Tuesday, July 29, 2014

In the Field of Grace Book Review



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 About the Book





Destitute, grief-stricken, and unwanted by the people of God, Ruth arrives in Israel with nothing to recommend her but Naomi's, love. Her loftiest hope is to provide enough food to save Naomi and herself from starvation.

But God has other plans for her life. While everyone considers Ruth an outcast, she is astounded to find one of the most honored men of Judah showing her favor. Long since a widower and determined to stay that way, Boaz is irresistibly drawn to the foreign woman with the haunted eyes. He tells himself he is only being kind to his Cousin Naomi's chosen daughter when he goes out of his way to protect her from harm, but his heart knows better.

Based on the biblical account of Ruth, In the Field of Grace is the story of a love that ultimately changes the course of Israel's destiny and the future of the whole world.


If you would like to read the first chapter of In The Field of Grace, go HERE.


My Review

Many people have tried to write about Ruth and her story. I have read another book similar to this but I really liked Boaz side of things in this book. The story stars out with Boaz and his first wife and Ruth before her first husband. I liked these parts the most because it's what I know nothing about or the history in that time period. I think Tessa did her research but this is obviously a fiction book. When it came to the romance between Ruth and Boaz I was not so sure about it. It seemed a little different and perhaps off from the Biblical account but who knows what all happened. We are only given what we have in the Bible. It's interesting to see things in a new perspective though!

It was a good read, four stars.

"I received this book from CFBA for free in exchange for an honest review."





This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
In The Field of Grace
River North; New Edition edition (July 1, 2014)
by
Tessa Afshar


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


TESSA AFSHAR was voted "New Author of the Year" by the Family Fiction sponsored Reader's Choice Award 2011 for her novel Pearl in the Sand. She was born in Iran, and lived there for the first fourteen years of her life. She moved to England where she survived boarding school for girls and fell in love with Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte, before moving to the United States permanently. Her conversion to Christianity in her twenties changed the course of her life forever. Tessa holds an MDiv from Yale University where she served as co-chair of the Evangelical Fellowship at the Divinity School. She has spent the last thirteen years in full-time Christian work.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

When Shmack Happens Book Review




Title: When Shmack Happens: The Making of a Spiritual Champion Author: Amber Neben Genre: Christian nonfiction/inspirational stories/sports autobiography Paperback: 172 pages Publisher: Neben Px4 (March 18, 2014) ISBN-10: 0991303008 ISBN-13: 978-0991303007 Purchase at: Amazon USA: http://www.amazon.com/When-Shmack-Happens-Spiritual-Champion/dp/0991303008/ Book website: www.whenshmackhappens.com Amazon UK and Amazon EU Have you ever been through a hard time in life? Ever wondered why bad things happen? Amber Neben has you covered. The 2x Olympic cyclist for Team USA knows a thing or two about shmack- her word for describing adversity that comes our way in life. Follow Amber’s journey as she overcomes major obstacles both on and off the bike-and encourages you to join her in developing the perseverance, patience, perspective, and power than only Christ can give us. Very few people may know or understand what road cycling is, but everyone knows what it means to be an Olympian. The champion road cyclist chronicles her disappointments and failures, as well as amazing comebacks and victories-while thrilling audiences along the way with gripping stories of faith and hope. After reading When Shmack Happens, you’ll feel equipped and encouraged to face life’s tough moments, and find yourself cheering for Amber to get back on the bike…one more time. Learn what it means to be a spiritual champion in God’s eyes.  
Excerpt: From Chapter 10 Fear gripped me as I skidded to a stop against the guardrail and looked up at the entire peloton riding toward my head. Another rider had just slid into my front wheel, causing it to turn violently sideways, ripping the handlebars out of my hands, and instantly halting the bike’s forward momentum. Since my body was still carrying the 30-plus mph speed and energy, I launched with my arms out like superman until I hit the pavement. Hard. The combination of the friction of my body on the road followed by the impact with the guardrail spun me around, so I could see what was coming at me. For a few seconds more, I was terrified of being run over until the peloton had passed. After this immediate danger was gone, I realized my finger was screaming at me. I hadn’t initially noticed it, but now it hurt like nothing I had ever felt. Fear grabbed me again as I connected the pain with the blood and the massive gash on it. I thought for sure I was going to lose the tip of it if I didn’t get help fast. I had no idea what had just occurred. We had crested a climb and started an easy downhill. I was still up front on the outside of the group. The corner was sweeping to the left, and I was looking far down the road…when suddenly I was tossed. It wasn’t until later that night that the rider who was behind me explained what had happened, and why I had no chance to react or had any sense that it was coming. I was in the middle of the 2009 racing season, coming off of the World Championship win the previous year. Only two days prior, I had won the time trial stage in this race, the women’s Girod’Italia. The win had catapulted me into the General Classification (GC) lead, and although I had cramped the next day and lost it, I was still close enough to fight back. There were enough hill-top finishes remaining, and I wasn’t planning on giving up the race so easily. However, in an instant, everything changed. I went from being in contention, to being bloodied on the side of an Italian road in the middle of nowhere, waiting for the race ambulance and a doctor.
Amber Neben is a decorated international road cyclist with victories in 11 countries and multiple UCI Category 1 stage race wins. She is a 2x Olympian, 2x World Champion, 2x Pan American Champion and 2x National Champion. She holds a B.S. from The University of Nebraska and an M.S. from UC Irvine. Amber and her husband, Jason, reside in Lake Forest, CA. For information on speaking engagements or coaching visit amberneben.com.



