Saturday, December 14, 2019

Review: Gus Loses His Grip by Editor David Powlison and Illustrator Joe Hox

To Purchase

About:

Gus, a raccoon who loves all things sweet, learns what happens when you want something too much. After Gus gets caught taking candy from the store, Papa reminds him that temptation might be strong for us, but it s not too strong for Jesus. Both Gus and Papa can ask Jesus for help when they want something too much.
The last page contains information for parents on how God, in his Word, helps us turn to Jesus when we are tempted. Together children and parents will be guided into meaningful conversations about living by faith in the details of everyday life. Also included is a tear-out page of Back Pocket Bible Verses that will give children a practical way to remember God's words when they want something too much.
A new series of hardback, illustrated children s books for three-to eight-year-olds each centered on an animal family bring gospel help and biblical counsel to families. The animal characters, colorful illustrations, and the real-life issues each animal family face will captivate children. The first three books address anxiety, anger, and failure, bringing biblical help and hope to issues every child faces.


My Thoughts:

This storybook has a wonderful message that I think children as well as adults can relate too. How much is too much and when does it turn into greed? I think the message is a good one all year long, but maybe at Christmastime the most. (Though this book actually takes place right after Easter.)

Gus is a little raccoon who has quite a sweet tooth. So much so that it becomes almost like an addiction for him until he starts losing control of himself and does something that he would not normally do. What I liked was how his parents, especially his dad handled it. This was an eye opener for sure and a great lesson in contentment.

This is a really nice hardback book with the most adorable and creative illustrations. My son and I have been reading these books together, he is 9 but both he and I have been enjoying this series of little animals learning valuable lessons.

I received a copy of this storybook from the publisher. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.

Reviewed by Boo and his Mum

Friday, December 13, 2019

Review and Excerpt: The Camera Never Lies by David Rawlings


About the Book


Book:  The Camera Never Lies
Author: David Rawlings
Genre: General fiction/allegory/magical realism

Release Date: December 3, 2019

David Rawlings, author of The Baggage Handler, returns with another probing story: what would you do if your secrets were revealed to those around you?

Daniel Whiteley is a successful couples counselor who regularly puts families back together, helping them face up to the things in life they hide. But his own marriage is falling apart.

His wife, Kelly, knows Daniel is hiding something from her, but she doesn’t dare probe for fear her own secrets will be revealed.

When his grandfather dies, Daniel inherits an old SLR camera from a time when cameras pointed away from the person taking the photograph. On the camera is an inscription: “Use this camera wisely and remember, regardless of the picture you think you took, the camera never lies.”
When Daniel first uses his new camera he finds someone has already filled the roll of film. Annoyed, he processes the film and finds photos of a secret that he’s been hiding from his wife and daughter.
He has no idea who took them.

Now every time he uses the camera, the photographs reveal another secret about himself the he is desperate to keep-as well as those of his wife, which he is desperate to uncover.

Click here to get your copy.

My Thoughts:

What an eye-opening moral tale of the lies we tell ourselves, others, and the power that truth has to set us free. Especially when we quit lying to ourselves and own the truth.

I was so caught up in the story and how this was going to end. How was this marriage going to survive? Would these characters ever acknowledge the truth or were they going to continue to sabotage their lives and others?

Even though this is a fictional story, there was some great lessons to be taken away and applied to one's own life. It was like holding a mirror up, or a camera like the story, and wondering what lie am I believing, even living, and how is it affecting my life and those I love, even the working relationships, etc.

There was quite a few surprises as Daniel, Kelly, and their daughter are all affected by the truth the camera reveals and what it will mean for each one of them. This was excellent story telling and this, my first read by author Rawlings, will not be my last. 

I was provided with a copy of this novel from the publisher. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.

About the Author



David Rawlings is an Australian author, and a sports-mad father of three who loves humor and a clever turn of phrase. Over a 25-year career he has put words on the page to put food on the table, developing from sports journalism and copywriting to corporate communication. Now in fiction, he entices readers to look deeper into life with stories that combine the everyday with a sense of the speculative, addressing the fundamental questions we all face.   

