Monday, December 15, 2014

The Wishing Season by Denise Hunter



About the Book:

Living side-by-side, a fledgling chef and a big-hearted contractor find a delicious attraction.
Trouble is, their chemistry could spoil their dreams.

Spirited PJ McKinley has the touch when it comes to food. Her dream of opening her own restaurant is just one building short of reality. So when a Chapel Springs resident offers her beloved ancestral home to the applicant with the best plan for the house, PJ believes it’s a contest she was meant to win.

Contractor Cole Evans is confident, professional, and swoon-worthy—but this former foster kid knows his life could have turned out very differently. When Cole discovers the contest, he believes his home for foster kids in transition has found its saving grace. All he has to do is convince the owner that an out-of-towner with a not-for-profit enterprise is good for the community.

But when the eccentric philanthropist sees PJ and Cole’s proposals, she makes an unexpected decision: the pair will share the house for a year to show what their ideas are made of. Now, with Cole and the foster kids upstairs and PJ and the restaurant below, day-to-day life has turned into out-and-out competition—with some seriously flirtatious hallway encounters on the side. Turns out in this competition, it’s not just the house on the line, it’s their hearts.

My Thoughts:

Break out the tissues!  Denise Hunter has crafted an engaging and emotional story that is perfect for the Christmas season.  This is the third book in her Chapel Springs series, and the stories keep getting richer and the love for the McKinley clan keeps growing.

PJ is the one who needs to prove herself; we all have someone in the family that feels the need, don't we?  I was that one, the youngest, the one who had to 'get it right' and make something of myself.  Her encounter with Cole reveals that he's cut from that same cloth, so when they end up in competition for the house....sparks fly!

I was cheering for them both, and had my heart pulled in multiple directions.  Tears kept me from reading at moments, both from laughter and from heartache.  Denise creates imaginary people that could walk into your local coffee shop and strike up a conversation with you, and don't be surprised if you find yourself praying for people who aren't real!

My thanks to my friends at Thomas Nelson for my advance copy of "The Wishing Season" in exchange for an honest review.  Don't miss "The Wishing Season", and be sure to pick up the first two books as well!                                                          

Happy Reading!

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Monday, December 1, 2014

Life with a Capital L by Matt Heard


About the Book:

“Matt Heard writes winsomely and compellingly, answering that quiet aching so many people – yes, even Christians – have that there must be more to life…. I highly recommend Life With a Capital L!” - Joni Eareckson Tada, Joni and Friends International Disability Center
 
What is it that you long for? Dream about?  Hunger after?

We all desire more than just the endurance of our daily routines. But often we feel limited and stuck — like we’re merely existing instead of living.

That’s not the way it was meant to be. God intends the humanity in each of us to be deeply experienced, lavishly enjoyed, and exuberantly celebrated. In fact this is what the gospel is all about.

Yes, the gospel. Contrary to conventional thinking — inside and outside the church — following Jesus is not about denying our humanness but embracing it. Rather than acting more spiritual or being more religious, we’re called and enabled to become more fully human…  and alive.

Matt Heard escorts us on a journey of discovery: that Jesus didn’t come to save us from our humanity — Christ instead yearns to restore it to what God originally intended. Matt then explores ten key areas where everyday life can become extraordinary Life.  

Christ promised we could “live life to the full.” He didn’t just mean eventually.

Life with a Capital L is the Life you are longing for. Now.


Most of the people I know aren't living, much less thriving. They are most likely surviving. But Matt Heard believes that believers can and should Live..."Life with a Capital L". 

He opens by describing a painting entitled "There is life everywhere" and expounding on the artist's imagery. Matt moves on to build his case for Life with two Scriptures. I Peter 1:18 which tells us we've been rescued from an empty life, and John 10:10 which tells us Jesus came to give us Life more abundantly. 

The book is divided into two parts, with the first section dedicated to making a point and the second section showing how to achieve Life. I'm normally not a fan of books with lists, but this time it makes sense and Matt describes each point on the list fully and with beauty. 

Of course, my favorite is his chapter on "Heaven"! 

"Life with a Capital L" is part intellectual argument and part storytelling with a point. You'll find a lot of quotes and references to well known authors, stories, and Scriptures. All blend perfectly to craft an intense, deep discourse illustrated by story. 

