Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Love's Promises by Sandra Leesmith



(Make sure you check out the Home Page for the Love's Promises Tour to see what others are saying!



Love's Promises by Sandra Leesmith

Amber Press (March 13, 2014) 279 pages

Description:

For Monica Scott, building her late father’s house at Lake Tahoe isn’t an option—it’s a necessarydistraction from confusing memories and an uncertain future. But a handsome planner working for the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) is keeping Monica from moving forward with the project. Never mind that he’s young and charming with a great sense of humor. No one is going to stop Monica from making her father’s dream—and her own—a reality.All Greg Linsey wants is for his work to mean something. His job at TRPA gives him the opportunity to fight for the environment he loves and make a difference in his small corner of theworld. But with the sophisticated Monica Scott’s arrival, his dedication is tested as never before, especially when Monica turns to his unscrupulous nemesis for assistance.As Greg and Monica’s animosity turns into something far sweeter, can they learn to accept each other’s promises and avoid the growing danger to their lives and hearts?

My Rating: (Coming Soon)

My Thoughts: (Coming Soon)

Here I am waiting until the last minute, yet again. Will I ever get it together?! (I guess we'll have to wait and see.) ;)

Lord willing, in a little bit, I am going to re-post WITH my thoughts. In the meantime, I want you to be aware of the tour going on for Love's Promises. I've enjoyed several of Sandra's books in the past. I typically get a fun, light, "summer" kind of read in them. Make sure you check out the Landing Page, for extras and links to other reviews. There's a giveaway happening, too!

You can grab yourself a kindle copy of Love's Promises for $2.99 or a newly available Paperback Copy!


GIVEAWAY:

Sandra is offering one reader a taste of Lake Tahoe with a sweet prize pack: a signed paperback copy of Love's Promises, a journal, a Lake Tahoe coffee mug, a pound of Millstone Velvet Chocolate coffee, and a Hulet Glass chocolatee drop! This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. You can enter to win via the Rafflecopter form below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
















Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Parenting the Wholehearted Child by Jeannie Cunnion



Parenting the Wholehearted Child: Captivating Your Child's Heart with God's Extravagant Grace by Jeannie Cunnion

Zondervan (April 8, 2014) 224 pages

My Rating: 4/5 stars

My Thoughts:

I'm always a little skeptical when I read books concerning God's grace. I feel that most of the world is highly confused about just what the word "grace" really means, feeling the freedom to purposely live in sin. That said, I grew up not knowing what it was, in the opposite direction. I feared every time I sinned(talked back, complained, fought with my siblings, etc), I was going to hell if I didn't act perfect. Honestly, though I've came a long way, I still struggle greatly in the area of grace. I sin! I'm an imperfect, selfish human being. I get frustrated with my children too often, and use my "big voice", and I want to hide from God in shame. I don't give my husband the respect that he deserves, and is commanded of me. I struggle knowing God loves me no matter what, freely giving me forgiveness when I ask it of Him. I struggle expecting perfection from my children and husband, though it isn't a goal that can be reached, from them or me. I needed a nice, balanced book concerning grace, and I need to push that aspect into my parenting more often! I felt this book fit the bill pretty nicely.

Just to note: The author and I have some theological differences, so I didn't agree with everything within this book. Among those, I believe God has commanded baptism(full submersion under water at an accountable age) in exchange for salvation. Without God's gift of grace, my baptism was simply my body being dunked under some water!

There were many times I connected with the author all too well. She has 3 boys, older than mine now, and I gleaned many lessons from her. There were parenting tips within this book I'm looking forward to trying. I've felt like a failure as a parent, especially lately, and especially when it comes to worship services. (She covers worship services!) It seems lately, I do more scolding and shushing in services than true worship. I've been more worried about my children not disrupting someone else, than allowing them the joy of true worship. I'm ready for change, and I'm ready for "grace" to fill our home, and this book was great encouragement in that area.

(Edit: Just to make sure I wasn't misunderstood, and with my wording, that's a great possibility, I want to attempt to be a little clearer. I have no intentions of purposely allowing my children to disrupt others' worship. Discipline is still needed!(the author covers that) My children DO disrupt others at times. They are children, after all. I do feel I need improvement in how I go about it, though. Being able to worship God so freely and often is a huge blessing and I want my boys to know and feel that, instead of feeling like a punishment...to them and me.)

