Tuesday, October 22

"The Sparkle Box" A Very Unique Christmas Book Giveaway

 A Gift with the Power to Change Christmas
I can see The Sparkle Box becoming a yearly traditional read in our home!  It fits in perfectly with the way we always celebrate the season--bringing kindness and love to those around us.  Around this time of year, my children and I make Shoe Boxes together to send to children throughout the world through Operation Christmas Child.  The actual sparkle box is meant to hold slips of paper that record the good deeds we do for others.  Published by Ideal Books, The Sparkle Box is different from most of the other Christmas themed children's books I've found.  It's really wonderful!  

More About The Sparkle Box 
Sam is so excited about Christmas! He's thinking about his Christmas list, looking forward to holiday parties, and puzzling over one very mysterious gift: a sparkly box sitting on the mantel. In the midst of the festivities, Sam and his family participate in various acts of kindness to others. On Christmas morning, when Sam finally opens the Sparkle Box, he finds only slips of paper that record the family's good deeds. Sam's mom explains that the things that they've been doing are, in fact, a gift for Jesus, for Jesus said that whatever we do for those in need, we do for Him. 

One winner (US or Canada) will receive a copy of The Sparkle Box. Enter below by November 2nd at 11 pm anyone's time. And be sure to enter all of the other giveaways at our blog by clicking on the tabs above.  :) 

Is there anything special you've been able to do in past holidays to get into the true spirit of generosity, or anything that you would like to do this year?

You Can Find Ideal Books On:

Special thanks to the wonderful people at FlyBy Promotions and Ideal Books for this review and giveaway opportunity!

Saturday, October 19

"Can't Wait Willow!" A Wonderful Picture Book Giveaway

First of all, I can't say enough good things about this book!  This is my daughter's favorite book in a long time.  She reads it sometimes 4 times a day to anyone who will listen. Can't-Wait Willow features a fun little girl named Willow who is full of life... but who has a hard time waiting for the things she wants most.  The books shares the difficult concept of delayed gratification in a fun way for our kids.  After my daughter read it to our family during bedtime storytime, my husband said, "That's a good message for kids and grown-ups."  Very true.  The story is wonderful, the reader can't wait to see what happens next, the ending is fabulous, and the message is encouraging and inspiring.  We can't wait for more from Shine Bright Kids!

More About Can't-Wait Willow!
Willow is so excited that the Over-the-Top Circus has finally come to town! The only problem is, that when left to her own devices, she cant say “no” to some good things. On the way to the show, she is distracted by enticing treats and fun that she just cant turn down. Willow arrives late and is sad to find that, not only has she has run out of time, but money, and she won’t be able to enjoy the pink cotton candy she’s been dreaming of. Willow is given valuable advice and a second chance and is ultimately taught the lesson that sometimes in life you have to say “no” to good things to end up with something great!

Enter below by Nov. 2nd at 11 pm anyone's time.  I'll choose a winner the next morning.  (US or Canada)  

And be sure to enter all of the other giveaways at our blog by clicking on the tabs above.  :) 

 You Can Find Shine Bright Kids On:

Special thanks to FlyBy Promotions and Shine Bright Kid Co. for this awesome opportunity to discover and share this book!

"Audrey Bunny" A Charming Picture Book Giveaway

Audrey Bunny is a sweet hardcover children's book with gorgeous illustrations.  It's the story of a stuffed animal named Audrey Bunny who fears her imperfections make her unworthy of a little girl’s love. She'll learn the truth soon enough, and young readers will learn that everyone is special and wonderfully made by God.  It's a beautiful story with such an important message!  Our family loves it, especially my youngest daughter who has a very special bunny in her life.  

Audrey Bunny was just released on October 1st of this year from B&H Publishing. I've really enjoyed all of their children's books so far and I'm super glad I discovered their publishing company early this year.  They publish not only children's picture books, but books for preteens and teens, as well.  They all have great themes--I highly recommend checking them out!
You can Find B&H Publishing on:

One of my readers will win their own copy of Audrey Bunny!  Enter below by October 27th at 11pm anyone's time.  I'll choose a winner the next morning.

