December 2, 2016

Christmas Advent for Booklovers #bvbtours

I'm excited to share with you all Beck Valley Book's unique interactive Christmas Advent for booklovers!!  If your looking for gifts or treating yourself, dive right into the Advent Calendar full of fabulous books from so many amazing authors for Christmas Gifts or for you to enjoy, special offers too!

Here we go....
Hover over the dates and they will become alive with so many wonderful book choices and some offers!  Click on the blog post link in each date to be taken to the author's own Christmas advent page where you will find out much more plus what makes Christmas special for them this year.

Do any particular books catch your eye? 

Hover over the advent calendar dates to find out which book is hidden behind...

Merry Christmas from all the Beck Valley Books reviewing team xx
Are you a book reviewer or book blogger? Join our book tours reviewers team - Apply Here x
Current book tours open for sign ups HERE

November 18, 2016

A Portrait of Emily Price

This is the second book I’ve read by Katherine Reay. What a talented storyteller! She has a unique voice and sets a scene that is so easy to sink into.

A Portrait of Emily Price takes place in both Georgia and Italy. Being from the south, and having visited Italy twice, I was able to visualize every scene, taste every dish, and breath in the fragrant baked breads. The story begins in Atlanta, but came alive for me once it moved on to Italy. Thought the town is a work of fiction, it fits so well with the Italy I’ve come to know—the people, the insane driving, walled cities, and narrow passageways.

It was that, that drive to fix what was broken, that resonated with me. ~excerpt

Just as in Ms. Reay’s first book, Dear Mr. Knightley, these characters are fleshed out nicely. Even though there are different families, cultures, etc. I was never confused as to who was who, or who was where. And the artwork that is described is incredible. I know little about art and painting, but feel like I’ve watched masterpieces being restored. And the cooking, an art form itself, makes me yearn to make my own pasta and experiment with Italian recipes.

 "She says some things can't be fixed. We just have to endure them." ~excerpt

No story is complete without growth, understanding, and love, and this book satisfies beautifully. Emily is easy to sympathize with, Ben is an Italian stallion with a heart of gold, and their families aren’t without major flaws, but I loved each one in different ways. I love everyone’s different views of life and love, and I hope their stories don’t end here. Some of the secondary characters, namely Francesca (Ben’s sister) or Joseph (Ben’s brother) deserve stories of their own.

Cover: Love it
Title: Love it
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Pages: 368
Pace: Steady/fast
First Lines: Piccolo. The restaurant matched its name—a tiny and delicate white stucco building with a short, neat brick walk leading from its front door to the parking lot.
I received a complimentary copy from the publisher.

The 100 Most Encouraging Verses of the Bible

This little book holds powerful Bible verses that encourage and comfort us when we are discouraged or going through tough times. It also provides guidance to in helping others who may be struggling as well.

I love that each of the verse/devotion pair covers a single page. It only takes a few moments to read, and can make such a huge impact on your day. The devotions are easy to read and use simple language, without being ‘preachy’ or directive. The passages are smooth and gentle, but enough to put pep in your step and genuineness to your smile.

The 100 Most Encouraging Verses of the Bible is a lovely, succinct book providing encouragement, inspiration, and peace to its readers.  It includes a helpful scripture list in the back of the book for quick reference.

4 Stars

Cover: Okay
Title: Okay
Publisher: Bethany House
Pages: 112
ISBN: 978-0764217609
I received a complimentary copy from the publisher.

November 14, 2016

All the Pretty Things

I love books that take place in the south, and enjoyed the Appalachian setting in this story. Although I didn’t experience the hardships that Edie Wadsworth faced, I see similarities in a dear friend’s life. I’ve seen how not having a strong male figure in the family can damage a young girl’s self-esteem and heighten the need for approval and acceptance. Even if you didn’t have a difficult childhood, it is easy to empathize and relate.

I really had no idea what this story was going to be about, and wasn’t aware it was a memoir, but in a way that made it all the more intriguing. My heart went out to young Edie and the things she overcame, such as an alcoholic parent, adult responsibilities as a child, etc, but I also admire her inner strength and desire to be something bigger than her upbringing.

Although this isn’t the type of story I normally read, I enjoyed learning of Edie’s life. There are heartbreaking parts that were difficult for me to read (and imagine) but none of the content is written unnecessarily—it all holds a purpose. With a theme of overcoming hardships and reaching for the stars, this story is both eye opening and inspiring. No matter the obstacle, there is always hope

4 Stars

Cover: Like
Title: Love
Publisher: Tyndale
Pages: 320
ISBN: 978-1496403384
I received a complimentary copy from the publisher.

November 12, 2016

God's Gift

God’s Gift, by Lee Ann Mancini, is the latest book in the Adventures of the Sea Kids series. As in the previous books of the series, the adorable sea creature kids learn important Christian lessons.

The story takes place in the coralhood (a sea kid neighborhood) where the town is decorating the outside of their caves for the upcoming holidays. Christian and his sister Mary are excited about Christmas and all the gifts they’ll receive. Jacob and his little brother Jeremiah are eager to receive gifts on Hanukkah. The sea kids brag about their holidays and disagree on who will get more gifts.

“It’s about the gift from God of His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, our Messiah.”

When the parents hear about the disagreement and how their children are solely focused on the presents they’ll get, they decide to teach them the true meaning of Christmas and Hanukkah. The importance lies in the gifts that God gave long ago—the Messiah to Christians, and the miracle of Light to the Jews.

 “God gave us the miracle of light!”

The language in this hardcover book is easy to read and understand, and carries a beautiful message. I love how the colorful illustrations fill each page and the adorable sea kids are detailed and fun.

What a special story, bringing respect and wonder to diverse people, customs, and religions, and closing the story with a reminder to readers to say their prayers.

I’m delighted with this sweet series and the Christian messages each book shares. Filled with examples of love, understanding, acceptance, and the Gospel, the sea kids guide children toward a common goal.

As in all books of the series, the reader is prompted to go back and search for the hidden symbols on each page. In this book, they are the cross and the Jewish star—a purposeful reminder for the reader to recognize the symbols and their meanings.

What a meaningful and timely gift for a child or caregiver. Highly recommended.

5 Stars

Cover: Love
Title: Love
Publisher: GLM Publishing LLC
ISBN: 978-0986360497
Pages: 32
Target Ages: 3-8
First line: The water was chilly in the coralhood that December day.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher via BookCrash.

Larger Than Life Lara

What an adorable book! The voice is unique, the message is powerful, and the main character is fun and genuine.

Laney Grafton is a roughneck ten-year-old with a hard life, and the narrator of this story. This book is her own first-person storytelling after learning the ins and outs of writing a book from her teacher. The chapter titles explain the various parts of storytelling, such as Character, Setting, Conflict, etc, all while revealing what happens when a new student joins Laney’s classroom.

Lara Phelps is a large girl. She fills up the doorway, tires easily, and has a special desk brought in because of her size. Laney and her classmates have never seen anyone so heavy, not their age anyway, and some give her the nickname Larger-Than-Life Lara.

Laney walks the reader through the class play, rehearsals, and horrible bullying that takes place. The mean kids are relentless with their hateful remarks and mocking. What surprises Laney the most is how Lara smiles through the adversity.

There are great lessons in this story—both for bullies and their victims. Though the message is powerful, it is written with a mix of humor and sting.

5 stars!

Cover: Okay
Title: Love it
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Pages: 176
I received a complimentary copy from TyndaleBlogNetwork.