Saturday, April 26, 2014

Book Review - The Burning by Jane Casey

The Burning
By:  Jane Casey
Publisher:  St. Martin's Press
 
How do you catch a serial killer who has already killed four people and possibly five that no one has seen and most of the evidence has gone up in smoke?  Maeve Kerrigan, an ambitious detective constable, is determined to make her mark on the murder task force, by proving to her male colleagues that her empathy is not a weakness. She feels the more she learns about the latest victim, Rebecca Haworth, from her friends and family, will help bring her killer, dubbed The Burning Man to justice.  As Maeve searches for the answers she needs to find the Burning Man, things are just not adding up so she is beginning to wonder if there is a copycat killer stalking the streets of London?
I found this to be an interesting storyline being told from several perspectives.  It was a bit descriptive at times.  It did wane a bit but then would pick up and move along.  London with its dreary, gray, rainy weather was an ideal setting for this novel. I thought one of the storylines ended a little abruptly but all in all this was well-written and I will look forward to reading the next in the series.  In my opinion it is definitely an adult book.
Disclosure: I was given a copy of this eBook by the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, through NetGalley blogger program for review. I was not required to write a favorable review nor was I compensated for my review. The opinions in this review are my own.

Book Review-Undetected by Dee Henderson

Undetected
By: Dee Henderson
Publisher: Bethany House
Release Date:  April 29, 2014
 
Gina Gray is a genius and is on the verge of a major breakthrough on sonar technology.  She battles with herself because she knows this breakthrough could cause the loss of a lot of lives and it could also save lives.  Her love for science and her faith in God often clash, but Commander Mark Bishop of the ballistic missile submarine USS Nevada Gold shows her faith and science can co-exist.  Mark is one of twenty eight who is commissioned by the president to launch a nuclear weapon.  He is certain God placed Gina in their path at the perfect time because of the tensions in the Pacific.  He helps to teach Gina that God and science can work together because God doesn’t create evil.  He did create free will which is often used for evil.  He shows her that science helps to explore what God did create.  As tensions escalate in the Pacific Rim, Mark is comforted knowing that Gina helped find a way to keep the submarines a lot safer than they would have been. 
MS Henderson again weaves another book of Christian intrigue and romance.  She very effectively shows that God and science can co-exist and that God provides a way for science to save lives while others use it for evil.  The characters are well developed and so real you feel like you are part of them.  I was hooked from page one and found myself willing Gina to find her way.  I felt the tension in the submarines while they were on their 90 day deployments and especially when faced with the hidden dangers from the ocean itself and from submarines from hostile countries.  Although there is a lot about submarines and sonar technology it was not boring.  This information makes the storyline believable.  I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves Christian Fiction.  I am a big fan of MS. Henderson and have probably read every book she has published. With each book I read, I keep telling myself this is the best and this one is no exception….this one is the best so far.  I can’t wait for the next one!
Disclosure: I was given a copy of this eBook by the publisher, Bethany House, through NetGalley blogger program for review. I was not required to write a favorable review nor was I compensated for my review. The opinions in this review are my own.

Book Review-A Beauty So Rare by Tamera Alexander

 
A Beauty So Rare
By: Tamera Alexander
Publisher: Bethany House
 
Eleanor Braddock, although from the South is no Southern beauty and she knows she will never marry.  During the war she helped take care of the wounded and came upon a young soldier who with his last breath asks her to find his widow, but how can she find her?  After the war her father can no longer practice law and they become impoverished.  Her father begins to suffer from dementia to the point where she has to sell the family home and put him in an asylum which nearly breaks her heart.   She goes to Belmont Mansion to live with her aunt, whom to her dismay, is determined to find her a husband.  Eleanor knows her heart and finds herself telling her aunt of her desire to open a café and cook for others.  Her aunt tells that someone of their station in life doesn’t cook for others.  Eleanor feels as if she will never achieve in life what she wants.  Through a simple kindness she finds herself helping to build a home for widows and fatherless children of the Civil War.
Archduke Gerhard Marcus Gottfried von Habsburg, aka Marcus Goeffery royalty from Austria came to Nashville, TN because of his love for nature and architecture.  He is keeping his royalty a secret.  When Marcus and Eleanor first meet they have a battle of wit that will soon develop into a friendship.  As their secrets come to light will their friendship remain intact or will it unravel?  The answers to these questions will be revealed as you turn the pages of this book.
“A Beauty So Rare” is one of those books what will stay with you long after it has been read and put on the shelf of your library.  MS. Alexander does a wonderful job of developing two characters that are so believable you feel like you are a part of them.   This beautifully written novel leads you down a pathway of finding out inner beauty rather than outward appearance is what is important in the grand scheme of things.  It is filled with love for humanity and doing what is right.  If you are a fan of Christian Fiction, I highly recommend this book.  It is one you won’t want to miss.
Disclosure: I was given a copy of this eBook by the publisher, Bethany House, through NetGalley blogger program for review. I was not required to write a favorable review nor was I compensated for my review. The opinions in this review are my own.


