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August 26 2015 4 26 /08 /August /2015 18:32

 

     The “NIV Bible for Teen Girls” was published in 2015, by Zondervan. I love to read the Bible. So when I had the opportunity to review one for teen girls, I jumped at the chance. On the one hand, this Bible contains informative character biographies of women in the Bible, as well as daily readings by famous women Christian authors. It also has a concordance, for which I am extremely grateful, and book introductions for each book of the Bible. Other beneficial features are the topical index and the table of biblical weights and measures. Key verses are also highlighted. The cover art and designs are fantastic as well. In those aspects, this Bible is wonderful and I recommend it for teen girls. I would like to see other translations in the future of the teen girl market, however. Also, the words of Jesus are not in red. In addition, I personally enjoy biblical maps spread throughout the Bible according to where they are needed; this Bible has no maps. Overall, however, I give this Bible a good review. Thank you so much to Zondervan for providing me with a copy of the “NIV Bible for Teen Girls” to read and review. All opinions are my own and were not required to be positive.

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August 20 2015 5 20 /08 /August /2015 05:09

 

     "Hearts Made Whole" by Jody Hedlund is the second book in the "Beacons of Hope" series about women lighthouse keepers in the era following the Civil War.  It keeps some of the same characters from the first book, using the brother of the heroine from book one as the hero in this book.

 

     Ryan Chambers is a Civil War veteran who is missing a hand, addicted to opium pills, and looking for a job as a lighthouse keeper.  He gets a job at a lighthouse keeper at Caroline Taylor's lighthouse, where she and her siblings have run the place after the parents' deaths.

 

     Caroline Taylor has had her work cut out for herself, mothering her siblings and watching the lighthouse.  The last thing she needs is a handsome soldier coming to take over her job and kick her and her family out on the streets.  Will she be able to keep her family afloat when suspicious things begin happening around the lighthouse that could threaten her livelihood even more?

 

     Thank you so much to Bethany 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 be positive.

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August 6 2015 5 06 /08 /August /2015 04:42

"To Win Her Favor" by Tamera Alexander is a novel in the "Belle Meade Plantation" series. This was my first book by this author, and it was a wonderful first impression! The characters were likeable, and the plot felt like it could be a TV series because it kept going on and on, but not in an oh-my-goodness-when-will-this-ever-end type way. I didn't get tired of the characters; they were continually growing and maturing, and learning to relate to others better. This quality made me want to stick around through their adventures together.

Maggie Linden is a southern girl who loves riding horses and lives alone with her father. She wants her horse to become a championship racer, but her family's plantation is quickly going under due to taxes. When an Irish man moves to town and is scorned by society, Maggie's father takes him under his wing, and offers the farm to the Irish man, Cullen McGrath, if Cullen will marry Maggie. Maggie is prejudiced against the Irish in the south, and at first does not like him. Eventually, through her father's declining health, taxes on the farm, and other various issues, Maggie learns to respect and love Cullen, and let prejudices towards servants and those of different heritages fall by the wayside. I really enjoyed watching Maggie grow in these areas.

Cullen McGrath has immigrated to America to escape a stain on his past that was not his fault. He faces hatred from the Tennessee community into which he has settled, and is still recovering from the grief of his wife and three-year-old daughter's passing on the ship to America. When Mr. Linden offers Cullen the administrative opportunity of a lifetime, to start over in America, Cullen agrees, even though it means marrying a woman who has no respect or interest in him. Can he win his second wife's love and respect?

I really, really enjoyed this book! As mentioned earlier, I loved the characters, and they drew me into the story and plot which just kept going and going. That isn't a compliant though! I wanted to stay with Maggie and Cullen as long as I could. I also loved the messages about acceptance and forgiveness, and the historical details of the horse racing that Maggie loved. This was a well-researched, well-written novel that I would recommend to older audiences. I will be looking for more from this author!

Thank you so much to Zondervan and Net Galley for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own, and I really liked it.

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July 23 2015 5 23 /07 /July /2015 04:11

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     "Bonhoeffer Student Edition" by Eric Metaxas was a wonderful introduction to the life and times of Dietrich Bonhoeffer in Germany during the beginnings of World War II. I have heard a lot of good about Bonhoeffer and was becoming interested in studying about his life, so when I saw this opportunity to review a teen's edition of his biography, I jumped at the chance.

 

    And I'm glad I did! This book talked about the political scene going on in Germany and the church, explaining it and adding in little notes and discussion questions to clarify hard topics and set the stage for the story of his life. This book went into some detail about his early life and family, which helped me to connect to his story.  There were also pictures scattered throughout the book that helped me to picture the people in my mind.  I would recommend this for certain, and think it's an excellent resource for study and for those who were as curious to learn more about Bonhoeffer as I was.

