Monday, February 29, 2016

With This Ring

With This Ring
A Novella Collection of Proposals Gone Awry
Karen Witemeyer, Mary Connealy, Regina Jennings, Melissa Jagears
Sometimes love doesn't start exactly as planned. This novella collection is four stories from famous Christian fiction authors about love and proposals that aren't quite the way the couple intended them to be. Sometimes it's from the wrong person, sometimes it's a matter of circumstances gone wrong, and sometimes it's all the result of an accident. But each couple leans to trust in God to find the perfect spouse for them, regardless of how everything started out.

These are four of my favorite authors, so I expected to enjoy this book. It met all of my expectations. Each story was unique and stand-alone. The authors did a great job of creating a story that was full of humor, clean romance, and endearing characters. This is a book I would recommend to anyone who enjoys romance and Christian fiction. The authors did a great job.

The Husband Maneuver - Sweet, romantic story that was based on misunderstanding. I especially enjoyed the foreman Daniel. He seemed like such a solid character.

Her Dearly Unintended - I liked the premise of this story and it ended sweetly. I wasn't as fond of the fighting. That was something I could have done without.

Runaway Bride - This was a super sweet story that will be enjoyed more if you've read all of the author's previous books. Because she tied characters from so many of them into this novella it was a little crowded for me. But overall I really enjoyed it.

Engaging the Competition - Romantic story of misunderstanding. The couple in the story were clueless about what the other person felt, but thankfully figured it out just in time.
I received this book free of charge from Bethany House and NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

The Berenstain Bears

The Berenstain Bears Easter Blessings
Mike Berenstain
 The Berenstain Bears learn all about blessings as they head to church. Mama and Papa Bear point out all of the things that God has given them.

Now toddlers can have their own Berenstain Bear books. This is a small board book is perfect for little toddler hands. The bright colors and illustrations will appeal to them as the parent reads all about Easter. Parents will appreciate the simple way that Easter is explained. This book would be great for families, preschools, or churches. 

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

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Roots and Sky

Roots & Sky
A Journey Home in Four Seasons
Christie Purifoy
 Christie and her little family moved into Maplehurst when she was very pregnant with her fourth child. She wanted this to be a haven, a sanctuary for their whole family. This was to be home, the end of the journey for them. Christie tells the story of how the family made Maplehurst their home through the first four seasons in the old Victorian house.

I absolutely loved the author's lyrical writing style. It flowed so smoothly that I felt like I was being carried along as the author weaves a spell over the reader. The story resonated with me, despite our differences. The author touches on relationships, family, nature, and home. She weaves elements of her faith throughout the book, but it never comes across as preachy. I finished the book feeling refreshed, inspired, and peaceful. Loved this book and will definitely be checking out other books by this author.

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

Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Gift of Friendship

The Gift of Friendship
Stories that Celebrate the Beauty of Shared Moments
Dawn Camp
Friendships are the glue that hold us together when our world seems crazy. Friendships can nurture, bolster, and encourage us. God gave us the beautiful gift of friendships so we could feel His love more fully. Read stories of beautiful friendships between women who feel like they are your friend too.

I really enjoyed this book. The stories were heartfelt and meaningful. Each person brought out different positives and blessings of friendship. The book was easy to read since each story was separate and only connected by the theme. This allowed me to read it in brief moments of free time. The book was a reminder to be thankful for the friends in not only my life, but also that of my family. This would be a great book to give as a gift to that special friend in your life.

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

Thursday, February 25, 2016

A Sweet Misfortune

A Sweet Misfortune
Virtues and Vices of the Old West Book 2
Maggie Brendan
Rachel is left alone in town when her brother, Preston, heads out to find gold. The siblings lost their farm and Preston's friend John buys the land and agrees to sell it back to Preston if he can raise the money in a certain amount of time. When Preston learns that Rachel is working as a dance hall girl to earn money, he writes to John and asks for his help. At first Rachel is furious with John's interference in her life. But she soon learns to love the ranch and the family who is so graciously offering their home and their hearts.

The plot was easy to read and I was able to finish the book rather quickly. Several of the secondary characters were fun and added to the overall story. The author was able to bring the scenery alive so that I could easily picture the surroundings.

