Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Beginner's Bible Coloring Book / Ready. Set, Find Easter

The Beginner's Bible Coloring Book 


March 7, 2017

by Zondervan 

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Series: The Beginner's Bible
  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Zonderkidz; Clr Csm edition 
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310759553

The Beginner’s Bible® has been a favorite with young children and their parents since its release in 1989 with over 25 million products sold.    
Loads of coloring fun and faith for little ones! Children can now color to life more than sixty favorite Bible stories and characters from The Beginner’s Bible. After coloring, the pages can be displayed to encourage creativity and memory of the classic Bible stories.

My thoughts: First, the disclaimer. "I was provided a free copy of this book. All opinions are my own." That done, THE BEGINNER'S BIBLE COLORING BOOK is just that. A coloring book. Drawn in the popular Beginner's Bible style, it is designed for preschoolers and early elementary students and includes pictures about Joseph in the well, Joseph in Egypt, the story of Moses in the Nile River, the story of Daniel, Jesus' ressurection, and so much more. The perfect gift to include in your favorite child's Easter basket.  


Ready, Set, Find Easter 

Board book 

February 7, 2017

by Zondervan 

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Series: Ready, Set, Find
  • Board book: 12 pages
  • Publisher: Zonderkidz; Brdbk edition 
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310757696

Get ready to follow Jesus as He enters Jerusalem, east the Last Supper with His friends, and walks in the garden of Gethsemane. This holiday board book is perfect for young children who will love finding the 48 objects hidden on the pages while reading the classic story of Easter, accurately retold and with scripture references. On your mark, Ready-Set-Find!

My thoughts: First, the disclaimer. "I was provided a free copy of this book. All opinions are my own." That done, READY, SET, FIND EASTER is a board book for babies, preschoolers,  and early elementary children. This is similar to the popular "I Spy" game, where you try to find pictures hidden in a larger picture, but there is a little story to go with it. This one is related to Easter and the preceding days. A great book to use for little kids to help them use visual fun to learn the resurrection story. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Rebecca's Rose

Rebecca's Rose 

Forever After in Apple Lake #2

Paperback, ebook 

August 1, 2012

by Jennifer Beckstrand

Paperback: 336 pages

  • Publisher: Summerside Press, an imprint of Guideposts 
  • ISBN-13: 978-1609365585

With her mother ill, Rebecca Miller must take care of the house, the farm, and her younger siblings. Although she feels trapped at times, Rebecca is determined to fulfill a promise made to a dying friend. Then she meets a boy with good looks and a mischievous glint in his eye who just might help her keep her vow.

Levi Cooper was born into an Amish community and lived there until his father died and his mother married an Englischer. When shunned by their Amish relatives, they lived as Englischers. Now haunted by painful memories and on the path to self-destruction, Levi meets a lovely, adventurous Amish girl. Rebecca's growing attachment to Levi could lead to the loss of everything she holds dear. And will the secrets he keeps separate them forever?
Forever After in Apple Lake is a series of three standalone Amish books about cousins who find love in Wisconsin Amish country.

My thoughts: First, the disclaimer. "I bought a copy of this book. All opinions are my own." That done, I fell in love with Ms. Beckstrand's more recent books so I decided to go back and read her earlier ones. So, when I found REBECCA'S ROSE at a garage sale, I didn't think twice. I snagged. 

I absolutely loved Levi. He was a dear, sweet boy, though I was sad about his drinking problems and I wanted him to get over what hurt him so bad he felt the need to drink to dull the pain. 

Rebecca made me laugh. She was scared to death to do anything but since her best friend died before she achieved every item on her bucket list, Rebecca was determined to do it for her even if she scared herself to death. Not only did she scare herself, but she nearly killed herself, too, at least twice.  

The first half of the book was really good, and laugh out loud funny. The second half was more depressing and I found myself skimming a lot. There were some surprises, but otherwise, the second half was much more predictable than the first half.  

I enjoyed reading this book, and if you, like me, fell in love with Ms. Beckstrand's more recent books, then you might want to go back and read the earlier ones. Recommended.  Ms. Beckstrand writes humorous Amish Romances like none other. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

The Berenstain Bears Bless Our Pets / Once Upon a Time Storybook Bible

The Berenstain Bears Bless Our Pets 

Berenstain Bears/Living Lights

Paperback, ebook

March 7, 2017

by Mike Berenstain

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Paperback: 24 pages
  • Publisher: Zonderkidz 

  • ISBN-13: 978-0310748823

In the newest Berenstain Bear Living Lights title, The Berenstain Bears Bless Our Pets, Brother, Sister, and Honey Bear love their pets Little Lady, Gracie, Swish, and Cutsie … they are just like part of the Bear family. So when Preacher Brown holds a special Blessing of the Pets service on Sunday, the Bear family joins in. But what starts as a peaceful gathering of Bear Country neighbors and their animal friends on the lawn of the Chapel—including dogs, cats, rats, goats, and even a snake or two—ends up needing a little heavenly intervention.

