Saturday, January 24, 2015

Ted and Friends

Ted and Friends
Phil Roxbee Cox & Stephen Cartwright
Ted and his friends go on twelve different adventures. They bring the reader along with them as they get into all sorts of predicaments. Each story has a recurring theme with a rhyming flow that makes it easy for early readers to read. Each story has little flaps on the pages to add dimension. The book comes with a cd of the stories being read.

My daughter is just learning to read and fell in love with this book. The illustrations are adorable and she loved the interaction of lifting the flaps. The stories have a humorous angle and she loves laughing at the antics of the animals. She is able to read the words and this had really boosted her confidence in reading. Definitely a book I would recommend when just starting to read.

*I purchased the book from an Usborne dealer. This isn't the exact picture of the book, since the book I own comes with a cd and 12 stories. For some reason I have a hard time finding Usborne books online to grab pictures from.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Dirty Chick

Dirty Chick
Adventures of an Unlikely Farmer
Antonia Murphy
Antonia had only had traumatic experiences with chickens when she and her husband relocated to New Zealand. But the different grocery options and lack of gourmet shops meant that if she wanted wine, cheese, or organic eggs, she would need to grow it herself. Before she knews it, Antonia found herself with her family in rural New Zealand learning to farm. With the kids and animals out of control Antonia found a happy place amidst all of the poop and trials of family and country life.

Filled with lots of zany, tongue in cheek humor, this book initially appeared to be a light, funny read about farm life. But the more I read, the more I realized that the author had infused life lessons and thoughts of what true family was all about. Even if you've never seen a chicken in your entire life, you'll love the different approach the author took when telling her story and find humor in her numerous attempts to raise farm animals. The scenes and word pictures that she paints will take you right into rural New Zealand and make you feel like one of her friends. There is some language, but it wasn't a lot and didn't clog up the story. I look forward to reading more by this author and I hope she writes a follow up to this story.

I received this book free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Lasting Impression

A Lasting Impression
Tamera Alexander
Claire works for her father forging priceless art. When the opportunity to escape presents itself she finds her life completely changed. She begins working for one of the most influential women in Nashville. A co-worker Sutton attracts her attention. But she can't trust anyone with her secret past. As her new and old life collide she learns about trust and faith.

It took me a while to get engaged with this book. But once it grabbed me I couldn't put it down. The characters were great and really drove the story. The part that was slow for me was setting up all of the details for the story. It was presented in such a way that left little room for surprises at the end. But the book was full of history and the plot was interesting. Overall it was a nice book that could have had a bit less writing and a bit more mystery.

The Berenstain Bears and the Biggest Brag

The Berenstain Bears and the Biggest Brag
Mike Berenstain
Brother and Sister Bear can't stop bragging. They are constantly trying to outdo each other. Since they've worked hard for their accomplishments they are very proud. But when it gets completely out of control one day, Gramps talks to them about their bragging and about how bad pride can be.

Writing in the same easy style as his parents, the author has taken a difficult concept for kids and made it simple and easy to understand. The illustrations help to tell the story and keep the children's attention. Bible verses and the foolishness of bragging are brought out without coming across as preachy or bossy. Both of my children enjoyed the book and indicated this would be a book we read often. 

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

Hope Crossing

Hope Crossing
The Complete Ada's House Trilogy
Cindy Woodsmall
The Hope of Refuge
Cara is running from a stalker. So she turns to her diary, filled with notes from her late mother. Something tickles her memory and she finds herself in Amish country with her daughter. But since her mother left in disgrace, Cara will have to fight an uphill battle if she wants to be accepted.

The Bridge of Peace
Lena has loved her job as a teacher from the very beginning. But difficult students, hateful parents, and bizarre occurrences have her job in jeopardy with the board. It certainly doesn't help that she has a problem submitting to authority. When she falls in love with a man that is not considered courting material she must mature and learn to listen to those around her.

The Harvest of Grace
Sylvia has been betrayed by her sister at home. She flees to the Blank farm to help on their farm since their son, Aaron is in rehab. Aaron returns with the intent to sell the farm that Sylvia has fallen in love with. The two must work together for months. But one is working to get the farm ready for market, while the other is fighting to save the farm from the bank.

Each novel is full length. That made the book very heavy and the print rather small. Those small complaints aside, I enjoyed these three books. The author doesn't write the typical bonnet fiction. The characters are flawed, but likable. The situations are often fraught with drama and tension. But the author is able to bring out Christian elements as the characters deal with the things that come at them. Even if you don't enjoy bonnet fiction, you should give this author a try. You won't be disappointed.

I received this book free of charge from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Hidden Agenda

Hidden Agenda
Southern Crimes Book 3
Lisa Harris
Michael has been dead, as far as his family knows, for almost a year. He's so deep undercover that only one person knows where he is. And he watches that man be murdered by his boss right before his eyes. He has a couple of hours for a miracle to happen. He doesn't expect that miracle to come in the form of his boss's children. On the run from the drug cartel and police alike, Michael, Olivia, and Ivan have to stay one step ahead of the game. Figuring out the details could get them killed.

This was my first time reading anything by this author. The book takes place over about a week. But the author has packed quite a bit of action and suspense into those few days. The romance seemed a little rushed, given the time period, but otherwise was sweet and fit well into the story. The book is definitely part of a series and I would have understood some of the underlying details if I'd read the first two. But the book works well as a stand-alone too. I really enjoyed the plot and it left me wanting to read more by this author.

I received this book free of charge from Revell Reads in exchange for my honest review.

Romancing Your Better Half

Romancing Your Better Half
Keeping Intimacy Alive in Your Marriage
Rick Johnson
Romantic love is often thought to wane after the first few years of marriage. The author takes the read through what intimacy is and how to keep it going in your marriage. Written for both the husband and the wife, this book is full of facts, statistics, Biblical advice, and practical tips. The book reads like a well researched paper with all of the facts about marriage. But the author throws in personal stories that are either from his own experiences or that fit well with the subject matter. At the end of each chapter is a section that gives some suggestions for taking the advice in the chapter and putting it to practical use.

I could tell the book had been written by a man. It had a more logical approach with less of an emotional feel. But the content was good, the chapters weren't too long, and the author added humor and stories to lighten all of the facts. I certainly don't see my husband reading this, but it would perhaps work if we read it together over the course of several months. It isn't really a how-to book, but more about digging deeper and the theory of intimacy.

I received this book free of charge from Revell Reads in exchange for my honest review.