Thursday, November 23, 2017

God's Big Plans for Me Storybook Bible by Rick Warren

God’s Big Plans for Me Storybook Bible
Ages 3-8. Price $21.98
Zonderkidz www.zondervan.com

God’s Big Plans for Me Storybook Bible is a must have for preschoolers through third graders who want to have a storybook Bible for reading pleasure or using as devotions. This is available in hardcover or in ebook form.

God’s Big Plans for Me Storybook Bible illustrates the forty foundational principles written in Pastor Rick Warren’s bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. Written in child-friendly language with well-done beautiful illustrations and a chronological approach.
The stories are aligned with one of his foundational principles that include closing thoughts, applications, verses in the actual Bible to read, and leave you feeling like this is more than a bunch of fictional stories. It has more of a devotional feel that includes Bible stories.

God’s Big Plans for Me Storybook Bible will bring Bible stories to life for readers young and old. The cover is beautiful and has foil decorations on the cover.

This book would be an excellent addition to personal libraries, homeschools, Christian schools, daycares and church libraries. An invaluable guide to introducing children to God’s word and Bible stories.

I was given a copy free. All opinions are my own. 





Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Gift of Christmas Past

The Gift of Christmas Past

by Cindy and Erin Woodsmall  



Christmas Novella

Stonewater Books





Arson wasn't the only fire that ignited between them. Promises shattered. Lies spoken. She was arrested. He returned to the safety of his wealthy parents.

Almost ten years later, Hadley and Monroe are both specialists in the field of speech therapy. They meet again . . . thrown together to help a four-year-old-girl rendered mute after being rescued from a fire.

Years of secrets and anger beg to be set free as Hadley and Monroe try to push aside past hurts and find common ground in order to help the traumatized child and her family. 

My thoughts:  THE GIFT OF CHRISTMAS PAST is every so much better than I ever imagined. I already knew Cindy Woodsmall could write. I've read most of her Amish books and enjoyed them. Several are on my keeper shelf permanently (and you know how crowded an avid reader's keeper shelf gets!) 


Hadley is a foster child. And of course they have a bad rap to start with. Add a fiery temper and she was in trouble with the law and a permanent enemy of the neighbors next door. Long story short, a good deed gone bad, and parents who want to protect their son from a serious mistake, and we have the here and now. Both grown up. Hadley still trying to make something of herself. Monroe is living her dream--and when she walks into his clinic he has two choices: ignore the terms of his contract and allow her to stay or kill her dreams and force her to leave. What is a guy to do?


Despite who Monroe is I adored him. But oh, my favorite was another point of view character, Trent, who works under Monroe and notices Hadley's best friend Elliot. 


Two romances. One book. Wow. I *loved* this book. Adored it.  I signed up for the litfuse tour (but was not accepted), so I was excited when I was offered a spot on another tour. I went in, not sure what to think, but this writing team has won me over with their first indie published book. HIGHLY recommended. Fans of Woodsmall's Amish will not want to miss this book written by her and her daughter-in-law.


I was given a copy free. All opinions are my own. 



 Meet the Authors
Cindy Woodsmall is the New York Times and CBA best-selling author of twenty works of fiction. She's been featured in national media outlets such as ABC's Nightline and the Wall Street Journal. Cindy has won numerous awards and has been a finalist for the prestigious Christy, Rita, and Carol Awards. Cindy and her husband reside near the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains. She can be found online at cindywoodsmall.com.




Erin Woodsmall is a writer, musician, wife, and mom of three. She has edited, brainstormed, and researched books with Cindy for almost a decade. She is very excited about their first coauthored book.









Celebrate Lit has a sale going on for some of their novels! My story The Kissing Bridge is included in #SpringsOfLove only #99cents! You can find it at ​http://www.amazon.com/Laura-V.-Hilton/e/B004IRSM5Q



Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Jesus Always Large Deluxe: Embracing Joy in His Presence


Imitation Leather – Large Print

October 3, 2016

by Sarah Young

  • 400 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson; Large Print, Deluxe edition (March 10, 2017)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718095413

Sarah Young’s first 365-day devotional since Jesus Calling, now in an easy-to-read comfort print format.

With scripture and new personal reflections, the #1 New York Times bestselling author Sarah Young, brings Jesus’ message of joy—for today and every day. Experience true joy—now and always.
Life today is full of difficulties—loss, sadness, fear. In the midst of these challenges, joy often feels impossible or out of reach. But Jesus has more for His followers than a life of striving, pain, and discontent. He offers life abundant, life to the fullest, life brimming with joy! Jesus Always, the new 365-day devotional from bestselling author Sarah Young, was written as part of Sarah Young’s exploration of the promises of joy in scripture. Written as if Jesus Himself is speaking directly to the reader, Jesus Always invites you into a new way of living—a life of joy. 

