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Monday, September 19, 2016

Book Review~The Courtship Basket

About the Book:

Years ago, a picnic basket brought two hearts together. For Rachel and Mike, history may be about to repeat itself.
Rachel Fisher is devastated when the young man she’s loved for years leaves her to date her best friend. Her heart is broken, and she has all but given up on love. Determined to keep her mind off the pain, she starts teaching at an Amish school for children with learning disabilities.
Since his father became ill, Mike Lantz has been overwhelmed with the responsibility of providing for his family and caring for his six-year-old brother, John. When John joins Rachel’s class and she learns that his mother is deceased and his father sick, she desperately wants to help the family, even with something as simple as a meal.
With her parents’ old picnic basket, Rachel begins sending food to the Lantz family. As the weeks go by, John’s grades start to improve, and the attraction grows between Rachel and Mike. They can’t deny that their friendship is growing toward something more, but both of them are hesitant to risk a more serious relationship.
The last thing Rachel wants is another heartbreak, and Mike is worried about providing for his loved ones. Will the two be able to reconcile their past hurts with new hope for the future?

What I Thought: 
The Courtship Basket is the second book in author Amy Clipston's Amish Heirloom series.  I did not read the first book in the series, The Forgotten Recipe-I'm not quite sure how that one slipped by me, as the author is one of my top ten amish fiction writers.  So, I will definitely have to go back and read that one!  The good news is that I discovered you do not need to read The Forgotten Recipe to understand The Courtship Basket-it stands alone just fine. 

The Courtship Basket caught my attention quickly and held it until the last page. I felt compassion for the main characters of Rachel and Mike. Rachel had her heart broken after a four-year relationship with the man she planned to marry, and Mike is caring for his very ill father and young brother. They both need someone in their lives, but neither thinks the timing is right. God has His own plans, however, and they must learn to open their hearts to each other. There are Discussion questions at the back of the book, making it a great Book Club choice. I highly recommend The Courtship Basket!

*I received a copy of this book free from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.  

Saturday, September 17, 2016

If You Were Me and Lived In..Colonial America

If you've read my blog, you may have noticed that I have written several reviews of books written by author Carole P. Roman. She is a favorite author of mine, and my family loves her fun and educational books for children. Even the adults usually learn a thing or two (or ten!) with each book we read!

Today I'm reviewing If You Were Me and Lived in...Colonial America, part of the An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time series, written by Carole P. Roman and illustrated by Sarah Wright, with accompanying illustrations by Kelsea Wierenga. The paperback (ISBN 9781523234073) is 53 pages, with a glossary and a list of influential people from the time period at the back of the book. The suggested age range is 5-13, which seemed just right to me. There is a lot of text on some pages, so younger readers may need some help.

In If You Were Me and Lived in..Colonial America, the religious differences of the time are discussed to explain the reason for people to leave their country for a new land. The long, difficult trip on the ships and the harsh conditions of their new home are explained in detail. Clothing, chores, food, schooling, and play are some of the topics described.

Author Carole P. Roman did a fantastic job explaining and describing life in Colonial America. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and my 13-year-old son liked it as well. The adorable illustrations make it fun and draw kids' attention. The glossary was very helpful for the words my son was not familiar with. 

If You Were Me and Lived in..Colonial America would be a great book for home and schools. I think the entire set would make a great gift. You can learn more about author Carole P. Roman and her books, including links to purchase, at her website, www.caroleproman.com . She also has a blog with additional resources, at http://caroleproman.blogspot.com/ .

*I received a copy of this book free in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Children's Book Review~Ellie's Fun Day at the Farm

Ellie's Fun Day at the Farm is the fifth book in the series The Amazing Adventures of Ellie the Elephant. These books were written by Marci Fair and her daughter, twelve-year-old Elle Fair.  Marci's other daughter, Courtney, took the photographs for this book!