My thanks to my friends at Blogging For Books for my copy in exchange for an honest review. "Life with a Capital L" makes me want to Live more abundantly, and I think it will do the same for you.

Happy Reading!

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

At Bluebonnet Lake by Amanda Cabot



About the Book:

Her life is set to warp speed. His is slowing to a crawl. But love has its own timing.
Marketing maven Kate Sherwood's world is fast-paced, challenging, and always changing. The last thing she wants to do is grind to a halt at Rainbow's End, a dilapidated resort in the Texas Hill Country. Still, she cannot deny her ailing grandmother's request to visit the place where she and her deceased husband spent one glorious week fifty years ago.

There, Kate meets Greg, who appears to be the resort's unassuming handyman. But there's more to Greg than meets the eye--billions more, in fact.

Kate isn't looking for romance, but she can't deny the sparks of attraction that fly every time she and Greg are together. Could there be a future there? Or will Kate's long-sought promotion take her back to the big city?

Amanda Cabot invites you to step into a place away from the pressures of the day. You might be surprised by what you find at Rainbow's End.

My Thoughts:

I have a feeling I'm not going to be making many friends with this review, but I have to be completely honest, no matter what others feel.  And it's not like I strongly disliked "At Bluebonnet Lake".  I just didn't fall in love with it.

This is the first novel I've read by Amanda Cabot, so it could just be a matter of taste.  I enjoyed the first few chapters, and the ending was satisfying, if not predictable.

It was the middle of the book I didn't really enjoy.  I felt like I was reading something along the line of "Groundhog Day"...events just kept repeating over and over and over....waiting for someone fictional to 'get it', and then we could reach our conclusion.

I know, I know.  That sounds harsh.  But it's true.  So much felt repetitive that I found myself skipping entire pages trying to pick up the pacing a little.  And it could have been so much more with just a little fine tuning.

For instance, tell me more about the townspeople and where they came from, how they built their businesses, and why they were fighting so hard to remain.  I loved Sam and her custom boots...would have loved more about her.

Kate and Greg were both in limbo career-wise and even relationship-wise.  So maybe we were meant to feel that same limbo sensation.  If so, then the book was successful.  But instead I just wished for around 50 or so pages to be edited so I could get to the meat of the story.

My thanks to my friends a Revell for my copy of "At Bluebonnet Lake" in exchange for an honest review.  I'd recommend you borrow a copy from someone and see what you think.  I still may continue the series with the next "Texas Crossroads" novel...we'll see.


Happy Reading!

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

How to Survive Middle School and Monster Bots by Ron Bates


About the Book:

Sometimes, being smart just isn’t enough

It’s been a rough semester for Howard Boward, science genius. Not only is he having to dodge winter’s most feared weapon (snowballs), his close friend, Winnie Mc Kinney, is barely speaking to him.

If that weren’t enough, he’s the favorite target of some bullies who seem determined to make life at Dolley Madison Middle School as miserable as possible. But then Howard learns about an upcoming robot-building contest—finally a chance to show off his science skills and beat archrival Gerald “G-Force” Forster!

Unfortunately, the only way to win is by using his secret “monster goo,” a formula that has terrifying side effects. Can Howard resist the temptation? Or will he unleash a robot rampage that could destroy the town—and ruin the school dance?

My Thoughts:

I knew from reading the back cover copy that I wasn't in the target audience for this one.  But I've heard many complaints from readers on how difficult it is to find good reading for boys in the Christian marketplace.  I remember having a hard time when my son was younger, so I thought I'd check Howard Boward out.

I was right...I'm not the target demographic for this book.  But it is well written, and will have a high appeal to fans of "Captain Underpants", "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" and other book series that fit that genre.

The book is witty, packed with dry humor and plays on words.  The story is easy to relate to....who hasn't been picked on in school (and if you are the picker on-er....find a new hobby, please).  Howard might be a genius, but brains alone can't solve problems.

It takes Someone bigger than ourselves to help us navigate life.  My only wish for "How to Survive" would have been that message.  Still, the story is fun, clean and engaging for the guys.

