Tuesday, February 28, 2017

"Your Magnificent Chooser"

Each of us are faced with choices, many, many choices each day.  Each choice has a direct consequence, whether it be positive or negative, for each of us and some of our own choices affect those around us as well.  John Ortberg's children's book, "Your Magnificent Chooser," is a great book to share with children starting at a young age to remind them of their ability to make choices and how to handle feelings that come along with making choices.  John addresses the feelings of worry and not wanting to make a choice as you may not know which is the right choice to make.  Also, what does happen when the chosen choice has a negative result; how should that be handled?  Those are just two aspects that are addressed that I love in this book.  Also, the illustrations to go along with the text are very well done, they are beautiful, soothing and full of detail.  I highly recommend this to use to discuss making choices and how God gives us this freedom and ability, but He is there every step of the way as well as our guide. 

*Thanks to Tyndale House Publishers for the complimentary copy of this book.*

Want to encourage a child to celebrate their unique gifts? Order Matthew Paul Turner’s incredible children’s book, When God Made You.

"When God Made You" is a beautiful book and a wonderful reminder to everyone, no matter how young or how old just how special he or she is and that he or she is made just how God planned.  Matthew Paul Turner writes in rhyme and also used repetition making this is a really "catchy" book that will grab and hold a child's attention from the beginning to the end.  While reading this to my children, they were quick to join in on some of the lines and say them along with me or guess as to what word was going to be used in the next line.  David Catrow's illustrations are amazing to go along with the text!  They are so vivid, so full of detail and fun to look at and see what all is included in each picture.  This is a nice, square, hardcover book, so it is easy for small hands to hold on to and page through, but not too small, and the text is short on each page.  This book would make an excellent gift for parents of new babies or really a child of any age.  Matthew shares such an important message that we all need to be reminded of frequently! 

Monday, February 27, 2017

*Guest Post - Technology & Books"

Hi all!  I am excited to share with you all today a guest post from Cassie about how technology has impacted us over the recent years with books, our personal libraries and reading in general.  While I love my Kindle, it just isn't the same as holding an actual book and there is just something to be said about arranging and rearranging bookshelves filled with such nice books and book covers!  We are interested to hear your thoughts! 

How Technology Has Changed Our Relationship with Books

There’s really nothing quite like a good book, and thanks to modern technology, you can go from sitting at your desk to reading a new book in seconds! Accessing new releases and a larger variety of books has never been easier since the release of e-book readers. Yet, not every book lover is fond of going digital.

The differences in opinions over e-books is understandable; many bookstores you visit to buy physical copies are small businesses, so by buying your books from them, you’re supporting people within your community. E-books also won’t fulfill some book lovers’ need for that new-book smell, and there’s certainly something appealing about the different textures books offer, as well as viewing photos and illustrations off-screen.

However, there are some pros to going digital as well. For some, a perfect balance is exactly what they prefer. Overall, technology has changed our relationships with books; people both young and old have come to accept modern technology’s role in how we read or access different content, and some have been left with little choice not to. 

Schools and colleges have even begun using e-books or recommending them to their students. Many libraries have adopted a digital method of lending out books in an effort to interest younger generations. It’s also unlikely e-books are going to disappear any time soon, so we can expect that technology will play an even larger role in our relationship with books in the future.

Here’s how technology has changed our relationship with books so far.

Larger Collections and More Variety

Technology has made it possible for us to access more books and store larger collections. Retail space is limited, so there’s always going to be a book or two your local bookstore won’t have. Though it’s true they can sometimes order it, there are digital copies of rare books available you wouldn’t be able to read if not for modern technology.

Browsing through books online also gives you the opportunity to explore a wider variety of genres that perhaps your local bookstore doesn’t have. Searching online can be quicker as well since you can filter books by category, price and format.

