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Friday, December 13, 2013

The Wall Around Your Heart review

The Wall Around Your Heart Review:
Family members hurt us. Friends betray us. Fellow Christians deceive us. But Jesus provides a path through the pain—the Lord’s Prayer.

In The Wall Around Your Heart, Mary DeMuth shows you that you can reach wholeness and healing in the aftermath of painful relationships by following the road map of the Lord’s Prayer. You’ll walk through story after story of hurt people who are led through biblical truth into amazing, life-sustaining, joyful growth.

Life is hard. People can be mean and petty and awful. But they can also be amazing and beautiful and sacrificial. God is good. He is faithful. You can trust him with your relationships. “He’ll send people to call out what is hard in your heart,” Mary shares. “And that’s a gift to you.”

Allow God to access the wall around your heart. Dare to say, “Tear down the bricks, Lord, whatever it takes.” Pray first. Ask for bravery—for yourself and for others. Risk engaging despite your hurt. Seek the shelter of Jesus.

You don’t have to resign yourself to your wounds! You can rise above the pain. You’ll usher in a new life—an openhearted way of relating to others that expands the kingdom of God. In the process, you’ll draw closer to Jesus, be healed, and become an agent of healing to others.

My Review:
If you have been a Christian for any length of time, then you are familiar with the Lord's prayer.  You know, "Our Father, who art in heaven...."  We have read it, recited it, studied it and memorized it.  I wasn't really sure how DeMuth was going to be able to add much more to it.  Then I read the book.

I was captured by the intro and couldn't stop after that.  "Why do we live in the paradox that if we are to love others, we must accept God's love for us?" struck my heart and I knew that this book was going to speak to me.  I wasn't wrong.

DeMuth combines Bible study with current situations and her experiences to create a book that makes you feel like she is your best friend chatting with you.  No condemnation for the parts you fail at, encouragement to not give up, and a sweet honesty that just makes you feel at home.  I especially liked the final chapter (the appendix) titled "Dealing with Wolves".  You know who they are - the christian who is more pharisee than friend.  Her advice is Biblical, God-honoring, and yet helps us to protect ourselves from further hurt.  

I highly recommend this book!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Return to Me Review

Return to Me Review:

Description:


After years of watching his children and grandchildren wander from their faith, Iddo's prayers are answered: King Cyrus is allowing God's chosen people to return to Jerusalem. Jubilant, he joyfully prepares for their departure, only to learn that his family, grown comfortable in the pagan culture of Babylon, wants to remain. 


Zechariah, Iddo's oldest grandson, feels torn between his grandfather's ancient beliefs and the comfort and success his father enjoys in Babylon. But he soon begins to hear the voice of God, encouraging him to return to the land given to his forefathers. 

Bringing to life the biblical books of Ezra and Nehemiah, Return to Me tells the compelling story of Iddo and Zechariah, the women who love them, and the faithful followers who struggle to rebuild their lives in obedience to the God who beckons them home.

My Review:

I'm a sucker for Biblical fiction.  Give me a story set in Bible times that pulls from books of the Bible and I get absorbed.  This book is no different.


Austin is no stranger to Biblical fiction.  She has written the Chronicles of the Kings series which are currently in the top 100 of several categories on Amazon as I type despite having been released as long as 8 years ago.  Still, I haven't read those, so I didn't know what to expect here.  Fortunately I wasn't disappointed.

Austin has brought the Bible to life.  What can so easily be glossed over when read in Scripture becomes heart wrenching when you get to KNOW the people.  For example, Ezra 1:5 tells us that, "Then the family leaders of Judah and Benjamin and the priests and Levites got ready to go to Jerusalem—everyone God had caused to want to go to Jerusalem to build the Temple of the Lord."  Upon the first reading you don't really think about the part I italicized.  But not everyone went.  That means some left family members behind when they began their journey.  Mothers may have left grown children and grandchildren, as Iddo and his wife did.  How hard that must have been, how bittersweet.  Austin pulls those details out. 

