Saturday, December 24, 2016

Review of NIV Holy Bible for Girls Turquoise Journal Edition

The NIV Holy Bible for Girls Journal edition (Turquoise) description says that it features the following: 
1. Lines on each page for journaling and notes
2. Thick paper perfect for any writing utensil
3. A presentation page for gift giving
4. A “How to Use This Bible” page to get started on the right foot
5. Ribbon marker
6. The complete text of the bestselling New International Version (NIV)

I found most of the description to be accurate.  When I took it out of the box, I was thought it was absolutely beautiful. The gold on the cover is metallic making it even more beautiful.  It is perfect for girls, and I think it would appeal most to upper elementary age to teenagers. (I'm 38 and love it!). I didn't find the pages to be thicker than the pages in other bibles, so I wouldn't recommend using markers.  Everything else about it is exactly how described.  I definitely recommend it!

*I received this book from the publisher.  The opinions are my own.*

Book Review of The 100 Most Encouraging Verses of the Bible

Troy Schmidt's book, The 100 Most Encouraging Verses of the Bible is perfect for daily devotions.

The back of the book says:

"Powerful Words of Comfort From the Bible
Everyone struggles with discouragement as they face the trials of life, big and small. Where do you go for help when you're lonely or grieving or fearful? Or when you've failed in a job or relationship? No matter what storm you're facing, God says, "Come to me . . . and I will give you rest." 

The Bible verses highlighted in this clear, concise book include well-known gems as well as hidden treasures that will surprise you. Each verse is followed by a brief reading to explain the verse's meaning and draw you nearer to God, making it perfect for daily devotions or as a starting point for further study.

Find the hope and peace that can only come straight from the Word of God."

I really liked the set up of this book.  Each page has a verse, and there is a short devotional reading below it.  It is perfect to use as a daily devotion.  A reader can read multiple verses a day or spend time focusing on one verse for the day.  I sometimes struggle fitting my daily time with God into my day, and I found each page to take 5 minutes or less to read.  Then you can pray or reflect on it throughout the day.

*I received this book from the publisher.  The opinions are my own.*

Book Review of Jesus Talked to Me Today

Jesus Talked to Me Today: True Stories of Children's Encounters with Angels, Miracles and God is a group of short stories compiled by James Stuart Bell.  I was looking forward to reading this as I believe that children can see angels and that encounters with God are real.  However, I found some of the stories written in a way that sounded, for lack of a better word, cheesy and unbelievable.  I feel like the writers of the stories could have used some help from an actual author to make their story more believable since these are all supposed to be real.  I hate to give a bad review, but I have to be honest.  I'm sure that others may view the book differently, so if you are interested, I suggest looking for it at the library.

*I received the book from the publisher.  The opinions are my own.*

Book Review of The Domino Effect

The first line on the back of the book, in my opinion, is exactly what The Domino Effect by Davis Bunn was for me:

"A Financial Thriller That Will Keep Readers on the Edge of Their Seats

Esther Larsen, a leading risk analyst at one of the country's largest banking institutions, is becoming more and more convinced that she has uncovered a ticking bomb with the potential to overshadow 2008's market crash. And as her own employer pursues "investment" strategies with ever-increasing levels of risk, she becomes convinced she must do something. Yet what can one person really do?

The markets are edging closer to a tipping point--like the teetering first domino in a standing row that circles the globe. And when Esther does sound the alarm, she wonders if anyone will take her seriously. But as public support grows for her ideas, so does the desperation of those whose conspiracy of greed she seeks to expose. With global markets on the brink, and her own life in danger, Esther is locked in a race with the clock to avert a worldwide financial meltdown. 

This fast-paced suspense novel will make you wonder where the fiction ends and reality begins. . . ."

This book kept me turning pages, and I couldn't read fast enough to find out what was going to happen next.  I loved that amidst the suspense, there was something beautiful developing between Esther and Craig (you'll have to read the book to find out more!).  

*I received this book from the publisher.  The opinions are my own.*

Book Review of Where Hope Prevails

Where Hope Prevails is the third book in the Return to the Canadian West series by Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan.  After spending the summer with her family, Beth Thatcher is anticipating a proposal of marriage from Jarrick and is excited to return to Coal Valley where she is a teacher.  However, she is disappointed to see how things have changed when she arrives in Coal Valley.  The town has been growing, so a second teacher has been hired, trees have been cut leaving stumps everywhere and she is not able to stay in the boarding house that she lived in previously.  She begins to become concerned about what her future holds--both in Coal Valley and as Jarrick's wife.

This was so good!  I didn't read the first two books, so I didn't have all of the background information on the characters. However, this book had just enough information to help me along. The characters were well developed, and the story line was really good.  I highly recommend it especially if you have read the first two books in the series and if you enjoy historical fiction.