E-books in particular are an affordable way for new authors to publish their work. Even more experienced authors prefer to publish e-books instead of print. The overall process involved in publishing e-books is shorter, more cost-effective and less nerve-wracking, making it the go-to method for authors who want their work to make it into online marketplaces quickly.

As the reader, this can actually be a good thing for you since it means that by turning to the internet to find e-books, you’ll be able to access a ton of great content you can’t find anywhere else. Even if you’re in an area where content is region-blocked, thanks to technology, you can gain access to even more books with a Virtual Private Network. 

No Shelf Space Required

“Less is more” seems to describe what appeals to many young adults lately, and perhaps technology is partially to blame for that. More people are interested in seeking out tiny homes and simply having less stuff than they used to. All-in-one gadgets replace many tools we once needed to purchase separately, and information can be found in seconds just by searching Google.

That being said, a good number of people like the idea of not having to carry around multiple books or store them in their homes at all. E-books haven’t quite yet made the bookshelf obsolete, but those who favor e-books have no need for bookshelves any longer since they can store all of their books on one small device.

Modern-day gadgets have also allowed us to travel with our books wherever we go, as well as download new books in an instant. E-book readers, tablets and smartphones can all be used to read e-books and are great for traveling since you don’t have to deal with the hassle of carrying a bag of books along with you.

Interactive Reading and Customization

Technology has made interactive reading possible. On some devices, you can tap the names of characters or tap on single words to obtain more information about them. If you come across an unfamiliar word or lose track of who’s who in the book you’re reading, you can quickly and easily figure things out without needing a separate device to do so.

There are also apps that can help kids get and stay interested in reading by adding special effects to make them interactive. The Reading Rainbow app is one of the best examples of this, and it wouldn’t be surprising if similar apps for adults are developed in the near future. Videos and animated graphics can go a long way, though most great books inspire enough imagination all on their own.

Customization is another feature technology has brought to the table. E-book readers allow you to change the font, font size, screen brightness and more! If you have poor eyesight, for example, instead of seeking out large-print books, which can be hard to find, you can increase the font size on your e-reader. Many e-readers allow you to dim the backlight on the screen, so if you like to read in bed, the light won’t disrupt your partner. Technology allows us to tailor our reading experiences.

More Affordability

E-books are more affordable compared to physical copies of books, and most people have smartphones already, so they don’t need to purchase an extra device to read them. The affordability makes it possible for people to obtain and read more than ever before.

Technology has also given people the opportunity to reach out to other readers who enjoy the same genres, read reviews before they purchase books and have more interactions with authors overall. Some authors use Facebook Live to connect with their fans, for example. Modern tech has changed our relationship with books in a variety of ways that are mostly positive—though it’s doubtful e-books could ever replace print!

What are some other ways you think technology has changed our relationship with books? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!

About the Author: Cassie is a writer who enjoys reading novels in her spare time. She’s also a technology enthusiast and loves sharing information about the latest gadgets and the role they can play in our everyday lives.

Barbara Cameron’s ‘Home to Paradise’ Facebook Party

Home to Paradise Barbara Cameron
Home to Paradise, the final book in author Barbara Cameron's The Coming Home series, is not to be missed! Rose Anna Zook always thought she and John, one of Stoltzfus brothers, would marry, make a home together, and have children. But John, enjoying his Rumschpringe in the Englisch world, has other ideas. Rose Anna is determined to bring her man back into the Amish fold. John is equally determined to live his life free and unencumbered. Who will win this battle of wills? Will love prevail?

Join Barbara on Thursday, March 9, for a live author chat party on her Facebook page with fun prizes to be won! Click the graphic below for more details and to RSVP. Hope to see you there—bring a friend or two who loves Amish fiction!

Book info
Highly anticipated final book in The Coming Home Series from best-selling Amish author Barbara Cameron.

Rose Anna Zook has watched her two older sisters marry two Stoltzfus men and has always thought she and John, the third Stoltzfus brother, would marry, make a home together, and have children. But John has other ideas. He's enjoying his Rumschpringe in the Englisch world a little too much and isn't interested in returning to the Amish community-especially to marry.

