Friday, May 30, 2014

More Free Books!!!!!!

Authors and publishers will often send me a book called an ARC to review. This simply means that the book hasn't been published yet. They might change the cover slightly and every once in a while some errors are found and corrected. But basically it is the same book. These are the books I'm going to be giving away today, because if I like the book I'll support the author by purchasing the book once it's been published. So now I'm passing on these books in hopes that you'll find a new author to read too.
The rules:
1. Go through the list of books and pick ALL of the ones you like.
2. In the comments section list the books you like in the order you would like to receive them.
3. If I do not know you personally or your sign-in name doesn't match your real one, please leave an email address so I can contact you when you win.
4. The deadline is June 2nd. Sharing this will get your name moved to the top of the list if you want the same book as someone else. So please share and then comment again where you shared!
Once the deadline has passed, I'll go through and give the books to the people who have requested them. If multiple people request the same book I'll use to select the winner. Chances are pretty good you'll get at least one book.
Holler Loudly
My review.
This book is not an ARC, but is an extra copy my children received. Because it's part of the Imagination Library it has a large label on the back.

Return to Me
My review.
This book is an ARC, but is in manuscript form. It doesn't have a cover. 
But the words are all the same.

A Broken Kind of Beautiful
My review.
World Cup Mouse
My review.
Love Like The Movies
My review.
This is also an ARC in manuscript form, so the cover does not look like the picture.

Bread & Wine
My review.

Thursday, May 29, 2014


Sandra Horning

A brother and sister receive three tiny chicks. They help their parents make a home for them so they will grow. As they grow, they change. And as they change, their home needs to change. Soon their little chicks will be all grown up and new baby chicks will be on the way.

Chicks! is a Step Into Reading Step 1 book that has easy to read words and larger print to make it easy for the beginning reader to enjoy. The basic vocabulary promotes and encourages the young reader. The bright colorful illustrations make the book entertaining and fun. They also provide picture clues to aid the reader in figuring out where the story is going. Children will love the watching the little chicks grow and parents will enjoy the message of pet responsibility that is woven through out the text and pictures. The very last page in the book has a website that allows the parent to download free sample pages from Sylvan.

I received this book free of charge from Children's Lit in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Everything Goes by Sea

Everything Goes by Sea
Brian Biggs
Henry and his parents are going on a great adventure. They are taking the ferry through the water to their destination. But the ride there is filled with lots questions and amazing sights. His parents do their best to answer Henry's many questions.
 The text is written in bubbles so as not to detract from the illustrations. The book is drawn very similar to a Richard Scarry book with its multifaceted pictures. There is a caption next to each form of transportation or watercraft, and also beside different sections of the boats. It is informative, but also captivating. Children can spend hours poring over the book trying to see every person, detail, and piece of information. It is not written in story form, but can be read as a story with a little bit of creativity. My two children love this book and have spent quite a bit of time looking at all of the pictures.

I received this book free of charge from Children's Lit in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Wedding Dress

The Wedding Dress
Rachel Hauck

Charlotte is a wedding dress shop owner, an orphan, and engaged. But something feels off and she's wandering around an auction hoping to find something that will speak to her. Something that will tell her what direction to take. An old truck and a strange man in a purple vest call out to her and before she realizes it, she's paid $1000 for a trunk that might be empty. Charlotte finally opens the welded shut trunk to find a pristine wedding dress inside with clues to it's previous owners.

Several different stories are told through the book that all focus on this one magical wedding dress. Charlotte and a girl named Emily from 1912 are the two women that the story swaps back and forth between. The stories flowed together seamlessly. The author is able to weave a parable of the gospel of Christ around the wedding dress that is subtle, but definitely there. The different characters that she used each told their story of marriage and faith in different ways that all met together in the end. It was a strange sort of story for me, but I did enjoyed it.

