Monday, August 29, 2016

Books that would be required reading if I were a high school teacher

In honor of going back to school (for everyone else that is. I have a bit before my Littles start), I'm choosing books that would be required reading for my students if I were a teacher.

1. The Hiding Place
Basically, all of Corrie Ten Boom's writings, since her family could of stood by and watched. She has a powerful story of forgiveness for those to afflicted her and her sister. I would get a hold of a recording of her to go with the book.

2. To Kill a Mockingbird
For obvious reasons.

3. Emma
Jane Austen is a must. This one would almost be more for the male students, since Mr. Knightley is the opitome of a gentleman.

4. Pride and Prejudice
If one is going to have Austen, then this one is a must too.

5. Little House on the Prairie
Granted, it has been forever since I read this series, but the push to move to wide open spaces is such a huge part of American history.

6. Narnia
Must I explain why I would include this favorite? It would be fun to discuss and see what different readers take away from the series.

7. A Tale of Two Cities
Granted, it's been a while, but this would be interesting to pair with a book about the American Revolution.

8. The Hunger Games
I like discussing futuristic stories and the morals in them. I can see this being a fun series to discuss with teens. Pairing it with some Roman history (gladiators) and it could be quite interesting.

9. North and South
I love Gaskell! This one has a lot going for it, as it shows why unions were needed, as well as the changes the Industrial Revolution brought.

10.The Children
I may be a bit morbid to like Wharton's stories, though this one is a wee bit happier. This is an interesting story that was kind of ahead of its time.

What books would you have in your classroom?

Starving Hearts

Since her assault, Miss Annette Chetwynd has been plagued by nightmares and worries about an arranged marriage.
She yearns to find her anonymous rescuer. Unfortunately, her health and intellect prevent it. Both repel suitors and cause Annette to doubt God’s existence, at least until He answers her prayers in an unusual way. . . .
Mr. Peter Adsley is joining the clergy, and he desires a godly wife by his side. After a failed attempt to obtain one, he engages in a clandestine meeting with the bewitching young woman who keeps crossing his path. But she is so unsettling.
Destined for disappointments, Peter and Annette both endure disgraceful situations. Will Peter’s faith sustain him through overwhelming setbacks? Can Annette overcome her doubts? Or will their starving hearts yield to the machinations of a mad man?

My thoughts: Don't let this book fool you into thinking it is just another Jane Austen knock off, since that would be a disservice to this wonderful debut novel! I thorally enjoyed getting to know the different characters, even having the chance to get inside the villa's head. The historical aspect of this story was wonderful as well. I look forward to reading more by this author!
I received this book from in exchange for my honest review.

Raising a Young Modern Day Princess

Emulating the format of Raising a Modern-Day Princess, authors Doreen Hanna and Karen Whiting seek to help parents and grandparents cultivate strong relationships and encourage the spiritual formation in their daughters using examples, Bible teaching on the fruit of the Spirit, and a variety of creative activities that are based on Galatians 5:22-23, the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control).

By implementing the ideas in this book, mothers (as well as fathers) will be equipped to understand and guide their daughters through each step of becoming His “princess.” This will include perceiving a daughter’s unique personality and gifts, refining her character through training and discipline, and modeling the attributes of a daughter of the King.

This book is a follow-up to both Raising a Modern-Day Knight (by Robert Lewis) and Raising a Modern-Day Princess by Pam Farrel and Doreen Hanna. While the latter book is aimed at parents of girls ages 12 and up, this book focuses on building the Christian character of younger girls.

My thoughts: This book is just perfect for my family, since I have a young daughter who loves anything princess like. This book is amazing! I like how it has a ton of activities to help little girls grasp the fruits of the spirit and their are ways for both mom and dads to get involved. I love the tea party ideas, and especially appreciated the activities to show how kindness has a ripple affect (I've had a hard time trying to explain the importance of kindness to my toddler, so these really helped!). This is an excellent book for parents or guardians of young girls, since it helps teach important lessons. I look forward to getting the book for older girls when the time comes, but I am so thankful that this one is out there for young girls.
I received this book from Tyndale in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Me:a compendium

Inventive, hillarious and joyously colorful, this fill-in journal was designed to help kids capture nearly everything that’s uniquely rad about them. With design-savvy, yet completely kid-friendly illustrations, they’re asked to draw or write about a bunch of interesting things — like what their hair looks like, what their band name would be, what they’d bring to outer space, and how they feel about lightning, lizards and pickles. There may or may not be a place for super-secret stuff inside the book jacket. Whether kids complete their entire compendium on a rainy day, or finish it over a year, it’ll become a treasure to look back on and smile.

My thoughts :I love this journal! I got it for my daughter, though it is a little old/advanced for her. We are still enjoying just looking through it and thinking about the questions! I think this book would be especially fun for elementary and middle school age kids. It would make a great gift!
I received this book from blogging for nooks in exchange for my honest review.

Dear Jane

The plan was to serve a mission, marry her boyfriend, and live happily ever after. But all of that changed when Quinn got a Dear Jane email. Now she's stuck at home with no boyfriend, no job, no major, and absolutely no social life. Will Quinn ever find the path that leads to her eternal happiness?

