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January 16 2013 4 16 /01 /January /2013 17:58

     “See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone.  Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land.  The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance.  Arise, come my darling; my beautiful one, come with me.” (Song of Solomon 2:11-13)  God loves us so much.  Well, this is probably an understatement that you have heard a lot.  It’s true; however small or insignificant you may feel, God loves you and rejoices in you.  He is preparing you to become the bride of His one-and-only Son, Jesus.  God wants you to rejoice in Him, keeping your focus on Him instead of your troubles.  In Isaiah 41: 13, God says to you, “For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.”  Just imagine, the One who created the whole universe for His glory taking time out of His day to walk next to you and hold your hand.  God is so in love with us, and He wants our feelings to be mutual.  He wants us to put our whole being into loving and following Him, and not other things, because He is jealous for us.  Can you believe it? God, in charge of armies and armies of angels, wants us.  In Exodus 20:5b-6, God tells us, “for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand  generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.”  Don’t you love it when, after a punishment, there is always a “but”? That’s when God is pretty much saying, “I know what’s best for you-Me.  I will punish you when you do wrong so that you can see that, but I will always love you and welcome you back to Me.” The Lord deserves our praise, and uses us to bring further glory to His Almighty Name! Jesus has redeemed us from our sins, and wants us to remain pure in Him.  He has forgiven your sins and is just waiting to bless you! In Zephaniah 3:14-15, 17, 20, God says, “’Sing, O Daughter of Zion; shout aloud, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O Daughter of Jerusalem! The Lord has taken away your punishment, he has turned back your enemy.  The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you; never again will you fear any harm.  The Lord your God is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.  At that time I will gather you; at that time I will bring you home.  I will give you honor and praise among all the people of the earth when I restore your fortunes before your very eyes,’ says the Lord.”  At the end of verse 15, we see another name of the Lord, the King of Israel.  When you become a Christian, you become a child of God.  What is the daughter of a King called? A princess! So when you become a Christian, you also become a princess.  Not an earthly princess, with billions of dollars, but a princess in the palm of God.  Not only are you a daughter of the King of Kings, but you also are betrothed to His Son, the Prince of Peace.  Stop and consider that for a moment.  In verse 17, the Lord says that He is with you, and that He is mighty to save.  “Mighty to save” means that He doesn’t just throw you a rope for you to climb out of your ditch.  It doesn’t just mean that he will give you a Hello-Kitty band-aid! It means that the Lord has lots of power, and when He saves you, you will be redeemed from your sins in His timing and He will hold you in His hand.  He says in Isaiah 49: 16, “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.”  God sees your troubles, your “walls”, and is holding you in His hand while you go through hard times and good times.  Even when you may not be feeling up to it, God wants you to bring glory to His name.  He says in Isaiah 42:6-8, “I, the Lord, have called you into righteousness; I will take hold of your hand.  I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.  I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols.”  Again, the Lord is saying that He will take hold of your hand and lead you to show others that He has redeemed them, just like He did for you.  God wants all people to live for Him and rejoice in Him.  He wants us to stay in Him, in everything, and stay pure.  2 Corinthians 11:2 says, “I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy.  I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to Him.”  In case you have not quite grasped the point, let me close with these two verses from Hosea 2:19-20.  They say, “I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion.  I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the Lord.”  The Lord will love you forever.  Think on that today, and share with others about how YOU are a princess of God, betrothed to your very own Prince of Peace, who has redeemed you and given you life! Go and bring glory to your King today!

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January 16 2013 4 16 /01 /January /2013 01:45

1.  Product Details"Into the Whirlwind" by Elizabeth Camden

 

 

2.Product Details"It Happened at the Fair" by Deeanne Gist

 

 

3. Product Details"Undeniably Yours" by Becky Wade

 

4."Love at Any Cost" by Julie Lessman

 

5. Product Details"Stealing the Preacher" by Karen Witemeyer

 

And that's concludes the Top Five! What books are you looking forward to reading this year?

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January 16 2013 4 16 /01 /January /2013 01:15

Wow, there have been so many great books that I read in 2012, but this has to be my top ten favorites!

 

1.Product Details "Against the Tide" by Elizabeth Camden

 

With a close second coming to:

 

2.Product Details   "My Stubborn Heart" by Becky Wade (these two might have tied!) 

 

 

While those were the top two "first time reads", the third book on this list I have read several times, yet it remains at the top of my list (same goes for seventh place ;) )

 

3.  Product Details   "The Lady of Bolton Hill" by Elizabeth Camden (Note: this is a prequel to "Against the Tide")

 

 

4.. Product Details "Swept Away" by Mary Connealy.