My thoughts: (reviewed by Kaeli) First, the disclaimer. "I was provided a free copy of this book. All opinions are my own." That done, THE BERENSTAIN BEARS BLESS OUR PETS is an adorable new Berenstain Bears story about the day a pastor decided to bless the pets. It was funny seeing what happens next as the blessing turns out of control!  I wonder if the fictional bear pastor will do it again!  It is a fun story that I really enjoyed reading and the pictures were fun too.  Recommended for Berestain Bears everywhere!  


Once Upon a Time Storybook Bible 

Hardcover, ebook

March 7, 2017

by Omar Aranda (Illustrator)

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Zonderkidz 
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310757924

The Bible is not a fairy tale, but every great story happened “once upon a time.” The Once Upon a Time Storybook Bible highlights powerful and inspiring stories from the Bible, beautifully illustrated with fantastical artwork by Omar Aranda. Stories include: Ruth, Abigail, Esther, The Parable of the Lost Sheep, The Prodigal Son, Mary Magdalene, and many more. Each captivating story is told in a way that will get children excited about reading the tales of real heroes of the Bible.

My thoughts: (reviewed by Kaeli) First, the disclaimer. "I was provided a free copy of this book. All opinions are my own." That done, ONCE UPON A TIME STORYBOOK BIBLE  is a collection of popular Bible stories for children. The artwork is lovely. The scripture retelling is not necessarily accurate. Mom corrected the stories as I read them to her, but the way it is written is cute for litte babies and preschoolers. Older kids might like the real stories.  I liked that they showed Jesus carrying the cross when the crucifixion was shown, and not on the cross, because that might be scary for little kids. 

A beautifully done book written for those who  like fairy tales even if the Bible is not a fairy tale.  

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Story Behind the Story of Dreams In Deadwood by Kari Trumbo and #giveaway

Kari is graciously offering an ebook copy of her story, Dreams in Deadwood  to one commenter. Please leave your contact information with your comment. 

Back cover

He has a vice as bad as her father.
Jennie Arnsby wants nothing more than to turn around and go home. Her family is on their way to Deadwood, SD, when Aiden finds his way to their small wagon train. His teasing and banter leave her wanting to toss him out the back and in the dust. When they are separated outside the city, she is left wondering if she’ll ever see him again.
Aiden Bradly wants to find his gold and return home. Nothing more. He can’t afford to get tangled with a woman. He’s doing just that until he meets the feisty Jennie. She gets him thinking about his past and forgiveness, but what’s more important, his past or his new future?
Aiden will either redeem his past or claim a treasure greater than he could ever imagine, but he must choose one.

Dreams in Deadwood is book one of the Seven Brides of South Dakota series by Kari Trumbo. A romantic, Wild West romp in pioneer South Dakota.

Author Bio

Kari Trumbo is an inspirational romance author, blogger and proud home schooling mother to four great kids. She interacts often on reader groups on Facebook and volunteers at the local library when needed. When she isn’t writing, she is obsessively reading and expanding her skills as a wordsmith. Kari lives in her great-grandfather’s remodeled 1890-built home in central Minnesota with her husband, children, cats, and one hungry wood stove.

Story behind the Story:

In Dreams in Deadwood, part of the way I bring the history to the reader is through a journal of newspaper clippings that Aiden loves. Sometimes, in a romance, we want to bring history to life, but things don’t always “fit” within the story. This was a way that I could make the history interesting AND be true to my character.

Aiden felt that the history of a town made the place itself almost a living thing and the way to love it is to find out more. One of the pieces of Deadwood history was the many major fires that occurred, transforming the town. In fact, where some towns would’ve folded and died, the major fired in Deadwood led to building codes that turned Deadwood into the brick “metropolis” it turned into.

That particular part of the story had to be given special treatment, because it was so important to what the town has become, so the fire takes on a role in Dreams in Deadwood that leads right into Kisses in Keystone, the next book in the series, due out March 30.
Social media:

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Saturday, March 18, 2017

Still Life

Still Life 

Chesapeake Valor #2 

Paperback, hard cover, ebook, audio 

January 31, 2017

by Dani Pettrey

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764212956

Someone Is Out There. Watching Her. Waiting. 
Blacklisted in the photography business over a controversial shot, Avery Tate answered an ad for a crime-scene photographer. She expected to be laughed at, but crime-scene analyst Parker Mitchell hired her outright--and changed her life. But six months ago, when her feelings for Parker became too strong, she left his employ to sort out her heart.

