Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Joy Restored by Jude Urbanski book review

Joy Restored
By: Jude Urbanski

Joy Restored is a definite must read! Once I started this book, I could not put it down. Jude Urbanski draws you in and won’t let you go. Seth and Katarina become real people as you learn about them and their problems. Seth’s wife and child died and he is afraid to love again. Katarina’s husband was killed and she has lost her faith and trust in God. While reading their story, your own faith and trust in God will be challenged and tested.

What do you do when you have lost everything and don’t know where to turn? Seth learned he had to acknowledge God was in charge of his life and he had to accept what he couldn’t change. Focusing on what he had instead of what he’d lost was a big step. What do we tend to do? Do we think about what we no longer have, harbor bitterness toward God over what He has “taken away,” or turn away from God altogether? God has promised peace when we believe and trust Him. He walks the way with us. When we listen long enough, there comes a peace. Faith is God’s gift to us, and we’ve only to accept. Faith involves belief and trust. Happiness might be connected with circumstances, but joy was different. Reading this book enlightens the difference! I took to heart these passages in Joy Restored and feel closer to God than when I started this book. Joy Restored will draw you closer as well and increase your faith and trust in God and His faithfulness.

You will enjoy getting to know Seth, Katarina, her children, and Seth’s parents. Follow along on their journey to the peace God brings when they fully trust in Him. My faith, love, trust, and peace have grown just from reading this book and testing where I stand with God. Yours will be, too. This book is the first in the series. I can’t wait to read the next one! Joy Restored is for anyone who loves romances with a strong Christian background. You won’t be disappointed!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Isabell'e Inning by Donna Winters

Isabelle’s Inning
By: Donna Winters

I loved this book by Donna Winters! She hits a home run with this story. Isabelle Dorlon’s mother has a rooming house where Jack Weatherby stays. He wants to play on the Erskine College baseball team. Isabelle’s father died and she and her brother, Tracy, are keeping his broom-making business going. Isabelle’s Inning is about faith, hope, love, and trust. Once you meet the characters, you are drawn in and don’t want to stop reading until you finish the book!

In one part of the book, there is a debate whether the automobile will take off, or if the horse and carriage will always be the mode of transportation. Erskine and Robinson debaters are squaring off to see which college will win the debate. Knowing how this turns out makes this debate even better. Two quotes stick with me after reading the debate. One is, “The Medical Journal predicts: ‘If the machine ever attains the unlikely speed of eighty miles per hour, it will have to drive itself, for the human brain will be incapable of controlling it.’” And, “The horseless carriage is an impractical machine suitable only for the privileged minority interested in pleasure driving, and then only on flat roadways during warm months of the year where no horses or cows can be found.” I found the debate to be factual of what people thought about the car when it first came out. Some of the comments, like the one about no horses or cows around, were funny.

Isabelle has an issue that she doesn’t want others to know about. Jack has something he is hiding as well. Read the book to see how Isabelle’s honesty gives Jack the courage to face his fears as well. Isabelle and Jack learn about love and trust. See whether Jack gets to follow his dream of playing on the Erskine 9. The characters are well-developed and the plot draws you in. Whether you like baseball or not, Isabelle’s Inning is a keeper!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Out of Control by Mary Connealy

Out of Control
By: Mary Connealy

I loved this book by Mary Connealy. Out of Control is filled with inspiration, romance, and mystery. Once I started the book, I could not put it down. If you are looking for an awesome Christian romance with lots of suspense, then this book is for you!

This is book 1 in The Kincaid Brides series. Rafe meets Julia when she has been left for dead in a cave. She can’t get out because someone has moved her ladder. She is yelling for help when Rafe comes along and hears her. He rescues her and together they find out who is trying to kill her. Julia lives with her step-mother who is about to give birth and she has a half sister, Maggie.

Julia’s father works in town but no one knows about her, his wife, or Maggie. Out of Control builds the suspense of who is after Julia and why, who is living in the cave—is it the same person that is after Julia, and do Rafe and Julia belong together? Mary Connealy does an excellent job of describing the scenes and building the suspense to keep you turning the pages. You won’t want to put this book down until you finish the last page.