The romance between the main couple was really lacking for me. Several elements seemed added as filler and didn't really fit into the plot. There wasn't a lot of depth to the plot or most of the characters. The guys who were interested in Rachel were very superficial and moved on too quickly for their supposed interest.

Overall, it was a story that I enjoyed because it was entertaining and was a quick read. I would recommend this book if you want a fun way to pass the time.

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

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

On Lone Star Trail

On Lone Star Trail
Texas Crossroads Book 3
Amanda Cabot
Gillian, a concert pianist, is on her way to Rainbow's End after an accident with a motorcyclist ruined her career. She's hoping that some time in the Texas country side with friends will help her decide what direction her life is going to take since she can no longer play the piano. TJ, a former teacher, has been touring the US on his motorcycle hitting all of the spots his late wife wanted to travel to. He's bitter, depressed, and wandering in both life and faith. So when he loses control of his motorcycle in front of Gillian on the road to Rainbow's End, the two become unlikely friends. God is going to have to preform several miracles to get these two back into the path He's chosen for them.

This was my favorite book in the series. The story, while filled with road blocks and drama for the main characters, flowed smoothly and was easy to read. The author brought out the faith element more in this book. The relationships were authentic and felt real. I liked getting a peak at characters from the previous books. The author seems to be growing in her writing technique and I'm enjoying her books more as each one comes out. My only complaint would be one that is often the case in stories with short timelines. There were several very unrealistic things in the plot. My largest pet peeve is how the motorcycle accident was written. The author clearly isn't a rider. But that is a personal complaint, so I didn't let it detract from the story. This is a newish author to check out if you enjoy sweet romances, beautifully written scenery, and faith inspired plots.

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

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Doctor's Valentine Dare

The Doctor's Valentine Dare
Cindy Kirk
Josie Campbell does not date doctors. Her tenuous relationship with her dad and brothers, all doctors, has cured her of that. But when she meets Noah, he challenges her to date him. He needs helping understanding his sister and she needs help understanding the men in her family. By having sudo dates they hope to learn more about the others family to better aid in helping. But not everything goes according to plan when emotions are involved.

This was a sweet story. The characters were likable, the chemistry fit for the two main characters, and the theme of family and mending relationships was a nice touch. There were parts that felt a little contrived or cheesy, and the ending seemed unrealistic. But overall it was a nice retreat from normal that I enjoyed reading.

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

Monday, February 22, 2016

A Royal Easter Story

A Royal Easter Story
The Princess Parables
Jeanna Young and Jacqueline Johson
Five princess sisters are enjoying a beautiful spring and anticipating the annual Easter celebration. They are helping to prepare for the celebration when they meet five young knights. When a friendly competition ensues on the way to the celebration, the princesses learn a valuable lesson about selflessness and caring. 

Bright, colorful illustrations and sparkly princesses will draw the little girls into the story. While told in story form, the message of caring and putting others before yourself is very prominent. The book ends with the drama resolved and the celebration explained. After the story is a couple of pages called parable thoughts based on Luke 11 that can be used with the story for discussion. My daughter enjoyed the book and wanted to know if I could get the rest of the books about the princess sisters. I would recommend this to any parent with a young daughter who enjoys a good story and wants to know more about Easter.

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

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Always Watching

Always Watching
Elite Guardians Book 1
Lynnette Eason
Olivia is part owner of a company called Elite Guardians Agency. They provide protection to high profile individuals. Wade Savage is a psychiatrist and radio personality who has a stalker. At first the gifts and notes seem innocent. But after it gets personal, Wade's father hires the Guardians to protect him. When things get ugly, Olivia finds herself racing a clock to protect Wade and his family from the unknown stalker. She's also in danger of losing her heart, and now is not exactly the right time for emotions.

I really enjoyed this story. The suspense and drama was high, the concept of woman body guards was intriguing, and the conversations between some of the characters was entertaining. I didn't connect with some of the characters like I usually do with this author's books, but overall this didn't detract from the book for me. There are a lot of characters to keep track of, but since this is the first book in the series, I felt that it was to get everyone introduced in preparation for the next book. Overall, I liked the book and look forward to the next one in the series.

