Sunday, October 19, 2014

Tried and True: A Book Review

About The Book:

Saddle up for a wildly fun ride with the Wilde sisters!

Kylie Wilde is the youngest sister--and the most civilized. Her older sisters might be happy dressing in trousers and posing as men, but Kylie has grown her hair long and wears skirts every chance she gets. It's a risk--they are homesteading using the special exemptions they earned serving in the Civil War as "boys"--but Kylie plans to make the most of the years before she can sell her property and return to the luxuries of life back East.

Local land agent Aaron Masterson is fascinated with Kylie from the moment her long hair falls from her cap. But now that he knows her secret, can he in good conscience defraud the U.S. government? And when someone tries to force Kylie off her land, does he have any hope of convincing her that marrying him and settling on the frontier is the better option for her future?


You can read an excerpt of this book here, in PDF format

About The Author:

Mary Connealy is an award-winning, bestselling author known for her fun and lively historical romances. An author, teacher, and journalist, Mary lives on an eastern Nebraska ranch with her cowboy husband and has four daughters and two grandchildren. Learn more at www.maryconnealy.com.

My Review:

Mary Connealy has done it again!

Combining both the Western and Romantic Comedy genres of Christian literature, you will be taken on a fast-paced adventure that you will enjoy from the first page until the very last.

The story is well-written with wonderfully characters that all who read the book will enjoy. I have loved that she brought in a few characters from other books, and I cannot wait to see how the story lines and characters become more developed in the second book in this series, Now and Forever.

A great read with comedy, romance, western and mystery all rolled into one!

I highly recommend this book and give it a huge thumbs up!

BUY IT: You can purchase Tried and True online through Amazon. It is also available through your local Christian book retailer from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group


***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf Martin Communications Inc., for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***

Keepers of the Covenant: A Book Review

About The Book:

In Their Darkest Hour, Where Would Hope Be Found?
In one life-changing moment, the lives of the exiles in Babylon are thrown into despair when a decree from the king's palace calls for the annihilation of every Jewish man, woman, and child throughout the empire in less than one year.

Ezra, a quiet but brilliant scholar, soon finds himself called upon to become the leader of his people. Forced to rally an army when all his training has been in the Torah, he struggles to bring hope in a time of utter despair, when dreams of the future--of family and love--seem impossible.

In Keepers of the Covenant, acclaimed novelist Lynn Austin weaves together the struggles and stories of both Jews and Gentiles, creating a tapestry of faith and doubt, love and loss. Here, the Old Testament comes to life, demonstrating the everlasting hope displayed in God's unwavering love for His people.  


You can read an excerpt of this book here, in PDF format

About The Author:

Lynn Austin has sold more than one million copies of her books worldwide. She is an eight-time Christy Award winner and an inaugural inductee into the Christy Award Hall of Fame, as well as a popular speaker at retreats, conventions, women's groups, and book clubs. She lives with her husband in Michigan. Learn more at www.lynnaustin.org.

My Review:

Lynn Austin is one of the most prolific authors within the Christian Historical Fiction genre, and with each book, she just gets better and better. This is the case with her most recent novel, Keepers of the Covenant. She does an absolutely remarkable job at bringing to life the Old Testament story of Ezra. From the very first pages your attention is caught and kept throughout the book. It is a stunning combination, bringing together Biblical scripture and fiction. This is the second book in the Restoration Chronicles series by Lynn Austin and is a beautiful fictional account of the Biblical exile of the Jews to Jerusalum. Very well written, intriguing and a breath taking read.

I highly recommend this book and give it a huge thumbs up!

BUY IT: You can purchase Keepers of the Covenant online through Amazon. It is also available through your favorite local book retailer. 



***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of Baker Publishing Group, for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***

Friday, October 17, 2014

Deceived: A Book Review

About The Book:

A grieving mother. A mysterious child. And a dedicated PI who's determined to solve the puzzle.

For three years, Kate Marshall has been mourning the loss of her husband and four-year-old son in a boating accident. But when she spots a familiar-looking child on a mall escalator, she's convinced it's her son. With police skeptical of her story, she turns to private investigator Connor Sullivan for help. As the former Secret Service agent digs into the case, the boating "accident" begins to look increasingly suspicious. But if Kate's son is alive, someone is intent on keeping him hidden--and may go to lethal lengths to protect a sinister secret.