 

 

 

5."Veil of Pearls" by Mary Lu Tyndall 

 

 

6..Go to "A Light In the Window" page  "A Light in the Window" by Julie Lessman was also a wonderful read.

 

 

 

7. 

 

 

 

 

 

"Maid to Match" by Deeanne Gist

 

 

 

 8. Product Details  "Head in the Clouds" by Karen Witemeyer

 

 

9. "Wish you Were Here" by Beth K. Vogt

 

10.Product Details "The Accidental Bride" by Denise Hunter

 

 

While I have these books listed from first to tenth, honestly, after first and second place-which tie-all the others tie as well!! They were just THAT good!  Thank you, readers, for checking out my blog in 2012, and new readers, for joining me in 2013!

Happy New Year!

 

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January 15 2013 3 15 /01 /January /2013 22:48

Just like the actual book, "Unglued", this shortened, devotional form is EXCELLENT and very helpful. Lysa TerKeurst is a very honest and open writer; she will tell the reader of her experiences, thoughts, and reactions-which are not always pretty! She will help you take a look at your own life and understand yourself and your emotions better. Also, she explores why you feel what you feel when people say what they say, and how you can react better to mean comments. Lysa shows women that we do not have to be controlled by own emotions; that we can actually control them! What freedom this brings! What joy! Please, join me today on this path of redemption from your dictating emotions, even if you consider yourself "under control". This short, 60-day devotional will not take too much time out of your day, yet will help you make drastic changes toward being a better you. So start this New Year off right. Be in control of your own emotions and live up to the woman God wants you to be!

Even better, read the original book, "Unglued"!

Thank you so much to Book Sneeze and Zondervan for letting me read and review this book!

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January 15 2013 3 15 /01 /January /2013 22:34

"Grace, Gold, and Glory" is an amazing autobiography by the gold medalist gymnast Gabby Douglas herself! If you watched the London 2012 Olympics, you saw Gabby leap, soar, and flip her way to helping the American team win the gold medal and our hearts as well. If you read the newspaper and magazine articles, you may have read some of Gabby's journey to the Olympics. However, if you read her autobiography, you have her amazing story of talent, determination, hardship, and faith right in your hands. This book, at least the copy I received, was hardback and included a beautiful poster of Gabby herself on the flipside of the cover. The book also includes pictures of her childhood and competitions. If you enjoyed Shawn Johnson's book, you will love this one as well; both gymnasts have stuck to their beliefs, and God has thoroughly blessed them and their hard work. This will make a wonderful and inspiring addition to any shelf! You will enjoy and be inspired, I hope, by this beautiful young women’s talent, and how through the hard times and highs in her life she brought glory to God.

Thank you so much to Zondervan for letting me read and review this book; what an incredible story!

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December 5 2012 4 05 /12 /December /2012 19:49

    

Lily's Plight is the third book in the Harwood sisters trilogy. This is written by Dianna Crawford and Sally Laity, and is published by Barbour Publishing.

Here's the jist of the storyline: Lily and her sisters came to America from England. (This is explained in book 1, Mariah's Quest) Lily is a helper to a sweet family living pretty much just out in the country. Her mistress, Sarah, is very sick and Sarah's husband John is off at war so Lily helps take care of the farm and kids. Lily has secretly been in love with John for a while, and when Sarah dies, Lily is uncertain how to express her feelings for John so soon after his wife's passing.

Pros: There is more information on what became of the other sisters in the series.

As far as I could tell, it was historically accurate.

It was a sweet story.

Cons: Lily fell in love with a married man, which in my mind was a bit awkward.

John fell in love with Lily rather quickly after his wife's death, yet it still was a very slow story.

Overall, this was a sweet read and decent addition to the series.

Thank you to Net Galley and Barbour Publishers for letting me read and review this book!

 

 

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November 29 2012 5 29 /11 /November /2012 23:47

Camellia is the second book in the "Song of the River" series by Diane Ashley and Aaron McCarver.  This series is published by Barbour Publishers.  The first book in the series is entitled, "Lily", and I have also reviewed it on my blog.

 

Camellia is the sister to Lily, whom the previous book in the series is about.  The story starts off with Camellia wanting to go to finishing school, while Lily and Blake disagree because of the war going on.  They are worried that the War Between the States will reach New Orleans, and she will be in harm's way.

 

Jonah Thorton's family is being kept in the dark.  He is secretly fighting for the Union! Jonah's beliefs cause him to betray his family and the women he grows to love.

