family who seemed to ever understand her, is in an accident, she makes the difficult decision to face her bad memories and return home.

I didn't expect this story to engage me as much as it did. I'm a fan of this author, but the description didn't grab me initially. But a few pages in, I was hooked and couldn't put the book down. It's authentic. I loved the various characters and their interaction with the main female character. The family, while very flawed, was real and entertaining. The author did a great job of making Lane's issues flow well with the story, without bogging everything down in depressing dialogue. The ending, while suspected, was well done and was the perfect last chapter for the book. I loved the chemistry between Lane and one of the characters. I also liked the elements of faith that was woven throughout the story. This is probably my favorite book by this author. Would definitely recommend to anyone who enjoys a story about family, faith, love, and small towns.
I received a copy of this book from Tyndale. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The Weekly Prayer Project

The Weekly Prayer Project
A Challenge to Journal, Pray, Reflect and Connect with God
Scarlet Hiltibidal
33098654
 Fifty-two scriptures, one for each week, reflect on the different aspects of prayer and how we can make them relatable to our lives. Each week begins with a scripture on prayer. A thought from the author is then followed by a couple of questions or thought provoking instructions that will help the reader delve deeper into the concept of prayer and how it can relate to their life. There is plenty of lined journaling space to answer the questions or instructions, while still having room to write down some prayers.

I love the beautiful pictures and crisp, clean layout of the journal. This would make a wonderful addition to a study on prayer or can be used in conjunction with any other devotion. The hard cover lays out flat to make writing in the journal easier and a ribbon is there for a bookmark. I'm definitely planning on keeping this and adding it to my devotional time. But I plan on also adding it to the list of items that would make excellent gifts.
 
I received a copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Vagabonding with Kids

Vagabonding with Kids Australia
AK Turner
29949612
The author and her husband can work from anywhere that has an internet signal. So they plan a two-month trip to Australia. But sometimes plans go awry and sometimes things are always as simple as imagined. Join the author on a hilarious adventure with her husband and two young daughters as they navigate their way around the friendly country of Australia.

I had expected this book to be tips and thoughts on traveling in a foreign country with children. Since my husband and I often take our children with us when traveling internationally, I thought this would be a great resource book. Instead I spent the entire book laughing at the author's humor, while learning some amazing things about Australia. While I didn't get what I expected, I thoroughly enjoyed the book and have added her other books to my wish list. The author has a way with words that draws the reader into her experience and allows them to travel with her. Her self-deprecating humor was spread throughout the book and added to the joy of reading. She also shared quite a bit of history and knowledge that she gleaned from her travels and I DID learn some tips for traveling with my children. Overall, would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading true stories and enjoys traveling.

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

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Exit Strategy

Exit Strategy
Mission: Rescue #3
Shirlee McCoy
23705448
 Lark knows that her husband was murdered. It might have been explained away as a suicide, but she knows that her husband would never leave her like that. So she returns to the commune where they lived before his death. But now she's being held captive and a stranger is telling her to trust him to get them both out. Lark isn't sure if she can trust Cyrus, but for now, he's her only hope.

This book was very suspenseful. The author did a great job of creating tension from the very beginning and continuing it throughout the book. This is book #3 in the series, but I didn't feel like I was missing anything by not having read the previous books, so I would definitely say it can be read as a stand alone. But there were a few things that I didn't understand or weren't clarified by the time I'd finished reading so either the author was paving the way for the next book in the series or I did actually miss something from a previous book. Overall, I enjoyed the suspense and drama, the relationship and the chemistry was good between the two main characters, and the author left me wanting to read more.

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

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Enjoy The Journey

Vera Bradley Enjoy The Journey
Coloring Book Pattern Portfolio
35660655
This is a very high quality adult coloring book. It's another favorite. The attention to detail and quality of the book are exceptional. The book begins with some informational pages about coloring techniques, various coloring devises, and more. There is a sample of all of the patterns used in this book. It also included the name of the pattern and what year it came out. The pages are thick and didn't bleed or ghost. The back of the book includes eight note cards and gift tags that were super fun to use. My favorite were the sample pages throughout the book. These look like high quality scrapbook paper. Quite a few of the pages had inspirationl quotes within the coloring page. Overall this was a beautiful book that I've really enjoyed using. While this would make an excellent gift, I recommend getting two. You won't want to part with it.

I know I keep raving about these books, but I'm in love. The colors are fantastic, the pages offer a lot of variety in coloring style and pictures. I've actually used the color suggestions for another coloring book I was using when I was stumped and thought I'd run out of ideas.