And be sure to enter all of the other giveaways at our blog by clicking on the tabs above.  :) 

Special thanks to FlyBy Promotions and B&H Publishing for providing us with this opportunity to share our thoughtful and honest opinion.

Friday, October 18

"God's Love for You" Bible Storybook Giveaway

Traditional Bible favorites and faith stories from children show kids that God’s love reaches all the way around the globe!

God's Love for You Bible Storybook teaches favorite Bible stories followed by real stories of people sharing God’s love. Kids will see how they can learn from and help people all over the world.  This Bible storybook is beautifully illustrated by Martina Peluso in bright, whimsical displays. 

This bible storybook is different than any others I've seen in that it presents stories about children the authors have met through World Vision, what life is like in their corner of the world, and how God is working through their lives. It also features fun facts about each child’s home country.  It's especially for children from 4-9.  I love it!

Plus, all of the proceeds of the book are being donated to World Vision.  

Enter to win your own copy of this amazing bible storybook.  Fill out the form below by October 28th at 11 pm anyone's time.  Be sure and enter all of the other giveaways at our blog by clicking on the tabs above.  :)

Special thanks to the wonderful people at Tommy Mommy for providing me with this opportunity!

"My Name is Leona" A Sweet Children's Book That's Giving Back

I can honestly say that I've always liked my name.  Even though that's true, I still sometimes wished for something different.  You might laugh, but I used to wish my name was Amethyst.  Amethysts are my favorite precious stones and I thought it'd be fun to be called "Amy" for short.  In My Name is Leona a cute little girl named Leona (who happens to have a pet cat which is a plus--my kids love cats) doesn't like her own name and finds it very hard to choose names for her goldfish and her cat. 
This book is such a charming read by a 1st time author.  Truly, Carol Gahara Harris inspires me to start sending my own children's book off for publication.  My Name is Leona is a heart-touching story and an important one.  Leona's quest of finally appreciating her unusual name won the hearts of this year's Mom's Choice Awards' judges, giving the sweetly illustrated book its coveted 2013 Gold rating.  It's well deserved!
Another thing that really impressed me about this book and author are the many ties they have to charities.  The author will be doing a book reading for hospitalized children at Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in Dallas, Texas; a book signing for which a portion of proceeds will benefit Nino Salvaggio's Charitable Foundation for Children in Need in the author’s hometown of Clinton Township, Michigan; and a fundraiser for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital held at a local restaurant in Clinton Township.  I was actually born in Clinton Township and I'm very philanthropic so those qualities made me feel a special bond with the author.  This is definitely a book worth purchasing, and a charitable author worth supporting!  You can find it on Amazon.com.
Special thanks to KidStuff PR and the author for providing us with this review opportunity.

Saturday, September 28

The Homeschool Mom's Bible

I was so excited to stumble across the new Homeschool Mom's Bible from Zondervan!  It includes 365 devotions especially for homeschooling moms.  It comes in both King James Version and NIV.

The devotions are heartfelt and encouraging, practical readings that cover topics like avoiding burnout, staying focused and committed, navigating the needs of toddlers, setting boundaries, and, most importantly, maintaining proper soul care while juggling educational and household responsibilities.  I love that they're so short but so encouraging!  They're a wonderful way to begin my day.

The Homeschool Bible includes:
  • 365 daily meditations with prayers written by Janet Tatman, a veteran homeschooling mother with more than 25 years of experience homeschooling
  • Foreword from Vickie Farris, author, homeschool mom, and wife of Michael Farris, founder of the Homeschool Legal Defense Association
  • And a topical index
I love this bible and highly recommend it to any homeschool mom who could use that extra bit of encouragement as she starts her day!  It's really been a blessing to me.  It's a nice hardcover edition and costs about $24 on Amazon.

Special thanks to the wonderful people at Booksneeze for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review!