My thoughts: While I am not LDS, and this book is very much geared toward that culture with it being about a young woman on her mission who gets a "Dear Jane" letter, I still enjoyed the story immensely. The author does a wonderful job of engaging the reader in this story about a young woman trying to live out her faith and dealing with what happens when life doesn't follow the perfect plan that we think it should. She does a great job of dealing with sensitive subjects like suicide and divorce. I would recommend this book for older teens and young adults on up.
I received this book from Cedar Fort in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

365 Pocket Morning Prayers

Each morning when you arise, take a moment to talk with God about the day ahead. Ask Him to prepare your heart so that you can be ready to face any challenge that comes your way. 365 Pocket Morning Prayers can guide this time of life-changing conversation and help you express your needs and concerns to God. Don’t worry about what the day will bring. Instead, release your troubles and concerns into God’s care by reading and meditating on the prayers featured in 365 Pocket Morning Prayers. Begin your day in joyful anticipation, trusting that God is in control of your life and wants only the best for you.

My thoughts: This book is the perfect way to get your mornings started right by focusing on a prayer for the day. I love the variety of topics that it covers, praying for church leaders, mentors, second chances, truth, etc. It is an excellent little book to have by one's bed, so it is easy to grab in the morning. I love that it is small and compact, so it would fit nicely in a purse, scripture bag, or backpack. It would also make an excellent gift!
I received this book from Tyndale in exchange for my honest review.


Gratitude: A Prayer and Praise Coloring Journal invites you to bring creative journaling and the calming act of coloring into your quiet time with God. This beautifully designed interactive prayer book helps guide your thoughts as you pray about concerns. Gratitude gives you a way to celebrate and give thanks to God for the many blessings he provides. Filled with over 100 designs to color, plenty of space for journaling and sketching, and 40 needs-based prayers, Gratitude helps you express your devotion to God with your whole heart! Special Features:

Lay-flat hardcover and thick paper
Hardcover with embossed cover design
Illustrated by Felicity French

My thoughts: When I saw this book, a combination of an adult coloring book and a prayer and praise journal, I just had to jump at the chance to review it! I have enjoyed journaling since I was a teen, and I love coloring books (my husband teases me that I pull out my daughter's coloring books more for me than her.;) I suppose it is only fair that she wants me to share this one!), so this is the perfect combination for me! I love the coloring pages and how the journal side of things gets one to think about specific things you are grateful for. I love focusing on the question for the set of pages while I color! This book would make the perfect gift for Christmas!
I received this book from Tyndale in exchange for my honest review.

Honor Redeemed

Two Men Vie for Her Affection--Survival Will Depend on Choosing the Right One
Two years ago, Prosperity Jones waved farewell to her beloved David as the army sent him to faraway Key West. Now with her parents gone, she has but one prospect for the future: make the dangerous journey from Nantucket to Key West to reunite with David and secure a happier life. Arriving penniless in the South, Prosperity is dismayed to find David married to someone else. Scrambling to survive and nursing a broken heart, she gains the friendship--and the affection--of a kind doctor. Could he be the answer to her loneliness? Or will her life be upended by circumstance yet again?
With a deft hand, Christine Johnson fills the reader's senses with the sights, sounds, and smells of Key West in this heartwarming story of honor lost, honor redeemed, and a love forged in adversity.

My thoughts: This book wound up surprising me, since it had a lot of twists and turns in the story that I didn't see coming. I loved the history embedded in the story! It's a wonderful, rich story with a lot going on. I especially appreciated the attention bringing all the characters to life.
I received this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review.

Jesus Talked to Me Today

A Heartwarming Story Collection of Children's Encounters with God, Angels, and Miracles

Children have a special place in Jesus' heart. He said they are the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, and their angels continually see the face of God. Perhaps that's why children seem to be more receptive to supernatural experiences than adults.
This new collection reveals how God works in the lives of these precious little ones. It contains the touching true stories of children who have heard Jesus speak, encountered angels, and experienced miracles. We could all use more childlike faith, and these stories "from the mouths of babes" will encourage readers to be open to hear from the Lord in a fresh, sweet, and pure way.

My thoughts: This book is heartwarming, just like the synopsis says!:) I enjoyed reading the variety of miracles having to do with children, as well as the variety of encounters they have had with angels. Some of them are a wee bit heartbreaking, but it is amazing to read what God does with the faith of a little child.
I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

A Heart Most Certain

A Fresh Voice in Historical Romance!
Lydia King knows what it's like to be in need, so when she joins the Teaville Moral Society, she genuinely hopes to help the town's poor. But with her father's debts increasing by the day and her mother growing sicker by the week, she wonders how long it will be until she ends up in the poor house herself. Her best chance at a financially secure future is to impress the politician courting her, and it certainly doesn't hurt that the moral society's president is her suitor's mother. Her first task as a moral society member—to obtain a donation from Nicholas Lowe, the wealthiest man in town—should be easy . . . except he flat-out refuses.
Despite appearances, Nicholas wants to help others but prefers to do it his own way, keeping his charity private. When Lydia proves persistent, they agree to a bargain, though Nicholas has a few surprises up his sleeve. Neither foresee the harrowing complications that will arise from working together. When town secrets are brought to light, this unlikely pair must decide where their beliefs—and hearts—truly align.

