Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Welcome to Last Chance by Cathleen Armstrong

When Lainie packs up and leaves her ex-boyfriend, she plans to make a fresh start in El Paso. But when her car breaks down hours away from her destination, she is forced to stop in Last Chance. With no job and no car, she is left to depend on people she doesn't even know. People who are kind, caring and compassionate. Something she's never experienced, especially from strangers.

Lainie doesn't know what to think about Last Chance. Does she want to stay in a place where everyone knows her business? Or should she move on to the big city of El Paso so she can get lost in the crowd? Amidst all of these feelings, Lainie is terrified that her ex-boyfriend will come and find her. She's spent too long trying to get away from him.

I thought this book was a sweet summer read! I loved Lainie's character...her ability to see her past relationships for what they were, and her sense of cautiousness in her new relationships.

The Christian themes in this book were not heavily portrayed, but I really enjoyed the way it was written.

I would highly recommend this book and give it a rating of 5 stars! I received this book for free from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

**Available August 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.**

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The One Year Princess Devotions

This week I had the privilege of reading and reviewing "The One Year Princess Devotions" which is aimed at preschool age girls! With two little girls in my house, I knew this book would soon become a favorite!

This book is a year long devotional beginning on January 1st and ending on December 31st. Each day's devotion includes "Royal Words", "Princess Thoughts", "A Prayer For The King" and "Princess in Action".

"Royal Words" is the key Bible verse for the day. Most of the verses are fairly short and are one to two sentences. Perfect for toddler/preschool age children!

"Princess Thoughts" is the summary of the lesson. This is also relatively short at four to five sentences. It's long enough to get the message of the story across, but short enough that my 20 month old can sit on my lap and listen to the whole story. Perfect length in my opinion.

"A Prayer For The King" is a short heartfelt prayer created for a child to understand. It is usually a request to ask God to help your child to live in such a way that would be honoring to God.

And finally "Princess in Action" is a combination of different activities to do with your child, and steps they can take to follow Jesus.

All in all, I think this is a fabulous book for little girls! I love the Princess theme, and the short lessons which are perfect for the littler ones. My only complaint is that I would love for there to be more colorful pictures included. I would still rate this book as 4 stars.

I received this book for free through Tyndale Publishers to give my honest unbiased opinion.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Trouble in Store by Carol Cox

When unfairly fired from her job as a governess, Melanie Ross is forced to find employment elsewhere. But where can she go? She has no family except for an uncle living in Arizona. She hasn't heard from him in months, but he did say that if she ever needed anything, she had a home waiting for her there and would be able to help him in his mercantile.

Upon arriving to Arizona, Melanie learns that her uncle has passed away and a man named Caleb has been busily running the mercantile. The problem is that he also believes he lays claim on the shop.

Will the two of them be able to work together to make the mercantile successful? Or is it a disaster in the making?

I thought this book was a fun mix of love and mystery. I did appreciate the light Christian undertow of themes even though they weren't heavily addressed. If you are looking for a light summer read, this is the right book!

I received this book for free through Bethany House to give my honest unbiased opinion.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Winter in Full Bloom by Anita Higman

Life for Lily has changed so drastically in the last few years. First the death of her husband, then her daughter moves away to college. Now her mother tells her that she has a twin sister in Australia?

Lily's relationship with her mother is strained to say the least. They have never been a close knit family, and Lily's mother always had abusive tendencies in her relationship with Lily. Now that Lily is a grown woman, her mother admits a secret that she has been holding for 40 years. Lily has an identical twin sister. The how's and why's are not explained. Her mother refuses to speak of it anymore. So Lily is forced to take matters into her own hands and search out her lost sister. The only information she has is a city and the name of a church in Australia. Will it be enough to find her?

Winter in Full Bloom is a lovely story of love, forgiveness and family relationships. I was hooked from the very first page! I would love to see a book like this be made into a movie. The characters, the story line, and the spiritual elements are all excellent. I rate this book as 5 stars and would definitely recommend it to others who love a good Christian novel!

I received this book for free through Litfuse to give my honest unbiased opinion!

She's Twelve Going on Twenty by Kim Camp

I love reading a great parenting book and this book was no exception! While this book is aimed at mothers of teens and preteens (ages 9+) I gathered so much valuable wisdom from it's pages! My oldest is now only 7, but after reading this book, I feel like it gave me a great insight as to what to expect in the years to come. Not only that, but many ways to prepare my daughter now for the obstacles she will face in her teen years.

Kim addresses many of the issues that teenage girls face and struggle with, and also lists many ways to help us as parents guide them to make the right decisions. Body image, peer pressure, spiritual growth and boys are just a few topics addressed in this book.

At the end of each chapter is a challenge to get involved with your daughter in the form of an activity together, or having a heart-to-heart conversation.

I would highly recommend this book to parents of girls of all ages. I think Kim's advice is greatly beneficial and I feel like I've gained a wealth of knowledge just by reading this book! I rate it as 5 stars!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the® <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Runaway Emotions by Jeff Schreve

Do you ever wonder why God allows us to experience certain emotions? Loneliness, worry, frustration, anger...These are only a few of the emotions discussed in this book. Jeff Schreve dives deep into the reasons we experience these emotions and what God wants us to do about them. He shares stories of people in Bible times and how they handled their emotions.  

Throughout this book, we read about Jeremiah as he struggles with frustration, Jonah as he battles with anger, David when he is overpowered by his guilt, and many others. We also read about many present day folks who have also struggled with these age old problems. Many people who have dealt with depression have grown to have full and happy lives. We see examples of that in famous presidents, pastors, and lawyers. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. Although it's not what I expected, it's much better! I think everyone can relate to this book in some way or another. We all experience these same emotions and sometimes we wonder why we have to deal with them. I love that this book takes a closer look into what causes these emotions and how God wants us to handle them. I think my favorite chapters were "Worry" and "Frustration". There is so much excellent advice and words in those two chapters. I would highly recommend this book and rate it as 5 stars!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the® <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, August 5, 2013

Aquifer by Jonathan Friesen

Oh, I love a good young adult science fiction novel! And this book was certainly a page turner!

In the year 2250, there is only one lake bed known to still be in existence and it is underground. Once a year, Luca's father, the Deliverer, travels to the "Rats" below the city to make an exchange. This exchange ensures that the people who live above ground will have fresh water to drink for the rest of the year. Only the Deliverer is trusted with the perilous route to the Rats below, and he alone is the only one who will ever know, except for his descendants who will one day take his place.

Once Luca turns 16 years old, he learns that his time has come for him to take on the responsibilities of the Deliverer. His father failed to return from the exchange. The Deliverer knows the route forwards and backwards. Luca knows that it is impossible for his father to lose his way. Something is wrong.

Luca must face the truth that he has been lied to his whole life. The powerful Nine have been deceiving everyone. To find the answers that he needs, he will have to descend underground to the rats. He has known the route his whole life, but it suddenly seems more more menacing. Will Luca be able to descend and save the world before it's too late?

I loved this book from the very beginning! Much like many other YA fiction reads, the future is a messed up, dystopian society. I think these types of books are interesting because: a) we have not really experienced anything like this, so reading a story like this is good food for thought, and b) because I don't think our future is really so different from some of these themes. I really enjoyed this book, and I think it would be a fun book to discuss in a group setting.

I rate this book as 5 stars. I received this book for free from Zondervan to give my honest unbiased opinion.