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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.)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A Match of Wits (Book 4) by Jen Turano

In Jen Turano's fourth book, A Match of Wits, from the Ladies of Distinction series, we finally find Agatha Watson and Zayne Beckett's story. 

From the Back Cover:
After his departure from New York two years ago to meet up with his almost-fiance, Zayne Beckett is the last person Agatha Watson wanted to stumble upon in her travels as a reporter with the New York Tribune. Quite pathetically bedraggled, he clearly needs to be taken in hand and sent back East to his family. Although she no longer has feelings for him, Agatha realizes, by hook or by crook, she’ll have to be the one to get the obstinate man home.
Zayne has no desire to be taken anywhere and is prepared to drag his heels all the way home… until he finds himself slipping back into the familiar banter of his former friendship with Agatha. Once they arrive in New York, Zayne realizes Agatha’s determined nose for news has earned her a few enemies, and he hopes to repay her help with some help of his own. When she rebuffs all his attempts to prove himself a knight in shining armor, the lengths to which they’ll go to win this battle of wills lead to some memorable antics.
Everyone else may think them a match, but nothing could be further from the truth–until Agatha finds herself in real trouble. Have these two stubborn, too-smart-for-their-own-good people been meant for each other all along?

My Review:
This story is much like the other 3 stories in this series.  Some lucky lady is getting matched up, and this independent woman seems to bring a lot of trouble along with her.  In A Match of Wits, Zayne and Agatha are constantly bantering back and forth with each other.  They seem to have a lot of miscommunication, and some of their conversations are a bit on the humorous side.  Agatha is definitely a handful and sometimes her personality is quite over the top.  Zayne, on the other hand, seems to be a little dense when it comes to dealing with the ladies. When he opens his mouth, he usually makes things worse. The mystery of who wants Agatha dead adds a twist to the story and makes you wonder if they'll ever find out who really is the culprit.  If you're looking for some fun, light reading, then pick up this novel by Jen Turano.  I would recommend reading these books in order since the characters carry over and play key parts in the later novels.
Book 1--A Change of Fortune, Book 2--A Peculiar Circumstance, and Book 3--A Talent for Trouble (you can read my review by clicking here).  Read more about Jen Turnano here at her website.

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

Monday, August 11, 2014

Problems in Plymouth (Adventures in Odyssey: Imagination Station series book 6) by Marianne Hering and Marshal Younger

We've completed reading about another great adventure for the cousins, Beth and Patrick.  This time they headed back in time to Plymouth Colony in 1621.  Hugh has again escaped to another time period and they must find him to get him back to his own time period in England 1450 before he causes anymore trouble. 

During this adventure the cousins learn a lot about the Pilgrims and all they went through coming to America in order to worship God freely.  They also learn about the troubles they faced with the Indians.  Your children will enjoy reading about familiar characters such as Captain Myles Standish, Governor William Bradford and Squanto.  My daughter was thoroughly excited at the mention of Squanto since she had heard of him before albeit on Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving video.  She was also trying to guess where Hugh would show up next.  These stories are great!  We've have really enjoyed reading each book and are looking forward to reading the next one in the series--Secret of the Prince's Tomb (book 7).

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

Showdown with the Shepherd (Adventures in Odyssey: The Imagination Station Series book 5) by Marianne Hering and Brock Eastman

The Fifth book in the Adventures in Odyssey: Imagination Station series was a delight to read.  Showdown with a Shepherd travels back in time to the story of David and Goliath; although, there are a few twists since that evil man Hugh has also traveled back to this time in history.  Now the cousins, Beth and Patrick, must find Hugh and stop him before he changes history!

Once again my daughter and I enjoyed reading this exciting story.  It's great since this story is very familiar to children and brings alive the well known characters of David and Goliath.  The authors have done a great job with keeping the story exciting, so exciting in fact, that my daughter is always asking if we can read one more chapter.  Like all of the other books, this one ends with another great adventure awaiting the cousins that makes the reader long to start reading that next book.  If you have a reluctant reader, try out this series.  It may be one that will pique his interest and help him see that reading can be fun!
We're looking forward to reading book 6 in the series, Problems in Plymouth!  Look for the review soon!

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

Saturday, August 9, 2014

In Perfect Time by Sarah Sundin

Do you love WWII history along with a little romance?  If so, you'll love reading Sarah Sundin's newest series, Wings of the Nightingale.  She just came out with her third book in the series called In Perfect Time.   

From the Back of the Book:
Bold, sophisticated, and flirtatious, Army Air Force flight nurse Lt. Kay Jobson collects hearts wherever she flies, leaving men pining in airfields all across Europe. So how can ruggedly handsome C-47 pilot Lt. Roger Cooper be all but immune to her considerable charms? In fact, he seems to do everything he can to avoid her.

