Larger-Than-Life-Lara by Dandi Daley Mackall

978-1-4964-1429-8

Larger-Than-Life Lara, by Dandi Daley Mackall is a story of a 10 year old girl named Laney Grafton. The book is a story that is being written by Laney, a fourth grader in Paris Missouri. Through out the story she is also telling the reader the important parts of writing a story, such as introducing the character, developing the setting, bringing in suspense, cliff-hangers, twists in the story as well as the climax and resolution to the story.

The story Laney is telling is about her fourth grade class and the new student, Lara. Lara is a larger than normal girl who gets picked on for her size. She tells poems to those who pick on her and she helps Laney learn her lines for a class play. Laney also brings into the story her family life, living with her father and 3 older brothers.

The is a really good book. It is a juvenile fiction story that focuses social themes and peer pressure. This book especially focuses on bullying that goes on within Lara’s class towards her. The story shows us how Lara rises above the meanness of bullying towards her and continues with giving kindness to others.

This book uses Laney’s character to get across the effects of bullying in a humorous way. There were times when I was reading the story that I could picture my grandchild of similar age, talking to me in the same way the story is written. I really like this story and I feel it would be a great story for all youth to read.

I received a copy of this book from Tyndale publishing and I have written an honest review.

176 pages

Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

ISBN-10: 1496414306

ISBN-13: 978-1496414304

Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

A Royal Christmas Wedding by Rachel Hauck

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A Royal Christmas Wedding, written by Rachel Hauck, is part of the Royal Wedding Series. Avery Truitt and Prince Colin of Brighton Kingdom met while still in high school. They loved each other very much and Prince Colin planned to propose to her the night of her prom. He had traveled to the united States several times to see her and his father would not allow him to go for her prom. Due to miscommunication they fell apart and had not contact with each other for five year. Avery and her mother have gone to visit Avery’s sister, Susanna for the Christmas season. Susanna is married to the King of Brighton Kingdom who is Colin’s cousin. With all the Christmas festivities, Colin and Avery cannot avoid seeing each other.

Up until 182 years ago, the tradition was for a prince to run the 182 steps of the chapel tower at midnight of the Harvest Celebration and ring the bell to declare his feeling for the girl he planned to marry. He then had until Christmas morning to convince the girl to marry him. The tradition ended when Prince Michael slipped down the steps and fell to his death in 1834. Colin and his friends have also run the steps over the years but to have something to drink and talk about the past and future. There is much talk about this year being the year the bell will ring again. Colin and his friend Guy climb the steps with their pints and pipes. While talking, Colin admits that he would ring the bell for Avery if she would be his wife. The bell mysteriously starts ringing on it own. Guy and Colin run down the steps to get away before anyone can see them, but he tricks Colin. He tells Colin he will go out first and distract the people but he disappears instead.

Colin tries to tell the people he did not ring the bell, but he has had feeling for Avery all these years. And Avery has had feeling for him as well. But she is not willing to go through that hurt again. Did God ring the bell for Colin and Avery?

This is one of the cutest stories I have read. With just 219 pages, this is the perfect length for reading while relaxing from the busyness of the Christmas season. I was happy to read that Colin was saving himself for the person he married. This is often not the case in so many stories. Over the five years, Colin had traveled to the United States to watch Avery play in tournaments but has never left her know. He watched her from a distance. I really enjoyed this part of the story. I also enjoyed how Colin stood up to his father, and chose the girl he loved instead of the girl his family thought was best for him. This is a great story that could be shared with young adult girls. It is a clean story of family and unending love.

I received a copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers and I have written an honest review.

Series: Royal Wedding Series

219 pages

ISBN-10: 0310344530

ISBN-13: 978-0310344537

Publisher: Zondervan

Mercy At Midnight by Sylvia Bambola

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Mercy At Midnight, by Sylvia Bambola, is a story that deals with the subjects of addictions and homelessness as well as crime gangs. Jonathan Holms has left his position as pastor for affluent Christ Church to follow God’s call in his life. He reopens Beacon Mission, a closed homeless shelter and works with the clients and other staff who enter the doors.