She helps us to see the truth of what life may have been like when this rag tag band of people came upon the destruction of the temple.  How their new neighbors may have reacted upon seeing them.  But the book goes deeper than the general.  We see, meet, and grow to love the individual characters.  We understand how Zechariah may feel torn between obeying God and leaving his parents.  The struggle of loving someone who doesn't love God.  Questioning if what he thought he heard from God was really from God.  


Is this book worth reading? YES!  I look forward to the next in this new series, to discovering what Austin will tackle, renewing friendships with these characters, and meeting any new ones.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Jude, A Novel review

Jude: A Novel review:

Description:

Jude Asher first called on outside forces to change his destiny as a child. Now a wealthy entrepreneur with his star soaring, he's prepared to make his most daring bet ever to reach the pinnacle of earthly power. Jude's twin brother, Thomas, has chosen a different path as a reporter for The New York Times. As much as he's tried to cut himself off from his brother's trajectory, he finds himself drawn back in ... and troubled by the secret that only he knows.

Surrounded by principalities and powers, each brother must choose their own path—for good or for evil.

My Review:

This book has an interesting concept.  Twins, one chooses darkness and quickly rises to power as a result.  The other chooses.....nothing, not darkness or light, and yet he is affected by his brothers choices.

This has the feeling of an end times novel, as if we are witnessing the rise of the beast.  However Nesbit seems to be writing a series and the ending of this installment leaves a LOT of questions and very few resolutions.  I have to admit that I am not a fan of books like this.  When I read a book I want closure, not an intro to another.  So this was a huge drawback for me.

The story line has promise though and I found Nesbit's writing comfortable and entertaining.  When the inevitable second in the series is published (release as yet unknown) I am likely to purchase just to satisfy my curiosity.  

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Seeker of Stars review

Seeker of Stars: A Novel Review:

Book Description:


As a boy, Melchior is fascinated by stars but has rigid obligations to apprentice with his rug-making father. When his life is radically changed, he is propelled onto a new path full of danger and glory in pursuit of a special star. The journey leads Melchior to reflect on life and death, dreams and duty, and to find unusual reconciliation within his family and with the God he never knew he sought. Destined to become a classic, Seeker of Stars offers a fresh retelling of the story of the magi, and will appeal to people of all ages and faiths.


Book Review:


First, I purchased this one.  Yep, it intrigued me that much.  At only about 140 pages it is a quick read, but that doesn't mean shallow.  While there isn't enough time for deep backgrounds, or great character growth, there is enough time to get drawn in, and drawn in I was.


In the Nativity story we tend to focus (rightly so) on Jesus and his immediate family.  Fish points us towards the Magi, though, and the story of how one might have been affected as a result of his journey to bring gifts to the King.  As I have stated in previous reviews, I am a sucker for Biblical fiction and this is no exception.  What is different is that there is little mention of the magi in the Bible.  They are a footnote, a reminder of those who had been looking for a sign.  Fish breathes life into them, and as a result the story of Jesus and the events surrounding his early years have more depth.  


Melchior reminds us that the people mentioned in the Bible were real,  with a life beyond what is recorded.  They had hopes and dreams.  They loved.  They struggled.  They fought and reconciled.  And above all they were forever changed when they came face to face with the King.   

Encouragement for Today review

Encouragement for Today: Devotions for Everyday Living review:

I love the Proverbs 31 team and I have been receiving their daily devo's for years now.  When I was given the opportunity to review this book I just knew I had to have it!

Filled with 100 devotions such as "Jesus Loves those in Messy Marriages", and "How to Let Peace Rule", and "When You Feel Like you're Not Enough" you are sure to find a devotion that feels like it was written just for you.  And with contributers such as Glynnis Whitwer (author of I Used to Be So Organized: Help for Reclaiming Order and Peace), Lynn Cowell (author of His Revolutionary Love ), T. Suzanne Eller (author of The Unburdened Heart), Tracie Miles (author of Stressed-Less Living), Renee Swope (author of A Confident Heart), Lysa TerKeurst and more you just KNOW that the writing is going to touch you and be meaningful.

