Monday, September 24, 2018

Review & Giveaway of 'The Spirit of God Illustrated Bible' - by Doris Wynbeek Rikkers,

 The Spirit of God Illustrated Bible

God's Spirit is living among God's people.
He always was, always is, and always will be.
These are the stories that tell about him and what he does.

The Spirit of God Illustrated Bible, written by Doris Rikkers and illustrated by Fernando Juarez, presents over 40 Bible stories from the old and new testaments that show how God’s Spirit has been with his people from the beginning of time. Keep reading to learn more about this new release from ZonderKidz!

You can also enter to win a copy of The Spirit of God Illustrated Bible and other awesome kids' releases in a giveaway hosted by Read with Audra. Details below!

About the book:

The Spirit of God Illustrated Bible brings to life more than 40 Bible stories that help readers understand that God’s Spirit has been with us since the beginning of time and continues to be with us today. From the glory of creation through the powerful letters of Paul, God’s Spirit is living in his people. Old and New Testament stories such as Adam and Eve, Abraham, Joseph, the Baptism of Jesus, and Pentecost come alive with dramatic illustrations by Fernando Juarez and moving text by Doris Rikkers. With a cover that sparkles and shines with foil, this is a special storybook Bible that will appeal to both children and parents alike.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
If I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
If I settle on the far side of the sea,
Even there your hand will guide me,
Your right hand will hold me fast.
~ Psalm 139: 7–10

My review:

This was a cool Bible storybook with a unique angle.  I loved how it really highlighted the stories that talked about God's Spirit throughout the Bible.  This shouldn't really be labeled a Bible, however, as there were a lot of stories not featured.  The pictures were colorful and fun.  Each story started with a verse or two and said where to find the story in the Bible.  One thing I didn't really like was that in the story of Creation it seems to imply that the world was created and a lot of time passed before humans were created.  I don't know if that's how it's meant to be read but it seems best to stick to the Bible's version and not try to interpret it differently.  I also thought the story of Samson got a little graphic when it talked about ripping a lion apart.  I'm not that familiar with children's books so I don't know if it's typical to have that kind of thing in a book for about four to eight-year-old's.  I really liked how the end of the book makes it personal to the child by reminding them that they're not alone and that God's Spirit will help them to do what God wants them to do.  Overall, I liked this Bible storybook and would recommend it!

I received this book from Read with Audra.  I was not required to write a positive review or compensated for this.  This is my honest opinion.

Try a sample Here

About the author and illustrator:

Doris Wynbeek Rikkers is a freelance writer and editor who has written many bestselling children’s books and Bibles. Although she loves the ocean, she lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan, surrounded by her books, her flower gardens, and her family and friends.

Spanish artist Fernando Juarez illustrates children’s books and also works as an art supervisor at the Madrid studio Ilion Animation. The company produces 3D feature films for children. Fernando has three kids himself, and if he has any time left after work and family, you might catch him playing guitar in a rock band.

Would you like to win your own copy of
The Spirit of God Illustrated Bible?
Win a children's book prize pack from Read with Audra!
The prize pack includes a copy of:
Spirit of God Illustrated Bible
Adventure Bible Book of Daring Deeds and Epic Creations
NIV Kids Visual Study Bible
Explorer's Bible Guide
Words to Love By
Love Letters from God 

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Thursday, September 20, 2018