Monday, August 26

Redeeming Love, a Captivating and Inspiring Historical Romance

The prince of darkness is a gentleman. So begins Francine Rivers' best-selling book Redeeming Love.  Like all of her books that have come before, I was instantly immersed in this one. The author paints a real-life picture of what life might have been like for women in 1850s California Gold Country. The story is a retelling of an Old Testament story of a prophet who was told by God to marry a harlot who runs away from her husband to go back to her old life.  In the bible, Hosea buys her back.  I won't say what happens in this version, though, because I want you to read it!

Redeeming Love was often heart-breaking but it was also very poignant and touching.  It was a very captivating read with a wonderful ending. This story helps the reader to see how God is using our circumstances and even our worst mistakes to turn them around for good and to weave them into a beautiful tapestry.  It's the story of God's unconditional, redemptive, and all-consuming love.

California’s gold country, 1850. A time when men sold their souls for a bag of gold and women sold their bodies for a place to sleep. 

Angel expects nothing from men but betrayal. Sold into prostitution as a child, she survives by keeping her hatred alive. And what she hates most are the men who use her, leaving her empty and dead inside. 

Then she meets Michael Hosea, a man who seeks his Father’s heart in everything. Michael obeys God’s call to marry Angel and to love her unconditionally. Slowly, day by day, he defies Angel’s every bitter expectation, until despite her resistance, her frozen heart begins to thaw. 

But with her unexpected softening comes overwhelming feelings of unworthiness and fear. And so Angel runs. Back to the darkness, away from her husband’s pursuing love, terrified of the truth she no longer can deny: Her final healing must come from the One who loves her even more than Michael does…the One who will never let her go.

You can read the first chapter of Redeeming Love here.

Special thanks to the wonderful people at Blogging for Books for providing me with a copy of this book for review.

Wednesday, August 14

Grace's Pictures, An Ellis Island Novel

Grace's Pictures is a charming read that takes place on Ellis Island during the early 1900s.  Admittedly, it took me a few chapters to really get into the story but when I did, I had to know what was going to happen.  Grace is an Irish lass who has quite a lot of trust issues and who seems very lost in New York.  She is a very timid person, and I am quite the opposite so her personality and past aren't exactly something I can relate to.  Still, her character is sweet and likeable, anyway, and she definitely changes by the end of the book.  If you had a rough childhood or are a very shy person, you would probably be able to relate to her and get more out of this book than I did.  A plus for me was learning a bit about early photography and the Kodak Brownie camera.  History stuff makes me happy.  

If you're looking for an easy, cozy read this summer, I think you'll like this one.  You can read the first chapter here on Amazon.
From the back cover: 
A casual stroll through a beautiful New York City park turns into a hostile run-in with local gangsters, who are convinced Grace's camera holds the first and only photos of their elusive leader. A policeman with a personal commitment to help those less fortunate finds Grace attractive and longs to help her, but Grace believes such men cannot be trusted. Spread thin between her quest to rescue her mother, do well in a new nanny job, and avoid the gang intent on intimidating her, Grace must put her faith in unlikely sources to learn the true meaning of courage and forgiveness.

Special thanks to the wonderful people at Tyndale for providing me with this book to review.

Tuesday, August 13

Anomaly, an AMAZING book much like Hunger Games but with a Christian twist!

I just finished one of the most captivating books I've read in a very long time!  After forgetting I had it (I blame Tolstoy), I picked it up today while my kiddos were doing the last of their homework and I was glued to it until the last page.  I'm afraid to admit that I didn't even stop to go to the bathroom or get a drink, though I did take a short break to put my littles to bed and pray for them.

Decades before Thalli’s birth, the world was decimated by a nuclear war. But life continued deep underground, thanks to a handful of scientists known as The Ten. There they created genetically engineered human beings who are free of emotions in the hope that war won’t threaten the world again.

This book is simply amazing!  The writing style and the dystopian feel is very similar to the Hunger Games trilogy, and it seems this book will actually be the first in its own trilogy.  I am terribly impatient knowing I'll have to wait until July 2014 to read the 2nd part!  The characters are so real, the plot has twists and turns the reader does not expect, and the ending is both hopeful and a cliffhanger. 

You can read an excerpt and purchase Anomaly from Amazon here.  If you don't read any other book this year, read this one!

