Thursday, April 27, 2017

#REVIEW: Alabaster by Chris Aslan

Title: Alabaster
Author: Chris Aslan
Series: none
ISBN: 978-1782642282
Pages: 208
Publisher: Lion Fiction (Kregel)
Published Date: March 28. 2017
Buy It Link: Amazon

Synopsis: Maryam is stuck in an abusive marriage, living with her in-laws in a conservative, toxically religious village. A few years back, her father was given a jar of priceless perfume by a dying leper and it seemed as if their fortunes would improve, but then Maryam's father contracted leprosy and was exiled from the village. Maryam and her siblings, Eleazar and Marta, experience the shame and ostracism this brings. The precious jar that was meant to bring them freedom has only brought destruction. But rumors abound concerning a new doctor; perhaps hope is on the horizon. . . .
Alabaster brings a first-century Middle Eastern village and its culture to life for modern-day readers.

My Rating: 5 stars

My Review: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This is one of my favorite stories within the gospels. I love to see anyone attempt to fictionalize this and flesh this woman out. And this book did an amazing job.
Once I started it, and thankfully I did it on one of my days off, I couldn't stop, I couldn't tear myself away from this haunting and beautiful story of first century Middle Eastern culture. The heroine's tale is so well-written, I found myself right next to her in her pain, shame and grief. And when hope came along, I was right there with her, my heart soaring along with her.
You have to read it to understand how rich and captivating this story is, words just seem shallow in comparison to reading this book and being transported there.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

#REVIEW: Andi Saddles Up and Andi Under the Big Top by Susan K Marlow

Title: Andi Saddles Up
Series: Circle C Stepping Stones #1
Author: Susan K Marlow
Publisher: Kregel Publications
Published Date: March 28, 2017
ISBN: 978-0825444302
Pages: 112
Buy It Link: Amazon

Synopsis: Andi Carter has just turned nine. She and her palomino, Taffy, are old enough to be a real horse-and-rider pair at last! With a beautiful new saddle, Andi's sure she is ready to learn to trick ride like her friend Riley used to do before he left the ranch.

Sadly, big brother Chad knocks down any trick-riding plans, but Andi cheers up when she discovers a new friend at her special spot. Her fun with Sadie is soon threatened, though. They are caught in the middle of a boundary quarrel between the two families. Both Sadie's pa and Chad are stubborn as mules and neither will back down.

Can Andi and Sadie hang on to their friendship while the adults are fighting?

My Rating: 4 stars

My Review: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This book stars a young girl, Andi Carter, in the 1800's . It starts out on Andi's 9th birthday, where finally she can ride her palomino, Taffy, all by herself. During the book, Andi is confronted with how to face disappointment as a growing young lady, and not a child, as well as watching how adults handle their differences. Unfortunately, learning how adults settle their differences wasn't exactly a pleasant experience for Andi, and nearly tears apart a budding friendship with their neighbors, with whom they now have a boundary issue.
In the end, Andi sees that boundary issues can be complicated, but only as complicated as you make them. It is more important to help those in need than to stick with your pride.

Title: Andi Under The Big Top
Series: Circle C Stepping Stones #2
Author: Susan K Marlow
Publisher: Kregel Publications
Published Date: March 28, 2017
ISBN: 978-0825444319
Pages: 105
Buy It Link: Amazon

Synopsis: The summer after Andi Carter turns nine the circus comes to town. She can't wait to get in line to see the elephants, acrobats, and--most of all--the champion bareback rider. What could be more thrilling than riding your very own horse under the big top?
When the Carters see the show, Andi meets Henry Jackson, a small boy selling concessions. Andi thinks his job must be perfect, hanging out with happy clowns, exotic animals, and excited visitors. But it's not all fun and games. Henry shares a secret with Andi: he ran away from home to join the circus--and now he's trapped. Andi wants to help him get free. But helping him may mean losing something very special to her.

My Rating: 4 stars

My Review: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This book is a continuation of the previous book, Andi Saddles Up, and stars a 9 year old girl, Andrea, nicknamed Andi, in the 1800's. How exciting can a circus coming to town be for a 9 year old in the 1800's?! She can't wait! When she finally does see the circus she meets a young boy about her age, named Henry. How much better and more exciting must his life be, in the circus, travelling around the country, than her own? Instead, she learns a much darker side to the flamboyant and colorful circus. Trying to help her new friend escape the circus could mean disaster for another friend even dearer to her.
This book is a great read for children in middle elementary school (my 8 year old loves it!) with a gentle undertone of Christian historical fiction.

