Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Words for Me!

Words for Me!
Sarah Jones
Years ago I spent hours sitting with my son reading these little word books. He adored them. So I was delighted to find that they are still around and that kids still love them. The author has illustrated tons of adorable pictures on each page of this small board book. The pictures are realistic, but have a whimsical touch that will appeal to little, developing minds. The stiff, thick pages are perfect for little hands as they figure out how to turn and read. The objects cover a wide range of things that a little toddler might experience - from kitchen items and toys, to items around town or out on a walk. This little board book will be fun, but also educational as it helps the parents expand their child's vocabulary. This is the perfect edition to a toddler library or gift for that expecting parent.

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

Remember and Return

Remember & Return
Rekindling Your Love for the Savior
John MacArthur
As Christians we just as prone to busyness and stress as anyone else. And we often get to caught up in the stresses of life that we drift away from our love of Christ. This little devotional is written with that very thought in mind. The book has thirty-one chapters and each chapter is a days devotional. The day begins with scripture that the devotional is built on. The chapter ends with a daily challenge designed to encourage and inspire the reader to put what they've read in to practice.

The devotionals were well written and the layout of the book was great for what the author intended. I enjoyed reading the book and finished with fresh inspiration and love for my Savior. My only negative would be that the devotionals were a bit long when I was rushed in the morning. This book would be perfect for the individual who has a little extra time to spend reading.

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

Monday, February 27, 2017

Murder is No Accident

Murder is No Accident
Hidden Springs Mysteries #3
A.H. Gabhart
Maggie wasn't supposed to be in the old vacant house. But she desperately needed somewhere quiet to write. Since no one was living here, it seemed like the perfect place. At least until she heard what sounded like a murder and rushed downstairs to find a woman - dead. 
Sheriff Keane is called to the scene and rules the death an accident. But he begins to doubt himself when a second person is murdered in the house and Maggie appears to be in danger.  Lots of gossip, drama, and murder are making this small town very, very busy.

I've really enjoyed reading the books in this series. The author really brings an authentic small town feel to the story. The characters are realistic, have depth, and are engaging. The mystery isn't revealed too soon and the suspense is perfect. I love how the author sprinkles little elements of faith throughout without being preachy or overbearing. I also like the little romance that is going on between the main character and another character who has slipped into each story just a little bit. It is just the right element for a mystery and pulls me into the next book. Overall, this was a great story and I definitely hope the author plans to write another one in this series.

I received a copy of this book from The Suspense Zone. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Rescue Me

Rescue Me
Susan May Warren
Sam Brooks, a deputy and member of PEAK rescue, is determined to make his relationship with Sierra work. But when her younger sister Willow keeps showing up, he has a hard time accepting that the perfect life he had outlined, might not be what's best for him. Willow shows him how to live life to the fullest and to forgive. Willow might be showing Sam where he needs to change, but she has some changes in her own life that desperately need to happen before she can move on as well.

The author has a pattern of writing about multiple couples in each book. A two in one romance type of thing. But this worked against me this time. I really couldn't keep everyone straight. I had to keep stopping to remind myself who went with whom and who was mad at whom again and again. It was incredibly confusing. I'd read the first book in the series, but it's been long enough that I'd forgotten portions and had to go back and flip through to remind myself what happened. So I wouldn't recommend this book as a stand-alone. Overall it was well written and had an interesting plot. I liked the spiritual thoughts that were spread liberally throughout the book. But the multiple characters and massive amounts of emotional drama just didn't do it for me this time. Because I couldn't connect with the characters, I felt more frustration at their antics than empathy. If you enjoy lots of angst and emotional drama with a splash of suspense and lots of spiritual moments than this would definitely be a book you would enjoy.

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

Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Other Side of Him

The Other Side of Him
Alice Rene
In the 1950s girls didn't have a lot of options, especially a young girl in the tenants of Chicago, being raised by a single immigrant mother. But with her brother's support and her mother's reluctant agreement, she studies hard and earns a scholarship to college. She's still in college when her older brother begs her to go on a blind date with one of his customers. On paper Greg seems like a dream come true. He's a wealthy, handsome heart surgeon who clearly adores Claire. There are a few things that worry her, but they are quickly pushed to the back of her mind. Her friends think she's landed in heaven. But as the relationship progresses, Claire decides to end it. Greg has a much darker side and Claire isn't interested. And thus begins some of the worst months of her life as Greg proceeds to stalk her, threaten her, and ruin her career.

This is a darker subject and plot than I would normally read. But I think it's good to step out of my comfort zone occasionally. The writing style has a YA feel to it and feels like the subject is geared towards college age people. The author handled the delicate topic and ensuing emotions well and left the reader with a more positive reading experience when finished. I'm hoping that people who read this book will gain a better understanding of the darker side of relationships.