My thanks to my friends at Zondervan Publishing for my copy in exchange for an honest review.  Recommended.

Happy Reading!

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Monday, November 24, 2014

The Beauty of Believing from FaithGirlz



About the Book:

Are you ready to blossom?

Faith is like a flower. In order to grow, it needs soil, water, and sun—food for the spirit. That’s just what this devotional is. Spiritual food to help your faith grow strong and beautiful.

Featuring 365 days of wisdom from your favorite Faithgirlz! authors, as well as quotes and questions from real girls like you, this devotional offers pages of inspiration on everything from navigating friendships, to taming the tongue, to trusting God in everything, big and small. Growing up can be tough, but Jesus is guiding you every step of the way.

Beauty of Believing combines the talents of Faithgirlz! authors Tasha K. Douglas, Mona Hodgson, Kristi Holl, Lois Walfred Johnson, Allia Zobel Nolan, and Nancy Rue, and their words of wisdom will help your faith bloom and flourish as you grow into the girl God wants you to be.

My Thoughts:

As a grown woman with my kids either grown or on the way out of the nest, I'm so thankful to find books like "The Beauty of Believing"...and a little jealous, too.  When I was a teen in the church we had very little resources to help us grow in our faith, except our Bibles, of course.

The Bible is the most essential tool for cultivating a life of faith.  Books like "The Beauty of Believing" are the added nutrients, helping take the Words of Truth and incorporate them into our lives when it comes to everyday situations.

Situations every girl encounters, like hallway gossip, mean girls, and BOYS!  I would have loved to have had "The Beauty of Believing" in my locker, on my bedside table, or just sitting with my Bible when I was growing up.

And this book encompasses the best of the best voices in young adult and pre-teen writing today.  These are women you can trust to guide your daughters and granddaughters, nieces and sisters through the choppy waters of teendom into adulthood.

My thanks to my friends at Zondervan Publishing for my complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.  Any time you see the "FaithGirlz" logo, you know you're getting quality and truth.

Highly recommended.

Happy Reading!

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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Messy Beautiful Love by Darlene Schacht



About the Book:

Messy Beautiful Love delivers an incredible testimony of grace that offers hope for today’s marriages and a spark for rekindling love.

Love gets messy.

Financial problems, sickness, aging parents, a chronically unhappy spouse . . . trials will inevitably come that threaten your marriage. No matter how long you’ve been married or how strong your relationship is, sooner or later you are going to have a mess to clean up.

Messy Beautiful Love is about cleaning up messes God’s way, exchanging your ideas for His, and being prepared for both the best and the worst that marriage has to offer.

When you surrender your relationship to God, then and only then will you experience the blessing of marriage as He intended. This is the blessing of obedience.

Messy Beautiful Love is an invitation to that obedience. The cynical world says marriages don’t last, but God knows better. Tune out the world and tune in to Him. When you do that, a beautiful marriage is not only possible, it’s inevitable.

My Thoughts:

You'll find a lot of books these days that are honest about how messy marriage can get.  I mean, think about it.  Spending decades with the same person, only now what was once cute and quirky is now irritating and annoying.  Problem is, most of the books that declare marriage messy don't encourage you to remain in the mess.

"Messy Beautiful Love" kind of does just that.  Darlene admits her own messiness in her marriage and discusses how the mess came about.  But she doesn't stop there.  Instead, Darlene demonstrates how to turn the mess into a beautiful new kind of love.

The kind of love that goes the distance.

The kind of love that brings honor to God.

Not the kind of love that says "Suck it up and deal".  Nope, this isn't a manual on how to suffer in silence all for the glory of God.  Those books need to be removed from your shelf immediately, and replaced with "Messy Beautiful Love".

Darlene lives out her message and shares it with readers so they can see this "Messy Beautiful Love" in action.  We learn best by seeing a concrete example, and she is brave enough to allow us to watch her life as it unfolds with the message of the book.

I'll stick my neck out here and suggest that newlyweds could use a copy of this book as a wedding gift with a note that says "Read in case of emergency!" attached.  More marriages might be "Messy Beautiful Love" affairs if this gets out!