In Ellie's Fun Day at the Farm, Ellie the Elephant and Pudgy the Penguin are eating lunch and wonder where their yummy food comes from. So, they visit a farm to learn more.  At the farm, they see a tractor, lots of animals, the garden, and flowers. They make new friends, get to bottle feed a baby goat, and sit on eggs to keep them warm. At the end of their day, they ate a snack fresh from the farm and relaxed in a hammock. They sure learned a lot! At the end of the book are some dot-to-dots, a crossword puzzle, and some pictures to find differences in. 

 We have all of the books in the series, and they are my grandson Daniel's favorites. He just turned five and this series is perfect to help instill a love of reading. When he arrived at my house on the day Ellie's Fun Day at the Farm arrived in the mail, he was so excited! I think he feels like Ellie and Pudgy are his personal friends. We had to read the book right away, and then again before bedtime. The authors should note this is quite an honor because this little boy has a lot of books, and he only gets to pick one for his bedtime story.  His 'Ellie books' get chosen quite often. Daniel really enjoyed the puzzles too!

Daniel and I highly recommend Ellie's Fun Day at the Farm and the entire series. The mix of real pictures and illustrations captures my grandson's attention, and of course the story is awesome! In this book, there are lots of funny puns as well! These books would make a great gift for a young child.

You can learn more about The Amazing Adventures of Ellie the Elephant at www.EllieAdventures.com and on Facebook. 

*I received this book free from the author in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Book Review & Giveaway~Sister Eve and the Blue Nun

About the Book:
Sister Eve, a motorcycle-riding nun with a natural (or is it supernatural?) gift for solving murders returns to the enclave she once called home and quickly finds herself confronting yet another mysterious death. Someone has poisoned Dr. Kelly Middlesworth-a researcher on the life and ministry of 17th-century's revered "Blue Nun"-and a set of irreplaceable historic documents have disappeared before they could ever be examined. When all evidence seems to point to the victim's brother, Sister Eve sets out to expose the killer and learn the explosive truth those missing manuscripts might contain. Chasing a killer is dangerous work, and as her two worlds collide, Sister Eve may need some heavenly help simply to survive. 

What I Thought:
Sister Eve and the Blue Nun is the third book in the Divine Private Detective Agency Mystery series written by Lynne Hinton. This is the first book I have read by the author. The paperback is 324 pages and includes discussion questions.

I enjoyed the characters of Sister Eve (how often do you hear of a crime-fighting nun?) and her father. The topic of the Blue Nun was something I had never heard of and it was fascinating to learn more about her, as well as the New Mexico area.

I lost interest in the book a few times and was confused a few times, but hung in there to find out who the killer was. Maybe everything would have moved along better for me if I had read the first two books, I don't know. The story line itself was good, but there was something about the way it was written that didn't work for me.

I have an extra copy of Sister Eve and the Blue Nun to give away to a US resident. I will email the winner after the giveaway, and the winner will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be drawn.  Enter below: 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.  

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Book Review~The Alliance

About the Book:
The Alliance, written by Jolina Petersheim, was published by Tyndale House Publishers, and is 384 pages long. ISBN 978-1496402219

Leora Ebersole is a young woman who is part of an Old Order Mennonite community.  She has had a rough life, and has a lot of responsibility on her shoulders caring for her siblings. One day, a small plane crashed into the field near her house. She and other community members rush to pull out the pilot, Moses Hughes. At the same time outside their community, cars came to a stop, and there was no more electricity or cell phones. Moses explained to the Pacifist community that he believes an EMP has occurred, and the community is at risk from outsiders wanting their food stores.

In the days that followed, although from two different worlds, Moses and Leora become closer, to the dismay of the Mennonites close to Leora. As their lives become more and more dangerous, their backgrounds seem to matter less, and it is just a matter of survival.  As an Old Order Mennonite, Leora and others must come to terms with deciding what lengths they would go to to protect their loved ones.

