Saturday 30 November 2013

Book Review: Christmas At Harmony Hill

Cover Art 

 ISBN# 978 0 8007 1982 1

 She stared up at the Shaker buildings. They took in those in need. That was why she was riding into their village. But she couldn't stay here. Not forever. They divided families. She'd heard her grandmother speak harshly of the way Shakers didn't believe in marriage and had special houses where children were kept from their parents.

Heather put a hand over the swell of her baby inside her. Surely they wouldn't take a newborn from his mother's bosom. Heather's mother couldn't have imagined that happening or she'd have never told her to come . . .

My Reflections:

Ann Gabhart has opened my eyes to the intriguing Shaker village, of Harmony Hill. Set in 1864, in the midst of the Civil war, this story takes place when nations are torn apart by the devastation of war and unrest.

Heather a young wife who is following the army as a washerwoman to be with her solder husband, is heavy with child and must leave his side to go home to her family to deliver her baby in a safer environment. Although upon arriving home home she is not met with open arms and is forced to flee to her relative who happens to be a Shaker, residing in a peaceful and segregated community.

This author never disappoints when it comes to the depth and life she breaths into her novels. You are able to truly grasp the lives and emotions of the characters Gabhart so aptly pens.  I was wholly fascinated reading this enlightening story about a community I knew very little about. It encouraged me to do more research into the Shakers and find out what they believe. What I discovered just lead to more questions; I spent quite some time looking at pictures, videos and documentation, and still my questions are not fully answered.

This book was a leisurely, relaxing read that captivated me. It encouraged me to ponder what I believe and how to reach out to others who have differing views.

This book is a wonderful Christmas story with threads of forgiveness, faith and fortitude of the human spirit. If you are looking for that Christmas gift for the avid reader in your life this would make a delightful gift!

"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". Thank you Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin!

About The Author:

Ann H. Gabhart

    Ann H. Gabhart is the bestselling author of Angel Sister, Small Town Girl, and Words Spoken True, as well as several Shaker novels--The Outsider, The Believer, The Seeker, The Blessed, and The Gifted--and...
    Continue reading about Ann H. Gabhart

Saturday 23 November 2013

Book Review: Amish Peace

From the Back:

In our instantly connected world, it’s surprisingly easy to lose our connection to God. This devotional taps Amish wisdom in order to help us draw closer to God and hear his voice.

In The One Year® Book of Amish Peace, you’ll get a daily taste of Amish values and wisdom. Tricia Goyer shares her fascination with the Amish in a way that will inspire and encourage believers to carve out more time in each day to listen to God and experience his presence.

This daily devotional contains interesting facts about the Amish, recipes, and information about the way the Amish handle money, rear their children, and center their lives on faith in God. You’ll be inspired to slow down and find ways to simplify so that you, too, can experience God in the ordinary.

My Reflections: 

This little devotional was just what I needed each morning with my hot tea, a great way to start my day. The devotions were just the right length for this busy homeschooling mom, yet were packed with nuggets of truth and thought provoking wisdom. I so look forward to my morning, readings I always feel so grounded and peaceful afterward.

What I enjoyed most about this book was that it is not merely fluff, it has some deep and convicting truths to it. I felt challenged in a good way on several occasions, and I know this is a healthy step toward maturity. This daily discipline has definitely proven to deepen my faith walk. One thing that stands out with this devotional is it's simple elegance, the pages are laid out in a fashion that draws the reader in, focuses attention and readies the reader to draw near to god in a very intentional fashion.

I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about the Amish and their ways, the devotional even includes some Amish recipes and a prayer at the end of your daily reading.

This book is very refreshing and dynamic. I would recommend this book to any woman seeking not only to draw closer to God but also learn about the simplicity of the Amish people and customs.

I received this devotional from the Author Tricia Goyer, in return for my honest review, my opinions are my own. Thank you so much Tricia Goyer.