Rose Anna is determined to bring her man back into the Amish fold. John is equally determined to live his life free and unencumbered. Who will win this battle of wills? Will love prevail?

Barbara Cameron has a heart for writing about the spiritual values and simple joys of the Amish. She is the best-selling author of more than 40 fiction and nonfiction books, three nationally televised movies, and the winner of the first Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award. Her books have been nominated for Carol Awards and the Inspirational Reader's Choice Award from RWA's Faith, Hope, and Love chapter. Barbara resides in Jacksonville, Florida.

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My Review:
"Home to Paradise" is the third book the Coming Home series and it is a great conclusion to the series.  The focus of this book is on the third Zook sister, Rose Anna, who is eager for her love to return to the Amish community.  However, John is enjoying his Rumschpringe a little too much and is not sure if he wants to return to the Amish world and way of life. 
This series has been enjoyable and great Amish fiction as Barbara has explored a practice that young people in the Amish community participate in before committing to the church and the Amish way of life for the rest of their lives.  This practice is like so many choices that we may have to make that leave us questioning whether they have helped or harmed in the end and question how something has altered the course lives have taken.  Has John's experience in the English world helped him to realize what is important in life or has it opened his eyes to the fun that he has been missing out on for so many years and he could experience for years to come if he doesn't return home?  This series has been unique and not "just a typical Amish novel" and I found it to be enjoyable and a taste of living Amish, a nice escape from the hectic pace of everyday life. 

To read other reviews included on this blog tour, go here!

*Thanks to the Litfuse Publicity Group for including me on this blog tour and for the complimentary copy of this book.*

New from @KelleyJana: a captivating book about the lives of Christians going through modern-day persecution in Sudan

Book info
It's rough and it's smooth. It's dark and it's light. It's a masterpiece. It's us. Here in Sudan. We are scared of it and drawn to it. There is an open door, and there is much opposition.

In the dusty, Islamic country of Sudan, Mia, who is raising her family in a Muslim country, has learned to boldly share her faith. Rania, the daughter of a wealthy Sudanese Arab, seeks to find the reason for her sister's sudden disappearance. Mia holds some of the answers, but both women quickly discover they must each walk through their own doors to freedom, the freedom that only comes when you trust God's sovereignty more than manmade security.

Part of New Hope Publishers' line of contemporary missional fiction, Door to Freedom, the sequel to Side by Side, opens the reader's eyes to modern-day persecution and the life of Muslims in Sudan. Based on real-life events, Door to Freedom also reveals some of the struggles that Christians face when living under Islamic law. The reader will be inspired to pray for those who are persecuted for their faith as well as for the salvation of the persecutors.

Author of the captivating novel Side by Side, Jana Kelley is a Texan who hardly ever lives in Texas. Raised in Southeast Asia, Jana developed a love for cross-cultural living early in life. Her love for writing came soon after. Jana returned to Texas to attend East Texas Baptist University. She and her husband married a month after she graduated, and by their second anniversary, they were living in a remote African town. After 13 years living in Africa and the Middle East, Jana, her husband, and their three boys moved to Southeast Asia where they currently live.

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My Review:
Jana Kelley's "Door to Freedom" is the sequel to her novel "Side by Side" and it is a great continuation.  Mia and her husband have decided to stay in Sudan with their children and continue their work; however there are issues that have arisen with the organization when Mia feels like they have finally gotten into a groove of living there.  Rania is seeking answers to her sister's disappearance.  As Mia and Rania's lives become more intertwined they also realize through whom they can each find answers and experience peace. 
Jana does an incredible job with bringing the characters and the story as a whole to life. 
While reading the details really brought to life the situations that these women find themselves in and the persecution that so many people are facing on a daily basis.  It is so hard to imagine in my "cushy" life the trials and the horror that so many live with each day.  This book is such a great reminder and so eye-opening to so many things that Christians and others are having to experience and choose whether to stand up for beliefs and live out their faith. 

