Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Cottage by Michael Phillips (Secrets of the Shetlands bk. 2)

The second book in the Secrets of the Shetlands series by Michael Phillips released Oct. 4, 2016!  I was so excited to read this book as the first one was so great.  I was not disappointed.  Find out why I thought this book was a great read!

From the Back Cover:
Is the future of Whales Reef in the hands of an outsider?
When Loni Ford is informed that she has inherited property in the Shetland Islands, she laughs. She wants nothing more than to sell it and be done with it. But when she arrives in the North Sea enclave, she is stunned to find that "the Cottage" is not at all what she expected, nor is David Tulloch, the man most of the islanders believe to be the rightful heir.
The locals could hardly be more surprised that the heir is a woman--and an American. Loni, in turn, finds the islanders quaint and a bit behind the times. Expecting David to be as provincial as the rest of his clan, she discovers that there is far more to the man than meets the eye. And there is something about the peaceful atmosphere of the place--and the character of its most prominent citizen--that soon gets under her skin.
Beneath the peaceful surface, however, change is threatening the island of Whales Reef. David's cousin Hardy Tulloch, whose claim to the inheritance now in Loni's hands was backed by oil investors, has not been deterred in his aim to control the island. But his co-conspirators have plans of their own, plans that put Loni's very life in danger...

My Review:
Phillips continues to weave together a beautiful story with mysterious connections that must be unearthed through discovery of the past. Loni has a lot to learn about her heritage, and it was fun to see her character change throughout the book as she faced a past she knew nothing about.  There is quite a bit of Quaker theology in this book. It was interesting to read about the Quakers and find out more about them and their beliefs. "The Light within" comes up in conversation with the characters many times, and they seem to look within themselves for the answers they seek in life. Of course, we know that Scripture is the only truth we have, and that the Spirit helps us to discern the Truth of God's Word, not us.  So be aware of this teaching throughout the book especially if you have young teens reading this novel. Other than that,  I absolutely enjoyed reading through this book, and  I'm looking forward to reading the third and final book, The Legacy, when it releases.

***I received this complimentary book for free from Bethany House Publishers.  I was not required to give a positive review.  All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

NKJV Know the Word Study Bible

Are you looking for a new Bible? Thomas Nelson has published a new study Bible called NKJV Know the Word Study Bible.

About the Study Bible:
This study Bible has 3 different ways for you to enjoy your time in the Word of God. In the beginning pages of this book, you'll find a Topic-By-Topic section that will walk you through the Bible concerning 21 different topics you can study.  With Book-By-Book study, you'll find an introduction to each book of the Bible that gives you an idea of how to study each book.  Then throughout the book, you'll find boxes among the verses that give you an overall glimpse of the theme running throughout the book.  Verse-By-Verse is exactly what it sounds like.  Each verse has commentary notes that will help you discern the meaning or thoughts of each verse.

Features Include:
• New King James Version Bible text • Three easy approaches to study the Bible: Book by Book, Verse by Verse, Topic by Topic • Book introductions • Words of Jesus in red • Two-color interior page design • Comprehensive list of theological notes • Concordance • Full-color maps

My Thoughts:
I liked how there were 3 different ways you could use this study Bible.  This book provides a great practical way to enhance your Bible study time.  It's a great resource for those who would like to dig a little deeper into Scripture.  So whether you like to study by topic, verse or book, this Bible would be great for you or someone on your gift list! The Bible does have pretty narrow columns so don't expect to be able to write in this Bible.  There is not much room because of all the added notes from the commentary, boxes from the chapter studies and notes from the topic studies. Overall, I thought this was a great Bible and would definitely be an asset for Bible study.  So if you're looking for a new Bible, consider the NKJV Know the Word Study Bible by Thomas Nelson.

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

Monday, November 28, 2016

Candle Day by Day Walk with Jesus AND Candle Day by Day Bible in a Year by Juliet David and Jane Heyes

Kregel has published two new different products from the Candle Day by Day series by Juliet David and Jane Heyes.  The first is this new little gift book that retells the story of Jesus in 40 days.  Each day you'll find one of the many stories of Jesus as told in the Gospels paraphrased by the author along with a cute, colorful picture.  A key verse is also presented from where the story originates in Scripture and then a question is asked pertaining to the story. This book is intended for ages 5-7 yrs old. 

I thought that the book was a good size for a gift book.  The illustrations are colorful and interesting for kids to look at.  The stories are pretty simplistic, and personally, I think my preschooler could go through this book without any problems. There are some stories you may feel that you need to add to the story from Scripture and some that you may need to clarify. The story of John the Baptist is one of those stories you will need to clarify.  Here is what the book said about John the Baptist.  "Many people said they were sorry for the wrong things they'd done. John baptized them in the River Jordan.  He dipped them under the water. When they came out, they felt as if they had been born again." (pg. 15)  John did come proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. John was calling people to repentance and to turn to God and then to show that repentance through baptism.  I don't like that this section makes it seem as though the baptism is saving them... thus the author's phrasing "born again"and that it was a feeling they got.  So I would caution you should you choose to use these materials to read them before reading them with your kids.

