Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Making Marriage Beautiful: Lifelong Love, Joy, and Intimacy Start with You By Dorothy Littell Greco and Christopher Greco

I received this book from Litfuse Publicity for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own. 

Book Description: 

 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 clichés 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.


My Thoughts: 

Making Marriage Beautiful is the latest writing by Dorothy Littell Greco and Christopher Greco and it is wonderful. This is the first time I have read anything from them and I am so thankful that I was able to read it. This couple write with authority on marriage all things about it good and bad, and biblical and practical help about marriage. This book is a fantastic read.  This is written from the heart, through her writing you feel the passion and heart they have to Christ and to helping marriages be Christ Centered, in their marriage and others. This book is not a how to, it is a beautiful story that anyone who is married can relate to. The Greco's are transparent in their own marriage struggles and triumphs. From start to finish this book is grabbed me and kept a hold. So many parts of this book I could relate to in my own marriage and see the importance of marriage being Christ Centered. This book with stay with me for a long time. I really felt my heart taking in this in book. I am going to have to read it again to make sure I didn't miss anything. I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to read this beautifully written book. I hope to read more from this very special couple. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is married, you will enjoy this. I cannot say enough good about this book. I give this book 5+ STARS.

The Dog Who Was There By Ron Marasco

I received this book from Litfuse Publicity for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Book Description 

 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.

My Thoughts: 

The Dog Who Was There is a beautiful story by Ron Marasco. When I read the description of this book I was drawn into the story. Ron Marasco writes with authority about the Bible, Jesus's journey, the others that followed Jesus, and the history behind all of it. I loved the fact that this story is written through the eyes of Barley, a dog who finds himself homeless and ends up encountering Jesus. I enjoyed Ron Marasco's writing style, I really felt like I was there with Barley on his journey and his version of this part of the Bible. A unique perspective that I found myself drawn in from start to finish. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Biblical Fiction. I cannot wait to see what comes next from Ron Marasco. I give this book 5 STARS. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Of Stillness and Storm By Michèle Phoenix

I received this book from Litfuse Publicity for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own. 


Book Description: 

 
“I felt torn between two worlds. Each with its own mystery. One more captivating than the other, but the other more real and breathing.”

It took Lauren and her husband ten years to achieve their dream—reaching primitive tribes in remote regions of Nepal. But while Sam treks into the Himalayas for weeks at a time, finding passion and purpose in his work among the needy, Lauren and Ryan stay behind, their daily reality more taxing than inspiring. For them, what started as a calling begins to feel like the family’s undoing. 
At the peak of her isolation and disillusion, a friend from Lauren’s past enters her life again. But as her communication with Aidan intensifies, so does the tension of coping with the present while reengaging with the past. It’s thirteen-year-old Ryan who most keenly bears the brunt of her distraction.
Intimate and bold, Of Stillness and Storm weaves profound dilemmas into a tale of troubled love and honorable intentions gone awry.

My Thoughts: 

First I want to apologize to Michèle Phoenix and Litfuse Publicity for the lateness of my review. I have no excuse. 

Of Stillness and Storm is the latest book by Michèle Phoenix and it is a great read. I have read other books by Michèle Phoenix and this one definitely piqued my interest. This book is a Christian Contemporary Fiction, not a genre I read often but I am glad I did. The book description grabbed me and the cover reeled me in.  Michèle Phoenix writes with authority on Missionary life, Nepal, family dynamics, social media and the troubles it can cause, and love. This book really opened my eyes to the struggles that missionary families go through, the side we don't see. I truly enjoyed Michèle Phoenix's style of writing. She put me right there as part of the book. The characters in this book are very real, struggling with life just as we do. I really found I connected with Lauren the most. She is doing what she can to support her husband's dream and trying hard to raise their son and help him through the life they are having in Nepal. Lauren struggles with the desire to feel love from her husband but finding it with someone else. Something that started off as two friends talking starts to be more than that. Lauren's feelings and needs are so similar to mine as in marriages that struggle. She is a normal person, feeling real feelings. I found myself part of this emotional roller coaster, examining my own feelings and struggles. I found myself laughing in parts of this book and crying in many others.  This book truly grabbed me and tugged at my heart. This is a book that will stay with me for a while and has shown me the need to pray for missionaries not just for their mission but for their families and personal lives. I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Fiction or know missionaries, you will not be disappointed. I give this book 5 STARS. 

