Historical Fiction for the Win {ON WINGS OF DEVOTION}

THE STATS:

Find the book on: Amazon and Goodreads
Pages: 400
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Release Date: January 7, 2020
Title: On Wings of Devotion
Fiction

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ABOUT THE BOOK

All of England thinks Phillip Camden a monster–a man who deliberately caused the deaths of his squadron. But as nurse Arabelle Denler watches the so-dubbed “Black Heart” every day, she sees something far different: a hurting man desperate for mercy. And when their paths twist together and he declares himself her new protector, she realizes she has her own role to play in his healing.

Phillip Camden would have preferred to die that day with his squadron rather than be recruited to the Admiralty’s codebreaking division. The threats he receives daily are no great surprise and, in his opinion, well deserved. What comes as a shock is the reborn desire to truly live that Arabelle inspires in him.

But when an old acquaintance shows up and seems set on using him in a plot that has the codebreakers of Room 40 in a frenzy, new affections are put to the test.

WHY I CHOOSE THIS BOOK

Did I read the back cover blurb before requesting this book for review? No, of course not. All I did was read the first book in the series – The Number of Love. You can read my gushy review for that book here. That pretty much sums up why I jumped on the chance to get this book for review when I found out the release date.

And good news for you! This book can totally be a stand-a-lone. It will only give minor spoilers to the first book in the series if you read them out of order which is a huge plus. The books contain a lot of the same characters (as well as guest appearances from other series) which will make your heart do a happy dance if you’ve read those other books.

WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT THIS BOOK

December was one of my most busy months to date with long work hours and a lot of life happening, therefore I didn’t get to talk about this book as much as I wish I could have with y’all. It also meant I had to separate my reading time to over the course of a week, rather than downing it all in one gulp. And yo, folks, that was hard to do because I didn’t want to put it down.

With her delightful writing style, thoroughly developed characters, intriguing plot, and phenomenal world-building skills, Miss Roseanna blows the reading world away once again with a fantastic book.

Crack the book open and you’ll instantly be whisked away to the world of World War One, viewing life from both the civilian and military side of things. I highly recommend you give yourself several hours of reading time before you sit down with this book, because you won’t want to put it down.

This book was a tale of loyalty, selfless caring, and showing God’s love to others. Arabelle is a nurse who is wholly devoted to helping others – be that a hard-to-love father, a faithless-human-who-I-won’t-name-cause-of-spoilers, her patients, random strangers, and everyone in-between. I’ve always considered myself a loyal person, but am exceedingly thankful that I haven’t had my loyalty tested to the max like Arabelle. Her emotions were so easy to understand and relate to, and I rooted for her the entire book.

Camden – the main male character – wasn’t my favorite character, but I don’t think he was supposed to be. He’s thoroughly written, has highly redeeming qualities (among his black-hearted ones), and has a family who I really liked.

Most of the time when I read a book that changes perspectives I have one perspective I like the best, but in this book, everything flowed seamlessly and I enjoyed getting to see the world no matter who’s eyes I was looking through.

The spying element was different from the last book, and I’m still not sure how I felt about how one of the plot-trains ended, but it was still well-done.

CONCLUSION With Slight Spoilers

SPOILER: From the back cover blurb y’all can assume that Arabelle and Camden are romantic interests in the story, so no spoiler there. My issue with their relationship is that Arabelle is a Christian throughout the book, and Camden isn’t. The Bible talks about how we shouldn’t be yoked together unequally, etc… and so it always bothers me in Christian fiction when this type of relationship is a common element.
END of SPOILER

As for the rest of the book, I thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend this series (and Miss Roseanna’s previous series) to anyone who enjoys Historical Fiction or wants to give it a try.

I can’t wait until the next book by this author comes out!

RATING

I’m giving On Wings of Devotion 4 out of 5 stars. I’m so grateful for the generosity of the author and publisher for sending me a copy of this book so I could review it and share it with y’all.

The End of the Magi

I have two days off in a row, and I’m not even sure what to think about that because this happens so rarely. I’ve had Write book review on my to-do list for multiple days now, but let’s be real… When a book doesn’t blow you away – but doesn’t actually have anything wrong to rant about – well, it can be hard to sit down and tackle said review. But here I am.

THE STATS:

Find the book on: Amazon and Goodreads
Pages: 384
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Release Date: November 5, 2019
Title: The End of the Magi
Fiction

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ABOUT THE BOOK

Following his vision of the coming Messiah, the prophet Daniel creates a select group of men who will count down the calendar to the arrival of Israel’s promised king. Centuries later, as the day nears, Myrad, a young magi acolyte, flees for his life when his adoptive father and others are put to death by a ruthless Parthian queen.

Having grabbed only a few possessions, Myrad escapes the city, and searching for a way to hide from the soldiers scouring the trade routes, he tries to join the caravan of the merchant Walagash. The merchant senses that Myrad is hiding secrets, but when the young man proves himself a valuable traveler, an epic journey filled with peril, close escapes, and dangerous battles begins.

