Wednesday, May 17, 2017

"Discipline That Connects with Your Child's Heart" Book Review

Discipline that Connects with Your Child's Heart 

by Jim and Lynne Jackson

15704373

Ever feel stuck in a discipline rut? This book will help you develop a new "lens" for effective, caring discipline with your child. "Discipline that Connects" is a profound and deeply Biblical way of thinking about corrective discipline. In these pages you'll grow in insight about yourself and your child. You'll learn to: Prepare your heart and stay calm when your kids are not.Think on your feet and respond with confidence and wisdom.Turn behavior problems into opportunities.Help children learn to be responsible for their own actions and truly reconcile with others.Use creative consequences that build skills, values, and faith in your children.Get out of the discipline rut and into your children's hearts! 

MY REVIEW:  It would definitely have been useful if this had been available when I was raising my three daughters, but I wanted to read it to be a better grandparent to the precious little ones God has blessed me with.  I feel that I can also  be a resource to my stressed out daughters and stepchildren as they seek to raise their children with Christian principles.   The authors use scripture references to support the principles they address.   They encourage an approach to parenting that is sure to reach the soul of their children and be a balm to innocent little ones entrusted to their care by God.  Listening with love is a large part of the discipline plan they present in the pages of this book.   I would recommend this book to parents, grandparents, and those foster parents and others who are raising children.   I did feel that some of the book's discipline techniques could have been explained with fewer words.  Stressed out parents do not have much free time for reading.
     I give this book a 4 star rating.  I felt some principles could have been discussed in a shorty manner.  
    I received a copy of this book from netgalley and Bethany House Publishers.


Jim and Lynne Jackson:
Jim   Jackson


"Annie's Recipe" Book Review

Annie's Recipe Book Review

Hope Chest of Dreams #2

by Lisa Jones Baker

30547689

Three young Amish women, each gifted with a hand-carved hope chest, find that one by one, with patience and faith, their most blessed dreams for the future can come true... 

Annie Mast and Levi Miller were best friends until his father was shunned by the church. Now, ten years later, Levi has returned to Arthur, Illinois, for a brief visit, and he and Annie discover their bond is as strong as ever. Spending as much time together as possible, Annie finds herself dreaming of a future with Levi. And Levi is soon dreaming of building a home on a beautiful local hillside--to live in with Annie. Yet their longings are unlikely to become reality... 
Levi is part of the English world, and while Annie cannot see herself there, she knows she must reveal her heart's truth to him. And Levi, strongly reminded of his Amish roots, knows he must heal the bitterness of the past. And together, with love on their side, they just may find their way to an answered prayer...

MY REVIEW:  Hope chests are so special.  I never had the pleasure of owning own myself, except for a very small cedar one that a local furniture shop gifted to every senior girl upon our high school graduation.  I treasured that little chest and kept special things in it...the hand-tatted handkerchief that my grandmother made, love letters from my husband from our dating days, etc.  Sam makes hand-carved ones with special meaning for each recipient.  Annie and her sisters have made it their mission to minister to Sam after the death of his wife, and he has a unique bond with them.  He gives wise counsel to Annie as she renews a friendship with Levi from her school days in the Amish schoolhouse .  They were inseparable in their younger years and they find that the desire to spend time together is just as great if not even greater.  But he is now English and mamm and the Amish community disapprove of their relationship as they fear she will leave the Amish faith and become English.   Will their love for each other be realized?  He doesn't want to leave the English world and she doesn't want to leave the Amish.  Can God help them find a way to be together?  
        I loved reading this story and discovering new things about Annie and her sisters.  They share a special bond and this resonates with me as I feel the same way about my sister and four brothers.  Family is important to me, just as it is for Annie, Levi, and the Amish in general.  My faith in God drives my decisions and that is certainly true for the Amish.  Levi was once Amish himself so this is still vital to his life as well.  Lisa Jones Baker incorporates faith beautifully into the words of her writing.  This book would be appropriate for teenage readers as well as adults.  
      I am pleased to say this book deserves a rating of 5 stars.
      I received a gift copy of this book from netgalley and Kensington Publishing Corporation.

About the Author:
Lisa Jones Baker



Lisa Jones Baker grew up near a small Amish town in Illinois that she frequented with her family on weekends. She's also a dog lover and a fan of Scottsdale, Arizona, where she spent nearly two decades. Lisa graduated from Illinois State University with a French major, has been on 5 out of 7 continents, and considers her parents the best in the world. Raised in a Christian home, Lisa has always been blessed with love and support.

Monday, May 1, 2017

"More Than a Marriage" Book Review

Book Review of More Than a Marriage

Wells Landing Quilting Circle #3

by Amy Lillard

32791718

In the close-knit Amish community of Wells Landing, Oklahoma, a women’s quilting circle welcomes a new member who is struggling to keep her marriage together—or let it go . . .