From the back cover:

Thalli is an anomaly, born with the ability to feel emotions and a sense of curiosity she can barely contain. She has survived so far by hiding her differences. But then her secret is discovered when she’s overwhelmed by the emotion of an ancient piece of music.

The Ten quickly schedule her annihilation, but her childhood friend, Berk - a scientist being groomed by The Ten - convinces them to postpone her death and study her instead. While in the Scientists’ Pod, Thalli and Berk form a dangerous alliance, one strictly forbidden by the constant surveillance.

As her life ticks a way, she hears rumors of someone called the Designer - someone even more powerful than The Ten. What’s more, the parts of her that have always been an anomaly could in fact be part of a much larger plan. And the parts of her that she has always guarded could be the answer she’s been looking for all along.

Thalli must sort out what to believe and who to trust, before her time runs out.

Special thanks to the people at Litfuse for providing me with this review opportunity!

Sunday, August 4

Horse Dreams, Great Fiction for Elementary School Girls

Backyard Horses was exactly the series I was looking for for my daughters who love Jesus, love horses, and are in 3rd grade. The author also wrote a series for older readers called "Winnie the Horse Gentler" and I tried that first but I'd recommend it for middle school students and up. Besides being harder to read, those books sometimes deal with harder issues (like abortion). Backyard Horses, however, is written at around a 2nd/3rd grade reading level. Love, love, love this series!

My daughters love Ellie, the heroine of the story! There are so far 4 books in the series and we started with book 1 (this one) in order to read them, well, in order. The heroine of Horse Dreams, Ellie, is a sweet, oftentimes feisty, day-dreaming 4th grader. In this book, she often day-dreams about her own horse. She decides to do a "science" experiment... she'll "beg, cry, and pray" for a horse of her own and find out what way works best for getting horses. I don't think it's spoiling anything to say that God will answer her prayer... but in a different way than she imagined.

I highly recommend this book to elementary school children. It's filled with a good story, important lessons, and a little girl who puts her hope in God. I also highly recommend Cowboy Colt, Chasing Dream, and Nightmare, the others in the series. By the way, you can earn this book for free by participating in Tyndale's Summer Reading Program through the end of August!

Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Needle's Eye: Studying the Bible with the Greatest Detective of All Time!

I have been very remiss in book reviewing lately!  My excuse is that War and Peace is my current read and it's taken me longer to read its 1,300 pages than I expected.  It's an incredible book by my favorite author ever but with 500 characters, it's not exactly easy reading!  Once in awhile, I take a short break for a fast read and then come back to it again. 

So earlier this week, I picked up Sherlock Holmes and the Needle's Eye: The World's Greatest Detective Tackles the Bible Ultimate Mysteries.  I love Sherlock Holmes, whether in print, on BBC, or on old black and white films.  He's an incredibly interesting character, and Len Bailey has captured him well in this book.  Like I said, I'm not doing much pleasure reading these days, but this book fits in perfect with my life at the moment because it is a collection of 10 different mysteries each of which is about 20 pages long.  You can read one and do the corresponding bible study, and then take a break for days, weeks, or even months at a time before picking it back up for more. 

Under close scrutiny ten bible mysteries give up their hidden clues, their long kept secrets. Like a jewel newly polished, they sparkle and shine with a fresh, introspective light.

In each mystery, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson venture back in time to a particular Old or New Testament setting and solve the mystery.  Perhaps it does sound a bit cheesey, but the author does it well and I really enjoy each mystery!  Definitely a unique approach to bible study, and I love it!  I hope it sells well and encourages the author to write a sequel!  And besides, when we're talking about Sherlock Holmes, there always just has to be a sequel. 

Special thanks to the wonderful people at Booksneeze for providing me with this book to review!

Tuesday, June 11

Fortress of Mist, Teen Fantasy Fiction that's Great for Adults, too!

The throne is redeemed, but the battle is just beginning.          
I've always loved fantasy, mystery, and historical fiction best.  This book has the feel of all of those combined.  Merlin's Immortals is the second book in the Fortress of Mist series.  It can stand on its own, but I do recommend reading book one first.  I didn't but wish I'd had the chance.

