Saturday, January 30, 2016

Beyond the Silence

The shadows over this olive grove hide more than just the truth.

Lillian Porter has always wanted to fulfill her mother’s dream of going west, so when she hears about a nanny position in Angels Camp, California, she defies her grandfather and takes a chance on a new future. But she quickly wonders if she made the right choice. Murky rumors swirl around Woodward Colton, her new employer, but the gossip doesn’t match the man Lillian comes to know.

Still, something dark did happen in the family’s past. Lillian’s seven-year-old charge hasn’t spoken in over a year. Gently, Lillian tries to coax him out of his shell, hoping he’ll one day feel safe enough to share what scared him. But the Colton olive farm is no longer a safe place. Lillian encounters suspicious characters on their land and mysterious damage done to the farm. When the housekeeper is brutally attacked, the town once again suspects the worst. Will discovering the truth help Lillian clear the name of the man she has come to love–or will it endanger her even more?

My thoughts: I love that Lillian is a strong character in this book, as she sets out to make a life for herself as a nanny. Right away, she was a character that is like able and well written! When she finds that her job is shrouded in mystery and danger, she takes it on with courage.
I like the mystery and historical aspects of this novel. The authors did a wonderful job of keeping the story moving and making the reader feel like you are right there. If you are looking for a new historical read, then I highly recommend this one!
I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.


Author and Bible teacher Sherri Burgess leads readers on her journey to understanding the purpose behind pain through the powerful story of her son Bronner’s earthly death. Using her rich, marvelous experiences of God’s works since her son’s heaven going, she provides comforting assurance that God truly is everything we need in this life. An empowering resource for small-group discussion or book clubs, this book is a call to action and a beckoning to know our Holy God like never before.

My thoughts: I appreciate Sherri's willingness to open up about the tragedy of her two year old son, Bronner, dying in a pool accident. The book is full of honest, raw feelings and recollections, helping other parents who have lost a child. She does a beautiful job of tying in scriptures and leaving one with a message of hope. As a mother of young children, this book was hard for me to read, but I feel like it not only helps those who have been through a tragedy, but also helps those who have friends who have been through losing a child to know what the pain is like.
I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

A Son's Vow

Darla’s father was responsible for a terrible fire at Charm’s lumber mill which killed five Amish men. And though he, too, lost his life, the town of Charm hasn’t looked at her family the same since. Even Lukas Kinsinger—with whom Darla used to have a close friendship.

Now her brother’s anger at the town is spilling over onto Darla, and she has the bruises to prove it. The accident already cost five lives, but if something doesn’t change soon, Darla fears it will cost her—and her family—even more.

Lukas Kinsinger wants to mourn the loss of his father, but he can hardly find the time to breathe. Suddenly the head of his father’s lumber mill and responsible for taking care of his three siblings, he’s feeling the pressure. He has also never felt more alone—especially with the new tension between he and Darla. But when he learns of her troubles at home, Lukas knows he can’t simply stand by and watch. Someone has to help her before another tragedy occurs.

As Lukas and Darla attempt to repair their families, they discover something deeper than friendship growing between them. But will Lukas and Darla’s love be accepted after so much loss? Or will the pain of the past overcome any chance of future happiness?

Shelley Shepard Gray’s first book in her Charmed Amish Life series is set in the quaint Amish village of Charm, Ohio, and tells the stories of the Kinsinger siblings who are each struggling to find both forgiveness and love in the face of tragedy.

My thoughts: A Son's Vow is the first book in Shelley Shepard Grey's new series, The Charmed Amish Life. She does a wonderful job of bringing realistic, flawed, like able characters to life! Darla and Lukas are interesting main characters, it's hard not to want to come to Darla's rescue as she suffers abuse from those who take the tragedy out on her and her family. I love the over all message! This is a wonderful start to this new series.
I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, January 29, 2016

If I Run

Casey Cox’s DNA is all over the crime scene. There’s no use talking to police; they have failed her abysmally before. She has to flee before she’s arrested . . . or worse. The truth doesn’t matter anymore.

But what is the truth? That’s the question haunting Dylan Roberts, the war-weary veteran hired to find Casey. PTSD has marked him damaged goods, but bringing Casey back can redeem him. Though the crime scene seems to tell the whole story, details of the murder aren’t adding up. Casey Cox doesn’t fit the profile of a killer. But are Dylan’s skewed perceptions keeping him from being objective? If she isn’t guilty, why did she run?