*I received this book from the publisher.  The opinions are my own. *

Book Review of Of Stillness and Storm

The description on the back of the book really didn't prepare me for the story that Michele Phoenix told in Of Stillness and Storm. She tells the love story of Sam and Lauren, their journey to mission work in Nepal and the toll the mission work takes on their family relationships and relationship with God.  The characters felt so real to me. I think this book brings an awareness that mission work isn't always a happy experience for everyone. Touching, heartbreaking, real and raw.

From the back of the book: 
“I felt torn between two worlds. Each with its own mystery. One more captivating than the other, but the other more real and breathing.”
It took Lauren and her husband ten years to achieve their dream—reaching primitive tribes in remote regions of Nepal. But while Sam treks into the Himalayas for weeks at a time, finding passion and purpose in his work among the needy, Lauren and Ryan stay behind, their daily reality more taxing than inspiring. For them, what started as a calling begins to feel like the family’s undoing. 
At the peak of her isolation and disillusion, a friend from Lauren’s past enters her life again. But as her communication with Aidan intensifies, so does the tension of coping with the present while reengaging with the past. It’s thirteen-year-old Ryan who most keenly bears the brunt of her distraction.
Intimate and bold, Of Stillness and Storm weaves profound dilemmas into a tale of troubled love and honorable intentions gone awry.
*I received an advance reader's copy.  My opinions are my own.*

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Book Review of Sins of the Past

Sins of the Past includes three romantic suspense novellas by authors Dee Henderson, Dani Pettrey and Lynette Eason.

Dee Henderson's novella, Missing, is about a police chief's elderly mother going missing, the search to find her and then the search to find the person who took her.  The story seemed rushed and strange to me, but it was still not a bad read.

I was very excited to read Dani Pettrey's novella, Shadowed, after reading all of her Alaskan Courage series.  In Shadowed, we the reader gets to meet the parents of the McKenna kids, Ben and Libby.  Pettrey did not disappoint me!  Ben and Libby recover a body while whale watching which leads to a hunt for the killer. I just loved seeing how Ben and Libby ended up together.

The last novella was Blackout by Lynette Eason.  I hadn't read anything by Lynette Eason previously, but I think I will be picking up some of her books in the future.  Blackout is about a woman, Macey, who is being haunted by past memories that she is unable to remember.  She is being stalked by someone who believes she knows more than she does, and her life depends on her remembering what happened.  Her neighbor and cop, Chad, is determined to help and protect Macey.  I really loved this one!

*I received this book in exchange for an honest review from Bethany House Publishers.*

Book Review of No Way Up by Mary Connealy

No Way Up is the first book in Mary Connealy's, The Cimarron Legacy series.  After reading her Wild at Heart series, I was so excited to see this book available to review from Bethany House.  I absolutely LOVED this one just as much as the other books I have read by Connealy!  Fast-paced, suspense & romance--my favorite things in a book!  I definitely recommend picking up this book!

Here is a little information from the back of the book:
"When Cimarron ranch patriarch Chance Boden is caught in an avalanche, the quick actions of hired hand Heath Kincaid save him. Badly injured, Chance demands that his will be read and its conditions be enforced immediately. 

Without anyone else to serve as a witness, Heath is pressed into reading the will. If Justin, Sadie, and Cole Boden don't live and work at home for the entire year, the ranch will go to their low-down cousin Mike. 

Then Heath discovers the avalanche was a murder attempt, and more danger might follow. Deeply involved with the family, Heath's desire to protect Sadie goes far beyond friendship. The danger keeps them close together, and their feelings grow until being apart is the last thing on their minds."

*I received this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.*

Book Review of Delilah: Treacherous Beauty by Angela Hunt

From the back cover of Delilah: Treacherous Beauty by Angela Hunt:
"A Complex and Compelling Glimpse at One of the Bible's Most Notorious Women

Life is not easy in Philistia, especially not for a woman and child alone. When beautiful, wounded Delilah finds herself begging for food to survive, she resolves that she will find a way to defeat all the men who have taken advantage of her. She will overcome the roadblocks life has set before her, and she will find riches and victory for herself. 
When she meets a legendary man called Samson, she senses that in him lies the means for her victory. By winning, seducing, and betraying the hero of the Hebrews, she will attain a position of national prominence. After all, she is beautiful, she is charming, and she is smart. No man, not even a supernaturally gifted strongman, can best her in a war of wits."