Read an Excerpt


Read an excerpt of The Camera Never Lies here.


Blog Stops

amandainpa, December 5
Older & Smarter?, December 6
Blogging With Carol, December 6
Emily Yager, December 8
Splashes of Joy, December 8
As He Leads is Joy, December 9
Mamma Loves Books, December 9
Vicky Sluiter, December 10
Robin’s Nest, December 10
Bigreadersite, December 11
Genesis 5020, December 12
Remembrancy, December 12
Pause for Tales, December 13
A Reader’s Brain, December 13
Inklings and notions, December 14
Artistic Nobody, December 15
Texas Book-aholic, December 15
Just the Write Escape, December 16
janicesbookreviews, December 16
Hallie Reads, December 17
Quiet Quilter, December 18
Godly Book Reviews, December 18

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Review and Giveaway: The Christmas Kiss by Virginia McCullough

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

The Christmas Kiss
(Back to Bluestone River #2)
By Virginia McCullough
Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 384 pages
December 1st 2019 by Harlequin Heartwarming

Will working together

…lead to together forever?

Recently divorced, Parker Davis needs to focus on his new job so he can provide a stable home for his daughter in time for the Christmas holidays. The problem is, he’s frequently at odds with his boss. He and Emma O’Connell approach everything differently. Yet he finds her intriguing, and Bluestone River festivities keep pushing them together—often enough that two people at odds could find themselves evenly matched in love!

(Affiliate links included.)



My Thoughts:

This was another sweet Christmas read that features a couple who are older and more mature as they are in their late 30's and early 40's. It was refreshing to read about that age and the author does a good job of showing their maturity in their lives. 

Parker Davis is newly divorced and he and his 18 year old daughter have moved to Bluestone River for his new job of helping to set up a bird sanctuary. I don't normally like to read books about divorced people as the happily ever after is broken. But the author does show the devastating affects that divorce can have on a family, an individual, and a child-even though that child is an adult. I liked Parker. He was serious and a bit nerdy but he loved his daughter very much and often said things he shouldn't to Emma.

I was delighted to get Emma's story and find out more of her background. She is a widow, though her marriage was anything but happy, and she had an accident that severely limited her mobility. She is trying to recapture her life back and I liked her tenacity in doing so. She could have just set back and felt sorry for herself. But that was not the type of person she was. She had a quirky sense of humor and worked through her pain so she could come close again to her previous life. She is also rather wealthy which seems at first Parker holds against her.

I liked how they worked together especially in helping a very injured owl. That was interesting as Parker explained to Emma what he was doing. I never thought of birds in quite that way.

This was a cute holiday read that brought this family together.

I was provided a copy of this novel from the author. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.


Other Books in the Series

A Family for Jason
(Back to Bluestone River #1)
By Virginia McCullough
Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 384 pages
August 1st 2019 by Harlequin Heartwarming

She’s not home for keeps

Unless he proves first love is forever

Bluestone River is a minefield of memories for Mike Abbot—all involving Ruby Driscoll. Twenty years after scandal divided them, they’re both back in their hometown. Ruby’s visit is strictly temporary. But as she uses her trauma expertise to help his vulnerable son, Mike faces what his heart has always known. Ruby’s still his one and only. This time, can he convince her to stay?

About the Author

Born and raised in Chicago, Virginia McCullough has been lucky enough to develop her writing career in many locations, including the coast of Maine, the mountains of North Carolina, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and currently, Northeast Wisconsin. She started her career in nonfiction, first writing articles and then books as a ghostwriter and coauthor. She’s written more than 100 books for physicians, business owners, professional speakers and many others with information to share or a story to tell.

Virginia’s books feature characters who could be your neighbors and friends. They come in all ages and struggle with everyday life issues in small-town environments that almost always include water—oceans, lakes, or rivers. The mother of two grown children, you’ll find Virginia with her nose a book, walking on trails or her neighborhood street, or she may be packing her bag to take off for her next adventure. And she’s always working on another story about hope, healing, and second chances.


