Sunday, December 15, 2013

An Elegant Solution By Paul Robertson

I received this book from Bethany House Blogger Program for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own.


Book Description:

When the Rules That Govern Men Are Shattered,
All You Can Trust Are the Invisible Rules
That Govern Life Itself

For math prodigy Leonhard Euler, the Bernoulli family have been more than just friends. Master Johann has been a demanding mentor, and his sons have been Leonhard's allies and companions. But this is a family torn by jealousy. Father and sons are engaged in a ruthless competition for prestige among the mathematical elites of Europe. And now, their aspirations may have turned deadly.

Lured into an investigation of the suspicious death of Jacob Bernoulli, his master's brother, twenty years ago, Leonhard soon discovers he's facing an elusive puzzle as complicated as any math equation. Surrounded by the world's most brilliant--and cunning--minds, Leonhard finds himself tracing an unraveling and invisible spiral of greed, blackmail, and murder. He'll need all his genius to find an elegant solution to this desperate battle of wills. 




My Thoughts: 

An Elegant Solution is the first book by Paul Robertson that I have had the pleasure of reading. Leonhard Euler( a real person) is a math prodigy who is taken in by his master's family,The Bernoulli. They have been a source of love and support to him for many years. The Bernoulli's are family but they are also constantly in competition of one another for high honors in the mathmatical elites of Europe.  Leonhard finds himself a suspect in the murder of Jacob Bernoulli, who has been like a brother to him. As Leonhard starts investigating this murder he finds himself in the middle of something he had no idea about. 

An Elegant Solution is a cerebral book. Paul Robertson weaves a beautiful story of murder, blackmail and greed within a society of its own. I found myself drawn in from the beginning and I truly kept guessing until the end. I am not a math genius by any stretch but this book really caught a hold of me. Paul Robertson writes with authority on 18th Century Europe, Basal Switzerland, and Leonhard Euler. Paul Robertson writes this latest book in the first person and does it beautifully. I may not have understood some of the math concepts but I never felt lost in this book. The characters in this book are fascinating especially with how their minds work within this mathematical society. It was very interesting to read the historical facts about Leonhard Euler.  I look forward to reading more from Paul Robertson.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys this kind of cerebral mystery. You will not be disappointed. I give this book 4 STARS.

Rules of Murder: A Drew Farthing Mystery By Juilianna Deering

I received this book from Bethany House Blogger Program for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own.


Book Description:

Downton Abbey Meets Agatha Christie in This Sparkling Mystery

Drew Farthering loves a good mystery, although he generally expects to find it in the pages of a novel, not on the grounds of his country estate. When a weekend party at Farthering Place is ruined by murder and the police seem flummoxed, Drew decides to look into the crime himself. With the help of his best friend, Nick Dennison, an avid mystery reader, and Madeline Parker, a beautiful and whip-smart American debutante staying as a guest, the three try to solve the mystery as a lark, using the methods from their favorite novels.

Soon, financial irregularities at Drew's stepfather's company come to light and it's clear that all who remain at Farthering Place could be in danger. Trying hard to remain one step ahead of the killer--and trying harder to impress Madeline--Drew must decide how far to take this game.


My Thoughts:


Rules of Murder is the first book in Julianna Deering's debut series The Drew Farthing Mystery.  Set in 1930's England, Drew Farthing loves his mystery novels. As a party guest at Farthing Place Drew finds himself in the middle of a real murder mystery. With the help of his best friend who is also a mystery buff, and an American guest staying at Farthing Place they work together to solve this latest mystery using techniques from their favorite novels.  As they dig deeper into events surrounding this murder they find that there is more going on than just this murder.

Rules of Murder is Julianna Deering's debut novel and I really enjoyed it.  As a fan of new authors when I saw the description of this book I knew I needed to read it.  Julianna Deering writes a true mystery that keeps you guessing until the end. The characters are a great ensemble of people who make the novel a huge hit. Julianna Deering captures this interesting time in our history, 1930's in England. I love the 1930's so it was great to read about this time in England's history. Rules of Murder has the feel of an Agatha Christa murder mystery, which added to the enjoyment. I found myself taken in with this book from the start and couldn't put it down. The team of Drew, Nick, and Madeline is great! I look forward to reading the next book in this series. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Suspense Fiction! You will not be disappointed! I give this book 4 STARS.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Guardian: Home to Hickory Hollow Series Book 3 By Beverly Lewis

I received this book from Bethany House Blogger Program for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinion expressed here are my own.


Book Description: 

When schoolteacher Jodi Winfield goes for a morning run, the last thing she expects is to find a disheveled little girl all alone on the side of the Pennsylvania road, clad only in her undergarments, her chubby cheeks streaked with tears. Jodi takes the preschooler home with her, intending to find out where she belongs. But Jodi is mystified when no one seems to know of a missing child, and the girl herself is no help, since she can't speak a word of English. It's as if the child appeared out of nowhere.

As the days pass, Jodi becomes increasingly attached to the mysterious girl, yet she is no closer to learning her identity. Then an unexpected opportunity brings Jodi to Hickory Hollow--and into the cloistered world of the Lancaster Old Order Amish. Might the answers lie there?