With every day that passes, the calendar creeps closer to the coming Messiah. And over everything shines the dream of a star that Myrad can’t forget and the promise that the world will never be the same.

WHY I CHOOSE THIS BOOK

The cover is cool, the synopsis is intriguing, and we were approaching the Christmas season, so I thought Why Not?

WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT THIS BOOK

Sadly, I found why not; it’s because Biblical fiction is a big hit or miss for me, and so, therefore, I shouldn’t have ventured into the land of a new Biblical fiction author while getting a book for review.

First off, let me clarify, it’s not as if there’s anything wrong with this book. It didn’t appear to disregard the truth of the Bible at all, nor was the plot silly. The details were well written, and it’s clear the author excels at his craft.

Just, this book wasn’t for me.

If I hadn’t gotten it for review, I wouldn’t have continued reading, simply because it’s not the style I like. It’s more about the adventure and less about the plot or character development. We follow the main character as he escapes danger and joins a trade caravan, then most of the book takes place traveling across the desert.

Plenty of action happens along the way – although not with an excessive amount of gory details, so that’s a plus. There were a few places where the characters were fleshed out, but by the end of the book, I still didn’t feel like I knew any of them very well – although I could tell you how to become an expert archer while riding a galloping horse.

There were a few slight things I had issues with, but mostly that’s because they took all the things I always imagined about the magi, and totally flipped them around and totally changed them. But, the keyword here is that they did that with the things I imagined, not the things that were clearly spelled out in the Bible, so that’s not actually a problem.

One thing that I didn’t like is mentioned down below but is a spoiler, so read at your own risk.

 

(SPOILER: The way the magi got the gifts they gave to Jesus was by stealing gold from the royal treasuries. Now nowhere are we told in the Bible that this didn’t happen, but it doesn’t seem likely to me, and seemed to make the gift less special.) 

 

 

CONCLUSION

This seems like it would be a great book for a teenage boy looking for an adventure story. Obviously, girls can read it too, but it seems like it’s aimed more at guys, especially since there are only three female characters in the whole story (I think), and one of them is a bloodthirsty queen. 

I don’t plan on reading more by this author, but I’m sure a lot of people would really enjoy his writing style.

RATING

I’m giving The End of the Magi 2 out of 5 stars, although Amazon and Goodreads I’ll be rating it 3 Stars, because there really isn’t anything wrong with it. I’m thankful to Bethany House Publishers for sending me a copy so I could review it for y’all.

Diamond in the Rough

If I was talking to you in person I’d be all dramatic and be like “Yo, human! It’s been basically forever since I wrote a book review – probably like 372 weeks.” But, since I’m blogging I’ll be a lot more professional and sound like an adult rather than, well, whatever weirdness that ^ sounded like.

So, I’ll just calmly state that I’m slightly amazed that I haven’t written a book review for nearly two months. The good news is I knew these last few months were going to be crazy, so I refrained from requesting books for review during that time. Therefore, I’m not behind. Well, except for the book that I’m about to review.

THE STATS:

Find the book on: Amazon and Goodreads
Pages: 352
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Release Date: September 3, 2019
Title: Diamond in the Rough
Fiction

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ABOUT THE BOOK

To save her family from financial ruin, Miss Poppy Garrison accepts an unusual proposition to participate in the New York social season in exchange for her grandmother settling a family loan that has unexpectedly come due. Ill-equipped to handle the intricacies of mingling within the New York Four Hundred, Poppy becomes embroiled in one hilarious fiasco after another, doomed to suffer a grand societal failure instead of being deemed the diamond of the first water her grandmother longs for her to become.

Reginald Blackburn, second son of a duke, has been forced to travel to America to help his cousin, Charles Wynn, Earl of Lonsdale, find an American heiress to wed in order to shore up his family estate that is in desperate need of funds. Reginald himself has no interest in finding an heiress to marry, but when Poppy’s grandmother asks him to give etiquette lessons to Poppy, he swiftly discovers he may be in for much more than he bargained for.

WHY I CHOOSE THIS BOOK
WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT THIS BOOK

“Oops, I probably shouldn’t have requested this book for review” was what I thought about the book.

My disclaimer is this: I’m not the target audience for this author, and therefore I’ll refrain from requesting more of her books for review in the future because I don’t feel like my reviews give a fair picture of her writing.

Miss Jen writes over-the-top, crazy instances that wouldn’t actually happen in real life, especially during the time periods that her books take place. Her characters are also generally fairly unrealistic. I understand that this is on purpose to create amusement in the reader and that’s great. I know it’s a talent to be able to write like Miss Jen does and she’s good at her job. It’s just not a style I enjoy.

