9.21.2018

Burden of Proof by DiAnn Mills ~ Review

Lucie's Review:
FBI Agent April Romos is surprised when a woman shoves a baby into her arms, and then disappears. Then a man comes and holds a gun to her head demanding his daughter back, but she isn't about to give him the baby until she gets to the bottom of who she belongs to.

Jason Snyder doesn't know who to trust, the night before his best friend was shot, and the sheriff's main suspect is him. He just wants his daughter back and his name to be cleared.


As April sees the baby and Jason interact, she is convinced that he is the father, but she wants to see things done right, and help him and his daughter live in safety. The FBI wants her to back off, and let them handle it, but April is determined to see it through and help Jason even if it hurts her career. She is a caring and compassionate agent, and she is devoted to seeing justice done.

Jason is a brave man who fights to protect his own. He is a Christian, but comes to realize that in the craziness of the latest event he hasn't been living that way. He is a likable character, even though what he is doing isn't.

Overall, this is a action packed read, with a great combination of mystery and action, as well as great characters and dialog. I liked Jason's parents and Miss Ella, who were a great help to Jason and April. Corruption and intrigue come together in this riveting read that is hard to put down. Definitely recommend!


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in Advertising."

Very Veggie 5-Minute Stories ~ Various Authors and Illustrators ~ Worthy Publishers ~ Review

My Review:

I grew up with Bob and Larry, watching Veggie Tales, so I was thrilled to be reviewing this collection of nine silly stories.

From westerns and vikings, to detectives and Larryboy, children can learn important lessons of being fair, not cheating, dealing with fear, taking turns, and more. I loved the fun themes, and funny twists that the Veggies bring to their stories, this book was beautifully illustrated, with bright, vivid, pictures that bring the  adventures to life.

This would be a great addition to the library of the young Veggie Tales fan in your life, and the stories are the perfect length to be read at bedtime. One thing I would mention is that only 2 of the 9 stories mentioned God, which is likely a result of Veggie Tales being under different ownership from its earlier days.

Overall, a great collection of fun-filled adventures that make for quick reads, sure to be enjoyed by children and even adults, like myself. A fun read, and great value for the young ones in your life.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in Advertising."

9.17.2018

A Rumored Fortune by Joanna Davidson Politano ~ Review

Lucie's Review:
Tressa Harlowe's father didn't trust anyone, not even banks. So when he dies without telling a soul where his ast fortune is hidden, extended family and friends flock to their estate under the guise of offering condolences to search for the fortune.

Meanwhile Tressa must work with the Donegan Vance, the vineyard keeper, to keep the staff happy until she is able to find money to pay them for their service before someone else finds the money.

Tressa faces many pressures, with her ailing mother to take care of as well as running the household. Tressa doesn't know who to trust, as many are offering to help her with seemingly good intentions including her ex-fiance, Andrew Carrington, who broke up with her when his parents didn't approve. Tressa is an artist, and she prays while she paints and finds peace in the vine and branches imagery which is woven into the story.

Donegan is a a very direct and straightforward man, he doesn't sugarcoat things but he tries to protect her from the fortune hunters. Donegan knows things about her father that she doesn't, and he wants to protect her from unnecessary pain. He is a  man of faith and action, he likes to help others and lift their spirits.

Overall,  fantastic read, highly entertaining and intriguing, with plenty of twists and surprises along the way. Interesting side characters, vivid imagery, great dialog with touches of humor. Tressa is a passionate and strong heroine, while Donegan is dashing and opinionated, their strong faith pulls them together while secrets and doubt threaten to part them. A thrilling drama, captivating and well written. Definitely recommend!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in Advertising."

9.16.2018

Susie: The Life and Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon, wife of Charles H. Spurgeon by Ray Rhodes Jr

My Review: 

I went into this book really admiring the sermons of C.H. Spurgeon, and knowing a little of his sons who carried on his legacy, but knowing next to nothing about his wife, Susannah.

But as I read this book I became very impressed with Susannah who was a very strong believer with many accomplishments to her name, who selflessly served her family and her husband's ministry.

I enjoyed reading about her young life, upbringing, courtship, and then marriage to Charles Spurgeon. I wasn't easy to be married to such a famous man, and to weather man storms by his side, as he was often criticized very publically in the papers. Much of the book draws from correspondences, sermons, and sources of the time like the papers, as well as church records, etc.

Susie was a very well spoken woman, as her writing clearly shows. She was very passionate about serving the Lord through supporting her family, and discipling her twin sons, who went on to each become preachers in their own right.