My Thoughts: 


The Guardian is the third book in Beverly Lewis's Home to Hickory Hollow Series.  Jodi Winfield is a schoolteacher out for a morning run when she  finds a little girl, alone, dirty, and in her underwear.  Jodi gets the girl to her home, to find out where she lives and other details to find out that the little girl doesn't speak English.  Jodi asks around her neighborhood and no one knows of a missing child. Jodi finds an attachment to this little one almost instantly and still has no idea who she is or where she belongs. Jodi finds herself in Hickory Hollow, hoping to find this little ones family.


As most of you know I am a HUGE Amish Fiction fan and a HUGE fan of Beverly Lewis. I have read almost all of her books and I can't get enough of them.  I have had the pleasure to read The Fiddler and The Bridesmaid, the first two books in this series so I was excited to have the opportunity to read and review The Guardian.  Beverly Lewis writes with obvious expertise on The Amish Faith, Culture, groups, and areas where they live.  Beverly Lewis gives her readers an honest view of what life in an Amish Community is.  The characters in this book are great. I enjoyed meeting more residents of Hickory Hollow and finding out about some old friends from previous books. That being said, this book can definitely be read as a stand alone. Beverly Lewis makes sure there are enough details for new readers but not too much that her followers find it redundant. As I read The Guardian I felt like I was there watching the event unfold from Beverly Lewis's descriptions and imagery. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Amish Fiction or someone looking to start reading it! You will not be disappointed. I cannot wait to read more from Beverly Lewis. I give this book 4.5 STARS

Rebellious Heart By Jody Hedlund

I received this book from Bethany House Blogger Program for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own!



Book Description:

In 1763 Massachusetts, Susanna Smith has grown up with everything she’s ever wanted, except one thing: an education.

Because she’s a female, higher learning has been closed to her, but her quick mind and quicker tongue never back down from a challenge. She’s determined to put her status to good use, reaching out to the poor and deprived. And she knows when she marries well, she will be able to continue her work with the less fortunate.
Ben Ross grew up a farmer’s son and has nothing to his name but his Harvard education. A poor country lawyer, he doesn’t see how he’ll be able to fulfill his promise to make his father proud of him. When family friends introduce him to the Smith family, he’s drawn to quick-witted Susanna but knows her family expects her to marry well. When Susanna’s decision to help an innocent woman no matter the cost crosses with Ben’s growing disillusionment with their British rulers, the two find themselves bound together in what quickly becomes a very dangerous fight for justice.



My Thoughts:


Rebellious Heart is a Historical Christina Fiction book by Jody Hedlund.  Susanna Smith, a woman in 1763 Massachusetts, longs for an education but because of being a female, it is not an option to her.  Since she cannot do formal education she decides to use her status to reach out to the poor. She feels lead to this kind of work and knows that when she marries, she will continue this work because of the status and resources  she will have. Susanna meets Ben Ross, a poor farmers son, who went to Harvard and is now a poor country lawyer.  He finds himself drawn to Susanna but knows that he doesn't fit the expectation.

Rebellious Heart is the first book by Jody Hedlund I have had the pleasure of reading. I had heard of her and have her books on my to be read list. Jody Hedlund writes with authority about the 1700's, Massachusetts, the ways of life during this time period, and the historical events that happened during this time in our history.  I love reading historical fiction, especially when it has historical facts within the fiction. The characters in this book are well written and interesting.  Susanna's spirit and determination really grabbed me. All the characters brought the story together. I found myself unable to put this book down once I started it! I definitely held my interest and kept me guessing from start to finish.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Historical Fiction. You won't be disappointed. I look forward to reading more of Jody Hedlund's books. I give this book 4 STARS.

Sweet Mercy By Ann Tatlock

I received this book from Bethany House Blogger Program for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own.


Book Description:

Stunning coming-of-age drama set during the Great Depression and Prohibition

When Eve Marryat's father is laid off from the Ford Motor Company in 1931, he is forced to support his family by leaving St. Paul, Minnesota, and moving back to his Ohio roots. Eve's uncle Cyrus has invited the family to live and work at his Marryat Island Ballroom and Lodge.

Eve can't wait to leave St. Paul, a notorious haven for gangsters. At seventeen, she considers her family to be "good people," not lawbreakers like so many in her neighborhood. Thrilled to be moving to a "safe haven," Eve soon forms an unlikely friendship with a strange young man named Link, blissfully unaware that her uncle's lodge is anything but what it seems.

When the reality of her situation finally becomes clear, Eve is faced with a dilemma. Does she dare risk everything by exposing the man whose love and generosity is keeping her family from ruin? And when things turn dangerous, can she trust Link in spite of appearances?




My Thoughts: 

Sweet Mercy is the first book by Ann Tatlock I have had the pleasure of reading. This book takes place during the 1930's, the Great Depression and Prohibition. Eve and her family find themselves having to move from St. Paul, Minn to Ohio due to lay offs at Ford Motor Company.  They move into her Uncle's Lodge, The Marryat Island Ballroom and Lodge, and work their.  Leaving St. Paul seemed like a blessing to Eve because of all the illegal activities in her neighborhood but finds that things may not be as different here at the lodge.  Now Eve has to decide what to do.

