Friday, December 9, 2016

Pursing Gold by Cynthia L. Simmons

From the publisher:

With his father dead and his business partner incapacitated, Peter Chandler inherits the leadership of a bank in economic crisis. With only a newly-minted college degree and little experience, Peter joins his partner’s daughter, Mary Beth Roper, in a struggle to keep C&R Bank afloat while the Civil War rages around Chattanooga. Political pressure for unsecured loans of gold to the government stirs up trouble as tempers and prices rise. Their problems multiply when Mary Beth discovers counterfeit money with Peter’s forged signature. Can they find the forger before the bank fails? The two friends must pursue gold on behalf of their business, as they learn to pursue their heavenly Father to find hope and peace

Having lived in Chattanooga I was excited to read this book and the time era.  I was excited and really wanted to get into the book more than I did.  Cynthia L Simmons does a good job at her research and will bring readers new insight and information into this time period.

I felt that the characters were hard to believe and really like.  The dialogue seemed stifled a bit and I found  myself skimming to get more into the story instead of enjoying character development and the story plot.

I received this book free from the publisher.  All opinions are my own.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Marlo Schalesky’s ‘Waiting for Wonder’ Blog Tour and Giveaway

Because God’s timing is so rarely our own and we lose the wonder in the waiting of life, desperation strikes, plans backfire, and we begin to wonder why God does not fill the emptiness. Be encouraged to find strength and hope in Marlo Schalesky's new book, Waiting for Wonder. Journey into the heart of God where you will wrestle with personal questions, think deeply about God’s true character, and learn to appreciate His divine work as you discover your own path to the promised land. Recapture your hope, restore your soul, and renew your vision of a wondrous Savior when you learn to live on God’s time.

Learn the true purpose of waiting on God and living on His timeline and enter to win Marlo's giveaway.


One grand prize winner will receive:
  • Two copies of Waiting for Wonder (one for you and one to give to a friend)
  • A KEEP Collective watch set (with a band and watch)


Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on December 23. The winner will be announced December 27 on Marlo's blog.


Discipline that Connects with Your Child's Heart by Jim & Lynne Jackson

Froom the publisher:
Did you know that the way we deal (or don't deal) with our kids' misbehavior shapes their beliefs about themselves, the world, and God? Therefore it's vital to connect with their hearts--not just their minds--amid the daily behavior battles.

With warmth and grace, Jim and Lynne Jackson, founders of Connected Families, offer four tried-and-true keys to handling any behavioral issues with love, truth, and authority. You will learn practical ways to communicate messages of grace and truth, how to discipline in a way that motivates your child, and how to keep your relationship strong, not antagonistic. Discipline is more than just a short-term attempt to modify your child's actions--it's a long-term investment to help them build faith, wisdom, and character for life. When you discover a better path to discipline, you'll find a more well-behaved--and well-believed--kid.

I cannot tell you how excited I was to read this book!  I have a book called Parenting with Connection that speaks to foster and adoptive parents, and as I read it I kept seeing how it could apply to all parenting!  So when I saw this book, and how many of the principles are the same I was ecstatic.

Being a Christian I was so happy to see these concepts mixed with building faith, wisdom, and character.

This book is not a quick fix book.  You can easily implement the things immediately but the results might take a while to show.  But I wouldn't be discouraged or give up.  Instead, this book is for the long haul and for real character development along with faith and Christian characters. 

Through out each chapter there are "My Response" sections that help focus and apply the things being discussed. Also, they have a huge appendix section for specific challenges that are a great resource to add to the book. 

I am so thankful Jim and Lynne Jackson wrote this book!

I received this book free from the publisher and was not required to write a positive review.

Waiting for Wonder by Marlo Schalesky

From the publisher:

It’s easy to believe God when a promise is new. It’s hard when the years pass and nothing changes. It’s even harder when desperation strikes, your plans backfire, and still God does not fill the emptiness. But what if, in this waiting, God is calling us to more?