My Review
I always find books about other people interesting. This book is all about Amber Neben and her exciting life as a champion with international road cycling. I honestly hadn't heard of her before this book but I don't follow anything on TV (we don't have it) and because of this I don't watch the Olympics much either. In any case this book was better than expected. It takes you into her life and really shows the reader how a personal relationship with Christ is possible, even when there is struggle. Amber has not had it easy, this book tells it all from accidents to being accused of taking drugs. She is a strong woman and I just have no idea what I would do in her place! Not only do you have to be strong physically but mentally and Amber is spiritually as well. This is a great book of picking yourself up and keeping on. 

"I received this book from the publisher and author for free in exchange for an honest review."



Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Beautiful On the Mountain Book Review

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About the Book

If you enjoyed the classic novel Christy and the bestselling Mitford series, then you’ll love Beautiful on the Mountain, a real-life tale about serving God in unlikely circumstances. In 1977, Jeannie Light left her fine plantation home amid heartbreak and came to Graves Mill, a tiny hamlet in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Alone in an utterly new kind of life, Jeannie was determined to find the courage to make a fresh start.

To Jeannie’s surprise, she found herself called upon by her new neighbors to open the old, deteriorated country church, a place that had once united the fractured community of mountain folk. With no training, and no small amount of trepidation, she undertook the task. And as she embarked on an unforeseen series of adventures, from heartbreaking to hilarious, Jeannie would learn more than she ever expected about faith, loving your neighbor, and doing the work that God sets in front of you. Because sometimes, God calls us to go where there is no path . . . and leave a trail. (Goodreads)


My Review

This book is a good one, but it most certainly did not make me think of the classic Christy. This is a young woman's memoirs so it is read like a biography. The book focuses on her time after her divorce and living in the country in Graves Mill. I really loved the first part of the book but when theology and seminary details started in full force it was more difficult to read. Jeannie does not become a pastor but she leads the people of the valley, starting with a Bible study. I think many people could read this book and pick it apart on what is theologically sound and look to different doctrines. I read this book and I found a woman who finds herself completely out of her comfort zone in the country surrounded by people who need love. She chooses to trust God and love and grow the community. She helps, she is honest, she doesn't need a fancy house, and she teaches others right from the Bible.
I love the setting and the story line is very well written. I really enjoy reading about other's lives and this book was very good. There were a few slow parts but it all came together and is a great testament to trusting in the Lord.

Check out Tyndale Publishing to learn more!















Tuesday, July 22, 2014

All for a Story Book Review


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About the Book

Monica Brisbane loves being a modern girl in the Roaring Twenties. Her job writing a gossip column allows her access to all the local speakeasys in Washington, D.C., where she can dance the night away--and find fodder for her next article. But when the owner of the "Capitol Chatter" newspaper passes away, Monica wonders what will happen to her job, and the lifestyle she loves.Max Moore may hold the title of editor-in-chief for evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson's paper, "The Bridal Call," but Aimee calls all the shots. So when Max learns that his uncle has passed away, leaving him all his earthly possessions, Max resigns and heads to D.C. Determined to take over the "Capitol Chatter," infuse it with his values, and turn it into a respectable paper, Max is soon bumping up against the equally determined Monica Brisbane.Under Max's direction, Monica embarks on her most challenging assignment yet: infiltrating and reporting on the Anti-Flirt Society. Though reluctant at first, as Monica meets and mingles with the young women of the club, she begins to question the innocence of her flirtatious lifestyle. And when romance begins to blossom between Max and Monica, she must choose where her loyalties lie: with the young women of the society or the alluring pull of the speakeasy and its inhabitants. (Goodreads)



My Review

I have now read all of the books in this series, having read this one last. The books really don't need to be read in order because there are mostly different characters in each book. This one takes the reader into the more rowdy side of the '20s. Monica is all about having a good time and getting a story for her column Monkey Business. She gets to go to the secret type places where booze and sex are frequently in the same setting. Allison Pittman doesn't give details but these topics are discussed. Monica's life made me feel like I had entered an old black and white movie and I really loved the setting and the characters. The story takes a few turns that I was not expecting but the ending is still good. The Anti-Flirt Society is fun to read about and added a lot to the story.