Monday, February 6, 2017

The Mark of the King By Jocelyn Green

I received this book from Litfuse Publicity for no charge in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed here are my own. 

Book Description: 

 Sweeping historical fiction set at the edge of the continent

After being imprisoned and branded for the death of her client, twenty-five-year-old midwife Julianne Chevalier trades her life sentence for exile to the fledgling 1720s French colony of Louisiana, where she hopes to be reunited with her brother, serving there as a soldier. To make the journey, though, women must be married, and Julianne is forced to wed a fellow convict.
When they arrive in New Orleans, there is no news of Benjamin, Julianne’s brother, and searching for answers proves dangerous. What is behind the mystery, and does military officer Marc-Paul Girard know more than he is letting on? With her dreams of a new life shattered, Julianne must find her way in this dangerous, rugged land, despite never being able to escape the king’s mark on her shoulder that brands her a criminal beyond redemption.

My Thoughts: 

The Mark of the King is the latest book written by Jocelyn Green and oh my goodness it's fantastic. This is the first book by Jocelyn Green I have read, have a few in my TBR pile. Time to pull them out!! The Mark of the King is a Christian Historical Fiction, one of my favorite genres which drew me to this book but the cover did it for me. Jocelyn Green writes with authority on France and America's history, midwifery, military, Indians and their tribes, trading, the fighting, and medicine of the time. I really learned a lot from this book which I love to do. I had no idea that Louisiana was a place that France sent their prisoners and undesirables to. The forced marriages and expectations of procreation was definitely eye opening. I love to learned about these things. I could not put this book down from start to finish. This book transported me to 1700's France, the ship to America, and then to the wilds of Louisiana.  I loved Jocelyn Green's writing. She puts her readers right there in the thick of it and makes flawless transitions from past to present in 1700's.  I also found the cast of characters to be wonderful, whether good or bad. Of all the characters I think the one that I loved the most was Julianne. Her story is one of tragedy and overcoming it. No matter the situation she handles herself with integrity. She learns to trust God and has faith in what she does. I find her strength and faith inspiring. On of the biggest things that struck me in this book was the theme of all people are sinners and that forgiveness is there, it really spoke to me.  This book grabbed me from from the first page, leaving me wanting to read more.  I can't say enough good about this book. I cannot wait to read the other books by Jocelyn Green I have in my TBR pile. I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Historical Fiction will you not be disappointed. I give this book 5 STARS.








         

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Sunday, January 22, 2017

Summer on Sunset Ridge: Forever Freedom Book One By Sharlene Maclaren

I received this book from Celebrate Lit and the author for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own and a favorable review was not required.


Book Description: 

Brought up on a Quaker farm near Philadelphia at the brink of the Civil War, plainspoken Rebecca Albright is charitable, peace-loving, submissive—and a feisty abolitionist. Determined to aid the Underground Railroad no matter what the cost, her path collides with that of formidable slave-catcher Clay Dalton. When Rebecca is assigned to nurse Clay back to health following a near-fatal gunshot wound, her uneasiness around him and the questions surrounding his mysterious past complicate their strained but developing relationship.
Sherriff Clay Dalton is grimly fighting several battles of his own as he stays on at the Albright farm to work off his debt to the family that has saved his life and taken him in. He is torn between his past commitments in the South and his unlikely present among this quiet Quaker community in the North. Almost against his will, he begins to ponder the impossible idea of a future with Rebecca.…
When tensions between North and South escalate, Rebecca and Clay find themselves propelled on a journey to discover just who God has called them to be, and they soon realize that each holds a key to the other’s answer.

My Thoughts: 

Summer on Sunset Ridge is the first book in Sharlene Maclaren's latest series, Forever Freedom and it is great.  This is the first book by Sharlene Maclaren I have had the pleasure of reading and I am glad I did. As a huge fan of Christian Historical Fiction and Amish Fiction this book drew me in just by the description. Sharlene Maclaren writes with authority about our world in 1855, Civil War and its effects on everyone in the U.S., Quaker life style, and the Underground Railroad.  I love reading about the history of our world especially the Civil War. I learned more about it in this book, the historical facts are fascinating. I also learned about the Quakers faith and how they helped in the Civil War, something I didn't know anything about. I enjoyed Sharlene Maclaren's style of writing. I really felt like I was there, part of the story and her characters are very well written. I found myself enjoying Rebecca Albright the most. Her faith and her dedication to the Underground Railroad is inspiring. I found myself unable to put this book down, from start to finish, it held on to me. I cannot wait to read the other books in this series, definitely on my must read list. I also found a new to me author and that is what I love.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Historical Fiction, you will not be disappointed. I give this book 4 STARS. 

