Monday, August 31, 2015

Until My Name is Known by Sonya Contreras

From the publisher: The Exodus of the Jews from Egypt is a love story between God and His people. God woos His people to Himself as He prepares them to leave. Before leaving, God must fight Pharaoh for possession of His people. See how God changes all people: some for the better, others not. None stay the same. How will He change you? Can you trust a God Who destroyed a nation before your eyes? Would you want Him as your Friend? See God free His people from Egypt s bonds Before a watching world. Trace His Finger in the lives He touches. The Time: 2450 BC The Place: Old Kingdom of Egypt Pharaoh is god. His people worship him. Israel s God arrives. He challenges Pharaoh. His power touches all people. They must change. Some do not concede. They suffer. Others yield. They find freedom. Until My Name Is Known brings all to see the one true God. Read it to see Him. Today's historians and archaeologists puzzle over the fall of the Old Kingdom of Egypt, But the world at that time heard of God. The world knew that He is the Lord. His Name was proclaimed in all the earth. Book One of the series Tell of My Kingdom' s Glory


The story of the Exodus is told from a variety of view points in this novel.  In doing so Sonya Contreras allows the reader to see and understand different view points.  While we tend to think of just Moses and Pharaoh when we read this story, it involved all of the Hebrew, Egyptians, and other nations as they heard about the things going on.  I did feel that perhaps there were too many view points and it created a few too many characters.

Readers will enjoy Sonya Contreras research and attention to details.  You will be able to get a better view of ancient Egypt than before and enrich the way you understand that historical time.

I received this book free from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Secrets She Kept by Cathy

Secrets She Kept by Cathy Gohlke

From the publisher:

The secret a mother was forbidden to share . . . the consequences a daughter could not redeem—but will risk everything in her attempt.

All her life, Hannah Sterling longed for a close relationship with her estranged mother. Following Lieselotte’s death, Hannah unlocks secrets of her mother’s mysterious past, including the discovery of a grandfather living in Germany.

Thirty years earlier, Lieselotte’s father, ascending the ranks of the Nazi party, demands a marriage for his daughter to help advance his career. But Lieselotte is in love—and her beloved Lukas secretly works against the Reich. How far will her father go to achieve his goal?

Both Hannah’s and Lieselotte’s stories unfold as Hannah travels to Germany to meet her grandfather, who hides wartime secrets of his own. Longing for connection, yet shaken by all she uncovers, Hannah must decide if she can atone for her family’s tragic past, and how their legacy will shape her future.


I sit here kind of stunned and in shock as I've just finished reading Secrets She Kept by Cathy Gohlke.  This author knows how to keep your heart pounding from the first page to the very last and then some.  She deserves 5 stars for this work of genius.  A word of warning though, this book does not have a "happily ever after" ending.  Yet it was a book I would not have wanted to miss!  In the first four chapters I went from literally feeling disdain for Hannah's "distant" mother to feeling pity and mercy wrapped in love for her.  This story makes the statement about walking a mile in another's shoes come to life.  In a brisk, honest, sometimes brutal telling of WWII Germany the author takes us on a journey to uncover family secrets.  Along the way the reader is brought face to face with intense emotions dealing with judging, betrayal, forgiveness and God's role in all of this.  If you're up to a book that challenges you and may rock you to the core, go get this book now!

I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Thank You, Lord, for Everything by P.J. Lyons

From the publisher:
A new padded board book with cheerful and upbeat rhymes that teaches children to be thankful.
A comfortable and relaxing rhyme tells the story of God's great blessings in this padded cover board book. P.J. Lyons' engaging text and Tim Warnes' playful illustrations remind readers how much they have to be thankful for.
Love surrounds you, beauty, too. Notice how God blesses you! Clap your hands, shout and sing: Thank you, Lord, for everything.
Thank You, Lord, For Everything, is a sweet and gentle rhyme-perfect for bedtime, quiet time, and anytime in between.
This board board is darling.  The illustrations by Tim Warnes just make the book extra special.  The little bear cub goes through out his day and in each situation it can give thanks.  
This teaches children to be able to give thanks in different situations.  The rhyme pattern is pleasant and easy to read.  My one year old enjoyed the book and asked to read it again recently so I think that's a hit.  
I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Through Waters Deep by Sarah Sundin

From the publisher:
It is 1941 and America teeters on the brink of war. Outgoing naval officer Ensign Jim Avery escorts British convoys across the North Atlantic in a brand-new destroyer, the USS Atwood. Back on shore, Boston Navy Yard secretary Mary Stirling does her work quietly and efficiently, happy to be out of the limelight. Yet, despite her reserved nature, she never could back down from a challenge. When evidence of sabotage on the Atwood is found, Jim and Mary must work together to uncover the culprit. A bewildering maze of suspects emerges, and Mary is dismayed to find that even someone close to her is under suspicion. With the increasing pressure, Jim and Mary find that many new challenges--and dangers--await them.

Sarah Sundin takes readers to the tense months before the US entered WWII. Readers will encounter German U-boats and torpedoes, along with the explosive power of true love, in this hopeful and romantic story.