The first half of this book was going to get a solid two stars from me, but then the second half of the story snagged my interest and I upped my rating to three stars. Once again though, this is completely subjective and has a lot more to do with me rather than the writing or plot.

CONCLUSION

My conclusion is that this review is going to be wholly unhelpful for y’all because I’m pretty much just saying the book wasn’t my style and so, therefore, it drove me slightly crazy to read it. But, that it’s not a reflection of the book itself. So helpful, right?

Really though, I’d be delighted to hear from you as to if you like this style of book?

do sometimes enjoy reading something along the lines of this story – mainly if I’ve had an incredibly busy and mind-numbing week, and I need to just relax. This book was very comparable to Hallmark movies.

RATING

I’m giving Diamond in the Rough 3 out of 5 stars. I’m thankful to Bethany House Publishers for giving me an e-copy so I could review it for y’all.

King’s Shadow {The Silent Years}

Today is my first day in a while that I’ve had off work without needing to go shopping or having company over. And, although I enjoy doing both those things sometimes, it’s so nice to spend a day just relaxing at home.

I sat out in the sun reading a nonfiction book and sipping coffee, journaling a ton, and then got caught up on housework and cleaned out my fridge because I’m going to be visiting my family for about two weeks.

This afternoon I took a nap and finished reading King’s Shadow. I’m excited about this for several reasons, including the fact that after being behind with book reviews for far too long I’m finally caught up! I’m so thankful for the grace the publishing companies/review sites showed me when life didn’t go according to plan and I got behind.

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THE STATS:

Find the book on: Amazon and Goodreads
Pages: 384
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Release Date: August 6, 2019
Title: King’s Shadow
Fiction

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ABOUT THE BOOK

Two women occupy a place in Herod’s court. The first, Salome, is the king’s only sister, a resentful woman who has been told she is from an inferior race, a people God will never accept or approve.

The second woman, Zara, is a lowly handmaid who serves Salome, but where Salome spies conspiracies and treachery, Zara sees hurting people in need of understanding and compassion.

Powerful and powerless, Idumean and Jew, selfish and selfless–both women struggle to reach their goals and survive in Herod the Great’s tumultuous court, where no one is trustworthy and no one is safe.

WHY I CHOOSE THIS BOOK

In July of 2017, I received the first book in The Silent Years series for review. It’s titled Egypt’s Sister (read the review here) and totally intrigued me. I’d never read a book that took place during the Silent Years before, and I right away set about researching that time period.

Over the last couple of years, I bought books 2 (Judah’s Wife which I gave three stars) and 3 (Jerusalem’s Queen which also got three stars from me) when they were released. The crazy thing I was didn’t even really like the storyline of either of those books, but the writing, world-building, and research were so well done that I kept going with the series. When this book was released I jumped at the chance to review it.

WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT THIS BOOK

My admiration for the author is strong. I can’t even imagine the number of historical documents she had to shift through to write this book, nor how much notetaking she had to commit to in order to keep everything straight. Considering the sheer amounts of Herod’sAlexandra/Alexander’s, and Mariamne’s that were mentioned in this book I’m amazed by how smoothly the storyline flowed and how well I was able to understand what was going on. Seriously though, why did everyone use the same names? (Actually, not seriously, I understand why.)

As far as storylines go, I thought the author made a bold (and wise) move by having the story be from the perspective of the “bad guy” – although you never feel like that when you’re reading. Most of the story is told by Salome, the sister of Herod, a person who was very loyal to him. Therefore, as we read about the atrocities that Herod committed, it’s through the eyes of someone who’s only seeing his best and always justifying his actions. If you were reading the book just paying attention to tone instead of content, then it would seem that everything that is going on is perfectly normal and acceptable. It’s only when you stop and consider what is actually happening that you realize how terrible it really is.

This perspective was well done and made the story flow in a way that I’m not used to. Instead of focusing on emotions that you’d normally feel while reading about someone in history doing horrible things, those violent acts were just stated as facts and then you move on. For instance, when King Herod had someone he’d loved very much be executed, he then went crazy for a while. Since we’re reading from the perspective of Salome, we focus on her sadness that her brother is having a hard time, and the way she tries to help him, vs. the fact that the man is a brutal, savage madman.

Because of this lack of emotion and the way Salome merely recites facts (“And then he had 300 Jews killed in a mad fit, but hey – the guy has to protect his throne.”) it made the book a lot more bearable to read than if it had gone into how horrible everything was. If this story was merely fiction I wouldn’t have liked the approach at all, but since it’s based on true facts I appreciated being able to read and learn this way.

The other perspective is from Zara (a made-up character) who is Salome’s Jewish handmaid. Her chapters weren’t very often, but she did provide an interesting balance to Salome’s cut-throat and scheming ways. Since her perspective isn’t really prevalent in the story I felt like we didn’t get to know her well as a character, but I have nothing bad to say about her.

