Friday, February 16, 2018

Book Review: "When God Made Light"

The illustrations in When God Made Light absolutely make the book, telling a story of their own right alongside the rhyming words. They begin with a girl working on an art project as her little sister looks on, a dog and a cat playing nearby. Soon all move outside to frolic in and explore the world around them, eventually getting a grandparent to take them out at night where they can see the moon, the stars, and fireflies - all different kinds of light.

My daughter made up stories of her own about what might happen next in each scene and was disappointed when the backyard sprinklers didn't come on to douse the pets. She enjoyed the rhyming words and tried to anticipate which would come next. She expressed confusion, though, when the author tried to relate God creating light to God placing a light inside of her. The concept was just too abstract but could become a talking point in a future reading of the book. (She was too eager to see the next picture during this reading.) Her favorite picture was the one of the owl on the very last page.

When God Made Light provides an enchanting reading experience. If your children enjoy storytime, they may enjoy this book. I thank Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers for sending a complimentary copy, so I could share my daughter's reactions with you.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Book Review: "The View from Rainshadow Bay"

Colleen Coble's newest release, The View from Rainshadow Bay, is the story of a helicopter pilot and an adrenaline junky living on Puget Sound. Shauna, the helicopter pilot, has been a single mom for almost a year. She blames her husband's death on the adrenaline junky, Zach Bannister, who was with her husband Jack when he fell on a climbing trip. But when her business partner is murdered, and it looks like the killer is after her as well, Shauna must find a way to move beyond her feelings, trusting Zach to keep her and her son safe.

The sheriff is perplexed by possible murders and attempted murders suddenly taking place in his town. He wonders if Zach or Shauna could be involved, but when this unlikely team begins discovering threads that may tie all mysteries together, everyone's life is at risk.

This suspense thriller has a beautiful setting, complicated characters, and an unpredictable storyline. I had fun reading it and recommend it to you. I thank Thomas Nelson Publishers for sending me a complimentary copy, so I could share my thoughts with you.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Book Review: "Ten Little Night Stars"

Ten Little Night Stars, written by Deb Gruelle and illustrated by Gabi Murphy, is one of the sweetest board books ever. It's a counting book and bedtime story all rolled into one, and I appreciate that it is bigger than most board books - roughly 8 x 8 with a lightly padded front cover for either parents or children to hold. It's sturdy, yet keepsake quality.

Regarding the text, I love how the rhyme begun on one page helps kids anticipate the first word on the next. (My daughter loves this, too!) I also like the way the book not only teaches counting, but also presents a simple bedtime routine, familiar to most children. Of course, the pictures of a great variety of animal parents putting their offspring to bed was my favorite part.

I thank ZonderKidz for sending me a complimentary copy in exchange for this review. If you have young children or grandchildren, I recommend this book to you.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Book Review: "The Ladies of Ivy Cottage"

I just love this little world that Julie Klassen has created for her readers to visit. I enjoyed the first book of this, her first-ever, series. I found this second book, The Ladies of Ivy Cottage, just as sweet, only better, because everything in this little village is improving as the women, and the men, are starting to find their place and settle in where they belong.

The first book focused primarily on Jane at the Bell Inn, though Klassen made sure to introduce us to just about everyone else. This second book focuses on Rachel and the ladies she's now living with at Ivy Cottage, a school for girls. Rachel doesn't feel qualified to teach, yet she wants to earn her keep. Having inherited her father's book collection, she decides, with the encouragement of other women in the town, to open a circulating library. This comes as sad news to the man who wants to marry her and provide for all of her needs, but he chooses to bide his time, encouraging her efforts while letting her get to know him and hoping to win her heart.

If you enjoy Christian historical romance in the style of Jane Austin, you will love this series, Tales from Ivy Hill. Be sure to start with Book 1, The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill. Then move on to this newest tale. I thank Bethany House Publishers for sending me a complimentary copy. I am happy to recommend this book to you.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Book Review: "In the Middle of the Mess"

I am really thankful I stumbled across this book, offered for review through Thomas Nelson's Booklook Bloggers program. In the Middle of the Mess: Strength for This Beautiful, Broken Life by Sheila Walsh is one of the most tenderhearted, insightful, and encouraging books I've ever read. Walsh not only shares her story, her struggle, but deeply desires to help other women move forward triumphantly by God's Spirit in their stories, too. As she says on page 15, "This is the invitation of this book - an invitation to find healing, to find strength in the middle of your mess . . . It's a book about confession, about letting go, about picking up the Word of God, which was fashioned for your own personal war with your own personal demonds. This is a book intended to give you strength."

If life feels hard right now and you find yourself struggling to put one foot in front of the other each day, Walsh wrote this book for you. If you aren't struggling right now, this book can give you a deeper understanding into the hearts of those who are, so you can approach with a little more empathy, more sensitivity, deeper understanding.

I have enjoyed reading this book and know that it's one I'll read again, probably several times. I want to absorb every thought; I recommend this to you.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Book Review: "No One Ever Asked"

Katie Ganshert’s books always bring me to tears. A part of me wants to resist even reading them, but the stronger part can’t wait to read whatever she writes next. No One Ever Asked is her most powerful book yet.

Through the lives of three unique women drawn together by circumstance, she gives her readers much to think about. Overall, it’s a book about community, which should be about people coming together with love and acceptance all wanting what’s best for each other and joyfully giving of themselves to make that best hope a reality. But community rarely works so well, so this book is about the struggles that ensue when expectations are shattered, hopes are dashed, and people are hurt. Contained within the community theme, it’s also a book about marriage and friendship and motherhood and adoption and poverty, disappointment, power and secrets, lies, gossip, and tragedy.

Ganshert’s insights into many situations ring absolutely true. If you enjoy contemporary fiction that makes you think about society and your place in it, you will love this book. I thank Waterbrook Multnomah for sending me a complimentary copy, so I could share my opinion with you.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Book Review: "Oath of Honor"

Oath of Honor is a great start to a brand new series by Lynette Eason. I'm already hooked. In this first book, we meet police officer Isabelle St. John, known to her family and friends as Izzy, and her large, law-enforcement-oriented family, all of whom become involved in one way or another as Izzy attempts to solve one of her most heart-breaking cases ever, the murder of her partner, also her long-time childhood friend.

Her partner's brother, Ryan, is also drawn into the case. A fellow police officer, he is determined to bring his brother's killer to justice, too. Together he and Izzy must keep each other alive, chase a hulk-sized cop killer, track down her missing brother mysteriously spotted at the scene of the crime, and solve what turns out to be a seriously compound-complex case. Fans of suspense and intrigue will love this book and join me in looking forward to the next.

I thank Revell publishing for sending me a complimentary copy. I'm happy to share my thoughts with you.