As Irene Hannon's many fans have come to expect, Deceived is filled with complex characters, unexpected twists, and a riveting plotline that accelerates to an explosive finish.
You can read an excerpt of Deceived here, in PDF format

About The Author:

Irene Hannon is the author of more than forty-five novels, including Vanished, Trapped, and the bestselling Heroes of Quantico and Guardians of Justice series. Her books have been honored with two coveted RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America, a Carol Award, two HOLT Medallions, a Daphne du Maurier Award, two Reviewers' Choice Awards from RT Book Reviews magazine, a Retailers' Choice Award, and a National Readers' Choice Award. In addition, she is a Christy Award finalist, and Booklist included one of her novels in its "Top 10 Inspirational Fiction" list for 2011. Learn more at www.irenehannon.com.

My Review:

If you want to read a book that will have you on the edge of your seat and reading into the wee hours of the night, you have to read this book!

Once again, Irene Hannon has hit the proverbial ball out of the park with her most recent release, Deceived. It is the third book in the Private Justice series and bar none, in my opinion, her best book ever. I have read all her books, so that says a lot.

The book is fast paced and full of the suspense that Hannon is well known for. I loved the conclusion to the series and cannot wait to see what is next for this author. The story line was well-developed and I loved all the characters, even the villian grew on me as I read on. There are a few twists and turns, and they definitely made the book interesting and keep my interest for sure.

Whether you have been a fan of Irene Hannon for a long time or she is a new author to you, this is definitely a book you will want to read.

I highly recommend this book and give it a huge thumbs up!

BUY IT: You can purchase Deceived online through Amazon or through your favorite local retailer





***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Revell Reads Blogger Program, for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own and I have not been compensated in any other manner***


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Thunder: A Book Review

About The Book:

The Time of Sorrows is long past.
The future of Selah and her people is shrouded in mystery.
And the clock is ticking.

Hidden in the tall grasses along a shore littered with the rusted metal remnants of a once-great city, a hunter crouches. It is the eve of her eighteenth Birth Remembrance and high time she proves to herself and her brothers that she can stand on her own two feet. Selah Rishon Chavez waits not for game but for one of the small boats that occasionally crash against the desolate shoreline. Because inside one of these boats she will find her quarry--a Lander.

These people from an unknown land across the ocean are highly prized by the Company and bring a good price--especially if they keep the markings they arrive with. 

Everything falls to pieces when the Lander whom Selah catches is stolen by her brothers, and Selah wakes the next morning to find the Lander's distinctive mark has appeared on her own flesh. Once the hunter, Selah is now one of the hunted, and she knows only one person who can help her--Bodhi Locke, the Lander her brothers hope to sell in the Mountain.

With evocative descriptions of a strange new world that combines elements of disturbing scientific advances, devious political conspiracy, and survival in a hostile wilderness, Bonnie S. Calhoun weaves a captivating tale of a society more like our own than we may want to admit. From the tension-laced first scene to the captivating last page, Thunder
 is an epic journey into the heart of humankind that explores how far we are willing to go when we're pushed to the limit.

You can read an excerpt of Thunder, here, in PDF format.

About The Author:

Bonnie S. Calhoun teaches workshops on Facebook, Twitter, HTML, and social media at writers conferences. In her everyday life she is a seamstress and clothing designer. Bonnie and her husband live in a log home in upstate New York with a dog and two cats who think she's wait staff. Thunder is her first YA novel. Learn more at www.bonniescalhoun.com.

My Review:

I will be the first to admit I am not typically drawn to young adult but when the opportunity came up to read a post-apocalyptic America novel, I jumped on it. Mostly because the cover and book description really sounded intriguing. I wasn't mistaken to read it. What a journey this book on. A combination of science fiction, with a little bit of romance thrown in for good measure and Thunder was a fantastic read. It is a "clean" read, perfect for the Young Adult  group, and touches on themes such as racism and slavery. The book is a very fast read, and holds your attention throughout. As a first book of a series, its' set up to continue into a fantastic series. I look forward to reading the rest of it soon.

I highly recommend this book and I give it a huge thumbs up!

