Tuesday, November 26, 2013

"The Christmas Quilt" by Vannetta Chapman

This holiday season, I had the wonderful privilege of reading and reviewing "The Christmas Quilt" by Vannetta Chapman! It was actually the first book of hers that I had read, but after I finished it, I immediately searched for more books by her! 

Annie and Samuel are busy as can be as they make their rounds to all of the sick people in their community, while still making time for each other and family and friends. It's Christmas time and Annie and her best friend Leah are both pregnant with their first boppli (babies). Amish do not believe in using medical technology unless absolutely necessary, but Leah's midwife is sure that Leah is carrying twins! It is even more special because Annie and Leah are actually sister-in-laws because Annie and Leah's husband, Adam are siblings! 

Everything seems to be going perfectly as the families prepare for the holiday season, but one night Leah wakes up to an excrutiating pain in her belly and must be transported to an Englisch hospital. 

While there, Leah learns that her body is trying to go into labor even though it is much too early for the babies to be born. The doctors must keep a close watch on her at all times, which makes it necessary for Leah to remain in the hospital for the duration of her pregnancy. Annie accompanies her on this trip as her support system, as Adam cannot leave the farm for that long. While there, Annie continues to work on her baby gift to Leah, a baby quilt. While in the hospital, Leah finds out so much about herself and what God is trying to show her through these trials. 

I think this was a lovely story and definitely a fantastic introduction to Amish fiction for me! I found it very hard to put down and finished this book in a matter of only two days! I love the family values and wonderful sense of community that was portrayed in this book. I also loved that the character's relationship with God was an essential key to the story. From what I understand about the Amish, they do not like to focus on material possessions and do not believe in the help of medical technology if it is not necessary. I found the author's description to be tasteful and very well written! I rate this book as 5 stars and will definitely read it again! 

I received this book for free from Litfuse to give my honest unbiased opinion. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Review of "Catie's Secret" by Laura Allen Nonemaker

One day Herbie and Bella were busy playing and eating breakfast in God's Secret Garden, when they met Catie Caterpillar. Herbie immidiately began teasing Catie, and making fun of her for her appearance. Bella reprimanded Herbie and told him it was time to go. But before they had a chance, their Uncle Benny, mayor of God's Garden arrived. He told the children that he had heard some things that weren't so peaceful. Uncle Benny goes on to explain that there are many secrets in God's Secret Garden. Like the robin's egg that turns into a baby bird, and the acorn who turns into a tree.

The children quickly learn that someone's outward appearance is not the only one that matters. After a few days, they see Catie again, but this time she is a beautiful butterfly. The children see that their Uncle Benny was right all along and that Benny had said some unkind things. When they saw Catie again, Herbie apologized for teasing her.

I thought this was a fun read that included important morals and values for a young child. I would recommend this book for a new reader, or 5 to 6 year old. I think this book would also be excellent to use as a lesson for a Sunday School class. I think that while younger children (4 and under) may not be able to read this book, many will understand the story and concepts.

The back of the book includes questions you can ask your child after they are finished reading. The questions include questions such as "Has anyone ever teased you? How did you feel?" and "How should we treat someone who looks differently?"

Also included in the back is a small page of Butterfly facts, which is fun for any kid!

I was pleasantly surprised to read the back cover and see that there is a free audio version of the book available to download online for free.

All in all, I think "Catie's Secret" is an adorable book that children will love! I rate it as 4 stars!

I received this book for free from Litfuse to give my honest unbiased opinion.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Review of Aloha Rose by Lisa Carter

A love story with a little bit of mystery and it's set in Hawaii? I think yes!

Laney Carrigan has always wondered about her birth mother. After being adopted as a small infant, the only clue she had about her birth mother was a handmade quilt that the Carrigan's found her with on their doorstep. After Laney's adoptive mother died and her adoptive father remarried, her father urged her to find out more about her past. They searched online to no avail, until her father decided to include a picture of her baby quilt. Within 24 hours, they had a response. Her birth family was in Hawaii.

