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October 28 2012 1 28 /10 /October /2012 22:52

"Against the Tide" is Elizabeth Camden's newest book. It was released on October 1 of this year and published by Bethany House. This is Mrs. Camden's third book, and while it is a stand-alone book, it would help if you read her first novel, "The Lady of Bolton Hill", as one of the main characters from this book is featured in it.

Lydia Pallas has traveled all around Greece and Turkey because of her family's background and moved to America when she was nine. She finally received her dream of attending school as a result, yet within a few months of arriving in America, her family died in a boating accident while she was at school.

Lydia was sent to an orphanage, but she never forgets the languages that she had learned from her childhood in Greece and Turkey, nor her skill with boating. When she grew old enough to be released from the orphanage, she found a job as a translator for the U.S. Navy.

The admiral that she works for has frequent visits with a mysterious man named Alexander Banebridge (whose complicated background was featured more in "The Lady of Bolton Hill"). He needs help translating several documents in many different languages, and Lydia Pallas is the perfect woman for the job. He hires her, and his relentless flirtation and outpouring of much-needed money to Lydia keep her hard at work translating for him. As soon as he is done with her skills, though, he sweeps away out of her life just as quickly as he had come in.....leaving Lydia heartbroken, and causing her to lose her job as the translator for the Navy. Lydia loses her apartment and her pride, and all the things that gave her security after her family died were snatched away.

Alexander Banebridge has finally found his match in Lydia Pallas. He enjoys endlessly flirting with her, and she throws jests right back. He is a manipulatively clever leader, and she knows several different languages. He needs a translator. She needs a job. They meet, they taunt, they tease, and sparks seemed to leap off the page at me. This truly may be Mrs. Camden's best novel yet.

Thank you so much to Mrs. Camden for providing me with an advanced reviewer's copy of this book. It was excellent, and I look forward to everything else you write.

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October 2 2012 3 02 /10 /October /2012 21:17

Hi everybody! Thank you so much for visiting my blog; feel free to keep scrolling down or comment. ;-)

Ok, so I've been reading 'Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions' by Lisa TerKeurst. This is published by Zondervan and was released on August 7, 2012. 

And I've been participating in Melissa Talyor's online Bible study of the book.  Her website is here:

  http://melissataylor.org/

Ok, so this week for the blog hop we get to comment on Chapters 3 of the book, "The Prisoners".

Let me re-cap the book thus far: Ok, so this is a book about keeping your emotions under control when you're angry, or frustrated, or mad, or whenever you seem to lose control of what you say and how you act. Chapter Three talks about the labels we tend to put on ourselves and each other (i.e. So-and-so is always late, I am a horrible cook, I always lose control of my emotions, etc.) These labels are unhealthy and discourage people.

But more about that in the book itself. I'm here to tell you my thoughts on Chapter 3.

I've been labeled several things throughout my thirteen-about-to-be-fourteen year life span. One of the main ones that brings me down is when my grandmother says that I speak out of turn or am being 'a sarcastic, unfeeling teenage girl that is much worse than I was at that age', when all I was doing was trying to innocently repair our relationship and get on with life. Now, I considered myself to be polite and just saying what I meant out of the Bible. PERSPECTIVE is the key here. We, my grandmother and I, have since been able to forgive each other and move on from the past. Now, when we get mad at each other, one of us-normally me- will walk away from the scene of conflict and take a DEEP breath. The problem ends up being that one of us took what the other said and understood it completely differently from how the person meant it. We then apologize, and try to lovingly suggest a way to say something differently so that this does not happen in the future. The hardest part of this for me is remembering that I just forgave her, and I need to forget, and not assume that her loving correction is a secret insult. I have to do a chin-up to look over the bar of conflict and see the other side. That's where this takes perspective-saying to yourself "This conflict is here for a reason. Whether it is of my own doing, or I chose to participate in it, the conflict is here, and I need God's strength to fix it. I need to 'set my eyes on what is unseen' and look at the bright side- what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Spiritually, emotionally, physically. Something good is going to come out of this conflict, and I need to look for it and figure out how to see it."