The book covers about a 30ish year period of time, which isn’t something I generally like, but for the sake of this story, I think it was well-done.

I’ve learned so much through this series, and I find myself being satisfied with King’s Shadow as the final book.

CONCLUSION

There’s a lot of horrible stuff that goes on in the book. So much plotting, killing, torture (not in detail) scheming, lying, and un-holy relationships.

But, nothing was written in detail (probably about as much as if you were reading the Bible), and I think the author did a really good job of making the time period come alive without saying too much. I think I would recommend this book to people fifteen and older.

RATING

I’m giving King’s Shadow 4 out of 5 stars. I’m thankful to Bethany House Publishers for giving me a copy so I could review it for y’all.

Protecting Your Child from Predators

Warning: Hey folks! This review is going to be nice and vague, but it’s still not necessarily something I recommend for kids. So, proceed at your own decretion.

THE STATS:

Find the book on: Amazon and Goodreads
Pages: 240
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Release Date: August 6, 2019
Title: Protecting Your Child from Predators
Nonfiction

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ABOUT THE BOOK

Read the back cover blurb here. (Since it’s a sensitive topic, I’m choosing not to post the back cover blurb on my blog since I have young readers.)

WHY I CHOOSE THIS BOOK

I think this subject is one that really needs to be taught today. I became fairly aware of it when I began studying the subject of children’s ministry at churches. (I taught Children’s Church for fifteen months before moving to Kentucky.) When I read the blurb for this book it sounded like the authors really knew what they were talking about so I requested the book.

WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT THIS BOOK

Obviously it’s not a fun topic to read about, but the authors did a phenomenal job of tackling an exceedingly difficult subject with gentle grace while not compromising the message.

The book is laid out in such a way that it’s easy to skip around and read the parts that are applicable to you and your life. After the introduction where they explain the purpose of the book, the rest of the chapters are divided into three different sections, each one focusing on a certain age group and how to best prepare children of that age to be safest. This is helpful because it means the reader doesn’t have to be overwhelmed trying to read the book all the way through – instead they can read it at the same pace their children grow.

Throughout the book, one of the authors shares many stories (with appropriate changes) from her years as a counselor. Along with the examples, she explains what could have been done differently, how parents should respond in each situation, and the best way to help children move on. (With the main emphasis being on what could have been done to prevent the situation in the first place.) In each example, I was impressed by how kindly the author approached what had happened. It was clear that she loves children and parents, and even when someone obviously did the wrong thing, she doesn’t pass judgment. Instead, she lovingly helps offer solutions. With that attitude being the overall tone, I can see how this book will be a huge tool to helping parents rectify abuse and wrongs that might have unknowingly been going on in their homes.

In addition to the true-life examples, this book is also full of statistics. A lot of those stats are rather disturbing and a good reason for people to read this book. But, in the midst of all that, I didn’t feel like the book was trying to scare the readers. Instead, it was informing us, then providing good tools for how to protect children. The authors continually took us back to the Bible and showed how we’ve been prepared to fight and that we aren’t powerless. This approach was very encouraging.

Although I didn’t enjoy reading the book, I did find it very enlighting and something that I feel like will help how I am around children (especially who I don’t know well) in the future. The writing style is easy to read which is perfect since it’s such a difficult topic. I read the whole book within five hours of unboxing it.

CONCLUSION

This is a book I highly recommend. It’s disturbing, yes, but it’s written with such grace and love that they make a hard, horrible subject something that can be read and received. I do recommend that it not be read by anyone under 18, possibly even older.

RATING

I’m giving Protecting Your Child from Predators 5 out of 5 stars. I’m thankful for the publisher for giving me a copy so I could review it here.

Ice Cream and Fire

Y’all, yesterday I switched off days with a co-worker. Because of that and another day switch, it meant yesterday was my 8th day working in a row. I’m sure there are plenty of people who can pull that off without a hitch, but for me it was a mite bit much. Except it wasn’t because I didn’t really end up working.

See, I mentioned a coworker that it was my 8th day working, and my manger overheard me. (Said manager is amazing and really cares about his employees; seriously, I thank him on a daily basis for being so thoughtful.) Well, he determined that I’d been working too hard and needed to rest, so he worked it out so I could go home after I’d worked less than half my shift. The only problem was I like my job so much that I really didn’t want to leave. So, after I clocked out I just hung out there talking and reading stuff on my phone.

Then, he finally convinced me I should head home and sit in the sun to read a book, and so that’s what I did, complete with a delicious Birthday Cake Bash Ice Cream Cone with Sprinkles. (Yes, please!) That meant that today (on my actual off-day) I have been able to catch up on a boatload of things I’ve been behind on.

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After being behind with my reviews for months, I finally submitted four reviews to different publishing and review sites, plus I read a book and wrote a fifth review. So, enjoy, folks!

