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August 27 2014 4 27 /08 /August /2014 02:02


     "God Wrote You a Love Letter" by Dan Kelly is published by Xulon Press.  I was blessed with an opportunity to personally meet with this author and talk, and he was kind enough to provide me with a copy of this book to review.  He did not require me to give a positive opinion; he just wanted an honest one.  So here it is!

     This book is set up to be a chronological, 52 week study of the Bible.  It is broken up into easy to read portions, perfect for a children's Sunday School or homeschoolers.  The lessons are in a sort of story format that makes comprehension easier for younger children.  The lessons are only a couple of pages long each.  I thought that this book is perfect for the recommended target audience because of the content amount in each lesson, and the written-in questions in the text are related to both the lessons and the audience of them.  This book is a great introduction to and overview of the Bible.

     Thank you so much to the author for letting me have a copy of this book to promote.

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August 20 2014 4 20 /08 /August /2014 02:00

Here is a book report I did on "Little Women". Letters "X" and "Z" were excused.

A: Alcott.  Louisa May Alcott is the author of “Little Women”.  The book was published in two parts, one in 1868, and one in 1869.  The book is loosely based off the author’s life with her three sisters.

B: Beth March.  Beth is the third child in the March family.  She is sweet and compassionate to those around her, and has much joy in playing the piano.

C: Civil War.  The book is set in the midst of the Civil War, which Mr. March is away fighting in.  He writes his four daughters letters.

D: December.  The novel begins with the four March sisters lamenting about the probable lack of Christmas that they will have that year, as their father is away and the family is fairly poor.  The sisters are talking with one another about the presents they wish to receive, and the ones they are excited to give to their mother.

E: Europe.  Later on in the book, Meg and Amy have separate opportunities to travel to Europe.  The March’s neighbor Laurie also makes several trips across the ocean.

F: Family.  Family is a very strong focus point in this book.  Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy are very close with one another, and share a special bond as sisters.  The whole immediate March family supports one another and loves their neighbors as themselves.

G: Girls.  “Little Women” begins with the sisters being fairly young; some are teenagers and some are a few years younger.  Because of this, as the book continues the reader can see how each of the characters mature and reason with one another.  Seeing the healthy transition from girlhood to womanhood in each March sister is one of many aspects that make this book a charming read.

 H: Hope.  Hope is one of the things that keep each of the March sisters moving through their work and schooling while they wait for their father to return from fighting in the Civil War.  Each girl has a special way that they hold each other up; Jo cuts off and sells her hair to provide money for the family, Amy is a companion to Aunt March, Beth plays piano and always has a kind word, and Meg takes care of a nearby poorer family.

I: Ice Skating.  In one wintery scene, neighbor Laurie takes Jo March to a party.  Amy is so upset over being left out that she burns a manuscript that Jo had been writing.  This becomes a major point of conflict between the girls, but they eventually make up when Amy follows Jo and Laurie out ice skating, and falls through the ice.  Jo and Amy realize the importance of maintaining love and forgiveness, and not letting the sun go down on their wrath.

J: Jo.  Josephine March is the second born, and is modeled after the author’s own life.  Jo is headstrong, has a hot temper, and is a tomboy.  She quickly makes friends with her neighbor Laurie.  She enjoys writing and acting, and is fairly dramatic when the occasion calls for it, but in the end, she sees the value of family and loves most of those around her dearly (the exception being Aunt March).

K: Kindness.  Kindness is a trait most apparent in Beth and Mr. Laurence, Laurie’s grandfather.  The two have a special relationship because Mr. Laurence lost his young daughter, and Beth reminds him of her.  Beth connects with Mr. Laurence because he lets her play his piano, and ends up giving it to her before she passes away.

L: Laurie.  Theodore Laurence, neighbor to the Marches and nearest to Jo’s age, is affectionately referred to as “Laurie” by his friends and neighbors, and “Teddy” by Jo.  He is best friends with Jo, but after her rejection of his proposal, ends up marrying Amy.

M: Marmee.  The March sisters’ mother, Marmee, guides the girls through growing up.  She encourages them to read “Pilgrim’s Progress”, and make their own pilgrimage through life, following God and loving others.

N: Neighbors.  The March family is a prime example of reaching out to our neighbors and community.  They help feed and take care of a nearby German family with many children in worse poverty than themselves, and they cheer up the Laurence men, who in turn provide lifelong friendship.

O: Opera.  Jo absolutely loves putting on plays, operas, and tragedies; anything to cheer up neighbors and family, and related to a form of literature or writing interests Jo immensely.

P: Pilgrimage.  The March sisters cling to their mission of being good “Pilgrims”, inspired by the book “Pilgrim’s Progress”, to make their father proud while he is away fighting.