I have to do this a lot myself; when someone says something hurtful to me, I have to take a step back and look at the root of the insult. Yes, the root. This means climbing down the tree, having the leaves slap you in the face, and often falling to the ground. And digging. (mentally) What is the root of this insult? Why did the person say what they did?

Often, in my cases, it was because the other person was bitter or insecure. In one instance, someone told someone else that they were worried over my lack of work in the kitchen. Were they really worried? No. They just wanted to bring me down. This took me an hour or two to stew over, and as my anger subsided, I announced to myself and God that I had a new battle plan. I was going to follow Romans 12:20, which says, "On the contrary: if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." (NIV) This means that you need to do the complete opposite of human nature, and serve your enemies-it does not mean to literally go get a bag of coals. You need to be nice to them. This is extremely hard, I know, because I agreed with God that I would do it. Mentally, though, I've rather enjoyed the thought of heaping burning coals, even if I would not physically do so. It's pretty funny, when you think about it, that I could cool off my anger by heaping burning coals onto the offender's head. Make the person's bed, scoop, and drop the coals. Server dinner to them, scoop, drop the coals. In fact, I even went down and spent an hour of my Friday night cleaning the kitchen -with the offender in it, of course-to disprove the theory (uh, "concern"). Of course, they commented on how much work it was for them to have cleaned it all day before I made it down to the kitchen, and while all my excuses about how I was doing a very important homework assignment and couldn't make it down just that moment to do my chores were running through my mind, I simply said, "Oh, thank you for doing my chores today. I couldn't make it down in time and was worried about them. I really appreciate you taking the time to do so." I said it as sincerely as I could, and, come to find out, the offender did not have anything to say back. They just mumbled a "Well, you know, it had to be done" and walked out of the room. I was so busy rejoicing over my recent outpouring of coals I didn't even mind the rest of the chores.

And now, if anyone tries to stick me with a label or drag me down with an insult, I know that labels won't stick and insults will not drag unless I let them. And why would anyone want a bunch of labels stuck to them anyway?

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October 2 2012 3 02 /10 /October /2012 20:53

Best Friends with God is an excellent and uplifting book by Christy Bower and published by Discovery House publishers. It was released on April 10, 2010.

I normally just read and review fiction books, but this was a book that I knew I had to try out. I have wanted a closer relationship with God; because I knew that He loves me. I decided that this book sounded like it would be good to read alongside my personal devotions in the Bible, and I was right. This is a very uplifting book that is inspiring me to draw closer to God. It is not written in a preachy type of format, but instead pulls characters from stories in the Bible and makes them come alive. Then, the author explores these stories and the message within them. She tells about her personal experiences and feelings, which made me feel better knowing that I was not the only one who felt a certain way. Then, the author goes through some related verses about the story/parable from the Bible. The way Christy Bower weaves Scripture with personal stories and life lessons really show how much God loves us and cares for us. I really enjoyed this book and was greatly uplifted by it.

Thank you to Discovery House publishers and Net Galley for letting me read and review this book!

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September 11 2012 3 11 /09 /September /2012 03:12

 

 

'Coming Home' is written by best-selling author Karen Kingsbury and published by Zondervan.

In this book, the popular Baxter family is re-introduced, with everyone all grown up. The family has decided to get together for a reunion at the dad's surprise birthday party. However, an unthinkable change leads the family closer to God and each other than they ever were before.

This book is great as a stand alone novel, even though the same characters are in several other of Karen Kingsbury's works. This novel itself can act as an introduction to the Baxter family or as a grand finale to their stories.

The Baxter family is excited as they get ready to be reunited as a surprise for their father.  However, when one of the families is struck by tragedy on their way to the party, the rest of the family must band together to save the adopted children from a self-seeking birth mother.  Will they find the evidence they need for court before it is too late?

Karen Kingsbury is a New York Times best-selling author, and this book was in the number one spot at my local bookstore. Karen Kingsbury has not let you down with this newest novel!

Thanks to Zondervan and Net Galley for letting me read and review this book!

 

 

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September 11 2012 3 11 /09 /September /2012 02:58

'A Duke's Promise' by Jamie Carie and published by B&H publishers revisits the world of Alexandria Featherstone, in this third and final book in the Forgotten Castles series.

