Monday, June 29, 2015

Dead Dog Like Me

Nick Gregory regains consciousness after a horrific car accident to find he’s been transported back in time and that he has become Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s son and King Saul’s grandson. Aware that he’s experiencing another man’s life, he has to learn fast. When mega-church pastor, Nick Gregory, regains consciousness after a horrific car accident, he’s on the ground in agonizing pain. Nick realizes he is in a bizarre place – a foreign, parched, ancient land, having been transported back in time to 800 B.C. Unbelievably, he is in the body of a prince named Mephibosheth, a son of Jonathan and King Saul’s grandson. Nick is fully aware of who he is and that he’s now living in Mephibosheth’s body, strangely able to speak and understand Hebrew. This experience helps him see that he, like Mephibosheth, is a broken man desperate for God’s outrageous grace and healing (2 Samuel 9:8). Returning to present day, Nick’s experience motivates a changed life.

My thoughts: This book took me by surprise. I can't say that I liked the main character at the beginning, but his story is very compelling and will challenge you to take out your Old Testament and read more about Mephibosheth. I like how the characters develop and that the author tackles some difficult issues.
I received this book from Worthy publishing in exchange for my honest review.

Take Ten

This week, the book meme from the Broke and Bookish is top ten books that I have read this year. I think I shall split this one up and list the top five novels that I have read and then five books that my daughter and I have enjoyed reading together.;)

1. Maggie Bright

While the story took me a bit to get into, it swept me away! Tracy does a gorgeous job of writing likeable characters and bringing to life the miracle of Dunkirk. I was blown away by this story!

2. Shadows over Ladenbrooke Manor

I'm still working on my review for this one, since it was just that incredible.;) It was an interesting story of family secrets that really makes the reader think about how challenging (especially in the mid 1900's) it can be to raise a special needs child. I shall try not to give the story away, but you all need to read it.;)

3. The Dandelion Field

This book blew me away! I love how the author dealt with some sensitive subjects, like teen pregnancy. This is another one that you all just need to go out and buy.;) You pretty much need to go out and buy all 5 of these novels! lol.

4. A Sparrow in Terezin

What can I say? I'm drawn to books about WWII and the heroism that took place in the midst of such an ugly time in history.

5. Paper Hearts

I almost made the mistake of saying this one is chick lit, but it has some surprising depth to it. I love the idea of writing what you love about someone on paper hearts.;)

Kid books

6. The Day the Crayons Quit

This one might be a bit to advanced (aka, to many words per page) for my daughter, but I loved it and thought the story was adorable!

7. Count the Monkeys

This one is so much fun!

8. The Dot

This is the perfect inspiration for teachers!

9. I Lost my Kisses

Another adorable story.

10. Hooray for Hat

To Capture Her Heart

It is 1653 and Heather Flower, a princess of the Montauk tribe, is enjoying her wedding feast when her groom is killed and she is kidnapped by a rival tribe and held for ransom. Though her ransom is paid by an Englishman, she is nonetheless left to die in a Connecticut forest--until she finds herself rescued by handsome Dutch Lieutenant Dirk Van Buren. Torn between her affection for Dirk and her long friendship with family friend Benjamin Horton, Heather Flower must make a difficult choice--stay true to her friend or follow her heart

My thoughts: I have been getting into stories set in the early days of American history, when we were still under the British rule and seeing how the colonist related to their Native American neighbors. This story is an interesting historical tale. I like the characters and all the detail that the author put into the story. I would of liked the ending to have more to it, but that is my only "complaint".;)
I received this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Take Ten

In honor of their 5 year anniversary, the topic for this week's Top Ten at the Broke and Bookish is top ten favorite topics that they have had over the years.

1. I love the seasonal TBR lists, since it is fun to see what everyone has on theirs! Perhaps not their most creative topic, but it is always an easy one to write about.;)

2. Top Ten characters who would of been at my lunch table in school. Or, something to that affect. This one was a blast to do! I forgot some incredible characters on my list, but it was such a fun topic.

