Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Heart's Promise by Colleen Coble (book 5 in the Journey of the Heart series)

Book 5 in the Journey of the Heart series by Colleen Coble releases today!  On July 7th you can pick up your copy of A Heart's Promise and continue the story of Emmie Croftner, Isaac Liddle, Sarah and Rand Campbell, Amelia and Jacob Campbell among others.  Continue reading to find out what this book is all about and what I thought about the story.

From the Back Cover:
Emmie makes a promise to her friend that, if fulfilled, could mean the end to her dreams of a future with Isaac.
Emmie Croftner let Isaac Liddle go to avoid telling him about her past.  But Isaac remains determined to win Emmie's heart and hand.  Though Emmie resolves to keep her heart in check, it hurts when she sees that another woman has set her bonnet for Isaac.
Then Emmie's dear friend extracts a costly promise: if anything happens to her in childbirth, Emmie will marry her widower and raise the baby herself.  And it seems Emmie may have to fulfill that promise.  But can she live happily without Isaac?

My Review:
I thought the novel took some turns in the story that were both predictable and surprising.  Since the characters are familiar, it's fun to continue picking up their story in these short books, but I will say that some parts are pretty predictable.  This story gets just an okay from me.  While the story is wholesome, the plot seems all too familiar in this book in dealing yet again with a former foe.  This book isn't a horrible read; it just isn't one of the spellbinding novels I'm used to reading from Colleen Coble.  There is one more book to be released for this series.  That one, A Heart's Home, will be out August 4th.  I'm looking forward to finishing this series.

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

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Hardest Peace: expecting grace in the midst of life's hard by Kara Tippetts

Are you wondering how to live while facing the suffering in this life?  What does it look like to have peace in the midst of a trial?  Is God really for me? The trials of life can throw us into pits we never knew existed, and the only way to survive is to look upward.  Kara's book, The Hardest Peace, is a beautiful example of how to look upward during painful times of our lives.  Take the time to checkout this book.  It a book that should be on everyone's bookshelves.

From the Back Cover:
Kara Tippetts knows the ordinary days of mothering four kids, the joy of watching her children grow... and the devastating reality of stage IV cancer.

In The Hardest Peace, Kara doesn't offer answers for when living is hard, but rather she asks us to join her in moving away from fear and control and toward peace and grace.  Most of all, she draws us back to the God who is with us in the mundane and the suffering, and who shapes even our unmet expectations and pain into beauty.

My Review:
I wondered if I would be able to get through this book.  If it would be too hard for me to read reliving the devastating effects of cancer upon someone you love.  But Kara made this book more about Jesus and less about herself.  It was a beautiful story told in a way that brought God glory.  It challenged me to put many things into perspective throughout my life.  And I know I have a lot to think through as I go through my own hard situation with my mother (diagnosed with CBGD--a neurological disease) and in remembering my father-in-law (who passed from cancer last year) and my younger brother (killed in a car accident at age 20).   Life has been hard and this book was such an encouragement to read.  This book has definitely become one of my favorites right along with Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts.  Beautiful stories both born out of grief.  I loved the following passage:

"Whoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.  Proverbs 1:33 We talked through what this verse really means.  When we listen--really listen--to the Lord, looking Him straight in the face, He removes the dread.  It does not say He removes the disaster.  But the dread of disaster.  ...The dread and fear are what so often steal our peace and leave us on edges of our moments exhausted.  We meet the scary of life and forget to turn to God and listen and know His peace.  We scramble to control, fix, and protect from hard.  The imagined fears and worries often break us more than reality." (pg. 129-130)

If you are struggling through suffering personally or with someone close to you, pick up this book and be encouraged that God is with you.

About the Author:
Kara Tippets was married to her husband, Jason.  Together they were raising four beautiful children while church planting in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  Kara has gone home to be with the Lord.  You can find her past writings on her blog mundanefaithfulness.com.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

John Shaw's Guide to Digital Nature Photography

Do you love photography?  Is outdoor photography one of your hobbies?  Then here is a fun new book you need to check out!  John Shaw has come along way from his first published book, The Nature Photographer's Complete Guide to Professional Field Techniques.  Now revised, his original field guide book is up to date for the world of digital photography.  Things sure have changed in the last 30 years.

