Archive | September 2014

Tried & True by Mary Connealy

Tried & True is the first book in Connealy’s new Wild at Heart series, and it is set in Idaho Territory during the summer of 1866. Kylie Wilde is a young, single woman who is trying to homestead after serving in the Civil War (pretending to be a young man). Her father has practically made men out of his three daughters, and the older two embrace manly ways as necessary and beneficial to life on the frontier, but Kylie refuses to learn how to do men’s work. She wants tea parties and frilly dresses, but she let her father bully her into homesteading 160 acres.

Aaron Masterson is the local land agent and figures out Kylie is a woman who is claiming a military service exemption, which is only available to men because women weren’t allowed to serve in the war. Kylie wants that exemption in order to shorten her required time to live on the frontier from five years to three. She can’t imagine living so far from civilization any longer than that.

Complicating things further, there is someone who wants Kylie’s land, and they aren’t asking nicely. While trying to protect Kylie, Aaron comes to terms with his unresolved anger and hatred toward those who killed his family. The dramatic ending expresses the love and forgiveness that we are only able to offer through Christ.

Tried & True is an engaging beginning to the Wild at Heart series. I enjoyed the humor, romance, and suspense while learning more about life on the frontier and how the Civil War affected individual lives in that era. I am looking forward to reading the future books in this series.

I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to Lindsey F. who won my first blog giveaway! You can read my review of Willie’s Redneck Time Machine here. My son has been reading this book every day and discovering new adventures each time.
Thank you to those who participated in this giveaway, and thank you to Tyndale House Publishers for the complimentary books.

The Mess Detectives and the Case of the Lost Temper by Karen Poth

This I Can Read level 1 book is a cute VeggieTales story about self control. I ordered this book for my six year old to read on her own, but there were several words she didn’t recognize, so I read it to her. She enjoyed the story, but it was very simple.

Bob and Larry are detectives who are trying to find a door slammer. Bob starts out in a bad mood and gets more angry when Larry does silly things while they are supposed to be undercover. Bob loses his temper, and Larry calms him down by simply telling him to stop. Bob thinks about what he did and apologizes. It’s a nice little story but not very realistic. The door slammer turns out to be the wind, so Bob is the only one who lost his temper. The book ends with Proverbs 29:11, which talks about self control.

The Mess Detectives and the Case of the Lost Temper would be a good book for a child who can read on a first or second grade level, but I believe it would be best used as a springboard for a deeper conversation on self control with a younger child. The book does not discuss ways to control your temper or ways to calm down once you are angry (other than Bob stopping to think). This is a short and simple level 1 reader, so I guess I shouldn’t expect too much from the plot and resolution, but the title led me to believe it would help me teach my child to control her temper.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Harper Collins Christian Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

Be sure to check out my review of Willie’s Redneck Time Machine and like, comment, or follow to be entered to win a free copy of the book.

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Promises for God’s Princesses by Katrina Cassel

This summer, my husband and eight year old son went through the devotional The Talk: 7 Lessons to Introduce Your Child to Biblical Sexuality together, and our six year old daughter wanted to have the same one-on-one time with Daddy, but we couldn’t find an age-appropriate devotional for her. Then I saw Promises for God’s Princesses from Tyndale available for me to review. I requested this book, and Tyndale House Publishers sent me a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

My husband is reading this book with our six year old daughter. I have looked through the book and read parts of it, and I discussed several things with my husband this evening to make sure his opinion meshed with mine. He feels that these devotions are age appropriate for our daughter, who is just outside the recommended age group of 7 to 11 year olds. My husband believes that it would be best for a girl to read these with a sister, friend, or parent because it helps to discuss them. Our daughter enjoys having these devotionals with her daddy that are specifically written for girls her age.

My husband and daughter are able to read and discuss each devotional (one of God’s promises) in five to ten minutes. Each promise is 1 1/2 to 2 pages long and includes a real-life situation followed by a verse or two from the Bible. There is usually a closing paragraph that encourages the reader to journal in response to a few questions. If they choose to journal, they could still be finished in about 15 minutes for each promise. There are 100 promises in the book. We would highly recommend this book as a beginning devotional for a young girl.

We would also highly recommend The Talk for boys or girls who are ready to discuss sex. My husband said the devotional was straightforward and didn’t require him to think. The authors have researched the topic and presented it in a way that highlights Biblical values and honors marital sex.

Don’t forget to like or comment on my first giveaway, or follow this blog to be entered in the drawing for Willie’s Redneck Time Machine.

