Sunday, December 18, 2016

Fatal Frost

Fatal Frost
Nancy Mehl
 Although Mercy is law enforcement like her father, she wants nothing to do with him. But when she's put into a gang force unit, she comes back in contact with her dad. Right before his death he supposedly gave her something. But Mercy has no idea what he might have given her. Now the gangs are after her and she must join forces with a US Marshal to find out why the gang thinks she has this information. Small problem, this US Marshall is also her ex-boyfriend.

This was one of those books that the reader is thrust into the action from the very beginning and swept into the story. There is non-stop drama and action. The romance between the two main characters was sweet. The faith aspects were strong and woven throughout the story. Those were the positives. And if I was only judging the book on the way it drew me in and had me rushing through the book, I would give it a 5 stars. But the cons were a bit too in my face. I really had the sense that the author was pushing her own opinions and agenda with this book. There was a part in the beginning of the book that mirrored an actual event that was probably prominent in the news while the author was writing the story. It was very clear what side the author was on, based on the outcome of the episode. This felt incredibly in my face. Also the "good" guys were so "perfect" that I couldn't relate to them at all. It was as if they were the writer's ideal version of what a Christian should be. So while the story drew me in and captured my attention, these things brought the overall experience down for me. I've read this author's books before and loved them. So I think it was just this book. If you like action and adventure with clean romance that have very strong spiritual notes and a conservative view than you will fall in love with this story.

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

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Barbara Britton

It's common knowledge that authors find their muse in many different places, but one author found her muse while teaching Sunday school.

Author Barbara M. Britton recently was featured on the Books of the Month TV program. Today we host the episode, now available online, on demand, courtesy of Preach the Word Worldwide TV Network. Learn how teaching Sunday school to children helped to spur Barbara's story ideas for her now-popular Biblical fiction series "Tribes of Israel."

(if you can't see the video, click here to visit the Preach the Word Worldwide Network TV station page.

Purchase Providence: Hannah's Journey today
Pre-order Building Benjamin: Naomi's Journey

Monday, December 12, 2016

Restoring Christmas

Restoring Christmas
Cynthia Ruchti
Alexis finally has a shot at making her design company a working business. All she has to do is meet the videographer and set a time to go see the home belonging to a woman named Elsie. Once Alexis turns in the completed video with the finished home she has a chance to win a spot on a tv program and get her business name out to potential clients. But the day doesn't begin well when the videographer sends his son instead. And it certainly isn't a good thing that the homeowner was tricked into having her home on the show and isn't happy about any of the changes Alexis wants to make. Alexis must learn to adapt, listen, and love in the spirit of Christmas if she stands a chance at the tv show and also a shot at love.

This was a wonderful book. The story line is original, the descriptions pull you into the book, the characters are well defined and are authentic. I loved all of the characters. The author did such a great job of making them likable while still having flaws. The characters took a journey of the heart and each one of them became different people because of the experience. The author was able to pull me into their story and have me feel their emotions and experience their journey with them. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys feel good stories with some heartfelt issues thrown in. I'm glad I had the chance to read this book.

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

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Kara Isaacs

Congratulations to Kara Isaacs, with 
Can't Help Falling


Buy on Amazon
Buy on Barnes and Noble

A funny, heartfelt romance about how an antique shop, a wardrobe, and a mysterious tea cup bring two C.S. Lewis fans together in a snowy and picturesque Oxford, England.

Emelia Mason has spent her career finding the dirt on the rich and famous. But deep down past this fearless tabloid-reporter fa├žade, there’s a nerdy Narnia-obsessed girl who still can’t resist climbing into wardrobes to check for the magical land on the other side. When a story she writes produces tragic results, she flees to Oxford, England—home to C.S. Lewis—to try and make amends for the damage she has caused.

Peter Carlisle was on his way to become one of Great Britain’s best rowers—until he injured his shoulder and lost his chance at glory. He’s determined to fight his way back to the top even if it means risking permanent disability to do so. It’s the only way he can find his way past failing the one person who never stopped believing in his Olympic dream.

When Peter and Emelia cross paths on her first night in Oxford, the attraction is instant and they find common ground in their shared love of Narnia. But can the lessons from a fantasyland be enough to hold them together when secrets of the real world threaten to tear them apart? Cobblestone streets, an aristocratic estate, and an antique shop with curious a wardrobe bring the world of Narnia to life in Kara Isaac’s inspiring and romantic story about second chances.

What Voters Had to Say:

These authors are all a blessing! Please keep writing...You encourage us all!

The cover alone makes me want to read the book, which sounds like a wonderful read. :)

Loved Can't Help Falling. More please! :)

Keep writing, Kara! Love your books!

Kara Isaac, I have just discovered your books and love them. Keep it up! 

I loved Kara Isaac's first book, Close to You, so am really looking forward to reading Can't Help Falling. I enjoy her style of writing. I recommended Close to You to my book club, so hopefully we'll be reading and discussing it sometime in 2017.

I have read, and enjoyed, Can't Help Falling. As far as the covers, I have to vote for this one because what little you see of the guy's face, it looks like my son!!

I won Kara Isaac's Can't Help Falling on a Facebook giveaway and was wonderfully surprised at how much I loved this book! The cover is amazing and it really catches the eye!

Kara has a zany unique writing style that combines substance with heartfelt laughter

I'm not familiar with some of these authors but really like some of them!  Keep up the good work!

Kara Isaac, you have such a gift bringing comedy, romance, and meaning to your stories. I love them!!

Wish I could have picked two books here, because Can't Help Falling caught me just by the description. I'll be looking for this one!

