Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Flirtation Walk by Siri Mitchell

From the publisher:
Trying to escape the shambles her con-man father has made of their reputation, Lucinda Curtis arrives in West Point, New York, determined to land a husband from the military academy. Campbell Conklin is first in his class and preparing to embark upon a storied career in the U.S. Army. Lucinda thinks Campbell will make the perfect husband . . . as long as he does not find out about her father.

Seth Westcott also has taken a liking to Lucinda. He's kind, smart . . . and working extremely hard to graduate last. Tradition states that the worst cadets are assigned to the cavalry out west. And west is where Seth must head to track the swindler who stole all of Seth's mother's money. Seth is smart enough to vie for the top spot, but life isn't fair and this is his chance to catch the man who ruined his family. It's too bad Campbell is all shine and no substance, but Lucinda will surely see through all of that, won't she?

This is a simple novel that goes back and forth between Seth and Lucinda's view points.  As a reader you are able to see what they are thinking and going through.  I was interesting to learn more about the military academy and the history of the place.  It was also fun to read about how the author took real places like the Flirtation Walk and put it in her story. 

The story I felt was a bit slow and didn't pick up until more than half-way through.  And I had a hard time really feeling that Seth and Lucinda were in love.  I liked Seth's friends more than Seth as a character and found some of the situations upsetting because of the redundancy and simpleton ways of the characters.  

That being said, it isn't a bad book and is a clean Christian romance novel that I think many will enjoy.

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

Monday, March 14, 2016

Letters to My Daughters: The Art of Being A Wife by Barbara Rainey

From the publisher:

Radio personality and bestselling author Barbara Rainey knows firsthand the challenges newly married couples face. Dismayed by Hollywood depictions of marriage and the seemingly easy solution of divorce, she sees a desperate need for a voice of experience, a mentor who has been there and understands--and can encourage, coach, and care.

As her daughters began their married lives, Barbara wanted to share with them, and now you, some of the lessons learned throughout her own marriage as well as those gleaned from years of ministry to couples. In these heartfelt, insightful letters, she answers the tough questions and addresses the realities of marriage. Through personal stories--including her own mistakes--and practical advice, Barbara provides the tools and direction to help you become a godly wife and determine your part in achieving a better marriage.

What a personal, and yet fun and unique way to read marital advice.  Instead of being in the usual book form this take on the writing style of personal letters from mother to daughters.  What is awesome is that this is based on Barbara Rainey's real letters to her daughters and daughters-in-law. They weren't originally meant to be published and that is a really nice touch.

The book itself is beautiful and would make a lovely gift. The premise of the book (besides letters) is how being a wife is like art.  What a beautiful and complex metaphor that words throughout the book.  Whether fine art, or cuisine, Barbara Rainey helps make tangible connections for the reader.

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

You're Already Amazing: LifeGrowth Guide by Holley Gerth

I haven't read Holley Gerth's You're Already Amazing book, but after reading this LifeGrowth Guide I definitely want to!

This is designed to be read with You're Already Amazing as well as done with the You're Already Amazing LifeGrowth DVD.  What I really appreciated, right off the bat, was that I didn't have to buy the DVD, you can watch the videos for free on her website.  The LifeGrowth Guide will lead you to that part of her website and there are additional resources there as well.  But if you don't have internet where you are wanting to do this guide, then you will want to buy the DVD.

This book is designed for facilitators as well as group members.  The facilitators have a special portion in the back they can look at and it lays out plans for each session really well.  It make me want to get a group read and facilitate it myself.

Each section is detailed.  These aren't short question and answer sections but in depth growth and development.  Each section could take up to 90 minutes with a group, and to me that is wonderful because that means there is a lot of depth.  You can make it shorter, of course, but there is depth and resources for depth there.

I am so thankful that I was able to review this.  And I am already planning to buy the first book and find a way to get this set up for a group!

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

Her One and Only by Becky Wade

I'm sad. This is the last book in the Porter series. Becky Wade has done an outstanding job with each book and this one was no exception.  My only complaint is that they couldn't go on and on forever.  I love reading about each hero and heroine and the family dynamics.