I really enjoyed this story even though at times things were a bit slow.

Four stars.
























Aaaargh!!! Book Review


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About the Book

This six-book series centers around two 23rd century goofballs, Tuna and Herby, who travel back in time to study TJ Finkelstein for their history project. TJ will someday become a great leader who demonstrates honesty, integrity, thoughtfulness, self-sacrifice, respect for others--all traits she hones and grasps through her adventures in this series. Unfortunately, Tuna and Herby get stuck in TJ's time (modern day), so she has to deal with their schemes while juggling the normal issues of a seventh grader who has moved to a new city, is trying to fit in, and is coping with her mother's death and her family's new life. In "AAAARGH!!!," Tuna and Herby try to help TJ with a book report by getting the author to write it for her, but all three of them quickly see the consequences of cheating spiral out of control. Meanwhile, TJ's cute neighbor and classmate Chad Steel is getting ready for a big surfing competition--and learning his own lesson about honesty. (Goodreads)


My Review

This is the second book in the Time Stumblers series. I liked this book because of fun Pirate and Treasure Island references. As usual many odd and random things go on with Tuna and Herby as they "help" TJ and discover a lesson on cheating. These books take creative thinking to read them which is why they are perfect for young adults and kids. I liked some of the other books in this series better but this one still teaches a good lesson while being a fun read.


For more info check out Tyndale Publishing!













Monday, July 21, 2014

Firewall Book Review


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About the Book

After a whirlwind romance, Taryn Young is preparing to board a plane at Houston International Airport, bound for a dream honeymoon, when a bomb decimates the terminal. Injured but still alive, she awakens to discover her husband is missing and they’re both considered prime suspects in the attack. Further, the FBI is convinced her husband isn’t who he appears to be.

Agent Grayson Hall’s number-one priority is to catch those responsible for the day’s act of terror. All evidence is pointing to Taryn and her new husband. But his instinct tells him her pleas of innocence are genuine. Is her naiveté just for show, or could she truly be another victim of a master scheme, possibly linked to the software she recently developed for her company?

With both their lives and reputations on the line, and the media outcry for justice increasing with each passing minute, Taryn and Grayson have no choice but to trust one another . . . and pray they can uncover the truth before they become two more casualties.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Firewall, go HERE.


My Review

I loved this book. From the first few pages this story takes of in a suspense that totally threw me for a loop. I loved Taryn's character and how she uses her brain and wit throughout the book. Reading about a terrorist attack is intense but to be thought of being guilty, that's a unique perspective! Diann Mills takes the reader on the opposite side of the situation and shows how easily things could happen and how the FBI works. There was really never a slow moment and as the ending neared I was trying to figure out the last "clue". By the last page I couldn't believe what I had just read, I had not seen that coming at all.
For a fast paced read this book is a must read!

"I received this book from CFBA for free in exchange for an honest review."







This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Firewall
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (July 1, 2014)
by
DiAnn Mills


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


DiAnn Mills believes her readers should “Expect an Adventure.” She is a fiction writer who combines an adventuresome spirit with unforgettable characters to create action-packed novels. Her books have won many awards through American Christian Fiction Writers, and she is the recipient of the Inspirational Reader’s Choice award for 2005, 2007, and 2010. She was a Christy Award finalist in 2008 and a Christy winner in 2010.

DiAnn is a founding board member for American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Inspirational Writers Alive, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and is the Craftsman Mentor for the Christian Writer’s Guild. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops.

DiAnn and her husband live in Houston, Texas. Visit her website or find her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/diannmills


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Voyage With the Vikings Book Review

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About the Book

While visiting Mr. Whittaker at Whit's Soda Shoppe, Beth and Patrick find a mysterious letter in the Imagination Station requesting a Viking sunstone. The letter is old and says that someone named Albert will be imprisoned if the sunstone isn't found. Mr. Whittaker sends cousins Patrick and Beth to Greenland circa 1000. On their quest for the sunstone, the cousins meet Vikings Erik the Red and Leif Eriksson--and find the sunstone as they join Leif on his first voyage to North America. But the adventure is just beginning, for when they return to Mr. Whittaker's workshop with the sunstone, there is another note waiting for them, requesting a silver goblet. Join Patrick and Beth as they continue their travel to various lands and time in the Imagination Station book series. (Goodreads)


My Review

Finally! I read the first book almost last. My library had to order all of the books in and they couldn't get this book in until just now. I loved this book, as I have this series. I think I might end up buying the entire set for my nephew. 
This book introduces Beth and Patrick and takes them on their first trip in the Imagination Station. They land on a Viking ship and come very close to a polar bear. After meeting Leif and Erik the Red the two discover what life was like during that time and how Christianity was portrayed a bit differently. In search for the sunstone to take back to Whit, the kids experience their first near death experiences. 