About the Author:

Kara Isaac
Kara Isaac lives in Wellington, New Zealand. When she's not working her day job as a public servant, chasing around a ninja preschooler and his feisty toddler sister, she spends her time writing horribly bad first drafts and wishing you could get Double Stuf Oreos in New Zealand. Her debut romantic comedy, Close To You, released April 2016. Her sophomore novel, Can't Help Falling, releases in October 2016 and is an RT Reviews Top Pick. She loves to connect with readers on GoodReads, Twitter, Facebook and through her website.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Scripture Doodle

Scripture Doodle

Immersing yourself into scripture can be rewarding and fulfilling. But often we get caught up in the stress of life and find the task of starting a Bible study time consuming and daunting. The author has taken a unique approach to immersing the reader into scripture. Each book is a six-week devotional that includes adult coloring, doodle pages, space for tons of notes, creative prompts, and scripture. There is a brief page on how to use the book, but the author encourages creative expression and art. 

I'm a huge fan of adult coloring books and jump around when it comes to how I use my devotion time. So I was really excited to try these out. It was completely different from anything I've done before, but it was great. I liked the prompts and used them to jump off into what I was studying. These would be a great way to add some variety to your devotions, would make an excellent gift for the creative person on your list, or would be something to take when traveling so you can have a few moments to get away.

I received a copy of these books from Litfuse Publicity. All opinions expressed are my own.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Santiago's Convenient Fiance

Santiago's Convenient Fiancee
Hot Latin Doctors #2
Annie O'Neil
Saoirse arrived in the US with plans to join her fiance. But when her fiance left her, she decided to use her medical expertise to become a paramedic and try to stay. But it's now months before her visa expires and Saoirse has fallen in love with her new country. To stay she needs to find someone to marry - fast. Her friend pushes her towards her new partner, a man named Santiago Valentino. He reminds her of two of the doctors at one of the local hospitals. Santiago has some issues in his past, but is definitely willing to help out Saoirse find ways that she can stay.

This had an interesting slant on the whole "marry for a green card" plot line. I liked the past that both of them had, the unusual names for the main character, and the best friend. Based on the series title, I expected more bedroom scenes and less dialogue, but was pleasantly surprised. While this is book two in the series, it didn't read like it and could definitely be read as a stand alone. Overall, this was a sweet romantic book to read on a cold winter day.

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

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Classified Christmas Mission

Classified Christmas Mission
Wrangler's Corner #4
Lynette Eason
 Amber, a CIA agent, is on the run from a murder. She has Sam, the special needs child of her friend. The problem is that Sam knows something and his father will kill to get Sam back. Sam runs to the only place she knows she'll be safe - home. But as she's navigating a snow storm just miles from home, she's run off the road by someone who is shooting at her. And when Deputy Lance arrives at the scene of the accident, Amber convinces him to help her evade the killer until she can figure out what it is he's after. She has no idea she's going to accidentally involve her entire family.

This was a fast paced book full of suspense and drama. The addition of a special needs child was well done and I thought the author did a great job of addressing the subject of autism and the special needs and concerns that a child with this might encounter. The book had a little bit of romance, but was mostly about the murderer and Amber taking his child. This book is in a series. While it would have been nice to know the story behind a few of the other characters, I didn't feel like I needed to read them to fully enjoy this story. Overall, I really liked this book and how the author put everything together. Readers of suspense, clean romance, or Christian fiction will definitely enjoy this book.

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

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Getaway with God

Getaway with God
The Every Woman's Guide to Personal Retreat
Letitia Suk
Our lives are lived on the run, mountains of things to do, miles long lists to accomplish. But each of us need some time alone to regroup and refresh our souls. The author has been taking private retreats for almost forty years and offers her insights into how to make it happen and also make it more meaningful. Each chapter has step-by-step instructions, thoughts from other women on personal retreats, ideas for each type of person, and stories from the author and her friend's personal experiences. 

The book reads like a chat with a friend, and while informational in style, is a easy and enjoyable book to read. I was impressed with the wealth of information she was able to share in a short space without making me feel overwhelmed or bored. She shared different types of retreats, ideas on how to dig deeper into the Bible, goal setting, and the importance of a Sabbath rest. The author was able to take a concept that could sound overwhelming to set up and made it doable. She really impressed upon the reader the importance and then addressed any concerns or roadblocks that might come up. It was well written and something I think every woman should take the time to read.

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

Monday, December 5, 2016

Pony Express Christmas Bride

Pony Express Christmas Bride
Saddles and Spurs Series
Rhonda Gibson
Josephine is desperate to escape a horrible marriage proposal. So when she arrives as a mail order bride in a small town out west, she's horrified to discover that her intended wasn't the one who wrote the letter and has no idea that he has a bride on the way. She is afraid that if she doesn't get married immediately her future will be a lifetime of misery. Thomas is going to murder his brother. But first he must rescue the poor young woman who landed on his door step. The only logical explanation is a marriage of convenience.

This was such a sweet story. But it also had some really humorous elements. The author did a great job of tying in the other books in the series while still having this book be great as a stand-alone. The secondary characters really added to the story. The author did a great job of high lighting faith, family, and the importance of love. I've read the first books in the series and was glad to get my hands on this one. It definitely didn't disappoint.

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

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Playboy on Her Christmas List

Playboy on Her Christmas List
The London Primary Hospital #1
Carol Marinelli
Holly, a nurse at Primary Hospital, has had her eye on Dr. Daniel Chandler for quite some time. So when the chance to spend the night with him arises, she jumps at the chance. But when she realizes that her feelings extend beyond one night, she rigs the Secret Santa to see if her returns her feelings. Daniel has every intention of leaving after his temporary stint at the hospital is finished. But something, or someone keeps him coming back.