Cynthia Wells is a reporter who will do what ever it takes to get a story. She has decided to go undercover to try to connect deaths that have taken part in that area of the city. Just as she enters the area she is approached by a gang and is robbed. When she contacts the police dressed as a dirty homeless woman, they do nothing to help her. They send her to the homeless shelter. At the shelter she is offered a job and takes it to use as a cover to get information.

Stubby White was just starting a career when a young girl was killed in an accident and he was blamed for her death. His life spiraled out of control. He is a friend to both of the men who are killed. He also ends up at the shelter and is offered a job.

Effie is a young mother who has fled her husband with her young daughter and ends up at the shelter. When she finds it impossible to find work with having to care for her daughter, Jonathan also offers her a job. She is in charge of a day care center at the shelter.

While at the shelter Cynthia and Stubby are both attacked. Jonathan begins to suspect the shelter is not what he believes it to be.

This is a wonderful Christian suspense story. It also has the cute story line running through it of Jonathan’s aunt having to deal with her church’s gossiping busy body. Especially when it comes to Jonathan’s romance. Several characters in the story have strong faith in the Lord, while Cynthia does not. It takes almost to the end of the story to see that God is watching over her.

I received a copy of this book from Book Club Network and I have written an honest review.

408 pages

ISBN-10: 0989970752

ISBN-13: 978-0989970754

Publisher: Heritage Publishing House

Ruined: A Memoir by Ruth Everhart

978-1-4964-1316-1

Ruined is a memoir written by Ruth Everhart. About twenty years ago as a college senior, Ruth was living with 4 other girls in a house when 2 men entered their home. The two armed men broke into their home and held them all hostage while they took turns raping the girls at gunpoint. This book is the accounting of what happened to Ruth and the other girls following that cold November Sunday night. The girls moved out the the house and moved in with family or friends. They eventually found another place to live together where they felt more secure. They would gather together and share their feelings, trying to understand why this happened to them.

The story also takes us through the legal aspects following what happened. Having to go through the hours of police interviews. And when the suspect is finally found, the emotions Ruth went through waiting for the trial. She basically put her life on hold until the trial was over.

Having been raised in a strong Christian family, Ruth begins struggling with why her, where was God, and why did God allow this to happen. Ruth feels she is ruined, not just physically, but also in God’s eyes. She starts having relationships that are not healthy.

This is a powerful story! I found it hard to read due to the violence that was relived though out the story. This is not a story for everyone to read due to the violence and language. This is also disclosed by the publisher as the beginning of the book.

I admire the author for writing this story. This book is not just the story of what happened to Ruth and her roommates, but is also the story of their strength. When Ruth could have easily continue on a downward spiral with her relationships she chose to work through issues and get her Christian life back in order. Ruth is not just an author, she went on to school and became a pastor. She is also a blogger and speaker focusing on spiritually related topics like pilgrimage and sexual violence.

I received a copy of this book from Tyndale Publishing and I have written an honest review.

336 pages

ISBN-10: 1496413164

ISBN-13: 978-1496413161

Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

Slender Reeds: Jachebed’s Hope by Texie Susan Gregory

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Slender Reeds: Jochebed’s Hope is written by Texie Susan Gregory. This is a Christian historical fiction story of an unknown mother in Biblical times. This is the story of Moses’ mother, Jochebed, as well as her family and friends.

Jochebed is the only child of a widow and master basket weaver. As her mother weaves, she tells stories told down through the years confirming God’s love. Jochebed and her mother find an injured girl, Shiprah, along the water and take her home with them.

Not having a father, the fathers of Jochebed’s friends Lili and Deborah, make arrangements for Jochebed to be married to Amram. Amram is a widower and asks to have a year to mourn his wife and son and then be married to Jochebed and live with her and her mother in the home her father built.

Shiprah eventually goes to live with her mother’s sister and learns how to be a midwife. Being half-Hebrew and half-Egyptian, she is really not trusted. Pharaoh Ramses, the ruler of Egypt, turns to Shiprah, asking her and the other midwives to end the lives of any Hebrew baby boy born. She is unable to follow through on his commands so Ramses starts having his guards go around regularly to kill all the infant boys.

