Monday, April 25, 2011

Book Review - "The Dawn of a Dream"

The third book in Ann Shorey's At Home in Beldon Grove, "The Dawn of a Dream," is my favorite book in the series! I have read and enjoyed all three books, but this third one is the best in my opinion!

Luellen McGarvie is a young girl in the first book in this series when her family moves after her father has passed away. Now Luellen is a young lady and has been married for a month to a man, Brendan O'Connell, when he suddenly tells her he is leaving Beldon Grove to return to Chicago to his wife! Luellen cannot believe how she fell for Brendan's charm and married in haste. Luellen still has a letter that she follows through on - going to school to be a teacher. Luellen decides to follow her dream; however this proves to be more difficult as Brendan left her with more than a broken heart and determination to not fall for a man's charm again.

I really enjoyed this book as it has all the characters from the first two books in the series, but the story is really now focusing on Molly's children. I loved reading about the directions that Luellen, James, Franklin and Lily have all taken with their lives. The new characters, Belle, Dr. Alexander, Mrs. Hawks, Leah and Ward are all well-developed characters and all are great additions as well. Although it is set in the mid 1800's, the message is still applicable to readers today - do not give up on your dreams even if there are some obstacles that may arise.

“Available April 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Book Review - "Transforming Prayer"

Do you ever feel like you are just merely saying the words to say them and say that you prayed? Do you sometimes feel like prayer does nothing? Do you every feel like you're just reading a list in a prayer? If you would answer yes to any of these questions or similar one, then Daniel Henderson's book, "Transforming Prayer" is for you! Henderson explains that prayer, the very concept and act of it, is so familiar to us. However, it is often approached with apathy and not really seen as the experience that it is really is and could be. Prayer is a time of seeking God and spending time sharing what is on our hearts and seeking for guidance and thanking Him.

Henderson's style of writing is very easy to follow and get into. Reading this book is like you are sitting with Henderson discussing prayer and enjoying cups of coffee. Henderson shares stories and information about himself that really add to the book and allow for a great in-depth experience. There are also questions to go along with each chapter for further thought and study. This is a must-read for anyone wanting to have a closer relationship with God, it will truly change your view of prayer!

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.*

Book Review - "Hollywood Nobody"

The first book in a series, "Hollywood Nobody," by Lisa Samson seems like a winner for young adult fiction!

Scotty Dawn is a fifteen year-old girl that teenage girls would be able to relate to, not exactly her lifestyle, but who she is. Scotty travels with her mom, Charley from movie set to movie set as her mom's job. While Scotty enjoys her life and her interactions with actors and actresses in Hollywood, she does not really know who she is and who they have been running from. Scotty documents her life on her blog that is becoming increasingly popular and allows Scotty to vent and process events in her life.

This is a fun read! While reading it appears as if Scotty is actually writing the novel as it sounds just like a teenage girl. The blog posts and comments are fun to read as they are interspersed throughout the book. This is a great series for teenage girls as it is positive, realistic and can be related to!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NavPress Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Monday, April 18, 2011

Book Review - "The Canary List"

"The Canary List" written by Sigmund Brouwer weaves a story that is filled with hurt, lies, and misunderstandings, but also kindness and grief. Jaimie runs to the refuge of an elementary school teacher's home as she senses she needs to run for her life. The teacher, Crockett, is dealing with his own struggles, yet he seeks to help this girl. However, he becomes framed for being a pedophile and finds himself immersed in this darkness that Jaimie senses and is a part of her life.

Honestly, this book was not really what I thought it would be be. I found it to be confusing at times as the story went along, due to how the story flowed. The characters were well-developed and I thought they were very believable, but I found the story hard to get into at times. Jaimie is like so many children being moved around from foster home to foster home and is misunderstood. I would have liked the focus to be more on the characters and less emphasis on the Catholic Church; however I do see the need for this as well. If you enjoy supernatural books or thrillers, you will probably enjoy this book.
*I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for a honest review.*

Book Review - "Max on Life: Answers and Insights to Your Most Important Questions"

New York Times Best-Selling Author Max Lucado's newest novel, "Max on Life: Answers and Insights to Your Most Important Questions," is an invaluable resource! Receiving questions from readers, fans and people he comes into contact with, Max has taken some of these, shared them and answered them in this book creating a collections of wisdom, encouragement and Biblical truths.