I couldn't really connect with this book or the characters. I normally love the Medical Romance books, but this one didn't do anything for me. The characters both felt weak and juvenile. The story line was a little short for anything to develop. I think people who enjoy a romance with a quick "fall in love" story or who enjoy anything with medical in it, will enjoy this. It's a quick read with a lot of bedroom scenes and talking between the characters. I did like the addition of the elderly homeless man that was thrown in towards the end. That added a nice element for me.
I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

COTT Blog Alliance

It's the end of our CLASH year, and we've lined up some awesome holiday reading (and gift ideas!) for this month's Clash of the Titles.
Vote for your Ideal curl up in front of a fire read!

Scroll through these releases and cast your vote for your perfect idea of a next read.
It's a tough choice, but it's up to you to determine our Clash Champion!


Risking Love
Brenda S. Anderson

A play-it-safe bank employee falls for a down-on-his-luck, risk-taking widower. Can she risk loving a man whose home she may have to take away?


An Unexpected Role
Leslea Wahl

Josie's island getaway becomes the summer of her dreams as friendships grow, romance blossoms and a series of thefts surround her with excitement. But as she sets out to solve the mystery she has become entangled in, she not only realizes the importance of relying on her faith but along the way also discovers her true self.


Forest Child
Heather Day Gilbert

Historically based on the Icelandic Sagas, Forest Child brings the memorable, conflicted persona of Freydis Eiriksdottir to life and is Book Two in the bestselling Vikings of the New World Saga.


Can't Help Falling
Kara Isaac

A funny, heartfelt romance about how an antique shop, a wardrobe, and a mysterious tea cup bring two C.S. Lewis fans together in a snowy and picturesque Oxford, England.


The Cautious Maiden
Dawn Crandall

In an effort to salvage her good name, Violet is forced into an engagement with a taciturn acquaintance; Vance Everstone. With danger stalking her and a new fiance who hides both his emotion and his past, Violet must decide who to trust and who to leave behind. 


The Thorn Healer
Pepper D. Basham

A wounded nurse battles resentment against a German prisoner as the two work together to save an Appalachian town from deception and disease in the wake of World War 1.


If you have trouble viewing the entire survey Click Here to load a dedicated page to the survey. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Pee Wee The Christmas Tree

Pee Wee The Christmas Tree
George Wells

About the author:  
George Wells has been a songwriter for over fifty years with over 100 of his songs having been recorded. He has worked with artists includingCharlie Walker, Neil Bonnett and Patsy Trigg and has had a song featured in the 1969 film, From Nashville With Music, as well as numerous television and radio programs over the course of his career. Wells currently resides in Huntsville, Alabama. Pee Wee the Christmas Tree is his second book.
About Pee Wee The Christmas Tree:
Heartwarming illustrated story about a Christmas tree overlooked for his small size who refuses to give up on finding a family to spend the holidays with. For years, Pee Wee has lived in the shadow of the bigger trees on the Christmas farm. Without enough sunlight to grow tall and strong, he has been forced to watch helplessly as the other bigger and more attractive trees are picked every year, going home with a happy family. Just as Pee Wee is about to give up hope that he will ever get the chance to bring joy to a family during the holiday season, he is finally cut down to be sold! After years of waiting, Pee Wee is disappointed to find that he is still overlooked by customers wanting fuller trees to decorate. With his dream of celebrating Christmas with a family of his own fading fast, he is at last discovered by two children who tell their father that they found one that is the perfect size. Driven back to their home and adorned with lights and decorations, Pee Wee is finally able to accomplish his life’s big dream: to make children happy at Christmas! Pee Wee the Christmas Tree by George Wells is the perfect story for young kids this holiday season, encouraging them to never give up on their own dreams and proving that - large or small - there is room for us all.

My Review:
The illustrations are cartoon style and fit well with the story of the little tree. The author wrote in a lyrical style that tells the story of patience and waiting to realize your dreams. The story is accompanied by a song with the lyrics matching the book. This would make an excellent addition to your Christmas reading pile. It can also open the way for discussion on patience, realizing your dreams, and other topics.

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

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Best Christmas Gift Ever

The Best Christmas Gift Ever
A Veggie Tales Book
Melinda Rumbaugh
A bright, colorful board book explains the real meaning for Christmas while showing the Veggie Tale characters as they participate in all sorts of Christmas activities. As they wrap presents, sing songs, and exchange gifts, the story points to the end where they learn who was the best gift that was ever given.

The entire page is filled with bright color and fun Christmas scenes. The young child will be able to relate to the many activities that the book talks about. The vocabulary is perfect for the intended age. Children will enjoy being able to hold the book and turn the pages themselves. The illustrations fit well with the text and will keep them engaged while being read to. The beautiful message that it leaves with the child is one that we all want to impart to our children. This would be an excellent gift for any toddler or would make a great addition to a nursery or preschool.

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

Monday, November 21, 2016

Berenstain Bears

The Berenstain Bears Love One Another
Mike Berenstain
 Brother and Sister bear learn what their memory verse means when they help Mama make muffins for a neighbor. They decide to find other ways to help other people and act out the Bible verse they learned in church. Helping others is one way that we can show our love to the people or bears around us.