Sweet Mercy is a great book. I am a huge fan of historical fiction, especially during Prohibition time. I enjoy learning about the different parts of the Unites States and how Prohibition affected them. Ann Tatlock writes with authority about The 1932's, Prohibition, The Great Depression, and the different places in the United States.  Ann Tatlock has written a unique cast of characters in this book. The characters are real people whose lives are messy and imperfect, faced with decisions that are NOT black and white. I had a very hard time putting this book down, it grabbed my attention and help it through to the end. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys, Christian Historical Fiction, you will not be disappointed. Ann Tatlock in another author for my must read list. I look forward to reading more from Ann Tatlock. I give this book 4 STARS.

The Bridesmaid: Home To Hickory Hollow Series Book 2 By Beverly Lewis

I received this book from Bethany House Blogger Program for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own!



Book Description: 

Twenty-seven-year-old Joanna Kurtz has made several trips to the altar, but never as a bride. The single young Amish woman is a closet writer with a longing to be published something practically unheard of in her Lancaster County community. Yet Joanna's stories aren't her only secret. She also has a beau who is courting her from afar, unbeknownst even to her sister, Cora, who, though younger, seems to have suitors to spare.

Eben Troyer is a responsible young Amish man who hopes to make Joanna Kurtz his bride--if he can ever leave his parents' farm in Shipshewana, Indiana. Yet with his only brother off in the English world, intent on a military career, Eben's hopes for building a life with his dear Joanna are dimming, and patience is wearing thin. Will Joanna ever be more than a bridesmaid?




My Thoughts: 

The Bridesmaid is the second book in Beverly Lewis' series Home To Hickory Hollow. I read the first book in the series, The Fiddler so when The Bridesmaid was offered I knew I had to read it!  Joanna Kurtz is a 27 year old single Amish woman who is a writer who longs to be published but knows it's unheard of in her community.  Joanna has been a bridesmaid several times for her friends and family. She meets Eben Troyer, who is visiting their area, and they have an instant connection.


As everyone knows I am a HUGE fan of Amish Fiction so when The Bridesmaid was offered, I had to have it! Beverly Lewis is one of my must read authors! I have loved all of her books I have read including this one! Beverly Lewis writes with such expertise in the Amish Faith, culture, and neighborhoods.  I loved the characters in this story especially Joanna and her writing. All the characters made the story so enjoyable. I found myself taken in from the start! I enjoyed meeting new characters in Hickory Hollow and finding out about old friends from the first book.  I felt like I was there watching all of the events unfold in Hickory Hollow! Such vivid descriptions! I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Amish Fiction, you will not be disappointed. If you haven't read the first book, don't worry, you won't be lost or feel like you are missing anything. I cannot wait to read the rest of this series. I give this book 4.5 STARS.

Friday, December 13, 2013

To Honor and Trust: Bridal Veil Island Series Book 3 By Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller

I received this book from Bethany House Blogger Program for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own.


Book Description: 


Callie DeBoyer is unsettled as she arrives at Bridal Veil Island with the Bridgeport family. She's just received a letter from her parents, missionaries in coastal Africa, stating they are in dire need of more personnel. Should Callie give up her governess job and join her parents in their important work? Is God calling her to the mission field, or does she just want to escape the emotional scars of being jilted by her former beau?

When she enrolls young Thomas Bridgeport in golf lessons, Callie meets Wesley Townsend, who urges Callie to take lessons, as well. During their time at the golf course, Callie comes to care for Wesley--until she discovers hidden secrets about his past.

Then expensive jewels go missing from various homes on the island, and suspicion is aimed in Callie's direction. As the investigation continues, Callie wonders if she should escape it all by going to Africa. After the secrets he kept about his past, will Wesley ever be a man she can honor and trust for the rest of her life?

 

My Thoughts: 

To Honor and Trust is the third book in The Bridal Veil Island Series written by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller.  Callie DeBoyer is a governess for The Bridgeport family and has come with them to Bridal Veil Island. While there she receives a letter from her parents in Africa as missionaries asking for her help. Callie is torn on what to do and her reasons for doing it.  Callie signs up Thomas for golf lessons and is encouraged by the teacher to enroll too. As she takes lessons she starts to have feelings for the instructor.  Soon expensive things go missing on the island from different homes and things are pointing in Callie's direction.  Will she go to Africa to escape this persecution?


To Honor and Trust maybe the third book in this series but its the first one I read. When I first requested this book from Bethany House I didn't realize that there were two previous books in the series until after the fact.  I have had the pleasure of reading books by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller separately and was so excited to read one they wrote together.  This story has suspense, romance, and comedy.  I found myself laughing and crying throughout this book.  These authors intertwined their writing styles to give readers one fluid novel. I loved that it is one story with two authors. The characters are great in this story. I enjoyed all of them.  As I stated I hadn't read the first two books in this series and I don't feel like I missed anything.  I plan on reading the first two books but I really felt it could be read as a stand alone. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Historical Christian Fiction, you will not be disappointed! I am excited to read more books written by these two authors together! They ROCK! I give this book 4.5 STARS.

No Safe Harbor: Edge of Freedom Series Book 1 By Elizabeth Ludwig

I received this book from Bethany House Blogging Program for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions I have expressed here are my own.