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

Monday, July 24, 2017

His Accidental Heir

His Accidental Heir
Joanne Rock
33413518
 Cameron goes undercover at one of his resorts to find out why the numbers aren't adding up. Customer reviews are down and the manager isn't helping. When he meets the concierge, Maresa, he's intrigued. Maresa has so much on her plate and yet appears cool and calm. Cameron decides to tell her who he is, so he can enlist her help.

This was a sweet story with a strong emphasis on the importance of family. It includes romance, a tiny bit of intrigue, and emotions. It is in a series and I did feel like I was missing a few pieces to the overall story. But this didn't detract from the main plot. Overall, it was a quick read that I enjoyed. It doesn't have a lot of depth, but made for some fun, entertaining reading.

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

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

A Deal for the Di Sione Ring

A Deal for the Di Sione Ring
The Billionaire's Legacy
Jennifer Hayward
30073089
 Nate feels like the outsider in the Di Sione family. His faith in marriage was destroyed by his father and his relationship with his half siblings is tenuous at best. But he loves his grandfather. So when he is asked to retrieve a ring, he agrees. The complication to that plan finds him married to the owner of the ring and wondering if it could become real.

This was a fun story. I've enjoyed each book in the series, but feel like this book could stand alone if it needs to. Although I would recommend reading all of them to get the complete story. The romance is sweet. It begins as a marriage of convenience with a twist. The author did a great job of tying in what was happening with the other siblings and creating a sense of family. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys romance, marriage of convenience, and sweet stories.

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

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Seize The Day

Vera Bradley Seize The Day
Coloring Book Pattern Portfolio
Vera Bradley
35660554
I reviewed two of these Vera Bradley coloring books before this one and I'm still standing by my statement that they are some of the best quality coloring books out there. Well worth every penny. 

This is a very high quality adult coloring book. It's one of my favorites so far. The attention to detail and quality of the book are exceptional. The book begins with some informational pages about coloring techniques, various coloring devises, and more. My favorite was a sample of all of the patterns used in this book. It also included the name of the pattern and what year it came out. The pages are thick and didn't bleed through or even ghost. The back of the book included some note cards and gift tags that were super fun to use. My favorite were the sample pages throughout the book. These look like high quality scrapbook paper. Quite a few of the pages had motivational quotes within the coloring page. My only complaint might be that the pages weren't perforated. Overall this was a beautiful book that I've really enjoyed using. While this would make an excellent gift, I recommend getting two. You won't want to part with it.

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

Thursday, July 13, 2017

A Tailor-Made Husband

A Tailor-Made Husband
Texas Grooms #9
Winnie Griggs
34643923
Hazel has come to a decision. She will stop hoping that sheriff Ward Gleason will fall in love with her. To accomplish this, she plans to close her failing dress shop and move to New York to help her aunt run her fashion business. But when Ward returns he brings something with him that may change everyone's plans.

This was a super fun story. I loved the growing romance between the two characters. The added suspense and drama that surrounded the story helped round out the plot and give it depth. The characters fit well with the time period and were entertaining. While this book is in a series and there were hints to previous romances, I didn't feel lost while reading the story. The author did a great job of creating a stand alone novel while enticing me to read the other books in the series. Will definitely be reading more by this author.

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

Monday, July 10, 2017

Art of Manliness

The Illustrated Art of Manliness
Brett McKay
31934012
When life throws challenges, every man needs to have the knowledge to handle those challenges. The author has taken tons of scenarios that a man might encounter such as how to survive a bear attach or run a great meeting and paired them with illustrations to make learning fun and easy.

My husband and son loved reading this book. My pre-teen son especially enjoyed it and kept sharing things with me as he read it. The list of things that are included are varied, the illustrations really help tie everything together. I was really impressed with some of the things covered and how well they were explained. While surviving a bear attack is something that might not every happen to the normal man, learning to swaddle a baby or be a gentleman is definitely a requirement. Enjoyed the book and loved watching my son enjoy it as well. Would definitely recommend this as a gift for the gentleman in your life.

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

Sunday, July 9, 2017

An Unlikely Mother

An Unlikely Mother
Danica Favorite
32766417
Flora, a wealthy socialite, hasn't been the nicest person. She's known for her gossip, sharp tongue, and spoiled behavior. Sentenced to work with the mission at a mining camp she begins to make amends. When she offers to help a miner take care of an abandoned child, she doesn't realize how much it will change her world.