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About the Book

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Book: Summer on Sunset Ridge, Freedom Series Book 1  

Author: Sharlene MacLaren  

Genre: Historical Christian Romance

Brought up on a Quaker farm near Philadelphia at the brink of the Civil War, plainspoken Rebecca Albright is charitable, peace-loving, submissive—and a feisty abolitionist. Determined to aid the Underground Railroad no matter what the cost, her path collides with that of formidable slave-catcher Clay Dalton. When Rebecca is assigned to nurse Clay back to health following a near-fatal gunshot wound, her uneasiness around him and the questions surrounding his mysterious past complicate their strained but developing relationship.

Sherriff Clay Dalton is grimly fighting several battles of his own as he stays on at the Albright farm to work off his debt to the family that has saved his life and taken him in. He is torn between his past commitments in the South and his unlikely present among this quiet Quaker community in the North. Almost against his will, he begins to ponder the impossible idea of a future with Rebecca.…

When tensions between North and South escalate, Rebecca and Clay find themselves propelled on a journey to discover just who God has called them to be, and they soon realize that each holds a key to the other’s answer.

About the Author


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Sharlene MacLaren Born and raised in western Michigan, award-winning, bestselling author Sharlene MacLaren attended Spring Arbor University. After graduating, she traveled with a nationally touring Christian vocal ensemble, returning home to Spring Arbor to marry her husband, Cecil, whom she’d known since childhood. Together they raised two daughters. Now happily retired after teaching elementary school for 31 years, “Shar” enjoys reading, singing in the church choir and worship teams, traveling, and spending time with her husband, children, and grandchildren. Her novels include the contemporary romances Through Every Storm, Long Journey Home, and Tender Vow; the beloved Little Hickman Creek series (Loving Liza Jane, Sarah, My Beloved, Courting Emma, and Christmas Comes to Little Hickman Creek, a novella), and three historic romance trilogies: The Daughters of Jacob Kane (Hannah Grace, Maggie Rose, and Abbie Ann); River of Hope (Livvie’s Song, Ellie’s Haven, and Sofia’s Secret); Tennessee Dreams: Heart of Mercy, Threads of Joy, and Gift of Grace.
 

Blog Stops

January 19: Giveaway Lady
January 20: The Power of Words
January 21: Bigreadersite
January 23: Genesis 5020
January 24: Pause for Tales
January 25: Book by Book
January 26: A Greater Yes
January 27: Splashes of Joy
January 29: Stuff & Nonsense
January 30: cherylbbookblog
January 30: Daysong Reflections
February 1: Rhonda’s Doings

Giveaway


summer-on-sunset-ridge-prizes

To celebrate Sharlene’s tour, Whitaker House is giving away:

Grand Prize

Brown and tan fashion purse with cross, multiple interior and exterior pockets and

and

Five Sharlene MacLaren titles: Summer on Sunset Ridge (Forever Freedom #1); Heart of Mercy (Tennessee Dreams #1); Livvie’s Song (River of Hope #1); Hannah Grace (Daughters of Jacob Kane #1); Loving Liza Jane (Little Hickman Creek #1)

Second Prize

“Keepers of the Light” Orange/Cinnamon/Clove candle from www.acheerfulgiver.com and
Summer on Sunset Ridge

Third Prize

Summer on Sunset Ridge

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post to earn 9 extra entries in the giveaway!

Friday, January 20, 2017

The Kill Fee: Poppy Denby Investigates Book 2 By Fiona Veitch Smith

I received this book from Kregel Publications for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own.


