Saturday, December 24, 2016

Book Review: "In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day"

I first noticed Mark Batterson's book In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day about ten years ago when it was first released. I wanted to read it then but never got around to it. So when Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers offered me a complimentary copy of its re-release for review, I gratefully accepted. Batterson says, "God is never early, and He is never late!" That was the case with this book. I'm facing several lions of my own right now, and God has added Batterson's voice to those encouraging me to keep facing them until the job is done.

Overall, I loved the book. It is a challenge to Christians to live a courageous life of obedience to God. Batterson says that righteous living is more than eliminating negative things from our lives; it's choosing to do what's right. Sometimes those right choices will mean doing hard things, taking huge risks, and living counter intuitively. But when God is leading us into it, we don't want to be doing anything else - even if we find ourselves fighting a lion in a pit on a snowy day.

If you're in need of motivation to try something new, something you suspect God is leading you to do, I recommend this book for you.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Book Review: "Where Two Hearts Meet"

Caden Holt of Where Two Hearts Meet is one of the best characters I've met this year. She's insecure and underappreciated, yet she loves everyone she meets - even those who treat her badly. She's a talented chef, a patient teacher, and a loyal friend. But few of the people in her small town recognize her for the treasure she is. They assume she'll spend her life working in obscurity, all alone, in the kitchen of Rose's Red Door Inn. Caden believes this, too.

When the inn begins to struggle financial, though, the owner, and Caden's good friend, Marie, seizes a hopeful opportunity for publicity. Learning that one of the guests is a writer and that a well-known travel magazine is secretly sending one of their employees to determine if the inn is worthy of a feature article, she asks Caden to be hospitable toward this writer, to help him fall in love with the inn, the community, the island it's on. Caden is reluctant, but she wants to help her friend. And since the writer, Adam Jacobs, won't stop raiding her kitchen for coffee and sweets anyway, she figures she doesn't have a choice anyway.

Where Two Hearts Meet is a sweet story chock full of great characters like Caden all living in the setting that anyone who has read Anne of Green Gables already adores. I enjoyed this second visit to Rose's Red Door Inn and recommend this series to you.

Revell sent me a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this honest review.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Book Review: "A Portrait of Emily Price"

Reading Katherine Reay's books is like taking a leisurely stroll through lovely new territory and finding a treasure at the end. It's relaxing and pleasurable, a nice change from suspenseful and intense. Her newest, A Portrait of Emily Price, takes readers into the art world, the restaurant business, and the heart of Italy as art conservationist Emily discovers new ways to appreciate life.

Emily comes from a broken home. With an absent dad and an indifferent mom, she practically raised her sister and still has trouble letting go. When the insurance company she works for sends her to Atlanta to restore a mural and other items damaged by fire, she gains more than just a nice change of pace. Within two weeks, her whole life changes and she must find a way to make sense of it, to honor her commitments or turn back to the familiar, possibly losing herself and all she loves.

A Portrait of Emily Price was full of intriguing characters, gentle surprises, and subtle messages about people sharing life. I had my highlighter out several times near the end and continue to think on some of the thoughts I absorbed.

If you think of books as pleasant vacations that help you view life from fresh angles, I recommend this one to you. Thomas Nelson Publishers sent me my copy in exchange for this review.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Book Review: "Prayers and Answered Prayers"

Prayers and Answered Prayers is a two-in-one prayer journal for kids. Contained in a tough plastic cover with a bright floral design are two booklets, one on top of the other. It's truly unique. The top booklet is the prayer journal, full of questions to help kids talk to God. There are fill-in-the-blanks, spaces to doodle, write, or color, answers to circle, and lists to make. The bottom booklet has more of the same with an emphasis on recognizing and thanking God for answered prayer.

Though the set of books is cute and full of fun, it doesn't always stay true to its prayer/answered prayer theme. Sometimes it asks random questions like which Bible woman's name would you like to have or what are your personal worsts. The activities are interesting but don't have anything to do with prayer. The Answered Prayers booklet in particular helps kids explore the concept of prayer a bit but spends little time on actually helping them consider their own answered prayers.

I would recommend this as an interesting, Christian-themed activity book for elementary-aged girls. I wouldn't include it in a curriculum on prayer.

I received a complimentary copy from Tommy Nelson Publishers in exchange for this honest review.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Book Review: "Wild Montana Skies"

Wild Montana Skies is the first book in a new series by Susan May Warren. This one is fun! It will follow the lives and adventures of a search and rescue team. In this first book, readers meet the team, but the focus is on a temporary new member, Kacey Fairing, who grew up in the area and has strong ties to the community. She left, however, to join the Army, hoping to heal her heart after a devastating loss. Now she's back to recover from physical and emotional injury and to fill in for the team's pilot, recovering from a recent crash.

The book also focuses on country music star Ben King, whose father leads the search and rescue team. Ben also grew up in the community and left to make a new life for himself after his own devastating loss. On his return, he discovers that he lost much more than he knew and he's tempted to run away again. But family ties are strong. His father and others need for him to stay in town.

Wild Montana Skies is a beautiful story of coming home, of offering and receiving grace, of letting God do the work that only He can do for the good of his children, no matter what they've done. I enjoyed this book and recommend it to you. Revell sent me a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Book Review: "Girl Talk"

I'm so happy I found this book! Girl Talk is a 52-week devotional for young teen girls. I hope my daughter will enjoy it. If you have a daughter in this age group, you'll want to check it out.

This devotional is more comprehensive than most, yet it's still easy to understand. Each starts with a Bible verse, followed by a story about a teenage girl. Daily journaling pages with prompts follow these. Each of the 52 devotionals ends with a prayer.

I love that the author, Lois Walfrid Johnson, encourages her readers to memorize the 52 Bible verses as they work their way through the book, pointing out the fact that by the end of a year, they'll have 52 messages from God secured in their heads for Him to remind them of as needed throughout their lives. Johnson also suggests that her readers find mentors to talk with about new ideas and lessons they want to apply. "Not every problem is suddenly solved," she writes, "but the right person can help you see what's happening from a different viewpoint. Instead of feeling alone, you know there's someone who wants the best for you."

Finally, Johnson tells her readers to share their thoughts with Jesus as they work through the book, to ask Him what He wants them to know and to tell Him what they need His help with. Girls who read this book will over the course of a year will develop the disciplines of Bible study, Scripture memory, fellowship with older believers, and prayer.