Many (if not all - I didn't check ALL of them!) have not been published through the P31 daily devo's - meaning if you get the daily devo's this won't be the same thing all over again.  Which is good because while I don't want to have to search back through internet archives for something, I also don't want to pay money for something I have already read.  

I especially like the "Remember", "Reflect", "Respond", and "Power Verses" at the end of each devo.  They help you dig a little deeper and bring it to a personal level.  These are great for journaling if you are into that.

So, if you are looking for an awesome women's devotional give this one a try!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Women of Christmas review

The Women of Christmas: Experience the Season Afresh with Elizabeth, Mary, and Anna description:

A sacred season is about to unfold for three women whose hearts belong to God.
Elizabeth is barren, yet her trust in God remains fertile. Mary is betrothed in marriage, yet she is willing to bear God’s Son. Anna is a widow full of years, yet she waits patiently, prayerfully for the Messiah to appear in the temple courts.

Following in their footsteps, you too can prepare for the Savior to enter your heart, your mind, and your life in a vibrant, new way. Best-selling author Liz Curtis Higgs explores the biblical stories of Elizabeth, Mary, and Anna, unwrapping each verse with tender care and introducing you afresh to The Women of Christmas.

My Review:
I have always loved the way Liz Curtis Higgs has been able to walk through Bible verses and bring the people to life and this book is no exception.  She pulls from many different Bible translations to give us real insight into what these special women in the Christmas story may have thought, felt, and experienced.  But she doesn't stop at just these women, Higgs pushes us to consider our own faith; how might we have responded?

The addition of traditional Christmas song lyrics at the beginning of the chapters is charming.  I also enjoyed the way Higgs inserted the thoughts of those who participated in the first presentation of this study.  A great way to honor them. 

There is a Bible study section in the back of the book to help you dig deeper into Scripture should you choose to.  All in all this is a great study to do alone or with a group during the Christmas season!

Thank you WaterBrook Press for the opportunity to read and review this title!

Friday, November 1, 2013

My name is Erin review

My Name is Erin series review:

Description:
This series of books written by Erin Davis, a woman passionate about sharing God's truth.  In the My Name is Erin series, you are invited into the world of a young woman who is getting to know herself, learn God's truth, develop a plan for radical faith and she on a mission to make a difference!

My Review:
These are perfect for a preteen girl as they are each less than 100 pages long, each can stand alone, and are cutely illustrated.  Erin Davis does a great job of talking on a preteen level without sounding preachy.

In One Girl's Mission to Make a Difference, Davis address topics such as accepting God's purpose for your life (and discovering it!), where we should look for validation, having a willing heart, overcoming a feeling of inadequacy. 

In One Girl's Journey to Discover Truth, we learn the difference between relative and absolute truth, what it means to put on the "belt of truth" and why it is important, how truth can become twisted and why that is damaging, why it is important to study God's truth and how to stand for the truth.

In One Girl's Journey to Discover Who She Is, why gender is important, the role of "image-bearer", why it is good to be a girl, what being a girl does NOT mean, and life lessons from Eve.

And in One Girl's Plan for Radical Faith, Davis discusses what it is to be radical for Jesus, what might keep us from being radical and turn us into lukewarm Christians, how to truly follow Jesus, why we need to be different and how to do it, and 5 mini steps to "turn up the heat" on our faith.

What I especially liked is that each book includes the Gab Gallery, a group of girls from across the country that were interviewed about what it is to be a girl.  It lets the reader know that they aren't alone in their thinking and it helps them relate.  I also like that each book has a place for the girls to write their thoughts throughout. 

I liked them so much that I gave them to my 13 year old to read.  Her thoughts?  "Their pretty cool." 