Dru was a great character to read.  Through the other books you can see her grow and it was great to read her story and her point of view.  She is a strong woman.  A woman who can protect and defend others.  She wasn't weak at all and I think that is what made her love for Gray that much deeper.  She didn't "need a man" but there is a desire for someone who loves us as we are and understands us.  The fun banter between Dru and Gray is fun to read, as well as their chemistry.

Right away you are drawn into this book with an amazing prologue.  This intense scene kept me reading as fast as I could to get to that part of the book.  There were a few times I thought it might be coming but then it wasn't.  Becky Wade kept the suspense up through out but didn't allow it to overshadow the book.

As always, the way she weaves in God, scripture, and their relationships with God is effortless and natural.  I appreciate how she allows the characters to have questions and conversations that are real.

You can read this book as a stand-alone but it will make more sense if you read the series.  Plus--I think they are all marvelous, so you should definitely read them all.

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

The Bee-Friendly Garden by Kate Frey and Gretchen LeBuhn

From the publishers:
In The Bee-Friendly Garden, award-winning garden designer Kate Frey and bee expert Gretchen LeBuhn provide everything you need to know to create a dazzling garden that helps both the threatened honeybee and our own native bees. No matter how small or large your space, and regardless of whether you live in the city, suburbs, or country, just a few simple changes to your garden can fight the effects of colony collapse disorder and the worldwide decline in bee population that threatens our global food chain.
This book interested me because I have heard a lot about how bees are threatened and how it can effect us.  

This book has a lot of information.  So those who are looking for information--this is the book.  However, it is laid out well and invites the reader to at least look at small sections if they don't have time for the bigger ones.  

Inside this book the authors share the benefits to having a bee-friendly garden, and which plants are best for attracting bees.  They talk about flowers as well as edible plants for your bee-friendly garden. I liked that the garden could be both aesthetics and useful. 

I liked the tips to designing your own garden, because I am visual and I wanted to picture what I had learned into a reality.  I found myself telling my husband about different things and showing him pictures. 

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

God is Watching Over You by P.J. Lyons Illustrated by Tim Warnes

P.J. Lyons and Tim Warnes have created another wonderful book for parents and children.  I have read their previous book Thank You Lord for Everything over and over to my toddler.  And I still love it!  So I was very excited to see them team up again.

This book have a soothing rhythm to it that will flow easily as you read it aloud.  The story follows a sheep family and heading home, getting ready for bed, and all the while reminded that God is watching over you.  It is a perfect book for any time but especially as your little one gets ready for bed.  The comforting and soothing reminder of God watching over your child will be very peaceful as they transition to bed.

The illustrations are cute and fun to look at and my toddler is engaged through out the story look at the pictures.

I highly recommend this book.

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

Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Red Door Inn by Liz Johnson

From the publisher:
Marie Carrington is running from a host of bad memories. Broke and desperate, she's hoping to find safety and sanctuary on Prince Edward Island, where she reluctantly agrees to help decorate a renovated bed-and-breakfast before it opens for prime tourist season.

Seth Sloane didn't move three thousand miles to work on his uncle's B&B so he could babysit a woman with a taste for expensive antiques and a bewildering habit of jumping every time he brushes past her. He came to help restore the old Victorian--and to forget about the fiancée who broke his heart.

The only thing Marie and Seth agree on is that getting the Red Door Inn ready to open in just three months will take everything they've got. Can these two wounded souls find hope, healing, and perhaps a bit of romance on this beautiful island?

This is the first book the the Prince Edward Island Dreams series.  

Right away I was drawn into the story.  Liz Johnson has and easy writing style that is soothing and engaging all at the same time.  Her writing style I really enjoyed and I will be looking forward to reading more from this series.

Both Marie and Seth have things they need to deal with and don't always deal with well.  Liz Johnson alludes to these things and reveals them throughout the story.  This keeps the reader engaged and yet she doesn't prolong it so that it becomes annoying.  Her balance throughout this novel was well done.

The secondary characters were engaging as well. And one of them will be the main character in the second book so you will definitely want to keep reading.

I appreciated the conversations and thoughts about God as Father and how it can easily be viewed poorly who do not have good relationships with their own fathers on earth.  I thought the author handled this well.

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