The Good Book for Kids: How the Bible’s Big Ideas Relate to YOU by Lisa Tawn Bergren

cover105546-mediumThe Good Book for Kids: How the Bible’s Big Ideas Relate to YOU by Lisa Tawn Bergren is a great book that teaches the Bible for kids. The Bible is broken down by chapters from Genesis to Revelation in an interesting way that gains the attention of kids. This book can be viewed as a devotional for kids. The lessons are short but have meaning.

The book is a narrative of the main stories of the Bible. The stories are written in  way that engages children in a way to instill Christian principles. After the short lesson, the book  has a section titled “skinny” which breaks down the lesson into key points with a modern twist. At the end of each lesson there are a few questions that are asked that can be used as discussion points.

This book is a great resource for church, Bible class at a Christian school or a devotional at home.

I received as ARC from David C Cook via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Categories: Bible, book review, books, children, Christian, David C Cook, devotional, kids, NetGalley | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fight to Learn by Laura Scandiffio

cover87601-mediumFight to Learn by Laura Scandiffio brings interest and excitement to going to school. While most people have heard of Malala, they may not have heard of all of the great people in Scandiffio’s book: people helping to change education for poverty-stricken Indians and Roma, Pakistanis denied an education because of their gender, children ripped away from schools becoming soldiers, and separate, but not equal, schools on First Nation land.

Liked that the book was divided into different challenges children face rather than by geography. It even included an example in the U.S. I also liked that the book highlighted the people, many of whom are children, who are finding solutions to this issue.

A fantastic resource for older students.

I received an ARC copy from Annick Press via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Categories: Annick Press, book review, books, Children's Nonfiction, Middle grade, multi-cultural, Multicultural Interest, NetGalley, nonfiction, Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Blessing by Wanda E. Brunstetter

cover112930-mediumThe Blessing by Wanda E. Brunstetter is the second book in the series The Amish cooking class. In the first book Heidi and Lyle open their home up at the Troyer Amish Farm for cooking classes that Heidi teaches. In this second book Heidi teaches were second cooking class. I read the Brunstetter’s first book in The Amish cooking class series and this book did not disappoint.

Just like the first book, Heidi’s students in The Blessing are facing a variety of needs. Aa young teenage who is struggling with life after her mother, an alcoholic, abandon her family. A mailman who wants to learn to cook. A wife who’s husband is a policeman and gives her this gift to learn to cook. A caterer who wants to learn new recipes for her business and a hunter who wants to learn to cook for his buddies. The story bring in some of the characters from the first book in the series, which is an added bonus to see how the first set of doing are doing.

Heidi seems to be a compassionate and thoughtful young woman, with a good sense of humor who genuinely loves sharing her love of cooking and of God with her students. It is heartwarming to see how Heidi is able to reach her students hearts when they are suffering, particularly teenage Nicole, who is struggling with forgiving her mother for leaving the family.

At the classes Heidi teaches her student to cook good Amish food and always sends them home with a Bible verse on the back of the recipe card. The story shows how each person needs something in there lives and Heidi is able to help them.

The story has feelings of hope, love, friendship, forgiveness and trust in God. Heidi shares a scripture with each of her recipe cards. This touching story left me wanting for more. I hope there will be more additions to her Cooking Class series. The stories are uplifting and enjoyable to read.

I received an ARC from Shiloh Run Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Categories: Amish, Amish Cooking Class, book review, Christian, christian fiction, Christian Romance, cooking, Inspirational, NetGalley, Review, romance, series, Shiloh Run Press, Wanda Brunstetter, Wanda E. Brunstetter, women, Women's Fiction | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Trail Blazers by Lisa Graves

22181133Trail Blazers: An Illustrated Guide to the Women Who Explored the World by Lisa Graves is a picture book full of famous women explorers. I found it interesting and educational. There’s not a great amount of information, but what’s here is enough to give a sense of these women’s accomplishments, as well as their determination, in just enough detail to whet the reader’s curiosity.

Graves introduces readers to thirteen women who were influential explorers. Each woman gets one spread with a column about their life and most famous accomplishments. Further textboxes on the spread highlight major accomplishments, places travelled, etc. Some of these women are well known names, like Nellie Bly, Amelia Earhart, and Sacagewa, others are not so well known like Ida Laura Pfeiffer, Harriet Chalmers Adams, and Gertrude Bell. They explored any time between the mid 1700s to mid 1900s, used different methods of transportation, explored different areas of the world, but all were intrepid adventurers and left their marks in society, literature, science, archeology, geography, and more.

