Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Bobbs and the Little Boy

Bobbs and the Little Boy
Diane Page
Little boy is on vacation when he receives a little stuffed animal as a souvenir. He names the animal Bobbs and makes a little bed for his new friend. He soon becomes very good friends with his Bobbs and they talk and play together.

The artwork is simplistic, but fits well with the story. My children both enjoyed the story. The target age is pre-school, but my 5 yr old enjoyed it too. The story plays on the imaginary friend that so many little children have and shows how much fun they can be. There isn't really a deep thought or lesson to be learned, but it's a cute little story.

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

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Engaged at The Chatsfield

Engaged at The Chatsfield
The Chatsfield Prequel
Melanie Milburne
Juliet has been in love with her brother's best friend Marcus for as long as she can remember. So while at a friend's hen party she lets it slip that Marcus is her fiance. She never expects him to show up at the hotel. He isn't exactly thrilled to be playing a part to her impulsiveness, but agrees to play along. 

I was given a paper copy of this book. So until the book arrived in my hands, I was unaware of how tiny the book would be. It is 74 pages long. So while the premise of the story is fun, it just felt way too rushed. The male character goes from barely knowing the female character existed to wanting marriage in just a couple of days. Because the story is so short, the characters lacked development and none of the sub characters or stories were completed. It left me feeling frustrated that it ended so abruptly, instead of wanting to read more. 
And just a tiny pet peeve. The woman on the cover isn't even remotely close to the description in the book.

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

Friday, June 20, 2014

Sincerely Yours

Sincerely Yours
Laurie Alice Eakes, Ann Shorey, Amanda Cabot, and Jane Kirkpatrick
Four women receive letters that change the course of their lives in these four novellas. Each story has the common thread of the main female character receiving a letter that sent her on a journey. All of the stories also share the common thread of romance. But otherwise, each novella stands alone and gives a little taste of each author's writing style.

As with any novella, it really takes a talented author to get character development and romance crammed into such a short space. But two of these authors pulled it off nicely. The stories were sweet and the characters were endearing. One of the stories was nice, but felt a bit rushed and I never really connected with the characters. It wasn't a bad story; it just needed a little extra. The fourth story is written by an author that I've not cared for in the past. I've read several of her books and didn't enjoy the characters or plot layout. The author isn't bad, just not my style. So I wasn't surprised when I didn't enjoy the story. It was just too depressing and rushed to be in a romantic novella. But overall, I enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it for a summer read or for when you only have a few minutes to pick up a book.

Thursday, June 19, 2014


Frank Asch
Bear learns a new game from his friend Little Bird. When Bear is alone that evening he decides to play his new game of hide and seek with the moon. But when the moon gets lost Bear can't find him anywhere. He becomes worried and enlists all of his woodland friends to help him find the moon again.

The illustrations are adorable and fit well with the story. The lessons of team work and sharing were well written into the plot and will be easily understood by children. The rules of the game are explained to the reader as Little Bird shows Bear how to play. Children will enjoy counting with Bear and Little Bird as they play hide and seek. The story could be read by an early reader with the age appropriate vocabulary and larger print. Both of my elementary age children enjoyed this book. It prompted a fun discussion about the moon when we finished.

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

The Shadow of Your Smile

The Shadow of Your Smile
A Deep Haven Novel
Susan May Warren
Noelle and her husband Eli have been drifting apart after their daughter was murdered. Noelle is on her way home one day when she has an accident. She wakes up in the hospital thinking she's a college student, not a mom and wife of 25 yrs. It seems like the perfect way for them to start over. But the men who caused the accident are out looking for her, Noelle can't remember even a small part of her life with her family, and Eli must deal with the consequences of his actions.

I love how the author tells two stories at once that tie together, but are also their own individual stories. The romance is there, but is more subtle than a typical romance. The author also weaves in a tiny bit of mystery, faith, and a small town feel. While this book is part of a series, it can definitely stand alone. One of the things that I appreciate most about this author and her books is how her books make me think. They are more than just a story.

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

Echoes of Mercy

Echoes of Mercy
Kim Vogel Sawyer
Caroline is an investigator for the Labor Commission. But her boss asks her to go undercover on a very special mission. Another investigator died under mysterious circumstances at the factory he was working at. So Caroline will be getting a job at the factory under the name of Carrie, in hopes that she can figure out what happened to her former co-worker. She hates the lies that her job requires, but soon finds that she isn't the only person lying at the factory. Can she figure out what happened before her own life is in danger?

This was such a fun book to read. The characters were realistic and engaging. I enjoyed the secondary characters as much as I did the main characters. The author was able to tell a story that had several things going on at once without my feeling lost or confused. She inserted the message of salvation into the story without it coming across as preachy. The elements of history was a nice bonus that added richness to the story. I would definitely recommend this book and can't wait for the next book.

