Saturday, June 24, 2017

NIV Kids' Visual Study Bible

I received a copy of NIV KIDS’ VISUAL STUDY BIBLE from Zondervan in exchange for an honest review.  I knew this would be an interesting Bible, and I love exploring new Bibles.  My mom and I share and discuss them.  I hadn’t expected this, though.  This Bible is incredible!  At first sight, it can be intimidating.  It is thick and heavy.  Once you immerse yourself in the pages, however, you will be totally engrossed. 

This Bible explains tidbits about what you’re reading to better understand and critically think about the passage.  For example, on page 375, the sidebar explains that Jephthah’s daughter retreated to the mountains as her way of mourning the fact she would never marry or have children.  Other than the tidbits, the book also contains illustrations and photographs.

This has easily become one of my new favorite Bibles.  Although it is “for kids,” it can also be for adults.  This would make a great gift for anyone knew to Christianity or a First Communion.  

Friday, June 23, 2017

Naomi's Hope

I received a copy of NAOMI’S HOPE by Jan Drexler from Revell in exchange for an honest review.  It is the third book in the series Journey to Pleasant Prairie.  I read a lot of Amish fiction, but this one was a little different.  It takes place in 1846, rather than in the present day.  This made me look forward to reading the novel all the more.

It is a charming book with memorable characters.  I loved reading about the Amish in the past.  For that alone I recommend this to fans of Amish fiction.

I haven’t read the other installments in the series, but I look forward to doing so now.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The Runaway

I received a copy of THE RUN AWAY by Claire Wong from Lion Hudson Fiction via Kregel in exchange for an honest review.  I loved the sound of the description.  I am a sucker for “dark truths: and imagination.  It also takes place in a Welsh village and while studying my family tree, I discovered I had Welsh ancestors. 

Note: I was thinking this was an adult book, but it definitely seems more like young adult.  I think young adults would be interested in parts, and then other parts, in particular the village’s growth, would appeal more towards adults. 

While I did like the story, I didn’t love it.  I found it interesting to have the village be a point of view, but I kept wondering why no one when to get Rhiannon if they knew she was in the woods?  Maybe I missed something when I was reading?  I found some parts a little dry and I had to push myself to keep going.  There are some fast paced moments, but many were slow.  I wouldn’t say they were lyrical so much as…dense? 

I didn’t fully understand her reasoning for running away.  Yes, her home life was stressful, but in no way did it seem abusive.  Her need to run away (without an abusive home life) struck me as very childish.  It reminded me of MY SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN.  He was younger than “almost 18.”  At 18, I would think she’d be thinking of different things than running away.

The book is interesting and I feel bad that I didn’t love it.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Local Poet

I received a copy of LOCAL POET by Paul Trembling from Lion Hudson via Kregel in exchange for an honest review.

I was excited by the description when I first ordered the book.  Then, when I opened the package, I read the tagline: He killed her, but who was she?  I couldn't wait to dive in.  

I loved the buildup of mystery.  Laney Grey is a poet.  She steps out in front of Rob's van.  She's killed.  It looks intentional and Rob is cleared.  End of the story, right?  A sad story, but the end of it.

Nope.  The book quickly becomes a page turner as Rob looks into the truth behind Laney Grey.  I loved watching her life unfold a little at a time.  I loved getting inside Rob's head as he makes revelations about her.  This is a short book, but there is so much packed into it.  When I finished, I couldn't believe it was less than 200 pages.

What I loved best about this book is how true it feels.  I used to be part of a local writers group before I had my baby and I am still in touch with many local authors.  Laney Grey reminded me or bits and pieces of many of them.  I've always wondered if they have dark pasts.  This felt as if Laney Grey was just one of the club!

This is an enticing read you won't be able to put down.  I highly recommend it to readers who are also authors (and/or poets) or who know someone who is an author (and/or poet).  

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Most Misused Stories in the Bible: Review

I received a copy of THE MOST MISUSED STORIES IN THE BIBLE: SUPRISING WAYS POPULAR BIBLE STORIES ARE MISUNDERSTOOD by Eric J. Bargerhuff from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review.