I received an ARC from Xist Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Categories: Adventure, book review, books, children, Children's literature, Children's Nonfiction, Middle grade, NetGalley, nonfiction, picture books, travel, women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Upon a Spring Breeze by Kelly Irvin

cover103803-mediumUpon a Spring Breeze by Kelly Irvin is a beautiful, emotional Amish book. At 20 years old Bess is newly married and pregnant, life couldn’t get better. Then, as she’s making stew for her husband one evening she get’s the news of his death. After her son is born he looks just like her late husband and coupled with her exhaustion and her babies colic she has a very hard time dealing with it. Her hormones are out of whack because she has postpartum depression and doesn’t realize it. She feels like a total failure with things. Her mother-in law has dementia and thinks Bess’s baby is her son who passed away and tries to care for him which just adds to Bess’s stress. Bess takes a job at a Bed and Breakfast Inn close by and the son of the owner falls for her. he is an Englisher. She now has two men that have fallen for her, Dusty the Englisher and Aidan, who was her husbands best friend since childhood. Aidan has been in love with her since childhood but she married his best friend. He still carries the strong feelings for her.

Aidan, Caleb and Bess’ best friend since childhood, does his best to repress his guilt over Caleb’s passing. Try as he might, he blames himself for sending him into town that tragic day. He promises on Caleb’s dying breath to watch over Bess and their unborn child. He tries to make that a reality but his long standing feelings for Bess start to get in the way.
Bess tries to find her way working in a B and B in town. When the rumor mill runs wild with stories of her and the English owner’s son, she has to begin to face reality instead of living in her own world of grief. She soon learns to rely on a group of widows in her community. The guidance and love that they giver her along with Aiden’s unyielding support soon give Bess hope that there might be a future for her and young Joshua after all.

Kelly really has a way with bringing her characters to life. The reader is quickly drawn in as the characters are so easy to identify with and root for in their quest for happiness. I really enjoyed the many strong female voices in the book. The group of supporting widows that reached out to young Bess was easy to connect with and understand their loss and struggle with their own stories. Even though at first I was not a Mattie fan, my heart began to ache for her and the fact that Soloman left his wife’s dementia untreated for so long. The author did an excellent job delicately working Mattie’s tale into the story, although I hoped that in the epilogue she would have found treatment and possibly have recovered.

Kelly Irvin’s writing is easy to follow. Intriguing, clean, and charming. The charcaters are believable. Their life situations are realistic. I was able to connect with both characters. Loss, grief, love, and faith are themes commonly found on every page.

I received an ARC from Thomas Nelson and Zondervan via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Categories: Amish, book review, Christian, christian fiction, Christian Romance, Thomas Nelson, Zondervan | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Quicksand Pond by Janet Taylor Lisle

32333242Quicksand Pond by Janet Taylor Lisle is an interesting historical mystery, and modern day problems that my middle grade students will enjoy.

Jessie, her father and her siblings Julia and Jonathan are staying at a run down house near Quicksand Pond for six weeks in the summer. The father is an English teacher who doesn’t like to spend money, so he’s fine with the moldy floors and lack of technology. Their mother is staying behind in Pittsburgh to work. Julia finds a group of teens to hang out with, and Jonathan is happy staying close to the house, but Jessie is enthralled with the pond. Once she finds a raft, and meets Terri, a girl from the neighborhood, she spends most of her time outside. Terri has a difficult life; her father is an alcoholic who frequently abuses her. A neighbor, Miss Cutting, meets the girls and tells them they may use the tools in her garage to repair the raft. Miss Cutting’s own past is entwined with Terri’s family; her parents were murdered when she was young, and Terri’s great grandfather was sent to jail for it, although he was most likely not guilty. Terri makes some bad choices, and Jessie is not supposed to spend time with her, especially after there are a series of incidents that make Terri look guilty.

I received an ARC from Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing and Atheneum Books for Young Readers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Categories: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, book review, books, children, Children's Fiction, Children's literature, Middle grade, NetGalley, Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing, YA, young adult | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

You’ll Think of Me by Robin Lee Hatcher

cover103804-mediumYou’ll Think of Me by Robin Lee Hatcher is a beautiful story of survival and God’s love for each of us. The characters in this book are the example of grace and acceptance, and demonstrate how far love and kindness can go in this world. This is a lovely story of faith and forgiveness. It is lovely to see the spiritual growth of the hero and heroine cheered on by the sweet innocence of a child and of a grandmother.

Brooklyn Myers is a single mother, not by choice. Life hasn’t been fair to her at all. Everyone who should have loved and supported her have left her or let her down. Now, she is going back home again not by choice; but, putting her daughter first she is returning to Thunder Creek to the home left to her by her deceased ex-husband.

Derek Johnson, local Sheriff’s Deputy of Thunder Creek has received a letter from his best friend’s estate. His friend has died and failed to leave him the land he had promised to sell him; instead, he has left it to his ex-wife and daughter. In addition, he has requested, Derek act as a surrogate father to the child. Derek, doesn’t have good memories of Brooklyn and blames her for his best friend’s life choices as well as resents that his dreams of expanding his farm, which happents to be next door to her new home, are in the dust.

While the characters, particularly Brooklyn, have faced difficulty in their pasts, these issues are only briefly touched upon in the story. The story remains a light tale of romance, family, and community. As a result this is a very peaceful book to read, but I really would have liked to delve a little deeper on some of the big issues that were present. I also expected more conflict between Brooklyn and Derek, but aside from a few calm disagreements, they get along well. They are a well-matched pair and I liked their open communication and peaceful relationship, despite the conflict they might have had in the past. There is also no discussion between Brooklyn and Derek about her family life or her history with her first husband. Once Brooklyn and Alycia move to Thunder Creek, everything falls into place for them. There is a bit of suspense towards the end of the book as characters face dangerous situations, bringing a bit of action to this story of romance and family.