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

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Mia Fashion Plates and Cupcakes

Mia Fashion Plates and Cupcakes
Cupcake Diaries #18
Coco Simon
Mia loves design and fashion. She helps with the design elements in the cupcake business she runs with her friends. But when a fashion club is started she decides to see if she can juggle the cupcake business, fashion club, school, and all of her other activities. Problems arise in both her home and school life that might ruin everything she has worked so hard for.

The art work is whimsical and helps give the feel of a diary. The author has written a series that will definitely appeal to the middle school girls. Each book in the series is a stand alone story, but each book showcases a different girl in the cupcake club. Every young girl will be able to find a character to relate to. The characters deal with real life issues and the resolutions are written in a way that young girls can relate to. The importance of organization, family, and friends is showcased in the story.

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

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Blue Ridge Reunion

Blue Ridge Reunion
Barrett's Mill Book 1
Mia Ross
Chelsea desperately wants the position of vice-president at her father's bank. So when he asks her to go assess some property as a personal favor, she agrees. She gets a shock when she discovers that the loan applicant is none other than her arch rival from high school, Paul. Chelsea agrees to oversee the work at the mill when her father gives Barrett's Mill the loan. But she doesn't expect to fall in love with the town again. And she certainly doesn't expect to get along with Paul.

A sweet and beautiful story was told around the resurrection of an old mill. The author wove the importance of family, community and faith into a romantic story. The secondary characters were just as fun and entertaining as the main characters and really added to the small town feel of the book. It was a fast, but enjoyable read. I look forward to reading more from this author and hope that she makes this book into a series.

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

Monday, June 16, 2014

Spreading Joy Daily

Spreading Joy Daily
Marie Wikle
Spreading Joy Daily is a book filled with ideas on how to spread joy and kindness to those around us. Each little act, smile, or word of kindness can change a person's entire day. The act of spreading joy is not just about the recipient. Multiple studies have shown the benefits of joy and kindness to the giver. Taking a moment to make a difference in someone's life can slowly change the world.
The book begins with a brief synopsis about what the book is about and different ways to use the book. Then each month begins with a thought about joy. Each day of every month has a different idea that you can use or tweak to make your own. The month ends with nuggets of joy, little thoughts on joy.

This isn't really a book to read, it's more of a book to use. But I still enjoyed reading though the ideas and nuggets. Some of them might not really apply to your specific situation. But the idea is to develop a habit of joy. So take the 30 day joy challenge and learn how to be more joyful.
Another thing that I really liked about the book was that the proceeds from the sale of the book will go towards promoting joy. All of the people who are helping to promote the book are volunteers.

The author and volunteers will send some of the cards you see below if you will follow the instructions on this website.
Secretly Pay for a meal or coffee! Have Fun Spreading JOY. Get These Cards FREE!
 Also if you would like more information about spreading joy I have some additional websites for you to check out.

Money tight, but you still want to spread joy?
Click here!

Read the entire book and want more ideas
Click here!




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

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Back In Her Husband's Arms

Back In Her Husband's Arms
Susanne Hampton
 After a whirlwind romance Sara and Tom get married. But they failed to discuss children before they tied the knot. Sara desperately wanted children and Tom refused to even consider them. And he wouldn't tell her why. So Sara leaves. She's spent her entire life being pushed around by other people and she refuses to give up her dream. Three years later she takes a temporary job to help a friend, and realizes it puts her working directly with her soon-to-be ex-husband.

The romantic aspects of this story were sweet and mostly uncomplicated. The main issue was resolved towards the end of the book, but there wasn't a lot of drama. The medical aspects were a plus in my book. I liked the story, but wasn't in love with it. Without giving a spoiler alert, the ending felt very rushed and forced. I felt that one of the main characters was pushed into changing their mind without any leading up to that point. But overall, it was a sweet story of reunited spouses that I enjoyed reading.

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

Friday, June 13, 2014

The Gift of the Other

The Gift of the Other
Andrew Shepherd
We live in a time where helping others is not popular. Unknown people are a potential threat. No one picks up hitchhikers or gives money to a homeless person. We are cautious and careful about who invite into our homes and lives. Yet the Bible talks to us about entertaining strangers and helping others. 

The author has taken a subject that should touch the heart of every Christian and has written an entire theological book. I was unaware when I requested this book that it was part of the Princeton Theological Monograph Series. And as such, was mostly over my head. I enjoyed reading the parts that I understood. But most of the book was a bit much for me. This book is more for the pastor, professor, or scholar than for the average Christian hoping to learn more about hospitality and overcoming the fear of it. I did gain some insights, but the time it took me to plow through the extremely philosophical parts to get to those insights was somewhat tedious.