Monday, May 26, 2014

A Bridge Unbroken

A Bridge Unbroken
 A Miller Creek Novel
Cathy Bryant
Dakota has the habit of running from her problems. Occasionally she has a legitimate excuse. But usually she just can't handle the confrontation and chooses to leave rather than work things out. But she arrives in Miller's Creek to settle down on her late grandfather's farm and try to stop running. But mending fences and building bridges when her past mistakes are brought to light is more difficult than she thought.

Since I haven't read any of the other Miller Creek Novels, I'm not sure if this is a series or just several books written about the occupants of one town. There were a couple of times that I felt a little confused and wondered if reading the other books would have cleared up the confusion. But for the most part, the book felt like a stand-alone. I would consider the story to be romantic suspense. But there was also some drama thrown in. The author weaves the message of forgiveness throughout the story and it plays a very prominent part. I felt like she did a great job of covering all of the different aspects of forgiveness from the Bible and Christian perspective. The two main characters were romantically involved, but the story didn't seem to focus on their romance as much as them working through issues. It was good enough that I'll be checking out the other books by this author.

I received this book free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

The Almost Perfect Birthday Party

The Almost Perfect Birthday Party
A sanity-preserving guide to planning a party your child will love
Lois Hoffman
Does the very thought of throwing your child a birthday party stress you out? Moms are busy and don't have time to stress out about parties. So the author has created a small book to give ideas and suggestions for the almost perfect birthday party.

 I have two children so I've done a few parties in my day. This information is pretty basic, but I can see it being a life saver for someone new to the party. The book discusses topics about themes, location, food, party favors, and many more. If you plan on a lot of parties for your children and you don't know where to start, this would be a great jumping off book.

I received this book free of charge from Goodreads in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

My Foolish Heart

My Foolish Heart
Deep Haven Book 4
Susan May Warren
Isadora has been trapped in her home since the accident that killed her mother and paralyzed her father. But when she's hosting her radio show about love she is panic free. When the new football coach moves in next door, Izzy's boundaries are pushed to their limits. 

I'm not sure if it's a common theme or not, but the author had two separate romance stories going in this book, just like the previous one I read. The story was funny, romantic, and heartwarming. The author does a great job of weaving in the spiritual aspects to the story without it coming across too strong. I connected with the characters and loved the exchanges between them. I would definitely recommend this book.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Frankly, I Never Wanted to Kiss Anybody!

Frankly, I Never Wanted to Kiss Anybody!
The Story of The Frog Prince
Nancy Loewen
Everyone knows that the frog needs a kiss from a beautiful princess to turn back into a prince. But did you know that the frog didn't really want a kiss? Prince Puckett is turned into a frog by Hank's mom so he doesn't win the championship baseball game. Now he's being forced to kiss a princess if he wants to play his beloved baseball again. Prince decides he loves being a frog. And he's going to stay that way if it means he has to kiss a girl to turn back into a boy. But one day an opportunity to kiss a princess falls into his lap. He can't miss the chance to turn back into a baseball playing boy.

The illustrations are bright, colorful, and hilarious. They play a large part in telling the story. The story moves along quickly and captures the reader's attention with the details and amusing plot. Children will love the twist to the classical story. Parents and teachers will love the resources at the back of the book. At the back of the book there are questions for discussion, a glossary, a list of books for further reading, internet sites, and more books in the series.

I received this book free of charge from Children's Lit in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Ella and her Bubbles

Ella and her Bubbles
Daneace Terry Jeffery
Little Ella loves playing in the yard with her toys or in the sandbox building castles. But her favorite activity in the whole world is blowing bubbles. Her mommy and daddy help her blow them, but she'd really like to be able to do it herself. Each family member gives her instructions, but she just can't seem to master the skill as . But one day her grandpa shows her the perfect way.

The story is very cute. The illustrations are colorful and help tell the story. The family love is evident as each person tries to help the little girl. The children will enjoy the bright and engaging way the story is told. Parents will enjoy the subtle influences of family and the importance of spending time together.

