Tuesday, August 15, 2017

#REVIEW: The Solier Who Killed A King by David Klitz

Title: The Sodier Who Killed A King
Series: None
Author: David Klitz
Publisher: Kregel Publishers
Published Date: July 25, 2017
ISBN: 9780825444852
Pages: 288
Buy It Link: Amazon
Synopsis: A stunning story of Holy Week through the eyes of a Roman centurion
Watch the triumphal entry of the donkey-riding king through the eyes of Marcus Longinus, the centurion charged with keeping the streets from erupting into open rebellion.
Look behind the scenes at the political plotting of King Herod, known as the scheming Fox for his ruthless shrewdness.
Get a front-row seat to the confrontation between the Jewish high priest Caiaphas and the Roman governor Pontius Pilate.
Understand as never before the horror of the decision to save a brutal terrorist in order to condemn the peaceful Jew to death.
If you've heard the story of Passion Week so often it's become stale, now is the time to rediscover the terrible events leading from Jesus's humble ride into the city to his crucifixion. The Soldier Who Killed a King will stun you afresh with how completely Christ's resurrection changed history, one life at a time.
 


My Rating: 4 1/2 stars

My Review: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I love reading Christian biblical fiction. It's a great way to read a story that we have read time and time again from a new perspective, to get new insights from it. And I love boots on the ground, inside the characters, Biblical stories, from a character on the other side. Seeing it from Marcus' point of view was a point of view that I haven't yet experienced. Being able to read about the political intrigues and see what perhaps just one of those soldiers felt, to humanize them and understand they weren't just men blindly following orders, perhaps they had opinions and disagreed with their orders, much as we do today in modern time.
Then to see from the ground zero perspective how Jesus changed the common person in an everyday manner, it really brings life to the story for me.
I think my next goal is to read a book similar to this on how early Christianity changed into what it is now. Maybe see a first person perspective on one of the early schisms.


Thursday, August 10, 2017

#EXCERPT: Brazen Gambit by Eric Small

BrazenGambitbooktourbanner

I raced in to the sight of her sitting placidly on my couch – completely, utterly, stark naked.

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Only a small blip in the lives of lifelong best friends Arnie Fischer and Zellie Morgan, who with no license and even less practical experience form a detective agency. Their fervent desire for a nice little “find stuff” business rapidly devolves into perilous encounters with a mysterious buxom blonde client, a dead body, assorted mobsters, a sleazy detective, a sinister fashion designer, a car dealership owner only vaguely clinging to reality, and yes, a naked ex-girlfriend on the couch. And even more dangerous – navigating a burgeoning romantic relationship. No problem. Of course, saving Zellie from the clutches of very dangerous people might be a little more difficult…

EXCERPT:

Our first client was a real doozy. She walked into the Moo Mart, ignored Eddie’s ‘Can I help you?’ and strode right over to where we were sitting. She stood about five-eight with a buxom figure and platinum blonde hair. She wore a white semi-sheer blouse, a blue skirt with the hem just below her knee, and I am not making this up–cowboy boots.
Without so much as an introduction, she said on a breathy exhale, “I want to hire you.”
Zellie took a moment to silently appraise her, but I didn’t wait. The lady was a little meshugina, to be sure, wearing that outfit in a Moo Mart in New Jersey. But she certainly was easy on the eyes.
***

  We were sitting at our favorite booth in Audacious Bagel or “AB” as we sometimes called it, sipping our coffee. Audacious Bagel is not a typical deli. They actually employed “bagel baristas” (BBs) to bring you your choice from over a hundred types of bagels. Everything from plain to ‘chocolate chip raisin cinnamon deluxe.’ Personally, I think of a bagel as not including much of anything, and always order a plain one, although Zellie has been known to get a raisin, which I guess is moderately okay, and Ted almost always gets ‘hamburger-infused,’ whatever that is.

      Maybe it’s my Jewish upbringing, but I just can’t see a lox and “hamburger-infused” bagel and cream cheese. Last time we were there, my favorite BB, Delilah, personally recommended a pizza bagel. I must admit, it was pretty good. Delilah is great. She went back to school at night to study marketing. She practices her marketing skills on anyone who will listen, and we always do.
When we walked in today, she was wearing yellow pants and an electric-blue shirt with sparkly sequins on it, along with the required Audacious Bagel visor that said in small letters “Audacious Bagel Barista, Changing the Bagel Paradigm,” whatever that means.
    “I think it means I’m supposed to sell you new and different bagels, Arnie,” she said, when I asked her once. “You always get a plain bagel in a place known for pushing the envelope on the definition of bagel. If you want a plain bagel, you can have it, but there’s a whole world you haven’t explored.” She added in a whisper, “If you try something new, you might surprise yourself and like it a lot.”

***
“You know that even if I was considering getting information for you, I won’t now, right?”

“We completely understand,” I said.
“Then why did you stop me?”

“Neither of us wanted you to get in trouble and lose your job.” Zellie said.
“And you decided to be private detectives for what reason?” Gloria asked us. “Private eyes– at least the ones on TV–are generally pretty unsavory. You two couldn’t even carry through a lie to someone like me, who didn’t even suspect a problem. You’re not even licensed, and don’t want to lie.” She shook her pretty head. “What in the world will you do when someone challenges you?”

“I thought we would give a disclaimer like… ‘You should give us information because we are completely unlicensed and totally unauthorized by any legal authority to make any inquiries of any kind in the course of an investigation.’” I said.
Gloria burst out laughing. “Private-eyes with a conscience. That’s a first.”

***
“Of course, the cost. You and Missus Fischer are worried about the cost. It’s almost free. Really, only pennies a day keeps you both safe in your lovely home. I told you how lovely your home is, right?”

“Yes, you did, Jeffrey.” I held up my hand and Jeffrey closed his mouth. “Are you for real? I mean, I expected a hard sell, but I’ve never seen or heard anything like this. You haven’t really told us anything.”

“Well, it’s my first day. I’m a little nervous.” He reached toward his briefcase. “Maybe I can convince you with what I have here.”

When he turned again to face us, we were staring down the barrel of a gun.

