Tuesday 30 September 2014

Book Review: The Berenstain Bears God Shows the Way


From the Back:

Now in a convenient 3 stories in one collection, young readers will learn from the Berenstain Bears just how important it is to serve and love one another. Written in level one of the I Can Read standards, this bind-up of stories from the Berenstain Bears Living Lights I Can Read series is sure to please young, emergent readers as well as parents and grandparents looking for good quality reading that will help practice early reading skills as well as teach lessons about serving and caring for others. Included in this collection are the following titles: Faith Gets Us Through Have No Fear, God Is Near Piggy Bank Blessings

My Reflections: 

I had the opportunity to review another Berenstain Bear book titled "God Shows the Way."
This book caught my eye because it was an "I can read Series" and my girl is loving her new found skill of reading books to me. She gave this book a thumbs up, and made me AND her big sister read it to her again and again! This is one for the shelves, friends It is pure joy to see your wee one loving a book.

Faith Gets Us trough is about a Bear Scout, navigating through a cave. Perfect because big brother is a scout so little one could relate to this!

Do not Fear, God is Near reminds children to place their trust in God when fearful. Sister bear gets the lead role in this story.

Piggy Bank Blessings Brother Bear and Sister Bear learn to save their money for something they really want.

The pictures are bright and attractive, the story line simple and easy to read and understand. While I enjoyed the fact that little one loved reading the books I found my self wishing the story line was not so contrite. The scriptural passages, while I loved them they seemed a little dry. I don't think my gal was able to relate to them. I was also surprised that in the last book Piggy Bank, tithing was not mentioned. This would have been a great way to teach kids about how to save AND spend, God getting his first fruits.

Overall I would recommend this book as an excellent tool to get children excited about reading, it is wholesome and entertaining at the same time. As always pre-read the book, some more sensitive children may find a few of the pictures a tad scary.

I received this book free of charge from BookLook in exchange for my honest review. Thank you BookLook!

Friday 26 September 2014

Book review: The River

Cover Art

ISBN 9780764212451

From the Back:

She looked once more at the dreaded river. Since Anna's death, it had been such a barrier . . . a place and a moment she could not seem to move past.
A line I can't move beyond...
The River

Tilly and Ruth, two formerly Amish sisters, are plagued by unresolved relationships when they reluctantly return to Lancaster County for their parents' landmark wedding anniversary. Since departing their Plain upbringing, Tilly has married an Englisher, but Ruth remains single and hasn't entirely forgotten her failed courtship with her Amish beau.

Past meets present as Tilly and Ruth yearn for acceptance and redemption. Can they face the future in the light of a past they can't undo?

My Reflections:

Beverly Lewis is one of my all time favorite authors so it is no surprise to my followers that I will give this new novel a glowing review.

Lewis has the ability to take mere pages of a book, words on a page and transform them into relationships, family, beauty, life and faith viewed from the onlooker. You become one with the story, merge into a world away from dirty floors and piled dishes. Lewis must write unceasingly; there's always a new book to read, keeping her dedicated readers satisfied and content.

Tilly a Amish drop out returns home after a note arrives from her brother, Melvin. In the letter he begs of her to return home for an anniversary celebration. He pleas for her to convince their sister Ruth to accompany Tilly as well. 

Both sisters have long ago left their Amish roots to join the fancy world. Tilly has made this transition wholly, marrying an Englisher, using modern appliances and even driving her red little car.

Ruth follows in her sisters footsteps, leaving the Amish life a few years after Tilly, but unlike Tilly Ruth does not marry an Englisher, she is still bruised over her relationship with her former beau.

Both sisters struggle with unresolved issues from the past, one of them being the untimely death of their young sister. To complicate things their father is not a well man, and each family member must come to terms with their past and the reasons for their actions.

Beverly Lewis is known for her Amish fiction, and "The River" is just another tribute to Lewis's stellar writing abilities. I most enjoyed the way Lewis slowly revealed tidbits of the story, bit by tantalizing bit, it made for a savory read.

I highly recommend this book, fall is here and what better to do than leave the dishes and the sticky floor and curl up with a good Beverly Lewis book and a great cuppa tea! Just do it after the kids go to bed, you wouldn't want to ignore the little ones..