Jochebed has given birth to a baby boy and fears for his life. She decides to make a basket and coat it to make it water proof. She puts her baby boy in the basket along the shoreline of the river with hopes of an Egyptian person finding him and taking him into their home.

This is a very touching story. It starts out slow and rather confusing with all the characters. But after a few chapters, the story becomes hard to put down. The story is based on the book of Exodus and the story of Moses. The author helps to bring the characters to life to help us understand what life must have been for them. I can’t begin to imagine the fear the young mothers lived in. To go through nine months of carrying a baby fearing that it will be a boy and be killed. And then to live in constant fear of the guards. The women were required to make so many mats to turn in or be beaten. The men were off doing work for Ramses, many not being able to come home at all. The women are left all alone to care for their families and tend their homes and fields. The story is very touching when the women put their differences aside and step into to help each other.

I received a copy of the book from Barbour Publishing and I have written an honest review.

320 pages

ISBN-10: 1634099605

ISBN-13: 978-1634099608

Publisher: Shiloh Run Press

Mattie’s Pledge by Jan Drexler

9780800726577Mattie’s Pledge is book 2 in the Journey to Pleasant Prairie series written by Jan Drexler. The author uses her ancestor’s experiences in writing this story. Her ancestors were among the first Amish, Mennonite and Brethren immigrants to settle in Pennsylvania in the 1700’s.

Mattie Schrock’s parents have decided to leave Sommerset County and move to a new Amish community in Indiana. Mattie has inherited the wanderlust of her father and is looking forward to the move. Years earlier Mattie’s family moved to Sommerset from Conestoga Valley and some of the people they knew there, including the Yoder family, are traveling with them.

As the time comes very near, Mattie’s sister and brother in law announce they are not moving with the family. The Schrock family is disappointed but they have made the decision to move.

When the families from Conestoga Valley get to the Schrock farm, they camp out with their wagons and animals. One night three English brothers come to the farm. Several of the men become suspicious of the brothers and take turns staying up to keep watch. During Jacob Yoder’s turn he catches one of the men trying to steal horses.

Once the families leave the Schrock farm they travel by covered wagon to the new settlement. Jacob follows at the end of the wagons with the sheep. He invites Mattie to walk with him and they renew their friendship. Several times on the journey the come in contact with the English brothers. One of the brothers has his eye’s set on Mattie and Mattie finds him handsome.

Mattie dreams of traveling West to see more country but Jacob wants to establish a farm to stay and raise his family. But the English brother travels around a lot. Mattie struggles with what she wants in her life.

This is a very good story. I have not read the first book in the series, but was able to follow along with this story very easily. It is a historical romance set in the 1840s, but the romance is not overwhelming. This book is more about family and doing what is needed for the family. It is also about faith. I especially liked when Mattie’s sister tells her that making the right decision will give her peace. She told Mattie to pray about her decision, that God would help her know what to do. The story also gives us a look into the early Amish lives.

I received a copy of the book from Revell Publishing, this is my honest review.

Series: Journey to Pleasant Prairie (Book 2)

384 pages

ISBN-10: 080072657X

ISBN-13: 978-0800726577

Publisher: Revell

To read more about the author visit: http://www.bakerpublishinggroup.com/authors/jan-drexler/2416

To buy the book visit:

http://www.bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/mattie-s-pledge/375600

https://www.amazon.com/Matties-Pledge-Journey-Pleasant-Prairie/dp/080072657X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1476661292&sr=1-1&keywords=9780800726577

http://www.deepershopping.com/item/drexler-jan/matties-pledge-journey-to-pleasant-prairie-book/6773415.html

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/matties-pledge-jan-drexler/1123279857?ean=9780800726577

http://www.christianbook.com/matties-pledge-2-jan-drexler/9780800726577/pd/726574?event=

From This Day Forward by Lauraine Snelling

9780764211072

From This Day Froward is book 4 in the Songs of Blessing series written by Lauraine Snelling. This is Deborah and Toby’s book. Deborah and Toby have been friends since childhood when Toby would dip Deborah’s hair in ink. Both have gone away to get their adult lives in order and come back to Blessing. Deborah is a nurse at the local clinic/hospital and Toby runs a construction company.