I thank Zonderkids for sending a complimentary copy to me. I'm happy to share my thoughts through this review.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Book Review: "The Cottage"

The Cottage by Michael Phillips is one of his best books yet. The second book in his Secrets of the Shetlands series, it is a fairy tale of sorts. From out of the blue, American Loni Ford has inherited an island off the coast of Scotland and must decide what to do with it. In making her decision, she will learn about duty, destiny, heritage, and community. As she moves into her future, she'll learn to value her past. And of course, she'll have to learn where to turn when others threaten to destroy what she's been summoned to preserve.

As with many of Phillips's books, The Cottage is rich in Scottish history. The Quaker movement plays a significant role as well. Readers will also learn more about George MacDonald and his teachings about the Fatherhood of God.

If you enjoy deeply thought out Christian fiction anchored in history and full of maturing characters, you will want to read the two-book Secrets of the Shetlands series. I thank Bethany House Publishers for sending me a complimentary copy in exchange for this honest review.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Book Review: "The Devoted"

The Devoted by Suzanne Woods Fisher is the third book in her Bishop's Family series. In this book, the bishop is learning how to shepherd his flock, to guide them away from dangerous mindsets slowly working their way into the community. His children are learning significant life lessons, too. Eldest son Jesse, once irresponsible and in trouble, is now running a business, learning to mentor others, and thinking about bigger life decisions. Second daughter Ruthie has secretly earned her GED and is trying to decide what to do with it and with whom. The bishop's sister, who left the Amish community, is back, as their physician, defining this role and discovering, at last, the kind of life she really wants to lead.

This book, the whole series in fact, is rich in wisdom and full of developing characters. It kept my highlighter busy while I savored both the story and its messages. I highly recommend The Devoted to fans of Amish and Christian fiction. Revell sent me a complimentary copy in exchange for this honest review.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Book Review: "Newton and Polly"

I chose Newton and Polly, the fictionalized story of John Newton and Polly Catlett, as a book to review because:

a) Jody Hedlund wrote it. I've enjoyed every one of her books I've read so far, including Luther and Katharina, also based on the lives of real people.

b) the cover is gorgeous. A gorgeous cover promises a beautiful story, right? (I'll get back to that thought.)

c) I love the song, Amazing Grace (written by John Newton), knew a little about its history, and wanted to learn more.

About halfway through the book, I was ready to close it for good though. John Newton did not start life as a likable character. His choices went from bad to worse no matter what loved ones advised, wished for him, and warned him about. As the consequences he faced grew equally harsh, I got to the point where I just didn't want to read any more. I like to cheer for the heroes of the books I read, not watch characters plunge into deep despair because they refuse to choose what's right. Hedlund couldn't have presented this darkness more perfectly; it was just hard to take in. (I see this as a testament to her skill. She truly brought John Newton to life.)

I kept reading, though, and I'm so glad I did. When the wretch that was John Newton finally saw what God offered and surrendered completely, the story did indeed become at least as beautiful as its cover. Polly's story made the whole thing twice as meaningful.

If you enjoy seeing historical characters come to life in this manner, you will want to read this book. I thank Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers for sending a complimentary copy to me.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Book Review: "Earth Psalms"

Francine Rivers's newest book, her first devotional, is a beautiful must-read for anyone who loves exploring God's creation. This hardcover book, co-authored by Karin Stock Buursma, has a beautiful, colorful cover. Inside it contains 52 "reflections on how God speaks through nature." Each reflection is short, just a few pages of thoughts born of Rivers's experiences and observations. They are illustrated with beautiful, sometimes whimsical, color photos of God's world. They also contain relevant Scripture and quotations from well-known Christian leaders. Some also contain random, interesting facts about the plants or animals pictured throughout the book. Each devotional ends with an idea to reflect on, a practical application, and a prayer.

I enjoy Rivers's calm and thoughtful presentation of each reflection. I love that the concept for the book is based on Romans 1:20, "For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, [we] can clearly see his invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature. So [we] have no excuse for not knowing God." This is a book that I will turn to often when I just want to contemplate God's Presence and His creative side. I thank Tyndale House Publishers for sending me a complimentary copy. It is my pleasure to recommend this book to you.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Book Review: "A Royal Christmas Wedding"

Oh, yay! I've been waiting for this story since I finished reading the first book in The Royal Wedding series. Author Rachel Hauck introduced these characters there, and I believed they were destined for each other. Hauck made us wait for that story, though. But her main character has been waiting as well. Prince Colin caved to family pressure and dropped the ball, leaving Avery to attend her high school senior prom and figure out life from there on her own.

I love that Hauck brought Avery back to the Kingdom of Brighton. I also love that she created and resurrected a long-neglected Brighton tradition to help Colin and Avery work through their issues and decide their futures. I also get a kick out of Madeline & Hyacinth, a talk show host team that can't leave royal bachelors alone. Readers aren't meeting them for the first time in this book. Their mischief was entertaining again.

This story does stand alone if you haven't read the previous books in the series, though characters from past books make appearances that could be spoilers if you plan to go back and read those books. I recommend A Royal Christmas Wedding to fans of romantic Christian fiction and of Christmas novellas. Zondervan sent a complimentary copy to me, so I could share my opinion of the story with you.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Book Review: "Tangled Webs"

Tangled Webs, the third book in Irene Hannon's Men of Valor series was my favorite, though I enjoyed all three. The series is about three brothers, each retiring from a different branch of the military, all at about the same time, adapting to their new lives.

In Tangled Webs, the youngest McGregor brother, Finn, is recovering from a serious accident that nearly cost his life. Not only is it a miracle that he survived, but also that he didn't lose his leg. Physical wounds nearly healed, Finn decides to take some time to deal with the more difficult wounds: PTSD and Moral Injury. At his request, his brothers find a secluded cabin he can lease from a friend for a month in order to process his emotions in his own way. His family is skeptical, but they respect his wishes.

Once there, however, Finn discovers that his neighbor in the nearest cabin is recovering from trauma of her own. But as they begin to build a friendship and listen to each other's stories, they strange incidents start happening in the woods and around the pond on Dana's land. Finn puts his recovery on hold to protect his new neighbor and discover what's going on.