The questions that Max answers are divided into 7 sections in the book: hope, hurt, help, him/her, home, haves/have-nots, and hereafter. One question is particular that Max answers is in regards to worrying about children and asking how to control these worries. Max answers with Bible verses that speak about worrying, and also addressed how worry is antitrust. It seems that in today's society, worry is a huge thing, as we all have something or many somethings to worry about and it can be easy to be consumed with worry instead of trusting and relying on God.

This is a great resource filled with questions that the readers will relate with! I highly recommend Max Lucado's latest treasure!

*I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.*

Book Review - "Tomorrow's Garden"

The third and final book in Amanda Cabot's Texas Dreams trilogy is here! "Tomorrow's Garden" is the much-anticipated conclusion to Cabot's triology.

The main characters from the previous two novels in this series return and you will continue to love them and love seeing how their families are growing and how life is continuing on in Ladreville, Texas.

Harriet Kirk decides to take the teaching vacancy in Ladreville in hopes of offering a better future for her 5 siblings. Harriet meets the new mayor of this town, Lawrence, a former Texas Ranger (who was also in the 2nd book of this series!) and sparks of all kinds fly between these two as neither understands completely where the other is coming from. Harriet is immediately befriended and she must come out of her shell and forget about some principles that she had been taught in order to really be a friend to those she comes to love around her. Harriet quickly realizes that the past is not all staying in the past as a man seeking her hand in marriage arrives in Ladreville and causes trouble, Harriet's brother continues to get into trouble and Harriet has a man courting her much to her own chagrin as well as her siblings. Harriet also cannot seem to get Lawrence off her mind and looks forward to their visits together, however she is determined that she is not the marrying kind.

Join Sarah, Clay, Zach, Priscilla, Gunther, Isabelle, Lawrence, the Friedrich family and now the new characters - the Kirk family is this wonderful conclusion! I was drawn into the story as soon as I started and wanted to keep reading until I had finished, but at the same time I was sad when the book ended as it was the final page set in Ladreville. I love the characters who live in Ladreville and I have enjoyed reading their stories and seeing how their story continues in each book. This is a wonderful book and wonderful series that should not be missed if you enjoy historical romance!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Book Review - "Recovery"

Set in New Orleans, mystery and romance come alive in the pages of Alexandrea Weis' novel, "Recovery." While this is the second in a series, it is a good stand alone novel as well.

Nicci's fiancee, has been murdered and Nicci partners up with spy Dallas to solve this case. Dallas and Nicci's fiancee were friends and it turns out that the murderer may very well be a friend to Nicci. Nicci and Dallas' relationship is rocky to say the least and they put on false pretenses (pretending to be a couple) in order to solve this mystery. The setting of New Orleans is so vivid and alive and adds a great deal to this story. The emotions are also very real as Nicci is attracted to, but also irritated by Dallas and the passion for life itself is evident as you read this book.

This is a fact-paced thriller that will have you wondering how it's going to end and at the same time you won't want the book to end!

*I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for a honest review.*

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Book Review - "Race War: America's Worst Nightmare"

La-Temus Marshall paints a picture that is sad to think about if it should really happen in "Race War: America's Worst Nightmare." There is a lot of mistrust among various races and people are blaming one race or another for the problems in society such as the unemployment rate and struggling economy. After a survey is completed, it is decided that races will live together in one section of America, for example the white race would be living in the midwest and northwest territories. While it seems crazy that everyone moves to new locations, it takes place and yet their is still mistrust and issues between races. This is thought-provoking and makes the reader wonder if it could ever happen or what would happen if these ideas are suggested. This is a well-written quick read that will make the reader think about how things have been in this country, where they are at right now and how they will be in the future.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.*

Book Review - "How to Believe in Love Again: Opening to Forgiveness, Trust and Your Own Inner Wisdom"

With a background in counseling psychology, Laura Lee Carter has created a book that has helped herself and is sure to help other regain faith in love. This creation is titled, "How to Believe in Love Again: Opening to Forgiveness, Trust and Your Own Inner Wisdom."