THE STATS:

Find the book on: Amazon and Goodreads
Pages: 176
Publisher: Chosen Books
Release Date: August 6, 2019
Title: Fire!
Nonfiction

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ABOUT THE BOOK

The world has wandered so far from God that nothing short of revival will reignite the fires of awakening. But God is about to set the world ablaze, and the nations will burn for him once again.

In this book, filled with empowering inspiration and astonishing real-life stories, pastor and speaker James Levesque offers twelve biblical principles to help you return to the passion you felt at the beginning of your faith–and carry the torch to your community and nation. This book is an exhortation to action, to ignite the fire inside you and see your life activated for signs, wonders, and miracles. Say goodbye to powerless Christianity and become a burning brand for God.

WHY I CHOOSE THIS BOOK

I regularly read books that I hope will challenge me and help me grow more into the person who God has created me to be. This book seemed like it would be perfect for the job.

WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT THIS BOOK

To keep things simple, we’re going to go with a list of things I did and didn’t like for this review.

What I Did Like:

-The author did a good job of speaking the truth with passion and not shying away from calling this generation of Christians out on what we’re doing wrong. I agreed with a lot of what he said about how we need to go back to being passionate about obeying and serving God. He mentioned that America is pretty much a Third World country when it comes to how spiritual (or non-spiritual) we are, and that seems like a really appropriate description.
-The books is full of enlightening, practical ways to serve God better and more fully. It doesn’t just tell us what’s wrong in the Church today, it then helps us go to the Bible to find solutions.
-It was an easy to understand book – meaning it spoke in layman terms and although it challenged my thinking, it didn’t challenge my brain to try and figure out what the author was trying to say.

What I Didn’t Like:

-I didn’t agree with a lot of what the author had to say. Yes, there were nuggets in the book that challenged me and helped me in my walk with God, but there were also things that I really don’t agree with, and therefore I won’t be recommending the book or reading more by the same author.

For Instance:
*At one point the author is talking about dreams God has given us, and he says “When God gives us a dream, we are usually nowhere near the full manifestation of that dream. But through the pits of life, God’s dream will never leave us. As a matter of fact, it is what sustains us through every trial. Your dream will make a way. (Emphasis mine.) Um, excuse me? I do agree with the basic concept of what I think the author is saying – when we’re focusing on what God has called us to do that helps us push through the hard times, etc…. But it’s God’s grace, God’s mercy, and God’s love (etc…) that sustains us and makes a way, not a dream He’s given me.
*The author has a section about how God will do this and that, etc… where he names multiple things that God will do in your life after you have the right attitude and belief about giving and receiving. And, while I believe that many people are not receiving God’s full blessings because of a wrong attitude or belief about God and His nature, I also didn’t agree with the dogmatic approach the author took while talking about this subject. (Yes, the promises in the Bible are true, but there are some promises who were made to certain people, and not to all generations of Christians.)

-There were a lot of other small instances throughout the book that left me shaking my head, disagreeing either with the tone, the conclusion, or the example given in the book.

CONCLUSION

I got some good things out of the book. It challenged me to seek God with more passion and reminded me that God has got to be first place in my life, no matter what. This book also helped remind me to study what I read and match it against God’s Word to see how it lines up. Because of the discrepancies I found, despite the fact that there were some really good parts of this book, I won’t be recommending it.

RATING

I’m giving Fire! 3 out of 5 stars. I’m thankful for the publisher for giving me a copy so I could review it here.

The Most Important Stories of the Bible?

It’s Thursday and the camels next door have been calling out to each other a lot this morning. (Who would have ever thought I’d start a blog post with that line?!?)

I’m so thankful to finally be catching up with book reviews. This is the last one I’ve had sitting here waiting for me to write, and I’m thrilled to be about ready to push the publish button. It’s also kinda exciting because last time I went home I picked up three more book packages from publishing companies to open, but I told myself I wouldn’t do anything with them until I was caught up on reviews.

I’ve had some exciting things happen at work recently that I look forward to sharing with y’all soon. Among other things Monday was my three month anniversary of moving to Kentucky. My original plan was to be here for three months, but… Well, that’s a story for another day. For now, here’s my book review. Have a great day, folks!

THE STATS:

Find the book on: Amazon and Goodreads
Pages: 190
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Release Date: July 2, 2019
Title: The Most Important Stories of the Bible
Nonfiction

4

ABOUT THE BOOK

Most of us are familiar with the exciting adventures of David and Goliath, Noah, or Daniel in the lions’ den, but we don’t always understand how they fit together. We lack context, and so we sometimes miss the point.

The Most Important Stories of the Bible will give you a working knowledge of the key events in Scripture and how they flow into one big story. The book’s 75 stories are compact, easy to read, and enjoyable. Each chapter includes a brief introduction that gives historical context to help you grasp the overall narrative of the Bible, and concludes with an explanation of why that story matters in our lives.