To read other reviews included on this blog tour, go here!

*Thanks to the Litfuse Publicity Group for including me on this blog tour and for the complimentary copy of this book.*

Friday, February 24, 2017

"The Legend of the Sand Dollar"

Book Description from the publisher:

This newly illustrated edition of The Legend of the Sand Dollar renews the wonder and charm of the original and timeless tale written by Chris Auer. With new vibrant artwork from Bad Dog, Marley illustrator, Richard Cowdrey, this holiday classic is brought to life for a new generation. The Legend of the Sand Dollar tells the story of Kerry, as her cousin Jack reveals to her the deeper meaning of Easter hidden within something as small as a sand dollar. This Easter tale reminds everyone everywhere that when Jesus died for us and was resurrected, he promised hope for all.

My Review:
This is a beautiful hardcover book!  I loved it and was so thrilled to share it with my children.  The illustrations are so well-done, vibrant and full of details. The text is short to each page and the layout is ideal for children as they have shorter attention spans.  The text goes along nicely with the illustration on the corresponding page.  This is such an inspirational story and is perfect for this time of year as it is feeling spring-like and Easter will be here shortly.  Kerry learns the meaning of Easter, the real meaning, in a little thing that is found on the beach, a sand dollar.  This is a story that will stick with  my children forever and anyone who reads this book; a sand dollar will never be looked at or thought of in the same way again.  I highly recommend this book, this is a beautiful addition to every home's personal library. 

*Thanks to the Booklook Bloggers Program for the complimentary copy of this book.*

Thursday, February 23, 2017

"Fear Fighting"

Image result for fear fighting"Fear Fighting - awakening courage to overcome your fears," written by Kelly Balarie is a wonderful read that will encourage each of the readers and be an inspiration. 
There are two main sections of the book, the first section focusing on realizing that help is needed and coming to God in search of the help.  The second section is 8 chapters, each focusing on a specific fear-inducer.  Some of these fear-inducers include control, worry, competing and comparing one's self to others and one's past.  Following these sections is a 12 week study guide for using this in a small group study for a little bit extra to get out of this book.  It is one thing to read a book, it is another to read a book and discuss it with others.  I love that Kelly offers both with this book, and provides guidance to discussing and studying it with others. 
This is a great read, well worth your time to pick it up and read it and also to really work through it over a 12 week period as it is and will be a process to really make changes in one's life and overcome fears and live life differently.

*Thanks to the Baker Books Blogger Program for the complimentary copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.*

Sunday, February 19, 2017

"Rescue Me"

Image result for rescue me susan may warren
Susan May Warren is one of my favorite authors because the characters she creates become so real, as if they are truly alive and part of real life.  Susan's Montana Rescue series is no exception as the characters come alive and stick with you long after you finish reading!

"Rescue Me," book 2, focuses on Sam and Willow whom were both introduced in book 1; however Jess and Pete play large roles as do Sierra, Ian, Ben, and Kacey along with Chet and others.  Sam is respected in the community and he is responsible, reliable, really the ideal man and Sierra is the ideal counterpart to him, so then why is he drawn to Willow.  Willow is her mother's daughter, carefree, impulsive and leads with her heart.  Willow works odd jobs, but her heart is really into her position as a youth leader for the church; however the most recent trips she has taken them on have not ended as planned and the church decides to hire a young man Josh with a Bible degree.  Willow, Josh, and Sam sent out with a group of 7 kids to go for a day hike; however as with Willow's recent pattern, things don't go as planned and they find themselves hanging on for their lives and PEAK Rescue out looking for them.  Not only do they all need to be saved physically, but they all need rescuing from their pasts, their current struggles and trust God and their hearts.
This is a fast-paced read that is filled with adventure, wonderful characters and I cannot wait for book 3 to be out this summer to be back with this group again!