3. Childhood favorites. Again, another easy, not very creative one for me to pick, but it's a favorites since I love re-visiting my childhood favorites and talking about where my love of reading started.;)

4. Favorite book quotes. I love quotes, and am always jotting down my favorites, so it is fun when this topic comes up and I finally have a chance to share my favorite quotes!

(a totally random favorite from one of my all time favorites)

5. Characters and Literary figures I would name my children after. Ah, the possibilities with this one! I think my husband would veto a lot of favorites.;)

6. Favorite love stories. Why? Because I am a hopeless sap who enjoys a well written love story (no Shades of Grey twaddle).

7. Fictional BFF's. This one is much like the Childhood favorites. I like re-visiting my favorite books and talking about them.;)

8. Bookish habits. This one was a hilarious topic! It was such fun to come up with a list of them for myself and then to see what other bloggers came up with. I have to say, it was nice to find that I wasn't alone in a lot of my habits.;) (I'd say misery likes company, but one is never miserable with an excellent book!)

9. Books I would want on a deserted island with me. It seems like this was one of my first memes that I did, and I may have been a bit practical (like, listing some survival books). While practical helps, it would also be nice to have favorites that I could read again and again, as well as some lengthy classics that I never made it through. Or, ones like War and Peace that, while I read it, I don't remember much. I think it might be more of a guy's book, with all the war, but that could just be an excuse.;)

10. Books I am passionate about. I could even have a list of ten that I love and ten that I loathe.;)

And, as a totally random bonus (since I feel weird about hardly including any pictures), here are a few of the books I'm working on this week:
The Curiosity Keeper

The Last Con

Crazy Little Thing Called Love

7 Family Ministry Essentials

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor

When Heather Toulson returns to her parents cottage in the English countryside, she uncovers long-hidden secrets about her family history and stumbles onto the truth about a sixty-year-old murder. Libby, a free spirit who can't be tamed by her parents, finds solace with her neighbor Oliver, the son of Lord Croft of Ladenbrooke Manor. Libby finds herself pregnant and alone when her father kicks her out and Oliver mysteriously drowns in a nearby river. Though theories spread across the English countryside, no one is ever held responsible for Oliver's death.Sixty years later, Heather Toulson, returning to her family's cottage in the shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor, is filled with mixed emotions. She's mourning her father's passing but can't let go of the anger and resentment over their strained relationship. Adding to her confusion, Heather has an uneasy reunion with her first love, all while sorting through her family's belongings left behind in the cottage. As Heather digs, she finds a mysterious journal that belonged to a woman she never knew and it contains clues that lead to the truth about a mysterious drowning decades ago. What she uncovers will change everything she thought she knew about her family's history. Award-winning author Melanie Dobson seamlessly weaves the past and present together, fluidly unraveling the decades-old mystery and reveals how the characters are connected in shocking ways. Set in a charming world of thatched cottages, lush gardens, and lovely summer evenings, this romantic and historical mystery brings to light the secrets and heartaches that have divided a family for generations.

My thoughts: I had a hard time putting this book down! It is such a interesting story of family secrets and hard choices. I love that the story spans 3 generations and is set against the backdrop of England. I don't want to say too much about the story, since I don't want to give anything away, but I can't imagine how it would of been to be in the mid 1900's and have your child's learning abilities blamed on how a mother parents or loves her child. It blew me away to read about that. 
This book is one of the best I have read all year. The story moved along seamlessly and the characters came alive. 5 stars!
I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review

Laugh Out Loud Pocket Doodles for Boys

Rob Elliott's Laugh-Out-Loud joke books have brought laughter to more than half a million households. His last book invited kids into the action as he teamed up with cartoonist Jonny Hawkins to create "Laugh-Out-Loud Doodles for Kids." Now the dynamic duo is back with two brand-new books for boys and girls who love to draw and love to laugh! Packed with jokes that will keep boys and girls giggling for hours, and unfinished doodles for them to complete any way they want, these books keep little hands and minds busy. Perfect for road trips, lazy summer days, or anytime the kids say, "I'm bored!"

