Friday, December 12, 2014

The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen

Julie Klassen's newest book has released, The Secret of Pembrooke Park.   Are you looking for a fun, mysterious, historical novel?  Then make sure to read below and find out about this great new fun read. 

From the Back Cover:
Abigail Foster is the practical daughter. She fears she will end up a spinster, especially as she has little dowry, and the one man she thought might marry her seems to have fallen for her younger, prettier sister.

Facing financial ruin, Abigail and her father search for more affordable lodgings, until a strange solicitor arrives with an astounding offer: the use of a distant manor house abandoned for eighteen years. The Fosters journey to imposing Pembrooke Park and are startled to find it entombed as it was abruptly left: tea cups encrusted with dry tea, moth-eaten clothes in wardrobes, a doll's house left mid-play...

The handsome local curate welcomes them, but though he and his family seem acquainted with the manor's past, the only information they offer is a stern warning: Beware trespassers drawn by rumors that Pembrooke Park contains a secret room filled with treasure.

This catches Abigail's attention. Hoping to restore her family's finances--and her dowry--Abigail looks for this supposed treasure. But eerie sounds at night and footprints in the dust reveal she isn't the only one secretly searching the house.

Then Abigail begins receiving anonymous letters, containing clues about the hidden room and startling discoveries about the past.

As old friends and new foes come calling at Pembrooke Park, secrets come to light. Will Abigail find the treasure and love she seeks...or very real danger?

My Review:
 Julie Klassen is one of my favorite authors.  Her books have always been a delight to read and this one was no different! I absolutely loved it from cover to cover.  The mysterious plot was filled with unsolved murders, forgotten history, and whispers about a hidden treasure.  Julie's portrayal of the characters really made the story come to life.  Their thoughts and emotions were well communicated. This period in history is also fascinating, and I love to learn more about the history of the Regency era.  If you're looking for a fun new book to pick up to read, make sure to pick up this novel by Klassen.  You won't be disappointed!

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

Fire Up the Romance this Holiday with @RobinLeeHatcher’s “Love Without End” Kindle Fire Giveaway!

Robin Lee Hatcher has come out with another book set in Kings Meadow called Love Without End.  What is it about Kings Meadow that helps people heal from their past hurts?  Read below to find out about the book, my review and about the author.

 About the book: Love Without End || A King's Meadow Romance (Thomas Nelson, November 2014)

Chet and Kimberly have both failed when it comes to love. Will they risk their hearts to love again?

Chet Leonard's life was forever changed when his 17-year-old son died and then, soon after, his wife walked out on their family. Over two years later, all he wants to do is hold onto his horse ranch and raise his remaining sons to be honorable men.

Kimberly Welch, widowed mother of Tara, a rebellious 15-year-old, has reached the end of her finances and nearly the end of her rope. She and Tara come to King's Meadow to try to piece their lives back together again. Kimberly has no intention of becoming involved with the residents of this remote mountain community and certainly not with any man.
When octogenarian Anna McKenna returns to King's Meadow and to the Leonard ranch, she becomes an agent of change and healing for the two hurting families. With her help, Kimberly and Chet may discover that true love has no end.

My Review:

This story was an interesting read since I had already read A Promise Kept which was also set in Kings Meadow.  You can read my review of that book by clicking here.  This book actually tells not only the story of Kimberly Welch, but also has flashbacks to Anna McKenna's story too.  I'm glad that Robin decided to continue the King Meadow's story and give Chet his own book.  He was definitely let down hard in A Promise Kept by Allison and needed a story of his own.  Robin did a great job drawing the reader into the story and the lives of the characters.  Their stories were written realistically, full of raw emotion and vulnerability. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in this new series--Whenever You Come Around.

Make sure to head over and read what others had to say about this book on the blog tour by clicking HERE.

Purchase a copy: 

About the author:

Best-selling novelist Robin Lee Hatcher is known for her heart-warming and emotionally charged stories of faith, courage, and love. The winner of the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction, the RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance, two RT Career Achievement Awards, and the RWA Lifetime Achievement Award, Robin is the author of over sixty novels.

Find Robin online: website, Facebook, Twitter
Fire up the romance this holiday with Robin Lee Hatcher's latest offering in the King's Meadow Romance series, Love Without EndFor two single parents with bruised hearts, it’ll take more than a little courage to get back on the horse when it comes to love.

Giveaway Info:

Celebrate love rising from the ashes of tragedy with Robin by entering her Kindle Fire giveaway.
 One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • Love Without End and the rest of the King's Meadow Romance series from Robin Lee Hatcher
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on December 14th. Winner will be announced December 15th on Robin's blog.