Thanks Moody Publishers for the opportunity to read and review these books!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Review: Women Living Well: Find Your Joy in God, Your Man, Your Kids, and Your Home


Women Living Well: Find Your Joy in God, Your Man, Your Kids, and Your Home
Women Living Well: Find Your Joy in God, Your Man, Your Kids, and Your Home by Courtney Joseph

My rating: 5 of 5 stars



I'll admit, I have not been a follower of Courtney Joseph's nor a subscriber to her blog Women Living Well. I had seen some of her posts on Facebook through mutual friends, and I did know she was a conservative Christian and her family lifestyle reflected that. When I had the opportunity to review her new book, Women Living Well: Find Your Joy in God, Your Man, Your Kids, and Your Home I was intrigued. The model of a conservative Christian home is not new to me, and it is one that my family strives towards as well. Here was a woman who was not only making it work, but loving it. I wanted to know more.

Joseph is honest in her book and recognizes that this lifestyle may rub some people the wrong way, but she also explains why it works for her family and why she believes it will work for any family. I like that she begins the book with the focus on God first. After all, that is our first area of service and if our relationship with Him isn't working, none of our other relationships will work well either. She reminds us that we NEED to connect with God, that "no one can study the Bible for (us)" we need to "drink of His living water and live well".

Then she moves to the next relationship in our life, the one with our spouse. That we need to give him our best, not our leftovers. We are reminded that our actions and reactions in that relationship are more a reflection of us rather than a statement about our spouse. From there she moves to parenting our children and finally to actually managing our homes. The primary theme is about how we choose to respond to our circumstances and not about how our circumstances should change to suit us. For me, that is a very Biblical position.

I will say this book is not for everyone. If you take issue with a husband being the leader in the house then you will not appreciate the wisdom of this book. If you think the picture of a wife at home serving her husband and children is antiquated, then you should probably pass on this book. But if you want to create a home based upon Biblical principles then give this a read, you will be encouraged.

Joseph's writing style if friendly and you feel like you are chatting with a good friend over a cup of coffee. She is honest, sincere, and not pretentious. This would be a good gift for a bride to be or a newlywed and a great addition to a church library.

I did receive a digital copy of this book in exchange for a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.



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Friday, September 27, 2013

Review: The Awesome Book about God for Kids


The Awesome Book about God for Kids
The Awesome Book about God for Kids by Sandy Silverthorne

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



Written for upper elementary school kids, The Awesome Book about God for Kids has some good ideas. Share the character traits of God with children, include Bible verses and stories, spell out the morals of the stories so that children can understand them. The simple drawings included are cute, the chapters are short and as a result the child's mind doesn't wander while reading.

Perhaps I'm too old fashioned though, when it comes to retelling Bible stories. I tend to think that an author shouldn't take a lot of liberties with it. Ms. Silverthorne, in my opinion, does. From Daniel being portrayed as a clerk and the administrator's stealing his calendar to try to find some dirt on him, to Abram's birthday party, to the women who stood before Solomon with the life of a child in their hands saying "liar liar pants of fire". It's just a little too much creative license for me. At this age a child should be ready to read the accurate accounts from the Bible without having to turn it into a child's tale.

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



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Review: Daniel for Lunch: The Tasty Tale of Daniel in the Lions' Den


Daniel for Lunch: The Tasty Tale of Daniel in the Lions' Den
Daniel for Lunch: The Tasty Tale of Daniel in the Lions' Den by Kelly Pulley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars



This is a charming retelling of the Biblical story of Daniel and the lion's den. Kelly Pulley writes the story in rhyming prose that children will enjoy, and her illustrations are cute and captivating as well.

While there is no getting around the possible scariness of people being fed to lions, Kelly manages to tell the story in such a way that little ones can instead focus on the protection of God and Daniel's dedication. The only thing I would have liked to have seen in the story is that Daniel and King Darius were more than just king and servant. Still, this would be a wonderful addition to any children's library.