 

     Thank you so much to Book Look bloggers and Thomas Nelson publishers for providing me with an advanced copy 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 2015 5 09 /07 /July /2015 00:57

"Crazy Little Thing Called Love" by Beth Vogt is the first book in the new "Destination Wedding" series, which is published by Howard books. The concept of this series is this: most romance genre novels spend the whole novel planning and hoping for the groom, then the wedding is just at the end, maybe even left to the epilogue. This series spends the majority of the book planning the wedding--the destination, the flowers, the bridesmaids--everything but the groom, who comes at the end of the novel.

Usually at this point in a review, I'll talk about the characters. Since that's a bit harder because of the plot and set-up of the whole series, I'll just go straight to my opinion.

I liked the first couple things this author put out, I really did. The last book by her was a little heavier, a little more thought provoking, and somewhat harder to read. This book has the light-and-airy, almost vague feel, as the cover suggests. From the start, that makes me "put less stock" in it, if you will. I didn't take it as seriously, although the plot was, in actuality, fairly serious. There were twists and turns that felt way out of whack, as if they were just stuck in to drum up the conflict amongst secondary characters, but I didn't feel that they were followed up on or well thought out. Also, because the plot focused on planning the wedding and not the actual relationship between the bride and the groom, the romance felt rushed and unrealistic, especially considering all the baggage that the couple had--and it was a lot. The characters weren't likable to me. They didn't even seem to like themselves! While that can seem attractive in some cases, (think tall, dark, and brooding Mr. Darcy) in this one it didn't pan out well (think young, immature, and unsure of oneself). I wouldn't read this one over, and may just wait out the rest of the series. I know this author has some great stories in her, as her first ones were fun, but this one just didn't work for me.

Thank you to Howard publishers and Net Galley for providing me with an electronic 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 3 2015 6 03 /07 /July /2015 06:16

"Denver and the Doolittle Raid" is the debut book by author Bo Burnette. It is a non-fiction yet easy read that is published by Tabbystone Press. I would recommend it to all audiences. The book outlines the life of Denver Truelove, a Georgia boy who joined the service in World War II and was on the Doolittle Raid. He survived the Raid, and the book described his life before and beyond the Raid, through the time he went MIA, and ended with the various awards he and his fellow raiders have received.

This book has plenty of black and white pictures that help "put faces with names" for Denver and his fellow servicemen and make the book really interesting. This would be a great supplement to a history class as it helps build respect for our nation's heroes by showing us that they are real people with real stories.

Thank you to the author 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.

As a bonus for this book review, MyBookThoughts is hosting an exclusive interview with the author, Bo Burnette!

Bo Burnette has written and self-published two books and a short story:

Denver and the Doolittle Raid

  It was the year 1942. The United States was still reeling from Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor. The nation's morale was at an utter low. Then eighty men and sixteen planes, under Lt. Col. James H. "Jimmy" Doolittle, attacked Japan in a surprise carrier-based aerial attack. It was an incredibly daring mission—one that had never before been accomplished. One of these brave young fliers was a bombardier named Lt. Denver V. Truelove. Just a farm boy from Lula, Georgia, Denver was one of the many Army Air Corps volunteers in the Doolittle Raid on Japan. His story is one of bravery in one of the most critical times in history. Denver’s great-great-nephew brings the tale to life for the younger generation with the incredible story of Denver and the Doolittle Raid.

 

The Lighthouse Thief

 

The Fourth of July is always a big holiday on Saint Simons Island. But this year, while coping with a visit from his contrary cousin, 14-year-old Ethan discovers strange happenings at the historic lighthouse. Soon he is caught up in an unexpected adventure and a quest to save his beloved lighthouse.

 

Finding Viola

"I could hear the music again, and somehow it seemed louder than before." Every day, Miss Erikson hears mysterious music coming from behind a locked door at the Lang School of Fine Arts. When the strict Mrs. Borg demands she leave the door alone, Miss Erikson's curiosity propels her to uncover the secrets of the ever-closed door. As she pursues the source of the inexplicable music, she must finally face the grief of the past she has long tried to ignore.

 

And now, for the interview!

MBT: What inspired you to write about the Doolittle Raid?

BB: My relation to one of the Doolittle Raiders, and my strong relationship with his sister (my great-grandmother), are largely what propelled me to write Denver and the Doolittle Raid. In a broad sense, it was my relation to Denver V. Truelove (one of the Raiders) that sparked my interest in telling the story. However, the inspiration came more specifically from a school assignment. What began as a research paper on my great-great-uncle eventually morphed into a book!