As the title implies, the story is tangled. Fans of Christian mystery and suspense will enjoy reading this book. The publisher sent me a complimentary copy to read. I'm happy to share my opinion through this review.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Book Review: "The Ringmaster's Wife"

I was a little nervous when The Fiction Guild sent me a copy of Kristy Cambron's The Ringmaster's Wife. I've loved every Cambron book I've read so far, so I was happy to receive it, but the circus isn't really my thing. You know. Clowns. Costumes. Masks. Chaos. Did I mention the clowns?

I loved the book, though. (And clowns were only mentioned in passing once or twice.) The main characters, both fictional and fictionalized, were fascinating. I wanted to meet Mable Ringling in person and felt that Lady Rosamund Easling truly deserved a happily-ever-after ending--one that included her horse, Ingenue. The storyline held a hint of danger and suspense with messages of courage and grace. The book was rich in relevant (and some just fun) historical detail.

Kristy Cambron has established herself well as a competent, entertaining, and insightful historical Christian fiction author. Fans of this genre will want to read this book--whether or not the circus is their thing.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Book Review: "Jesus Always"

I was so excited to see that Sarah Young has written another year-long devotional. I plan to thoroughly absorb it throughout 2017. But I'm already enjoying it now.

The theme of this devotional is Embracing Joy in His Presence. As Sarah has suffered some pretty serious health problems in recent years and has embraced this joy throughout her experience, she's one who knows what she's writing about. Her writing will help readers embrace joy in God's Presence through any circumstance.

As in her other devotionals, Sarah shares what she has learned from studying and meditating on God's Word, the Bible, in the form of letters from Jesus to the reader. She makes no claim to be speaking for God. She is simply attempting to personalize Scripture, God's Word to us. In her own words, "Because I revere the Bible, I always endeavor to make my writing consistent with biblical truth. I include Scripture in the devotions (indicated with italics), and each entry is followed by three or four Bible references." She encourages her readers to look these up and read them for themselves.

I find Sarah's unique presentation uplifting, encouraging, thought-provoking, and true to God's Word. I recommend this newest devotional to you.

Thomas Nelson Publishers sent me a complimentary copy which I am happy to review.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Book Review: "The Wish"

The Wish by Beverly Lewis is a calm, relaxing book, as opposed to intense and suspenseful. But I enjoyed it for that reason. It's a story of patience, trust, and gentle restoration. It's also a story of being careful what you wish for because what you think you want isn't always what you really want.

And aren't we all glad to know God's knows that, and for that reason, doesn't grant every wish we make. Instead He works behind the scenes to bring about the true desires of our hearts.

The Wish is the story of two girls and their families. One girl is raised almost as an only child in a quiet home by reserved people. The other is raised in a home full of energy. The first, Leona, spends so much time at the other's house that her parents, grandfather, and older brother (married and living away from home) begin to complain. When the family of the second girl, Gloria, suddenly moves away without a good-bye, Leona is heartbroken.

The story picks up again several years later. Leona is preparing to marry when Gloria suddenly makes contact again, asking for help and advice. Leona feels called to take some risks in order to reach out to her friend.

I thank Bethany House Publishers for sending me a complimentary copy of this book. I am happy to share my thoughts about it with you.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Book Review: "Catching Heat"

Janice Cantore's Catching Heat is the perfect ending to an intense trilogy. In this installment, Abby Hart is more determined than ever to find evidence that will put the person who orchestrated her parents' murder in jail. Her friend and fellow investigator on the case, Luke Murphy, is afraid the case is consuming her. He wants justice, too, but not at the cost of Abby's safety and sound mind.

They have other concerns, though. While trying to solve one cold case, with the help of the rest of the cold case squad, their leader agrees to have them help, informally, with a second case in the same area.There are suspects and surprises everywhere, few people the team can trust.

Through her writing, Cantore reveals her experience in law enforcement and her knowledge of the state the book is set in. Her story is intriguing; her conclusion to all cases exactly right. I enjoyed the whole series and recommend it to you.

Tyndale House Publishers sent me a complimentary copy of Catching Heat for this honest review.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Book Review: "Twilight at Blueberry Barrens"

Colleen Coble's third book in her Sunset Cove series is at least as exciting as the first two. In this book, we get to know Kate Mason, a secondary character from the first book in the series, much better. Thanks to her sister, she's recuperating from the disease that almost took her life. She's also giving all she has to keeping the blueberry farm her mother and uncle ran going in their absence. Her heart isn't in it, but from her point of view, it must be done.

When the blueberry crop fails to do as well as she'd hoped, Kate starts looking for another source of income to get her through the season. That's when Drake Newham shows up, two nieces in tow, determined to solve the mystery of his brother and sister-in-law's violent deaths. He rents the cottage on Kate's property, hires her to watch the girls, and asks her help in finding the truth.

Kate soon has her own set of problems to navigate around and must enlist Drake's help as well. Two strangers must work together to protect each other, their families, and their friends while seeking answers to too many questions.

The story kept my attention, but I really appreciated watching Kate's character gain strength and confidence for her future while overcoming the hurts of her past. I recommend this book to fans of Christian suspense fiction. Thomas Nelson Publishers sent me a complimentary copy in exchange for this review.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Book Review: "The Wedding Shop"

Rachel Hauck's The Wedding Shop is full of sweet surprises as a wedding shop should be. It's the story of former Air Force Captain Haley Morgan, a young woman who has recently suffered the worst disappointment of her life. Wanting to start fresh, she returns home to Heart's Bend, Tennessee, to live with her parents and in the shadow of four older and ultra-successful brothers, desperate to find a new dream.

Instead, she returns to an old one, a childhood pinky promise with her best friend, recently deceased. Haley decides to honor her friend's memory by reopening the town's historic wedding shop.

As Haley works her way through obstacles to do this, the story flashes back to previous shop's owner, Cora Scott. This young woman, determined to help brides have memorable days in spite of the Great Depression, longs to be a bride herself. She's waiting on a charming river boat captain while another suitor waits on her.

Though this book stands alone, readers will love meeting characters from a few of Hauck's previous books, The Wedding Dress and The Wedding Chapel with a touch of The Royal Wedding Series thrown in. Hauck ties them all together beautifully as she gives Haley her own, perfect fit fairy tale.

