Friday, March 31, 2017

If You Were Me

If You Were Me and Lived in Israel
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 Israel 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, March 30, 2017

Promises for You

FaithGirlz Promises for You Coloring Devotional
60 Days Discovering God's Hope and Love
 This book combines several different elements of Bible study. Each page has black and white color pages. One one side is a Bible verse, short devotional, and space for journaling. The devotionals are geared towards pre-teen girls. The hard glossy cover and thick paper make this a book to keep long after the pages are colored and the spaces filled with writing.

I liked this so much that I was tempted to keep it and get another one for my daughter. While the devotions were shorter than what I would want, they fit perfectly for the intended age group. My daughter loved the book and the topics have prompted further studying and deeper questions. This would make a perfect gift for the young girl who is growing in her walk with Jesus.

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

Created for Connection

Created for Connection
Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love
Dr. Sue Johnson and Kenneth Sanderfer
The two authors have taken their experiences as psychologist and emotional focused therapist and written a book designed for couples using the EFT method. EFT is Emotionally Focused Therapy the views the love relationship as an attachment bond. The couples are taught to find ways to grow and enrich the bond they have with each other. The authors give practical advice and tell stories from their experiences that help show the method they are encouraging.

The book was easy to read. The steps seemed easy to implement and the authors appeared knowledgeable about the topic. I found the book to be incredibly long and as it went on, more and more boring. While it was a well written book, it seemed more therapy focused and less self-help. Which would have been my reason for purchasing had I picked up the book. Overall, this might help couples who really don't realize that negative words towards their spouse are a bad thing, or someone who really needs their eyes opened. But it wasn't really something I found that I could benefit from.

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

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Perfect Pumpkin

The Perfect Pumpkin
Teandra Knapp
Mother and daughter arrive at a pumpkin patch to pick out the perfect pumpkin for carving. But as time goes on, the mother realizes that her daughter's version of a perfect pumpkin is far from her own. The little girl wants a pumpkin that is so different and dis-formed that no one else wants it. She intends to give it a loving home when no one else will.

My daughter enjoyed reading the book and picked up on the message that the author was trying to convey. The illustrations were colorful and filled every page. The story is sweet and can be the opener for deeper conversations with young children. My only complaint was the lack of editing. I found quite a few grammatical errors that jumped out at me. I know I'm an adult and this is a children's book, but several of the errors were such that the story could be confusing or read incorrectly. Cleaned up, this is a cute story with a great message.

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

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Mail Order Mommy

Mail Order Mommy
Boom Town Brides #2
Christine Johnson
Amanda, an orphan, is taken in by a foster family. But she isn't treated like family. She's just another servant working in their home. When the son makes inappropriate moves on her and blames her for his advances she flees with a friend as a mail order bride. But upon her arrival she realizes that the children of the man wrote the advertisement and Garrett has no intention of getting married again. His wife was not faithful and upon her death Garrett vowed to remain a widow. But Amanda falls in love with his children and he needs a nanny and a housekeeper.

I've read the first book in this series and really enjoyed it. So I was excited to see what happened next. This book was part sweet and part frustrating. I wanted to give the main male character a good swat upside the head for being so stubborn. But that just means the author did a great job of creating a likeable character that had flaws. Because in the end, the reader and the main female character forgive him. The author does a great job with the characters. They all stand out and the secondary characters play a big part in the plot as well. Looking forward to the next book in the series.

Monday, March 27, 2017

A Stolen Heart

A Stolen Heart
Cimarron Creek Trilogy #1
Amanda Cabot
Lydia packs up her entire life and moves to Cimarron Creek to be with her fiance, Edgar. But when she steps off of the stage coach, she's met by the sheriff who informs her that Edgar is missing and his pregnant wife is very worried about him. Lydia manages to hide her dismay and soon learns that the town has many secrets and a not so secret dislike of Northerners. But she shoulders on and insists on calling this small town home.