Great story and great series!

Check out Tyndale Publishing and Tyndale Rewards!











2 A.M. At the Cat's Pajamas Book Review


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 About the Book


Madeleine Altimari is a smart-mouthed, precocious nine-year-old and an aspiring jazz singer. As she mourns the recent death of her mother, she doesn’t realize that on Christmas Eve Eve she is about to have the most extraordinary day—and night—of her life. After bravely facing down mean-spirited classmates and rejection at school, Madeleine doggedly searches for Philadelphia's legendary jazz club The Cat's Pajamas, where she’s determined to make her on-stage debut. On the same day, her fifth grade teacher Sarina Greene, who’s just moved back to Philly after a divorce, is nervously looking forward to a dinner party that will reunite her with an old high school crush, afraid to hope that sparks might fly again. And across town at The Cat's Pajamas, club owner Lorca discovers that his beloved haunt may have to close forever, unless someone can find a way to quickly raise the $30,000 that would save it.

As these three lost souls search for love, music and hope on the snow-covered streets of Philadelphia, together they will discover life’s endless possibilities over the course of one magical night. A vivacious, charming and moving debut, 2 AM AT THE CAT'S PAJAMAS will capture your heart and have you laughing out loud. (Goodreads)


My Review

 Note: this is not a Christian book and has references to drugs, sex, alcohol, and lots of language. Just so my usual readers are aware.

I picked this book because of the title. I love the title of this book and looked forward to a witty type read. This book started off good and ended flat. There is not much point to the many stories wound into this one book. The characters didn't have much depth except Madeleine who is the nine year old who is controlling her own life. Smoking and dancing and singing, she cusses out her teacher after being denied a caramel apple. I actually liked Madeleine's character because there is a back story to her actions and that is what made me want to finish the book. The many other stories seemed pointless to me but they all are ended at the Cat's Pajamas which is a jazz club. I love the setting and how the book is written, I just think the storyline could have been better. 
Three stars. 

This book is released August 5, 2014.

"I received this book from Blogging for Books for free in exchange for an honest review."
 










Saturday, July 19, 2014

Custom Canvas Artwork from CanvasHQ and Giveaway!



Update: Heather is our winner! 
 
I order a lot of canvases for my pictures. I like canvases because they are more affordable than framing a print, and they look nice. That being said, I have used great companies where the canvases look great, and a couple times I've gotten really awful sagging/cheap looking canvases. 
CanvasHQ did an excellent job on my canvas. I love how tight the wrap is around the wood frame and my picture came out exactly how I wanted it. Before the company created the product they sent me a proof so I could "see the final product". Their website is easy to use and navigate and I like the options they provided. My canvas was packaged professionally and shipped to my door. I was comparing this canvas to the other one's that I have and I think this one is the best when it comes to how it is built. I also chose the wrap around of the picture onto the canvas. There are other ways to make it but I think it looks better if the picture keeps going on the sides. I will be ordering from the company again!


Thursday, July 17, 2014

52 Uncommon Dates Book Review and Giveaway!



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About the Book

We know we should do it. We talk about it and acknowledge the benefits; yet most couples find praying together is somewhat awkward, intimidating, or something we lack the time for. It's time to experience a breath of fresh air... in prayer.

52 Uncommon Dates ignites a prayerful and playful connection in a way that feels natural for couples to schedule and relate to real life. Fun, creative, and spiritually engaging, this powerful resource will revive the relational, physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of your relationship, one date at a time. (Goodreads)


My Review

Ever since I got married three years ago I have heard many people tell me to "keep dating". All of the marriage studies and books also promote the idea of a couple to keep dating. That being said, I think many of these push the idea mainly for couples with kids. It's more difficult for them to go on "date nights". As a couple without kids and only one dog, a lot of the ideas behind date nights don't really relate to us.
Many of the dates listed in this book are our daily lives on the weekend. We go on bike rides, we cook, we watch movies, we hike, and we play on the playground. Obviously this is not always the case but for couples that don't get to do these things on a daily basis this book is perfect.
I would give this book to any newlywed or any couple who has small children. Some of my favorite date ideas are: Lego date, park bench date (sitting and reading the Bible in the park), sunrise date, and the cemetery date. This book really does have some great simple ideas. None of the things have to cost that much money. Many of the dates are not for small town/country folk. Going to the zoo or the arcade etc. these aren't always things they can do when the nearest anything is five hours away. There is enough variety throughout the book that the couple can get creative on the matter though if in this situation.
The main part of this particular date book that I like is before and after each date the couple prays, and then they talk about what they did and how it honors God or how they can live out their faith. This also gives verses and other resources to read to go along with each date.  

