Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Seed by Erik Guzman

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The Seed (New Growth Press, May 2016)
Young Madeline and Roark are desperately running from the shadow that destroyed their home and is threatening their lives.
One day, they encounter Tatus, an older man who has sworn to avenge the death of his family at the hands of the shadow, and they form an alliance with him. Tatus promises that he can keep them safe from the shadow if they will help him build a fortress. So they build.
But as fortress-building consumes their lives, Madeline and Roark are increasingly filled with anger and fear, and an unseen evil threatens to ultimately destroy them. When they finally face the shadow, he presents them with an unthinkable offer that will reveal shocking secrets of the forgotten past, the unseen present, and the unimaginable future.
We’ve all had the feeling that something’s not quite right with our lives. It’s bigger than any specific failure or disappointment. It’s bigger than any person. No matter what you achieve or how much you drink or sleep, you can’t shake it. It haunts you-night and day-and propels you to do something. So you build. You build and build the maze that is your exhausting life. Sound vaguely familiar?
The Seed: A True Myth is a journey into the personal labyrinths we create to protect ourselves and those we love from the pain of living in a broken world. Guzman’s “true myth” takes the reader on an unforgettable journey that is, in essence, the grand narrative of God’s redemptive work in the world. This page-turning Christian fantasy tale is packed with mystery and drama, and readers will feel the weight and power of redemption as they journey alongside Guzman’s characters in their epic battle. The Seed deftly communicates the heart of Trinitarian theology through story-without using theological language or Christian terms-and reinforces biblical themes such as God’s character and man’s true identity and calling.

My opinion: This book was an interesting and unique book filled with lots of twists and turns and a lot of thought provoking content. I liked how it was written in a fantasy type manner which made it all the more interesting and engaging. It brought some excellent truths to light in such an engaging manner and really kept one thinking long after the final page was turned. A truly delightful and unique book that I highly recommend. I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Hidden Agenda by Steve Brown

Hidden Agenda PK

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Hidden Agendas: Dropping the Masks that Keep Us Apart(New Growth Press, May 2016)
We like to pretend that hidden agendas are just for self-important bosses or egotistical politicians, but we all have them. Deep down, we all have a secret plan for getting from where we are to where we want to be, even if we refuse to admit it to ourselves.
And if our hidden agendas aren’t enough, we wear masks to obscure the truth even more. We put on these masks—like religion, appearance, power, politics, or protection—to drive our agendas. But all of this leaves us feeling phony, ashamed, guilty, and afraid. It’s killing us and hurting those we love. But for most of us, it will be a cold day in a hot place before we will be fully honest with anyone else.
There is so much more to life than hiding, pretending, and never being loved. In fact, there is already one person who sees behind the masks we wear and the hidden agendas that drive us. It does no good to tell God that you’re sick when you’re drunk, that you love him when you don’t, or that you didn’t steal and eat an apple (with apple juice dripping down your chin). God always recognizes and loves the “you” behind the mask.
So what can we do about the hidden agendas we have and the masks we wear? How can we gather the courage to be real? “Being real” has to start with your relationship with your heavenly Father. God already knows you inside and out. But God doesn’t know you in order to “out” you to your friends. His unconditional love for his own is reason we can pray to our Father without fear of rejection or judgment. Knowing God’s love, knowing that your heavenly Father is for you not against you is the only reason to give up your masks and develop the type of authentic relationships you never thought you could have.'

My opinion: I really appreciated this book and the keen insight that it had. Filled with such applicable knowledge that really dives into one of the major issues in the church, wearing masks and not being real and honest with one another.  This book really addresses how pretending and not being fully honest with one another is so crippling to the church as a whole, I have struggled with both wearing masks to hide my true self and feeling like I cannot relate to others because of the masks that they wear and this book really addresses those issues in such a clear, delightful way. I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Punderdome

What a wonderful game with an intriguing concept. I was a bit apprehensive about how this game would go as it is all about coming up with puns which I really do not consider myself good at, but it really is so much more fun and easier when one would think and once you get on a roll it is a lot easier to come up with puns. This game is simple to play and heaps of fun especially with a larger group, talk about an ice breaker. Be prepared to laugh and have a jolly good time,
I received a copy of this game in exchange for honest opinion