This was a neat plot. It has romance, faith, family, sadness, a tiny bit of drama and suspense, and lots of interesting characters. The author did a great job of creating flawed, yet lovable characters. The emotions were authentic and helped to show the depth of change the characters were undergoing. She subtly wove a message of faith and family into the plot without it being overbearing or preachy. I liked the historical story and look forward to reading more of her books.

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

Friday, July 7, 2017

The Prince's Captive Virgin

The Prince's Captive Virgin
Once Upon a Seduction #1
Maisey Yates
32671232
Belle finds out that her photographer father is being imprisoned in a small country. He had tried to capture a photograph of the illusive prince and is now being used as an example of the prince's hatred of paparazzi. Belle offers to take his place so that her father can return home to receive much needed medical treatments. Prince Adam is scarred both physically and emotionally from an accident that killed his wife. Now Belle needs to help him heal so he can return to his duties.

As I'm sure you can guess, the story is a remake of Beauty and the Beast. I am sorry to say, I didn't enjoy the book. It was predicable, not very romantic, and felt very cheesy and over the top for me. It would make a decent beach read, but there are so many other books out there that I just can't recommend it. I would have enjoyed the story more if it had veered from the original story line, the characters had more depth, or the part about how the media portrayed the situation and how her boyfriend reacted had been left out.

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

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Chocolate for Your Soul

Chocolate for Your Soul
Sheri Rose Shepherd
Do you find yourself craving chocolate? Then when you finally get your craving you feel a sense of completeness and fulfillment.  But those feelings don't last. Craving the faith and presence of God can fill us with an eternal peace that earthly cravings can't satisfy. Follow the author as she shows you that God is good with scripture, spiritual thoughts, stories, and recipes. Each chapter focuses on a different craving that we might experience, such as love, laughter, energy, or a new beginning. The author begins with a scripture and then breaks her thoughts down like recipes, listing ingredients that will help the reader achieve the craving they desire. At the end of each chapter are several recipes that tie in with the chapter.

This was a nice book. The thoughts were well explained and I liked the format of the book. It was unique and caught my attention. There are over 100 recipes so even if some of them don't appeal, there is sure to be several that look great. My only complaint was that I thought this would feature chocolate throughout the book. And while the first chapter had several chocolate recipes and talked about richness, the rest of the book was not about chocolate at all. Disappointing for this chocolate lover, but overall, nice book that I'm sure will appeal to many.

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

Sunday, July 2, 2017

An Extraordinary Union

An Extraordinary Union
The Loyal League #1
Alyssa Cole
30237404
The Civil War is in full swing and Elle is helping the north by posing as a slave. She's free, but has gotten herself a position with a prominent family who thinks she is a mute. But when she gets a message to meet someone to exchange vital information, she never expects to see Malcolm, an Irishman who she'd met that night. Sparks fly as the two fight. But despite their disagreements, they are both willing to die for their country.

This book was nothing like I expected. I'm not sure if the plot would have even been feasible during that time period. But it was such a refreshingly different story that I didn't mind. The author was able to make the story come alive with her descriptions and the tension was well defined between the characters. There was several "bedroom" scenes that were graphic. I didn't really get the chemistry between the two main characters, but loved the history from a different perspective than normally told. Overall, I thought it was a nice story and I look forward to reading more by this author.

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

Friday, June 30, 2017

Cat Tales

Cat Tales
True Stories of Kindness and Companionship with Kittens
Aline Alexander Newman
31252176
 Kittens are absolutely adorable. And what better way to spend some time than reading about cats and how they've blessed us with their presence. Cats have personalities as unique as humans. Some of the stories include a little cat that rock climbs with it's owner, a seeing-eye cat, a cat who is an official train station master, and a very large cat that isn't your typical size. The book is small, making it the perfect book to tuck into a purse or bookbag for those occasions when you only have a few moments to read. The book is filled with colorful photography, helpful tips from experts, and information about each cat in the stories, including their breed and location.

My children and I really loved this book. The stories have heart and the pictures make it a great book to read with children. But as an adult, I also enjoyed it very much. This is definitely a book we'll be keeping. But it would also make an excellent gift for the cat lover, or child in your life.