From the Back Cover:
For over four decades, John Shaw's authentic voice and trusted advice has helped photographers achieve impressive shots in the great outdoors.  In his first-ever book on digital photography, Shaw provides in-depth advice on everything form equipment and lenses to thorough coverage of digital topics including how to use the histogram.  In addition, he offers inspirational and frank insight that goes far beyond the nuts and bolts of photography, explaining that successful photos come from having a vision, practicing, and then acquiring the equipment needed to accomplish the intention.  Easily digestible and useful for every type of photographer, and complete with more than 250 jaw-dropping images, John Shaw's Guide to Digital Nature Photography is the one book you'll need to beautifully capture the world around you.

My Review:
Let me start by saying the pictures in this book are just beautiful!  The book covers the following aspects of photography: Gear, Getting Started, Lenses, Composition, and Close-ups.  Make sure to grab your highlighter and your camera when you are ready to "dive-in" to this book.  There is a lot of practical advice for helping you to be a better photographer.  The information is pretty detailed and you'll want your camera handy to adjust all of your own settings.  This book has me excited about being a better photographer!  I'm looking forward to putting all these great techniques into practice the next time I get out and shoot some digital film.

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

Sunday, June 7, 2015

A Heart's Betrayal by Colleen Coble (Journey of the Heart series, book 4)

Colleen Coble's Book 4 in the Journey of the Heart series was just released at the beginning of June.  Book 4 begins with a new character, Emmie Croftner, but we quickly find out that she has many connections to the previous mentioned characters in books 1-3.  Emmie thought she had finally found her heart's true love, but after 3 short months of marriage, she finds herself a widow.  And while that is quite a horrible circumstance to endure, she also finds out that he was a bigamist.  Knowing that her reputation would be marred, she seeks out the help of Sarah and Rand in Fort Laramie, Wyoming to make a new start for her life.  Emmie has sworn off any kind of relationships, but after meeting Isaac Liddle, she finds herself thinking more and more about him.  When she becomes sick one morning, she suspects and confirms that she is indeed with child.  How will Emmie endure all of these trials?  Does she deserve to ever find love again?

I was intrigued by the switch in the main character for this book.  The reader definitely is cheering for Emmie to overcome her circumstances, especially after having to live with a brother like, Ben Croftner.  Her background is quite depressing and makes you want something phenomenal to happen for her.    If you're looking for something easy and light to read this summer, pick up Colleen Coble's Journey of the Heart series.  This is such a great series to read for a busy mom. This book is not long, and I was able to read it in one evening. I'm looking forward to the fifth book coming out on July 7th, A Heart's Promise.

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

Monday, June 1, 2015

Bible Dominoes by Juliet David; Illustrated by Jo Parry

Are you looking for a fun game that your child ages 3 and up can play?  I know finding a fun game for this young age can be challenging.  Bible Dominoes by Juliet David is a fun little game that a three year old can understand.  The game comes with 28 tiles that are thick and very sturdy for little hands.  They are also quite large for being dominoes as you can see from the picture below.  I love the vibrant colors and the fun characters on the tiles.  Each of the pictures used come from a different Bible stories.  The game comes with a little booklet that tells all of the stories that are used on the different tiles.  The pictures used come from the following stories:

Noah and his Ark
Joseph and his Amazing Coat
Moses, Prince of Egypt
Daniel Saved from Lions
Jonah and the Great Fish
Jesus Talks to a Crowd
A Big Lunch
Stop, Storm!
The Good Shepherd
The Stranger Who Helped

I like that the number and color tiles are the same.  You can see in the photo that all the red tiles are groupings of six.  Therefore, the child can match by color or number.  This is a great tool for learning colors and counting.  And you can also talk about the many Bible stories!  The author for this game has also written another book that I reviewed,
99 Stories from the Bible by Juliet David and Illustrated by Elina Ellis.

So, if you're looking for a fun new game for your little one, pick up Bible Dominoes!

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