Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Friend in the Storm by Cheryl Ricker



Zondervan (August 6, 2010) 96 pages

Description: (from Amazon)

Author Cheryl Ricker reaches into the depths of human suffering from the perspective of Christ speaking to the reader in soothing poetic words. This elegant gift book will reach the heart and soul of anyone facing difficult circumstances, leading them through their suffering into the arms of a faithful loving God. Each two-page spread includes a poem, as well as reflections written by Christian leaders, along with healing Scripture verses. An elegant foil-stamped fabric binding makes this the perfect gift.

My Review:

A Friend in the Storm is just what I needed right now. When I first agreed to read this book, I anticipated it being for someone with a death of a loved one, a sick friend or relative, etc. I really didn’t think it would be a book for me at the time, but it turned into thinking it was written just for me.
I have really struggled lately with my pregnancy. I have EXTREME sickness!! I’ve turned my dream of having 3 kids into only wanting 2. I don’t have energy for anything, and I‘ve been really depressed about the whole thing! I can’t imagine going through this again, and my pregnancies have not been what women dream of when they picture being pregnant. (All you single ladies, it’s not like this for everyone!! I’ve heard way more great stories than bad). :)
Unfortunately, I haven’t relied on God like I should have, and this book has reminded me to do just that. I’ve always relied heavily on God, but recently I’ve drifted away from bearing my soul to Him. I have truly been blessed and I have to look past the bad to the blessing!!
A Friend in the Storm has lots of poems, Bible verses, and quotes. It would be a perfect gift for anyone and everyone, even yourself, because we all struggle at times. I don’t think there’s a person out there who hasn’t had some type of trial in their life. This book has been a blessing to me and I’m very grateful to have had the chance to read it!!

*I recieved this book free from Litfuse Publicity in exchange for my honest opinion.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Venom and Song by Wayne Thomas Batson and Christopher Hopper




Thomas Nelson (July 13, 2010) 384 pages

Amazon page

Description: (from Amazon)
Now in the strange realm of Allyra, the Seven young lords confront a traitor in their midst, a creature-infested forest, teenage fears and doubts, inexplicable mysteries . . . and the Spider King himself.

In a rigorous training program that makes boot camp look like Disneyland, the Seven must quickly learn to harness their own powers, work as one, and elude the Spider King's spies. But as the ancient Berinfell Prophecies are revealed, the Seven soon discover their training might not be enough. To stop the Spider King they must also unravel the secrets of the Rainsong, travel to a creepy, trap-infested fortress to find the legendary keystone, and lead the Berinfell Elves in an attack on the Spider King's own turf. An epic adventure with powerful messages about true strength, forgiveness, and working together as one body that will grab the attention of intermediate readers.

Learn more about The Berinfell Prophecies at www.heedtheprophecies.com.

My Review:
I will admit I had a really hard time getting into this book. This is the second in the series and I didn’t read the first one, The Spider King. There was tons of characters, and for that reason I HIGHLY recommend reading The Spider King first. I think that would have really helped me with this book. It seems to pick up right where the first one leaves off.
It has a Lord of the Rings feel to me, so this is a great book for boys(girls, too-I just try to point out boy books, since they’re harder to find).
Amazon has the target age range at 9-12 years old. I greatly disagree with that. I have 3 nephews in that age range, all good readers, one advanced, and I wouldn’t give this book to them to read quite yet. Definitely later, but not yet. There’s nothing inappropriate at all in it. I just think that MOST kid’s in that age range would have a hard time reading it and really understanding. I think teens and older would enjoy this book the most. Again, that was at Amazon. That may not be the actual target age range.
Overall, it’s a great, adventurous book!

*In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.


Be sure to check out all the other reviews on this tour.