Join author Marlo Schalesky on a unique, contemplative journey to reveal the wonder that is often missed when we find ourselves struggling to wait well. Walking through the life of the biblical character Sarah, one who knows what it means to wait, you will discover a glimpse of God’s character that will give you strength to keep hoping and praying for the desires of your heart.

Waiting for Wonder is a journey into the heart of God where you will wrestle with personal questions, think deeply about God’s true character, and learn to appreciate His divine work as you discover your own path to the promised land. Recapture your hope, restore your soul, and renew your vision of a wondrous Savior when you learn to live on God’s time.

Leader guide also available.


This book.  This book is possibly the best book I have read this year.  I started reading this because I thought I should, but I could tell that this was the book I was meant to read.

I have really been struggling during a waiting period of my life.  I have been begging God for a miracle...for 15 months.  Begging for the fulfillment of a promise I know He has given me.  And yet, as I have tried to make things go faster. But that has only ended in heartbreak.

And so I began the journey of Sarai as Marlo Schaelsky writes and shares the keys to waiting.  Never have I read a book like this.  This small book is so powerful.  I think I underlined almost every page, and some pages have underlining, stars, highlights, etc. filling the whole page. 

I know that my review of this book won't do it justice.  This book allowed me to breathe.  To find peace in waiting....waiting that can be SO hard.  This book was an incredible blessing.  If you are in a season of waiting.  Weeks, months, years....then get this book.  Sarai's journey will never be more real or applicable. 

I received this book free and was not required to write a positive review.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Scripture Doodle by April Knight

These books are really a great way for those who enjoy "hand lettering" or "scripture doodling" but aren't feeling brave enough to try on their own.  I, for one, am not super artistic and these little books are perfect. 

April Knight guides you step by step to improve your doodling and grow as an artist.  But what I love is that her goal is not to have you "become an artist" but rather for you do have a devotional experience with God and His Word. 

God's Word is so rich and deep and by using this book it allows you do experience His Word in a new way. 

This book could be for children or adults. 

I received these books free from the publisher and was not required to write a positive review.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

KJV Journal the Word Bible: Large Print

This Bible is a wonderful edition of the Bible.  The large print is laid out in a single column style that makes reading easier than most multi-columned Bible. In addition to this classic version of the Bible, there are blank columns on each side of the two page spread. 

These free spaces are there for notes or Bible Word Art...or anything you would like.  I love this edition of the Bible because it blends the classic Word with allowing your own creative expression.

I received this book from the publisher and was no required to write a positive review.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Getaway with God: The Everywoman's Guide to Personal Retreat by Letitia Suk

From the publisher:
What if a simple day away could transform your life?
Does spending time with God sound like just one more thing to check off an ever-increasing to-do list? How are you supposed to fit in anything that threatens to be more time-consuming? Too often there's simply no room to experience the intimacy, grace, and peace that God offers us.
Getaway with God does more than invite you to step away from life's pressures to take a personal retreat. It shows you exactly why you must--for your sake and for your family's.
With grace and warmth, Letitia Suk provides step-by-step guidance and the necessary tools to enable any woman on any budget to plan time away, whether it's a quick, half-day break or a weeklong time of restoration. You'll find detailed steps for preparation, including descriptions of different kinds of retreats and how to choose the best one for you, and you'll learn ways to bring the renewal you experience home with you. Practical appendixes identify retreat centers nationwide and provide exercises and prayers to kick-start your getaway with God.
No matter what your season in life, the time for retreat is now!

This small book is exactly what it claims to be.  It is a guide to personal retreat.  It says women but I think that men could easily adapt it to something for themselves. 

Here are a few things I really liked about this book:

Letitia Suk shows you that a personal retreat can be for different reasons and even allows one that is for rest and relaxation.  But she also shows how a retreat is meant to be a time to focus intently on God.  I liked how she gave Bible study suggestions as well as physical tips like napping and taking walks. 

