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May 10 2016 3 10 /05 /May /2016 23:08

 

    Live Free is an adult coloring book by Margaret Feinberg that is published by Bethany House.  I really really like this coloring book because of its specifically targeted verses to meditate on Christ's love for us while we color.  The verses are very powerful and the designs are beautiful.  Some are intricate; some aren't.  It's a good balance.  This would be great to give as a gift or to use in your own personal quiet time.  The pages are a good size and thickness for bearing down on, but the book itself is a little flimsy because it is not very thick.  At only 48 pages, my main complaint is that I want more to color! However, I did really like how this wasn't just another coloring book.  This one has room for journaling or writing prayers out on the back of the pictures to help you focus on the Scripture's promises.  I would recommend getting this one!

 

     Thank you so much to Bethany House publishers for providing me with a copy of this book to review.  All opinions are my own and were not required to be positive, nor was I compensated in any way aside from receiving the book itself.

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May 10 2016 3 10 /05 /May /2016 01:26

 

    Unashamed by Christine Caine caught my eye as soon as I saw it in a newsletter I received from the publisher.  I have listened to several of Ms. Caine's messages online, and I have consistently been blessed, encouraged, strengthened, and challenged in each of them.  Thus, when I saw that she was coming out with a new book, I was excited.  Then I saw the title, and I knew I had to read it.  Receiving forgiveness and freedom from God has been a huge theme in my life over the past half decade, and I am slowly but steadily shaking off things that hinder me in my walk with Christ.  Even more so than that, I am learning that as hard as it is to do so, talking about things that I am ashamed to have done, thought, or said really helps me to heal from them and become victorious over them.  Our battle is a spiritual one, and our enemy wants to keep us from walking in our victory by shaming us about our past.  Christ has already conquered both our past and our future, and if you or someone you know is looking for a resource to help them become overcomers, then this is the book for you.  Christine Caine is straightforward and passionate about helping others grow in their faith.  It's not an easy life, but it sure is a rewarding one.  

 

     Thank you so much to Zondervan and the Book Look Bloggers program for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review.  All opinions are my own and were not required to be positive, nor were they affected by anything other than the book itself.  I was not compensated in any way other than receiving a copy of the book.

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May 3 2016 3 03 /05 /May /2016 23:29

 

    Go Big or Go Home by Scotty McCreery isn't exactly an autobiography.  It's more like what you'd expect if you sat down and talked with Scotty over coffee and had someone type up everything he said.  It's the story of his childhood, American Idol ride, faith, and more.  If you or someone you know is a Scotty McCreery fan, I highly recommend this book.  And if you aren't a fan, I suggest you read the book--you may just become one.  I really liked how down to earth Scotty seemed throughout the book.  He told funny stories; he told sad stories.

 

      I've also read several other books co-written with Travis Thrasher, and while I am starting to notice similarities, I thought he helped the book flow smoothly and hold my interest.  I couldn't put this book down; it was like having a conversation in which I could both get to know Scotty more and feel as if I was going behind the scenes of American Idol! This would make a great gift for country music fans.  It's an encouraging read, to see someone stand up for what they believe in, and even read gut-honest stories about when he didn't, but he went back and apologized.  

 

     Thank you so much to Zondervan publishers and their Book Look bloggers program with Thomas Nelson for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review.  All opinions are my own and were not required to be positive, nor were they affected by anything other than the book itself (and being a fan of the author). :)

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May 2 2016 2 02 /05 /May /2016 02:50

 

    Remember to Forget by Ashley Royer is published by Thomas Nelson.  As a reviewer, being the same age as the author, I say kudos to her and her success.  While I could tell that she wasn't as "polished", if you will, as professional writers, I thought that she did a good job, and many teenage girls will enjoy this story.  This was originally written as a fan fiction for a band called 5 Seconds of Summer (which I will admit that I'm not familiar with their songs, but was still able to enjoy the story).

 

     Levi recently lost his girlfriend and is not only grieving, but is suffering emotionally and mentally.  His mom sends him from his Australian home to his dad's house in Maine.  It is there that he begins to heal as he meets a girl who reminds him of the one whom he lost.

 

     Delilah's curiosity is piqued by the new boy in town, but is put off by his rude ways (as was I).  As she slowly gets to know him, she begins to feel sympathy for him and a desire to get to know him better.

