icRKphJXQm-ezth8lntKydifkDg The Loose Screw: February 2016

Friday, February 26, 2016

Children's Book Review and Giveaway~The Legend of the Easter Robin

About the Book:
ISBN: 978-0-310-74964-6
Publisher: ZonderKidz
Hardcover, 32 pages
Age Range: 4-8

"In the center of the nest lay one perfect egg, the color of a spring sky. The father robin sat on a branch nearby, guarding his family. Tressa spotted raccoon tracks below and a blue jay eyeing the nest. “Gran, how are we going to keep the egg safe?” “We’ll have to leave that one to the Creator,” Gran said. Robins have built a nest on the window ledge at Grandmother’s house! Tressa is thrilled―and concerned. What will happen to the sky-blue egg laid by the mother robin? As more eggs appear, Tressa witnesses the daily drama of the robins’ nest and learns how God cares for all creatures. Besides watching the birds, there are Easter eggs to color. And there is a very special story to hear―a tale of long ago about one small bird with a very big heart. How did the robin get its red breast? Tressa is about to find out as Gran tells her the story of the Easter robin. Brought to life with colorful, tender illustrations, The Legend of the Easter Robin will captivate and teach your child about compassion and faith."
What I Thought: The Legend of the Easter Robin: An Easter Story of Compassion and Faith, was written by Dandi Daley Mackall and illustrated by Richard Cowdrey.  It is a beautiful hardcover book (with dust jacket) that would make a wonderful gift. The illustrations are gorgeous, with vibrant, bright colors. The story is captivating for the 4-8 age range suggested, and I think older children would enjoy it too. I thoroughly enjoyed the story-I've never heard this legend before.  At the back of the book are some facts about the legend and where it originated. In the story, they make cute blown eggs turned into birds. My grandson Daniel, 4, is excited to try making our own birds out of eggs.  The picture above is of him enjoying the fabulous pictures in The Legend of the Easter Robin. 



FlyBy Promotions is offering one of my readers their own hardcover copy of The Legend of the Easter Robin! Open to residents of US and Canada. Winner will be emailed within 24 hours after contest closes. Winner has 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be selected. Additional requirements listed in Disclosure statement below. 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Book Review and Giveaway~Room for Hope

About the Book (Description from Publisher): "Neva Shilling has a heavy load of responsibility while her husband, Warren, travels to neighboring communities and sells items from his wagon. In his absence, she faithfully cares for their twins, running the Shilling Mercantile and working to keep their business strong as the Depression takes its toll.

When a wagon pulls up after supper one evening, Neva and her children rush out-and into the presence of the deputy delivering three young children. The deputy shocks her with the news that Warren and his wife have died, insisting it was their last request that the three children go live with "Aunt Neva".

Neva's heart is shattered as she realizes that her husband's month-long travels were excuses for visits with his secret family. She wants nothing more than to forget Warren, but can she abandon these innocent children to an orphanage? Yet if she takes them in, will she ever be able to see them as more than evidence of her husband's betrayal and love them the way God does?"

About the Author: Kim Vogel Sawyer is the highly acclaimed, best-selling author of gentle stories of hope, such as What Once Was Lost and Through the Deep Waters. With more than one million books in print, Kim has garnered numerous awards, including the ACFW Carol Award, the Inspirational Readers Choice Award, and the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. She lives in central Kansas with her retired military husband, Don. You can learn more at her website, and purchase your own copy of Room for Hope:  http://www.kimvogelsawyer.com/

What I Thought: I absolutely loved Kim Vogel Sawyer's series The Zimmerman Restoration Trilogy, so I knew I was in for a treat with Room for Hope. Each time I read one of her books, I am immediately hooked and can't put the book down! The other thing I noticed is how deeply I always feel for the characters. She develops them so well, that I feel like I know them by the time the book is finished.  I am left wanting more. Room for Hope was just the same!  My heart ached for Neva, who had such hardships, then to learn she had been betrayed by her husband. She battled inside about keeping the children, as they were a constant reminder of Warren's other life.  Room for hope teaches that bitterness can turn into hope and love, and to rely on God when life can't seem to get any worse. He will guide you through anything.

I have two copies of Room for Hope to give away! Open to residents of US and Canada, but no PO Boxes please. Winners will be emailed within 24 hours of the end of the contest, and have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. 