*Thanks to the Revell Reads Program for the complimentary copy of this book.*

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Shannon Popkin's 'Control Girl' Blog Tour and Prize Pack Giveaway

Control Girl Shannon Popkin
Are you trying to stay in control of your quest for peace, joy, and security . . . and you're exhausted? Shannon Popkin's debut book, Control Girl, is a must-read for anyone with a heart that craves control. Join Shannon as she shares what she has discovered about her own control struggles and about God from studying seven Control Girls in the Bible. Whether it was Eve's desire to know instead of trust, Sarah's inability to wait for God to move, or Rebekah's controlling hand on her family's future, each of these women's stories contain warnings and lessons for us today.

Learn how to give up control to God and become a Jesus girl! Enter to win a prize pack that will help you give up your Control Girl tendencies.


One grand prize winner will receive:

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on February 21. The winner will be announced February 22 on Shannon's blog.

Book info
About the book:

Tension, anger, fear, anxiety-it all begins with a heart that craves control.
Little fights with your husband and kids. Unhappiness when things don't match your version of perfect. When your perspective of how life should go replaces God's, you doom your quest for security, peace, and joy before it even starts.
Thankfully, there is a better way.
Join Shannon as she shares what she has discovered about her own control struggles and
about God from studying seven Control Girls in the Bible. Whether it was Eve's desire to know instead of trust, Sarah's inability to wait for God to move, or Rebekah's controlling hand on her family's future, each of these women's stories contain warnings and lessons for us today.
Learn how you too can lay down this burden of trying to control everything and find rest in surrendering to the One who truly is in control.
About the author:

Shannon Popkin is a wife and mom, a speaker and teacher, and a leader of small group studies. She's been published by "Family Fun," "MOMsense," "Focus on the Family Magazine," and other outlets. She is a contributing blogger for True Woman.com and has blogged for several years at shannonpopkin.com. "Control Girl" is her first book.
Find out more about Shannon at shannonpopkin.com.
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My Review:
I really enjoyed "Control Girl" and it fit perfectly with a study my Sunday School is currently working through on being content.  This book focused on surrendering our need to have control in all areas of our lives, our homes, our children, our husbands, our relationships, our work.  Shannon draws examples from women in the Bible to help each of us learn how to surrender the control, (or try to in some areas!), in order to live lives that are filled with peace and joy.  Shannon also shares her heart and her humor which makes this an excellent read as it is not "preachy" or lecturing, but a fun and inspiring read, but still gets the point across.  I loved really learning about these women, as a different perspective is offered and I felt like I really got to know them and who they were, instead of just a tidbit of what they each are well-known for.  Sarah, Miriam and Leah were my favorite chapters, although I really enjoyed the entire book.  This is one I am going to read again and revisit often.  I highly recommend this for individual and small group study.

To read other reviews included on this blog tour, go here!

*Thanks to the Litfuse Publicity Group for including me on this blog tour and for the complimentary copy of this book.*

Popkin1 Popkin2

Monday, February 13, 2017

"Moving Target"

Image result for moving target lynette eason
Lynette Eason has written another book that is totally and completely engrossing and impossible to put down!  I was completely hooked from the very start and read "Moving Target" is two sittings. 