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

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Bridge Tender

The Bridge Tender
Marybeth Whalen
 Emily is left devastated and heartbroken when her husband passes away from cancer. But before his death he left her with a strange request and the means to fulfill it. He wants her to purchase a summer house on "their" island. It was their dream and he wants her to go ahead and fulfill it, even though he's gone. Emily finally makes the trip, a year after his death. What she finds on the island goes way beyond a house. She finds healing and a community to belong to.

I've been a fan of this author after I picked up her first book several years ago. Her stories are sweet, even when sad. Beautiful, even when there is tragedy. The imagery alone is worth the read, but the spiritual messages and romance that are woven into the story make it one that is heartwarming as well as convicting. I lived for eight years on the coast of NC and the author does an excellent job of capturing the essence of living on the outer banks. I can't wait to read her next book.

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

Monday, June 9, 2014

Maker Dad

Maker Dad
Lunch Box guitars, Antigravity Jars, and 22 Other Incredibly Cool Father-Daughter DIY Projects
Mark Frauenfelder
Sons aren't the only ones who like to spend time making things with their dads. The author has created an interactive book that daddy/daughter teams can use to make projects together. The projects range from easy and quick to challenging. While the title implies it's for dads, moms with some decent diy skills will enjoy this book as well.

The pictures in the book are bright, colorful, and very informative. I was impressed with the amount of instructional photographs and graphics. The projects all sounded fun, but I would warn any parents away who don't already have some diy skills. Most of these looked a bit above my level. But my husband could easily handle them all and I know that both my son and daughter will enjoy working on them.

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

All Right Here

All Right Here
The Darlings Book 1
Carre Armstrong Gardner
Ivy Darling can't have children. She wants to pursue adoption, but her husband is not cooperating. But one day three children are abandoned by their mother and Ivy takes them in. Her husband, Nick reluctantly agrees. But as the one year anniversary of their placement into the Darling family approaches, Nick realizes that his distance and reluctance may have pushed away the very family he now wants.

I'm not usually a fan of family sagas. But this story was charming. It grew on me more and more as I turned the pages, until I found myself completely immersed. There are some serious issues that are brought out in the story. But the author handles them with finesse and love. A true picture of what family is supposed to be, scares and all, emerges as the story unfolds. I'm sure this book will be great as a stand alone book, but I'm definitely looking forward to reading more about this Darling family.

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

Sunday, June 8, 2014


Dee Henderson
Gina is a genius, which often equates with loneliness. After a failed relationship she heads to her brother's house to wait for him to return home. He works on a submarine for the US Navy. Gina has decided she wants to be married, despite her past track record with men. So she hopes that her brother will help her find a great guy. But when Daniel and Mark both seem like perfect choices she can't make a decision about either of them. Combine this with the potential volatile information she's just uncovered about sonar and she is one stressed woman. But God has been there for everything in the past. So she knows He'll guide her through this chaotic time as well.

Combine suspense, romance, and military drama and you have Undetected. The plot is full of technical details, yet I never felt lost or confused. The author did a great job of making the story seem authentic without overwhelming the reader with hard to understand information. The romance was sweet, clean, and heartwarming. It was woven throughout the entire story, but it wasn't over powering or overshadowed the plot. There are definitely elements of the main character's faith in the story. It is clear they are Christians, but the references are in relation to the characters and their lives so it doesn't feel preachy or over done. Dee Henderson is one of my all time favorite authors and she's definitely written another winner.

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

Friday, June 6, 2014

You Won!

I'm feeling a bit embarrassed. I had a give-away that ended on June the 2nd and I just now realized that it's June the 6th. I'll blame it on my stressful life, but reality is I'm getting old. =)

Thank you to everyone that participated. You have ALL won at least one book.

A Broken Kind of Beautiful
Bread and Wine
Love Like in the Movies

World Cup Mouse

Holler Loudly

Return to Me

Please contact me so that I can get these books to you! Thank you to those of you who shared this on your social media sites.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Just Dessert

Just Dessert
Ladies of Larkspur
Heather Gray
Mary and her siblings need a way to get away from their abusive father. So she plans to make a pie for the pie auction at the church. The man that buys her pie is about to get a marriage proposal. He will also be taking on four younger siblings. But her father arrives, drunk and angry, and ruins her plans. But a young man, Grady, who is visiting his grandparents overhears. He works all summer befriending the family and trying to find ways to make their situation bearable. But can he walk away when the summer is over and he must return home?

This book is Christian fiction. For some reason I wasn't sure by the cover. It just didn't seem like the typical Christian fiction book covers I'm use to seeing. But cover aside, this was a sweet book. It's a clean, heartwarming romance that is about faith, trust, family, and love. I will be checking out future books by this author.

Corky Gives the Whole Scoop on the Facts of Life

Corky Gives the Whole Scoop on the Facts of Life
(For Girls Only)
Terri Shearer Trenchard

 There aren't really a lot of books out there that talk about the facts of life in a way that makes kids want to keep reading. So the author wrote a book for her son and then followed it up with this book for her daughter. Written in a conversational tone with a young girl named Corky, girls can learn the scoop on life from a peer.