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Children's Book Review~Ellie's Best Beach Vacation Ever

The Amazing Adventures of Ellie the Elephant is an adorable children's book series written and photographed by Marci and Elle Fair.  The amazing thing is Elle Fair is only seven years old! What an awesome future she has ahead of her!

In each book, Ellie the Elephant and her friend Pudgy the Penguin have adventures and experience life situations. They have lots of fun, and learn a few things along the way. The topics highlighted are things most children encounter such as going back to school, and making new friends. Each book is  full of photographs of Ellie and Pudgy-a stuffed elephant and stuffed penguin-in their surroundings. There are also beautiful illustrations around the photos. Each page only has one or two sentences, perfect for early readers.

The newest book in the series is Ellie's Best Beach Vacation Ever (ISBN 978-0-9963635-2-5). Ellie and Pudgy go on a beach vacation together and have lots of fun making memories that will last forever. Above is a picture of my grandson Daniel, 4, looking at the book.  He has enjoyed all of the books in The Amazing Adventures of Ellie the Elephant series.

When I received Ellie's Best Beach Vacation Ever in the mail, I also had received a few other children's books. I put them in a stack, and when Daniel arrived at my house I told him some new books had arrived. He asked if we could read one, and I told him to pick one from the stack.  All of a sudden I heard him yell, "Ellie! A new Ellie book! I love Ellie!". So we read Ellie's Best Beach Vacation Ever right then, and then again that night at bed time. Daniel loves these books, and it encourages his imagination when he plays with his stuffed animals. I think he would be thrilled if I could find him his own stuffed Ellie and Pudgy!

You can purchase your own copy of Ellie's Best Beach Vacation Ever on Amazon in paperback or Kindle form.

Learn more about The Amazing Adventures of Ellie the Elephant at www.EllieAdventures.com
and on Facebook www.facebook.com/EllieAndPudgy   #elliesfriends

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

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Book Review~Soaring Above the Circumstances

I recently had the pleasure of reading Soaring Above the Circumstances (ISBN 978-1941972748), written by Dean Kilmer and published by Start2Finish Books. This book was written to inspire those who live with chronic illness, to inspire them to soar above their circumstances. It is a Christian book,  full of scripture and stories of God's work in people's lives.

Soaring Above the Circumstances is broken up into three parts, each with several chapters:
*Learning to Soar Above Your Circumstances
*True Stories of Soaring Above Suffering
*Biblical Power to Soar Above Your Struggles
 In the first section, the author writes about those who have inspired him, and his own personal struggle with diabetes. The second section is full of stories of people who have suffered yet persevered with a positive attitude. The last section explains stories in the Bible to help when you are struggling.

I have been dealing with chronic illness for several years, and found this book very encouraging. Since the author has chronic illness himself, he knows firsthand what it is like to struggle with it day after day. I especially appreciated all of the Bible verses, and plan to go through the book and make a list of the verses included for myself to study and have on hand when I am having a rough time. 

You can purchase your own copy of Soaring Above the Circumstances at Amazon.

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

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Book Review~Soul's Prisoner

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Soul's Prisoner
(WhiteFire Publishing (December 15, 2015))
Cara Luecht

A Word from the Author:I never planned to be a writer. In fact, it took me a while to finish college. But I did, and here I am. And I now I can’t imagine not being a writer. By day, I am an English Instructor for a local college, mother to four amazing children, and wife to an eternally patient and supportive husband. In the evening, when I can squirrel away some quiet time, I read and write historical fiction. I have a B.A. in English Lit. from UW Whitewater and an M.F.A in Creative Writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, NJ. If you have a question for me, or if you are local and would like me to stop by your book club or writer’s group, please drop me a line via the “Ask the Author” tab. I always love the opportunity to meet with others who share my love of books.


She'll fight for her future...but can she escape her past?
Chicago, Winter, 1891
Rachel is in danger. She s seen too much.
She creeps along the cement walls through the dank underbelly of the asylum. She d never planned to leave her quiet farm life, never thought she d find a place in the city, never imagined she d be in the kind of danger that would have her cowering in Dunning s cold, labyrinthine basement.
Jenny has finally found her place. After a childhood of abuse, she has friends, a real job, and her only wish is to give her adopted son the kind of life she never had.
A life of stability, without the risk and uncertainty of a father.
But when Jeremy, Rachel s brother, stumbles into their warehouse, asking for help to find his missing sister, Jenny s carefully constructed life begins to crumble.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Soul's Prisoner, go HERE.