 "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:
 Beverly Lewis

Beverly Lewis

Beverly Lewis, born in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country, is the New York Times bestselling author of more than ninety books. Her stories have been published in eleven languages worldwide. A keen interest in her mother's Plain heritage has...
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Wednesday 24 September 2014

Book Review: The Princess Within

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It's time to get ready for the ball.Girls of all ages want to feel like Cinderella at the ball. But maybe you feel more like Cinderella before the ball--overlooked, inadequate, hurting, maybe even used and abused. Sometimes it's hard to feel beautiful, in God's eyes or your own, when something or someone has robbed you of your inner beauty.

Serita Ann Jakes understands those feelings. She knows how past failures and present hurts can prevent you from realizing your true identity in Jesus Christ. She has helped hundreds of girls work through personal struggles, and now she wants to help you. Whether you're struggling with poor self-esteem, difficult friendships, family problems, secret shame, or something else, above all, she wants you to know,

You are a princess--a daughter of the King!

Serita Ann's insights and encouragement will give you the courage and strength to shed your tattered rags and find your inner princess--and to walk in confidence as a young woman who knows her true beauty comes from a Christ-honoring life.

My Reflections: 

This book caught my eye as I have a daughter who is approaching her teen years. I am always on the prowl for relevant, God centered resources that will enrich and smooth the transition to adulthood.

This book is written for teenage girls to help them navigate today's rocky and treacherous path to maturity. It boasts 17 chapters, each covering challenging and relevant topics. Each chapter includes a current playlist, the challenge with applications to real life situations, and journal exercises to think through the topics deeper. Some chapters have additional activities such as quizzes to develop better self discovery.

Right off you are transported into very deep if not somewhat disturbing content, the first chapter opens with physical abuse and guns being  held to head. But perhaps teens today need straight forward, shocking dialog to bring them in.

This book was written for teens not adults, and you can tell the author is genuinely a caring and passionate advocate for this age group, I think perhaps though that I will be waiting before I give this one to my girl, we are simply not at this stage of the journey.This book would be a suitable resource for older teens who are struggling, and need a compass to navigate the world around them. Our girls need to look to God to uplift them not what a boy, a song, or the world around them tells them.

I was given this book free of charge, in exchange for my honest opinion from Bethany House Publishers. Thank you Bethany House!

About the Author: 
 Serita Ann Jakes

Serita Ann Jakes

Serita Ann Jakes has been involved in ministry all her life. God was preparing her for the responsibility of carrying out God's vision for his people with her husband, Bishop T.D. Jakes. Her training in theater and mass communications, coupled with her...
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Tuesday 23 September 2014

Book Review: A Light in the Wilderness

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From the Back:

Three very different women. One dangerous journey. And a future that seems just out of reach.
Letitia holds nothing more dear than the papers that prove she is no longer a slave. They may not cause most white folks to treat her like a human being, but at least they show she is free. She trusts in those words she cannot read--as she is beginning to trust in Davey Carson, an Irish immigrant cattleman who wants her to come west with him.

Nancy Hawkins is loathe to leave her settled life for the treacherous journey by wagon train, but she is so deeply in love with her husband and she knows she will follow him anywhere--even when the trek exacts a terrible cost.

Betsy is a Kalapuya Indian, the last remnant of a once proud tribe in the Willamette Valley in Oregon territory. She spends her time trying to impart the wisdom and ways of her people to her grandson. But she will soon have another person to care for.

As season turns to season, suspicion turns to friendship, and fear turns to courage, three spirited women will discover what it means to be truly free in a land that makes promises it cannot fulfill. This multilayered story from bestselling author Jane Kirkpatrick will grip your heart and mind as you travel on the dusty and dangerous Oregon Trail into the boundless American West. Based on a true story.

My Reflections:

Based on a true story, A Light in the Wilderness by Jane Kirkpatrick is a story about a black woman who follows the Oregon Trail, and the inequities she faces in her pursuit of freedom.

This account turned into fiction, is simply put a masterpiece.
I adore the fact that the authors notes delve into this astonishing story on a deeper level, it breathes life and substance into its fictional twin.

Kirkpatrick has a way with words, she is homespun, her work is raw and cuts to the chafe. It is a real treat to read such brilliant work!

The story is three fold really, three women and their life stories.

Letitia Carson the true main character in this tale is a woman striving for freedom and a new start. Her story is riddled with heartbreak, loneliness and a fierce determination to be whole.
When Irish immigrant and cattleman, Davey Carson implores Letitia to flee with him to the west, Letitia must make decisions that will change her life..

