The Shelter by Céline Claire

cover114627-mediumThe Shelter by Céline Claire is a beautiful and wonderful story that teaches about goodness. A big storm is brewing and all the animals are headed inside for safety. But two lone bears are out and about. They knock door to door looking for shelter from the storm. They offer their tea in exchange, but no one opens their doors. Once snow starts to fall the bears make their own shelter, and are able to be the help someone else needs when the time arrives.

The reader is introduced to a small group of animals who are preparing for a storm. Two polar bear brother are stuck in the storm. They try to find shelter from other animals but as they go door to door no one lets them in. While the fox den turns the bears away because of size, the foxes helped the bears with a small gift. Eventually the bears find their own shelter and when the fox family finds themselves in the cold when their den collapses the bears invite the foxes in to their shelter.

The story has a great message of goodness and helping other when possible. The pictures are done by watercolor illustrations, which shows the mood and atmosphere of the story.  It brings the beauty of the forest, it’s inhabitants, their hidden houses and families to the reader. A true story of friendship, caring, compassion, sharing and love.

I received this ARC from NetGalley and Kids Can Press in exchange for an honest review.

Categories: animals, book review, children, Children's Nonfiction, family, french, friendships, kids, Kids Can Press, NetGalley, picture books, Watercolor | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Love Story by Karen Kingsbury

cover105549-mediumLove Story by Karen Kingsburg is the book that ties up unanswered questions from the previous books in her series about the Baxter’s. In this book the reader learns the full story of John and Elizabeth Baxter. The reader learns how the couple met and fell in love. The reader learns how the Baxter’s first child was born out of wedlock and that Elizabeth was sent away as a result. The reader learns that Elizabeth was forced to put the baby up for adoption.

I personally have not read the other stories in this series about the Baxter family and as a result I spent most o the book confused. I would recommend reading the other books to know what has happened so you as the reader will not be utterly confused.

Thank you to NetGalley and Howard Books for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Categories: ARC, book review, books, Christian, christian fiction, family, fiction, Howard books, Karen Kingsbury, Literary Fiction, NetGalley, Women's Fiction | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

True to You by Becky Wade

cover105949-mediumTrue to You by Becky Wade is a Christian romance that has several parts that are funny, and emotional. This is a wonderful book. The characters are well developed and relatable. The dynamics of the sister’s is well-thoughtout.

There are two main characters. The first; is Nora, is a cautious and studious young woman. The second; John, is a modern-day Navy SEAL who comes into Nora’s life and turns it upside down.

Nora had a really bad relationship in the past that caused her to build a wall to protect herself from being hurt that she did in her last relationship. The obstacles she puts in her way consist of unfashionable clothing, old hairstyles, and work. Eventually John and Nora meet and the wall that she has built slowly begins to break down.

John has an ego but deep down he was hurting and there was an uncertainty of his future that bothered him.  Recently, John was diagnosed with a genetic condition that will affect him for the rest of his life. John was not attracted to Nora at first but the most time he spent with her the more he saw a wonderful young lady. Through his friendship with Nora, John learns some important lessons in trusting God with his past as well as his future.

Thank you to NetGalley and Bethany House for sending me this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Categories: Becky Wade, Bethany House Publishers, book review, books, Christian, christian fiction, Christian Romance, family, fiction, Literary Fiction, navy seal, NetGalley, Review, romance, Women's Fiction | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Yes, Let’s by Galen Goodwin Longstreth

16000413Yes, Let’s by Galen Goodwin Longstreth is a story about a family day in the woods, from sun-up to sun-down. The rhyming text takes the reader through waking up, packing gear, riding there, hiking, playing, swimming, eating, and eventually sleepily returning home. Every sentence begins with “Let’s,” inviting the reader to join in the fun. The understated verse conjures up visual images.  The illustrator shows a family that mostly enjoys each other, at least most of the time. There is lot’s of humor in the illustrations, as well as details hinting at the personalities of each family member.

I received this ARC from Tanglewood Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Categories: ARC, book review, books, children, Children's Fiction, Children's literature, Children's Nonfiction, children's poetry, family, Galen Goodwin Longstreth, NetGalley, Tanglewood | Leave a comment

Up! How Families Around the World Carry Their Little Ones by Susan Hughes

cover104753-mediumI love this book as it depicts kids from all over the world and how they are carried. Simple language and nice pictures help create an interesting read for young children.

This is a fabulous book. The illustrations are beautiful and display a tremendous amount of diversity of different types of families and different family members. The characters are all different colors and races and the family makeup is so variably structured that it just shines through.