Overall, despite some disagreements, this is a book that I will return to for encouragement and advice. I definitely recommend it if you need a little "grace boost" in your home, like me!

*Thanks to Zondervan for providing me with a review copy, in exchange for my honest opinion.

A Beauty So Rare by Tamera Alexander



A Beauty So Rare(A Belmont Mansion Novel) by Tamera Alexander

Bethany House Publishers (April 1, 2014) 480 pages

Description:

Eleanor Braddock--plain, practical, no stunning Southern beauty--knows she will never marry. But with a dying soldier's last whisper, she believes her life can still have meaning and determines to find his widow. Impoverished and struggling to care for her ailing father, Eleanor arrives at Belmont Mansion, home of her aunt, Adelicia Acklen, the richest woman in America--and possibly the most demanding, as well. Adelicia insists on finding her niece a husband, but a simple act of kindness leads Eleanor down a far different path--building a home for destitute widows and fatherless children from the Civil War. While Eleanor knows her own heart, she also knows her aunt will never approve of this endeavor.

Archduke Marcus Gottfried has come to Nashville from Austria in search of a life he determines, instead of one determined for him. Hiding his royal heritage, Marcus longs to combine his passion for nature with his expertise in architecture, but his plans to incorporate natural beauty into the design of the widows' and children's home run contrary to Eleanor's wishes. As work on the home draws them closer together, Marcus and Eleanor find common ground--and a love neither of them expects.

But Marcus is not the man Adelicia has chosen for Eleanor, and even if he were, someone who knows his secrets is about to reveal them all.

My Rating: 5/5 stars(and then some!)

My Thoughts:

Hug-worthy! Gush-worthy! I adored(ADORED!!!)this book, from beginning to end!

Eleanor won a place in my heart as one of my favorite leading ladies to ever pass through my reading imagination. She's considered "plain" as far as her outward appearance goes. She's exceedingly tall for a lady, taking her looks from her father, and well past the "marrying" age. With so many men lost to the war, combined with her "plainness", she's given up hope of a husband. Inward, though, she's as beautiful as they come! Her father suffers from Alzheimer's and barely remembers her. When he does, it's with anger. Despite missing him terribly, and knowing she has to make a way for herself, she doesn't roll around in self pity. She rolls her sleeves up and tackles the world with her humble stubbornness, and I loved that about her.

Marcus! He won himself a place in my reading heart, too! I'm not typically a fan of the whole "bad boy" thing. Marcus is Austrian, and has a bit of an arrogant attitude about him. He was also once a "bad boy". Within this story, he's anything but, though. I enjoyed all the "plant talk" and creative architect imaginings that he brings into the story.

A Beauty So Rare is seriously one of the sweetest romances I've ever read! It's not all romance, though. There's an abundance of layers added within this book. There's a little mystery that I almost forgot about through part of the story. There's encouragement to pull ourselves out of our own little world and help those in need. I was left with many things to ponder as I closed the last page with a happy sigh. And, again, there's the sweet(so very sweet) romance. It's not a quick read by any means. I encourage you to read it slowly and simply enjoy your time in it. It's what I consider a "chunkster", but well worth the time investment. I'd also encourage you to read A Lasting Impression first, just so you can have a better appreciation for Adelicia. You probably won't like her at all without reading A Lasting Impression first. Otherwise, it's perfectly fine as a standalone.

I loved this book so much, I'm determined to convince you to put all other reading aside, and read the two books in this series! I smiled, laughed, cried, and ended the book with a little hug. What more could you ask for from a book?! ;)

*Thank you to Bethany House for providing me with a review copy in exchange for my honest opinion!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

To Die Once by Miranda Uyeh



Description

Two men, one woman, a rosebush …

… a terrible past, an uncertain future

Jennifer, a woman unexpectedly trapped in a path of love and passion against everything she believes.

Rodrigo, a man set to get what he wants at the cost of what matters most.

Stefano, a man with a past, a story to tell and passion to offer.

Chidi, a friend in need, a friend indeed. Or not?