Now, for the first time, Avery is facing the world that rejected her to attend the gallery opening of a photography exhibit for which her friend modeled. But the only image of her friend is a chilling photo of her posing as if dead--and the photographer insists he didn't take the shot. Worse, her friend can't be found, and so Avery immediately calls Parker for help.

As Avery, Parker, and their friends in law enforcement dig into the mystery, they find themselves face-to-face with a relentless and deadly threat.

My thoughts: First, the disclaimer. "I was provided a free copy of this book. All opinions are my own." That done, STILL LIFE is a page-turner. I literally couldn't put this book down, except for things I had to do. Yes, it did get a bit creepy, but that just upped the chill factor. And as for who-dun-it? I did get a bit confused there and didn't guess the actual murderer until the person was revealed. 

I loved the presence of the Coast Guard (my son is in that service) and "seeing" them in action.  There are two different mysteries in this book, and I kept waiting for them to merge into one, but they never did, which somewhat confused me.  I didn't have any problem keeping up with characters, and absolutely fell in love with Parker and Avery--though I did feel kind of sorry for Parker's photographer at the end of the book. 

I LOVED Ms. Pettrey's Alaskan suspense  series, and while this new series is not quite on the same love category, it is definitely a solid placer. If you  love romantic suspense, you'll want to read Ms. Pettrey's STILL LIFE.  

Friday, March 17, 2017

Book Spotlight: Finding Freedom through Surrender and #Giveaway

Julie is very graciously offering two ebook copies of her devotional to two commenters. Please include contact information 

Finding Freedom Through Surrender is a 30 day devotional featuring surrender issues from Julie Arduini's Surrendering Time contemporary romance series. What makes it unique is it is written by the characters from ENTRUSTED, ENTANGLED, and ENGAGED, as well as from the author.

The devotionals encourage readers to let go of fear, loss, change, regret, and the future as they surrender the good, the bad, and---maybe one day---the chocolate.

For those that enjoyed ENTRUSTED and ENTANGLED, the devotional will be a visit with beloved characters while waiting for book 3 in the Surrendering Time series, ENGAGED. If the reader is new to Julie Arduini's writing, they will be encouraged to find freedom while learning about the characters from her first contemporary romance series.

Julie Arduini loves to encourage readers to surrender the good, the bad, and ---maybe one day---the chocolate. She’s the author of ENTRUSTED: Surrendering the Present, as well as ENTANGLED: Surrendering the Past. The last book in the series, ENGAGED: Surrendering the Future, is coming soon. She also shares her story in the infertility devotional, A WALK IN THE VALLEY. She blogs every other Wednesday for Christians Read. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two children. Learn more by visiting her at, where she invites readers to subscribe to her monthly newsletter full of resources and giveaway opportunities.

Monthly Newsletter:

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Prayers for a Simpler Life: Meditations from the Heart of a Mennonite Mother

Prayers for a Simpler Life: Meditations from the Heart of a Mennonite Mother 


February 21, 2017

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Herald Press; First edition 
  • ISBN-13: 978-1513801261

Do your quiet times with God feel disconnected from the rest of your overflowing days? Shouldn’t our devotions affect how we live our lives? In this 90-day devotional for women, plain Mennonite mother and wife Faith Sommers helps connect your moments with the Lord to the rest of your life. Steeped in the faith of Amish and Mennonites, who maintain that how we live is as important as what we say, Sommers’ words hold gentle warmth and wise nudging for readers tired of disjointed living. Offering daily devotions, prayers, journal prompts, and ideas for how to simplify your life and strengthen your faith, Prayers for a Simpler Life guides readers toward a deeper commitment to the way of Jesus.
Features ninety days of devotionals rooted in Scripture and the simple life, daily prayers, journal prompts, and tips for simplifying your life.

My thoughts: First, the disclaimer. "I was provided a free copy of this book. All opinions are my own." That done, PRAYERS FOR A SIMPLER LIFE is a devotional  rich in the faith of Amish and Mennonite. There is a scripture passage to read, a story related to it, a prayer and a reflection to think about.  

Those who know me know that I don't just write Amish fiction, but my ancestors came from this background. I live a simpler life, although I do not attend an Amish or Mennonite church, but a very conservative Baptist one. 

Both of my oldest two daughters have read this devotional and we keep it where it is picked up often to read. I often find my teen daughter sitting and reading it. 

Are you trying to wrap your mind around God's love? With scripture, wisdom, prayer, and real life truths, Mrs. Sommer's shows us the many ways  God cares for us. The devotions are short enough to be read in a few minutes, yet deep enough you could spend hours of study and prayer if you want to. This will be a devotional I will likely spend a lot of time in.  Recommended for women, mothers, and those who love devotionals and want to deepen their faith.