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Friday, June 27, 2014

Summer Activities for Adventures in Odyssey Fans


Summer is officially here! Don't let your kids' boredom run rampant. Adventures in Odyssey is here to save the day. Below are some must-try ideas for summer fun! Want even more summer fun? For the month of June, you can join the Odyssey Adventure Club for only $5! More details can be found here.

Summer Activities

As a parent you are probably a big proponent of reading. Encourage your kids to dig into a book or two this summer with Adventures in Odyssey's On Your Marks Summer Reading Challenge. Bonus points if YOU create a reading challenge for yourself as you read along with your kids!

Looking for something hands-on? Create Matthew in 3-D! Invite a few of your kids' friends over for a play date, print off the activity sheet, and let them have at it for the afternoon (with the promise of cookies and lemonade once they've finished constructing Matthew).

Maybe your kids aren't into reading, but they love math. If that's the case, have them solve Eugene's Sudoku!

The laundry needs to be done; the dishes need to be put away. But your kids are begging you to take them out to the zoo. Let them take a whack at Matthew's Decoder in the morning, then make an agreement that if they figure out how to use the decoder, you'll take them on an afternoon adventure. That'll give you the morning to finish up your to-do list!


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Truth Be Told by Carol Cox

Carol Cox has written another fun book called Truth Be Told.  Set back in the late 1800's, this story is another great historical fiction that will keep you trying to figure out the mystery of the Great Western Investment Company.  Below you can read the back of the book description as well as my review.

From the Back Cover:
When Amelia Wagner takes over the running of her father's newspaper in 1893 Granite Springs, Arizona, she vows to carry on the paper's commitment to reporting only the truth. But Amelia soon learns that even the truth can have consequences. Her father's revealing articles about the Great Western Investment Company have caught the attention of the wrong people, and pressure mounts for Amelia to retract her father's statements.

Determined to find out the real story, Amelia beings her own investigation.  She's joined by Benjamin Stone, a Great Western employee who's been assigned to keep tabs on her for the good of the company, a man Amelia finds both perplexing and intriguing.

What they uncover stuns them both--and has far-reaching implications for not only Ben and Amelia but all of Granite Springs.  Can they reveal the truth before the enemy finds a way to silence them for good?

My Review:
I thought that this book was an enjoyable read!  Carol Cox has crafted a fun story filled with mystery, murder and romance.  Amelia has a lot to learn about the riggers of running a newspaper.  She learns much from her mistakes and the mistakes of others when she doesn't get to do a final check of the paper before it goes out.  It's a hard lesson to learn when all of her friends won't speak to her, but I appreciated the humility she showed in restoring her broken relationships.   I found the characters believable and appreciated their vulnerability.  If you're looking for a fun historical novel to read this summer, pick up Carol's new book.  You can also read my reviews of two of her other books, Love in Disguise and Trouble in Store.

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

Monday, June 23, 2014

Join the Odyssey Adventure Club for $5!


Are your kids in need of a safe and fun environment where they can explore, create and imagine, all while developing their faith and learning biblical truth? Enter the Odyssey Adventure Club (AOC)!
For a limited time, you can join HERE for only $5 (regular monthly membership costs $15 for up to six users)!

Families will be able to stream the Adventures in Odyssey library, plus listen to exclusive new monthly episodes.  Busy families will find 24/7 access to the content through the Odyssey Adventure Club mobile iPhone app.

Children can also read daily devotions, interact with hands-on activities and view video documentaries featuring a behind-the-scenes look into the production of the Adventures in Odyssey stories. Parents can feel confident their children are safe on the Odyssey Adventure Club website — Focus on the Family staff will be monitoring all comments before they’re publicly posted. (Created for children ages 8-12.)

A portion of each Odyssey Adventure Club membership will benefit Focus on the Family partner relief organizations, including Christian Veterinary Mission, Operation Christmas Child and Compassion International. This provides parents with an opportunity to teach children about the value of giving and serving others.

Coming in July, Odyssey Adventure Club members get to listen to the brand new album, "The Ties That Bind," FIRST before it's available ANYWHERE ELSE!

Click here to join for only $5!

Want more summer activities for your kids inspired by the Odyssey Adventure Club? Check out this post.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Chateau of Secrets by Melanie Dobson

Melanie Dobson's newest book, Chateau of Secrets, has just released.  This story is actually inspired by the true life story of a lady named, Genevieve Marie Josephe de Saint Pern Menke (1922-2010).  I love reading stories that have been inspired by actual historical events!  This book actually goes back and forth between two stories--the past story of Gisele Duchant and the current story of her granddaughter, Chloe Sauver.  Below you will find the information given on the back cover and my review.

From the Back Cover:
Gisele Duchant has a secret.  With Hitler's army bearing down on Normandy, Gisele hides her brother and other resistance fighters in the tunnels underneath the Chateau d'Epines, her family's medieval home.  When the soldiers take over the chateau, Gisele is forced to share her beloved home with the enemy even as she continues harboring members of the French resistance right below their feet.  Then her best friend--a Jewish woman--disappears, and Gisele risks everything to care for her friend's child.  When the Nazis begin to suspect her secrets, Gisele must work with an unlikely ally in an attempt to save herself and the life of this child.