There’s a reason most of the Bible is made up of stories. They speak to us in a deep way, helping us internalize God’s message. And in the end, understanding the stories of God’s Word will help us connect more closely to Jesus, the greatest storyteller of all.

WHY I CHOOSE THIS BOOK

Plain and simple: Because I was curious.

I dislike it when people refer to Biblical accounts as stories (which in todays lingo brings to mind fiction, which the Bible obviously isn’t), so I nearly didn’t request the book. But then my desire to see what “stories” (aka, accounts) from the Bible were included in the book made me request it after all.

WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT THIS BOOK

The book was a pleasant surprise to me. I think the title is a misnomer and not entirely true anyway, but other than that I only had a few minor disagreements with the book.

I think a better way of marketing the book would be to tout it as an overview of how the Bible works as a cohesive whole – and that’s kind of what is talked about on the back cover blurb.

The book is short, and the chapters only a couple pages long. Therefore, it was easy to sit down and take a few minutes to breeze through the book. I read it over the course of a couple of days and greatly enjoyed how one chapter flowed into the next – complete with a timeline, a paragraph about how the two accounts connected to each other, and a thought to ponder at the end of each segment. (Some of which I agreed with, some I didn’t…)

It was a bit confusing to me trying to figure out who the book was designed for – a Christian who understood the Bible? A new Christian trying to figure out what the Bible was all about? An unbeliever? There were times when I felt like the wording was a bit confusing for someone unfamiliar with the Bible, but that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing because hopefully that would make them find an actual Bible to dig around in and get answers.

As someone who grew up reading the Bible, I really enjoyed the new perspective of how things fit together, as well as the way the authors told the accounts. They weren’t trying to quote the Bible word for word, so it was more the way that you would imagine someone sitting down and regaling you with an account in their own words. Because of that, I got to see the Bible through someone else’s perspective which was interesting.

CONCLUSION

There were a few places I disagreed with how they interpreted something from the Bible, but that’s not uncommon in books (or life). I probably won’t be re-reading the book, but I did enjoy the chance to get new perspectives on how everything flows together.

Also, obviously the title, but we already went over that.

RATING

I’m giving The Most Important Stories of the Bible 4 out of 5 stars. I’m thankful for the publisher for giving me a copy so I could review it here.

The Cranky Mom Fix

I’m back, folks! On Saturday I drove home to Ohio after work to surprise my family and be there for the weekend. I got home around 11:00 in the evening and snuck up to my sister’s rooms and surprised them (although they weren’t actually all that surprised). Although it was late and we were all really tired we had fun catching up for a while before going to sleep.

The next morning I went downstairs and walked into the kitchen where I told my mom “Happy Anniversary” (which was the reason I went home). My mom was shocked and exceedingly happy and I was thrilled to have pulled off the surprise.

My weekend home was short, but delightful and I had a fantastic time with my family. I’m back in Kentucky now, and about to head off to work. But first, a book review. 😉

The STATS:

Find the book on: Amazon and Goodreads
Pages: 256
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Release Date: June 4, 2019
Title: The Cranky Mom Fix
Nonfiction

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ABOUT THE BOOK

If we’re honest with ourselves, almost every mom knows she can go from being kind to cranky in no time flat. When we’re tired, busy, anxious, preoccupied–okay, so anytime, really–we tend to default to snapping and barking at our kids. But life doesn’t have to be this way.

Through coaching other moms who share a desire to be a kinder, gentler parent, Becky Kopitzke has learned the keys to taming the “momster” in all of us. And in this grace-filled book, she will help you

  • assess the triggers that spark your angry responses
  • understand your children better so you can minimize frustrations
  • learn gentle, effective responses to trying situations
  • and much more
WHY I CHOOSE THIS BOOK

What can I say? Parenting books are incredibly intriguing to me. I’ve read dozens of them and still find them to be some of the most interesting books I pick up. I find it very enlightening to see the concepts behind the why and how parents are raising their kids.

(Disclaimer: I’m not married, I’m not a mom, and I’m very aware of the fact that I don’t have the whole parenting thing figured out. I’m not one of those annoying single people who think I know how to raise kids. I just like reading about how others raise their kids and figure that my reviews of these books give an interesting perspective since I’m not the intended audience.)

WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT THIS BOOK

This book isn’t a book about how to raise kids.

This book is about how to be a good mom.

There’s a big difference between the two and I was impressed as I read this book. My dad (who’s done a fantastic job raising nine kids) has told me before that he never really liked reading parenting books written by people who’s kids were still little, because how do they know that what they are teaching really works? And that makes sense. This author’s kids are still young, but her approach isn’t about what to do with the kids, it’s about how to respond as a mom.

really liked this book. It was encouraging, uplifting, honest, and so practical. The author talks about how she, as a mom, is working on learning to change her mindset, control herself, and become more Christ-like. Although this book was about how to be a better mom, it’s applicable for pretty much anyone.