The Fortress of Mist series is especially written for teens and I highly recommend it to anyone with teenagers!  Fantasy stuff is so trendy right now and this series is an awesome option if your kids are interested in fantasy.  The story is well-written and exciting, and the book has a message that's actually good for the soul.   Believe it or not, what you read plays a part in who you become even when it's fiction, so don't take that lightly.  Pick up something that's both good entertainment and spiritually invigorating.
In the dark corners of an ancient land, evil lurks in the shadows. Powerful druids haunt the spaces of their lost territory. Double-minded noblemen fight for domain and influence. Invaders from the north threaten the kingdom of Magnus. This land of promise and redemption is mired in deceit and corruption.

The Orphan King, once victorious in conquest, appears to be losing his grip on his seat of power. Thomas rules Magnus, but does not know whom he can trust. His enemies anticipate his every move, thwarting him at each turn. Something is not right.

Under attack, both in the supernatural and natural worlds, Thomas must reach back into the secret layers of his past to find the strength and wisdom to fight his battles. When the mist clears, who will stand with him?

Special thanks to the awesome people at Blogging for Books for providing me with this review opportunity!

Wednesday, June 5

Chasing Dream: Wonderful Fiction for Young Horse Lovers

Backyard Horses was exactly the series I was looking for for my daughters, who love Jesus, love horses, and are in 2nd grade.  Miss Mackall also wrote a series for older readers called "Winnie the Horse Gentler" and I tried that first but I'd recommend it for middle school students and up.  Besides being harder to read, those books sometimes deal with harder issues that wouldn't be understandable by anyone younger than pre-teen.  Backyard Horses, however, is a fairly new series and is written at around a 2nd/3rd grade reading level.  Love, love, love this series!

My daughters love Ellie, the heroine of the storyEllie is a sweet, oftentimes feisty, day-dreaming 4th grader.  In the first book, she often day-dreamed about her own horse.  She did an "science" experiment... begged, cried, and prayed for a horse of her own.  God answered that prayer and brought her a palomino horse she named Dream, hence her new horse's name and this books title "Chasing Dream".  Because it's a continuing story, I recommend reading the first and second books but you definitely don't have to do that in order to enjoy Chasing Dream.  In this book...

Feisty fourth-grader Ellie feels the need to prove to the world that her Backyard Horse (Dream) is worthy of attention. Ellie arranges a race to show off her dream. But her world is shaken when her horse gets sick and she is forced to realize that she could very well lose her Dream.

I highly recommend this book to elementary school children.  It's filled with a good story, important lessons, and a little girl who puts her hope in God.  I highly recommend Chasing Dream as well as Horse Dreams, Cowboy Colt, and Nightmare, the others in the series.  By the way, you can earn this book for free by participating in Tyndale's Summer Reading Program through the end of August!

Tuesday, June 4

Mommy Time, A Refreshingly Honest and Entertaining Devotional

Wonderfully honest, real, entertaining... not at all your average overly-fluffy devotional!

For example, check out this excerpt from the Mommy Time Devotional, Day 2: Total Strangers: 

When my son is handed to me for the first time, I feel the sudden dissonance of greeting a stranger I thought I knew before.  It's like a blind date with someone you've only read about online.  Nothing about his features is familiar, but then he'll make a move and I think, "Ahaha! That's just like him.  That's the kick he used to give to my liver.

In the middle of the author's honesty and overwhelmedness, God is there.  If you've read any of my devotionals, you know I find the most fulfillment in writing just that way.  This author is a woman after my own heart.  She's written a very encouraging, not to mention entertaining, read.  I have to admit, I'm not a huge fan of devotionals. They usually end up seeming contrived, too brief for substance, and quite dull. This one is the total opposite of my low expectations.  I look forward to reading more from Sarah Arthur!  

If you're a new mommy, a mom of young children, or will be soon, I highly recommend this book!  I also recommend it as the perfect baby shower gift. 