Reeling from the deception of her fiance, Chloe Sauver leaves the United States for her family's ancestral home in Normandy.  A filmmaker, Riley Holtz, has uncovered a fascinating story about Jews serving in Hitler's army and he travels to the Chateau d'Epines to interview Gisele's granddaughter for his documentary.  Chloe is floored--she doesn't know the Nazis occupied her family's home nor does she know what happened to her grandparents during World War II.  As Chloe and Riley work together to unravel her family's story, she is shocked by the secrets they find buried at the chateau...

My Review:
Since I had just read Melanie Dobson's book The Courier of Caswell Hall and loved it, I was eager to read her newest book, Chateau of Secrets.  History has always fascinated me and I love reading a good story.  The fact that the historical part is inspired by actual events makes this story even better!  The story is made interesting by going back and forth from the present to the past, and each chapter heading gives you a clue by the type of font used for the chapter heading. 
I was disappointed with the use of some words that could of been left out ("damn" and "heck").  I do not use this language in my speech and I really don't care to read in my books either.  It's one of the many reasons I like to read Christian fiction.  Also, there is a lot of smoking, pre-marital affairs and an extra-martial affair talked about.  (The affairs are really just mentioned and do not go into detail.)  So take that in account to who you would let read this book.  I would not give this novel to a teen, for instance.
But beside those few things, the storyline and plot were exciting to read and made the story interesting.  It was hard to put down the book as I found out more and more of the mystery surrounding all that happened at the Chateau.  Overall, I would give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

You can read more about the author and her other books here and make sure to visit her blog to explore more about the real story that inspired this book by clicking here.

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

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Tyndale's Summer Reading Program (June 1-Aug. 31, 2014)

It's that time again for Tyndale's Summer Reading Program.  When you read 5 books off of their reading list and review them in three different ways (blog, social media, retail site, etc.), you will be able to pick a free book from Tyndale House Publishers from their prize list.  So if you're thinking about reading some extra books this summer, why not participate and earn a free book too.

Click here to sign up for the summer reading program.  Program runs June 1--August 31, 2014.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Four Weddings and a Kiss (a Western Bride Collection) By Margaret Brownley, Robin Lee Hatcher, Mary Connealy, and Debra Clopton

In Four Weddings and a Kiss, four authors have come together to compile a western bride collection.  I had only read one of the authors, and I was excited to have the opportunity to read 3 other authors' works in this compilation.

The story begins with young Reverend Gregory Miller questioning whether he has made the right decision in breaking up with Elizabeth.  When talking with a group of preachers about the situation, he gets some friendly advice by listening to four different stories that just might change his mind about Elizabeth.

I thought the stories were fun and entertaining.  I liked the beginning prologue and how the four different stories where part of a bigger story. These stories are completely about romance, and if that is what you are looking for, you will love this book.  They are short novellas so beware that you might find yourself wishing for more at the end of each story.  Overall, the stories are well written and have a good plot.  I enjoyed getting a taste of the writing style of the authors especially the three that are new to me.    If you're looking for some fun, light, summer reading, consider picking up Four Weddings and a Kiss.

Here is a fun little video from the authors of this book.

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

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Silenced (Book #4, Alaskan Courage series) by Dani Pettrey

Dani Pettrey's book #4 in her Alaskan Courage series has just released!  You can read below to find out what this newest book is all about.

From the Back of the Book:

Jake Knew Something Was Wrong.
But He Never Guessed
How Wrong.

A relaxing day of rock climbing takes a disturbing turn when Kayden McKenna's route brings her face-to-face with a dead climber. Is it a terrible accident or something darker? When the case is handed to overburdened sheriff Landon Grainger, he turns to Jake Westin for help. With Jake's past now revealed, he's ready to use his talent for investigation again--but he could never prepare for where the mystery will take him.

Kayden's climbing expertise soon leads her and Jake to the realization that the death was no accident. And worse, it seems the killer is onto them. When strange things begin happening in Yancey, Jake is terrified that once again his world may put someone he loves in danger. But the truth is far worse than he could ever imagine.

My Review:

Silenced is another great addition to the Alaskan Courage series.  This story is about Kayden and Jake.  Just like the previous 3 books, a murder has been committed and it is up to the McKenna family to find killer.  Dani has done a great job writing a plot that is full of mystery and adventure.  It's always fun to try and figure out who has really committed the crime when all the facts are not adding up to the obvious threat.  Jake and Kayden have both had tragic events happen in their pasts and have had to figure out how to deal with all that comes in facing life altering events.  Life on the this earth is cursed by sin and tragedy will come.  I liked what Dani wrote at the end of the book on page 324.  While talking to Kayden, Jake's character said, "Because God doesn't promise the way  will be easy--far from it--but He promises to carry us through, to give us the courage and grace we need when we need it.  He most often doesn't change the circumstances; He changes us."
If you're looking for a great series for your summer reading, make sure to pick this one up!  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.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Deeper Than Red by Sue Duffy (Book 3 in the Red Returning Series)

Sue Duffy's last book in the Red Returning trilogy is out!  Deeper Than Red finishes the series well! Below you can read the information from the back cover, my review and find links to the author's page.  Also, Kregel is offering a special e-book price of $1.99 for each of the books in this series.  Plus during this week, each book will be offered for free on one of the days. (June 2-6, 2014)  Wednesday, June 4th--Sound of Red Returning is free.

