Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Heirloom Brides

The Heirloom Brides Collection
Kim Sawyer, Tracey Bateman, Joanne Bischof, Mona Hodgson
 Four brides have a treasured heirloom that plays a part in meeting or marrying the man God has designed for them. Each bride must overcome obstacles or previous hurts to secure the heirloom and the groom. 

I'd read books by all but one of these authors, so I knew I was going to enjoy this book. Each story is tied together by the theme, but otherwise stands alone. The authors all brought their unique style of writing to the table to offer a heartwarming and sweet romance story. Each story has elements of faith and redemption as well as hope and love. This is a great book for when you only have a short time to read as each story is individual and the plots are heavy or full of details. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian fiction or would like to read a novella by a new author to get a feel for her writing.

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

Thursday, December 24, 2015

A Dash of Daring

A Dash of Daring
Taste of Romance Book 3
Elizabeth Maddrey
Amy works at an inner city school where she was raised and now lives. She's admired Zachary for quite some time, but has pushed off his advances to be more than friends. She just can't see their relationship working since they are different races. But Zachary doesn't see the problem and pursues Amy. When she finally gives in, she learns to not jump to conclusions without all of the facts and also about trust and faith in God.

The cover seemed very YA to me, so I wasn't surprised to have the story and style of writing to confirm this. The emotions and reactions were on target with high school or college age kids. The author wove her faith into the story and used the conflicts and drama to bring these elements into play. I wasn't aware when I chose this book that it was the last book in the series. But the book could definitely work as a stand-alone. Overall it is a sweet story that would be great for a reader who enjoys YA and Christian fiction.

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

Wednesday, December 23, 2015


Congratulations to the winners!

All of the winners are listed below. I used Rafflecopter's random drawing to pick each winner. Emails have been sent. Please respond with your mailing address so I can get the book out to you soon.

Thank you everyone for entering. I'm sure I'll have more books soon.


Monday, December 21, 2015

Ballerinas by Liesbet Slegers

Ballerinas and What They Do
Liesbet Slegers
A ballerina dances every day. Glide along with a little ballerina as she tells the young reader what it takes to be the best ballerina. She describes the different types of poses, teaches about the attire required, talks about the schedule required to be a good dancer, and tells about the final show and the key players. The book ends with Mindy showing the reader five different poses that an aspiring ballerina can learn to do. Each post is demonstrated by a picture and a brief description of how to position the arms, legs, and feet. Colored pencil style illustrations brighten the pages and help tell the story. 

My daughter loved reading the book and practicing the different poses found in the back. This book would be a great book for dance teachers who want to help teach the basics to their young students, teachers who want to encourage reading skills, and parents looking for some interactive books for their daughters.

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

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Knights of the Empire

Knights of the Empire
The Young Heroics Book 1
Cousin Summer
Two young boys from different families find an old survival guide. They hatch a plan of adventure, but need Grandpa to help them execute it. The adventure turns out to be much more than they anticipated and they'll come away from their experience having learned about loyalty, courage, family, and danger. 

I wanted this book because my 9 year old is a voracious reader and I can't keep up with his need for books. But I thought I'd read it first to make sure it was something he'd enjoy. I started but then had to wait for him to finish since he wouldn't let me touch the book. I'm not sure who enjoyed the book more. I don't usually enjoy the books he reads (not really my style),but this was an exception. It has all the elements that a pre-teen or early teen boy will enjoy. It's also very well written and entertaining.

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

Friday, December 18, 2015

A Woman's Guide to Knowing What You Believe

A Woman's Guide to Knowing What You Believe
How to Love God With Your Heart and Your Mind
Patty Houser
"Dynamic faith means knowing why you believe what you do about all matters of faith. . ."
This line sums up what the author wants the reader to walk away from after finishing the book. She wants you to be able to defend your faith should the need arise.

This book had both pros and cons for me. I loved the cover and the concept the author was trying to get across. The description of the book is what intrigued me to try it. And while the author had a lot of great facts, stories, and antidotes the reading was slow and heavy. It was just a little too deep for me and I had to read it in pieces to be able to process it. This would be for the serious student or someone wanting a more heavy approach to dissecting what they believe.

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

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Christmas Curse

The Christmas Curse
Loveless and Dunn Book 6
Erika Marks
 Emily believes she's been cursed. Her last three boyfriends have dumped her at Christmas time. So when her current boyfriend mentions wanting to talk when he returns from his business trip, she impulsively heads to the mountains where no communication is possible to spend Christmas. But she doesn't plan well and gets stuck in a bed and breakfast with a veterinarian during a blizzard. But a Christmas blizzard just might change her luck.

