Hidden Among the Stars by Melanie Dobson Review

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Synopsis

From the award-winning author of Catching the Wind, which Publishers Weekly called “unforgettable” and a “must-read,” comes another gripping time-slip novel about hidden treasure, a castle, and ordinary people who resisted evil in their own extraordinary way.
The year is 1938, and as Hitler’s troops sweep into Vienna, Austrian Max Dornbach promises to help his Jewish friends hide their most valuable possessions from the Nazis, smuggling them to his family’s summer estate near the picturesque village of Hallstatt. He enlists the help of Annika Knopf, his childhood friend and the caretaker’s daughter, who is eager to help the man she’s loved her entire life. But when Max also brings Luzia Weiss, a young Jewish woman, to hide at the castle, it complicates Annika’s feelings and puts their entire plan―even their very lives―in jeopardy. Especially when the Nazis come to scour the estate and find both Luzia and the treasure gone.

Eighty years later, Callie Randall is mostly content with her quiet life, running a bookstore with her sister and reaching out into the world through her blog. Then she finds a cryptic list in an old edition of Bambi that connects her to Annika’s story . . . and maybe to the long-buried story of a dear friend. As she digs into the past, Callie must risk venturing outside the safe world she’s built for a chance at answers, adventure, and maybe even new love.

My Thoughts

This story, although fictional, is based on a true period in history. The time that it portrays was a very dark, scary time where evil seemed to be reigning. There are some gritty scenes in the story that are difficult to read but the author did well at giving enough information to explain the situation without getting too graphic.

The story is a time slip style that jumps between past and present and in each time period, new things are revealed about the other. The mysteries surrounding Annika and an old copy of Bambi were very intriguing and I was eager to learn the truth about them.

I didn’t care for the present day story line as much, with the exception of the revealing of information about the past. The characters in the present didn’t really interest me and I found myself a little disappointed when I was taken out of the past.

Although this was a difficult story to read, there was still some glimmers of hope found in the pages…the gospel was presented well and the way people came together to help each other was very touching.

I would highly recommend this story.

My Rating

4.5 stars

I received this book from the author/publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Crack Yourself Up Jokes for Kids by Sandy Silverthorne

 

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Description

Any kid can be a comedian with a little help from award-winning author/illustrator Sandy Silverthorne’s Crack Yourself Up Jokes for Kids. Perfect for kids ages 6-12, this zany collection of one-liners (Did you hear about the missing barber? Police are combing the city.), knock-knock jokes (Knock, Knock. Who’s there? Pizza. Pizza who? Pizza nice guy, don’t you think?), riddles (What’s red and goes up and down? A tomato in an elevator.), puns, and funny lists represents some of the world’s best clean humor. Add in the author’s hilarious illustrations and cartoons, and kids will get hours of fun with the kind of laughs that make milk come out your nose–that is, if you’re drinking milk while you read!

My Thoughts

This is a very fun joke book for kids. All jokes are clean and appropriate for all ages. Some are a bit cheesy (for adults) but they’re definitely the type that kids would love. There are different types of jokes…riddles, knock-knock jokes, story type jokes, and puns. I had a joke book similar to this when I was just learning to read and it was such fun to entertain my family and friends with my silly jokes.

Making people laugh makes people feel good about themselves. This book would also help early or reluctant readers to practice their reading out loud skills. I highly recommend this fun, clean joke book!

My Rating

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I received this book from the publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart Teen Edition by J.D Greear

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Summary

In this teen edition of Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart , Greear and Gaston unpack the doctrine of assurance, answering the tough questions about assurance: What exactly is faith? What is repentance?

My Thoughts

At first glance, the title of this book was shocking to me. I grew up in a church that invited us to “ask Jesus into your heart” and then you would be saved. This book discusses the flaws in this approach as some people think that as long as they say the prayer, they can go on living life the same way with the assurance of Heaven.