The community is growing and along with that there is a need for the school to grow. Toby along with other men of the community are adding onto the school for the deaf. They are putting in very long days, with some even working 7 day weeks. Through this time, Deborah leaves food at Toby’s house so he has something easy to eat when he gets home and for breakfast. But Toby takes Deborah for granted. He knows where she is and know that he could visit her anytime he wants to, but he just does not take the time.

Along with the growth of the schools, there also is need for more teachers. Anton comes to town to be one of the teachers. There is a box social fundraiser and Anton out bids Toby for Deborah’s box. And when Deborah goes away for hospital training Anton and Toby both write to Deborah. Toby begins to wonder if he has taken her for granted too long and wonders if she will chose Anton over him.

Just like all the other author’s stories based in Blessing, this book is totally wonderful. I love how the author just keeps adding stories about this community. I enjoy being able to catch up on Ingeborg and her extended family. It is so fun to see how much her children have matured and to hear about their families. It was sad to read about the passing of David Gould’s wife. But I truly hope the author has a story planned for Ingaborg and David.

I really enjoy that this is a Christian Historical Fiction story. It is a clean story with a little Biblical references but the actions of the community members are those of love, caring and generosity.

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishing and I have written an honest review.

Series: Song of Blessing (Book 4)

368 pages

ISBN-10: 0764211072

ISBN-13: 978-0764211072

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

To learn more about the author visit: http://www.laurainesnelling.com./

Some places to buy the book are:

http://www.bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/from-this-day-forward/344850

https://www.amazon.com/This-Day-Forward-Song-Blessing/dp/0764211072/ref=cm_cr-mr-title

http://www.deepershopping.com/item/snelling-lauraine/from-this-day-forward-song-of-blessing-book-4-o/6773382.html

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/from-this-day-forward-lauraine-snelling/1123279868?ean=9780764211072

https://www.christianbook.com/from-this-day-forward-4/lauraine-snelling/9780764211072/pd/211072

The Power of Right Thinking by Kerry Kirkwood

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The Power of Right Thinking, written by Kerry Kirkwood, is a book that helps the reader change their way of thinking. With the use of Bible verses, the author provides tools to learn how to renew you mind by using the Bible. As well as how to tell the difference between God’s voice and the devil’s voice. And finally to meditate on God’s promises. With the use of this book we can get out thoughts aligned with God’s and let the Holy Spirit change our way of thinking . The author points out that God says things to build us up yet Satan wants us to be toxic with thoughts of hopelessness and suspicion. We can know if our thoughts come from God, as those thoughts will give us peace and hope. We are trained to be skeptical and think bad things will happen. It is work to change our thoughts to more positive thought.

The author also points out that changing our thoughts can also affect our health. Health conditions can be caused by stress and anger issues. Toxic thoughts can turn off genes that fight diseases. Our negative thoughts can actually make us sick. When we acknowledge how powerful our thoughts can be we open up new possibilities. We can actually change our physical conditions.

There are so many important issues in this book. This is not a quick read book, it is a book to be read a little at a time, allowing time to think on what the author has written and how it can be incorporated into your thought process. It actually took me several weeks to read through this book with allowing myself time to think and ponder on what is written. I especially thought the author’s suggestion to take just a few seconds to focus on our thought process was very helpful. By doing this I have been able to see that during tough situations, my thoughts tend to be very negative. By realizing this I am more likely to turn the situations over to God.

I received a copy of this book from Book Club network. This is my honest opinion of the book.