Quiet and unassuming Tess Smiley is new to Wells Landing. She is also newly married to Jacob Smiley. But already she is finding that married life isn’t the gentle union of contented devotion she had envisioned. Rather, the old-fashioned qualities that had endeared her to Jacob have become a source of inner confusion. As his father did with his wife, Jacob has begun treating Tess like a servant, taking her for granted, no longer surprising her with little presents. And once he began his job at the Englisch shed company, he has become more interested in his company smartphone than in spending time with Tess . . .

Jacob can’t see what Tess is upset about and continues his boorish ways, ignoring her pleas to attend marriage classes. Tess loves Jacob with all her heart, but it’s her heart that tells her she must take a stand. With surprising determination, she asks for help from her new community and is welcomed into the home of her friend Clara Rose and her husband Obie. Only then does Jacob begin to see how deeply his behavior has hurt Tess. But is he too late? He may be contrite, but he will need to show much more than that to win her love all over again . . . 


Book Review:  What a different book this Amish romance is!  Amy Lillard has taken a huge step outside the typical Amish fiction work and I love it!  I appreciate the fact that she steps away and dares to risk acceptance of a different storyline than the norm.  This book is inviting and one I read with relish!  
      
Tess is upset when Jacob uses his cellphone that he received from his work boss to use for business. The Amish normally do not use cellphones except for business, but Jacob makes a facebook page and stays on it all the time.  Tess feels forgotten and disrespected.  Jacob just doesn't see that he is hurting Tess.

I can understand how Tess feels to want to be noticed and cherished by her husband.  In marriage, it is important for couples to do things together and feel happy to be with their spouse.  I would feel neglected as well, but I would continue to be faithful to my marriage and would not consider giving up.   I really love that this book veers from the works of Amish fiction.

My rating for this book is 5 stars *****
I received an ebook of this Amish fiction from netgalley.  No review was required. All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Author:

Amy Lillard

(Taken from amazon's author page)
I'm a wife, mother, and bona fide Southern belle. Published author, expert corn bread maker, and Squirrel Princess.

I live in Tulsa, though I was born in Mississippi. I moved to the Sooner State when I was seventeen and met my soul mate and best friend not long after. I've retained a little of my Mississippi accent though most people think I'm from Texas. (?) Rob and I have been married for over twenty years and have a son-a mom proclaimed prodigy, of course!

I love homemade tacos, nail polish, and romance novels-not necessarily in that order. I'm a big fan of country music, a staunch proponent of saving the Oxford comma, and I'm shamefully obsessed with all things Harry Potter.

I believe that God is love. I guess that's why I love to write inspirational romances. The two go hand-in-hand for me.

I have always been intrigued with the Amish culture, their gentle ways and slower-paced lifestyle. (And I love, love, love the fact that they stay married for their lifetime.) But until recently I never thought to blend this interest with my penchant for romance. Okay, okay, I'm a bit old-fashioned and even enjoy the gender roles that are present in this culture. I love to cook and take care of my family. Yes, that's me June Cleaver with a laptop.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

"Upon a Spring Breeze" book review

Review of Upon a Spring Breeze

Every Amish Season, Book #1

by Kelly Irvin

30649243

Book Description

After a devastating winter, a spring breeze promises more than new flowers.… It promises a new chance at love.

Bess Weaver, twenty and expecting her first child, is in the kitchen making stew for her beloved mann, Caleb, one minute, and the next she’s burying him after a tragic accident. Facing life as a young widow, Bess finds comfort only in tending the garden at an Englisch-owned bed and breakfast—even as she doubts that new growth could ever come after such a long winter.

Aidan tries to repress his guilt over his best friend Caleb’s death and his long-standing feelings for Bess by working harder than ever. But as he spends time with the young son his friend left behind, he seems to be growing closer to the boy’s beautiful mother as well.

When a close-knit group of widows in her Amish community step in to help Bess find her way back to hope, she begins to wonder if Gott has a future for her after all. Will she ever believe that life can still hold joy and the possibility of love?
 