Monday, June 3

"All in Good Time": Gilded Legacy Historical Fiction

All in Good Time is the newly released 2nd book in Maureen Lang's "Gilded Legacy" series.  I really enjoyed Bees in the Butterfly Garden and couldn't wait to read this one!

The main character, Dessa, is incredibly stubborn and has an exceptionally hard time being patient.  Flaws and all, she's incredibly sweet and likeable.  She's got a dream and though she doesn't wait for God to step in and help her out, He does so anyway.  All in Good Time is a wonderful picture of the way God redeems our failures when we screw things up royally.  It's a quick read with a fast-flowing storyline that will keep you on the edge of your seat, wanting to find out exactly how all the pieces are going to fit together in the end.
Dessa Caldwell has a dream: to open Pierson House, a refuge for former prostitutes in Denver’s roughest neighborhood. But after exhausting all charitable donations, Dessa still needs a loan, and nearly every bank in town has turned her down. Her last hope hinges on the owner of Hawkins National Bank.

Henry Hawkins has a secret: though he owns the most successful bank in town, his initial capital came from three successful raids on Wells Fargo coaches. Now he’s the most eligible bachelor in Denver, but to protect his criminal past, he’s built a fortress around his heart. Not even the boldest matchmaking mother can tempt him... until the day Dessa Caldwell ventures into his bank requesting a loan.

Though he’s certain her proposal is a bad investment, Henry is drawn to Dessa’s passion. But that same passion drives her to make rash decisions about Pierson House... and about whom she can trust. One man might hold the key to the future of her mission—but he also threatens to bring Henry’s darkest secrets to light. As the walls around their hearts begin to crumble, Henry and Dessa must choose between their plans and God’s, between safety and love.

You can earn this book free by participating in Tyndale's Summer Reading Program.  Check it out here!  The program goes through August 31st.

Band of Sisters, Ellis Island, and Human Trafficking

I discovered my new favorite author last month and her newest book didn't disappoint. The reader is swept away from the first page.  Cathy weaves a gripping story with very real characters.  You'll smile and you'll definitely cry as you read their touching story. 

The theme of Band of Sisters is living out what Jesus would have us do in every aspect of our lives.  The author refers often to a classic 1890's book called In His Steps which is now next on my to-read list.  Cathy spins a thought-provoking story, and woven through it all is Jesus, the author of our lives who weaves everything perfectly together to create a masterpiece.

Between the pages of Band of Sisters, the lives of women from very different backgrounds entwine...

Maureen O’Reilly and her younger sister flee Ireland in hope of claiming the life promised to their father over twenty years before. After surviving the rigors of Ellis Island, Maureen learns that their benefactor, Colonel Wakefield, has died. His family, refusing to own his Civil War debt, casts her out. Alone, impoverished, and in danger of deportation, Maureen connives to obtain employment in a prominent department store. But she soon discovers that the elegant facade hides a secret that threatens every vulnerable woman in the city.

Despite her family’s disapproval, Olivia Wakefield determines to honor her father’s debt but can’t find Maureen. Unexpected help comes from a local businessman, whom Olivia begins to see as more than an ally, even as she fears the secrets he’s hiding. As women begin disappearing from the store, Olivia rallies influential ladies in her circle to help Maureen take a stand against injustice and fight for the lives of their growing band of sisters. But can either woman open her heart to divine leading or the love it might bring?

You may have guessed that the secret hiding behind the elegant facade of the department store is human trafficking.  Just a few days before I began to read this book, I watched the movie Taken with my husband.  On a side note, if you haven't seen that movie, you should.  That movie also deals with human trafficking, so this is something that's been on my mind the last few weeks.  I can't stress enough how worth reading Cathy's recent article Human Trafficking Then-and-Now is. Please take a moment to read it, and to find out if there's some way that Jesus can use you, even if it's simply to pray.

"The question is not what we can accomplish, 
but what Christ can accomplish through us." 
~Charles Sheldon, In His Steps

If you've been looking for something that will not only entertain you but will also inspire and challenge you, I definitely recommend both Band of Sisters and Promise Me This!   Also check out Cathy Gohlke's page where you can join her mailing list and find out what else may be in store. 