Q: Questions.  One humorous aspect of the book is little Amy, the youngest March sister, who is always trying to act mature and use an expanded vocabulary.  Oftentimes she will ask silly questions or mispronounce words in an attempt to appear “grown-up”.

R: Robert March.  The father of the March girls, he is absent for most of the book because he is away fighting.  He gets wounded in December of 1862, and is supported by his wife and John Brooke, who is a tutor to Laurie, helps the March parents while Mr. March is wounded, and ends up marrying Meg.

S: Sisters.  Throughout the book, Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy show strong love and support for one another throughout trips to Europe, their father being wounded, boy troubles, and arguments.  They provide a good example of sisterhood, and are loosely based off Alcott’s own sisters.

T: Turmoil.  Aunt March disapproves of many things about the March family, but the girls and Marmee continuously take care of her.  With their father being wounded, Beth’s death, and the drama over Laurie, the sisters have many hard times, but they come through them loving each other more and providing a good example for readers.

U: Union.  Mr. March is a chaplain in the Union army during the War Between the States, which he served and was wounded in.

V: Vivacity.  Amy, the youngest of the sisters, and Jo, both continually are outgoing and independent, while Meg and Beth are more subdued and happy to simply advise and comfort their sisters.  Each sister has a vastly different personality, but they blend together to form a warm and loving family.

W: War.  Whether it be the Civil War or the occasional sibling’s fight, turmoil is not absent in this book.  Life is not all happy for the March family, but they faithfully continued on their pilgrimage, even though some, like Beth’s, were not as long.

Y: Young teenagers.  I would recommend this book for children in their early teens, because of the length of the book and content therein.  Some scenes, such as Beth’s death or letters to and from the family may make the book hard or tedious to read for younger audiences.

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August 13 2014 4 13 /08 /August /2014 02:33


     "Tried and True" by Mary Connealy is the first book in her newest "Wild at Heart" series, starring the Wilde sisters Kylie, Bailey, and Shannon.  All of the sisters served in the War Between the States, posing as men, and pressured by their father in honor of their brother.  Since that have served their time, the family moves out West to acquire land.


     Kylie is tired of being manipulated into acting like a man and cannot wait to return to city life.  Her sisters always seem to have to come over and help her with "men's work".  In one such instance where Kylie did not want to have to ask them to help, she climbs up upon her own roof during a thunderstorm.  Really.


     Aaron Masterson is the local land agent who comes to check on Kylie's claim, only to discover that she's a woman.  Over time, he also finds that all of her sisters are women, and their father has manipulated them into pretending to be men.  He feels sorry for Kylie, and wants to help her, but doesn't want to compromise his integrity with his job.  Then matters get more complicated when another landowner wants the Wilde family's land, and flaming arrows are shot at her house.


     This book was pretty far-fetched, I did not think it was historically accurate, or the characters relatable.  I did not connect with the story, and was disappointed because I had enjoyed previous books by this author.  This one just didn't click for me.


     Thanks to Bethany House publishers and Net Galley for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review.  All opinions are my own; I was not required to write a positive review. 

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August 6 2014 4 06 /08 /August /2014 01:25


     "Rebellious Heart" by Jody Hedlund is the third book in the "Hearts of Faith" series.  This is the first book that I have read by this author, and I have to admit that I was hesitant to try it.  This turned out to be one of the best books I've read, and it completely made sense as a stand-alone.  In the end notes, I read that this book was based off the lives of John and Abigail Adams.


     Susanna Smith is living in a time of turmoil.  Her sister is interested in a new man in town, a Mr. Crane.  Mr. Crane's friend Benjamin Ross always comes along with Crane to visit the Smith girls.  Susanna and Benjamin soon have to chaperone  Crane and Susanna's sister, and thus begin to know one another better.  In doing so, Susanna is shocked to hear of Ben's traitorous activities, and discovered a runaway slave, and does everything in her power to help her.


     Benjamin Ross is a patriot, through and through, and a lawyer pleading innocent for an old social outcast of a man convicted of murder.  Benjamin finds it difficult not to fall for Susanna with all the time he spends with her, but he realizes that she is uncertain of where her loyalties lie.


     This book was amazing.  Honestly, I was pulled in by the characters and their personalities.  The plot was exciting and kept me on the edge of my seat as well, and I loved that it was based off the lives of John and Abigail Adams, however loosely.


     Thank you so much to Net Galley and Bethany House for providing me with an ecopy of this book to read and review.  All opinions are my own; I was not required to write a positive review.

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July 30 2014 4 30 /07 /July /2014 03:49


Love's Awakening" by Laura Frantz is the second book in "The Ballantyne Legacy" series, the first being entitled "Love's Reckoning", and the next one which is to be released in September of 2014, is "Love's Fortune".  "Love's Awakening" was published by Revell on September 15, 2013. 