I received this book free of charge from Goodreads in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, May 22, 2014


I don't usually post author interviews on here. But this one was done by the character in the book. Which is so fun. So since it's a mouse interviewing a children's author, I thought I'd post it. The review for World Cup Mouse should be directly below this interview. Check the book out. It's super fun.

Interview with Richard Seidman by the mouse, François DuBois

Bonjour, I’m François DuBois.
I’m here interviewing children’s book author, Richard Seidman.

François: Richard, I enjoyed reading World Cup Mouse, 
especially the parts with me in it!
 Your books are really funny.

Richard: Thank you, François. I love to make jokes
 and funny business. That’s one of the main reasons 
I enjoy writing – to amuse myself and children 
(and also the big children that we call “grown-ups”). 
For me, funny business is a way to love life, and it’s 
also a way to transform sorrows.

François: Why do you like writing about mice like 
me and Louie?

Richard: Some of my favorite literary characters are mice: Stuart Little,
 Dr. De Soto, Norman the Doorman, Desperaux. It’s fun to write about 
you mice guys.

François: Thanks. Where did you grow up, and what were you like as a child?

Richard: I grew up in Brooklyn, New York. I was a really shy child, and to tell you the truth, I’m still pretty shy. I didn’t really know how to play chess when this picture was taken, but I liked moving the pieces around. My father, Herb, was one of the best chess players in the U.S. When I was growing up, playing games and sports and reading were the favorite things I enjoyed, and they’re still the favorite things I enjoy today! In high school and college, my number one passion was running.

François: My last name, you know, means “of the trees.” I heard that you were part of a tree-planting organization.

Richard: Yes. In the 1970s, I moved to Portland, Oregon, and in 1989 I founded the nonprofit tree-planting group, Friends of Trees. I’m proud that all these years later Friends of Trees is still going strong. More than 10,000 volunteers have planted more than 500,000 trees since the beginning of the organization.

François: Wow, that’s a lot of trees! What other accomplishments are you proud of?

Richard: Well, I’m proud of the book I wrote for grown-ups, The Oracle of Kabbalah: Mystical Teachings of the Hebrew Letters. In 2014, I’ll be publishing a revised version, The New Oracle of Kabbalah. And I’m proud that in the fall of 2014, after training in the martial arts for eighteen years, I finally earned a black belt in Shotokan Karate.

François: Congratulations. Remind me not to pick a fight with you.

World Cup Mouse

World Cup Mouse
Richard Seidman
Louie has a passion for soccer. But he has some major obstacles that could potentially keep him from becoming part of the team. First he's a mouse. Second he has been practicing with a dried pea. Third he wants to join a team of humans who use a real soccer ball. But life brings unexpected changes for the little French mouse as he learns that he can accomplish anything with enough hard word and determination.

The story was precious. My son loved it and the vocabulary was perfect for the target age. The story has drama, adventure, and sports. All things that will interest a young boy and delight even the reluctant reader. But it also has the themes of friendship, sportsmanship, and perseverance woven into the plot. I look forward to seeing more by this author and I know my son will enjoy reading more about Louie.

I received this book free of charge from JKS Communications in exchange for my honest review.

*The only picture I could find was this one with the ARC stamp on it. Not sure if this is how the final copy will look.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Grace's Pictures

Grace's Pictures
Cindy Thomson
Grace is living in a poorhouse in Ireland when she learns she's been sponsored to come to America. She has no skills and must rely on the kindness of her benefactors to make a living. But when she comes in contact with a photographer and a policeman, her life is changed forever.

The book had an incredibly slow start for me. I was almost half way through before I became engaged enough with the main characters to step into the story. It picked up after that and the characters came more alive. The main female character was a bit dark and depressing for most of the book. I actually enjoyed some of the back ground characters more. The author did a great job of portraying history and the lives of the immigrants, but failed at engaging me with the plot or characters. The romantic aspect of the story was almost non-existent for me. It felt very forced and rushed at the end. So overall this book was only an okay story for me.