From a culture where good girls follow the norm and live as they’ve been told, Jennifer is no

different from any other girl until by happenstance, she meets and falls in love with Rodrigo, a

man who’s handsome, rich and foreign. Different. She has no idea who he is or what he does,

and is swept into a world of romance and passion. It is not long before she discovers a shocking

truth that shakes both her world and his.

Then he is gone.

Stefano shows up at a time when Jennifer has made up her mind about the rules of life. He thinks

she’s beautiful and is in love with her. In a bid to convince her to give him a chance in her life,

old memories once buried are brought to life. And the events that follow don’t leave anyone

unaffected by the truth of the past that was left unsettled.

Meanwhile, Jennifer with her friend Chidi, find themselves on a self-discovery journey that has

one of them raising questions.

Some just have to ask, where is God in all this?

… an inspirational romance, from Lagos to Italy.


My Thoughts

To Die Once was a unique reading experience! It's definitely different than the average Christian fiction novel. That's exactly why I've grown to like self-published novels. Imaginations seem to be allowed to run a little wilder. ;)

When I first started reading To Die Once, it was a little more passionate than I prefer, and I started to wonder if maybe this book wasn't the best fit for me. It quickly turns into a mysterious/suspenseful story, and I couldn't wait to see how all the loose strings tied together.

I enjoyed getting to know the characters! I was glad some of them grew on me the more I read.

To Die Once is full of passion, sweet romance, tears, and Christian growth. It also has it's "edge of your seat" moments. I enjoyed my time in it!

*I was provided an e-ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.





About Miranda

Miranda A. Uyeh is an assistant lecturer at a local college in Makurdi City, Nigeria, where she teaches two geology courses. Her love for books goes as far back as when her father placed Disney’s Rapunzel in her hands—her very first storybook! By the time she was thirteen she knew she was going to be a writer. You can find Miranda on her blog where she shares her love for books, entertainment and Christian spirituality with her readers. Miranda holds a B.Tech(Hons) in Applied Geology from ATBU, Nigeria. To Die Once is her debut novel, #1 of the Child of Grace book series.

Author Pages

Facebook

Twitter

Blog

Google

Pinterest

Goodreads

Author’s Note

This is a story centered on God’s healing power of grace and mercy. People like Jennifer,

Rodrigo (and Stefano), and Chidi exist in our world today, hurting from the choices and the

mistakes they’d made in the past, and seeking redemption/solace in any way possible, even from

vices like alcohol. If you find yourself in such a position, or you know someone drowning in

pain, please, let them know that God’s arms are wide-open to receive and heal anyone who will

earnestly come to Him. He says in His Word in Heb. 4:16 that we can come boldly before the

throne of grace to seek grace and mercy for when we need it. Do not lose hope that you can be

healed and fully restored. There is no sin that God can’t forgive, and there’s no one He’ll turn

away. Come to Him today and receive your healing!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Canyon of Danger and River of Peril(Goldtown Adventures) by Susan Marlow



Canyon of Danger (Goldtown Adventures)

Description:

Jem Coulter’s pa, the sheriff of Goldtown, is away on a trip to deliver a prisoner to Sacramento, and he has left Jem in charge of the ranch—along with Aunt Rose, that is.

No sooner is the sheriff gone then trouble starts—a dead calf, a mysterious stranger, and then Pa’s horse, Copper, and his prize rifle are stolen. And Pa’s deputies seem unconcerned.

Jem and his cousin Nathan find Copper’s tracks end at a dark canyon up in the hills. Jem remembers an old Indian legend Strike-it-rich Sam is fond of retelling about people disappearing and no one ever seeing them again. What is the real story of the canyon of danger? Have thieves found the perfect hideout?

Readers ages 8 to 12 will be entertained by the adventurous spirit and historical lure in this fast-moving series that teaches about life in the post–Gold Rush days of 1860s California. Quick-paced plots and unforgettable characters make these books fun for the whole family.