I think it was important that she shows we can't always get a day away or a few days but sometimes it could be an afternoon or even setting one day aside during the week as the Ten Commandments say.  The Sabbath is a perfect way to have a retreat every week, but you would do it as a family. 

If you want to know how to do a personal retreat and how to have that focused time with God then this is the book for you.  It is full of practical suggestions and guidelines as well as reasons why it is so important. 

I received this book free from the publisher.  All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Far Afield by Shane Mitchell and Photographer James Fisher

What an interesting book!  This fascinating book is a mixture of photography, history, and food. 

This book will take you to different places and let you really experience life there.  Shane Mitchell will share with you the fascinating people all over the world and their unique stories and lives.  You will be captivating by them as well as the recipes from each place.  Some of these have the oldest food traditions. 

James Fischer captures in photography what Shane Mitchell writes about.  So not only do you read about these places, people, and food but you can see them for yourself.

I received this book free from the publisher and was not required to write a positive review.

NIV Journal the Word Study Bible

I love this edition of the Bible.  When I got it I immediately was in love with it. The beautiful cloth front invites you to sit down somewhere peaceful and quiet your heart.

Inside the text is laid out in one column.  Unlike most Bibles which tend to have multiple columns this one has just one column which also makes it feel more like a book.  Then on the sides are a large margins of lined space for notes.  These notes could be historical notes or could be Bible journaling that is decorative and beautiful.

I already want to get studying the Bible anew in this Bible.  This could also be a beautiful gift to give anyone.

I received this book from the publisher and was not required to write a positive review.

Monday, November 21, 2016

The Glorious Ordinary by Sarah Frazer

When I read the introduction to The Glorious Ordinary I felt my lungs and heart constrict. I am here--in this waiting. Waiting in the ordinary and it is suffocating me spiritually.  I want what Sarah Frazer describes, peace today. I don't want to wait until my prayers are answered to have peace and connection with God. I want to live each ordinary day marveling at the God who loves me enough to send His Son to die for me.

 What Sarah writes is for me. It is for you. To find the ordinary, normal days and see and experience them as the glory of God.

I love that she has you digging into the word of God. Each day gleanings truth from God's Word and making us wrestle and sit with it until we are truly abiding in Christ. Not only does Sarah bring us to God's sacred Word but she guides us to pray. To spend time communing with God. This is a beautiful blend of sacred things. The Word of God and the words we pray back to Him.

I believe this book will be such a blessing to so many. It has already blessed me and called me deeper into hope.

I highly recommend this beautiful book to others!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year: A Countdown to Christmas by Ace Collins

From the publisher:
For Christians worldwide, the month of December is filled with joy and wonder as we anticipate the celebration of Christ’s birth. There is no other time of the year that can compare to the Christmas season for both the young and young at heart.

From December to New Year’s Eve, reawaken the wonder, joy, and magic that is Christmas with daily scripture and inspirational readings of stories behind popular Christmas traditions, carols and movies. Enjoy a wealth of fun activities to help make the most of the season, including heartwarming holiday recipes and homemade gift ideas.

With this soon-to-be-cherished holiday devotional, best-selling author Ace Collins will capture your imagination and help to make each day of December more memorable and meaningful to you, and those you love, by shining a light on the real spirit of the season.

This is a great little book to countdown toward Christmas.  Not only does it countdown toward Christmas but it goes to New Year's Eve. 

Each day has a devotional reading, a carol, and something you can do for others.  What impressed me the most about this book was all the ideas for gifts for others.  I love that each day you were made to focus outside yourself and give to others.  Often we look to ourselves and what we want so much.  This can be a great tool to help families do something nice each day for other people.