224 pages

ISBN-10: 0768409500

ISBN-13: 978-0768409505

Publisher: Destiny Image

The Angel of Forest Hill by Cindy Woodsmall

9781601427052

The Angel of Forest Hill is An Amish Christmas Romance written by Cindy Woodsmall. With 200 pages that include two cake recipes, this is the perfect book to get you thinking towards Christmas. Florence Dienner develops complications after giving birth and passes away. Her husband is left with 3 small children to raise by himself. The Dienner’s live in a very small Amish community that has no one that can step in to help them, so another Amish community helps out by sending one of their young ladies to help. For Rose Kurtz to stay and help Joel with his children after his wife passes, Joel and Rose must marry. Their marriage is a marriage of friendship and partnership built on the needs of Joel’s family. When the church becomes away that it is not a real marriage Joel is confronted with their recommendation to annul the marriage. But over the fours years Rose has lovingly cared for the family and their feelings have moved past those of friendship.

Rose was not raised in a loving family situation and she carries those issues inside her, but she is very loving toward Joel and his family. Rose is a very hard worker and puts the needs of others above her needs to the point she only takes a few hours a month to do what she enjoys. She also spends time talking with Joel about his canoe building business and gives him suggestions that help his business.

This is a cute story. I really enjoyed reading of Rose’s dedication to the family. This is a shorter story that can easily be read in a day, the perfect story to curl up with a cup of hot chocolate in front of the fire place. The story takes you to a simpler life without all the business of the English life. But it also shows the hard work the characters do to provide for their families. I enjoyed how Rose likes some of the English traditions and finds a way to have them in her life, even though they are not allowed by the Amish. I also enjoyed how she spoke English to the children when Amish tradition was not to do that. Even though Rose was raised feeling she was not good enough, the story shows she is a very strong, loving person.

I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books and this is my honest review.

208 pages

ISBN-10: 1601427050

ISBN-13: 978-1601427052

Publisher: WaterBrook

This book can be purchased at:

https://www.amazon.com/The-Angel-Forest-Hill-Christmas/dp/1601427050

http://www.christianbook.com/angel-forest-hill-amish-christmas-romance/cindy-woodsmall/9781601427052/pd/1427052?event=

http://www.deepershopping.com/item/woodsmall-cindy/angel-of-forest-hill-an-amish-christmas-romance/6818748.html

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-angel-of-forest-hill-cindy-woodsmall/1123476313?ean=9781601427052

The Babel Conspiracy by Sylvia Bambola

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The Babel Conspiracy is a contemporary Christian suspense novel written by Sylvia Bambola. Patterson Aviation is working on developing the first nuclear-powered aircraft. They are under a very tight schedule and it seems like things keep going wrong. Trisha and Audra are women engineers who work for the company. Trisha is a Christian woman who has feeling for her married employer. He also has feeling for her and makes advances that she rejects as a result of her Christian faith. Audra lives a life of drinking and one night stands.
The story takes place in the United States on an election year. Terrorism is very prominent. People are rioting in the streets and the police are not getting the support they need. Since 9/11 every president has changed the laws to give themselves more power. President Baker has declare martial law setting curfews and has the military patrolling the street. People’s rights have been taken away and the Constitution has been suspended. Just a short time before the election the president has declared the upcoming election will be suspended indefinitely. The current president cannot serve another term. The candidate chose for his replacement is not a favorable person and the other candidate is receiving threats.
This story is very fast paced with a lot of characters, some are not very well introduced. There actually are two story lines in this story, one of the aviation company and women engineers and one of the government involvement in the terrorism. I found it hard to follow along with story at times because of this. The story contains a lot of violence, murders, conspiracy and rape. Not everyone will enjoy reading this story. I do appreciate the strong Faith Trisha has and how she witnesses to others. Her belief that nothing was impossible with God is repeated in the story. I can also appreciate the authors comment after the story about God does forgive and restore, but only to those who want it. I also appreciate the authors information about this being a rewrite and update of the book A Vessel of Honor.
I have received a copy of this book from Book Crash and this is my honest review.
310 pages
ISBN-10: 0989970728
ISBN-13: 978-0989970723
Publisher: Heritage Publishing House
The book is available for purchase at: https://www.amazon.com/Babel-Conspiracy-Sylvia-Bambola/dp/0989970728/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1475803599&sr=8-1&keywords=the+babel+conspiracy