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Review: Sky Jumpers

Sky Jumpers: Book 1 
by Peggy Eddleman

My Review:

An awesome story of how we are all gifted differently, and how that is a blessing.  Hope, an orphan adopted by one of the town council families, has spent the first 12 years of her life attempting to do what the town thinks is important-invent.  In a world in which all technology is gone inventions are what are bringing the world back to a modern lifestyle.  But for Hope, each years Invention Day is just a reminder of what she isn't, an inventor.  Every invention she has ever attempted has failed.  

But when strangers come to town and try to steal the town's most important invention - an antibiotic for a deadly disease, Hope discovers that being a great inventor isn't always what is most important.  

I really enjoyed the story and the determination of Hope throughout the book.  She never gives up, which is a great message for our young people.  I also like the theme of the book, that being like everyone else isn't always the best thing.  Sometimes it is better to be your own person.  

The characters are well developed but there are a few elements of the story that I wish were a little more fleshed out.  Perhaps they will be in future installments.  We read about a sickness that is almost a death sentence without the antibiotics, but that is about all we are told.  We are told about the "Bomb's Breath", a layer of compressed are left behind after WWIII, that is deadly to all who breathe it.  However, I still don't really understand what it is.

Still, the message of this story make it worth reading, and who can resist a 12 year old hero that discovers being who she is is who she was meant to be?



Monday, September 23, 2013

Great Little Gifts to Knit review

Great Little Gifts to Knit: 30 Quick and Colorful Patterns

Publisher's Description:
Today's knitters are avid—and busy. Although they love to knit for friends and family, and enjoy trying out new patterns and stitch techniques, they're constantly faced with the challenge of finding enough time to complete their projects. Great Little Gifts to Knit solves this problem. Jean Moss, author ofSweet Shawlettes, has designed 30 fun, fresh, beautiful patterns that incorporate traditional knitting techniques from all over the world: from Fair Isle and Aran knits to Peruvian intarsia patterns and Japanese shadow knitting techniques. Beautiful, clever, and, most of all, quick to knit, these projects offer knitters a chance to learn and experiment with new techniques—all in projects that can be made in less than a weekend.

My Review:
When I began to explore the patterns in this book, I'll be honest - I didn't make it past the first pattern before I had to pick up my needles and start a project!  A friend had just welcomed his son into the world (a bit earlier than expected) so when I saw the Cuddle Cocoon pattern I just knew it was perfect.
(Say 'hi' to my preemie model, Thomas Michael, a Berenguer doll)

It took about a day to complete and I love the way the knit stitches spiral around the cocoon.  I also liked that the pattern included an advanced version (above) and a less advanced version (the knit stitches don't spiral).  And if this pattern is typical of the remaining patterns then they really are great gifts that knit up quick!

So, once I finished this cutie, I flipped through the remaining patterns and they are awesome too!  Legwarmers, shawlettes, scarves, hats, mittens, belts, smartphone sleeves, tea cozies, dog jackets and so much more!  What an awesome addition to my pattern library.  The photos are gorgeous, the patterns are things that I would really make and give as gifts and my finished project looks just as good as the ones photo'd.  Love.  Love.  Love!

If you want to add this to your pattern library you can order from Amazon here.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Review: Forever Friday: A Novel


Forever Friday: A Novel by Timothy Lewis

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is an amazing love story of two people committed to not letting life divide them. If you enjoyed The Notebook then you will probably enjoy this one too.

The basic gist: Adam is given the task of selling the possessions of a deceased woman and happens upon some photo albums that contain numerous postcards dated every Friday for many years. Each postcard is a love poem. Having recently been divorced (not of his own choosing) he becomes determined to learn about the couple the postcards belong to and finding the secret to their lasting love.

Even better is that the story is loosely based upon the life of the author's great-aunt and uncle. So not only is this an amazing love story, but it really is an amazing love story. And the characters are so well developed you quickly grow to love both Huck and Gabe (the main characters). The book follows their romance from before their first meeting through their death and Adam's discovery. And it leaves us with hope for new love as well.