This is a board book that is designed for toddlers to hold and enjoy. The illustrations fill the entire page with the words fitting around the drawings. The vocabulary fits well with the intended age, but older children who have enjoyed the Berenstain books will also enjoy this one and will be able to read it themselves. The short story does a great job of explaining the concept behind the Bible verse and offers ways to act out what the child has learned. This would make an excellent gift for a young child.

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

Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Christmas Horse

The Christmas Horse and the Three Wise Men
Isabelle Brent
Everyone has heard the story of the three wisemen. But have you heard the story from the horse's point of view? Follow Safanad as he journeys to Bethlehem in search of a mysterious star. He travels with his two companions, Gamali the camel and Simbalo the elephant. Colorful illustrations that fill the entire page and scripture to accompany the story make this a visual treat as well as a spiritual one.

This is a delightful addition to our stack of Christmas books. It gives a unique view of the three wisemen.  I loved the illustrations and how well they matched what was happening in the story. The scriptures at the top of the page were also nice in showing my children where the author got the inspiration for the book. The back of the book also includes some history into other wisemean stories through the centuries and her reasoning behind using a horse and the unique names that she chose. This is a book that I would definitely recommend.

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

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Illustrated Book of Sayings

The Illustrated Book of Sayings
Curious Expressions From Around the World
Ella Frances Sanders
This book is a logophile's dream. As a lover of words and sayings myself, I had to have this book. Each page shares a saying or phrase from a different country. It includes the meaning or meanings, where the saying originated, and some of the different uses. The opposite page is an illustration that is not only humorous, but fits with the topic. The hardcover and beautiful illustrations make this an excellent coffee table book to spark conversations or a gift for the logophile in your life.

Loved this book. It's definitely a keeper. I loved the way the illustrator combined not only the English wording for the saying, but also the saying in the country of origin into the illustrations. The author combines his own thoughts and often the American equivelant into the explanation which makes this fun as well. Overall, a book I can highly recommend and will be enjoying for quite some time.

I received this book from Blogging for Books. All opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Blue Ribbon Brides Collection

The Blue Ribbon Brides Collection
Cynthia Hickey, Gina Welborn, Jennifer AlLee, Angela Breidenbach, 
Cynthia Hickey, Becca Whitham, Carrie Pagels, Darlene Franklin, Niki Turner
Nine authors have joined writing talents to create a sweet book full of Christian novellas that focus on historical fiction and the women who won ribbons at the fair for their beautiful work. Each story is a stand-alone and is tied to the other novellas by the theme. Each author brings her unique writing style and weaves together romance, Christian faith, and a touch of history. The stories are clean, have a foundation of faith, and are perfect for those times when the reader only has a short time to read.

I love novellas. They fit perfectly into my crazy, busy life. These were sweet, romantic, and gave me a glimpse into some new (to me) authors. I thought the stories all fit the theme well and were a great representation of Christian fiction. Authors of historical fiction, clean romance, and faith-based stories will enjoy reading this book.

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

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Greek's Christmas Bride

The Greek's Christmas Bride
Lynn Graham
Apollo has no intention of getting married. His father ran through wives like they were disposable and Apollo doesn't want to follow in his footsteps. But upon his father's death he finds a clause in the will. He must marry and produce a child in the next five years or his entire inheritance will go to the tons of ex-wives. Apollo loves his island home and his job, so he begins hunting for a wife. But this wife must be a special sort of person. No clingy, prone to love, gold-diggers are allowed. So he chooses the one woman he knows can't stand him - Pixie. Pixie is in some financial difficulties and Apollo agrees to help her out of the tight spot if she'll marry him. It will just be until a child is born. Then they can divorce and Pixie will raise the child alone, but in luxury. 

I love this author. She writes with a passion that comes through to the readers. The story line might have been done before, but Graham adds her own style and twists. The main characters are always well fleshed out and relatable. The plot has some angst, which is typical of her writing style. But it also a true romance with a happily ever after ending. Definitely another hit in my book.

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

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Reunited by Christmas

Reunited by Christmas
Belle Calhoune
Liam has been grieving his wife, Ruby, for two years and trying to be the best single dad to their little son. So he's shocked to walk into the police station and see his late wife sitting in a chair with no memory of who she is, or that she's married with a son. She moves into the spare bedroom in their home in hopes of regaining her memory and reconnecting with her son. Yet something seems to be missing from the puzzle pieces she's given by her husband Liam. It's like he's keeping a secret.

This was an interesting, if unoriginal, plot. I enjoyed the story and thought the author did a great job of creating some drama between the couple. She was able to share some of the frustrations of a person with amnesia that I hadn't thought of before. I liked the little boy and the extended family and friends that helped round out the story. But there were so many people to remember and so many back stories that I felt like I was missing something almost every time the main characters interacted with one of the other people. I wouldn't really call this a stand-alone because of that. Overall, it was a nice story that, while not gripping, is quick entertainment for those who like clean romance with a Christian element.

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

Monday, November 14, 2016

Me, Me, Me Epidemic

"Me, Me, Me" Epidemic
Amy McCready
 There are tons of news stories and facebook links about the craziness that involves the youth of today and their entitlement issues. They blow our minds. And yet are we helping feed the problem by raising entitled children? This book addresses those issues and give easy to implement steps for every parent.

I liked how the author used stories to illustrate her points. It made for more interesting reading instead of facts just thrown at me. There are instructions on how to put the methods recommended into practice, advice on tons of different situations, and different methods that work for different children. While this wasn't the most gripping book I've read, it is definitely informative and I can recommend it to anyone who is currently raising children. The advice is sound, it works, and the author has hit on a much needed remedy for an epidemic of a problem.