You can view the book here:

About the Author:  
 tricia looks up 2 2209
Tricia Goyer has written more than thirty-five books, including both novels that delight and entertain readers and non- fiction titles that offer encouragement and hope. She has also published more than 500 articles in national publications such as Guideposts, Thriving Family, Proverbs 31, and HomeLife Magazine.
Goyer’s fiction and non-fiction books have won awards from the American Christian Fiction Writers and Mt. Hermon Writers’ Conference. She is also a two-time Carol Award winner, as well as a Christy and ECPA Award Nominee.
Tricia has authored several books on family and parenting, as well as co-written with Max Lucado and Robin Jones Gunn. She collaborated with Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges for Lead Your Family Like Jesus, published by Focus on the Family/Tyndale.
Tricia’s contemporary and historical novels feature strong women overcoming great challenges. She recreates historic wartime eras with precise detail through perseverant and comprehensive research. Tricia speaks to groups interested in these eras, with the intention of preserving and honoring the memory of the men and women who served.
She is a beloved author of Amish fiction, as well, writing the Big Sky and Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors Series. Tricia is currently working on The One Year Book of Amish Peace: Hearing God’s Voice in the Simple Things and a true Amish story co-written with Ora Jay and Irene Eash (contracted to release in 2013 and 2014 respectively).
Tricia is also the visionary force behind the new website, Not Quite Amish. Inspired by the writing process of her Amish releases, she wanted to create a community where Amish and simple living experts can become contributors. Launched in the fall of 2012, the Not Quite Amish lifestyle blog features daily posts about recipes, repurposing, simple style, beautifying your home, sewing Amish proverbs, and more. In addition to having more than fifteen regular contributors, readers are also encouraged to submit ideas, questions, and posts for topics they’d like to see written about.
In addition to Not Quite Amish, Tricia also posts regularly at her personal blog and is a contributor to other family and homeschooling blogs, such as The Home Educating Family, The Better Mom, Allume and MomLife Today. In 2010, she was selected as one of the Top 20 Moms to Follow on Twitter by
Throughout the past ten years, Tricia has been interviewed by numerous national TV and radio programs and magazines.

Thursday 21 November 2013

Music Review: Our God Comes

Antioch Live Worship CD, “Our God Comes”

Waco, TX- Antioch Live, the worship band for Antioch Community Church in Waco, Texas, has signed with the new record label Clear Day Worship. As the music arm of Clear Day Media Group based in Waco, Texas, Clear Day Worship and Antioch Live debuted the new album OUR GOD COMES at the World Mandate Conference September 20 and the CD hit #2 on iTunes.

“World Mandate 2013 was the perfect venue for launching this new CD. Everyday people were united by a passion for Jesus with a desire to worship God and change the world. That is what we are about,” states Clear Day Media Group president, David Seibert. “OUR GOD COMES is a passionate and thrilling worship release captured at Antioch Community Church in Waco, TX. We look forward to seeing how God uses this worship music to bless the Church.” continues Seibert. 

Antioch is home to a worldwide church planting and worship movement, ministering to the needs of thousands internationally. Antioch Community Church currently has 30 church plants in the United States and another 40 in other parts of the world with more than 30,000 people involved with the movement. Antioch Live's “Forever Sound” CD released last year was #3 on iTunes.
The worship music and lyrics on OUR GOD COMES expresses the heart cry, prayers and joy of the worship team, songwriters and musicians from Antioch, led by James Mark Gulley. From the opening strains of audience approval, joyous praise and worship floods the listeners’ ears and ageless unchanging truths find a new sound for today! The savvy musical arrangements and gifted song writing flow from “Come” to “Our God Comes”, and the glorious experience is documented from the choruses of “Wonderful Counselor”, “How Much More” and “Savior Forever”.

Clear Day Media Groupcreates products to help people see God clearly and impact the world through Christ-centered content.

The 72-minute, live recording was produced by James Mark Gulley and assistant Owen Wible, recorded by Randy Adams and mastered at Marcussen Mastering in Hollywood, CA by Stephen Marcussen. Featuring songwriters James Mark Gulley, Stephen Gulley, Brandon Seibert, Thomas Wilson and Johanna Six, OUR GOD COMES also features worship leaders James Mark Gulley, Stephen Gulley, Johanna Six and Clare Berlinsky.