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

Saturday, February 20, 2016


Carry and Learn Shapes
Shapes are one of the first things that little children learn in preparation for preschool. The book is the third in the series and uses sensory, visual, and audio to help the child learn. Each page has bright colors, large fonts, and the featured shape in various sizes and colors. On each page is also something the child can use to help fix the shape in their mind. This might be in the form of a texture, a flap that can be lifted or moved, or shimmery colors. Tabbed pages make it easy to turn. The little carry feature will allow the child to take the book with them and adds to the texture of the book. Each page reinforces the shapes as the child moves through the book. Children will enjoy a book that is just the right size for small fingers. Parents and preschool teachers will enjoy the interactive method of teaching.

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

Friday, February 19, 2016


Richard Collingridge
Richard is scared. He knows that monsters don't exist, but the noises he keeps hearing in the darkness of his bedroom are frightening. So he takes his stuffed animal, Lionheart, and runs away, as fast as he can. He runs so far that he reaches a magical jungle filled with animals. Lionheart then becomes a real lion and teaches Richard about being brave.

The illustrations are classic and fill each page with imagination and beauty. The style reminds me of Where the Wild Things Grow, and will be a favorite with both children and parents. The font is large and the vocabulary fits well for the intended age. Children will be able to relate to Richard and his flight from something scary. The message that the text is bringing out will be great for young children who need to face their fears. This book would be great for parents with small children, or used in a classroom setting to talk about being brave.

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

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Cats in Paris

Cats in Paris
A Magical Coloring Book
Won-Sun Jang
 Adult coloring books are becoming very popular. They are relaxing and soothing. So as a cat and book lover, I was thrilled to see this coloring book. It is pen and ink drawings of cats in their favorite places in Paris.

The cover is beautiful so I was excited to open the book. The first few pages are like the cover. They are from famous places in Paris, but also have cats on each page. I thought the drawings were sweet, but were a little heavy on the ink fill-ins, making it more difficult to color. But after the first 8 or so pages, there isn't even a hint of Paris. It's basic pages of prints and cats. There is a lot of repetition, heavy ink, or mostly empty pages. Even my daughter didn't want the book. I was really disappointed with the lack of details and simplicity.

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

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Hot Rod Hamster

Hot Rod Hamster Meets His Match!
Cynthia Lord
Hamster and his friends are hot. They decide to cool off at a Water Kingdom water park. When they first arrive they can't agree on who gets what float. They begin their adventure by relaxing in the splash pool. But Hot Rod Hamster wants the wild part of wet and wild. So the group heads to the water slide. Holly and Hot Rod Hamster are the only ones brave enough to try the slide. On the way up they meet some dogs who challenge them to a race. Now the wild part has begun.

The bright, colorful illustrations will pull the readers in. The story is told with bubble captions. The vocabulary and limited words fit with the intended reading level. The author made the book interactive by asking questions. There are also descriptive words that are not a part of the story. This book would work well for beginning readers, either in a classroom setting or to encourage reading at home.

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

Tuesday, February 16, 2016


Lots of things you want to know about Astronauts
. . .and some you don't!
David West
What do you know about space? Did you know that animals beat humans into space? Do you know what kind of animal?  Full page pictures are accompanied by large font words overlaid on to the picture. Each page describes the picture and gives the reader a fact about space and astronauts in a fun learning style. The book is factual and not written in a story style. The facts range from the type of gear that astronauts use to how to get in to space. The book ends with a glossary of some of the larger or more unfamiliar words and an index.

Children will love the interesting facts and large, bright pictures. Parents and teachers will love the information that is imparted in a fun learning style. The correct vocabulary for the age group, informative pictures and information, and the glossary make this an excellent addition to a science curriculum. This book would work well in a home or classroom setting.

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

Monday, February 15, 2016

Kissed by a Cowboy

Kissed by a Cowboy
Four of Hearts Ranch Book 3
Debra Clopton
Cassidy is back in Wishing Springs after a horrible divorce. She's inherited her aunt's home and farm and plans to run an organic farm along with a bed and breakfast. She's determined to be single for the rest of her life and enjoy her business. But her neighbor and childhood friend, Jarrod keeps popping up to help her. Throw in some match making town people, cattle thieves, and an injured dog and Cassidy is having a hard time sticking to her ground rules.