Maddy and Quinn both have unresolved issues in their pasts and with their families.  Although, these two have known each for awhile now there is still so much they each do not know about the other and much they are holding back from each other and their friends and colleagues.  Now these two find themselves caught in the clutches of a madman or possibly more than one.  Maddy and Quinn have been identified as numbers 9 and 10 in a string of murders and the serial killer has kidnapped them and trapped them on an island on which they must find a way off of or die.  As Maddy and Quinn fight for their lives, they find their families being brought into this crazy game of survival and they are forced to face their families and unresolved issues while watching their backs. 
Maddy and Quinn have been in the previous novels in the Elite Guardians series, so it was great to be finally learning more about these two and really learning their stories as well as getting to spend more time with the other ladies and their families.  Lynette's writing is amazing, it flows so nicely, and is a great mix of romance and suspense and I completely become lost in the story and lose track of time staying up way too late reading and then it is hard to fall asleep with my mind still wrapped up in the story and in the characters' lives. 
I highly recommend this book, but you must read the other two books in the series first to really get to know all the characters.  If you haven't read them yet, definitely read "Always Watching" and "Without Warning."  I was so excited to read at the end of this book that book #4, "Chasing Secrets," is coming out this summer!  I am so looking forward to reading it after reading the first chapter that was shared!

*Thanks to the Revell Reads Blogger Program for the complimentary copy of this book."

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Want to learn how to make your marriage beautiful? @DorothyGreco reveals the secrets in her new book

Book info
What makes a marriage beautiful? Honesty? Compatibility? Physical and emotional intimacy?
All of these are important, but there's one component that determines the quality and longevity of a marriage more than anything else: a willingness to grow.
Because a wedding joins together two imperfect people, all couples experience disappointment, conflict, and pain. How husbands and wives respond to these challenges determines the kind of people they will become and the kind of marriage they will have.
Making Marriage Beautiful
 reveals how the pursuit of Christ results in profound transformation for both the individual and the marriage. Rather than offering clich├ęs and formulas, Greco relies on candor, humor, and real life stories to bring encouragement and wisdom to all couples, regardless of whether they have been married four weeks or forty years.
Dorothy Greco and her husband, Christopher, have spent their entire twenty-five-year marriage helping men and women create and sustain healthy marriages. They have served numerous churches in the Greater Boston area for thirty years. Dorothy's writing has been featured in "Relevant Magazine," "Christianity Today," "Sojourners," and "Her.meneutics." She is a regular contributor for "Gifted for Leadership," "Today's Christian Woman," and "Start Marriage Right." The Grecos have three sons and live near Boston.

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My Review:
This is an excellent book that I highly recommend for couples to read, whether they are engaged and planning to be married or they have been married for a few years, or married for many years.  Dorothy begins with this book with stating that she is not a marriage expert and her marriage is not perfect; however she and her husband are committed to making their marriage work and they have counseled many couples throughout the year.  This is just the beginning of her honesty and her heart that is shared throughout this entire book.  Marriage is a lot of work, but it can be so wonderful and Dorothy addresses so many things in this book that may cause disappointments and tension between husband and wife.  I love how the author shares her own personal stories and also little tidbits from others and wisdom from other authors, books and things that she has learned throughout the years.  The Nonnegotiables and Choosing Joy chapters are my favorite, even though I enjoyed the entire book and found it to be packed with so much and such an overall encouraging book to read. 

To read other reviews included on this blog tour, go here!

*Thanks to the Litfuse Publicity Group for including me on this blog tour and for the complimentary copy of this book.*

Thursday, February 9, 2017

"An Uncommon Protector"

Book Description from the publisher:
Overwhelmed by the responsibilities of running a ranch on her own, Laurel Tracey decides to hire a convict—a man who’s just scary enough to take care of squatters and just desperate enough to agree to a one year post.
The years following the war have been hard on Laurel Tracey. Both her brother and her father died in battle, and her mother passed away shortly after receiving word of their demise. Laurel has been trying to run her two hundred acre ranch as best she can.
When she discovers that squatters have settled in her north pasture and have no intention of leaving, Laurel decides to use the last of her money to free a prisoner from the local jail. If she agrees to offer him room and board for one year, he will have to work for her to pay off his debt.
Former soldier Thomas Baker knows he’s in trouble when he finds himself jailed because he couldn’t pay a few fines. Laurel’s offer might be his only ticket out. Though she’s everything he ever dreamed of in a woman—sweet and tender-hearted, yet strong—he’s determined to remain detached, work hard on her behalf, and count the days until he’s free again.
But when cattle start dying and Laurel’s life is threatened, Thomas realizes more than just his freedom is on the line. Laurel needs someone to believe in her and protect her property. And it isn’t long before Laurel realizes that Thomas Baker is far more than just a former soldier. He’s a trustworthy hero, and he needs more than just his freedom—he needs her love and care too.