Book Review - The Garden Gate by Christa Kinde

 
The Garden Gate
by:  Christa Kinde
Publisher:  Zondervan
 
 
“The Garden Gate” fourth in the Threshold Series begins with a good vs evil battle between two angels in the aftermath of a severe storm in West Edinton, the small- town home of teen-ager Prissie Pomeroy.  Prissie discovers she can see the angels that live among us including her own guardian angel.  With her discovery she also can see an invisible world that she is unable to describe.  Part of it is beautiful while the other part harbors horrible things.  Prissie learns there is a war being waged and she will play a major role in it.  Throughout her journey her faith grows to be strong.
To be honest I am not a fan of the supernatural, so I had much difficulty in keeping with this, however I did read the entire book. Maybe I would feel differently had I read the previous books in the series.   I felt the author did an excellent job in portraying good and evil and how when we are misled, God always provides a way back to the right path, if our hearts are receptive to his will.  I felt at times the envelope was pushed a little such as in angels having cell phones in order to fit in.  It would have made more sense to me to have them not try to be like others but to be what God wants you to be.  I am not sure I would want my “tween” reading this without supervision to insure they don’t miss the point. 
Disclosure: I was given a copy of this Book by the publisher, Zondervan, through BookLook Blogger program for review. I was not required to write a favorable review nor was I compensated for my review. The opinions in this review are my own.


Friday, April 18, 2014

Book Reveiw-Far Gone by Laura Griffin

 
Far Gone
By: Laura Griffin
Publisher:  Gallery Books
Publish Date:  April 15, 2014
 
Andrea Finch, detective, was faced with a situation that caused her to make a split-second decision, without back up.   She felt she had no other choice, but her superiors felt otherwise so she was placed on leave, pending an investigation into her actions, leaving her feeling disgraced and disillusioned.
 Growing up without parents puts her in the role of being mother to her younger brother, Gavin, so when he calls her asking for money, she is torn between giving in to him or making him stand on his own.  She chooses to the latter and he suddenly drops out of college.  She follows him to an out of the way ranch in southern Texas, only to find out her brother is somehow involved in bank robberies and a home grown terrorist group.  She feels her brother is not the instigator but rather a pawn.  Andrea’s path crosses that of FBI agent, Jon North, whose investigation of the robberies, leads him to the same ranch.    Although in the beginning Andrea and Jon are at odds and don’t trust each other, they find it in their best interest to work together to help her brother and to keep the terrorists from launching their attack on innocent people. 
I felt this is a fast-paced book that in some ways resembled the Oklahoma City bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.  It is an intricately woven story with lots of twists and turns that keep you on the edge of your seat.  The characters are well developed and very believable.  This book is filled with mystery, suspense and just the right amount of romance to keep it interesting.  If you are a fan of Laura Griffin this book will not disappoint you. 
Disclosure: I was given a copy of this eBook by the publisher, Gallery Books, through NetGalley blogger program for review. I was not required to write a favorable review nor was I compensated for my review. The opinions in this review are my own.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Book Review - Critical Condition by Dr. Richard L.Mabry

 
Critical Conditon
by: Richard L. Mabry, M.D.
Publisher:  Thomas Nelson
Publish Date:  April 15, 2014
 
