Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Easter Stories and Prayers (Little Blessings), by Kathleen Long Bostrom

From the publisher:

Celebrate the real meaning of Easter with your kids. This special edition of Little Blessings books includes four books in one: Who is Jesus, Why is there a Cross, What about Heaven, and What is Prayer.

Each title is designed to help kids learn more about Jesus and his sacrifice for us. This volume includes a special note from author Kathleen Bostrom on how to help kids understand the meaning of Easter and the good news of Jesus’ resurrection.

Full-color art of the adorable characters draws kids in and makes them want to hear the stories over and over again. Scripture references support each answer to the questions so parents can study more.

Make Easter about Jesus this season.

My Review:

I am saving this book for our daughter as it gets a little closer to Easter, but I have read through it and really like it. It has colorful illustrations that I know she will enjoy. I appreciated the stories and the way that they are written. They explain who Jesus is, why He died, talks about heaven and prayer. I like the simple, but clear way that those things are talked about.

I really appreciate the scripture references as well. The stories aren't just making things up but are based on biblical truths... and I like that we can read about it, not just in the book, but in the Bible too.

I recommend this book.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Snuggle Time Devotions That End with a Hug, by Steven Elkins

From the publisher:
Children will grow in their understanding of faith and look forward to spending time with God as they read, play, hug, and get inspired through these 52 heartwarming snuggle time devotions. Along with the short devotional reading and Bible story, each snuggle time moment features a game or activity to help kids remember the lesson and tuck it away in their heart. This book will get you and your child talking together, laughing together, and hugging together! It’s a great way to strengthen your parent-child relationship while introducing young children to the joys of spending time with God. It’s also an effective resource for helping to shape behavior and for teaching kids biblically based life principles.
My review:
We have started doing this devotional with our 4 year old. When she saw the cover, she immediately said, "That's Jesus!" It has a sweet little picture on the cover. Each devotion is very short and written in a cute, rhyming way that summarizes the story. As far as a Bible story book goes, my opinion is that this doesn't do the Bible stories justice. We still prefer to read from one of her other Bible story books if we're really wanting a Bible story with information... But as a family devotional that brings us together, is cute, and has a fun activity, I think it's a great way to supplement what you're already doing.

I really like that it has questions/ activities that young children can do. Our daughter seemed to get excited about pretending to be an animal and us pretending to be an animal... She also very quickly got the point of the story.

I would recommend this book.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Like a Flower in Bloom, by Siri Mitchell

From the Publisher:

He Stole the Work She Loved.
Will She Let Him Steal Her Heart as Well?

It's all her uncle's fault. For years Charlotte Withersby has been free to pursue her love of plants and flowers by assisting her botanist father. But now that she's reached the old age of twenty-two, an intrusive uncle has convinced her father that Charlotte's future--the only proper future for a woman--is to be a wife and mother, not a scholar.

Her father is so dependent on her assistance that Charlotte believes he'll soon change his mind...and then Edward Trimble shows up. A long-time botany correspondent in the South Pacific, Trimble arrives ready to step in as assistant so that Charlotte can step out into proper society--a world that baffles her with its unwritten rules, inexplicable expectations, and confounding fashion.

Things aren't perfectly smooth between Trimble and her father, so Charlotte hatches a last gasp plan. She'll pretend such an interest in marriage that the thought of losing her will make her father welcome her back. Only things go quickly awry, and she realizes that the one man who recognizes her intelligence is also the person she's most angry with: Edward Trimble, her supposed rival. Suddenly juggling more suitors than she knows what to do with, Charlotte is caught in a trap of her own making. Will she have no choice but to leave her beloved flowers behind?

My Review:

Like a Flower in Bloom is a wonderful book by Siri Mitchell. The story is so good. Siri Mitchell writes characters that are genuine and believable, and each with their unique quirks that help to keep them all straight. I love the issue that is addressed in this book regarding who women are called to be... I'm not a feminist in any way, and would love to "just" be a wife and mother, but I love that it addressed the issue of being who God made you to be and glorifying Him with your gifts even if they don't fit others' expectations.

This book was absolutely wonderful. I won't share about the story, but I do want to share a piece in the "Note from the Author" afterward of the book that meant a lot to me:

As Mr. Trimble suggested to Charlotte, Eve's designation in the Bible as a helper should not consign women to a fate of eternal servitude. That word, ezer, is used only twenty-one times throughout the Bible. The first two are in reference to Eve. The other specific references are used when God refers to himself. Perhaps you are familiar with this one: "I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help [ezer] come? My help [ezer] comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth" (Psalm 121:1-2_. It's a shame that the vitality and strength of that description has been lost in translation. It lends a different slant to the idea of Woman to think that God gave that trait, that strength of His, specifically to the female of our species.

Read this book! You'll love it.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Brickmaker's Bride (Refined by Love Book #1), by Judith Miller

From the Publisher:

In the clay-rich hills of the newly founded state of West Virginia, two families tentatively come together to rebuild a war-torn brickmaking business.

Ewan McKay has immigrated to West Virginia with his aunt and uncle, promising to trade his skills in the clay business for financial help. Uncle Hugh purchases a brickmaking operation from a Civil War widow and her daughter, and it's Ewan's job to get the company up and running again.

Ewan seeks help from Laura, the former owner's daughter, and he quickly feels a connection with her, but she's being courted by another man--a lawyer with far more social clout and money than Ewan. Resolving that he'll make the brickworks enough of a success that he can become a partner in the business and be able to afford to bring his sisters over from Ireland, Ewan pours all his energy into the new job.