Book Description:  

New York City, 1897

She came to America searching for her brother. Instead all she's found is a web of danger.

Cara Hamilton had thought her brother to be dead. Now, clutching his letter, she leaves Ireland for America, desperate to find him. Her search leads her to a houseful of curious strangers, and one man who claims to be a friend--Rourke Walsh. Despite her brother's warning, Cara trusts Rourke, revealing her purpose in coming to New York.

She's then thrust into a world of subterfuge, veiled threats, and attempted murder, including political revolutionaries from the homeland out for revenge. Her questions guide her ever nearer to locating her brother--but they also bring her closer to destruction as those who want to kill him track her footsteps.

With her faith in tatters, all hope flees. Will her brother finally surface? Can he save Cara from the truth about Rourke... a man she's grown to love?




My Thoughts: 

No Safe Harbor is the first book in Elizabeth Ludwig's newest series Edge of Freedom.  Cara Hamilton sets out to find her twin brother who was believed to be dead. When she finds a letter from him, she leaves her home in Ireland and sets out to New York.  Cara's brother warns her not to trust Rourke Walsh in his letter but Cara finds herself trusting him and telling him her reasons for being there.  As Cara searches, others follow her with the intent to find her brother through her search.

No Safe Harbor is the first book by Elizabeth Ludwig that I have had the pleasure of reading. As a HUGE fan of historical fiction I found myself drawn to this book. Set in 1897, Elizabeth Ludwig gives insight to what people coming from another country on boats endured; how easy it was for them to get in trouble because of not knowing English. Elizabeth Ludwig accurately depicts the conditions of life in that time for immigrants making the journey to America.  This book has a little bit of everything: Suspense, action, romance, and history. Elizabeth brings to life a diverse and interesting cast of characters in this book. She also painted a vivid picture of the world and politics of 1897. The story grabbed a hold of me from the start, all the way to end.  Leaving me wanting more! I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading the rest of the books in this series. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Historical Christian Fiction, you won't be disappointed. I give this book 4 STARS. 

Stones For Bread By Christa Parrish

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:  


A solitary artisan. A legacy of bread-baking. And one secret that could collapse her entire identity.

Liesl McNamara’s life can be described in one word: bread. From her earliest memory, her mother and grandmother passed down the mystery of baking and the importance of this deceptively simple food. And now, as the owner of Wild Rise bake house, Liesl spends every day up to her elbows in dough, nourishing and perfecting her craft.
But the simple life she has cultivated is becoming quite complicated. Her head baker brings his troubled grandson into the bakeshop as an apprentice. Her waitress submits Liesl’s recipes to a popular cable cooking show. And the man who delivers her flour—a single father with strange culinary habits—seems determined to win Liesl’s affection.
When Wild Rise is featured on television, her quiet existence appears a thing of the past. And then a phone call from a woman claiming to be her half-sister forces Liesl to confront long-hidden secrets in her family’s past. With her precious heritage crumbling around her, the baker must make a choice: allow herself to be buried in detachment and remorse, or take a leap of faith into a new life.
Filled with both spiritual and literal nourishment, Stones for Bread provides a feast for the senses from award-winning author Christa Parrish.


My Thoughts: 

Stones For Bread is the first book by Christa Parrish I have read and I am so glad that I did read it. This book tells the story of Liesl McNamara, owner of Wild Rise Bake House, who leads a quiet, simple life as an adult. As a child, her life was anything but quiet or simple but the one constant has been bread.  Liesl is a third generation artisan baker. Her earliest memories are of her baking with her mother and her grandmother. Recipes passed down for generations starting in Germany. No matter what has happened in life Liesl always had bread to find sanctuary. In one day her life becomes very complicated: a new delivery driver and his daughter come into her life, her head baker brings his Grandson in to work with them, and another worker submitted Liesl to take part in a popular cooking show.  Her once quiet life becomes a circus after the cooking show airs, including a phone call from a half sister and a biological mother. Liesl now has to face secrets that she never wanted to. 

Stones For Bread is a wonderful book. Christa Parrish writes a unique story, deep with the history of artisan bread making, an art passed down through Liesl's mother and grandmother.  Told from Liesl's perspective, you see it through the eyes of an adult and child. Christa Parrish writes with authority on bread making, running a business, German culture, and mental illness.  I loved the characters in this book especially the relationship between Liesl and Xavier. Their interactions were special and the bond they had was truly like a parent/child relationship.  The characters in her book are flawed and have messy lives, which make them real.  Stones For Bread is a story that will stay with me, it truly touched me and really made me think.  I couldn't put this book down, from the start it grabbed me and kept a hold. I liked the recipes and other bread things in the book, really made it special. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Fiction and baking. You won't be disappointed. I can't wait to see what Christa Parrish writes next. I give this book 5 STARS.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Mighty League Vol 1 - The Terrible Taunting - A Blackfish Children's Book Developed by: Customizabook

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



Product Description: 

• A powerful children's book that can be read on multiple levels - it is a fun and interactive superhero story, a real life telling of quirks and issues relating to Asperger's, and a more thorough guide to Asperger's for older audiences.
• Promotes SELF-ACCEPTANCE, AWARENESS, and an UNDERSTANDING for others who are different.
• Addresses bullying in a meaningful and appropriate way.