The full track listing for OUR GOD COMES is as follows:

  1. Come
  2. God And King
  3. Wonderful Counselor
  4. God Who Saves
  5. How Much More
  6. I Will Raise
  7. …Response
  8. Light Me Up
  9. Awaken Us
  10. One Hundred Three
  11. …Return
  12. Savior Forever
  13. …Selah
  14. Our God Comes

My Reflections:

I so enjoyed listening to this CD in our home, and in the truck driving the kids from one activities to the next. The music is lively, uplifting and has such an amazing beat. One of my favorite song on this Cd would have to be Light Me Up. The upbeat tempo, the lyrics and the live background is perfect, it just speaks to the place where God has lead me awesome!

 At the very time of writing this review the music from Our God Comes is cranked up and the house is alive with the sounds of clapping and dancing! Now that is proof enough of the talent of this band!

As you can probably surmise our family loves worship music and we often only listen to Praise 106.5 in our vehicles. That being said this CD was widely accepted by the children as something new and fresh, they were asking for it to be played over again on the first go around.  For me the depth to the music is what caught my attention, I absolutely loved the lyrics and the way the music mirrored my feelings toward my God, it was a great way to show praise to him. The beauty and passion of the artists are clearly felt, lending this Cd to be a popular choice in our house, I know we will enjoy this music on our car trips and leisure time for months to come. 

I would certainly recommend that you hop on over to I tunes and take a listen for yourself!

This CD was given to me by B and B Media in exchange for my honest review, Thank you B and B Media!

Tuesday 19 November 2013

Book Review: Truth Seekers The Machine

ISBN#978 1 4336 9080 8

From the Back:

For ages 8 to 14, Truth Seekers is a fast-paced, thoughtful, and funny new series using a 21st century approach to sharing ancient Bible truths.

In book one, The Machine, twin siblings Jake and Jenny have just lost their mother and are not thrilled about moving to Israel to stay with their seldom seen archaeologist dad. They don’t yet understand how “all things work together for good to those who love God.” But they will when a machine their father invented points them to the Truth.

My Reflections: 

I waited a long time for this book to arrive in the mail to review, in fact I had pretty much given up hope that it would show up, imagine my surprise when it did!
I had to battle the kids first to get my hands on it. When I finally did get to read it I promptly assigned it for homework. A book for the book club! The boys in our homeschooling group all bought it read it and had a great time in discussion. Now that is great value!

All the boys were between the ages of 13-14. They all read it in less than 2 days, and the consensus was a mixed bag. My son said it was good, stellar vocabulary... but hey he is 13. He did elaborate and say it was cool to explore the bible times in a new and exciting format. I think the fact that the mother has died, the siblings having to be uprooted, had something to do with his lack luster attitude (he hates books where people have died)

Not having known their archaeologist father well the siblings who are also twins are sent to be with him in Israel. Upon arrival the adventures abound, with the aid of quirky gadgets and ingenious inventions the kids get to experience the history of artifacts and learn about the Bible and most importantly how it points us back to a relationship with God.

The characters were well rounded for a YA book, and the humor was awesome, I found my self chuckling from time to time. I loved how this book portrayed the relationship between the children Jennifer and Jake. So true to life, and I think kids could really relate to this on again off again sibling behavior. I loved how when times got tough they worked together to get through, this really shows our kids what family means.

This was a wonderful resource for my homeschooling curriculum, and I would highly recommend it for the YA in your life!

I received this book from B and B Media Group in exchange for my honest opinion, thank you B and B!

 About the Author: 

Bill Myers

Bill Myers is the author of the humorously imaginative The Incredible Worlds of Wally McDoogle series, which currently numbers 27 episodes and over 2.1 million units sold. He is also the creator and writer of the McGee and Me! video/dvd series. Myers is a director as well as a writer, and his films have won over forty national and international awards. He has written more than 50 books for kids, teens, and adults. Myer's work is enjoyed by millions around the world. He lives with his wife and two daughters in Southern California.