Many people for a variety of reasons may have given up on love - feeling loved, feeling as if they can love someone else and also not feeling as if they love themselves. Carter's book begins and ends with love quizzes. It is stressed that one must first have self-love before being able to truly love another person. One's attitudes and thoughts toward love must change as well in order to find love if this is an area that is a struggle for someone.

Carter's time spent in research and from her own experience together make this a worthwhile read for anyone who feels lacking in the area of love or wishes to encourage someone in this area. I would recommend this also for counselors dealing with issues of this kind as it could be a useful resource.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.*

Book Review - "21st Century Great Global Depression"

Orest Andrew Harrison brings an unpleasant but very necessary message in his book, "21st Century Great Global Depression." Today is a time of economic turmoil and this is attributed to several things. Harrison notes that the way we have been living - buying things on credit with money we do not have, just living beyond our means and also decisions made at the government level have all contributed to the economic difficulties that we are all facing today.

I like how the book is arranged and the information is presented. It is easy to follow and catches the reader's attention. I find the author to be thorough with his findings and well-researched. This should encourage each of us to really think about the condition of today's economy and to be think wisely.

*I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.*

Book Review - "Nana: The Four Crystals"

Guillermo Romano, a native of Mexico City, brings an exciting new fiction novel, "Nana: The Four Crystals." Serge is dealing with a lot right now as he is struggling to make ends meet in the poor economy and he is also dealing with the death of his wife and raising his son all by himself. Traveling to Belize, Serge meets a woman called Nana, who will ultimately help him discover more about himself. Serge not only discovers the true meaning of life, but while on this journey of self-discovery he realizes how decisions impact himself and the future of those around him.

Romano has created a story that will draw you into the story making it difficult to stop reading until you reach the end. The characters and settings are so vividly described making them really come to life. You will relate with the characters and wish for everything to work out for them!

*I was provided with a complimentary copy in exchange for a honest review.*

Book Review - "Marriage: it's in your hands"

Bobby L. Sneed has written a book that is so applicable for couples in today's society, "Marriage: it's in your hands," as half of marriages end in divorce.

Sneed shares his own opinions and experiences throughout this book making it more personable. Sneed speaks from experience saying that making a marriage work is really up to you. While I thought a lot of this book is speaking to the husband, it is a beneficial read for wives and soon to be wives as it is eye-opening and filled with useful information.

This book is written from a Christian perspective and God and one's faith in God plays a huge role in marriages and making marriages work. This would be an excellent resource for couples to read before getting married and also for couples wanting to work on their marriage or making their marriage stronger.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.*

Friday, April 15, 2011

Book Review - "The Final Summit"

Andy Andrews' latest book, "The Final Summit," is sure to be a top read for the year! This book is filled with wisdom and history!

David Ponder is visited by the angel Gabriel and he begins a journey to find the one principle that will save humanity. David must work with the other "Travelers" to find this principle before time runs out. The other "Travelers" include George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Erik Erickson and Anne Frank to name a few. I learned more about these fascinating historical leaders and also little tidbits of wisdom!

This is a great book that will be an encouragement to you!

* I received a copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.*

Book Review - "The Deepest Waters"

A fan of Dan Walsh's previous novels, ("The Unfinished Gift" and "The Homecoming"), I was excited to receive his newest novel, "The Deepest Waters!" Walsh once again ties in historical details and creates a story that comes alive to the readers!