I enjoyed Julia’s fascination with the fossils she found in the cave. Her explanation of how the fish fossils got there was very interesting. She studies geology, and Rafe has no idea what that is. Do they belong together, will they get together, does Julia’ step-mother’s baby survive, does Rafe get his family back together? This book answers all those questions. Julia thinks she can never be loved and Rafe thinks he can never overcome his fear of caves. Can these two learn to trust each other and God? If you are looking for a great mystery to read full of inspiration and romance, this is it!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Tenant by Charles G West book review

The Tenant
By: Charles G West

The Tenant by Charles G West is a great medical science fiction thriller. When I started this book, I couldn’t put it down. The characters are well-developed, and the plot is believable. Have you ever wondered if a brain transplant could be accomplished—and if so—what the consequences would be? This book is full of suspense, a switch on mistaken identity, and a pursuit for the truth.

Dr Christopher Warren and Dr John Sumner have successfully transplanted brains from one primate to another. William James is wanted for attacking a woman. The cops go after him; he hits one with a shovel, and the other cop shoots him— but doesn’t kill him. Dr Warren is passing by and goes over to help. He takes James to the hospital and James drives a screwdriver into his chest. Dr Sumner can’t save Dr Warren, but he can save James; therefore, he puts Dr Warren’s brain into James’ body. Once this procedure is considered a success, you won’t believe what happens. The only people to know what has happened are a nurse who decides to leave because she can’t handle this and Dr Sumner—who gets killed. West’s story is about Dr Warren’s plight to prove his innocence in the accused body (who he finds out is really Jesse Campbell), his quest to reunite with his wife, and his acceptance with a body that is not his own.

Once you start this book, you will not be able to put it down. This is a very believable story about a brain transplant, and a guy in somebody else’s body accused of a crime. How does he go about proving his innocence? How does he get someone to believe him? Does he get reunited with his wife in this other person’s body? You will have to read this book to experience what happens. You’ll be glad you did. Even after finishing the book, you’ll have to go back to reread parts. It’s that good!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Backyard Horses by Dandi Daley Mackall book review

I received this book, Backyard Horses by Dandi Daley Mackall, free from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for a book review. I loved this book!! If you have ever prayed for something to happen, this is the book for you. Mackall does a great job showing the power of prayer, trusting, and believing in God for miracles in the life of almost-10 year old Ellie.

All Ellie wants is a beautiful stallion to ride in the Hamilton Royal Horse Show. She daydreams about this horse. She has prayed for years for God to send her a horse. She is doing a science project on how to get a horse. Begging and crying have already been tried and failed—all that is left is praying. Then, one day she is daydreaming out the window, and there is a pinto horse running around lost; but nobody believes she saw a horse. Ellie thinks, “It’s a horrible feeling when the only one who believes you is you.”

But God has control of this situation. Ellie is dreaming of a champion stallion; God shows her a pinto. Ellie’s brother, Ethan, is deaf. Ellie’s mother and father, and her friends help round out the story. The characters are very believable. Ethan signs to Ellie that there’s no such thing as a coincidence—only God things—which are events only God could bring together. Ellie finally realizes what she has been wanting is right in front of her. Will she realize it in time? Will she get to keep “her” horse? Ellie tells us that she guesses a lot of her prayers are selfish. But she doesn’t think God gets mad for it. She can see Jesus smiling at her when she prays. He’s just glad she can be hones with Him. That is how we need to be. Tell God what you want; the answer may still be no, but at least you’re being honest.

This story is an honest look at a 10 year old’s view of wanting something. It will touch your heart, make you laugh, make you cry—but leave you with a very good feeling at the end. I am looking forward to reading more books by Dandi Daley Mackall. Thank you for an amazing book!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Night of the Cossack by Tom Blubaugh

I thoroughly enjoyed this book! Once I started it, I couldn’t put it down. Night of the Cossack by Tom Blubaugh is a must read. This is a story about a Jewish boy whose father dies, then he is kidnapped by the Cossacks, and subsequently drafted into the Russian Army. You get drawn into the story from the start.