The adorkable JMan and his plucky hedgehog sidekick, Mr. Redge are the unstoppable, secret superhero team who save a classmate from the poking pranks of Dr. Evil Touch! Join this quirky duo on their quest to stop a bully, make the school playground a peaceful place, and more importantly, make a new friend who likes crime fighting, capes and

karate, too. Discover JMan’s hidden notebook on each page about what it’s like to be an Aspie.

FOR KIDS AGES 5-11

ABOUT THIS APP:
This INTERACTIVE storybook app is based on the real JMan, Jonathan Murphy, and his REAL LIFE adventures growing up with ASPERGER’S SYNDROME. Written by his sister, Molly Murphy, and narrated by Jonathan himself, the story is told by someone who sees his world from a very unique perspective. It promotes SELF-ACCEPTANCE, AWARENESS, and an UNDERSTANDING for others who are different.

The Mighty League APP is a Murphy family’s GEEK CLUB BOOKS, I’m unique, I’m a geek production. Discover audio stories, activities, and more at www.geekclubbooks.com.

SPECIAL FEATURES:
• GIRL POWER option! You can change the superhero, JMan, into super-heroine, Jaycee.
• Touch Mr. Redge on every page and a SECRET NOTEBOOK pops up with age-appropriate information on Aspergers Syndrome, being different, and bullying.
• Over 70 INTERACTIVE SOUNDS AND ANIMATIONS—including capes waving, speech bubbles, character movements, and more.
• Original “I’m Unique, I’m a Geek” THEME SONG by award-winning children’s performing artist, AndyZ.
• Easy to use navigation, customization, and page turning effects.
• Narration with word highlighting, self-read, or record your own narration options.
• PROJECT BASED LEARNING CURRICULUM aligned with Common Core State Standards available for free download at
www.geekclubbooks/education-mighty-league-pbl

CURRICULUM – PRAGMATICS – SOCIAL SKILLS OPPORTUNITIES:

“This will be a GREAT RESOURCE for COUNSELOR and GIFT AND TALENT TEACHERS to use as a Social Issues project. It is not limited to just grade-level classrooms. I find it to be an AWESOME, EDUCATIONAL APP.”
Cyndie Sebourn, National Board Certified Teacher, Author, APPS with Curriculum

• Opens exploration and discussions about feeling different, accepting others with differences, autism spectrum, bullying and conflict resolution.
• Enhances students’ awareness of Aspergers Syndrome.
• Resource for school counselors and Gift and Talented teachers as a group Social Issues study.
• SLP/SLPA tool for pragmatic and social skills groups.
• APP and its curriculum include student-friendly objectives, Common Core State Standards, upper levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy, cross-curricular subjects, and technology.

PARENT NOTICE ABOUT THIS APP:
-Does not collect/share any user’s personally identifiable information.
-Does not contain ads.
-Does not contain In APP Purchases for additional content.
-Does not include analytics.
-Links to Blackfish Children’s Books’ Library to view other storybook APPS by Customizabooks.
-Option to open window at end of APP for links to Customizabooks and Geek Club Books.



My Thoughts:  
 
 
Please bear with me, as you can see I do book reviews and this is my first attempt at reviewing an app. As a parent of two special needs children who are both on the autism spectrum, I was very excited to have the opportunity to review this app.  Our 12 yr old son has Asperger's and has been the victim of bullying in school quite a bit. This storybook is about JMan and his hedgehog sidekick, Mr. Redge who are superhero's who are there to stop the bullies and make the playground safe from bullying. This interactive storybook focuses on self acceptance, awareness, and understanding for those who are different. The superhero can be changed to Jaycee (a girl) for those with daughters who use this app. There is a theme song called " I am unique, I am a geek" and each page has access to a secret notebook that give age appropriate facts about Aspergers Syndrome, being different, and bullying.

We have 2 children on the spectrum, a daughter who is 15 yrs old and our son who is 12 yrs old. We all enjoyed this app.  Our 12 yr old really fell in love with it and found it empowering. Our 15 yr old enjoyed it but was a little below her level since its stated for 5-11 yr olds.  We thought this app/storybook really puts the awareness out there and would definitely be useful to all children, not just those on the spectrum. It's a great resource for schools, churches, and other places where groups of children are together. I can't say enough about good about this app/storybook.  Molly and Jonathan Murphy are an extraordinary brother/sister team who truly have put together a beautiful message out there for everyone, adults and children alike. I definitely recommend this app for anyone with children special needs or not. Also some adults that could definitely use this too to be educated on this syndrome. I give this app 5+ Stars!








The Letters: The Inn at Eagle Hill Series Book 1 By Suzanne Woods Fisher

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: 

Rose Schrock is a plain woman with a simple plan. Determined to find a way to support her family and pay off her late husband's debts, she sets to work to convert the basement of her Amish farmhouse into an inn. While her family, especially her cranky mother-in-law, is unhappy with Rose's big idea, her friend and neighbor, Galen King, supports the decision and he helps with the conversion. As Rose finalizes preparations for visitors, she prays. She asks God to bless each guest who stays at the Inn at Eagle Hill. As the first guest arrives and settles in, Rose is surprised to discover that her entire family is the one who receives the blessings, in the most unexpected ways. And she's even more surprised when that guest decides to play matchmaker for Galen King.