The story started out with rich details and captured my attention immediately. I've read a series by this author before, but it was a contemporary setting. So this was a change for me. I enjoyed this book even more than her previous ones. The characters were very well defined and stood out. They all had flaws and quirks that made the story come alive. The romance was clean and the plot had elements of faith woven throughout. There was a little mystery mixed in with the romance and drama that added a touch of suspense. The author did a great job of tying everything up together in the end, while leaving an opening for the next book. I loved how she set the scene and found my self wishing she'd hadn't limited herself to only three books by calling this a trilogy. I can see an entire line of books with different characters from the town. Can't wait to read the second book. 
I received a copy of this book from Revell Reads. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Somebody Like You

Somebody Like You
Maverick Junction #1
Lynette Austin
Cash is dumbfounded when he realizes that he might lose the ranch he's put his life in to. His grandfather has passed away and his will states that Cash must be married by his 30th birthday or risk losing the ranch to his horrible step-grandmother.
Annelise is going against family wishes and the body guards her father hires for her to come to Maverick Junction. She is in search of long lost relative who might be able to help her grandfather beat cancer. What she doesn't expect to find is Cash Hardeman and the sweet people in Maverick Junction.

I hadn't read anything by this author, but had heard some good things. This book didn't disappoint. The characters came alive, the plot had original elements, the descriptions were well done without being too much, and the story had heart as well as humor. The author has done a great job of creating well defined characters that you love or love to hate. And she has a style of writing that draws the reader in. I can't wait to read more books by this author.

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

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Elusive Miss Ellison

The Elusive Miss Ellison
Carolyn Miller
Lavinia Ellison lost her mother due to the thoughtlessness of a member of the Hawkesbury family. So when the brother arrives in her village she makes the assumption that he is the same arrogant, careless type of person. But the more time she spends with Nicholas, the more she realizes he is not anything like she imagined.

This was a true regency romance. The plot was complicated, but not difficult to follow. The characters came alive on the pages and were relatable. I've read a ton of regency fiction and I really felt like the author got the genre and wrote with authenticity. This is a Christian novel and so the story line is clean and there are bits of faith woven throughout the story. I appreciated the way the author stayed true to the era while also making this a decent book that I can pass on to my daughter. Overall, this was a wonderful book that I really enjoyed and I look forward to reading more by this author.

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

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Then Came You

Then Came You
Bradford Sisters #.5
Becky Wade
Garner has made some major mistakes in his life. But nothing is so daunting as when he holds his newborn daughter in his arms as his girlfriend drives away. He might be the heir to a shipping company, but he has no clue what to do with a baby. His life isn't going exactly as planned and soon he is in charge of running a failing company, raise a daughter without her mother, and work with an exasperating young woman who thinks she has all of the answers.

This novella is written in the epistolary style, using phone calls, letters, journal entries, and text messages to tell the story of Mr. Bradford. The story is beautiful and heart wrenching. But it ends on a wonderful, redemptive note and really sets the tone for the book that is coming about his daughter. I loved this tiny glimpse into the next series and thought the author did a fantastic job with this writing style. When done well this style seems richer, more personal, and thrilling and Becky Wade definitely delivered. Can't wait to dive into the next book.

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

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Kingdom Family Devotional

Kingdom Family Devotional
52 Weeks of Growing Together
Tony Evans and Jonathan Evans
Family is the most important element in our country. Learning, growth, life lessons, and spiritual guidance all begin at home. We can't ever reach the world and cause a change without first starting in our own homes. Mr. Evans and his son Jonathan have written a devotional that focuses on the things that families need most and has divided the topics up by weeks. The book contains 52 weeks (260 devotionals) that speak to the needs of the families. Each devotional has a scripture that is to be read in conjunction with the devotional thought.

I really liked this devotional. I thought the authors did a great job of bringing their point across in each week. The thoughts were well worded and inspiring. Each day was short, but had a lot of content for thought. There were also some family activities that could be done with the devotional. The book cover was pretty as well. This would be a wonderful gift to give to that special family in your life or to use in your own family to boost your connection with each other and God.

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

An Amish Home

An Amish Home
Beth Wiseman, Amy Clipston, Ruth Reid, Kathleen Fuller
Four young women learn that there are more important things than the perfect home. That the ones you love can make any place a wonderful home. Four well known Amish writers have come together to write novellas that portray the importance of family, faith, and love. Each story is a stand alone, but are all tied together by their theme of family and home.

I loved each of these stories. The authors did a great job of creating a plot and authentic characters in a short story. The stories all made me think about my own family and how much I loved an appreciated them. The length of each novella made it perfect for little moments when I only had a little bit of time to read. This would also make an excellent gift. Each story really showed the author's writing style and would be a great way to introduce new authors.

