Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Making Marriage Beautiful

Making Marriage Beautiful
Lifelong Love, Joy, and Intimacy Start With You
Dorothy Littell Greco
 30964355
With years of personal experience, as well as counseling experience, the author writes about how to truly make your marriage a beautiful place. She begins and continues through the entire book stressing the importance of having a grounded and personal connection with Christ. This is vital to having a beautiful marriage. She also places a lot of importance on growing and being willing to compromise or change as the needs fit. If a marriage isn't changing and flowing, it's dying.

This was a beautifully written book. The author brings stories and experiences in to add depth to the thought she is talking about. This makes the book read like a story instead of a dry list of facts. She shares personal experiences that authenticate her views. While realistic, she also paints a wonderful picture of what a truly beautiful marriage is all about. I would definitely recommend this book to newlyweds or "old" married people, like me. It's well worth the read.

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

Monday, January 30, 2017

Equality

The Story of Rosa Parks
Patricia A. Pingry
1561214

The Story of Martin Luther King Jr.
Johnny Ray Moore
27070436
Black history month starts in a couple of days. As a parent, I want to share history with my young children and introduce the concept and stories, but they are a bit too young to share some of the harsher details that went with the time period. These two books have mastered this beautifully.

The two books cover the stories of two prominent leaders in the equality movement. They begin with a tiny bit of their past and then talk about why they were so important. Both authors brought the importance of their work or their issues to the front so that the young child can understand how amazing these people were without the negative things that accompanied the fight for freedom. The illustrations were adorable and are very relatable to the target age of toddlers and preschoolers. While these books don't begin to cover what we will eventually tell our children about racism and equality, they are a great starting of point for young toddlers and can open the door to those conversations. I will be gifting the books to my local school after my children are finished with them.

I received a copy of these books from First Look. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Buried Memories

Buried Memories
Carol J. Post
30375554
Nicki moved to Cedar Key in hopes of escaping the past. An ex-fiance who might end up in jail, her mother murdered when she was a child, and nightmares from that murder all push her to start over. But when someone begins attacking Nicki, an old friend comes to her rescue. Tyler is recovering from injuries he received while in the military. He's staying with his brother and at loose ends. He doesn't really know where he wants to go in life. But helping Nicki find her attacker is a good start.

The suspense in this story started with the very first page and didn't let up. I like some mystery as to who the "bad" person is and this author delivered. It was presented in a way that surprised me, but was totally believable. The romance between the two main characters was sweet. The author wove elements of faith throughout the story and provided a great testimony without coming across as preachy. And adding animals to any story is always a plus. I loved the dogs and how they fit into the plot. The book left me wanting more and I can't wait to read another story by this author. Definitely give this one a try if you enjoy suspense with a touch of romance and faith.

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

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

E-Readers

What to do When Your E-Reader Disappoints You
As winter takes hold and we warm up to some seasonal reading, many of us are doing our reading on an e-reader. Increasingly cheap and lightweight, e-readers allow us to carry a multitude of books with us everywhere we go. Most are fairly well lit, so they can be read in the dark or even sometimes outdoors. Yet sometimes e-readers aren’t so great. Sometimes when you go to sit down and read, there’s a problem. Whether your battery is dead, it’s too bright or the e-paper screen is nearly invisible, any number of problems can arise when using an e-reader. Here’s what you should do if you find yourself in that spot:

Bring the Shade
 If you’re having trouble reading the screen of your e-reader, you may need to bring yourself an umbrella. Whether you’re spending time at the beach or further inland, the sunlight can get intense even in the midst of winter. Those e-paper screens don’t hold up so well in such an environment, but it also stinks to be cooped up inside. So invest in an affordable beach umbrella. Even at the park, you can make good use of the portable shade, and if it starts to rain, you’re in a lot better shape. Don’t forget that e-readers are vulnerable to water unless you have an expensive case.