Monday 18 November 2013

Book Review: Loving

ISBN: 978 1 4908 0788 1

From the Back:

Hannah Mattox longs to be a mother. However, her heart disease, pulmonary hypertension, prevents her from safely bearing children. Karla Valez is a homeless prostitute who despises the "thing" growing inside her and hopes to kill it in utero with the drugs that have buried her painful past for nearly five years. Gabriella Greene, founder of the Sanford Crisis Pregnancy Center, finds herself the bridge between these two women. A time when questions far outweigh answers, there is one most pressing: why would God allow this?

Weaving together the lives of three very different women, Loving will take readers on an emotional journey that reveals one common thread: they each need to surrender to a God of love.

My Reflections:

Unbelievable!, this book is one of those rare reads that stick with you for months on end. I know, you are saying to yourself, "just another Christian fiction Tanya" but I can assure you that it is not!

This book had me gripped in it's clutches until one in the morning. I seriously could not put it down...for anything.

The story line is  tender and yet dramatic reminding the reader of the fragility of the human condition, it holds you captive until you read the last word. The characters are so incredibly true to life, you are immersed into the world of drugs, prostitution and the realities these women face on a day to day the lines.

Add in an innocent babe, a childless couple who desperately desire a family. More life. The kind of honest real life that compels you to loose yourself within the pages, raw emotion and depth that you rarely get to experience through a novel.

The plot is not predictable as one would think with this type of subject matter. On the contrary it twists and turns wrapping the characters around each other until the story line is a beautifully cohesive web, sparkling off the pages with the dew of anticipation. I am telling you this book has all the earmarks for a best seller, it may be short but it is beautifully written!

I read a lot, and I can honestly say this is a wonderfully written, god inspired, life changing book. I cannot wait until the sequel comes out! I have so many questions that simply need answering!

So if you are in search of a great Christmas present, this one is perfect for the reader who yearns for a deep, meaningful drama that highlights the redeeming love of Gods good and merciful grace, look no further buy this book, it's a winner!

I received this book in exchange for my honest review, from the author. 

~The Author has graciously provided a signed giveaway copy, so please don't forget tweet about this blog post, then let me know you did to be entered into the draw..... You may be the lucky winner of a signed copy of Loving!

About the Author:
Corin Hughs

As pillows hug little heads, and my home grows quiet, I nestle into my "spot" on the couch. With my laptop in place and coffee on the end table, I get lost in another world. I write.[...] Read More

Sunday 17 November 2013

Book Review: Unspoken

Cover Art
ISBN # 9780764211713

From the Back: 

Charlotte Graham is at the center of the most famous kidnapping in Chicago history.

The task force of FBI and local cops found her two abductors, killed them, rescued her, but it took four very long years. The fact she was found less than three miles from her home, had been there the entire time, haunts them. She's changed her identity, found a profession she loves, and rebuilt her life.

She's never said a word--to the cops, to her doctors, to family--about those four years.
A family legacy has brought her back to Chicago where a reporter is writing a book about the kidnapping. The cops who worked the case are cooperating with him. Her options are limited: Hope the reporter doesn't find the full truth, or break her silence about what happened. And her silence is what has protected her family for years.

Bryce Bishop doesn't know her past, he only knows she has coins to sell from her grandfather's estate--and that the FBI director for the Chicago office made the introduction. The more he gets to know Charlotte, the more interested he becomes, an interest encouraged by those closest to her. But nothing else is working in his favor--she's decided she is single for life, she struggles with her faith, and she's willing to forego a huge inheritance to keep her privacy. She's not giving him much of an opening to work with.

Charlotte wants to trust him. She needs to tell him what happened. Because a crime cops thought was solved, has only opened another chapter...

My Reflections:

Dee Henderson is known for her brilliant romantic suspense books, she is a solid writer who does her research. I must say she has done more than her share of research in this novel, let me tell you. I don't think I have learned that much about coins...ever...My husband loves coins and I often go glassy eyed when he talks about them, unfortunately this book talks about coins and the business of selling them more than my husband.