Here's a quick summary of the series so far: Alexandria Featherstone (also known as Alex) has lived in an old castle on an island for most of her life. Her parents are famous treasure-hunters, who would leave Alex frequently with the housemaids and cook while they went on their searches. On the most recent hunt they were on, they never came back. Alex is certain that they are not dead, and sets out to find them. A duke, Gabriel, and Alex have been writing letters to each other ever since he found out that Alex was his ward. When she sets out to find her parents, Gabriel tries to follow her, but misses her at every turn. Once Alex discovers that he is following her, she tries to make it harder on him by telling people to tell him that she went in the opposite direction of that that she actually went in and such. Anyway, Alex agrees to marry a man named John because he will help her find her parents. Once he realizes that that's the only reason she agreed to marry, he tries to make her his wife because he sees that she has fallen in love with Gabriel through their letters. Finally, Gabriel catches up to the two, John dies in an accident, and Alex and Gabriel marry. That's where this book starts off. Because Alex's parents were employed by the government to find the treasure, other governments are trying to stop them and also Alexandria. This puts her and Gabriel in grave danger at every turn, but they manage to escape for the most part. Then they take their honeymoon to where Alex's parents were last spotted, and they are forced to trust in God and each other like never before.

Thank you to B&H publishers for letting me read and review this book.

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September 11 2012 3 11 /09 /September /2012 02:38

Central Park Rendezvous by Ronie Kendig, Dineen Miller, Kim Vogel Sawyer, and MaryLu Tyndall was published by Barbour Publishing, Inc.. 

 

This book is going to be a tricky one to review, but I'll do the best I can.

 

Ok, so four authors got together to write one book.  Each author wrote one romance on one couple in the family tree of the Wolfes.  The stories do not go in the order of the oldest family members to the youngest, but instead skip around.  The four main men in the four short stories have all been a part of a war, whether it be the War Between the States, one of the World Wars, or another one.  And all the love stories center around one coin, with the inscrpition, "Love Never Fails".  This has been passed down through the four generations of war heros.  This is what brings the book together.

 

The hardest and most confusing part of the book was how all four of the stories were mixed together.  The authors would not always finish their part of the story before it moved onto the next one, and then it would come back to the original one, all in all making it a confusing read.

 

That's not to say that you should not read it.  Once I got the characters and time periods straight I absolutly loved it.  It was not a very long book, but it's message came through loud and clear: Love Never Fails.  And what a great message that is, one we all would benefit from keeping it in mind.

 

Thank you so much to Barbour publishers for letting me read this book! I throughly enjoyed it; the colaberation of all those great authors made for an excellent read.

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September 11 2012 3 11 /09 /September /2012 02:19

'The River Rose' is written by Gilbert Morris and published by B & H publishers, and appears to be the second book in the 'Water Wheel' series.  The first was 'The River Queen', which was released in October of 2011, and the third will be released this upcoming January. 

 

Jeanne Bettencourt is a young widow with a six-year old daughter, trying to make her way through life.  She works at a low-paying job and struggles to provide for her and her daughter's need.  Hope arrives in an unexpected way - it would seem as if she has inherited a steamboat, The Helena Rose, from a distant relative who died.  Thankfully, Jeanne's father had captained a steamboat as Jeanne was growing up, so she was somewhat familiar with piloting one.

 

However, things are not all that easy.  Jeanne cannot just grab her daughter and sail away into the sunset.  There is another heir to the boat- a big, tough man named Clint Hardin.  Jeanne is appalled at the idea of living on the steamboat with a man that she does not even know, but both are in dire need of a job, so they agree to keep their relationship strictly business-minded.

 

As they begin their journey on the boat, Clint slowly starts being attracted to Jeanne, who is currently being courted by a kind, wealthy plantation owner.  With her daughter and livelihood on the line, Jeanne must choose which man to trust with her heart.

 

Thank you to B&H publishing for providing this book for me to read.

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August 8 2012 4 08 /08 /August /2012 01:56

"Starring Me" is written by Krista McGee and published by Thomas Nelson. It was released on July 10, 2012. This is the sequel to "First Date", also written by Krista McGee, which came out on January 10, 2012

Kara McCormick is a fiery red head looking for adventure as an actress. She auditions for a show that's auditions are going to be held in Florida. She lives in New York, but really wants to go. Then, another opportunity pops up in New York and she is stuck. She decides to choose the one in Florida, and visits her friend Addy (who we met in "First Date") since her family is unable to come along.

