Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Books Read in 2015


January




February thru April 




May 


June


July  

August

September


October


November

December

Free books received in exchange for an honest review. 

+ Re-visiting/reading old friends

Monday, December 15, 2014

A Great way to enjoy books ~ audible!



I joined audible over a year ago and I am really enjoying listening to their audio books. I never thought I would enjoy it so much! 

This post is  not related to the audible company in any way.  I have not been asked to write a post or received any paid service or freebies in exchange for posting this. I just want to share the word about such a great company and great book deals!    

  


My children have often listened to audio books from the library and as a family we enjoyed them. For myself though, the audio books that I chose seemed to have been a hit or miss experience.  

I often found that while I enjoyed the book, I didn't always enjoy the narrator's voice, speaking style or speed of talking. Another factor was that the high cost of buying audio books pretty much was out of our budget range.   

Here's why I am loving audible ... 

Membership prices VERY reasonable

Free 30 day trial

Listening sample available for every book

Return policy -  you can return any book with no questions asked
(yep it's true - I've returned books without any hassle, questions or problems!) 

Ability to vary speed of the narrator's speaking so you can adjust it to your preference 

Easy access to customer service and they are available 24/7

Ability to go from listening to reading when needed (if you purchase the e book and audio book together) 

More listening/reading time while I  knit, crochet, clean house, drive, etc.  

High quality production and quality narrators

Ability to roll over  monthly book credits (within membership plan limits and those limits are really reasonable!) 


Click  on the above logo to visit the web site.

I  have found audible to have great customer service, an easy to use website and high quality audio books with terrific narrators! You don't need to have a kindle to use this service as they have many other free apps that you can use. 

I love the freedom of going about my day and being able to listen and enjoy a book I just can't put down.  

I highly recommend audible and that's pretty high praise from me.  My first and foremost preference is to read a good solid (real) book so you can imagine my surprise when I found I love listening to audio books through audible! 

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Bachelor: A Novel ~ Book 2 of the Plain City Peace series




  • ISBN-10: 0825442168
  • ISBN-13: 978-0825442162
  • Genre: Christian Fiction, Amish


The Bachelor  by Stephanie Reed is the second book in the Plain City Peace series.  The first book in this series is  The Bargain  and the 3rd book in this series, The Bride will be released in 2016.

The Bachelor opens with Betsy Troyer living in her Amish community during the stormy 1970s.  After boarding with an Englisher family for a time, she has returned home to resume her life within the Amish community and to care for her siblings. Her parents have been shunned and are no longer able to live at home. 

While Betsy grieves for her parents, struggles to keep a home for her siblings she also accepts the responsibility of caring for the daughter of the Englisher family she used to board with. 

As she works through these many challenges, she finds herself at a crossroad regarding her way of life, her faith and the two men she loves.  


Will Betsy listen as God guides tries to show her His plan for her?

Will she choose to follow her heart? 



The Bachelor by Stephanie Reed was an enjoyable  read and one that engaged me from start to finish.  The story was compelling, the characters engaging and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book!

While The Bachelor can be read and enjoyed as a stand alone story, I recommend reading the whole series. I believe I would have enjoyed the story even more if I had had a better understanding of the history leading up to the events that occurred in this book. I can't wait to read the other books!

Many thanks to Kregel Publishing and Ms. Reed for the opportunity to review this book. My review is an honest reflection of my thoughts and feelings regarding this book. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Being Church Doing Life Blog Tour and E Book Sale!


  • E-Book Sale this week - $1.99! 







  • ISBN-10: 0857214934
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857214935


From the Book Jacket:

Christians worldwide are learning new ways to connect their faith to everyday life. Gospel communities are popping up everywhere - in cafes, gyms, tattoo parlors, even laundromats. This movement, called Fresh Expressions, is attracting thousands and growing rapidly.
With over 120 real-life examples, Michael Moynagh describes easy ways for ordinary Christians to embrace this highly effective approach to local mission. Anyone can do it!  




