Sunday, January 31, 2016

Eleanor by Jason Gurley

This week I was able to read and review "Eleanor" by Jason Gurley! I was initially drawn to this book because I love the name, and it was in the Sci-fi genre. The book begins with Eleanor in 1962. The decisions that Eleanor makes in 1962 set off a domino effect that will change the path of her children's lives and the lives of her children's children.

Fast forward to 1985. Eleanor and Esmerelda are now 6 years old (although this is not the same Eleanor from the beginning of the story, which was a little confusing to me at first. Eleanor is named after her grandmother, Eleanor from the beginning of the story.) A tragic accident claims the life of Esmerelda and within a span of just a few years, Eleanor's family falls apart. Her mother turns into a drunk, who cannot stand looking at her own daughter Eleanor, because she has the same face as her twin sister who died. Her father is present in her life, but doesn't spend much time with Eleanor because she feels it's her responsibility to care for her mother.

When Eleanor is 14, strange things begin to occur. Readers are introduced to two new characters, Effah and Mea although for most of the book you are wondering who they really are. They in somewhat of a different realm than Eleanor, but Mea feels drawn to Eleanor so she keeps trying to bring Eleanor into her realm. She fails many times and almost accidentally kills Eleanor on many occasions trying to do so. Near the end of the book, it is finally revealed who Effah and Mea are and why they are trying to connect to Eleanor.

I cannot really say much more about the story without giving the plot away so I will end there. For probably the first quarter of the book, I was a little confused about who the characters were and how they were connected. But I do think that mystery adds a fun little element to the story, so I don't think this was necessarily a bad thing. I am not usually a fan of books with a lot of sadness. However, I could not put this book down. There were not distinct chapters, so sections of the book were only separated by the change in character, the year, or a change in realms. This book held a good amount of suspense. I figured out pretty early on who Mea was but not Effah. That one took a little longer to figure out.

I can honestly say I've never read a book quite like "Eleanor", so I applaud the author on making something completely new and different from anything I've ever read. All I can say is Wow. "Eleanor" is quite the book. Beautiful and heartbreaking all at the same time. I rate this book as 5 stars and I would recommend it to others.

I received this book for free from Blogging For Books in exchange for my honest unbiased opinion.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Strong and Kind by Korie Robertson with Chrys Howard

I was so excited to add this book to my growing collection of Robertson/Duck Dynasty books! In "Strong and Kind: And other Important Character Traits Your Child Needs to Succeed" by Korie Robertson and Chrys Robertson, readers learn a little bit about Korie and Willie's parenting style. She explains how very eary on, their family chose two very important characteristics to focus on for their family. Of course, it's important to work on others as well, but they chose Strong and Kind to be the two most important for their family.

They chose Strong as the first, because life will always deal you some hardships. It's how we respond to them that makes all the difference. We must teach our children to handle things in stride and to be able to handle whatever comes our way. We must also teach them that our strength does not come from us alone, but from God.

Kind was the second attribute they chose because they wanted their children to treat others with kindness and respect. They wanted them to learn the importance of serving others and giving to the less fortunate. This is one of the reasons they take their children on mission trips to help those who are poverty stricken and destitute.

Korie goes on to explain many other character traits which are important in raising a child. It is up to the parents to decide which traits to focus on, and to decide which are best for their family. I loved this book and I would highly recommend it to others!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <> 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.”

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Brave Enough by Nicole Unice

This week I got to read and review "Brave Enough" by Nicole Unice! In her newest book, Nicole challenges readers to look beyond their fears. To look at the issues and problems that you're too scared to change or even face.

What would happen if you could look beyond all your fears and misconceptions about yourself and look at yourself the way that God does? If you could see all the things you were capable of, think of what you could accomplish or change! God wants us to look at the life He's given us and not be afraid of facing all of the things we fear. He wants us to thrive right where we are.

This is definitely not a light read. It's something that readers will have to read a little bit, soak it in, and then move on. It can be a little intense at times, but then I think this is a good thing.

It might even be a difficult read for some. If you've been carrying around hurt, anger and unforgiveness in your heart, it might be hard to dig back into that and really try to change. But I think the whole idea of this book is really good. It will change you if you let it. It's something you're going to want to share with all your girlfriends and sisters.