I was excited to get this in the mail.  Many of my friends quote Bible stories, especially on Facebook.  Now I could see if they were right!  I sat right down to read this, expecting to get through a chapter or two, but I flew through it in a night.  The writing flows and the content is captivating. 

This is unlike other “Bible” books I’ve read.  Usually they are analyzing the stories, trying to fit them into your life and your life into them.  This one explains the stories in a non-controversial way.  Eric Bagerhuff analyzes the stories for what they are.  He doesn’t read into them.  In my personal opinion, this book is appropriate for any denomination.  It will help clear up many misunderstandings you might encounter. 

I’d like to point out that the way he writes is enjoyable.  This book isn’t dry at all.

This is a great addition to libraries both at home and in Christian classes.  This is an excellent gift for those in your life who love learning more about the Bible.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Cover reveal - Marked Beauty

MARKED BEAUTY by S.A. Larsen, Digital Cover Reveal Information

Title: Marked Beauty

Author: S.A. Larsen

Publisher: Ellysian Press

Release Date: October 2017

Uncovering hidden secrets can sometimes kill you . . . or worse, steal your soul.

Anastasia Tate has a secret. She can feel the emotions of others through their life energy auras. Not a welcome gift for a teenager. Especially when a sinister presence begins stalking her.

Viktor Castle also has a secret. He’s tasked with protecting humanity yet cursed by an ancient evil to destroy it.

After Viktor saves Ana’s life, her abilities grow stronger. Drawn together, she senses Viktor has answers to lifelong questions. Only he shuns her at every turn, knowing he has saved her only to put her in more danger.

As Ana struggles with her attraction to Viktor, he tries everything to bury his unexpected feelings for her. But they must find a middle ground. For only together can they combat the dark forces threatening both their lives . . . and their souls.


About the Author

S.A. LARSEN is the author of the award-winning novel Motley Education, the first book in a fantasy-adventure series for middle grade readers. Her work has appeared in numerous local publications and young adult anthologies Gears of Brass and Under A Brass Moon by Curiosity Quills Press. Marked Beauty is her debut young adult novel. Find her in the land of snowy winters and the occasional Eh’ya with her husband of over twenty-five years, four children, a playful pooch, and three kittens. Visit her cyber home anytime at

Connect with her on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Blog | Goodreads


This is a #hashtag giveaway, where two lucky winners will receive a FREE eBook of Marked Beauty upon its release.

To participate:

  • Share one of the premade images via Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Or write up a blog post using one of the images.
  • Include #MarkedBeauty in your description.
  • Optional for extra entry: include Add to Goodreads (with link) in your description.

***Posts MUST contain the hashtag #MarkedBeauty for entry into the giveaway or we won’t be able to find you.

Pre-made tweets (you add the image)

"A lust 4 life energy. An ancient curse. One soul's journey thru death 2 find the cure." #MarkedBeauty #CoverReveal

"Uncovering some secrets can kill you, or worse ... steal your soul." #MarkedBeauty #CoverReveal #YAlit

An ancient race. A timid girl. And a journey to the in-between. #MarkedBeauty #CoverReveal #YAlit

The giveaway begins May 17th and will be open until May 23rd. Winners will be announced May 24th via social media.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Wings of the Wind

I received a copy of WINGS OF THE WIND by Connilyn Cossette in exchange for an honest review.  The book was given to me by Bethany House, so I knew to expect topnotch fiction.  Once again I was not disappointed.


This is the third installment in the “Out from Egypt” series.  I had previously read book two and looked forward to diving back into Christian historical fiction.  In this book, the Israelites are about to enter “The Promised Land.”


Connilyn Cossette brings her characters to life, and with them, the Bible.  Most of the historical fiction I read deals with the 1800’s, so it was refreshing to read something set much farther back in time.  This book looks at a time not often written about. 


My favorite part is how well the author explored Alanah.  You understood what she went through, where she was coming from.  You really got to know Alanah as a person and not just ink on a page.


I not only recommend this book, but the series as a whole.  You will be entertained and enlightened, transported back in time.  This is a great book for reading circles.  There is much fodder for literary discussion.  5 stars.