Friday, March 24, 2017

#REVIEW: The Elusive Miss Ellison by Carolyn Miller

Title: The Elusive Miss Ellison
Series: Regency Brides: A Legacy of Grace #1
Author: Carolyn Miller
Publisher: Kregel Publications
Published Date: February 27, 2017
Buy It Link: Amazon

My Rating: 4 stars

My Review: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
After having just completed a Regency time period book, it was easy to jump right back into that time period. However, this book was so different than the other Regency books I have read, in the fact that it's not centered around the Season and multiple balls, and stolen kisses in dark and shadowy alcoves.
This book is a refreshing change into a country scene where balls don't matter as much as pulling up your sleeves and helping those that need the help and can't fend for themselves.
Faith is a big thread throughout this book, having the main character be the town's minister's daughter, it could go either way. But it's that faith that ends up bringing the two main characters together and changing their preconceived notions about each other.
I really enjoyed reading this book and watching as the characters slowly evolved as the storyline progressed.

Friday, March 3, 2017

#REVIEW: Would You Lile To Know? Collection

Title: Would You Like To Know Collection Gift Set
Series: Would You Like to Know Boxed Set
Author: Various
ISBN: 9781781283271
Pages: 168 total
Publisher: Kregel Publications
Published Date: February 27, 2017
Buy It Link: Amazon | Kregel

Synopsis: In this new addition to the fantastic Would You Like to Know? series, six little books are featured in one boxed gift set. Each book offers a starting point for young children to explore some of the key points of their faith and gain a greater understanding of Christianity. Each title has accessible illustrations, an inscription page, and notes for parents. A wonderful gift for those getting to know the church.

Would You Like to Know About God?
Would You Like to Know How to Pray?
Would You Like to Know Jesus?
Would You Like to Know the Bible?
Would You Like to Know the Story of Christmas?
Would You Like to Know the Story of Easter?

My rating: 4 stars

My Review: I received a copy of these books in exchange for an honest review.
This is a great boxed set of short stories for pre-school kids. The language is easy to understand for them, it doesn't go into a lot of details, and the illustrations are colorful enough to grasp their attention. For these reasons, I think this is a great addition to any Sunday school classroom.
However, I would like to say that I don't believe these would stand up very well to handling by younger hands. Yes, the pages are thicker than normal pages, and the books are presented in a wonderful glossy boxed set. I still don't think they are sturdy enough to handle the rough treatment that some kids can give them.

Friday, February 24, 2017

#REVIEW: Control Girl by Shannon Popkin

Title: Control Girl: Lessons on Surrendering Your Burden of Control from Seven Women in the Bible
Series: none
Author: Shannon Popkin
Publisher: Kregel Publications
Published Date: Jan 27, 2017
ISBN: 978-0825444296
Buy It Link: Amazon

Synopsis: Little fights with your husband and kids. Unhappiness when things don't match your version of perfect. Tension, anger, fear, anxiety--it all begins with a heart that craves control. When your perspective of how life should go replaces God's, you doom your quest for security, peace, and joy before it even starts.
Thankfully, there is a better way.
Join Shannon as she shares what she has discovered about her own control struggles and about God from studying seven Control Girls in the Bible. Whether it was Eve's desire to know instead of trust, Sarah's inability to wait for God to move, or Rebekah's controlling hand on her family's future, each of these women's stories contain warnings and lessons for us today.
Learn how you too can lay down this burden of trying to control everything and find rest in surrendering to the One who truly is in control.

My Rating: 4 stars

My Review: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Ever heard of a worrier? Yeah, I take that to an art form, along with probably 30% of the American population. I have worried about conversations I had years ago and actions I should or shouldn't have done because of those conversations. So do a lot of other people. And people who are worriers are ultimately dealing with control issues. When things seem out of control, that is when I worry the most.
From these seven women of the Bible, I found that I am probably most like Eve, in her need to know instead of trusting in what others tell me. But whether I am like Eve, or Rebekah, or Esther, I have been able to learn lessons from each of these women. At the end of each chapter are Bible verses to reflect on and questions to answer as you work your way through the book.
One of the quotes from the book that struck me was “If it’s hidden, it’s out of our control.” In a way, I can agree with it, in another way, my job requires me to dig deeper, look at details. It's a struggle for me to dig for details, and to trust at the same time.
Overall, I found this book to have a lot of good advice to let go of the smaller worries that I really have no control over.