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

Sunday, November 13, 2016

An Aspen Creek Christmas

An Aspen Creek Christmas
Aspen Creek #4
Roxanne Rustand
Hannah has just received legal custody of her orphaned niece and nephew. She wants them to have a wonderful Christmas and is looking forward to reconnecting with her late sister's children. But she isn't prepared for their uncle Ethan who asked her to marry him thirteen years ago and then promptly disappeared. Hannah is living in fear that he'll take the children from her and she'll once again be standing there heartbroken. But Ethan has changed. If he can convince Hannah of this fact, they just might be able to work things out.

This was a sweet book that didn't read like one in a series. I didn't realize that it was until I started to write this review. So it would definitely work well as a stand-alone. I liked how the author showcased the character's faith without being overpowering or preachy. There were some surprise elements in the story that added some drama and the addition of all of the animals was precious. The characters were well fleshed out and the author did a great job with the subject of death and grieving. I hadn't read anything by this author before, but have added her other books to my reading list. Readers of sweet romance and inspirational fiction will enjoy this Christmas story.

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

Saturday, November 12, 2016

A Di Sione

A Di Sione for the Greek's Pleasure
The Billionaire's Legacy #6
Kate Hewitt
 Natalia hasn't left her grandfather's estate in years. She suffered the trauma of a kidnapping in her teens and now works from home to avoid going out. But she adores her grandfather and will do anything to make him happy. So when he asks her to retrieve a book of poems before he dies, she stiffens her back and flies to a remote island to find the man who owns the book. What she doesn't expect is to be mistaken for a nanny for his young daughter, or to fall in love with the emotionally closed off father.

I've only read one other book in the series, but I think this book works well as a stand-alone. Although I confess to ordering some of the previous books, because I want to know what happens with the grandfather. The characters were well defined and the author did a great job of creating angst and drama, while still making the story touching and romantic. Readers who enjoy strong male characters and rescuing damsels in distress will enjoy the plot of this book. Overall, it was entertaining and I look forward to the next book in the series.

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

Friday, November 11, 2016

A Royal Vow of Convenience

A Royal Vow of Convenience
Sharon Kendrick
Sophie needed an escape after an embarrassing incident at home. She escapes to a remote cattle ranch in Australia and becomes the cook. She's only keeping one small secret from everyone - she's a princess in hiding. Sophie fell in love with the Australian outback as she learns how to cook and be domestic. But her cover is blown when her billionaire boss arrives in a helicopter and she inadvertently blows her cover in town. Now the press are after them and she must rely on her boss to escape them once again.

This was a fun story that I read quickly. The characters are typical of a romance novel and the plot is predictable. But it was still a entertaining, fast read that I'm sure any reader of contemporary romance will enjoy. The scenery is well described and the secondary characters are interesting. I've read other books by this author and enjoyed this one as much as the others. The author does a good job of creating some emotional drama and conflicts into the relationship that add depth to the story. Overall, this was a fun read and would make an excellent beach or rainy day read for any romance lover.

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

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Another Day Another Dali

Another Day Another Dali
Serena Jones Mystery #2
Sandra Orchard
Serena Jones, an FBI agent, investigates a missing painting as a request from her grandmother. Her grandmother's friend had some artwork appraised, only to realize that it had been replaced with a forgery. But the deeper Serena digs into the case, the more it looks like this case is linked with another case. The Dali isn't the only painting that has been stolen and replaced with a forgery. The forgeries are good and are often not noticed for quite some time. 

I didn't notice when picking this book that it was the second in the series. I was able to follow the plot and the mystery without having read the first book. But I do think a couple of things would have been more clear had I read book one first. The plot moved quickly and the characters were well defined. I liked the energy and quirkiness of the main character, Serena. While this book is labeled as Christian fiction, I didn't really get a sense of that. It is definitely a clean novel with no bad words or sex, but there isn't really an element of faith other than the occasional quick prayer or mention of faith. So this book would appeal to people who enjoy a good mystery, but don't want to read about the faith talked about in the typical Christian fiction books. Overall, I enjoyed this book and look forward to picking up the first book and also reading the next books in the series.

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

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Natural Wonders

Natural Wonders
Portable Coloring for Creative Adults
Bonnier Fakta
Do you enjoy coloring, but think it's a past time for children? Think again. Recently bookstores have been inundated with a wide variety of coloring books geared specifically for adults. The options are almost endless, the pages are detailed and intricate, and the topics sometimes more of an adult theme. I've seen some with words, stories, or devotions; but more often than not, they are simply coloring books for those of us who want to take a step back in time.

There are numerous studies now out that list multiple benefits to coloring. They are being used as a form of meditation due to their relaxing benefits. It is stress reducing, helps the mind to focus, and calms and soothes the mind. Art therapy, as they are calling it, can do wonders for people. It has been sited as helping to create self-esteem, manage addictions, explore feelings, resolve conflicts, and reduce anxiety. While I wouldn't recommend quitting therapy, it is still a huge positive that is open for more exploration. I have noticed from personal experience that I can focus on a lecture much better and remember more if I'm quietly coloring while I listen. It has been an eye opening experience for me and one that I will continue doing.