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Secondly, Kregel has also released the Candle Day by Day Bible which is now in a spiral bound desk calendar format.   This product begins with the Old Testament and the beginning of creation and continues all the way through ending with Nehemiah and the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem (days 1-244).  Then is picks up with the New Testament  beginning with Zechariah and Elizabeth and ends with Paul returning to Rome and living under house arrest (days 245-365).
If you are already familiar with the Day by Day Bible, then you'll recognize the stories and pictures in this product.  The desk calendar is well made and will be sturdy with all the daily use.  Like I said about the above product, I think that the wording isn't the greatest and can be pretty weak theologically. The stories are pretty simplistic and watered down. So maybe this might be a product that is used as a springboard for talking about the stories, but make sure to read the actual story from Scripture so that you can fill in what you need to.

***I received these complimentary materials from Kregel Publications.  I was not required to give a positive review.  All opinions are my own.

Friday, November 11, 2016

This Road We Traveled by Jane Kirkpatrick

Imagine taking a journey that few have ventured across a land where you only have what you've managed to get into your wagon. Imagine spending countless months in the open air and facing such dangerous conditions, you thought you'd loose your life.
This is a taste of the story, This Road We Traveled, written by Jane Kirkpatrick. A story that deserved to be told of a group of people who left everything for the promise of land in the West.

From the Back Cover:
Tabiatha Brown refuses to be left behind in Missouri when her son makes the decision to strike out for Oregon--even if she has to hire her own wagon to join the party. After all, family ties are stronger than fear.
Along with her reluctant daughter and her ever-hopeful granddaughter, the intrepid Tabitha has her misgivings. The trials they face along the way will severely test her faith, courage, and ability to hope. With her family's survival on the line, she must make the ultimate sacrifice, plunging deeper into the wilderness to seek aid. What she couldn't know was how the frightening journey would impact how she understood her own life--and the greater part she had to play in history.

My Review:
This is an amazing story about an adventurous group of people who crossed the plains of our country from Missouri to Oregon.  Their courage and bravery was truly amazing. I cannot imagine all the difficulties they would have endured. Yikes, these days I complain about my internet not working...  This story spoke to me.  Not many historical fiction stories actually bring out tears, but this one did with it's ending thoughts. Tabitha Brown is quite an amazing woman.  One who ended up starting a university in her late 60's because of her push and resolve to do something with the life she'd been given. The author did a great job capturing Tabitha Brown's spirit and helping the reader to gain a little insight into her life.

"Her prosperity began when she had given everything away, when she had nothing left and when she'd prayed to understand what her poverty was meant to teach her. From that day forward, God had opened doors of service and she kept walking through them." (pg. 316)  I appreciated the thought that Tabitha's life was all about God and what He would have her to do in each given circumstance. Any time that she came to a place of wondering what to do next, she'd wait on God to see what His plan for her life was. All she wanted was to know how best to spend the "light" she had left during these twilight years. The poem by John Milton, When I Consider How My Light Was Spent, was used in the book and took on great meaning with the main character of the story. 

This last quote from the book really touched my heart. In the story, Tabitha is writing her memoir for her granddaughter and in her final page she ends with this thought:
"Now, my greatest challenge...did you know, Sarelia, that Webster tells us a challenge is a call to engage in a contest, or a claim to question truth or fact? But here is an oddity: the word comes from the Latin word calvi, meaning 'to deceive.' I've thought often of that word root, to deceive.  I've decided that to refuse to accept a challenge is the deception. To let one's heart hesitate so long the challenge is missed, that forms the trickery. To resist our calling, whatever that may be, to keep our feet planted in one place rather than use them to go forward, or from fear, to fail to spread our wings--that perhaps is the greatest cheating of any of our lives. What deception it would be to turn our backs on what we're called to do, discovering that purpose." (pg. 321)
Yes, it is quite a thought that we could live this life that God has given us trying to avoid a challenge we know He wants us to take. The challenge is to step up and look past the easy route and trust God with what He has us to do. I really enjoyed reading this book and would definitely recommend it to any historical fiction fans. You'll learn much more than just history through this story! 

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

Friday, November 4, 2016

Really Woolly 5-Minute Bedtime Treasury By Bonnie Rickner Jensen

When your little ones head to bed, reading a good book is a great way to help them wind down and get some great cuddle time.  DaySpring has a new 5 Minute Bedtime Treasury out that includes many of the familiar Really Woolly books into one.
These stories and poems are taken from the following books:

Bedtime Bible Promises
Bedtime Prayers
Bible Stories
Good Night, God
Little Book of Bible Verses
Nighttime Lullabies
12 Little Blessings

There are 30 different chapters and each chapter's pages are in a different color. Each chapter has a verse and devotional thought to start the chapter. Then there are poems and a concluding Bedtime Treasure thought. This book is for ages 2-5 years old.