***
Baskin explained what they had in mind. It included securing the front and back doors with extra deadbolt locks and wiring an alarm system on the doors and windows, as well as installing strategically placed pressure bumps and “panic” buttons. And the whole thing was monitored twenty-four hours a day with immediate response guaranteed.

“What if I have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night? I don’t want to turn off the alarm system every time.”

“You don’t have to. All you need to do is hold up two fingers like this.” He spread them apart in a “V” signifying victory or peace, I wasn’t sure. I supposed going to the bathroom was a little of both.

“That tells the system to turn off the pressure bumps until you do it again. If you don’t do it again within twenty minutes, it will turn on again automatically.”
I started to ask if I was supposed to hold up one finger if I just had to pee, but thought better of saying it when I looked at Baskin’s serious countenance. It was not the time to joke. Instead, I asked when the installation would take place. As if I had a choice, I thought, thinking of Mrs. Minniefield.



About the author Eric Small, a long-time public servant who wrote extensively for work, began writing fiction in retirement. A lover of cozy mysteries himself, the genre perfectly fit into his desire to write something containing humor, romance, mystery and just plain fun. As a longtime reader of cozy mysteries, he found such stories a natural fit for his writing. Brazen Gambit is the first of a planned series of Arnie & Zellie Investigations, set in the environs of Middletown, New Jersey, where Eric was born and raised. He now lives in Florida with his wife of over thirty years.

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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

#BLAST: Revenge Fires Back by JR Thompson

Revenge Fires Back Tour

Revengefiresback5He tries to control his anger,but it gets the best of him. He makes poor decisions,and quickly discovers REVENGE FIRES BACK

Brady Clark's family chooses horrible timing for their first camping trip - a night when a fierce storm leaves them stranded in the woods. Circumstances that leave him running around in the forest wearing, well, let's just say less than appropriate attire cause him to unleash his anger by physically assaulting his father. Not yet ready to face the discipline he has coming, Brady makes false allegations against both of his parents. That one foolish move throws the Clarks into a world they know very little about. A world that could possibly prevent them from ever dwelling together again as a family unit. Can God use these trials to wake this family up to His purpose? Christian novelist JR Thompson, and his wife Hannah, are residents of Montana. He writes fiction and maintains a blog on his website. None of thompson's writings contain any foul language.


Buy It Link on Amazon



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#Book BLAST: Salt by Pauline Creeden

Salt-FB-FINAL

Salt-FINAL_HighHer kind treats her as less-than-human, but she’s always been so much more. Mermaid life has never been easy for Verona. Her scars give evidence of her abuse. When her day of reckoning arrives, she is determined to endure exile. According to her father’s experience, exile is better than becoming a land-walker and risking her life among the humans. However, when she saves the life of a drowning human boy, she inadvertently sets off a chain of events which force her to choose a path: stay with the humans she has become attached to or return home to a life of scorn. A savage hunter draws closer, threatening even the humans. Her only hope is to keep everyone safe until the next full moon, but those around her devise their own plans.

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Saturday, August 5, 2017

#REVIEW: The Captivating Lady Charlotte by Carolyn Miller

Title: The Captivating Lady Charlotte
Series: Regency Brides: A Legacy of Grace #2
Author: Carolyn Miller
ISBN: 9780825444517
Publisher: Kregel Publishers
Published Date: June 27, 2017
Buy It Link: Amazon
Synopsis: Her heart is her own--but her hand in marriage is another matter

Lady Charlotte Featherington is destined for great things on the marriage market. After all, as the beautiful daughter of a marquess, she should have her pick of the eligible nobility hen she debuts. She, however, has love at the top of her list of marriageable attributes. And her romantic heart falls hard for one particularly dashing, attentive suitor. Sadly for Charlotte, her noble father intends her betrothed to be someone far more dull.
William Hartwell may be a duke, but he knows he was Charlotte's father's pick, not the young lady's own choice. And the captivating Lady Charlotte does not strike him as a woman who will be wooed by his wealth or title. While she has captured his heart, he has no idea how to win hers in return--and the betrayal and scandal his first wife put him through makes it difficult for him to believe that love can ever be trusted. His only hope is that Charlotte's sense of responsibility will win out over her romantic notions.
Can a widowed duke and a romantically inclined lady negotiate a future and discover love beyond duty? Will they be able to find healing and hope from the legacy of grace? Poignant and charming, this is another beautifully written, clean and wholesome Regency romance from Carolyn Miller.
 


My rating: 4 1/2 stars

My Review: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
If you like reading Regency books, this is a great series for you to read, starting with the previous book, The Elusive Miss Ellison. This book  was even better than the previous book, and it dealt with the subject of arranged marriage, that I haven't seen many Regency books deal with.
In the beginning of the book, I admit, I didn't like Charlotte, she was flighty, air-headed, and shallow. Her attitude towards relationships and men reflected that. However, as the book progressed, she gradually grew up, and realized what real love looks and acts like. As her views on love progressively changed, so did her outlook on life. and you could truly watch her grow as a character.
I love books where the characters evolve and the action continues at a steady clip, it is the perfect mix for me. I can't wait for the next book in this series.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

#REVIEW: Record of Wrongs by Sharon Kay

Title: Record of Wrongs
Series: Redemption County #1
Author: Sharon Kay
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
Published Date: August 1st, 2017
AIN(Amazon Identification Number): B073DZ83ND
Buy It Link: Amazon


Synopsis: Do your past mistakes define you forever?

Cruz Zaffino leaves prison after a serving a decade for a crime he didn’t commit. With his life all over the internet, there’s nowhere he can go to avoid his illicit past. Involved with one of Chicago’s toughest gangs, he made enemies bent on ruining everything he has. Nowhere is beyond their reach.

Every day, Rosie Marlow lives with the scars from the worst mistake of her life. It’s the one secret she has in her tiny, gossip-fueled town. When Cruz walks into her bar, covered in tattoos and dangerous attitude, she’s captivated. His rough sexuality makes her melt, and his harsh experience calls to her own broken soul. But her story is private and buried so deep, she’s never had the strength to share it.

