Sunday, October 19, 2014

You Are Chosen

You are Chosen
Inspiration to Reassure Your Soul
Darlene Sala
Life can sometimes bring you down. But God wants to fill us with His love and peace. The author has taken 90 verses and written a short devotional to go with them. Each devotional is meant to encourage, inspire, and renew. The thought begins with the Bible verse and then has a little story or thought to tie in with the verse. The author then adds the inspirational connection that will lift you up.

First, I loved the cover of the book. The leather cover and flowers are gorgeous and enticed me to pick up the book. The small size makes it easy to slip into my purse for a quick pick-me-up. Each devotional is thoughtfully put together and offers encouragement and refreshment. This would make a perfect gift, although I'll have to purchase another one since I don't intend to part with mine.

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

The Skeleton Crew

The Skeleton Crew
How Amateur Sleuths Are Solving America's Coldest Cases
Deborah Halber
Hundreds and hundreds of cases go unsolved every year. The police are often overwhelmed with cases or don't have the time and resources to match nameless bodies with an identity. So amateur sleuths are turning to the internet and sometimes old fashioned leg work to match names to the victims. 

I've always been fascinated by forensics, crime solving, and anything relating to the medical field. So I was sure this book would be a hit. The author has done some amazing research. The concept is fascinating. But somehow the two didn't come together to make an interesting book. It took a while to get through the book because I had to keep going back to find out who the author was referring to. The characters melted together with the victims to leave me completely confused at times. I would have preferred a more storied approach with each story explaining how the case was solved instead of the stories and ideas getting all mixed up together.

I received this book free of charge from Jane Wesman Public Relations in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Covered Deep

The Covered Deep
Brandy Vallance

Bianca grew up in small town Ohio. But her dreams and aspirations take her mind far from home. Her father realizes that she'll never be content, so he encourages her to enter a contest for a trip to the Holy Land. Bianca hopes to meet her soul mate on this magical trip, should she win. But is her mother right? Are her dreams of a soul mate unrealistic? Should she be content with her small town and one of the men from there?

This book wasn't like anything I've ever read before. I read it quickly in one evening and it was definitely spell binding and gripping. The plot and most of the characters were so completely different from what is typically found in christian fiction, but this gave it an appealing quality. The details got a bit boggy at times, but the plot moved along quickly and I was able to skim over most of them. The ending of their trip in Israel was a bit over the top and didn't end in parts. But overall, when I finished the story I was left with a more positive than negative feeling. 
I would definitely read more by this author.

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

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Coleman Ridge

Coleman Ridge
Mackie Coleman Jennings
Mackie Coleman was born in the 30s in rural Tennessee. Probably not exactly the best for a young black girl. But Mackie not only survived, she learned from her experiences to thrive and prosper in her small town. She became a well loved and respected teacher in her community. When she retired she decided to share her experiences by writing her story for future generations to learn from.

The author has written the story from her own personal experiences and her authentic voice shines through. Readers will be given a glimpse into the author's life and will leave feeling like they know her. The book showcases a bit of the history of Waverly and Gorman and looks into what life was like for the people during that time period. I enjoyed the personal touches to the story and was fascinated by the pieces of history about my home state. This book would work well with a school curriculum on local history or for black history month.

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

*For some reason Amazon has the front and back of this showing as the cover. I couldn't find another photo of the book online.

Still Alice

Still Alice
Lisa Genova
Alice is a professor of neuroscience at Harvard University. Her life is fast paced and on track for even better things. Her only complaint would be the lack of communication with her husband. But when she begins to notice issues with her memory and recall she gets scared and visits the doctor. The rest of the story is her journey into early onset Alzheimers.

This book was a scary concept for me. It isn't something you want to think about you or anyone you love getting. But I felt the author handled the subject matter delicately and with appropriate humor. While sad, the story has a redemptive quality to it. The author gave a glimpse into a side of Alzheimers that is rarely seen. Since I've known people with this disease, it felt authentic and real, with the exception of the ending. Most of the people I've known with Alzheimers get angry and combative towards the end. But since this is a novel I'll allow the author creative license for a happy ending. This is definitely a book I would recommend and will be keeping for my library.

Freddy the Frogcaster adn the Big Blizzard

Freddy the Frogcaster and the Big Blizzard
Janice Dean
There is a huge blizzard coming to the town of Lilypad. Everyone is busy with their job and Freddy realizes it is up to him to warn the residents. Freddy scrambles to get everyone prepared and ready for when the storm hits. His friends are thankful for the provisions when they are stranded and need supplies.

Bright, colorful illustrations fill every single page. Kids will love the story and will enjoy learning about the weather and forecasting while reading about a fun little frog and his friends. The author has provided some additional information in the back of the book for further learning. There is also an interactive website the kids can explore to learn more. The material was presented in story form so the children won't even realize they are learning. My kids loved the story and we've already read through the book several times. The illustrations are excellent and had them laughing.

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

Sunrise Sunset

Sunrise Sunset
52 Weeks of Awe & Gratitude
Kim Weiss
Every single day begins with a sunrise and ends with a sunset. The photographer took pictures of these sunsets and sunrises for a year and is now sharing them with us. Each picture is accompanied by a quote or thought from different people. The emphasis is on gratitude.

These photographs are gorgeous. Each page is filled with the beautiful colors of either a sunrise or sunset. Then on the left is a thought or reflection from different individuals that ties in with the theme of awe and gratitude. This book would make a beautiful gift or could be used to supplement morning devotions.

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