BUY IT: You can purchase Thunder online through Amazon. It is also available through your favorite local book retailer


***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of Baker Publishing Group, for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Magnificent Tales: Treasury of Bible Stories - A Blog Tour and Book Review


About The Book:

Children ages 4-8 will be delighted by these rhyming Bible stories pairing spiritual truths with playful illustrations.
Featuring lyrical stories full of lighthearted moments, this colorful collection of Magnificent Tales is perfect for reading out loud. As families read these stories night after night, they will make memories together while learning about the Bible.
About The Author:
 Kelly Pulley works from his middle Tennessee home writing and illustrating children's picture books, most recently "Ten Unusual Features of Lulu McDunn" and "The Cycling Wangdoos." He is best known for illustrating dozens of books in the Beginner's Bible series, including "The Beginner's Bible" (over 1.25 million copies sold).
My Review:

What a seriously fun book to read!

With bright colors and a fun, rhyming style writing, your child will have so much fun learning basic Bible stories like Joesph, Moses, the birth of Jesus, the feeding of the 5000 and more! It is very easy to read, perfect for older sibling to read to a younger one (as was the case at our home a number of times). I thought the rhyming brought a really fun element to the book, and reminded me a little bit of Dr. Suess, which is not a bad thing. It's a well know fact that children learn through repetition of hearing songs, stories and facts, so it was lovely to see so much repetition in the book.

A perfect mix of bright illustrations and easy to read and understand text makes this book a perfect idea for a gift for any time of the year, but especially the upcoming Christmas season.

I highly recommend this book and give it a huge thumbs up!

BUY IT: You can purchase Magnificent Tales: Treasury of Bible Stories online through Amazon



***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of Litfuse Publicity Group, for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Sacred Year: A Blog Tour and Book Review

About The Book:


One searcher’s honest and fascinating journey to encounter God, love others, and discover his true self through a year of spiritual practices.

Frustrated and disillusioned with his life as a Christian, motivational speaker Michael Yankoski was determined to stop merely talking about living a life of faith and start experiencing it. The result was a year dedicated to engaging in spiritual practices, both ancient and modern, in a life-altering process that continues to this day. Whether contemplating an apple for an hour before tasting it (attentiveness), eating on $2.00 a day (simplicity) or writing simple letters of thanks (gratitude), Michael discovered a whole new depth through the intentional life.

Stirred on by the guiding voice of Father Solomon, a local monk, Yankoski’s life is slowly transformed. Both entertaining and heart-wrenching, Yankoski’s story will resonate with those who wish to deepen their own committed faith as well as those who are searching – perhaps for the first time – for their own authentic encounter with the Divine.

About The Author:

Michael Yankoski is a writer, aspiring theologian, and urban homesteader who dreams of becoming a competent woodworker, musician, and sailor. He received his MA in theological studies at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia, is a (novitate) Oblate of St. Benedict, and has authored four books. Michael grew up in Colorado, feels at home on the Pacific Coast, and currently resides in Indiana, where he and his wife are pursuing PhDs at the University of Notre Dame.



My Review:

Every year around January 1st, I pick a word that I want to focus on throughout the upcoming new year. I use that word to incorporate into my whole life, whether it's my health, spirituality, or relationships. This year the word I picked was "discipline" since it falls into all areas of my life. One of the things I have done is study the spiritual disciplines, using Richard Foster's book, Celebration of Discipline. Unbeknownst to me, my church planned a sermon series on Spiritual Discipline this summer, and recently I was given the opportunity to review a new book on this very subject as well. The Sacred Year by author, Michael Yankoski was a dynamic read, that took my study of spiritual disciplines to a very different level.

The book was intriguing, and thoughtfully written as the author takes you on a year of his own spiritual journey. I loved that he was vulnerable, honest and raw about his questions, doubts, belief's and so much more. 

The book is divided up into three sections, then each section covers a number of disciplines. Some I was familiar with, others were new to me and left me wanting to learn more about them.