But when Hugh signs a bad business deal, all Ewan's hard work is put in jeopardy. As his hopes for the future crumble, Laura reveals something surprising. Can she help him save the brickworks, and will Ewan finally get a shot at winning her heart?

My Review:

Judith Miller has outdone herself again! I really enjoy her books and this one was no exception. She has written this one with the perfect combination of a few of my time periods and cultures -- the antebellum time period and the Irish.

I really enjoyed the conflict between right and wrong and the ethical debate in this book -- though it wasn't much of a debate. Ewan was a character who was easy to love, Hugh easy to dislike, Laura gives mixed feelings... Laura is a strong female character who does what she believes to be right and what she wants to do despite how others might think or feel... except in regards to who she is going to marry. But God has other plans and works those out.

I highly recommend this book if you like conflict between right and wrong, a girl who MIGHT marry the wrong guy if something doesn't change, and you like to see people change and improve.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

A Lady's Honor, Laurie Alice Eakes

From the Publisher:

On the cliffs of 19th-century Cornwall, a spirited, impetuous young woman is torn between the honor of her family and the longing of her heart.
England, 1811
A tarnished reputation. A distant home. A forced engagement to a dangerous man. When Elizabeth Trelawny flees London, she has more than one reason to run. And when her carriage, pursued by her would-be fiancé, is caught in a storm, she quickly accepts the help of a dark stranger. Anything to get back to Cornwall.

But Rowan Curnow is not exactly a stranger. He’s not quite a gentleman either. Class disparity once kept him from courting Elizabeth . . . even if it didn’t keep him from kissing her.

The couple elude their pursuers and reach Bastion Point, Elizabeth’s future inheritance and the one place she calls home. But in the very act of spiriting her to safety, Rowan has jeopardized Elizabeth’s inheritance—if her grandfather ever learns she spent the night, however innocently, in the company of a man.

When smugglers unite the pair in a reckless, flirtatious alliance—an alliance that both challenges the social norms Elizabeth has been raised to revere and rattles Rowan’s fledgling faith in God. Elizabeth must choose between the obedience of a child and the desires of a woman: cling to the safety of her home or follow the man she loves.

My Review:

I have mixed feelings about this book. It never really connected with me on an emotional level. It was a good story, but I felt like it was a little scattered...

There were too many storylines and people went by different names. There were too many relationship connections and things that seemed insignificant while you were reading them, but later became significant enough that you wish you would have paid more attention.

It was a good enough book to finish reading, but I wouldn't recommend it.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Truth be Told, by Carol Cox

From the Publisher:

Sometimes the truth can be dangerous...
When Amelia Wagner takes over her father's newspaper in 1893 Granite Springs, Arizona, she vows to carry on the paper's commitment to reporting only the truth. But Amelia soon learns that even the truth can have serious consequences. Her father's revealing articles about the Great Western Investment Company have caught the attention of the wrong people, and pressure mounts for Amelia to retract her father's statements.

Determined to find out the real story, Amelia begins her own investigation. She's joined by Benjamin Stone, a Great Western employee who's been assigned to keep tabs on her for the good of the company, a man Amelia finds both perplexing and intriguing.

What they uncover stuns them both--and has far-reaching implications for not only Ben and Amelia but all of Granite Springs. Can they reveal the truth before the enemy finds a way to silence them for good?

My Review:

I really enjoyed this book. It was suspenseful with well-developed characters and a love story that unfolded slowly.

I enjoyed Amelia's character -- her strength, her integrity, her tenacity. She stands for right despite personal hardship.

Ben's character was a good one as well... a man of integrity, willing to set aside his own aspirations for God's plan for his life.

There is a healthy mixture of deceit, family drama, greed, romance, spiritual development, suspense, etc in this book.

I highly recommend it!

*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

Thursday, September 11, 2014

With Every Breath, by Elizabeth Camden

From the Publisher:

In the shadow of the nation's capital, Kate Livingston's respectable life as a government worker is disrupted by an encounter with the insufferable Trevor McDonough, the one man she'd hoped never to see again. A Harvard-trained physician, Trevor never showed the tiniest flicker of interest in Kate, and business is the only reason he has sought her out now.

Despite her misgivings, Kate agrees to Trevor's risky proposal to join him in his work to find a cure for tuberculosis. As Kate begins to unlock the mysteries of Trevor's past, his hidden depths fascinate her. However, a shadowy enemy lies in wait and Trevor's closely guarded secrets are darker than she ever suspected.

As revelations from the past threaten to destroy their careers, their dreams, and even their lives, Trevor and Kate find themselves in a painfully impossible situation. With everything to lose, they must find the strength to trust that hope and love can prevail over all.

My review:

With Every Breath was a very enjoyable book. Elizabeth Camden did an excellent job of weaving history and facts in with her story without losing on or the other. The competitive relationship between Trevor and Kate provides endearing and amusing moments, but also emotionally charged moments.

Through the story, Trevor's character unfolds to reveal a man of many layers. I give this book highest praises for character development. Elizabeth created multi-layered characters that were still easy to follow. She built on small bits of information and you were always left wanting to know the next little bit without being overwhelmed. She wrote in such a way as to create real people with real personalities. Kate, too, has many layers and she doesn't begin to truly know herself until the end of the book... and her moment of figuring it all out is... wonderful.

Elizabeth wove mystery and romance and history all into one excellent book that I highly recommend.

I was provided with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.