She’s the unexpected light to his darkness, yet he knows she’s hiding something. Sultry summer nights in each other’s arms weaken her resistance and taunt her with the idea of forever. But as his adversaries draw close, can she love him enough to let him go?



My Rating: 4 1/2 stars


My Review: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I first started reading Sharon Kay's books when she came out with the Solsti Prophecy series, and then continued on with her Watcher's Kiss series. She does an amazing job of paranormal romance. But some authors just stick with the genre they are good in. I'm really glad that Sharon Kay stepped out of her comfort zone because it proves that she's really a writer, not just a paranormal romance writer. And she is an awesome writer.
We meet Cruz Zaffino just as he is being released from prison. He's the ultimate bad boy. Not just a bad boy, but a bad boy who spent 10 years in prison for murder. However, as some know, our judicial system isn't fool-proof and innocent men get put away for crimes they didn't commit.
Then we meet the sweet innocent country girl, Rosie Marlow who as it happens, also is hiding a dark secret of her own. Of course, dark secrets are relative when you're dealing with the country life, where everyone knows everyone else's business (and everyone is related...I mean this in the best way and knowing this from experience from my own family).
On the surface, you would think this is a story of redemption of the bad boy by the sweet innocent country girl, and in most of the book, it is. But ultimately, both characters find redemption and love in each other.
Sharon Kay broke out of her comfort zone with this book. She took a chance, and ended up writing an amazing story. She proved that not only is she a great paranormal romance writer, but she is a great writer. Period.



Saturday, July 29, 2017

#REVIEW: Coffee, the World, and Jesus, but Not Necessarily in That Order by Ron DeMiglio

Title: Coffee, the World, and Jesus, but Not Necessarily in That Order
Author: Ron DeMiglio
Series: none
Published Date: June 27, 2017
Publisher: Kregel Publications
ISBN: 978-0825444654
Buy It Link: Amazon




Synopsis: Life lessons and almost irreverent musings from twenty-five years in the global coffee industry

When many Christians take a long, hard look at the lives of the spiritual elite in America, they want to shout, "I don't want to be like that!" Ron DeMiglio knows how they feel and he's not afraid to do the shouting—even when those shouts are sometimes directed at himself.
Coffee, the World, and Jesus is a collection of mildly contrarian musings from this international coffee businessman who happens to love Jesus. In these humorous vignettes about the relational, flawed, unwavering faith Ron clings to, readers will find glimmers of their own daily struggles to reflect Christ in a fallen world. For the religiously cautious, the disillusioned, and jaded followers of Christianity, this is a refreshing look at how God reveals Himself to be so much bigger than politics, dogmas, or western influences.
Ron's sidesplitting series of stories about how he found his spiritual groove smack-dab in the middle of his God-breathed, coffee-scented uniqueness will appeal to readers looking for a quick bite of spiritual growth with their next latte.


My Rating: 4 stars


My Review: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This book took a few chapters to really start getting into, and that's why I'm giving it 4 stars. In the very beginning, I really felt like I was plodding along, however, then I felt like I got into the rhythm of the writing. Once that happened, then it became a great book to read. This book is a fantastic group of musings of how God uses each of us in our daily lives to teach us more about Him, and how to reach out to those who may not have a relationship with God.
I've always believed from my own experiences, that God truly reaches out to us where we are, instead of us having to reach out to God. This book reinforces that thought process. Each of the chapters are funny and well-written.



Monday, July 17, 2017

#REVIEW: Nothing to Fear by Barry Black

Title: Nothing to Fear: Principles and Prayers to Help You Thrive in a Threatening World
Author: Barry C Black
Series: None
ISBN: 978-1496418685
Pages: 256 pages
Publisher: Tyndale Momentum
Published Date: Feb 7, 2017

Synopsis: “I’m really concerned about the state of the world. It feels like things are falling apart.”
“I’m worried about my family’s future.”
“How can I stand firm in my faith in today’s culture?”

Our times are turbulent ones, and questions and worries like these can haunt us and keep us awake at night. Yet is it possible that, ultimately, there is actually nothing to fear? Barry C. Black is the spiritual “leader of leaders” for the US Senate―shepherding those on the front lines of the decisions that shape our culture. Now, Chaplain Black shows all of us how to thrive in the midst of today’s turbulence and confusion by following eight principles that Jesus gave his disciples prior to sending them into a dangerous world. These teachings are as relevant today as when Jesus first spoke them two thousand years ago.

Containing Scriptural insights and powerful prayers to help you seek God’s guidance and blessing, Nothing to Fear will illuminate the way to live boldly, bravely, and faithfully in the face of today’s perils.

My Rating:  3 1/2 stars

My Review: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This book was just okay for me. As a person that struggles day to day with what can be overwhelming anxiety, this book taught me that no matter what God's got our back. And lately, this world has been so messed up, so scary, so worrisome, that the cloud of darkness can overshadow my knowledge that God's got this...all of it.
So, on one hand, it was good to read and remind myself of that fact. It was good to see it in print, to reassure myself. I can see myself re-reading parts of the book in the future when things get so messy.
On the other hand, however, the book seemed to jump from subject to subject and felt choppy. Almost as if I was reading a bunch of different sermons on the same general subject. This made for disconcerting reading, and almost made me want to put down the book.
Overall, if you need the reassurance that God is in charge of everything and you can't control anything, most of this book is for you. Just don't expect it to be a continuous process in reading.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

#REVIEW: ICB Blessed Garden Bible

Title: ICB Blessed Garden Bible
Publisher: Tommy Nelson (Thomas Nelson)
Published Date: June 27, 2017
Pages: 1312
Reading Level: 6-10 years old
ISBN: 978-0718092207
Buy It Link: Amazon | Thomas Nelson


Synopsis:
The ICB Blessed Garden Bible is a beautiful way for little girls to carry the full text of Scripture with them. Its beautiful cover design with multiple foils and glitter will delight any young girl as she reads and learns God’s Word from the Bible children can read and understand, the International Children’s Bible® translation.
The International Children’s Bible® translation, the Bible kids can read and understand, has been a favorite of kids, parents, and teachers. With its easy-to-read text, the ICB has a third-grade reading level, making it the ideal translation for children beginning to read and learn Bible.
The ICB Blessed Garden Bible is a full-text ICB Bible with swirling, floral details, foil, glitter, and winsome illustrations. This will appeal to both moms and daughters, as it capitalizes on an organic garden trend. Inside features 24 colorful pages of study help inserts, including a presentation page for personalizing. Young girls will enjoy this softer more sophisticated look as she reads God’s message of love just for her!