I thank Zondervan for sending me a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Book Review: "What Does God Really Promise?"

If you know someone who has questions about the basics of Christianity - a new Christian or a curious friend, this new book, What Does God Really Promise? 101 Questions and Answers about God's Promises, the Church, and the Future, would be a helpful gift.

It's a cute, little book - hardcover with sweet, doodle-style artwork throughout, but the answers to these 101 questions are accurate and easy to understand. Author Carolyn Larsen has taken the time to consider what beliefs of and terms used in the Christian faith might not make sense to someone just discovering the church. She has grouped them into three categories: God's Promises, The Church, and The Future, and has provided concise biblical answers to help readers understand.

I've enjoyed reading this book and plan to pass it on to someone I know who is seeking answers such as these. I thank Tyndale Momentum for sending me a complimentary copy in exchange for this honest review.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Book Review: "Gratitude: A Prayer and Praise Coloring Journal"

"Living expressions invites you to explore God's Word and express your creativity in ways that are refreshing to the spirit and restorative to the soul."

I found this invitation at the top of the copyright page of the new prayer and praise coloring journal Tyndale Momentum sent in exchange for an honest review. The invitation expresses the purpose of this little hardcover book perfectly. Each page has drawings to color. Most have prayers adapted from Amie Carlson's 365 Pocket Prayers for Mothers. There are also plenty of lines for journaling and blank spaces with suggestions for personal artwork. This book is an invitation to read, write, color, draw, worship, praise, and pray.

I appreciate the solid, board-book type cover that makes the book sturdy to better protect the creative work I do inside. I also love the splashes of color throughout - readers don't have to color if they choose not to. The book is complete as it is if one prefers praying and journaling. I am enjoying this cute, little book and will continue to do so. I recommend it to anyone interested in exploring creative quiet time.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Book Review: "Really Bad Girls of the Bible"

Nobody tells and brings out the truth of a Bible story quite like Liz Curtis Higgs, so I was really excited to get to read this updated version of one of her classic books. In Really Bad Girls of the Bible, Higgs brings eight biblical women to life with humor, creativity, and compassion (for those who deserved it--not all of these bad girls did. A few were rotten to the core; Higgs shows readers why.)

Higgs starts each chapter with a contemporary version of the featured Bible story, helping readers see how the woman might have behaved in today's society. (I enjoyed trying to see how quickly I could figure out which bad girl's story she was telling.) Higgs followed the contemporary story with a phrase by phrase commentary of the Bible text, sharing her own insights and experience along with other commentator's notes. She closed each chapter with a list of practical lessons for readers to apply from each bad girl's life. Higgs finished the book with a personal note, a fun poem, discussion questions, and a study guide.

I recommend this book for personal or group study. The content is fun, but the insights are deep. Higgs' gift with words makes both the story and the lessons of each chapter memorable.

I thank Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers for sending me a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this honest review.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Book Review: "I Wish He Had Come with Instructions"

Before I say anything else, let me make it clear that I found the information in this book both fascinating and useful. If you are a woman in need of a guide to the male brain, I recommend you read this book.

I had to laugh when I read Chapter 8, though, because, evidently, the author's wife had the same issue with the book that I did. She told him, "If I didn't know you, I'd feel like you were telling me that I had to do all the changing in my relationship with my man. Your female readers are going to think, 'How come I have to change? What about him? It sounds like it's all my responsibility and he's off the hook!'"

Poor Mike Bechtle. He must have explained himself at least a dozen times, yet I still had to fight the urge to agree with his wife that it seemed he was placing all the burden on me. I'm choosing to take his word - and hers - for it, though, because he does share some powerful and helpful insights. As Bechtle says, "I'm not letting the man off the hook. I'm just trying to help you understand him accurately."

The book's introduction makes this clear the first time: "There are plenty of books that debate gender roles and societal issues. This isn't one of them. It's simply a guide for women to understand, from a man, what goes on inside the male mind." The rest of the book is divided into five well-defined sections: The Care and Feeding of a Man, How He Thinks, How He Acts, How He Communicates, and How He Grows. Throughout each of these, Bechtle invites women to understand, appreciate, and celebrate the different ways that men and women think. Together we're better as we learn to combine our unique strengths.

I thank Revell for sending me a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Book Review: "When Death Draws Near"

Carrie Stuart Parks' Gwen Marcey novels are intense and full of suspense. The forensic artist for whom the books are named always finds herself fighting for the lives of potential victims which include her own and her daughter's. When Death Draws Near, the third in this series, was no exception. I had a hard time taking a break from reading this book for doing other things.

This time, Gwen Marcey is helping to solve two mysteries. Her primary reason for accepting work in Pikeville, KY (besides her need for funds) is to help the sheriff's department find a serial rapist. The victims, once rescued, keep leaving town with their families without a trace. Gwen soon learns, though, of a series of unusual accidental deaths happening around the town. She suspects there is a connection between the two mysteries.

My favorite part of this book was the personal lesson Gwen learned at the end of the book. Parks touched on the message so gently throughout this powerful story, then drove the point home beautifully. Readers who enjoy inspirational criminal investigation stories will like this series of books. I thank Thomas Nelson Publishers for sending me a complimentary copy in exchange for this honest review.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Book Review: "Without Warning"

I have been so impressed with Lynette Eason’s Elite Guardians series. I just finished the second book, Without Warning, and now I’m watching for the third, Moving Target, coming next Spring. Each of Eason’s characters is wounded emotionally in some way but chooses to fight through personal issues in order to protect others and make the world a safer place. They find strength in knowing each other’s weaknesses, so they can step up for each other and work together as an effective team. The four Elite Guardians (bodyguards) also have an extensive network of law enforcement officers who enhance their efforts (and add interesting characters to the story).

The focus of Without Warning is on Katie Singleton who inadvertently finds a case for the agency when she stops to see why police are surrounding a restaurant owned by one of her self-defense student’s uncle, Daniel Matthews. When evidence suggests that Daniel is being targeted by someone who wants to put him out of business and ruin his life, his niece hires Katie and her team.