This is a great book I really loved it.

I recommend to any couple.

"I received this book from the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review."


Enter below to win one paperback copy of 52 Uncommon Dates by Randy Southern!
United States and Canada only please.











a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Book of Revelation Made Clear Book Review


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About the Book


A fun and fascinating way to learn about the book of Revelation.

The Bible's final book, Revelation, can seem intimidating or downright impossible to comprehend, even for serious students of the Scriptures.

Filled with complex imagery, vivid depictions of violence, and challenging spiritual references, Revelation is often set aside by readers in favor of more straightforward, easier-to-digest biblical material. Yet the capstone of the canon need not remain a mystery.

In this refreshingly accessible book, Bible scholar and best-selling author Tim LaHaye (originator of the Left Behind series) and renowned puzzle master Timothy E. Parker (editor of the "USA Today" Crossword, and founder of "The Universal Crossword," King James Games, and Master Puzzles) demystify Revelation for your benefit. Absorb this book and discover afresh--or for the first time--the richness of Revelation and its God-breathed, life-changing power to deepen your walk of faith. (Goodreads)


My Review

This book intrigued me because the book of Revelation is an intimidating book to read. There are so many things going on and things that don't make any sense I thought this book would be helpful. I like this book because is actually breaks down the verses and explains what is going on. I didn't realize there were going to be so many quizzes-wow! If you want to have complete knowledge on Revelation this book is great because the reader is quizzed on everything. It's a neat idea, but I wish there weren't quite so many. In the back of the book is a long list of Names for our Lord Throughout Scripture. There is so much info that is obviously taken right out the Bible but put into a better understanding within this book. 
Highly recommend!

"I received this book from BookLook for free in exchange for an honest review."












 





Death Takes A Ride Book Review








 About the Book

It's official. This case is above her pay grade--and Cate's in over her head.
Cate Kinkaid arrives at H&B Vintage Auto Restorations to give a friend a ride. But, as usual, trouble finds Cate even there--this time in the form of one dead man, one wounded man, and what appears to be a pretty obvious case of self-defense.

Despite having been merely an unfortunate bystander, Cate finds herself sucked into the case. And the deeper she gets, the more she begins to suspect that the shooting in the H&B office may not have been as cut-and-dried as it appeared.


Lorena McCourtney is the New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of dozens of novels, including Invisible (which won a Daphne du Maurier Award from Romance Writers of America), Dying to Read, and Dolled Up to Die. She resides in Oregon. Learn more at www.lorenamccourtney.com.



My Review
This is the first book by Lorena McCourtney I have read. I think the books can be read separately but I did notice there was a little bit of Cate's personal story that I had missed because I hadn't read the first two books. That being said, it didn't take away from this story at all. I really love the writing in this book, it's serious things going on while humorous in so many ways. Cate is a fun character and I liked how she reacted to her every day life as a private investigator. This book kept me going, I wanted to know what happened. I had the murder solved right away, it wasn't quite as suspenseful as I had hoped, I kept wanting to tell Cate what actually happened. In any case this was a fun murder mystery that did keep me entertained. 

I'll be reading more by this author!

"I received this book from Revell for free in exchange for an honest review."











Monday, July 14, 2014

Shenandoah Dreams Book Review


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 About the Book

What if she met the man of her dreams...in another century? Tisbury, Massachusetts, Martha s Vineyard. It s just a dream, Melissa Smith whispers as she stares into the intense eyes of a man dressed in Colonial clothes, as though stepping out of an American Revolution movie set. A school chaperone with Holmes Hole Elementary, she d boarded the old schooner Shenandoah for a weeklong educational sail. But they are not visiting Plimoth Plantation, the Boston Tea Party Museum, or the Concord Bridge reenactment. They re sailing the waters around the island of Martha s Vineyard. Yet, when she awakes in Cabin 8, the captain claims to be Isaiah Reed, who sailed the original Shenandoah in the eighteenth century. He cannot possibly be real, Melissa thinks. And traveling back in time is impossible. But days pass, and she s still in 1770. What if Isaiah, who is simply too handsome to be real, is real? What if the fire he ignites in her from barely a touch isn t in her imagination? Can a dream last for weeks on end? If so, how will she find her way home...to the twenty-first century? And can she bear to leave the one man who has captured her heart, when everything in her longs to stay? A Vineyard Romance Romance, history, adventure. Get swept into the exciting Winds of Change series. (Goodreads)



My Review

 This was a very unique book that took me by surprise. Melissa is a chaperone on the Shenandoah and finds herself in a different time. While reading this book i kept thinking something would happen and then something would take me by surprise. The writing is good and the characters are fun. This book puts a new twist on time travel and the reader has no idea what is going to happen until the end. 

