Monday, August 28, 2017

Start Where You Are - Notecards by Mera Lee Patel

The Start Where You Are notecards are companions to the book Start Where You Are by Meera Lee Patel.  You don't have to have read the book to enjoy these fabulous notecards!  Each card appears as if it were hand crafted just for you or someone you know.  The water colors are beautiful and soothing.  Each card has a quote from a poet or author.  The art work enhances the message on each card.   The decorated envelopes are a classy touch.  The creator of these notecards chose with care and wisdom the words she placed on each notecard.  The quotes are deeply moving and ones that will sit in your heart and dwell there long after you have sent the card on to a friend.  Perfect gift for yourself or a friend.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

A Very Thankful Prayer by Bonnie Rickner Jensen

The book is a sturdy square shaped board book.  Cover has shiny, foil leaves in autumn colors.  A little rabbit riding a bicycle with a dog in the basket graces the cover.  Rabbit and dog are dressed in sweaters, scarves and hats with pom poms.  The verse to the book is written in rhymes.  Each page focus on a different aspect of thankfulness.  Various animals are shown doing different activities in which they are thankful.  Rabbit wakes up on a carrot quilt and is thankful for morning. A bear, cat, olw, badger and mouse play together happily at the playground and are thankful for wooly scarves.  A mouse family rakes leaves and delights in fall colors.  Squirrels help a farmer harvest corn.  A bear cub is thankful for love in his family.  A group of rabbits gather pumpkins.  Puppy, kitten and ducks are thankful for their friendship.  Foxes climb ladders to reach apples for apple pie.  A cat family celebrates thanksgiving around a table laden with food.  A deer, raccoon and penguin roast marshmallows around a bonfire under the moon and stars.  The book ends with verse on thankfulness in being able to help others and recognizing God as the giver of all things.  The illustrations throughout the book are detailed and delightful.  The animals are adorable and each scene is interesting and exudes warmth and love.

I received this book from booklook and was not required to write a positive review.

The Return by Suzanne Woods Fisher

This story draws us deep into a dark period of America's history as white settlers and Native Americans fight for the same land.  It was a time of intense unrest, distrust and often violence.  The characters in this book come from both sides of the line drawn by this turbulence.  Beware for there are graphic depictions of the savagery inflicted by one upon another.  The author did an excellent of showing that you cannot lump all people into one kettle.  There were good and bad in each culture as well as innocents who paid the price for those who were bent on evil.  Through her riveting story of love, loss, betrayal, reunion and restoration she weaves together a brilliant revelation of what it was like to live during those years.  Through the characters' self reflection and self revelation we begin to understand the immense struggle for peace and justice.  She also taps on our hearts for a deeper level of compassion and forgiveness and self-sacrifice for others.

I received this book from Revell and was not required to write a positive review.

Friday, July 14, 2017

The Tea Planter's Wife by Dinah Jefferies

Dinah Jefferies has created a heart twister of a tale.  Fascinating historical facts are revealed in the pathos of one woman's life as  a tea planter's wife.  She leaves England for a life in Ceylon where nothing is familiar and secrets have been kept with horrendous consequences to all.  The interpersonal relationships between Gwen, her husband Laurence, his sister Verity and former love interest Christine all bring to a boil hidden rages, jealousies and anguishes.  The past connects with the present in explosive, shocking revelations that will change everything.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Gathering the Threads by Cindy Woodsmall

While Gathering the Threads is the third book in The Amish of Summer Grove you don't have to read the first two books to enjoy this book.  The author gives a detailed summary of the other two books at the beginning of this book to "catch you up".  However, this whole series is so good you will want to read book 1 and book 2.  In Gathering the Threads we find Ariana and Skylar still trying to navigate their emotions and beliefs.  There's a lot of deep family interpersonal drama as well as a mystery or two to untangle.  I really appreciate that the author takes time to develop each character and the various situations throughout the book.  When Ariana is faced with a dilemna it is thoroughly investigated from different angles.  You feel her turmoil and angst.  You root for her as she braves new patterns in her thinking, emotional responses and actions.  This is not a "typical" Amish book.  It is just brimming with deep and riveting dialogue that will touch and maybe even change your heart. Unusual and yet realistic situations arisen to challenge everything Ariana once thought were rock solid beliefs.

Monday, June 26, 2017

God Bless My School by Hannah C. Hall

God Bless My School by Hannah C. Hall is another wonderful addition to the "God Bless..." titles published by Tommy Nelson, the children's division of Thomas Nelson Publishers.  Absolutely adorable creatures are the main characters in the school.  Of course a wise Mrs. Owl is the loving teacher over them.  The illustrations are in soft hues and exude warmth, tenderness and security.  The young scholar is shown through a typical day of kindergarten.  The first pages start with the autumn weather and colors coming to signal that school will soon start.  The daddy porcupine encourages his child that this is an exciting event.  Next we find mama bear who has prepared her cub for school by buying new shoes that his has learned to tie.  The penguin mom has packed her child's backpack full of school supplies such as crayons, glue and paint in preparation for the big day.  As the child turns the page he will see a baby bird flying off with her lunch box waving good-bye with a smile and the knowledge that God goes with her.   Mrs. Owl greats the class and they sit in circle time looking happy.  Little creatures are then shown playing drums, playing with blocks, singing and looking at books.  Lunch time is creatively shown with a variety of foods specific to each animal.  This is a clever way to shown children that they may see foods eaten at school that are quite different from their own lunch. Nap time is drawn with sweet peaceful expressions and even a peeking kitten who doesn't really want to sleep.  Playground fun is shown with animals cooperating and joining in the fun together.  The last pages show more playground fun with swings, lides, jump ropes and hopscotch.  The last words end the book:  "God bless my school," we say.  As little ones rejoice in the new found happiness of a school day.

I received this book from BookLook and was not required to write a positive review.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Holy Bible International Children's Bible - The Blessed Garden

This children's study Bible was a feast for eyes and heart.  The cover is beautifully illustrated with forest creatures and an arrange of colorful flowers with sparkles.  Butterflies, mushrooms, vines and special keyhole also grace the front cover.  Upon opening the book there is an illustration of a path which is fitting as the Bible states "Your Word is a lamp unto my feet".  There is a dedication page graced with the same lovely illustrations.  The introduction page asks why we should study the Bible. The reasons are explained in clear, easy to understand language and with a story about friendship. The story will help a young child have a better understanding about the relationship between herself and God.  Next comes several pages that show a timetime illustrated with people from the Bible stories.  It starts with Adam and Eve and ends with the words:  The church will continue until the Lord returns.  Right before the table of contents is a full page with a forest scene depicted on it.  The preface describes why this particular version of the Bible is noteworthy and can be trusted.  There is a section on key verse highlights.  The Old Testament is then given in full account.  Followed by the New Testament in its entirety.  Throughout the Bible text are illustrated pages with thought provoking questions or short devotionals. One example is:   How do I know Jesus loves me?  Each thought page or devotional contains scriptural references and a story that is child friendly.  At the end of the Bible are sections that contain:  a dictionary, glossary of famous Bible stories, Bible promises, Memory Verses for My Life, Names of God, Miracles of Jesus, Names of the Disciples, Kids in the Bible and maps.  This Bible is aimed at young children but is a very well developed Study Bible and goregous too!

I received this Bible from BookLook and was not required to write a positive review.