 

MBT: Was Jimmy Doolittle a kinfolk or one of the other pilots?

BB: Jimmy Doolittle wasn’t related to any of the other 79 airmen in the Doolittle Raid. In fact, he was a good bit older than the rest of them, and already had several decades of stunt and army flying under his belt.

 

MBT: Do you think that the Doolittle raid really made a difference in the outcome of the war against Imperial Japan?

BB: I believe that the Doolittle Raid radically affected the outcome of the war against Japan. It acted as the turning point which allowed the other, more obvious turning points to occur in the first place. Without the Doolittle Raid, there might not have been the subsequent victories at Midway and beyond.

 

MBT: Do you prefer writing nonfiction or fiction?

BB: I’ve written both, of course, but I find it pretty easy to choose a favorite. To me, fiction is the more freeing of the two, and provides for and endless range of storytelling possibilities. Nonfiction is largely concerned with depicting the facts correctly and (hopefully) in an engaging manner. Fiction, by contrast, has no such restraints; thus, it becomes free to devote itself to depicting life—not only as it is, but as it could be.

 

MBT:Where can I buy your books?

BB:Both of my books are available for sale on Amazon, and all three works can be purchased for Amazon Kindle. In addition, Finding Viola is available for an even wider list of eBook sellers.

 

MBT: How do I get a signed copy of one of your books?

BB: The best way to get signed books from me (if you can’t get them in-person) is on eBay. Find the seller “tabbystonepressbooks”—there you will find both my print books for sale, signed.

 

MBT: Do you have audio editions of your books?

BB: The audio edition of Denver and the Doolittle Raid is being released this week!

 

MBT: Why do you write?

BB: In a way, I write because I must. I write because the stories in my head won’t go away and the characters won’t shut up, so I figure I might as well share them with others. l write because I love words, and the things you can do when you harmonize words and phrases into chapters and volumes. Above all, I write because it is God’s gift and mandate. In the words of author K.M. Weiland, “Words have ever been and always will be the most forceful catalysts in the world."

 

MBT: Do you currently have a story you're working on? If so, what is it about?

BB: I am deep into a story at present, and it’s undoubtably my favorite project so far. It has consumed over two and a half years of my life thus far, and I’m not even finished with the first draft! Thankfully, I love the world and characters so much that working with them is simply thrilling. At present, I cannot reveal what the book is about…but I can tell you this: if I had to describe it in one word, that would be adventure.

 

MBT: How do you face writer's block?

BB: For a long time, I struggled with writer’s block, until I began to realize something: writer’s block really doesn’t exist. I think what many people dub “writer’s block” is simply an excuse. Yes, there are times when I don’t feel like writing at all, but if you footle about waiting for the “perfect” time to write, it’ll never come. I find that when I’m experiencing a blockage of inspiration, I simply write through it. Simply getting my fingers typing often gets my creative juices flowing soon enough.

 

MBT: About how often do you release a book?

BB:  Simply because I’m not writing full time yet (except for in the summer), I have no set schedule for book releases. However, if things go according to plans with some of my upcoming projects, there will be roughly two years between each of my books.

 

MBT: Do you have a blog/Facebook/good reads/etc.?

BB:  Yes! You can visit my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bo-Burnette/512039548910398, my blog at https://boburnette.wordpress.com/ , and my Goodreads page at https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8347223.Bo_Burnette.

 

Thank you so much for your time in answering these questions and providing me with a copy of your book to read and review!

 

In conjunction with this review and interview, the author has kindly agreed to put the Amazon Kindle edition of The Lighthouse Thief and Denver and the Doolittle Raid free through tomorrow! Be sure to click the links below to get your copy before the sale is over:

TLT: http://www.amazon.com/Lighthouse-Thief-Bo-Burnette-ebook/dp/B00L5MV3QW/ref=sr_1_1_twi_2_kin?ie=UTF8&qid=1435539114&sr=8-1&keywords=the+lighthouse+thief

 

DDR: http://www.amazon.com/Denver-Doolittle-Raid-Extraordinary-Ordinary-ebook/dp/B00AQ36WO4/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

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June 25 2015 5 25 /06 /June /2015 01:45

"Undercover Bride" by Margaret Brownley is the second book in the “Undercover Ladies” series, published by Barbour publishers.

Maggie Taylor is a Pinkerton private eye sent to find the Whistle-stop bandit by posing as a mail-order bride to Garrett Thomas, the main suspect. Throughout her career she's faced dangers of life and death, but never the danger of falling in love with the suspect.