Fans of romantic suspense mysteries will love this book. I received my copy from Revell in exchange for this honest review.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Book Review: "Take Flight"

Take Flight! a Sisterchicks’ Devotional by Robin Jones Gunn and Cindy Hannan is short and sweet, but just right for times when a woman needs just a little extra encouragement in her walk with God and friends. The book has 14 devotionals arranged in four sections: Bird’s Eye View, On a Wing and a Prayer, Take a Flying Leap, and Under the Shadow of His Wing. Robin writes the first part of each devotional: a story from her own life related to a quote from one of her Sisterchicks books. Each story explains a lesson Robin has learned and wants to teach. Cindy writes the second part of each devotional giving readers a deeper understanding of the idea Robin introduced, followed by Bible verses for further study, personal journaling space, a quote or two by a well-known Christian woman, and suggested activities for friends to do together, putting the idea into practice.

I enjoyed reading this book and appreciated its ideas and insights. I especially loved reading about Robin’s practice of setting a day a year aside for concentrated prayer and journaling and her story of becoming a missionary to Nairobi without actually ever going there. Our God offers such wondrous surprises when we follow Him faithfully. Robin and Cindy’s devotionals encourage Sisterchick readers who long to do this well.

I received a complimentary copy of Take Flight! from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers in exchange for this honest review.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Book Review: "Deadly Encounter"

Every plot twist in DiAnn Mills' newest book, Deadly Encounter, was unexpected. That made this first book in her new FBI Task Force series especially fun to read.

In this book, Stacy Broussard, a veterinarian, hopeful foster mom, and airport ranger volunteer, heads out on a simple horseback ride around the perimeter of Houston's airport only to find a dead body, an injured dog, and a military drone. Simple becomes complicated, then escalates throughout the book.

Helping Stacy navigate through danger are FBI Special Agent Alex LeBlanc, who is called in the investigate Stacy's find as evidence of possible terrorist activity, and her genius foster-son-to-be, 12-year-old Whitt McMann. All three of these characters have heartbreaking histories to overcome as they move forward, solving the case together, hanging on to hope for a much better future.

I was especially fascinated by Mills' observations about a variety of psychological and emotional issues that can result from trauma and the hope she wove into her story that such deep hurts can heal with God's help, patience, forgiveness, right choices, good communication, and love. Deadly Encounter is intense and insightful; I recommend this book.

Tyndale House Publishers sent me a complimentary copy in exchange for this honest review.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Book Review: "Missing"

Lisa Harris knows how to keep her readers guessing. This is why she's quickly becoming one of my favorite suspense writers. Her characters are always in danger and her scenes rarely end the way I anticipate they will. She even keeps me wondering if the possible romance will work out. Nothing is a given in her books.

I just finished reading the latest. Missing is the second book of the Nikki Boyd Files series. Nikki is a special agent with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. Still trying to solve her sister's disappearance, Nikki specializes in missing persons cases. Missing begins with two murders found in a home whose owners have disappeared. Nikki and her associates must try to find these owners before they become victims too.

The case becomes personal, however, when clues lead Nikki to a boat belonging to her friend, Tyler Grant. Nikki knows he's innocent of any wrongdoing, but suddenly she must prove it while keeping Tyler, his son, and his mother safe.

I recommend this book and others by Harris to fans of mystery and suspense. Revell sent me a complimentary copy in exchange for this honest review.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Book Review: "Mommy Needs a Raise"

If you are a mom in need of a little encouragement and a lot of affirmation, Mommy Needs a Raise (Because Quitting's Not an Option) will be a great read for you. This book is Sarah Parshall Perry's story of how she went from one career to another to another and found her favorite in being a mom. In fact, as I read the first part of the book, I wondered what it had to do with being a mom. But she drove her point home beautifully in the second half of the book. She's found the role she loves most of all and wants to encourage all mothers everywhere to thoroughly enjoy all the blessings of motherhood, in spite of its challenges and lack of dental insurance, regardless of whether they choose to stay home or pursue a concurrent career.

I laughed. I highlighted. I agreed. I gleaned some great ideas. I found this book to be a lot of fun. Most of all, I loved reading another mother's account of struggling through some of the things I struggle through and coming through it all well. Whether you're new to this mom-career or consider yourself a seasoned pro, your story will be enriched as you giggle through Sarah's.

I thank Revell for sending me a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Book Review: "A Flight of Arrows"

The second book in Lori Benton's Pathfinders series, A Flight of Arrows, ended beautifully - not perfectly by this world's standards, perhaps, but with an inspirational look beyond that. This book is about forgiveness, healing hearts, and God's mysterious ways. It also gives readers a comprehensive look into an often overlooked facet of Revolutionary War history. I appreciated learning about the different native American tribes, their roles, and the unexpected repercussions for everyone. Such a complicated mess!

This book is the continued story of two families from different cultures connected forever by one desperate man's crime. To learn how the story began, readers will want to start with The Wood's Edge. Then they'll be eager to read A Flight of Arrows to learn what becomes of everyone. I've enjoyed reading both books and am looking forward to more by Lori Benton. I thank Waterbrook Multnomah for sending a complimentary copy of this sequel in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Book Review: "Dawn at Emberwilde"

When you know that a book just has to have a happily-ever-after ending but still become anxious about all the plots against the heroine, you know the storyteller is a master. Sarah Ladd writes with that kind of skill, and Dawn at Emberwilde had me biting my fingernails from the book's middle to its end.

Ladd started the story slowly, introducing new characters placed in a setting readers of her previous book, The Curiosity Keeper, already know. She then took those characters to a new setting - one with more than a hint of danger and mystery - and introduced them, and her readers, to the rest of the book's cast.

To summarize, Isabel Creston and her younger sister, Lizzie, learn that they have family after all. Under duress, they accept an invitation to go live with them. They find themselves in a world of secrets and superstitions. Isabel must navigate carefully, using the truth she knows, to make tough decisions in order to ensure that she and her sister will enjoy a future of freedom, security, and safety.

I thank Thomas Nelson Publishers for sending me a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review. I loved reading it. Sarah Ladd is an author whose books I always look forward to.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Book Review: "Return to Joy"

On the back cover of Bev DeSalvo’s book, Return to Joy, we read:

Pain. Abuse. Neglect. Abandonment. These issues lie just under the surface of our lives. So we stuff the ache, paste on a smile, and make the forced march to church on Sunday.