Use the WiFi

 Unless you’ve invested in a more expensive e-reader with a data plan (and at that point, you’re better off just getting a tablet like the iPad), internet access is going to be a real issue. When you need more books, that’s your only option anyway—so access the local WiFi. Yet be warned when you’re utilizing WiFi in public spaces. Caf├ęs and other hotspots run a major risk of exposing you to hackers, who like to sit in range of unprotected connections and use “sniffer” programs to infiltrate people’s devices to steal data. Your best bet, in that case, is a service known as a Virtual Private Network (VPN). It might seem odd putting security software on your e-reader, but it still contains valuable data worth protecting. This VPN review by Secure Thoughts will point you in the right direction.
As a side note, you can also deal with a lack of content access with a VPN as well. Some digital content is restricted by locale, but a VPN can be used to change your assumed location so that you can shop for whatever you want.

Stay In
Sometimes it’s not the best to go out on a trip; sometimes we need some time inside. When you’re hanging at home and your e-reader has got you down, why not do some reading on your PC or laptop? In most cases, your PC screen is going to be larger and already set up at a better angle for reading. And consider this: reading mobile devices is strongly associated with a new form of neck pain some are calling text neck,” with e-readers being no different as they tend to be held and read in much the same way. Conversely, you could purchase a stand for your e-reader, but if you’ve already got a desk set up perfectly, why bother?
 
Go Low Tech

As silly as the suggestion sounds to some, if your e-reader proves to be a disappointing experience, it may be time to put it down and head down to the bookstore to pick up some real books.

Not only do traditional books have a very different (and sometimes more satisfying) feel to them, but they’re also incredibly cheap if you buy them used. Amazon regularly sells books for just a few cents or dollars, depending on your subscription. Used bookstores also offer countless novels for pennies on the dollar. And one of the greatest things about physical books is the ability to sell them back or lend them out to friends. They also make for great decoration if you’ve got the space.

Options
One of the best parts about owning an e-reader is that you have choices. It may be that the e-reader isn’t the best solution to every problem, but it’s still nice to have. Just be ready to put it down when it becomes a nuisance. How do you like to read your books? Do you prefer e-books or the real thing? Tell us your preferred method below. 

About the Author: Cassie is an avid reader and technology enthusiast. She blogs about a variety of  topics including internet security and the latest gadgets. In her spare time, she enjoys warming-up on the couch with her favorite author.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Shoba Sadler



http://clashofthetitles.com
Today we'll sit down to chat with Shoba Sadler, author of the contemporary title Child of Dust. Shoba will take us behind the scenes of her unique new novel and give us a glimpse into her writing.

Shoba, why did you choose to write this type of novel?
Social status and cultural barriers makes for great conflict. Child of Dust is like a modern-day classic of Romeo and Juliet only instead of opposing families, these lovers, Kim and Bryan have cultural and social barriers to contend with.

Kim, the rich and spoilt socialite who loses her money is taken under the wing of her reluctant chauffeur, Bryan, who has his own struggles to deal with. They find love under the most unexpected circumstances.

Can you tell us why you started with an Asian setting for your first two novels?
I was founder of Agape Christian magazine in Malaysia. I also freelanced for the leading English, secular newspaper in Malaysia, The Star. My feature stories forThe Star were several page write-ups with gorgeous photos. Many of my stories were selected by the features editor to be cover stories as well.

As I interviewed people all over the world for Agape, I saw God moving powerfully in Asia and yet there were so few stories coming from there especially in the Christian romance genre.

In Asia, Christianity is seen very much as a Western culture. Yet so many Asians have had powerful encounters with Jesus Christ. Then there is the struggle to validate their faith in the midst of culture, tradition, loss of identity, social stigma and so on.

There alone you have so much material for backdrop, tension, drama, conflict and final resolution.

