Posted in Book reviews, Booklook Review

“Jesus Calling: 50 Devotions for a Thankful Heart// For Teens” ~ Review

“Jesus Calling: 50 Devotions for a Thankful Heart” For Teens

Published by Thomas Nelson

Review copy through BookLookBloggers program

My rating; 5 out of 5 Stars

About:

A thankful heart opens the door to a vibrant relationship with Jesus. Jesus Calling®: 50 Devotions for a Thankful Heart brings the warmth and insight that more than 25 million people have enjoyed through Jesus Calling® in devotions curated specifically to help you see the blessings God has poured out on your life and help you develop a heart of gratitude.

Jesus Calling®: 50 Devotions for a Thankful Heart features 50 readings from Jesus Calling® gathered together in a new way and combined with relevant Scripture verses on the topic of thankfulness.

This book is part of a three-book series for teens, each focusing on a felt need. The other two books in the series focus on themes of growing your faith and dealing with busy days. These books are great for an individual study and make a great set for gift giving.

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

I’m loving going through this Jesus Calling devotional. Each devotional is short but very impacting – there are no words to recommend it enough, especially for any teen. I think every age can get something from these devotionals, really. But they are perfect for teens, and I think it would be an amazing source of encouragement and inspiration for them.
The meaningful devotionals come in a small book that is easy to bring along anywhere or just keep at home. The cover is attractive, and inside, besides the devotionals, are beautiful art pieces with verses on them. I love that part as well.
Definitely, definitely recommend it. :)

 

 

Posted in Book reviews, Booklook Review, Reviews

“Jesus Calling” Fabric Cover Edition ~ Book Review

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Jesus Calling Daily Devotional

Sarah Young

My rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

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My Thoughts:

This edition of the beloved devotional, Jesus Calling, is stunning! I am in love with the Jesus Calling devotionals, and I especially love the larger versions which include the whole verses at the end of each devo instead of just the verse references in the smaller sized devotionals.
The content is fantastic, as I’ve stated before in past reviews, so I will primarily be focusing on the outside of this edition. Which is beautiful, truly! I love the fabric feel to the hardcover, and the design is lovely. It is simple yet captivating, and I think it compliments the amazingness of the inside very well!
I highly recommend these devotionals, and definitely love this edition!
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I received a complimentary copy for the purpose of review; all opinions expressed are my own.

 

 

Posted in Booklook Review, Reviews

NKJV, Sequin Sparkle and Change Bible ~ Review

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NKJV, Sequin Sparkle and Change Bible

Copy sent for review through the BookLook program

 

Description of this Bible:

The Sequin Sparkle and Change Bible is sure to be a hit with girls! This fabulous material is on everything from pillows to T-shirts. The sequins change color right before your eyes. Girls will love the design and will want to carry this Bibles with them everywhere!

This Sequin Sparkle and Change Bible: Silver and Gold NKJV features sequins that change color depending on which way your child swipes. It’s double the fun! This Bible is perfect for kids ages 6 to 10 to take to Sunday school, read with the family, or study on their own.

The accurate and reliable New King James Version also contains beautifully illustrated insert pages in a style that will delight children’s imaginations and include topics such as:

Bible timeline
information about Jesus
Journaling for favorite Bible verses
Bible maps
Study helps such as how to study the Bible and how to pray
Articles to build a child’s faith, including How Do I Know Jesus Loves Me?, Bible Verses to Know, Knowing Jesus Better
Your little girl will love her Sequin Sparkle and Change Bible!

 

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My Thoughts: (Please note, I am reviewing the design and extra’s of this Bible, not the spiritual content, as obviously that is perfect. ^.^)

I am a big fan of the sequins that change when you run your hand along them. I have several pillows in this design and I can’t get enough of them, so when I saw a Bible with the cover being sequin-changing, I knew I wanted to try it!
The sequined part on the cover isn’t as large as I had thought it would be, but it is still very pretty and fun to play with. The sequins were very stiff and hard to move at first, but once I worked at it a bit, they loosened up and flip pretty easy. However, they do not lay completely flat one way, so many of the sequins stick up.
Inside, there are several delightful extra pages. Timelines, pages to write notes or favorite Bible verses, and also little snippets such as “Why should I Read The Bible” and “How Do I Know Jesus Loves Me?”, etc.  The style of this edition definitely seems geared toward a younger set of readers. With the sequins on the cover and the fun illustrations on the inside, this Bible is very pretty, and I think it would make a great Bible for any pre-teen or teen girl!
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Posted in Book reviews, Booklook Review

“The Warrior Maiden” by Melanie Dickerson ~ Book review

The Warrior Maiden (Hagenheim, #9)

“The Warrior Maiden” by Melanie Dickerson

Part of the Hagenheim series

Review copy through BookLookBloggers

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

About the Book:

Mulan isn’t afraid to pretend to be a son and assume her father’s soldier duties in war. But what happens when the handsome son of a duke discovers her secret?