Book Description: 

Poppy Denby, Arts and Entertainment Editor at The Daily Globe, covers an exhibition of Russian Art, hosted by White Russian refugees, including members of the surviving exiled Romanov Royal family. There is an armed robbery, a guard is shot, and the largest Faberge Egg in the collection is stolen. The egg itself is valuable, but more so are the secrets it contains within - secrets that could threaten major political powers. Suspects are aplenty, including the former keeper of the Faberge Egg, a Russian Princess called Selena Romanova Yusopova. The interim Bolshevik Russian ambassador, Vasili Safin inserts himself into the investigation, as he believes the egg - and the other treasures - should all be restored to the Russian people. Poppy, her editor Rollo, press photographer Daniel, and the other staff of the Globe are delighted to be once again in the middle of a sensational story. But, soon the investigation takes a dark turn when another body is found and an employee of the newspaper becomes a suspect...The race is on to find both the key and the egg - can they be found before the killer strikes again?


My Thoughts: 

The Kill Fee is Fiona Veitch Smith's second book in her fantastic series, Poppy Denby Investigates. I had the honor of reading her first book and I am so glad I got to read this one. As a fan of Christian Historical Fiction, this series and author are one of my favorite.  Fiona Veitch Smith writes with authority about our world in the 1920's, the history of the Romanov Family, Russia's history, journalism, theater, Suffragettes,  and art of the world. I truly enjoy these book especially the historical element throughout the book. I love learning new things about our history and this book and author does that. I enjoy Fiona Veitch Smith's style of writing, she definitely draws the reader in and makes them feel part of the story. She has the ability to transition from the past and present seamlessly which is not easy.  I love the characters in this book. They are real people with real issues and messy lives. I find I again drawn to Poppy Denby. Her plucky attitude and her nose for truth brings so much to the stories. She has a cast of characters as friends and they definitely help her grow and they learn much from her especially her strong faith.  I found myself laughing in many parts and holding my breath in others. I felt like I was right there with Poppy on her investigations which I find is a sign of a great book. I am hooked on this series and cannot wait to read more from Fiona Veitch Smith. If you enjoy Christian Historical Fiction with some mystery and action you will love this book and series. I give this book 5 STARS. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Eden: The Animals Parable By Keith Korman Illustrated by Lisa Paris

I received this book from Litfuse Publicity for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed are my own. 


Book Description: 

“Ask the animals, and they will teach you” —Job 12:7

Experience the Gospels in a way that you never imagined.

In this beautifully inspired retelling of the Gospels, we see Jesus and his disciples in the Holy Land through the eyes of the animals—especially his intrepid and loyal dog, Eden.
With a wise, old donkey, innocent lambs, and legions of curious field mice—the animals follow their master’s journey across Galilee and onto Jerusalem, rapt with awe and wonder and bearing great tidings—even if they don’t fully comprehend the divine events they witness.

Simple, clear, and spiritually profound, Eden is for readers of all ages, this artful retelling is captivating, moving, and alive with the joy you felt the first time you opened the Bible.



My Thoughts: 

Eden: The Animals Parable is a beautifully written and illustrated book. I feel so lucky to have had the chance to read this book. Keith Korman writes an allegory of the the Gospels in the Bible.  His unique way of writing from the animals stand point is just inspiring.  It is a work of fiction but the stories from the Gospels are there and really impacted me. Most of the story is told through the eyes of generations of dogs that were with Jesus from birth. The title character, Eden is with the family from birth, she went everywhere with Jesus from childhood on. Eden travels with Jesus and other animals, all the animals give a perspective in this book. There are many, many characters in this book and I really enjoyed them all. I can say Eden was my favorite. Her instincts about other people are enlightening and her faith and devotion to Jesus left me awestruck. I absolutely loved the illustrations throughout the book and I can't remember the last time I read a book with illustrations,  but the cover was the piece of art that struck me the most.  I HIGHLY recommend this book to adults and children alike. I believe it will be enjoyed by all. This is a book that will stay with me in my heart and on my bookshelf. I give this book 5 STARS. 


  Return to the story of Jesus and read it from a new perspective in Keith Korman's Eden: The Animals' Parable. In this beautifully inspired retelling of the Gospels, we see Jesus and his disciples in the Holy Land through the eyes of the animals-especially his intrepid and loyal dog, Eden. Simple, clear, and spiritually profound, Eden is for readers of all ages, this artful retelling is captivating, moving, and alive with the joy you felt the first time you opened the Bible.

Settle in for some winter reading and enter to win a copy of Keith's book and a Kindle Fire!


One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of Eden
  • A Kindle Fire
Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on January 24. The winner will be announced January 25 on Keith's blog.