From the Back Cover:
In this finale to the Red Returning trilogy, the plot to resurrect the Soviet Union takes a daring dive into the churning depths of the occult.
Concert pianist Liesl Bower has twice foiled the plot and is again in someone's crosshairs.  So is her musician friend Max Morozov, whose father was a Russian mole buried deep in Israel's Departmetnt of Defense--escaped back to Russia, or so it seems.
Now the conspiracy has snared twenty-year-old Tally Greyson, who's only trying to extract her mother from a colony of mediums in the Florida Keys.  How does that figure in to a Russian plot of subversion?  In a most bizarre way.  But under the balmy skies a hemisphere away from Moscow, an even deeper, darker force prevails, more ominous than the red menace of man's own evil.  And each player must choose where to place his or her trust--both for this life and the next.

My Review:
This series has been fun!  Anything involving spies, covert operations and the Russians has to be a good plot, right?  Sue Duffy wraps up her trilogy with her latest book, Deeper than Red.  Liesl just can't seem to be done with the spy life.  She is yet unknowingly still a target and all she desires is to get on with life.  I think Sue Duffy did a great job wrapping up all the loose ends and putting a finale to her series.  I didn't walk away feeling like the story was left undone.  The twists and turns in the story were again great making you wonder who was really behind the newest plot.  Sue Duffy kept the story line alive and moving all the way throughout the book.  So, if you're looking for a fun exciting series, make sure to pick up Red Returning trilogy this summer.  You can read my review of Book 1--Sound of Red Returning here and Book 2--Red Dawn Rising here.

About the Author:
You can read about Sue Duffy on her website and find out more about her other books by clicking here.

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

Sunday, June 1, 2014

MEANT TO BE MINE $200 Visa Card Giveaway & Facebook Party (6/10) with @BeckyWadeWriter!

Becky Wade's newest book in her Porter Family series is finally here.  Meant to Be Mine is book #2 in her series and is about Ty Porter.  You can read my review of her first book in the series, Undeniably Yours, by clicking here.  Below you will not only read about the book, about the author and my review, but you'll also find out how to enter to win a $200.00 Visa Card!   There will also be a fun Facebook Party which will also have some fun giveaways going on June 10th.  So make sure to check that out!

About the book: 

Ty Porter has always been irresistible to Celia Park. All through high school---irresistible. When their paths cross again after college---still irresistible. This time, though, Ty seems to feel exactly the same way about Celia. Their whirlwind romance deposits them at a street-corner Las Vegas wedding chapel.
The next morning they wake to a marriage certificate and a dose of cold reality. Celia's ready to be Ty's wife, but Ty's not ready to be her husband. He's a professional bull rider, he lives on the road, and he's long planned to settle down with the hometown girl he's known since childhood.
Five and a half years pass. Celia's buried her dreams so that she can afford to raise her daughter. Ty's achieved all of his goals. Or thought he had, until he looks again into the eyes of the woman he couldn't forget and into the face of the child he never knew he had.
How much will Ty sacrifice to win back Celia's trust and prove to her that their spontaneous marriage can still become the love of a lifetime?

Purchase a copy:

About the author: 

Becky makes her home in Dallas, Texas with her husband, three children, and one adoring (and adored) cavalier spaniel. Her CBA debut, My Stubborn Heart, was a finalist in both the RITA and INSPY awards. Undeniably Yours kicked off her Texas-set Porter Family series. Her newest contemporary romance, Meant to Be Mine, has just hit shelves!

Becky can be found at: website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest

 My Review:
I really enjoyed reading Becky Wade's book.  I like being able to continue a story with familiar characters.  Becky did a great job developing the characters and writing a story that was fun to read.  Celia has a lot of past issues that need to be resolved and Ty Porter likes to hide behind his bad boy image.  Each of them have to face the circumstances that have been brought into their lives and decide whether to trust God or not.  Celia and Ty's banter back and forth is quite humorous and is a great touch to the story.  I will say some of the events that happen in the story are kind of predictable.  But overall, it is a cute, romantic story that will make for some fun reading on a summer afternoon.
Head over to read other reviews of this great book by clicking here.
Giveaway Info:
Becky Wade's latest novel, Meant to Be Mine, is a keeper! 

Celebrate with Becky by entering her "Dream Come True" $200 Visa cash card prize pack giveaway and RSVP for her June 10th Facebook party!

  One winner will receive:
  • A $200 Visa cash card
  • Meant to Be Mine by Becky Wade
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on June 10th. Winner will be announced at the Meant to Be Mine Facebook author chat party on June 10th. Connect with Becky for a fun evening of book chat, trivia, laughter, and more! Becky will also share an exclusive look at her next book and give away books, fun prizes, and gift certificates throughout the evening.

So grab your copy of Meant to Be Mine and join Becky on the evening of June 10th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 10th!

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

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