Tour Schedule


Tour Giveaway


- 1 winner will receive a $25 Amazon eGift Card and a $25 Etsy eGift Card
- Open internationally for those who are eligible
- Ends December 18, 2019

ENTER HERE
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Monday, December 9, 2019

Review: The Piper's Pursuit by Melanie Dickerson

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

The Piper's Pursuit
(Hagenheim #10)
By Melanie Dickerson
YA Fairy Tale Retelling, Christian, Historical
Hardcover, Audiobook & ebook, 320 Pages
December 3rd 2019 by Thomas Nelson

A fairy-tale journey of intrigue and romance that reimagines the classic Pied Piper story.

A plague of rats. A giant beast outside the village walls. A host of missing children. And one young woman determined to save her people.

In 1424 Hamlin, Katerina faces threats from all sides. An outbreak of rats has overtaken the village, a mysterious beast is on a killing rampage of the village’s children, and Katerina’s evil stepfather is a dark presence inside the walls of her own home. Katerina is determined to hunt and kill the Beast of Hamlin herself before more lives are lost.

When Steffan, the handsome but brash duke’s son, comes to town seeking glory and reward, Katerina decides he might be the ally she’s been looking for—even though the only gentle thing about him seems to be the sweet music he plays on his pipe. But there’s more to Steffan than she suspects, and she finds herself drawn to him despite her misgivings.

Together Katerina and Steffan must stop the enemy from stealing the children of Hamlin. But their interference might create an even worse fate for the entire village.

Praise for The Piper’s Pursuit

The Piper’s Pursuit is a lovely tale of adventure, romance, and redemption. Kat and Steffan’s righteous quest will have you rooting them on until the very satisfying end!” —LORIE LANGDON, author of Olivia Twist and the DOON series

(Affiliate links included.)


My Thoughts:


Well this is a darker Melanie Dickerson book. I will admit that considering the fact that I've only read about half the books in this series that trying to keep up with all of the characters who have starred in this series does get a tad difficult. I wish there was some sort of family tree that I could have looked at for easy reference. But fortunately the last Dickerson book I read was The Warrior Maiden so I did have a somewhat foggy recollection of Steffan. I actually ended up loving this dude, I found his efforts to always set people at ease with humor admirable. Katerina was a little hard to like at first, but she grew on me too.

The stakes are high with this one. With a beast... or two? And is the beast on four legs... or two? The descriptions are chilling and the mystery compelling. I hate the villain with a passion. This is definitely one of my favorite, if not my favorite Dickerson book I've read to date.

I was provided a copy of this novel from the publisher. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.

Reviewed by Nicki

Other Books in the Series

(Linked to an Amazon affiliate link.)

About the Author


Melanie Dickerson is the New York Times bestselling author who combines her love for history, adventure, and romance. Her books have won a Christy Award, two Maggie Awards, The National Reader’s Choice Award, the Christian Retailing’s Best Award, the Book Buyer’s Best Award, the Golden Quill, and the Carol Award. She earned her bachelor’s degree in special education from The University of Alabama and has taught children and adults in the U.S., Germany, and Ukraine. Now she spends her time writing stories of love and adventure near Huntsville, Alabama.



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Sunday, December 8, 2019

Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway: Heart of a Royal by Hannah Currie


About the Book


Book: Heart Of A Royal
Author: Hannah Currie
Genre:  Young Adult/Royalty

Brought to the palace as a newborn, the royal life bestowed upon Mackenna Sparrow was never meant to last forever. With Princess Alina engaged to be married, Mackenna’s presence as companion is no longer required and, like it or not, she must return to the birthright which should have been hers – that of a commoner. But not everyone at the palace wants her gone. When the truths she’s based her life on start crumbling as fast as her future, will she find the courage to trust, both herself and the prince she’s fallen in love with?   

Click here to get your copy!






 My Thoughts:

   
Who doesn't love a good modern-day princess story? And this one seems different than others, as we follow a commoner raised as a princess alongside the royal siblings, but without the king's favor. And maybe with a bit too much favor from her childhood playmate, Prince Ben- definitely too much from the people.