#REVIEW: The Dog Who Was There by Ron Marasco

Title: The Dog Who Was There
Series: none
Author: Ron Marasco
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Published Date: January 31, 2017
Pages: 272
Buy It Link: Amazon | Thomas Nelson

No one expected Barley to have an encounter with the Messiah. He was homeless, hungry, and struggling to survive in first century Jerusalem. Most surprisingly, he was a dog. But through Barley’s eyes, the story of a teacher from Galilee comes alive in a way we’ve never experienced before.
Barley’s story begins in the home of a compassionate woodcarver and his wife who find Barley as an abandoned, nearly-drowned pup. Tales of a special teacher from Galilee are reaching their tiny village, but when life suddenly changes again for Barley, he carries the lessons of forgiveness and love out of the woodcarver’s home and through the dangerous roads of Roman-occupied Judea.
On the outskirts of Jerusalem, Barley meets a homeless man and petty criminal named Samid. Together, Barley and his unlikely new master experience fresh struggles and new revelations. Soon Barley is swept up into the current of history, culminating in an unforgettable encounter with the truest master of all as he bears witness to the greatest story ever told.

My Rating: 3 1/2 stars

My Review: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I was interested to see a dog's perspective of Jesus and first century Jerusalem. However, the book itself took a very long time to actually get to the action, and because of this, it was very hard to keep going in the beginning. This came a lot from backstory, flashbacks, etc.
Before starting this book, I was hoping to see a more up close storyline to Jesus, and the fact that it was so far away from ground zero was disappointing. On the other hand, it was refreshing to see how far outwards Jesus' influence went even during his life. And, of course, the end of the book was fantastic in how it brought the beginning of the book all the way to the end. A thread of a storyline I didn't realize was running through the book until I saw the end.
Overall, the author's writing is just okay for me, but the book is built on a great premise.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

#REVIEW: Achaia by Ronald Beckham

Title: Achaia: The Days of Noah
Series: none
Author: Ronald Beckham
Publisher: WestBow Press
Published Date: December 20, 2016
ISBN: 978-1512750010
Buy It Link: Amazon

Synopsis: Technology–it’s about OUR generation, isn’t it? Or is it? Could it have happened long before the stone, bronze and iron ages we think of as the dawn of modern technology? The Bible tells us something of Cain, the second man, who “was building a city” (Genesis 4:17 & forward). Within a short time, we find tent making, the creation of harps and flutes, and the making of sophisticated bronze and iron tools, thousands of years before such things were supposed to exist. “Achaía, The Days Of Noah” presents a high technology on a unique basis, a world filled with underground and above ground cities, laser weaponry, electrical and nuclear energy, modern warfare and space travel. Genesis 6:11-13 is God’s view of the world at that time: “corrupt…and full of violence.” The earth was to be destroyed by an immense flood with earthquakes and volcanism under the waters that destroyed the world, its civilization and ended for a time our violent tendencies. What was that world like?–Read “Achaía” and find out.

My Rating: 2 stars

My Review: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I really struggled to read this book. The basic characters weren't so bad. Reading the book, sometimes I could understand the inner workings of the characters and wanted to know them more, other times the utter strangeness of the whole book swallowed me up. There is a huge leap in technology to go from the Iron and early Bronze Age and then to suddenly be in something that is more futuristic than our own modern day life, and then knowing that somehow we end up going back to the Stone/Bronze Ages, all within a few hundred years. This disparity is what really threw me, and didn't allow for an enjoyment of the book.
Even as a steampunk and fantasy reader, I felt this book had far too much imagination, with not enough facts to ground it into a believability. Now, if this were a whole different world, it would be so much easier and more enjoyable to read.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