This book was very informative and relatable…I, like the author, said the sinner’s prayer at least 10 times throughout my childhood and teenage years, “just to be sure”. The author touches on many things, using scripture to back everything up.

I will admit that reading some parts of this book really triggered my anxiety as I found myself still questioning but by the end, I had my answer.

This would be an excellent resource for youth pastors as it is directed towards teens but people of all ages could benefit from it.

The subject of salvation is a major one and can be a bit tricky as only God truly knows the state of one’s heart. I appreciate the author’s willingness to be straightforward and give the truths that are tucked in the Bible…we need to rest on the gospel. I highly recommend this book!

My Rating

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I received this book from the publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

As the Tide Comes In by Cindy and Erin Woodsmall Review

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Synopsis:

New York Times best-selling author releases her first southern novel, a Steel Magnolias-meets-Sweet Home Alabama story set on St. Simons Island.

After losing two loved ones in a devastating tornado and suffering a head injury, Tara Abbott flees to St. Simons Island, where her disorientation causes the lines between imagination and reality, past and present to blur.

There she encounters island residents Julep Burnside, Luella Ward, Sue Beth Manning, and Dell Calhoun–The Glynn Girls–who have been friends since Bible camp, forty years earlier. When Julep’s son Gavin identifies a troubled soul in need of help, can the Glynn Girls guide Tara back to herself?

My Thoughts:

This is quite possibly one of the saddest books I’ve ever read, the things that the main character, Tara experiences are extremely difficult and heart wrenching. Tara goes through the stages of grief, all while suffering from a traumatic brain injury.

The author portrays a person with a traumatic brain injury very accurately…the agitation, confusion, and disorientation. I found myself very anxious and concerned for Tara and her safety in many moments when she was dealing with this injury.

I appreciated that the romance in the story is not the main focus at all. The main theme throughout is friendship and love. The romance is beautiful and happens naturally, never feeling forced. The faith content was very good…the ever-present question of “why would God do this, or allow this to happen?” is discussed. The book also addresses the things people tend to say to those grieving the loss of loved ones and how some things are more hurtful than helpful.

The book is compared to Steel Magnolias, and I can definitely see the similarities. The Glynn Girls in the book are very similar to the ladies in the movie…a group of friends who don’t always do the right thing or get along perfectly, but when the rubber meets the road, they are there for each other, no matter what.

This was a beautiful book that was written extremely well. I don’t tend to go for “sad” books as they sometimes bring me down but the ending of this book was extremely hopeful and put a smile on my face. I highly recommend this one!

My Rating:

4.5 stars

I received this book from the publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

A Rumored Fortune by Joanna Davidson Politano Review

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Synopsis

Tressa Harlowe’s father did not trust banks, but neither did he trust his greedy extended family. He kept his vast fortune hidden somewhere on his estate in the south of England and died suddenly, without telling anyone where he had concealed it. Tressa and her ailing mother are left with a mansion and an immense vineyard and no money to run it. It doesn’t take long for a bevy of opportunists to flock to the estate under the guise of offering condolences. Tressa knows what they’re really up to. She’ll have to work with the rough and rusticated vineyard manager to keep the laborers content without pay and discover the key to finding her father’s fortune–before someone else finds it first.

Award-winning author Joanna Davidson Politano welcomes readers to Trevelyan Castle, home of the poorest heiress in Victorian England, for a treasure hunt they’ll not soon forget.

My Thoughts

This is Joanna’s sophomore novel and it was just as amazing (or better) than her debut. Her writing is beautiful. She is very gifted at setting the scene and placing the reader in the environment right beside the characters.

The setting of this story was an old castle but in the time period of 1866. The story had a Gothic feel which added to the atmospheric quality of the story.

There were some twists in the story (one in particular) that I would classify as jaw dropping. I live for twists in my books so I loved this aspect in the book.

I also loved the plot…it was such a fun concept of a treasure hunt to locate this “rumored fortune”. It reminded me of modern day families, friends, and acquaintances that “come out of the woodwork” when someone is blessed (or cursed) with a windfall.