Unraveling her past and the evidence that condemns her will take more time than he has, but as Dylan’s damaged soul intersects with hers, he is faced with two choices. The girl who occupies his every thought is a psychopathic killer . . . or a selfless hero. And the truth could be the most deadly weapon yet.

My thoughts: I love a good mystery, and this one was just that! The story starts off at a fast pace, with Casey on the run for a crime the reader doesn't totally comprehend. As she outsmarts the cops and the story of how her best friend wound up dead comes out, the reader is sucked in all the more. While this book is the first in a series and Casey's story is not concluded (which, is really just cruel!), I like that some loose ends are tied together by the end. Just enough to satisfy and leave me wishing the next book would just be out already.;)
If you are looking for an interesting mystery, then I highly recommend this one!
I received this book from Lit Fuse in exchange for my honest review.

Enter the If I Run giveaway!
If I Run Terri Blackstock

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Backward Beauty

If ten girls were asked to describe the "perfect" girl, they would likely rattle off an eerily similar list of qualities--from hair, skin, and weight to a cute button nose. That's a problem, because God has given girls a desire to be desirable. If girls think that they will be most wanted if they fit a one-size-fits-all image of "perfection," they will continually chase that proverbial carrot their entire lives."Backwards Beauty" examines ten cultural lies young women listen to regarding beauty to help them unpack how they're looking at themselves through the wrong lens. The "tips to feel ugly" range from "compare yourself to every other girl" to "eat junk and diet, diet, diet."Reading a book by Jessie Minassian is like sitting down with a friend and talking about the hard things in life. Girls will be able to find freedom and hope in the midst of a culture that idolizes beauty.

My thoughts: I remember reading a while back that a woman shouldn't compliment another woman because it was communicating that the complimented woman was more beautiful than the other. Huh? Somehow, I missed that "rule" when I was growing up, for which I am glad.;)
This book exposes more common lies that women/girls tell themselves, allowing us to believe that we are less than perfect the way God created us. I love that Jessie includes her own personal struggles in this book, making it easy for the reader to relate as well as see where she is coming from. I also found it interesting that she includes some of the traditions through the ages and in other cultures that torture a woman into looking "beautiful" (a side note, it is easy to see the flaws in unusual ideas, but I know our country has it's own regimes and products that torture a woman in the name of beauty).
While this book is a great resource to talk to young woman about beauty and how we should view ourselves, I feel like it was missing something. I like the discussion ideas and scripture verses Jessie includes, along with some of the exercises for readers to try.
I received this book from Tyndale in exchange for my honest review.

Hope Unfolding

I get it, Momma. I totally get it.
Every day you wake up and try your very best. You love, give, and pour out your life for the ones who call you Momma. But no matter how much you offer, there are still days you feel as though you come up short. You worry, Am I loving these babies enough? Is this ever going to get easier? Why does it seem like I am the only one who cannot balance it all?

Sometimes, we just need hope (and maybe a long uninterrupted nap). We need someone to help tune our hearts to the voice of the Father and to remind us that He has not forgotten about us.
In Hope Unfolding, Becky Thompson is a friend who reminds you that you aren’t alone, and that God is still writing your story. She guides you to encounter the Truth of God’s presence that not only fuels you with strength, but also a fresh confidence. And beyond gaining faith that tomorrow could be different, you find hope and purpose where you are standing today.

My thoughts: Every mother should buy this book! Filled with grace filled truths that most, if not all of us, need to hear. I didn't realize just how hard motherhood was until my daughter was born. You have the demands of raising a young person that is constantly changing and developing, then there is the mommy guilt that can beat a soul down. Sometimes, we just need to remember the hope and joy that motherhood brings, and the grace that is extended to us (all of us). I love how she uses personal experiences to bring the book to life, since that it was makes a non fiction book for me; being able to relate to the author and what she/he is trying to communicate.
This would be an excellent book to read as a group study for mothers!
I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Divine Collision

In a Ugandan prison for two murders he didn’t commit, Henry is losing hope. He pleads with God for a sign. Jim, in California, finds himself saying a small ‘yes’ to God who brings their two lives together with momentous results.

My thoughts: This is the incredible story of a young Ugandan who experiences injustice due to being accused of committing a crime he is innocent of. It blows my mind that God chose to take care of Henry by calling Jim Gash, a corporate lawyer who had never worked a criminal case, to come to Uganda. When Jim arrived and saw the condition of the home Henry lives in, that and getting to know Henry prompt him to take on his case.
I love that this story was one that had so many impossibilities in it. Here were two people in opposite nations and from different backgrounds who were brought together to fit injustice. It is a unique and interesting story that is easy to read.
I received this book from Worthy in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Take ten: Freebie!