I enjoyed this book but it's so unrealistic that I needed to have a different mindset starting the book. I do like the fact that the author puts a twist on history and she did a good job!

"I received this book from CFBA for free in exchange for an honest review."








This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Shenandoah Dreams
OakTara Publishers (July 1, 2014)
by
Lisa Belcastro


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Lisa Belcastro lives with her family on Martha’s Vineyard. She loves chocolate, gardening, outdoor activities, cooking, laughing, reading, traveling, a healthy dose of adventure, and her cat Ben, who keeps her company while she spends hours working at the computer.

She was inspired to write Shenandoah Nights, the first book in the Winds of Change trilogy, while chaperoning two Tisbury School summer sails with her daughter, Kayla, aboard the schooner Shenandoah. The weeklong adventure, sans electricity, Game Boys, iPods and modern conveniences, kindled her imagination to dream of an altogether different voyage.

In addition to writing romance novels, Lisa currently pens the cuisine column for Vineyard Style magazine. She has worked as a staff and freelance reporter and photographer for The Chronicle of the Horse and as assistant editor at The Blue Ridge Leader. She has written articles for USA Today, Dressage (London), USA WEEKEND Magazine, The Blue Ridge Leader and Sidelines.

When she’s not at her desk, Lisa is living in paradise, volunteering at her daughter’s school, serving in her church community, planting and weeding her numerous gardens, trying to run a marathon a month, or walking the beach looking for sea glass.




Friday, July 11, 2014

Every Waking Moment Book Review



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About the Book

Treha Langsam is a mysterious young woman who has fallen through the cracks, much like many of the elderly people she works with at Desert Gardens Retirement Home. But Miriam Howard, director of the facility, sees her extraordinary gift and untapped potential. Treha is a whisperer of sorts, calling those who have slipped into dementia back to a life of vibrant, if only temporary, clarity.When Treha's and Miriam's stories intertwine with a documentary team looking for stories of the elderly, Treha's gift is uncovered, and the search begins for answers to the mysteries of her past. As their paths converge, each person is forced to face the same difficult question: "What if this is as good as my life gets?"An uplifting, human tale of an ordinary woman with an extraordinary gift. (Goodreads)

My Review
 I wasn't sure what to expect but I enjoy books that include older people because there is usually a deep story line with the characters. This book is unique because it takes you into Treha's life as she helps older people with dementia. I really can't imagine what this type of situation would be like, I've never been around it but it takes a patient caring person. I really like Miriam's character because she stands up for the people who can't stand up for themselves.
This book has so many layers that I wasn't expecting and a bit of mystery.

Parts of the story got a bit long for me and it was a little hard to get into the story line but once you get into the book it's interesting.

Four stars.
 

*Check out Tyndale Rewards! This book is from Tyndale Publishing and they have great books that you can get for free! If you sign up following the link you will get an extra 25 points toward free items!





Murder at the Mikado Book Review


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About the Book



Just as Drew Farthering thinks his life has found smooth waters, Fleur Landis, an old flame, reappears in his life. She's married now, no longer an actress, and he expects she'll soon disappear--until she comes to him in dire need. The lead actor in her old troupe's production of The Mikado has been murdered, and Fleur is the police's number one suspect.

Drew would love nothing more than to just focus on his fiance, Madeline, and their upcoming wedding, but he can't leave Fleur in the lurch--even if she did break his heart once. As Drew, Nick, and Madeline dive into the murder, they discover more going on behind the scenes of the theater troupe than could ever have been imagined. Nearly everyone had a motive, and alibis are few and far between. It's Drew's most complicated case yet. (Goodreads)


My Review

I have read the previous two books in this series and I still think that the first is the best. This book has a good twist and goes more into Drew and Madeline's relationship. Deering reminds me a bit of Anne Perry's writing but these books are unique in their own way. The mystery is surrounding Fleur and acting along with some candy that's been poisoned. The mystery part did not hold my attention as much as I had hoped. I was more interested in the relationship part in this book but thought the opposite while reading the second book. I still enjoy these characters but I'm ready for something new from Deering.

Four stars.
I highly recommend reading the first two books before picking this one up.

"I received this book from Bethany House for free in exchange for an honest review."