Great Christmas Story! 'The Ornament Keeper' - by Eva Marie Everson

The Ornament Keeper: A Novella - eBook  -     By: Eva Marie Everson
About the book:
Award-winning author Eva Marie Everson wraps up a Christmas story of hope, love, and forgiveness just in time for the holidays. The Ornament Keeper, a contemporary Christmas novella, features Felicia and Jackson Morgan who are spending their first Christmas apart after twenty years of marriage. But a lifetime of gifted ornaments helps Felicia piece together the story of their marriage and the one mistake of unforgiveness she made before they said, “I do.” Can these memory-filled ornaments reunite this family before Christmas? Only time will tell.
My review:
I really enjoyed this well-written story that showed the importance of forgiveness and communication!  I loved how the story went back and forth in time from the present day to events in the past as Felicia remembered scenes from their dating and married life.  Jackson seemed like a great guy, pretty understanding and with a strong faith but with workaholic tendencies, so not perfect.  I went back and forth in my feelings about Felicia.  Sometimes I really felt for her and other times I felt like she created her own problems.  Part of her problem was not communicating with her husband if something was bothering her; she just stuffed it down and let it fester.  Her dad and a couple friends were pretty great and gave her lots of helpful advice.  I especially liked something her dad said, "You make your own happy,"  Her husband made a good point, too, saying that "God uses everything... even our mess-ups." I liked that the characters had a strong faith.  These were good reminders for me to be content and know that somehow God will work things for His good purpose.  There was some romance and humor.  This story will put you in the Christmas spirit and make you think about the important things in life.  I highly recommend it!
I received this e-book from JustRead Tours.  I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated.  This is my honest opinion.

the ornament keeper blog tour giveaway.png

Enter Giveaway Here!

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Fascinating! 'When God's Ways Make No Sense' - by Dr. Larry Crabb

Cover Art

About the book:

An honest exploration of our struggle to trust
It doesn't take too much living before we realize that life never goes quite the way we want it to. But when things get hard and we don't understand what God is doing, what is our first impulse? Is it to resist Him and run? Or is it to trust Him even as we tremble in fear?

In this powerful exploration of God's often mysterious ways, Dr. Larry Crabb challenges you to seize the opportunities for growth and maturity that come your way when you experience troubles and failures. Rather than pushing back against adversity, you are invited to look closer at what God is doing in your life when it feels like He is far from you. Unpacking the stories of three very different biblical figures, Crabb lights the way to a life of resting in the goodness of a God who is always working out His plan for our lives.

My review:

This was a fascinating book that really makes you think.  Dr. Crabb used the illustrations of three Biblical characters to show the responses we might have to God when He doesn't make sense to us.  Jonah and Saul (later Paul) show us two wrong ways to respond and Habakkuk shows us the right way.  We all too often resist and run like Jonah or distort and deny like Saul but what we should do is tremble and trust like Habakkuk.  To ask hard questions and know that hard things could be coming but to trust anyway.  If we truly realized how much God loves us, we would trust that He is working for our good but the good as He sees it, which might be different than the good we want right now.  He talked about suffering and possible reasons for it.  I found the section on sovereignty to be especially fascinating.  He compares and contrasts three views and digs into the Bible to see which view is most supported.  I liked how it felt like Dr. Crabb was just thinking out loud sometimes, struggling with the questions he has and trying to work this out. He talked about struggles in his own life with health problems or other difficulties and what he's come to understand through his study of God's Word.  Sometimes he says things my comfort-loving self didn't want to hear but it was the truth and important to hear it.  I highly recommend this book for everyone!

I received this book from Baker Books.  I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated for this.  This is my honest opinion.

           The Author

  1. Dr. Larry Crabb

    Dr. Larry Crabb

    Dr. Larry Crabb is a well-known psychologist, conference and seminar speaker, Bible teacher, popular author, and founder/director of NewWay Ministries. He is currently scholar in residence at Colorado Christian University in Denver, and visiting professor of...
    Continue reading about Dr. Larry Crabb 

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Well Written! 'Ours for a Season' - by Kim Vogel Sawyer


About the book:

An Old Order Mennonite couple's vows and beliefs are challenged in this stirring contemporary novel for fans of Cindy Woodsmall or Shelley Shepherd Gray.