I rate this book as 5 stars. I received this book for free from Tyndale in exchange for my honest unbiased opinion.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

If you were me and lived in...Italy by Carole P. Roman

This week I was fortunate enough to receive a copy of Carole P. Roman's new book "If you were me and lived in...ITALY" in the mail! These books are adorable! There are many other books in this series including books on Mexico, Norway, Scotland, Australia and India (just to name a few!)

Each book gives children a look into what it might be like to live in another country. The author goes through examples of what parents in Italy might name their children, or what children might call their parents. It also explains what Italian money would be called and different foods you might like to eat. It also gives a brief introduction to the history of Italy, when it was founded, and what the people who lived there were called. What I also loved about this book was the way the author helps children sound out the different words. For any Italian words, they are in a parenthesis with the correct pronunciation. The back of the book also includes three pages of a Pronunciation Guide.

Overall, I loved this book! I think it would be an excellent resource to use with young children in school or homeschooling. I have been reading them with my 4 year old and she absolutely loves it. There are just the right amount of words on the pages to keep her interest, and the book itself is not super long at 25 pages in length. I rate this book as 5 stars!

I received this book for free in exchange for my honest unbiased opinion.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Amish Christmas at North Star

Amish Christmas at North Star is a beautiful collection of four Christmas novellas by authors Cindy Woodsmall, Mindy Starns Clark & Emily Clark, Amanda Flower and Katie Ganshert.

This is really one of the most creative 4 book novellas I have seen yet. In the beginning of the book, Rebekah, an amish midwife delivers 4 beautiful babies on one snowy night close to Christmas. Each of the following novellas is a story about one of those babies all grown up.

There is something for everyone in this collection. In "Guiding Star" by Katie Ganshert and "Mourning Star" by Amanda Flower are both mysteries that will keep you on the edge of your seat. "In the Stars" by Cindy Woodsmall, a broken hearted Kore Detwieler must return home and face the person  he loved who rejected him. They must put their difference aside to keep a family together. In "Star of Grace" by Mindy Starns Clark and Emily Clark, Andy Danner has left his hometown of North Star to lead a new life in Mississippi. However, his brother gets him to return home for Christmas and reach out to a reclusive widow.

All in all, this was an excellent read for the holidays or just winter in general! I rate it as 5 stars.

I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest unbiased opinion.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Good Night Little Love

"Good Night Little Love" by Thomas Nelson is an adorable bedtime book perfect for small children. My two youngest love it so I would probably recommend it for children ages 1-5.

This 24 page book is a board book about baby bunny and his mommy. The rhyming format of the story is perfect as a lullaby for bedtime! The illustrations are adorable with bright colors and glittery pictures. In keeping with the theme of the book, each of the beginning of the two page photos, says "Good Night, Little Love."

I think this book perfectly illustrates a mother's love to her child. I can see this as being a favorite in our house. I also loved the fact that the author used large words such as adventures, bouquets and intertwined. I'm a firm believer that reading higher level words to children can help increase a child's word reservoir and in turn, teach them how to use them properly. This book is adorable and I rate it as 5 stars.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <> 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.”

Abundant Life in Jesus by Nancy Guthrie

I was so excited to receive this beautiful leather bound devotional in the mail! "Abundant Life in Jesus: Devotions for Every day of the Year" by Nancy Guthrie is a 365 day devotional that touches on subjects women face everyday.

This book begins with a short introduction on why we say "God Bless You" today. There was a time when sneezing was a symptom of the deathly plague. Getting the plague was considered a sign of God's displeasure, so when people said "God Bless You", it was offering a prayer that the person would receive the blessing of God rather than dying from the plague. This is the best known blessing from the Bible. The Lord instructed Moses to tell Aaron and his sons to bless the people of Israel with a special blessing.

Nancy Guthrie has taken blessings from Bible verses to share with readers. Each devotional is somewhat short, at one page long each. The days are in order beginning at January 1st. There is a handy little ribbon bookmark to keep track of your progress. I love the size of the book as well. It's the perfect size to fit in my purse, to read while I'm waiting for an appointment or to keep on my nightstand to read before bed. There are so many reasons I love this book...these are just a few of my favorite reasons. I would definitely recommend it. I rate this book as 5 stars.

I received this book for free from Tyndale in exchange for my honest unbiased opinion.