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

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary

 Are you looking for a Bible dictionary that will aid in your personal Bible study or help with Bible study class preparations?  Thomas Nelson has published a new and enhanced Bible dictionary.  Below you can read a product description and my personal review.


From the Back Cover:

Now with a fresh new look and full-color Fan-Tab Thumb-Index Reference System, Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary, New and Enhanced Edition puts a wealth of up-to-date and reliable information at your fingertips.

Designed, written, and edited with the needs of general readers in mind, this comprehensive Bible dictionary contains over 7,000 individual entries on the people, places, things, and doctrines of the Bible.  Christians who want to make their Bible study more rewarding, Sunday school teacher and Bible class leaders looking for help in making their lessons more effective, and anyone who wants to understand the Word of God and Bible backgrounds more fully will find what they need here.

Packed with information and special features:
     *  More than 500 updated or enhanced full-color photographs to illustrate and clarify important  
         Bible subjects
     *  An extensive cross-reference system for use with the most popular English translations of the
     *  Helpful outlines of the books of the Bible designed to aid effective study and teaching
     *  A map index and full-color maps for understanding major periods of biblical history
     *  Articles that address special topics, such as studying the Bible, comparing Bible translations, 
         and recent discoveries in archaeology
     *  Charts, maps, tables, and The Visual Survey of the Bible for understanding Bible history at a 
     *  Large type and a new full-color page design

My Review:

What a great new dictionary!  I love several things about this new enhanced version.  First, in the opening pages, 5 steps are given to instruct readers how to use this Bible dictionary in your regular Bible reading to enhance your learning of Scripture.  Second, the Visual Survey of the Bible is great!  I love being able to see the history of Scripture put on one comprehensive  timeline.  It gives a great overview of Scripture.  Third, the pictures and maps used throughout the dictionary are wonderful.  They had another great layer of interest!  Now, I must say as with all literature, you must compare men's words with Scripture.  Men aren't always correct in their interpretation of Scripture and so must be thoroughly cross examined with what God's Word says.    There may be other theories represented in these pages that you will not agree with... such as the six days of creation not being a literal 24 hour period (pg. 278).  In spite of some difference like these,  I'm excited to be able to use this new dictionary to enhance my own personal Bible study.  This will be a great new edition to our library.

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

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Where Treetops Glisten by Tricia Goyer, Cara Putman and Sarah Sundin

Don't you just love a good Christmas story?  I love watching all the fun Christmas shows during this time of year.  And there is nothing like having hot cranberry tea, listening to Christmas music and reading a great book!  Three great authors have compiled three stories into one novel for your enjoyment this Christmas season.  Where Treetops Glisten is a group of stories about the Turner family set during WWII.  You can read below and find out about the book, and my thoughts about these three stories.

From the Back Cover:
The crunch of newly fallen snow, the weight of wartime.  Siblings forging new paths and finding love in three stories, filled with the wonder of Christmas.  Turn back the clock to a different time, listen to Bing Crosby sing of sleigh bells in the snow, as the realities of America's involvement in the Second World War change the lives of the Turner family in Lafayette, Indiana.

     In Cara Putman's White Christmas, Abigail Turner is holding down the Home Front as a college student and part-time employee at a one-of-a-kind candy shop.  Loss of a beau to the war has Abigail skittish about romantic entanglements--until a hard-working young man with a serious problem needs her help.
     Abigail's brother Pete is a fighter pilot hero returned from the European Theatre in Sarah Sundin's I'll Be Home for Christmas, trying to recapture the hope and peace his time at war has eroded.  But when he encounters a precocious little girl in need of Pete's friendship, can he convince her widowed mother that he's no longer the bully she once knew?
     In Tricia Goyer's Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Meredith Turner, "Merry" to those who know her best, is using her skills as a combat nurse on the frontline in the Netherlands.  Halfway around the world from home, Merry never expects to face her deepest betrayal head on, but that's precisely what God has in mind to redeem her broken heart.
     The Turner family believes in God's providence during such a tumultuous time.  Can they absorb the miracle of Christ's birth and His plan for the future?

My Review:
I just loved this book!  It was so fun to just sit, relax and enjoy a good story... well, actually three good stories.  Each of the characters has a lot to reconcile in his or her own life.  Of course, all of trials that they are enduring are also shrouded by the war raging around the world.  It's hard to imagine how much families had to give up in order to help in the cause for war.  My generation has not had to face that hardship, but reading stories like these gives a great glimpse into our history that we should not forget.  If you're looking for a great heartwarming set of stories for this holiday season, make sure to pick up Where Treetops Glisten.  This would also make a fabulous gift for the book reader on your Christmas list!