Do you regret not knowing an ancestor who is gone now, and there is no one left to answer questions? Do you wish you knew their story? This is a historical fictional account of what might have happened to Blubaugh’s grandfather. He knew his grandfather had been a Russian Cossack soldier and had immigrated to America in 1910. Blubaugh puts those pieces together—with the historical facts of the Cossacks—and weaves a believable fictional account of his grandfather’s life.

Night of the Cossack starts with Nathan waking up to the Cossacks attacking his village. He is kidnapped by Nikolai, a Cossack soldier. He takes him in as his son and teaches him the way of the Cossack. I enjoyed learning about the Cossack way of life. The story follows the adventures, betrayals, and challenges of Nathan and how he adapts to his surroundings to survive and make it to America. You will be amazed at Nathan’s story—from changing his name a few times to escape capture to traveling the secret route set up to convey Jews to Bucharest. Nathan eventually gets a job on a ship and sails for America.

If you love adventure, historical fiction, and suspense, I highly recommend this book, Night of the Cossack.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

It's Your Kid, Not a Gerbil by Dr Kevin Leman book review

It’s Your Kid, Not a Gerbil!
By: Dr Kevin Leman

I received this e-book from Tyndale publishers in exchange for a book review. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started It’s Your Kid, Not a Gerbil! by Dr Kevin Leman. I have read many books claiming to help with the parent/child relationship. I was very impressed with this book. There were many pointers and tips to take away from this book. I am anxious to apply them to my own kids and see what happens. Some ideas I had heard before; some I don’t think would work in our family. Overall, Dr Kevin Leman did a great job. I would recommend this book to anyone who has young children. Mine are older, so I felt I had missed out on some of the ideas he presented. However, his 10 Ways to Rear a Kid From the Inside Out really hit home. I can do this now.
1) Understand Your Child’s Uniqueness: No two relationships are the same, and that goes for relationships with your kids as well. Their personalities and yours result in a different relationship with each child.
2) Give Your Kids a Piece of You: Your kids want you. It’s that simple. Have a pizza night, or game night, just you and your kids. You will be amazed at what you find out when your kids feel they have your attention and your love.
3) Treat Each Child Differently: Each child is different and enjoys different things. Now, my daughter fusses because I don’t treat her like her 17 year old brother. She is 14. I think this would work more for younger children. As they get older, they recognize the differences and feel slighted.
4) Give Your Kids Rituals: This is an interaction that meets their needs and builds your homegrown bond. Things like wrestling after work, building forts, making breakfast on Saturday mornings.
5) Put Your Relationship with Your Kids First: When they know you love them for them, they’ll want to please you, not act out. Again, I think this works more for younger children. By the time they are teenagers, they are pushing the limits to see what they can get away with. You have to stand firm and show your love and trust.
6) Be Real: Let your kids know your experiences.
7) Nurture Your Child’s Trust: If they ask a question, answer it age appropriately. Take them and their questions seriously. When they get older, they’ll come to you with everything.
8) Model Values Worth Catching: You want them to be respectful, genuine, caring. They must see you acting that way, also.
9) Use Chores To Teach Character & Responsibility: If you see something on the floor that shouldn’t be there, pick it up. Don’t walk by and think that isn’t my job. Whether you’re at the store, walking through your kitchen, or at the ball game, you teach your kids to pitch in and be a help.
10) Look Out for Others: Teach them to think of others.

This book really gave me some ideas to ponder. I want to raise a kid who has character, not one who is a character. You have to know their heart, what makes them unique. In order to do this, you have to spend time with them, not relegate it out to babysitters, coaches, or camp counselors. They just want to spend time with their parents and feel loved and respected by their parents for being who they are. This book helps you lay a firm foundation for a lifetime relationship with your children. When they get older and move away, they’ll want to come back and visit! No one can take your place instilling your child’s positive self-image, view of the world, concept of faith, and sense of security. Only you can do that. Reading this book will show you how to make the most of your time with your child. You’ll be glad you took the time to read this book and form that bond with your child!