The fact that there were several unlikable characters in the story made it more fun for me. For some reason, I find that the addition of unlikable characters add validity and more of a realistic quality to stories.

Overall, this was an excellent, quick read that I adored and I will read anything that Joanna writes from now on!

My Rating

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I received this book from the publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

A Promise Forged by Cara Putman Review and Giveaway

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About the Book

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Book Title: A Promise Forged

Author: Cara Putman

Genre: World War 2 Romance

Release date: Originally released in 2010, Re-released in 2017

Kat transformed in front of him. Her chin came up, her fingers stopped twitching with the fabric of her gown, and a real sparkle bubbled in her eyes. It was like watching Snow White come to life when the prince kissed her.

A heartwarming WWII historical from award-winning author Cara Putman:

Kat Miller has dreamed of playing baseball her entire life. When she earns a spot on a team in the All-American Girls Professional Softball League, she finds that things aren’t as glamorous as she imagined. She struggles with long road trips, grueling practices, and older teammates who are jealous of her success. And to top it all off, an irritating reporter is constantly getting under Kat’s skin.

Events in Jack Raymond’s career have left him cynical and distanced from God. He never wanted to write at a small paper, and he certainly didn’t want to be assigned to something as inconsequential as a women’s softball team. Then Kat walks into his life. The fiery, young softball player somehow climbs the walls around his heart and makes him want to hope again.

When lies fly and the league appears to fail, will Kat and Jack’s new love survive?

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

This was such a fun story! I loved following Kat as she played on the All American Girls Softball League. She is young and innocent but strong in her faith. She faces some obstacles during the story but handles them with grace and dignity.

I wasn’t as much a fan of Jack…it took me a while to warm up to him (although I think this was possibly the author’s intention).

There are many similarities to the movie “A League of Their Own”, which I loved but this story still has many unique facets and perspectives.

The time period was described very vividly, and what an interesting time it was. America during WWII was a bit tumultuous and stressful but also fun and the author does a good job at portraying that.

For a shorter story, this book packed a big punch. It was a quick, fun, easy read…great for a summer day!

My Rating

3 stars

I received this book from the publisher/author to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

About the Author

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Since the time she could read Nancy Drew, Cara has wanted to write mysteries. In 2005 she attended a book signing at her local Christian bookstore. The rest, as they say, was history. There she met a fellow Indiana writer Colleen Coble. With prompting from her husband, Cara shared her dream with Colleen. Since those infamous words, Cara’s been writing award-winning books. She is currently working on book 30 and 31.

Cara Putman is an active member of ACFW, and currently serves on its Executive Board. She has also been the Indiana ACFW chapter president and served as the Area Coordinator for Indiana.

Cara is also an attorney, lecturer at a Big Ten university, active in women’s ministry, and all around crazy woman. Crazy about God, her husband and her kids that is. She graduated with honors from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Go Huskers!) and George Mason Law School, and Krannert School of Management. You can learn more about Cara at www.caraputman.com <http://www.caraputman.com/>.

Guest Post from Cara

Each of my books starts with a hook that engages my interest, and then as I play with it, I think it will engage readers. A Promise Forged was no different. For this book I was writing a series of three World War II novels for Barbour. I already had two historical hooks that fascinated me: children evacuated from London to Ohio, a top secret project to break Engima in Dayton, but I needed one more. I knew the lead characters were going to be siblings, but I wasn’t sure what to do with the kid sister. Then I remembered the All-American Girls Professional Softball/Baseball League.

And I started thinking.

What would it have been like to desperately want a chance to play a sport you loved professionally?

And to be part of the nascent league when no one was sure whether it was a good or bad idea?

I decided that was the perfect place for Kat. She was the kid sister with fire and passion. She wanted a chance to prove herself, and this would be the perfect place. Then she needed a hero worthy of her. One who could go toe-to-toe with her and still see who she could be.