My rating: 4 stars


My Review: I received a copy of this Bible in exchange for an honest review.
This Bible is advertised for little girls, but I don't see anything specifically for little girls. This could be for any child from 6-10 years old. The cover is a light teal color, with a whimsical, garden feel using gold and silver foil, glitter and cute little animals (love the little fox in the center). The right hand side of the front cover has a design that is reminiscent of a diary with the keyhole.
Reading through Ruth quickly, the reading level seems appropriate, but I will really test this out with my youngest daughter this coming week.
The paper is just as thin as any other Bible, the font a little larger perhaps to make it easier to read. Overall, this is a beautiful Bible for any child in this reading range, however, I take exception to the fact that it is marketed as girl specific.



Saturday, July 1, 2017

#REVIEW: NIV True Images Bible

Title: NIV True Images Bible
Series: none
Contributors: Livingstone
Publisher: Zondervan
Published Date: June 27, 2017
ISBN: 9780310080039
Buy It Link: Zondervan


Synopsis:
For 15 years, the best-selling NIV True images Bible for Teen Girls has been a trusted resource guiding teen girls ages 13-18 towards a closer relationship with God. Updated for this generation, this new edition is packed with tools and insight to help teens navigate today’s contemporary cultural issues with confidence, love, and grace.
Facing today’s contemporary issues can be difficult, but the NIV True Images Bible gives teen girls a fresh perspective on faith-related issues and provides tools to navigate a complex world. They will ask the big questions, take valuable lessons to heart, and help others do the same.
Beautifully designed from the inside out, this Bible is filled with challenging insights, honest advice, and personal notes helping teen girls build a closer relationship with God as they set out on a personal journey of their world. Following Jesus isn’t unfashionable or illusive. It’s an authentic way of life!
This newly updated edition uses the accurate, readable, and clear NIV translation and includes features strategically designed to empower teen girls in their quest for truth.
Features:
  • Complete text of the accurate, readable, and clear New International Version
  • 12 Magazine-Style Quizzes that help girls learn more about themselves
  • In-depth introductions establish the context of each book in the Old and New Testaments.
  •  “In Focus” notes explain the Bible’s perspective on contemporary cultural topics such as perfectionism, spiritual growth, eating disorders, pornography, prayer, self-harm, relationships, sex, bullying and popularity on social media
  • Over 300 “Genuine” notes focus on the value of authenticity and true inner beauty.
  • Over 100 “Love Notes” give opportunities to reflect on God’s love.
  • 500 “Dare to Believe” challenges help you discover God’s truth about life and faith.
  • 52 “Mirror Images” share the stories of Biblical women.
  • “Christianity 101” introduces you to the basics of Christianity
  • “Beliefs 101” helps you dig deep into the underlying principles that shape your worldview
My Rating: 3 1/2 stars


My Review: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Can you explain to me why everything marketed towards girls has to be pink? Or frilly? Pink with gray lettering, that's what this Bible is. Here is an example:


NIV True Images Bible For Girls
NIV Revolution Bible for Teen Guys


Why do we need to continue with these gender stereotypes, and in a Bible? My 11 year old, whom I was hoping to give it to, because I think she might be open to at least doing some of the quizzes, but yeah, she's into dark colors right now. The pink was an immediate turn off for her, and I can see why, I don't like pink either. I think she probably would have liked the Revolution Bible better.


The text is the complete NIV text, with cute little "Love Notes" from God for the girls, and good introductions for each bible chapter, as well as the "In Focus" sections that deal with a few of the modern day issues our pre-teens and teens deal with, like perfectionism, pornography, sex, bullying, online popularity, etc.


Overall, this Bible is just okay for me. I'm not too impressed with it.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

#REVIEW: The Evaporation of Sofi Snow by Mary Weber

Title: The Evaopration of Sofi Snow
Author: Mary Weber
Series: The Evaporation of Sofi Snow #1
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Published Date: June 6, 2017
ISBN: 9780718080907
Pages: 352
Buy It Link: Amazon

Synopsis: Ever since the Delonese ice-planet arrived eleven years ago, Sofi's dreams have been vivid. Alien. In a system where Earth's corporations rule in place of governments and the humanoid race orbiting the moon are allies, her only constant has been her younger brother, Shilo. As an online gamer, Sofi battles behind the scenes of Earth's Fantasy Fighting arena where Shilo is forced to compete in a mix of real and virtual blood sport. But when a bomb takes out a quarter of the arena, Sofi's the only one who believes Shilo survived. She has dreams of him. And she's convinced he's been taken to the ice-planet.

Except no one but ambassadors are allowed there.

For Miguel, Earth's charming young playboy, the games are of a different sort. As Ambassador to the Delonese, his career has been built on trading secrets and seduction. Until the Fantasy Fight's bomb goes off. Now the tables have turned and he's a target for blackmail. The game is simple: Help the blackmailers, or lose more than anyone can fathom, or Earth can afford.


My Rating: 3 1/2 stars

My Review: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This book took a really long time for me to get into it, or understand what was going on. And even then, there were parts where it felt very unclear. I liked the basic storyline, I liked Sofi. I could feel the sibling relationship. I even liked Miguel's Spanish words he would interject. But that was it. Details seemed to be very murky for me, I couldn't seem to visualize the scenes. 
I get the whole post-apocalyptic society and the introduction of aliens. That in itself kept me reading, I needed to see where the author went with this, and it was a twisty road. The end though seemed too vague for a cliffhanger.
I may continue this series just to see where it goes.