1105 Yakima St by Debbie Macomber book review

1105 Yakima St
By Debbie Macomber

I received 1105 Yakima St by Debbie Macomber from Harlequin in exchange for a review. This book is another great one by Debbie Macomber. Once you meet the characters, you can’t put the book down until all their problems are solved. This story deals with teenage daughters, loves gone wrong, a father tearing his family apart because he doesn’t like who his daughter married, and two people finding out they are in love but fighting it every step of the way.

Bruce and Rachel separate because Bruce’s daughter, Jolene, is jealous of her taking up her time with her daddy. You’ll be cheering for Bruce and Rachel to get back together, but reading how they deal with Jolene is very interesting. A teenager can be rough on a relationship! Charlotte and Ben’s house catches on fire because she is becoming forgetful. Follow them as they come to a decision about an assisted living complex. Chad Timmons and Gloria Ashton decide to break up, but she is pregnant with his child. Watch how they overcome their differences to become a family. Linc and Lorie get married without her telling her father, Leonard. He has Linc’s business, Wyse Man Garage, blackballed in retaliation. He then loses his wife, too. She moves out because of his stubbornness. This seems like a long list of characters and plots, but it is actually easy to follow from one to the next. You will get caught up in each life and wonder how things are going to turn out for each one. You won’t be able to put this book down!

Debbie Macomber deals with teenage rebellion, dementia, stubbornness, and falling in love in flowing, humorous language. She is very insightful into how these characters act and react in a realistic way. You can sympathize with Bruce’s way of dealing with his daughter—make peace and it will get better. He soon realizes that isn’t what Jolene needs at all, but it takes Rachel leaving for him to see it clearly.

Whether you’re a fan of Debbie Macomber’s, or this is the first book of hers you’ve read, you will love this book and won’t want to put it down until the last issue is resolved.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Catch Me by Lorelie Brown book review

Catch Me
By: Lorelie Brown

I received this e-book from Carina Press in exchange for a book review. Catch Me by Lorelie Brown will catch you from the get-go and not turn you loose! This is a descriptive love story between Dean the bounty hunter and Maggie the bank robber. There is romance, mystery, and figuring out what you are missing in life.

Dean becomes a bounty hunter when his wife and son are killed. He is dead inside and doesn’t realize it until he meets Maggie. She brings to life things inside of him he had forgotten about. Maggie robs a bank to pay for her father’s care. She is feisty and constantly trying to run away from Dean after he catches her to take her back for her trial. Follow Dean as he goes from not caring to realizing life is worth living and he doesn’t have time to allow anger to rule him, all because of Maggie. The ending of this story will have you reaching for a tissue. Sometimes things do work out in the end, and everyone lives happily ever after! I look forward to reading more by this author. If you enjoy a fast-paced romance, this book is for you! You won’t want to stop reading once you start.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Treasuring Emma by Kathleen Fuller book review

Treasuring Emma
By Kathleen Fuller

Here is another amazing story by Kathleen Fuller, Treasuring Emma. Fuller describes the Amish way of life, incorporating mystery, faith, and romance into her stories. Treasuring Emma will catch your attention in the first page, and you won’t want to put the book down.

Emma & Clara’s mother has died from cancer. Clara’s husband, Peter, wants Emma and her grandmother to move in with them. That’s when you see things are not like they should be between Emma and Clara. Adam has left the Amish community and turned his back on his faith and Emma. Watch how Emma finds the faith and love to forgive Adam and become whole again. Follow Adam as he realizes what he wished for isn’t all he thought it would be. He left the Amish way to join the real world. Now he is wondering what is real. Adam deals with all our own insecurities—our doubts, our questions, and our fears about God and our faith.