I received this book free of charge from Tyndale in exchange for my honest review.

A Christ Centered Wedding

A Christ Centered Wedding
Rejoicing in the Gospel on Your Wedding Day
Catherine Strode Parks & Linda Strode
A wedding can be one of the most beautiful moments in a couple's life. For Christians the stress and financial burden of the wedding can overshadow the emphasis on Christ in the marriage and the faith that the couple hopes to bring to their union. The authors have taken some time to share ideas, thoughts and stories with couples planning their wedding to help make it less stressful and more Christ centered.

I was very impressed with this book. The focus of the book was on Christ and how to show Him to not only the couple getting married, but also to the wedding party and guests. The book was filled with helpful suggestions, meaningful thoughts, and stories from other couples who've been down this path already. It touched on so many aspects of the journey to the alter. The layout was simple and easy to read. And while this is an instructional book, I also enjoyed reading it. The authors clearly put a lot of time, research, and effort into making this a must read book for every Christian couple getting ready to get married.

I received this book free of charge from Shelton Interactive in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Daisies are Forever

Daisies are Forever
Liz Tolsma
Gisela, an American, is living with her cousin in Prussia when they receive news that the Russians are about to invade their little town. She joins the hundreds of other people fleeing. As she tries to find a place for her young nieces and the the other refugees in her group she rescues a young British officer. Mitch had escaped a POW camp and is now on the run from the Germans. Gisela poses as his wife to keep him safe. The journey to reach Berlin and then England will take every ounce of strength and faith the two posses. Can they come through this war and find beauty and love at the other end?

War stories are almost always rather dark in nature. This story was no exception. The cover was dark and the story had very little uplifting except the spiritual message. There were so many characters that I had a really hard time keeping track of them in the beginning. The message was beautiful and the author did a great job of portraying what war was like from both sides. But I was often lost in the confusion of so many characters and the unrealistic aspects of some of the story. I also didn't really get a feeling of romance either. 

I received this book free of charge from BookLook Blogger in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Defending the Line

Defending the Line
The David Luiz Story
Alex Carpenter

David Luiz is a rising star in the soccer world. But his defining moments are with his faith, not his sport. He lives his life of faith both on and off the field. This little book tells the story of his rise to fame and how he lives his faith in the world of soccer.

My son is a huge soccer fan and spends hours playing in our back yard. So I knew he would love the book. But I actually enjoyed reading it as well. The story is written in a plain, simple style, but still imparts some important messages. Luiz is unselfish with his time and money despite his fame. He also learned to never give up, no matter what difficulty was thrown in his path. This is definitely someone that I don't mind my son admiring. I would recommend this book to anyone with children interested in sports.

I received this book free of charge from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.

Mercy Like Sunlight

Mercy Like Sunlight
Liz Curtis Higgs
Mary wanders the streets of Chicago in a fog. Voices tell her she's made too many mistakes to be well again. But a young pastor sees something worth saving in her. Pastor Jake sets out with the help of his mother and a few church members to bring Mary back to God.

The author used the story of Mary Magdalene as inspiration for this novella. The story was well written, and still followed the lines of the Biblical story. The characters were unique and interesting. The story of redeeming love was well written. But despite all of this, the story was somehow missing something for me. I couldn't connect with anyone in the story and didn't feel any of the emotions. It was just a nice story. The ending felt a little lost and wandering to me.  I've read and enjoyed books by this author before, so I'm not sure what the disconnect was for me.

I received this book free of charge from WaterBrook in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Holler Loudly

Holler Loudly
Illustrated by Barry Gott
Cynthia Leitich Smith
Holler was born into the Loudly family. He was named Holler because he cried so loud when he was a baby. Be as he grew, so did his voice. He was so loud that he shook the tress, messed up family moments and annoyed people. His parents tried to get him to be quiet, but every once in a while a baby is born into the Loudly family that is just plain loud. And nothing his parents did or said could get Holler to be quiet. But one day a very strange thing happens and Holler learns that there is a time to be loud and a time to be quiet.