The illustrations are wonderful. They are done by cutting and pasting layers of paper and it makes them look three-dimensional. This is a good book for teaching about diversity and multiculturalism.

I received this ARC Owlkids Books and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Categories: book review, books, children, Children's Nonfiction, family, NetGalley, Owlkids Books, Parenting & Families | Leave a comment

The Last Thing You Said by Sara Biren

cover103165-mediumThe Last Thing You Said by Sara Biren is a tender story about a girl who lost her best friend. About a friendship that no matter what will never end, and how grieving someone you lost is different for everybody involved.

The Last Thing You Said is a beautiful look at the enduring power of first love and how two teens must reach through the murky waters of grief to reconnect. The whole story is peppered with beautiful quotes and my favorite will stay with me for a long time: “It’s a good day to have a good day.” I loved how Biren portrayed love as a brave act—because it is such a brave act—and how she explored the courage it takes to trust in romantic love after losing a beloved friend. This is a brave debut, a brave look at the raw, messy, confusing bits of young love.

At thw beginning of the book the reader learns pieces of information about Trixie’s death; such as, the way things were before her death, and why things are the way they are now between Ben and Lucy. There are little stories interspersed throughout the book gives this book depth and substance to the backstory.

This book has a lot of drama. Simon the renter who moves in next door to Lucy for the summer and with whom Lucy sparks a summer romance. Ben struggles with guilt, grief, and disgust with himself about his choices and mistakes. Ben’s family and the way they are handling their grief. Lucy and her family’s struggle to understand Lucy’s grief and stay financially afloat. There is so much wonderful, glorious, messy love in this book- sibling, familial, romantic, and friendship love. And the characters are flawed and make mistakes, many that had me cringing and crying out, ‘no, don’t do that, don’t make it worse.’ But the characters and the story are all the richer for mess that offsets the beauty in this moving book.

I received this book from ABRAMS Kids and Amulet Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Categories: Abrams Kids, Amulet Books, book review, books, family, fiction, literature, love, NetGalley, Review, romance, Teens, YA | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Animal Planet Baby Animals by Dorothea Deprisco, Animal Planet

30842589Animal Planet: Animal Bite, Baby Animals by Dorothea Deprisco, Animal Planet is a book about various animal species family life. It talks about live and egg birth, how long babies stay with their parents, what they eat, where they live, how they travel and more.

The photos in this book are vibrant. They are close that you feel as if you can touch the animals.

There are some special sections on that side of the page that that include cool animal facts, simple infographics, and illustrated maps of the Earth and the habitats as well as the short bits on “All Grown Up”. The special sections will invite discussion and further investigation. They even have bits on “Just like Humans” where they show how human families interact in some of the various topics.

On the top of the page there are activities, further resources and an extensive Glossary.

I received the advanced reader’s copy from Time Inc. Books and Animal Planet via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


Categories: animal planet, animals, book review, books, children, Children's literature, Children's Nonfiction, education, family, NetGalley | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wildflower Harvest by Colleen L. Reece

cover97776-mediumWildflower Harvest by Colleen L. Reece is a Christian novel set in the 1800’s. Thomas and Sadie Brown’s farm, Red Cedars, is nestled in the Allegheny Mountain’s in what has become West Virginia. It escaped detection by both Yankee and Rebel troops during the Civil War. Their twin daughters, Mountain Laurel and Ivy Ann, are very different from each other. Laurel is very quiet and reserved while Ivy is outgoing and flirty. They have recently turned twenty. A week later they are blessed to have the new doctor, Adam Birchfield, arrive.

The story is about two twin sisters Laurel and Ivy Ann who lives with their parents in West Virginian. They meet a handsome doctor, Adam Birchfield who seems to like both of the sisters. There is a rift between the sisters which makes one choose to do something unexpected. Adam leaves West Virginian to joins his older brother Nat in Wyoming who is a preacher. Laurel decides leave and go to Wyoming too.

The Birchfield’s have always made their home in Massachusetts until oldest son, Nathaniel, refuses to fight in the war he doesn’t believe in and leaves home. When he finishes school, Adam also leaves his family home in order to practice medicine where he is desperately needed and to try to find his brother.

The lives of these two families become entwined in some very unexpected ways over the years. I really enjoyed this book and the characters though at times I wanted to yell at them when they made silly decisions. There is always some competition going on between Laurel and Ivy, some expected and some seem silly for adult women. The girls are both strong and adventurous when need be. When their lives take unexpected turns they focus on prayer to see them through. Adam finds Nathaniel is now a preacher in the vast Wyoming where the need for a doctor is great. Adam prayerfully considers whether God is calling him to join his brother.

