Love Letters from God: Bible Stories for a Girl’s Heart by Glenys Nellist Review

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Description: In this heart-warming picture book designed for girls, author Glenys Nellist tells the inspiring stories of incredible women in the Bible. With beautiful illustrations by Rachel Clowes and sweet lift-the-flap envelopes, each story delivers a special message for children to open as they read their own personal love letters from God. Full of warmth and love, this picture book will fill girls’ hearts with the wonder of the Lord. The stories of Eve, Miriam, Rahab, Mary, and many more will delight children and remind them of the bond they can share with God, just like the women of the Bible.

My Thoughts: I was very impressed with how beautiful this book was when I received it. The illustrations are whimsical and fun and the colors are very pleasing to the eye. Because it’s such an inviting cover, I think many girls, young and old alike, will gravitate towards this book.

The stories are longer than I expected, which was a nice surprise. My 10 year old daughter found it to be enjoyable and not too “young” but I think younger girls would also enjoy it. I enjoyed the stories as a 37 year old girl, it’s a book that girls of all ages would enjoy.

Each story highlights a woman in the Bible and how God used her and illustrates His love for her and, in turn, us. Women in the book include Rahab, Eve, Mary Magdalene, Martha, and Mary, mother of Jesus. There is also a letter with a flap that you lift on each page that can be personalized. The letters are from God and add a nice touch to each story. At the end of the book there is a letter that the girl can write to God.

This would be an excellent gift for any young girl. I would highly recommend it.

My Rating: 5 stars

I received this book from Booklook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.

Invitation: Harbingers Cycle One by Bill Myers, Frank Peretti, Angela Hunt, and Alton Gansky Review

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Synopsis: Four Bestselling Authors Team Up for Thrilling Supernatural Suspense – Gathering four stories from four bestselling author friends, Invitation is the first collection in the ongoing Harbingers series.

In “The Call” by Bill Myers, four strangers are drawn together to help a student at the mysterious Institute for Advanced Psychic Studies. His gifts are supposedly being honed to assist world leaders . . . but there are some very disturbing strings attached.

Frank Peretti’s “The Haunted” confronts a supernatural mystery, a case of murder, and an exploration into the darkness of the human heart, all centering around a mysterious house.

In Angela Hunt’s “The Sentinels,” animals around the world are mysteriously dying. What could it mean? When the tragedy begins to touch Andi’s dreams, she discovers a terrifying theory.

“The Girl” by Alton Gansky is a gripping tale of a young barefoot girl found holding a scroll in the snowy Oregon mountains. She is sweet, innocent–apparently not of this world–and something wants to kill her.

My Thoughts: This is an interesting bind up of 4 novellas, each written by a different author but in stories that are connected to each other (each author narrating one of the 4 main characters in the book). It is presented like a television series with new “episodes” and at this point, there have been 18 novellas written for the series. Because of this, each story is left open-ended, which I don’t like. I’m not a fan of long book series’ so I’m not sure if I’ll continue.

Each story was enjoyable but I think my favorite was The Call by Bill Myers, told by Brenda, a tattoo artist. Each character has a special gift and they are brought together in each story to solve a problem.

The characters all had their own voice (a benefit of having 4 different authors writing each character). They were all different and well-rounded, they also had interesting background stories.

I found the overall story line of spiritual warfare interesting but struggled with the theology of some of the things that happened. When this occurred, I reminded myself that it was fictional, but I do tend to hold Christian Fiction at a higher standard than secular fiction when it comes to the lesson that is learned. Throughout the book, there weren’t really any lessons learned, which I didn’t care for.

Overall, this book was enjoyable but not something that I would read again.

My Rating: 3 and a half stars

I received this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Cynthia Ruchti’s ‘A Fragile Hope’ Blog Tour and Giveaway

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About the book:
Hope grows when seeds are planted-even in the muddy middle of life.
Josiah Chamberlain’s life’s work revolves around repairing other people’s marriages. When his own is threatened by his wife’s unexplained distance, and then threatened further when she’s unexpectedly plunged into an unending fog, Josiah finds his expertise, quick wit and clever quips are no match for a relationship that is clearly broken.
Feeling betrayed, confused, and ill-equipped for a crisis this crippling, he reexamines everything he knows about the fragility of hope and the strength of his faith and love. Love seems to have failed him. Will what’s left of his faith fail him, too? Or will it be the one thing that holds him together and sears through the impenetrable wall that separates them?
 

