Thursday, August 29, 2013

"Whispers On the Dock" by Evangeline Kelly

Back to Misty Harbor! This is the third book in Ms. Kelly's "Postcards from Misty Harbor Inn" series. Three sisters have been working to make their mother's dream of the Inn come true. Can they work together to make the Inn a vacation spot that is not only popular, but also pays for itself? Does the Inn hold any more secrets for them to uncover?

Sam is the youngest sister and the main focus of this book, but all three are again very busy. Sam is entering a baking contest, Carolyn is getting married, and Gracie is trying to sell her home. Still, they make time for each other and continue to work on solving the mysterious disappearance of Hannah a hundred years before. Money had been stolen from a church at the same time, and Hannah had been called a thief. Was she, or was there more to the story? Will the sisters find answers and let Hannah's story have an honest end?

I loved this series and will miss the adventures of these sisters. The story is well written and so easy to picture. The vivid descriptions place you on the water's edge, inside the Inn, etc. If you enjoy fiction that is uplifting and fun to read, this book (and the others in the series) is for you. I received my review copy from Litfuse Publishing in exchange for an honest review. 

Book Info

About Whispers on the Dock:Three sisters. A charming inn. Hints of mystery and romance. And a gorgeous seaside setting. Escape to Misty Harbor Inn.

As Nantucket reaches the pinnacle of its summer glory, and the Marris sisters welcome guests at Misty Harbor Inn, youngest sister Sam Carter enters her mother's cobbler recipe in the Summerfest baking contest. But she faces a formidable opponent, a past winner who is determined to keep her title even if it means stooping to dirty tactics. Can Sam's newfound faith help her rise above the fray and reach out to this lonely woman? Meanwhile, an elderly guest arrives who knows the inn's history, and the sisters are stunned to learn that their late mother lived there as a child. But she told them she'd never been to Nantucket until her honeymoon! Through the woman's reminiscences and photos, the sisters make an intriguing discovery --- not only about the mysterious Hannah Montague, the young woman who disappeared from the house in 1880, but also about their own family history.

Readers will delight in the inviting Nantucket setting and be enthralled by the adventures of these sisters who reunite to bring their mother's Misty Harbor dreams to life.

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About the authors: Evangeline Kelley is the pen name for the writing team of Patti Berg, Pam Hanson & Barbara Andrews, and Camy Tang, the four authors who collaborated to create Postcards from Misty Harbor Inn. Each of them has published novels individually, but this is their first series together. 
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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

"Timothy: A Little Fish with a Big Purpose!" by Brad Riley

Timothy lived in the Sea of Galilee with his family. He especially loved the stories his grandmother told about the history of their home. Everyday, his job was to clean up the things that didn't belong in their home. What happened the day he found a gold coin?

This is a story of obedience in all things, especially in the little things. Timothy did his job of cleaning up, but the day he found a coin, he also found himself in a net. He also found himself away from his home. Why was he in the net? Had he paid attention to his surroundings enough to get back home? Did he still think obeying was the right thing to do?

This is a wonderful short story for little children. It will keep their attention with the wonderful illustrations by Krystahl Goodale, and interesting words by Brad Riley. Timothy's story can help teach obedience, listening, paying attention, and more. I highly recommend it to parents of small children and workers in Children's ministries. I received my review copy from Cross Focused Media in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

"So Long, Insecurity - Teen Edition" by Beth Moore

Insecurity can manifest itself in many forms, from problems with body image to popularity races to acting out and beyond. But, insecurity can be overcome, and in her new book, Beth Moore reaches out to teens to help them win the battle. 

Written like a magazine, "So Long, Insecurity - Teen Edition," tackles tough topics like boys, true beauty, gifts and talents, and friends/foes. Through the pages, Bible women offer strength for the tough times. These women include: Dorcas, the Daughters of Zelophehad, and Hannah. There are also interviews with today's teens to bring the points home. Each chapter addresses a topic realistically, offers solutions, contains a short quiz, and ends with "Dear Jesus, I love you! Me"

I really enjoyed reading this book and highly recommend it. Beth Moore offers Biblical solutions to real problems and lets teenage girls know they are not alone. The cover looks like an exciting magazine from a newsstand, and the chapters are written more like multiple paged, multifaceted articles. If you are a teen struggling with insecurity, have a friend who does, or are the parent/relative of one such teen, this book is for you. I think it would make a great study for teen groups. I received my review copy from the Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, August 23, 2013

"Judges for You" by Tim Keller

Parts of the Bible can be difficult to understand, but thankfully there are writers and scholars to help us find the answers to our questions. The book of Judges is such a book, and Tim Keller has painstakenly taken the time to get into the meat of the book and explain it. If you have wanted to get more from your reading or study of the book of Judges, this book will help get you through it.

Judges is full of stories of the Israelites sinning and rebelling against God, then begging for forgiveness, followed by that forgiveness. The people want a physical leader, but those leaders (judges) aren't always good, and the prople fall into idolatry. Many times this happened because of involvement with the people around them, many times due to a failure of faith in their God. The parallels with today's believers and the world are astounding and relevent. Is the grass greener on the other side? Has God left us when we don't see Him working? Do we need to put someone/something up to worship? God's Word was written for us to learn and grow, and the Book of Judges is no exception. "Judges for You" will give you answers to questions you might have and will help you delve deeper into this interesting book of the Old Testament.