Almost the entirety of the book was spent on the first few days when she meets her potential husband and the drama that each brought to the table. It felt a little rushed to me and the months in between the main story and the epilogue seemed unrealistic. The characters were pleasant, but didn't grab me. I did however appreciate the fact that this was a clean romance and the author didn't go with the clique of the couple jumping into bed. Overall, this was a light and fluffy romance story that was okay, but didn't make me want to read any of the others in the series.

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

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

At Love's Bidding

At Love's Bidding
Ozark Mountain Romance Book 2
Regina Jennings
Miranda works with her family at their auction house in Boston. They sell high end items and Miranda writes the catalog with detailed descriptions for each item. As she's walking through the back of the action house she sees a painting on the auction block that is definitely not what is described in the catalog. But she's been timid her entire life and fears her grandfather's anger if she steps in and interrupts. But she soon learns her mistake when the LeBlanc family comes after the auction house with their lawyer. They have a short window to find the painting that was wrongly sold or their auction house will be shut down. They purchase another auction house where they believe the painting was headed to. Miranda and her grandfather board a train headed to the Ozarks in pursuit of the painting. But life is full of curve balls and Miranda is dismayed to find out that they auction house they bought doesn't deal in antiquities. And her grandfather seems to be loosing his mind. 

I liked the story. It was full of twists and turns that didn't turn out the way I expected. I also expected a little bit more about the character's faith since this is labeled as Christian fiction. The main characters were well thought out and fit well with the story. But my favorite was actually a secondary character named Betsy. She really added to the plot and the uniqueness of the town. Overall, it was a fun, slightly romantic story, but didn't have any gripping drama or deep faith connection.

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

Beautiful Star of Bethlehem

Beautiful Star of Bethlehem
A Christmas Novella
Lori Copeland
Arlene was in an airplane crash that killed her husband and left her with brain damage. Told from the point of view of Arlene, the reader gets a glimpse into the confusing and depressing mind of a person with brain trauma. Arlene can't remember so much, but she does remember her husband and knows that she misses him terribly. Her family isn't sure what they can do to help her.

I've enjoyed books by this author before, so was expecting writing of the same style. This book was different from anything I've read by her. It was very thought provoking and sad. The point of view was unique, so I liked that. The part about the the friendships and family was touching and heartwarming. The frequent frustration of the main character was depressing and frustrating. Because of the mixed emotions I'm having a hard time rating this book. Overall, I think it would be a great book to read if you know someone with brain trauma, or if you want a thought provoking, but easy to read book.

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

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Rest Assured

Rest Assured
A Recovery Plan for Weary Souls
Vicki Courtney
 Our lives are so full that we often don't realize that our souls are empty and craving rest. The author took a hard look at her own busyness and wrote a plan for all of us to follow. In the first half of the book, she begins by outlining some of the reasons we are so incredibly busy. She talks about the problems that stress and weariness can do physically and mentally to the body. Each chapter ends with questions for the reader called Rest Stop. Then is a challenge for the next week called Intervention. The second half of the book is about how to correct the problem of busyness and being weary. There are four chapters that break down the steps on the road to recovery. Each chapter ends with the questions and intervention pages. The book ends with a thirty-day restoration guide and a list of one hundred ways to find rest. 

First - I loved the cover. It is restful and relaxing and fits well with the topic. The beginning couple of chapters didn't really seem to fit me. My reasons for being busy weren't listed and I couldn't really relate. But I'm glad I stuck with the book because the rest was great. The author doesn't just address the problem, she gave solutions as well. The book would work well for an individual or for a woman's study group. I liked the two bonus sections in the back and felt like it really added to the main section. I would highly recommend this book to any woman (or man) who finds themselves so busy that they can't stop and take a moment to rest, for the woman who desperately needs a break and isn't sure where to start.

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

Saturday, December 12, 2015

101 Family Meal-Time Devotions

101 Family Meal-Time Devotions
Greg Johnson
It's not always easy to find the time for family devotions. It can also be difficult when the ages of the children are too far apart. So the author has created five minute devotions that could be read before or during the meal. Then with the questions, can be discussed as everyone eats. Each devotion begins with a scenario of "what if?". A situation is presented. Then the second section is questions to think on that get the reader, especially the children thinking of what they would do in that instance. There are also several devotions geared towards the parents.