This deluxe comfort print edition includes easy-to-read large type and the full scriptures printed out.

Reaching out with joy-filled reminders from the Word of God, these devotions will intimately and gently connect you with Jesus—the One who meets you where you are. Draw near to Him in Jesus Always.

My thought:  I love Sarah Young's devotionals. She has the unique approach of writing them in first person, so it feels as if each devotional is a letter written especially to you from God. She includes verses at the end that relate to each devotional. 

I always feel so refreshed when reading these--and so far, the ones I've read have been just what I needed each day. Like today I was stressing over a radio interview -- and the devotion was about how God is with us, by our side, no matter what we're facing. How cool is that? 

JESUS ALWAYS in the large print deluxe version is a perfect gift idea for an adult on your Christmas list. A senior with vision problems reading small print would especially enjoy this. Even I, with normal reading sight found this large print a welcome change! And the imitation leather is so soft!  It looks classy and would be a lovely addition to a devotional collection. And with 365 devotions it is ideal -- you could use it all year and never have to go looking for a new one. Plus, this is divided by months, and is dated so you know exactly where to read. Plus there is a handy ribbon marker!  

Recommended. 

I was given a copy free. All opinions are my own. 



for a limited time before it's gone! Everywhere:

Monday, November 20, 2017

Better Than a Crown

Christmas in Montana Romance #3 

ebook, paperback

by Valerie Comer 


  • Print Length: 162 pages
  • Publisher: GreenWords Media 
  • Publication Date: September 26, 2017
  • ASIN: B0755MZ6PS

A delightful Christmas romance from a USA TODAY bestselling author!

As a runner-up in 27 competitions, Heather Francis tries to teach young contestants there's more to pageants than winning, even though her mother never got that memo. It's hard enough to focus and ignore the inner voice calling her a fraud without being attracted to Grizzly Gulch Resort's brooding temporary chef.

Levi Esteban’s temp job as chef in Helena, Montana, and caregiver for his niece, Shelby, would be perfect if it weren’t for the Miss Snowflake Christmas festivities. Levi’s been against pageantry all his life and isn’t about to change his stance, regardless of his fascination with Shelby’s coach.

When Shelby’s parents’ trip is extended, Levi and Heather must join forces to care for her and pull off the pageant. Is there something better than a crown in their future?

My thoughts: BETTER THAN A CROWN is Ms. Comer's Christmas book, the third in the Christmas in Montana series. Each of these books do stand alone, but they each feature a former beauty contestant and a pageant. The books are listed below.

Heather feels like a failure. After all she finaled in, but didn't win the "crown" in twenty-seven pageants. And some of the girls she tutors in manners don't hesitate to remind her that she's a loser. Personally, the fact that she was a runner up says volumes. What about the scores of girls who didn't even have that? 

Levi is Mexican and as such also mocked by some of the pageant girls. He's a chef, and a good one, working at a top restaurant in Seattle. He's only in Montana to help out his brother who is adopting from China.

When Levi and Heather meet, the good kind of sparks fly, though I do think Heather overdid the drama a bit. Admittedly I never dropped a drill on my foot that was encased in a steel-toed boot, but I have dropped a frozen roast on a broken foot barefooted in a brace, and neither of those caused as much pain and suffering as Heather endured. But she survived and it started Levi and Heather's on again off again romance. 

If you are looking for a lighthearted romance set in snowy Montana, complete with glitter and glitz, then BETTER THAN A CROWN is a book to consider. I enjoyed it. There's also a great faith message in this book.  

I received a copy free. All opinions are my own. 

Christmas in Montana Romance Series


1. More Than a Tiara
2. Other Than a Halo
3. Better Than a Crown 

Enjoy the rich heritage and innate charm of Helena, Montana, in this Christmas romance series celebrating all that winter and Christmas has to offer. This Christian contemporary romance series includes heart-warming stories of love and second chances as Marisa, Bren, and Heather discover love amid the glitz of beauty pageants.


#99cents for a limited time. Get it before it's gone. 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Choosing Real: An Invitation to Celebrate When Life Doesn't Go as Planned

Choosing Real: An Invitation to Celebrate When Life Doesn't Go as Planned 

Paperback, ebook

December 1, 2016

by Bekah Jane Pogue (Author)

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Shiloh Run Press 
  • ISBN-13: 978-1634099646

Are you ready to release your control of needing to be everything for everyone?

In Choosing REAL, author Bekah Pogue walks with us into life’s unplanned circumstances--specifically frantic schedules, pain, transition, feelings of unworthiness, loneliness, and tension--and reminds us it is in these.very.moments where God invites us to notice, respond, and even celebrate an authentic relationship with Him through every.little.detail despite our own efforts or work. The result? A connection between real life and faith so that they are one and the same.