It’s so easy for people to blame their reactions on other people, but this book highlighted the fact that we are responsible for how we respond to situations. The author does a fantastic job of helping the reader think through why they respond the way they do to certain things, then offers solid, Biblically-based answers for how they can change.

When I read this book I was inspired by how I can change things in my life to become more Christ-like. It also made me excited about being a mom one day if I ever have kids. From my very non-experienced viewpoint, I felt like the author did the perfect job of being inspiring, encouraging, honest, funny, and hard-hitting. She doesn’t hold back from the truth, but she delivers it in a way that’s easy(ish) to accept.

CONCLUSION

There were only a very few things in this book that I had an issue with which isn’t common. As usual, I don’t recommend or un-recommend parenting books, but I did really like this one.

RATING

I’m giving The Cranky Mom Fix 4 out of 5 stars. I’m thankful for the publisher for giving me a copy so I could review it here.

A New Favorite Historical Fiction Book? {The Number of Love by Roseanna M. White}

Y’all. This is the book that I nearly cried about when I found out I’d been chosen to be on the early review team. Yeah, I was that excited and that honored about it. Of course, back then I didn’t realize that I would be in the midst of moving and overwhelmed with a new job and life-ish happenings in the weeks leading up to the book’s release. But here we are! The book released yesterday and although I moved before the physical copy of the book arrived at my old address, I did download an e-copy of the book and landsakes, people!

I settled down with this book and some popcorn on Sunday afternoon and prepared to be delighted as I read. Why was I so excited? Because this book features Margot De Wilde as the main character. Readers were first introduced to this character in the middle book of the Shadows Over London trilogy, as the younger sister of one of the main characters. In that book, she intrigued me like crazy – as in I would say she’s probably in the top five of most intriguing characters I’ve ever read about. And, considering the thousands of characters that have been part of my reading experience, that says a lot.

Before I say more, here’s a bit about the book:

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Three years into the Great War, England’s greatest asset is their intelligence network—field agents risking their lives to gather information, and codebreakers able to crack every German telegram. Margot De Wilde thrives in the environment of the secretive Room 40, where she spends her days deciphering intercepted messages. But when her world is turned upside down by an unexpected loss, for the first time in her life numbers aren’t enough.

Drake Elton returns wounded from the field, followed by an enemy that just won’t give up. He’s smitten quickly by the too-intelligent Margot, but how to convince a girl who lives entirely in her mind that sometimes life’s answers lie in the heart?

Amidst biological warfare, encrypted letters, and a German spy who wants to destroy not just them, but others they love, Margot and Drake will have to work together to save them all from the very secrets that brought them together.

Also, you can take a quiz for the book (after you’ve read it, because #spoilers). I just took it and got 8/10 answers right. I really thought I’d get 100 because the book is so memorable, but one of the questions was guesswork, and the other was a bit tricky. 😉

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This book was gold. The writing, the characters, the plot, and the time period came together in a perfect, seamless, beautiful story that tugged my heart and made me want to keep reading for ages. In fact, although I read this book in two sittings if I hadn’t been hurrying to finish it for review I would have made it last even longer so I could savor the characters.

When I read this book the rest of the world faded away and I was so immersed in the story that it really felt like I was there…that the characters were my friends, that I’d time-traveled back to the early 1900s and England was right outside my door.

I can’t even begin to imagine how much work and research went into writing this book. The concepts were so far beyond me, yet without being confusing. That takes so much talent and time to pull off. Margot, the main character, is a codebreaker who works in Room 40 during WW1. I knew about codebreakers during WW2, but until I read this book I had no clue they existed during the Great War. (Which is why I mistakenly assumed that this book took place during WW2 when I first heard about it.)

Margot is a mathematical genius and thinks in numbers. She’s logical, scorns emotions, and is unlike any other character I’ve ever read. I seriously couldn’t get enough of her character and wish we had a whole trilogy solely from her perspective. The way she reacted to grief was my favorite scene in the whole book, simply because I can’t even fathom doing what she did, and it totally shocked me, but was so true to who she was as a person. Plus, it made me tear up, and books that make me cry are the best.

Drake was the second main character, and although I generally don’t like it when the main female and main male character both have chapters from their perspectives, Miss Roseanna pulled it off perfectly. I think this is because although there was romance in the book, that wasn’t the main plot and when we saw life from Drake’s perspective we were actually seeing espionage work, not just fluff. Seriously, his work was so cool and when I read in the endnote how much of it was taken from historical facts, I was pretty amazed. Also, Drake is just a wonderful character all around and he’s got a fantastic name, so what’s not to like?

And then we have the bad guy. Seriously, y’all don’t even know how much I dislike it when books have sections from the villain’s point of view. And yet, somehow Miss Roseanna makes it work. She gave us just enough time inside the villain’s head so that he became real and intriguing, yet without giving too much away or making me feel creeped out. I’m very impressed.

