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Friday, October 19, 2018

Enchanting Nicholette by Dawn Crandall (The Everstone Chronicles Series Book 5)

The final book in the Everstone Chronicles series, Enchanting Nicholette,  has released! Now, you can see how things finally end up for Nicholette Everstone as she tries to recover after her loss of her newlywed husband, William Everstone, on their wedding day.

From the Back Cover:
In this captivating novel by Dawn Crandall, Nicholette Everstone is already a widow at the age of twenty-two: her husband was murdered on their wedding day. She has just returned to Boston after two years of mourning in Europe. Although her husband was loving, the marriage was an arranged one, and Nicholette would like to wed again--this time for love...and to someone safe.
As she acclimates to life in Back Bay again, Nicholette meets someone she can't help but fall for. But when she learns of the danger and sacrifices Cal Hawthorne takes on for the safety of others, will her heart by strong enough to keep her fears of "what if" at bay?

My Thoughts:
This book was easy to dive into. The opening chapters draw you into Nicholette's story cheering her on as she opens herself to new possibilities with Cal Hawthorne. Dawn's writing makes me smile. Her characters are like fun friends you'd like to hang out with.  A good book holds your attention, makes your heart grin with cunning phrases or keeps you in suspense as you race to find out what happens. Dawn has done a fabulous job with this story. It's a great ending to a beautiful series.

If you're looking for a fun, clean, romance series to read, pick up The Everstone Chronicles by Dawn Crandall!! Read more about Dawn Crandall at her website by clicking here.

My Rating: ★★★★★



Just Read Publicity Tours is hosting a giveaway for Dawn's new book so make sure to head over there and enter today!! Click Here.

***I received this complimentary book from the author. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Imagine: The Fall of Jericho by Matt Koceich

The next book in Matt Koceich’s Imagine series has released. Imagine: The Fall of Jericho, the third book in this series, is a story about a young 5th grade boy named Jake Henry who wakes up in the ancient city of Jericho on the first day the Israelites march around the city. Now,  Jake has to figure why he ended up back in time, and what he needs to do before the walls come tumbling down.

This book was a fun read as Jake tries to figure out the mystery he is living. The story line is intriguing since it is a Bible story that kids who have grown up in the church would know. And I think the story helps the Biblical events come to life as kids ponder what it would of been like to live during that time in history. This series is for kids ages 8-12 years old. So, if you’re looking for some good books for your kids, make sure to pick up Matt’s Imagine series.

Check out the other books in this series:
1. Imagine: The Great Flood
2. Imagine: The Ten Plagues

*Look for book 4-Imagine: The Giant’s Fall releasing May 2019.

***I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review. 

Monday, October 15, 2018

Lynn Austin’s Legacy of Mercy

 Lynn Austin’s sequel to Waves of Mercy has just released. Legacy of Mercy finishes the beautiful story the author began about a young girl named, Anna Nicholson.

From the Back Cover:
Having  returned to Chicago, young socialite Anna Nicholson can’t seem to focus on her upcoming marriage. The new information she’s learned about her birth mother continues to pull at her, and she hires Pinkerton detectives to help her discover the whole truth.
But as she meets people who once knew her mother and hears stories about the past, Anna soon discovers that some secrets are better left hidden. With pressure mounting to keep the past quiet, she discovers daily that her choice to seek God’s purpose for her life isn’t as simple as she had hoped.
When things are at their darkest, Anna knows she can turn to her grandmother, Geesje de Jonge, back in Holland, Michigan. Geesje’s been helping new Dutch immigrants—including a teen with a troubled history—adjust to America. She only hopes that her wisdom can help all these young people through the turmoil they face.

My Thoughts:
The history in these books was amazing. I live in the great state of Michigan and loved reading about some of the first immigrants to settle the city of Holland, Michigan. History has always fascinated me and historical fiction is a great way to learn about history. This story was filled with many different themes as many of the characters struggled through various trials in their lives. But the central overarching theme of God's love comes up again and again as these characters seek to following God through their circumstances. Be aware that there is mention of a past incident of child sexual abuse in this story. It is not in detail and just mentions the event.
My favorite lines from this book are the words that Geesje de Jonge spoke concerning all the loss that she had endured as I have also lost loved ones close to me.