 

     As a young adult novel, I thought this was fairly good.  I read it while recovering in bed from a surgery, so it's not like I had much better to do, otherwise I may have lost interest earlier.  I did think it was a sweet story and it helped to pass the time.  I found a handful of typos, but I believe I received an advanced copy, so they may have been changed by the time a copy is purchased.

 

     Thank you so much to Thomas Nelson and their Book Look bloggers program for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review.  All opinions are my own and were not required to be positive.

 

     

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April 20 2016 4 20 /04 /April /2016 22:15

 

    You're the One That I Want by Susan May Warren is the sixth and final book in the "Christiansen Family" series.  I've followed this series off and on, reading blog posts about how much others love it.  I personally have read the prequel novella, books two and three, and this book.  Even so, I've been able to follow the plots and characters fairly well, and the book would work as a stand-alone.  The only thing that would be overwhelming to new readers of the series would be keeping track of all the family members.  Otherwise, it wasn't too bad to jump in, which, I'd imagine, would be a hard thing to do for an author who's connected enough to the characters to write 6.5 books about them!

 

     Elise "Scotty" McFlynn is the daughter of a captain on an Alaskan crabbing ship.  She's used to being the only girl around, and tells her fellow workers to call her "Sir".  She's earned the respect behind the title; after her mother's death when she was a child she worked with her father on his boat, and since his heart attack, she's picked up his slack.  So she's not going to stand for just anyone to come along and try to flirt with her.  She's focused on helping her dad.

 

     Owen Christiansen is the "bad boy" of his family, and he just needs to get away from his past. Ergo, he joins an Alaskan crabbing expedition, not expecting to fall for the captain's daughter.  When they get swept off the boat and into the sea, will he be able to make her fall for him too?

 

     I love reuniting with the characters in this book! I thought it was a sweet story and I enjoyed the references to musicals like Grease and Les Miserables.  

 

     Thank you so much to Tyndale House Publishers and Net Galley for providing me with an electronic copy of this book to read and review.  All opinions are my own and were not required to  be positive, nor was I compensated in any way aside from receiving the book itself.

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April 11 2016 2 11 /04 /April /2016 01:08

 

     A Spy's Devotion by Melanie Dickerson is the first regency romance book by this author, as she usually does fairytale retellings.  I've read many, many reviews saying that Melanie Dickerson makes the transition well from fairytale to regency, but I personally have to disagree.  The majority of the book seemed to just be ball this, fancy dress that.  It was stereotypical to me, and not very romantic.  The pace seemed slow and the time period and spy-intrigue part of the plot seemed too unoriginal.  

 

     Julia Grey is your average girl in England: if she doesn't marry, and soon, she'll be resigned to the place of a governess.  Penniless.  She's getting older, after all, and lives with her aunt, uncle, and cousin.  She also unfortunately has a crush on the same guy that her cousin does, and discovers a dangerous plot against the crown.

 

     Nicolas Langdon is a spy for the crown, and has to enlist Julia's help when she becomes tangled up in the plot.  Can he keep himself from getting tangled up in a relationship with her meanwhile?

 

     As stated previously, I just didn't care for this book.  I think Ms. Dickerson has done better in the past (The Golden Braid excluded) with fairytale retellings.  I do enjoy Regency time-period stories, so I think it's really just that this one seemed so predictable (numerous balls, spying from a nearby closet, tip-toeing, etc.) that it just didn't keep my attention.  I never really connected to the characters either.  I do still plan to continue to read more by this author, I just would not recommend this book to fans of her previous works.

 

     Thank you to Waterfall Press and Net Galley for providing me with an electronic copy of this book to read and review.  All opinions are my own and were not required to be positive.

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April 7 2016 5 07 /04 /April /2016 21:18

 

     The Wonders of Creation coloring book is published by Zondervan.  These intricate designs have become popular, bringing a coloring book trend to adults.  I personally have several friends who enjoy coloring while listening to an audio version of the Bible or music, so I was delighted to receive an invitation to review this book.  It's a relaxing way to meditate on God's Word and be creative.  A coloring book such as this one will make an excellent gift.  With over 90 pages of designs to color, there are many options on what to color, and they are all adorable! There are many different pages of cute little animals, inspired by the Garden of Eden.  I was disappointed that there wasn't Scripture throughout the book, but the designs, as mentioned, are adorable.  This would be good both for adults and for kids who want a little more of an "advanced" :) coloring book.  Do be sure to have some sharp colored pencils to work on the little spaces!