 

Will Jonah's secrets keep him from having a future with Camellia?

Thank you so much to Net Galley and Barbour publishing for letting me read and review this book.  It was excellent.

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November 27 2012 3 27 /11 /November /2012 21:47

Right Where I Belong is the third book in a semi-series by Krista McGee. I say semi-series because there is not really a name for the series, and each book could be a stand-alone, but the characters are in each of the other books, for the most part. This book is published by Thomas Nelson and supposedly will be released on December 11, 2012, but I went to a Lifeway store yesterday and saw it on the shelf. Anyway, it's a new release...at the time that this article was written, anyway. :) The first book is called "First Date", and I have posted a review on my blog for it, and all the books in the series. The second one is called "Starring Me".

Natalia is from Spain. Her father has married three times and marries for pleasure; once his wife makes him mad he divorces and moves on to another. This infuriates Natalia, and when he divorces his third wife, the only "real" mother to Natalia, she is ready to write him off.

Following the story of Ruth....loosely.....Natalia follows her stepmom wherever the Lord leads her, and unexpectedly finds love in the process.

Thank you to Thomas Nelson Publishers and their Book Sneeze program for letting me read and review this book; it was excellent, just like the others in the series, and I finished it in one day!

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November 27 2012 3 27 /11 /November /2012 21:29

A Passion Most Pure is Julie Lessman's first book.  She has written several more since this first one! I found this author from a contest that I saw on Mary Lu Tyndall's (another one of my favorite authors) blog.  Julie Lessman writes a series on an Irish family, the O'Conners.  Oh, what a family it is! There is some intense sibling rivalry between the two oldest girls, Faith and Charity.  They are constantly fighiting over men. The O'Conner family consists of six kids (and counting, not that I peeked ahead into another book or anything ;)), I think, but I may have miscounted.  There are so many children yet Julie Lessman does a GREAT job of giving each one their own personality-and all the children certainly have that of their own! All the drama, all the siblings, all the handsome men...and it's all Irish.  One contest has never gotten me so excited about an author I hadn't discovered yet!

 

Anyway, A Passion Most Pure is the story of how Faith falls in love-each book in the series is about one of the children.  She met a man named Collin, and she knew from the minute she first saw him that she loved him.  The problem is, he's pretty much the town tramp, and Faith is a strong Christian.  Faith has to channel her self-control in storehouses (not literally) for him- 'cause he's a hottie. :) To make things more complicated, Charity, who is about four years younger than Faith, is courting him behind her parent's backs.  And Faith knows it.  She even catches them kissing many-a-time!  To add to that, this story is set around WW1, and Collin decides to leave for war after he gets engaged to Charity.  The O'Conner clan moves to Ireland, where Faith gets a new job and falls in love with her supervisor-who is almost twice her age! This causes more disagreements between the family, and when Faith catches her supervisor Mitch cheating on her-with Charity-she loses it and travels back to Boston.  Where she runs in with Collin a few weeks later as he is coming home from the war.

 

Let me just say, Julie Lessman's theme with her writing is "Passion with a Purpose", and she shows it well.  Not only is there plenty of romantic passion, there are spiritual lessons that lead the characters (and sometimes the reader!) to more passionate relationships with Jesus Christ our Savior.  This is a book that I throughly enjoyed, and I can't believe it was the author's first.  I am so glad that I discovered her writing after she has already written two or three series, because I am going to go through these books like water! Even better, Julie Lessman's website offers several contests that promote and give away her books!

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November 9 2012 6 09 /11 /November /2012 22:07

     

One thing I know for sure about this book: its title/cover caught my eye! This is the third book in the "Confessions of April Grace" series by K.D. McCrite, and I must say that I'm a BIG fan. This series is published by Thomas Nelson publishers and is absolutely great for tween and teenage girls. It is a quirky, lively, yet kind of down-to-earth series told in first person by the main character, April Grace.

April Grace is a tweenage girl living in the countryside in the seventies. She has all sorts of interesting problems: her annoying older sister Myra Sue, her grandmother and her several different on-and-off boyfriends, her wacky neighbors, etc. April's flat-out honestly blunt perspective is funny to read, and I certainly enjoy these books.

With April Grace's snooty neighbor Isabel becoming April's gym teacher, Myra Sure sneaking around, and April's grandmother's trouble with boyfriends, April has had enough change to last for a while. I enjoyed this book and this series because April goes through things that girls today go through and does so with a lighthearted yet outrageously funny attitude.

Thank you so much to Book Sneeze and Thomas Nelson publishers for letting me read and review this book.

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