Friday, June 27, 2014

The characters will steal your heart away: "Summer of Joy" by Ann H. Gabhart

Cover Art


about the book....


As summer draws to a close Jocie's world seems serene--but is it just the calm before a storm?
Unbeknownst to Jocie Brooke and her family, two people are making their way to the small town of Hollyhill, Kentucky. One everyone thought was gone for good and the other no one's ever heard of. Still, one thing is sure--they promise trouble. The past is coming to call, threatening to destroy strong relationships that everyone has simply taken for granted.

The summer of 1964 may be winding down, but the controversy in this little community where nothing ever seems to change is just heating up.

Bestselling author Ann Gabhart invites you to Hollyhill for a story both exciting and enduring that will stick with you long after you turn the last page. 




my review....

The lovable Jocie Brooke and her quirky cast of family and friends return for a final time in the heartwarming third book of the Heart of Hollyhill series, "Summer of Joy". The book starts off at a bit of a slow burn, easing readers back into Jocie's world and the ups and downs of her life. But while at first the book seemed set at a slower pace than the first two in the series, I soon became wrapped up again in the drama of the character's lives. I really enjoyed watching Jocie mature over the course of the book and the whole series as she deepens her understanding of who God is and what her place in the world will be. Though her actions are occasionally misguided, her heart is in the right place. So as "Summer of Joy" progressed, I felt quite the righteous indignation when she began being bullied by her teacher no less! Her heart of forgiveness is inspiring to see, both for her teacher and later her mother, and I was reminded how children can so often set the example for those in the older generations! The flourishing romance between Jocie's dad and with Leigh provides for many lighthearted but also tender moments, and I am certain readers will be pleased with the eventual outcome. This third novel throws a bit of mystery and suspense into the mix, and I really liked how Gabhart handled those scenes as well, with a building sense of unease that permeates the pages. All in all, this final book brought everything full circle, yet left me longing for more of Jocie's story. Will there perhaps be another novel? Maybe. Or perhaps we will be left to imagine who Jocie grows up to be and what the future holds for her and her family.

This book and indeed the whole series will remain on my heart long after they have been placed on their permanent place on my shelves. 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.



 about the author....


Ann H. Gabhart

Ann H. Gabhart is the bestselling author of Angel SisterSmall Town Girl, and Words Spoken True, as well as several Shaker novels--The OutsiderThe BelieverThe SeekerThe Blessed, and The Gifted--and The Heart of Hollyhill series. She lives with her husband a mile from where she was born in rural Kentucky. Learn more at www.annhgabhart.com.







Tuesday, June 24, 2014

So fun your children will be begging to take a turn reading! The NIrV "Adventure Bible" for Early Readers (3D Motion)




Written in an easy-to-read and accessible manner, the NIrV "Adventure Bible" is just what you've been looking for when it comes to the developing readers in your family! The Bible is based on the popular New International Version, but has been adapted into easier language (i.e. shorter sentences and simpler words) without changing the meaning of the text, thus becoming the New International Readers Version. The Bible has also been complemented by a whole host of child-friendly features, from colourful chapter headings, to excerpts of "key verses". There are sections called "Did you Know?" that provide some background information to give the reader a clearer understanding of the passage, along with sections titled "Live it!" that help the reader apply a concept to their own lives. And have I mentioned that the front cover is a 3D cover? My kids can't get enough of it!

Nothing makes me happier than seeing my children take an interest in scripture, and the Adventure Bible is designed to do just that. From the minute this Bible arrived in our household, my school-aged children were captivated, from the bright and sturdy cover to the colourful pages on the inside. I love the extras sprinkled throughout, and my favourite is truly the "Live It" sections that often focus on the whole family participating, giving ideas for a craft everyone can do or a game the family can play. This Bible is good not only for the individual reader, but for a family looking for a Bible to incorporate into their devotional and worship times. I have also found it very helpful to look in this Bible when my children are struggling to understand a certain verse they have read or been taught at Sunday School, as the language is so easy for them to understand. I really can't recommend this Bible enough!