Tyndale Blog Network

My First Giveaway–Willie’s Redneck Time Machine by John Luke Robertson

Willie’s Redneck Time Machine is an interactive adventure book written for children and teenagers, but I enjoyed reading it too. My eight year old son was very excited to receive this book and has been reading it every day since we got it. He has chosen four different adventures so far and really gets into them. He wrote a reading response for school on this book and said, “It was so silly, it made me dizzy.” I’m not sure exactly what that means, but he liked it. My son is reading above his grade level, so this book is probably written for middle school aged children. I asked him if there were any words he didn’t know, and he said “mullet”, but he figured out that it was a hairstyle based on the context clues.

Willie’s Redneck Time Machine is the first book in John Luke Robertson’s series of interactive adventures. The others are Phil & the Ghost of Camp Ch-Yo-Ca, Si in Space, and Jase & the Deadliest Hunt. In each book, the reader gets to be one of the Duck Commander crew and make decisions every few pages that lead to the next part of your adventure. It took me about thirty minutes to complete an adventure, so this would make an excellent read for someone who has a shorter attention span, doesn’t want to get into a thick book, or just wants to be entertained for a little while.

I thought the adventure I chose was a little silly, but I can see how boys would love it. There were several references to how Willie was raised that reinforce what we are trying to teach our children–show respect for your elders, do not hit out of anger, stand up for what you believe in, fight for your family, show compassion for others, etc. I love how they incorporated respect and manners in this humorous adventure.

Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book and a copy for me to give away, so one lucky reader will receive this book for free! You may enter the contest in one of three ways: “like” this post, comment on this post, or sign up to follow this blog. I will draw a name on Wednesday, September 24th at 8:00 am and announce the winner that day, so get your name in the drawing before 8:00 am Wednesday. Thank you for participating!

Colliding with Destiny by Sarah Jakes

I’m always looking for a good Bible study or devotional book to keep me in the Word and to help me apply it to my personal life. This book was offered by Bethany House and appealed to me because it is based on the book of Ruth from the Old Testament.

Colliding with Destiny: Finding Hope in the Legacy of Ruth was written by Sarah Jakes, the daughter of Bishop T. D. Jakes. The book consists of an introduction and 30 chapters, which makes it a great one-month devotional, or it could be offered as a small-group Bible study with several chapters read before each meeting.

Each chapter begins with a few verses from the book of Ruth, and then the author shares a personal application of the scripture. Each chapter ends with a “Journal” section followed by a “Prayer” section, which allow the reader to reflect on the scripture and apply it to their own life and then close by giving thanks or asking God for help.

Colliding with Destiny examines the life of Ruth and the struggles she endured as she remained faithful to her family and her Lord. She could have given up at any time, said it was too hard, and returned to her mother’s house, but she endured and overcame her disappointments. God redeemed her pain and restored her with blessings. Ruth went on to become the great-grandmother of King David and an ancestor of Jesus Christ.

Sarah Jakes writes with wisdom as she shares her own painful experiences and disappointments, which taught her about God’s love, redemption, and restoration. This book offers Biblical hope and encouragement for anyone struggling to overcome their past.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. These thoughts and opinions are my own.

$10 Great Dates by Larson & Arp

$10 Great Dates: Connecting Love, Marriage, and Fun on a Budget by Peter and Heather Larson and David and Claudia Arp is a great resource for couples who would like to add a little fun to their marriage. The ideas range from at-home dates to adventure dates to romantic dates, and all are possible for $10 or less. The authors even include a section suggesting options for cheap child care to keep all excuses at bay.

Each date (chapter) includes a brief intro from one of the authors followed by the idea of the date, so within a minute you can determine if that idea will work for you and your spouse or not. Then the authors provide the details to tackle before the date and suggestions for carrying out the date. A few questions are included to get you and your spouse talking after the date to gauge how it went, learn about your spouse’s interests, and dream together. Each date (chapter) ends with a takeaway to tie everything together and help you remember what is important.

This book is fairly short–each date (chapter) takes about three pages–but it’s not meant to be read straight through like a novel. $10 Great Dates: Connecting Love, Marriage, and Fun on a Budget is intended for browsing and choosing dates that will encourage and inspire you and your spouse to have fun together and grow closer through dates that keep your marriage strong.

This book would be a great anniversary gift for any couple because the date ideas are so versatile and can be individualized by each couple. The ideas would work for newlyweds, couples with young children, and empty nesters. Many of the dates would be appropriate for engaged couples who have a tight budget but want to have meaningful dates and learn more about each other.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. These thoughts and opinions are my own.