Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A Review: "Forever My Little Boy" by Karen Kingsbury

"Forever My Little Boy:  Loving Your Son for Now and for Always" by Karen Kingsbury is a sweet look at raising a boy. The bits of narrative are interspersed with Scripture verses and little prayers for your boy. Whimsical illustrations by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff depict the boy in the story growing up; the colorful pictures add a lot of character to the story.

With Mother's Day and Father's Day coming up, this would make a nice gift for any parent of a boy. It's a touching look at capturing moments in a boy's life as he grows up.

(I’ve received this complimentary book through the BookLook program in exchange for a review. A positive review was not required and the views expressed in my review are strictly my own.)

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

A Review: "The Red Door Inn" by Liz Johnson

The Red Door Inn (Prince Edward Island Dreams, #1)"The Red Door Inn" by Liz Johnson is the first in the "Prince Edward Island Dreams" series. Marie Carrington flees to Prince Edward Island to escape a personal trauma. She encounters widower Jack Sloane on the boat and is invited to help him decorate his new bed and breakfast. Upon arriving, she meets Seth Sloane, his nephew, who moved to the island in order to help renovate the inn and forget about the fiancee who nearly ruined his life.

The trio work hard to establish this new bed and breakfast, while each works through personal pain from their pasts. At first, Seth cannot understand why his uncle brought in this young woman who seems to need more just a job and a roof over her head. Marie can't understand why Seth has a tendency toward gruffness and near animosity toward her. Only after they spend more time together and begin to reveal portions of their stories do they come to understand the layers underneath the initial appearances.

The theme of redemption and finding healing is strong through this novel. The characters were fairly engaging and the setting was truly gorgeous. This was a decent read and I may consider following through with additional books in this series. I wouldn't say that it is a "must-read", but the story is nice one to spend a few days with.

(I’ve received this complimentary book through Revell Books in exchange for a review. A positive review was not required and the views expressed in my review are strictly my own.)

Friday, February 19, 2016

A Review: "Lots of Knock-Knock Jokes for Kids" by Whee Winn

After this book, "Lots of Knock-Knock Jokes for Kids" by Whee Winn, arrived at my house, I immediately opened the package and started testing a few jokes out on my kids. They both love knock-knock jokes and this book does the trick of infusing fresh life into their joke-telling repertoire. My oldest has enjoyed using this book to provide some easy entertainment while I'm getting dinner ready.

The book contains over 250 jokes and is laid out in several sections, with jokes sorted by name, place, holidays, or objects. This has been a fun addition in our house, especially for two boys who absolutely love knock-knock jokes!

(I’ve received this complimentary book through the BookLook program in exchange for a review. A positive review was not required and the views expressed in my review are strictly my own.)

Monday, February 8, 2016

A Review: "The Life Giving Home" by Sally and Sarah Clarkson

Coming Feb. 2, 2016"The Life Giving Home:  Creating a Place of Belonging and Becoming" by Sally and Sarah Clarkson is the story of the Clarkson family, how they created a home life for their family and all who enter their home that is welcoming, loving, and a haven of rest and peace. The Clarkson family truly embraced making their home a place that gives life and refuge to many, one that celebrates family, friendships, and faith.

The book is divided into two sections. The first one discusses thinking about home--what home means, what it could look like. The second section composes the vast majority of the book and is divided not by chapters, but by months. Each month revolves around a certain theme with some introductory thoughts and a section on what it looks like in practice in their own home life.

I truly enjoyed this book and all the ideas contained within, not just the practical ones, but also the whys of making home. Hospitality is not my strong suit, but this book gives me plenty of ideas that I can easily tweak and apply to my own family.

(I’ve received this complimentary book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for a review. A positive review was not required and the views expressed in my review are strictly my own.)