Being Church Doing Life by Dr. Michael Moynagh is divided into three parts: Why we need communities in life, tools for developing witnessing communities and tools for the wider church.  This book clearly defines and lays out a plan with wonderful examples of how anyone can create this type of community in their every day life.  

Hospitality has been long been a strong venue for Christians to witness and serve others. It makes sense that the next step would be to have gospel communities in our every day life  - not to replace the church but to extend faith into everyday life.
   
Here is one of the statements that for me really summed up what the concept of a gospel community is ~

" ... witnessing communities take different shapes in different settings. They seek to express the life of the church in ways that both fit and remain faithful to Jesus." 

I found this book to be intriguing. It's a simple message but one of such depth and layers that I want to further study this book. 

Please stop by and let me know your impressions of this book! 

Many thanks to Kregel Publications for the opportunity to review this book. My review is my own and reflects my thoughts and feelings regarding this book.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Secrets of Happy Families ~ on sale!

When a book keeps popping up  over and over in my life, it's kind of a big hint for me that I need to read it. Well, this is one of those books ...




The Secrets of Happy Families caught my eye back when it was published in 2013. It's crossed my path several times over the last year. Today while catching up on visiting other blogs, I came across this post  and after reading the second paragraph I decided to go over to amazon and found ...


Yes, I was meant to read this book! Thought some of y'all might be interested in it too.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Candle Prayers for Kids by Claire Freedman


  • ISBN-10: 1781281025
  • ISBN-13: 978-1781281024
  • Ages: 5-7 

Candle Prayers For Kids by Claire Freedman is a wonderful collection of prayers for children ages 5-7. This book helps children learn how to pray and facilitates a deepening relationship with God. 

The prayers are short, insightful and cover a large area of topics. They focus on developing a wonderful relationship with God. The illustrations are bright, illuminating and beautiful. 

Candle Prayers for Kids can be used for specific prayer needs or as a daily devotional. Often, the prayers themselves can lead to deeper exploration of the topic and to meaningful family discussions and interactions.  

This is a prayer book for kids that the whole family will enjoy!

Many thanks to Kregel Publications for the opportunity to review this book. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Making Marion by Beth Moran


  • ISBN-10: 1782640991
  • ISBN-13: 978-1782640998


Making Marion by Beth Moran is a heartwarming and delightful read. I fell in love with this book as I read the first page and I laughed, cried and thoroughly enjoyed each page after.  You know you've read a good book when you are sad to reach the ending! 

Here's a bit from the publisher:

She had been looking for somewhere to stay, but instead Marion Miller finds herself on the wrong side of the reception desk at the Peace and Pigs campground and, despite her horrible shyness, promptly lands herself a job.
Marion came to Nottinghamshire--home of Sherwood Forest--to discover her father's mysterious past, but all she has to go on is a picture of her father dressed up, it would seem, as Robin Hood.
Life on a busy campground challenges Marion's formerly controlled life--the pigs roam free, the resident chickens seem determined to thwart her, and an unfortunate incident with a runaway bike throws her into the arms of the beautiful, but deeply unimpressed, Reuben.
Yet, Marion's would-be boyfriend Jake, and Reuben's stunning fiancée Erica, conspire to leave little room for Marion to daydream about the twinkling eyes of her rescuer . . . Will Marion ever find peace, and perhaps even love, among the pigs?

More of my thoughts ...
Wrapped up in all the fun and humor was some very deep issues being addressed by the main characters in this story. The characters within this story were very realistic and well developed.  
Marion Miller, the main character tugged my heart strings the moment I met her. I laughed with her, cried with her and cheered her on throughout the story. I also loved Scartlett's southern take on life  and as owner of the camping grounds and Marion's mentor, the advise she doled out as her "lessons" contained advise that I (and maybe all of us) could benefit from in one way or another.   
Faith in God and lessons on loving and forgiveness were  weaved into this story so well that it never came across as preachy.  The message within Making Marion is one that will stay with me for a long while as I needed to be reminded that love wins and letting go and forgiving can change your life!