Somehow, the not-quite-princess must navigate palace intrigue, family secrets, the whispered threat of Rebels, the wrath of the king, the schemes of the people, and even a natural disaster. Through it all, our heroine really does show the heart of a royal, having so much grace when people act like things she is just as much a victim of is all her fault and apologizing. Until she gets pushed too far… Ben and her parents were all great too, except when they pushed both the heroine and me too far. Took me a good while to forgive them, despite how lovable they were. And wow, the surprises- I definitely didn't see the plot-twists that came her way! A fantastic read.

I received a copy of this novel from the publisher. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.


About the Author



Aussie author, Hannah Currie, loves God, family, people (in small numbers, let’s not go crazy here!) and writing. She and her husband live with their three adorable kids in sunny Queensland, where it really is beautiful one day and perfect the next. Except, maybe, during heatwaves. They’re not so fun. She loves to connect with readers at www.hannahcurrie.com.   

More from Hannah


For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by royalty. Real ones like Queen Elizabeth II, who is such an incredible woman and a total hero of mine (not to mention, as a proud Australian and member of the Commonwealth, my monarch) but also the not-so-real ones. Those found in fairytales. Romances. Narnia. 

I’m one of those people who blocks out an entire day to watch a royal wedding, sighs like a hopeless romantic through cheesy princess movies, reads just about any novel I find with a crown on the front and loves a full-spread photo souvenir magazine. I may have even written a short story starring a princess for an English assignment at school. More than once. [Side note, if you’re going to write a story about a princess who is totally adorable but can’t spell, don’t use a misspelled word as the title. It takes a lot of explaining to make sure the teacher knows you did it on purpose and doesn’t mark you down for it… sorry Ninth Grade English teacher!]. 

The glamor draws me in, the beautiful clothes, the history and romance of it all, but it’s the expectations they have on them which hold me there. Every title comes with a million expectations, whether or not they’re realistic. We expect royals, both real and fictional, to behave in a certain way. To be honourable (assuming they’re the good guys). To care for their people and put them first. To always be there. Yes, even to be beautiful. 

But what happens when they’re not? When they’re shy? Fight anxiety? Hate the spotlight? Are blemished in some way? What happens when what’s best for the people isn’t what’s best for them? Or when they make a mistake? Something which, for anyone else, would be easily fixed or glossed over but for a royal, gets written into the history books forever. Purely because of their title. 

Kenna, the main character in Heart of a Royal, never meant to be a princess. She wasn’t born into royalty, neither did she choose it. And yet, due to circumstances far beyond her control, there she is. Living in a palace. Part of that life. 

Very few of us are royalty but I think we all know how heavy expectations can be and the pain of being thrust into situations beyond our control. And yet, even in those moments and seasons, just like Kenna, we have choices. They might seem small, maybe even insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but they’re there. Who we put our trust in. What we do with the circumstances we’ve been given. Where we go from there. 



Heart of a Royal is as much my story as it is Kenna’s. No, I’m not a princess (thankfully!) but I have struggled through finding hope and purpose when life flies out of control and the expectations prove too much. And here’s what I’ve found – God is good. There is hope and God is good. I hope, through Kenna’s story, you are reminded of that too. 

Blog Stops

CarpeDiem, November 28
Hebrews 12 Endurance, November 28
Hallie Reads, November 28
Emily Yager, November 29
Back Porch Reads, November 30
Mia Reads Blog, December 1
Bigreadersite , December 1
Kathleen Denly, December 2
Genesis 5020, December 2
She Lives To Read, December 2
Texas Book-aholic, December 2
Livin’ Lit, December 3
The Becca Files, December 4
Becka Jiménez , December 4
HookMeInABook, December 4
janicesbookreviews, December 4
Avid Reader Nurse, December 6
A Reader’s Brain, December 6
Moments, December 7
Remembrancy, December 8
Pause for Tales , December 8
All-of-a-kind Mom, December 10
Batya’s Bits, December 11

Giveaway


To celebrate her tour Hannah is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.