Angela
Brandon Barr
Keanan Brand
Amy Browning
Beckie Burnham
Morgan L. Busse
Melissa Carswell
Jeff Chapman
Valerie Comer
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
April Erwin
Tori Greene
Ryan Heart
Bruce Hennigan
Timothy Hicks
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Jason Joyner
Julie
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Dawn King
Leighton
Rebecca LuElla Miller
John W. Otte
Donita K. Paul
Chawna Schroeder
Tammy Shelnut
James Somers
Kathleen Smith
Rachel Starr Thomson
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Jason Waguespac
Dona Watson
Phyllis Wheeler
Jill Williamson


Wayne Thomas Batson – http://enterthedoorwithin.blogspot.com/

Christopher Hopper – http://www.christopherhopper.com/blog/

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Nativity Collection by Robert Morgan




Thomas Nelson (October 5, 2010) 128 pages

Description:
Step into the wonder-filled world of Christmas with this endearing collection of original stories.

Even though he has two million copies of books in print, Robert J. Morgan writes only one short story each year—an original work to share with his church on Christmas Eve. These Christmas stories are now available in one beautiful volume for your own enjoyment. You’ll meet a shy, bookish boy who finds himself center stage in the Christmas pageant, a Pennsylvania family whose car disappears on December 24th, and a mountain man trapped in a blizzard with his grandson on Christmas Eve. From six different settings, you’ll meet characters you feel you’ve known your whole life, who’ll make you laugh one minute and cry the next. So this year, and the years to follow, gather your family and experience the true spirit of love at Christmas through this timeless gift of story.

My Review:
This is a cute book to get you in the Christmas spirit. I’m one of those people who believe Christmas should be celebrated year round, and I think the stories in this book are great for the whole year. They remind you what it’s all about.
I got this book for my momma, because she absolutely loves Christmas books, but I really enjoyed the stories, too. I think it would be a perfect gift for anyone who loves Christmas stories, even if it’s a gift for yourself!
Each set of pages have part of the story on one side and a Christmas picture on the other. Each story is pretty quick to read, too, so it’s also a perfect coffee table book! It’s slightly bigger than what I normally think of a gift book, but still not as big as a regular book.

*Thanks to Thomas Nelson Publishers for my review copy. This is my honest opinion.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Coffee Shop Conversations by Dale and Jonalyn Fischer



Zondervan; (April 13, 2010) 240 pages (Click here for Amazon page)

My Review:
Coffee Shop Conversations is a wonderful book that teaches you how to talk to others about God. I’ve saw too many times others trying to bring people to Christ by being pushy and it never works. I’ve heard of a Christian telling someone else that they are going to Hell if they don’t do this or that. That breaks my heart, because unless a child is involved, I’ve never heard of that approach working. Dale and Jonalyn teach you how to talk to others and accept them no matter what beliefs they have. It doesn’t matter if they are Wiccan, Buddhist, or any other religion, they want to be respected just like Christians do. God made us all with the ability to make out own decisions, and form our own views, and I think the world is a beautiful place!

Dale and Jonalyn also teach you how to read the Bible. They show how too often we take Bible verses out of context. I know we’re all probably guilty of that. They give examples and stories throughout the book.

I want to mention that Coffee Shop Conversations is narrated by both Dale and Jonalyn, but if one of them is talking, their name is put in () beside the word “I”. They even tell you this at the first of the book, but it still somewhat confused me at first. I quickly caught on, though.
I also want to point out that I don’t agree with everything in the book, as far as religious views and all. I still really recommend this book, though.




Meet the authors of Coffee Shop Conversations, Jonalyn and Dale Fincher.

Dale Fincher and Jonalyn Fincher speak and write nationally as a husband-wife team through Soulation, a non-profit dedicated to helping others be appropriately human. They are energetic and experienced public speakers, and their previous books include Living with Questions and Ruby Slippers. They make their home in Steamboat, Colorado, with corgis, snowshoes and a colorful library of books.

Learn more about Jonalyn and Dale at http://soulation.org/.

Be sure to check out all the other review for Coffee Shop Conversations. Click here for a complete list.

*Thanks to the publisher for my review copy. This is my honest opinion.