I received this book free from the publisher and was not required to write a positive review.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

A Portrait of Emily Price by Katherine Reay

Emily Price—fix-it girl extraordinaire and would-be artist—dreams of having a gallery show of her own. There is no time for distractions, especially not the ultimate distraction of falling in love.
But Chef Benito Vassallo’s relentless pursuit proves hard to resist. Visiting from Italy, Ben works to breathe new life into his aunt and uncle’s faded restaurant, Piccollo. Soon after their first meeting, he works to win Emily as well—inviting her into his world and into his heart.
Emily astonishes everyone when she accepts Ben’s proposal and follows him home. But instead of allowing the land, culture, and people of Monterello to transform her, Emily interferes with everyone and everything around her, alienating Ben’s tightly knit family. Only Ben’s father, Lucio, gives Emily the understanding she needs to lay down her guard. Soon, Emily’s life and art begin to blossom, and Italy’s beauty and rhythm take hold of her spirit.
Yet when she unearths long-buried family secrets, Emily wonders if she really fits into Ben’s world. Will the joys of Italy become just a memory, or will Emily share in the freedom and grace that her life with Ben has shown her are possible?


I just marvel over Katherine Reay’s writing.  Her descriptions and story development of families is the raw and beautiful gift.

I feel the layering of people, truth, and life—just like how Emily deals with layers in restoration of art.  Truly this book is a work of art.  At first you think it is just about a beautiful love, but you can tell it is more and the layers of love and family widen and deepen. 

The spiritual truth of grace and belonging are a quiet and rich undertone to the story.  One that stands out in the secrets discovered in this story. 

I felt the beauty of all that way there and realized that this is how I feel every time I read Katherine Reay’s novels.  They are more the just stories.  They are living life.  It isn’t perfect.  Life is messy but there is beauty and love there that astounds you.

This book was beautiful.  I know this review won’t do it justice, so go read it yourself. 

I highly recommend this book.

I received this book from the publisher.

Photographs from the Edge by Art Wolfe with Rob Sheppard

This book of photographic art is more than just pretty pictures.  Each picture is accompanied by details about the photograph.  For photographers this could be a great teaching tool as the type of camera, lens, etc. is given as well as a photographic tip.

For those who just enjoy photography they will enjoy reading “The nature of the photo” and the larger description of why the photographer took this photograph and what it represents. 

The photographs are a wide variety that include foreign cities, cultural celebrations, endangered species, natural wonders, and more.

I received this book free from the publisher. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Silent Songbird by Melanie Dickerson

From the publisher:
Desperate to flee a political marriage to her cousin King Richard II’s closest advisor, Lord Shiveley—a man twice her age with shadowy motives—Evangeline runs away and joins a small band of servants journeying back to Glynval, their home village.
Pretending to be mute, she gets to know Westley le Wyse, their handsome young leader, who is intrigued by the beautiful servant girl. But when the truth comes out, it may shatter any hope that love could grow between them.
More than Evangeline’s future is at stake as she finds herself entangled in a web of intrigue that threatens England’s monarchy.Should she give herself up to protect the only person who cares about her? If she does, who will save the king from a plot to steal his throne?


I love fairytales and reading modern fairytales is really enjoyable.  Especially when Melanie Dickerson writes.  I love how the classic stories we are familiar with from childhood can come alive in a new way for young adults to read (well any age, really!)

Evangeline was a interesting character to read. It helped me understand that being "privileged" wasn't always all it was cracked up to be.  Instead it could come with many restrictions.

Westley showed us how there is pressure to be a leader, and that even a good leader can be accused of wrong things and can suffer because of the actions of others.

I felt there was good depth in this book as well as a light hearted love story.

I received this book free from the publisher.

Friday, October 28, 2016

An Amish Family Christmas by Shelley Shepard Gray

From the publisher:
In Shelley Shepard Gray’s fourth book in her Charmed Amish Life series, an unlikely Amish romance reveals that Christmas is a time for family, miracles—and love. 