With her signature plot twists combined with gentle Amish romance, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher invites readers back to Stoney Ridge for fresh stories of simple pleasures despite the complexity of life. Fisher's tale of God's providence and provision will delight her fans and create many new ones. Welcome to the Inn at Eagle Hill.




My Thoughts:  

The Letters is the first book in Suzanne Woods Fisher's newest series, The Inn at Eagle Hill.  Rose Schrock is in need of work. Her husband died, and they are in debt because of him.  Rose decides to open an inn in her basement. With the help of her neighbor, Galen King, they get her set up to take in guests. As they take in their first guest, a mystery woman who spends the first days sleeping, a family of eagles take up residents at the Schrock Farm.  To add to the miracle they are nesting an egg. Soon Rose starts receiving letters from strangers addressed to Mrs. Miracle. Rose cannot answer the letters so her daughter Mim starts answering them. As the Schrocks settle in on their new lives, their neighbor Galen King is there every step of the way to help them all. 

As a huge fan of Amish Fiction I was so excited to read this latest novel by Suzanne Woods Fisher. I loved the town of Stoney Ridge from her other series and was excited to learn about other characters there. Also to find out about old friends from past books. It feels like coming home!  Suzanne Woods Fisher writes with authority on Amish traditions, birds, and running an inn in this latest book.  I loved the characters especially Delia Stoltz, Rose's first guest.  I felt such a connection with her circumstances and need to get away from everything.  The characters in this book are not perfect and Suzanne Woods Fisher shows that bad things happen to everyone, including the faithful.  As I read this book, I felt like I was right there watching the events unfold in front of me. I truly enjoyed this book.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Amish Fiction, you will not be disappointed. I cannot wait to read the next book in the wonderful series. 
 I give this book 4.5 stars. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Hardest Thing in This World: A Novel By Nicole Eva Fraser

I received this book from PR by the Book for no charge in exchange for my honest opinion of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own!


Book Description:

A Tale of a Family Coping With Mental Illness, Ghosts, and “The Hardest Thing In This World,” Set in the Midwestern Suburbs

When her troubled daughter Renee drops dead at 24, Melody Sawyer steals the urn of her ashes from the memorial service, rides away on the ferry and eats some of the ashes. That’s when Renee’s ghost first appears.
So begins The Hardest Thing in This World, a novel by Nicole Eva Fraser about family, mental illness and the search for hope and meaning in the things that hurt. Fraser, a greeting card writer and adult-literacy activist in Cleveland, Ohio, explores a darker side of writing in her first novel and interweaves her Micmac Indian heritage and cosmology into the stories of Melody Sawyer and her daughters Renee and Kayla, who discover that “the hardest thing in this world is to live in it.” 
Set in the suburbs of Cleveland, the story is told in a nonlinear narrative through the eyes of the three Sawyer women. Smart-mouthed Melody is an underachiever, a home health care nurse with good intentions and a chip on her shoulder. Her married daughter Kayla has been deep in a clandestine affair with pro baseball player Baron Lee Presley since she was 16. After her death, Renee’s ghost keeps popping in on the family, invited and uninvited, much like the ghost of Uncle Jamie used to visit the girls. The roster of characters also includes Melody’s brother, Michael, a first baseman for the Cleveland Indians, and Winch, the girls’ grief-stricken father, among others. Revolving around family and the issues that come with living in a family with mental illness, the story follows the Sawyer women through birth, coming-of-age and dealing with the death—and ghosts—of loved ones.




My Thoughts: 

The Hardest Thing in This World is the debut novel from author Nicole Eva Fraser. When Melody Sawyer leaves her daughter Renee's memorial service with her ashes in tow, to head home.  She decides to do something different with the ashes, which includes eating some of them. From that point on Melody is visited by Renee's ghost. From here we go back to the beginning of life for Kayla and Renee and see their families life unfold. 

The Hardest Thing in This World is a well written novel that stays with you after you finish reading it. As a fan of new authors and their debut novels, I was very excited to be given the opportunity to read this. Nicole Eva Fraser writes with authority on health care, mental illness, grief, baseball, Ohio, and ghosts in the haunting novel about a family faced with death and mental illness. I found myself completely taken in with the novel from the start. Each chapter has a name to it and is on of the Sawyer family women.  Nicole Eva Fraser gives voice to these women and tells their stories beautifully.  This story spoke to me from all aspects, as a mother, as a person who struggles with depression, and as a sibling trying to help another sibling.  The characters in this novel are strong women who struggle with their weaknesses like the rest of us. Kayla's character really spoke to me and I felt a certain kinship with that character. As I read this novel, I felt like I was there watching the events unfold.  I highly recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys reading Contemporary  Fiction about family and mental illness. I have found a new author to add to my must read list.  I cannot wait to read Nicole Eva Fraser's next book,I Don’t Think It’s That Simple, set to release in 2014. I give this book 5 Stars! 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Rosemary Cottage: Hope Beach Series Book 2 By Colleen Coble

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


Book Description:

Amy came to Rosemary Cottage to grieve, to heal, maybe even find love. But there’s a deadly undertow of secrets around Hope Island . . .