Section One: Depth with Self
1. The Practice of Attentiveness
2. The Practice of Daily Examen
3. The Practice of Sustenance
4. The Practice of Simplicity
5. The Practice of Creativity
6. The Practice of Embracing Mortality

Section Two: Depth with God
7. The Practice of Confession
8. The Practice of Listening Prayer
9. The Practice of Lectio Divina and Regular Eucharist
10. The Practice of Still, Silent Solitude
11. The Practice of Sabbath
12. The Practice of Wilderness
13. The Practice of Pilgrimage

Section Three: Depth with Others
14. The Practice of Gratitude
15. The Practice of Protest
16. The Practice of Pursuing Justice
17. The Practice of Community 
18. The Practice of Caring

Yankoski does a remarkable job and showing us how to stop "going through the motions" of our Christian walk and really strive for a truly authentic relationship with ourselves, others and most importantly, with God. There is plenty of personal experiences shared by the author, and it is very poignantly written, and I felt that contributed to the very authentic feeling the book had. I loved that the author gently, but strongly, showed the reader that we should practice these disciplines not because we "have to" but because we want to as true believers in Jesus Christ. I loved the question and answer section at the end of the book, that allowed me (and other readers) to get to know the author even more.

Through reading The Sacred Year, I have been encouraged now, more than ever before, to get more authentic with God! 

I highly recommend this book and give it a huge thumbs up!

BUY IT: You can purchase The Sacred Year online through Amazon.


***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of LitFuse Publicity Group, for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***

Monday, September 29, 2014

Move On: A Book Review

About The Book:

Life is often messy. God makes provision to help us move beyond our messes but often our first instinct is to hide, deny, ignore, or run from them. Yet it is in the middle of our mess where mercy shows up and offers a safe place to process our struggles, imperfections, doubts, and fears. Then with mercy by our side, we are able to move on and experience the grace and freedom God intended.
In Move On best-selling author Vicki Courtney helps readers come clean with their muddy messes, revealing the deeper issues they must face, including:
  • Christian snobbery
  • struggles and broken dreams
  • the past
  • shame
  • legalism
  • the need for approval
  • idols
  • fickle faith
Once we face our messes, God, with his sweet mercy, can help us to get real, deal, and truly move on.

About The Author:

 Vicki Courtney is a national speaker to women of all ages and the best-selling author of many books and Bible studies including 5 Conversations You Must Have with Your Daughter and Ever After. Vicki and her husband, Keith, have three grown children, a son-in-love, daughter-in-love, and an amazing grandson.

My Review:

This. Book. Will. Change. Your. Life.

It truly will. It is the most thought-provoking book that I have read in a really long time about facing our mess in this journey of life, accepting them, and truly moving on from them. Moving on from the guilt, from the mess, from the worry about what other's will think if they really knew the truth. From all of it. With rawness, honesty and the reminder that God meets us in our mess, embraces us but doesn't leave us in the mess. He uses it (whatever it is) to allow us to reach for His mercy. I love that she challenges us as we read to embrace our messy lives and allow God to bring us out of it, change and grow and allow Him to handle it and allow us to live as saints not get stuck as a sinner.

The writing style of Move On made me feel as though I was sitting in the room with the author, and enjoying a cup of coffee with her. It was an intimate read that allowed me to realize there were things I thought I had dealt with but really had not. I am grateful for the journey I took through reading the book.

While the book is fantastic, there is also a study guide and a DVD study available to allow you to experience this book in a group setting. I know I would love to study it deeper in the near future.

I highly recommend this book and give it a huge thumbs up!

BUY IT: You can purchase Move On via Amazon, as well as through your favorite Christian retailer locally.



***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of BookSneeze and Thomas Nelson, for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***

Riff Rockit - If I Could Fly: A CD Review



FORT LAUDERDALE -- Bringing a taste of '80s and '90s anthem rock to kids,  Parents' Choice® Award winning musician Riff Rockit eagerly anticipates the July 29 release of his third album, If I Could Fly.

Wrote The Rock Father, "Imagine for a moment a world in which Ace Frehley's Spaceman alter-ego spawned a guitar slinging son ... Now imagine this space suited young man embarking on a career as a children's entertainer, breaking out kid-friendly power ballads and arena anthems for the toddler set.  Intrigued?  Welcome to the world of Riff Rockit."

In the soundscape of If I Could Fly, Riff wanted the guitar placed front and center, so naturally his guitar player had to be the top of the crop.  Highly respected by guitar enthusiasts, Alejandro Garcia has toured with Chayanne, Julio Iglesias, and many others.  Garcia also co-produced If I Could Fly, along Bob St. John, the legendary guiding force behind numerous Latin Grammys and platinum records for the band Extreme, who also stands recognized for his work with Duran Duran, Collective Soul, Ricky Martin, and many more.