This was a wonderful set up for our family. We have story time at night, but I wanted something more to do with the kids along the lines of devotions. We are always on the go and meal times and car rides are perfect times to have meaningful conversations. So I've used these in both situations. My only issue was the format that I chose. I wouldn't recommend the ebook version. Some of the devotions didn't work for our kids yet and it is so much easier to bookmark a paperback or flip through and find the perfect one. But that's probably just a matter of preference. Overall, I really enjoyed the devotionals and look forward to incorporating more into our family time.

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

Friday, December 11, 2015

The Proposal

The Proposal
Porter Family Book 3.5
Becky Wade
Amber is a single mom who has devoted her time and energy into being the best mom for her son. But she's also lonely and longs for someone special, a dad for her son, and family around her table. Her boyfriend, Will, has brought joy and hope into her life. She feels like Will is close to a proposal, but so far nothing. Now she's on her way to see him at the fire station, but is having a terrible day. A flat tire, rain, etc. make her wish she'd stayed at home.

Fans of Becky Wade will love to read about these two secondary characters from previous novels. It's a fun tie-in that I really enjoyed reading. It was sweet, romantic, and humorous. The writing style is classic Wade with great character development, fun details, and sweet romance. A huge thanks to the author for listening to all of her fans and gave us the ending for Amber that we'd been wondering about. 

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

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Christmas Give-Away!

Merry Christmas Everyone! 
I have some lovely books* to give away for the holiday season.

The rules:
1. Go through the list of books and pick ALL of the titles you like.
2. Follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter.
3. Make sure your contact information is either in the comments or I can access it through your Goggle account.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Shadows of Landenbrooke Manor
Melanie Dobson


The Match of the Century
Cathy Maxwell

Walking on Trampolines
Frances Whiting

Purposeful Parenting
Jean Barnes

Stealing Air
Trent Reedy

*All of these books are uncorrected proofs or advanced reader copies. There might be small changes made after this book was published. There might also be the occasional typo. This doesn't detract from the book, but I wanted to let you know that you weren't receiving the final, final copy. This is what I often receive when reviewing the book before publication. I later receive a final copy and wanted to share the extras. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Whispers in the Reading Room

Whispers in the Reading Room
Shelley Gray
Lydia, a librarian, notices a man who frequents the library. He fascinates her and she can't keep from watching him. When her mystery guest, Sebastian, ends up rescuing her, she learns a little bit more about him. But Sebastian isn't exactly who he's pretending to be and in her quest to uncover answers Lydia places herself on a murder suspect list.

The cover was enticing and the premise of the plot was intriguing. But once I started the book I just couldn't stay engaged. The plot seemed well flushed out, but I couldn't connect with the characters. The story was a little dark and I couldn't relate to the romance part of the story as well. Overall, I think fans of mystery books might enjoy this story, but I couldn't like it no matter how hard I tried.

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

A Basket Brigade Christmas

A Basket Brigade Christmas
Judith Miller, Nancy Moser, Stephanie Whitson
Three single women open their hearts to love. Decatur is a small town in Illinois. But the woman there want to do their part to aid in the war efforts. Each woman plays a part in the Basket Brigade, a charity group that feeds and provides for the injured soldiers that briefly stop at the train station on their way to the military hospital. As each woman gives her heart to the Lord, she finds room in her heart for the man of her dreams. 

These stories were sweet, romantic, and heartwarming. My favorite story was the first one. The author did a good job of creating a story in the short time frame of a novella. The relationship between the two was authentic and the secondary characters added to the story. The last two had more rushed plots and the romance seemed to happen too quickly. Also the drama was a bit on the heavy side, for me. But overall, I enjoyed the book and would read another one by these authors. It's a great book to curl up on a cold winter day and relax with.

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

Sunday, December 6, 2015

The Cinderella Body Club

The Cinderella Body Club Collection
Jennifer Conner, Angela Ford, Sharon Kleve, Amber Daulton
 Four girls, unlucky in love, meet together to spend time together once a week. They are all bemoaning the lack of men in their lives when one of them shares a story about a lucky charm that can change a woman for 24 hours. They all decide to take a chance and wish on the charm. The next morning all four wake up to discover they have changed over night. They now have 24 hours to to find the prince of their dreams.