Having only read one book by Sarah Sundin before (and it was in the middle of a series) I wanted to try reading one of her books from the beginning.  I am so glad that I did.  What a fantastic story!  There were many great elements about this so I will touch on a few of them.

This is a perfectly paced story.  Some stories drag.  Others rush.  This one was perfect.  It moved through time and just when it needed to pick up, it did.  The romance wasn't rushed.  It was real and deep.  Jim may be one of the best historical romance characters I've read because he was real.  He didn't know what to do all the time. His blunders almost cost him what he really wanted.  He wasn't driven or a super macho man.  He was human.  And I liked that.  Mary was a wonderful character to read as well.  I really am interested in many of the supporting characters and am anxious to see which ones will be developed in future stories.

Rich in historical detail but in no way bogs you down.  You are interested in the lives of Mary and Jim and Sarah Sundin weaves in historical information without making you feel like you are reading a history book.  The mystery of the sabotages and tension leading up to WWII  will leave you wondering what will happen next.

I highly recommend this book to others.

I received this book free from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Wild in the Hollows by Amber C. Haines

Cover Art

From the publisher:
Amber Haines is a woman haunted by God. Like Eve in the Garden, she craved the fruit that she thought would lead her to freedom. But the whispers of temptation led her instead down a devastating path toward isolation, dissatisfaction, and life-altering choices. In her most broken moment, Amber met God waiting for her in the fallout, freely offering her grace and life.

This is a story of the God who makes himself known in broken places. In prose that is at once lyrical and utterly honest, a brave new voice takes readers on a windswept journey down the path of brokenness to healing, satisfaction, and true intimacy with God. Amber calls readers to dispense with the pretty bows we use to dress up our stories and instead trust God to take our untidy, unfinished lives and make them free, authentic, and whole. Anyone who struggles with doubt or holds secrets, anyone who feels marginalized or like she is missing something, will find in Amber a sister and an inviting voice back home, into the heart of God.

 I like Amber's style of writing. And I honestly feel that if I met Amber in person, I would really like her, and connect with her.  So much of her story resonates my own.  Not in all the circumstances, but in the emotions and feelings.  I applaud her for being brave and honest and bold.  This is a story of where many of us are, we walk and fall and fall and walk.  She shares openly.  This book will be a blessing to many people.  

However, I struggle writing this review.  Here is why. I found myself skimming along.  Some of it was heavy with continual sadness. 

The last chapter felt like hope and light though.  As a reader you can feel her growth and journey.  Not all the story is wrapped up but isn't that how life is for each of us?

I received this book free from Revell Reads in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Berenstain Bears: Harvest Festival

From the publisher:
A new addition to the bestselling Berenstain Bears' Living Lights series that teaches simple Christian truths to children.
In this newest addition to the Berenstain Bears Living Lights series, The Berenstain Bears Harvest Festival, it’s autumn in Bear Country and the Chapel in the Woods is celebrating its first ever Harvest Festival.
Collectors of Berenstain Bears will want to add this lovely book to their collection. This book shares the fun of fall and harvest season with simple truths about God and how He cares for us in all He gives us.  It also shares how we are to celebrate what God gives us.  
However, these are not the prominent aspect of the book and children will enjoy all the different activities that the Berenstain Bears get to do.  It will make children eager to participate in fall events.  A great resource for parents is the last page which gives questions to talk about the book and then also activities to do relating to the book.
I received this book free from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Hope Harbor by Irene Hannon

From the publisher:
Tracy Campbell never wanted to leave Hope Harbor, Oregon, or the idyllic three-generation cranberry farm where she grew up. But life--and love--altered her plans. When tragedy strikes and changes her plans yet again, she finds herself back in her hometown with a floundering farm to run and a heartbreaking secret. Romance is not on her agenda. Nor is it on Michael Hunter's. The visitor from Chicago has daunting secrets of his own. But when Tracy recruits him to help save a struggling charitable organization, the winds of change begin to sweep through Hope Harbor, bringing healing, hope, and love to countless lives--including their own.

Fan favorite Irene Hannon brings a whole new cast of characters to life in a charming Oregon seaside village. Emotional and heartwarming, this story invites readers to come home to Hope Harbor, where love and hope bloom--and hearts heal.

I really enjoyed this book.  It was a perfect summer read.  The pacing and characters just flowed exactly how the story revealed itself.  

Irene Hannon is known for her high-paced heart-racing stories, but I think this was even better than her other ones.  Maybe because this is how life is for most of us, or because she developed the setting so well.  Either way, readers of Irene Hannon should pick up this book.  And if you just enjoy contemporary Christian this is for you.  It goes beyond just a love story and is a book about reconciliation with yourself and God, and others.  It is about forgiveness and making changes from the mistakes of the past.  A steady paced book that will let you soak it all in as you read it.

Tracy, Michael, and Anna will all capture your heart as they work through life and as they find God and reconciliation where they didn't expect it.

I received this book free from Revell Reads in exchange for my honest review.