Garrett Thomas is a Civil War veteran and widower with two young children who wants to marry a woman based off mutual respect. He doesn't know if his heart can handle loving another woman after losing Katherine, but knows the children need a mother. Can his broken heart mend enough to love Maggie even if she's not what she seems to be?

The book has an interesting setting and plot, and made for a quick read with lots of laughs. I felt that the romantic aspect of it was a little unsteady because of the identity illusions between the main characters, but the story was sweet and was a fairly light read. It didn't necessarily keep me on the edge of my seat, but I didn't get bored with it either. All in all, I'd recommend it.

Thanks to Barbour publishing for providing me with an electronic copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own and we're not required to be positive.

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June 10 2015 4 10 /06 /June /2015 15:58

"The Good, the Bad, and the Grace of God" by Jep and Jessica Robertson is the personal testimony of Duck Dynasty stars from the popular family television show on A&E network. This book offers a never before seen inside look at the childhoods, relationships, and trials of married couple Jep and Jessica.

This book tells of, as the title suggests, the ups and downs of this couple's lives and how God brought good through it. The themes are inspirational and applicable, reminding us that even TV stars have hardships and that while no one is perfect, God still loves us and give us grace. This up close and personal look is raw and powerful, but not necessarily appropriate for children who may be fans of the show.

I appreciated the honesty and vulnerability shown in this book and the lessons it taught. “The Good, the Bad, and the Grace of God” would make a wonderful Father’s Day or birthday present for both Duck Dynasty fans and those who just want a good summer read.

Thank you so much to the Book Look bloggers program and Thomas Nelson publishers 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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May 28 2015 5 28 /05 /May /2015 04:13

Tiffany Girl by Deeanne Gist is published by Howard books and is a stand-alone novel, set to be released in May of 2015. Personally, I liked several of Mrs. Gist's older works better, because they seemed sweeter and the characters more quaint and charming. Her more recent books have still been good, in my opinion, but more tedious and the characters less attracting. Tiffany Girl, unfortunately, followed this pattern for me. Flossie Jane is an independent woman, looking to work her own job outside of her mother's business. Flossie's father disapproves, so Flossie moves out to a boardinghouse, unmarried (a no-no in her day), and applies for an artistic job with stained glass. When Louis Tiffany's workers go on strike, he and his company end up hiring women.

Reeve Wilder is a little peeved at his new next door neighbor in the boardinghouse, because the walls are thin, and he can hear everything she and her roommate talk about. Eventually though, her optimistic personality and desire to unite the boarders in mealtime fellowship attracts him to her.

I didn't care for this book. I've enjoyed other books by Deeanne Gist, but this one didn't click with me. Flossie's semi-rebellious personality and desire to go against her father's will did not endear her to me, or make me want to read about her for 500+ pages. As for Reeve, I can't even remember anything about him. What did he do? What was special about him? Where was he from? Nothing makes him stick in my mind, except that he had some chemistry with Flossie.

Thank you to Net Galley and Howard publishers for providing me with an electronic copy of this book to read and review.

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May 13 2015 4 13 /05 /May /2015 01:54

 

     "Married 'til Monday" is the fourth book in the "Chapel Springs Romance" series written by Denise Hunter and published by Thomas Nelson.  I have really loved this series! Each sibling has their own quirks, but each is so loveable.

     Ryan McKinley married the love of his life after college, and after the loss of their baby and tensions in their relationships, his wife Abbey left him.  This book starts three years after their divorce, and Ryan is still struggling to recover from it.  His family, usually quite welcoming and accepting, never really liked Abbey.  Ryan knows he still loves her, but because Abbey has moved, does not know of anything he can do about it.  Then his ex-mother-in-law calls, inviting the couple to come to Maine for the weekend to celebrate her 35th anniversary.  Ryan realizes that she thinks he is still married to her daughter, and that Abbey never told her parents about her divorce.

     Abbey McKinley never told her parents about her divorce because of the verbal abuse she suffered from her dad as a child, and the "you'll never be good enough" messages she gets from him as an adult.  When Ryan shows up, telling her that he's driving with her, she doesn't see another possibility that would keep their secret hidden.  She just has to pretend to still be happily married to Ryan for the weekend.

     I really enjoyed this end to the stories of the McKinley children.  Ryan's character was an open book, which contrasted with Abbey's layers of motives and emotions.  I loved them both, and am sad that the series is over!  This was a sweet story to wrap it up.

     Thank you to Thomas Nelson and Net Galley for providing me with an electronic copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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