My Review:
Shelley Shepard Gray has written another amazing historical romance as the setting really came alive as did the characters.  Laurel and Thomas both need something, and really someone to help them and they find that help in each other.  Laurel is trying to run the family ranch by herself as she is the only one left to do so, but it is too much for her to handle alone.  Thomas needs money but more than that he needs and wants his freedom, and he is determined to fulfill his end of the deal in exchange for his freedom.  As the two strive to protect and run the ranch it is not as smooth as it should be and they realize they have a fight on their hands, but also feelings are growing that they are torn between fighting or accepting. 
This is such a sweet story that is rich with historical detail and vivid imagery that transported me back in time to time when the country was trying to recover from a devastating war and yet it is also a time of growth and hope.  Laurel and Thomas were both so easy to empathize with and love; they are excellent main characters. 
I highly recommend this book to historical fiction fans!

*Thanks to the BookLook Bloggers Program for the complimentary copy of this book.* 

"Justice Delayed"

Image result for justice delayed patricia bradley

"Justice Delayed" is the first book in Patricia Bradley's new Memphis Cold Case series and it is a fast-paced, intriguing romantic suspense novel!  Andi's sister was murdered almost 2 decades ago; however new information has surfaced that the convicted killer is not actually the one who did the crime. Will is the assigned detective and he is determined to help Andi find out the truth.  However, they are in a race against time as the accused killer is about to be executed. 
I really enjoyed this book and found myself wanting to keep on reading to find out the truth and what really happened.  The book begins with introducing the reader to Stephanie in the first chapter and the dilemma she finds herself in.  Then it jumps ahead 18 years and to Stephanie's sister Andi being contacted by Stephanie's former roommate and here the guessing and who knows what and questions about what happened begins and keeps me guessing and wondering all the way through the book. 
Patricia does a great job at creating the characters and building the story and the mystery while weaving romance throughout it as well creating a nice mix. 
I am eagerly awaiting what Patricia will write next in this series!

*Thanks to the Revell Reads Blogger Program for the complimentary copy of this book.*

Meet an unusual witness to the greatest story ever told . . . a dog! Don't miss Ron Marasco's new book!

Book info

No one expected Barley to have an encounter with the Messiah.

He was homeless, hungry, and struggling to survive in first century Jerusalem. Most surprisingly, he was a dog. But through Barley's eyes, the story of a teacher from Galilee comes alive in a way we've never experienced before.
Barley's story begins in the home of a compassionate woodcarver and his wife who find Barley as an abandoned, nearly-drowned pup. Tales of a special teacher from Galilee are reaching their tiny village, but when life suddenly changes again for Barley, he carries the lessons of forgiveness and love out of the woodcarver's home and through the dangerous roads of Roman-occupied Judea.
On the outskirts of Jerusalem, Barley meets a homeless man and petty criminal named Samid. Together, Barley and his unlikely new master experience fresh struggles and new revelations. Soon Barley is swept up into the current of history, culminating in an unforgettable encounter with the truest master of all as he bears witness to the greatest story ever told.
Ron Marasco is a professor in the College of Communication and Fine Arts at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. His first book, "Notes to an Actor," was named by the American Library Association an Outstanding Book of 2008. His second book, "About Grief," has been translated into multiple languages, and he is currently completing a book on Shakespeare's sonnets. He has acted extensively on TV-from "Lost" to "West Wing" to "Entourage" to originating the role of Mr. Casper on "Freaks and Geeks"-and appeared opposite screen legend Kirk Douglas in the movie "Illusion," for which he also wrote the screenplay. Most recently, he has played the recurring role of Judge Grove on "Major Crimes." He has a BA from Fordham at Lincoln Center and an MA and Ph. D. from UCLA.