My kids absolutely love this book. And I'll admit, I do too. The illustrations are hilarious and fit perfectly with the story. The exaggerations in the story made my kids laugh. But it also gets a subtle message across about having times for quiet and times for loud. This is something a mother can really appreciate. This book is one of our top favorites, especially when read in the appropriate voices.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Paleo Cookbook

The Paleo Cookbook
90 Grain-Free, Dairy-Free Recipes the Whole Family Will Love
Anna Conrad
 Paleo diets are becoming very popular. The author of this cookbook has taken the time to highlight the basics of the diet, share the origins, and give an acceptable list of ingredients. The book begins with instructions on how to "go paleo", and a 28-day challenge using the recipes from the book. Almost every recipe has a colored photograph and the instructions are easy to follow.

The author presented the facts logically and the book felt well researched. The recipes were varied and easy to execute. The bright colorful photographs makes the book attractive and helps in getting a feel of how the recipe should work. The meals look easy to make and the diet as a whole is presented in such a way that it doesn't feel intimidating. While I do not intend to adopt a complete paleo diet, I do intend to incorporate several of the concepts and make more of the recipes. And I would definitely recommend this book for anyone wanting to start eating paleo or who wants to add more recipes to their diet.

I received this book free of charge from Goodreads in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Rules

The Rules
The Way of the Cycling Disciple
  According the blurb on the back this book is a necessity for the avid biker. It contains a list of rules, written with humor that provide tips on road etiquette, gear tips, and much more. The Velominati is a website for the devoted biker with much of the same information. That info has now been condensed and put into this book.

Since my husband loves his cycling I thought this would be the perfect book for him. I read through most of it and was slightly amused at the stories, but rather bored for most it. That's to be expected - I'm a runner. So as soon as I finished I gifted him the book and told him I wanted his opinion when he finished. He's not much of a talker, but here is his reaction upon finishing the book -
"Not a good book. Give it away." When I probed further he mentioned that it was "for the fanatical rider who had no other passions or interests in life, but definitely not for the regular rider". He also mentioned that while it has some slightly amusing or interesting stories, it was mostly boring. Both of us noticed quite a few errors as well. The pictures are black and white and very grainy. I asked him for a rating and he gave it 2 stars.

I received this book free of charge from Goodreads in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Prepper's Workbook

 Prepper's Workbook
Checklists, Worksheets and Home Projects to Protect Your Family from Any Disaster

Scott Williams
 The name says it all. This book is a complete list of anything and everything you will need to know or accumulate to help you make it through a disaster. There are lists for every imaginable scenario with spaces to record your own personal lists and plans. The detailed plans allow you to customize the book to your own scenario.

I was a little wary of the book since I'm quite sure that I'll never need to run from a zombie or any other similar situation. But we do have tornados and ice storms in our area and I've felt really unprepared at times. The instructions were uncomplicated, thorough, and covered way more than I anticipated. The write-on lists and worksheets were extremely helpful. There were several things I hadn't even though about needing, if a storm came, that I'm thankful were outlined in this book. Because hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados, or storms happen everywhere, this is definitely a book I can recommend to anyone.

I received this book free of charge from Goodreads in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Lost Loves of World War II Collection

The Lost Loves of World War II Collection
Bruce Judisch & Sharon Bernash Smith

Madeline is a young American journalist just finishing up school in Berlin. She gets a phone call that opens up the perfect opportunity to stay and work in Germany. She will be interviewing and writing the memoirs of a WWII survivor. But what Madeline finds when she meets Katia is more than she bargained for.