This was a really sweet story. It was nice to reconnect with the characters from the previous books, but the book would also work well as a stand-alone. The romance was clean, and fit well with the characters. The characters, while flawed, had depth and faith. The author does a great job of setting the scene and pulling in the characters from town. The plot has several themes going, but it isn't confusing or cluttered. I liked how the author wove in a message of faith, forgiveness, and trust. I really enjoyed this third book in the series and based on a couple of things left open, I hope to continue to enjoy more books as well. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a clean romance or Christian fiction.

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

Sunday, February 14, 2016

101 Ways

101 Ways to Strengthen the Parent-Child Connection
Michael and Tiffany Ross
Parents have a huge influence on their children. Finding ways to stay connected as they grow and change can often be a challenge. Written with three parts, this book is intended to engage the parents and children and to connect them through shared activities. Each devotion begins with a heading that describes the intended age group. This is followed by a scripture and then the activity or devotion called Family Quest. Instructions are given to the parent to help guide them through how to accomplish each activity. After this is some questions so that the family can talk about what they've just heard or done. The next section is called Parent-Child Connection and is the devotional part that ties everything together. Last is the Talk to God section that gives an outline for a prayer that can be said.

This was a neat concept and I was interested to see how it played out. The format is well laid out. There are plenty of instructions and explanations. All of the activities are easy to do. I think this would be great for the parents of young children. I noticed that several of the recommended age groups seemed a bit off to me. The book feels like it's intended for mostly toddlers and early elementary, although some of the devotions say that it works for all ages or upper elementary and teenagers. My older son (middle school) would not find these interesting. But other than that, this is a great book that I think parents and children will love.

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

Friday, February 12, 2016

Love Is Patient

Love is Patient Romance Collection
Erica Vetsch, Vickie McDonough, Janet Barton, Frances Devine, Lena Dooley
Darlene Franklin, Jill Stengle, Connie Stevens
 True love sometimes takes time and patience. Eight authors come together to tell nine romantic stories of love in the West. Sometimes, just when it seems that love has passed you by, romance will come and surprise you. Each author wrote the novella with the title in mind, but most of the stories do not tie together except for the theme. Two of the stories are from a collection previously published about mail-order brides who are sisters.

I enjoyed each of these stories. It was a nice break from the suspense I had been reading. While the outcome is expected, the authors wove faith, love, and the hardships of the frontier together to create entertaining and sweet novellas that can be read quickly. I enjoyed being able to place the book aside and come back when I had only a few minutes to read without interrupting the story line. My only complaint would be that the stories about the sisters only included two of the four sisters. I later read another novella collection that had the other two sister's stories. But otherwise this was a sweet book that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys historical christian fiction.

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

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Reclaiming His Past

Reclaiming His Past
Karen Kirst
Jessica steps outside of her barn to find a man who has been badly hurt. He barely makes it into the house before collapsing. The doctor questions him and finds he has amnesia from a bad bump to the head. Now Grant, the name they chose for him, is trying to heal physically while he desperately hopes he won't find out he's a criminal. Jessica likes Grant, but can't trust her emotions after a previous suitor fooled her so badly and caused pain for her entire family.

This was a fun read. The characters were entertaining. The tension between the the two main characters fit well with their personalities. This book is in a series, something I was unaware of when I picked the book. But I didn't feel lost or confused by the secondary characters. There were a few little mysteries that made me want to check out the other books in hopes of finding some answers. Overall, this was a sweet, clean Christian romance that fit well with the historical theme. I enjoyed it and look forward to reading more by this author.

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

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Captain No Beard

Being Captain is Hard Work
A Captain No Beard Story
Carole P. Roman
Captain No Beard is ready to take his ship and crew to Dew Rite Volcano. But he refuses to listen to the advice of his ship mates and runs into problems. He thinks he can handle everything himself and that he's the only one to listen to. After all, he is the captain. But he soon learns that it's wise to heed the council of others, especially those who are good at what they do.