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

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Butterfly Mandalas

Colorful Creations Butterfly Mandalas
Jess Volinski
31539281
If you follow my reviews, you will know I'm a huge fan of adult coloring books. So I'm getting a bit picky about what I like to color since I've had the privilege of reviewing so many different types. I thought this book was incredibly well put together and enjoyed coloring it. This particular book begins with some insights from the author on art and how to creatively express yourself. She shows shows examples of different ways to use color and links the various color palates to emotions. There are several pages devoted to the color wheel and how to use it to get the look you want. Then the first few coloring pages have the color wheel, palette examples and a small space to test out your own palette choices. On the left is a quote surrounded by a butterfly design to color and has a place for notes. The right side is the full color sheet with each design featuring flowers and butterflies. The book ends with some examples that the author has given where she colored the pages herself. The color pages are adult coloring style, but aren't so intricate that a mature child couldn't also enjoy them. My pre-teen daughter loves butterflies and enjoyed this book as well. Overall, if you love adult coloring books, this would be an excellent choice.

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

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Heart on the Line

Heart on the Line
Ladies of Harper Station #2
Karen Witemeyer
32510778
Grace witnessed her father's death and is now hiding from the man or men responsible. Harper Station is the perfect place to hide and try to figure out why her father was murdered. Her job as a telegraph agent allows her the anonymity that she desires while giving her the opportunity to create a friendship with another agent towns away. When her agent friend, Amos, hears of potential danger he runs to Grace's aid. Now the two must join with the residents of Harper Station to stay one step ahead of the killer before he can eliminate Grace and those dearest to her.

This was such a fun book. But then all the books by Ms. Witemeyer are fun. She is able to infuse humor into her stories while keeping them suspenseful and dramatic. The plot takes some unexpected turns and is full of trust, faith, romance, and the importance of friends. While being thoroughly entertained, I was also blessed by the message woven throughout the book. I recommend this book if you enjoy Christian fiction with a message of faith. Can't wait to get my hands on the next book in the series.

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

Friday, June 16, 2017

Positively Inspired

Colorful Creations Positively Inspired
Jess Volinski
31539280
This book was designed with a bit more than just coloring sheets. It also has positive quotes from various people on every page.  I thought this book was incredibly well put together and enjoyed coloring it. The book begins with some insights from the author on art and how to creatively express yourself. She shows some examples of different ways to use color and links the various color palates to emotions. There are several pages devoted to the color wheel and how to use it to get the look you want. Then the first few coloring pages have the color wheel, palette examples and a small space to test out your own palette choices. On the left is the quote surrounded by a floral design to color and has a place for notes. The right side is the full color sheet with each design featuring flowers, mandalas, or encouraging words. The book ends with some examples the author has given where she colored the pages herself. The color pages are adult coloring style, but aren't so intricate that a mature child couldn't also enjoy them. Each page is perforated so I was able to tear a few out and use them to occupy some kids while they were trying to sit still during church. Overall, if you love adult coloring books, this would be an excellent choice.
I received a copy of this book from Fox Chapel. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Stepping on Cheerios

Stepping on Cheerios
Betsy Singleton Snyder
31386510
Being a mother can be messy, hard, difficult, discouraging, and lonely. But it's beautiful, rewarding, heartwarming, and the hugest blessing. As mother's we often long to have a deeper connection with God, but aren't sure where to start when everything is so busy and chaotic.

The author pulls from her own messy, but beautiful life as a mother to write an encouraging book to all the mothers who yearn for God amidst the Legos, Cheerios, and mess that is parenthood. She's also a pastor and I felt the spiritual elements woven through everything she talked about. Her writing style is humorous, often tongue in cheek, but always points to Jesus. She shares honestly as she talks about her struggles with four tiny boys - three of them triplets and a heart condition. I loved the authenticity of her writing. She told stories, but also brought home some powerful truths about motherhood and how God fits into our lives. I will definitely be looking for more books by this author.

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

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Peace in the Valley

Peace in the Valley
Double S Ranch #3
Ruth Logan Herne
30684815
Trey owes his life to Sam Stafford. His uncle rescued him from filth and neglect when he was just a toddler. Then Sam adopted him. So the while the man he calls his father may not be the nicest person, Trey feels obligated to come back and help when his father is ill. Trey is the only one that didn't appear to lose his faith, even when his wife died. He's a well known and popular musician who doesn't seem to have let it go to his head. But when he shows back he makes a horribly bad first impression on Lucy, his neighbor, by crashing into her van. Now he must prove to her that all musicians are bad.