I have to be honest that normally I don't care to read biblical historical fiction, but this one kept my interest.  In the first part of book, Hunt gives us an idea of the events that happen before Delilah meets Samson, the background story of what has made Delilah's life the way it is when Samson arrives.  We also see what has happened with Samson as well.  I enjoyed ready it and would recommend it for those people that enjoy biblical historical fiction.

*I received this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.*

Book Review of Like Never Before by Melissa Tagg

I was so excited when I saw this book was available to review from Bethany House Publishers!  I loved Melissa Tagg's previous book, From the Start, and I couldn't wait to read Like Never Before.

In this book, the main characters are Logan Walker and Amelia Bentley.  Logan is a speech writer who has the opportunity to work on a presidential campaign.  His plans get interrupted when he learns he has inherited his hometown's newspaper.  He returns home planning to sell the newspaper and spend time with his young daughter, Charlie before heading to work the campaign.

Amelia is the newspaper editor for that same hometown newspaper in Maple Valley.  She is intent on impressing the new publisher (owner) in hopes that it won't be sold.  She has a lead on a story that she thinks will do just that.

These two characters come together to make one fun to read story! Without giving too much away, Logan's plans do change when he decides to help Amelia with her story.  Both of these characters have broken hearts and dreams, but together, they will begin to heal.

*I received this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.*

Friday, April 22, 2016

Book Review of Dear Mary: Lessons From the Mother of Jesus for the Modern Mom by Sarah Jakes

Sarah Jakes' book, Dear Mary: Lessons from the Mother of Jesus for the Modern Mom, "explores biblical stories about Mary-as well as stories from her (Jakes) own life- to better understand what living for Christ can look like today and how to model that for your children."  Each chapter is a separate letter to Mary.  Jakes writes about her own personal experience in each chapter and writes about how Mary handled each situation  If we look at Mary's example as a mother, we can "learn valuable lessons from her life."

I loved how honest Jakes was about her own personal struggles. It isn't often that you read something so raw and real, and I found that really encouraging. I really think this is an inspiring book for mothers.

*I received this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.*

Book Review of Worship Changes Everything

Darlene Zschech's book, Worship Changes Everything, is great for anyone looking for something inspirational to read.  It is divided into two parts: Part One: The Heart of Worship and Part Two: The Hands of Worship.  Each part is divided into several chapters.  This book has anecdotes, lots of scripture and lots of things to think about and apply to your spiritual walk. This book is "An Invitation to Praise & Honor God in Every Area of Life."  Darlene Zschech shares her thoughts and wisdom for how to begin to do this.

I think this book is a good mixture of personal experience and scripture.  I always enjoy reading anecdotes when reading non-fiction because I feel like it makes informational books easier to get through.  If you are like me, then you will like this book.  It is definitely a great inspirational read.

*I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review.*

Book Review of Dressed for Death by Julianna Deering

I always enjoy a good mystery, and Dressed for Death did not disappoint me! In this book, Drew Farthering and his wife of 6 months, Madeline, attend a party at an old friend's home.  When their friend's fiance dies unexpectedly from an apparent overdose, Drew's friend insists that she was murdered and asks him to find her killer with lots of twists along the way.

Julianna Deering keeps the reader guessing who the culprit is until near the end of the book.  I didn't realize that this book was part of the Drew Farthering Mystery Series until I received it from the publisher, so there were few things referenced that I was confused about (that were most likely learned in previous books).  However, it didn't take away from the story, and I still enjoyed reading it.  I highly recommend it to anyone who loves mysteries!

*I received this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.*

Book Review of the Painter's Daughter by Julie Klassen

Julie Klassen's book, The Painter's Daughter, is a historical romance.  The back of the book says: "Sophie Dupont assists her father in his studio, keeping her own artwork out of sight. In private, she paints the picturesque north Devon coast, popular with artists--including handsome Wesley Overtree, who seems more interested in Sophie than the landscape. 

Captain Stephen Overtree is accustomed to taking on his brother Wesley's responsibilities. Near the end of his leave, he is sent to find his brother and bring him home. Upon reaching Devonshire, however, Stephen is stunned to learn Wesley has sailed for Italy and left his host's daughter in serious trouble. 

Stephen feels duty-bound to act, and strangely protective of the young lady, who somehow seems familiar. Wanting to make some recompense for his own past failings as well as his brother's, Stephen proposes to Miss Dupont. He does not offer love, but marriage "in name only" to save her from scandal. If he dies in battle, as he fears, she will at least be a respectable widow.

Desperate for a way to escape her predicament, Sophie finds herself torn between her first love and this brooding man she barely knows. Dare she wait for Wesley to return? Or should she elope with the captain and pray she doesn't come to regret it?