MY REVIEW:   Plans, dreams, memories, Bess and Caleb had so many plans, dreams, and happy memories together in their short married life.  Plans and dreams for their precious bopli to arrive soon.  There would be cuddles and snuggles with their darling bopli together.  Then those plans and dreams were shattered in a flash.  Caleb would not be snuggling and cuddling their precious bopli with Bess.  He would not be holding her close in their bed or brushing her long, glorious hair ever again.   Never.  Never. Never.   Bess wonders how a good and loving Gott could do such a horrible thing as to take her mann just before their bopli was to arrive.  But he did take him. 
      Bess needs love, support and encouragement now and Aidan promised his best friend, Caleb, who asked with his last breath for him to take care of his bopli.   He works to keep his promise to Caleb.   But poor Bess is sad and angry and grieving.  Can she come around and learn to love and have joy and laughter again?   Or will she drown in her sorrow?
     My heart went out to Bess and to Aidan.  I grieved along with them as they dealt with the loss of their dearest friend.  I don't know how I would have been able to handle life or to get out of the bed every day and walk around as though nothing had happened.   I don't agree with the Amish way of handling grief with never mentioning the name of the deceased.  I feel that people need to express their grief and talk about their loved one.  Kelly Irvin tells the story of love and loss in a way that is gut-wrenching and raw with emotion.  She tugs on the heartstrings of her readers as she tells their story.    I am so excited that this is the first book in the Every Amish Season series.  I am looking forward to hearing more about Bess, Aidan and their friends and family.
        I simply had to give this book a star rating of five!  because it's just.that.good!
        I received a copy of this book from netgalley and the publishers.  While netgalley would like for me to review the book if I choose to do so, I was not required to review this book and all opinions expressed are my own.

About the Author:
Kelly Irvin

Kelly Irvin's newest series, Every Amish Series, begins with the debut of Upon a Spring Breeze, in April. It is a four-book series published by Zondervan/HarperCollins Christian Publishing. This follows the Amish of Bee County series, The Saddle Maker's Son, released in June 2016. It is an ECPA bestseller. It follows The Bishop's Son, and the critically acclaimed bestseller, The Beekeeper's Son, which earned a starred review from Publishers Weekly. The reviewer called it "a beautifully woven masterpiece." The Beekeeper's Son was a finalist in the romance category of the 2016 ACFW Carol Awards Contest.

Kelly has novellas in The Amish Christmas Gift and The Amish Marketplace, both of which were also ECPA bestsellers. She is also the author of the Bliss Creek Amish series and the New Amish Amish series. The first series includes To Love and To Cherish, A Heart Made New, and Love’s Journey Home, published by Harvest House. The New Hope Amish series includes Love Still Stands, followed by Love Redeemed, which was an ACFW Carol Award finalist, and A Plain Love Song.

Kelly has also penned two romantic suspense novels, A Deadly Wilderness and No Child of Mine..

The Kansas native is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and ACFW's San Antonio local chapter Alamo City Christian Fiction Writers.

A graduate of the University of Kansas William Allen White School of Journalism, Kelly has been writing nonfiction professionally for thirty years. She studied for three semesters at the University of Costa Rica, learning the Spanish language. As a journalist, she worked six years in the border towns of Laredo and El Paso.

She worked in public relations for the San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department for 22 years before retiring earlier this year. Kelly has been married to photographer Tim Irvin for twenty-eight years. They have two young adult children and have two grandchildren. In her spare time, she likes to write short stories, read books by her favorite authors, and looks forward to visits with her grandchildren.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Book Review of "Clementine & Claudia"

Clementine & Claudia

by Piper Milton

31032372

The First World War is raging and sisters Clementine and Claudia are coping in very different ways. Clementine is a nurse on the front line, doing her best to save the lives of soldiers wounded while serving their country. Claudia, on the other hand, is living the good life in England, deliberately oblivious to the horrors her sister and so many others are living through. When they both meet their perfect man, their already fractured relationship is tested in ways they could never imagine.

The d├ębut novel from Piper Milton, Clementine and Claudia is a powerful and beautifully written story of romance and war and a wonderful addition to the romantic traditions of Penny Vincenzi, Soraya Lane, Brief Encounter and Downton Abbey.
 

MY REVIEW:  Historical fiction fascinates me.  I particularly love to read about the World Wars.   They are sad stories of love and loss, in most cases.   The stories of couples eager to marry and even to conceive a baby just in case the man does not return from the warfield are hauntingly beautiful.  The tragedy that many do not return is heartbreaking.  When I read knowing that, though this is fiction, the reality is that this was all too often the truth for far too many couples.   
   Two sisters who already have a volatile relationship both find the man they wish to marry.  Claudia realizes her dream before her husband, Alexander leaves for the warfield.  Clementine discovers her own true love but does not marry before they both return to the battlefield.   She saves lives and he is forced to take them.  Life continues to be volatile for the two sisters and in fact, it worsens and may never be repaired.   
     What a story!   This is the debut novel for Piper Milton and I would love to read more!   I can easily see the adventures of the characters of Clementine and Claudia continuing.  I know that I would love to meet the characters again.   So Piper, please consider this if you have not already.   Thank you for a beautiful, if sad, story.  
     My rating for this debut novel is 5 stars *****.
     I highly recommend this novel to lovers of historical fiction.  
     I received a gift of this book from netgalley and the publishers.  I was not required to write a review and all opinions expressed are my own.