My thanks to my friends at Thomas Nelson for my copy in exchange for an honest review.  This may be the best book about marriage you'll read, so be sure to get a copy!

Happy Reading!

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Friday, November 21, 2014

Out of the Dust by Avis Goodhart with Marti Pieper



About the Book:

“Don’t waste your pain,” says unlikely missionary Avis Goodhart. She didn’t – and neither should you.

Despite a background of childhood abuse, dyslexia, and marital infidelity, Avis took her first international mission trip at age fifty. The church, school, and orphanage she later founded in northern Peru, all products of both her pain and her radical obedience to the Lord, have brought thousands of others out of the dust.

This compelling story of an ordinary woman who serves God in extraordinary ways will challenge, inspire, and empower you to:

* Eliminate excuses from your life

* Recognize that in God’s kingdom, availability matters more than ability

* Allow your pain to produce – not prevent – your obedience

* Serve the Lord with the same abandon shown by one unlikely missionary

My Thoughts:

One of the hazards of being an avid reader is the desire to quick read.  So many books, so little time, you know?  But then God sends a book my way that causes me to pause, savor and ponder.  A book that could be read in a matter of hours, but instead takes me days to finish, because there is so much to digest.

A life-changing book.

That's the kind of book "Out of the Dust" turned out to be.  I was captured in the first chapter, mesmerized by the history of Avis Goodhart, and marveled by the work God was doing through the most unlikely of missionaries.

Along the way, as you discover Avis' story, you'll meet others that followed the call...and those stories are just as amazing.  Regardless of your views of women in ministry, set those aside and pick up "Out of the Dust".  You will be truly blessed, and quite possibly called to join Avis in God's work with the people of Peru. 

My thanks to my friends at Life Sentence Publishing for my copy in exchange for an honest review.  "Out of the Dust" is money well spent twice over: you get an inspiring book and all proceeds go to support Go-Ye Ministries!

Happy Reading!

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Road Trip by Evan Nehring


About the Book:

Road Trip is the story of your journey through the big decisions of young adulthood. Many grads choose to leave their faith behind like a childhood fairy tale, only to realize later they’ve missed out on becoming who they were created to be. Road Trip is the vision of your own unique pathway – the one you were born to love.

This book will help you:

Deepen your faith with seven core values to guide you through the five big decisions of young adulthood.
Enhance your godly passion for dating, marriage, child-raising, and family life.
Strengthen your abilities to handle academics, worldview, and campus life.
Increase your career prospects with a road map to craftsmanship.
Expand your impact on your world!
 
Choose today to set out on a quarterlife cruise instead of a quarterlife crisis! Boost your courage and confidence as you head out on your next great adventure!

My Thoughts:

This is another one of those books I might have missed out on if I didn't write reviews for a living.  "Road Trip" is a treasure chest, packed with stories and experiences and truths that everyone needs in life, whether you're just embarking on your own adventure or you've hit a wrong turn along the way.

Evan begins with a killer introduction that will grab your attention immediately and have you nodding your head in agreement from the opening page. Then he dives in, asking the 'Five Great Questions of Life'.

The book divides into several sections, with each focusing on a particular aspect of our journey through life.  Questions are posed, such as 'what's my spiritual center?', 'what's my worldview?', and some basic questions such as 'how will I make a living?' and 'who will I spend my life with?".

Each section is jam packed with truth, wisdom, some soundbites you can gnaw on as you travel along in life, and some practical 'been there, done that' wisdom from fellow travelers.  Basically, if you're going anywhere in life (that would be all of us), you need this book.

Make it a companion to your Bible, and take both with you wherever you go.  "Road Trip" is more useful than Rand McNally ever dreamed of being (okay, I know I just outed my age there, but hey!).

My thanks to my friends at Aneko Press for my copy in exchange for an honest review.  "Road Trip" is highly recommended.

Happy Reading!