Special thanks to the wonderful people at Tyndale House for providing me with this book to review!

Tuesday, May 7

After the Leaves Fall

Julia can’t wait for her life to begin. After her mother leaves when Julia is nine years old, she’s raised by an unassuming, gentle father and a saintly, matriarchal grandmother until her father dies just as Julia is becoming a young adult.

After the leaves fall... it's not over--everything is just waiting for spring.

On the cusp of womanhood, Julia feels jaded by her circumstances and longs for a new identity. College seems like the perfect place to start over. But when Julia makes a mistake that will change her life forever, she returns to her grandmother’s farm, defeated and convinced of her own worthlessness. Only through the gentle prodding of her loving grandmother does Julia begin to accept the imprint her childhood has left on her life and look for hope in a loving God who longs to make all things new.

Beautifully written... This book will touch your heart. -Angela Hunt, best-selling author 

Tuesday, April 30

Chronicles of Narnia Audio Drama: The Last Battle

My children and I love this audio CD set so I'd like to send one to one of my readers, too.  We listen to audiobooks often while taking long drives up to the mountain or on road trips... or sometimes when we're simply taking a short drive to the grocery store.  This audio CD is a drama with more than 100 actors, cinema-quality sound design, & music.
Upon entering an enchanted world called Narnia, four ordinary children learn extraordinary lessons in courage, self-sacrifice, friendship, and honor.

About The Last Battle: 
A powerful script and stellar cast mark thisacclaimed Radio Theatre adaptation of C. S. Lewis’s most famous work. What begins as a self-serving scheme by an evil ape quickly turns deadly, as the fierce Calormenes invade Narnia and claim that their god, Tash, and the Great Lion Aslan are one and the same. Young King Tirian and his comrades must fight for the survival of Narnia. The Last Battle, though the conclusion of the series, is also a beginning—with a timeless message that listeners will treasure.

You don't need to have read the other Narnia books to enjoy this audio CD, but I do recommend them.  They're an incredible series and you can always find them at used bookstores or on Paperbackswap for free or cheap (check out the sidebar to the right if you're interested in Paperbackswap--I love it!)

Monday, April 29

RPM: A Cool Boy's Racecar Series!

Currently at Tyndale Rewards, you can get 2 books from the boy's RPM race car series: Checkered Flag and Overdrive.   This race car series sounds really awesome for boys (and possibly girls, if they've got an interest in race cars--there is a girl main character).  My kiddos and I haven't read the books in this series yet b/c they're recommended for ages 10 and up.  However, they're published by one of my very favorite book publishers and I've been wanting to have a giveaway geared towards my readers sons and grandsons.  So here you have it! 

About "Checkered Flag"
Tim Carhardt is drifting through life with one goal: survival. Jamie Maxwell believes she can become—no, will become—the first female winner of the Cup. But life isn’t always as easy as it seems. What happens when dreams and faith hit the wall? You don’t want to miss a second of the action. In the trademark page-turner style used by Chris Fabry in the Left Behind: The Kids series, these fast-paced books will keep even reluctant readers on the edge of their seats. Go behind the scenes of America’s most-watched sport to see what it’s like inside a 200-mph racecar as engines rev and lives collide.

About "Overdrive"
Tim Carhardt is drifting through life with one goal: survival. Jamie Maxwell believes she can become—no, will become—the first female winner of the Cup. But life isn’t always as easy as it seems. What happens when dreams and faith hit the wall? You don’t want to miss a second of the action. In the trademark page-turner style used by Chris Fabry in the Left Behind: The Kids series, these fast-paced books will keep even reluctant readers on the edge of their seats. Go behind the scenes of America’s most-watched sport to see what it’s like inside a 200-mph racecar as engines rev and lives collide.

Get it free from Tyndale!

Sunday, February 17

God Gave Us Easter

I love all of Lisa Tawn Bergren's picture books and so do my kiddos.  We started with God Gave Us You and God Gave Us Love.and were so excited to read God Gave Us Easter.  These books are very sweet and special, the perfect way to introduce the wonderfulness of Jesus to children. 