River of Peril (Goldtown Adventures)

Description:

Jem Coulter thinks his family is just on a sightseeing trip to the big city of Sacramento. Then armed bandits hold up the stagecoach for the secret stash they’re carrying: gold for the Union Army fighting the distant Civil War! Suddenly war isn’t so far away; it’s right there on the road to Sacramento, with Jem’s father, the sheriff of Goldtown, fighting against the rebel army’s Knights of the Golden Circle. When the family finally reaches the city, they think they’re safe at last. Setting out to see the sights, Jem, his sister Ellie, and their cousin Nathan make a new friend. But is Henry the pal they think he is? With a father who is a die-hard Confederate, could Henry be in cahoots with the thieves? River of Peril gives readers ages 8 to 12 the fast-moving, exciting adventure they’ve come to expect in this series, as well as a glimpse into the history of post–Gold Rush and Civil War life in 1860s California, with stagecoaches, steamboats, stowaways—and lots of gold!

My Rating: 4/5 stars

My Thoughts:

I'm always looking for adventurous books for my boys. I want to encourage that adventurous and courageous spirit in them, even if that's sometimes(always) hard for me to do. I'm thrilled that they now have this series of books to read.

Canyon of Danger and River of Peril are the 3rd and 4th book in the Goldtown Adventures series. (Badge of Honor and Tunnel of Gold are the 1st and 2nd books, which I haven't read.)

These books are full of action and suspense and mystery. There's a light message about relying on God that I thought was well done. Jem cares greatly for his sister, so I also appreciate the sibling relationship within the stories. There's also great historical value quietly woven within them.

There's also a hand full of pencil drawings throughout the books.

I only had one little issue.

Spoiler alert!!!!!

In Canyon of Danger, Jem skips Sunday Bible class to do some investigating. There seems to be no punishment for doing so. His aunt is simply relieved that he was investigating instead of "peeking at women/gambling". (I would be, too!) I would have preferred it to be clear that what he did was wrong, no matter what he was doing.

End spoiler alert!

Overall, I'm thrilled with these books! I'm excited for my boys to be able to get lost within Jem's adventures.

*Thanks to Kregel Publications for providing me with review copies in exchange for my honest opinion.

Mom Seeks God by Julia Roller



Mom Seeks God: Practicing Grace in the Chaos by Julia Roller

My Thoughts:

This is one of those reviews that's hard for me to write. I DO believe the author had good intentions with this book, but I really didn't connect with it at all.

Lately, if you give me a parenting book that reads a large part memoir, I'll eat it up, and feel encouraged afterwards. This book reads mostly like a journal, so it's kind of memoir(ish), but I didn't overly feel encouraged afterwards, like I'd hoped.

The author takes 10 months, and spends a month for each of the "Spiritual Disciplines" she wants to work on. This book is her thoughts and failures/successes throughout those months.

Based on what is written in this book, it *seems* like the author relies heavily on man-made thoughts. Don't get me wrong! I find great encouragement from other people and their writings, speeches, and quotes. When someone seems to put that person's thoughts above God's Word, though, it worries me. I'm not saying that's the case with the author, but again, based on this book, that's the impression I got. (She mentions Richard Foster and his thoughts a great deal throughout the book.) I even flipped back through the book to make sure, but there's very few Bible verses throughout.

I mostly just found the book random and chaotic, with lots of rambling. (I do that, too!) Honestly, it seems the book was rushed and I get an unfinished feeling from it. At times, I was simply baffled.

So, overall, I can't overly recommend it.

*Thanks to Abingdon Press and Litfuse Publicity for providing me with a review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.


MOM SEEKS GOD Kindle HDX Giveaway & “Moms’ May Day” Facebook Party with @JuliaLRoller

Mom Seeks God by Julia Roller offers a highly relatable story and useful advice to help new moms grow in their faith as they address life changes with grace, patience, and prayer. As readers discover ten essential faith practices, they’ll learn that motherhood itself is a spiritual discipline and can be God’s most effective technique for forming a more Christ-like life.



Julia is celebrating the book's release with a fun giveaway and connecting with moms during a live Facebook author chat.





momseeksgod-400-click 
 
One winner will receive:


  • A Kindle HDX
  • Mom Seeks God by Julia Roller
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on May 1st. Winner will be announced at "Moms' May Day" Facebook Party on May 1st. Connect with Julia for an encouraging discussion on spiritual discipline and finding joy in the middle of motherhood. Win prizes, connect with other moms, and be inspired.



So grab your copy of Mom Seeks God and join Julia on the evening of May 1st for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 1st!