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2.28.2017

When God Made You ~ Review

When God Made You
By Matthew Paul Turner
Illustrations by David Catrow

When God Made You is a picture book that is written so that children will know just how uniquely one of a kind they are. The words have a rhythmic flow as the story develops - explaining the plan God had in mind before time in the creation of each and every child.

The illustrations are bright, colorful and eye-catching. They bring the story to life and move in harmony with the flow of the story. The suggested age level is 3 - 8 but from reading this book myself I think most anyone would enjoy it and delight in the pleasure that God took in planning each and every life. The story itself takes 40 pages but every page is not worded so even the shortest attention span should be able to sit through this book - and if you add in a little snuggle time all the better.

When life gets difficult the assurance that "God knew your name.... God's family without you would not be the same," is just what they need.  This book would make a wonderful gift for just about any occasion. It would also be a perfect special time alone with Mom or Dad reading the book. 

This book does not delve into Biblical matters so if you are looking for a book that teaches the spiritual you will be disappointed. This book is more of an assurance of one's importance to God. I believe children who are in a broken family situation would truly benefit from this assurance of their importance to God - the God who planned and designed them.

I was provided a review copy of this book by the publisher Waterbrook with no expectation of a positive review.  All opinions expressed are my own.


About the Book:
YOU, you… God thinks about you.
God was thinking of you long before your debut.


From early on, children are looking to discover their place in the world and longing to understand how their personalities, traits, and talents fit in. The assurance that they are deeply loved and a unique creation in our big universe is certain to help them spread their wings and fly. 
 
Through playful, charming rhyme and vivid, fantastical illustrations, When God Made You inspires young readers to learn about their own special gifts and how they fit into God’s divine plan as they grow, explore, and begin to create for themselves. 
 
‘Cause when God made YOU, somehow God knew
That the world needed someone exactly like you!

About the Author:
Matthew Paul Turner is the author of sixteen books. He lives with his wife, Jessica, (TheMomCreative.com, author of The Fringe Hours) and their three children in Nashville, Tennessee.

About the Illustrator:
David Catrow is an editorial cartoonist whose vibrant illustrations have appeared in more than seventy children’s books, including several New York Times bestsellers, such as I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More and I Like Myself. David lives in Ohio with his wife, Deborah.

2.27.2017

Raging Storm ~ Review

Raging Storm
The Remnant Series #2
By Vannetta Chapman

Nearly 3 weeks have passed since the modern world seemingly ended forever. And Shelby Sparks is on a mission find and retrieve insulin for her son Carter. There's just one problem chaos has become the new normal and locating a supply could prove dangerous.

Shelby's one hope of finding what she needs lies in Austin and getting there might prove even more of a challenge than locating medical supplies. Abandoned cars, looters, burned out towns, and disease.  But Shelby isn't alone on her journey, she is joined by her friends Max Berkman, Patrick Goodnight, and Bianca Lopez, as well as Dr. Bhatti.

Carter is being left behind with Max's parent Georgia and Roy. But safety is no longer a guarantee anywhere and all too soon everyone is confronting challenges that could cost them anything and everything.

How far are you willing to go to save the life of someone you love? And when the world is crumbling around you are you willing to offer what help? Or will you take whatever you can at the expense of all other life?

It is highly recommended that before delving into this book that the first book be read. One can read this book but there will a noticeable lack as there are references to incidents in the previous book. In the world, as we've come to know it a sudden lack of communication, technology, and convenience would definitely send many into a panic. This book will make one wonder at their own skills or lack of if we suddenly lost the last century of modern accomplishments.

I highly recommend this book to those readers who like suspense and/or dystopian fiction.

I was provided a review copy of this book by the publisher with no expectation of a review positive or otherwise ~ All opinions expressed are my own.


About the Book:
In the Darkness,
Anarchy Awakens

* * * * * * * * * * * *
When a massive solar flare wiped out all modern technology across the globe, the small town of Abney, Texas, was thrown into chaos. Shelby Sparks and her teenage son, Carter, have found refuge, but Shelby knows she can't simply remain hidden. Carter is a type 1 diabetic in need of insulin—and Shelby will risk her life traveling to Austin to make sure he gets it.

Shelby's best friend and high school sweetheart, Max Berkman, won't even consider letting her make the perilous journey alone. Together, they manage to reach the capital—only to discover that while things are desperate in Abney, Austin has turned into an urban nightmare on the brink of anarchy.

Shelby and Max's search for medical supplies will lead them into terrifying territory, where the only thing more uncertain than finding what they need is the hope of making it out of the city alive.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
In this second book in an eerily plausible, action-packed dystopian series, survival will be threatened and faith will be put to the ultimate test as a raging storm engulfs America.