So if you are looking for a love story that will sweep you off your feet, this is it!

(I did receive a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.)



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Friday, September 6, 2013

Review: Invisible: A Novel


Invisible: A Novel by Ginny L. Yttrup

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Invisible follows three women, each struggling with their own problems, each life intersecting, and ultimately each woman helping the other to heal. The characters are real, the problems are real, and the plot is amazing.

Ellyn has struggled most of her life with image issues. That voice in her head condemns her body with labels like "fat" and has convinced her that she will forever be alone as a result. Anyone who has ever struggled with not meeting the American image of what a woman should look like, finding themselves tipping the scale, will be able to identify with Ellyn. She can easily see that others are awesomely made by God, but struggles to see that in herself.

Twila represents the opposite side of the scale, literally. A young woman that many would see on the street and assume the worst due to her facial tattoo, has also struggled with her body image. Rather than escaping life by turning to food she has attempted to control it by starving herself. A woman who has tried to literally disappear from sight. Twila has come to accept that she is created in the image of God, but she sometimes needs reminded of it.

Sabina is the gal that everyone thinks has it all together. She is beautiful, married to a great guy, and has a successful career. And yet, she feels lost. She struggles with depression and she has run away from her life.

In this novel all three lives weave together to show us how God can heal even our deepest hurts. How His truth an change lives.

You will forget you are reading a novel and instead feel like you are there chatting with these gals, or that someone has peeked into your life and written it. I look forward to reading Lost and Found: A Novel next. (I know, a little late getting to the game!)

I did receive a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Review: Day of the Elephants

Day of the Elephants
By: Ron Swager and Ed Chinn

Book Description:

Try to imagine that you are an eight-year-old boy living a village life of peace, safety, and familial love. But, suddenly, you are caught in the explosion of death. In an instant, everything familiar is destroyed. You leave your childhood forever. For the next twenty years, you see the darkest possibilities of humanity. And then, you touch the majestic beauty and grace that triumph over the darkness. This is a story you won't forget.



My Review:

This is one of those stories that will cause you to look at your own life and realize that no matter how "bad" you may think things are, they could be worse.  Roland Deah was a young boy who had his whole life turned upside down, went through unimaginable horrors, and still manages to keep a positive attitude and focused on Jesus.  I am amazed at what he has overcome and the way God intervened so many times in his life, truly showing that His plans are for our good.

While the writing is not amazing,(Ron Swager primarily writes manuals and business plans) the story is such that it doesn't matter.   Ron Swager meets Roland Deah when Roland shows up to apply for a part time job.  He then begins to tell his story, and this is the story that Ron Swager shares with us.  


Towards the end of the book, Roland (already in America) questions why the atrocities in Liberia are not on our news channels.  How can we as a country not see the killing of so many people as being news worthy?  I ask the same question.  While I knew the history of Liberia's creation before this book, I was admittedly unfamiliar with the struggles and strife in the country today.  This book puts a name and a face to the reality of what is going on in that country.  

But Day of the Elephants does so much more than that.  It reminds us that although the bull elephants may fight, the grass does not always lose (despite the African proverb that says otherwise).  We are not alone in this, and although terrible things may happen around us and even to us, we can overcome them with Jesus.  He never leaves us or forsakes us.   

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

review: The Noticer Returns

The Noticer Returns
The Noticer Returns: Sometimes You Find Perspective and Sometimes Perspective Finds You

By: Andy Andrews

Book Description:
Perspective is a powerful thing.

Andy Andrews has spent the past five years doing a double take at every white-haired old man he sees, hoping to have just one more conversation with the person to whom he owes his life.
Through a chance encounter at a local bookstore, Andy is reunited with the man who changed everything for him – Jones, also known as “The Noticer.”