Dr. Shannon Frazier was having a quiet dinner party for one of her colleagues.  What was supposed to be a quiet evening turned out to be anything but.  A man was shot in her front yard and caused her to relive memories from several years earlier, when her then fiancé was shot in front of her and she could do nothing to help save him.  After this shooting she got a late night call from her often in trouble sister, Megan who needs a place to stay because she left her abusive boyfriend.  Shannon worries that her sister is on drugs again and reluctantly tells her she can come there until she straightens things out.  She thoughts things couldn’t get worse but feels guilt from not being able to commit to her almost fiancé Dr. Mark Gilbert who is her constant support and is caught in the middle of this mess because her sister somehow managed to get him involved in the shooting of her boyfriend.   As her life begins to unravel and her fears begins to mount from late night calls from an unknown caller threatening her and her family she turns to her minister father for help only to learn he has leukemia.
This book is fairly fast paced and held my attention from the first page.  I found myself holding my breath when Shannon faced a killer and crying when she found out her father was diagnosed with leukemia.  I fell in love with her almost fiancé, Dr. Mark Gilbert because although Shannon couldn’t make a commitment to him he supported and stood by her.   I felt her confusion as she struggled with her spiritual life.  This in my opinion is a great book. If you are a fan of mystery, murder, intrigue, romance, struggle with spiritual issues and commitment, this is a book you won’t want to miss reading.
Disclosure: I was given a copy of this eBook by the publisher, Thomas Nelson, through NetGalley blogger program for review. I was not required to write a favorable review nor was I compensated for my review. The opinions in this review are my own.

Book Reveiw - Riley Mae and the Ready Eddy Rapids by Jill Osborne

A Great Adventure and Inspiration Book for Tween Girls.
 
 
As if the adventures in the book “Riley Mae and the Rock Shocker Trek” weren’t enough, we now find in the second of the series, “Riley Mae and the Ready Eddy Rapids”,  Riley along with her co-workers from Swift River and family are once again on the run.  This time they are going to a secret hideout in Northwest Montana.  This book starts with a rough landing due to the plane’s malfunction.  About this time Riley wants to return home to her friends and church, but she meets Sunday, a boy from Kenya who is 10 years old and is dealing with leukemia.  Their journey is filled with adventure from wrestling fish, almost being eaten by Herod, the bear,  learning to raft, nearly drowning in the rapids and a bunch of trips to the emergency room, but none of that compares to the danger from the person trying to do them harm. 
This book is the second in the Good News Shoes Faith Girlz Series.  These books are great for young Tween girls.  Although they are filled with adventure, they also are filled with learning to do what is right and what God would have you do along with prayer, faith and reading your Bible.  They talk a great deal about listening to the needs of those around you and not dwelling on yourself. Sunday’s faith is all inspiring as he gives encouragement even though his situation is serious.  From the first page of the first book my nine year old granddaughter was hooked.  She can’t wait to read to read this one.  I am sure as each new book is released it will find its way to her library.  I would highly recommend this to any Tween girl as it also gives inspiration in finding self-confidence and being comfortable with who you are and learning that we all make mistakes, but it is how we deal with them that is important.  I am very impressed with this series. 
Disclosure: I was given a copy of this book by the publisher, ZonderKidz, for an honest review.   I was not required to write a favorable review nor was I compensated for my review. The opinions in this review are my own.
 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Book Review-Body & Soul by Bethany Hamilton

Body & Soul
A Girl's Guide to a
Fun, Fit and Fabulous Life
By:  Bethany Hamilton with Dustin Dillberg
Publisher:  Zondervan
Publish Date:  May 6, 2014
 
Bethany Hamilton overcame seemingly insurmountable odds and now brings hope, faith and fitness to girls ages 11 – 17.   In this book “Body & Soul” she not only teaches you about physical commitment but also faith commitment.  She shows the importance of self-control and perseverance no matter what you are choosing to do.  Self-esteem and learning to love yourself as God has made you is a big part of this book along with building self-confidence.  She tops her book off with not only recipes, exercise tips, but also with prayer, trusting God in any given situation and reading your Bible. 
The pages are filled with encouragement geared to that difficult age from 11-17, when you are struggling to learn and accept who you really are.  As I read this book, I was amazed at even after all Bethany endured, she was still able to encourage others and share her God-given victory. I think as each girl reads this she will be able to understand the encouraging messages and apply those to their lives and to understand that beauty which comes from within is a lasting beauty.  Healthy eating and exercise help enhance that inner beauty and give you a feeling of well-being.
I would highly recommend this book to any girl from the ages 11-17 struggling with accepting who she is or just needs encouragement.   It is filled with love, faith, encouragement and the promise by God, you are never alone.    
Disclosure: I was given a copy of this Book by the publisher, ZonderKidz, for an honest review.   I was not required to write a favorable review nor was I compensated for my review. The opinions in this review are my own.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Book Review - The Berenstain Bears and the Easter Story

The Berenstain Bears and the Easter Story
By:  Jan & Mike Berenstain
Publisher:  ZonderKidz
 