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

NKJV Adventure Bible from Zondervan


About the Bible:

Ready for Adventure? Embark on a fun, exciting journey through God’s Word with the NIV Adventure Bible—now in full color throughout! Along the way you’ll meet all types of people, see all sorts of places, and learn all kinds of things about the Bible. Most importantly you’ll grow closer in your relationship with God.
Features include:
  • Full color throughout – makes learning about the people, places, and culture of the Bible even more engaging
  • Life in Bible Times—Articles and illustrations describe what life was like in ancient days
  • Words to Treasure—Highlights great verses to memorize
  • Did You Know?—Interesting facts help you understand God’s Word and the life of faith
  • People in Bible Times—Articles offer close-up looks at amazing people of the Bible
  • Live It!—Hands-on activities help you apply biblical truths to your life
  • Twenty special pages—Focus on topics such as famous people of the Bible, highlights of the life of Jesus, how to pray, and the love passage for kids, all with a jungle safari theme
  • Book introductions with useful facts about each book of the Bible
  • Dictionary/concordance for looking up tricky words
  • Color map section to help locate places in the Bible
  • Complete text of the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible
Recommended by more Christian schools and churches than any other Bible for kids!

My Thoughts:

There is no way I can add to the list of features available in this Bible, so I won't even try.  In fact, just knowing this is the most recommended Bible for children is the best endorsement.  So, what to say now?

I'm just old enough to remember what a children's Bible used to look like.  A painting of Jesus with long hair, surrounded by children embossed on the cover and wrapped around to the back.  A handful of full color illustrations depicting Bible stories such as Noah's Ark or Daniel in the lions' den...and kind of scary at that.

A dedication page filled in by either mom and dad or the Sunday School Director.  And that was about it.  Oh, and maybe some maps that no one ever talked about but provided mild entertainment during the hour long message.

Now, let's look at the "NKJV Adventure Bible" in that light, shall we?  No wonder it's the most recommended Bible for kids!  Not only does it have high appeal, but it's a Bible that encourages study and involvement with God's Word on a daily basis.

My thanks to my friends at Zondervan Publishing for my complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

Very highly recommended.

Happy Reading!

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Dare U 2 Open This Book by Carol McAdams Moore



About the Book:

Draw It, Write It, Dare to Live It!

Dare U 2 Open this Book is not your typical 90-day devotional for guys. It’s an all-out open space for you to explore and learn more about yourself and your faith.

Get your mind thinking and your creative ideas flowing, turn your thoughts and emotions into dynamic doodles, fill in the prayer blanks, solve puzzles, and more.

Each of the short devotions includes a topic, quote, and Scripture summary, plus doodles, journal prompts, lists, puzzles, quizzes, fill-in-the-blank prayers, or other unique activities that explore Bible truths and ways to apply them—everyday.

Dare U 2 Open this Book challenges guys to follow Jesus.

Best. Idea. Ever.

My Thoughts:

So, yesterday I shared with you "Just Sayin'", a 90 day devotion for girls.  Maybe you, like me, were wondering..."hey, guys need a reason to get into the word, too!"  Well, fear not, reading buddy....Carol has a little something for them as well!

"Dare U 2 Open This Book" is written for guys, with readings that apply to the lives of young teens and boys, with appropriate activities included.  Again the readings are brief, but the activities that come with the daily devo are intended to drive the point home.

Topics are more male oriented, and so are the creative elements.  Again, may I just say...Best. Idea, EVER!  I love this book, and only wish I'd had a copy when my son was still in high school.

My thanks to my friends at Zondervan Publishing for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

Definitely recommended.

Happy Reading!

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Monday, November 17, 2014

Just Sayin' by Carol McAdams Moore



About the Book:

Write ‘em, Draw ‘em, Hide ‘em In Your Heart

Just Sayin’ isn’t your typical 90-day devotional for girls. It’s an all-out open space for you to explore and learn more about yourself and your faith. Prompts get your mind thinking, ideas flowing, and help turn your thoughts and emotions into dynamic doodles and so much more! Let that God-given gift of creativity shine each and every day!

Each of the short devotions is designed for girls just like you, with relevant topics, quotes, and Scripture, plus doodles, journal prompts, lists, puzzles, quizzes, fill-in-the-blank prayers, or unique activities. They explore Bible truths and ways to apply them—everyday.

Just Sayin’ challenges girls to follow Jesus every day.

Best. Idea. Ever.


My Thoughts:

May I just echo something here about this 90 day devotion book?