I really wanted to enjoy this book, as an avid reader I enjoy most books I read, unfortunately this one just didn't do it for me. Perhaps it was the complexity of the characters, the unhurried plot, or that the story continuously switches from character to character. It could very well have been the intertwining plots that distracted me from the main story. 

That being said I did enjoy parts of the story line. One in particular was the point where we learn why Charlotte struggles with her faith, the questions she has about why God didn't protect her from her kidnappers and the aspects of forgiveness. This is serious subject matter, and I quite liked the way this faith message was delivered. I also enjoyed Bryce Bishops character, he was a genuinely nice hero, kind, patient, and a godly man willing to nurture Charlotte with respect and gentleness.

So in closing, I can't in all honesty recommend this book, It was extremely difficult for me to dredge through the 441 pages it took to complete the book and fulfill my obligation to write this review. That being said it could just be me, perhaps you are a fan of coins, long dialog and slow blooming romance? Don't let me sway you, decide for yourself!

  "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: 

Dee Henderson is the author of eighteen novels, including Jennifer: An O'Malley Love Story, New York Times bestseller Full Disclosure, the acclaimed O'Malley series, and the Uncommon Heroes series. Her books have won or been nominated for several prestigious industry awards, such as the RITA Award, the Christy Award, and the ECPA Gold Medallion. Dee is a lifelong resident of Illinois.
Learn more at

Monday 11 November 2013

Book Review: My Name is Erin (4 books)

My Name is Erin: One Girl's Mission to Make a Difference

Do you often wonder why? Why am I here? Do I serve a purpose? God says yes. No matter your age or your circumstances - you have a powerful purpose.
Do you have a passion for something? The poor? A country? Justice?  Because you are in school doesn't mean you can't do something about it now.
Your purpose and your passion intersect. For a reason.
Read My Name is Erin: One Girl's Mission to Make a Difference and:
  • Discover and replace your fake purpose with your real purpose.
  • Learn how to stop waiting and live as a mission-minded girl NOW.
  • Be inspired by stories of girls like you that said "Yes, Lord."
 My Name is Erin: One Girl's Journey to Discover Truth
Is truth real? How do you define truth? What happens when your definition of truth is not the same as your best friend? Or your parents? Whose truth becomes the real truth?
See a problem?
The culture says truth can change. God's Word says Truth is solid.
In My Name is Erin: One Girls Journey to Discover Truth you will be guided by Erin to learn
?         Truth is not defined by your circumstances, your heart, or your mind
?         Truth can be discovered - not created
?         How to protect yourself and your friends with Truth
?         Lies that masquerade as Truth
?         How to make invisible spy ink

My Name is Erin: One Girl's Journey to Discover Who She Is

Come meet Erin. Like you she has struggled with many questions about being a girl.
Why does it matter that God created men and women?
Why did God make guys and girls so different?
Why does gender (that's just a fancy word for the traits that make girls girls and boys boys) matter anyway?
So, she set out on a journey to learn who she is. From the only place she could - God's Word. After all, He was the one who made her and the only One who could really answer her questions.
And she learned that whether you're a mega tomboy, a pretty-pretty princess, or someone somewhere in between, God has a plan for your girlhood that goes way beyond ribbons and curls. You were made to bring God glory and the purpose of your design is to point to Him.

My Name is Erin: One Girl's Plan for Radical Faith

Maybe you've had a moment-a time in your history when God did something radical in your heart. Putting your faith and trust in Him certainly feels like taking a giant leap, but really it's just the beginning of the exciting, and-yes-radical journey that comes with agreeing to live as God calls you to.
What does being radical look like? In the Bible, the common characteristics are:
* They trusted God.
* They listened to God's voice and then obeyed-even when it cost them.
* Because of their faith, they lived lives that looked different from everyone else's.
That's a short list and a tall order, but basically it means you can be a radical too. There's nothing on that list that is impossible for you. There's nothing on that list that requires you to be older, or more financially stable, or to have a college degree. No matter who you are or where you live you can live a radical faith.
Meet Erin, she has learned practical ways to do just that.