     "There was a time in my life when I said I was willing to serve God any way He chose--and I meant it. But then I began to lose the people I loved, and I became very angry with Him for making me suffer. As my resentment grew, I nearly turned away from Him altogether. Then one day I found myself praying with a friend whose baby had been stillborn, and I understood that this was how God was asking me to serve Him. Would I accept my own suffering as something He allowed in order to shape me into something He could use? Someone who would love like Jesus? Was I willing? Over time--and it was a long time--I chose to let go of the resentment and to trust Him. Simply trust Him. I don't need to see exactly how He's going to weave together all of the broken strands--in my life or anyone else's. But I know that the finished work will be beautiful." (pg. 370)

If you're looking for a good series with some fun Michigan history, pick up this set of books from Lynn Austin!

***I received this book from the author. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Everything She Didn’t Say by Jane Kirkpatrick

Would you like to take a trip back in time when the railroad was beginning to head out west? Then this is a story you’ll want to read.  Everything She Didn’t Say  by Jane Kirkpatrick will introduce you to a young, adventurous woman named Carrie Adell Strahorn.

Carrie’s story is filled with the hard life of a pioneer, and the exciting adventures of settling the unknown Wild West. She and her husband, Robert Strahorn, travelled around the west for the Union Pacific researching different locations for the railroad to expand to and for material for Robert to write books promoting settling in the West.

Jane Kirkpatrick has a way with bringing an unknown woman’s story to life. The author has done a wonderful job of being true to Carrie’s story while exploring the possibilities of what Carrie left out of what she wrote. I enjoyed reading this story and learning more about the history of my wonderful country. If you’re looking for a good read, pick up this new book by Jane Kirkpatrick!

My Rating: ★★★★

***I received this complimentary book from Revell. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own. 

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Who Was Esther?, and Who Was David? Kingdom Files series by Matt Koceich

My daughter has really enjoyed the "Who Was" series from our local library, and I was excited to learn that author Matt Koceich has come out with something similar but with Biblical characters.

Who Was David? and Who Was Esther? are just two of the books in this series. Each book tells the life story of a biblical character and reads like a biography that is separated into three sections--Fact File (key information), Action File (events of the character's life), and Power File (memory verse and application for your life). Clue boxes appear along the way and give applications from the story. These books are for kids ages 8-12.

I thought the stories were a good re-telling of the facts from Scripture so that kids can get a total understanding of the main character being discussed. But I wish the stories were less dry and more engaging for the reader. On the other hand, the power-up section in the back of the book would be a great talking tool to use with your kids as you discuss the book together.

In Who Was David?  I thought that this book could of really used a map to help the reader follow along.  In the Power-up section in the back of the book,  power-up #4 talks about God being with you which is a great lesson we can learn from the life of David. But I didn't like what was emphasized in this paragraph: "After David defeated Goliath, the king invited him in to be a part of his team. Saul sent David out on missions, and David was always successful. So Saul gave David a high rank in the army. David found success in all things he did because God was right there with him." It's almost like he's saying that if God is with you, then you will always be successful. The main idea is not that because we have God, we will be successful with whatever we do--soccer games, life going well, etc.  God was the One Who worked through David because David obeyed. I wish this would of been said a little differently since success is looked at in such a different way by our culture.  In Who Was Esther?  I appreciated that this book did include a mini timeline and a map of the area that was being discussed. Overall, I think the series is a great idea in helping kids get familiar with the character's complete story from Scripture instead of just knowing about them from one story of their lives.

The following is a list of the other books in this series: Who is Jesus?, Who was Daniel?, Who was Jonah?, Who was Mary, Mother of Jesus?  You can see all the books from this series by clicking here.