My thoughts: I was blown away by this story! I picked it up on a whim, since I don't know that I have really read Melissa's books. I am so glad that I did! The story was amazing, having some surprising depth and a lot going on. I loved the main characters, especially Lydia, since she reminds me of Emma from Jane Austen's story. While not what I would call spoiled, she learns to be a better person when she makes a bargain with Nicholas Lowe, a man who seems like a miser from the outside.
I love the issues that this story deals with and how the characters develop over the course of the story. This book is a new favorite!
I received this book from Bethany in exchange for my honest review.

An Unexplainable Life

If you’ve ever read the book of Acts, it probably didn’t take you long to notice: The early believers were on fire! They were full of the Holy Spirit, had wonder for God, and did great things in His name. And sadly, many of us seem nothing like them.

An Unexplainable Life is a call to reignite the mission and movement of the early church individually and collectively. This in-depth Bible study transports readers back to the early days of the Christian church, challenging our modern-day assumptions and inviting us to join Jesus in His work today.

Divided into 10 weeks, this study:

Guides participants verse-by-verse through Acts 1–12
Equip readers for transformation through challenging Scripture application
Teaches basic principles for personally studying the Scriptures
Brings Scripture to life with historical, cultural, and theological backgrounds
Provides a “going deeper” section for curious students
Ideal for groups, this study will help readers spur one another on toward adopting the qualities and passions of the early Christian church, providing built-in accountability.

The fervor of the early church isn’t restricted to the first century. Unlock the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and join His great work today.

My thoughts: This book is an excellent companion to the book Acts! I love how it is a call to be on fire for Jesus as the early Christians were. Erica does a fabulous job of tying in other New Testament writings and helping the reader (or group, since this would be fun to go through with a Bible Study!) to delve into the scriptures and think about the book of Acts in a different light. I've been doing this one on my own, but I would love to discuss the questions with a group.;)
I received this book from Moody in exchange for my honest review.

The Echoing

About the book:

Rylee has an unusual gift. It brings good luck to those who are kind to her and misfortune to those who are not–at least, that’s what the crazy woman in the woods tells her. But Rylee doesn’t believe it until strange coincidences start happening to her classmates and friends. Her gift may not be a matter of luck but of life and death.

My thoughts: This book was excellent! I enjoyed the story of Rylee, a young woman who has felt like she is destined for more, but doesn't realize what that is until she meets an old hermit who shows her the gift that she has. The journey Rylee goes on is a lovely, heartbreaking one that I enjoyed reading. I thought that the twists in the story were excellent and look forward to reading more by this author!
I received this book from Cedar Fort in exchange for my honest review.

About the author:

Jessica Blackburn studied at Brigham Young University—Idaho and graduated from her local community college with an Associates of Arts Degree. She currently lives in the beautiful Columbia Gorge as a stay-at-home mom. When she’s not writing stories, she spends her spare time teaching Sunday School and blogging her lessons and personal thoughts at

Monday, August 22, 2016


: Where Adventure and Romance Meet

Inspired by the vision of the Young Lady Sapphira, Rosalind of Ipsworth joins a group of men, women, and children as a defender of the cross, seeking to free captives from prisons near Tripoli. She gladly gives herself to the cause, as she's haunted by a tragic mistake and no longer deserves such joys as marriage and family might bring.

Sir Randel Penigree was reared to serve in the church, but dreams of protecting the innocent as a knight. Joining a crusade to escape humiliation at home, he finds himself drawn to Rosalind as they partner to train and protect a group of young adolescents. When they face political machinations, danger, and an unknown enemy bent on their destruction, they are forced to reconsider their priorities and the very nature of the God they serve.

My thoughts: This book was excellent! I loved the story and the history behind it, since it is a type of children's crusade that is brought together by Lady Sapphira. Fans of the series will enjoy reading more about Rosalind, who was introduced in Chivalrous. I love that Dina tackles difficult subjects with her series and handles them perfectly. While some of the subjects are for a little older audience (high school age), I think she handles sensitive subjects well.
I received this book from Bethany in exchange for my honest review.

Take Ten: That Have Been On Your Shelf (Or TBR) From Before You Started Blogging That You STILL Haven't Read Yet

Honestly, I could probably have all marriage related self help books on this list, since I bought a bunch right before I got married (or, was given several for our wedding... Oops) that I haven't taken the time to read. We did pre-marital counseling, so there was a ton of info to read during the course and I kind of became burned out.;) But, I digress. I shall try to present a more diverse list.;)

1. Insurgent

I will be honest. While the first one was interesting enough, it didn't grab my attention enough for me to finish the series quickly. Someday, perhaps. Though, my TBR list is ever growing...

2. Allegiant

Perhaps someday...

3. Love and Respect

This one comes highly recommend from a lot of people and experts. I'm finally getting around to cracking it open! Mostly because we are doing it for a women's study group.;) It is excellent, thus far!

4. Operation Desert Light

I love Brother Andrew, so I really need to read this one!

5. The Professor

My sister loved this one, so I keep thinking that I will get around to reading it.;)

6. The Door in the Hedge

I used to read a lot of fairy tale re-tellings, but I missed this one!