When we enjoy God's company first--the heavenly Creator will transform our minds to view our schedules, work, relationships, parenting, and responsibilities as opportunities to dance in life's storms and honor how beautiful simple can be. Better than our ideal party, it is He who is inviting us, setting the table, breathing peace and freedom into details we aren’t in control of. When we recognize how He surprises us by using our greatest pains and detours to draw us to a beautiful dependence on Him--freedom and peace replace control and worry.  

Put aside what-could-be and instead embrace what is? The invitation is yours. . .choose Real today.

My thoughts:  CHOOSING REAL is a book that's been in my to-read pile for awhile and I finally decided to knock it out of the way - almost a year after publication. But people are still buying books, so maybe this will be helpful to someone as they plan out their Christmas shopping list. 

Bekah Jane Pague is obviously an energetic person. Just reading the book makes me tired. And she is by nature an over-achiever, planning detailed themed parties for a one-year-old and inviting everyone in California (okay, not really, just almost) for a later party. 

The concept is good. We don't have to go above and beyond in entertaining and reaching out to people. We can let people see the messy dog dishes left in the kitchen. I do have issues with some of the theology, I guess, due to where I am in life. Yes, when it comes to God all we have to do is RSVP Yes that we accept God. Yes, we trust God. Yes, we ... but that technically isn't all there is to it. I won't go into why though. That would be a book in itself.  

Now I get what she is going for in the main theme of the book, and this is geared toward the over-achievers, the detailed oriented people who would die of embarrassment overlooking a dog dish when having a party. Its for the ones navigating a messy marriage, a flooded house, a death in the family and trying to hide it, trying to handle it, and discovering they can't do it alone. It's an invitation to let go and let God handle your mess in His way, in His time, and you just rest in the pain and be real. Let others know, let them see your mess.  Just be real. 

I do agree with that. Sometimes it is in the realness that you are able to meet people where they are, to minister to them in their pain.  If you had a miscarriage, you know how to reach others suffering through that. Suffering from cancer? You can minister to others in the same boat. An adult son on drugs? Yes, you can truly be a help to other parents suffering through that. 

The book was a bit rambling and I found myself skimming, but if you have a problem with being real and hiding behind perfection then CHOOSING REAL is a book to consider.          

I was given a copy free. All opinions are my own. 

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Vanishing Point

Vanishing Point

A Nikki Boyd Novel #4

Paperback, ebook, hardcover, audio book

November 7, 2017

by Lisa Harris


  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Revell 
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800728489

Six girls missing . . . and every clue leads to a dead end

During Garrett Addison's first week on the job as a criminal investigator for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, his team is called out to a murder scene of a young girl. She's the third victim in a string of disappearances with one thing in common--a Polaroid photo of each victim left behind at the crime scene.

The FBI is pulled into the case to help, and Garrett finds himself working with Special Agent Jordan Lambert, the woman he once loved. When yet another girl dies--number six--Garrett blames himself and believes he doesn't have what it takes to be an agent. What he'll discover is that, while he may be done with the killer, the killer is not done with him--or Jordan.

Bestselling and award-winning author Lisa Harris unveils an unforgettable story of a case that has haunted the public and law enforcement for more than a decade. Fans of the Nikki Boyd Files will thrill to finally discover what actually happened to Nikki's sister, Sarah. New readers will become instant fans after devouring this chilling tale.

My thoughts: Having a fifteen year old daughter, VANISHING POINT is stuff nightmares are made of. Six girls missing . . . and every clue leads to a dead end. That pretty much says it all.

Ms. Harris is a stellar, award winning author and VANISHING POINT explains why. Well written, action-packed, and a hook on the first page.  This is the fourth book in the series, but it stands alone. No need to read the others. 

Garrett and Jordan knew each other in police academy, and dated, falling in love, until the FBI noticed her and she chose career over family. Literally. Garrett let her go, knowing it was the end, and didn't try to make a long distance relationship work. And now Jordan's parents and sister are begging her to visit -- something she hasn't made time for in years. 

But with a case to solve before any more girls are killed, time is at a premium, especially when the killer seems to be playing a game with them. 

At a surprise twist at the end and you'll be on pins and needles for this entire book.

Warning for the screamish:  VANISHING POINT has a lot of dead bodies and Ms. Harris tends to be very descriptive, describing everything about the death, the body, the grave. Not a book to be read late at night unless you want nightmares. The book also left me feeling unsettled and creeped out. Maybe because my daughter is about the age of the girls murdered.

I was given a copy free. All opinions are my own. 

Friday, November 17, 2017

The 25 Days of Christmas Devotional by Ruth O'Neil


The 25 Days of Christmas Devotional Blog post

Description
Many of us get caught up in the commercialization of Christmas. One way to prevent that is to focus on the reason for the season. Taking a few minutes each day with this different kind of devotional book will help your family think of others. Each day focuses on one word and includes a story from Daniel and Holly's family, a Scripture reading with the devotional, the YouTube link to a Christmas Carol, and an activity that the entire family can be involved in.

