Thursday, November 9, 2017

30 Days to Joy- Book Review

30 Days to Joy is great journal for writers and/or artists to express their thoughts and feelings on the topic of joy. The introduction speaks to the differences between joy and happiness and encourages readers to discover true joy. I like that the book states, "Take this book as seriously or as lightly as you need." Basically, just choose joy daily because we know that it is a choice.
Quotes or scripture verses about joy start each of the 30 days and then a journaling prompt or an opportunity for art is given. For example, one question is simply, "Who are the people who bring you joy and brighten your day?" Or another example, "Fill these two pages with words or images that make you smile or laugh."

I think that after a full month reflecting on joy, one can't help but have a positive change in outlook and intentional choosing of joy (regardless of circumstances). As the publisher says, "Whether you are sketching a picture of a favorite activity, jotting down words that make you laugh, or spending time meditating on a Bible verse, you will find renewed joy in these fun and thought-provoking pages." I love the concept of this book and think others will too.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Gathering the Threads- Book Review

Gathering the Threads, the third and final book from The Amish of Summer Grove series has finally been released! This series tells a tale of two young women who were switched at birth. One had been raised in the world, the other in an Amish home. But what happens when each girl tries to live in the home of their birth parents? I have really enjoyed this series and couldn't wait to read the conclusion of the story! Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times and CBA bestselling author. She once again has provided an engaging story to follow.

Ariana is returning home after months away from her Amish family. How will she adjust after her time in the Englisch world and what will happen to Skylar once Ariana is back? As written on the back cover of Gathering the Threads:

After months away in the Englisch world, Ariana Brenneman is overjoyed to be in the Old Order Amish home where she was raised. Yet her excitement is mixed with an unexpected apprehension as she reconciles all she’s learned from her biological parents with the uncompromising teachings of her Plain community. Although her childhood friend, ex-Amish Quill Schlabach, hopes to help her navigate her new role amongst her people, Ariana’s Daed doesn’t understand why his sweet daughter is suddenly questioning his authority. What will happen if she sows seeds of unrest and rebellion in the entire family?  
 Meanwhile, Skylar Nash has finally found her place among the large Brenneman family, but Ariana’s arrival threatens to unravel Skylar’s new identity—and her sobriety. Both Ariana and Skylar must discover the true cords that bind a family and community together and grasp tight the One who holds their authentic identities close to His heart. 

Woodsmall was able to bring together the Amish and Englisch world in such an intriguing way. From one who reads a lot, I feel like Gathering the Threads (and the other books in this series) breaks the normal pattern of the Amish genre. This is a thought provoking series and I hope you will choose to read the books for yourself.

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

Monday, November 28, 2016

Doodletopia Fairies- Review

What a pleasant surprise Doodletopia Fairies turned out to be! The simple (yet helpful) tips and illustrations in this book are exactly what I was hoping for. The author, Christopher Hart, is "renowned for up-to-the-minute content and easy-to-follow steps." This book starts with sketching basic fairy heads, then bodies, followed by clothing, accessories and wings. It also demonstrates extra things such as personality, magical powers, musical instruments, and fairy dwellings. I love that Hart designed this book to be interactive. Space is allotted for practicing fairy sketches within the same pages as the technique instructions. Printed on quality paper, this book should hold up well over time.

Doodletopia Fairies exceeded my expectations. This will be the perfect gift for my very creative and artistic 8 year old daughter. The instructions and pictures are simple enough for her to follow, but fun enough that I too would enjoy an afternoon sketching fairies and their habitats.

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

Monday, November 14, 2016

Fraying at the Edge- Book Review

I just finished reading Fraying at the Edge, by Cindy Woodsmall. This book kept my attention from front to back and was hard to put down! As with the first book in the Amish of Summer Grove series, Woodsmall leaves the reader in suspense at the conclusion. Unfortunately, book 3 hasn't been released yet but I will definitely be looking forward to reading it!

This series is about 2 girls who were accidentally switched at birth 20 years previously. Ariana Brenneman was raised Old Order Amish while the true daughter, Skylar Nash, grew up in the "Englischer World." When the discovery of the mistake became known, Ariana's biological father forces the girls to switch places for a year. As an atheist, he is appalled to learn his daughter has been raised in such a rigid, closed minded, religious society. The man creates a bucket list for his daughter in hopes of broadening her perspective of life. Skylar faces culture shock as well. Every modern convenience is stripped from Skylar and she must deal with her drug addiction and deep loneliness.

Fraying at the Edge deals with difficult subjects such as adultery, drug addiction, family expectations, blended families, and legalism verses love. Woodsmall is to be commended for her skillful handling of these topics while weaving a thought provoking story worth reading.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Saffire- Book Review

Saffire is a historic novel written by Sigmund Brouwer. The plot is set during the building of the Panama Canal. James Holt, the main character of the book, is requested to unravel a mystery and uncovers much more than he bargained for. Politics, intrigue, and even romance are themes woven throughout the story of Saffire.

 I previously did not have much knowledge about this time period so I enjoyed reading something with a fresh and unique feel. The story is a bit challenging to follow, but I am sure a second reading would bring more clarity. Overall, this was a pleasant read and I look forward to reading more from this author in the future.

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

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Room For Hope

Room for Hope is a great new book written by Kim Vogel Sawyer. Set during the Great Depression, the main character must choose her outlook and response to difficult life circumstances. Forgiveness, compassion, and love are themes found throughout the book. I was immediately drawn into the story and read through this book quickly.

From the back cover:

In a desperate time, can Neva find forgiveness for a grievous wrong—and make room for hope?
Neva Shilling has a heavy load of responsibility while her husband travels to neighboring communities and sells items from his wagon. In his absence, she faithfully runs the Shilling Mercantile, working to keep their business strong as the Depression takes its toll, and caring for their twins.
When a wagon pulls up after supper, Neva and her children rush out—and into the presence of the deputy driving a wagon carrying three young children. The deputy shocks her with the news that Warren and his wife have died, insisting it was their last request that the three children go live with “Aunt Neva.”
Neva’s heart is shattered as she realizes that Warren’s month-long travels were excuses for visits with his secret family. She wants nothing more than to forget Warren, but can she abandon these innocent children to an orphanage? Yet if she takes them in, will she ever be able to see them as more than evidence of her husband’s betrayal and love them the way God does?

Get your own copy of Room for Hope- you won't regret it!
I was given this book in exchange for my honest opinion. Thanks Blogging for Books!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

When You Lie Down Lullabies and Scripture Songs- Review

I am a huge fan of Seeds Family Worship. Their mission is to place God's Word into homes around the world.  I believe this is truly their passion and not just words alone. Seeds puts this goal into practice with their "buy one give one" policy. Each CD purchased includes 2 copies- one to keep and one to give away. I was pleasantly surprised to find this also true of the digital download version.

When You Lie Down Lullabies and Scripture Songs is the latest album released by this company. The songs are peaceful and soothing. The lyrics point to the rest we find in Christ. I  love that each song comes straight from Scripture (no fluff added). My kids only have to watch a movie one time and can sing lyrics from the songs. So what better way to instill God's Word on their minds and hearts than through music?

Many songs directed at children are annoying for the parent to listen to. Not so with Seeds! I enjoy the music as much as my children and perhaps even more. When You Lie Down Lullabies and Scripture Songs is a quality product that I am pleased to recommend to my friends and family. Well done, Seeds Family Worship!

Disclaimer: I received a free download of this album from Seeds Family Worship in exchange for an honest review of their product.