As you read this story, you will become intertwined in these characters’ lives. What has Mark gotten away with? He’s Peter’s cousin who shows up unannounced. What are his intentions toward Emma? Will Clara and Peter rediscover their love? Will Emma and Clara work on their problems? Will Adam and Emma figure out they love each other? Emma deserves to be treasured, just like she has treasured her mother when she was sick and now her grandmother. Will it be Mark or Adam treasuring Emma? You’ll be glad you read the book to find out! You’ll enjoy the romance, and grow in your faith as well.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Stealing Jake by Pam Hillman book review

Stealing Jake by Pam Hillman

I received Stealing Jake by Pam Hillman from Vicky Lynch at Tyndale publishing in exchange for a book review. I thoroughly enjoyed this book! The characters are very believable and the situations they encounter make for an enjoyable and interesting story. There are many different plot lines running throughout the book. Livy used to be on the streets, until she learned to trust Mrs. Brooks. Jake is the deputy; he feels everything has to be in order before he can love and live his own life. Mrs. Brooks runs the orphanage. There are also kids being kidnapped and kids loose on the streets.

Livy catches two kids stealing a watch from the deputy. She recognizes what they are doing because that is what she used to do as well. Her heart goes out to them and she tries her best to help them. Then, she runs into Jake Russell—literally. She can’t trust him and runs from the law and love. Livy has to learn to accept her salvation and increase her faith in what God has done and will do for her. Jake has to learn to love, but then he has to convince Livy to trust him—even though he is the law. If you are looking for a great romance, a good mystery, and following Livy and Jake’s walk in faith, this book is for you! You will be hooked from page one, and won’t want to put the book down. Pam Hillman has a knack for telling an awesome story. She will draw you in, and won’t let you go until it’s all wrapped up!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Superstitious by R L Stine book review

I did not know R L Stine wrote adult fiction. My kids read Goosebumps and got me hooked on his books. When I came across this book, I didn't know what to expect--I just hoped it was good! I was not disappointed. R L Stine uses the same type of language that he uses in Goosebumps to keep you interested in this book. The little off-the-wall comments and thought processes are present here--like the professor, Liam, who believes folklore. Every time something happens, he has a superstition to relate. Once you start this book, you won't want to put it down.

Superstitious is about murders happening on a college campus. Thankfully, once the scene is described, you don't revisit it. They are macabre. You follow the storyline of Sara and her budding relationship with Liam. Milton, her employer, keeps showing up. You wonder what his role is in the murders. He has a knife collection he is very proud of, and he seems a bit crazy at times. Someone calls Sara and warns her to stay away from Liam. If you like Goosebumps, you'll love this book. You won't believe who the murderer is, but you will thoroughly enjoy the ride to find out!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Lady in Waiting by Susan Meissner

Lady in Waiting
By: Susan Meissner

I was given a complimentary copy of this book by Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for writing a review. Lady in Waiting is about a woman, Jane, who finds out her marriage is over when her husband decides to move out. The book follows her coming to terms with the divorce and her life. In conjunction with this storyline, Jane finds an old ring that is 400 years old. The name Jane is inscribed inside. Jane takes it upon herself to find out the history of the ring and its owner. Jumping between present day to 400 years ago and following that Jane is done effortlessly by this author. Take time to get to know Jane and Edward, and this Jane as she unravels the mystery.
This story is suspenseful and romantic. You can’t wait to find out if Jane and Edward get together, or if Jane and Brad get back together. Character development is essential in carrying out two story lines. Meissner does it superbly. The dialogue is easy to follow, and enhances the story. Once you start this book, you won’t want to put it down!