#REVIEW and #GIVEAWAY: Love Him Anyway by Abby Banks

Title: Love Him Anyway: Finding Hope in the Hardest Places
Series: none
Author: Abby Banks
Published Date: February 21. 2017
Publisher: Ambassador International
Pages: 225
ISBN: 978-1620205723
Buy It Link: Amazon
One night can change everything. Abby Banks put her healthy, happy infant son to sleep, but when
she awoke the next morning, she felt as though she was living a nightmare. Her son, Wyatt, was paralyzed. There was no fall, no accident, no warning. A rare autoimmune disease attacked his spinal cord, and there was no cure. In an instant, all her hopes and dreams for him were wiped away. The life she envisioned for her family was gone, and she was frozen by the fear of a future she never imagined.
As she struggled to come to grips with her son's devastating diagnosis and difficult rehabilitation, she found true hope in making a simple choice, a choice to love anyway-to love her son, the life she did not plan, and the God of hope, who is faithful even when the healing does not come. In Love Him Anyway, Abby shares her family's journey from heartbreak to triumph and reminds us that hope and joy can be found in life's hardest places.

My Rating: 5 stars

My Review: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
You know how when you're little and you have all of these dreams for your life. I know I had practically designed my wedding dress in my head, knew where I would go on a honeymoon, and had already named my imaginary children, all by the time I was 12. Life ended up much different. I'm sure yours did too.
That's how this book starts...the dreams of hopes of a mother for her baby son. The road that leads them to a very different life though, are heartbreaking. The sheer magnitude of everything this family had gone through in the space of a few years even before Wyatt's birth and diagnosis would test any one's faith and resolve. And then in the space of a night, their whole life and future is tipped upside down. It reminds me of the saying, "Man plans, God laughs."
The grace, patience and hope the author expresses in this book brings each reader along the trip of the lows, highs and successes as if each of us were right there with her. There is a part in the book where the author says she wishes she had focused on an area of medicine at some point in her college career, because it would have been so much more useful than a degree in communications. But her degree in communications has led to this book, sharing Wyatt's story with more people than any degree in medicine could have.
I am so grateful to have been able to be a witness to their story through this book.

Giveaway: Win a signed copy of Love Him Anyway!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

#REVIEW: Jesus Bible NIV Edition

Title: Jesus Bible, NIV
Author: miscellaneous
Publisher: Zondervan
Published Date: January 3, 2017
ISBN: 9780310444671
Buy It Link: Zondervan | Amazon

Sixty-Six Books. One Story. All About One Name.
Encounter the living Jesus in all of Scripture. From the Passion Movement, The Jesus Bible, NIV Edition, with exclusive articles from Louie Giglio, Max Lucado, John Piper, Ravi Zacharias, and Randy Alcorn, lifts Jesus up as the lead story of the Bible.
Profound yet accessible study features help you meet Jesus throughout Scripture. See him in every book so that you may know him more intimately, love him more passionately, and walk with him more faithfully.
  • Introduction by Louie Giglio
  • 66 book introductions highlight the story of Jesus in every book
  • 7 compelling essays on the grand narrative of Scripture by Louie Giglio, Max Lucado, John Piper, Ravi Zacharias, and Randy Alcorn guiding you to treasure Jesus and encourage you to faithfully follow him as you participate in his story
  • Over 300 full-page articles and nearly 700 sidebar articles reveal Jesus throughout all of Scripture
  • Single-column text of the most read, most trusted modern-English Bible—the New International Version (NIV)
  • Wide-margin room for notes and journaling throughout
  • NIV dictionary-concordance
  • Ribbon marker
  • 7-point text size
  • 8.25" x 6.50" x 2.00"

My rating: 4 stars

My Review: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
First impressions of this Bible are nice. It is gray cloth over board, making it feel sturdy and look sleek and modern. A silver ribbon marker allows you to keep your place in the Bible. As someone who loves to write and journal in her Bible, I didn't find this Bible to have the wide margins that it claims to have. That was very disappointing. I don't have huge writing, but the space given barely seemed to give me enough space to write.
I did enjoy how that within each of the books of this Bible, it had sidebar articles explain how Jesus was a constant theme throughout the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. The typeset is rather small at 7 point, but it is clean with only one column, and so far, easy to read.
Overall, this is a nice Bible, but for someone who writes in their Bible, I wouldn't get it for them.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

#BLAST and #Excerpt: Back From Broken: A Dancer's Journey Back to Wholeness by Rosheka Shonta Henry

Write Now Literary is pleased to announce Back From Broken by Rosheka Henry

Virtual book Tour January 9-20, 2017.