My thoughts: I think these fun doodle books are perfect for summer vacation, whether you are going somewhere or not! The pages are filled with fun drawings and jokes, which should keep kids entertained for hours.;) My daughter and I have had fun looking through the different pages, though we won't be drawing in it until she is a bit older (or, till one of her cousins is a bit older). It is a perfect little book to tuck in the car for boring drives.;)
I received this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review.

Laugh Out Loud Pocket Doodles for Girls

Q: What's the worst thing to leave home without?

A: This book!

Stuck in the car on a long trip? Bored out of your mind in a waiting room? Have a few minutes before bedtime? Then you have enough time to let your imagination run wild!

Laugh-Out-Loud Pocket Doodles for Girls lets you

· tell jokes that will have people laughing out loud
· complete hilarious doodles
· entertain everyone around you!

More than one million copies of the Laugh-Out-Loud joke books have been sold. Grab your pens, pencils, crayons, or markers and see what all the fuss is about!

My thoughts: This is such a fun little book! With it being the time for summer vacations and road trips, this book would be the perfect addition to those trips, since it provides hours of entertainment for the little artist (and, the whole family!) to come up with finishing the pictures on each page. I like that each picture has a joke with it.;)
Even though my daughter is young (and I won't let her color in this just yet), she loves to look through the book. It's a cute little size that she thinks is perfect for her.;)
I received this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review.

The Little Girl and Her Shadow

Having the cutest dresses, the best toys, and the softest bed isn’t enough to make this little girl happy. All she ever does is whine and complain. Finally, her shadow decides to teach her a lesson she’ll never forget! With a gentle reminder about the value of gratitude and friendship, this delightfully illustrated picture book will charm children and parents alike.

My thoughts: My daughter and I enjoyed this little book! While I think it is really geared towards children over two and older, she still liked the story and pictures, though there were times where there were to many words on the page for her liking.;) I appreciated the message that things don't make us happy and that we can control our attitudes. Two thumbs up!
I received this book from Cedar Fort in exchange for my honest review.


This book is so much fun! The variety of cupcake recipes are the perfect way to make any get together special, since there are so many fun flavors and combinations! I love that the book includes tips for you to look over before baking, showing fun ways to mix up the way the frosting goes on and the decorations you can put on and with the cupcakes. I look forward to using this book for upcoming birthdays! My only complaint (which, for most people, isn't a big deal) is that the recipes use box mixes. I like to make everything from scratch, so that is a turn off for me, but I think it does make the recipes a lot more doable. And, I know that most people (my BIL included) likes how soft cake mix cakes are. So, it just depends on your preference.
I received this book from Cedar Fort in exchange for my honest review.

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Friday, June 19, 2015

Happiness Accourding to Jesus

Bobby Schuller has experienced enough loss and family struggle in his thirty-three years to understand that being blessed is not about glory, money, or fame. It's about so much more.

In Happiness According to Jesus, Schuller explores ten contemporary truths drawn from Jesus's Sermon on the Mount about what it means to live a blessed life. He asks:
How can I be a peacemaker in my relationships?
If God loves me, why won't he answer my prayers?
Is it wrong to be materially blessed?
What does it mean to be "poor in spirit"?
How can I find fulfillment whatever the circumstances?

No matter how long we have been following him, Jesus wants to mold our hearts to his so we view life as he does. As Schuller writes, Jesus didn't come to bring a new law. He came to make us a new creation.

My thoughts: I like that this book is based on the Sermon on the Mount, which is something we have been studying at our home. Filled with personal experiences, this is a wonderful and easy read. I thought it was engaging and insightful.
I received this book from Worthy in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Yogurt by Janet Fletcher

A fresh, modern yogurt-centric cookbook that showcases the versatility of this dairy superstar in 50 recipes for appetizers, salads, soups, sauces, marinades, beverages, and desserts, and provides fail-proof directions for making your own yogurt at home.
Americans have fallen in love with yogurt, thanks to its creamy texture, tangy flavor, and health-promoting probiotic cultures. In Yogurt, a fresh and modern full-color cookbook, author Janet Fletcher demonstrates the versatility of this dairy superstar in more than fifty recipes for appetizers, salads, soups, beverages, and desserts. Fromroasted tomato bruschetta with yogurt cheese tomeatballs in a warm yogurt sauce to a golden yogurt cake, these recipes showcase yogurt in dishes both rustic and sophisticated. Drawing inspiration from the culinary traditions of Greece, Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, India, and beyond, this useful handbook includes a guide to purchasing yogurt (all of the recipes work with quality store-bought brands), advice on choosing a yogurt maker, and easy methods for making yogurt, Greek yogurt, and yogurt cheese at home.