TWO WINNERS WILL RECEIVE $25 GIFT CERTIFICATES TO STARBUCKS!

1) Leave a comment on the tour post to be entered into a drawing for a $25 Starbucks Gift Certificate.

2) For up to two additional entries, follow the Finchers on Twitter (http://twitter.com/soulation) AND/OR tweet about this contest using the hashtag #soulation. Let us know you did in the comments of the tour post*.
3) For another entry, "like" the Finchers on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/soulation) and tell us in the comments in the tour post*.

*Please note the contest is AT THE TOUR POST, NOT MY POST. :)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Author Valia Lind



Click here for Simplicity's page on Amazon.


I recently learned of a new author named Valia Lind. She's first time published author of a book called Simplicity. It's a Christian Romance Adventure. She's holding a giveaway right now at her blog Words Are Things..My Journey As A Writer.

This would be the perfect chance to win her book and help spread the word about Simplicity. I haven't read it yet, but I do hope to in the near future. :)

Blogfest Winner!!!!!!




I couldn't seem to figure out how to do a form for my contest or how to number my comments, both which would have made this much easier!! I ended up numbering on a paper and listing the entries, including the extras. I ended up with 516. Then I had the number randomly drawn at Random.org. The winner is ..................




Number 97.................Hannah(from Taunt Society)





I've contacted Hannah and I will give her 72 hours to respond, and if I don't hear back I'll pick another winner. Thank you so much to everyone who visited! I'm amazed that I got so many entrants this weekend!

And Congratulations to Hannah!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Blogfest 2010!!!!!!!!!!!!! Christian Fiction and Nonfiction Giveaway-Pick 3




The giveaway: There will be one winner who can pick any 3 books from the list. (These are my review copies, so they've been read by me).

The books:
Love On A Dime by Cara Lynn James
Claire Knows Best by Tracey Bateman
Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart by Beth Patillo
Angel Song by Sheila Walsh and Kathryn Cushman
Chosen by Ginger Garrett
Intercessors Arise by Debbie Przybylski
Bittersweet by Shauna Niequest

This giveaway will end the Sept. 12th @ midnight Central Time.

Mandatory Entry: Simply leave a comment telling me which books you would pick. If you win, I'll give you the chance to change your mind. Also, please leave your e-mail, so I can contact you if you win. Open International.

Extra Entries:
+1 Follow my blog.
+1 Follow my sister's blog, Dreamer03.
+1 Follow The Christian Scroll.

You can leave these entries in one comment or separate, whichever is easier for you.

Next on the list is About Happy Books, so check out their giveaway.

For a full list of all participants, vist A Journey of Books.

Outlive Your Life by Max Lucado



Thomas Nelson (September 14, 2010) 240 pages

Description:
These are difficult days in our world's history. 1.75 billion people are desperately poor, natural disasters are gouging entire nations, and economic uncertainty still reigns across the globe. But you and I have been given an opportunity to make a big difference. What if we did? What if we rocked the world with hope? Infiltrated all corners with God's love and life? We are created by a great God to do great works. He invites us to outlive our lives, not just in heaven, but here on earth. Let's live our lives in such a way that the world will be glad we did. (Please note: International Bloggers will receive International Edition.)

My Review:
This is probably one of my favorite books this year! It will truly light the fire under you to get involved. I love the examples Max gives and the stories. I hate to say that this is the first book that I can remember reading by Max, but I really enjoyed it!
This book also deals with some issues I feel very strongly about. When Haiti had the earthquake and there were several ways Americans were trying to raise money, it broke my heart at all the comments left on Facebook about how mad people were that we were helping another country and not taking care of our own. I wish people would think about things before they post it!! I don't for a second believe that if two starving children were standing in front of these people, one American and one not, that they would send the one from another country away starving. God loves us all the same! We all suffer and we all need each other. This book encourages you to get involved no matter who it is or where they're from. We are a very spoiled nation and noone should be suffering, as far as poverty goes. I think if we open our eyes, there's so much we could do. I include myself in that. I curl up in my own little world, because it's easier. It's easier to pretend like there's not anyone suffering, but I need to help! The saying, "Ignorance is bliss," only applies to the one that's not suffering.
This book will really make you think about your life. I always look around my house and think about how I want to change it. I want new cabinets, new paint, new vehicle. I, and most Americans, have so much more than the poverty stricken nations ever dream about.
Some of the stories and examples Max gives will bring tears to your eyes. Some will make you laugh, and some are the biggest wake up calls!
Needless to say, I highly recommend this book. The world would be such a better place if we all did SOMETHING!