The charming Rosemary Cottage on the beach offers Amy Lange respite she needs to mourn her brother, Ben. She’s even thinking of moving her midwife practice to the Outer Banks community. It’s always been a refuge for her and her family. She also wants to investigate Ben’s disappearance at sea. Everyone blames a surfing accident, but Amy has reason to wonder.
Coast Guard officer Curtis Ireland has lost a sibling too. His sister, Gina, was run down by a boat, leaving him to raise her infant daughter. If anyone knew who little Raine’s father was, Curtis could lose his beloved niece. Yet he can’t help being drawn to Hope Beach’s new midwife, Amy. He even agrees to help her investigate what happened to both Ben and Gina.
Can two grieving people with secrets find healing on beautiful Hope Island? Or will their quest for truth set them at odds with each other…and with those who will go to any length to keep hidden things hidden?



My Thoughts:

Rosemary Cottage is the second book in Colleen Coble's series Hope Beach and it is a great book. I had the joy of reading the first book in this series, so I was equally excited to read Rosemary Cottage. Amy comes to Rosemary Cottage to find respite and to move her midwife practice to the community. She is also there to look into her brother Ben's disappearance in an unbelievable surfing accident. Amy and Ben were very close and Amy knows in her heart that something isn't right.  Curtis Ireland lost his sister and is raising his niece, Raine. Curtis is the only one outside of Raine's parents who knows who her parents are and Curtis will do anything to keep that secret to keep Raine.  Curtis and Amy find themselves put together in many situations and find out that they have ties that run much deeper. 

Rosemary Cottage is a fantastic book. I found myself unable to put it down from the start. This books has a little bit of everything in it: romance, suspense, mystery, and faith. Colleen Coble writes with authority on boating,surfing, medical situations especially child birth, search and rescue, and the Outer Banks of South Carolina. She has created this fictional place, Hope Beach, that is beautiful and could really be a place in South Carolina.   She weaves an exciting mystery that keeps you guessing until the end. The characters are awesome. Colleen Coble gives the characters depth and portrays them human with flaws and messy lives. I enjoyed all of the characters good guys and bad guys. As I read, I could see the story unfold like I was there watching it happen.   Rosemary Cottage may be the second book in this series but can definitely be read as a stand alone.   I cannot wait to read the next book in this series. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Suspense Fiction. You will not be disappointed. I give this book 4.5 stars.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

My Heart Remembers: Book One In My Heart Remembers Series By Kim Vogel Sawyer

I received this novel  from Bethany House Publishers for no charge in exchange for my honest review. The opinions expressed here are my own!


Book Description:

United by blood, divided by time, will three orphan train siblings ever find one another again? Orphaned in a tenement fire, three Irish immigrant children are sent to Missouri to be adopted. Despite eight year old Maelle's desperate attempts to keep her siblings together, each child is taken by a different family. Yet Maelle vows that she will never stop searching for her brother and sister . . . and that they will be together one day in the future. Seventeen years later, Maelle is still searching. But the years have washed away her hope . . . and her memories. What are Mattie and Molly doing now? Where has life taken them? Will she ever see her brother and sister again?




My Thoughts:


My Heart Remembers is the first novel in Kim Vogel Sawyers series My Heart Remembers and is the first novel by Kim Vogel Sawyer I have had the pleasure of reading. I have a few of her novels on my To Be Read pile.  Maelle, Mattie, and Molly are siblings who despite Maelle's attempts of keeping them together find themselves sent to Missouri to be adopted separately. Maelle makes a promise to Mattie and Molly that she will find them and they will be together again.  She spends 17 years looking for them and finds herself losing hope that they will be together.


My Heart Remembers is a beautiful story set during 1886 that depicts the struggles of immigrants at that time.  I really enjoyed this novel. Kim Vogel Sawyer writes with authority on 1880's time period in the United States, adoption process then, and the places Maelle looked find her siblings.  I found myself truly involved in this novel and could not put it down. Kim Vogel Sawyer's A Heart Remembers shows the separate lives these three siblings had and how they finally found each other.  Truly a  heartfelt story of love, perseverance and faith. This novel is definitely a tear jerker so really need the tissues.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Historical Christian Fiction, you won't be disappointed. I cannot wait to dig into the other novels by Kim Vogel Sawyer that I have. I give this novel 4 Stars.

Love in Disguise By Carol Cox

I received this novel from Bethany House Publishers Blogger Program for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book.  The opinions expressed here are my own.


Book Description:

When costume-maker Ellie Moore suddenly finds herself out of a job in the middle of a bleak Chicago winter, she uses her knowledge of theatrical disguise to secure a position as an undercover operative with the Pinkerton Detective Agency. Her assignment: find the culprit behind the theft of silver shipped from the mines near Pickford, Arizona.

Disguised as Lavinia Stewart, a middle-aged widow, Ellie begins her investigation. Soon she finds she must also pose as the dazzling young Jessie Monroe, whose vivacious personality encourages people to talk.

Mine owner Steven Pierce is about to lose his business after the theft of several bullion shipments--until hope arrives in the unlikely form of Lavinia Stewart, who offers to invest in Steven's mine. In his wildest dreams, Steven never expected to be rescued by an inquisitive gray-haired widow...or to fall head over heels for Lavinia's captivating niece, Jessie.