My thoughts: I enjoy making my own yogurt, so I was thrilled to get this cookbook in the mail! While some of the recipes are fairly simple (fruit smoothies, like those I grew up eith), there are also a lot of fun and inventive recipes that I would of never thought of. I especially like how the recipes incorporate a lot of herbs and vegetables that one can either easily grow or find at a local farmers market. That is always a huge plus in my book! :-)
I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Summer's List

Life hadn't been easy for Summer Snow. In acts of selflessness-caring for her ailing parents and running her grandmother's bookstore-she had forfeited her youth and dreams for the needs of others. And the only tries she had at love... didn't turn out. She had the bookstore, she had her beloved granny, but she was missing something-or someone.

Opportunity strikes when Granny sends Summer on an unexpected adventure with one Martin Langtree, a kind but gangly young man from Summer's past. A childhood friendship is rekindled, a romance is sparked, and mysteries are solved in one magical Texas summer. Will Summer strike out on love again, or will things finally go her way?

My thoughts: This story is a fun, different one, about a young woman who has sacrificed to hrlp her family out. I enjoyed The characters, since they are fun and quirky, not to mention memorable. I found myself wanting to adopt some of them! The story has some delightful twists, making this the perfect sumner read (not just because of the title! lol).
I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Book of Mormon Search and Find

Search the scriptures in this fun and fascinating picture game book. Featuring scenes from the Book of Mormon, this book will keep kids entertained as they look for their favorite scripture heroes and hidden objects in the colorful illustrations. Perfect for home, church, or on the go, it makes learning the scriptures fun for everyone!

My thoughts: I was thrilled to have the chance to review this Search and Find book, since my daughter is getting to the age where she enjoys helping me find things in her books. While this one is a little advanced for her, it is still a lot of fun! It's not as colorful as some of the other ones we have, but I would imagine that is because this one is geared towards children who are a bit older (like, 4 on up). That said, we still enjoy it and have enjoyed sharing it with some older children.
I received this book from Cedar Fort in exchange for my honest review.

The Charity Chip

The Charity Chip
Life on the streets of Lima is already difficult for Julio, but now that digital money has replaced hard currency, survival is virtually impossible. Isak comes to his rescue and offers him a chance at a better life through a hi-tech humanitarian program. The only catch is a microchip implanted between the thumb and forefinger of the hand. At first life improves dramatically, but when another participant dies mysteriously, Julio suspects that the chip does more than just dispense charity. Now he must uncover the truth behind the charity chip before someone else suffers the same fate.

My thoughts: This book was hard to put down from the get go! It has an interesting mix of mystery, street ethics, and showing how life is on the streets of another country. I thought the characters were well written, and I found their characters development was well portrayed. It was interesting to put things in perspective and wonder how one would survive on the streets in a similar situation. The only drawback for me is that I felt like the last few chapters were a bit violent, though I didn't think the writer went overboard with the violence. It probably made it more realistic, but it bothered me a bit. For that reason, I would say that the story is more for older teens or young adults.
I received this book from Cedar Fort in exchange for my honest review.

Two Roads Home

Minor-but-nagging setbacks continue to sour Grant and Audrey Whitman’s initiation into the world of innkeeping, but larger challenges brew when an innocent flirtation leads to big trouble for the Whitmans’ son-in-law, Jesse. Jesse Pennington’s friendly, outgoing personality has always served him well, especially in a career that has earned him and his wife Corinne a very comfortable lifestyle. But Corinne and Jesse are both restless—and for similar reasons, if only they could share those with each other. Instead, too many business trips and trumped-up charges of harassment from a disgruntled coworker threaten their marriage and possibly put their three precious daughters at risk.