I had a hard time getting into this book at first.  However, I did enjoy it once I got further along.  There were some parts of the book that didn't really have anything to do with the main story, but I felt like those parts helped develop the characters more.  I really liked seeing the relationship between the two main characters, Sophie and Steven, develop throughout the book.  I recommend this book for anyone that enjoys reading historical romance.  

*I received this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.*

Book Review of Cold Shot by Dani Pettrey

Cold Shot is book one in Dani Pettrey's Chesapeke Valor series.  This book starts out with Griffin McCray discovering vandals that have uncovered skeletal remains at the Gettysburg National Military Park where he works as a park ranger.  Most of the remains in the area are from the Civil War-era, but these remains are not.  Finley Scott is the forensic anthropologist that Griffin calls for her expertise.  She discovers evidence that points to the work of an expert sniper.  Some old friends of Griffin's are called in to help and the search for the killer is underway.  There are things from the past that both Griffin and Finley must deal with as well.

I was super excited to see that Dani Pettrey had written a new series after reading her Alaskan Courage series.  This book did not disappoint me!  I really enjoyed reading it.  I was a little confused at the synopsis on the back cover that said "Four best friends, and then one went missing" because it really isn't what the book is about.  The back cover can be misleading because it really doesn't tell you what the book is about.  I expected a little more background information on the four friends, but this is really a story about the search for a killer and the danger that the characters encounter during the search.  The characters  also have to come to terms with some of the things that have happened in the past.  All in all, I thought it was a good read, and I recommend it to those who like suspense novels with some romance mixed in.

*I received this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.*

Monday, February 15, 2016

Book Review of Fire and Ice by Mary Connealy

Fire & Ice is the third book in Mary Connealy's Wild at Heart series.  In this book, it is Bailey Wilde's turn for a little romance.  When her married sisters move away, Bailey is quite lonely during the long winter months at her homestead.  When Gage Coulter makes a proposal after a long and lonely winter, Bailey agrees.

There is so much more I could say, but I don't want to give away too much from the book.  I really enjoyed the interactions between Bailey and Gage.  They are both so independent, and both have been hurt in the past.  The two of them complement each other and help each other heal from their past hurts.  It is fun to see them fool Gage's mother into thinking they have been married for a while.  I definitely recommend this book!  It has a little bit of everything-- humor, romance, mystery and more.

*I received this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.*

Book review of Rising Darkness by Nancy Mehl

Rising Darkness is the 3rd book in Nancy Mehl's Finding Sanctuary series. The synopsis for this book from the back cover says:
"Sophie Wittenbauer left her strict Mennonite hometown under a cloud of shame and regret. Certain she's left her past far behind her, she's now focused on her job at a newspaper and is shocked when she stumbles upon the name of someone she knew in her old life. But when she learns the man--a prisoner--claims a suspect from a decades-old unsolved crime is hiding out in the small town of Sanctuary, Missouri, she can't resist following the lead in hopes of furthering her career. 

Almost immediately upon her arrival, Sophie's confronted with a face from her past and fears her intention of using a false identity to investigate is doomed. But with the help of Sanctuary's charismatic young pastor, Sophie knows she's getting close. Will she be able to conceal the truth of her own past long enough to find the suspect before someone puts a stop--fatal or otherwise--to her investigation?" 

I absolutely LOVED this book!  Mehl had me guessing the entire time to figure out who the suspect was!  I always enjoy suspense novels, and this one didn't disappoint me.  I didn't read the first two in the series, but I didn't have any problems following along.  It is written in a way that it can stand alone from the other books in the series.  With that said, I probably will pick up the first two in the series because I thoroughly enjoyed reading Rising Darkness! I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes suspense novels with a little bit of romance.

*I received this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.*

Book Review of Chivalrous by Dina Sleiman

Chivalrous is Dina Sleiman's second book in her Valiant Hearts series.  The back cover of the book gives an excellent description of what to expect in this story:

"Strong and adventurous Gwendolyn Barnes longs to be a knight like her chivalrous brothers, but her parents view her only as a marriage pawn. When her domineering father makes plans to see her wed to a brutish man, Gwendolyn must fight for her future. 

She's surprised, however, for that clash to include a handsome, good-hearted newcomer. Allen of Ellsworth arrives in Edendale searching for his place in the world, but he finds in Gwendolyn the most unexpected of women. 

Tournaments, intrigue, and battles--along with twists and turns aplenty--await these two as they struggle to find love, identity, and their true destinies."

This book is geared towards teenage girls.  With the strong female character, I think it is an good choice for a teenage girl to read.  Lady Gwendolyn proves that girls can be or do anything they want if they put their mind to it.  I think it would be appropriate for girls ages 15 and up.

*I received this book in exchange for an honest review from Bethany House Publishers.*