Within weeks, Laney flew out to meet her family. She met her Aunt Teah, Cousin Elyse, her Tutu (Grandma) Mily and a handsome cowboy named Kai who was adopted by Teah. She was disappointed to find that her mother was not alive. Not that she missed her, but that she had some choice words for her. But there was something that Auntie Teah was keeping from her. What could it be?

Laney forms a quick bond with Kai as they both seem to be struggling with the same things. But can he surrender his past in order to make way for the future? A future with Laney? Laney doesn't know.

I found Aloha Rose to be a fun quick read! It definitely kept my interest...I read through it in only 2 days! In some spots at the beginning of the book I found it a little hard to follow. It was when the author was still introducing the characters, which were quite a few. So I got mixed up a few times, but after a few chapters I got the hang of it. I also thought it was fun how the author introduced a bunch of Hawaiian lingo into the book. I think this definitely gave the book some character and I loved it! There was also a glossery in the back of the book explaining what each Hawaiian word meant.

To find out more about Lisa Carter, visit  http://litfusegroup.com/campaigns/quilts-of-love-the-christmas-quilt-and-aloha-rose! Make sure to enter to win a Kindle Fire while you're there! :)

Ultimately, I loved this book. It will be a book that I will read again and again just for a fun read! I rate it as 5 stars.

I received this book for free from Litfuse to give my honest unbiased opinion.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Review of "A Confident Heart Devotional" by Renee Swope

This week I had the privilege of reading and reviewing "A Confident Heart Devotional: 60 Days to Stop Doubting Yourself" by Renee Swope! This is an awesome devotional, especially for anyone who has ever dealt with negative self talk. Each day contains a key Bible verse, a story or small snippet to read, a prayer and a "I say...." but "God says...". There are 60 days' worth of devotionals to read through and most of them range from 3 to 5 pages.

There is also an index in the back to help you keep track of the key Bible verses and the "I say..." but "God says..." points.

I think my favorite part of the whole book were the "I say..." but "God says..." telling me what God says about the lies I tell myself. How we say that we are not worth loving and God says that we ARE worth loving. Along with each one of God's promises, is a Bible verse showing us where to find it in the Bible.

Essentially, we are speaking God's truth into our lives. Which is so important, especially when we read them aloud. I remember going to a class called "Life Skills" years ago and they often spoke about the importance of doing just that. Reading God's Word aloud helps to eliminate the negative feelings and lies that the world tells us about ourselves, and helps reitterate God's promises to us.

I think this is a wonderful book, and is excellent to read not as just as a devotional! I rate it as 5 stars!

Available November 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a divison of Baker Publishing Group.
*I received this book for free from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group to give my honest unbiased review.*

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Review of Adventure Bible Handbook!

"The Adventure Bible Handbook" by Robin Schmitt & David Frees is sure to be a new favorite in your household of 7-12 year olds...at least it is in mine! The book itself actually says it's for 9-12 year olds, but if you have a good reader like my 2nd grader, they will get just as much out of it!

The book is basically a big comic book where the main characters go back in time to over 70 Bible stories! They also share important tidbits about the characters and the places they visit, which I feel make the story come to life for a child. Also included are various maps which give great examples of where the stories took place, a Bible reading guide, The Apostles' Creed, Scripture Index, Subject Index and Image Guide.

In no way do I think this book should replace a child's Bible, but I do believe that it is a fantastic way for a child to learn about God and the Bible. This book introduces a fun way of learning with colorful pictures and fun characters, that my 7 year old just loved! She has been taking this book to bed every night and reading it with daddy before bed.

I would highly recommend this to children 7-12 years of age, boy or girl. I initially wondered if it was too boy-ish for my little girl, but she quickly reassured me that she loves the book and continues to read it daily! I rate this book as 5 stars.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com® <http://BookSneeze.com> 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 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”