My Name is Erin: One Girl's Plan for Radical Faith is part of a 4-book series:

   My Name is Erin: One Gilr's Journey to Discover Truth
    My Name is Erin: One Girl's Journey to Discover Who She Is
    My Name is Erin: One Girl's Mission to Make a Difference

P.S. You can read them in any order - but be radical and jump in!

My Reflections:

This is a fabulous series of books created for tween girls!

Kids at this time of their lives test just about everything they can, boundaries, friendships and faith, to name just a few. Books like these are treasures to be sure, as they are written in a language children can relate to, about topics that are central to their lives.

My daughter loved these books and I found them to be a springboard to conversations that could have otherwise been awkward. The books delve into what it means to be godly, in a world that is not. It challenges girls to be "set apart" I was thrilled that the books though small were action packed with places to "challenge your faith", Journal, and pray. These books may look tiny but I feel they could really leave an impact on my girls lives.... I'm sold!

So if you are looking for books to grow your child's character and faith I would recommend you pick these books up and start your own little mom and daughter date nights.
Grab your hot cocoa and snuggle up to read theses together. I also think these books may be a great tool for a youth bible study.

About the Author:

A popular speaker, author and blogger, ERIN DAVIS has addressed women of all ages nationwide and is passionately committed to sharing God's Truth with others. She is the author of several books including Graffiti: Learning to See the Art in Ourselves, True Princess: Embracing Humility in an All About Me World, The Bare Facts with Josh McDowell and Beyond Bath Time: Embracing Motherhood As a Sacred Role. Erin's quest for the perfect scoop of ice cream is never ending and her family is her constant source of entertainment.

Sunday 10 November 2013

Book Review: A Wild Ride Through the Bible Adventure Bible Handbook

From the Back:

A fun and exciting journey through the Bible told in comic book style for kids ages 9-12. Companion to the bestselling Adventure Bible.

Kids (ages 9-12) and parents who love the bestselling Adventure Bible and want a fun and engaging supplement to their biblical study need look no further. The Adventure Bible Handbook leads tween boys and girls across the Holy Land and back in time on an entertaining, educational, and inspirational quest to find their missing father.

Four siblings travel with their archaeologist father to the Holy Land, where he is conducting an expedition in search of scientific truth. When he disappears, the children try to find him by joining an offbeat tour group organized by two zany guides whose mission, they eventually discover, is to lead kids on a fun, exciting, and life-changing quest for ultimate truth. Soon the group is visiting ancient cities, important geographical sites, and experiencing biblical times firsthand—traveling back in time with the help of some RSPs (Really Smart Phones) and all sorts of wacky modes of transportation.
It’s a fast, fun, eyewitness adventure around the world and through some of the greatest Bible stories to learn what life is really all about.

My Reflections: 

I was thrilled to get to review this Bible Inspired comic book study guide for tweens. My children promptly plucked it out of my hands upon it's arrival and kept it for a full week before I was able to fully read it for the purposes of reviewing it.

The book centers around a lost father, and the adventures the kids have trying to find him. Along the way they learn many facts about Bible stories, and culture. The Adventure Bible Handbook  correlates with the Adventure Bible, which we just so happen to have bought for my middle daughter when she was in grade 4. I would highly recommend purchasing it along with this book as it is a really good version of the Bible for this age group.

The bible stories in this handbook are simplified, but encourage children to dig deeper into the Bible to find out more in depth knowledge. I loved how this little book wet my children's appetite to want to read their bibles, and as a result talk about what they discovered. We had many interesting conversations over dinner about some of the stores they read. Like How after reading about the tower of Babel they looked at the map and we discussed how many languages the world has today.

I absolutely recommend this book to any parent of tween aged children. It is a simplified fun way to expand their knowledge of Bible facts and get them interested in learning more about their favorite stories. I feel It would also be a wonderful gift to non churched families, to introduce them to the Bible in a fun and engaging manner.

I received this book from Book Sneeze in exchange for my honest review. Thank you Book Sneeze!
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