Nancy Hawkins has her hands full with raising a large family. Unwillingly she follows her husband Zach on the trip down the Oregon trail, She will do just about anything for the man she adores. Letitia being a midwife is the perfect solution to Nancy's need for care, and the two bond quickly. Embarking on a life filled with heart break and tragedy Nancy must be strong.

Betsy a Kalapuya Indian, cares for her grandson in the Williamette Valley. She is determined to pass on the way of her people. She is steadfast and dependable just the type of person Nancy and Letitia will need when they arrive in Oregon.

This was a book that I though I had pegged but turned out so much better than I could have imagined. I give this on 4.5 stars well done Jane Kirkpatrick!

"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

  1. Jane Kirkpatrick 

    Jane Kirkpatrick

    Jane Kirkpatrick is the New York Times and CBA bestselling author of more than twenty-five books, including A Sweetness to the Soul, which won the coveted Wrangler Award from the Western Heritage Center. Her works have been...
    Continue reading about Jane Kirkpatrick

Monday 22 September 2014

Book Review: Tried And True

Cover Art 

ISBN 9780764211782

From The Back:

Saddle up for a wildly fun ride with the Wilde sisters!

Kylie Wilde is the youngest sister--and the most civilized. Her older sisters might be happy dressing in trousers and posing as men, but Kylie has grown her hair long and wears skirts every chance she gets. It's a risk--they are homesteading using the special exemptions they earned serving in the Civil War as "boys"--but Kylie plans to make the most of the years before she can sell her property and return to the luxuries of life back East.

Local land agent Aaron Masterson is fascinated with Kylie from the moment her long hair falls from her cap. But now that he knows her secret, can he in good conscience defraud the U.S. government? And when someone tries to force Kylie off her land, does he have any hope of convincing her that marrying him and settling on the frontier is the better option for her future?

My Reflections:

Mary Connealy has served up a novel wrought with wit and adventure, mix this with a fast paced strong story line and you have the makings of a best selling series.

I loved, I mean Loved this book.

The story is set in 1866 of the Utah Territory, a rough and untamed land where everyone is scrambling to right the world after the Civil War.

Kylie the youngest of her three surviving siblings is determined to tough out the three years of her homesteading claim. This being a legacy to her deceased brother. This ruse is not her making, Kylie's father has strong-armed the three sisters to stand up for the memory of the beloved son killed in action.  Kylie and her sisters are encouraged to go into battle under the guise of men.

After her years of service, Kylie is once again wrangled by her father into staking a claim....problem is she has to be a man to qualify for the service exemption...When Aaron (the land claims officer) comes to validate the claim and finds a woman dangling from the rooftop of her tidy little homestead trouble starts to brew, and feelings are set to stir.

Kylie is the perfect blend of tough yet vulnerable, she fights in the war and comes back weary of having to  be brave and self sufficient. I loved the relationship she had with her two sisters Bailey and Shannon a wonderful representation of the youngest sibling who wants everyone to do the work for her!

Aaron is the perfect gentleman, strong, steady and ready to rescue a damsel in distress, even one wearing men's britches. I was captivated by the way the story between these two strong characters played out. Perfect in my opinion!

I can't wait for the release of book two in this series, we will finally get to discover what becomes of Shannon. Sitting on Pins and needles write Mrs. Connealy write!

 "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:

 Mary Connealy

Mary Connealy

Mary Connealy is an award-winning, bestselling author known for her fun and lively historical romances. An author, teacher, and journalist, Mary lives on an eastern Nebraska ranch with her cowboy husband and has four daughters and two grandchildren. Learn more...
Continue reading about Mary Connealy

Sunday 21 September 2014

Book Review: Have A Happy Family By Friday

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You really can have a happier home in just 5 days!
Every member of a family plays a vital role in the health and happiness of the household. Everyone is important, deserves to be treated with love and respect, and needs to know that when they make mistakes they will still be loved unconditionally. And when every member of the family is pulling for each other and on the same team, everybody wins.

Is this kind of family life even possible?

Parenting expert and New York Times bestselling author Dr. Kevin Leman says it is, and he's ready to show you exactly how you can make it happen in your family--in just five days. He shows families how to

· communicate honestly and kindly
· prioritize the right things
· maintain great attitudes and behaviors
· determine the role each person plays in the family structure
· make family time count

As always, Dr. Leman's outstanding advice is laced with humor, great stories, and the wisdom that comes from a lifetime of experience.