Bright, colorful illustrations fill every page. The words are the right vocabulary for the intended age group and will entertain children who can read or enjoy being read to. The story has a message that is told within the story about listening and not being selfish. Parents will appreciate the fresh approach the story gives the message and children will enjoy the imaginative plot.

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

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Change of Heart

Change of Heart
Courtney Walsh
Evelyn appears to have the perfect life. But inwardly she's unhappy. Suddenly her husband is accused of embezzling and even more unpleasantness comes out over the next few weeks. Evie, as her old friends called her, has to learn to stand on her own two feet and learn to think for herself again. She realizes that she's become a stepford wife and has lost herself. With a little help from the women of Valentine Volunteers and a place to retreat on the farm of an old friend, Seth, she becomes someone she can like again.

I've been meaning to read a book by this author for some time. And I'm so glad I did. I now have a new favorite author to add to my list. The writing was heartfelt, dramatic, authentic, and raw. It was full of love, faith, and emotions. There were some rough parts emotionally, but the author handled them well without bringing the reader down. The scene was painted so graphically that I felt pulled into the story and its characters. Unfortunately I haven't read the first book in this series, but it didn't detract from the book at all.  I really appreciated how the author showcased true friendship through the actions of the secondary characters. The elements of faith that wove through the story were integral to the plot, but didn't overwhelm it. Overall, this was a wonderfully written story that will be sticking with me for quite some time.

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

The Bee-Friendly Garden

The Bee-Friendly Garden
Kate Frey and Gretchen LeBuhn
Everyone has heard about the decline of bees. But very few people know what they can do about it. The author takes her vast knowledge of bees and gardens and creates a book to show how each one of us, regardless of location can grow flowers that will attract bees and keep them healthy.

The photography that went into this book is gorgeous. I would have enjoyed the book for the pictures alone. But the writing was also a plus. The book begins by explaining all about bees. I really learned a lot. The rest of the book is about the garden and gives careful advice and instructions on what types of plants to put where. It was very informative. I finished the book and felt like I had learned a lot, but wasn't so intimidated by the information to feel overwhelmed. This book would be a great resource for a gardener, science teacher, or homeschooling parent.

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

Monday, February 8, 2016

A Cliche Christmas

A Cliche Christmas
Nicole Deese
Georgia is known in Hollywood as the Holiday Goddess. She's famous for her screen plays of sentimental Christmas love stories. She's from a small town in Oregan, but hasn't been back for seven years. Every year for Christmas she takes her grandmother on a warm vacation. But when her grandmother calls and asks for a favor for a sick little girl, Georgia can't say no. So she returns to the small town where she was raised. And to the guy who she was in love with, but humiliated her. Can she forgive or will her past dictate her future?

This author was recommended by a favorite author friend of mine and so I had to check her out. I'm so glad I did. This book was sweet, romantic, and enjoyable. The characters, while flawed, had depth and were likable. The author did a great job of painting the surroundings so that I felt a part of the story. There was a thread of faith woven throughout the story, but it fit perfectly with the plot. The title fit the book well since it seems so full of cliches. But for some reason this was cute and didn't annoy me. Now I'm off to read her second book which takes a secondary character from this book.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Ellie's Best Vacation

Ellie's Best Beach Vacation Ever
The Amazing Adventures of Ellie the Elephant Series
Marcie Fair
 Ellie and Pudgy are best friends. They are going on a trip to the beach. They spend time playing in the sand, swimming, shopping, and visiting the local sites. They make new friends along the way and enjoy every bit of their vacation.

Bright colorful photographs with the two stuffed animals take up most of the page. The words are in bubbles in the pictures. There is also some fun illustrations to go along with the story. In each picture the stuffed animals are posed to go along with the plot. The words will work well for a parent to read to the child or for a beginner reader to read to themselves. At the back of the book is some interactive ways that the children can get involved and share the love of their own stuffed animals. My daughter loves this series and was excited to have another one to add to her collection.

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

Friday, February 5, 2016

Love's Complete

Love's Complete
A Russian Adoption Journey
Teresa Hull
The author has written this book to tell the story of her child's adoption from Russia. The words are in a rhyming style and are accompanied by pictures. The book gives a little history of adoption through Russia and then talks about the steps to finally having the child home forever.

