Here and Gone by Haylen Beck Review

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Synopsis: Here and Gone is a gripping, wonderfully tense suspense thriller about a mother’s desperate fight to recover her stolen children from corrupt authorities.. It begins with a woman fleeing through Arizona with her kids in tow, trying to escape an abusive marriage. When she’s pulled over by an unsettling local sheriff, things soon go awry and she is taken into custody. Only when she gets to the station, her kids are gone. And then the cops start saying they never saw any kids with her, that if they’re gone than she must have done something with them… Meanwhile, halfway across the country a man hears the frenzied news reports about the missing kids, which are eerily similar to events in his own past. As the clock ticks down on the search for the lost children, he too is drawn into the desperate fight for their return.

My Thoughts: This book reminded me of a movie called Breakdown, starring Kurt Russell. The plots of the book and the movie are similar and both were successful in creating a lot of tension and suspense. This story is every mother’s worst nightmare…to have your children taken away and the blame put on you.

The writing style was very reader friendly but it read like a movie adaptation…there was a lot of telling instead of showing. The pacing was good, the story moved along with every page. The characters were decent but none of them stood out to me.

Overall, this was a good thriller but not one that will be memorable…there was nothing “special” about it.

My Rating: 4 stars

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

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.

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.

Sex, Soup, and Two Fisted Eating by Katie Robles Review

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Description: Laugh until you love your body
Are you ready to lose weight and get healthy, but you hate celery sticks and sweat? This book is for you. Sex, Soup, and Two Fisted Eating is:
*Fun: laugh-a-minute encouragement complete with cartoons, poetry, and enough cheesy puns to make you lactose intolerant.
*Sustainable: for long term results, look no further because the healthy habits you develop will help you stay fit until you die. (See how encouraging this is?)
*Flexible: easily adaptable to fit your needs and preferences like a need for chocolate and a preference toward spandex, for example.
*Educational: the science supporting healthy habits is explained in a memorable way, like how REM sleep is like a toilet.

My Thoughts: This was a very fun look at weight loss, unlike anything I’ve read before. The author gives 3 important keys to losing weight and keeping it off…sex, soup, and two fisted eating.

At first I was concerned that it would be too heavy on the humor and light on the information but I was wrong. I found myself motivated to try the tips in this book. The author presents you with small changes that can make a big difference. There are also fun illustrations and relevant Bible verses sprinkled throughout.  There are also many recipes at the end that are healthy and contain lots of vegetables.

My only problem was that at times I felt the author was trying too hard to be funny and the humor fell flat. But for the most part, I was entertained throughout and found it to be very informative. I recommend this to any woman, especially busy moms, who might not have the time to sit down and read a long boring book on weight loss.

My Rating: 4 stars

I received a copy of this book from Book Fun in exchange for an honest review.

The Radical Book for Kids by Champ Thornton Review

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A kid-sized explorer’s guide to faith and life

The Radical Book for Kids is a fun-filled explorer’s guide to the Bible, church history, and life for boys and girls age 8 and up. Along with examining some of the most exciting realities in the universe, the handbook is vibrantly illustrated and chock-full of fun facts and ideas. Deep truths are communicated to elementary and middle-school aged kids while stimulating their curiosity and sense of adventure within a gospel-centered framework.

This power-packed book is “radical” in more ways than you might think! It is “radical” in the sense of the original meaning of the word, “going to the root or origin.” The Radical Book for Kids will take children on a fascinating journey into the ancient roots of the Christian faith. But it’s also “radical” in the more modern sense of being revolutionary. Kids read about men and women who learned to trust Jesus and stand for him—displaying radical faith—even when everything seemed against them.

But The Radical Book for Kids is also “radical”—meaning fun or cool—in the eyes of a child. Kids read about ancient weapons (and how to make one), learn about jewels, create pottery, discover ancient languages, use secret codes, locate stars, tell time using the sun, play a board game that’s 3,000 years old—and more.

Check out the table of contents, skip around, or read straight through. However a child chooses to explore it, The Radical Book for Kids will open new vistas for their imagination and help to make straight paths for their feet.

Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/2eDeVM4

About the author:
 
Champ Thornton grew up in the Carolinas. He is presently an associate pastor at Ogletown Baptist Church in Newark, Delaware. Beginning in 2003, he pastored in South Carolina and later served as director of SOMA, a ministry training school in Columbus, Ohio. Champ is also the author of God’s Love: A Bible Storybook, and of Bible curriculum for early and upper elementary-aged children.
My Thoughts: The description of this book really intrigued me and I wasn’t disappointed. This book contains tons of fun Biblical facts, presented in a fun way. There are also some great lessons, including “what to do when you’re afraid”, “How to pray”, and “Can you prove that God exists?”. It also includes some great stories of men and women who gave their lives for Christ.
The book is packed with illustrations and photographs and diagrams…it’s just a fun book to read.
My 10 year old daughter loves this book, she was eager to share some of the things she found in it with her dad when he got home from work the day it arrived. It is perfect for kids ages around 8 and up.
I also like that this book does not need to be read straight through…the reader can easily skip around to various pages.
Overall this is a great book that is very informative and fun for children and adults alike.
My Rating: 5 stars
I received this book from Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for an honest review.

Extraordinary Ordinary Moments by Jorey Hurley Review

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Description: A journal for appreciating the beautiful, the quirky, the surprising, and the overlooked. Throughout the hustle and bustle every day, we must remember to slow down, unplug, and take in our surroundings. Illustrator Jorey Hurley has made the quest for mindfulness easy. Her gentle prompts, paired with bright but delicate illustrations, will encourage you to reflect on those seemingly mundane moments and find what makes them worthy of holding on to. Maybe your watermelon at breakfast was perfectly crisp, or the brake lights of traffic formed a beautiful pattern. Each page offers a new opportunity to jot down a story, paste in a picture, or doodle something from your imagination. As the days go by, you’ll discover how this one small ritual will put you more in tune with yourself and the world around you.

My Thoughts: The concept of this book is great, it teaches you to look for the extraordinary in the ordinary, to find beauty in every day. The illustrations are very whimsical and fun. I was surprised by how big this book was, it could be used for several years…it would be so much fun to revisit many years in the future. I am planning on dating each entry and using it as a journal of sorts. It allows for a lot of creativity, there is a small prompt on each page with an illustration and you could journal, doodle, or even add things to the book.

Some of the prompts are “something you put away”, “a villain”, “something that made you laugh”, “a gadget you love”, ” an annoyance”.

My only problem with this book is that I think it could be very time consuming to find an appropriate page for each day (I plan on skipping around, if you go through it in order it wouldn’t be a problem). Over time, the book would become more familiar and easier to search through but at first I could see this being a bit frustrating to me. Other than that I have no complaints, it’s a beautiful book and would make a great gift.

My Rating: 5 stars

I received this from Blogging for books in exchange for an honest review.

The Christmas Angel Project by Melody Carlson Review

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Synopsis: Five women from different walks of life have become close friends through their book club–enjoying one another’s company even more than they enjoy the books. So when the leader of the book club unexpectedly passes away on the cusp of the Christmas season, the four remaining friends are stunned. They relied on Abby for inspiration and motivation. She was the glue that held them together, and they’re sure that without her the group can’t continue.
When the group gathers “one last time” to open a bag Abby’s husband gives them, they find Abby had made each of them an angel ornament for Christmas, crafted especially for each woman and accompanied by a sweet and personal note. Inspired by their beloved friend, together Cassidy, Louisa, Grace, and Belinda decide to commit themselves to becoming Christmas Angels to others in need. Each woman will use her life situation and talents to reach out and help others in her own unique way–little knowing that her own life and her relationships will be changed forever.
Fan favorite Melody Carlson is back with another touching Christmas story sure to grip readers’ hearts and perhaps inspire them to become Christmas Angels themselves.

My Thoughts: I read The Christmas Joy Ride by Melody last year and loved it so I was excited to read her newest Christmas story. This book follows 4 women who are grieving the loss of their close friend and decide to become “angels” and do special things for those in need. Each woman is struggling with something and learns something through their experience.

I liked the relationships between the women. They were all very supportive of each other and helped each other through their times of need. Each characters personality was unique and they were very well developed. I also liked the lessons that were learned along the way.

I wish the story would have focused a bit more on Christmas, everything happens in the days leading up to Christmas but it’s not a very “Christmasy” story. The story was also very predictable at times and I found the pacing to be slow.

Overall this was an okay story but I don’t see myself revisiting it in the future.

My Rating: 3 stars

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