For Maria
When Madeline finished Katia's memoir she sets off in search of the relatives that are still missing. She hopes to reunite all of the family members. But trying to juggle her career, family and marriage is taking a bit more than she can handle. What can she give up and what will happen when some of the family members aren't as eager for this reunion as she is?

The Train Baby's Mother
Hadassah and her husband make the ultimate sacrifice when they throw their baby from the train on the way to the concentration camps. They hope that the young children playing by the train will rescue their daughter. Fritz and his cousin find the baby and set off events that will effect the entire village.

My thoughts
All of these books were well written. But each of them were so completely different that I felt the need to write a review that was sort of separate. The first book had a slow start and took a bit to grab my attention. But once it got started, I couldn't put it down. The author was able to bring the reader into the emotions and hardships surrounding the residents of Germany during the war and after the wall went up.

The second book by Judisch felt more like an epilogue than an actual book. It seemed to tie up loose ends and focus more on the main character and her marriage than it did on the reunion. I liked the way that the author portrayed the challenges and resolutions in a marriage, but felt the book was lacking something.

The third book was outstanding, riveting, heartbreaking, and redeeming. It had some moments that seemed a bit clique or cheesy, but they were momentary. The heartbreak, anguish and utter horror that the Jews went through during the Holocaust was gut wrenching. This author has done her homework and brought those feelings of despair and terror into the writing. I truly felt like I was there and it wasn't a good feeling. But the story ends, while sad, with redemption and healing. So I finished with tears, but with a great feeling about God and his children.

I received this book free of charge from Barbour Publishing in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, May 2, 2014

A Bride for Keeps

A Bride for Keeps
Unexpected Brides #1
Melissa Jagears

Everett heads out west with his fiance only to arrive and lose her to another man. Every time he attempts to get a mail-order bride she arrives and decides to marry someone else. Everett decides he's finished with mail order brides. But his sister-in-law writes to one anyway and Everett decides to make the best of a bad situation. He marries her with the understanding that this is not a love match, it's a partnership.

This story has been done a million times in a million different ways. But it was still romantic and enjoyable. It was definitely the typical romantic story with the obvious ending, but it was sweet and the characters were entertaining. The couple from the novella Love by the Letter were in the story as well so you get to read about them again, which was nice. This is the author's first full length novel and I look forward to reading more of her work. She shows great potential as a new Christian fiction author.

Seasons of Tomorrow

Seasons of Tomorrow
Amish Vines and Orchards, Book 4
Cindy Woodsmall

Rhoda and Samuel are finding their way without Jacob there, but it's still painful. Jacob is still running from his hurt. Landon and Leah are still fighting their attraction and the rest of the family is struggling to make sense of the confusion while still keeping the farm running. But trouble is always just around the corner for this family.

This is definitely not a stand-alone book. I've read each book as it came out so there was a bit of time in between each one and I needed to read the summery at the beginning to refresh myself. By the time you get to the fourth book there are about five different couples or stories going on at once and it gets complicated. But that being said, I did enjoy this book. The author doesn't write the typical Amish fiction. There is plenty of drama and suspense woven into the sometime romantic plot. The characters are flawed, but well defined and likeable. Even though this book wasn't my favorite in the series, it tied up a lot of loose ends and I would still recommend the series.

I received this book free of charge from WaterBrook in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Love by the Letter

Love by the Letter
Unexpected Brides Book 0.5
Melissa Jagears
Dex can't read. He's spent too much time helping out his family to really learn. But now that he's heading west he wants to have a family of his own. But his attempts to write for a mail order bride aren't going well. So he enlists the help of Rachel. She's incredibly smart and his only hope of learning to read and write well enough to find a wife. She's so far out of his grasp that he doesn't even think of her as a potential wife.

This little novella was sweet. Despite the shortness it showed depth of character and a fun plot. Even the secondary characters were entertaining and added to the story. The book was romantic and told enough about the secondary characters to make me want to read the other books coming out in the series, which I think was the point.