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

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Sweet Lake

Sweet Lake
Christine Nolfi
Linnie has been running the family inn for years after her brother's disappearance with most of the family money. The inn has been in the family for generations, but Linnie can't get her family to take her seriously. A male heir has always been in charge of the inn and they don't intend for Linnie to be the exception. Add a quirky group of older women, a man who has been in love with her for years, and the return of her prodigal brother and Linnie has a fight on her hands.

The book started out incredibly slow. There were a lot of major characters and I had a hard time differentiating them. I felt like I was reading the second book in a series and had missed the first one. There were a lot of details and I was lost for a bit. But about half way through the story, it picked up and I was able to put the pieces together. From there the plot flowed well and I caught the author's vision for where the story was going. It ended well, although not like I'd expected. Overall, this was an entertaining story with some great insights into the character of people that I think readers of women's fiction will really enjoy.

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

Thursday, February 23, 2017

If I Had a Parenting Do Over

 If I Had a Parenting Do Over
7 Vital Changes I'd Make
Jonathan McKee
If you've ever done something and later thought of ways you could have done better or found a solution that worked perfectly, then you'll love the approach this author took when writing his parenting book. Coming from years of experience and pulling from other parent's thoughts he wrote a book on parenting. Each chapter deals with typical parenting issues and ends with approximately 8-10 questions that parents can ask themselves that help them to put the concepts into practice.

This was one of my favorite parenting books, ever. The author has a great writing style that made me feel as if I was reading a story, but was learning some real and practical advice. The combination of honesty, humor, and authenticity made me feel I was learning from an expert without feeling preached at. I ended the book knowing that I could truly put these concepts into practice and I have already tried a few of the ideas with success. Definitely a book I would recommend to any of my parenting friends.

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

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Just a Kiss

Just a Kiss
Summer Harbor #3
Denise Hunter
Riley couldn't stand around and watch his brother date the woman he loved. So he enlisted in the military. Now he's home and missing part of his leg. It doesn't really matter Beau is marrying someone else and Paige is free to date again. Because who would ever want him. He's damaged and in a bad place mentally. But when he tries to find a place to rest while he completes his physical therapy and gets fitted for his prosthetic, the only place available is Paige's spare bedroom. Riley isn't sure he can handle it, but he's willing to try. 

This was an incredibly sweet story. While I knew the outcome, it was still fun to read along as the characters worked through their issues and dealt with the drama that ensued. The author did a great job of showing some of the emotional trauma that our veterans face when returning from a combat zone. The story had a message of faith and redemption that was subtly woven throughout the story. Overall, a romantic love story that will touch your heart and at times make you laugh. Another winner by this author.

I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Control Girl

Control Girl
Lesson on Surrendering Your Burden of Control from Seven Women in the Bible
Shannon Popkin
Does a lack of control make you break out in hives? Are you often frustrated, angry, or stressed because things aren't going according to plan. Does the chaos of life throw you into a tailspin? Than I have a book for you. The author has shared from her experiences and personal Bible studies on the subject so that we can learn from her mistakes and from the wisdom of the Bible to get a handle on our control issues. Each chapter begins with a personal story from the author. This is followed by a passage of scripture to look up and read that will go with the lesson. The author then expounds on the verses and ends with some questions and thoughts to ponder. At the end of each chapter is a few verses for meditation.

I loved this book. And it came at a time when I really needed it. I enjoyed it so much that I purchased a copy for a friend. The author does a great job of making the topics personal and relatable. I felt like she was speaking directly to me while reading. The book would work well as a personal study book, but would also be perfect for a small group or women's Bible study. Definitely a 5 star book, in my opinion.

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

Monday, February 13, 2017

Something Wild in Anchorage

Something Wild in Anchorage
Alaska Adventure Romance #5
Renee Hart
Lissa is a disaster waiting to happen. So she hopes that she can manage to hang on to her new job with the Fish and Game Department in Anchorage. But from the very beginning she is making mistakes and hurting other people. The only good thing is the friends she's made at a local coffee shop.  

I have the large print edition and it was still only 153 pages, so this is definitely a novella. Despite it being book five, it can be read as a stand-alone. I'm sure that characters fro the previous books are mentioned, but I didn't feel lost or notice references from previous books. The style of writing was very young adult and often made me feel like I was reading about high school characters instead of adults. Their interactions and conversations were puerile. I also noticed quite a few grammatical errors. I think the book has potential, it just needs some editing. Overall, this was not a story that I would choose to read again, but might interest my young daughter.

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

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Paris Fashions

Forever Inspired Coloring Book
Paris Fashions
It looks like an adult coloring book, but has been designed for a younger demographic. Each has a black and white design pulled from French fashion. The artist can then fill in the colors to create a beautiful fashion plate. The pages are perforated so they can be torn out and used for decor or inspiration.

My daughter is always begging me to get her a "grown-up" coloring book. These fit her request perfectly. My little fashionista fell in love with the variety of clothing and the setting that the designer put behind each model. The spaces were perfect for her skill level and she loved being able to tear the pages out for better access or for hanging on her wall. There are several books featuring different places in the world and I will be getting more when she finishes with this one.