Loved this book. I've been waiting for the third book in the series to come out and am now sad that I've read the last of this family. While I think the book would work well as a stand-alone, I've read the other two so would highly recommend starting with them to get the full story. I loved how the author used broken characters and showed how God can use them for good. She made each character stand out in a unique way so I didn't get lost, despite the numerous people that came into play. The subtle yet strong elements f faith that were woven into the story were inspiring. The romance was sweet, clean and heartwarming. Loved this series and can't wait to see what the author comes up with next.

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

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Jaguar

Jaguar
Painter Place Saga #3
Pamela Poole
34714842
Caroline is abruptly kidnapped in a case of mistaken identity. Her husband Chad is helpless to rescue her and both of them must put all their trust in a man who goes by the name of Jaguar. He also happens to be an old boyfriend of Caroline. Even if Caroline returns home with her life, she'll never be the same woman she was before her abduction. The author describes her books as having a inspiring Southern ambiance, due to the faith elements and southern location and feel to her books.

This was a very fast paced and thrilling story. The author had a lot of details and parts going on, but was clear enough with the plot and characters that I never felt lost. The characters were well defined and the plot flowed smoothly. This is the third book in a series, but I was able to read this book without having read the previous two. I would recommend picking them up first if you are able, as it will provide more of a backstory to some of the secondary characters that I felt was missing in this book. Overall, this was a suspenseful, heartwarming, and family filled story that I enjoyed.

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

Saturday, June 10, 2017

The Writing Desk

The Writing Desk
Rachel Hauck
33098667
Tenley wrote an amazing best seller. Her father and grandfather were also best selling authors. So with the deadline for her next book looming, Tenley must make up her mind, go to Florida to help her estranged mother or go to Paris with her boyfriend. She needs inspiration to remove her roadblock. What she finds is nothing like she expected. An old desk with a stuck drawer, a local carpenter who wants the desk, and renewed relationships help change Tenley in ways she never imagined.

I loved this book. The cover is beautiful and the story captivating. The writer was able to convey the feelings of the main characters and write descriptive scenery that made me feel as if I was living the story with Tenley. The emotions were authentic and sometimes raw, but added depth to the plot. The characters were flawed, but the reader comes away from the book with a sense of understanding, conviction, and thoughtfulness. I felt some elements of faith woven throughout the book, but they were subtle. The author did a great job of weaving two stories, set in different times together. It flowed well and felt seamless. I think anyone who enjoys thought provoking, real stories will enjoy the story of this young author as she deals with family, writer's block, and conviction. Overall, a book that captivated me and I couldn't put down. Can't wait for her next book.

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

Friday, June 9, 2017

Ruth

Ruth
Drawn in Bible Study
Eugene H. Peterson
Each of us can learn from the stories presented in the Bible. Ruth shows us that we can rely on God and hold on to His hope. The bible study guide is designed to show the reader that each and every person has a place in God's beautiful story. The author begins with an brief introduction and then a chapter on how to get the most out of this study guide. Then each chapter contains some coloring pages that go with the theme, discussion questions, and the scripture passages from Ruth that fit with the questions. There are also little notes and thoughts inserted throughout by the author. At the end of each chapter is a section called Until We Meet Again followed by a Prayer. The book is designed to be colored, written in, and made personal by the owner. It can be used in a small group setting or for personal devotions.

I really liked this study guide. For some reason the cover didn't thrill me, but once I opened the pages I really started to enjoy it. The color pages are detailed enough so they feel perfect for an adult. The questions are thought provoking and insightful. I also really liked the author's thoughts interjected throughout. Overall, this was a nice book that I enjoyed using. But I also think it would make an excellent gift.

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

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Threads of Suspicion

Threads of Suspicion
Dee Henderson
32510809
 Evie is now part of the governor's Missing Persons Task Force due to her experience as an investigator. The team takes all of the missing person cases and divides up. Evie is partnerered with David Marshall. The two have separate cases, but soon find their cases intertwining in ways they never imagined. Evie somehow manages to juggle her boyfriend, new partner, current and new jobs, but is having a hard time making a decision that will impact her for the rest of her life. She knows that only her heavenly Father will be able to help her with this one.

I love this author's writing style. Ever had a bad day and the only thing you wanted to do was come home and get comfortable? This author is that comfort "food" or favorite shirt. I love diving into her books and not coming up for a breath. While her style of writing stays the same, her characters and plots are varied. This series seems to be a lot lower key and less suspense than her previous books were. I can see where some readers might prefer her other books more, but while I have loved every book she's ever written, I'm loving this new plot style. The books flows smoothly and quietly until you realize you are completely immersed in the story. Overall, I really enjoyed the book, despite the lack of suspense and look forward to the next book coming out.