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

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Fatal Mistake

Fatal Mistake
White Knights #1
Susan Sleeman
Tara is the only person who saw the Lone Wolf bomber and knows who he is. But she's terrified that he'll come after her and the police won't be able to protect her. So she runs. But the Lone Wolf is tracking her and killing anyone associated with her.  Cal, an FBI agent, is intend on finding Tara and flushing out the bomber. But he can't do it without Tara's help. Both of them must work together to find the bomber before he claims another victim. But what will happen if they both give in to the attraction between them?

I loved this story. The characters were flawed, yet likable. The secondary characters were a great addition and supported the main characters. The plot was original and full of suspense. The author did a great job of creating drama and tension to keep the story moving, while incorporating great elements of faith, family, and romance so the plot wasn't all about the bomber. She intricately wove the whole story together to create an edge of your seat suspense that I couldn't put down. I've enjoyed every story by this author, but this one is now my favorite. Definitely grab a copy if you enjoy suspense and romance.

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

Ties That Bind Us

Ties That Bind Us: A Collection of Vermont Short Stories
Stephen Russell Payne
These are all short stories that have Vermont as it's location, but for the most part do not connect otherwise. Each story shows a side of native Vermont that might not be known to an "outsider".

Since I'd just returned from an extensive trip in Vermont, I was really looking forward to reading this book. Each story was well written and left the reader with something to think about. I enjoyed reading the book, but had a minor issue with the theme. Each story had a death or impeding death at the base or heart of the plot. This lead to an overall depressing and dark slant to the book. I wish that the author had included some more light hearted or encouraging stories, as I'm sure that not all Vermonters are this dark. But this may simply be this author's writing style. Overall, an interesting and well written book with a darker theme.

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

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Life After

Life After
Katie Ganshert
Autumn boards a train and minutes later wakes up in a hospital with no memory of what happened after she left work. She is the lone survivor from the crash, caused by a bomber. She's racked with survivor guilt and can't seem to get past the thought of all of the people who didn't make it like she did. Her obsession leads her to a family that lost their wife and mother on the train that day. To complicate matters, she was initially mistaken for this woman and Paul, the husband, had come to identify her at the hospital. Paul just wants to move on, Autumn is stuck in time. The two are force to work together and as they do, healing happens.

I absolutely loved this story. The emotions were so raw, the drama so real. The author did a great job of pulling me into the story and I couldn't put the book down. The authenticity made me feel like each scene was actually happening as I read. The characters were flawed, wounded, and yet likeable. The plot was incredibly original and well thought out. The author wove so many inspirational and faith based messages into the story, but I didn't once feel overpowered or preached at. I have no idea what genre this story would be placed in, but I do know that it is a story that I will be recommending to everyone, regardless of their reading preferences. It's just that good.

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

Her Baby's Protector

Her Baby's Protector
Saved by the Lawman/Saved by the Seal
Margaret Daley and Susan Sleeman,204,203,200_.jpg
Saved by the Lawman
A masked man tried to kidnap Kate's baby while at the nature reserve. Thankfully Chase, a police officer, was running close by and heard her screams for help. There is obviously someone out to get the family court judge and until they are found, Chase intends to stay very close to Kate and her precious son.

This was a suspenseful plot that was wrapped in romance, faith, and pure sweetness. Who doesn't adore a strong man that melts when presented with a baby?! The author did a great job of creating a suspenseful plot while also tying in other elements to round out the story. The twist was great and added to the drama.

Saved by the SEAL
When Bree's best friends are killed she gets custody of their infant daughter. Bree is sure that her friends were murdered, but the local detective won't give her the time of day. After a drive by shooting at her home, she decides to hide at her ex-boyfriend's ranch. He's a SEAL and is rarely home. But when Clint happens to come home to find Bree, her mom, and a baby in his home, he takes his vacation time to protect them and help Bree find the killer.

LOVED this story. It has everything I want in a romantic suspense. This author is amazing and has once again written a winner. The suspects are numerous and the plot keeps the reader on their toes. I like how she weaves a message of faith into the plot so seamlessly. It is actually a part of the characters. The characters are well developed and grab the reader with their authenticity. The romance between the couple was real and genuinely sweet. Another favorite. I can't wait to read her next book.

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

Monday, March 6, 2017

Behind the Scenes of Shoba Sadler's CHILD OF DUST
Today we'll sit down to chat with Shoba Sadler, author of the contemporary title Child of Dust. Shoba will take us behind the scenes of her unique new novel and give us a glimpse into her writing.