This week over at The Broke and Bookish, it's a freebie. So, I am going with top ten books that I think would make excellent selections for a book club to read and discuss together.

1. The Hiding Place

One of the most life changing books I have read on the Holocaust. Corrie's family didn't have to become involved, but they did. Perhaps one of the reasons this book hits me so hard is because Corrie and her sister are so close, reminding me of my own close relationship with my sister. If you haven't read this book, please do! I really need to take the time to re-read it. You can also listen to Corrie share her experiences through old recordings.

2. The Bronte Plot

A lighter story than my first pick, but still dealing with complicated issues like family relationships and the way they shape us. On a side note, I was totally ready to take a literary tour of England after reading this book.;)

3. The Giftsnatcher

This book would have to be for the very diverse book club, since it has some different elements to it, namely having a lot of the supernatural. I think it would be a fun book to read in a club though!

4. Mere Christianity

Despite the title of this book, I think it would be a great title to read in a group of people coming from a wide variety of religions.

5. The Help

There is a reason this book was so popular when it came out, since it highlights a very unjust time in American history, but does so in an interesting way.;)

6. The Chronicles of Narnia

Being an allegory, this one would be fun to discuss and see what each reader takes from the stories.

7. Chateau of Secrets

I love the depth of Melanie's writing and think her stories would be awesome in a book club!

8. Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor

While I may of enjoyed Chateau of Secrets more over all, I think this one would be an even better choice for a book club to discuss, since it deals with how disabilities were viewed in the mid 1900's.

9. Paper Hearts

On one level, this is a fun, light hearted chick lit book, but then it surprises the reader with some depth and tragedy.

10. A Broken Kind of Beautiful

I just adored this story! It would be a fun one to read with a group.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

A Princess Story

Princess stories abound in today’s media-driven culture. If Disney’s success is any indication, our appetite for all-things-princess has truly become insatiable. Ever wonder why that is? Could there be something significant about these princess stories that goes beyond the realm of entertainment? I certainly believe that’s true. In fact, I believe we’re drawn to these stories because they speak to something buried deep within us—the longing to actually step into the shoes of a princess. Just imagine having your own adventure filled with drama, magic, and enough danger to keep things interesting. Add a prince to the mix and it would rival any chick flick on the market.

But what if the truth is that you’re already ina princess story—and you’re the one playing the starring role? In this book, I’ll show you how the gospel of Jesus Christ contains its own real-life fairy tale that includes not just a princess and her prince, but an evil villain, an awful monster, an epic battle, and a daring rescue. Though it’s written with young women in mind, the story truly speaks to women of all ages, reminding us of who we really are and who we’re meant to become. Perhaps it’s time we stop living vicariously through the lives of those animated princesses and step into our own bold, exhilarating adventure.

My thoughts: Jaci does a wonderful job of drawing women of all ages in with this book about being a princess in Jesus' kingdom. I personally love fairy tales (most of us grew up dreaming of fairy tales, right?:)), so I enjoyed this book tremendously! It is engaging as she shares her personal struggles and triumphs, as well as weaves in other stories. I love how she fits Narnia in as well.;)
While I would say this book is best suited for young women, I think that women of all ages will benefit!
I received this book from Cedar fort in exchange for my honest review.

The Matchup

The last thing Valerie wants or needs is to work for Gage, whom she loathed as a teen. But Valerie’s husband just walked out on her and she needs the job. Together they discover that when it comes to the Church and each other, it’s all about second chances. This sweet LDS romance will renew your faith in love and redemption.

My thoughts: I was surprised just how much I enjoyed this story! Laura does an excellent job of bringing to life her characters and their stories. Both Gage and Valerie have been burned by the choices they have made since they last saw each other. When the opportunity comes for them to be a blessing to one another, Valerie is unsure if she wants to work closely with her childhood tormentor. Not only is this a great story of people changing, but I also thought the author did a wonderful job of writing Valerie's son, Justin, who has autism, showing the struggles and triumphs of raising a child with autism.
I received this book from Cedar Fort in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Your New Money Mindset

Have you ever thought: If I just had a little more money I would be happy? Research has shown this belief to be false. Through personal experience, Biblical passages and timely research, coauthors Brad Hewitt, CEO of Thrivent Financial, and Dr. Jim Moline, consulting psychologist, reveal that financial happiness and security have little to do with how much money you have, and a lot to do with the role money plays in your life.