Best. Idea. EVER!  What a fun concept to help busy girls get more of God's Word into their hearts, heads and lives!  Every day is something new, and the readings are brief, but pack a spiritual punch.

Plus, the daily devo's activities help to take the Scripture and embed it into young, tender hearts.  Science has demonstrated that we learn and retain best when we read it, say it, and write it.

So there must be power in illustrating it, doodling it, and designing it as well, right?  And every day's devotion is new and fresh.  The page layouts really pop, and inspire fun instead of drudgery.  The reading is light, but the outcome can be astounding.

Imagine your daughter personalizing God's Word daily.  A beautiful thing, huh?  My thanks to my friends at Zondervan for my copy of "Just Sayin'" in exchange for an honest review.
Happy Reading!

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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Princess Cupcake Jones Won't Go To School by Ylleya Fields, Illustrated by Michael LaDuca




About The Book:

Award-Winning Princess Cupcake Jones Series Princess Cupcake returns! In this second book of the Series, she delivers a valuable message about facing fears of starting school.

With the same gentle, rhyming cadence and vibrant illustrations this captivating story helps children and their parents learn about sharing feelings, taking risks, and being supportive for new adventures.

All will delight and learn as Princess Cupcake finally begins her first day of school.
My Thoughts:

One of the many blessings of being a reviewer is the chance to read books I might overlook.  It's a huge publishing marketplace, and I still get pleasantly surprised now and then with a book I might have missed.

"Princess Cupcake Jones Won't Go To School" is one of those books.  Written for children, the story features a little girl named Cupcake, who happens to be a princess.  Royalty aside, she's like every other normal child.

Lots of children are afraid of new experiences, and I think going off to school tops the list.  Cupcake attempts just about everything to avoid going to school: faking sick, nothing to wear, and just plain hiding from her mom.

But mom is wise and experienced, and once she gets her daughter to school both Cupcake and the reader discover there's nothing to be afraid of.  School can be really fun!

My thanks to my friends at Belle Publishing for sending me my first "Princess Cupcake Jones" storybook in exchange for an honest review.  Definitely recommended.

Happy Reading!

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Friday, November 14, 2014

Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet by Sara Hagerty


About the Book:

In the age of fingertip access to answers and a limitless supply of ambitions, where do we find the God who was birthed in dirt and straw?

Sara Hagerty found him when life stopped working for her. She found him when she was a young adult mired in spiritual busyness and when she was a new bride with doubts about whether her fledgling marriage would survive. She found him alone in the night as she cradled her longing for babies who did not come. She found him as she kissed the faces of children on another continent who had lived years without a mommy’s touch.

In Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet, Hagerty masterfully draws from the narrative of her life to craft a mosaic of a God who leans into broken stories. Here readers see a God who is present in every changing circumstance. Most significantly, they see a God who is present in every unchanging circumstance as well.

Whatever lost expectations readers are facing—in family, career, singleness, or marriage—Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet will bring them closer to a God who longs for them to know him more. What does it look like to know God’s nearness when life breaks? What does it mean to receive his life when earthly life remains barren? How can God turn the bitterness of unmet desire into new flavors of joy?

With exquisite storytelling and reflection, Hagerty brings readers back to hope, back to healing, back to a place that God is holding for them alone—a place where the unseen is more real than what the eye can perceive. A place where every bitter thing is sweet.

My Thoughts:

Oh, how I love this book!  Sara Hagerty has a way with words that is just pure mmmm...you can taste what she's saying, feel it wrap you up in a warm blanket, smell the essence of her phrasing..."Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet" is a multisensory experience.

As a believer and follower of Jesus, Sara had expectations and dreams for her life.  I've often felt the same way Sara did: belief plus obedience equals a good life, which is defined by getting what I want.  And since what I want isn't bad, unhealthy or immoral, God should deliver.

But we've learned that God doesn't always operate the way we think He should.  And an unfulfilled dream or wish doesn't mean He's fallen down on the job.  Instead, it means He's put great thought and care into our lives and He has the sweetest gifts waiting for us...

...it's just sometimes we have to learn to savor the bitter before we can truly taste the sweet.  This Sara learned as she struggled in a new marriage and waited for babies to come.  The beauty of Sara's book is that it isn't merely her story.

