Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A Light in the Wilderness by Jane Kirkpatrick

A Light in the Wilderness is another fabulous novel based on a true story by author Jane Kirkpatrick.  I love how Jane takes an unknown story and brings to light the historical value of a story that should not be forgotten.  I really enjoyed her previous novel, A Daughter's Walk, and A Light in the Wilderness was equally as interesting.

From the Back Cover:

Three very different women.  One dangerous journey.  And a future that seems just out of reach.

Letitia holds nothing more dear than the papers that prove she is no longer a slave. They may not cause white folks to treat her like a human being, but at least they show she is free. She trusts in those words she cannot read--as she is beginning to trust in Davey Carson, an Irish immigrant cattleman who wants her to come west with him.

Nancy Hawkins is loathe to leave her settled life for the treacherous journey by wagon train, but she is so deeply in love with her husband that she knows she will follow him anywhere--even when the trek exacts a terrible cost.

Betsy is a Kalapuya Indian, the last remnant of a once proud tribe in the Willamette Valley in Oregon territory. She spends her time trying to impart the wisdom and ways of her people to her grandson. And she will soon have another person to care for.

As season turns to season, suspicion turns to friendship, and fear turns to courage, three spirited women will discover what it means to be truly free in a land that makes promises it cannot fulfill. This multilayered story from bestselling author Jane Kirkpatrick will grip readers' hearts and minds as they travel with Letitia on the dusty and dangerous Oregon trail into the boundless American West.  Based on a true story.

Video Trailer:

My Review:
I really enjoyed reading this story that is based on the true story of Letitia Carson.  It really brings to light all the injustices the African American race has gone through with slavery and the hardship they experienced just trying to live life.   Even though Letitia is free by paper, she really doesn't have true freedom because of the hatred and attitudes of the whites around her.  I also liked the added stories of Nancy Hawkins, a white woman, and Betsy, a Kalapuya Indian.  Each had their own struggles to contend with.  Nancy and Letitia's stories showed the great struggle of moving out west to a better land.  I cannot even imagine traveling for months in a covered wagon on dusty trails to reach the West Coast.  These pioneers had a lot more fortitude then I will ever have.  I'm so used to my comforts, and I can't imagine giving them up to move to a new land.  The closest I have gotten to this would be heading to Russia with my parents for a short time to help them with their work as missionaries.  But it still really doesn't compare to all that these folks had to endure.  The other story is of "Betsy" and the Kalapuya Indians.  The Indians had to give up their ways and move to the reservations when the White man began invading their territory.  So much change that ended up costing the Indians their way of life.
If you're looking for a great book that will teach you a little about those who settled the west, pick up Jane Kirkpatrick's new book, A Light in the Wilderness, and enjoy a great story about 3 women who were not afraid of fighting for their futures.

Check out Jane Kirkpatrick's website to learn more about Letitia's trip out west.

***I received this book for free from Revell in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Praying the Attributes of God by Ann Spangler

Ann Spangler has written a book called Praying the Attributes of God: A daily guide to experiencing His greatness.  She is also the author of Praying the Names of God

From the Back of the Book:

God Is Greater than You Think
Many people feel both drawn to God and afraid of him. How can they feel close to a perfect God whom their flawed self is incapable of pleasing?

Fortunately, God has revealed truths about himself in Scripture that can untangle our confusion. In this daily guide to studying and praying according to the attributes of God, Ann Spangler resurrects old-fashioned words like holiness, omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence. Far from boring us, these words, when excavated for their biblical meaning, paint a thrilling vision of God that can help us experience spiritual growth in a deeper way. They can also prevent us from making the colossal mistake of concluding God is too weak, distant, or uncaring to help us when we need him.

In the tradition of her bestselling books Praying the Names of God and Women of the Bible, this new daily devotional focuses on one particular attribute each week.

Praying the Attributes of God will help you see that God is far bigger and far better than you could ever hope or suspect.

My Review:
 Ann Spangler covers 17 attributes of God.  Each chapter is devoted to one attribute, and each chapter is divided into 5 days of the week (Monday-Friday).  On Mondays a key scripture is written that reveals the specific attribute to be discussed, and at the end of the section she has a few questions to get you thinking.  Tuesdays-Thursdays are devotionals related to the given attribute, and on Fridays she focuses on promises associated with the given attribute.  This book is more devotional in nature in the fact that it is less deep and more about stories that relate to the attribute that is being discussed.  I did like how on Tuesday-Thursday she gives a keep passage to focus on for the day.  I also like how she included a Scripture list on Fridays for more study.  If you're looking for a light devotional just to get you started in making Bible study a daily commitment, this might be the book for you.

