Tuesday, December 17, 2013

"The Captive Maiden" by Melanie Dickerson

I cannot even begin to explain how excited I was for the release of "The Captive Maiden"! In case you are unfamiliar with Melanie's last two books, "The Fairest Beauty" and "The Captive Maiden", they are the retold fairy tales of Snow White and Cinderella! And even though the books completely stand on their own, they are also intertwined, which is always exciting for us book lovers!

In "The Captive Maiden", Gisela's father passes away when she was just a young girl, leaving her in her stepmother's care. Unfortunately, her stepmother treats her as nothing more than a servant girl, and makes Gisela cater to her every whim as well as to her stepsisters. Gisela doesn't plan to stay with her stepmother forever though, and hopes to someday get away.

Meanwhile, while in town one day, she meets the Duke's handsome son, Valten. He doesn't know who she is, but invites her to attend the jousting tournament the next day. But will she be able to sneak out of her stepmother's reach to be able to go?

I really did enjoy this book so much! :) I love that there were a few little details that were a little different than the classic Cinderella story and I felt that it really made the story stand apart from most of the retellings. I also loved that Sophie and Gabe from "The Fairest Beauty" were brought into this story!

Melanie Dickerson has definitely made a fan out of me, and I will continue to read her lovely books!

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.”

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Review of The God Puzzle by Valerie Ackerman

It was truly a delight for me to review "The God Puzzle" by Valerie Ackerman this week. I loved the bright illustrations and the way the author pieced together each lesson.

Throughout the 36 lessons in "The God Puzzle", children learn the answers to the ideas they question most! What is sin? What is Baptism? The lessons were kid-friendly and were explained by two friends, Theo and Christy.

While we love our children's programs at church, my husband and I feel strongly that we need to teach our children about Jesus in our own home as well as what they learn at church. I think far too many people are under the impression that their children get their Jesus "fix" in the small amount of time they attend church, but we realize as parents that this is simply not enough. We need to teach our children about Jesus everyday. As our youth pastor explained in church last week, we need to use everyday moments for teaching moments. Every experience we come in contact with can be a teaching moment for our children.

I feel that "The God Puzzle" is an excellent resource to hone in on those everyday teaching moments. Even if it's just half a page that you make it through, it's still making an impression on your child and still so very worth it! My 7 year old daughter and I both thoroughly enjoy reading through these lessons! I think this will become an essential book in our homeschool studies next year for third grade!

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

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Review of Dragonwitch by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

If you are looking for a new fantasy series, look no further. "Dragonwitch" by Anne Elisabeth Stengl is book 5 in the Tales of Goldstone Wood series, and is probably one of the most interesting Christian fantasy books I have read. There is much depth to it though as it is not a "light" read. Be sure to have plenty of time to devote to this book before you begin.

Lady Leta follows her father's wishes and travels to the Gaheris Castle to meet her future husband, whom she has never even met. Alistair, her future husband and future King of the North Country is not exactly her ideal husband. He is somewhat gangly and awkward and is very much different from his future wife.

But so much is going on at the castle. Much more than what Leta and Alistair ever imagined. Alistair suffers from horrible nightmares, and the Dragonwitch is on the hunt for the sword that slayed her twice. Only one person can wield the sword and no one is safe until the Dragonwitch is slayed yet again.

I feel that if I had read the previous books and gained a better understanding of the back story, perhaps I would have loved this book, but instead I was left just liking it. It was a very compelling book, full of interesting characters and a wonderful story plot, but it did take some getting into once I started it. At times, I found myself confused with the many different characters, and again, it probably would have helped to read the previous books, which is my fault and not the author's.

I think this is a great Christian Fantasy series and I am eager to go back and read through the rest of the books! I rate this book as 4 stars!

I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest unbiased opinion.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Ragamuffin Bible with devotionals by Brennan Manning

This week, I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing "The Ragamuffin Bible- Meditations for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up and Brokenhearted with Devotionals by Brennan Manning." There is so much that I love about this Bible! I was especially drawn in by the title because I'm sure at one point or another, we have all felt similar.

The Bible itself is a NIV (New International Version), which is one of two versions that I typically read. The second being NKJV (New King James Version). I love reading these versions of the Bible because I feel that they are closest to the way the Bible was initially written so long ago. In the short amount of time I have had this Bible, I have not read it in it's entirety, but I did read through the entire chapter of Zechariah.

As for the look and feel of the Bible, it is a hardcover that includes a dust jacket, but yet it is still pretty lightweight. I was thankful that the size of the words on the page are somewhat larger than in my regular Bible, now that I need to use my glasses on a daily basis. The chapters and verses were easy to navigate and altogether very lovely with the setup of the devotions.

Throughout the entire Bible, there are devotions available. Most of them take up about 3/4 of the page and have a suggested Bible reading. In between these devotionals, are small "Reflections" which include just a small devotional (think 2 or 3 sentences) along with a Bible verse.

I really enjoyed reading through the Ragamuffin Bible, and I will continue to use it as one of my main Bibles. I will highly recommend it and I give it 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.”