Mulan is trying to resign herself to marrying the village butcher for the good of her family, but her adventurous spirit just can’t stand the thought. At the last minute, she pretends to be the son her father never had, assumes his duties as a soldier, and rides off to join the fight to protect the castle of her liege lord’s ally from the besieging Teutonic Knights.

Wolfgang and his brother Steffan leave Hagenheim with several other soldiers to help their father’s ally in Poland. When they arrive, Wolfgang is exasperated by the young soldier Mikolai who seems to either always be one step away from disaster… or showing Wolfgang up in embarrassing ways.

When Wolfgang discovers his former rival and reluctant friend Mikolai is actually a girl, he is determined to protect her. But battle is a dangerous place where anything can happen — and usually does.

When Mulan receives word that her mother has been accused of practicing witchcraft through her healing herbs and skills, Mulan’s only thought is of defending her. Will she be able to trust Wolfgang to help? Or will sacrificing her own life be the only way to save her mother?

My Thoughts:

 

The Disney version of “Mulan” is a favorite of mine. So I was both excited and a little hesitant to read a retelling of this fun tale. The excitement was fulfilled – it had a lot of the elements of the Disney version while still remaining unique to its own story. I admit I kind of wanted her name to be something other than Mulan, but I still can look past that fact. ;)
Right from the start we are plunged into the thick of it, and I really enjoyed that. I was apprehensive of how far the whole ‘feminist’ thread would be pushed, but it wasn’t as strong as I was expecting, at least in the first portion of the book.
One of the things that I love about the Disney version is Mulan’s desire to protect her family – yes, she is strong, but also caring. And for the most part, this story’s ‘Mulan’ character was that way too. I appreciate that she could still be gentle and strong at the same time. That was handled quite well. I didn’t care for that she did take more of the glory when it should have been equally split between her and Wolfgang. He was completely overlooked most of the time, even though he was just as much a hero as she was. And he didn’t seem to mind that. It was all boastful of what a strong woman she was, and yet he was sometimes shown to be a little weaker but that was shown as okay – their roles were swapped. Now, as I have said in reviews past, I am not against strong women, but I do struggle with the view that “women have to be better than men or else”.  God created men and women for different roles, and they are both equally strong and wonderful – He will fulfill what He wills, and each person’s life is uniquely different. But the message of women constantly triumphing over men (when the men can be shown as strong too – I want more strong men in fiction) wears on me, I admit. Mulan, in this book, became pretty proud and was glad she could do what so few men could – I found that distasteful and boastful. She was also disrespectful at times. I understand that she had inner scars, and while that sometimes came into play, she also acted in ways that didn’t have reason for that.
I loved Wolfgang, and his desire to protect Mulan in all stages of knowing or not knowing her identity, but was saddened when it was often portrayed as a bad thing, or that he didn’t need to protect her because she was “stronger than most men”. Even if I was super strong, as a woman, I would want to be protected  -I’d be flattered. Because Wolfgang was not doing it in a demeaning way – he was respectful and honorable. I just wish that would have been shown a bit more, and not put down as a bad thing.
Other than that, I did really enjoy this book. It was exciting, and full of adventure with good writing. There wasn’t a dull moment, and I really appreciated the fast-pace of it all!  A four star read for me!
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I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publishers. I was not required to write a positive review.
Posted in Book reviews, Booklook Review

“In the Shadow of Croft Towers” by Abigail Wilson ~ Book Review

 

In the Shadow of Croft Towers

“In the Shadow of Croft Towers” by Abigail Wilson

A Regency/Mystery Novel

Review copy through BookLook Bloggers

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

 

From debut author Abigail Wilson comes a mysterious Regency tale of secrets and spies, love and treachery.

Orphaned Sybil Delafield jumps at the opportunity for a position at the mysterious Croft Towers. She believes she was hired to act as companion to a dying woman, but a highway robbery and a hostile welcome from the Chalcroft family cause her to wonder if she was actually hired to help someone spy for France.

An unsolved murder adds intrigue to this already secretive family, and Sybil recognizes Mrs. Chalcroft’s handsome grandson as one of the infamous highwaymen who robbed her. Sybil must determine if this man’s charming smile and earnest eyes speak the truth or if he is simply using her like others in the house. Everyone seems to have something to hide, and Sybil must decide who to trust while also coming to terms with the truth about her own past.

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

What a captivating read! Goodness. I didn’t want to put it down, especially as the plot got going. I loved that it was written in first person – that is one of my favorite styles, and it just draws me in immediately. The writing style itself was lovely too, fitting into that time period just beautifully.
We are instantly drawn into our heroine’s plight. Sybil has a sweet, and curious nature. I love how the book starts out – a highway robbery! And might I say, I was in love right then and there with a certain person. You’ll have to read it to find out who. ;)
The mystery held up till the very end and was handled quite masterfully. The entire plotline was really well done!
And I loved the characters. Oh I loved them so much. Except for a bad apple or two. I don’t want to ruin anything because it was all so fabulously played out that I don’t wish to ruin it for any readers! But I definitely would recommend the read. It was enchanting, and so much like a beloved British period drama – loved it! And I have a new book-boyfriend, which is always so lovely! Quite honestly, I was smitten from the beginning with him, and I would very much like my own Mr. Mystery (I’m sure you can guess who he is, but I will withhold his name just to be safe. ;)).
After finishing, I was a bit saddened to find that really there was no faith thread whatsoever. It was a very clean and wholesome book, one which I loved VERY much, but there were lots of instants where a message of trusting God could’ve been implemented very well. So that was the one and only thing that brought it down a half star.
But otherwise, it was a completely lovely novel and I eagerly await more from this author!!
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abigail wilson
Posted in Book reviews, Booklook Review