Your New Money Mindset isn’t just another book about managing finances. It’s a book about reshaping your relationship with money by examining your attitudes and beliefs around money.

My thoughts: This is a great book about financial freedom that addresses issues of the heart first and foremost, how the root of our issues with money generally go back to how we view money. I found the book to be unique, insightful, and easy to get through. I like that both of the authors shared personal experience from their own lives, some from friends, as well as historical figures. Grounded in scripture and full of sound advise, this book is a great resource!
I received this book from Lit Fuse in exchange for my honest review.

Hannah's Choice

Hannah Yoder loves her quiet life on the banks of the Conestoga Creek. In 1842, this corner of Lancaster County is settled and peaceful--yet problems lurk beneath the placid faade. Hannah's father worries about the spread of liberal ideas from their Mennonite and Brethren neighbors. And Hannah blames herself for a tragedy that struck their home nine years ago. She strives to be the one person who can bind the threads of her family together in spite of her mother's ongoing depression and her sister's rejection of their family. But her world is threatening to unravel.

When two young men seek her hand in marriage--one offering the home she craves and the other promising the adventure of following God's call west--Hannah must make a choice. Faithfully perform her duties to her family? Or defy her father and abandon her community?

My thoughts: I love that the author has a family history with the Amish and Mennonite communities, adding so much more to the historical side of this book. I was surprised how tragic this story was though, since I found myself feeling sorry to Hannah and the burden she has taken on due to the loss of some of her family when she was young. It will be interesting to see how the rest of this series pans out! I hope that the next books will keep Hannah and her family as side characters, at the very least.:)
I received this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review.

Where She Belongs

Shelby Kincaid is ready to move on from her grief. With high hopes for the future, she longs to purchase her family's ancestral homestead so she can raise her young daughters in the only place she ever truly belonged. She plans to transform the abandoned house into the perfect home of her memories. But she'll have her work cut out for her.

AJ Sullivan never wanted the homestead. Inherited as a punishment from his grandfather, it has sat empty for fifteen years and fallen into ruin. He's glad to finally unload it. But a clean break isn't possible when he can't get the young widow Shelby off his mind.

Welcome to Misty Willow, a place that will have as great a hold over the reader as it does over its inhabitants. With writing that evokes a strong sense of place and personal history, Johnnie Alexander deftly explores the ties that bind us to home--and the irresistible forces that draw us to each other.

My thoughts: I quite enjoyed this story!It is a beautiful tale of family secrets, love, and discovering where you belong. I found that I didn't always like the heroine, but the hero is one of my new favorites, since he is honorable and kind (definitely swoon worthy). Some of the secrets take a while to come to light, which is kind of fun. I am already looking forward to the next book in the series!
I received this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Love and Care for the one and only You

What if we valued and cared for ourselves the way one does a
masterpiece sculpted by a master artist? Each of us is a unique
creation crafted by the ultimate Artist. When we realize that, how can we
help but love and care for the body, mind, and heart God has given us?
Weekly encouragements along with practical tips and suggestions will
help you love and care for yourself as your Creator intended.

My thoughts: This book is a great devotional style fitness book to help readers focus on being healthy and having healthier habits. I enjoyed the candid style of writing that draws a reader in! I also found the recipes at the end quite helpful and look forward to trying them out.:) This book is a great way to start the new year!
I received this book from Worthy in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Take ten

Books recently added to my TBR list. (This is probably one of the easier lists;))

1. Live, Lies, and Spies by Cindy Anstey
This one looks like a seriously fun read!

2. A Tailor-Made Bride by Karen Witemeyer
I recently read a novella by Karen and was quite impressed with her humor and writing style. One of my fellow bloggers recommended several of her novels, and this was one of them.

3. The Fifth Avenue Artists Society by Joy Callaway
One of my friends had this on her Goodreads list, so I had to add it to my pile since it looks quite interesting.

4. An Elegant Facade by Kristi Ann Hunter
I loved her first story, so I had to add this one to my list!

5. Always Watching by Lynette Eason
This one is actually on it's way to my mailbox!

6. Missing by Lisa Harris
I loved the first book in the series! I only hope we get some answers in this one.;)

7. A Haven on Orchard Lane by Lawana Blackwell
This author, along with Janette Oke, started my interest in historical fiction as a teenager. She hasn't written anything in a long time, so I look forward to a new book by her!