If this is where you are, DeSalvo wants you to know that the road to healing awaits. The books tells her painful story and how she found her way onto the road of brokenness and into the arms of her Savior. And chapter by chapter she’s left breadcrumbs so her readers can follow her there too.

The content of each chapter is invaluable, full of Scripture, easy to understand analogies, and personal experience. Following each chapter, however, is a five-day Bible study related to its content. Readers will want to purchase notebooks for answering deep questions and recording new insights.

They’ll also want to read the book again!

As a ten-week study, this book can be explored by an individual, with a friend or counselor, or in a small group. I enjoyed reading it on my own and highly recommend it to you! Tyndale House Publishers sent me a complimentary copy in exchange for this honest review.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Book Review: "Swimming with Faith"

Released just in time for the Summer Olympics, Swimming with Faith tells world class swimmer Missy Franklin's story - to date. Written for young girls, this biography tells how Franklin got her start as a swimmer, where she has competed, what medals she has won, what else she is interested in, about family and friends, and of her involvement in community - in her case a community practically the size of the whole world. Most important it tells how her love for God impacts the ways she lives and the decisions she makes. Franklin is not only a great swimmer, but she's an amazing role model for young girls.

For fun and added interest, each of the seventeen short chapters ends with a list of facts or bonus information related the content. These provide a little break from the regular reading. Pictures of Missy are also sprinkled here and there throughout the book.

This segment of Franklin's life only takes readers to her transition into professional swimming. Fans are told of her goals for the coming Olympics but will have to wait a few months, of course, to learn through television or other media coverage how things turn out. The Missy Franklin Story is far from complete.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for this honest review.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Book Review: "Life Is Better at the Beach"

Life Is Better at the Beach is a friendly, little book meant to bring a smile to the reader's face. The subtitle, Inspiration for Living Each Day Like You're at the Beach, sums the concept up well. It's the kind of book I might purchase on clearance to leave lying on an end table or shelf somewhere for guests to flip through at their leisure.

The book has fifteen chapters of a sort. Each starts with a one -sentence thought about how to enjoy life at the beach. The first, for example, is Wake up smiling. This is followed by a one-page elaboration of that idea, a beach-scene picture with a complimentary Bible verse, a relevant quote, and another thought or two. It's a simple, little beach book meant to help the reader relax. On a stressful day, it could possibly help you find your happy place or a much-needed moment of peace.

I received a partial eCopy of Life Is Better at the Beach from Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for this honest review.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Book Review: "Sea Rose Lane"

Sea Rose Lane is Irene Hannon's second Hope Harbor novel. The books are set in this fictional Oregon small town full of interesting characters who work together to help the main characters resolve their personal issues in order to enjoy happily-ever-after lives. In fact, both novels have placed a great emphasis on people loving people and helping each other however they can. Hannon has some great ideas, presented through the town charity, Helping Hands.

In Sea Rose Lane, Eric Nash has just returned to his hometown to reevaluate his personal goals after being laid off from a promising career in law. He's been on a determined path to partnership since high school, but suddenly all has come to a stop. He figures a few restful weeks at home will give him just enough encouragement to try again.

But his recently widowed father is turning the family home into a bed and breakfast. Architect and contractor BJ Stevens, along with her crew, are hard at work making Eric's father's long-cherished dream a reality. Confronted with the unexpected, Eric will have to reevaluate more than he'd thought.

I loved reading this book and recommend it to you. Revell sent me a complimentary copy in exchange for this honest review.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Book Review: "The Pug List"

The Pug List by Alison Hodgson is a true story about before and after, about learning to live well again after a traumatic event. In this case, the event was a devastating house fire set by an arsonist. Alison's family of five lost just about everything they owned except the clothes on their backs.

As Alison tells the story, she shares the lessons she learned along the way, giving relevant family history to help readers understand. She also shares her heart - what she was thinking and feeling and struggling with most as her family recovered from their ordeal and worked to rebuild their life.

Readers meet the pug about two-thirds of the way through the book and learn his role in this chapter of the family's story. Dog lovers will especially appreciate this part of the book. The rest of the book will encourage anyone living in an "after" situation. I received my complimentary eCopy of The Pug List from the publisher in exchange for this honest review.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Book Review: "The Beautiful Pretender"

Through no fault of her own, Avelina is in a bind. Her mistress, Dorothea, has run off with a knight. Yet Dorothea has been invited to spend two weeks at Thornbeck Castle with nine other noble born ladies. The Margrave of Thornbeck expects to choose one to be his wife.

Dorothea's father, desiring the favor of the Margrave, decides to send Avelina in his daughter's place. She is to pretend to be Dorothea and make a good impression on the Margrave, but she is not to be chosen as his bride. Avelina has no expectations of being chosen but fears being discovered most of all.

The Beautiful Pretender is both a fairy-tale romance and a work of historical fiction set in Medieval times. Into this captivating story, author Melanie Dickerson has woven the themes of true nobility, God's protection, and prayer in all circumstances. She has also included plenty of danger, suspense, intrigue, and fun! I recommend this read.

Thomas Nelson Publishers sent me a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this honest review.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Book Review: "Together at the Table"

Together at the Table is the third and final book in Hillary Manton Lodge's Two Blue Doors series. Lodge ended the trilogy beautifully.

As this final book begins, Juliette D'Alisa is trying to move forward with life. In less than a year, she lost both her grandmother and her mother. She also broke up with the love of her life. She's found a new love, though, the sous-chef at the restaurant now inhabiting her grandmother's final home. Juliette and her brother Nico, with the help of family, friends, and staff have turned the restaurant into a successful one. Juliette is ready to resume her research, determined to solve the mystery of her grandmother's letters about what really happened to her family living near Paris in World War II.

Of course, every chapter references food and most of these are accompanied by recipes for bold readers to try. And again, the story takes readers from Portland to Chicago to France. Readers who love to play tourist will want to visit these places once they finish the book.

I enjoyed reading this series and thank Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers for sending this final installment in exchange for my honest review. I recommend it to fans of romance, history, recipes, and travel.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Book Review: "Traces of Guilt"

Traces of Guilt by Dee Henderson is the brilliant first book of a new series. In it, though, those who’ve read Henderson’s other books will find many familiar fictional friends. Ann Falcon (from Full Disclosure) plays a large role in the story, introducing readers to the new characters and those characters to each other. Her husband, Paul, makes a few appearances, and there are mentions of many of their friends from other Henderson books—including a few members of the O’Malley clan. Henderson’s new novel is both familiar and brand new.