If you are looking for a Bible that will find your children and indeed your whole family diving into Word, then pick up a copy of the Adventure's Bible! 5 out of 5 stars.

A copy of the Bible has been provided courtesy of the publisher via the Booksneeze Book Review program, for the purposes of this unbiased review.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

A story that will leave you smiling: "Child of Mine" by David & Beverly Lewis

Cover Art


about the book....


Flight instructor Jack Livingston has been raising his eight-year-old adopted niece, Natalie, since the accident that took her parents' lives. When he travels, Natalie is tenderly cared for by her Amish nanny, Laura Mast, who loves the little girl as her own.

Eight excruciating years ago, Kelly Maines's baby was kidnapped. Determined to find her child, Kelly has tirelessly pursued every lead to its bitter end. And now, with the clock ticking, one last clue from a private investigator ignites a tiny flame of hope: Just a few miles away lives a young girl who matches the profile. 

Can this be, at long last, Kelly's beloved daughter?




my review....

Combining their efforts for a solidly entertaining read, husband and wife David and Beverly Lewis offer up an intriguing story in their latest book "Child of Mine". What would you do if your baby daughter was kidnapped? How long would you search before you gave up, if you did at all? Would you ever be able to move on? The authors have tackled this difficult "what if" scenario through the eyes of character Kelly Maine, and have done a wonderful job at dealing with something so heartbreaking while still having many light-hearted moments in the book. Kelly's story blends nicely with that of Jack Livingston and his niece, Natalie, and I enjoyed watching Jack and Kelly's relationship develop, along with Jack's relationship with nanny Laura as well. There were many unexpected twists and turns in this story where you are left pondering who is Kelly's long-lost daughter or who Jack will end up with. These mysterious elements kept the story moving along nicely, because I will say that I felt the book to be a bit detailed in some areas, to the point that the overall story did slow down. In fact, I would just be feeling tempted to skim ahead when another twist would show up, engaging me once again, and for this I commend the authors. I felt that the authors realistically portrayed Kelly's situation and I liked how they ended up resolving it, without a perfectly happy ending but rather one that reflects real life.

Those readers who have enjoyed previous books from these authors will find much to appreciate in "Child of Mine". I was left with a smile on my face, and I'm sure you will too! 3 out of 5 stars.
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.



 about the authors....


David Lewis


David Lewis is the bestselling author of Coming Home, his first solo novel, as well as a keyboard artist and pilot. He is the first editor for his wife, Beverly Lewis, as well as research partner and manager. David was born in Minnesota, grew up in the Midwest, and met Beverly in Colorado, where they currently make their home.




Beverly LewisBeverly Lewis, born in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country, is the New York Times bestselling author of more than ninety books. Her stories have been published in eleven languages worldwide. A keen interest in her mother's Plain heritage has inspired Beverly to write many Amish-related novels, beginning with The Shunning, which has sold more than one million copies and was recently made into an Original Hallmark Channel movie. In 2007The Brethren was honored with a Christy Award. She has been interviewed by both national and international media, including Time magazine, the Associated Press, and the BBC. Beverly lives with her husband, David, in Colorado. Visit her website at www.beverlylewis.com for more information.








Summer Activities for Adventures in Odyssey Fans

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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!
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Join the Odyssey Adventure Club for $5!

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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)!
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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.

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.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Introducing "Yankee in Atlanta" by Jocelyn Green



Check out "Yankee in Atlanta" courtesy of CFBA...

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Yankee in Atlanta
River North(June 1, 2014)
by
Jocelyn Green


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jocelyn Green is a child of God, wife and mom living in Cedar Falls, Iowa. She is also an award-winning journalist, author, editor and blogger. Though she has written nonfiction on a variety of topics, her name is most widely recognized for her ministry to military wives: Faith Deployed. Her passion for the military family was fueled by her own experience as a military wife, and by the dozens of interviews she has conducted with members of the military for her articles and books, Faith Deployed: Daily Encouragement for Military Wives and its sequel, Faith Deployed...Again: More Daily Encouragement for Military Wives. She is also co-author of both Stories of Faith and Courage from the War in Iraq & Afghanistan and Stories of Faith and Courage from the Home Front (forthcoming, May 2012). Her Faith Deployed Web site and Facebook page continue to provide ongoing support, encouragement and resources for military wives worldwide.