Reviews
"We love it! You posted it just the right time. God's providence!"
"My kids love it! Especially the song and the activity."
"The kids like to read the verses during the devotional part. It has been a good way to get the whole family involved."

Bio
Ruth O’Neil has been a freelance writer for 20-plus years. She sees everything as a writing opportunity in disguise, whether it is an interesting character, setting, or situation. You can find her book series “What a Difference a Year Makes” on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or her website (http://ruthoneil.weebly.com/). You can also visit her on her blog at http://ruths-real-life.blogspot.com/. When she’s not writing or homeschooling her kids, Ruth spends her time quilting, reading, scrapbooking, camping and hiking with her family.

Links


Amazon -             https://www.amazon.com/Ruth-ONeil/e/B00AJ5S3YQ


Excerpt
Advent
Story
"I have a surprise for you kids," Mom said as soon as Daniel and Holly walked in the door after school.
"What?" They both wanted to know.
"Follow me," Mom requested as she walked toward the family room.
Two-year-old Evie followed along behind, clapping her hands and giggling.
"She must know what the secret is," Daniel commented to Holly.
Holly laughed when Evie shouted, "Sec-et! Sec-et!"
Mom smiled as well. "That's her new word for the day."
Then Mom held up a box that had a bunch of what looked like little doors. Twenty-five of them to be exact. They each had a number.
"What's that?" Daniel asked.
"It's an Advent calendar. Each day we'll open one. Behind each door is a treat for each of you and a word we can talk about to help us prepare for Christmas."
"Can we open one now?" Holly wanted to know.
"You may." Mom pointed to the first door.
"Advent," Holy read after she took out three small candies and handed one to Daniel and Evie.
"Advent is all about the days leading up to Christmas. We can talk about what Christmas really means and prepare our hearts to worship Christ."
"Why did Jesus have to come to earth as a baby? Why couldn't He come as a grown-up?" Daniel wondered as he picked up the baby Jesus from the Nativity set.
"Well, Jesus needed time to prepare, too. He needed to experience all the things we experience. He experienced what it was like to grow up, have a family and friends, and be tempted by sin just like the rest of us. No matter what problems we face in life, Jesus truly understands."
"But I thought Jesus was perfect and never sinned?" Holly questioned.
Mom nodded her head. "He was perfect. He didn't ever sin, but He still went through a lot of the same things we do. Because He lived a perfect and sinless life, that's what made Him a suitable sacrifice for our sins. Only a perfect Man could pay the price for us."
Daniel and Holly didn't say anything. For a few moments, the only sound heard was Evie slurping her candy and quietly repeating, "Sec-et."
Mom continued. "God had to prepare the world for Salvation to come in the form of His Son, Jesus. It wouldn't happen overnight. It would take Jesus' entire life time here on earth."
Daniel, always the one who wanted to learn more, said, "I think this will be interesting."
"I think this will be fun," Holly gave her opinion.
"I think it will help prepare us all and help us to understand Christmas just a little bit better."

Devotion
Read Matthew 25:1-13
This man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Luke 2:25b-26
Advent is a time of preparation. The Christmas Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas. Many families, especially those with young children, have Advent calendars. Each day the children get to open a door, receive a little gift, or remove an object in the countdown for and in anticipation of Christmas.
Children, for the most part, look forward to Christmas because of the gifts they will receive. That’s not a bad thing, but we as adults, should have a much deeper anticipation of Christmas. We take the time to buy and wrap gifts, prepare food, clean the house for guests, buy new outfits, attend parties, etc. But how much time do we put into meditating on the actual birth of Christ and worshipping Him?
Many years, at least in our household, we spend time putting up the tree and decorating it, only to ignore it. We more often than not, sit in the room with the TV. Unfortunately, that’s often the way we are with God as well. We accept Him as Savior. We attend church on Sundays. Other than that, we pretty much ignore Him, too.
This Christmas, in anticipation of the celebration of His birth, let’s focus on Him a little more throughout the month. Let’s prepare our hearts by reflecting on why He came to earth.
Christmas will be that much more special when we focus on the true Reason for the Season.

Activity
This activity will take some extra planning. Get together as a family; you can even invite your extended family members to take part in this one as well. Choose a family that is in need; try to find a specific need if possible. Gather together money to give to that family for the specific need that they have. If possible, try not to let them know where their Christmas gift is coming from. That makes it all the more exciting for both them and you.

Song - The Twelve Days of Christmas (How I Want to Sing)

Going... going... going... Grab now for #99cents before it's gone!
https://www.amazon.com/Winters-Kiss-Elaine-Stock-ebook/dp/B0767LWGCL