The Purpose of Passion by Kurt Bruner and Jim Ware

The Purpose of Passion
By: Kurt Bruner and Jim Ware

The Purpose of Passion is about “discovering what one of the world’s greatest love stories says about the meaning of romance,” according to the back cover. We follow Dante’s The Divine Comedy to see Dante’s epic vision of romantic love. From falling in love to love fulfilled, we can connect the dots between human romance and the epic love story between God and His people.
While reading this book, I felt like I was getting a breakdown of Dante’s writings. You follow Dante as he proceeds with Virgil through Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise. This book explains Dante’s Romantic Vision, and he hopes his vision will ignite within you as you read it, which in turn will create a greater fire of godly passion. From the first sparks of a look, to being rejected or left alone, to marrying the person who completes you, Dante shows how this is in line with what God wants, so you can then be who God wants you to be. “God hardwired you for relationship with the opposite sex as a foretaste of the ‘happily ever after’ for which you were made.”
Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy in exchange for posting a review. I enjoyed reading this book, and seeing how Dante tied love between humans to love between God and His people.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Save the Date by Jenny B Jones

Save the Date
By: Jenny B Jones

I was given this book, Save the Date, by Booksneeze in exchange for a book review. I could not put this book down. Jenny B Jones uses wit, humor, sass, and exceptional dialogue to weave a wonderful tale of romance. Lucy runs a home called Saving Grace—which houses kids who have been in the foster care system. They are turned loose at 18, and she provides a place for them to stay and learn skills to be successful in the working world. Alex is an ex football player, heir to the family fortune. She is in need of money to keep her home open; Alex is in need of her assistance to win votes for his bid for Congress. They team up, and what a team they make! She is from a poor background; he used to make fun of her in school. He grew up having it all.
I could not put this book down. All the bantering back and forth between these two was phenomenal. I couldn’t wait to see what they would argue about next, or what they would get into. They explored faith, love, and family relationships. Plot and character development move the story along. I hated to see the story end. Even after the story is over, I found myself smiling about something I had read. Case in point, when Lucy is “running away” and has on a robe and snow boots, while walking down the street and Alex is trying to get her in the car. I can still see her moving on down the street. Jenny B Jones uses lots of descriptions so you can see what she is seeing while she writes the story. I highly recommend this book, and I will be checking into others of hers!

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Second Short Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner
By: Stephenie Meyer

This story is about Bree Tanner. She was introduced in Eclispse, of the Twilight series, as a newbie vampire that was killed. In this book, you get to see her side of the story. You know how it ends, if you’ve read Eclipse. Bree Tanner takes on a life of her own in the book. Her story of how she became a vampire and her relationship with Diego, bring you right into her life. I couldn’t put the book down!
If you enjoy suspense, romance, and the Twilight series, you will love this book! It has it all, even though it is a novella. It is not a long book, and doesn’t take much to read it, but I found myself rooting for Bree after the first couple of pages. The plot and character development are excellent. The dialogue kept you tuned in; you didn’t want to put the book down. You can picture what the newbie vampires are doing and what is going on around them. When Diego and Bree hide out in an underwater cave, you can visualize where they are. You can feel Bree’s fear of the sunlight. I would definitely recommend this book. Even you haven’t been introduced to the Twilight series, this book is a must read!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Defiant Joy by Kevin Belmonte

Defiant Joy
By: Kevin Belmonte

I received this book, Defiant Joy, from Booksneeze in exchange for writing a review of it. This book is about G K Chesterton, who lived from 1874-1936. He was an English writer, and one of his many accomplishments was to influence C S Lewis’ conversion to Christianity. C S Lewis is the author of the Narnia series. G K Chesterton authored biographies, apologetics, poetry, novels, and literary criticisms. The object of this book is to “introduce a life and legacy that should be better known.”
This book accomplishes its purpose. I was expecting a bit more on the biography side of G K Chesterton, but what I read was excerpts from his many different works. These were introduced in each section and talked about, and then you got a piece of the work in question. For instance, the chapter on his critical studies talks about Mr. Chesterton’s Charles Dickens’s: A Critical Study. First you learn that this book is “marked by great intuitive insights into Dickens’s works.” Chesterton can be both entertaining and instructive. Then, Kevin Belmonte tells you about the review by the New York Times. The reviewer wasn’t too positive with the review, but then another reviewer, Hamilton Carr, came back with a more positive and insightful review of the work. This is how the book is set up. If you are looking for a biography on G K Chesterton, I would not recommend this book. However, if you would like to read about his many different works, and they were received, this is the book for you! I did enjoy this book, and will keep it as part of my library for future reference.