With their life in disarray, God is tugging at their hearts to pursue other dreams. Can Corinne and Jesse pick up the pieces of what was once a wonderful life before it all crumbles beneath them?

My thoughts: I very much enjoyed the return to Chicory Inn. The one going story, told from different perspectives, is interesting and picking up the second book was like revisiting old friends. I like how Deborah Raney has tackled some difficult scenarios with the series: infertility, owning a business, and marital issues. She does a wonderful job having her characters develop over the course of the story! This is an excellent summer read.
I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Take Ten

This week, the Broke and Bookish theme is Summer TBR (to be read) list. So, without further adieu, here is my list!

1. Justice Burning

2. The Runaway Princess

3. Better off Friends

4. The Curiosity Keeper

5. Gone Without a Trace

6. The Tomb

7. The Giftsnatcher

8. The Last Con

9.Beyond the Ashes

10. The Sea Keeper's daughter

There you have it! What is on your summer list? See any on here that are on your list or will be added to your list?;)

Friday, June 12, 2015

The One

If you’re looking for average, go ahead and put down this book. No hard feelings.

Most people will admit that they are looking for an amazing love story. We’ve all seen those couples, the ones holding hands or whispering to each other as they stare into one another’s eyes as if they share an awesome secret. We watch them and wonder, what’s up with those two?
We never anticipated becoming one of “those couples.” When we met, we just worked on listening to God and preparing ourselves for the story he planned for us. What we learned and want to share is that no matter what your relationship status may be, this amazing story begins with you.
In this book we share more than the events happening around “The Surprise Wedding.” We share our triumphs and our mistakes, both before and after that day. You’ll learn healthy habits you can start practicing today, ones that will help you lay the groundwork for an incredible marriage later. God has something amazing in mind for you, but he can’t get you there without your help.

We absolutely believe in The One. And we believe that you’re it.

My thoughts: When Ryan over heard his girlfriend mention to a friend that she would like to get engaged and married on the same day, he decided to work on making it happen. Seeking to give Amanda the wedding she always wanted, he starts on a fun journey that leads to their wedding video going viral.
I actually had never heard of Ryan and Amanda Leak, but it was fun to read about their wedding and the thoughts they have on finding the one. While I don't think getting engaged and married on the same day would work for every couple, they have a lot of great insight on how to center your relationship on the Lord.
I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Midwife's Tale

Martha Cade comes from a long line of midwives who have served the families of Trinity, Pennsylvania, for generations. A widow with two grown children, she's hopeful that her daughter will follow in her footsteps. But when Victoria runs off, Martha's world is shattered.

Worse, a new doctor has arrived in town, threatening her job, and she can't remember a time when her faith was more tested. Still determined to do the work she knows God intended for her, Martha is unprepared for all that waits ahead. Whether it's trying to stop a town scandal, mending broken relationships, or feeling the first whispers of an unexpected romance, she faces every trial and every opportunity with hope and faith.

My thoughts: Having had a midwife when my daughter was born, I loved reading this book and getting a glimpse of what it was like in 1830 for a midwife. While a lot of the old ways of doing things are no longer common (some, I am sure for good reasons, though one of the biggest ones is leaches, which was more of the Dr's way of doing things...), it was fun for me to see how nice it was for their to be a profession for women who didn't have a lot of options. I also like the characters and that there is a lot going on in the story. Most of all though, it is just a neat story that shows the miracle of new life.
I look forward to reading the next book in the series!
I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Heart's Betrayal

Emmie finds shelter in the arms of a soldier, but her secret could drive them apart.

When Emmie Croftner answered the door to her late husband's home, she discovered a terrible truth. A woman she's never met reveals that she and Emmie shared the same husband and that the bigamist had never divorced his first wife. The home and farm are not Emmie's property after all.