7. The Rose of Winslow Street

While I have been blogging (and, before this blog, there was Livejournal) for quite some time, this book found its way to my Kindle before I started blogging about books. I enjoy Camden's books, so I need to read this one.;)

8. The Count of Monte Cristo

Somehow, I missed this one in my mad dash through the classics during high school and college.;) I wish I had taken the time to read it, since it would be harder to devote the time to it now, with two munchkins.:) Someday...

9. The Whitney Chronicles

My taste in books has changed, to a certain degree, so I may never pick this one up, though it still looks cute.

10. Listen

I loved Rene's other books, so I should pick this one up...

So, that is my list! It makes me wish I could just read instead of sleep.;) Perhaps then I could read all the books I would like!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

When Death Draws Near

Gwen Marcey takes death in stride. Until she’s faced with her own mortality.

Forensic artist Gwen Marcey is between jobs when she accepts temporary work in Pikeville, Kentucky—a small town facing big-city crime. But before Gwen can finish her first drawing of the serial rapist who is on the loose, the latest witness vanishes. Just like all the others.

Gwen suspects a connection between the rapist and the “accidental” deaths that are happening around town, but the local sheriff has little interest in her theories. When her digitally-obsessed teenage daughter joins her, Gwen turns her attention to a second assignment: going undercover in a serpent-handling church. She could get a handsome reward for uncovering illegal activity—a reward she desperately needs, as it seems her breast cancer has returned. But snakes aren’t the only ones ready to kill. Can Gwen uncover the truth—and convince anyone to believe her—before she becomes a victim herself?

In a thrilling race against time, When Death Draws Near plunges us into cold-case murders, shady politics, and a den of venomous suspects.

My thoughts: I wasn't sure how I would like this story, since it deals with some horrible crimes. That said, I do think that Carrie handles the story well, not dwelling on atrocities.
I really enjoyed the religious side of the story, with Gwen going undercover to learn more about a serpent handling church that has lost quite a few of their members over the last year. I thought the characters were fascinating and loved learning some new things.
This is an excellent read that will keep you up late reading.;)
I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

The Things We Knew

A tragedy from the past resurfaces in this tale of family secrets and reignited love.

After her mother’s death twelve years ago, Lynette Carlisle watched her close-knit family unravel. One by one, her four older siblings left their Nantucket home and never returned. All seem to harbor animosity toward their father, silently blaming him for their mother’s death. Nobody will talk about that dreadful day, and Lynette can’t remember a bit of it.

But when next-door neighbor Nicholas Cooper returns to Nantucket, he brings the past with him. Once her brother’s best friend and Lynette’s first crush, Nick seems to hiding things from her. Lynette wonders what he knows about the day her mother died and hopes he might help her remember the things she can’t.

But Nick has no intention of telling Lynette the truth. Besides the damage it might cause his own family, he doesn’t want to risk harming the fragile friendship between him and the woman he once thought of as a kid sister.

As their father’s failing health and financial concerns bring the Carlisle siblings home, secrets begin to surface—secrets that will either restore their shattered relationships or separate the siblings forever. But pulling up anchor on the past propels them into the perfect storm, powerful enough to make them question all they ever believed in.

My thoughts: This one will keep you up late reading, since the story has plenty of mystery and intrigue! I had such a hard time putting it down, since Lynette's memory resurfaces slowly. The plot is interesting, and I also enjoyed getting to know each of her siblings with their personal struggles brought on by how they dealt with tragedy. This story is well written; I appreciated the depth of each of the characters. A must read for mystery lovers!
I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

The Loyal Heart

Robert came to Galveston to fulfill his promise to a dying man and look after his widow. He didn’t expect to find love in the unlikeliest of places.

Robert Truax, former Second Lieutenant and Confederate officer in the Civil War, made a promise to his comrade Phillip Markham. If anything happened to Phillip, Robert would look after his beloved wife, Miranda. She was his life, his world, his everything.

After the war, Robert is left to pick up the pieces and fulfill his pact. When he arrives at Miranda's home in Galveston, Texas, things are worse than he imagined. Phillip's name has been dragged through the mud, everyone in town believes him to be a traitor, and his widow is treated as an outcast. Even more disturbing is her emotional well-being. Miranda seems hopeless, lost, and so very alone.

Robert had thought his duty would be simple. He would help Miranda as quickly as possible in order to honor a promise. But the moment Robert laid eyes on her, his plans changed. He's mesmerized by her beauty and yearns to help her in any way he can.

He makes it his duty to protect Miranda, turn her reputation around, and to find some way to help her smile again. But it doesn't prove to be an easy task—Robert knows something about Phillip that could shake Miranda to the core and alter her view of the man she thought she knew so well.

My thoughts: I enjoyed this story and the uniqueness of the characters and their predicament. The story is an interesting look at life for a war widow, especially one who is thought to have been married to a traitor, is like. The story is interesting and I thought the characters were well written and come to life! I look froward to the next book in the series!
I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Service Tails

Heart-tugging true stories of the courage, faith, and loyalty of remarkable service dogs.

Not all heroic dogs wildly toss themselves into lifesaving situations. Some save lives simply by their incredible commitment to duty and service. Some lead the way to independence for people whose disabilities were supposed to limit their lives.