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

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Route 66

Route 66 Adventure Handbook
Drew Knowles
31920839
Route 66 is famous for it's history, unique attractions, and fascinating towns along the route. The author has created an updated version of this book that is out now to help travelers on their journey of exploration. The book lists some of the attractions, hotels, restaurants, and instructions on finding the route again should you lose it due to new roads and buildings. There are almost 100 maps included as well as numerous pictures. 

The book is incredibly detailed and full of history. Even if you never plan on traveling this road, it's worth the read just to learn such neat history about our country. I've traveled quite a bit of this road over the years and found the authors information to be spot on for the places I was familiar with. The little extras that he throws in throughout the book are a plus and add rich depth to what would otherwise just be a list of things to see and do. My only complaint was that the pictures were all in black and white. I would have preferred color, but realize this might increase the price of the book significantly. Overall, this is a book that I highly recommend if you enjoy traveling, history, small towns, and unique attractions.

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

Monday, June 5, 2017

Quiet Time

Quiet Time for Your Soul
5 Minutes with Jesus
Sheila Walsh and Sherri Gragg
31439098
There are so many things keeping us incredibly busy in our lives. But the mind and soul need a rest just like the body does. The authors have created short five minute devotionals to give our souls that rest they are craving. Each devotional starts with a little story that is then tied together with a spiritual thought. They sum up their thoughts with a quote and then give some scripture verses so the reader can spend time (5 min) in God's word.

First, the cover is beautiful and the designs have spread this look through out the book. Loved it. 
I've read books by Ms. Walsh before and so knew I would enjoy this devotional. There is humor, entertaining stories and antidotes, and lots of thoughtful messages that brought me closer to God. I enjoyed the extra scripture verses that were at the end of each chapter. This is a great book for those quiet moments when you don't have a lot of time or are traveling and don't want to carry all of your study things with you. It would also make an excellent gift.

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

Sunday, June 4, 2017

The View through Your Window

The View Through Your Window
Finding God's Vision for Your Family
Martha and Greg Singleton
31869432
 God has a vision for your family. It isn't going to be the same for every family. So dive into this book and let the authors walk you through how you can find out what God's vision is and where your family can go to be a blessing to others and grow in Him.
The book is divided up into four parts - Clearing Your Vision, Looking in Your Window, Looking Out Your Window, and Making Vision Work. The authors walk the readers through each step and include stories throughout each chapter to supply examples. At the end of each chapter is a Focus section that asks questions that steer the reader to getting a more personal feel about their family and how the chapter applies to them.
 
I really enjoyed this book. It was well presented, thought provoking, and inspirational. The authors did a great job of combining stories with practical advice and wisdom that really helped me apply the principles to my own family. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants to give their family purpose and a vision for the future.
 
I received a copy of this book from Goodreads. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

The Touch

The Touch
Randall Wallace
11517652
Dr. Andrew Jones, a gifted surgeon, suffered a horrible tragedy. Now he works in the ER and teaches. But he refuses to do another surgery. Several years have passed and a Ms. Lara Blair is asking him to join her biomedical engineering company. She and her team are developing a special set of robotic hands that do not shake for difficult brain surgery. But they need a human hands to model the robot after. Dr. Jones clearly the surgeon for the job. But Ms. Blair can't seem to convince him to join her company.

The book started off with the touching tragedy and then moved on to the current time. When I started the book I had the thought that this book was going to profoundly affect me. The author had the characters expressing some deep and contemplative thoughts. But about half way through the book it took a slightly confusing turn and ended very cheesy and predictably. So while I absolutely loved the first half, I'm still not sure what to think about the last half. Overall, I would have to say I enjoyed the story and definitely enjoyed the spiritual thoughts and process of the characters and their lives. So if you enjoy medical stories, romance, and thought provoking spiritual thoughts than you might enjoy this book.

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

Friday, June 2, 2017

Everyone Loves Sex

Everyone Loves Sex So Why Wait?
Bryan A. Sands
31869439
The author, a pastor, takes a psychological, sociological, and spiritual look at why sex is so appealing to us and why it's best to wait until marriage to have sex. The book is set in an almost conversation tone that speaks to the reader from where ever they are at in the sexual journey. He explains the important role that sex plays in our lives and how these experiences color our view of the world outside of the bedroom. He shares stories from his experiences as a counselor and shows the results of various studies that have been done on sex. At the end of each chapter is a discussion guide.