About the Author:

Jolina Petersheim is the bestselling author of The Midwife and The Outcast, which Library Journal called "outstanding . . . fresh and inspirational" in a starred review and named one of the best books of 2013. Her writing has been featured in venues as varied as radio programs, nonfiction books, and numerous online and print publications such as Reader's Digest, Writer's Digest, and Today's Christian Woman. Jolina and her husband share the same unique Amish and Mennonite heritage that originated in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, but now live on a solar-powered farm in the Driftless Region of Wisconsin with their young daughters. Follow Jolina and her blog at jolinapetersheim.com

What I Thought: 

If I could give The Alliance more than five stars, I would! It was an amazing story that kept me on the edge of my seat until the end. Actually, I'm still on the edge of my seat because there is a sequel that hopefully comes out soon.  I love Amish and Mennonite fiction, as well as apocalyptic stories, so this was a great combination of the two. It was not like any other story I have read before. The characters Leora and Moses were wonderfully developed and I felt like I was feeling their turmoil along with them. The story makes you wonder how far you would go to protect your loved ones. I highly recommend The Alliance!

 *Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free from Tyndale House Publishing in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Book Review & Author Giveaway~Service Tails: More Stories of Man's Best Hero

About the Book: 
Heart-tugging true stories of the courage, faith, and loyalty of remarkable service dogs. Not all heroic dogs wildly toss themselves into lifesaving situations. Some save lives simply by their incredible commitment to duty and service. Some lead the way to independence for people whose disabilities were supposed to limit their lives.

In Service Tails: More Stories of Man's Best Hero, prolific author Ace Collins introduces us to leaders whose entire lives are wrapped in the banner of service. Their stories are remarkable snapshots of the value of vision and teamwork, as well as devotion to duty and unconditional love and acceptance---stretching the way we see both canine and human potential. Their training was intense, their loyalty unquestioned and each step of the way they constantly adapt to better serve those they lead. These unforgettable dogs are more than heroes; they are models from which we can learn how to love and serve unconditionally.

Purchasing Link: You can purchase your own copy of Service Tails at Abingdon Press. 

 About the Author: 

Ace Collins defines himself as a storyteller. He has authored more than sixty books that have sold more than 2.5 million copies. His catalog includes novels, biographies, children's works as well as books on history, culture and faith. He has also been the featured speaker at the National Archives Distinguished Lecture Series, hosted a network television special and does college basketball play-by-play. Ace lives in Arkansas.

Connect with author Ace Collins:

What I Thought: 
I love animals, especially dogs, so I was thrilled to review Service Tails: More Stories of Man's Best Hero. I had not read Man's Best Hero, but had read great reviews on it, so I was hoping Service Tails was great as well.

Service Tails has an Introduction, then twelve chapters that are each individual true stories of service dogs and their people. The first chapter, Beginnings, tells the fascinating story of how the first service dog came to America in the 1920s. The other eleven chapters are all more recent stories. Each chapter is between 15-20 pages, making it easy to set down between chapters and pick up later without having to remember the story you were reading.

I loved each and every chapter in Service Tails. I knew service animals could do amazing things, but did not realize the depth of their service. These incredible animals become their owner's eyes, ears, hands and feet, while providing companionship and love. Again and again, the stories expressed the huge increase in self-worth these people would gain with their guide dogs assistance.

Each and every story in Service Tails: More Stories of Man's Best Hero touched and amazed me in a different way. I am looking forward to passing this book on to my parents, who are also dog lovers and I know will thoroughly enjoy reading it. I also plan to read Man's Best Hero right away! Thank you to author Ace Collins for a wonderful book!

You can read more reviews of Service Tails at Litfuse.

Author Giveaway
Fall in love with these remarkable service dogs and their stories of courage, faith, and loyalty in Ace Collins' new book, Service Tails. Their training was intense, their loyalty unquestioned and each step of the way they constantly adapt to better serve those they lead. These unforgettable dogs are more than heroes; they are models from which we can learn how to love and serve unconditionally.

Celebrate the release of Service Tails with Ace by entering to win the Take-Your-Dog-to-the-Park Pack!

service tails - 400 (2) 

One grand prize winner will receive:
service tails - prize collage 

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on August 30. The winner will be announced August 31 on the Litfuse blog.

service tails - enterbanner

*Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed here are my own.