He came in the form of Jack, a cynical reporter who is disappointed to be assigned to cover girls’ baseball. But then he gets to know Kat and some of the others. And he sees something in her that she doesn’t see in herself. It’s the beginning of fireworks that he doesn’t think can go anywhere because she has to go home to her senior year of high school.

As I began researching the history of the league, I learned that the AAGPS/BL archives were kept at a small museum in South Bend, a couple hours from where I live. I spent a day there talking with the curator and exploring all the records. Because the league wasn’t expected to last there weren’t many records from the first year. That meant I had to guess about some things like schedules based on what happened in the years after.

A Promise Forged became a book I loved writing. Kat was feisty, Jack was cynical, and baseball provided a great setting. I can’t believe this football loving woman can admit that!

Blog Stops

History, Mystery & Faith, August 4

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, August 4

Among the Reads, August 4

The Power of Words, August 4

C Jane Read, August 5

The Christian Fiction Girl, August 5

Christian Bookaholic, August 5

Texas Book-aholic, August 5

Reading Is My SuperPower, August 6

Genesis 5020, August 6

lady ansel book vibes, August 6

Kat’s Corner Books, August 7

Carpe Diem, August 7

proud to be an autism mom, August 7

Janices book reviews, August 7

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 8

A Baker’s Perspective, August 8

Blossoms and Blessings, August 8

Mary Hake, August 8

By The Book, August 9

Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner, August 9

Simple Harvest Reads, August 9 (Guest Post from Mindy Houng)

Kaylee’s Kind Of Writes, August 10

Lighthouse Academy, August 10

Remembrancy, August 10

Jeanette’s Thoughts, August 10

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, August 11

100 Pages per Hour, August 11

Luv’N Lambert Life, August 11

Bigreadersite, August 11

Godly Book Reviews, August 12

Cafinated Reads, August 12

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, August 12

A Reader’s Brain, August 13

a good book and cup of tea, August 13

Book by Book, August 13

All-of-a-kind Mom, August 14

Maureen’s Musings, August 14

Daysong Reflections, August 14

The Morning Chapter, August 15

amandainpa, August 15

Inklings and notions, August 15

Connie’s History Classroom, August 16

All 4 and About Books, August 16

Bibliophile Reviews, August 16

Pause for Tales, August 17

Tell Tale Book Reviews, August 17

For the Love of Books, August 17

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Cara is giving away a grand prize that includes the movie League of Their Own, a box of cracker jacks, M&Ms and a $20 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d2ac/a-promise-forged-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

Chaos in the Blink of an Eye by Patrick Higgins Review and Giveaway

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About the Book

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Book Title: Chaos: In the Blink of an Eye

Author: Patrick Higgins

Genre: Christian Mystery/Suspense

Release date: September, 2015

It was the weekend before Thanksgiving. More than 100,000 fans were jammed inside Michigan Stadium, on their feet, to witness a heated football rivalry that had spanned more than 100 years. As the football was kicked into the snow-filled sky, they were about to get the shock of their lives, as long-foretold Bible prophecy came to pass before their very eyes, causing many to vanish into thin air without a trace.

But what they soon realized was that it reached far beyond Michigan Stadium. Chaos of unimaginable proportions ensued worldwide. Shock, fear and panic filled each heart and mind. It was just the beginning of things to come, as life as humanity had known it was forever changed in the blink of an eye…

Click here to purchase your copy.

My Thoughts

This is a great start to what I expect to be an amazing series. This book rivals the very famous Left Behind series in my opinion (which I read and loved).

The story in this book is mainly leading up to the rapture and the author does an excellent job at building the suspense. I loved that the reader gets to see this event from several different perspectives and locations (a taxi in New York City, an airport, a packed college stadium, even Camp David).

The author has an introduction before the story with his thoughts on the rapture and his pre-tribulation views. I hold the pre-trib views as well but his “evidence” for these views were different than any I’d heard before and I found them very interesting.