I had hoped, when I picked this book, to read a sweet story about adoption. But the rhyming words are not really a story, so much as a narrative or list of the steps. The pictures aren't very good and don't always fit with the words. Some of the illustrations and explanations might be a bit over the target age range for this book. Overall, I think the concept is sweet, but I'm sure there are better books out there for parents wanting to explain adoption to their children.

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

Sheep in a Jeep

Sheep in a Jeep
Nancy Shaw
Five energetic sheep decide to take a ride in a jeep. But they do not know how to drive very well. Almost immediately they get into some trouble. Thankfully some pigs are able to help them out and the sheep go on their way, only to have another accident that totals their jeep. The sheep decide to give up and sell the jeep parts.

This is a medium size board book. The illustrations are bright and detailed. The illustrations fit well with the plot and help to tell the story. The words on the page are in a large font and could be read by an early reader. Children will love the pictures and humor in the story, especially the ending. Parents will like the easy to hold book and the entertaining aspects for the children. I think this book could be enjoyed by a younger age group than the information suggests. Toddlers will love the board book aspect and the pictures as much as the older children. This book would work well in a home or preschool, but could also be used for reluctant readers in a grade school classroom.

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

His to Protect

His to Protect
Bears of Grizzly Ridge Book 1
Elena Aitken
Harper's life can't get any worse. The man she married came out a while back. For some reason Harper decided to stay with him. It was a very bad decision. He's embezzled money from his company and now he's blaming her. So not only has she lost a friend and husband, but her reputation and job are gone as well. So when her best friend offers her the chance to tag along on a trip to the mountains, she jumps at it. She'll hide out until she can figure out what to do with her life. What she doesn't expect is to find three very handsome brothers who run the outdoor center her friend is writing about. Axel, the oldest brother, makes her feel things she didn't know were possible.

I'm going to start this off by saying that I've read and enjoyed previous books by this author. But I am not usually a fan of paranormal or shape shifter books. But I decided to give this one a try. It wasn't anything like I was expected. The shape shifting was well explained and fit well with the plot. The imagery set me directly into the story. I enjoyed reading it, the drama fit well with the romantic plot and I finished wanting to read the next book in the series. There were some sex scenes for those who prefer to be warned about such things. Overall, this was a sweet romantic book that I enjoyed.

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

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Play-Along Bible

The Play-Along Bible
Bob Hartman
It's often hard to know just what to share from the Bible. Parents don't want to overwhelm or worse, bore their children with the Bible. But how much do you share and how do you make it interesting? The author has taken 50 Bible stories and added instructions for hand motions and actions to help tell the story and enliven the action.

The younger children are going to love this book. The illustrations are precious and fit well with the story. The author did a great job of including play-along instructions that are fun and easy to follow.  The hardback book has a soft cover that is perfect for young hands. Children will enjoy looking at the pictures even if they aren't being read to. This book would be perfect for reading time, family worship, or as an addition to a church class. I would highly recommend this for anyone with small children.

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

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Keeper of the Stars

Keeper of the Stars
Kings Meadow Romance Book 3
Robin Lee Hatcher
Penny lost her mother when she was a child and now her brother is gone. She blames his band mate, Trevor, for allowing Brad to join the band instead of doing something worth while with his education. Before he died, Brad made Trevor promise that he would go help Brad's family in Kings Meadow. Trevor doesn't know why he's in a small town with Penny, who clearly hates him. But for some reason God sent him there and he's going to stay until he can figure out why.

This was a sweet romance with an element of sadness. The author did a great job of showcasing some of the different aspects of grief. I also liked how she told Brad's story mixed in with the main part of the story after his death. It added some flavor and uniqueness. The romance between the main couple was sweet and authentic. This book is part of a series, but could definitely work as a stand alone. There is mention of the previous characters, but not enough to cause confusion. My favorite secondary character was Penny's dad. I also loved the cover and how the author tied in the title. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys christian fiction with some deeper parts that leave you thinking.