About the Author:

Piper Milton is a mother of three and grandmother of four and lives on the south coast. Clementine and Claudia is her first novel.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

"Monday's Child" Book Review

Monday's Child Book Review
(Monday's Child Book #1)

by Clare Revell
15896003

Monday's Child must Hide for Protection... This was not the assignment Luke Nemec expected when he came to the UK—babysitting a beautiful widow. It wouldn't be so bad if Sara wasn't such a hostile witness. Despite her complaints and continued jibes, Luke finds himself falling for her. When, Sara Barnes is thrown into the witness protection program, she becomes the 'wife' of Lt. Luke Nemec, an American cop on temporary assignment with the British police. Despite Luke's American bravado, she finds he's kind and considerate in ways her late husband never was. But things aren't always what they seem, and Luke soon realizes he's fighting a battle of two fronts to keep Sara safe. Loyalties are called into question, and he's no longer certain who he can trust. Luke is way out of his depth. As the threats against Sara escalate, it's a race against time to find her husband's killer before Sara is silenced forever. 

MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK:  Oh, my goodness, Clare Revell, you are responsible for the dark circles under my eyes today, because I just had to stay awake last night until I knew how the conflict would be resolved!  Sara and Nick are two of the most adorable people.  The tension and sarcasm between them was so cute as there was obviously instant attraction between them.  But Sara is grieving, hiding from her husband's killer, and in witness protection and NICK is assigned to be her guard 24 hours a day.   She feels like a prisoner.  She feels alone.   
         Who wouldn't feel these emotions under the circumstances?  I imagine it would be incredibly difficult to go through the Witness Protection program.  It would also be unthinkably horrific to witness your husband's murder and suffer injury from gunfire yourself.   This novel was full of suspense, romance, and humor!  
         I would definitely recommend this novel to readers.

My Star Rating: (1 being poorly written and 5 being excellent book)   5 Stars!  *****
I received a copy of this book from netgalley and the publishers .  I was not required to write a review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Author:
An image posted by the author.

Clare is a British author. She lives in a small town in England with her husband, whom she married in 1992, and her three children. Writing from a early childhood and encouraged by her teachers, she graduated from rewriting fairy stories through fanfiction to using her own original characters and enjoys writing an eclectic mix of romance, crime fiction and children's stories. When she's not writing, she can be found reading, crocheting or doing the many piles of laundry the occupants of her house manage to make.
Her books are based in the UK, with a couple of exceptions, thus, although the spelling may be American, the books contain British language and terminology. 
The first draft of every novel is hand written.
She has been a Christian for more than half her life. She goes to Carey Baptist where she is one of four registrars.

"Fixing Perfect" Book Review

Fixing Perfect

by Therese M. Travis


24408469

In the community of Avalon on Catalina Island, a psychopath is kidnapping children and perfectly posing and painting the bodies of adult victims to resemble disabled artist, Robin Ingram. 

Robin struggles with feelings of imperfection, and knowing some madman has a macabre agenda—which includes fixing her—is unsettling. She’s relieved when paramedic Sam Albrecht steps up to help. 

Sam believes he knows the identity of the killer, and he wants nothing more than to prove it in order to keep Robin out of danger. Then Sam is arrested as a suspect for the crimes, and Robin’s life is thrown into a fresh whirlwind. She may not know who the real killer is, but she does know Sam is innocent…and she will find the proof to set him free, or she’ll die trying.

My Thoughts on this book:  I love the show "Criminal Minds" and this book reminded me of an episode of the show.  A psychopath is on the loose and in his sick, twisted mind, he thinks that he can fix a disabled female artist by kidnapping and killing innocent children and women. He then poses and paints the bodies and leaves them until the public understands his message.  This was a new author to me.  I had never even heard of her, but the description of the book drew me in.   I felt that her writing was well-structured and exciting. It left me eager to read more.  The only thing that bothered me as I read was that when I reached the middle of the book, I had already figured out who the psychopath was.  I like reading books where I don't know how the conflict will be resolved.  It makes the book more exciting when I am left to guess.  The suspense built and there were definitely many scenes with gory details.
        I highly recommend this book to those enjoy suspense.

MY STAR RATING:   4 Stars  (Scale of 1-5, with 1 beginning poor and 5 being excellent)
I received a copy of this book from netgalley.  A review was not required.  All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Author:
Therese M. Travis started writing when she discovered books came from people--around the age of eight. At eleven, she produced her first book, a single, handmade copy of The Ghost of Scotland Yard. She has since discovered that Scotland Yard is not in Scotland. Short stories and plays followed, and then she discovered Christian fiction, which combined writing stories and God, two of her favorite things.