"God loved us so much he wanted us to always be with him too. That's why God knew he'd need to give us Easter."

Because of the sweet, eternal message the book has, reading God Gave Us Easter to my little ones bonded us even closer together.  The illustrations are beautiful.  The story itself is something special along the lines of Margaret Wise Brown's The Runaway Bunny (which is a classic in children's literature you should definitely read if you haven't already!)  I have to admit, I like this story even better than the famous Miss Brown's because of the inspirational message within its pages.

I highly recommend this book and am so glad I had the opportunity to review it!  Check out the cute video about it and you'll probably fall in love with the series, too.

The wonderful people at Waterbrook Multnomah provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for the purposes of this review.  All views presented are my own.

Thursday, January 24

A Kingsbury Collection

Early last year, a friend let me borrow her book A Moment of Weakness.  With that story, I was introduced to Karen Kingsbury.  What especially captured and impressed me was the way Kingsbury looks at today's issues in such a real, genuine way.  She tackles things that many other Christian women seem to be afraid to discuss: things like abortion, politics, sex before marriage, and depression, and even when it seems to the characters that God is nowhere to be found, we see that He's working out both their bad and wise choices and turning them around for good.  It's the same for us.  We don't always see His plan or understand His ways, but He's there just the same, weaving our lives into a beautiful story... and Karen Kingsbury's stories reflect that truth.  

A Kingsbury Collection is a good starting point if you've never read Kingsbury before because you get 3 novels in one, especially b/c the price is very good for 3 new books.  It's a thick book, though (almost 800 pages) and didn't make for the coziest book reading experience.  I would encourage you to buy her books separately if that might bother you. 

Here are the books included in A Kingsbury Collection:

Where Yesterday Lives

Ellen Barrett is a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist with an uncertain marriage, a forgotten faith, and haunting memories of her picturesque hometown and the love she left behind. The eldest of five siblings, she longs for the time, long ago, when they were a happy family. Now Ellen’s beloved father is dead, and she returns to her childhood home to make peace–with the people who still live there, with the losses and changes that time has wrought, and with the future God has set before her.

When Joy Came to Stay

Maggie Stovall is one of the golden people. She has it all together...at least on the surface. Ben Stovall is a godly husband and successful attorney. He has no idea of the darkness about to overtake his life. Amanda Joy is a child of society–abused, broken, thrown away. But her trust in God is still alive. When Joy Came to Stay is the heart-wrenching story of one woman’s descent into the shadows of depression, her husband’s search for understanding, and a precious child’s unwavering faith.

On Every Side

Faith Evans is an up-and-coming newscaster, a woman of honor and integrity who must take a stand against the one man she never imagined would be her enemy. A beloved, hundred-year-old statue of Jesus stands in a small-town park–but some say it’s a clear violation of separation of church and state that must come down. Jordan Riley is a powerful attorney fighting for human rights and against God, but still reckoning with bitter boyhood losses. Amid political intrigue, social injustice, and personal conflicts, will love be enough when the battle rages on every side? 

Special thanks to the wonderful people at Multnomah for providing me with this book to review!

Wednesday, January 16

An Angel By Her Side: A Heaven on Earth Novel

I so loved this book!  It was a very different take on Amish fiction.  It included endearing Amish life along with angelic intervention.  Angels seem to be a theme for me lately seeing that I recently blogged about an angel picture book for children.  You can still win a copy of that book here.

This book features our heroine, Katie Bender, whose fiance died in a tragic accident along with her hope of ever again finding love.  She has a gift of teaching so she embraces that with all her heart.  Things seem to be going along for her, nice though monotonous, until one day when there is a tornado in her little town of Hope Falls.  A handsome stranger comes to her rescue and then the real story begins....

I very highly recommend An Angel by Her Side, along with the Heaven on Earth Novels by Ruth Reid.  It was an enchanting, feel-good read, and I really liked the deeper spiritual meaning behind the characters choices.

You can pick it up at Amazon for about $10--the cost of a movie but much longer entertainment value.  ;)  And you can read an excerpt of the book here.

Thanks to the awesome people at Booksneeze for providing me with this book to review!