I thought that the stories were cute and adaptable to young kids who don't last too long if you aren't turning the pages soon enough for them.  There are some good thoughts and concepts that even my two year old will be able to understand. And the stories are short enough that they are good for bedtime for little ones. The poems are sweet and the illustrations are fun to look at.
If you're looking for a new bedtime story book for young kids, try the 5-Minute Bedtime Treasury!

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

J. Warner Wallace and Susie Wallace’s ‘Cold-Case Christianity for Kids’ Blog Tour and Giveaway

Are you looking for a fun Bible study for your kids? Then take a look at this new book put out by J. Warner Wallace and Susie Wallace called Cold-Case Christianity for Kids.  J. Warner Wallace has also written another version of this book for adults called Cold-Case Christianity. Also, don't forget to enter the giveaway! You'll find the links at the end of the post.

From the Back Cover:
Investigate the case for Jesus!
Just because someone says something doesn't make it true.  So how do you know what to believe?
Detective J. Warner Wallace knows the thrill of high-stakes investigation. In this interactive guide, use real-life detective skills to uncover the truth about Christianity.  Get ready to test witnesses, take case notes, examine the evidence, and dive into the most important case of all; the case the Jesus!

My Review:
I thought that this book was a creative way to engage children in learning about Jesus and why they believe in Him. It would be a great book to use with kids who are struggling with putting their faith in Jesus.  I think kids will find it fun to following along as they learn techniques for being a detective from an actual cold-case detective. This book is appropriate for kids ages 8-12 years old. Each chapter teaches them a principle of problem solving and then gives them a CSI assignment that investigates the Scriptures.  This book uses the NASB version of the Bible.  Along with all of that, there are also videos and activities online for the kids to do along with the chapter they are reading. I thought the arguments and answers that were given were compelling and did a good job at answering questions kids would have.  I think the book also gets kids to dig into Scripture for themselves and shows them why they can trust Him with their lives.
If you're looking for a new book to encourage your kids to begin to study the Bible on their own, make sure to pick up this fun new detective book.

Visit this site for more information on the book: www.coldcasechristianityforkids.com

Giveaway Information:
At the crucial age between 8 and 12, many kids begin to wonder if Christianity and the Bible are true. Help your kids become truth-seeking detectives with the help of J. Warner and Susie Wallace's Cold-Case Christianity for Kids. Detective Wallace gets kids excited about testing witnesses, examining the evidence, and investigating the case for Christianity. The book includes author illustrations and links to a website where kids can download activities, fill in case notes, and earn a certificate of merit.

Encourage your kids to investigate the case for Christianity by entering to win a faith examination kit and a copy of J. Warner and Susie's new book.

cold-case-christianity-400 

One grand prize winner will receive:
Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on November 4. The winner will be announced November 7 on the Litfuse blog.

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

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Audacious by Beth Moore

Are you looking for a book to challenge you in your love for Christ? Beth has a new book out called Audacious that will both encourage you and challenge you to examine your life to see where your love lies.


From the Back Cover:
"If you only knew..."
Thirty years in the making, Audacious is a deep dive into the message that has compelled Beth Moore to serve women around the globe. Glancing over the years of ministry behind her and strengthening her resolve to the call before her, she came to the realization that her vision for women was incomplete. It lacked something they were aching for. Something Jesus was longing for. Beth identifies that missing link by digging through Scripture, unearthing life experiences, and spotlighting a turning point with the capacity to infuse any life with holy passion and purpose. what was missing? Well, let's just say, it's audacious and it's for all of us. And it's the path to the life you were born to live.

 

My Review:
This book is about totally pursuing Jesus Christ with all your heart, soul and mind.  "Those willing to give up their insatiable self-preoccupation to identify with Jesus and follow Him furiously will find an ever-unfolding life and love that they couldn't have scripted if they'd tried." (pg. 13) It's easy to get your eyes on everything around you and forget why you were put here on Earth in the first place. In this book, Beth reminds us that life is not about us, but about Jesus, the One we should love with all our hearts.  When we love Christ with everything we have, then other things in our lives can be addressed.  Without love, it's all just rules and regulations that we follow to feel good about ourselves.

"It will never be rules that most effectively deter us from jumping headlong into sin. In the wording of Colossians 2:21, regulations like Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch dont' cut it. These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh (Col. 2:23 ESV). Here's what most effectively diminishes our indulgence in the flesh: our indulgence in the Spirit. Christ's Spirit. By all means indulge." (pg. 114)

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book.  It had a lot of great thoughts to contemplate.  My copy of the book is heavily written in and highlighted. So if you're looking for a good book to pick up that will challenge you in your love for Christ, pick up Audacious.

***I received this complimentary book from B&H Publishing Group. I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions are my own.
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