About the author:
Cynthia Ruchti tells stories hemmed in hope through her novels, novellas, nonfiction books, articles and devotionals, drawing from 33 years of on-air radio ministry. Ruchti has written more than 20 award-winning novels, novellas, nonfiction books and devotionals. Her books have received numerous awards and nominations, including the RT Reviewers’ Choice, ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year nominations, two Selah Awards, Christian Retailing’s BEST, was an ACFW Carol Award finalist and a Christy finalist, among other honors. Her latest release is the novel A Fragile Hope.
One of Ruchti’s greatest joys is helping other writers grow in their craft. To that end, she has served as worship and devotions staff and faculty for the Write-to-Publish conference and teaches at other writers’ conferences across the country and internationally as opportunities arise. She also serves as the professional relations liaison for American Christian Fiction Writers.
Ruchti speaks frequently for women’s groups and serves on her church’s worship team. She and her husband live in the heart of Wisconsin, not far from their three children and five grandchildren.
Find out more about Cynthia at http://www.cynthiaruchti.com.
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My Thoughts: This story was very thought provoking and introspective. It follows Josiah, who gives marriage advice for a living but his own marriage needs a lot of repair. He learns some very difficult lessons throughout the book and grows and develops as a person.

I enjoyed the story overall, the beginning and the ending were very interesting but it got a bit slow in the middle. It was a very realistic picture of what a person in Josiah’s position probably goes through. The romance in this book was beautiful. I prefer romance stories that revolve around marriages and this one was very well done.

The character development was very rich…I found myself going from frustration and anger towards a character to admiration and respect.

I highly recommend this book to people who like a good romance story with a rich plot.

My Rating: 4 stars

I received this book from Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

Celebrate the release of A Fragile Hope by entering to win Cynthia’s Sign of Hope Giveaway!

One grand prize winner will receive:

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on May 3. The winner will be announced May 4 on the Litfuse blog.

The Berenstain Bears Friendship Blessings Collection Review

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The Berenstain Bears Living Lights, series continues to attract young readers through creative and engaging stories that not only entertain but teach values and life lessons. Now, five of the series’ favorite titles are available in a great new hardcover. This Berenstain Bears Living Lights treasury called Friendship Blessings Collection is sure to be a popular choice for Berenstain Bears fans.

This collection includes:
The Perfect Fishing Spot
Reap the Harvest
Faithful Friends
Kindness Counts
God Made You Special

My Thoughts: I grew up reading and loving the Berenstain Bears books. I remember checking many of them out of my library and sounding out the words as I was just learning to read. Recently I have rediscovered these books, which have been taken over by the late Stan and Jan’s son, Mike Berenstain and I have purchased a few for my children to enjoy. I am delighted to see that the new books contain Christian themes and Biblical lessons.

This book contains 5 stories, in a very nice hardcover book. The illustrations are the same as the original books but there is a new character, Honey Bear, who I assume is the youngest sister (I don’t remember her in the original stories that I read).

Each story was well done. My least favorite was The Perfect Fishing Spot, which is told in poem format and the moral of the story is a bit muddy. Reap the Harvest was about the benefits of working hard, Faithful Friends was a great story about making new friends but keeping old ones (I am planning on sharing this one with my 10 year old daughter as she’s facing a similar situation). Kindness Counts was my favorite of the stories, it talks about being kind to others, even when it goes against our first instincts, God Made You Special was another great story about a bear cub who has special needs but discusses how God has made him special and the bears learn from him.

Overall, this is a very good book for all children. I am thrilled to see that my beloved Berenstain Bears have stood the test of time.

My Rating: 5 stars

I received this book from Booklook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.

The Polygamist’s Daughter by Anna LeBaron Review

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Description: “My father had more than fifty children.”So begins the haunting memoir of Anna LeBaron, daughter of the notorious polygamist and murderer Ervil LeBaron. With her father wanted by the FBI for killing anyone who tried to leave his cult–a radical branch of Mormonism–Anna and her siblings were constantly on the run with the other sister-wives. Often starving and always desperate, the children lived in terror. Even though there were dozens of them together, Anna always felt alone.She escaped when she was thirteen . . . but the nightmare was far from over.A shocking true story of murder, fear, and betrayal, “The Polygamist’s Daughter” is also the heart-cry of a fatherless girl and her search for love, faith, and a safe place to call home.