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

My Father's House by Rose Johnson

MyFathersHouse_FinalFront

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My Father’s House (March 2016)
Growing up, life is idyllic for Lily Rose Cates due to one constant – her father’s love.
But in her sixteenth summer, all that changes without warning. There begins Lily’s struggle to find herself and the life she’s lost. . . . Marriage promises fulfillment, but her happily-ever-after barely survives the honeymoon. Her husband’s sophisticated fa├žade hides a brooding man with even darker secrets.
When all illusions shatter, Lily must make hard choices – abandon her husband or risk losing much more than her marriage. She flees their home in Detroit and sets out on a fearful journey to a house in Georgia that her husband knows nothing about. This is one woman’s compelling tale of love and survival as she finds her way back home to who she’s meant to be . . . in her father’s house.
My opinion: This book was very good and was a lot better than I was expecting. it dealt with some really difficult things and at times I certainly did not agree with what the characters did or how the situation was handled but overall it was an engaging story with very, real, flawed characters. I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Medical Judgment by Richard Mabry

Medical Judgment
Medical Judgment (Abingdon Press, May 2016)
Dr. Sarah Gordon lost her husband and daughter. Now she’s about to lose her life.
After losing the two people she loved the most, Sarah Gordon doesn’t think life could get worse. But, after a fire in her garage is ruled an arson, she begins to realize someone is after her—and that person wants to see her dead. But first, they want to see her suffer.
Her late husband’s best friend, Kyle Andrews, and a recovering alcoholic detective, Bill Larson, are trying to solve the mystery before it’s too late, and they’re both trying to win her heart, too. Not only does Sarah feel torn between two men, she also feels as though she cannot trust anyone.
With creepy threats that become more and more sinister, Sarah finds herself in constant fear, but even the best home alarm technology won’t protect her. Who is doing this, and why are they after her?

My opinion: I always enjoy Dr. Mabry's books, they always seem like an excellent blend of medical intrigue, mystery, romance with very engaging and dynamic characters and this one was no exception. I honestly thing this might be one of my favorites by the author thus so far.  This book kept one guessing until the end and was a real page turner, I was totally engaged and thoroughly enjoyed it. I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Journey to heal

Journey to Heal PK

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Journey to Heal: Seven Essential Steps of Recovery for Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse (Kregel, April 2016)
A path of hope and healing for survivors of childhood sexual abuse.
A woman who was sexually abused as a child is confronted with many internal questions: Am I worthless? Will I get past the pain? Do I matter to God? These and similar questions can carve a deep hole in an already wounded soul. Too often, the lies of worthlessness are believed, the pain becomes too much to handle, and survivors find themselves making choices that lead to more heartbreak. With over 42 million survivors (both male and female) in the United States alone, the need for a clear path to healing is great.
Crystal Sutherland—herself a survivor of CSA—knows that while the recovery process is complex, healing is possible with God’s help. For women who want to progress from simply coping to living abundantly, Journey to Heal guides readers through seven essential steps to recovery found in Scripture. Candid and open about her personal journey of healing, Crystal comes alongside her reader as a friend who understands. Infused with biblical truths, stories of hope from other survivors, and practical wisdom, this book leads women to discover the life of wholeness God has for them.

My opinion: This book was so very, very hard to read.  I am not a victim myself but I have known many people are and this gave me a rare glimpse into what they struggle with. The author shared her own very horrific and deeply personal experience with sexual abuse as a child and it was absolutely heart breaking,  How she was able to find healing and strength from the Lord is an amazing testimony.  This book addresses 7 steps to help those survivors find healing from their past. Filled with so much insight and wisdom this book is an excellent read for those who have suffered or know someone who has suffered. I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Naming our Abuse