2.26.2017

Fatal Frost ~ Review

Fatal Frost
Defenders of Justice #1
By Nancy Mehl

Mercy Brennan has never been able to depend on anyone since her father walked out on them, on her. The only person to penetrate her icy wall of protection is her best friend Tally Williams who was her friend before her father ruined everything. Her former boyfriend Mark St Laurent was close until she broke it all off.

Mercy's biggest concern is doing her job well - which has been put on hold following an on-the-job shooting incident when the U.S. Marshals and the St. Louis Police Department attempted to arrest a known drug dealer/gang leader.

St. Louis has a problem the Cartel is moving in and they are joining forces with the local gangs to put law enforcement out of business permanently. And Mercy has been targeted! Keeping her safe and unaware of the situation has fallen to Mark and Tally. With a suspected mole within the midsts of the Marshals, need-to-know has become imperative. But when everyone is suspect who do you trust?

A dangerous storm moves in, stranding Mercy, Mark, and Tally in a remote location with no way of contacting anyone for assistance. Worse the very people that they are trying to hide from may have them in their sights. Can they survive long enough to discover who has betrayed them or will the Cartel win this battle? And with her life on the line can Mercy trust someone to be there for her when she most needs them? Or will she again be disappointed?

This is the first book in the Defenders of Justice series from Nancy Mehl and it will be interesting to see where the series goes from here. After this case, I think the US Marshals need to invest in a sat phone - though that would take away some of the suspense if contact was easy to establish.

Readers who enjoy Inspirational Suspense books will enjoy this book. One word of warning this is not the type of book to start in the evening if you have to work the next day - you'll want to read just one more chapter before putting it down - it will keep you up all night reading!


About the Book:
Following in her absentee father's footsteps in a law enforcement career, U.S. Marshal Mercy Brennan has just recovered from being shot in the line of duty. And, unbeknownst to her, her father's recent reappearance in her life has put her in the sights of St. Louis's most powerful gang. Her boss assigns Deputy U.S. Marshal Mark St. Laurent--Mercy's ex-boyfriend--to get her out of town until her safety can be guaranteed. 

Unaware of the extent her boss and Mark have been keeping her in the dark, it isn't until a freak ice storm strands them at a remote location and out of contact with the district office that the full severity of their situation becomes clear. As the storm worsens, the forces of nature combine with a deadly enemy to put them in great danger. Can they survive long enough for help to arrive--if help is even coming at all?

Dragonkyn ~ Review

Dragonkyn
By Nathan Smith Jones

For more than 1000 years a secret has lain hidden amongst humanity and the time of its awakening has arrived...

Marc Mondragon is your average twelve-year-old boy who tries to stay out of trouble which isn't easy when the town deputy has it out for the poor kids because they're poor.  But Marc has managed so far to avoid it.

But trouble is coming and it is something no one could have ever prepared for - not Marc nor his mom.  It starts with a dream - one that Marc actually remembers - one with a  fire and a creature he can't quite make out. When he starts displaying some unusual and unexplainable talents Marc knows something is happening to him. The only question is what...

But someone has been waiting for this day to come determined to keep the truth hidden and destroy not only Marc but all who are similarly transforming or have knowledge of it. A battle is coming and Marc is in danger on two fronts. He needs to control his emerging skills fast if he hopes to see tomorrow!

This is a fast-paced story that will appeal to middle-grade readers who are looking for adventure in their reading. Dragonkyn will appeal to those who enjoy the Dragons in Our Midst series from Bryan Davis. The ordinary becomes the extraordinary and growing up has never been quite so difficult!

This book could definitely be the first in the series the way it ends and I for one would be interested in seeing what comes next. The book is only 214 pages in length though the pacing doesn't make it feel this long. Looking for a weekend read - your tweens will thank you for this one!

I was provided a review copy of this book by the publisher with no expectation of a review, positive or otherwise. All expressed opinions are my own.



About the Book:
In his very pores, a new relationship
was FORMING with the gaseous alien
called FIRE that ate and breathed as he did,
and somehow he knew this relationship
would change his life FOREVER.

Marc used to think he was pretty ordinary, but he also used to think ice cream trucks didn’t sell ice cream and dragons were just fairy tales. Now he knows better. With skin that can’t be burned and strange powers he can’t explain, Marc soon discovers the truth: he is part dragon. And as he joins his fellow dragonkyn, his closest friends could quickly become his greatest enemies.

2.24.2017

Stu Stories ~ Review


Stu Stories
The Adventures of Dirt Clod and his sidekick Bird Bones
By Patrick "Bird Bones" Hueller
Illustrations by Adam Record

This is a book that should appeal to middle grade readers.  Each chapter is a short story unto itself and builds on the one that came before. Stu Sanderson is that type of kid every teacher would cringe to have in their class and the other students would enjoy the antics.

Eighth grade will never be the same with Stu in the school. Which may or may not be a good thing. Stu is one of those students who draws attention - he is tall and really skinny. And he has a talent for disappearing from the classroom. And then there was an incident involving a flag pole in the middle of winter (need I say more).