In Service Tails: More Stories of Man’s Best Hero, prolific author Ace Collins introduces us to leaders whose entire lives are wrapped in the banner of service. Their stories are remarkable snapshots of the value of vision and teamwork, as well as devotion to duty and unconditional love and acceptance–stretching the way we see both canine and human potential. Their training was intense, their loyalty unquestioned and each step of the way they constantly adapt to better serve those they lead. These unforgettable dogs are more than heroes; they are models from which we can learn how to love and serve unconditionally.

My thoughts: This book is an excellent collection of different stories of service animals. I love that the stories are true, which makes them all the more interesting. Ace Collins does a wonderful job with this collection.
While I am not an animal lover per se, you don't have to be one to enjoy this book and the stories in it.
I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

(un)Natural Mom

Do you feel like you’re the only mom who serves store-bought birthday treats, dreads school plays, and misses the days of going to the bathroom by herself?

Unnatural Mom gives you permission to say that mothering doesn’t always come naturally to you. Parenting expert and self-proclaimed unnatural mom Hettie Brittz helps you…

—Recognize how unrealistic our culture’s standards of mothering are
—Move beyond the myths of “supermom”
—Complete a profile to determine your own parenting style
—Understand and forgive the mothers who hurt you
—Embrace your capabilities as well as your challenges

Come find new hope in discovering that every mother has unique gifts. In Christ, the “unnatural” mom becomes the supernatural mom who is just right for her family!

My thoughts: There is so much mommy guilt and judging, that this book is just what mothers need! Hettie is very real and open about the mistakes she has made with her motherhood journey. I was struck by how God has used her unique situation for His purposes. I think that is the best part of this book, it does show how each of us are the best mother for our children.
The parenting styles are interesting to read about, though I feel like I am in kind of a mixture of a couple of them.
This is a wonderful book for mothers in all walks!
I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

Tackling the Fields review and giveaway

Cole Sanders is a changed man. The university quarterback questions his direction in life after serving on a mission trip in Honduras. Things that used to fill Cole’s ego seem empty after witnessing the developing country’s extreme poverty and the death of a precious child. The one glimmer of hope through his confusion is the fresh perspective he now has about his tutor, Audrey. She possesses something beautiful inside and out—something that might help him become the person he wants to be.

University senior Audrey Vaughn tutored Cole Sanders for an entire year and never imagined the popular quarterback would see her as anything more than a friend. After partnering with him on the mission trip, they are drawn together. And he appears to have changed for the better. To let Cole into her life, Audrey will have to overcome not only her brother’s distrust, but also the paralyzing fear still lingering from a past she’s tried to leave behind.

Cole can’t walk away from Audrey now that they’re back in Oxford. He’ll have to figure out how to keep her giant of a brother, a lineman on his football team, from killing him when the coach has his back turned. But can Audrey trust her heart to a player so similar to the one who stole so much from her in the past?

About the Author

Janet W. Ferguson grew up in Mississippi and received a degree in Banking and Finance from the University of Mississippi. She has served her church as a children’s minister and a youth volunteer. An avid reader, she worked as a librarian at a large public high school. Janet and her husband have two grown children, one really smart dog, and a few cats that allow them to share the space.

Guest Post from Janet Ferguson

Hi, I’m Janet W. Ferguson, and I’m so excited to be back again and meet more readers through Celebrate Lit!

This is a story I didn’t want to write, but felt called to tackle. The loss of the dream, the loss of innocence, and life’s other unfair struggles can challenge our faith—can make us captive to fear and disappointment.

 In the South, we love football. In writing this book, I’m not trying to make a statement for or against the sport. My husband and son loved playing the game. After my son suffered a torn ACL, torn shoulder labrum, and four surgeries, he could no longer participate in the game he loved. He mourned the loss of the brotherhood of his team. I saw the popular pastime differently from his eyes. For young men, I believe it is a bond between friends for a common goal. Though the character in this book is totally fictional, I’m dedicating this book to my son, Luke.

The other sensitive topics in this story seemed particularly sad, but relevant in our society. Trust me, I didn’t prefer to research acquaintance/date rape or human trafficking, but both are going on all too often in communities both small and large. There are a number of organizations set up to help victims of these crimes if you feel a calling to help.

Someone reading this may have had something terrible that happened in their past or may know someone who has. God is able to set free the captives, set you free from the bonds that hold you. My prayer is that you find comfort in that truth.

Blog Stops

August 15: Quiet Quilter
August 18: The Power of Words (Spotlight)
August 22: Bigreadersite
August 23: A Greater Yes
August 26: Mary Hake


[Insert Giveaway Picture]


 To celebrate her tour, Janet is giving away a $75 Amazon gift card Click here to enter:

My thoughts: While I enjoyed the previous books in the series, this one was my favorite! The characters are incredible and their struggles real. I love that Cole has come home from a mission trip ready to change and looking at his life differently. This book deals with difficult subjects, like human trafficking and pornography, showing how those two tie together. Janet handles these sensitive subjects marvelously though! I think this is a great YA story, since it shows the impact of some of our decisions that we think only affect us.
I received this book from Celebrate Lit in exchange for my honest review.
If you would like to buy a copy,go here

I think boxes like this are so much fun! My brother has tried the Loot Crate a couple of times, and it is so much fun to see what kind of nerd things are in there. Well, one of the groups I review for is now offering a box of goodies related to books. I love the idea! Here is the box they will be offering for October.