8. If I Run by Terri Blackstock
A new series by a great suspense/mystery writter.

9. The Calling by Rachelle Dekker
While I think she could of done more with the first book, I am still willing to give this one a shot.:)

10. Ravenswolde by Charity Bishop
I was reminded what a wonderful story Charity weaves when I read Thornewicke, so I was thrilled to see she released a new book last year!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Spark Joy

Marie Kondo’s unique KonMari Method of tidying up is nothing short of life-changing—and her first book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, has become a worldwide sensation. In Spark Joy, Kondo presents an in-depth, illustrated manual on how to declutter and organize specific items throughout the house, from kitchen and bathroom items to work-related papers and hobby collections. User-friendly line drawings illustrate Kondo’s patented folding method as it applies to shirts, pants, socks, and jackets, as well as images of properly organized drawers, closets, and cabinets. This book is perfect for anyone who wants a home—and life—that sparks joy

My thoughts: With a new year recently starting, I think that this is the perfect time for this book to come out and inspire people to get control of the clutter and organize personal space so that you can have a home that bring joy. While I don't agree with all of her thoughts (such as thanking items that you have used), I do think that the KonMari method is a great way to maximize space and get rid of useless items that are just cluttering the home up. I think this book is even better than the first (though I think it could be used in place of the first), since there Marie includes pictures to show some of her methods.
Whether you are looking to totally overall and change the way you live, or wanting to take a few ideas and start implementing a few changes, I think this book is a great resource.
I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Mermaid Moon

Mallory’s mother died fifteen years ago. But her father’s last words on the phone were unmistakable: “Find . . . mother.”

Shame and confusion have kept Mallory Davis from her home for the last fifteen years, but when her dad mysteriously dies on his mail boat route, she doesn’t have any choice but to go back to Mermaid Point.

Mallory believes her father was murdered and childhood sweetheart Kevin O’Connor, game warden in Downeast Maine, confirms her suspicions. But Kevin is wary of helping Mallory in her search. She broke his heart—and left—without a word, years ago.

When Mallory begins receiving threats on her own life—and her beloved teenage daughter, Haylie—their search intensifies. There’s a tangled web within the supposed murder, and it involves much more than what meets the eye.

As answers begin to fall into place, Mallory realizes her search is about more than finding her father’s killer—it is also about finding herself again . . . and possibly about healing what was broken so long ago with Kevin. She just has to stay alive long enough to put all the pieces together.

My thoughts: This is another great mystery from Colleen Coble! I love the character development in this story, and all the twists and turns to the story kept me on my toes, holding my attention until the very end. This is an excellent story for fans and new readers alike! If you are looking for an engrossing book to curl up with on a cold day, then I highly recommend this one!
I received this book from Lit Fuse in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Thin Ice

After losing her parents in a car accident and her sister to a house fire, Christy Reed has been mired in grief. Life is finally starting to feel normal again when an envelope arrives in the mail--addressed in her sister's handwriting. And the note inside claims she is still alive.

FBI Special Agent Lance McGregor, a former Delta Force operator, is assigned to reopen the case, but he's coming up with more questions than answers. If Ginny Reed is still alive--who is the woman buried in her grave? Where is Ginny? And is Christy a pawn in a twisted cat-and-mouse game--or the target of a sinister plot? As he digs deeper, one thing becomes clear: whoever is behind the bizarre ruse has a deadly agenda.

Bestselling author and two-time Christy Award finalist Irene Hannon warms readers' hearts as they root for a romance between Lance and Christy, but she pulls out all the stops as this high-stakes thriller chills to the bone in a race to the finish.

My thoughts: What an interesting mystery! I love that the premise is so original and unique. I also very much enjoyed that it told the story of the next McGregor brother, who's past job and mystery was hinted at in Mac's book, Buried Secrets. I like that the story is totally focused on Lance and his story, while still catching readers up to date on the next chapter in Mac and Lisa's story. This mystery is hard to put down! The only thing I am not a huge fan of would be all that a lot of the romantic attraction was based on physical appearance and I like for it to be more based on the characters, for looks to play a minor role in the story. That is just one of my personal preferences though.;) The overall story was a lot of fun and one I recommend!
I received this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Cats in Paris

This gorgeously illustrated adult coloring book draws readers into the secret world of cats in Paris as they explore the city's most famous (and feline-friendly) spots.

Say bonjour to the cats of Paris as they slink through its fabled streets and alleyways, from Montmartre to the Shakespeare and Company bookshop and into a feline-filled land of playful imagination. Featuring intricate pen-and-ink drawings of tabbies, Persians, Siamese, and more, this evocative coloring book’s frisky kitties lie in wait for your colorful stylings.