Monday, June 12, 2017

#REVIEW: Quilts, Barns and Buggies: Amish Quilts and Proverbs Coloring Book

Title: Quilts, Barns and Buggies: Amish Quilts and Proverbs Coloring Book
Illustrator: Julianne St. Clair
Series: Coloring Faith
ISBN: 978-0310087595
Pages: 96
Publisher: Zondervan
Published Date: June 6, 2017
Buy It Link: Amazon

Synopsis:
Take Time Away from Your Busy Day
to Reflect on the Simpler Life
Take a walk through the fields and feel the warm breeze as you color your way through an Amish lifestyle. With intricate patterned quilts, beautiful scenery, and a focus on the simpler things in life, Quilts, Barns & Buggies will encourage you to relax on even the most hectic days. Sprinkled throughout the pages are wise Amish sayings and biblical proverbs that will inspire you.

Special Features
• 90 beautiful coloring designs of Amish quilts and scenery
• More than 40 Amish sayings and biblical proverbs
• Perforated pages on heavy stock

Look for more inspirational coloring books at Coloring Faith, www.coloringfaith.com.

My Rating: 5 stars

My Review: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I enjoy coloring books, I find the simplicity and single-mindedness of coloring to be relaxing when I get stressed out and super anxious. Since I started sewing recently as a hobby, I find this book to be a wonderful mash-up of quilt top ideas, Scripture, and inspirational quotes. If you are a fan of the Amish lifestyle, you will enjoy the farm scenes, barns, animals, and Amish quilt tops.
Each page has a quote on one side, and a regular coloring side for the other. The drawings can sometimes be complex and intricate, but I enjoy truly focusing on the minute details. This book promises hours of single-minded, enjoyable coloring time.

Friday, June 2, 2017

#REVIEW: Written in the Ashes by K Hollan Van Zandt


Written In the Ashes by K. Hollan Van Zandt

Written In the Ashes by K. Hollan Van Zandt






Publisher: Harper Collins (Nov. 29, 2016)
Category: Historical Fiction
Tour Dates: May-June, 2017
ISBN: 978-0062673688
ASIN: B01CY3A8X4
Available in: Print & ebook,  554Pages
 Written In the Ashes  

"Written in the Ashes is one of those rare novels that sets 'history' afire, to bathe readers in the glow of a greater, hotter truth. Fans of The Mists of Avalon will find this romantic/alchemical/feminist/spiritual epic equally captivating."—Tom Robbins, bestselling author of Tibetan Peach Pie: A True Account of an Imaginative Life, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues. and Villa Incognito  

In the bloody clash between Christians and pagans in fifth-century Alexandria, a servant girl becomes the last hope for preserving peace in this evocative and thrilling tale—a blend of history, adventure, religion, romance, and mysticism reminiscent of The Mists of Avalon.   After she is abducted from her home in the mountains of Sinai, Hannah is enslaved and taken to Alexandria, where she becomes the property of Alizar, an alchemist and pagan secretly working to preserve his culture. Revered for her beautiful singing voice, the young slave is invited to perform at the city's Great Library, where she becomes friends with the revered mathematician and philosopher, Hypatia, as well as other pagans who curate its magnificent collections. Determined to help them uphold pagan culture and traditions, Hannah embarks on a dangerous quest to unite the fractured pieces of the Emerald Tablet—the last hope to save the pagans and create peace.   On this odyssey that leads her to the lost oracles of Delfi and Amun-Ra and to rediscovered ancient cities and rituals, Hannah will experience forbidden loves, painful betrayals, and poignant reunions. But her efforts may be in vain. Returning to Alexandria, Hannah finds a city engulfed in violence, even as her own romantic entanglements come to a head. Now, it's not only her future, but the fate of all Alexandria that is at stake.

My Rating: 5 stars
My Review: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Once in a very long while, there comes along a book that you wonder how you ever lived without it before. One that you have read, and your mind wanders back to on occasion. There are a few books like that for me.....The Firebrand by Marion Zimmer Bradley and A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle. The Firebrand inspired my love for all things in Greek mythology, and A Wrinkle In Time is actually the book that inspired by first major in college, physics.
Then this book, Written in the Ashes comes along. I hate comparing any book to the great classics, like A Wrinkle in Time or Firebrand, but it wouldn't be fair if I didn't. It's really just that good. The book is really long, 500+ pages, but it goes into such detail and the action is so well drawn out you don't feel those pages.
There are minor things I didn't like about the book. I feel like the time of Hannah's before slavery time was far too short. I would have loved to see more about the Jewish culture in there. There was the constant writing of the word "so" in the book. Maybe it broke the book down, and it was supposed to make it seem more like a very long oral story, but it didn't work for me.

Praise for Written In the Ashes by K. Hollan Van Zandt

“In her captivating debut novel, Written in the Ashes, K. Hollan Van Zandt brings to life a fascinating and forgotten woman of history: Hypatia of Alexandria, who may have been one of the greatest female minds of all time. If you’ve ever wondered what it was like to walk the streets of long ago Egypt, then look no further. You will be enthralled!”– Michelle Moran, international bestselling author of Nefertiti and Cleopatra’s Daughter
“Van Zandt’s vivid description of the Great Library instantly transported me to a lush fifth century Alexandria. Her lyrical writing style and breakneck storytelling kept me riveted to the very last page.”– Robin Maxwell bestselling author of The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn and Signora da Vinci.  
"Going back so far in time leaves an author with little written record to rely on for fact. The burning of the Great Library at Alexandria was a monumental loss to humanity. The facts of the matter aside, this novel was truly arresting and I had a hard time putting it down to get anything done. Ancient history fascinates me. Religion fascinates me. This book manages to tie both together in a story that resonates through time. The book was fascinating. The characters were well developed and I really didn't want to leave this world of ancient Alexandria. The imaginary, magical priests and the beautiful goddesses created by Ms. Van Zandt lent themselves to a mystical world that was quite believable within its context. As the story unfolded I was rooting for Hannah to fulfill her destiny and find peace with her past. I am looking forward to the next chapters in these characters lives."-Patty Woodland, Broken Teepee

About K. Hollan Van Zandt

Written In the Ashes by K. Hollan Van ZandtKaia Van Zandt is a celebrated author and teacher whose novel, Written in the Ashes, chronicles the events that led up to the burning of the Great Library of Alexandria, Egypt. Kaia’s spiritual journey began at age 14 when she founded the youth division of the Humane Society of the United States. Then as a junior in high school, she traveled to the Earth Summit in Brazil, where she taught meditation, and was given the opportunity to work with world leaders on the challenges facing humanity and the planet today, an experience that profoundly influenced her work.   She’s a graduate of Antioch University, where she focused on the intersection between the ancient Goddess traditions and modern culture. Her fascination with healing-both personally and collectively – led her to yoga. During her career she’s worked with thought leaders like Marci Shimoff and Deepak Chopra, actors like Ashley Judd, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Garry Shandling, as well as Sony ImageWorks, UCLA Medical, and the San Francisco 49ers. Her beloved writing mentor is bestselling novelist/humorist, Tom Robbins.