Thursday, July 10, 2014

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena Book Review


18428067
via
About the Book


In a small rural village in Chechnya, eight-year-old Havaa watches from the woods as Russian soldiers abduct her father in the middle of the night and then set fire to her home. When their lifelong neighbor Akhmed finds Havaa hiding in the forest with a strange blue suitcase, he makes a decision that will forever change their lives. He will seek refuge at the abandoned hospital where the sole remaining doctor, Sonja Rabina, treats the wounded.

For Sonja, the arrival of Akhmed and Havaa is an unwelcome surprise. Weary and overburdened, she has no desire to take on additional risk and responsibility. But over the course of five extraordinary days, Sonja’s world will shift on its axis and reveal the intricate pattern of connections that weaves together the pasts of these three unlikely companions and unexpectedly decides their fate. A story of the transcendent power of love in wartime, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena is a work of sweeping breadth, profound compassion, and lasting significance.

Now with Extra Libris material, including a reader’s guide and bonus content from the author. (Goodreads)

My Review

 Note: There is some language and topics such as prostitution are throughout the book. This is not a Christian book just so my usual readers are aware. 

 I read this book because I wanted something different. This book is very well written and created a pretty good picture of what was going on in my mind. While this book came out in 2013, is still seems to be pretty popular. I liked the first part of the book and learning about the characters, Havaa and Akhmed. I know nothing about Chechnya or the Russian soldiers that set fire to Havaa's home. I think that's what intrigued me the most, this book was a constant gain of knowledge for me. There are two stories in this book that combine into one and there is a little time line bar at the top of each chapter so the reader wouldn't get confused. I wish more books were like this because it was really helpful!
Overall this book takes you to an unknown place out of your comfort zone and carries you through a beautiful story. 
That being said, I do think the book got a bit wordy at times.

Three to four stars.

"I received this book from Blogging for Books for free in exchange for an honest review."









Secret of the Prince's Tomb Book Review



12622568
via
About the Book

"The Egyptians believe that whoever opens a tomb will be cursed!" The hot sun and sand of ancient Egypt await Patrick and Beth in their next Imagination Station adventure. The cousins are caught between a terrible ruler and a nation bound for slavery. To help their new friend Tabitha, the cousins must seek out a great secret--one that will give hope to her family and future generations. Their search takes them to an ancient burial vault and . . . a mummy! But the vault is a confusing maze, filled with traps and mysterious symbols. Will the cousins ever get out again to share a life-changing hope? (Goodreads)



My Review

Egypt is holding a new adventure for Patrick and Beth in this 7th Imagination Station book! I really liked the point of view on this book. Usually all the stories are based upon things that happened before and after this time period but this books placed them between Joseph and Moses time. Very interesting to see how Egypt was after Joseph died, the Hebrews were free and taken care of. Now things are starting to get scary when the kids witness some people being beaten. This will start the time of when they become slaves and before Moses comes to save them and take them out of Egypt. The kids meet Pharaoh's son and Tabitha, a young Hebrew girl. They end up in a tomb but aren't sure whose and they are really surprised once they find out.
This is a great story and very well written about this time period.

Highly recommend!

*Check out Tyndale Rewards! This book is from Tyndale Publishing and they have great books that you can get for free! If you sign up following the link you will get an extra 25 points toward free items!






Peril in the Palace Book Review



10506203
via
About the Book

The place? China in 1271. The quest? The golden tablet of Kublai Khan. The problem? Just about everything The Imagination Station adventures continue as cousins Patrick and Beth are kidnapped by Mongol warriors. Only the friendship of fellow traveler Marco Polo saves them from harm. They are brought to the Mongol palace, where the Kublai Khan dislikes both their gifts and their message about Christianity. The tension grows when the Mongol magicians challenge the cousins to a spiritual power showdown. As war breaks out, Beth and Patrick are locked in a secret room to prevent their escape. How do the cousins get the golden tablet they need to save Mr. Whittaker's friend Albert? How do they escape the city and find the Imagination Station? Enter the perilous palace and find out. (Goodreads)

My Review

Patrick and Beth are on another adventure! This story takes the kids to China to find the golden tablet and continue the story line from the first two books. In each book there is a prologue so that the reader knows what is going on if (like me) you are reading the books out of order.

I like the outfits that they get to wear, they obviously have to look the part so Whit always sends them into the Imagination Station wearing the proper attire. I also found this story interesting because I didn't know much about Marco Polo or China with Kublai Khan. The kids end up talking to the emperor and try to tell him about Jesus.
This story also includes them being picked up by a huge bird? You will have to read the story to find out about that part!

I love this series.
Highly recommend!