My thoughts: I wouldn't classify myself as a cat person, but I am having so much fun with this coloring book! I love the idea of having animals/pets with famous monuments and sights. This coloring book is fun and whimsical. I actually kind of like that a lot of the pages don't have a ton of stuff going on, since the pages are centered around the cats and sights. This is a perfect gift for the animal lover!
I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Take ten: 2015 releases I meant to get to but didn't

The Top Ten subject for this week is 2015 releases that I meant to read, but didn't get around to doing so. I thought that this one might be hard, since I feel like I did get around to reading most of the books that I wanted to read. Then, I started looking at my list and realized that I might not of done quite as well as I thought.;) So, here is my list for the week!

1. The Awakening

While I didn't get around to reading more than the first book of this fun indie series, I am thrilled to have the 2nd and 3rd books on my kindle now, so I will read them soon.;)

2. The Gathering

This one is an extension of #1.

3. Just one Summer

This collection of novella's is one that I kept meaning to pick up... The nice thing about novella's is that they fit nicely in between other books and deadlines.;)

4. The Wonder of You

Yes, it is horrible that I read the last book before going back and reading this one!

5. The Painter's Daughter

I was quite excited to see this one come out when it first released, but then felt disappointed with Lady, Maybe, so we shall see if I make it back to this title. Probably at some point.

6. Until the Dawn

I need to make time for this one, since I always enjoy the historical aspect of her stories!

7. Rising Darkness

I have loved all the books I've read by this author, including the first two of this series. She brings up some interesting social issues that I enjoy reading her thoughts on.

8. Ravenswolde

I am so excited about this one! While it is one that I missed, I didn't actually find out about it until 2015 was almost over...;)

9. Hollywood Lost

This one looks like an interesting mystery!

10. Hidden Agenda

Another interesting looking mystery!
So, what books did you mean to read, but didn't find the time for?

The Imitation of Christ

When does a classic become new, fresh and extremely relevant? When someone takes it out of an outdated format and makes it readable, searchable and understandable. The Imitation of Christ has been in print for over 500 years for a good reason. It is powerful, beautiful and heart piercing. James Watkins has taken those words and reworked them into ninety daily readings, arranged by topic. Whether for daily devotions or for sound insight into a particular issue, Watkins paraphrase blends the ancient with the modern to introduce this classic to a new audience, speaking to all Christians with credibility and authority and using inclusive language not found in the original.

My thoughts: While I love the original language and old fashioned way that Thomas A Kempis wrote his Imitation of Christ in, I can admit that it is also nice to have this devotional on the bookshelf as a companion to it, since it is easier to get through. I like that the devotionals use modern language to get the points across, not taking away for the message. With a new year having just started, I think that now is a great time to pick up this timeless devotional and jump in, though it is in no way set up to go by a calendar. I just like starting a new devotion with the start of a new year.;) So, it arrived at the perfect time for me!
I received this book from Worthy in exchange for my honest review.

Under Our Skin

Can it ever get better? This is the question Benjamin Watson is asking. In a country aflame with the fallout from the racial divide—in which Ferguson, Charleston, and the Confederate flag dominate the national news, daily seeming to rip the wounds open ever wider—is there hope for honest and healing conversation? For finally coming to understand each other on issues that are ultimately about so much more than black and white?

An NFL tight end for the New Orleans Saints and a widely read and followed commentator on social media, Watson has taken the Internet by storm with his remarkable insights about some of the most sensitive and charged topics of our day. Now, in Under Our Skin, Watson draws from his own life, his family legacy, and his role as a husband and father to sensitively examine both sides of the race debate and appeal to the power and possibility of faith as a step toward healing.

My thoughts: I think Benjamin Watson does a wonderful job of presenting the race issue that was hi-lighted with Ferguson, doing a wonderful job of drawing on history and human nature to show how we have arrived, at a country, to this point. I appreciated his thoughts and the background that he gave of his own story and that of his father and Pop Pop. He has so many valid points on how the music we listen to affects the way we perceive things and how it is easy to get caught up in thinking of it as a race war. I think this is an excellent book that gets to the heart of the issue and shows how we can change for the better.
I received this book from Tyndale in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Let Food Be Your Medicine

Don Colbert, M.D., New York Times best-selling author of The Seven Pillars of Health and What Would Jesus Eat, provides proven tools, based on current research, for good health, an alert mind, and a longer life.