Website: www.kaiavanzandt.com

Facebook: https://business.facebook.com/Kaia-H-Van-Zandt-62326196268/?business_id=1527166044253916
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KaiaVanZandt
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kaiavanzandt/?hl=en
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbpNRBX9k7z1bJndQ2a4Rgg

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Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus May 19 Interview & Giveaway  
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Room without Books is Empty May 30 Review                                 
Passages to the Past May 31 Review & Giveaway  
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Written In the Ashes by K. Hollan Van Zandt    

Thursday, June 1, 2017

#REVIEW: Questioning Evangelism by Randy Newman

Title: Questioning Evangelism
Series: none
Author: Randy Newman
Publisher: Kregel Publishers
Published Date: 2nd edition April 25, 2017
ISBN: 978-0825444289
Buy It Link: Amazon

Synopsis:You don't need to memorize evangelical formulas or answers. You just have to be willing to ask.
There was something different about the way Jesus communicated with the lost: He didn't force answers upon people, He asked questions. So why don't we?

Following Christ's lead, Randy Newman has been using a questioning style of evangelism for decades. In this provocative book, he provides practical insights to help Christians engage others in meaningful spiritual conversations. He challenges us to examine how we think about people, their questions, and our crucial message.

This second edition includes a new preface reflecting on the popularity of this perennial best seller and what its success has taught Newman about the effectiveness of this extraordinary method.


My Rating: 4 stars

My Review: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
As a previous non-Christian, the word evangelism gives me goosebumps and not in a good way. The evangelism I experienced is more of the "knock 'em over the head with a Bible and drag 'em back to the cave" type thing, which is probably the type of evangelism most people have experienced. That isn't a very welcoming way of evangelizing that people are receptive to.
As I read this book, I realized it wasn't what I thought it would be about: questioning the actual evangelism. Instead it explains a whole new form of evangelism, one that I think people may be more open to. One that I find more personable and meets the people where they are, letting them work through their questions, instead of answering with non-answers, evasions, or memorized scripts.
Personally, I am more open to the "show, not tell" method....show them Jesus with your actions, not preach memorized lines to them. I don't think I would go out evangelizing any time soon, but....you never know.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

#REVIEW: Too Deep For Words by Andrea Boeshaar

Title: Too Deep For Words
Series: #2 in the Shenandoah Valley Saga
Author: Andrea Boeshaar
Publisher: Kregel Publications
Published Date: April 25, 2017
ISBN: 978-0825444197
Buy It Link: Amazon


Synopsis:
North meets South in the second installment of this popular Civil War series
Carrie Ann Collier has been a newlywed for nineteen blissful days--as blissful as life can be in the midst of war, that is. Soon that war will take a toll she never expected. When her new husband, Peyton, goes missing during battle, she refuses to believe he is dead, and must find a way to move forward with everyday life in the face of fear.
As Carrie struggles with how to welcome her estranged sister, Margaret, back into her life, another new arrival appears on her doorstep--her husband's best friend, and rebel officer, Eli. Wounded and bitter, Eli is nonetheless committed to keeping his promise to Peyton: take care of the Collier women, no matter what. But to Carrie, he's a painful reminder of her lost love.
Then unexpected news makes Carrie wonder if miracles do happen. If Carrie infiltrates the enemy once again, she might find out what really happened to the love of her life. Will Eli be able to keep his promise to keep her safe? Can they forgive each other if promises are broken?
As fans of Boeshaar's books have come to expect, Too Deep for Words is a meticulously researched novel. Readers are taken directly into the heart of the realities of the Civil War and reminded how, even in the darkest circumstances, faith in Christ offers hope.


My Rating: 4 stars


My Review: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This book took my breath away. It is the story of Carrie Ann and Peyton during the Civil War. If you like historical novels set during this time period, you will love reading this book. Though Carrie Ann and Peyton have only been married a handful of days, her love for him is deep. When the war takes a toll her heart cannot accept....that's when the story really takes off.
The author has such an amazing way with words and being able to paint pictures in your mind, making you see the scenes as if you were right there next to Carrie Ann. The amount of research and effort the author has put forth in writing this novel is evident in every chapter, and is one of the most well-written fictional books I have read this year.
I haven't read the first in the series, however, reading this one has made me go back and buy the first in the series. I can't wait to start reading the series from the very beginning.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

#RELEASE DAY: Locke and Key by Cristin Harber

LOCKE AND KEY by Cristin Harber is available now! We're so excited for you to get your hands on this next book in her bestselling Titan series - and for you to get to know Locke Oliver! Find out more about LOCKE AND KEY below, and grab your copy now!