Each author has a different writing style so the stories aren't exactly the same. Each story starts the same with the girls gathered for some wine and girl talk. So by the time I got to the end I was skipping that section of the story. The plot is predictable. I enjoy novellas, but these were too short to really get enough of a story or good character depth. This also made the girls seem cheap since each of them jumped into bed with their prince during the 24 hour period. Overall it was a light and fluffy book that someone wanting a quick read will enjoy.

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

Friday, December 4, 2015

Snowflakes on Silver Cove

Snowflakes on Silver Cove
White Cliff Bay Book 2
Holly Martin
 Libby is a romance writer. As she begins each story she moves to the location to get a real feel for the place and it's people. Six months ago she moved to a small town in England and fell in love with the little seaside town. She also found a kindred spirit in her next door neighbor George. They've been best friends since the beginning. Now she's almost finished with her current novel and has plans to move to New York to begin her next one. But she's needing a little inspiration in the romance department. So Libby and George concoct a plan. They will go on fake dates. This will help ease George back into the dating world after his divorce and provide Libby with the inspiration for her book. But the dates don't exactly go as planned.

This is a sweet story. It is intended to be a Christmas story, but other than the gifts, I felt like it could have been happened any time of year. Both characters were well described and added humor and depth to the story. The outcome was expected, but the story was more character driven than plot driven so this wasn't an issue for me. I definitely enjoyed the two main characters, but my favorite couple was two of the secondary characters who had a little romance of their own. They were interesting enough that they could have had their own story. Definitely nothing high drama or gripping about this book, so readers who enjoy small town romances, and multiple stories will enjoy this story.

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

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Monday Morning Joy

Monday Morning Joy
Tia McCollors
Rae has vowed to never date a celebrity or person involved in sports. So she's not exactly thrilled with her assignment to interview local sports hero Malachi. Malachi is home recovering from an injury that has put his baseball career on hold. In the mean time he's going to refocus and spend time with his charity. 

The story has a very light-hearted chick-lit or young adult feel. There isn't anything deep or dramatic about the plot. The two main characters are lightly fleshed out and the plot is predicable.  There were a couple of secondary characters that I enjoyed, but I couldn't relate to the two main characters. This is a story that will appeal to someone looking for a light, fluffy story with lots of slang, infrequent references to Christianity, and a feel of family.

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

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The 12 Bride's of Christmas Collection

The 12 Bride's of Christmas Collection
12 Heartwarming Historical Romances for the Season of Love
 Twelve different authors joined forces to write twelve stories about women who became brides at Christmas time. Each story is a stand alone, but they all fit together with the theme of the title. Each of these stories was sold separately as an e-book and the whole collection was put together in paperback for the season.

This is the perfect glimpse into the writing style of a lot of different authors. Each story was well written and I enjoyed the opportunity to catch a quick story during my short breaks. The stories all center around Christmas and love, but also include faith as an integral part of the story. This would make an excellent gift to the reader in your life.

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

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Sparkle Box

The Sparkle Box
Jill Hardie
One day while listening to his mom read a Christmas story, Sam notices a sparkly box on the mantle. His parents kept telling to wait whenever he asked what was in the box. As the days go by he and his family find ways to bless others during the season. And Sam waits impatiently to find out what is in the box. Each time he asks, his mother tells him that she still has a few more things to put in it. When he opens the box he finds out who the gift is for and how he contributed.

This is a book to keep on our shelf with the treasured Christmas collection. The illustrations are incredible and really help tell the story. The message that the story tells is one of giving, unselfishness, and the real reason for the Christmas season. The book includes a sparkle box so the tradition can be carried on. I loved the concept and my children really loved the idea as well. Since we already do a lot of these types of things it was easy to implement this new tradition. I would highly recommend this book to anyone with children who wants to inspire them to have a giving heart.  

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

Coloring Ocean Mandalas

Coloring Ocean Mandalas
30 Hand-Drawn Designs for Mindful Relaxation
Wendy Piersall
Coloring, especially the mandalas has been show to reduce stress, relax the mind, and calm anxiety.  Adults are jumping on the trend of coloring to relax and calm them. I've reviewed quite a few adult coloring books, but none of them compare to the artwork drawn by Wendy Piersall. Her attention to detail and gorgeous designs are truly a work of art.

 I use these to focus my mind when I'm listening to a lecture or have to wait for an appointment. My children love to color these as well and I can honestly say that I've seen my daughter's fine motor skills improve as she's colored the intricate designs. These books would also make excellent gifts.

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