*A huge thanks to Thomas Nelson Publishers for my review copy. This is my honest opinion.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Boy Who Changed The World by Andy Andrews




Thomas Nelson (August 31, 2010) 40 pages: Ages 4-8

Description:
Did you know that what you do today can change the world forever?

The Boy Who Changed the World opens with a young Norman Borlaug playing in his family’s cornfields with his sisters. One day, Norman would grow up and use his knowledge of agriculture to save the lives of two billion people. Two billion! Norman changed the world! Or was it Henry Wallace who changed the world? Or maybe it was George Washington Carver?

This engaging story reveals the incredible truth that everything we do matters! Based on The Butterfly Effect, Andy’s timeless tale shows children that even the smallest of our actions can affect all of humanity. The book is beautifully illustrated and shares the stories of Nobel Laureate Norman Borlaug, Vice President Henry Wallace, Inventor George Washington Carver, and Farmer Moses Carver. Through the stories of each, a different butterfly will appear. The book will end with a flourish of butterflies and a charge to the child that they, too, can be the boy or girl who changes the world.

My Review:
The Boy who changed the world is a wonderful book that I’m so glad I can add to my little boy’s collection. It’s a perfect bedtime story or devotional book. It’s a quick read, so most older kid’s would be able to sit through the whole thing. I love that this book actually gives your child a good lesson. It teaches that no matter who you are, you’re special and you could change the world. I think it could make every child feel like a superhero.

I haven’t read The Butterfly Effect, but this book teaches the same lesson. Every thing we do matters. Each little thing could end up being huge and helping thousands of people. I’ve always believed if children’s dreams came true, the world would be such a better place. I remember as a child wanting to help so many people, but as I got older and older I learned the importance of having to have money for those dreams.
As always, when I finish my review, I look at some of the others. I truly think some people misunderstand the meaning of the story. The point of this book is everything we do COULD make a huge difference. Going for a walk could infuse your child with a love of nature. Feeding your child breakfast could make them happier. Without it, they could be ill, resulting in a fight. The list is absolutely endless! I truly believe that every second of your life is an opportunity for something! I really don’t think the book is saying everything you do will change the world, but that everything you do holds the possibility.

The pictures are beautiful. I love how on most of the pages, there is a butterfly somewhere in the picture. This book was much bigger than I anticipated. It’s one of the larger sized children’s books. I don’t think you would be disappointed with this book. It’s a very sweet and encouraging story.

*Thanks to Thomas Nelson Publishers for my review copy. This was my honest opinion.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Doctors in Petticoats by Mary Connealy




Barbour Books; Sophie's Daughters Series edition (July 1, 2010) 320 pages

Description: (from Amazon)
Doctor Alex Buchanan is a wanted man--a deseter from the army stalked by a bounty hunter--but he'd rather be dead than inflict any more pain on his patients. Beth McClellan is idealistic, believing the nursing training she received will be enough to help her serve as doctor to her home town in West Texas. When Alex and Beth meet in a stagecoach accident, they find that they work well together. But are his demons and her dreams too deeply rooted for either of them to pay the price required for a future together?

My Review:
I was hanging on the edge of my seat though most of this story. I’ve heard such great things about Mary’s writings, and I wasn’t disappointed in the least!! I love how all the women are so tough, and don’t hesitate to take care of themselves. From reading reviews, I saw that some of the characters are the same from one of Mary’s other series. That definitely makes me want to go back and read them all even more!