   
CristinHarber_LockeAndKey_2500px

ABOUT LOCKE AND KEY

THE STOIC SPECIAL FORCES OPERATOR
There’s only one person to blame for darkening the last years of Locke Oliver’s military career: Cassidy Noble. And damn if he doesn’t have to save her from the side of a frozen mountain.
Even after the job is done, he can’t shake the woman from his thoughts. He blames her for the deaths in his Army unit so many years ago, and he’s not ready to let that go. It’s driving him to the point of distraction, and now his Titan Group boss says to get his act together or get out.
THE FEISTY, FALLEN REPORTER
Cassidy is a disgraced journalist, once accused of treason—Or she’s an American hero. It depends on who you ask. She’s on a mission to rebuild her name and started with a simple question but discovered a complex web of spies and possible human trafficking.
Titan Group believes in her.
Locke does not. Until he can’t deny the truth any longer about the past or what she’s uncovered in her investigation.
BECOME AN INSEPARABLE TEAM
Cassidy volunteers to go undercover. Locke would do anything to stay by her side as she slips into the network and is sold to the highest bidder. All is going right until everything goes wrong. Nothing is as they expect including falling in love with the woman he thought he hated.
Get your hands on LOCKE AND KEY now:


READ A SNEAK PEEK

  Locke ducked close to her ear, purposefully rasping a five o’clock shadow against her neck, and again asked, “Do we know anything new?” She whimpered. He had to have heard the quiet groan, and he swayed them together and— damn, she felt him. Cassidy’s eyes went wide as he held her backside against his crotch. Was Locke turned-on? Locke was turned-on. And he wanted her to know. The realization was as potent as a narcotic. It hit her blood, and she was high. But he’d asked about work. What was she supposed to do? She tried to recover. Shaking and stupidly pretending this wasn’t a thing, she turned. Eye to eye, she couldn’t read him! He didn’t move. Didn’t touch her. Was the ball in her park? He’d asked about Alex, twice. But he had a hard-on! Cassidy was so confused and turned on that she couldn’t trust her instincts. She needed to do what she did best— work. Focus on the job. “He’s in there.” Cassidy, failing to regain her composure, was still breathless. Locke smiled. “Good to know.” She’d made the right choice in focusing on work. She was there for Alex. If Locke wanted to… pursue something, he could do it when she wasn’t busy. He had her number. “Cass…” His eyebrows challenged her to admit their tension escalating. There was Cass again. She hated nicknames— until they flowed from his mouth. They needed space, but she didn’t trust her legs. They were weak as her mind was wild. She tried to swallow, shifting away— “Don’t go.” He was holding her, hugging her. Locke cupped her cheek and let his fingers slide along her jaw. She was drowning in him as Locke’s hand moved down her neck, letting the thump of her pulse jump against his fingertips. “I—” “Excuse me,” a woman snapped as she bustled in, grabbing her shawl, and she sneered on the way out. “Oh, God.” Cassidy jumped, her cheeks hot and her embarrassment swallowing her alive. She choked on the knot in her throat and covered her face, backing away from him. “I’m so sorry.” “Cassidy.” Locke reached for her. “So, so sorry.” She tilted to face him, and they stood in the dark shadows. She was the reporter; he was the protector. His voice rumbled, not judgmental or embarrassed. “You have nothing to say sorry about. To anyone.” “We might disagree on that.” She’d staked the rebound of her career on Alex, but when Locke came around, she always seemed to forget. “I don’t try to upset you.” The pregnant pause hung heavy. “Not on purpose anyway— maybe for fun, playing around, but I won’t do that again.” “Okay…” He was playing down their moment of intimacy. Maybe for him it had been nothing but an erection and a tease, while for her it was the stuff of nightly fantasies. How foolish was she? Embarrassment made her stomach drop. But still. Again, they were almost stomach to stomach. Too close. Too intimate. Too… much. “I’m not upset.” But that wasn’t true. “You’re something,” he said. “Something,” she agreed. “True.” Something she’d never, ever admit to. Tugging her bottom lip between her teeth, she couldn’t map out his intentions— “Don’t do that.” “Do what?” Cassidy froze, wondering what she’d done wrong. His gaze lasered on her lips. “That.” Finally, she saw the same desperate hunger on his face. The authority in his command made her shiver. Unquenched lust boiled in his eyes, and Cassidy didn’t know how to handle this Locke— the uncontrolled and unscripted one. “Oh… um. I…” In a tailspin, she couldn’t decide whether to fight for what she could finally read on his face or pull her act together and act like they were working together. She did neither, standing there, still unsure. “You keep biting that lip, Cass.” Locke lifted an eyebrow and scorched her panties. “Don’t do that.” “Okay.” The devil on her shoulder whispered, Bite your lip again. Or bite his. Maybe they could kiss and work. Locke lifted his chin, his gaze falling past her. “Alex is leaving.” Wait— what? Damn it.  

 

ABOUT CRISTIN HARBER

Cristin Harber is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling romance author. She writes sexy, steamy romantic suspense and military romance. Readers voted her onto Amazon’s Top Picks for Debut Romance Authors in 2013, and her debut Titan series was both a #1 romantic suspense and #1 military romance bestseller. Website | Newsletter | Facebook | Team Titan Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Monday, April 24, 2017

#EXCERPT: Play For Me by Céline Keating

Play For Me by Céline KeatingPlay For Me by Céline Keating

Publisher: She Writes Press (April 21, 2015)
Category: Contemporary Literary Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Psychological
Tour date: Apr/May, 2017
ISBN: 978-1631529726 Available in Print & ebook, 217 pages
Play For Me


From the Award Winning Author: It happens without warning: At a folk-rock show at her son’s college, Lily becomes transfixed by the guitarist’s unassuming onstage presence and beautiful playing―and with his final note, something within her breaks loose. After the concert, Lily returns to her comfortable life―an Upper West Side apartment, a job as a videographer, and a kind if distracted husband―but she can’t stop thinking about the music, or about the duo’s guitarist, JJ. Unable to resist the pull of either one, she rashly offers to make a film about the band in order to gain a place with them on tour. But when Lily dares to step out from behind her camera, she falls deep into JJ’s world―upsetting the tenuous balance between him and his bandmate, and filling a chasm of need she didn’t know she had. Captivating and provocative, Play for Me captures the thrill and heartbreak of deciding to leave behind what you love to follow what you desire.