Playful pencil type drawings, colorful text, and "scoops" on the facts of life make this the perfect book for girls getting ready to hit puberty. The information is straight forward and written in easy to understand language. I was impressed with the delivery of the information, but also the humor that was thrown into each chapter. It helps break up the seriousness of some of the subjects and makes learning fun. I will be keeping this book for my daughter when she gets a little bit older.

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

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

So Not Okay

So Not Okay
Mean Girl Makeover
Nancy Rue
Tori and her friends aren't exactly being bullied. But they are not very high on the list with the popular girls. It's more like they're invisible. But when a new girl arrives at school the popular girls begin to make her life miserable. Tori is stuck between ignoring what she sees happening or risk being put in the category with the girl being bullied. Can she come up with a plan to stop the taunts and save her class project or will everything fall down around her?

This book was extremely well written. Sadly I could really relate, so it was also a bit painful to read. The author did a great job of not only telling the story, but showing ways to combat the bullying. Young girls will be able not only feel like someone understands, but will be left with solutions and tactics they can use to help get rid of the bullies in their school. While the subject matter is heavy, the author has inserted elements of humor that makes the story fun to read as well. I would highly recommend this book to any young girl about to enter middle school.

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

Hope Runs

Hope Runs
An American Tourist, a Kenyan Boy, a Journey of Redemption
Claire Diaz-Ortiz & Samuel Ikua Gachagua
Samuel and his siblings were abandoned by their mother. Samuel and his brother eventually end up in an orphanage. Claire, an American tourist arrives at the orphanage and decides to stay. She, with the help of friends and supporters, starts a running program for the children. She will change the life of Samuel, and he in turn will change hers.

I'm a runner, so I'm sure this influenced my feelings about the story. But I know I would have enjoyed it even if I wasn't a runner. The authors took turns telling the story from their point of view. This added a fresh perspective and kept the story interesting. Even with the two authors, the story flowed well and brought the same messages and emotions into play. The story was inspiring, heartwarming, and uplifting. This was a story of two people who taught each other the meaning of family and faith. I will continue to follow these two and hope they write another book together.

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

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Reconciled Hearts Trilogy

The Reconciled Hearts Trilogy
Doris Elaine Fell
Three complete novels are put together in this large book about love and drama.  In the first story a violinist and a soldier meet and learn that their lives are inexplicably intertwined. The second story is about a woman who travels to England to uncover her past and learn about her future.
The third story is of love lost and found in the English lake country.

I had a really hard time getting into the book(s). The writing was well done and the plots were ones that would normally interest me. But the stories were dark and a bit depressing at times. I even liked the characters, but the emotions and negativity was a bit much for me. There seemed to be an enormous amount of extra details that didn't really add to the story, especially with the first book. For being so filled with angst and drama, they tied up too neatly and perfectly in the end. I like my stories to be complete and end well, but these were a bit too clique. The writer is very good at her craft, but I think I'll stick to her more upbeat stories in the future.

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

Purposeful Design

Purposeful Design
Understanding the Creation
Jay Schabacker
Our world was created in seven amazing days. Often we glaze over what really happened on each day of creation. We mention the stars and moon, but we don't really realize all that went into each step in terms of science. The author has taken day of creation and expounded different scientific elements to create a fascinating coffee table book for all ages.

I was incredibly impressed with this book. I enjoyed reading it, but my son really enjoyed it as well. Each page is filled with lots of bright, colorful pages, Bible verses, and science facts about creation. The book ends with the seventh day of creation - the day of rest. My only complaint, and it's a tiny one, is that the Sabbath wasn't given more time. There are quite a few studies that show the benefits of rest on the body. And the author only briefly touched on the last day with some Bible verses. But this didn't keep the book from being a solid 5 stars in my mind. With so many wonderful things about our earth to chose from, I felt the author did a great job of compiling the best things into each day. The book would be a great addition to any school or home library. It would also make a beautiful gift.

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

Purchase the book here.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

America's Most Wanted Recipes At The Grill

America's Most Wanted Recipes At The Grill
Recreate Your Favorite Restaurant Meals In Your Own Backyard!
Ron Douglas
Everyone has that favorite restaurant dish that they would love to duplicate at home. Douglas has taken grilling recipes from 65 different restaurants and put them into an amazing cookbook. The book is part of a series of cookbooks that duplicate popular restaurant recipes.

The sheer amount of recipes and restaurants used is impressive. Each recipe is well laid out with easy to find ingredients. There are tips and comments about the recipes on almost every page. The recipes are grouped by restaurant instead of food type. There are guidelines for grilling which are pretty comprehensive. Get this book in time for grilling season and save money by cooking you favorite recipes at home.

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