Ever since his father died in a tragic fire, Levi Kinsinger has felt adrift. Newly returned to Charm, Ohio, Levi is trying to fit into his old life, only to discover he seems to have outgrown it.
But when Julia, his young widowed neighbor, asks for his help with a Christmas project, Levi finds a sense of purpose for the first time in months. She and her daughter are new to Charm and could use a friend, a job Levi takes personally. Soon enough, friendship grows into attraction, but Levi can’t help having doubts. There’s something about Julia that doesn’t ring quite true…

Like Levi, Julia Kemps has survived her fair share of hardships—but only by hiding the truth of her past. Being an unmarried mother in an Amish community was unthinkable. Feeling hopeless, Julia did the only thing she could do: she moved to a new town and pretended to be a widow. But meeting Levi, she’s hopeful for the first time. Little by little, she begins to imagine telling him her darkest secret, and eventually…perhaps even sharing her life with him.
Christmas is a time for family, and as the holiday draws closer, Julia and Levi will have to face their pasts together…in order to find the healing, support and love they so desperately desire.


This is the final book in the Charmed Amish Life series and does a nice job of not only telling Levi and Julia's story but wrapping up the other siblings stories and leaving them all together as they should be.

Julia's story is one that is a little more intense as she has a past she is running from that could harm her but as the readers find Levi there to befriend and help her they will feel relief in their friendship for protection for Julia.

I liked that this story taught a lot about not judging others and instead finding ways to support and accep0 tpeople for who they are and where they are emotionally.  Often we try to hide ourselves in order for others to like us but that shouldn't be the case.  I was glad that Gray brought this out in her novel.

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

A Sister's Wish by Shelley Shepard Gray

From the publisher:

In Shelley Shepard Gray’s third book in her Charmed Amish Life series, a respectable young woman finds herself falling for an Amish man from the wrong side of the tracks.
Amelia Kinsinger is the perfect Amish woman—at least according to her neighbors. And while Amelia takes pride in her role as homemaker, she’s also harboring a secret: She’s been in love with bad boy Simon Hochstetler for as long as she can remember. Too bad he’s about as far from “perfect” as an Amish man could get… but that’s exactly why she’s so drawn to him.

Life hasn’t been kind to Simon. He ran away from an abusive home at fifteen and things went downhill from there. Eventually, Simon landed in prison. But the experience changed him. Now back in Charm as a grown man, he’s determined to make a new life for himself and not think too much about his wild past…unless it pertains to Amelia.

He’s loved Amelia for years. To him, she represents everything good and kind in the world. When he realizes that she returns his affections, he starts calling on her in secret, even though her older brother Lukas—who just happens to be Simon’s best friend—has made it perfectly clear that Amelia deserves better. Simon disagrees and believes he’s the only one who can truly make her happy.

But when Amelia gets hurt, it sets off a chain of events that forces them to consider their future together—and face their past mistakes. There’s a chance for love… but only if Simon dares to trust Amelia with the secrets of his past.


If you have not read the other two book in this series, I highly recommend you reading those before reading this book.  It will help with all the characters and the situations that are dealt with in the book much easier.

This is a small book, like the other three.  Which makes it feel more like a novella than a novel.  For that reason there isn't as much plot development or character depth as a longer novel would have.  However, for what it is, the book is well done.

Readers will cheer for Amelia and Simon and for the things they have to deal with.  Simon's sister Tess is just as much a part of this book as Simon is and it adds to the story by bringing in other view points.

It was hard for me to read about Lukas and Rebecca being so mean, it seemed a bit out of character after reading the other books.  Also, Amelia is a lot more likeable in this book than the others, which could be what the author was going for to help you have different ways of looking at each situation.

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

Thursday, October 27, 2016

40 Days to a Joyful Motherhood by Sarah Humphrey

This is a perfect gift to give a mother.  Truly, as a mother it is hard to find quiet time but this book might be just what a busy mother needs. 

40 days of one page devotionals along with a page to color and sometimes embellish with your own additions of words or pictures. 

I love that the devotionals do more than just provide a quick read.  They challenge the mother to do something with what they have read.  It could be finding who they are and treating themselves well, or it could be about giving generously to those in their lives.  This sweet book is just about perfect.