If I Could Fly lifts off with a blast of guitar energy on the album opener, "Food Groups."  If AC/DC and Kansas had a baby and penned the child a song about food groups and eating healthy, this would be it.  "Backyard," a Van Halen-inspired tune with an irrepressible dance beat, follows. The all-things-Hollywood California kitty cat, "Mr. Tux," brings to mind '80s electropop in a feline pairing with '80s rock.  If I Could Fly cruises to an expansive conclusion with the album's title track, a wistful bit of imagination that Riff describes as "Tom Petty mixed with Def Leppard."



Riff Rockit's alter ego, indie musician Evan Michael, is a leukemia survivor with a great desire to help those suffering from blood cancers. Consequently, he will donate all proceeds from If I Could Fly to BeTheMatch.org, an organization whose mission is to deliver cures for blood cancers.
Riff Rockit's debut recording, the self-titled Riff Rockit (2012) was honored with a Parents' Choice® Award, a NAPPA Award, and a Mom's Choice Award. Riff Rockit will soon release his first all-Spanish album, Luz Verde Vamos!, and he has also released two DVDs, The Power of Music and Riff Rockit: Live in Concert   My Review: What a seriously fun CD! Your entire family will be up and dancing and moving to this fast paced CD that both children and adults will appreciate. The CD is catchy, fun, upbeat and you will find yourself singing along to all the songs, since the lyrics are very easy to learn and I love that even with a clear rock influence it is a clean cd, perfect for children. This is the first time I have heard of Riff Rockit (AKA: Evan Michael) but it will not be the last. Also, with each purchase of this CD, I love that money is donated to blood cancer research, of which the singer is a survivor! Our family favorites include Birthday Song, Wintertime, Guitar Hero and If I Could Fly.If I Could Fly would be the perfect gift idea for the young child in your life this upcoming Christmas season, for birthdays or for any other special occasion! 

I highly recommend this CD and give it a huge thumbs up! BUY IT: You can purchase If I Could Fly online through Amazon   
***I received a complimentary copy of this CD, courtesy of Waldmania PR, for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***  

The Stress Cure: A Book Review

About The Book:

We live in a world filled to the brim with advice, and when it comes to dealing with stress, there's plenty of advice to go around. Sleep more, eat better, avoid this, seek out that. But more ideas about how to cope are not necessarily what we need if we're stressed and anxious.

What we need is a cure.

The true remedy to stress, Linda Evans Shepherd says, is prayer. In this inspiring book, she shows you how to recognize God's continual presence in your life and yield your troubles to the Prince of Peace. Through captivating stories, explorations of fascinating biblical characters, and examples of deeper-than-ever prayers, she brings within your grasp the peace that passes understanding. If you are overwhelmed by all of the urgent demands on your time, this book offers you a lifeline to true peace.

Linda Evans Shepherd is an award-winning author, a popular speaker, and a radio personality. The president of Right to the Heart Ministries, she is the author of When You Don't Know What to Pray and Experiencing God's Presence. She and her husband live in Colorado. Learn more at www.stressprayers.com

About The Author:
 
Linda Evans Shepherd is the author of over thirty books including When You Don't Know What to Pray: How to Talk to God about Anything and When You Can't Find God: How to Ignite the Power of His Presence, and the co-author of the popular series the Potluck Club and the Potluck Catering Club. Linda is an international speaker and media personality and is the creator of RightToTheHeart.tv and appears as a frequent host of Daystar's Denver Celebration.

She's the leader of the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association and president of the nonprofit ministry Right to the Heart, which has seen over 500,000 people come to faith. She's married and has two children. For more, visit
www.sheppro.com.

My Review:

We all have stress. Whether it's the good stress of planning a wedding, or negative stress of grieving the loss of a loved one. We each deal with stress differently but it's often very easy to let stress get to use, and ultimately our improper dealing with the stress in our lives can effect all areas of our lives.