There are many unexpected turns which kept me very engaged and reading to learn what would happen next. The main characters are all Christians but only share their faith through actions. I recommend this book to all who enjoy a good, Christian based romance novel with some mysteries included.

I received an advance copy of this book from Barbour Publishing, through Netgalley, in exchange for my honest review.

Categories: Adventure, Barbour Books, Barbour Publishing, book review, books, Christian, christian fiction, family, fiction, historical fiction, history, NetGalley, Relationships, Review, romance | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hedy’s Journey by Michelle Bisson

cover109383-mediumHedy’s Journey by Michelle Bisson is a horrific, true story about a Hungarian Jewish girl named Hedy who had to travel through Germany during the Holocaust in search of safety. She takes a portion of the journey to America alone, as she is required to separate from her parents.

She and her family suffered through trials and tribulations on the unpredictable journey. Plans often changed, and she had no choice but to be brave. Follow along in the story to learn there destination and future.

The author, Michelle Bisson, is Hedy’s daughter. She tells the story of Hedy’s (Hungarian Jewish) journey to safety, from the Nazis to the US. The story is sort of passing of the baton. Someone has to continue to tell their stories, history in its worst manifestation, and I appreciated the effort of this daughter. The story is told with extreme delicacy and the designs convey this emotion. I truly appreciate that she has taken the story about her mother’s experience and offered it to others so that they can retain this piece of history that is so essential to children’s education. In addition, I appreciated the author mentioning that it wasn’t just Jews who were persecuted.

The book also contains lots of photographs of Hedy and her family as well as a timeline of events. This book is one I believe should be integral to children’s curriculums and should be in every library.

I received this ARC book from Capstone and Capstone Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Categories: book review, books, Capstone, capstone press, Children's literature, Children's Nonfiction, family, Germany, hero, history, Holocaust, Middle grade, Nazi, NetGalley, war, WWII | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Seekers by Wanda Brunstetter

cover100876-mediumThe Seekers is the first installment to Wanda Brunstetter’s newest series, Amish Cooking Class. I really enjoyed this book. In The Seekers, Heidi starts an Amish cooking class. I loved all the different individuals and their own stories and what bought each one to the cooking class held by Heidi.

This book revolves around a woman named Heidi Troyer and her Amish cooking class.Heidi Troyer and her husband of eight years, Lyle, have no children yet. She loves her Lyle and their life together but desires children, also. Lyle refuses to adopt, believing that if it is God’s will, Heidi will be able to conceive a child. Heidi considers giving cooking classes since cooking has come naturally to her and classes won’t take time away from her husband. Heidi will lead six lessons over the next three months.

The Lord prepares students for her first class. The students come with different problems to the classes and through out the book, they find solutions. First is Loretta,  a widow and single mother of two little kids that just wants to learn a more simpler way of life. She wants to know more about being Amish, so learning Amish cooking in an Amish home sounds beneficial.

Second, Charlene is engaged to a wonderful man, but has no experience in the kitchen.  Her financé has a mother who is an expert cook and doesn’t like Charlene. She doesn’t want her future mother-in-law to know she can’t cook.

Third is Eli, is a young widowed man who is part of the Amish community and also doesn’t know how to cook much of anything. His wife had been killed by a hit-and-run driver. He couldn’t cook, and eats out frequently after work.

Fourth, Kendra  is a young lady who got pregnant out of wedlock and was kicked out of her home by her dad so he wouldn’t be embarrassed in front of church or social friends. The young man also left her.

Last but not least is Ron. He pulls his older RV into the Troyer’s yard, hungry and broke. He tells Heidi and Lyle the first lie, that his rig needs repairs and he needs a place to park until he can repair it. He ends up in the cooking class without planning to be there. The Troyers share their food and time, but he holds his secrets close. A Viet Nam vet with PTSD, Ron always finds ways to justify what he does.

Most of the characters are very likable. We see Heidi as a three-dimensional woman of faith, and get to know her students through their everyday lives. I love how this book focuses so much on God. I also love the recipes and how after each class she gives a notecard with the recipe and a verse on the back.

I received this ARC book from Barbour Publishing, Inc. and Shiloh Run Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Categories: Adventure, Amish, Barbour Publishing, book review, books, Christian, christian fiction, cooking, family, fiction, NetGalley, recipes, Relationships, Review, Shiloh Run Press, teacher, Vietnam, Wanda Brunstetter | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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