     One thing that I have noticed in the two or three of Laura Frantz's novels that I have read, is that she puts a lot of history into each of her books.  By "history", I mean more of what was happening in whatever time period she was currently writing in, instead of in the character's pasts, although there is that.  Her books usually last at least 400 pages, and with so much of that being history, I find it hard to read. (Even though I love history!)  Once you get started though, the characters are so real in their hurts, motives, and history that they seem like real people.  In "Love's Awakening"'s case, it is about the Underground Railroad.  Laura Frantz also comes highly recommened by other authors I follow.


     This book finds us with Elle Ballantyne and Jack Turlock, two young lovers whose families disagree with the match.  Ellie's family is very religious and disapproves of Jack, who does not have the best reputation.   Ellie is part of a finishing school and abolitionist family, while Jack is a student from a family suspicious of the Ballantyne family views.


     This is a well-written novel of history, suspense, and romance.  Thank you to Net Galley and Revell publishing for providing me with an ecopy of this book to read and review.  I was not required to write a positive review.



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July 23 2014 4 23 /07 /July /2014 03:13

"Thrive: Student Edition by Mark Hall of Casting Crowns"


     "Thrive" is a new devotional inspired by Casting Crowns' latest album and its title song.  This book was published on August 5, 2014 by Zondervan. This devotional explores the idea of what life could be like if Christians did not just "survive" until the next ________ (fill in the blank).  "Oh, I can't wait until finals are over."  "I hope this hardship passes quickly." "I can't wait until my kids stop waking me up at night." And so on and so forth.  Mark Hall instead poses the question, how would we live life differently if we look at how God can be glorified through a situation instead of how long we will be stuck in it?  He relates life to a tree in the town he grew up in that flourishes every year.  He takes us back to that tree, asking what makes it thrive.  Why does it live so well?  Its roots are the answer.  The trees roots dig deeply into the soil to soak up nutrients there, and spread out underground to stabilize itself.  Relating this to Christians, he says that when we "dig deeply" into God's Word, we soak up essential spiritual food to help us grow in Him.  Likewise, when we "reach out" to fellow believers and encourage one another as Paul says, we have more tangible stability.  This was an excellent word picture for me, and I like how he gives examples of ways to thrive, like keeping in connection with God and not losing our focus when things in life get tough.  Jesus did say that he came to give us life, and life to the full, and Mark Hall helps explain how to live to the fullest in this book. 


     This was an excellent read, and I really liked that the "Student Edition" was so relatable for me.  It encourages me to keep my eyes on God, and know that thriving in His plans is very different from thriving (being successful) in the world's eyes.  I would recommend this book for high schoolers and college students; I also think it would make a great gift, especially if the recipient is overwhelmed with "just surviving".


     Thank you so much to Zondervan publishers and the Book Look bloggers program for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review.  All opinions are my own; I was not required to write a positive review.

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July 16 2014 4 16 /07 /July /2014 02:03


     "With Every Breath" by Elizabeth Camden is one of my top three favorite authors newest stand alone novel.  It will be released on July 29, 2014, by Bethany House publishers.


     All during high school, Kate Livingston had battled Trevor McDonough.  English, math, science, and even just racing to set places such as a staircase, or desk, Kate and Trevor competed against one another.  Finally, it all came down to a scholarship for college, which Kate wanted because her family was poor, and despised the thought of Trevor getting because he was a rich immigrant from Scotland. 


     Well, fast-forward a couple of years, and Kate is a government worker while her family runs a boardinghouse, and Trevor has not been heard from since that fateful day of the competition.  Kate hates her job, but can't afford to lose it.  Then, out of the blue, Kate is offered a job in assisting in research for a cure for tuberculosis.  She is intrigued, and goes to interview, only to discover that Trevor has sought her out and wants to hire her, for no other reason except that he knows that she has a fiery spirit and will work with a passion.


     Trevor has massive pain from his past and present which gives him a passion for life and finding a cure for tuberculosis, and knows that Kate will be the only one who will be able to match his desire for a cure.


     This was a very emotional and captivating read, and I was, once again, not let down by Elizabeth Camden's newest release.  I am always on the edge of my seat for another book by her.  "With Every Breath" is obviously deeply researched, yet not boring.  The characters are so real and the plot and setting so unique.  I would recommend this book for sure.


     Thank you so much to Bethany House for providing me with an ecopy of this book to read and review.  All opinions are my own, and were not required to be positive.

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July 9 2014 4 09 /07 /July /2014 02:30


     "When I Fall in Love" by Susan May Warren is the third book in the "Christiansen Family" series, the first being "Take a Chance on Me", and the second "It Had to be You".  All were published by Tyndale House publishers; "When I Fall in Love" was published on June 20, 2014.