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

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Shannon Popkin's 'Control Girl' Blog Tour and Prize Pack Giveaway

Are you trying to stay in control of your quest for peace, joy, and security . . . and you're exhausted? Shannon Popkin's debut book, Control Girl, is a must-read for anyone with a heart that craves control. Join Shannon as she shares what she has discovered about her own control struggles and about God from studying seven Control Girls in the Bible. Whether it was Eve's desire to know instead of trust, Sarah's inability to wait for God to move, or Rebekah's controlling hand on her family's future, each of these women's stories contain warnings and lessons for us today.

Learn how to give up control to God and become a Jesus girl! Enter to win a prize pack that will help you give up your Control Girl tendencies.

One grand prize winner will receive:

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on February 21. The winner will be announced February 22 on Shannon's blog.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

The American Heiress

The American Heiress Brides Collection
Lisa Cox Carter, Mary Davis, Susanne Dietze, Anita Mae Draper, Patty Smith Hall, Cynthia Hickey, Lisa Karon Richardson, Lynette Sowell, Kimberley Woodhouse
Nine authors have come together to write novellas about about wealthy heiresses in a sweet historical collection. Each story is tied into the book by the theme, but otherwise stands alone. Each author has brought her sense of writing style and strong Christian faith to play in the books. 

I enjoyed each of these stories. Each one was different and yet fit together. The characters were well developed and the surroundings and circumstances were well described. Each story was sweet, romantic, and had elements of faith. I also found quite a bit of humor in several of the stories, which I really enjoyed. Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian historical fiction. It would also work if you are limited on time as each little novella stands alone.

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

Friday, February 3, 2017

Seven Brides

Seven Brides for Seven Texans Romance Collection
Erica Vetsch, Amanda, Barratt, Susan Page Davis, Lorna Scilstad, 
Keli Gwyn, Gabrielle Meyer, Vickie McDonough
7-Heart Ranch is located in central Texas and run by a man who loves his seven sons, but wants to have some grandchildren to carry on his legacy when he's gone. But none of his boys seem remotely interested in getting married. So the father issues an ultimatum. Marry by the end of the year or lose your inheritance. The chaos and romance that ensues is only entertaining to the father. The boys are not amused.

I absolutely loved this story. Some stories were a bit more my style or better written than others, but all of them captured the plot idea and ran with it. They were sweet, romantic, sometimes funny, and filled with a strong sense of faith and family. Several of these authors are ones that I've enjoyed reading before. But it's always nice to try out a new author with a novella to get a feel for their writing style. If you enjoy romance, entertaining family drama, and historical christian fiction than definitely pick up this book. 

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

Thursday, February 2, 2017

For the Record

For The Record
Regina Jennings
Betsy has big dreams of leaving her small town and becoming an important writer for a newspaper in a big city. Working at her uncle's newspaper should technically help, but no one seems to be taking Betsy's writing seriously. So she comes up with the idea to create a romantic, fiction serial for a newspaper. She based the main character on their new deputy. She'd be horrified if he ever read what she thought of him, but since no one ever reads the big city newspapers she knows she's fine.
Deputy Joel does not want to be in Pine Gap. But he left Texas under some rather uncomfortable circumstances and returning isn't an option at the moment. So he has to put up with the shenanigans of the locals and that nosy journalist Betsy who won't leave him alone.

This story took a while for me to get in to. It wasn't the author's writing, she writes with suspense, drama, and a touch of the romance that draws the reader in. It was the characters. I just couldn't bring myself to like them, mainly Betsy. She was selfish, whiny, and didn't fit with the time period. And her character didn't really grow through the book. I ended it feeling the same way about her. Joel was okay, but a bit too weak for me. The Christian elements, usually stronger in these types of stories felt like an ad-on. Overall, I finished the book because I was writing a review, but was so disappointed in a writer I've enjoyed in the past. Despite my negative comments, I do think readers who enjoy Christian romance, will fall in love with this author, but should perhaps start with one of her other books.

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

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Goodbye Bride

The Goodbye Bride
Denise Hunter
Lucy wakes up on the floor of a bathroom wearing a wedding dress. She's hit her head and can't remember anything. The only thing she remembers is being engaged to Zac. But when she places the call for him to come get her, she finds out that she's lost almost a year of her memory. She might be wearing a wedding dress, but it isn't for Zac. She left him right before the wedding, move to another town, and become engaged to another man. Problem is, she still feels like she's in love with Zac and has absolutely no memory of any of the previous actions. 

This was an interesting premise. The entirety of the story was on how the two main characters work through their emotions, their past, and their differences to reach a romantic conclusion. There is a lot of emotional drama, angsty moments, and introspection. The story flows well, the characters are well defined, and the author brought her usual amazing writing skills in to play. This just isn't my favorite style. I'm not a huge fan of angst that is through the whole book. The author brought some great spiritual thoughts into the story without coming across as preachy. Overall, it was a well written story that fans of romantic, Christian fiction will enjoy.

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