She has a way of making it our story.  We're all longing for something, waiting impatiently for our "reward" for faithfully following Jesus.  Sara shows us how God's math is better than our own one plus one equals two.

No....the Father's math is One plus one equals the unimaginable.  So if you've ever felt God didn't deliver on His promises, read "Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet" and allow God, through Sara, to help change your perspective.

My thanks to my friends at Zondervan Publishing for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

Highly Recommended.
Happy Reading!

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Live Original by Sadie Robertson with Beth Clark




About the Book:

Seventeen-year-old Sadie Robertson—star of A&E’s Duck Dynasty and daughter of Willie and Korie Robertson—shares her outlook on life as she opens up about herself and the values that make her family what it is.

Sadie Robertson represents everything that a well-adjusted teenager should be, even while growing up in the spotlight on Duck Dynasty. She exhibits poise, respect for her family and friends, and a faith that influences her choices. Everyone wants to know how a family as eclectic as the Robertsons are raising such confident, fun, family-loving kids. With this book, Sadie sheds light on the values instilled by her family that make her the person she is.

Sadie lives by a simple list of principles that lead her to personal and spiritual growth and allow the relationships she has with her friends and family to flourish. These values include think happy, be happy; dream big; shake the hate; do something; and many more.

Living as a culturally relevant teen who loves God and her family, Sadie has become a role model for other teens and for parents who are eager to instill the same characteristics in their children.

My Thoughts:

I've read just about every book a Robertson has written; in fact, it was a book by Willie and Korie Robertson that got me interested in their reality show.  Because I've been such a fan of the books I can say with confidence that Sadie's story might be the most important one you read...and share.

You can hear Sadie's personality in her new book, "Live Original", which is in bookstores now.  With her rise to popularity even higher since appearing on "Dancing With The Stars", this release couldn't come at a better time.

As you read about her life growing up Robertson, the family values she lives by and watch her faith in action, you can't help but love Sadie.  She's real, she's honest, and she's relevant.  The stories she shares are filled with wisdom and heart, and she doesn't shy away from the tough topics.

Each chapter is packed with life experience and the Robertson faith and value system that Sadie lives by.  At the end of the chapter is a space for you to write your own thoughts on how to live an original life.

My thanks to my friends at Howard Publishing for a chance to read "Live Original" and offer an honest review.  This is a book I would love to purchase for every teen, and I wish was required reading in high school and even middle school.

Highly recommended.

Happy Reading!

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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Our Presidents Rock! by Juliette Turner


About the Book:

Did You Know …

John Quincy Adams owned a pet alligator?

Ulysses S. Grant received a ticket for riding his horse too fast down the streets of Washington, D.C.?

Gerald R. Ford briefly worked as a fashion model?
 
You are invited on a totally unique journey through presidential history with Juliette Turner, the National Youth Director of Constituting America. Through fun cartoons, quotes, great graphics, and Juliette’s quirky sense of humor, you’ll discover tons of fun new facts about the presidents of the United States and the role of the executive branch.

These aren’t just a bunch of old men in suits! Many of them were ordinary people like you who overcame trials in order to become America’s leader, and all of them entered the political arena with the goal of protecting the country they loved. Written for kids by a kid, Juliette’s passion and excitement breathes new life into American history and the role of one of the most powerful positions in the world.

My Thoughts:

Where was this book when I was in school??  Juliette takes dry history and breathes new life into the subject with her amazing (and heavy) book on our nation's presidents.  It's colorful, packed with info, and fun to read...and did I mention it's a heavy book?

"Our Presidents Rock!" comes along at the perfect time for our youth culture.  Students of all ages are engaging in the political process like never before, but too many of our citizens have no clue when it comes to our presidents of the past.

Juliette profiles each of our 44 presidents and she does it in a very accessible way.  Each president has his own section, complete with background on early life, which states voted for or against him, and some little known facts about his life.

Also included are some 'headlines' about major events taking place during that period in history, as well as sections highlighting political views and opinions held by the man in office.  Each president has so much information included you'll most likely use this book as a reference for years to come.