As the story unfolds, Jones uses his unique talent of noticing little things that make a big difference. And these “little things” grant the people of Fairhope, Alabama, a life-changing gift - perspective. Along the way, families will be united, financial opportunities will be created, and readers will be left with powerfully simple solutions to the everyday problems we all face.

Through the lens of a parenting class at the Grand Hotel in Point Clear, Alabama, Jones guides a seemingly random group to ask specific questions inspired by his curious advice that “You can’t believe everything you think.” Those questions lead to answers for which people have been searching for centuries:

  • How do we begin to change the culture in which we live?
  • What is the key to creating a life of success and value?
  • What if what we think is the end…is only the beginning?

  • What starts as a story of one person's everyday reality unfolds into the extraordinary principles available to anyone looking to create the life for which they were intended.

    My Review:

    It's no secret that I am an Andy Andrews fan, especially his fiction titles.  They inspire, they cause the reader to do some critical thinking and self-evaluation.  This one is no different.  Although the story revolves around a parenting class, the premise applies to parent and non-parent alike.  The culture we are creating in our children is not working.  We are not teaching the next generation the skills they need to succeed.  Change begins with us.....now.

    Before you think, "I don't have kids so this book just won't be for me," let me say that the WHOLE story isn't about parenting class or even the next generation.  It's about us, you and me, taking every thought captive.  It's about changing our focus and finding our purpose.  Sounds like a tall order, and perhaps it is.  But Andrews covers it in his laid back, real life, comfortable way.  

    In this edition, Jones returns and we meet a few of the people whose lives he has previously touched.  We see the impact he has had on them both financially and spiritually.  And we meet a few more.  A family that has spent their whole lives struggling to keep up with the Joneses-only to lose it all.  Jones steps in and has a lesson for all of us in this one.  

    So with the newest Andrews book I can honestly say, I am still hooked.  The message is clear, the writing in engaging, and the story is interesting.  How can you go wrong with that?

    Saturday, July 20, 2013

    Review: The Thank You Stone


    The Thank You Stone
    The Thank You Stone by Kathryn T. Hegeman

    My rating: 3 of 5 stars



    A young boy learns two lessons in this tale. First, there is pleasure to be found in helping others, and second, "your kind heart and helpful way can help everyone have a happier day".

    A simple story with a moral message set in a time of motorcars and year 5 (rather than grade 5) school. It didn't rate higher with me due to the confusion in the writing style. The first several paragraphs are rhyming while most of the rest of the story is not.

    The book includes a glossary at the end which I found wonderful to use with my daughter. Great teaching tool! I also enjoyed the "what might happen next?" section and the way it challenges the reader to continue the story.

    I received an ARC copy of this book for review purposes.



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    Friday, July 19, 2013

    Review: God Calling for Kids: Based on the classic devotional edited by A. J. Russell


    God Calling for Kids: Based on the classic devotional edited by A. J. Russell
    God Calling for Kids: Based on the classic devotional edited by A. J. Russell by Phil A. Smouse

    My rating: 5 of 5 stars



    With short daily devotions and a Bible verse this is the perfect daily devotional for little ones. The illustrations are charming and I like the way the devotions are written as if God is speaking directly to your child. For example:

    I am with you. Follow Me and do not be afraid. Marvelous things are about to happen. Remember, miracles are what I do naturally. Nothing is ever too big or too difficult for Me. (July 19)

    It is a great way to remind your child of who God is, what He is capable of, and how much He loves each of us.

    I received an advance reader copy for review purposes.



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    Review: More Last-Minute Knitted Gifts


    More Last-Minute Knitted Gifts
    More Last-Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson

    My rating: 4 of 5 stars



    The adorable hat on the cover of this book is what first drew me to it and caused me to agree to review it when offered the chance. Fortunately there are several other patterns included that make it well worth the purchase. Among them is an adorable huggable house, an easy baby cardigan, some beautiful fingerless gloves and scarves.