Naming Our Abuse - PK

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Naming Our Abuse: God’s Pathways to Healing for Male Sexual Abuse Survivors(Kregel, April 2016)
A stunningly vulnerable look at the horrific realities of sexual abuse and how to overcome them.
Male sexual abuse is increasingly in the news, from scandals in the Catholic Church to exploitations at Penn State. Yet books and programs about healing are still overwhelmingly oriented toward the female survivor of abuse. As men who experienced childhood abuse, the authors of this book are uniquely qualified to address the healing process of male survivors.
Using the metaphor of a car accident, Naming Our Abuse leads the survivor from the Wreck to the Accident Report to Rehabilitation to Driving Again. This four-step model illustrates that healing is a process to be nurtured rather than something that can be healed in a single telling. Following the authors’ examples, readers are invited to find solidarity with other male survivors and develop an understanding of their own wounding through journaling exercises.
My opinion: This book was incredibly hard to read and it was heartbreaking to read about the abuse that happens and profoundly affects men for the rest of their lives. Deeply personal this book really addresses ways to find healing from abuse and find some rest. A lot of books focus on females and abuse, largely ignoring men who have been abused so this book is unique in that it focuses on men as sometimes their healing process looks a little different.  This book is a very eye opening and insightful read. I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Dawn at Emberwilde by Sarah Ladd


Dawn at Emberwilde

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Dawn at Emberwilde(Thomas Nelson, May 2016)
Isabel Creston never dared to dream that love could be hers. Now, at the edge of a forest filled with dark secrets, she faces a fateful choice between love and duty.
For as long as she can remember, beautiful and free-spirited Isabel has strained against the rules and rigidity of the Fellsworth School in the rolling English countryside. No longer a student, Isabel set her sights on a steady role as a teacher at the school, a safe yet stifling establishment that would enable her to care for her younger sister Lizzie, who was left in her care after her father’s death.
The unexpected arrival of a stranger with news of unknown relatives turns Isabel’s small, predictable world upside down, sweeping her and her young charge into a labyrinth of intrigue and hidden motives.
At her new family’s invitation, Isabel and Lizzie relocate to Emberwilde, a sprawling estate adjacent to a vast, mysterious wood rife with rumors and ominous folklore—along with whispers of something far more sinister. Perhaps even more startling, two handsome men begin pursuing Isabel, forcing her to learn the delicate dance between attraction, the intricate rules of courtship, and the hopes of her heart.
At Emberwilde Isabel will discover that the key to unlocking the mystery of her past may also open the door to her future and security. But first she must find it—in the depths of Emberwilde Forest.

My opinion: I was eager to read the latest book from Sarah Ladd, I had enjoyed several of her previous works and was looking forward to this one, the cover alone was enough to get me excited! This book was a very enjoyable read, if not a bit predictable for the most part. I guessed a lot of the "mystery" early on and I wish there was more secondary character development. Also, the main character at times was a bit much. Still, it was well written and a quick, easy read.  I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Monday, June 13, 2016

In Memory of Bread by Paul Graham

This book is a interesting memoir about the memory of bread from someone who loved bread and is having to live without it. Paul Graham loved bread and was devastated to find out at 36 that he could no longer have it. This book explores the world of living without gluten and how gluten  is an additive in so many things. This book also talks about why so many people struggle with gluten intolerance and how living without is.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

The Mind of Terror by Tass Saada

This book was utterly fascinating and intriguing, trying to get into the idea behind terrorist and why they do what they do. I feel like this book really gives one a good glimpse at what motivates those people to do the things that they do. Especially in light of recent terrorist attacks this book is so important and enlightening.
Written by a former Muslim who was a sniper and converted to Christianity at 42 this book provides some very valuable insight. I like how the author addresses the problems and yet also talks about solutions and ways to help them come out this mindset.
I have read many books on Islam  and this book has to be one of the best out there. Well written and filled will such great information this is an important book to read.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Red Door Inn by Liz Johnson

What a fabulous story told in such rich, warm tones. I loved the main character and really enjoyed watching the romance between Marie and Seth. This sweet, simple love story doesn't throw too many punches and is rather predictable, but that is part of the beauty of it, the author is able to take an ordinary story and really draw one in and leave one sad for ending of the story. To me that is the makings of a wonderful book.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