My Thoughts: This book is a gritty and disturbing look into what life was like for Anna LeBaron, who grew up in a polygamist cult, under the rule of her murderous father Ervil LeBaron. If I could sum up my thoughts for this book in one lesson, it would be how selfishness and narcissism can destroy lives.

Anna’s childhood was spent moving from place to place, living in poverty with too many people in small places, and facing many tragedies. The book takes you to these places with Anna and as the reader, I  felt like I was with her, feeling the sadness, fear and uncertainty that she was facing…frustrated at how she was treated and neglected.

I appreciated that this book was real, the “nasty” stuff wasn’t glossed over and Anna was brutally honest about the struggles she faced in adulthood as a result of her childhood.

Anna LeBaron is a very strong woman and I am very thankful to have had the opportunity to have read her book. I think it will be therapeutic to women who have struggled with issues in their childhood, particularly with their fathers. I highly recommend this book.

My Rating: 5 stars

I received this book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Your Next 24 Hours by Hal Donaldson and Kirk Noonan Review

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Description: If asked, who among us wouldn’t say we were kind people? But kindness is often manifested in feelings of pity or sympathy–especially when others are watching–rather than in deeds. And when it comes down to it, what good does mere feeling do for the world?
Your Next 24 Hours is about something much bigger–a lifestyle of kindness, without thought of reciprocation, extended toward every person in our lives, both friend and foe. Through powerful true stories of kindness lived out, this book shows readers the enormous difference they can make through small, doable acts of kindness in their families, communities, workplaces, schools, and churches. It shows how every encounter with another person is an opportunity to be kind–and a chance to change our world.
Readers of Your Next 24 Hours will find deep satisfaction and joy as they discover how they can be part of a revolution of kindness that starts with them and reaches out through every person their lives touch.

My Thoughts: Lately I’ve felt that the world really needs more kindness and the quote “be the change you want to see” came to mind when I would think this. So when the opportunity to read this book came along, I really wanted to read it.

This book is filled with stories of ordinary people as well as celebrities who chose kindness in big and small ways. It also has ideas for how you, the reader can perform acts of kindness in day to day life.

I found this book very inspiring and uplifting. It was a nice reminder that there is still good in this world and encouraged me to look for opportunities to give and serve each day.

It was enjoyable to read and very fast paced for a non-fiction book. I highly recommend this to all people who want to see more kindness in the world.

My Rating: 5 stars

I received this book from Baker Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review.

Because You’re Mine by Colleen Coble Re

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Synopsis: Alanna has been plagued by tragedy. So it should come as no surprise that in the beauty that surrounds Charleston, all is not as it seems.

When her husband is killed by a car bomb while their band is on tour in Charleston, Alanna doesn’t know where to turn. Her father-in-law is threatening to take custody of the baby she carries, but the one thing she knows for sure is that she can’t lose the last piece of Liam she has left.

Their manager offers her a marriage of convenience to gain her U.S. citizenship and allow her to escape her father-in-law’s control. It seems like the perfect solution . . . but her doubts begin almost as soon as she arrives at Barry’s family home, a decaying mansion surrounded by swamp.

To make matters worse, Liam’s best friend survived the car bomb. She’s never really liked Jesse and now she can’t seem to get away from him. When he takes Liam’s place in their band, it’s almost more than she can bear.

But then things start happening. Things that could easily cost Alanna her life—or the life of her unborn child. Are they merely coincidences? Or is there something much more sinister at work?

My Thoughts: I had never read a book by Colleen Coble but she’s a popular author in the Christian Fiction world so I was excited to request and read this book. I was a bit hesitant about it as I’m not a fan of romance but this book was light on the romance and heavy on the suspense (which is what I love).

The story was unique and had a gothic feel as a large part of it took place in a large dilapidated mansion in Charleston, South Carolina. It was very atmospheric and entertaining to read.

I enjoyed each page that I read, the writing was very fluid and the pacing was steady. I found the story very entertaining. Unfortunately, it was also very predictable and extremely far-fetched and unrealistic. I guessed each surprise and was a bit disappointed in the main character’s lack of insight into what was really happening.

Although the story was far-fetched and predictable, I still found it very entertaining and would definitely pick up another book by Colleen Coble in the future.

My Rating: 3 and a half stars

I received this book from Book Look Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.