Book Release Date: June 2016

Genre: Religious/Self Help

About The Book

BACK FROM BROKEN is the story of one woman’s journey back to wholeness. It is one woman’s pursuit to getting rid of what was holding her back from being who God has called her to be. This story will give you the heartbreak and bitterness that one holds onto but decides to let go of so that Wholeness can begin.  This book will enlightened you, teach you what you need to know and empower you, and equip you with the tools that you need in order to walk in your wholeness, the last thing that I hope that this book can do for you is to impact you.

About The Author

ROSHEKA SHONTA HENRY is a native of Georgia, and was raised in Alabama. She grew up to love the medical field, and spent the majority of her career working at surrounding community hospitals as a phlebotomist and patient register. She is a proud and devoted member of Word of Truth Ministries, where her father, Pastor John L. Cook is the Sr. Pastor. She is also a certified dance instructor, where she leads the dance ministry at her church. She also teaches praise dancing in the surrounding churches. Rosheka’s praise dance ministry has been featured on local television stations numerous times. She has received awards as well as trophies for her profound work in her dance ministry. She is very devoted to Kingdom work. God is her driving force.
She is the author of  “BACK FROM BROKEN…A DANCERS JOURNEY BACK  TO WHOLENESS”, which is the autobiography of her life. She has written a gospel song called “Hallelujah” song by an up and coming artist, that can be downloaded on all major online music apps, such as iTunes and Google Play. She is also a single mother of three gifted children.
Her passion in life is to empower women, as well as men, and children. Her love for mankind has driven her to pursue a path that will inspire others to be all that they can be in life and in Christ. She is an inspirational speaker as well as an advocate for women who are broken. She works closely with her church and local food bank feeding the hungry.
Rosheka has also had the opportunity to model for The Wonderful World of Fashion Show. She has been known to grace the camera with her smile for multiple companies in her area. She has a bright future in ministry and is looking to open a Non-profit Organization THE BACK FROM BROKEN CENTER for broken women looking for inner help.

Click here to read the excerpt 

Click here to follow the tour 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

#BLAST: Anika's Story by LaToya Murchison

Write Now Literary is pleased to announce Anika’s Story Book Release Tour with author LaToya Murchison, January 3, 2017.

Publication Date: December 31, 2016

Genre: Non-fiction

About The Book

Depression, healing, and forgiveness played a huge role in Anika Sims life. At first glance, you would think Anika has her life together. She is the CEO of Regal Publishing LLC. She has five New York Best Sellers and is the youth minister at her church. 
However, behind the smile that she always carries is a woman filled with pain and moments of depression. Anika's Story: will show you the importance of making peace with your past and forgiving those that have hurt you.

About The Author
LaToya Murchison is a Woman After God’s Own Heart. LaToya was born and raised in Southern Pines, NC and started writing poetry as a junior in high school. LaToya found that writing allowed her to be creative and eventually discovered her interest in becoming a published author. After graduating from high school and uncertain of her career path, she attended and received an Associate Degree in Office Systems Technology from Sandhills Community College in Pinehurst, N.C.
LaToya is passionate about encouraging, helping, and building up others. She gave her life over to Christ 8 years ago and is the best decision she ever made. At the age of 18 doctors told her that she would not live to see the age of 25. On August 2, 2016 she turned 38 years old and she continues to give God all the thanks daily because she knows that if it had not been for the plan and the favor that he had set for her life before she was born she would not be here today. LaToya loves to spread the word of God everywhere she goes.
In LaToya created a Facebook Group named D.O.V.E Daughters of Virtue with a mission to unite women who strive to encourage and empower other women and members of their community. She created dove to promote unconditional love, peace unity and the importance of understanding and respecting women’s individual’s rights to choose a spiritual path.
LaToya serves as Media Director, Vacation Bible School Director, YPCL Director and Children’s Ministry Assistant at Love Grove Free Will Baptist Church. LaToya published her first book A Praying Heart on November 21, 2014 and her second book Poetic Expressions on May 30, 2015.
As a virtual assistant, she has assisted countless authors with developing their online presence. Services include graphic design, social media management, interviews, and e-book fairs.
         When LaToya isn’t working for a client or doing something literary, she enjoys spending time with family and working with the youth in her church. 
Connect with LaToya
Website            Facebook             Twitter 
Click here to follow the tour