ABOUT THE BOOK

When soldier Caitlin McKae woke up in Atlanta after being wounded in battle, the Georgian doctor who treated her believed Caitlin's only secret was that she had been fighting for the Confederacy disguised as a man. In order to avoid arrest or worse, Caitlin hides her true identity and makes a new life for herself in Atlanta. Trained as a teacher, she accepts a job as a governess to the daughter of Noah Becker, a German immigrant lawyer, who is about to enlist with the Rebel army. Then in the spring of 1864, Sherman's troops edge closer to Atlanta. Caitlin tries to escape north with the girl, but is arrested on charges of being a spy. Will honor dictate that Caitlin follow the rules, or love demand that she break them?

Id you would like to read the first chapter of Yankee in Atlanta, go HERE.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Non-stop suspense! "Sky Zone" by Creston Mapes

Sky Zone: A Novel (The Crittendon Files #3)


about the book....


A rally for a controversial presidential candidate. A terrorist threat. A nightmare of cataclysmic proportions. 

Jack and Pamela Crittendon have hit the breaking point. After months out of work as a reporter, Jack is playing Mr. Mom and working part-time at Festival Arena with his survivalist friend Brian Shakespeare. Meanwhile, Pamela has gone back to work full-time while eight months pregnant. Having her recently widowed mother on hand isn't making matters any easier. With financial pressures boiling, Jack reports for duty at a rally for controversial presidential candidate Martin Sterling where he expects a mindless night on the job. But when Homeland Security picks up intel about a potential terrorist threat, Jack and Shakespeare are thrust into a life-or-death battle to save their own lives-and the lives of thousands of innocent people. This third book in The Crittendon Files reminds us of the power of family, friendships and faith-and why we are never in as much control as we think.




my review....

I will be honest with you - I think that I forgot to breathe for the entire first half of "Sky Zone". Though I have loved the first two books in "The Crittendon Files" series, this third installment in particular had me gripping the pages and completely ignoring the demands of life around me. With each chapter, Mapes expertly builds the tension in the story with such action-packed scenes that it left me feeling like I was watching a movie play out across my mind! I loved getting reacquainted with Jack and Pamela Crittendon, watching them work through the significant challenges they are facing and learning to rely on faith in God. They are as real as you and I, facing uncertain futures, financial pressures, troubles in their marriage, fears about their children. I am impressed that Mapes has ratcheted up the suspense with a terrorist threat that has you fearing for the lives of the characters, and still has managed to weave in some deeper themes along the way. I hate to say more about the plot itself because I don't want to give anything away, but rather let you be fully immersed into this suspenseful read. But I will say this - it left me second guessing going into a stadium any time soon! As with his prior books, Mapes writes with a sure hand, with characters you wish were real, and a story line that makes for pulse-accelerating reading. And, you will be left with the reminder to live in the moment, to remember what truly matters in life, and to acknowledge that God is at work in the world around us, bringing good from the darkest of situations.

I, for one, hope that there is more to come in this series.  I highly recommend this book and rate it 5 out of 5 stars.
Book has been provided courtesy of the publisher, David C. Cook. Available at your favourite bookseller.

Find out more at: http://www.davidccook.com/catalog/Detail.cfm?sn=121228&source=search

 about the author....

Creston has fond memories of his boyhood in Bath, Ohio, where he became enchanted with his future wife, way back in the fourth grade. His father, Bernie, owned and operated The Weathervane Furniture Shop in town. The whole family lived right upstairs in the century-old house known as "The Shop."