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


South Landers Book 3
Virginia Taylor
Charlotte needs to marry quickly since she's lost her mother and is responsible for her cousin. She carefully plans how to get the catch of the season. Nicholas has no plans to have children He's still reeling from the loss of his son and the boys mother during childbirth. So when he misunderstands Charlotte and her need to hurry, he marries her for the baby she is definitely not carrying. The marriage begins with lots of misunderstandings and completely lack of trust. But the two might have the chance to fall in love if they can sort everything out.

This wasn't really your typical regency romance. While the book worked well as a stand-alone, I really wish I had read the first two books. I know there is more to the story. But this didn't detract from the plot or my enjoyment. The plot was a bit different and the writing style wasn't standard regency. This made it unique and fascinating. There are a few bedroom scenes (all between a married couple) for those of you who might not care for that. Overall it was sweet and different and made me want to check out other books by this author.

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

Life Support

Life Support
Grace Medical Book 3
Candace Calvert
Lauren, a nurse, has returned to Houston to help her parents keep an eye on her sister. But coming back means running into Eli, who also works at Grace Medical. Lauren is having a hard time forgiving Eli for the part he played in her sister's life. Eli has enough of his own problems without getting involved in Lauren and Jess's lives again. But he keeps running in to them at work.

I enjoyed this book. The drama between the characters was perfect for the setting. The characters were distinguishable and had depth. The relationship between the two couples fit well with the plot. This book is part of a series, but can definitely be read alone. For those following the series, there is honorable mention of couples from the previous books. While there wasn't anything super deep in the book, I enjoyed the slowly evolving plot and the clean christian romance.

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

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

All Things Bright

All Things Bright and Beautiful
Cecil Frances Alexander
Illustrated by Katy Hudson
The well know hymn All Things Bright and Beautiful by Cecil Alexander was written in the 1800s and is used in a book for young children that will also visually delight young readers. The words of the hymn are used as text and the illustrations are drawn to match the words. The illustrator used the words to pair the pictures so the readers can see the hymn as it's being read to them.

The illustrations are absolutely beautiful. There isn't a story since the words are only the words to the song. So it might be difficult for parents to read and the children to stay engaged. I think the target age should be 2-5. My daughter is in 1st grade and looked through the book once, but wasn't really interested in reading it again. The pictures are very detailed and will entertain small children with all of the tiny aspects. The three siblings are adorable and the family aspect is a nice theme.

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

Monday, February 1, 2016

Where She Belongs

Where She Belongs
Misty Willow Book 1
Johnnie Alexander
 Shelby and her grandparents lost their ancestors home when Shelby was young. She was forced to move across the world to live with her missionary parents. She has never forgiven the Sullivans for taking her family home. Now she's a widow with two small children and the opportunity to own the home comes up. Shelby can't pass up the opportunity, even if the deal isn't what she imagined. And even if the grandson of the evil Mr. Sullivan keeps popping up. Shelby has to find out that where she belongs doesn't have to be a place. As long as she has God, friends, and family, her heart can belong anywhere.

This was a complicated love story that was about so much more than the relationship of the two main characters. It was about love for family, for home, for community, and for God.  The story was well written with several complicated twists. There was lots of drama, but also sweet relationships. I enjoyed the two main characters and felt that they had depth. The "villian" was aptly portrayed and made the reader dislike them very much. The author also did a great job of describing the places so that I felt immersed in the story, yet the book wasn't over logged with details. Overall, it was a great introduction to a "new to me" author. And I look forward to reading her next book.

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

Jesus Helps Me

Jesus Helps Me
Knowing My God Series
Callie Grant
Jesus Helps Me: Knowing My God Series
Jesus Helps Me is a board book about God and birds. The book begins with a Bible verse and a question about birds. Then each page has a picture of a specific bird, part of the Bible verse, and a fact about the bird pictured. The book ends with a page for the grownups, and some questions that the reader can ask the young child.

This is a fun, interactive book. Toddlers will enjoy the book that is just their size. The colors are bright and the Bible verse is in a large font. The pictures and little illustrations will keep them engaged while the book is being read to them. While the book isn't geared towards older children, my 1st grader enjoyed reading about the birds. I loved the way the book was tied with a Bible verse that illustrates how Jesus can help. It was beautifully done.

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