    The patterns are broken down based upon the amount of time needed to complete them. The shorter the time the more simple the pattern. To be honest, the less time, the less I liked the pattern. Still, the patterns that take more than 4 hours to complete are gifts that I would be proud to give.



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    Review: Lace One-Skein Wonders: 101 Projects Celebrating the Possibilities of Lace


    Lace One-Skein Wonders: 101 Projects Celebrating the Possibilities of Lace
    Lace One-Skein Wonders: 101 Projects Celebrating the Possibilities of Lace by Judith Durant

    My rating: 5 of 5 stars



    I love the whole "one skein" series and this is a wonderful addition! With projects from baby leg warmers, hats and blankets to adult hats, wristlets and shawls and scarves how can you go wrong? The yarn weights vary from lace weight to worsted making the projects and with the variety of projects there is something for the novice to the advanced!

    My only complaint is that yarn weights are not included with the patterns. Instead specific yarns are included leaving the knitter to search the yarn out to determine the yarn weight and an appropriate substitute if desired. Still, that is not enough to keep this from gracing the shelf of any knitters library.

    Thank you for the advanced copy for review purposes!



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    Review: Shadow Chaser


    Shadow Chaser
    Shadow Chaser by Jerel Law

    My rating: 4 of 5 stars



    The quarterlings gather from all over the earth for Angel School to learn how to battle. Little did they know what they were preparing for.

    In this, the third of the series, Jonah faces a loss so great that he questions God. I have to be honest in that I didn't feel like Law spent enough time exporing Jonah's feelings in this (it occurs at the end of the book) and that it is kind of glossed over. All the "right" answers are given to him and all the "right" emotions are displayed but the process feels rushed. If a young person who has experienced such a loss were to read this they might feel cheated.

    Other than that this is another good installment in a positive series for young people looking for action and adventure.



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    Review: Wonderfully Made


    Wonderfully Made
    Wonderfully Made by Joyce Meyer

    My rating: 5 of 5 stars



    "God gives all of us unique gifts. We just have to discover what they are."

    Joyce Meyer's children's book reminds us that everyone is special in God's eyes, and we each have a unique gift and talent if we just take the time to discover it. Hayley Hippo is so busy trying to imitate the talents of her friends that she becomes frustrated that she can't find her own talent. When a friend reminds her, "God didn't make you to be like everyone else, He made you to be you!" she finally discovers her own gift.

    The illustrations are cute and the story is endearing. It captured the attention of my 4 year old and opened the door for some wonderful discussions.



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    Review: The Reason


    The Reason by William Sirls

    My rating: 5 of 5 stars


    This is one of those books that you finish reading and just have to tell everyone about! I'll be honest, it lingered on my Kindle for a while before I finally gave it a go. I wasn't sure how good it would be after reading the description. I'm glad I read it!

    This is one of those books that will make you cry, both in the sad and the good kind of way. While the characters won't surprise you, and neither will the message for that matter, the story is one that will speak to your heart.

    A man who experienced loss at a young age and as a result has given up on God.  A woman who has spent her life being self sufficient, who has never failed at fixing the problem encounters a problem she can't fix.  A single mom struggling to get by with a son who has become ill.  A blind pastor, his wife and their son who is mentally challenged attempt to minister to a congregation that has dwindled.  And a woman with a past that she doesn't think she can escape.  All have their lives change when a lightning bolt strikes a cross in front of a church and they join a carpenter in repairing it.

     The message is clear, God wants to be a part of your life, He wants to be here with you - if you only believe!  Not only does the author make the characters in the book come to life, but we are able to identify with them and I venture to say you will find parts of yourself in one of them, which is probably the point.

    William Sirls, the author, has graciously agreed to give 5 Sunflowers at Home's Book Review readers an autographed copy of this book. If you would like to a chance to be one of those recipients enter below or you can purchase a copy of The Reason on Amazon by clicking here.

    Still not sure if it is for you?  Read the first three chapters here.