An example of what I mean can be seen in my short story Finding Enlightenmentthat was awarded second place at faithwriters.com. It can be read here:http://www.faithwriters.com/wc-article-level3-previous.php?id=54362

Talk a little about your unique setting.
When I read novels I am drawn to the backdrop and setting. A great description of the setting subtly woven into the story is what makes the difference between being a narrator who takes a person on a journey through his "telling" and a facilitator who steps out of the way altogether to allow the reader to explore the journey on his own. The writer should aim to be the facilitator and not the narrator.

There is nothing like a great setting to make the reader feel like they are there with the characters. It is like the difference between watching a 2D and 3D movie.

Unfortunately, many formulaic romance novels that are churned out in quick production-line succession fails to capture this allure of setting because it takes research and time. It is also not easy to write setting discreetly in the background and that is the only way to write it. Otherwise it will seem like reading lecture notes instead of a story.

I read one review of a multi-cultural romance set in an Asian country where the reviewer said she felt like she was reading a tour company's brochure and that is the wrong emotion to invoke.

So another reason I wrote Child of Dust was to give romance readers a chance to explore unique settings and backdrops not normally experienced by a reader in the current trend of romance novels available out there.

We'd love to hear a little about the historical background for your novel. Will you talk about that?
The main character, Bryan, Kim's chauffeur has been deeply affected by the Vietnam war in the sense that he is the illegitimate child of an American GI and a Vietnamese woman. This historical background sets a different dimension to the story and adds intrigue and authenticity.

Who would you say is the audience for this novel?

Child of Dust is an appealing read for anyone. As I have also written for the secular press, I am able to write in a manner that appeals to all walks of life both Christian and non-Christian. I have had non-Christians tell me they were so engrossed in the story that they didn't not notice the message of the gospel woven into the story. Yet that message is undoubtedly there.

I am an inspirational writer and everyone loves a good inspirational story just as they love watching a Hallmark movie.

What readers have to say about the novel:
"Make sure when getting ready to read Child of Dust that you don't have anything else planned for the day, you won't be able to put this book down. I could go on and on about this book. Highly and strongly recommend it. Is it possible to give a book 10 stars?" --- Debra Dunson, reviewer at The Edgier Christian Fiction Fan

"I found the writing of this story to be close to excellent.... I found this book to be one of the most enjoyable books I have read in a long time. It was interesting, the story kept moving along, and I learned a lot as I read this story. I found myself intrigued with the constant difficulties faced by the protagonists – and their stories were presented so much more like real life stories than any other book I have read in a long, long time." --- Marina, Community Writer, California

"This novel has a consistent rhythm, adding surprise after surprise, twisting our emotions at each new difficulty Kim faces. I couldn't put this book down, waiting to see if any or all the ends would be tired up. I would actually like to see the novel transcend into a movie. An amazing read." --- Brices Mice Christian Book Reviews


About Child of Dust: 
Beautiful but spoilt Vietnamese socialite, Cao Kim Lye, learns of her parents shocking death from the dashing Amerasian family chauffeur, Bryan Nguyen.

Kim steps out of a world of crystal and chandelier to enter the dust and chaos of working-class Hanoi. She finds herself living under the roof of a shop cum living quarters with Bryan and his adoptive family.

Ever conscious of the privileged class, Kim struggles against the emotional ties she forms towards Bryan, the reluctant saviour, who considers her an unnecessary hitch to his already complicated life.

He still bears the scars of abandonment by his mother and his American GI father when U.S. troops pulled out of Vietnam.

Eventually Bryan and Kim's powerful attraction to each other begins to break down the wall between them.