The romance of John and Laura Foster is the focus of the book as they are abroad the SS Vandervere on their honeymoon when it is in the midst of a hurricane and they become separated. This is a tender love story that is shared, but it is so much more than that! Set in 1857, it is just before the Civil War takes place and slavery is addressed in this book as well as Laura befriends a slave, Micah, on the ship who is a selfless individual. Hope and faith are strong themes throughout the story as the reader is taking through the ups and downs in the story and several characters are about ready to give up.

This book is not one to miss! Walsh is a very talented historical fiction writer and you will be drawn into the story and taken on an emotional ride.

“Available April 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Book Review - "The Lightkeeper's Ball"

Set in 1910, Colleen Coble's latest Mercy Falls novel, "The Lightkeeper's Ball," will draw you back in time and draw you into a story filled with suspense and romance! This is a great third novel to the Mercy Falls series! It can be read alone, but you do you not want to miss out on the first two novels in this series!

Olivia is expected to marry the man who her sister was engaged to as her sister has drowned. However, Olivia is filled with suspicion about this man, Harrison, and must learn more about him as well as her sister's death before agreeing to and going through with this arranged marriage. Olivia decides to travel to Mercy Falls to find out just that; however what she finds out is not all that she expected. Olivia's true identity has been hidden from the one she comes to love, and now she realizes that a little lie may cost her true happiness.

This is a well-written novel filled with just the right components to make it an enjoyable read: suspense, romance, historical details, realistic characters and vivid descriptions! Set in California in the early 1900's the time period comes alive with the historical events that are tied into the story and the way of the life that is so vividly described! This is a must-read for Christian fiction readers!

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Book Review - "Coach Wooden"

When Coach (John) Wooden graduated from eighth grade, his father, Joshua Hugh Wooden gave him a gift that he has carried with him throughout his life since then, a card with seven life principles written on them. This card with these principles are the backbone of the book "Coach Wooden" written by Pat Williams with Jim Denney.

The seven principles are:
1. Be true to yourself.
2. Help others.
3. Make each day your masterpiece.
4. Drink deeply from good books, especially the Bible.
5. Make friendship a fine art.
6. Build a shelter against a rainy day by the life you live.
7. Pray for guidance and counsel, and give thanks for your blessings each day.

These principles are not only what made Coach Wooden successful professionally, but also personally in his every day life as well! These are great principles for each and everyone of us to consider and really make a part of our lives. There is a chapter devoted to each chapter and it is an enjoyable read as the principle is discussed at great length, but there is so much personal content interwoven into the book as well. One quote of Coach Wooden's that really stood out to me while reading this book is in regards to the third principle: Make each day your masterpiece. Coach Wooden shares, "When I was teaching basketball, I urged my players to try their hardest to improve on that very day, to make that practice a masterpiece...It begins by trying to make each day count and knowing you can never make up for a lost day." While that is true with sports, it is a great reminder to not take any day or moment that we are given for granted.

“Available February 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

Monday, April 4, 2011

Book Review - "Heart of Ice"

The Triple Threat Club is back in Lis Wiehl and April Henry's novel, "Heart of Ice." Allison, Nicole and Cassidy are really dealing with a person who has a heart of ice. Elizabeth is your girl next door, but she is cold-hearted and calculating, doing anything and everything to get a thrill and to get what she wants. Cassidy becomes close, too close with Elizabeth when she joins her boot camp class at the local fitness center, as Elizabeth appears to be flawless and the best friend that Cassidy was missing. None of these three ladies realizes just how close they are to the one who is the manipulator and planner behind all of these crimes.

I have read the two books that come before this one and each book just keeps on getting better! The characters are so well-developed and the friendship between this three women grows in each book as they not only join forces professionally to solve crimes, but they share more of their personal, private lives with each other as well. Each of the women are dealing with things in their personal lives that the readers can relate with at some level and this really makes them real and draws the reader in on an emotional level. This is a must-read for those who love suspense! It is hard to stop reading once you start as you will be drawn into the story and the character's lives!

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.