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Showing posts from February, 2019

Placemaker

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I’ve never described a book as gentle before, and I’ve never labeled an author as peaceful, yet those are the first words that come to me as I sit to write this review. I can’t say I’ve ever read a spiritual growth book like Christie Purifoy’s  Placemaker . It places the reader in a serene atmosphere, weaving the mind through forests, farmhouses, and the bonds of community. I love my home and where it is—in the woods, far enough away from asphalt and traffic, yet close enough to not feel totally isolated. Upon reading this book, I’ve learned how cultivating my land, creating a comfortable and peaceful home, welcoming others into my ‘neck of the woods,’ that I’d become a placemaker without knowing it.  The tree titled chapters and the decorative little snippets scattered throughout the pages give this book a cohesive feel.  Placemaker  inspires “cultivating beauty in little ways and large…”  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ Author: Christie Purifoy Publisher: Zondervan Pages: 224

Half Finished

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I need more people in my life to encourage and assist me in the projects I’ve started and left half-finished. All kidding aside,  Half Finished , by Lauraine Snelling, is a sweet and charming read, guaranteed to give you the feels. Each member of the  Unfinished  group is easy to connect with and adds her own special light to the story. With lighthearted moments, sweet romance, and poignant events, this book showcases meaningful friendships and a special message that God is working in all of us. We are works-in-progress—half finished. ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ Author: Lauraine Snelling Publisher: FaithWords Pages: 336 First Line:  This is it. I received a review copy of this book. Opinions expressed are completely my own.

Breakthrough

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I don’t read many autobiographies (I’m a fiction fan) but every now and then one comes across my path and yells, “Pick me! Read me!”   Breakthrough , by Joyce Smith, is such a book.  Prayer is powerful, miracles are real, and faith moves mountains. Lest we forget—this book displays that clearly. This is a quick read that leaves a lasting impression. I can’t wait to see the movie this spring.  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ Author: Joyce Smith Publisher: FaithWords Pages: 256 First Line:  The air hung thick with tension. I received a review copy of this book from the publisher. Opinions expressed are completely my own.

A Return of Devotion

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A new book by Kristi Ann Hunter…  Woot! Woot! Yay! A Return of Devotion  opens with an amusing scene and vivid visualization that makes me giggle. At the clumsy, alarming, and entertaining first meeting with Lord Chemsford (William) it takes only moments to get a sense of who Daphne Blakemoor is. (All her awkward blinking cracks me up.) I effortlessly connect with her, as well as William, as he navigates his new title, new path, and new uncertainties. I love it when I’m drawn in to a story quickly, as in this regency tale. Ms. Hunter’s witty writer’s voice (say that three times fast!) is entertaining, welcoming, and pulls you into her character’s heads  effortlessly. With all the wit and amusement, the story still holds deep and serious undertones, and I soon learn Haven Manor is cloaked in mystery. I rapidly begin turning pages and become lost in secrets of the past… As with each of Ms. Hunter’s previous books, I begin reading slower as I reach the last few chapters

The Secrets of Paper and Ink

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Oh, how I love time-slip novels. Two stories in one—double the hunger, double the sighs upon reading the last pages. Don’t you love it when you find a story that makes you want to read slower and slower as you near the end because you don’t want it to end?  The Secrets of Paper and Ink  has a great setting and interesting characters. And the switches between the current time and the 1800s were neither distracting nor confusing. The pacing flows nicely.  I love women’s fiction, my preferred genre, because it deals with issues and emotions that nearly every woman experiences. Although I haven’t experienced the exact same things, I can empathize and sympathize. Connecting without stretching. Each woman, Sophia, Ginny, and Emily, experience levels of self-discovery, and each touched me—though I connected with Sophia the most. I suppose because I find myself a mediator, helper, and nurturer in my life. ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ Author: Lindsay Harrel Publisher: Thomas Nelson Page