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When it comes to books, this is one of my favorites. As in, it’s so close to being five stars that I’m really not sure if I should rate it four or five stars? (And y’all know how rare five-star fiction books are for me.) My one issue is that I really didn’t agree with a lot of  Margot’s ideals. I understand how she was changing and growing, and yet the book felt a little more feministic than what I like.

Other than that though, this book was simply fantastic. I hope y’all read it and enjoy it as much as I did. If you’ve read the Shadow Over London series, or if you plan on reading this book you should totally let me know so we can gush about the stories together. 😉

Way to go, Miss Roseanna, on writing another winner! Please keep writing and thank you so much for the honor of having me be part of your review team!

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Roseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award-nominated author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two kids, editing, designing book covers, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels that span several continents and thousands of years. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to find their way into her books…to offset her real life, which is blessedly ordinary.

An Unexpected Bookish Meeting

Y’all, here it is! The last book I read for review while I was on vacation. (Whew, getting all these reviews written is fun, but kinda hard because I let them build up since I didn’t have my computer with me.)

Fun story before I get into the review: I was reading this book in Mexico where our family goes on vacation each year. We stay in a small fishing village that isn’t in a touristy area.

As I was reading I posted about the book on my Instagram Story (y’all can follow me here if you want, I often post reading updates). A friend commented and said that it looked like a book she’d enjoy reading.

Now, plot twist: It turns out this lady was on vacation with her husband and their four young children only about a half an hour away from where we were staying! Crazy, right? As it turns out, we invited them over for supper one night and I hurried to finish reading the book before they arrived so I could give it to her. It was fun to have that random bookish/friendish connection in a different country. And hey, I’m glad she commented on my story. 😉

FIRST OFF, SOME STATS:

Find the book on: Amazon and Goodreads
Pages: 208
Publisher: Moody Publishers
Release Date: April 2, 2019
Title: Homeschool Bravely
Nonfiction

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ABOUT THE BOOK

Quiet the voices of “not good enough” and step courageously into guilt-free homeschooling

Many homeschool parents have a long-term relationship with self-doubt. “Did I make the right decision?” “Could someone else do this better?” “Am I robbing my kids of something by not sending them to ‘regular school’?”

What if there’s a better way?

Not a 3-step technique or a shiny, new curriculum, but a change in perspective that transforms the way you plan, teach, and homeschool?

Homeschool Bravely teaches you to see homeschooling as a calling, helps you overthrow the tyranny of impossible expectations, and guides you through the common bumps in the road, including how to:

  • juggle school and parenting with toddlers at home
  • teach a struggling learner
  • plan with the end in mind
  • accept your own limitations without feeling guilty
  • stay the course even in the face of criticism

Reclaim your hope, renew your purpose, and transform your homeschool. Because the truth is: God will use every part of your homeschool, even your fears, faults, and failures, to weave good plans for your kids.

WHY I CHOOSE THIS BOOK

Despite the fact that I’ve read a lot of parenting books, I’ve never read any homeschooling books. That seemed like a fact I should remedy, and this book caught my eye, partly because of the title, partly because the cover is black.

Disclaimer: I’m not a parent, I don’t think I have the answers to parenting, homeschooling, or raising kids. I simply enjoy studying the subject and seeing how I can (very, very loosely) apply the principles I learn to myself, kids in my life, and maybe in the far distant future my own kids. Plus, it’s pretty fun to learn when there’s no pressure. But, as always this review will, therefore, be quite subjective, but will hopefully provide a unique point-of-view compared to the reviews written by parents who actually know what they’re doing.

WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT THIS BOOK

I found it surprisingly interesting. The author is a blogger and a lot of times a blogger-turned-book-author is a hit or miss for me when it comes to style – there’s no middle ground. This one was, thankfully, a total hit. Her writing style was engaging, her tone honest, encouraging, and at times funny, and her stories were ones I could relate to from the perspective of an adult who grew up being homeschooled.

The author used to be an elementary school teacher, which felt like it gave her added credentials while talking about homeschooling vs. public schooling.

There were some things in the book I didn’t fully agree with (more related to her views on various things, rather than what she actually did), but those things were minor enough that they didn’t take away from the book for me.

For me, the most interesting part of the book was when she gave different suggestions of things to do with kids. It’s so intriguing to hear about things little kids can do for fun that are actually educational as well.

CONCLUSION

If y’all are interested in this book, you should check out her website (The Unlikely Homeschool) or look her up on Instagram. I watched some of her Instagram stories as I was reading the book and that really helped her to feel more relatable and alive to me.

I generally don’t recommend parenting books as a non-parent on my blog (because that’s weird), and the same goes for homeschooling books. But, I did enjoy reading this book.

RATING

I’m giving Homeschool Bravely four out of five stars – Moody Publishers was very kind to send me a copy of this book so I could review it.