I received this book free from the publisher.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Sound of Silver Birthday Giveaway!

Hello and welcome to The Sound of Silver birthday blog tour! I’m posting today about Rachelle Rea Cobb’s second installment in the Steadfast Love series, an inspirational historical romance set during the 16th century!

Rachelle is also the author of The Sound of Diamonds, the first book in the series, and a newlywed! This summer, she married a man with the same first name as the hero of the series! I’m joining in this blog tour to tell you a little more about Silver and spread the news about the rocking giveaway Rachelle is hosting—make sure you enter using the Rafflecopter form to win the lovely necklace pictured and your choice of any of the Steadfast Love titles!

ABOUT The Steadfast Love SERIES

In 16th-century Europe, the Reformation rages between Protestants and Catholics. Gwyneth, half-Dutch, flees from England to Holland to escape the man who murdered her parents. When he follows her there and insists he came to rescue her, will she trust this man called Dirk? When tragedy strikes, will their steadfast love erode?


Times gone by snatch Rachelle Rea Cobb close, so she reads and writes about years long ago--her passions include the Reformation, Revolutions, and romance. Rachelle wrote the Steadfast Love series during college. Five months after she graduated, she signed a three-book deal with her dream publisher, WhiteFire. She's a homeschool grad, Oreo addict, and plots her novels while driving around her dream car, a pick-up truck. In June 2016, she married a man with the same name as her fictional hero, and they live happily ever after in Small Town, South.


Instagram: @RachelleReaCobb

ABOUT The Sound of Silver

The stalwart saint and the redeemed rebel. One fights for faith, the other for honor…

After Dirk rescues Gwyneth from the Iconoclastic Fury, she discovers that faith is sometimes fragile—and hope is not as easy as it may seem. Gwyneth continues her quest to learn more about the love of God preached by Protestants she once distrusted.

Meanwhile, Dirk’s quest is to prevent his sullied name from staining hers. Will his choice to protect her prove the undoing of her first faltering steps toward a Father God? Once separated, will Dirk and Gwyneth’s searching hearts ever sing the same song?

Find The Sound of Silver on…
Amazon Paperback:
Barnes & Noble:
Books a Million:

>> And if you want to learn more ABOUT BOOK ONE, The Sound of Diamonds


 Her only chance of getting home is trusting the man she hates.

With the protestant Elizabeth on the throne of England and her family in shambles, Catholic maiden Gwyneth seeks refuge in the Low Countries of Holland, hoping to soothe her aching soul. But when the Iconoclastic Fury descends and bloodshed overtakes her haven, she has no choice but to trust the rogue who arrives, promising to see her safely home to her uncle's castle. She doesn't dare to trust him...and yet doesn't dare to refuse her one chance to preserve her own life and those of the nuns she rescues from the burning convent.

Dirk Godfrey is determined to restore his honor at whatever cost. Running from a tortured past, Dirk knows he has only one chance at redemption, and it lies with the lovely Gwyneth, who hates him for the crimes she thinks he committed. He must see her to safety, prove to the world that he is innocent, prove that her poor eyesight is not the only thing that has blinded her, but what is he to do when those goals clash?

The home Gwyneth knew is not what she once thought. When a dark secret and a twisted plot for power collide in a castle masquerading as a haven, the saint and the sinner must either dare to hold to hope...or be overcome.

Find The Sound of Diamonds on…
Barnes & Noble:
Books a Million:

Enter using the Rafflecopter form below to win a beautiful necklace created by Baubles, Beads, and Stuff and your choice of any one of Rachelle’s three books (the series begins in Book One, of course, but in case you have one or two of her books already, Rachelle will gladly send you the next one to read!).

International friends, the paperback & necklace giveaway is open to continental U.S. addresses only (sorry!). But do still enter, because one international winner will also be chosen to receive an e-book.

a Rafflecopter giveaway