Overall, this was a fantastic read,  thoroughly enjoyed reading about Susie, her life and faith. I thought that it was amazing how much she did to preserve her husbands written work, train preachers, and plant multiple churches. Her determination and serving spirit, even when she was deemed an invalid, is so inspiring. If you like Christian biographies you won't want to miss the chance to read about this remarkable woman!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in Advertising."

A Worthy Rebel by Jody Hedlund ~ Review

My Review:

Lady Isabelle has always felt like she was in her sister, Olivia's shadow. She is titled, but penniless, and now she has the opportunity to marry in order to provide for her people. But when her perspective husband turns out to be a wretched, sadistic man, Thomas Neville, she flees his castle intending to take refuge with her sister.

Cole Warwick is the son of a woodcutter, and tenant of Neville, he has inherited his father's woodcutting license and does what he can to care for his sister and mother. He and his friends are training to defend themselves against Neville's unfair and violent practices.

When Cole finds Izzy in the woods, injured, he brings her home where his mother and sister help to care for her. Izzy is hesitant to reveal her true identity, but with each passing day she comes to admire Cole and his heart for others. Can Izzy and Cole find a way to help the villagers, and protect them from Neville's violence?

The 5th book in the series, it stands well on it's own, but couples well with the previous book which centers on her sister, Olivia. I didn't even know this was coming, and to be honest had kind of thought the last book was the final of the series, so you can imagine my delight when it was announced that Ms. Hedlund was releasing a 5th and final story in this series.

Action packed, with a Robin Hood-like feel to it, this was a coming of age story about Izzy, who we were briefly introduced to in the previous book. She has a big heart for others, especially children, I loved her friendship with Cole's sister, Posy, and how she encourages her to see herself as beautiful. Izzy finds her strength fighting for her voice and say in her life.

Cole is a born leader, he loves his family and doesn't want anymore than to be treated fairly. He is a hardworker, and very brave.

Overall, this was an enjoyable read with a climactic ending, admirable heroes. I really liked getting to know Izzy better, as well as reading about the devoted Cecil. The villain was absolutely vile. A great read for fans of the other books in this series.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in Advertising."

9.15.2018

The Captured Bride by Michelle Griep ~ Review


Lucie's Review: 

Mercy Lytton is a scout for the British, who was raised among the Mohawk Indians with her Indian father and white mother. Her partner, Matthew, knows that she won't like their next assignment, transporting gold while posing as a family leaving the area. They are joined by the commander's son, and the condemned traitor who will pose as her husband.

Elias Dubois has his secrets, and one of them almost cost him his life. He is struck by Mercy's beauty and her intense dislike for him.

Elias has a strong faith, and proves himself capable and reliable, as well as hardworking on their journey. His integrity and good intentions shine through as the story progresses. He slowly wins Mercy over, respecting her space and her skills.

I loved how Mercy was proud of her upbringing, yet she wants more out of life. She likes talking to Elias about his faith, and he challenges her to think of a few things differently.

I really liked this book, it had a lot of action, with great characters, and a fascinating plot. I liked the setting of the French and Indian War, as Mercy and Elias become friends and more. Great dialog, and a fantastic ending. Definitely one of my favorite of this series.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in Advertising."

9.09.2018

Runaway Amish Bride by Leigh Bale ~ Review


Lucie's Review:

Abigail Miller comes to Colorado after receiving a letter from Mr. Fisher asking her to marry his son, she agrees. But when Abby arrives she finds that Mr. Fisher has died and that his son has no intention of marrying her. Abby agrees to stay and work for them so that she doesn't have to go back to her abusive brother.

Jakob Fisher is a widower with two children, Reuben and Ruby. His wife passed over a year ago, but he intends to never marry again. He sees that his mother need help and that Abby needs a place to stay, so he agrees to let her stay.

Could it be that Abby is just what he needed after all?

Abby is cheerful and hardworking, she is a great help to Naomie, and Ruby takes to her instantly. She tries to encourage the children, especially Reuben. Abby is hardworking and resilient, with a strong faith despite everything that she has been through.

Jakob is determined to avoid Abby, but she is so helpful that she is hard to avoid. He tries to be kind and respectful to her, but his a very stubborn man.

Jakob's grandfather is a great character, with wise advise and a good sense of humor.

I liked this story from the start, it brings a twist to the mail-order bride situation, which adds tension at the very start. Fun characters, and a lovable heroine, this is a very enjoyable read.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in Advertising."

The Spirit of God Illustrated Bible: Over 40 Stories of God’s Power and Presence by Doris Wynbeek Rikkers and illustrated by Fernando Juarez ~ Review

My Review:

This Bible storybook is illustrated with modernly whimsical incarnations of the Biblical characters, and contains 45 stories from the Old and New Testament.