Creston studied journalism at Bowling Green State University, then began his writing career. During the past 30 years, he has worked as a reporter, corporate copywriter, creative director, freelance writer, and author.



Saturday, June 14, 2014

A fabulous new book from a favourite author: Bridge to Haven by Francine Rivers


Well, I'm moving, so I'm super busy and I'm not going to do a regular review. Plus, I got this book from the library, so I read it just for pure enjoyment! But I liked it so much I thought I'd share that it is a great story and well worth the read. Make sure you check it out

:)

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about the book....


To those who matter in 1950s Hollywood, Lena Scott is the hottest rising star to hit the silver screen since Marilyn Monroe. Few know her real name is Abra. Even fewer know the price she's paid to finally feel like she's somebody.

To Pastor Ezekiel Freeman, Abra will always be the little girl who stole his heart the night he found her, a wailing newborn abandoned under a bridge on the outskirts of Haven. Zeke and his son, Joshua--Abra's closest friend--watch her grow into an exotic beauty. But Zeke knows the circumstances surrounding her birth etched scars deep in her heart, scars that leave her vulnerable to a fast-talking bad boy who proclaims his love and lures her to Tinseltown. 

Hollywood feels like a million miles from Haven, and naive Abra quickly learns what's expected of an ambitious girl with stars in her eyes. But fame comes at an awful price. She has burned every bridge to get exactly what she thought she wanted. Now, all she wants is a way back home.

In this riveting and highly anticipated tale of temptation, grace, and unconditional love, "New York Times" best-selling author Francine Rivers delivers big-canvas storytelling at its very best


 about the author....


Image of Francine Rivers

"New York Times" best-selling author Francine Rivers began her literary career at the University of Nevada, Reno, where she graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in English and journalism. From 1976 to 1985, she had a successful writing career in the general market, and her books were highly acclaimed by readers and reviewers. Although raised in a religious home, Francine did not truly encounter Christ until later in life, when she was already a wife, a mother of three, and an established romance novelist. Shortly after becoming a born-again Christian in 1986, Francine wrote "Redeeming Love" as her statement of faith. First published by Bantam Books and then rereleased by Multnomah Publishers in the mid-1990s, this retelling of the biblical story of Gomer and Hosea, set during the time of the California Gold Rush, is now considered by many to be a classic work of Christian fiction. Redeeming Love continues to be one of the CBA's top-selling titles, and it has held a spot on the Christian best-seller list for nearly a decade. Since "Redeeming Love," Francine has published numerous novels with Christian themes--all best sellers--and she has continued to win both industry acclaim and reader loyalty around the globe. Her Christian novels have been awarded or nominated for numerous honors, including the RITA Award, the Christy Award, the ECPA Gold Medallion, and the Holt Medallion in Honor of Outstanding Literary Talent.







Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Tasty romance for the ladies..."The Lawman's Oklahoma Sweetheart"



Preview the latest from Pleiter courtesy of CFBA!

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Lawman's Oklahoma Sweetheart
Love Inspired (June 3, 2014)
by
Allie Pleiter


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Enthusiastic but slightly untidy mother of two, Allie Pleiter writes both fiction and nonfiction. An avid knitter, harp player and non-reformed chocoholic, she spends her days writing books, doing laundry, running carpools and finding new ways to avoid housework. Allie grew up in Connecticut, holds a BS in speech from Northwestern University and currently lives in suburban Chicago, Illinois. The "dare from a friend" to begin writing eight years ago has blossomed into a career that includes numerous public speaking engagements, two books on parenting; Becoming a Chief Home Officer and Facing Every Mom's Fears and now novels for Steeple Hill Books. She is the mother of two children and, most recently, a Havanese dog named Bella.


ABOUT THE BOOK


When Katrine Brinkerhoff's cabin is attacked, only sheriff Clint Thornton's heroism saves her. She owes Clint her life—and her help catching the men responsible. All she has to do is trust in Clint's plan to protect her family. But she can't let herself care too deeply, not when her past carries secrets that would drive him away.