About the author: 
Shoba Sadler has been a journalist for 20 years and founder of Agape magazine in Malaysia. She is a versatile inspirational author that likes to write in multiple genres. She has pioneered a new genre in Christian multi-cultural writing with her novel Child of Dust and her many award-winning short stories can be read here http://shobasadler.com/?page_id=250

Her passion for writing is matched only by her passion for cooking with farm fresh produce. She lives a healthy lifestyle on a farm with her husband, Kevin, a talented musician, who also loves to surf and ski. They grow their own vegetables and fruits and share their home with a multitude of animals and wildlife. They are passionate about buying directly from local farmers who practice organic farming.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

His Substitute Wife

His Substitute Wife
Stand-In Brides #1
Dorothy Clark
30646397
Linda and Aubrey are sisters, but they couldn't be more different. Blake met the two sisters and proposed to Linda, whom he'd fallen in love with. But once he's gone, Linda loses interest and Aubrey continues writing to him, but signs the letters as Linda. When Linda runs off to marry another man, Aubrey goes to meet Blake as his substitute wife so he doesn't lose his business. But Blake is still in love with Linda, so things got off to a very rocky start.

I love historical fiction and mail-order bride type plots. So I was really looking forward to this story. The settings were wonderful and really captured my attention. Aubrey was a character with depth. But the rest of the characters really fell flat for me. In fact, I didn't care for Blake at all. He seemed weak to me. The angst and drama involved in the misunderstanding was more than I like in a story. And a few things didn't really ring true for the time period. Overall, it was a nice story if you enjoy marriages of convenience, history, and lots of emotional angst in your story. It just wasn't for me.

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

Prayers

Prayers and Answered Prayers
Thomas Nelson
29492046
Children learn about prayer from us. So why not give them a prayer journal of their own. The glittery, glossy cover will delight young girls and inspire them as they work through the pages of their journal. The cover is more of a book jacket with two separate books inside. The first book is a place to doodle, write down prayers, and connect with God. The second book corresponds with the first book and is a place to write down how God answers the prayers in the first book. Scripture, places for thoughts, and paragraph length devotions tie in with the prayer book above it.

My daughter fell in love with this book as soon as she saw it. It felt like it was customized for her and helped her to have a prayer journal of her own that wasn't as intimidating with it's blank pages. She enjoyed the scripture prompts and space to draw. I loved that it encouraged her prayer life as well as creativity. This would make an excellent gift for the young girl who is starting out on her spiritual journey.

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

Monday, January 2, 2017

Home on the Range

Home on the Range
Double S Ranch #2
Ruth Logan Herne
29358211
Nick stayed on the ranch when his brothers left for greener pastures. He dealt with his strong-willed father and raised his daughters alone when his wife abandoned them. But now the effects of that abandonment are starting to show themselves in his daughters. Nick will do anything for them, but isn't thrilled with the idea of a therapist. Especially one who lives in a hobbit home in the middle of nowhere. But Elsa seems to be reaching Cheyenne, his eldest, in a way he never could. Maybe things are beginning to look up for a change.

I really enjoyed the first book in this series and this one followed in the same path. The characters are so authentic and have depth. The people and descriptions jump off the page and create a wonderful scene for me to envision. I think the book could be read as a stand-alone, but with characters from the first book playing major roles in this one as well, I would recommend reading book one. You won't be disappointed. The author draws from the family's conflicts and ties in messages of forgiveness, patience, love, and family without coming across as preachy or overdone. I loved the flow of the plot and how the situations were resolved in a realistic manner. Can't wait to read the book about the third brother when it comes out.

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

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Her Guardian Rancher

Her Guardian Rancher
Martin's Crossing
Brenda Minton 
Daron promised his Army friend that he'd watch over his wife and child. But widow Emma doesn't want Daron to watch over them out of a sense of duty. She's doing just fine on her own and doesn't need help. Daron needs to show Emma that he's not doing this out of guilt. But when Emma and her home are targeted by acts of vandalism and violence, she decides that maybe she needs Daron after all.

This was a sweet story that had romance, faith, family, and troublesome relatives all thrown in to make a slightly suspenseful and sweetly romantic story. The characters weren't as real to me as I would have liked, but overall it was a nice book. I think my favorite character was the grandpa. Overall, not a favorite, but okay for a quick read on a rainy day.

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