If you've had it up to here with bickering, hurt feelings, and emotional exhaustion, Have a Happy Family by Friday is just what the doctor ordered.

Does any of this sound familiar?
· You're sick of the word whatever.
· You'd have a coronary if you ever walked into one of your kids' rooms and it was picked up.
· You remember way back when you and your spouse paid attention to each other.
· A good day is when you only send your kids to their room once.
· An exciting evening with your spouse is no yelling and no trips to the ER.
· You'd like to ground your kids for life . . . somewhere else.
· Everybody wants a piece of you, and there's nothing left to give.
· The only family member who listens to you is the dog.
· You spend a lot of your time wishing things were different in your family.

Well, wishes can come true. You can be on your way today to a happy family by Friday. Is it really possible? Yes! Embrace the truths and suggestions in this book, practice them, and watch them last a lifetime.

I guarantee it.

My Reflections: 

Who wouldn't want a happy family by Friday? For that very reason I chose to review this particular book, that and the fact that I love Kevin Leman's style of writing, and no nonsense philosophy. When we marry and have a houseful of children we tend to think "what could go wrong, we are family?" But add in different personalities, hormones, misunderstandings, and opinions and you now have the recipe for potential relational melt downs.

In this comprehensive book you will explore five days worth of food for thought and nuggets of encouragement.
The chapter headings for your daily readings are as follows:

Monday: Choose Your Words, Change Your Family. This chapter really hit home with me. I thoroughly enjoyed the reminder of how I set the tone of the family by the way I respond to situations.

Tuesday: The big time, priorities, Activities, Work, and Finances. Another great chapter, to the point and direct loved the tips on what to do and not to do in these areas. We are extremely busy with homeschooling activities so keeping the balance of extracurricular activities is a must! I loved the family first mantra in this chapter.

Wednesday: Navigating the Perfect Storm: Um... Yes please, can we say 12, 14 and 6. Perfect storm, enough said!

Thursday: Why Dad Can't be Mom and Mom Can't be Dad. Great, simply great! I was raised in a single parent home so often times I parent from a completely different angle, not to mention trying to navigate what being a good wife is all about and how to please my dear sweet husband. This chapter was wonderful because it really lays out his and hers. I especially enjoyed reading over the Q and A section. makes you realize others deal with the same kinds of issues.

Friday: Family Connections. Time together is a must in a deep and meaningful relationship, and often times our busy schedules prevent us from really connecting in an meaningful way.

At the end there is also a section titled "Ask Dr. Leman, brilliant!

Over all I would certainly recommend this book to families in all ages and stages. well written, it may take a little longer than Friday to change your attitude, (and possibly your families) but with a little determination and prayer, I know you can do it!

"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".

About The Author

  1. Dr. Kevin Leman

    Dr. Kevin Leman

    Dr. Kevin Leman is an internationally known psychologist, radio and television personality, and speaker who has taught and entertained audiences worldwide with his wit and commonsense psychology. He has made house calls for hundreds of radio and television...
    Continue reading about Dr. Kevin Leman

Monday 15 September 2014

Book Review: The Berenstain Bears: Blessed are the Peacemakers

 From the Back:

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the sons of God.”
Matthew 5:9

In this new Berenstain Bears 8x8 book, Blessed are the Peacemakers , Brother and Sister have a wide circle of friends at Bear Country School and they get along with pretty much everyone. But not all their friends get along with each other. Too Tall and his bullying gang, for instance, are often in conflict with Cousin Fred, Ferdy Factual, and their friends. So what happens when the cubs all need to work together on the annual school play? Brother and Sister have to decide whether they should “mind their own business” or get involved as peacemakers and try to calm the troubled waters.

My Reflections:

I have grown up on the Berenstain Bears, and in turn have enthusiastically read this wonderful series to my children as well. This particular children's book is written by Mike Berenstain (the son of the original authors Stan and Jan Berenstain)

The book has a christian theme to it, abet somewhat watered down and vague in its execution. This being said when I read it to my 6 year old she seemed to enjoy the book. When her 12 year old sister re read it to her the next night this older sibling had quite a few questions. One being the fact that if someone quoted scripture in the middle of an argument they were likely to be ignored or bullied as well, and very doubtfully would the bulling party be saying "oh cool", and move on.