“Becoming Mrs.Lewis” by Patti Callahan ~ Book Review

 

“Becoming Mrs.Lewis” by Patti Callahan

 

Review copy through BookLook Bloggers

My rating: 2.5 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

In a most improbable friendship, she found love. In a world where women were silenced, she found her voice. 

From New York Times bestselling author Patti Callahan comes an exquisite novel of Joy Davidman, the woman C. S. Lewis called “my whole world.” When poet and writer Joy Davidman began writing letters to C. S. Lewis—known as Jack—she was looking for spiritual answers, not love. Love, after all, wasn’t holding together her crumbling marriage. Everything about New Yorker Joy seemed ill-matched for an Oxford don and the beloved writer of Narnia, yet their minds bonded over their letters. Embarking on the adventure of her life, Joy traveled from America to England and back again, facing heartbreak and poverty, discovering friendship and faith, and against all odds, finding a love that even the threat of death couldn’t destroy. 

In this masterful exploration of one of the greatest love stories of modern times, we meet a brilliant writer, a fiercely independent mother, and a passionate woman who changed the life of this respected author and inspired books that still enchant us and change us. Joy lived at a time when women weren’t meant to have a voice—and yet her love for Jack gave them both voices they didn’t know they had. 

At once a fascinating historical novel and a glimpse into a writer’s life, Becoming Mrs. Lewis is above all a love story—a love of literature and ideas and a love between a husband and wife that, in the end, was not impossible at all.

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

Joy – the wife of C.S. Lewis.   Before reading this book, I was barely familiar with this woman at all, which was why I was interested in requesting it for review.

And while interesting at times, this wasn’t a novel I could really connect with unfortunately. I appreciate the research the author put into it – this was a well written book.

I just couldn’t personally relate to Joy, and I found that her story just fell a little flat to me. At many times, she seemed very self-centered.

There were some areas throughout the novel that I found to be a little unsettling, and the faith aspect, while I have no doubt realistic, I thought wasn’t as moving as I was hoping for. It was definitely a more theological piece of fiction. C.S. Lewis felt true-to-life and it was very interesting seeing his character portrayed.

I would rate this book 18+ for its content (alcoholism, sex, abuse, etc).

I’m sure this book will be one enjoyed by several, but it just wasn’t for me.

 

 

 

 

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

Posted in Book reviews, Booklook Review

“The Solace of Water” by Elizabeth Byler Younts ~ Book Review

“The Solace of Water” by Elizabeth Byler Younts

 

Review copy through BookLook Bloggers

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

 

About the book:

In a time of grief and heartache, an unlikely friendship provides strength and solace.

After leaving her son’s grave behind in Montgomery, Alabama, Delilah Evans has little faith that moving to her husband’s hometown in Pennsylvania will bring a fresh start. Enveloped by grief and doubt, the last thing Delilah imagines is becoming friends with her reclusive Amish neighbor, Emma Mullet—yet the secrets that keep Emma isolated from her own community bond her to Delilah in delicate and unexpected ways.

Delilah’s eldest daughter, Sparrow, bears the brunt of her mother’s pain, never allowed for a moment to forget she is responsible for her brother’s death. When tensions at home become unbearable for her, she seeks peace at Emma’s house and becomes the daughter Emma has always wanted. Sparrow, however, is hiding secrets of her own—secrets that could devastate them all.

With the white, black, and Amish communities of Sinking Creek at their most divided, there seems to be little hope for reconciliation. But long-buried hurts have their way of surfacing, and Delilah and Emma find themselves facing their own self-deceptions. Together they must learn how to face the future through the healing power of forgiveness.

 

 

My Thoughts:

I feel a bit lost for words at how to review this one. It wasn’t what I was expecting, but I found this to be in a good way.  

Every page was filled with tragidy, really. It was a heart-wrenching book. There was so much sorrow and so much brokenness between all of the characters, and yet the relationships formed  were beautiful in their shared brokenness.

Sparrow was my favorite character. My heart went out to each of the characters, but it was she for whom my heart hurt the most. I can’t say that one character over the other had more pain, because each dealt with a great deal of grief, but for some reason I just hurt for her the most.

As I read, I wanted to hug away the hurt from each character. They did find solace in the end, though I admit I was expecting a bit more of the healing focus to be from Jesus. Sparrow’s was and that was lovely – I would’ve liked to explore that more.

It was written in such an easy to read style that it was hard to put down and yet hard to intake all at once too because of the content. It was definitely unique. :)

Recommended for ages 16+