Have you ever wished for an illustrated book to help explain to your children about the true meaning of Easter, yet making them not feel badly because they also enjoy egg hunts, candy and Easter Baskets?
Jan & Mike Berenstain have done a fantastic job in explaining the true meaning of Easter using the characters of Brother, Sister and Honey Bear.  Those three loved Easter Candy.  They couldn’t stop thinking about it.  Their Sunday School Teacher Missus Ursula overheard them talking about it and told them she loved black jelly beans the most, but Easter was about more than candy.  She asked her class if they knew the difference and their child-like answer was, yeah..It’s about Bible stuff.  The Berenstains use a short Easter play to explain the true meaning of Easter from Jesus performing miracles, his triumphant entry into Jerusalem, his crucifixion, death, burial, resurrection and ascension. The End of the book has activities and questions from Brother and Sister Bear to help parents teach their young children.  There is also a sticker page portraying the Easter Story. 
This was an adorable book that I would highly recommend for any child from 4-7.  You can’t go wrong with The Berenstain Bears.   
Disclosure: I was given a copy of this book by the publisher, ZonderKidz, for an honest review.   I was not required to write a favorable review nor was I compensated for my review. The opinions in this review are my own.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Book Reveiw - A Shinning Light by Judith Miller


 
Andrea Wilson suddenly finds herself a widow with her young son, Lukas, to support.  She packs their few belongings and leaves Boston to return home to Iowa in hopes of giving her son a better life only to find her father is dead and the family home has burned.  She has no one to turn to until she meets Brother Bosch who is a member of the local Amana Community.  He offers her a short-term job of working in the kitchen.  Andrea realizes she has no place to turn so accepts the generosity of the Community and feels welcomed by them.  She feels safe and also feels her faith being restored.

The characters in this book were well developed.  I fell in love with Andrea and her son.  I love the way the Amana Community accepted her and how she respected their rules and regulations.  There were several underlying stories throughout the book, and I love the way MS Miller weaves Dirk, the local tinsmith into the heart and lives of Andrea and Lukas. 

To me this book was about finding peace, love and faith no matter what you face in life and no matter where you may end up.  With God on your side He will always provide a way if you have an open heart.   Many years ago I visited the Amana Community and have always been fascinated with their lifestyle.  I love reading about them so this book for me was a “must-read”.   I highly recommend this book, especially if you are looking for an inspirational uplifting read.   MS Miller does a wonderful job of subtly incorporating God and faith in her book without being preachy.

Disclosure: I was given a copy of this Book by the publisher, Bethany House, through Bethany House blogger program for review. I was not required to write a favorable review nor was I compensated for my review. The opinions in this review are my own.

Book Review - God Is Just Not Fair by Jennifer Rothschild

EVERYONE ASKS TOUGH QUESTIONS OF GOD
(especially when we are hurting and our life is a mess)
God Is Just Not Fair
by: Jennifer Rothschild
Publisher: Zondervan
Release Date:  March 25, 2013
 
Everyone asks  tough questions of God.  God are you there?  God do you hear me pray?  God have you forgotten I’m your child?  Have you ever asked those questions?  In Jennifer Rothschild’s book “God Is Just Not Fair”.  These questions and many more will be explored and answered Biblically.
Being a fan of MS Rothschild’s Bible Study programs, I was eager to read this book.  I have to say I think this would be a great addition to the Bible Study, “Missing Pieces”.  In my opinion it goes hand and hand with that study.  As MS Rothschild explores the questions we may ask God, the answers may not be what we want, but they are Biblically based.  Human nature wants us to have answers immediately and what we want, but she shows us by the scripture that God always answers in his time and his answers are perfect. 
She also shows that when you are hurting it is ok to.  1. Cry,  2. Trust God more than your feelings and 3.  Choose loyalty over logic.  I love that it’s ok to CRY!  For me it seems to bring a cleansing to my soul.  She also teaches when we are angry we should ask questions of our anger such as does it serve me well?  Does it change my situation?  Does it enhance my relationship with God?  Who does my anger really hurt?  As you turn the pages of this book you will find the answers to those questions.
 “God Is Just Not Fair” will take you on a journey such as you have never been on before and once you finish the book, you will realize that sometimes prayer doesn’t change life….it will change your heart.  You will also learn there is nothing in life that you can face that Jesus has not already experienced when He gave His life on the cross. 
Caution:  This book may cause deep soul searching, tears, a longing for a closer walk with God and maybe even a revelation of the person you really are and definitely whom you could become with God in control. 
 
Disclosure: I was given a copy of this eBook by, BookLook Bloggers & NetGalley blogger review program,  for an honest review.   I was not required to write a favorable review nor was I compensated for my review. The opinions in this review are my own.
 