This particular book, Natural Wonders, is one of the best coloring books that I've seen so far. The first plus is the hard, board cover. This allows the user to color each page without placing the book on a table or other hard surface. This allowed me to take it into a lecture recently and no one was the wiser that I was coloring while I listened. The pages are a thick, sketch book type quality so the colors don't bleed through if using markers. Each page is full of the delicate lines common to adult coloring books. But I noticed some of the pictures have some extra space around the drawing that allowed me to add some extra touches, such as calligraphy and addition flowers or animals that I drew. The pages are not perforated, but I was able to tear them out easily without damaging the drawing. There are drawings on both sides of the page, so the downside would be deciding which picture to display if this was the reason for removing the page from the book. The front of the book isn't lacking in color however. There is a soft green border and the words are in green. The pictures, indicative of the inside of the coloring book, are partially colored and have some gold inlay to make the nature and wildlife stand out.

I'll say it again, this is my favorite coloring book so far. It would make an excellent gift for the upcoming holidays, but I recommend getting a copy for yourself as well. The detailed work on each page, the soothing nature scenes, and the cheerful layout will have you feeling calm and soothing during the stressful holiday season or any other time of the year. Based on all of the coloring books I've viewed and purchased, this one seems to be the best price for what you are getting. It's small enough to fit into a purse or computer case. The hard cover makes it easy to put on a shelf with other books or keep it from being bent when storing. There are seventy-five pictures to color and a short introduction for those new to the adult coloring world. And if you love this coloring book as much as I do, then pick up the other coloring books in this series as well.

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

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Trust My Heart

Trust My Heart
Carol J. Post
 Grant is only in Murphy, NC long enough to sell his grandmother's property and return home. But Jami, an insistent reporter keeps popping up, hoping for an interview. Grant never knew his grandparents and certainly doesn't want to rehash old history or learn anything about them. They abandoned his late father and he can't forgive them for that. But the longer he stays the more Jami intrudes into his life and the more he learns that his life might be full of lies.

This was a light, sweet story that I read through quickly. It had elements of romance, some fun, quirky characters, a lot about faith and forgiveness, and a couple of contemplative thoughts. The characters, while not incredibly deep, were enjoyable to read about. The town setting was well described and fit well what I know about the town (I lived close to it years ago). I was a little frustrated with the immaturity of one of the characters, but sadly, there are people in the world like him. The elements of faith were deeply woven throughout the story, but didn't come off as preachy. Overall, this was a cute little book that I think a lot of people will enjoy.

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

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
Ace Collins
Christmas is a wonderful time of year, especially for Christians. The holiday takes on a wonderful glow when we realize how blessed we are that we have such a loving Savior. The author has taken recipes, devotionals, poems, scripture, and stories behind traditions to create a countdown to Christmas. Thirty-one days that show us a Christ-filled season.

This was a great book that I will be keeping and going through again. Each day has something different to do or reflect on. The recipes were delicious, the stories behind the traditions were a great peak at what started some of the things we do each year with our family. My children really enjoyed hearing something about Christmas every evening as I read aloud to them some of the passages. This will make a great start to enriching the season, and can be used to jump into some of the things we already do. I would recommend picking up a copy before the season starts so you can enjoy it as well.

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

Monday, November 7, 2016

Christmas Conspiracy

Christmas Conspiracy
First Responders #6
Susan Sleeman
 Rachael arrived early at the day care center she owned. She was helping a single mother out by watching her baby before the center opened. She didn't expect to be drugged, almost killed, and have an attempted kidnapping. Since the kidnapper thinks she saw his face, she has a target on her back. Jake Marsh, a first responder, is working furiously to protect Rachael and Kelly, the little baby.

Like all of this author's books, this one started off with a major event and the suspense didn't let up until the very end. The characters were well developed and the romantic relationship between the two main characters was sweet. While I've read all of the other books in the series, I think this book would definitely work well as a stand-alone. But for someone who has been following each person on the First Responders team, it was great to see where each story was going after their book ended. This is a fun book that will be enjoyed by anyone who enjoys suspense, drama, clean romance, and strong elements of faith and family. Loved this book and can't wait for the next one.

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

Sunday, November 6, 2016

The Growth Mindset

The Growth Mindset Coach
Annie Brock and Heather Hundley
 This book was written by two teachers for teachers to use in the classroom setting. It is a series of lessons and thoughts that help the teachers reach the students and teach them valuable life and learning lessons. There is a month-to-month program with activities, lesson plans, stories, sample letters, and feedback from other teachers. Each chapter has related stories, examples to implement the idea, questions to get the teachers thinking, and space for writing down thoughts or lesson plan ideas. 

Let me start by saying I'm not a teacher. I work closely with teachers in the field, but have not had the experience of teaching other than being a substitute occasionally. However, I do work with them and have children. I've read through this book and think it is very well laid out. The authors did a great job of writing something that wasn't boring, got me to thinking, gave practical ideas and illustrations, and seemed manageable. I will be passing this book on to my children's school, but from my view it is a great resource for teachers and well worth the read.

I received this book from the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

All is Bright

All is Bright
A Devotional Journey to Color Your Way to Christmas
Nancy Guthrie
 This book is thirty-one devotionals for families that all tie into Christmas and the season of giving. Each page has a devotional on one side that is scripture based, while the opposite side is a coloring page that fits with the devotional. Most of the designs are intricate and are along the lines of an adult coloring book. At the back of the book are some coloring pages for younger children that are more simple. There are also several pages of activities for the family to do together and some conversation starters that fit with the theme. With each of the discussion starters, there is a scripture and a prayer.

I loved this book. It was designed for families of all ages and my children can't wait to get started in a couple of weeks. I read through the devotions and think that the author did a great job of writing for adults with children in mind. Some of them are a little simplistic for me, but have some adult thoughts woven in. My only complaint would be that the pages aren't perforated so I can't tear out a page for each of the children to color. They'll have to wait and I thought it would be fun to have them color while I read and then we utilize the conversation starters.

