Monday, December 11, 2017

Review of "Out of the Ordinary" by Jen Turano

Jen Turano is such an interesting author! She takes a historical era and beautifully illustrates the time period (you can easily picture how it was to live then) - but then, the twist! She writes with a more modern viewpoint, with sparkling characters and witty dialogue. This book is legitimately laugh out loud funny! It also includes a mystery, intrigue, and a sweet romance.

Gertrude Cadwalader is a paid companion to Mrs. Davenport, a society lady who has a penchant for "borrowing" things that Gertrude is all too regularly required to return. No one can say Gertrude has not taken one for the team about 47 times too many, but it's pushes her over the top when it occurs at her dear friend's engagement party.

Harrison Sinclair has long valued Gertrude's friendship and admired her character. Now, as she is in trouble and needs his assistance he realizes just how deep his feelings have become. The supporting cast is delightful, and this book is well written. This book is a stand alone novel but your reading experience will be enhanced by enjoying Apart From the Crowd Book #1 first.

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Out of the Ordinary by Jen Turano

Review of "When God Made You" by Matthew Paul Turner

I'm really not sure if this book could be any cuter! Written by Matthew Paul Turner and illustrated beautifully by David Catrow, this book almost makes me wish I had a toddler to read it to! However, I've decided this story is actually relevant and important for all ages, and here's why:

It tells an important (but largely sidelined) truth, that when you learn to see yourself through God's eyes - how He made you, who you were designed and thought about and dreamed about to be - your life will be transformed.

I've decided this is going to be my new "baby shower gift", but maybe I'll give it to my teenage daughter this year, too. It's a message she needs to hear. I strongly recommend this book.

This book was provided to me by Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

When God Made You

Review of "Picturing Heaven" by Randy Alcorn

This beautiful devotional includes 40 "points" of things we will experience in Heaven. Each devotional is combined with a matching coloring page. The author has done extensive research (see his book, "Heaven") and these 40 curated devotions, along with Illustrator Lizzie Preston's pictures are gorgeous.

The book is beautiful as is, and it is easy to see how lovely it will be when the pages are colored in, too. It is intended to inspire your imagination as you think on the devotion and take time to color the pages. The fonts are beautiful, and so are the illustrations. This would also be a lovely gift at any time of year!

This book was provided to me by Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Cover: Picturing Heaven

Monday, October 30, 2017

Review of "Seven-Mile Miracle" by Steven Furtick

I thought it was unusual, but it took me awhile to get through this one. Normally, I race through the books of this author (I have read several in the past), but this one was different. However, when I finished I was truly grateful I stuck it out.

Focusing on the seven final phrases of Jesus before he died, Pastor Steven parallels the phrases to the phases of the journey of those who follow Christ. He writes in a very conversational style, including personal stories, the Scripture in question, and practical applications. There are also some thought provoking questions at the end of each "mile". Finally, you can reference the 40 day reading guide relating to Jesus' death and resurrection.

This book could easily be used as a devotional; each chapter is not overlong and have ample life application woven through them. The illustrative stories match the topic well, and everything is plainly spoken. You are motivated to find a deeper truth and I did ultimately get a lot out of it.

I am happy to recommend this book.

I was provided a copy of this book by Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Review of "A Dangerous Legacy" by Elizabeth Camden

One of the things I most love about reading historical fiction is that you know the author must have done a tremendous amount of research to be able to paint a clear picture of what life was like during the time period in question - and Elizabeth Camden is one of the best at this, in my opinion. This book is no exception.

Lucy Drake and her brother Nick have been waging a legal and personal battle for many years; they are fighting not only for the legacy of their father and grandfather, but also for those who can't afford her grandfather's invention - a pump and valve method that allows water to go up to even the highest floors of the tenements. The "other side" of the family who currently controls the rights are mean, spiteful, and perhaps even a little crazy.

Lucy is a telegraph operator (and a Morse code expert) with an "upstart" news Agency, the Associated Press. Sir Colin Beckwith is a manager at the AP's rival, Reuters...and they actually work in the same building. However, sparks seem to always fly between them that are more of a personal nature rather than the work-rival context.

Sir Colin is desperate to marry an American heiress and thereby save his estate in England; so even though he might be able to love Lucy, he believes he cannot. Lucy has been driven and focused for so long on her cause that she may not be able to see other things in her life very clearly.

This book is incredibly well written and interesting. The characters are fully developed and believable. There is action, adventure, romance, injustice, surprises, and a great ending. It is very easy to recommend this book!

I was provided a copy of this book by Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Review of "An Inconvenient Beauty" by Kristi Ann Hunter

The final book in the Hawthorne House Series. I am bereft. :/  Finishing (appropriately, IMO) with Griffith's story, we watch as his orderly systems, defined rules, and 'logical' thought processes simply do not serve him well when he decides that it's time to get married!

Now that The Duke of Riverton has seen his siblings settled, it's time to find a wife. He has methodically, mindfully made his choice of eligible ladies, and begins his suit. However, he never counted on the fact that his intended is not interested. Not only that, her gorgeous cousin Isabella is always around - and when he is not with either of them, Isabella is the one who is never far from his thoughts.

Isabella Breckenridge is crazy beautiful, but she has secrets. She is desperate to help her family, and her Uncle is desperate to have a law passed, so he proposes a deal: She will come to London and debut in Society, using her beauty to gain the ears of numerous powerful men - and he will then attempt to influence them to vote his way. If she does this, he will save her family farm and help her siblings go to school. Isabella feels as if she has no choice, so against her better judgment she agrees to the scheme.....but never counted on falling in love, or the deep conflict with integrity it will reveal.

This is a beautiful conclusion to a wonderful series! This novel can be read as a standalone but you will greatly benefit from reading them in order. The author brings a lighthearted but still meaningful touch to this Regency period story; the characters are incredibly likeable, and the layers of motivation are revealed masterfully. Another great book from Kristi Ann Hunter!

I was given a copy of this book by Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Review of "Praying For Girls" by Teri Lynne Underwood

This. This is the BEST prayer for your kids type book I have ever read, seen, heard of - please for the love, GO GET YOURSELF A COPY OF THIS BOOK RIGHT NOW. The author focuses not just the potential behaviors of the child, but as the tag line says, focuses on "asking God for the things they need most."

Covering your girl(s) in prayer for the following are highlighted: Prayers for Her Identity, Prayers for Her Heart, Prayers for Her Mind, Prayers for Her Relationships, and Prayers for Her Purpose. The "sample" prayers she includes in each chapter/topic are real, not fancy sounding. They are Scripturally based with supporting references, and are beautifully written. She includes real life stories, snippets Just for Moms, and for those doers out there, practical actionary items that support each section - they are broken out into little girls, middle girls, and older girls. This book is comprehensive and practical and well written and did I mention it's the best of this type of book I have ever seen? If you have girls, ever hope to have them, or even if you have a special niece/goddaughter/sweet pea in your life - you will want this book!

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.