Celebrate Lit is excited to announce our new Celebration Box! The celebration box is a unique, one of a kind box with goodies hand picked by the author just for you! These boxes are special because they are not sold anywhere else. There is a limited supply so be sure to get yours right away!

October’s box features Molly Jebber’s Change of Heart. Sales for the October box will close on September 16 or while supplies last.

The basic box includes:

A minimum of 6 items handpicked by the author themed around the book.
A themed charm specifically chosen for this book.
One lucky box will contain a special item that no one else will receive.

Along with the basic box, you can purchase the ebook or paperback book for a discounted price.

To purchase your box, click here

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Beauty Series

Beauty for Ashes: Jazz is being forced to move and her mom has given her a major task to accomplish. She has to pack up the attic. What Jazz finds in the attic changes her life in ways she never imagined, and opens her up to life altering possibilities.

Monstrous Beauty: Ethan’s father was a piece of work, to put it mildly. His father managed to become quite wealthy before he died, yet he left Ethan deeply damaged in more ways than one. Can the love and care of a strange young woman with a past of her own free him, or is he doomed to never change?

My thoughts: I enjoyed both of these re-tellings of fairy tales! I am drawn to fairy tales, so I was thrilled to have the chance to pick these stories up and read through them. While I enjoyed both stories, I think I especially liked the second book, since it is a re-telling of Beauty and the Beast, which is one of my favorites from childhood (honestly, it is probably the library and the fact that Belle was bookish that drew me in as a kid!). Carol does a wonderful job of drawing the reader in. I look forward to seeing which fairy tale she picks next!
I received these books through Celebrate Lit in exchange for my honest review.

Carol Keen currently resides in Alabama with her husband and family. She spends her time writing, reading, working on photography, and working with her much loved critters. She started creating stories to share with others at the age of two years old. She was published for several years in FAMA magazine (Freshwater And Marine Aquarium) as a contributing editor. She published her first book on CD, called Simply Seahorses. She is overjoyed to be publishing her fiction to share with you now. Carol currently has more books in the “works”. Please feel free to follow her for updates.

Can you believe it? I’m on my second tour with Celebrate Lit! Wow! I’m floored and happy and close to tears too. I have to say a HUGE thank you to Sandy and Denise for their encouragement and patience and help.

Today we are talking about my first series, The Beauty Series. The first book, Beauty For Ashes is the very first published fiction book that I have released. It started out as a contest entry. When it didn’t make the winning selection, I expanded it and had several trusted people read it. It was well received over all, and so I braved the scary world of navigation Amazon and published it.

Beauty For Ashes is based on Cinderella, and it was a challenge to write. I had always had some questions about why certain things weren’t covered in that story, so in my version, I added them. I answered my unanswered questions. I also have always felt that Cinderella had to be Christian to survive what she did and still be who she was.

My third published book is the second book in this series, and one of my favorite fairytales of all time. Monstrous Beauty is based on Beauty and the Beast. As with Beauty For Ashes, I always felt a “back story” to what drove the Beast was missing. In this version I have added all that, as well as having other answers to why “Beauty” was in this situation to start with. How would either of them relied on God to get through their situations?

 I had a lot of fun writing Monstrous Beauty, and I’m looking forward to the next book I plan to write in this series.

Thank you so much for joining me on this adventure, and please feel free to ask questions!

Blessings, Carol :)

Blog Stops

August 14: Back Porch Reads
August 15: Pause for Tales
August 17: A Greater Yes
August 24: ArtisticNobody


To celebrate her tour, Carol is giving away three ebook copies of the Beauty Series with bookmark. Enter the giveaway here:

The Bard and the Bible

I am not usually one for devotionals, since I like to read a book all the way through and then move on, but I have to say that I have enjoyed this one! It is interesting to see the devotions that are a mesh of scriptures from the King James and quotes from Shakespeare. This is such a fun and unique devotional! It would make a perfect gift, especially for English majors.;) Though, this is an excellent devotion for people from all walks of life, as there is something for everyone in its pages.
I received this book from Worthy in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016


From the daughter-father duo that created Brooklyn's beloved live pun competition comes Punderdome, the "Punderful card game [that] will replace Cards Against Humanity at your next party" (

One part game, one part conversation starter, you don't need to be a pun master to master Punderdome: the goal is to make bad jokes and have fun along the way.

A player (the prompter for that round) draws two prompt cards from the deck, and then reads the prompts to the rest of the group, who have 90 seconds to create a single, groan-worthy pun that combines the two prompts.

When time is up, pun makers share their puns with the prompter, who awards the prompt cards to the player whose pun he or she likes best. The winner then draws the next pair of prompt cards and the process repeats. Players win by obtaining 10 pairs of cards.

Every Game Set Comes With:
· 200 double-sided cards (100 White and 100 Green)
· 2 Mystery Envelopes with fill-in prize slips
· 2 80-page pads for drafting puns
· 1 instruction card and 1 pun example card
· A stu-PUN-dous time for 3 or more players

My thoughts: This is a fun game to pull out when you have a group of friends or family over who like to share puns. I love that it gets your brain thinking, and can really come up with some fun things. I also think that it would be hilarious to play with a bunch of tired people. lol. I wish that this game was around when I was a teen, since it would of been awesome to pull out at family get togethers! I know it is one that my husband will stomp me at.;)
I received this game from Blogging for books in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Fetching Sweetness

Standing between Stephanie and her dream is one hundred pounds of lovable trouble.