My thoughts: I love the idea of eating better in order to heal ourselves (as much as possible, that is. I know that there are cases where you need to just rely on Doctors and medicine), since I am a firm believer that a lot of our common health problems are actually problems with our diets and not getting the nutrients we need out of our food. So, I enjoyed reading a Dr's point of view on his personal experience with healing through changing his diet. I also appreciated his thoughts on type 2 diabetes, since my dad found out he had it in the last year and has been able to control his blood sugar without the use of medicine by watching what he eats.
If you are interested in health or have a condition that you would like to be healed of, I think that this is an excellent book for you to try out and see if his solution is for you.
I received this book from Worthy in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

With This Ring?

Four top historical romance novelists team up in this new collection to offer stories of love and romance with a twist of humor. In Karen Witemeyer's "The Husband Maneuver," Marietta Hawkins decides to grab the reins when the ranch foreman she loves seems to be leaving forever. Regina Jennings offers "Her Dearly Unintended," where friends stranded by a rising river pretend to be newlyweds when a dangerous stranger arrives.

Mary Connealy's "Runaway Bride" finds a Texas ranger getting more than he expected when he rescues a young woman fleeing a dangerous arranged marriage. And Melissa Jagears' "Engaging the Competition" finds a young woman forced to assist the man she's often sparred with after an accident leaves him helpless. Each tale is a fun blend of history and romance that will delight readers.

My thoughts: What a fun, humorous collection of Novellas! I thought the stories were immensely fun and fell in love with a lot of the characters. I think my favorite of the four would have to be "The Husband Maneuver", since it was just such a cute story. I loved how Karen started each chapter with the excerpt of a dime novel type story.;) While I liked it the best, all of the stories were a lot of fun and the perfect book to curl up with on a Wintery day!
I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.

Land of Silence

Before Christ called her daughter . . .

Before she stole healing by touching the hem of his garment . . .

Elianna is a young girl crushed by guilt. After her only brother is killed while in her care, Elianna tries to earn forgiveness by working for her father’s textile trade and caring for her family. When another tragedy places Elianna in sole charge of the business, her talent for design brings enormous success, but never the absolution she longs for. As her world unravels, she breaks off her betrothal to the only man she will ever love. Then illness strikes, isolating Elianna from everyone, stripping everything she has left.

No physician can cure her. No end is in sight. Until she hears whispers of a man whose mere touch can heal. After so many years of suffering and disappointment, is it possible that one man could redeem the wounds of body . . . and soul?

My thoughts: I almost gave up on this book, since Ellianna's story is not an easy one to read. Tragedy after tragedy strikes her family in the first part of the book, leaving her in a low place when her illness strikes. That said, I am so glad that I stuck with the story, since Tessa does an amazing job giving a background story to this miracle! I love how it brings meaning to Jesus addressing her as "daughter" in the Scriptures and that the story shows how tragedy can be turned into a thing of beauty if one doesn't hold onto bitterness. I'm glad I stuck with this one!
I received this book through Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Evangelicals for Life

Evangelicals for Life
Do you want to be a voice for life? Get equipped.

Join the ERLC and Focus on the Family as we host the first ever major pro-life conference for evangelicals in conjunction with the March for Life. Evangelicals from across the country will gather in Washington DC to be inspired and equipped by top speakers including Russell Moore and Jim Daly. Every life is valuable because every life is made in the image of God.

Monday, January 4, 2016

The Giftsnatcher

The ad in the newspaper says Alana is a witch.

She isn’t. She is something far more important… a Giftsnatcher, able to discern, identify, and steal the spiritual gifts of others. For years, she and her older sister have made a living selling them to paying clients. But when Lord Tremain wants her to bestow a particularly powerful gift on his grandson, for the first time in her life, Alana can’t. It doesn’t work.

Her quest to find a stronger gift, one able to penetrate Edgar’s broken defenses, leads her into the social circle of Dr. Joseph Bell, a leading Edinburgh physician whose true profession comes to light as dark forces close in around them. Her stable, predictable life is turned upside-down when an unseen nemesis lures her into a series of macabre events that force her to confront her fundamental beliefs about the nature of good and evil.

Illusions, family curses, blood magic, and the Ripper killings unfold in a chilling tale of magic, murder, and mayhem as Alana unravels the truth not only about Edgar, but also herself.