Recently I read a remarkable book from well-known author, Linda Evans Shepherd, entitled The Stress Cure. Now, I figured this book would be yet another "how-to" book about dealing with stress and it was but it was much more than that. It was how prayer will help you through any stressful situation in your life. She guides us through how prayer to the Father is the only way to find true peace when stress comes along to rear it's ugly head.

The book is well-written, and organized very nicely. It is easy to read and I love that each chapter ends with self-reflection questions and prayers, as well as journal prompts. There is a lot of scripture references, and the author is very strong theologically in her interpretations. I was reminded of the writing style of both Priscilla Shirer and Beth Moore as I read through this book.

It would be the perfect book for any woman's small group study or a book study.

I highly recommend this book and give it a huge thumbs up!

BUY IT: You can purchase The Stress Cure online through Amazon


***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and the Revell Reads Blogging Program, for the purpose of review on this. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Precious Child - Love Songs and Lullabies: A CD Review


NEW YORK, NY – The long awaited release of Precious Child -- Love Songs & Lullabies, an album by two towering musical masters -- multiple GRAMMY® nominated guitarist/composer Joe Beck and internationally acclaimed vocalist/composer/pianist Darryl Tookes -- is set for August 19.

Take one jazz legend -- the late Joe Beck -- who collaborated with practically all the great jazz musicians of the '60s, '70s, and '80s, including Miles Davis, Stan Getz, Duke Ellington, and Peggy Lee. His work as a producer/arranger/composer included clients like Frank Sinatra, Gloria Gaynor, Larry Coryell, and Esther Phillips.

Add to the mix Darryl Tookes, a signature artist with an "angelic" voice (NY Newsday), who has recorded and performed on landmark projects with Sting, Paul Simon, Elton John, Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones, Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Ramsey Lewis, Natalie Cole, Carly Simon,. Burt Bacharach, Phil Ramone, Roberta Flack, Luther Vandross, Leonard Bernstein, Jessye Norman, and many more.

Season all that talent with two supreme artists' desire to express deep love for their children, and the result goes far beyond commercial interests into the realm of the sublime.  This is Precious Child -- Love Songs & Lullabies.

A document of true friendship and love, Precious Child -- Love Songs & Lullabies began its evolution in Fairfield County, Connecticut in 1995, a year that found musical soul mates and neighbors Joe Beck and Darryl Tookes both fathers to newborn babies.  The two shared an unabashed romanticism that fueled a passion for creativity.  They were fellow travelers in the musical world, literally as well as figuratively, and oftentimes shared a car ride into New York City for studio sessions.  Beck and Tookes did most of the composition, arranging, and recording for Precious Child -- Love Songs & Lullabies in the mid-1990s, but life intervened, and the project was put on hold. After Beck's death, Darryl Tookes was determined to finish the album.
At first glance, Precious Child -- Love Songs & Lullabies is a mixture of traditional childhood songs and newly composed works by Joe Beck and Darryl Tookes, but on a deeper level these songs convey messages of belonging, love, and trust.  What immediately strikes the listener is the honesty of the music, which never tries to be something that it isn't and never panders to the sensational.  Also notable is the album's sonic beauty (mastered by multi-GRAMMY® award winner Andreas Meyer) and its highly intelligent, economic use of musical materials.  Beyond all else, the music on Precious Child -- Love Songs & Lullabies has a distinctive, ear-catching quality that will appeal to almost everyone.   My Review:A hauntingly beautiful lullaby album that will help calm adults and children alike. I absolutely loved the renditions that both Tookes and Joe Beck made of classic children's songs and how the Jazz genre was used as the basis of this amazing CD. I have found myself using the CD daily for my home day care quiet/nap time and even in the evening after dinner to create a calm environment before bedtime. The eloquent harmonies are boundless, and seen in our family favorites like Daddy's Girl, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and I Love You Too Much. Actually the entire CD was fantastic! I know this will be part of our music collection for many years to come. It would be an absolutely perfect new baby, baby shower or even Christmas gift for any new parent in your life.I highly recommend this CD and I give it a huge thumbs up!
  BUY IT: You can purchase Precious Child - Love Songs and Lullabies online through Amazon ***I received a complimentary copy of this CD, courtesy of Walmania PR, for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own,  and I have not been compensated in any other manner***

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Colliding with Destiny: A Book Review

About The Book:

Find a fuller, richer life by letting God direct your destiny.
The story of Ruth is a journey of transformation. By allowing God to transform her circumstances, Ruth went from a widow who would be excluded from society to a wife with a secure and protected future, a future that ultimately paved the way for the birth of King David! Her story is full of collision--loss, heartache, poverty, even shame--but she never let her past define her. Instead, the most painful time of her life became her most pivotal, propelling her to a destiny she never imagined.