Still, as they cross the skies between Italy and southern France, evacuating the wounded and delivering paratroopers and supplies, every beat of their hearts draws them closer to where they don't want to go. Can they confront the fears and misunderstandings in their pasts?

Sarah Sundin seamlessly weaves together emotion, action, and sweet romance into a tale that transcends time and calls us to believe in the power of love.

My Review:
Sarah Sundin is actually a new author for me to read, and on top of that, I haven't even read the first two books in this series.  So, in spite of the author being new and beginning with the third book in the series, I loved reading through this novel and the story of Kay Jobson.  Sundin's re-telling of WWII history inter-woven with her fictional characters was superb.  I love how these historical stories bring out aspects of history that I didn't know.  I didn't realize that while there was conflict going on in Europe during WWII, there were also issues in India.  The characters were believable and interesting, and the author did a great job describing all that the characters were feeling during their time overseas.  This book was great and I'm looking forward to picking up the first two books in the series also.  You can see pictures and video from this era on Sarah Sundin's Pinterest page by clicking here.  You can also visit Sarah Sundin's Facebook page here and enter to win a Kindle HDX (August 8-24).

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

Friday, August 8, 2014

Win a KitchenAid Mixer in Susan May Warren’s Hawaiian Chef Showdown!

Susan May Warren's newest book in the Christiansen family series is out!  This novel, When I Fall in Love, is about Grace's story.  Read below to find out about this latest story.

About the book: 
Hawaii was the last place Grace Christiansen ever imagined she'd vacation, much less fall in love. But when her family surprises her with a cooking retreat in paradise, she is pulled-or maybe yanked-away from her predictable, safe life and thrown headfirst into the adventure of a lifetime.
Max Sharpe may make his living on the ice as a pro hockey player, but he feels most at home in the kitchen. Which is why he lives for the three-week culinary vacation he takes each year in Hawaii. Upon being paired with Grace for a cooking competition, Max finds himself drawn to her passion, confidence, and perseverance. But just when Grace dares to dream of a future beyond her hometown, Max pulls away.
Wrestling with personal demons, Max fights against opening his heart to a love he knows he should never hope for. And as his secrets unfold, Grace is torn between the safe path in front of her and what her heart truly desires. If love means sacrificing her ideal happily ever after, Grace's faith will face its toughest test yet.

My Review:
This story was full of adventure for the homebody sister, Grace Christiansen.  I loved that the story was in the fun state of Hawaii and included a cooking class and competition.  It definitely added to the storyline.  The relationship dynamic between Grace and Max kept the story exciting all the way to the end.  Several of the characters are dealing with "baggage" that they have lugged throughout their lives thinking that it was something they could never let go of.  Life can be full of things we hang onto thinking we don't have the power to let go.  Of course, the problem is that the power to let go of the things that beset us doesn't come from us but from God.  Each of these characters struggle through how to give their baggage over to God and begin to trust Him with their lives.  Susan May Warren weaves together a beautiful story of how trusting God with your life is really the only way to truly live.  If you're looking for a fun new series, pick up the Christiansen family.

Purchase a copy:

About the author: 

Susan May Warren is the bestselling, RITA Award-winning author of more than forty novels whose compelling plots and unforgettable characters have won acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. She served with her husband and four children as a missionary in Russia for eight years before she and her family returned home to the States. She now writes full-time as her husband runs a lodge on Lake Superior in northern Minnesota, where many of her books are set. She and her family enjoy hiking, canoeing, and being involved in their local church. Several of her critically acclaimed novels have been ECPA and CBA bestsellers, were chosen as Top Picks by Romantic Times, and have won the RWA's Inspirational Reader's Choice contest and the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year award. Five of her books have been Christy Award finalists. In addition to her writing, Susan loves to teach and speak at women's events about God's amazing grace in our lives. She also runs a writing community for authors.

Find Susan online: website, My Book TherapyTwitter, Facebook

Giveaway Information:
Susan May Warren's newest book in the Christiansen Family Collection, When I Fall In Love,  has won over readers' and critics' hearts alike. With critical reviews like, ". . . an exquisite romance. Profoundly touching on the topic of facing fears, this book is a true gem," and more than 60 five-star reviews at Amazon, When I Fall in Love is sure to please.

Susan has teamed up with some amazing food bloggers for a fun food challenge and a KitchenAid Mixer giveaway!

  One grand prize winner will receive:
Grab your aprons and wire whisks and buzz on over to the When I Fall in Love website to learn more and enter the Hawaiian Chef Showdown! Susan is challenging you to make a Hawaiian-inspired dish using coconut, mango, or one of the other ingredients mentioned in the book. You’ll get extra points for creating your own recipe—plus she might share it on the When I Fall in Love site! Or if you're not up for an adventure in the kitchen just click one of the icons below for easy entry.

Hurry, the giveaway ends on August 10th. All winners will be announced August 13th at Susan's blog.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to visit Susan's blog on the 13th to see if you won!

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