My thoughts: It's hard not to go a bit fan girl-ish about this book, since I absolutely adored it! While it was a bit dark at times (dealing with the mystery behind Jack the Ripper), I think Charity did a wonderful job of handling the story, making it interesting and ridiculously hard to put down. I'm afraid I stayed up late a couple of nights in a row, just so I could read uninterrupted.;)
I love that the story brings in some of the characters from her other books (Thornewicke and The Secret in Belfast), while adding plenty of new, unforgettable characters.
I read a lot of different books, and was blown away by the quality of writing and depth to the story. Both are something I didn't realize a lot of current fiction is missing until I read this book.
Fans of Harry Potter and other books on magic should be thrilled with this story.
I received this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.

You're the One I Want

Owen Christiansen has been in a downward spiral since an injury ended his NHL career. But a job on an Alaskan crabbing boat offers a fresh start . . . maybe even a shot at romance with Elise “Scotty” McFlynn, the captain’s daughter.

Used to being one of the guys, to never relying on anyone, Scotty doesn’t believe in happily ever after―especially with someone like Owen. Her instinct is confirmed when Casper Christiansen arrives to drag his prodigal brother home, bringing with him a truckload of family drama―and even worse, the news that Casper is wanted for questioning in connection to a crime back in Minnesota.

But Owen is more than the sum of his mistakes, a truth both he and Scotty discover when she escorts both brothers to Deep Haven as part of her new job on the Anchorage police force. Thrust into an unfamiliar world of family, faith, and fresh starts, Scotty begins to see potential for a happy ending . . . if she’s brave enough to embrace it.

My thoughts: Susan May Warren has done it again! I love how she can take a messy, complicated story and make the reader fall in love with the characters and their beautifully broken road to grace. I wasn't sure how I would like this one, since Owen's story has been full of drama from the beginning, but I would up loving the book. I love the humor in the story! I also really appreciate the letters that Ingrid writes to each of her children, a beautiful tradition that I would like to do as a mother. Susan does a wonderful job of bringing this series to and end, wrapping up some of the loose ends from the other stories. If you are looking for an interesting series that will keep you on your toes and introduce you to love able characters, then I highly recommend this series!
I received this book from Tyndale in exchange for my honest review.

Take Ten: Resolutions

Resolutions. Most of us make them this time of year. The book themed ones I make tend to be the ones that I keep the best.;) I will probably throw some of my personal NY resolutions on this list, just to give me a little bit more accountability.:)
1. De-clutter
Sadly, this is partially a book related resolution. I have a library in our house for all of my books, but I need to go through and sort them just to make sure that I don't have more then one copy and that the copy I have is in good condition (the latter applies more to our kids books, since I know a few of them are missing pages or have been slobbered on a bit too much).

2. Get somewhat caught up on my Netgalley reading
My shelf has gotten a bit out of control on there, since I don't *have* to finish the books that I've requested in the past in order to keep getting books. It's kind of a bad set up for me, since I need more accountability.;) It's unrealistic to say I will ever get totally caught up, but having over 50 books on my shelf is just a bit much...:)

3. Eat better
I know a lot of us feel the need to make this resolution, especially after all the holiday goodies. I want to basically cut artificial sweeteners out of my diet and start using honey or maple syrup in my own baking/cooking.

4. Find a exercise regime I like and stick with it
I found a book for 15 minute workouts that fit well into my schedule. I just kept having to return the book to the library.;) I need to figure out if I should buy that book to have on hand all the time or go with a DVD instead. What are some of your favorites?

5. Go back and finish the Christiansen family series by Susan May Warren

I really wanted to read Amelia's story before reading Owen's, but wasn't able to get my hands on a copy of The Wonder of You until after reading You're the One that I want. Such is life. I've really enjoyed the series, even if I have read some of it out of order.;)

6. Find some new recipes to try
We recently had an Indian themed potluck, which was so much fun since it made me get out of my comfort zone (cooking wise) and try something new. Needless to say, now I want to try making a bunch more Indian dishes.;)

7. Do something new
Preferably once a day.;)

8. Organize all the toys in our house
Don't get me wrong, I am appreciative of all the gifts my children receive at Christmas, but it feel the need to organize and share (my sister was just thrilled for this to carry over to her, since I pulled out several bags younger toys for her little one to play with. At their house. lol).

9. Be a better friend
I get so wrapped up in what is happening in my corner of the world, that I forget to keep up with friends until I either see them or it hits me that I am feeling friendless. I have the privilege of knowing some great people, so I need to make the most of it.;)

10. Finish The Gifting by K. E. Ganshert

The good news is, I actually have all the books on my Kindle now! *squee*

What resolutions are on your list?