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

Friday, November 4, 2016

The Broken Way

The Broken Way
A Daring Path into the Abundant Life
Ann Voskamp
All of us are broken in some way. And we yearn for authentic relationship, healing, intimacy with God, and more abundance. Many of us have unspoken brokens that we can't share with the world, a vulnerability that makes us feel exposed. What if that brokenness can lead us to Christ? What if that brokenness is what can ultimately heal us?

I am a huge fan of Voskamp, so I knew I'd love the book. That was a given. Her writing style is lyrical, poetic, thought provoking, and authentic. She writes from the heart, pouring out her soul to share with the reader. But I didn't expect it to rock me even more than her first book. There are pieces of this book that will speak to every single person out there. This is a book to read slowly, reread paragraphs and think, share with friends, live out. I'm thankful that she felt the call to share her broken so that so many people can follow the path to wholeness in Christ. This is definitely a Christian book, but the thoughts expressed can apply to anyone so don't let that stop you. Pick up a copy of this book for yourself and one for a friend so you can read together. I did and was doubly blessed. 

I received this book from Zondervan. All opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Love's Faithful Promise

Love's Faithful Promise
Courage to Dream #3
Susan Anne Mason
Deirdre is a medical student on her way to becoming a doctor when her mother's stroke takes her home. Her dad hates to ask her to leave school, but Deirdre is the best person in the family to take care of her mother. When a family friend hears about the stroke he recommends a Dr. Clayborne who has experienced great results in his work with paralyzed patients. After working for years with war veterans he hopes to expand his practice to include stroke victims. Deirdre just needs to convince him that leaving the country and his practice for a short time to help her mother is the right choice.

This book had pros and cons for me. The pros were the double story line. I thought having the small story of the main characters brother added depth and an interesting element. I actually liked the story line for that one better than the main one. I also liked the visual that the author created for the reader. She did a great job of making the story come alive, scenery wise, without bogging the reader down with too many unneeded details. All of the characters seemed well developed and had depth.
The cons for me was the flat places in the plot, the extensive drama and angst that the main characters kept going through repeatedly, and the weak spots that occasionally appeared in what I considered the "faith element" of the story. I often felt like I was reading a regular novel instead of a Christian one.
Overall, this was an interesting story and won't stop me from picking up another book by this author, but it wasn't a favorite.

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

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Cowboy Creek Christmas

Cowboy Creek Christmas
Cowboy Creek #4
Cheryl St. John and Sherri Shackelford
 Mistletoe Reunion by Cheryl St. John
Marlys moves out west because she's heard they are more open to new ideas. And being a female doctor is difficult. She hopes that her alternative medicine will be more accepted in a small western town. But to her dismay, her former fiance is the owner of the local paper. Marlys broke her engagement to Sam years ago to pursue medicine. She still isn't sure she can handle marriage and medicine. But when the townswomen decide that Seth needs a wife, Marlys must decide if she's ready to lose Sam again.

Mistletoe Bride by Sherri Shackelford
Beatrix arrives in town as a mail order bride, abandoned by her family and the man who got her pregnant. What she doesn't expect is to hear that her fiance is dead or feel the labor pains that tell her the little one is coming sooner than anticipated. Colton, the local blacksmith, is pushed into helping with the birth when everyone realizes that he can speak to Beatrix in German. Neither one expect to walk away from the experience married.

Both of these stories were sweet, romantic, faith-based. They fit well with the other books in the series, but I think could be read as a stand-alone. Even though there are three authors writing in this series, they all did a great job of meshing the stories together and creating a fun little town to read about. I liked how the authors handled the prejudice that was so prevalent during that time period. They also did a great job of infusing faith and the Christmas spirit into the stories without it coming across as preachy. Overall, this was a really fun book to read. I enjoyed it and can't wait to see what these authors write next.

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

Monday, October 31, 2016

A Conventient Christmas Wedding

A Conventient Christmas Wedding
Regina Scott
 Nora has been completely smothered and used by her brother, since her father's death. When she learns that he's moving to join her, she comes up with a crazy idea. She'll propose marriage to Simon, a man desperately in need of more property. He will gain her rights to property, and she will be finally free of her domineering brother. Simon is, at first, shocked. But the need for more land for his ever growing family wins out. Now Nora and Simon must learn how to navigate this supposed marriage of convenience.

This was such a fun, romantic story. I love historical fiction and the author did a great job of weaving history into the plot while still keeping it full of Christmas romance. The other characters in the story were rich and added to the two main characters. It made me want to read more to see if I would be able to meet them again. The author did a great job of addressing the issues the main characters had with their faith and the importance of family, especially during the holidays. Overall, this was a book that I thoroughly enjoyed and I look forward to reading more.

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

Wild Montana Skies

Wild Montana Skies
Montana Rescue
Susan May Warren
Kacey's career as a helicopter pilot in the military has been derailed by a terrible crash. She decides to come home to Mercy Falls to lick her wounds and reconnect with her daughter. She doesn't expect to run into the man who broke her heart so many years ago.
Ben, a country music star, returned home at his father's request to help manage the business while his father heals from an injury. But his father might be butting his nose where it doesn't belong, because somehow Kacey, the woman who broke his heart, is also helping.

I'll be honest, I'm not a fan of broken relationships because of misunderstanding that years and years later come together and realize that both of them viewed the break up completely different and if only they'd communicated better or been more mature. . . And that is exactly what this book is about. It took me a long time to get into the book. But once I did, the author's excellent writing captured my attention and kept me. There is a lot more to the story than just the two main characters. The plot was detailed and the characters had great dimension which added to the story and overshadowed my dislike of the romance part. Overall, definitely give this book a try, even if you share my views on that particular plot style. You won't be disappointed.