Shoba, why did you choose to write this type of novel?
Social status and cultural barriers makes for great conflict. Child of Dust is like a modern-day classic of Romeo and Juliet only instead of opposing families, these lovers, Kim and Bryan have cultural and social barriers to contend with.

Kim, the rich and spoilt socialite who loses her money is taken under the wing of her reluctant chauffeur, Bryan, who has his own struggles to deal with. They find love under the most unexpected circumstances.

Can you tell us why you started with an Asian setting for your first two novels?
I was founder of Agape Christian magazine in Malaysia. I also freelanced for the leading English, secular newspaper in Malaysia, The Star. My feature stories forThe Star were several page write-ups with gorgeous photos. Many of my stories were selected by the features editor to be cover stories as well.

As I interviewed people all over the world for Agape, I saw God moving powerfully in Asia and yet there were so few stories coming from there especially in the Christian romance genre.

In Asia, Christianity is seen very much as a Western culture. Yet so many Asians have had powerful encounters with Jesus Christ. Then there is the struggle to validate their faith in the midst of culture, tradition, loss of identity, social stigma and so on.

There alone you have so much material for backdrop, tension, drama, conflict and final resolution.

An example of what I mean can be seen in my short story Finding Enlightenmentthat was awarded second place at It can be read here:

Talk a little about your unique setting.
When I read novels I am drawn to the backdrop and setting. A great description of the setting subtly woven into the story is what makes the difference between being a narrator who takes a person on a journey through his "telling" and a facilitator who steps out of the way altogether to allow the reader to explore the journey on his own. The writer should aim to be the facilitator and not the narrator.

There is nothing like a great setting to make the reader feel like they are there with the characters. It is like the difference between watching a 2D and 3D movie.

Unfortunately, many formulaic romance novels that are churned out in quick production-line succession fails to capture this allure of setting because it takes research and time. It is also not easy to write setting discreetly in the background and that is the only way to write it. Otherwise it will seem like reading lecture notes instead of a story.

I read one review of a multi-cultural romance set in an Asian country where the reviewer said she felt like she was reading a tour company's brochure and that is the wrong emotion to invoke.

So another reason I wrote Child of Dust was to give romance readers a chance to explore unique settings and backdrops not normally experienced by a reader in the current trend of romance novels available out there.

We'd love to hear a little about the historical background for your novel. Will you talk about that?
The main character, Bryan, Kim's chauffeur has been deeply affected by the Vietnam war in the sense that he is the illegitimate child of an American GI and a Vietnamese woman. This historical background sets a different dimension to the story and adds intrigue and authenticity.

Who would you say is the audience for this novel?

Child of Dust is an appealing read for anyone. As I have also written for the secular press, I am able to write in a manner that appeals to all walks of life both Christian and non-Christian. I have had non-Christians tell me they were so engrossed in the story that they didn't not notice the message of the gospel woven into the story. Yet that message is undoubtedly there.

I am an inspirational writer and everyone loves a good inspirational story just as they love watching a Hallmark movie.

What readers have to say about the novel:
"Make sure when getting ready to read Child of Dust that you don't have anything else planned for the day, you won't be able to put this book down. I could go on and on about this book. Highly and strongly recommend it. Is it possible to give a book 10 stars?" --- Debra Dunson, reviewer at The Edgier Christian Fiction Fan

"I found the writing of this story to be close to excellent.... I found this book to be one of the most enjoyable books I have read in a long time. It was interesting, the story kept moving along, and I learned a lot as I read this story. I found myself intrigued with the constant difficulties faced by the protagonists – and their stories were presented so much more like real life stories than any other book I have read in a long, long time." --- Marina, Community Writer, California

"This novel has a consistent rhythm, adding surprise after surprise, twisting our emotions at each new difficulty Kim faces. I couldn't put this book down, waiting to see if any or all the ends would be tired up. I would actually like to see the novel transcend into a movie. An amazing read." --- Brices Mice Christian Book Reviews

About Child of Dust: 
Beautiful but spoilt Vietnamese socialite, Cao Kim Lye, learns of her parents shocking death from the dashing Amerasian family chauffeur, Bryan Nguyen.