Evie Blackwell is the main character in this series, testing out a possible new job as head of a task force being put together by the governor-elect to solve as many cold cases as they can. Evie is using her own vacation time to travel to Carin County where two cold cases wait for her attention. Gabriel Thane, the county sheriff and a personal friend of one of the victims, will offer his assistance, along with that of his family. His father, former sheriff, is familiar with both cases. His brothers, Josh and Will, have reasons for getting involved as well.

As always, Henderson’s characters are so deep readers will almost believe they are real and they’ll care about what becomes of them. Unlike Henderson’s other books however, this one ends, but doesn’t end. In other words, though several aspects of the story come to a satisfying conclusion, others have intentionally been left open for the next book. Reading the books of this series in order will be a must.

I thank Bethany House Publishers for sending me a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review. I loved it! Fans of Christian romantic suspense novels will enjoy Traces of Guilt too.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Book Review: "Unashamed"

Unashamed is a powerful new book by author, speaker, and activist Christine Caine. It’s the first of hers I’ve read, but I’ll be reading Undaunted as soon as I can. This book is her testimony, the story of how she learned to stop hiding, to take risks, to trust God, and to live the life He planned for her to live. As she’s sharing her story, however, she shares the stories of others as well—Bible characters and people she’s met through her ministry today—in order to help readers understand how they, too, can learn to live in freedom instead of with shame.

I devoured this book and will definitely read it again, but there were two things I especially loved about it:

1) As Caine talks to readers, conversationally through her writing, she weaves Bible words into just about everything she says. Readers unfamiliar with Scripture won’t even know she’s doing it, but she has absorbed so much of God’s Word into her mind that it just can’t help but come out of her mouth or through her keyboard and into her books. This book is absolutely saturated with God’s Truth.

2) Instead of presenting a step-by-step simple formula for healing, Caine tells her readers up front and throughout the book that if they want to experience all the freedom God has for them, they are going to have to work for it and they will experience pain. Hiding or denying the truth will always seem easier, but real healing requires that we do the hard thing.

Thankfully, Caine gives clear instructions and lots of encouragement, showing why this path is the most worthwhile one. I recommend this book to all women who want a deeper, more honest, walk with God and who want to move forward with confidence into a more fulfilling life.

I thank Zondervan for sending me a complimentary copy in exchange for this review.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Book Review: "The Quieting"

The Quieting is the second book in Suzanne Woods Fisher’s The Bishop’s Family series. In this book we get to read the continued stories of some family members: David, Katrina, Jesse, Ruthie, and Molly. We also get to meet some new characters who’ve come to town to “help” the family out: Tillie, Abigail, and Laura. We also meet David’s non-Amish sister, Ruth.

My favorite thing about this series is “watching” characters, both family and friends, develop and mature. They make some incredible discoveries about how life works—and even the worst of them learn that mistakes can be redeemed, pride can be overcome, relationships can be restored. Fisher is an expert at showing, not telling, great truth through her powerful, yet sweet, stories.

I received a complimentary copy of The Quieting from Revell in exchange for an honest review. I enjoyed reading it and am looking forward to the next book in the series, The Devoted, which will be released this Fall.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Book Review: "The Blessing of Humility"

The Blessing of Humility came to me at just the right time. I really needed the message of this book. In fact, I’ll be putting it right back onto my to-read list. This isn’t something you read once and then you’re forever done. It’s something to practice daily.

In this book, his last, I believe, Jerry Bridges teaches humility through Jesus’ words in the Beatitudes. He begins by stressing the importance of humility in the Christian life. Then he teaches us how to practice it step-by-step, one powerful verse at a time.

I appreciated seeing the Beatitudes in this way. I also appreciated the comfort and encouragement Bridges provides. Humility is not an easy trait to integrate. In fact, without God’s Spirit’s help and the work and example of Jesus Christ, it’s impossible. It may be impossible to achieve perfectly in this life anyway, but Bridges encourages us to strive for excellence, to confess our failings as we become aware of them, and to keep on trusting in our Lord’s perfect faithfulness. The book is easy to understand and full of practical truth to apply.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for this honest review. I recommend you add it to your permanent library.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Book Review: "If I Run"

If I Run by Terri Blackstock was an amazing read – a mystery within a mystery with a mystery on the side, hopefully the beginning of a series. Casey Cox is running for her life, running from the police. They were never able to solve her father’s murder, classified as a suicide. Now she’s the primary person of interest regarding a close friend’s murder. If the police arrest her, Casey will never live to see a trial. She must clear her own name.

Dylan Roberts was also a friend of the victim. A veteran suffering from PTSD, he is hired by the family to use his specialized training to locate Casey Cox. But as he gets to know her through evidence, family, friends, and acquaintances she’s encountering along the way, he can’t help but wonder if something else is going on. Dylan must decide whether to do the job he’s been hired to do or to seek the truth whatever the cost.

I loved reading this book and hope there will be a sequel or two featuring Casey and Dylan again. I recommend it to you and thank the publisher for sending a complimentary copy in exchange for this review.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Book Review: "Brave Girls: Beautiful You"

If you're looking for a daily devotional for your middle-school-age daughter, I recommend this book to you! Brave Girls: Beautiful You is written by Jennifer Gerelds, but she presents it as written by three fictional characters: Gracie, Hope, and Glory. These three friends with different interests, personalities, and ideas of beauty have decided to explore that concept for themselves to see what the Bible, what our God, has to say about what true beauty is. Each of the 90 devotionals is "written" by one of the three girls to yours to help her understand every facet of beauty from God's perspective, according to His Word.

The devotionals in Brave Girls: Beautiful You are divided into six categories, exploring everything from the basics to outward appearance to actions to thoughts to fitness to creativity. They are written in a way that makes points easy to grasp, interesting to read, and relevant to each day. I enjoyed reading it myself and am eager to share it with my daughter. Thomas Nelson Publishers sent me a complimentary copy in exchange for this review.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Book Review: "The Mother Letters"

This sweet book is a collection of letters to mothers from mothers. Some are humorous; some are heartbreaking. Some tell why the timeless and seemingly cliche advice mothers receive is of such value that it has been repeated through the ages thought unappreciated until the season is past. Some tell true stories of grace, of survival, of endurance, of laughter, love, and fun. Some will make you cry.