The book opened up some great discussions on bullying and the different groups of people within school or social settings. We were able to discuss, in depth strategies to defuse tricky situations, and reference what the bible says about fighting and turning the other cheek. Although I found the book to be surface teaching I was glad to have it on hand to jump-start some valuable discussions in this very prevalent and difficult subject.

The back of the book lists activities and questions you can utilize to help your family work through the issue of bullying. Because our children will not be left unscathed from bulling, a proactive stance is a great way to prepare our children for the realities of living in a fallen world. This resource is just another tool you can use to empower your effectiveness in raising resilient children.

I received this book free of charge form Book Look Bloggers in return for my honest opinion. Thank you Book Look!

Saturday 6 September 2014

Book Review: What Your Heart Needs for the Hard Days

Cover Art 

From the Back:

We all have days that make us want to pull the covers back over our heads and eat a dozen cupcakes.

Thankfully, Jesus said we don't "live on bread alone"--that includes cupcakes--"but on every word that comes from the mouth of God" (Matt. 4:4). What we really need is truth.

If you're tired, discouraged, or feel a little empty inside, my prayer is that by the end of our time together, you'll be refreshed and nourished in a way that will sustain you through whatever the future may hold.

Remember, you're not alone, my friend.

In this uplifting book, Holley Gerth invites you to be filled with the strength, peace, and joy that come from God's promises. Each of the 52 devotions based on the Psalms will help you remember that God is good and we're all in this together.

This book is the perfect companion to Holley's book You're Going to Be Okay.

My Reflections:

When I received this book I dove in straight away. It is small enough to fit in your purse and encouraging enough to fill your day with inspiration and hope.

This book really spoke to me, it is filled with nuggets of wisdom. As I read this book I had the impression of having a good heart felt conversation with my BFF.

My favorite aspect of this book was the sections where you are encouraged to write down your reflections. It includes a prayer and space to add your own words, along with an additional journal exercise that prompt you to reflect on what God may be impressing on your heart. At the end of each reading there is a verse that pertains to the topic. Absolutely a wonderful resource!

I would recommend this book to any woman who would like a little encouragement to start the day. I will be keeping this one beside my bed for nightly rereading!

 "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".

About the Author:

  Holley Gerth

Holley Gerth is a bestselling writer, certified life coach, and speaker. She loves connecting with the hearts of women through her popular blog and books like You're Already Amazing, You're Made for a God-Sized Dream, and Opening the Door to...

Continue reading about Holley Gerth

Thursday 4 September 2014

Movie Review: When the Game Stands Tall

When The Game Stands Tall 
This movie based on a true story, tells about a young coach Bob Ladouceur (Jim Caviezel) who launches a small high school football team to legendary status over a 138 game winning streak. This incredible feat tackled all American records in football history. The De La Salle High School Spartans were a team with heart, they played with intensity and passion, yet banded together to form a force that was unstoppable, until the unthinkable happens. This story shows the depth of the human spirit and how the bond of brotherhood can raise a generation to greatness.

Last night I had the opportunity to view this movie When The Game Stands Tall.
I must confess that I am not a sports nut, heck I don't even like to watch my kids play WII sports. 
I do however have to tell you that this movie is a must see for your next date night, or do what I did drive two hours with some great gal pals and have a girls night out. How ever you swing it, this is one of those rare movies that will have you crying, laughing, and rooting for the team..even if you have no clue about how the game is played.
This movie would be great entertainment for teens and parents to watch together as there is no swearing, or sexually explicit content. There are some potentially disturbing scenes hence the PG rating. Plugged in gave this movie a 4 out of 5 stars, and I concur. Great clean movie, I would love to see more directors follow this trend!

Thank you Graf-Martin Communications for sending me the two tickets, I enjoyed this movie immensely!
Directed by:Scott Marshall Smith
Thomas Carter
Produced by:Cathy Schulman
David Zelon
Screenwriter:Scott Marshall Smith
Cast:Jim Caviezel ... Coach Bob Ladouceur
Laura Dern ... Bev Ladouceur
Michael Chiklis ... Terry Eidson
Alexander Ludwig ... Chris Ryan
Gavin Casalegno ... Michael Ladouceur
Joe Massingill ... Beaser
LaJessie Smith ... Jamal
Studio/Distributor:TriStar Pictures
Production Companies:Mandalay Pictures

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