What I Thought: I received Soul's Prisoner last Friday, and was concerned if I would be able to read it in time to post my review for this tour.  Well, there was no problem at all because as soon as I opened the book I could not put this book down!

Soul's Prisoner is the second book in Cara Luecht's series Portraits of Grace.  I have not read the first book in the series, Soul Painter, but I definitely will now! Soul's Prisoner is a story with a lot of suspense, a little romance, and a collection of very interesting and unique characters.  At first I had a hard time keeping the characters straight, but got them figured out after the first couple chapters.  I assume had I read the first book in the series, I would not have had any trouble. I highly recommend this book, and look forward to reading other books by Cara Luecht.

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

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Book Review~The Daniel Fast for Weight Loss

The Daniel Fast for Weight Loss, by Susan Gregory, explains what the Daniel Fast is and gives devotions and recipes to go along with it. This isn't another diet-it is a lifestyle change. The Daniel Fast is a plant-based fast that usually lasts 21 days.  It is a way to become closer to God and lose weight.

This book helps you with The Daniel Fast both spiritually and physically from preparing for it up to after the fast. Meal planning and preparation is discussed, and many original recipes are included. There is a 21 day devotional included to go along with your fast.

I found this book very helpful-I had never heard of The Daniel Fast before. Author Susan Gregory is known as an expert on the fast, and has other books published on The Daniel Fast.  Some of the recipes looked wonderful, but there were many I wouldn't see myself making, especially those with tofu. This book is very informative, with plenty of scripture references. It is definitely about healing your relationship with God as well as with food.

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

Book Review~A Son's Vow

About the Book:  

Three months ago, everything changed for Darla Kurtz and her family.

Darla's father was responsible for a terrible fire at Charm's lumber mill which killed five Amish men. And though he, too, lost his life, the town of Charm hasn't looked at her family the same since. Even Lukas Kinsinger---with whom Darla used to have a close friendship.

Now her brother's anger at the town is spilling over onto Darla, and she has the bruises to prove it. The accident already cost five lives, but if something doesn't change soon, Darla fears it will cost her---and her family---even more.

Lukas Kinsinger wants to mourn the loss of his father, but he can hardly find the time to breathe. Suddenly the head of his father's lumber mill and responsible for taking care of his three siblings, he's feeling the pressure. He has also never felt more alone---especially with the new tension between he and Darla. But when he learns of her troubles at home, Lukas knows he can't simply stand by and watch. Someone has to help her before another tragedy occurs.

As Lukas and Darla attempt to repair their families, they discover something deeper than friendship growing between them. But will Lukas and Darla's love be accepted after so much loss? Or will the pain of the past overcome any chance of future happiness?

Shelley Shepard Gray's first book in her Charmed Amish Life series is set in the quaint Amish village of Charm, Ohio, and tells the stories of the Kinsinger siblings who are each struggling to find both forgiveness and love in the face of tragedy. 

About the Author: 

 Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town's bike trail. 
Connect with Sherri: website, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest

What I Thought: A Son's Vow is the first book in author Shelley Shepard Gray's new series The Charmed Amish Life.  Ms. Gray is one of my favorite authors-she has a talent for drawing me into the book, leaving me feeling like I personally know the characters and don't want the story to end! She once again pulled me in to this wonderful new story, set in a small Ohio town named Charm. A horrible tragedy at the local mill left the community divided, and families in turmoil. Lukas and Darla, best friends for many years, feel a strain between them. As they work hard to heal their own families, they both struggle with their relationship. 

A Son's Vow was a quick read for me-it is 262 pages long, but the story is so intriguing that I couldn't put it down! At the back of the book is a treasure of extra information:
*Meet Shelley Shepard Gray
*Letter from the Author
*Questions for Discussion
*Recipe-White Chocolate Cranberry Blondies
*A Few Charming facts from Shelley Shepard Gray
*Sneak Peek into the second book in the series

I am excited to get my hands on the second book in The Charmed Amish Life series, A Daughter's Dream, coming in May 2016 from Avon Inspire. 

You can read more reviews of A Son's Vow at the book's Landing Page. Purchase your own copy here.


Shelley Shepard Gray is having a giveaway!  Click here to enter by February 10th. 

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