Many thanks to Kregel Publications for the opportunity to review this book. My review is an honest expression of how I felt about this book. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

The Tea Shop on Lavender Lane by Sheila Roberts


  • ISBN-10: 0778316181
  • ISBN-13: 978-0778316183



I settled down last week for an afternoon of reading of The Tea Shop on Lavender LaneIt's a story involving a woman (Bailey Sterling) who loves to bake, a catering business fiasco and finding an unexpected romance.  Along the way, she explores her relationship to her family and finds a life that she never even dreamed of!

I found the story to have characters with depth, an engaging story line and it was definitely a relaxing read. I also enjoyed the after story chapter ~ A Little About Tea. It was interesting to read about some of the history of tea and my eyes lit up when I saw some recipes attached as well. Which recipes caught my fancy?  The recipes for Lavender White Chocolate Scones and Lavender Cake. I can't wait to bake them!

On the flip side, while I appreciated the author's choice to reference romantic interludes without being overtly explicit, I did not appreciate the foul language scattered through out the story line. In my opinion, the story was good enough to stand  on it's own; the author didn't need to go there. 


Many thanks to Nancy Berland Public Relations for the opportunity to review this book. My review is an honest reflection of my feelings and thoughts in regard to this book. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Rope of Sand by C. F. Dunn


Two years ago through Kregel Publications, I was introduced to The Secret of the Journal series by C.F. DunnI eagerly dove into the first book, Mortal Fire  and last year I was excited to read the second book, Death Be Not Proud.  

It's been a LONG year waiting for Rope of Sand  
by C. F. Dunn but it's finally here!   




ISBN-10: 1782640878
  • ISBN-13: 978-1782640875

  • Genre: Romance/ Mystery/ Thriller


Rope of Sand by C. F. Dunn finds Emma D'Ersby, a British historian and Matthew Lines, a gifted American surgeon on their way to Maine to meet Matthew's family.  Emma, now knowing Matthew's secret of seeming immortality believes she is ready for this next step. Everything they have been through together has lead to this moment. (Please note: this is NOT a vampire series).

As Emma is introduced to Matthew's family, she faces varying degrees of acceptance and finds out even more of the family's secrets. Her eyes are open to the reality of what it is like to live a life in hiding and the comprehension of what that may entail is overwhelming. 

In addition, some of Matthew's family make it very clear that she is not welcome. To what extent will they go to get rid of her?   


Will it all be too much for Emma?  




Rope of Sand was so worth waiting for!  I eagerly started reading and was instantly immersed in Emma and Matthew's world.  I don't normally read mystery/thrillers but since it involved romance and as Ms. Dunn weaves such an intoxicating mix of all three, I found that I couldn't put this book (or this series) down till I finished it. This book has a thoroughly engaging story that leaves you wanting more when it ends!

What did I like the most? 

I appreciated following the progression of Emma and Matthew's relationship as it developed throughout this story.

I enjoyed learning more about Matthew and his past as well as meeting his family.  In the prior books, his personal life and family were referred to but largely remained hidden in the shadows.

Another thing I enjoyed was the suspense that escalated throughout this book - it made for exciting reading! 

Some thoughts to share ... 

I came away with some ethical issues to ponder which I am sure the author wished her readers to have.  

Emma and Matthew's relationship is based on their love and strong faith but how ethical and moral is it to live with lies, hidden secrets and agendas?  How strong can a relationship be built upon that type of foundation?  

What are the moral implications of falling in love with someone while you are committed to another regardless of the reasons? 

Wrapping it up ...

Rope of Sand  is book three of The Secrets of the Journal series but can be enjoyed as a stand a lone read. The beginning of the book shares a brief overview of the prior two books and really helps to bring the reader up to speed with the story line.  

Be warned though - once you've read one of the books, you may not be able to stop yourself from reading them  all! 

Many thanks to Kregel Publications for the opportunity to review this book in exchange for a review that reflects my honest opinions and reflections in my experience of reading this book.