My Review:

Barley is a homeless dog and is struggling to survive when he is taken in by a nice couple.  Told from Barley's perspective, "The Dog Who Was There," offers a new take on Jesus' teachings and his interactions while living and teaching here on Earth.  Barley sees the world for what it actually is, the hardness, the poverty, yet also the love and kindness that some share openly and give wanting nothing in return. 
I was not really sure what to expect this book to be, and I enjoyed it!  I thought it was very well-written as the time period came alive as did the various characters.  Barley you cannot help but love, and the rawness and honesty that comes with the story being from his perspective really portrays the truth of this story. 

To read other reviews included on this blog tour, go here!

*Thanks to the Litfuse Publicity Group for the complimentary copy of this book.*

Friday, February 3, 2017

"Ninth City Burning"

For fans of Red Rising, Starship Troopers, and Ender’s Game comes an explosive, epic science fiction debut...
We never saw them coming. 
Entire cities disappeared in the blink of an eye, leaving nothing but dust and rubble. When an alien race came to make Earth theirs, they brought with them a weapon we had no way to fight, a universe-altering force known as thelemity. It seemed nothing could stop it—until we discovered we could wield the power too.
Five hundred years later, the Earth is locked in a grinding war of attrition. The talented few capable of bending thelemity to their will are trained in elite military academies, destined for the front lines. Those who refused to support the war have been exiled to the wilds of a ruined Earth.
But the enemy's tactics are changing, and Earth's defenders are about to discover this centuries-old war has only just begun. As a terrible new onslaught looms, heroes will rise from unlikely quarters, and fight back.
Author Bio:
J. Patrick Black has worked as a bartender, a lifeguard, a small-town lawyer, a homebuilder, and a costumed theme park character, all while living a secret double life as a fiction writer. While fiction is now a profession, he still finds occasion to ply his other trades as well. He lives in Boston, Massachusetts, where he likes to visit the ocean. NINTH CITY BURNING is his first (published) novel. He is at work on his next book.
For more information visit his website at http://www.jpatrickblack.com/, and connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.
"Grabbed my attention from the first page—fresh and un-put-downable. An intriguing cocktail of science fiction, fantasy, and military adventure stirred into something new and satisfying." —Patricia Briggs, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Fire Touched 
"A finely crafted and original science-fantasy epic full of wonder and spectacle. Highly recommended." —Anthony RyanNew York Times bestselling author of The Waking Fire
"Ninth City Burning is simultaneously an epic fantasy, a science fiction adventure, a coming of age story, and a delight." —Seanan McGuireNew York Times bestselling author of A Red Rose Chain
"Fans of Ender, Harry Potter, Starship Troopers, and manga-style armored mobile suits will find Black’s debut the perfect ticket to a fantastic new world…This thrilling kickoff to an action-packed series will appeal to those who enjoy science fiction mixed with fantasy." —Booklist
"Black is a fresh new voice who pays respect to the classics of SF in this enjoyable adventure debut…Given this strong foundation, readers can expect more thrilling adventures from this new author." —Publishers Weekly
"Ninth City Burning is an intense, complex, engrossing story, a tale of multiple lives intersecting… Fans of both fantasy and science-fiction will want to keep an eye out for the next, and the next…" —Jean Johnson, national bestselling author of The Terrans

This is a must-read for fans of YA sci-fi/fantasy novels.  J. Patrick Black has created a world and characters full of intrigue, magic and a book that is easy to become lost in.  This is the first book in a series, so there are a lot of details shared to help set the scene and introduce the character to this world and to the many characters.  This is definitely an author and a series to watch!

Thursday, February 2, 2017