***I checked this book out at my local library.  All opinions are my own.

Adventures in Odyssey: The Imagination Station--Battle for Cannibal Island (book 8) by Marianne Hering and Wayne Thomas Batson

Book 8 in the Imagination Station series is just as exciting as the first seven!  Find out what this book is all about by reading the book summary and my review below.

From the Back Cover:
"I claim this boy as my prisoner," the cannibal king said. 
Join Patrick and Beth in the Imagination Station as they travel to Fiji in the 1850s.  Patrick hopes it's for a tropical vacation--instead he finds out that cannibals are alive and well on the islands.  In truth, the cannibals are burning down every Christian village they can find.  When Patrick and a sailor named Nettleton get knocked overboard, the cousins are separated.
Patrick must fend off escaped convicts and a terrible storm--even worse, he finds the cannibal king without even trying!  Meanwhile, Beth follows missionary James Calvert as he searches for Patrick.  But Calvert's greater mission is to find the king of the cannibals and tell him about the Bible.  Is Calvert leading Beth away from danger or straight toward it?

My Review:
This book includes some great history concerning the Fiji Islands and a missionary named James Calvert who was brave enough to go tell the cannibals about Jesus.  This topic would be great to discuss with your kids.  The story shows the importance of not judging others and sharing Christ with them as their only hope of change.  Patrick also learns a valuable lesson about what is really important in life--thinking about others more than yourself!  This book is filled with more great adventure that will help promote great discussion with your children. 
Next up:  Escape to the Hiding Place (book 9)

***I checked this book out from my local library to read for the Tyndale Summer Reading Program.  All opinions are my own.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Adventures in Odyssey: The Imagination Station--Secret of the Prince's Tomb (book 7)

The Secret of the Prince's Tomb was another fun-filled adventure for Patrick and Beth. 

Back of the Book:
“The Egyptians believe that whoever opens a tomb will be cursed!”
The hot sun and sand of ancient Egypt await Patrick and Beth in their next Imagination Station adventure. The cousins are caught between a terrible ruler and a nation bound for slavery. To help their new friend Tabitha, the cousins must seek out a great secret—one that will give hope to her family and future generations. Their search takes them to an ancient burial vault and . . . a mummy! But the vault is a confusing maze, filled with traps and mysterious symbols. Will the cousins ever get out again to share a life-changing hope?

My Review:
When Patrick experiences bullying at school because of his beliefs, John Whittaker uses the Imagination Station to help teach Patrick and Beth a valuable lesson about the hardships they go through.  I think the book provides some good talking points with your children especially if they encounter problems related to their personal faith in Christ being challenged by other kids.  The great thing about this story is that your kids get to learn a lesson while reading a fun and adventurous story.  Who wouldn't want to read about going into a tomb to see a real mummy?  Adventures in Odyssey has provided another fun adventure book for kids to read.  Such a great series to add to your personal library!  I'm looking forward to beginning the next book: Battle for the Mysterious Island.

***I checked this book out from our local library to review for the Tyndale Summer Reading program.  All opinions are my own.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Jonah and the Great Big Fish by Rhonda Gowler Greene

"God told Jonah to obey.
said, 'Go to Nineveh this day.
Preach to all the people there.
Though they sin, tell them I care.
Tell them they need to repent.'
Yes, Jonah was the one that God sent.
But, stubborn Jonah fled instead.
Didn't do what God had said."
 (taken from the first few pages of the book)

I'm always excited to get children's books in the mail to review.  Jonah and the Great Big Fish is written by Rhonda Gowler Greene and Illustrated by Margaret Spengler.  This book is for children ages 4-8 and published by Zonderkidz.  This story is told in rhyme and has been illustrated with bright, beautiful pictures designed to keep a child's attention.  Even my 2 year old has enjoyed this book, and when he sees the cover starts saying, "JONAH!"  I like that each page has just a few words on it to tell the story.  This is great for small children who have a hard time sitting still long enough for a story.  Another fun aspects is that some of the words actually do what they say.  Such as when the word "sink" is used, the font on the page is actually stepping down, or "wide" has a font that is W-I-D-E.  These aspects are just added fun for the reader.

If you're looking for a book that will appeal to the younger kids and maybe you're older ones could read to them, pick up Jonah and the Great Big Fish!

***I received this book free from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

A Broken Kind of Beautiful by Katie Ganshert

Katie Ganshert has written another beautiful story.  I was excited to read another one of her books since I reviewed her other two a while ago--Wildflowers in Winter and Wishing on Willows.  This novel did not disappoint!  Below you can read a summary from the back cover of the book and my review.  The first chapter of the book is also included along with information on the author.