Written in third person, the chapters alternate perspective between Brooklyn, Derek, and Derek’s grandmother Ruth. I enjoyed the small, country-town setting and the collection of supportive and caring characters. Hopefully, Thunder Creek will be a setting we readers can return to in future books by Robin Lee Hatcher.

I received an ARC from Thomas Nelson via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Categories: book review, books, Children's Fiction, christian fiction, Christian Romance, fiction, marriage, NetGalley, Review, romance, Thomas Nelson | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Treasured Grace by Tracie Peterson

cover104765-mediumTreasured Grace by Tracie Peterson is a historical novel set during the 1800’s. The author has done her research well and really showed the hearts of the native Americans who were feeling anger and frustration of being forced off of their land by white people who gave no thought to ask first about how they could live together and instead just swooped in and took. This all comes to a head of course in a most horrifying account of an attack on the mission in which our main character resides with her two sisters Hope and Mercy.

Treasured Grace is well-written and has good characters. My attention was captured and held throughout the book. I found it to have a good pace which made it easy to read. There is extreme violence in the book which is historically accurate, but I found it upsetting. Prayer and faith are prevalent themes throughout the book. It emphasizes how important it is to have faith that God is there for you in the bad times and the good. I give Treasured Grace 4 out of 5 stars. It is a lovely yet heartbreaking story. It does have a sweet ending once you get past the serious parts (which are sad, heartbreaking and slightly depressing). There is the requisite romance, but I did enjoy the character of Alex. Tracie Peterson did a great job with her research. Her writing brought history to life. I have read the majority of Ms. Peterson’s novels (I still have a couple in my TBR pile), and I will continue to read her stories in the future.

I received an ARC copy of this book by Bethany House via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Categories: book review, Christian, christian fiction, Christian Romance, fiction, historical fiction, history, NetGalley, Review, romance | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rachel’s Dream by Lisa Jones Baker

cover109170-mediumRachel’s Dream by Lisa Jones Baker is the third book in Hope Chest of Dreams series. Rachel Kauffmann is eighteen years old, and her hope chest contains her journal with her secret dreams for her life. Rachel loves the family horse Cinnamon and is worried about her. Her father calls out the new vet Dr. Jarred Zimmerman. Jarred is instantly attracted to Rachel’s sweet, caring nature and glass half full attitude. Rachel appreciates Jarred’s love for animals and his caring personality. Cinnamon is very ill and Rachel prays for his recovery. She is grateful for Jarred doing everything possible to save the horse. Rachel and Jarred get to know each other when Jarred visits to check on Cinnamon. Rachel learns that Jarred has not gotten over a tragic incident when he way four years old. It forever changed Jarred. Rachel encourages him to contact his parents to resolve the matter. Jarred is amazed at Grace’s faith and optimism. The pair are quickly falling for each other, but the path to happiness is not a smooth one. If they are to have a future together, God will show them the way.

Rachel’s Dream is easy to read and ties in nicely with the other two books in the series. The main character; Rachel, is eighteen. Rachel leans on God and prays about everything expecting all prayers to be answered. Jarred, an English vet, was given up by his parent’s as a young boy and was raised by a Mennonite couple. Rachel’s sick horse brings them together in the beginning and helps them to develop a deeper relationship.

The book is a sweet, love story of an Englisher and Amish falling in love. I love how he joins the church and the fact that it is not only for her but that he has been living with these thoughts for some time. I did have some issues getting started with the book. It took a little bit of time for me to get started. Another issue I noted was that every prayer that Rachel mentioned in the book, was answered just how she prayed. It might have been more realistic if everything didn’t fall into place so unrealistically.

I did enjoy this book and recommend it to others. It was a great story-line with just a few holes in some places. I loved the idea and that love did prevail in the end. I also loved that the horse lived.

I received this ARC copy from Kensington Books and Zebra publishing companies via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Categories: Christian, Kensington Books, Zebra | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

30 Days in the Land of the Psalms A Holy Land Devotional by Charles H. Dyer

cover106726-medium30 Days in the Land of the Psalms: A Holy Land Devotional by Charles H. Dyer is a 30-day devotional on the Psalms. It is instructed that the reader first reading the selected Psalm in the version of choice, then read Dyer’s comments and application.

He brings the Bible to life in an entire new way. 30 days in the Land of the Psalms reads as if the reader is on a tour of the land of the Holy Land. It is very detailed and almost transported me back to the days of David. This devotional covered Psalms 1, 11, 18, 20, 22, 23, 30, 42, 43, 46, 48, 56, 84, 90, 91, 96, 100, 102, 118, 120, 121, 122, 125, 127, 131, 133, 134, 136, 147, and 150.

I received this ARC from Moody Publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Categories: book review, books, Christian, Moody Publishers, NetGalley | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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