Perhaps you have a past you're struggling to overcome. If disappointments, whether a result of your own choices or the actions of others, have kept you from being your true self, this book is for you. Follow Ruth's life and discover the hope available to each of us. Your yesterday does not have to dictate your tomorrow.

Despite your past pain, you, too, can find redemption and restoration.


You can read an excerpt of Colliding with Destiny here, in PDF format

About The Author:
 
Sarah Jakes oversees the women's ministry at The Potter's House of Dallas, the church led by her parents, Bishop T.D. Jakes and Mrs. Serita Jakes. She regularly blogs at sarahjakes.com and occasionally serves as a TV host on The Potter's Touch. Sarah is a mom of two and lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Learn more about her and her ministry at sarahjakes.com.

My Review:

The Biblical character of Ruth is one of my favorites from the Bible. Her strength to overcome hardship, courage in the journey and never-wavering faith in God is such a wonderful example of what it means to be a woman of God.  Author Sarah Jakes has take this woman and created a wonderful 30 day journey that you can follow and learn to rise above pain and embrace it to take you to a redeeming place with God.

The format is typical of a daily devotional, and includes a journal section that gives you prompts to write your thoughts and a daily prayer. The author is very open and honest, and very vulnerable in expressing her journey through a teen pregnancy, a failed marriage and being the daughter of high-profile preacher, T.D. Jakes. I feel that the book could be read in one sitting, however you would do well to read it as a month-long devotional to use it at it's fullest potential. It's very easy to read and I love the simplicity of the format and style of writing.

You can read some notable quotes here, in PDF format.

I highly recommend this book and give it a huge thumbs up!

BUY IT: You can purchase Colliding with Destiny online through Amazon. It is also available at your favorite local Christian book retailer


***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of Baker Publishing Group, for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***

Appalachian Serenade: A Book Review

About The Book:

Delilah Morrissey has always wanted to be a mother, but when she becomes a young widow, that dream now seems farther away than ever. Unable to continue to live alone in Chicago, her only option is to accept her sister's offer to move in with her family back in West Virginia. Will Delilah have the faith to pursue a new dream--even if it means giving up the old?

In this charming novella, debut novelist Sarah Loudin Thomas introduces readers to Wise, West Virginia--a small town nestled in an Appalachian valley where the everyday miracles of life and faith play out in stories of healing, hope, and love.

Includes an excerpt of Miracle in a Dry Season, the first full-length novel in the Appalachian Blessings series


About The Author:

 Sarah Loudin Thomas is a fund-raiser for a children's ministry who has also published freelance writing for Mountain Homes Southern Style and Now & Then magazines, as well as The Asheville Citizen-Times and The Journey Christian Newspaper. She holds a bachelor's in English from Coastal Carolina University. She and her husband reside in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more at www.sarahloudinthomas.com

My Review:

Having read Miracle in a Dry Season recently, I was excited to be able to read this ebook novella from the same author.

While a short book, it is packed full of amazing characters, is well-written and flows beautifully, bringing to the reader to full feel they are experiencing each step that the characters do. The book is a lovely prequel to Miracle in a Dry Season, introducing you to a few of the characters in that book. Though a prequel, it works well as a stand alone novel as well. A delightful novella, with a solid romance thrown in,  that was perfect to read on a cooler Autumn evening with a cup of tea and cozy quilt.

I highly recommend this book and give it a huge thumbs up!

BUY IT: You can purchase Appalachian Serenade from Amazon



***I received a complimentary electronic copy of this book, courtesy of Baker Publishing Group, for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own and I have not been compensated in any other manner***

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Quilts of Love | HIDDEN IN THE STARS – $200 Giveaway & “Fall into Fall” Facebook Party!