Perfect for today's students, "Our Presidents Rock" breaks all of the information down into fun sections with graphics, photos, and lots of trivia.  As a former educator, I am thrilled to have a copy of this book, and plan on sharing it with my grandchildren.

My thanks to my friends at Zondervan Publishing for my complimentary copy of "Our Presidents Rock".  I'm thrilled to highly recommend this one...now I'm off to check out more from Juliette Turner!

Happy Reading!

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Making Marion by Beth Moran



About the Book:

She had been looking for somewhere to stay, but instead Marion Miller finds herself on the wrong side of the reception desk at the Peace and Pigs campground and, despite her horrible shyness, promptly lands herself a job.

Marion came to Nottinghamshire—home of Sherwood Forest—to discover her father's mysterious past, but all she has to go on is a picture of her father dressed up, it would seem, as Robin Hood.
Life on a busy campground challenges Marion's formerly controlled life—the pigs roam free, the resident chickens seem determined to thwart her, and an unfortunate incident with a runaway bike throws her into the arms of the beautiful, but deeply unimpressed, Reuben.

Yet, Marion's would-be boyfriend Jake, and Reuben's stunning fiancée Erica, conspire to leave little room for Marion to daydream about the twinkling eyes of her rescuer . . . Will Marion ever find peace, and perhaps even love, among the pigs?

Including a large cast of memorable, colorful characters, Making Marion is an outstanding debut romantic comedy that touches on issues of identity and family with a natural ease.

My Thoughts:

"Making Marion" is a book that I'm afraid I would have overlooked had I found it on a bookshelf amid all of the other titles available to readers today.  While the cover illustration is whimsical and colorful, it doesn't give true testament to the story inside the pages.

Depth, warmth, humor and wisdom is what you'll find in Beth's debut novel.  It's billed as a romantic comedy, but the book is so much more than that.  This is a story about finding your place, knowing who you truly are and what you are capable of...and not stopping until you make your destination.

Yes, there is love.  Yes, there is some romance.  Mostly it's about Marion escaping from her home and the words that have wounded her for years to find out that what is said about us and to us isn't always true.  And knowing where you came from can be as or even more important than where you are going.

The faith element is there, but it's light.  And you'll find some mild language, one married couple who can't seem to keep their hands off of one another, and an excellent story of forgiveness.  I thoroughly enjoyed "Making Marion"...especially the lush setting!

Thanks to my friends at Lion Fiction for my complimentary copy of "Making Marion"...I probably would have missed out had you not sent me a copy.  And that would have been a tragedy.

Highly recommended...but with a caution about language.

Happy Reading!

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Monday, November 3, 2014

Navy Seal Noel by Liz Johnson


About the Book:

A LETHAL REUNION

Abducted by a drug cartel, scientist Jessalynn McCoy's orders are simple—produce a deadly toxin, or be killed. Trapped with no options, she's desperate for help…she just never expected it from Will Gumble. The boy who let her down years ago is now a navy SEAL.

She trusts his skills, his experience. Yet trusting him is a struggle. Will's Christmas wish is to heal their damaged relationship and get them to safety. But time is running out and the stakes keep rising. Any mistake could mean the difference between facing the holidays together or apart forever.
 
Men of Valor: These navy SEALS were born to excel…!

My Thoughts:

When I received an email asking me to review Liz Johnson's newest novel, published by Harlequin in the Love Inspired Suspense line I was eager to take a peek.  I've read Liz's books before, and her stories never disappoint the reader.

Her characters are always multi-dimensional, and Jessalynn is no exception.  She's a strong woman at the top of her field in the sciences, but when she finds herself held captive, she needs someone to rescue her.

And there's no one better than her childhood friend, Will Gumble.  Liz gives him just enough strength to be believable as a Navy SEAL, but adds in just the right amount of humility and gentleness to make him the kind of man you want coming to your rescue.

The romantic element is also there, but isn't heavy handed or even the driving force behind the story.  Instead, Liz capitalizes on the suspense of the situation, pulling events from today's headlines and giving them a spin in her imagination and crafting a novel that will keep you flipping pages until you reach the end.

My thanks to Liz and my friends at Harlequin for my advance copy of "Navy Seal Noel" in exchange for an honest review.  Recommended.

Happy Reading!

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