I loved how the author showed the obsession that our country can have with sports. I’ve often said to my husband that it seems like sports (especially college football in my area) is some people’s religion. If they had that same fire and love for the Lord, this world would be an amazing place!

The characters in the story were well developed and written in a way that makes me want to know more about them.

Overall, this was an excellent story…I just wish it was longer. I definitely plan on picking up the next book in the series.

My Rating

4.5 stars

I received this book from the publisher/author to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

About the Author

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Patrick Higgins is the author of The Pelican Trees, Coffee In Manila, the award-winning The Unannounced Christmas Visitor, and the award-winning prophetic end-times series, Chaos In The Blink Of An Eye. While the stories he writes all have different themes and take place in different settings, the one thread that links them all together is his heart for Jesus and his yearning for the lost.

With that in mind, it is his wish that the message his stories convey will greatly impact each reader, by challenging you not only to contemplate life on this side of the grave, but on the other side as well. After all, each of us will spend eternity at one of two places, based solely upon a single decision which must be made this side of the grave. That decision will be made crystal clear to each reader of his books.

Higgins is currently writing many other books, both fiction and non-fiction, including a sequel to Coffee In Manila, which will shine a bright, sobering light on the diabolical human trafficking industry.

Guest Post from Patrick Higgins

What started the Chaos in the Blink of an Eye series for me stems from my deep love of sports, which, I admit has diminished considerably over the years. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy watching and attending sporting events whenever I have the time. But these days I view them from an entirely different perspective than when I wore a younger man’s face and displayed a weaker man’s faith in God.

This slow but gradual shrinking away started soon after the Lord impressed upon my heart that the fastest growing religion in America, and the world for that matter, wasn’t Christianity or Islam, but “sports”. Every day of the week—including Sundays—millions of fans fill stadiums and arenas (or shall I say cathedrals?) worldwide to worship their heroes.

Whatever the sport, fans show up in droves to cheer on mere mortals as if they were gods. When their teams win life is good. When they lose life is miserable.

As a once-guilty participant for many years, I should know.

The passion most fans have for their favorite players and sports teams is the same passion they should have in pursuing the One who saw their unformed bodies from the foundations of the world, the very One who knit them together inside their mothers’ wombs.

Tragically, this is not the case. Hence, the reason for the CHAOS series. The sporting event chosen for this story was the famed Michigan-Ohio State college football rivalry.

Prior to writing the prequel, I traveled to Ann Arbor, Michigan to attend the game. I admit I was just as caught up in the mass hysteria as everyone else. It was impossible not to be swept up into the vortex that had completely engulfed the vibrant college town.

The energy was quite palpable. So much so that I had to remind myself more than once that I was there to research and observe everything connected to the game, then put it all into words for my readers. The sporting event itself was secondary.

Though the prequel initially centers on the football game, in no way is this a sports series. This will become quite clear to you when Bible prophecy comes to pass inside Michigan Stadium, and many vanish into thin air, leaving everyone still inside the stadium utterly panic-stricken.

It was just the beginning of things to come, as life as humanity had known it was forever changed in the blink of an eye…

Enjoy reading…

Blog Stops

Carpe Diem, August 9

Reading is my Super Power, August 9 (Interview)

Multifarious, August 10

Henry Happens, August 10

amandainpa, August 11

History, Mystery & Faith, August 12

Mary Hake, August 12

Blogging With Carol, August 13

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 13

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, August 14

Janices book reviews, August 14

two points of interest, August 15

Jeanette’s Thoughts, August 15

Ashley’s Bookshelf, August 16

Cherylbbookblog, August 17

Bigreadersite, August 17

Inklings and notions, August 18

A Baker’s Perspective, August 18

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, August 19

proud to be an autism mom, August 20

margaret kazmierczak, August 20 (Interview)

Texas Book-aholic, August 21

Godly Book Reviews, August 22

Giveaway

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To celebrate his tour, Patrick is giving away a grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!

Click below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d0a3/chaos-in-the-blink-of-an-eye-celebration-tour-giveaway