Some Noteworthy Links:
You can read the first chapter of this book HERE.
You can also read more about the book by clicking HERE.
Read more about these great authors by clicking HERE.

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

Monday, November 17, 2014

Look Inside the Time of Jesus by Lois Rock; Illustrated by Lorenzo Orlandi

The Time of Jesus is a lift-the-flap discovery board book for children ages 5-7 year olds (Grade level: Kindergarten--2nd grade). 

From the Back Cover:
Jesus took his message to all kinds of people in all kinds of places--from the shores of Lake Galilee to the bustling streets of Jerusalem.  This book takes you right into the world that he knew, with appealing illustrations and flaps that you open to reveal all kinds of fascinating details.

My Review:
I love the fact that this book is a lift-the-flap book.  My kids just love to open the flaps and see what is hiding inside!  The pictures are fun to look at with all the details spread throughout the pages.  The book begins in Bethlehem with Jesus' birth, walks throughout His life and ends with the garden tomb.  It's fun for kids to see pictures of how things were back in Biblical times.  If you're looking
for a fun Christmas present this year, consider picking up this great
book to put under the tree.

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

Monday, November 10, 2014

Eight Twenty Eight: When Love Didn't Give Up by Ian and Larissa Murphy

Do you remember a video that went viral back in May 2012 about a couple sharing their story about a heartbreaking car accident that changed their lives forever?  Watch the video below to refresh your memory.  This story is now being published by B&H publishing group.

From the Back Cover:

What if that thing you really feared happened?  Would the joy you hold pop? Or would you experience love and joy deeper than you can imagine?
They met in college and fell in love.  They talked about getting married, and he started looking for a ring.  They dreamed about life together, a life of beauty and joy, raising babies and laughing with friends and growing old.
They did not imagine a car accident.  They did not imagine his brain injury.  They did not dream about the need for constant care and a wheelchair and fear that food might choke him.
And they could not have imagined how persistent love would be.  Theirs and God's.
Ian and Larissa Murphy tell their story of love in Eight Twenty Eight.  Except, it's not just their love story.  Really, it's yours as well.  Read and gain a picture of love that will challenge all you think you know about what is true and what persists.

Ian and Larissa Murphy are husband and wife.  They love one another.  They laugh together.  They seek to serve God together all while dealing with the implications of life in a world marked by suffering, yet compelled by love.  They live in Pennsylvania where they watch as God works all things together for good.

My Review:
I remember watching the video about this young couple and their commitment to each other.  The sacrificial love that Larissa has for Ian is beautiful.  In this book,  Larissa tells their story with truthful reality.  This book is an easy read as far as the print and ease of reading the story, but the story itself is not easy to read.  It will confront those hard places that no one really wants to think about, but it will also point to One who is far greater than our worst circumstance.  Pick up this book and see Christ's light shinning through this couple.

***I received this book for free from B&H publishing group in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

To Everything a Season by Lauraine Snelling

Lauraine Snelling has returned to the Red River Valley for a new series called Song of Blessing.  Her first novel of the series just released and is called To Everything a Season. 

From the Back Cover:
Trygve Knutson is devoted to his family and his community.  With his job on the construction crew, he is helping to build a future for the North Dakota town of Blessing.  Though he loves his home, he sometimes dreams of other horizons--especially since meeting Miriam Hastings.
Miriam is in Blessing to get practical training to become an accredited nurse.  She's been promised a position in the Chicago women's hospital that will enable her to support her siblings and her ailing mother.  Although eager to return to her family, Miriam is surprised to find how much she enjoys the small town of Blessing.  And her growing attachment to Trygve soon has her questioning a future she always considered set in stone.
When a family emergency calls Miriam home sooner than planned, will she find a way to return?  If not, will it mean loosing Trygve--and her chance at love--for good?

My Review:
When I signed up to grab this book, I thought this would be good based on other Lauraine Snelling books I had read before.  After I began reading the book, I quickly realized that it felt like I should already be familiar with these characters from something written previously.  So, I began looking at her other novels and realized that while this is the first book in this series, Song of Blessing, the characters are from a previous series.  I would definitely recommend picking up the Home to Blessing series and also An Untamed Heart since that is where the story begins.  I think you'd probably have more of a connection with the characters in this new series.  Even with this disadvantage, I thought that the story was well written, and not too hard to pick up not having read the previous series.  It did seem to give more background information than have a thrilling story line.  And just to warn you, Trygve and Miriam don't even meet until chapter 23 in the book, and there are only 33 chapters in the whole book.  I think the women nurses and doctors in the story add a fun historical fact in this story.  The men would of definitely had a hard time with that.
If you're already familiar with the characters of the Red River Valley, make sure to pick up this next series and continue the story.

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