 

NIV Adventure Bible Memory Game by ZonderKidz

 
NIV Adventure Bible Memory Game
 
 
This fun-filled game app is a great way to teach your young child facts about the Bible.  It is also a great refresher for your tween child.  I spent several hours playing the games and exploring all the Bible Activities that are available, from reading plans to cross words and word search to printable Bible Verse Cards.  I couldn’t wait to introduce my 9 yr old granddaughter to this Bible game series.  Some of the categories she was able to breeze right through with, “hey that’s easy” to as she progressed with the levels, “this is not so easy”.  She knew all the books of the Old Testament before this game but after spending 2 days playing she now knows all 66 books of the Bible.  She couldn’t wait to test her knowledge against her dad.  It is a wonderful way to spend time with your children and grandchildren and watch them learn about God’s Word.
Leapin’ Lemur:  Leapin’ Lemur is similar to hangman.  In this game you will fill in the missing letters to complete the Bible verses. This is a great way to learn Bible verses. 
Truth Quest:  Bible trivia with over a hundred questions in number of categories in this multiple choice game.  The game is a timed game.  You will be given 3 clues to help choose the correct answer before the time runs out. 
Books of the Bible:  This game helps to put the books of the Bible in order learning small sections at a time.  It is a great way to learn without being overwhelmed by all 66 books at one time.
X Marks The Spot:  This game helps you recall important events in the Bible by dragging a flag to the correct spot on the map.  Every answer is worth 100 points.  If you choose an incorrect answer you will be given a clue and the option to choose another answer losing 25 points with each clue.
Leopardy: This game is a spin-off of jeopardy.  Here you will pick a category to test your knowledge of Bible trivia.  Just like on jeopardy, each category has multiple point options to choose from and even an option similar to the daily double so you can choose the amount of points you want to place before you answer the next question.  This is my granddaughter’s favorite game.
The other thing I didn’t care for was sometimes the game will freeze and you have to restart it. I also wish there were a few more Bible verses in Leapin’ Lemur.  All in all I give this game a definite 5 out of 5 stars. 
 As far as the learning aspect and all the Bible Trivia it is something I would highly recommend to any parent or grandparent who wants to teach their young ones an easy way to learn facts about the Bible.  Lots of fun-filled friendly competition went on in our home this weekend.  I am sure it will be a great way to pass time each time we see our grandchild.  
Disclosure: I was given a copy of this book by the publisher, ZonderKidz, for an honest review.   I was not required to write a favorable review nor was I compensated for my review. The opinions in this review are my own.


Sunday, April 6, 2014

Book Reveiw - For Such a Time by Kate Breslin

This Book Will Leave a Lasing Impression!
One Of The Best I've Read In a Long Time.
 
For Such a Time
by:  Kate Breslin
Publisher:  Bethany House
 

Timeline:  1944 World War II

Hadassah Benjamin who was half Jew, no longer exists.  She became Stella Mueller an Austrian bookkeeper.  With her blonde hair and blue eyes, she was told she would be safe because those physical characteristics were rare in the Jewish people, but she knew beauty could be a dangerous liability.  However she spends several months in Dachau before being rescued from the firing squad, by SS-Kommandant Colonel Aric von Schmidt.  With a fake name and identity papers, she is hired by the Kommandant because of her clerical training to type the names of the Jews who are to be sent to Auschwitz death camp.  Hadessah aka Stella must choose between her people, who are condemned to die, or with her ever-growing attraction for the Kommandant.
Will she follow her heart or will she be used by God who she feels abandoned her?  Bresllin in “For Such a Time” parallels the book of Esther.  Her strong characters makes the book believable.  I was completely mesmerized from the first few pages until the end.  I found myself not being able to put it down and when I couldn’t be reading, I was thinking about what would happen next.  I loved the scripture at the beginning of each chapter from the book of Esther. The book of Esther in the Old Testament is my second favorite, with Ruth being my favorite, so when I was given the opportunity to read “For Such a Time”, there was no hesitation.  Although there are parallels between Esther and Stella this is in no way about Biblical times.  This is the first work that I have read by MS Breslin, but she will be added to my ever-growing list of favorite authors. 

The only downside I had with this book was….I just didn’t have time to read it all in one day.  If you like history and especially World War II, drama and suspense this book is a must read.  
Disclosure: I was given a copy of this Book by the publisher, Bethany House, through Bethany House blogger program for review. I was not required to write a favorable review nor was I compensated for my review. The opinions in this review are my own.