From the way the beginning of the story goes, I was very surprised with the turn of events. I enjoyed most of the characters, and can’t wait to find out what’s going on with them. There were a couple I didn’t like and I wonder if I might eventually start to like them.

I felt sorry for Alex at the beginning and didn’t really like Beth, but that didn’t last long. You can’t help but love all the women of Doctors in Petticoats. And I love how Mary has added marriage lessons to the story. I need all the reminders I can get!

I absolutely can’t wait to read Wrangler in Petticoats, which comes out in October. It will continue with the story of Sally. As I was Reading Doctors in Petticoats, I was hoping the next one would be about Sally. I highly recommend this book. I loved it!!

*Thank you so much to NetGalley for my review copy. This was an e-book. I wasn’t required to give a positive review.

Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist




Zondervan (July 23, 2010) 256 pages

Desciption: (from Christianbook)
Change can be frightening or exhilarating, but it's always challenging---and educational. Drawing on her own recent experience of pain and chaos, Niequist explores nuggets of wisdom and growth she learned the hard way---through loss and transition. Her warm, lyrical reflections will help you perceive the blessings of change in your own life.

My Review:
When you write about things in your life, people are going to be judgemental! It doesn’t matter how perfect or un-perfect your life is, people will judge you. It comes with the territory of wife and mom. I learned that very quickly. That being said, I try really hard not to be judgemental, but I don’t always succeed. I think a lot of people who read this book might give Shauna a hard time. I guess I somewhat had a hard time with parts of it. I’ll write about those first and end with the good, because I do think the good outweighs the bad.

Shauna talks about not having money to spend, but then they seem to take lots of trips. I don’t think her idea of money being tight is the same as mine. Therefore, I don’t think some people will be able to relate to this book. They also seem to eat out a lot and have lots of parties. They may save their money very wisely and use it for special occasions, though. I don’t know. But we haven’t ever flew anywhere, so I guess in my mind they may seem a little spoiled.
I would have liked to have seen more of God in the essays. He’s there, but sometimes it seems like He’s forgotten in some of them. You can tell Shauna has great faith, though. She even fasts for a few weeks at one point.

Now to the good parts. I love that Shauna is honest. None of us are perfect, and she makes me feel better that I never made my own baby food. I bought the jars. The “perfect” mom would have and I felt guilty about that. She took the guilt away from me for never, ever having a house that is 100% clean. We all have our “specialties” and the things we don’t do so well. I have to say, I’m still hunting my specialty!! None of us can do it all.
I think throughout the story Shauna tries to emphasize the fact that even if we don’t have money to spend, do what it takes to keep friends around you. Even if we have a potluck meal at our house that isn’t clean, that’s okay. Again, we don’t have to be perfect. She comments that even if your friends live across the country, mark a weekend and fly out and get together. That’s not realistic for most of us, but I understand her point. Maybe I could get more creative and use my budget skills to come up with an alternative.
There are times, especially with her miscarriages that just broke my heart. I would never wish that on anyone, and I just wanted to wrap my arms around her.
Shauna is just like the rest of us struggling through life. I’ve always said that no matter how rich or poor or what bad things are happening in your life, there’s always someone that is better off and someone who is worse off. That doesn’t take away from your suffering knowing that, though. For example, if I lost one family member and this other person lost five, it’s still going to hurt just as much knowing it could have been worse. But at the same time, you might get more sympathy from the person that is better off than you, and less from the one who is worse off. I think that will very much apply to this book.
Overall, I think this was a good book, but it wasn’t my favorite. After I read a book and write my review, I like to look at what other people wrote in their reviews, and on Amazon, Shauna has 31 five-star rating and only 5 that are under that, so I do encourage you to read those, too, because this could end up being the very book that changes your life!! We’re all different.

*Thanks to Zondervan for my review copy. This is my honest opinion. (This copy was an Advanced Reading Copy).