Love. Period. Book Review



Love. Period.: Loving Those Who are Not Like You
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 About the Book


Who among us doesn't desperately need... Love. Period.
Love without conditions ... acceptance that will change the world. Every one of us wants to be more than just accepted; Rudy shows us how to love people who are not like us. By truly understanding what Jesus meant when He said love is the greatest commandment of all, we learn how to love people—of different races, backgrounds, economic status, physical or mentally challenged, or dependent. Love. Period. is a message demonstrating the only way we get that kind of love is by giving it to others.

About the Author

Pastor Rudy Rasmus has led St. John's United Methodist Church with his wife, Juanita, for more than twenty years. St. John's has grown to over 9,000-member church (3,000 of whom are, or were, homeless at one time) and is one of the most culturally diverse congregations in the country. Pastor Rudy attributes the success of the church to a compassionate congregation which has embraced the vision of tearing down walls of classism, sexism, and racism, and replacing them with unconditional love and acceptance. Rudy and Juanita are the proud parents of two daughters. (Via)


 This book was not what I was expecting. I was interested because of the title and curious to read a new point of view. I agree that God wants us to love, no matter the race, gender, etc. This book has some good points and obvious examples of what it looks like NOT to love. It also shows a kind man who in the worst situation chooses to love. That is what I took away from this book the most. When you really want to snap at someone at work or family or at the coffee line, choose to love. Choose to be an example and not be hateful or rude. 
I think we are suppose to love everyone, but not necessarily their actions. There are a lot of people I don't agree with what they do but I love them anyway.

This was an ok book but not my favorite. 

Three stars. 

"I received this book from the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review."




1.     You believe that loving without condition means loving regardless of race, class, gender, orientation, or past deeds. How would you respond to someone who says he can’t love someone who he believes is making sinful lifestyle choices?
Sinful is a big word with many implications and interpretations based on the cultural context. I define sin as “anything that separates a person from their creator and prohibits that person from fulfilling their God ordained purpose.” With this definition in mind, to determine another person’s  “sinful lifestyle choice” is a subjective experience based on how the person interprets the word “sin.”
To begin with, I carefully separate a person’s race, class, gender, or orientation from a person’s conscious deeds which are more connected to a person’s character defined by the way a person thinks, feels or responds. The task of every person in the human family is to respect “the other’s” place in the world rather than assuming agreement is necessary for love to be present.

2.     How have you seen love break down walls of classism, sexism, and racism in your own city of Houston?
Achieving racial equality has been a long journey in Houston and the rest of the American South. I drank from a separate water fountain until I was 11 years old in Houston but today it is one of the most diverse cities in the United States.
If the mandate of love is to “love your neighbor as you love yourself,” then Houston is proving everyday that it is a place where people of every class, station, or orientation have a place to call home. This is a reminder that love ultimately accomplishes what legislation can’t. 

3.     You write that there is a big difference between loving our neighbor as ourselves and loving the neighborhood. What do you mean by that?
I don’t believe you can truly extend love to broader cultural context before you can perfect loving the person in front of you at this very moment. If I want to know how you interpret love, I can look for your fruit as a determinant. The love Jesus talked about is not preferential love based on a pre-existing qualification process, but its love in the same way that God loves us and out of this love we are to love “the neighbor.”  I am making the assumption “the neighbor” is a sociological parameter and not a geographic determination makes everyone on the planet our neighbor whether we like, agree, or approve of their life expression or not.  The greatest commandment was to love God (through sacrifice), love others (through service), and to love self (through self-respect). 

4.     What is the connection between vulnerability and love?
Madeleine L’Engle once wrote, “When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability. To be alive is to be vulnerable.”
The major obstacle in today’s world prohibiting the sharing of love is scarcity, inadequacy, and insecurity. In other words, not feeling as though I have enough; not feeling I can do enough; and not feeling I am enough. There is a proverb that goes, “The person who doesn’t know what enough is, will never have enough.” Scarcity is rampant in shame-prone, materialistic, competitive societies, which are overly focused on lack.
Love requires a generous heart, free of fear, and a willingness to be vulnerable.
In Love. Period. I wrote,  “Love liberates us so we can walk fully in the truth of God’s love, and reach out to others with great vulnerability, in order to engage others in a relationship that brings honor to God.”

5.      We hear a lot about being an “entitlement nation.” How do you see that displayed in our society today?
The term “narcissism” finds its origins in Greek Mythology where Narcissus is remembered for having fallen in love with his own reflection. And since he could not obtain the object of his love, he died of sorrow by the same pool. I’m not implying our society has fatally fallen in love with its own image, but could that we have become so consumed with our own reflection, that we have possibly missed seeing the needs of the world around us? At the end of the day, “Love is as love does.”
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