Monday, January 18, 2016

A Review: "Rest Assured" by Vicki Courtney

Rest Assured Cover"Rest Assured" by Vicki Courtney aims at helping women who are overcommitted, over-connected, and generally overwhelmed to slow down and find true rest for their souls. The book is divided into two sections. The first deals with enemies of rest; Courtney examines four specific areas (busyness, pursuit of happiness, tethered to technology, and worry) that bring women down distract them from incorporating rest into daily life. The second section deals with recovery. She includes four chapters that focus on four different ways to truly make rest part of life. Each chapter in this book includes discussion questions for small groups or for the reader to tackle on her own. The final four chapters also include a one-week dare where the reader takes one week to focus on living out the principles that were just read about (this is where a small group would really come in handy for the accountability aspect).

While there was nothing entirely new in this book, Courtney's writing is so fresh and engaging that the principles all feel brand new. I've known about these concepts for a long time, but putting them into practice has typically been more difficult. The practical suggestions and ideas that she puts forth in this book are just the motivation I need to implement some of these into my daily and weekly life. It's a wonderful book that so many women need to read. I highly recommend it!

(I’ve received this complimentary book through the BookLook program in exchange for a review. A positive review was not required and the views expressed in my review are strictly my own.)

Sunday, January 3, 2016

A Review: "Crazy Little Thing Called Marriage" by Dr. Greg and Erin Smalley

"Crazy Little Thing Called Marriage:  12 Secrets for a Lifelong Romance" by Dr. Greg and Erin Smalley is the newest edition in the many offerings from Focus on the Family:  Focus on Marriage resources designed to help strengthen and nurture marriage relationships. With marriage under attack from so many influences, both outside and inside the relationship, it's vital for all married and engaged couples to focus on marriage, strengthening it to help you navigate all kinds of challenges. In this book, the Smalleys combine solid Biblical teaching and personal stories to bring the reader 12 secrets, 12 truths, 12 ways to help fortify your marriage and help it last a lifetime. These truths include help understanding communication, honoring one another, serving one another, and seeking God above all.

While at first glance, these 12 secrets seem fairly basic. However, the more I got into the book, the more I realized just how much better I can do. Even being married for nearly 13 years, there are still so many ways I can improve and make my own marriage better. These may seem like simple techniques and insights to some, but they are highly valuable insights that would benefit many marriages, from those just starting out to those that have many years behind them.

I was truly blown away by this book and the insights that were offered. I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for ways to bring some fresh insight and fresh perspective in your marriage journey.

Just as Joshua challenged his people to "choose this day whom you will serve" (Joshua 24:15), so we need to choose, every day, to pursue a great marriage. We need to choose intentionality over passivity...Loving thoughts over self-centered thoughts...Loving actions over self-serving ones. And in the process of keeping your commitments and acting in love, you will find yourselves enjoying the true Promised Land Marriage. (p.258)

(I’ve received this complimentary book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for a review. A positive review was not required and the views expressed in my review are strictly my own.)

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A Review: "The Painter's Daughter" by Julie Klassen

The Painter's DaughterJulie Klassen's newest novel, "The Painter's Daughter", focuses on the story of Sophie DuPont, a young woman who works as an assistant in her father's art studio. Located on the north Devon coast, the area is popular with many artists and poets, including artist Wesley Overtree. After departing for Italy and leaving Sophie in a serious situation, Wesley's brother, Captain Stephen Overtree, offers Sophie a solution. She is now faced with a choice, each carrying significant ramifications.

The story in this one took me a few chapters to really get into it, but once I found my rhythm with it, the story really drew me in.  The main characters were really well developed and the plot flowed well. There was enough intrigue to keep things interesting and fresh. The visual descriptions for the locations truly made the reader picture the setting.

Julie Klassen has become one of my "must-read" authors. I have enjoyed most of her work; there have been a couple more recent novels that have not been impressive. However, this novel is definitely one of her better ones and I would highly recommend it even to people not familiar with her other work.

(I’ve received this complimentary book from Bethany House Publishers through the Book Blogger program in exchange for a review. A positive review was not required and the views expressed in my review are strictly my own.)