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

Sunday, October 30, 2016

If You Were Me

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

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Painting in the Dark

Painting in the Dark
Rachelle Burk
Esref was born blind. But in an effort to understand the world around him, he began drawing and painting. As an adult he gained recognition for his amazing skills as an artist that sighted people could see and understand. Written as an inspiration to all artists, despite circumstances or disabilities.

The illustrations are very colorful and help tell the story. The book is written for children, but has a wealth of information and I enjoyed it as well. The writing is inspiration to anyone who feels discouraged because of something that appears to be hindering them from progress. The author shared the artist's struggles as well as his triumphs and I appreciated that reality was shared instead of just a fluff story with only the positive. It actually made the story more inspirational. My children enjoyed the book and liked how the author added a real picture and more to the story at the back of the book. There were also some additional resources that we utilized to learn more about blind people and art. This would be a great book for a family or in a school setting.

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

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

If You Were Me

If You Were Me and Lived in Viking Europe
Carole P. Roman
Would you like to travel back in time to the time of the Vikings? The author writes the book like a story that allows the young readers to place themselves into the time period and experience life in another place or time. The illustrations help tell the story and a large glossary at the back helps to understand the more difficult or unusual words the reader might encounter.

 Readers will love the engaging way of teaching history. The illustrations provide visual aid in helping tell the story. My children enjoyed the book and were excited to add it to their collection. This would be a good supplement to any classroom or history curriculum. I would definitely recommend getting the books in this series. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy and fun they were to read while providing a wealth of information.

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

Monday, October 24, 2016

Gillians' Heart

Gillians' Heart
B.J. Bassett
Gillian is grieving her grandmother, the woman who raised her, while trying to make ends meet so she can keep her grandmother's home. She decides to take in some roommates so that she can bring the home back to it's former glory. She arranges with Dusty, a friend of a friend, to do some repair and carpentry work in exchange for rent. But Dusty isn't what he first appears to be and Gillian is worried that her heart won't survive.

This book had a YA or New Adult feel to me. The thought process for the characters often had a teenage vibe. The book has a little over 100 pages, making it more of a novella than a full length novel. The story had some twists, but generally followed the predictable path of all romance stories. This is a faith based story, but didn't really go into a lot of details and the faith element often felt lost or not complete. The book is in desperate need of editing before it can be a book that I would recommend. But I think the bones are there for a cute YA novella if some of the errors are corrected and the plot lines are firmed up.

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

Sunday, October 23, 2016

With All Due Respect

With All Due Respect
Nina Ruesner and Debbie Hitchcock
Teen and preteens are known for pushing their boundaries and our buttons. Parents often feel at their limit and wonder if they'll ever get back the sweet relationship with their children that existed before hormones raised their ugly head. The authors have experienced their own struggles with their teens and are willing to share their knowledge and insight into developing a respectful and loving relationship with your teenager. Each chapter begins with a scenario. It sums up the story with a bottom line that the author was trying to convey. A section with questions follows that allows the reader to get more insight and deeper reflection. It ends with a prayer that the parent can pray for themselves and their children. Scripture is at the beginning of every chapter and sprinkled liberally throughout.

I really liked the way the chapters were laid out. The book was interesting and kept my attention, something that is difficult to do with self-help type books. The authors used lots of stories that were relatable and also offered practical solutions and suggestions. The questions fit well with the chapter and were thought provoking. The book is divided up into 40 chapters so you can read one each day and be finished in a little over a month, or read all the way through like I did. Either way, this is definitely a book I would recommend for parents, teachers, grandparents, or anyone working with children. The authors did a great job in presenting the thought that treating someone with love and respect will go further than any yelling or demanding ever will.

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

Saturday, October 22, 2016

October Clash of the Titles. Vote Now!

Autumn leaves are falling from the trees, and we've raked in some great books for this month's Clash of the Titles!
Vote for your Fave!

Scroll through these releases and cast your vote for your fave.
It's a tough choice, but it's up to you to determine our Clash Champion!

Love's Faithful Promise  by Susan Anne Mason
Widower Dr. Matthew Clayborne is devoted to two things: his work with wounded soldiers and his four-year-old daughter, Phoebe. When Deirdre O’Leary, a feisty New Yorker, arrives requesting he use his skills to help her stricken mother, he has no idea how his life is about to change.

Feta and Freeways by Susan M. Baganz

Nikolos Action is the lead singer of the band and doesn't realize love is right in front of him until their manager, Tia, is almost killed trying to save his life. After years of ignoring her is it too late to earn her trust...and her love?

Dangerous Alternative by Kelli Hughett

Hollywood grip, Levi Boulter unknowingly puts himself in the crosshairs of a murder plot. Now, he'll do anything to keep the woman he loves safe, even if it means losing her forever.

Inconceived by Sharyn Kopf

Realizing you’re a spinster is one thing; understanding what that means and how to handle it is another. And, it would seem, Jolene, Uli and Catie still have a ways to go before they truly comprehend what God is trying to show them not only in their desire to marry but in their longing to have children of their own.

Child of Dust by Shoba Sadler

After the sudden death of her parents, Vietnamese socialite Cao Kim Lye steps out of a world of crystal and chandelier to enter the dust and chaos of working-class Hanoi when she goes to live with her Amerasian chauffeur and his adoptive family at a shop cum living quarters.


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