Suddenly displaced and powerless, Emmie realizes she can't stay in Wabash, Indiana, any longer. She makes for Fort Laramie, Wyoming, where her friend Sarah Montgomery and a new beginning await her. But when she arrives, she discovers she's carrying a child, conceived before her husband's death. Was the new start she'd hoped for only a mirage?

At Fort Laramie, a soldier named Isaac Liddle begins to court Emmie, prompting her to wonder whether she could ever really be his--and whether she dares to tell him she is carrying another man's baby

My thoughts: As with the other books in this serial, I found this installment to be an interesting, fictionalized portrayal of what it would of been like to live out in the American West during the late 1800's. I think that Colleen does a wonderful job of showing how fort life was, both the pros and cons of the different parties involved. I like that she introduces some new characters in this one too, and look forward to seeing where the series takes them!
I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, June 8, 2015

A Friend in Me

Young women long for relational connection with women further ahead of them on the journey. Yet, without realizing it, many of us tend to distance ourselves from those in younger generations. Can we really have close relationships with women who have different thoughts on church, different experiences with family, and different ways of talking about God? Where do we start?

In A Friend in Me, Pam Lau shows you how to be a safe place for the younger women in your life. She offers five patterns women need to internalize and practice for initiating relationships and talking about issues such as faith, forgiveness, sexuality, and vocation. Most significantly, she reminds you that there doesn’t need to be a divide between generations of women. Together, we can have a global impact—and experience a deeper faith than we’ve ever known.

My thoughts: I enjoyed reading this great resource for women about our need for relationships that have meaning and how to mentor. While a lot of it is geared towards older women and their learning how to connect with the young women in their families and at church, I really enjoyed the personal stories that were shared (though some of them are heartbreaking!). She also does a fabulous job of tackling the issues that younger women face and how they aren't all that different from what older women have gone through or are still going through.
This book is an excellent resource!
I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

Empires End

Jerry B. Jenkins’s new novel is filled with adventure, drama, historic people and places, and even romance. Empire’s End tells the story of a man who single- handedly turned the Roman Empire on-end. It will be the heart-stopping story of the year! Only a few snapshots of Paul’s life are revealed in the Bible. In this fictional account, Jenkins tells of a devout Jewish scholar, who after only three years in the Arabian wilderness, emerges as the greatest Christian theologian in history. This novel explains how, after supervising the death of Jesus’s disciples, Paul would be moved to effectively conquer the Roman Empire with a message about a Jewish man named Jesus. You’ll be captured by the shocking “thorn in the flesh” that burdened Paul’s heart. Empire’s End will cause you to rethink whether Paul ever experienced the love of a woman or the embrace of a child.

My thoughts: Jerry B. Jenkins gives us a new look at Saul, who became Paul. In this thought provoking, fictionalized novel, the New Testament days are brought to life! I enjoyed reading about what the times were like that Paul lived in. I found it especially interesting to think of the death of Stephen, since it would of been hard to have grown up with the Ten Commandments saying to have no other God but the Lord, and to suddenly have to figure out how Jesus Christ figures into the equation. This is a wonderful, interesting story that will keep old and new fans alike reading to the last page!
I received this book from Worthy in exchange for my honest review.

Desperate Measuers

Researcher Kate Adams has finally pinpointed the medicinal plant responsible for tearing her family apart. She's certain that discovering its secrets is her only hope of solving the mystery surrounding the disappearance of her father. Kate will risk anything to find the truth--even her budding relationship with Detective Tom Parker. But more people than she can fathom are after the plants and going it alone just might prove to be a fatal mistake.

My thoughts: More secrets come to light in the third and final book of the Port Aster Secrets series. I loved how the characters developed over the whole series! The author keeps readers guessing on what is going to happen with the story, since there is so much going on. I thought she did a fabulous job with the secondary characters and mystery. Two thumbs up!
I received this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review.

Take Ten

This week, the topic for Top Ten Tuesday is ten most anticipated releases for the rest of 2015.

I even have a ARC of this one.;) I just need to take the time to read it!



I'm able to get a review copy of this one too, which I look forward to reading!

I love her attention to historical detail, so this one should be a treat!