     Grace Christiansen comes from a big family, and if you are interested in the older siblings' stories, then check out the first two books in the series.  Grace is very interested in cooking and culinary skills, yet is very pressured when her older sister Eden wants Grace to cater her wedding with Hawaiian food.  Grace's family surprises her with a vacation to Hawaii to prepare, which, much to Grace's dismay, involves getting out of the house and onto the plane.  Thus, Eden's fiancée Jace gets a guy from his hockey team to meet up with her and help her manage through the airport.  Grace is horrified at practically being babysat, but is soon charmed by the man in the seat next to her.

     Maxwell Sharpe is also not too delighted to discover that the beautiful lady sitting next to him is the one he got strapped into looking out for.  It doesn't take too long for Max to develop a reluctant admiration for her and her food, though, yet he still wrestles with personal demons and fears, and cannot afford to fall in love with Grace.

     This book has an underlying challenge to not let your past or fears interfere with discovering the abundant life that God has in store for you, and I really appreciate it!  It is always a good reminder to trust God and love others.  The characters were easily relatable and understandable in their fears and emotions, and reading about all the food made my mouth water.  I would recommend this book; I only read the second and the third in the series and they made enough sense to get by, but it would most likely be better to read all of them in order, especially considering that there are more books yet to come.

     Thank you to Tyndale House publishers for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review.  All opinions are my own and were not required to give a positive review.




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July 2 2014 4 02 /07 /July /2014 02:02

Product Details


     "Invention of Sarah Cummings" by Olivia Newport is the third book in the "Avenue of Dreams" trilogy, the first being "The Pursuit of Lucy Banning", and the second being "The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow".  These books are published by Revell, a division of Baker publishing group.


     Sarah Cummings is tired of not being in high society and is determined to get there.  Thus, she alters hand-me-down's and cast off clothing from fancier and richer women for herself, bringing her dreams a little closer to reality.  Then, she has a major opportunity from unknown identity to create a new life for herself, and she takes it, making herself a false name.  Soon she has to come up with a false life and past to go with it, and becomes so swept up in her charade that she does not know how to be herself when she starts falling for the director, Simon Tewell, of the local orphanage, St. Andrew's Orphanage.  Sarah is torn from living her dreams in another life, and making her dreams a reality while remaining true to herself...and perhaps finding love along the way.


     This book had a good message of not giving up who you are for what you want, and staying true to yourself when falling in love.  I had not previously read anything by this author, and this was a fairly good first impression.


     Thank you so much to Net Galley and Revell publishing group for providing me with an ecopy of this book to read and review.  I was not required to give a positive opinion or review.

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June 25 2014 4 25 /06 /June /2014 23:41


     "Four Weddings and A Kiss" is a collection of four novellas by Margaret Brownley, Debra Clopton, Mary Connealy, and Robin Lee Hatcher.  This western story collection was published by Thomas Nelson on June 10, 2014.


     The collection begins with "Spitfire Sweetheart" by Mary Connealy.  In this novella, neighbors Maizy MacGregor and Rylan Carstens are constantly at odds with each other on trespassing onto each other's property.  Because of Maizy's continued trespassing, Rylan gets hurt.  Maizy's father comes up with the [brilliant] idea that she be his helpmate and 'doctor' him until he recovers.  Maizy sets aside her previous hurt and frustration with him, and tends to him caringly...which soon has Rylan falling hard and fast, while Maizy is still upset at him and his ways.


     Second is "A Love Letter to the Editor" by Robin Lee Hatcher, which features Molly Everton and the family newspaper.  Molly writes many popular articles in the paper, and is hoping for the position of editor when her father hires Jack Ludgrove for that very job, infuriating Molly.  Jack, however, intends to un-infuriate her and win her heart.


     Third is "A Cowboy for Katie" by Debra Clopton.  Treb Rayburn is a wandering cowboy in need of a horse.  Thus, he gets hired by Katie to help rebuild her ranch so he can save money.  Once he gets to know her, though, he's not so sure about his intent to leave.


     The fourth and final novella is entitled "Courting Trouble" by Margaret Brownley.  Widow Grace's son asks attorney Brock Daniels to help free her of her troubles.  At first, he is hesitant, but then he meets Grace and begins to think it may be the best case that's ever come his way.


     The quote by Tamera Alexander on the front of the book, "...pitch perfect humor and romance...", is spot-on.  This book was the perfect light, easy read for this summer.  The characters were witty and it was easy to become attached to their stories.  I would recommend this book, as its divisions for the different novellas make it uncomplicated to pick up and put down, yet tie the book as a whole together at the end.


     Thank you to BookLook bloggers and Thomas Nelson publishers for providing with a copy of this book to read and review.  All opinions are my own and honest, not being altered in any way.

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