8 simple tools for raising great kids by Dr. Todd Carmell

I was excited to receive this book as I am just starting out this parenting journey and I am wanting all the help I can get as I navigate these unknown waters. This book was every bit as good, if not better, than I was hoping. Filled with practical advice, this book was simple and yet very efficient. It breaks things down into short chapters that make it seem more manageable and easy to grasp even for those who aren't big readers. I appreciated the psychology behind many of his ideas, it all really makes sense!
I highly recommend this books for all parents out there no matter your child's age!
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Monday, June 6, 2016

A Daughter's Dream by Shelley Shepherd Gray

A Daughter's Dream

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A Daughter’s Dream (Avon Inspire, May 2016)
A young teacher and farmer discover they have much in common, especially when it comes to healing old wounds from the past . . . and finding love in one another.
Rebecca Kinsinger has always dreamed of being a teacher. But when she’s given the opportunity she’s been waiting for at Charm Amish School, she’s dismayed to discover that teaching is hard work—work she’s afraid she’s not very good at.
That is, until Lilly Yoder joins the class. A thirteen-year old who’s just lost her parents, Lilly is in need of someone like Rebecca. For the first time since starting her new job, Rebecca feels a sense of purpose. But when she meets Lilly’s uncle, Jacob, his good looks and sweet, easy-going temperament are hard to ignore. How can she even entertain romantic thoughts of Jacob when his niece is her student?
Suddenly becoming Lily’s sole caregiver, Jacob Yoder never thought he’d be a single parent—or a farmer. Having been living in Florida as a carpenter, Jacob feels more at home wielding a hammer than a backhoe. The only bright spot in his life is Rebecca Kinsinger. As Lily and Rebecca develop a bond, Jacob’s fondness for the pretty teacher grows, too.
But when a fateful accident brings them together, Rebecca and Jacob must choose between duty and desire. Will they follow the path before them? Or set out to find true happiness . . . and true love?
My opinion: I loved this sweet little story that was a nice little easy read. I really liked the character of Rebecca, she was a wonderful character, fraught with misgivings and doubts which made her all the more likable,  I like how despite not feeling good enough as a teacher Rebecca keeps trying to do her best. The character of Jacob was very sweet too and I loved reading their romance develop. Sweet and pretty predictable, this is a wonderful little summer read that is enjoyable. I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

The Beautiful Pretender by Melanie Dickerson

The Beautiful Pretender

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The Beautiful Pretender(Thomas Nelson, May 2016)
What happens when a margrave realizes he’s fallen in love with a servant?
The Margrave of Thornbeck has to find a bride, fast. He invites ten noble-born ladies from around the country to be his guests at Thornbeck Castle for two weeks, a time to test these ladies and reveal their true character.
Avelina is only responsible for two things: making sure her deception goes undetected and avoiding being selected as the margrave’s bride. Since the latter seems unlikely, she concentrates on not getting caught. No one must know she is merely a maidservant, sent by the Earl of Plimmwald to stand in for his daughter, Dorothea.
Despite Avelina’s best attempts at diverting attention from herself, the margrave has taken notice. And try as she might, she can’t deny her own growing feelings. But something else is afoot in the castle. Something sinister that could have far worse—far deadlier—consequences. Will Avelina be able to stop the evil plot? And at what cost?
My opinion: I was so eager to read this book, after all the gorgeous cover was enough to get one engaged. I love fairy tales re-imagined and while this one was well written at times it just fell a little flat with me. I was not overly fond of how into looks the author is, making the main character just a bit much despite being a servant girl. I like some rags to riches stories but this one was a bit much. If you are into fairy tales and a heroine that is oh,so beautiful then this book might be for you. I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Anchor in the Storm by Sarah Sundin