I actually enjoyed reading this book. It wasn't dry and boring. The author did a great job of mixing stories with the facts that he was presenting. The book has an obvious faith element that is woven throughout the book. I'm not sure what the target audience is, but I do feel that it probably wouldn't appeal to most teenagers. Even though I've been married for 20 years, I feel like I learned some new things about how our minds work and how we can best tend to our marriage. I would recommend this book to anyone in the 20s or older, to people who are looking to get married, or to those who are later in life and wondering about the effects of sex on their lives.

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

Thursday, June 1, 2017

On Another Note

On Another Note
Noted #2
Kathy J. Jacobson
30171821
This book picks up where the last book left off (presumably, since I didn't get to read the first one). It starts with Jillian, a housekeeper, almost leaving her place of employment and the little cottage behind the house that she calls home. John, her employer, has finally decided to let Jillian into his heart despite the heartache that he's experienced.

Could not get in to this book. I think it might be in part because I didn't read the first book. The books are set up like a continued story and I didn't realize that. The story line flows more like I'm reading a script that hasn't yet had the best actors picked out. So there are large portions of it that feel stiff or don't have any emotion attached. I couldn't get a feel for the characters and the plot was just a list of what was happening. I couldn't get pulled in, no matter how hard I tried. I'm sure that this story will appeal to someone, but it just wasn't me.

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

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Inspiration Coloring Book

Color Inspiration Coloring Book
Suzy Toronto
The artist who designed this book is a self-proclaimed “wacky” person and revels in her uniqueness.  This book is all about inspiration, and you can definitely see the author’s quirkiness coming through in the coloring pages. The book begins with some thoughts from the author, a few of the pages she’s colored herself, and some instructions on how to make each page your own. She shares full color pages of how she colored each page. The coloring pages begin with the left side almost completely blank. There is a quote in light print and a few small lines should you want to write something. The right side is the color page. This book is smaller, an on-the-go size that will fit into a purse or bag.

I love the uniqueness of this book. It’s not like most of the adult coloring books out there and that is a good thing. I also really liked the quotes on every page and the space for writing should the mood strike. This book would make an excellent gift, but be sure to get yourself a copy as well.

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

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Awkward

Awkward
The Science of Why We're Socially Awkward and Why That's Awesome
Ty Tashiro
30317414
Everyone wants to belong and fit in. But for some of us, that is more difficult and awkward than the normal person. The author, a self-described awkward person, tells us about the science of being awkward and what it truly means to be awkward. He uses antidotes and personal stories to infuse the book with humor and interest. 

This was not really the book I was expecting, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm not really a science person, but the author was able to make it understandable and truly interesting. I learned a lot and walked away from the book with a smile on my face and a better understanding of how people work and how I can fit in with people who are not like me. I would definitely recommend this book.

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

Monday, May 29, 2017

Animal Ark

Animal Ark: Celebrating our Wild World
Kwame Alexander and Joel Sartore
30719056
Sweet poetry about the wild animals that inhabit our planet is paired with amazing photography to make a one of a kind book. Each page is full color photography with the celebratory poem woven throughout the book.  The poem and pictures are a wonderful way of showing the children what the world around them is like and why it's so important to help protect it.

I love this book. It is so awesome that I had to donate a copy to my local school as well. My children (8 and 10 yrs old) initially thought it was a "baby" book, but I found them reading it several times and commenting on the pictures. This is definitely a book that you'll be proud to add to your library.

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

Sunday, May 28, 2017

If You Were Me

If You Were Me and Lived in the Ancient Mali Empire
Carole P. Roman
33405623
This book is part of a series designed to introduce children to how other people live in different countries and during different time periods. Using a mixture of illustrations and photography, the author talks about children who lived the time of Ancient Mali Empire and what life might have been like if you were a little boy or girl who lived during that time. She talks about location, family, food, and fun. The difficult or unfamiliar words have a pronunciation beside them and are all included in a pronunciation guide at the back of the book.
 
My children really enjoy this series and look forward to each one. While the style of the book is laid out like a story, this is non-fiction and more informative. Children will learn quite a bit about the the history from the view point of other children around the world while having fun reading. I would recommend this book for family fun or for schools as an addition to curriculum.

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

Saturday, May 27, 2017

A Family for the Rancher

A Family for the Rancher
Louise M. Gouge
28507410
Edmund, a rancher, has been a loner his entire life. In his childhood, it was forced on him. But now he enjoys the solitude. But when he feels God nudging him to check on widow Lula May and her five children, he obeys. His obedience lands him right in the middle of a bustling family and all of the joys and problems that go with it. Edmund now needs to decide which is more important - solitude or love.