From the Back Cover:

Sometimes everything you ever learned about yourself is wrong

Fashion is a fickle industry, a frightening fact for twenty-four year old model Ivy Clark. Ten years in and she’s learned a sacred truth—appearance is everything. Nobody cares about her broken past as long as she looks beautiful for the camera. This is the only life Ivy knows—so when it starts to unravel, she’ll do anything to hold on. Even if that means moving to the quaint island town of Greenbrier, South Carolina, to be the new face of her stepmother’s bridal wear line—an irony too rich for words, since Ivy is far from the pure bride in white.

If only her tenuous future didn’t rest in the hands of Davis Knight, her mysterious new photographer. Not only did he walk away from the kind of success Ivy longs for to work maintenance at a local church, he treats her differently than any man ever has. Somehow, Davis sees through the fa├žade she works so hard to maintain. He, along with a cast of other characters, challenges everything Ivy has come to believe about beauty and worth. Is it possible that God sees her—a woman stained and broken by the world—yet wants her still?

My Review:
Let me begin by saying that I really enjoyed reading this novel.  The story had many unpredictable twists and turns in it.  Even though the characters each have their sad story, a bright ray of hope is always just around the corner making you wonder if they'll be able to except what they have lost in their life and embrace their new future.  I loved this section in the book when Marilyn was thinking to herself and remembering some things that were said in the past about her infertility and Sara's accident. 

     "After Sarah's accident, so many well-intentioned people had offered her words of hope--that God would heal her, that she would see again--as if that was a given.  It was the same hope people had offered Marilyn all those years ago.  Story upon story of women who had struggled through infertility and ended up with a child on the other side.
     'God is good. It'll happen,' they had told her.
     As if God's goodness depended upon whether or not He answered prayers the way people wanted Him to answer.  The hard truth was that sometimes He didn't.  He hadn't rescued Marilyn from her infertility, and He hadn't rescued Sarah from her blindness.  But that didn't negate His goodness.  It just meant He had different plans." (pg. 208)

I thought these were some great thoughts.  How many times have you heard people say well meaning things that aren't really well thought out and actually hurt the intended party instead of helping?  When facing tragedy others want to console, but sometimes don't really think before they speak.   I appreciate the honesty the author portrayed of the characters in their struggles.   Katie has written a beautiful story of the glorious hope that is offered in Christ. 
If you're looking for a good book to read, pick up Katie Ganshert's newest novel. 

Click here to read the first chapter.

About the Author:

Christy Award finalist and Carol Award winner, Katie Ganshert, graduated from the University of Wisconsin in Madison with a degree in education, and worked as a fifth grade teacher for several years before staying home to write full-time. She was born and raised in the Midwest, where she lives with her husband, their young son, and their goofy black lab, Bubba. When she’s not busy writing or playing or reading or snuggling, she is obsessing over the paperwork and the waiting that comes with adoption. You can learn more about Katie and her books by visiting her website or author Facebook page.

***I received this book free from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

***I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.  All opinions are my own.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Odyssey's Adventure Club Ipad Mini Giveaway!


 The end of summer is in sight, and OAC is giving away an iPad Mini back-to-school bundle! It might seem like summer just began for your kids, so if they need some added motivation to get their homework done, remind them they can jump on the Odyssey Adventure Club after their papers are written and their math problems are solved.

As members, your kids can also listen to Album 58 before the album is released to the public! Sign up today for just $5!

Here's what part one is about (which you can listen to for free HERE):
It’s a time of surprises as Wooton becomes the celebrity guest at Comic-Connellsville and Whit finds himself in conflict over the upcoming “Let’s Get Together Festival” in Odyssey. Plus, hear an interview with writer-director Paul McCusker about the entire 14-part series.
Album 58 was inspired by Focus on the Family’s The Family Project, a 12-session small group experience that explores the theological, philosophical, and cultural underpinnings of the traditional family, and combines that information with inspiring stories and practical tools to help 21st-century families thrive. Plus, here's a sneak peek of a new episode called "The Lone Lawman"!

LoneLawman_Final 2
 Jason, Whit, Red and the gang rustle up herds of fun while performing a new Kids’ Radio show set in the Old West. “The Lone Lawman” features a confused boy getting mixed up with a shifty band of bank robbers. Can a hero on horseback set things right? See just how wild the West can get in this action-packed send-up of old-time radio dramas.

NOW . . . on to the iPad Mini back-to-school bundle. One grand prize winner will receive:
  • An iPad Mini
Hurry, the giveaway ends on August 27th. All winners will be announced August 28th on the widget on this page.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to visit this page again on the 28th to see if you won! (You'll see the winner's name in the widget.)

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