Encounters with Archetypes

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Encounters with Archetypes  helps readers analyze archetypes, and detect the differences and similarities of their own personalities. The book’s organization makes sense, and the numerous diagrams are helpful. I’ve always been fascinated with personality tests, archetypes, and what makes people tick. Learning complex behaviors and patterns of various archetypes helps me grow as a writer. Creating characters is one of my favorite aspects of fiction writing, so discovering people’s personality patterns helps me create believable characters. This book didn’t fully meet  my  expectations as a writer, but  I  am not the intended target base. If you are a teacher with hopes of guiding students through the diverse archetypes, these lessons and diagrams are valuable tools. ⭐ ⭐ ⭐⭐ Authors:  Tamra Stambaugh, Ph.D., Emily Mofield, Ed.D., Eric Recht, Ed.D., & Kim Knauss Publisher: Prufrock Press Pages: 200  I received a copy of this book via the LibraryThing Early Rev

Cory & the Seventh Story

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Cory & the Seventh Story  is a difficult book for me to rate. It’s also difficult to articulate why, but I’ll try. Although the underlying messages of this story are the joys of harmony and strength in camaraderie, I was a little turned off by the negativity. There wasn’t sufficient balance to leave the reader with a satisfied, positive experience—especially if the reader/listener is a young child. Too much yin, and not enough yang. With that said, I did enjoy the characterizations of the animals—the sly fox, aggressive badger, swift horse, etc. I also loved the poetic meaning of the seventh story.  But the star of this book is the artwork. The full-page illustrations are expressive, engaging, and colorful. They provide great visuals, brilliantly showcasing the unity, rather than the discord. (If you were to view only the artwork, without knowing the story, you’d never imagine the fable focused so much on fighting, bullying, and unbalance.) Cory & the

Of Fire and Lions

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I remember learning about Daniel's experiences in the lion’s den and the fiery furnace when I was a young child in Sunday school. I can still see the large felt-board showcasing the biblical characters and flames in my mind. I have always been fascinated by Daniel’s extraordinary faith. Of Fire and Lions  is a fictional account of this biblical figure, expounding on his life by giving him a fictional wife. This is biblical fiction; therefore appropriate to add to Daniel’s story without eliminating the biblical message. I love it when an author brings a Bible story to life and paints a new visual in my head to last a long time. Just like the felt-board stories when I was young. The various time periods and dual POVs is a little confusing in the beginning, but it doesn't take long for the flow to become established, allowing me to sink into the story. The character list in the front of the book is helpful. The extensive research is apparent, and Ms. Andrews really

Grand Finale & Giveaway - His Honor, Her Family

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On Tour with Prism Book Tours Book Tour Grand Finale for His Honor, Her Family By Tara Randel We hope you enjoyed the tour! If you missed any of the stops you'll find snippets, as well as the link to each full post, below: Launch - Note from the Author Hello Readers! I’m so happy to be a part of the book tour featuring my newest Heartwarming novel, His Honor, Her Family , Book 2 in the Meet Me At The Altar series. The Matthews brothers are still hunting for information on the man their mother is dating. So when a lead brings Deke Matthews to Golden, Georgia, he tumbles into more excitement than he expects... It's All About the Romance - Excerpt “So,” he said, “you’re a nurse, too?” “No, but after years of working with vacation clients, I know first aid.” “Makes sense.” He lifted the towel, glad to see the bleeding was minimal. “Let’s get the bandage on now.” Grace unwrapped the butterfly and within seconds had it secure. Bloo

Ladies of Intrigue

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I prefer full-length novels, but every once in a while it’s nice to pick up short reads (novellas) where I’m not staying up late, forcing my eyes open, to finish one more page or chapter.  Ladies of Intrigue  is comprised of three easy-to-read novellas, each of which can be read in one sitting. I’ve read some of Michelle Griep’s previous books, so I knew I’d enjoy her writing style and voice. From the title of this one, I expected a bit more suspense, but I still enjoyed each novella. The Gentleman Struggler’s Lady  tells the story of an unlikely pair. I enjoyed the whirl of emotions and unexpected turns. I also like the contrast of loss and new beginnings. The Doctor’s Woman   is my favorite of the three stories. Emmy and James are interesting characters and the progression of their relationship is believable. I especially liked the medical knowledge Emmy gained during a period of time it wasn’t conventional. A House of Secrets   as you can guess from the title,  co