Tim Keller is a wonderful writer who has certainly done his preparation for this book. He carefully explains the thoughts and events with clarity and wisdom, making it possible for average Bible readers to get to the meat of this book. I have really enjoyed it and look forward to reading more of his work. This book would make a wonderful devotional book, book discussion choice, and even a book for Sunday School groups to study. I received my review copy from Cross Focused Reviews in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

"Welcome Home Mama and Boris" by Carey Neesley

Carey and Peter were very close as brother and sister, depending upon each other during the tough times of growing up. Living in Michigan was wonderful until their parents divorced and their lives changed. Would they be able to continue the unfailing love and support into adulthood? What would happen when war intervened and took Peter away? In this memoir/tribute, Carey Neesley tells their story and discusses Peter's legacy.

Peter's life took some bad turns as he grew up, but he remained close to Carey. When she had a baby alone, Peter was there to help. But, the war in Iraq intervened. First, Peter was stateside, then overseas but not in battle. But Peter was always desirous of being with those he served with, taking any of their deaths hard. Ultimately, when he reenlisted, he was sent to Iraq. Anxious to make up for lost time, Peter would volunteer for extra shifts and any other duties that would come up. In the middle of that war zone, Peter found a mother dog and her four puppies. Life in the midst of war. They became instant friends, but all but one of the puppies was killed there. Peter wanted to save the mother (Mama) and her remaining puppy (Boris), but he was killed before he could realize that dream. 

Carey had a very difficult time dealing with Peter's death, but she was determined to make sure he had a legacy. Mama and Boris needed her help, but how would she even start the process of bringing them to the States? What obstacles would she have to overcome? In this inspiring story, Carey brings to life the real and painful aspects of war; along with the hope inspired by those who serve.

I really enjoyed this book because it is a tribute to the hard work soldiers put in and the love of the families back home. The family history brings them all to life, and you will find yourself rooting for Carey and the dogs. The pictures also help bring them to life. I recommend this book to anyone who loves memoirs and true life stories. It will definitely tug on your heartstrings. I received my free review copy from FSB Associates in exchange for an honest review.

"I, Saul" by Jerry Jenkins

There is a race to find the works of the Apostle Paul relating to his early life. Some of those searching are only looking for the money and fame the discovery would bring, while there are a few who want to keep the work from exploitation. Which one would you be? Throughout the search, the reader is given insight into the life of Saul before he became the Apostle Paul, along with the imprisonment Paul suffered. 

Paul is in prison when Luke comes to see him. Paul desperately wants to stay alive until his execution, and counts on Luke to help him. As the story unfolds, Paul recounts memories of his past as Saul of Tarsus through his salvation and ministry. His biggest desire is to get things written down and to be a testimony even after death. How will Luke handle the conversation of death with his friend? Will Paul accomplish his goal? As the past collides with the present, it is rumored that the writings need to be found. What happened to them and who will find them? Come join the believers and the collectors in the hunt for a precious piece of Christian history. Who will be the first to discover the truth about the documents?

I enjoy Jerry Jenkins' writing very much. He puts so much research and realism into his words that they jump off the page. I did enjoy this book and recommend it. My review copy came from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

"Burning Sky: A Novel of the American Frontier" by Lori Benton

Kidnapped and renamed, Willa Obechain finds herself in the foreign world of the Mohawk Indians. Her New York life drastically changes but she assimilates and learns to love the People. What will happen if she ever gets the opportunity to return home? Will she find happiness there, or miss the life she had with the Mohawks? This wonderful story will pull you in and show you the difficulties of trying to live in two worlds.

Willa was only fourteen when the Indians took her from her home. She was given a new name, Burning Sky, and was expected to behave and do the tasks assigned to her. Fear was overcome by resolution, eventually, and Burning Sky seemed to find a new home. But these are the times of the American Revolution, and she finds the opportunity to return home. Life is so different. Her home is not in good shape, her parents political views are not hers, and she finds she misses the life of Burning Sky. Will she get the chance to return to the People? Will she teach those around her about acceptance? Can she survie living in two worlds? 

This is a very engaging book that captured my interest from the first page. Ms. Benton creates a realistic story filled with rich characters and descriptions. I felt for Willa/Burning Sky and for the choices she had to make. I think you will too, and highly recommend this book. I received my review copy from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review.

"Tale of the Penitent Thief" by Don Willis

When Christ was crucified, he was hung between two criminals. Though innocent, Jesus stayed on the cross, forgiving as He died. What if you were a witness? What if you were one of the two thieves hanging beside Him? Would you think you should be forgiven?

In this engaging work of fiction, Dismas and Jotham were brothers who started off right. They even have the opportunity to meet Mary and Joseph before Jesus was born. But, as people do, the boys made choices as they grew up that would change their lives. Sadly, those choices were not good ones. Influenced by two criminals, Tiran and Gestas, they become involved in acts that would one day pit them against each other in a battle for life. Nothing dissuades Dismas from his criminal choices, and he is hung on a cross beside Jesus after being sentenced to death by Pontius Pilate. Is Dismas the thief who realizes who Jesus is and asks for forgiveness, or is he the scoffer? Will he learn about the ultimate forgiveness, or simply die alone?

This is a wonderful book. As a christian, I have often thought of the two thieves - how one could believe and the other continue to deny. Don Willis puts his readers into the lives of his characters and shows what leads up to that moment of decision. It is well written and interesting to read. I highly recommend it. I received my review copy from Book Sneeze in exchange for an honest review.