Kim steps out of a world of crystal and chandelier to enter the dust and chaos of working-class Hanoi. She finds herself living under the roof of a shop cum living quarters with Bryan and his adoptive family.

Ever conscious of the privileged class, Kim struggles against the emotional ties she forms towards Bryan, the reluctant saviour, who considers her an unnecessary hitch to his already complicated life.

He still bears the scars of abandonment by his mother and his American GI father when U.S. troops pulled out of Vietnam.

Eventually Bryan and Kim's powerful attraction to each other begins to break down the wall between them.

About the author: 
Shoba Sadler has been a journalist for 20 years and founder of Agape magazine in Malaysia. She is a versatile inspirational author that likes to write in multiple genres. She has pioneered a new genre in Christian multi-cultural writing with her novel Child of Dust and her many award-winning short stories can be read here

Her passion for writing is matched only by her passion for cooking with farm fresh produce. She lives a healthy lifestyle on a farm with her husband, Kevin, a talented musician, who also loves to surf and ski. They grow their own vegetables and fruits and share their home with a multitude of animals and wildlife. They are passionate about buying directly from local farmers who practice organic farming.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

One To Ten

One To Ten
Squirrel's Bad Day
Carole P. Roman
Poor little squirrel has lost his acorns. He's so upset and little rabbit helps him see how it isn't as bad as it seems by  playing a little game. Rabbit asks the other forest friends to join in the game and soon the whole forest is thinking positively and encouraging little squirrel. The book ends with an encouragement for anyone who is feeling down and reminds them of the rules of the game so they can feel better.

The whimsical illustrations and lyrical style of writing work together to tell a sweet story of friendship and the effect of positive thinking. Parents will enjoy the positive message and the practical advice for children. Children will enjoy the colorful drawings and the entertaining animals. They will also be able to relate to little squirrel and his problems.

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

Saturday, March 4, 2017

How Long is Now?

How Long is Now?
Fascinating answers to 191 mind-boggling questions
The Last Word, a column at the back of the New Scientist magazine is dedicated to answering those strange and weird questions. The answers are supplied by other readers and the publishers publish the question along with the best answers in the column. This book is a compilation of that column and some of the questions people have asked over the years. Some of the questions include multiple answers.

This was a fun book for my son and I to read together. He is always asking me endless questions and his thirst for knowledge has led to some interesting conversations. These questions were gems in keeping him entertained. I did find some of the answers contradicted each other and we had to do some internet research to find the correct answer. I would have liked having the correct answer below the reader's answer. But overall, this was a fun book that we both enjoyed reading. I think it would be a great gift or coffee table book.

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

Friday, March 3, 2017

When God Made You

When God Made You
Matthew Paul Turner
Children are so curious about the world around them. But they also wonder about themselves. Are they special? Why are they different from everyone else? Who made them? The author and illustrator worked closely together to create a book that tells and shows children exactly why they are the way they are and who designed them to be that way. Each page is completely covered in illustration while the lyrical words fit on each page to match.  

My kids loved this book and so did I. The illustrations are amazing. The little girl is adorable and you can feel her joy coming through the pictures. The words are thoughtful and sweet, while telling the little reader how very special and unique they are, and that God created them perfectly. I think every home should have this positive and inspiring book in their personal library. I will be donating a copy to our school as well. Definitely a five star book.

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

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Tokyo Fashions

Forever Inspired Coloring Book
Tokyo 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 Asian 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 loves the "grown-up" coloring books. This book definitely fit that request, in her opinion. 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.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Beating Busyness

Beating Busyness
Adam R. Holz
Technology, social media, and the busyness of life tend to crowd our time with God and push us toward neglecting that still small voice. The author has taken from scripture and his personal experiences to write a Bible study on how to beat the busyness of life. Each chapter is a separate study that breaks down the barriers that we erect around us that crowd out the Holy Spirit. Each chapter is slightly different, but has some thoughts from the author on the subject, Biblical references to support his thoughts, and questions to get the reader thinking. There is space after each question to write in the book or jot down ideas and verses.

I liked this study guide. It was well thought out and nicely executed. There were a couple of times that I was a little uncertain where the author was going or didn't completely agree with his thoughts. But this didn't really detract from the study. It was thoughtful and informative. If you feel overwhelmed and incredibly busy, take a few minutes each day to recharge and reconnect with your heavenly Father using this Bible study pamphlet to guide you.

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