It should have been so simple for Stephanie Pink: Meet up with Agnes Wharton in a small town in California, retrieve the reclusive author’s valuable new manuscript, and be promoted to a full-fledged literary agent.

But Agnes’s canine companion, Sweetness, decides to make a break for it before Stephanie can claim her prize. Until Agnes has Sweetness safely back at home in Eagle Cliff, Washington, Stephanie will never set eyes on the manuscript she needs to make her dreams come true.

When Stephanie tracks the runaway mutt to a campground, she meets Rhett Hastings—a man also on the run from a different life and a costly mistake. Rhett agrees to help Stephanie search for the missing dog…thus launching a surprising string of adventures and misadventures.

Once Sweetness gets added to the mix, it’s a recipe for love and loss, merriment and mayhem, fun and faith in the backwoods of the Pacific Northwest.

My thoughts: I loved this story! The characters are a lot of fun to get to know, since they have their own quirks and a depth to their stories that a lot of fiction misses out on. I loved getting to know Stephanie Pink and her ragtag band as they make the trip up the west coastal states to win the manuscript of a lifetime. You don't have to be an animal lover to enjoy this wonderful story.
I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

Top Ten book in x setting

At first, I debated doing my top ten favorites set in England or in a fantasy style land, but then I thought that might be to easy and have a lot of repeats from the lists I have done recently. So, instead, I will do my top ten favorites that have to do with the sea. Come to find out, that was not as much of a challenge as I thought it would be.;)

1. The Things We Knew
I actually have to post a review on this one soon. While it wasn't quite as much of a mystery as I had hoped, I still loved the main characters and the drive of the story. I also love that it was set in Nantucket!

2. The Secret in Belfast
Not only is this book about the Titanic, but it also has magic in it!

3. Through Waters Deep
I loved the characters in this one and that there was such a sweet romance that blossoms over the course of the story. And, it's a WWII setting, which is almost always a winner for me!

4. Anchor in the Storm
This one is in the same series as Through Waters Deep. I loved the plucky heroine!

5. Five Days in Skye
I picked this one up on Netgalley on a whim, and was so glad I did! Skye is such a gorgeous setting for a book.

6. Beyond the Rising Tide
This was an interesting one, with the impossible romance.;)

7. Maggie Bright
While perhaps a tad dry and hard to get into, I LOVED this one! It is about Dunkirk, which was fascinating. I love the depth of the story.

8. The Prayer Box
I loved the history showcased in this story.

9. The Sea Keeper's Daughter
This one is loosely in the same series as The Prayer Box, but you don't have to read them in order (though you will want to read the whole series!)

10. Beyond All Dreams
This reminds me, I need to read the last two books that Elizabeth Camden has released, since she always does a fabulous job of bringing to life history. This one has to do with the Library of Congress and disappearing ships.;)

So, for some reason I am unable to post pictures with my post. So, instead you get the link to read about each book.;)

Wednesday, August 10, 2016


OUTCRY declares that local churches are at the heart of Christianity and you can make a difference in your community.

The OUTCRY tours were born out of a desire to be the lights and sounds of the greatest movement in the world: the local church. While studies and critics may indicate a decline of the local church, Ryan Romeo's Outcry attests that the movement is only increasing. It's time we band together to empower the local church to influence the surrounding culture. It's you. It's us. Stand behind the church Jesus gave His life for. The part you play in your local church matters. You are an integral part of bringing God's story to all corners of the world. God's church isn't finished! Her best days are ahead.

Includes contributions from:
- David Crowder
- Jenn Johnson (Bethel Music)
- Pat Barrett (Housefires)
- Chris Llewellyn (Rend Collective)

My thoughts: This is an excellent book to get the reader excited about the church. I loved reading Ryan's thoughts on how the church is messy and made up of imperfect people, but it is also incredibly beautiful too. His message is one of hope, which I needed to hear again. I think he is right that the best days are ahead of the bride of Christ.
I received this book from Worthy in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Accidentally Me

WANTED: Pretend stalker. No experience required. Tall, dark, and quirky preferred. Sabrina is desperate to go to her dream college, but her parents want her to stay close to home. If she wants to maintain her perfect child image, Sabrina must break rules that even her rebel sister keeps . . .

My thoughts: I have mixed feelings about this book. It started out cute, but I didn't care for her "stalker", so it made it a little harder for me to get into that side of the story. That said, I still had a hard time putting it down (I finished it in one evening, staying up late to do so;)) and adored the main character. Sabrina is fun and quirky as she learns to make her own mistakes.
If you are looking for a light hearted read with some surprising depth, then I highly recommend this one!
I received this book from Cedar fort in exchange for my honest review.