Don't miss the newest Quilts of Love book, Hidden in the Stars by Robin Caroll. September's QOL release is a wonderful combination of mystery, romance, and family love bound together by a quilt and the story it tells.
Hidden in the Stars Robin Carroll Quilts of Love
Enter to win a "Night on the Town" (a $200 Visa cash card!) and RSVP for the "Fall into Fall" Quilts of Love Facebook party on 10/7.
One winner will receive:
  • A $200 Visa cash card (The perfect accessory for a "night on the town"!)
  • A Grand Design by Amber Stockton
  • Hidden in the Stars by Robin Caroll
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 7. Winner will be announced at the October 7th author chat party with Amber Stockton and Robin Caroll! RSVP for an evening of book chat, quilting tips and tricks, prizes, and more!

RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on October 7th!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Sacred Year by Michael Yankoski #EmbraceTheSacred FREE Book Offer





God is at work everywhere. And every-when. We only need to open our eyes and take the time to notice.



Michael Yankoski became jaded and disillusioned with his life as a Christian motivational speaker, feeling as though he was another act in the “Christian Carnival.” Religion started to become a fa├žade instead of a deep, nourished, lived experience of faith. He knew he needed to stop talking about his faith and begin living and practicing it. In a sort of desperation, Michael dedicated the next year to engaging various spiritual practices, and The Sacred Year is a firsthand account of the downs and ups, the failures and successes of an honest search for answers to the human yearning for life, love, and God.

It’s time to stop talking about your faith and begin living and experiencing it.



Join Michael and #EmbraceTheSacred—seek out God at work in the mundane and attend to what God is doing in your life. Share those moments on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and make sure to use the tag #EmbraceTheSacred.


sacredyear-embracethesacred

 As a thank-you for ordering The Sacred Year, Michael is giving away a free ebook! Email your proof of purchase of The Sacred Year to TheSacredYear@gmail.com, and you will receive A Straightforward Guide to Three Essential Spiritual Practices ebook for FREE! Learn more here.


sacredyear-400-freeebook

 

Miracle in a Dry Season: A Book Review

 About The Book:

 In a Drought, It's the Darkest Cloud
That Brings Hope


It's 1954 and Perla Long's arrival in the sleepy town of Wise, West Virginia, was supposed to go unnoticed. She just wants a quiet, safe place for her and her daughter, Sadie, where the mistakes of her past can stay hidden. But then drought comes to Wise, and Perla is pulled into the turmoil of a town desperately in need of a miracle.

Casewell Phillips has resigned himself to life as a bachelor...until he meets Perla. She's everything he's sought in a woman, but he can't get past the sense that she's hiding something. As the drought worsens, Perla's unique gift divides the town in two, bringing both gratitude and condemnation, and placing the pair in the middle of a storm of anger and forgiveness, fear and faith.


You can read an excerpt of Miracle in a Dry Season here, in PDF format
 
About The Author:

 Sarah Loudin Thomas is a fund-raiser for a children's ministry who has also published freelance writing for Mountain Homes Southern Style and Now & Then magazines, as well as The Asheville Citizen-Times and The Journey Christian Newspaper. She holds a bachelor's in English from Coastal Carolina University. She and her husband reside in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more at www.sarahloudinthomas.com.

My Review:

For me, one of the signs of a great novel is that it tugs at my heartstrings and hits me where I am through the characters' lives and story lines. While I have read some incredible novels in my life and even recently, none have resonated so deeply as reading Miracle in a Dry Season. I was absolutely floored as I read it. And NEVER has a debut novel impacted so much. If this novel is any indiction, author Sarah Loudin Thomas is set to have a very prolific and successful writing career to be sure.

The story is set in 1950's Appalachia and the main theme is one that so many of us can relate to - being in a desert place and coming out of it with joy versus bitterness. The writing style was such that the story flowed nicely and it was a quick read. The characters were real, endearing and I loved the progression of their journey to forgiveness and grace.

Forgiveness is a strong theme and it was wonderful to journey with the characters as they travelled the emotional, oft heartbreaking times they did. I loved that scripture and Biblical principles were spread throughout the book, without being overly preachy or "in your face".

An inspiring, emotional, book that would be a wonderful gift idea for any historical Christian fiction fan in your life (and even for yourself!).

I highly recommend the book and give it a huge thumbs up!

BUY IT: You can purchase Miracle In A Dry Season online through Amazon


***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of Bethany House Blogger Program, for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***