Written in a way that comes across as a paraphrase at times, with an emphasis on the Holy Spirit. Other times I felt like liberties were taken with specifically saying that it was the Holy Spirit, when the actual Biblical text on which the story was based did not say, and so the Spirit's part is inferred as part of God collectively as the Trinity, so there were times when it felt odd to me to single out the Spirit.

For the most part they did a good job of selecting a mixture of stories from when the Spirit of God moved people and filled them for His glory, some of them were well known, while others were not the typical Sunday School lesson. I liked the stories about people like Bezalel, who built the ark of the covenant, but the stoning of Zechariah was an interesting choice. But creatively I'm not sure how I feel about how the Spirit was illustrated as a visible cloud.

Overall, this was a nice storybook style book, and I liked how it told stories that were different from the normal. But I did feel like sometimes it was a stretch to write a whole story based off of one verse, and going off of inferences. In the end I have mixed feelings about this one, because there was so much to like, but also a few things that just struck me as slightly off.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in Advertising."

About the Book: The Spirit of God Illustrated Bible brings to life more than 40 Bible stories that help readers understand that God’s Spirit has been with us since the beginning of time and continues to be with us today. From the glory of creation through the powerful letters of Paul, God’s Spirit is living in his people. Old and New Testament stories such as Adam and Eve, Abraham, Joseph, the Baptism of Jesus, and Pentecost come alive with dramatic illustrations by Fernando Juarez and moving text by Doris Rikkers. With a cover that sparkles and shines with foil, this is a special storybook Bible that will appeal to both children and parents alike.

Author Information:Doris Rikkers is a freelance writer and editor who has written many bestselling children’s books and Bibles. Although she loves the ocean, she lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan, surrounded by her books, her flower gardens, and her family and friends.

Illustrator Bio:  Spanish artist Fernando Juarez illustrates children’s books and works as an art supervisor at the Madrid studio Ilion Animation. The company produces 3D feature films for children. Fernando has three kids himself, and if he has any time left after work and family, you might catch him playing guitar in a rock band.

The Learn More and Get a Free Preview : https://www.zondervan.com/p/spirit-of-god-illustrated-bible/

9.08.2018

What Blooms From Dust by James Markert ~ Review

My Review:

After escaping the electric chair, Jeremiah Goodbye makes a coin-flip decision to return to his hometown, Nowhere, Oklahoma. The dust bowls of the Depression have hit Nowhere hard, and it's residents are losing hope. Home in Nowhere Jeremiah must face his father, twin brother, and the girl he left behind as secrets are revealed and he fights for his family in a town that's given up hope.

Set during the Dust Bowl of The Great Depression in Oklahoma, What Blooms From Dust is a story of forgiveness, hope, and family, told in a off-beat, but straightforward, matter-of-fact manner, with larger than life characters.

This was a different kind of read for me, full of quirky characters and intriguing plot twists. As the story unfolded things only got stranger. Jeremiah Goodbye is a man who has always been different, flipping coins for almost every decision, and battling terrible nightmares he'd always had his brother, Josiah by his side, until they both fell in love with the same girl. It was interesting to get to know all the characters in Nowhere, unpacking their stories, and going back to Jeremiah and Josiah's childhood. I especially liked Peter, he was a dear boy with a big heart, and observant eyes.

Overall, it was an interesting read, with lots of mysteries, secrets, and striking characters.  It is a vivid story about kindness, community, truth, rekindling hope, and the human spirit, but I did find myself skimming here and there especially during dialog heavy exchanges that in my mind could have been more concise. I love the cover of this book, it has a whimsical vintage vibe, and has an excellent use of color and font, as well as key parts of the book's plot. The storytelling really fits with the this kind of story, with apt descriptions that are quirky and unique, but nail the verbal illustration to a T. Whimsical and straightforward, What Blooms From Dust is a drama packed adventure set in the bleakest day of The Great Depression.

I will note that I would not classify this book as Christian Fiction, which is what Thomas Nelson is known for publishing. While spiritual elements such as angels and demons are mentioned, as well as members of the clergy, this book did not promote a faith firmly rooted in Jesus Christ the real source of all of our hope. Instead it seemed to be about the power of human kindness to triumph over evil.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in Advertising."

9.07.2018

My First Book of Prayers illustrated by Gilian Flint ~ Review

My Review:

This delightful pocket sized board book entwines multiple poetic prayers for children together in this playfully illustrated, and sturdy board book. I was amazed at how well the ten poems fit together, and if I hadn't known better I would have thought that they had always been compiled together in this way.

Some of the verses were instantly recognizable as classics, while others were completely new to me, and their authors unknown.

Beautiful watercolor illustrations grace this compact book that is sure to be a treasured classic in your little one's library. Great for bedtime prayer time.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in Advertising."