Without Warning

Taut Writing and Breakneck Pacing That Will Keep Readers Up All Night
Katie Singleton, a partner with the Elite Guardians Protection Agency, stumbles upon her next assignment quite by accident. Spotting blue lights at a familiar restaurant, she stops to investigate, only to discover that owner Daniel Matthews has become the target of someone who will go to any lengths to put him out of business.
Daniel might be concerned, but he's not convinced that a bodyguard--and a female one at that--is necessary. A new attack and his niece's urgings are enough to make him reconsider. He and Katie must figure out who's behind the intimidation and threats--before a would-be killer strikes again.
Witty dialogue and a simmering attraction will have readers flying through this tension-laced thriller. Eason exercises complete control of her readers' emotions as they race through the pages to discover the truth

My thoughts: I need to lay off the mysteries, since they keep me up way to late at night! While I enjoyed the first book in this series, I think that I liked this one even better! There were a lot of plot twists and I just couldn't believe how much Daniel and Katie had to go through before discovering who was out to get Daniel. I enjoyed the characters and cannot wait to read the next book in the series.
I received this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review.

God Made You Just Right

Here is a message that every parent will want to share with his or her child: You're brilliantly created and there's no one else like you! With easy-to-understand descriptions and simple, rhyming text, Jill Roman Lord shares the message that God created each of us in just the right way in a manner that even the youngest child will understand. Bright and engaging illustrations from Amy Wummer pair perfectly with the text and enhance the appeal of the book.

My thoughts: I enjoyed reading this book with my daughter, since it has such an important message in it for little ones to hear! The illustrations are adorable and I love the text and how it flows. The book does a great job of having children from all nationalities in it.
I received this book from Worthy in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Take Ten: Favorite Heroines

This week, the subject for Top Ten Tuesday at the Broke and Bookish is rewind. I don't believe that I have ever done a list of my favorite heroines, so that is what my choice is.;)

1. Lucy Pevensie

I know I mention this series a lot, but it is one of the few that has stayed a favorite through the years, and was even better the second time around. I love Lucy and her goodness. It makes me remember that we can choose to look for the good and wonderful all around us, rather than focus on the rotten. (something I do too often)

2.Lucy Alling

I adored this book and love how Lucy changes over the course of the story.

3. Anne Elliot

Honestly, it is hard for me to pick a favorite Austen heroine, since I love Lizzy for her spunk and Emma for her ability to change when she realizes she is in the wrong, but it is Anne that truly steals the show for me. It feels like Jane poured wisdom into this heroine that the others lacked. She has some great quotes!
"My idea of good company, Mr. Elliot, is the company of clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company." Anne

4. Hermione Granger

I didn't get into the Harry Potter books until I was an adult and they were all out (which, in some ways was a nice way to do it, since I didn't have to wait for the books to come out one at a time!), but I think that Hermione would of been a favorite no matter the age I started reading the series.

5. Katniss Everdeen

This series had me with the bow and arrows.;) She really is a favorite, as she sacrificed for her sister and then her district.

6. Dru Porter

This is one that I read fairly recently and fell in love with Dru, the headstrong youngest in the Porter family. I love her spunk!

7. Allison Shire

I know, you all are probably getting tired of my mentioning this book, but I adored it! I love the heroine and the sparks of romance.;)

8. Lady Miranda

I'm not sure why exactly, but I adored this book and Lady Miranda! Perhaps because I see a bit of myself in her...

9. Lillian Avery

I loved this heroine and the WWII inspired story that goes with her!

10. Grace Christiansen

I gravitate towards heroines that like to bake, after working in a bakery for over a decade. I couldn't help but cheer as Grace found her way to her dreams and true love!

So, what books are on your list? Are there heroinces that I need to add to my list? I'm sure I missed some obvious ones!

How to Graduate Debt Free

It is ridiculous the amount of debt a student can accumulate while in college! This book shares easy steps and ideas on how to make the college experience more enjoyable and a lot less expensive, sometimes just by planning ahead. The book is quite engaging and easy to read, Kristina does a wonderful job of blending personal experiences, statistics, and quotes together to encourage the reader that it is possible to graduate debt free. I think that this is a great book to give to students, both high schoolers and college age, so that they will think ahead and not just take on college loans because that is what everyone is doing. As a parent (albeit, my kids are young), I appreciate her ideas. I know that after I went to college (I was able to do it without going to debt), a lot of my friends said they wished that someone had set them down and talked about how college loans look when you break them down into how much you wind up paying when all is said and done.
I highly recommend this one!
I received this book from Worthy in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

If in Doubt

Doubt, even mockery toward the Bible, occurs on every front, even from within the family of faith. But many of us have never actually heard answers to the questions that lie beneath the surface. Stenner’s foundational book summarizes accurately and simply the core facts of the Christian faith. Presented in a pastoral tone, If In Doubt covers the grand story of all time, from creation to the forthcoming close of human history and into eternity. Readers will find answer to these questions: Is the Bible reliable? Is Jesus God? Is Jesus coming back? Is there life after death? Did Jesus rise from the dead? Is there right and wrong? Did God make the world?

My thoughts: This is an excellent resource! I thought that Rhys does a fantastic job of breaking down 7 common doubts or questions about faith. So many of these questions, like if there is a right and wrong, have caused society to do a downward spiral.
I think one of my favorites was the chapter on Jesus rising from the dead, since he goes over the different ideas of what really happened before showing that He did indeed rise again.
This is an excellent resource for individuals and churches alike.
I received this book from Worthy in exchange for my honest review.