But then the thieves come after both Lavinia and Jessie. Ellie isn't safe no matter which character she plays! Will she be forced to reveal her true identity before the criminals are caught? What will Steven do when he discovers the woman he loves doesn't exist?



My Thoughts: 

Love in Disguise is the first novel by Carol Cox I have read.  This novel takes place in 1881 where Ellie Moore loses her job in the theater.  Ellie finds herself desperate for a job and uses her knowledge of acting and theater to get a position with Pinkerton Detective Agency. Ellie finds herself in Arizona to investigate the theft of silver from the mine there.  Ellie finds herself in over her head and has to find a way to fix all of it. 

Love in Disguise is a good novel. I enjoyed the characters, especially Ellie having to be pose as not one person but two.  I enjoyed watching the characters evolve throughout the book with their faith and relationships.  Carol Cox writes with authority about 1880's time period, the states at that time in our history, theater components, and the ins and outs of being a detective.  I found myself laughing in many spots in this novel, Carol Cox definitely has a wonderful sense of humor.  For me the story was hard to get into and I had a hard time connecting completely with this novel.  Also felt the story moved slower than I like.  This novel may not have been for me, it is well written and I did enjoy many aspects of it. I recommend this book for anyone who enjoys Historical Christian Fiction that is looking for a light read.I look forward to reading more from Carol Cox.  I give this book 3 Stars. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay | Favorite Austen Moments KINDLE HDX Giveaway, Pinterest Contest and Facebook Party!

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


Book Description:

Samantha Moore has always hidden behind the words of others—namely, her favorite characters in literature. Now, she will learn to write her own story—by giving that story to a complete stranger.
     Sam is, to say the least, bookish. An English major of the highest order, her diet has always been Austen, Dickens, and Shakespeare. The problem is, both her prose and conversation tend to be more Elizabeth Bennet than Samantha Moore. But life for the twenty-three-year-old orphan is about to get stranger than fiction. An anonymous, Dickensian benefactor (calling himself Mr. Knightley) offers to put Sam through Northwestern University’s prestigious Medill School of Journalism. There is only one catch: Sam must write frequent letters to the mysterious donor, detailing her progress.
As Sam’s dark memory mingles with that of eligible novelist Alex Powell, her letters to Mr. Knightley become increasingly confessional. While Alex draws Sam into a world of warmth and literature that feels like it’s straight out of a book, old secrets are drawn to light. And as Sam learns to love and trust Alex and herself, she learns once again how quickly trust can be broken.
Reminding us all that our own true character is not meant to be hidden, Reay’s debut novel follows one young woman’s journey as she sheds her protective persona and embraces the person she was meant to become.


My Thoughts:

Dear Mr. Knightley is the debut novel of Katherine Reay and it is a winner! Sam Moore has had a very hard life that left her orphaned and without anyone but the characters in her books, especially the characters in Jane Austen's books. Sam finds her confidence in the pages of these books. An anonymous benefactor giving himself the name Mr. Knightly (from one of Austen's books) gives Sam the opportunity to attend Medgill School of Journalism at Northwestern University with the understanding that she must write letters to Mr. Knightly on a consistent basis to give updates on her progress.  Sam finds these letters to be therapeutic, opening up to "Mr. Knightly" about her life.  Sam accidentally bumps into Alex Powell, an author, and a friendship starts. From Alex Sam meets a family that take her in and treat her as one of their own.  

I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this novel.  As those who read my blog know, I am a big fan of reading debut novels and when I saw Dear Mr. Knightly I was drawn to it. I have not really read Jane Austen but know of her novels.  I couldn't put this novel down. Written in letter format, it's unique and really stands out.  I found myself completely submerged in this novel. Katherine Reay writes with authority on Jane Austen, the Foster Care System, writing, and Chicago. The characters are fantastic and real. I loved Sam and Alex. The relationships in this book are complex and real.  I found myself laughing and crying throughout this novel. This novel really touched me and I am very thankful I had the opportunity to read it. I highly recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys Christian Fiction and Jane Austen. I cannot wait to read more from Katherine Reay, she is on my fave author list!
 I give this novel 4.5 stars!  Please Check out the contest below!

Debut author Katherine Reay is celebrating the release of her delightful novel, Dear Mr. Knightley, with a Kindle Fire HDX giveaway, a fun Favorite Austen Moments Pinterest contest, and an Austen-themed Facebook Party.
dearmrknightley-400

  One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire HDX
  • Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay
  • Handmade Austen-themed items (scarf, mug, bracelet, and necklace) 
Two ways to win! Enter today by clicking one of the icons below or participating in the Pinterest contest (see banner below)—or BOTH! 

But hurry, the giveaway ends on December 3rd. Winner will be announced at the "Dear Mr. Knightley" Austen-themed Facebook Author Chat Party on the 3rd. Join Katherine (and Austen fans) for an evening of book chat, prizes, and an exclusive look at Katherine's next book.

So grab your copy of  Dear Mr. Knightley and join Katherine on the evening of December 3rd for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by clicking JOIN at the event page. Spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway and party via FACEBOOK, TWITTER, or PINTEREST. Hope to see you on the 3rd!