 

     Thank you so much to the Book Look Bloggers program and Zondervan publishers for providing me with a copy of this coloring book to review! All opinions are my own and were not required to be positive, nor was I compensated beyond receiving the book itself.

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April 5 2016 3 05 /04 /April /2016 03:19

    A Daring Sacrifice by Jody Hedlund is the second book in the "An Uncertain Choice" series, but it works as a stand-alone.  The series follows the adventures of the Duke's three best knights, first introduced in An Uncertain Choice, and this book specially follows Collin Goodrich.

 

     Julianna Wessex has noble blood in her veins, but was forced out of her home by her evil uncle when she was a child and her father was killed in an uprising against said uncle.  She now hides in the forest and in a Robin Hood type of way, she provides for the poor whom her father was trying to help before his passing.  Anyone who's looking in from the outside would never guess that underneath her forest garb is a feisty redhead who will fight her justice.

 

     Collin Goodrich is a nobleman who knew Julianna when they were kids, and when she swoops down out of a tree and robs him, he's amused when he discovers his "attacker" is a girl.  He tracks her and when he discovers that she's one and the same with the girl of his childhood who was rumored to have died alongside her father, he is shocked.  He feels very protective of her, and wants to help her in any way that he can.  But will her pride stay in the way?

 

     I really liked this book!! I thought it was better than the first one, which can be unusual in sequels.  I did think that the romance went a little too quickly, but this was addressed in the discussion questions.  Which, by the way, this book had excellent discussion questions for teen girls and would be fantastic for a book club.  They were thought-provoking and pulled out issues in the story that I don't typically find in the discussion questions sections.

 

     Thank you so much to Zondervan and BookLook bloggers for providing me with a copy to read and review.  All opinions are my own and were not required to be positive.

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April 1 2016 6 01 /04 /April /2016 23:51

 

    The Wedding Chapel by Rachel Hauck is, from what I've been able to tell, a sequel of sorts to The Wedding Dress.  I have not read the latter and this book worked as a stand-alone for me.  I like Rachel Hauck's works because the are unique in the way that they weave in God's plan for the characters and how He speaks to them.  The Wedding Chapel was fairly confusing to me, as I didn't read it in one sitting.  Each chapter is from a different of four characters' viewpoints, two in the early 1950s, and two in the present.  For me, putting the book down and picking up over a couple of weeks, I quickly got confused which characters and plots were which.  Figuring out the relationships between the four was also confusing, but ultimately rewarding.  I would still recommend this though! It was a different "romance"; it was more than the boy-meets-girl and falls in love.  The Wedding Chapel had many twists and turns and interweaving of characters' lives, so I would say to lean towards reading it when you have a lot of time on your hands.  I would also recommend it to a little of an older audience because of some of the themes, betrayal,  and choices that the characters made.  Overall, it was a fantastic read.

 

     Thank you so much to the Thomas Nelson and Zondervan Fiction Guild for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review.  All opinions are my own and were not required to be positive, nor were they affected by anything other than the book itself.

 

     

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March 30 2016 4 30 /03 /March /2016 16:49

 

     The Mountain Midwife by Laurie Alice Eakes is one of the first books I've read by this author, and, I believe, the first contemporary book by this author.  I found the concept interesting: combining historical traditions of midwifes with modern-day medicinal practices.  The first chapter or so was fairly suspenseful, and grabbed my attention...but then lost it and didn't regain it until about half way through the book.  The characters take a while to connect with each other, and leave you wondering who's who and when they'll come together.  Basically, city boy meets mountain girl.  There are several stereotypes dealt with in this book, but then the characters would still act like the stereotype and make it a moot point.  I found that to be really annoying because it took up time in the book and just canceled itself out.  I didn't really connect to the characters or the setting, and had to push to get through this book.  I do, however, think that the midwifery work was fascinating and took a lot of research.  

 

     Ashley Tolliver is the daughter of a midway who is the daughter of a midwife, and so on and so forth.  They've been at their work in the mountains for generations, helping women.  When a mysterious couple shows up in the middle of the night with the woman's water broken, Ashley naturally does everything she can to help her.  There's something fishy about her though, and Ashley's fears and suspicions are multiplied when the lady is kidnapped on the way to the hospital.

 

     Hunter McDermott accidentally saved a whole family and is now on the news.  He goes back to his own family and discovers his roots don't lead to quite where he thought they did.

 

     Thank you so much to the Thomas Nelson and Zondervan Fiction Guild for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review.  All opinions are my own and were not required to be positive.

 

     

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