Anthony and Marty Hirschler are part of an Old Order Mennonite community in Pine Hill, Indiana. The couple has grown apart since a doctor confirmed they would never have children. Marty longs to escape the tight-knit area where large families are valued, and the opportunity to do so arises when her childhood friend, Brooke Spalding, resurfaces with the wild idea of rebuilding a ghost town into a resort community. Brooke hires Anthony to help with the construction, drawing the Hirschlers away from Indiana and into her plan, and then finds herself diagnosed with cancer. Moral complications with Brooke's vision for a casino as part of the resort and the discovery of a runaway teenager hiding on the property open up a world neither the Hirschlers nor Brooke had considered before. Will they be able to overcome their challenges and differences to help the ones among them hurting the most?

My review:

I enjoyed this story that dealt with some hard topics but ultimately had hope.  I really liked all of the characters and especially that we got the viewpoints of Marty, Anthony and Brooke.  I felt for Marty as she struggled with knowing she'd never have children and she questioned why God wouldn't give her this desire of her heart.  She was really struggling in her faith.  Anthony was a wonderful guy who wanted a child also but didn't seem to struggle as much; Brooke wasn't a Christian and had never really thought about God until she got cancer.  I loved that her love of music was an important part of her personality.  There were also some minor characters, some Mennonite and others English.  I liked that there was a mix of people from different backgrounds and views of God.  There's a couple of wonderful passages about faith, one where Anthony was feeling like a failure because Brooke and Elliott hadn't come to faith and he realized he was being prideful and was trying to do it himself instead of in God's power and another passage where Brooke and Marty have a great conversation about God and the prodigal son.  There was some suspense as someone was stealing food on the property and sex trafficking and homelessness are brought into the story.  I liked how Marty realized how sheltered she's been and that seeing the pain and evil in the world propelled Marty, Anthony and Brooke into action.  Here's my favorite quote from the book from a stained-glass artist they met, "these projects are like life, with some days more broken than others, but when a master designer puts the pieces all together again, something of beauty emerges."  This was a great story I recommend. 

I received this book from Waterbrook Multnomah.  I was not required to write a positive review and  have not been compensated for this.  This is my honest opinion.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Intriguing! ' Darkwater Secrets - Darkwater Inn 1 - by Robin Caroll


About the book:

A murder investigation uncovers sordid secrets and haunting mistakes

The Darkwater Inn stands tall and proud in the French Quarter, the hub of New Orleans. Bourbon Street is bustling, and general manager Adelaide Fountaine has her hands full with a hotel at capacity. But she is shocked when a body is found: a hotel guest stabbed with a kitchen knife.

Detective Beau Savoie, Adelaide's childhood friend, is on the case. As Beau digs into the victim's past, he unearths a shocking connection between Adelaide and the murdered guest. Beau is hurt that his friend--the woman he's quietly loved for years--kept the truth from him. To make matters worse, the stress of the investigation has sent Adelaide right into the comforting arms of her coworker Dimitri. But Beau can't press Adelaide too hard . . . because he's keeping secrets of his own.

Can Adelaide and Beau afford to hide from the truth with a killer on the loose?

My review:

This was an interesting mystery that was part procedural crime novel and part romance but all around fascinating!  I loved that we see the viewpoints of the detective, so we see his investigation and his personal feelings toward Adelaide but also her viewpoint and that of her coworker.  The setting of New Orleans was practically a character itself as it takes place during a festival, there's talk of voodoo and Adelaide's friend gives ghost tours.  Dimitri seems to have a strong faith yet Adelaide has turned her back on God after a tragedy and I don't remember any mention of Beau's.  So there's an interesting mix of characters and it's not clear what some of them really believe concerning voodoo and ghosts.  I did like that there's a conversation where it's explained that the Bible warns us against communicating with spirits and of demons and evil so we need to be careful.  It was interesting learning more about it.  it was also interesting thinking about justice, right and wrong.  I really enjoyed all of the characters and love the support Adelaide has in her father, best friend and Beau.  There were some sweet romantic moments but the series continues.  I am glad the mystery was solved and I look forward to the next book!  I would recommend this if you like mystery and suspense stories!

I received a copy of this book from JustRead Publicity Tours.  I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated.  This is my honest opinion.