This was such a sweet story. The author did a great job of creating warmth, tension, or frustration as the scene warranted. There were a lot of characters, but each of them stood out and didn't blend into each other. I loved the interaction between the siblings and their mother. The suspense was just enough to make the story interesting, but didn't detract from the romance. The author did a great job of weaving faith and the importance of family into the story without it being preachy. I especially liked how she showed that family is who you choose to love, not the ones who share your genetics. Overall, this was a clean romantic story that readers of Christian fiction or historical romance will love.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Trusting Grace

Trusting Grace
Virtues and Vices of the Old West #3
Maggie Brendan
32510889
 Grace has always longed for children. But as a young widow, who is now managing her farm and taking care of her sick father, she knows it isn't likely to happen. 
Robert arrived in town with three bedraggled and dirty children. All of them, including Robert, are tired and resentful of the circumstances that forced them together. Robert takes a job as Grace's ranch hand, but doesn't let her know that he comes with three children. Both Grace and Robert must learn to trust again before they can be fully happy with the life God had blessed them with.

I loved this book. It checked all of the boxes for me. Sweet romance, likable characters, beautiful setting, just a small amount of drama, clean, faith filled plot, and some adorable children thrown in for extra fun. The author wove humor and provoking thoughts into what at first seemed a light story. I couldn't put the book down and am now eagerly waiting the next book.

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

Sunday, May 21, 2017

If You Were Me

If You Were Me and Lived on Mars
Corole P. Roman
33941064
This book is part of a series designed to introduce children to how other people live in different countries, during different time periods, and in different places. Using a mixture of illustrations and photography, the author talks about children who might someday, in the future, live on Mars. She talks about the location, family, food, and fun. The difficult or unfamiliar words have a pronunciation beside them and are all included in a pronunciation guide at the back of the book.
 
My children really enjoy this series and look forward to each one. While the style of the book is laid out like a story, this is non-fiction and more informative. Children will learn quite a bit about the the history from the view point of other children around the world while having fun reading. I would recommend this book for family fun or for schools as an addition to curriculum.

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

Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Glory of the Messiah

The Glory of the Messiah
An Adult Coloring Book
Susan Perlman and Shelley Skoropinski
31580659
The Old Testament scriptures pointed to a Messiah who would come and rescue the world. The author and the artist were raised in Jewish homes and came into this collaboration with a background of looking towards the Messiah. The left pages contain a Hebrew word to color, the interpretation of the word and then a thought and scripture to tie them together. The right pages are the coloring pages that fit with the Hebrew word on the preceding page.

The book could be used as a supplement to a devotional since it follows a theme and has key words and scriptures. I liked the concept of the book and thought it was unique and interesting. The drawings are more simplistic and large than I am used to coloring, but I think they fit well with the theme and were still enjoyable. The pages are thick card stock and didn't bleed or have any ghosting, even when I used markers and gel pens. Overall, this was a great book that I enjoyed working through. It would also make an excellent gift.

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

Saturday, May 13, 2017

What Hope Remembers

What Hope Remembers
Misty Willows #3
Johnnie Alexander
32510897
Amy Somers is now back home in Misty Willow. She's staying in her grandmother's cottage while she regroups and tries to figure out where she's headed in life. She misses the big city in some ways, but she can't go back to who she was and what she did. When she sees Gabe again after many years, she pretends she doesn't know him. It isn't because of his recent release from prison. It's because she needs to protect her heart. And who would want her anyway, when they realize what type of person she is.

This was a sweet, but complicated story. I've read one of the previous books, so I knew the characters. But it took me a few chapters to refresh my memory and place everyone again. There are still complications going on with the land and the people who live there. The author added drama, a little bit of mystery, and lots of faith and romance. The characters fit their parts well and played off of each other to the benefit of the plot. I enjoyed the story, although it did have some sad elements. Overall, readers who enjoy Christian fiction with a touch of drama and sweet romance will enjoy this book.

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

Friday, May 12, 2017

Giveaway!!

WIN a prize package that includes a Kindle Fire and Susan Sleeman’s latest release, Fatal Mistake!

I love these author giveaways that have items linked to the book. I've read this book and loved it. My review is here. So be sure to enter the giveaway (by clicking on the red sentence above) and win a wonderful book and things that link to the story.