Infiltrating the murderous gang is a dirty job, yet Clint is determined to see it through. The brigands will face justice—and they will never harm Katrine again. Clint would give his life to keep the beautiful settler safe…but will he be willing to risk his heart?

Bridegroom Brothers: True love awaits three siblings in the Oklahoma Land Rush

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Lawman's Oklahoma Sweetheart, go HERE.

Monday, June 9, 2014

RUMSPRINGA’S HOPE | Kindle Giveaway from Beth Shriver

Don't miss the first book, Rumspringa's Hope, in Beth Shriver's new Spirit of the Amish series. Beth is celebrating the series launch with a Kindle Fire Giveaway!
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One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • Rumspringa's Hope by Beth Shriver
Enter today, but hurry! The giveaway ends on June 22nd. Winner will be announced June 23rd on Beth's blog.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to stop by Beth's blog on June 23rd to see if you won.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Action-packed, and sure to leave a smile on your face: "Full Steam Ahead" by Karen Witemeyer

Cover Art


about the book....


When love simmers between a reclusive scientist and a wealthy debutante, will they abandon ship or is it full steam ahead?

Nicole Renard returns home to Galveston, Texas, to find her father deathly ill. Though she loves him, Nicole's father has always focused on what she's not. Not male. Not married. Not able to run Renard Shipping.

Vowing to find a suitable husband to give her father the heir he desires before it's too late, Nicole sets out with the Renard family's greatest treasure as her dowry: the highly coveted Lafitte Dagger. But her father's rivals come after the dagger, forcing a change in Nicole's plans.

After a boiler explosion aboard the Louisiana nearly took his life, Darius Thornton has been a man obsessed. He will do anything to stop even one more steamship disaster. Even if it means letting a female secretary into his secluded world.

Nicole is determined not to let her odd employer scare her off with his explosive experiments, yet when respect and mutual attraction grow between them, a new fear arises. How can she acquire an heir for her father when her heart belongs to another? And when her father's rivals discover her hiding place, will she have to choose between that love and her family's legacy?




my review....

With non-stop drama, captivating characters, and romance galore, "Full Steam Ahead" is sure to please long-time fans of Karen Witemeyer while garnering her a host of new followers as well. The plot is a rather intriguing one, from the obsessed Darius seeking to stop any more deaths due to exploding boilers on steamships, to Nicole seeking to please her father by finding a suitable husband while protecting the family treasure. Nicole is unlike any heroine you have met before, and there were many moments that had me smiling (especially the scene with the snake!). Just when you think you have her figured out, she reveals another side to herself, and I especially enjoyed the scene between Nicole and Darius where she encourages him to forgive himself and allow God back into his life. Witemeyer handles the issue of faith very well, not coming across as pushy and yet making it a vital part of her character's lives. Readers will be encouraged to consider how they handle tragedies in their own lives, all while being entertained by Nicole and Darius antics. Those readers who love a good historical setting will appreciate the focus on steamships and boiler safety in the 1800's, and I love that Nicole is clearly a clever lass who can hold her own in the area of math and science. Now, are there some sections of the book where you will find it necessary to suspend your belief about the reality of such a scene occurring? Yes, perhaps, but you will do so gladly, happy to escape reality in order to spend some time with Darius and Nicole. And my wife assures me that the romance in "Full Steam Ahead" will leave the ladies smiling, so I encourage you to pick up a copy for yourselves!

Witemeyer has produced another winner with her latest read, and I award it a solid rating of 4 out of 5 stars.
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.



 about the author....


Karen Witemeyer

Karen Witemeyer


Two-time RITA finalist and winner of the coveted HOLT Medallion and ACFW Carol Award, CBA bestselling author Karen Witemeyer writes historical romance because she believes that the world needs more happily-ever-afters. She is an avid cross-stitcher, shower singer, and bakes a mean apple cobbler. Karen makes her home in Abilene, Texas, with her husband and three children. Learn more about Karen and her books at www.karenwitemeyer.com..