These letters were collected by Seth Haines for his wife, Amber, during a trying time. Together they decided that the letters need to be shared; their publisher agreed. Mothers in all stages will find inspiration and truth. Mothers to be or of littles will find wisdom to apply as they embrace this blessed life role.

If you're looking for something extra to tuck in with a baby shower gift, this book is ideal. I thank Revell for sending me a complimentary copy in exchange for this honest review.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Book Review: "The More of Less"

Because I've seen Joshua Becker's blog about minimalist living, I was curious to read his book, The More of Less. I wasn't disappointed. In this book (and on his blog), Becker helps readers understand why cluttered lives are less productive. He tells what prompted him to begin removing things from his life that did not add value or meet a need. He tells readers how to begin the process of evaluating their belongings carefully to get rid of anything that is keeping them from enjoying a more productive life. He tells them how to maintain this lifestyle, how to encourage family members to support them or to join them, and how to use the money and time they gain in more responsible and fulfilling ways. The book is insightful, practical, and inspirational. Even readers who don't feel called to a minimalist lifestyle to the extent that Becker and others mentioned in the book have been will find motivation and practical ideas for removing some of the clutter from their lives, perhaps in some surprising and unexpected places.

This book was definitely worth my time, and I happily recommend it to you. I thank Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers for sending a complimentary copy in exchange for this review.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Book Review: "Siren's Song"

Siren's Song is the third book in Mary Weber's Storm Siren Trilogy. I loved the first two books and eagerly anticipated this one, but struggled to read it through. Most of the book consisted of 17-year-old Nym trying to understand the man she loves' actions and preparing for the dreaded final war. In other words, there's a lot of talk but not much story until the final battle arrives.

I did think the ending found in the final few chapters of the book was perfect, though. It did not disappoint. And the discussion questions helped me to identify some of the concepts the author was trying to convey.

Siren's Song is classified as teenage fiction, but I felt that some of Nym's thoughts and actions were too mature for this age. I wouldn't be comfortable letting my daughter read this book. I received a complimentary eCopy from Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for this honest review.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Book Review: "A Treasure Concealed"

A Treasure Concealed is the first book in Tracie Peterson’s new series, Sapphire Brides. Set in Montana in the late 1800’s, this is the story of Emily Carver. Emily’s father is a miner determined to strike it rich. All her life, he’s moved her and mother wherever the next big strike was rumored to be. Now her mother’s health is failing and Emily is worried that she’ll never enjoy a stable life because she feels duty-bound to watch out for her father wherever he goes, whatever the cost to her.

When Caeden Thibault, a young geologist, comes to study the area on behalf of the government, Emily’s father graciously welcomes him to stay on their property and take his meals with them. Emily’s mother declares him to be the answer to her prayers for her daughter but both Emily and Caeden resist, convinced that the mother’s desire can never come to be.

This is the story of God gently leading people to the real desires of their heart, sometimes in spite of themselves. It’s a beautiful story full of truth. I am happy to recommend it to fans of historical Christian fiction and thank Bethany House Publishers for sending me a copy in exchange for this honest review.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Book Review: "Faith and Foster Care"

If you are thinking about becoming a foster parent, John DeGarmo's new book, Faith and Foster Care, will give you a comprehensive and honest look at what you may be getting yourself into. It will also tell you why it's worth the effort if this is something God has called you to. As DeGarmo says, foster parenting isn't for everyone. But it is an essential ministry. DeGarmo tells his readers why, what the Bible has to say about caring for children in need, and how to go beyond ministry to the children in order to care for their parents as well. He also gives readers comprehensive lists of things to pray for and about and suggests alternate forms of support ministry for those who don't feel called to become foster parents yet still want to help.

DeGarmo and his wife have been foster parents for many years and have adopted three children from foster care. More than 45 children have spent time in their home, some for just a few days, others for years. DeGarmo shows how every little bit of influence can help to make a permanent difference in a child's life. He closes the book with the testimonies of several foster care "alumni," relevant Scripture references, and a list of resources for anyone wanting to get involved.

I found the information in this book enlightening and helpful, especially as my husband and I prepare to adopt from foster care. I recommend this book!

I received a complimentary eCopy from NetGalley in exchange for this honest review.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Book Review: "101 Ways to Have Fun"

101 Ways to Have Fun is a book of ideas for girls transitioning from toys to teens. Girls this age sometimes struggle with what to do with their spare time. This book is meant to jump start their creativity and help them find happy things to do.

The book is divided into nine categories of activity: alone, with a best friend, with lots of friends, makeovers, sleepovers, parties, fundraising, exercise, and crafts. It’s full of bright pictures and trendy talk. Each idea includes an estimated time frame, list of supplies, and just enough instruction to get things going. If your daughter has a tendency to complain she’s bored, you may appreciate this book.

While the book is fun, attractive, and has some great ideas, parents may have concerns about some of those ideas, especially depending on their daughter’s age or level of maturity. And some activities, particularly the best friend activities, assume the child has grown up in one location with one specific set of people. These activities won’t work for military kids, ministry kids, or foster kids who move often.

I thank Zondervan for sending me a complimentary copy of this Faithgirlz book in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Book Review: "The Red Door Inn"

After hearing her father betray her, Marie Carrington, age 28, decides it’s time to run away from home. But she’s unable to access her bank account without alerting her father to her choice, so she quickly finds herself on the brink of freedom but without the funds she needs to get there. When an elderly gentleman sees her counting coins at the ferry station, he devises a way to pay for her ticket and give her a home without making it feel like charity. Marie accepts a job as a decorator for the inn he’s getting ready to open to fulfill his wife’s dream.

His nephew, Seth Sloane, is also working to get the inn open on time, but he has also been betrayed and doesn’t trust his uncle’s judgment. He decides it’s his job to protect his uncle from Marie. Thankfully his opinion of Marie isn’t the One that ultimately counts and that One is working harder than anyone to make The Red Door Inn a place where wounded souls can heal.

I enjoyed this book by Liz Johnson—the first in a new series in one of my favorite classic settings. Revell sent me a complimentary copy in exchange for this review. I’ll be watching for book two.