***I received complimentary copies of these books from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The Best of Intentions by Susan Anne Mason (Canadian Crossings book 1)

I love a book with a great cover, don't you? That is one thing that makes me pick up a book or glance past it. A good cover can make my eyes stop and take notice of a book. I just love the cover to this new series by Susan Anne Mason. The Best of Intentions is the first book in the Canadian Crossings series.

From the Back Cover:
In the aftermath of WWI, Grace Abernathy is determined to reunite her family, crossing an ocean to convince her widowed sister to return home to England. Yet, in Toronto she discovers more tragedy--her nephew Christian is in the custody of his paternal relatives, the formidable Easton family, who rejected Grace's sister because of her low status.
Unconvinced the Eastons can be fitting caretakers, Grace uses an assumed name to secure the position of Christian's nanny and moves into the Easton estate. There she can observe the family up close, while ensuring Christian's well-being. In the course of her new role, she is shocked to find herself falling in love with Andrew Easton, the boy's guardian. Unfortunately, Andrew is promised to a spoiled socialite who is sure to make a terrible stepmother for Christian. Will Grace be able to protect her nephew...and her heart?

My Thoughts:
This book pulled me in right from the beginning and didn't let go. My mind was swept away to the year 1919 and the end of WWI as Grace Abernathy traveled across the ocean to find her sister in Canada. Susan did a great job communicating the desperation her character would of felt in a new country, trying to find out what happened to her sister and the child. The story communicated the vast difference of social classes during this era as the two families in this story, the Abernathys and the Eastons, come from completely different circles. Grace shows such bravery as she heads into a nanny position with the Eastons not knowing what the outcome will cost her. She only wants to honor the promise made to her sister, Rose, and maybe silence the guilt in her conscience that has plagued her for years regarding an event the family never talks about. I enjoyed this story as Grace tries to figure out what is the right thing to do in this difficult circumstance. If you're looking for a good, clean, romantic story set in a historical time period, then pick up this new book from Susan Anne Mason!

My Rating: ★★★★

***I received this complimentary book from the author. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

The Way of Abundance: A 60-Day Journey Into A Deeply Meaningful Life by Ann Voskamp

Ann Voskamp's The Way of Abundance is a newly released devotional based on insights from her book, The Broken Way. This devotional is a 60-day journey and each day includes a Bible verse, devotional thoughts and concludes with two reflection questions. (41) The book is divided into 6 parts and each part is 10 days. The titles are as follows:

Part One: How Can the Brokenhearted Keep Going?
Part Two: How Do We Live Like the Brokenhearted, Cruciform Christ?
Part Three: How Do You Let Your Broken Heart Receive?
Part Four: How Can the Brokenhearted Find Real Communion?
Part Five: How Can the Brokenhearted Release Control?
Part Six: How Do the Brokenhearted Get to Love?

I read some of the reviews on Amazon that were unfavorable towards this book saying that it was too depressing.  My first thought after reading this book is that this book is for brokenhearted people. Those who have gone through deep suffering will identify with what the author is trying to communicate. I thought that the book was great in that it takes you from thinking about yourself and your circumstances to thinking about how you can imitate Christ in this fallen world. The following are some of the thoughts that stood out to me as I was reading:

"What would happen if the scars you carry are what God uses to carry Christ to a scarred and broken world?" (p. 12)
"Abundance isn't about having as much as you want--abundance is about having as much of God as you want." (p.13)
"Why--Why, you with your broken heart, why do you bother to keep getting out of bed? ...Because this is what I know: Nothing is more necessary than finding God and falling in love and deeper into Him. Love decides. Love decides everything. What you are in love with decides what you live for. What you are in love with decides what you get out of bed for." (p.18)

If you are grieving a loss in your life whether a loved one, a relationship, a dream, your health, this is a devotional that will start where you are and point you in a different direction. One that is away from yourself and toward God and serving others.

My Rating: ★★★★

***I received this complimentary book from BookLook Bloggers. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.
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