Brunch at Bittersweet CafΓ©

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Carla Laureano is a new-to-me author, so I wasn’t sure what to expect from  Brunch at Bittersweet CafΓ©.  I enjoyed the girl’s friendships immensely. These are the types of relationships I have with a few women, which is what made me connect with them so well. I’d love to go back to read the first book in the series to learn even more about them. The bakery scenes made me want to stuff my face with carbs, and I think I even smelled fresh bread baking. Yum. And the romantic elements of this story were clean, fun, and sweet.  If you want a mouthwatering journey through the life of a baker, and you enjoy a clean, sweet romance with themes of friendship and faith, you’ll enjoy this story. There are a few slower spots, but mostly it’s a nicely paced story.  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ Author: Carla Laureano Publisher: Tyndale Series: The Saturday Night Supper Club Pages: 432 Opening Line:  Once upon a time, Melody Johansson had believed in happily ever afters. #bittersweetbooklaunch

Never Let Go

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Never Let Go , book one of Elizabeth Goddard’s  Uncommon Justice  series, is not my usual genre. And I’m not overly fond of the cover art, which is what invites me to pick up a book. But, with that said, this book surprised me. It is a fresh and exciting read. Willow is an interesting character. I connected with and sympathized with her, but I was especially interested in Austin. I love second chance stories, and add in the suspense, tension, and great pacing, and I ended up satisfied.  I feel a few of the romantic elements could’ve been fleshed out a bit more, but the suspense was fast-paced and intriguing. ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ Author: Elizabeth Goddard Publisher: Revell Series: Uncommon Justice Pages: 368 Opening Line (Chapter One):  While death was no stranger to her, a courteous knock on the door to give warning this time would have been appreciated. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and was under no obligation to post a review. Opini

Mending Fences

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Mending Fences  is the first book in  The  Deacon’s Family  series by Suzanne Woods Fisher.  I enjoy the unique concept of seeking forgiveness after overcoming addiction, especially in an Amish tale. The characters are noteworthy, and flawed, and healing from the past. I connected with Luke, but found Izzy particularly interesting. The community is memorable and adds so much fullness to the story. With lots of twists and turns, the story progresses nicely, but not without a few parts that I felt dragged on too long, slowing the pace and weakening some interest. But overall, this story delivers a touching second chance story with themes of forgiveness and redemption. ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher Publisher: Revell Series: The Deacon’s Family Pages: 336 Opening Line:  A year had passed since Luke Schrock’s exile from Stoney Ridge began. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and was under no obligation to post a review. Opinions ex

10 Choices Successful Couples Make

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10 Choices Successful Couples Make  is a book of practical advice and revelations to assure fulfilling relationships. Although I’m in a happy marriage of over thirty years, I still found the book interesting and insightful. What it boils down to is we all make choices, and those choices ultimately affect us positively or negatively. There are conflicts and pitfalls in life and love, but the choices we make—how we react to and manage them—are what determine the success or breakdown of a relationship.   I enjoyed the few activities in this book, and wish there had been more. And though the book contains valuable information and 10 clear choices, I feel they could have been more concise, interactive, and better organized—perhaps each chapter representing a choice, rather than splitting some into two (lengthy) chapters. ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ Author: Ron Welch Publisher: Revell Pages: 240 Opening Line:  They were like so many couples I see in premarital therapy. I received a c

After The Rain - Review and Giveaway!

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About the Book Series: Sequel to The Last Summer Genre: Adult, Christian, Contemporary, Fiction, Inspirational, Romance Publisher: Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas Publication date: February 4, 2019 Debra Hart is moving on. Maybe. Hopefully. One day. As a radio show host, Debra spends her mornings as Miss Lonely Heart on air, empathizing with all the broken hearts in the Denver metro area. She spends her evenings watching old musicals and trying not to think about the guy who broke up with her and subsequently fell in love with one of her best friends. Alone in a new city, Debra questions where she belongs and who she is now. When she stumbles into the indie music scene, Debra meets singer Ben Price. Rock star appeal, with a day job as a worship pastor, Ben is everything Debra wants to avoid. But he’s determined to be her friend, and it so happens she could really use one. Because try as she might, nothing seems to erase the anger and betrayal she feels. It’s