EXCERPT:



You can read the first part of this excerpt at http://house-of-books.com/
Chapter One: Excerpt Two
MKT’s office was on Fifty-fourth Street between Broadway and Eighth in a building that housed a music school, an actors’ studio, a costume shop, and, on the second floor, a gym. Gorgeous young people were always applying a moistened finger to their eyebrows or flexing their muscles at the security mirror inside the elevator. Lily was convinced it was the slowest elevator in all of Manhattan—when it was in service at all.
    Upstairs, she tossed her purse in a desk drawer. It pleased her that MKT was a small operation in a small building in the old Manhattan, the Manhattan of the garment district and seedy Times Square, before everything got glossy and sleek. The transparent partitions separating the workstations were so scarred and covered with pictures, they might as well have been cement, for all the visibility they allowed.
    The office filled quickly, and against the familiar chatter of voices and ringing phones she updated the status of the videos she had in various stages of production and slid the finished ones into their slots in the temperature-controlled storeroom: HMOs for You and Me; A Day in the Life of a Longshoreman in Brooklyn, 1955. Her latest was a short on the founder of a biscuit company, commissioned by his adoring wife. Lily popped it into her computer: shots of the factory, archival footage of the original 1934 building. Yawn. The wife would love it.
    Close to lunchtime, an artificial chrysanthemum slowly rose over the partition between Lily’s cubicle and the next and did a little jig. Diana, her closest friend at the company, peeked around the partition.
    “Two minutes.”
    They stopped in the bathroom before heading out, their faces registering identical grimaces as they faced the mirror. Diana slashed at her mouth with a lurid red lipstick. Lily ran her brush through her wavy mousy brown-gray hair, but it sprang right back out.
They headed down the street to their favorite pub-restaurant. Lily walked on Diana’s right because Diana drifted left and they’d be banging elbows otherwise.
    “I spent all weekend doing homework with Maggie.” Diana dumped her oversize leather bag on the seat between them. “I couldn’t wait to come in to work.”
    “Oh, that makes me nostalgic,” Lily opened her menu.
    “What, no romantic interlude after you dropped Colby off?”
    Diana’s round blue eyes lifted to hers. Lily hesitated. Should she unburden herself? Trouble her friend with her depression? Be a total bore?
    “It was awful.” She stirred her coffee madly. “I didn’t expect to feel so—”
    “Bereft?”
    “Dead.”
    Diana recovered first. “You poor thing. I can’t wait until Maggie finishes high school. But of course you feel sad. Everyone does.”
    Lily shook her head. “This is worse. This is deeper.”
    Diana furrowed her brow. Lily knew she was trying to signal concern while she pondered how to be of comfort. Around them diners were settling in, rustling chairs, clinking silver against glasses, opening menus. Someone sneezed; a waiter dropped a spoon. A small pitcher of water jiggling with lemon slices arrived at their table.
    “You need something to distract you. A trip! Let’s plan something!”
    Too late, Lily recalled why she tried not to complain to Diana. Diana loved to take problems in hand and shake them loose, like dust from a mop. Diana loved to travel, and Lily liked to stay put. When Diana brought brochures and travel books to tempt her, Lily saw beyond the beautiful vistas and mouthwatering food to the dirty bed linens and the missed trains and the sense of being totally lost and needing a policeman to help her find her mommy. Why hadn’t she kept her mouth shut?
    “Maybe you’re right.” She’d think of a way out later.
    “Yes, definitely I’m right. We’ll plan something.”
    Upon the arrival of their salads, Lily changed the topic. “What project are you working on?” She vigorously distributed the blue cheese, apples, and pecans into the chopped lettuce. She loved loved loved this salad. How pathetic my life is, she thought, forking a load into her mouth. The salty pecans exploded against the apples’ tartness.
    “Training seminar on sexual harassment.”
    Lily dug her fork deep into her bowl. The company would call a meeting and they’d brainstorm about the video. There were only so many possibilities, given their limited budgets and the boundaries the clients set. She lifted her fork and stopped. Was this true of her life? Had she sealed herself into just a teensy-tiny existence in which to maneuver? Her elbow knocked her glass; water sloshed over her salad.
    A soggy salad was not to be borne. Giving it up was unthinkable. Painstakingly, she began soaking up the water with her napkin, blotting lettuce leaves.
* * *
 A soggy soul wasn’t to be borne either, but sopping that up proved more difficult. Lily even found herself tearing up at Hallmark-card commercials.
    Maybe it was only that her forty-ninth birthday was upon her. Stephen left a big box in the living room wrapped in shiny blue paper. Espresso machine? Juicer? Had she mouthed off something stupid about wanting to go on a liquid diet?
    “Go on, open it.”
    The thick paper resisted her effort; she dug her nails in and ripped. A cardboard box with a picture of a camera was revealed. She sat back, mystified.
This excerpt continues on Apr 28 at http://jerseygirlbookreviews.blogspot.ca/



Praise Play For Me by Céline Keating

“The author’s writing is exquisite and she was able to put together the story of a woman’s search for self and purpose, one with depth and complexity.”- Bookaholics Not-So-Anonymous Blog
“With a background as a music reviewer, Keating combines the soul-searching of Eat, Pray, Love with the rock ’n’ roll fable of Almost Famous to create a novel of midlife crisis with music at its core.”-Booklist
“Play for Me: “A best story of love, lust, and forgiveness.”- The Culturalist
“Play for Me is a serious, moving, and utterly delightful portrait of a woman wavering between the bonds of fidelity and the pull of desire. Céline Keating knows as much about the world of folk/rock music as she does about the workings of the heart.”- Hilma Wolitzer, author Summer Reading and An Available Man

About Céline Keating

Play For Me by Céline Keating Céline Keating is the author of novels Layla (2011) and Play for Me (2015), which was a finalist in the International Book Awards, the Indie Excellence Awards, and the USA Book Awards. Céline is also the co-editor of On Montauk: A Literary Celebration (2016). Her short fiction has been published in many literary magazines, including Appearances, Echoes, Emry’s Journal, Mount Hope, The North Stone Review, Prairie Schooner, and the Santa Clara Review. Céline's short story "Home" received the first-place 2014 Hackney Award for Short Fiction. Céline is also a music journalist whose work has appeared in Minor7th.com, Guitar World, and Acoustic Guitar magazines.

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Totally Addicted to Reading May 5 Review & Guest Post Urban Book Reviews May 8 Review & Interview
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Turning The Pages May 15 Review & Giveaway
Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus May 16 Review
Precisely Mine May 18 Review
Celticlady's Reviews May 23 Excerpt & Giveaway
Lisa Amazon Reviewer May 31 Review Play For Me by Céline Keating