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Anchor in the Storm (Revell, May 2016)
One plucky female pharmacist + one high-society naval officer = romance—and danger
For plucky Lillian Avery, America’s entry into World War II means a chance to prove herself as a pharmacist in Boston. The challenges of her new job energize her. But society boy Ensign Archer Vandenberg’s attentions only annoy–even if he is her brother’s best friend.
During the darkest days of the war, Arch’s destroyer hunts German U-boats in vain as the submarines sink dozens of merchant ships along the East Coast. Still shaken by battles at sea, Arch notices his men also struggle with their nerves–and with drowsiness. Could there be a link to the large prescriptions for sedatives Lillian has filled? The two work together to answer that question, but can Arch ever earn Lillian’s trust and affection?
Sarah Sundin brings World War II to life, offering readers an intense experience they won’t soon forget.
My opinion: This was another great read in the wonderful series about World War 2. I think this one was my favorite in the series so far as I loved the characters and the aspect of mystery and intrigue that was wonderfully added. I thought the romance between Lillian and Ensign was just perfect and I loved watching it grow and develop. I loved finding out more about different aspects of World War 2 and I think the author captured the fear that was in America during those dark days, fearing Nazi invasion.   I love how the author brought it all to life so beautifully and made me want to know even more! I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Sister Eve and the Blue Nun by Lynne Hinton

Sister Eve and the Blue Nun

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Sister Eve and the Blue Nun(Thomas Nelson, May 2016)
After a murder at the monastery, Sister Eve may need a miracle if she is to prove a dear friend isn’t a cold-blooded killer.
Sister Eve, a motorcycle-riding nun with a natural (or is it supernatural?) gift for solving murders returns to the enclave she once called home and quickly finds herself confronting yet another mysterious death.
Someone has poisoned Dr. Kelly Middlesworth—a researcher on the life and ministry of 17th-century’s revered “Blue Nun”—and a set of irreplaceable historic documents have disappeared before they could even be examined.
When all evidence seems to point to the victim’s brother, Sister Eve sets out to expose the killer and learn the explosive truth those missing manuscripts might contain.
Chasing a killer is dangerous work, and as her two worlds collide, Sister Eve may need some heavenly help simply to survive.
My opinion: I wasn't quite sure what to think of Sister Eve in the first book and I am still unsure of her even after reading the second, this series is certainly unique with a motorcycle riding Nun, I mean how many books start off with that premise? I do love the mystery aspect to the books, the mystery was well developed and intriguing. I loved the historical aspect to the mystery in this book as well.  I liked how it was an easy and enjoyable read and I look forward to the next book in the series to see where certain elements of the story lead. I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Through the Shadows by Karen Barnett


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Through the Shadows(Abingdon, May 2016)
As San Francisco rises from the ashes, an age-old battle looms between corruption and the promise of new beginnings.
The devastating earthquake is just two years past, but the city of San Francisco is still trying to recover. Destruction of this magnitude is not so easy to overcome-and neither are the past regrets shadowing Elizabeth King’s hopeful future.
Hoping to right her wrongs, Elizabeth dedicates herself to helping girls rescued from slavery in Chinatown brothels, even if it means putting her own life at risk to sneak through the gloomy alleys and rooftops where dangers lurk.
Through the Shadows
Putting her life on the line for a worthy cause is admirable. But opening her heart is even more terrifying. So when Elizabeth meets attorney, Charles McKinley—a man who dreams of reforming San Francisco’s crooked politics—Elizabeth begins to doubt: Can she maintain her pretense and hide her past? Or will her secret jeopardize both their futures?
My opinion: I  was eager to read the newest book in this wonderful series as I have really enjoyed the authors previous works and this book certainly did not disappoint! If nothing it might be my favorite yet which is saying a lot. I loved finding more about the rich and even terrible history of San Francisco.  This book  deals with a very unsavory and yet real part of history, young girls being sold into brothels. I love how the main character was so passionate about helping the young girls. I love how this book dealt with the good, the bad and the ugly but in a very educational and informative manner. With rich historical detail, vivid narration and memorable characters this book is a must! I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Oil Painting Essentials

What a gorgeous book filled  to the brim with amazing techniques  that are just breathtaking! This book really does help a person who enjoys oil painting to take it to a new level and overcome the common pitfalls and stumbling blocks that painters face.
I feel like this book has enough content to get people started in the marvelous world of oil painting as well as advance people who already have a knowledge but would like to learn more skills.
This book is chocked full of handy tips and advice and is such a great book to have on hand as it seems to have it all!
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.