Chad Beacon is a famous singer after winning the show that he was on. His parents and he are devout Christians looking for a Christian girl to be Chad's co-star on his next show. Chad and Jonathan are friends, and Jonathan is kind of dating Addy, who is friends with Kara, and all four of them end up hanging out with each other one day. After that, Chad cannot get Kara off his mind and Kara cannot get Chad off hers.

Kara is not a Christian, but is surrounded by several people who say they are as she auditions for this new show. Several girls are living together for a few months with an interesting housemother until the auditions are over. They are auditioning to try to get on this show with a mysterious co-star.

Chad and his family hire their good friend Flora as a housemother/spy of sorts to check out the girls auditioning to be Chad's co-star. Things get interesting when you realize those two shows are one and the same!

This was an excellent, funny, light-hearted but with a good message that was loosely based off the story of Rebekah and Isaac in the Bible.

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

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August 6 2012 2 06 /08 /August /2012 20:44

"A Shot of Faith to the Head: Be A Confident Believer in an age of Cranky Atheists" is written by Mitch Stokes, PhD and is published by Thomas Nelson and was released on April 17 of 2012. 

 

I received this book for free through Thomas Nelson's Book Sneeze program, which sends bloggers free books on the condition that they read and review them to promote them.  This is my honest review.

 

"A Shot of Faith to the Head" is a non-fiction book explaining the different agruments of the Christian faith through scientific viewpoints, the Bible, and life.

 

This book goes through and explains about Darwin, Galileo, evolution, and many other important points.  It provides evidence for the skeptical, proves the Christian faith, and is a great resource to have in any home, school, or church.

 

Thank you to Thomas Nelson and the Book Sneeze program for letting me read and review this book.

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August 6 2012 2 06 /08 /August /2012 20:16

Read this novel-so grand in its words, so rich in its research, and so polished in its design, you won't be able to put it down.

"By the Light of the Silvery Moon" by Tricia Goyer and published by Barbour Publishing, Inc. was released March 1, 2012.

Amelia Gladstone is sailing to America to meet her possible future husband- Mr. Chapman. He was kind enough to purchase three tickets on the great ship Titanic for her and her family: one for her aunt, for her cousin, and for herself. They will get to ride in second-class. Oh, the luxury! Amelia is awestruck as she stands on the shore looking at the ship. But shuffling of feet and shoving of people draw her attention away as she notices a young man being dragged away by some of the ship's stewards. They throw him down and leave, but Amelia, with her kind-hearted spirit goes over to see if he needs any help.

Amelia's cousin, Henry Gladstone, was put in jail the night before they were to sail (I don't remember why). Amelia has the extra ticket and, you guessed it, gives it to the man. He appears shocked, since we assume that he had just gotten in trouble for trying to stowaway on the ship.

Quentin Walpole has dealt with many hardships for such a rich fellow. When he was six, his mother drowned- and it was his fault. His older brother Damien has made it hard for him. Since then, he's grown up, taken his inheritance from his father, and squandered it. (Loosely similar to the "Prodigal Son" parable) For the past five or six years, he's lived in the slums and streets and alleys of London, poor and dirty. Amelia has no idea how much a second-class ticket means to him yet how used he has been to first-class living in his past.

Amelia wanders up to first class one day and sees someone that looks just like an older version of Quentin. She calls out his name by mistake, but before she can take it back, the man is coming towards her. She finds out that it was Quentin's brother, and his father is also on the ship. She does not tell them that Quentin on the Titanic also, but she reports back to Quentin that his family is on the ship. He is shocked and scared, and begs her not to tell anyone.

Amelia finds out that he is running, running from something-she suspects his past. She doesn't know his story, but is interested in finding out. Meanwhile, she is faced with both brothers’ affections and does not know which to entrust her heart.

And then comes that fateful day when the Titanic sinks. Will any of them survive?

Thank you so much Barbour Publishing for letting me read and review this book! I really enjoyed it.

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