Middle grade readers will laugh at Stu and the methods he uses to get his goal accomplished. Stu isn't a troublemaker - he just seems to be drawn to trouble like a magnet to metal. Stu could be called a gentle giant - he cares about the underdog and champions the younger students when he feels it is necessary. But all of Stu's adventures with his best friend Patrick aka "Bird Bones" may come to a tragic end with one last adventure.

At just over 140 pages this book is just right for most book report requirements. The illustrations compliment the book well. There are 14 chapters so the length of each won't be a deterrent to reluctant readers. Boys (and girls) will root for Stu and Patrick as they take on teachers, playground bullies, and secret crushes.

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher with no expectation of a positive review ~ all opinions are my own.



About the Book:
Stu Sanderson is no ordinary eighth-grader. Not only is he seven feet tall, but he also vanishes into thin air, duels knights and ninjas, lifts the downtrodden, and woos the best-calved girl in school. Become a middle-grade legend with Stu and his sidekick, Bird Bones, on the journey of a lifetime in “Stu Stories.”

2.20.2017

A Harvest of Thorns ~ Review

A Harvest of Thorns
By Corban Addison

A tragic loss of life half-way around the world is about to alter their lives in ways they never imagined. But when a chance photo in the aftermath of a factory fire in Bangladesh implicates American Presto Omnishops Corporation corporate heads will role unless the damage can be contained and quickly.

Tasked with determining Presto's ties and potential liabilities to the foreign factory is Cameron Alexander. His search for the truth will lead him into the heart of the beast - third world subcontracted manufacturing. But can he cut through the layered web of lies and the fearful silences that control all? What Cameron discovers is worse than he could have ever imagined.

Change must come but timing is everything when it comes to the corporate world. With stockholders and consumers to keep happy the time for change may never come for Presto - until Joshua Griswold comes across information that leads him to Presto's dirty not so little secret. But can he wield his knowledge as a sword to protect the downtrodden worker?

Like his previous book Tears of Dark Water Corban Addison creates a story that forces the reader to confront hidden, ugly secrets that will break the heart of most. And the sad part is - this is not a product of his imagination but rather the by-product of an industry that has made the dollar its GOD. Standards, codes of conduct, safety measures are meant to be ignored if the bottom line is on the line and when multinational factors are involved these are easily overlooked. And yet if one truly cares this would be the most grievous sin imaginable.

This book is disturbing and haunting and one that will stay with you long after you put it down, I think the following quote from the book sums it up quite perfectly "Unfortunately, this is often the way the world works. This kind of truth is ugly and painful and inconvenient. It doesn't help people pay their bills, or care for their kids, or get a better job, or go on a nice vacation. But the truth is essential....  Across history, the powerful have enriched themselves by exploiting the poor. The only power greater than theirs is the law." (page 228).

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher Thomas Nelson with no expectation of a review positive or otherwise. All opinions expressed are my own.


About the Book:

A beloved American corporation with an explosive secret.
A disgraced former journalist looking for redemption.
A corporate executive with nothing left to lose.

In Dhaka, Bangladesh, a garment factory burns to the ground, claiming the lives of hundreds of workers, mostly young women. Amid the rubble, a bystander captures a heart-stopping photograph—a teenage girl lying in the dirt, her body broken by a multi-story fall, and over her mouth a mask of fabric bearing the label of one of America’s largest retailers, Presto Omnishops Corporation.
Eight thousand miles away at Presto’s headquarters in Virginia, Cameron Alexander, the company’s long-time general counsel, watches the media coverage in horror, wondering if the damage can be contained. When the photo goes viral, fanning the flames of a decades old controversy about sweatshops, labor rights, and the ethics of globalization, he launches an investigation into the disaster that will reach further than he could ever imagine—and threaten everything he has left in the world.
A year later in Washington DC, Joshua Griswold, a disgraced former journalist from the Washington Post, receives an anonymous summons from a corporate whistleblower who offers him confidential information about Presto and the fire. For Griswold, the challenge of exposing Presto’s culpability is irresistible, as is the chance, however slight, at redemption. Deploying his old journalistic skills, he builds a historic case against Presto, setting the stage for a war in the courtroom and in the media that Griswold is determined to win—both to salvage his reputation and to provoke a revolution in Presto’s boardroom that could transform the fashion industry across the globe.
This exposé of the underbelly of the international fashion industry is disturbing, moving, and thoroughly engrossing.” —PHILLIP MARGOLIN, New York Times bestselling author of Violent Crimes.

2.18.2017

Shine Like the Dawn ~ Review

Shine Like the Dawn
By Carrie Turansky

Maggie Lounsbury can't forget the betrayal she faced from her dearest friend when she most needed him. Four years have passed with no word from Nate Harcourt regarding the tragedy she faced and is still facing. With her young sister Violet, Maggie has taken up residence with her Grandmother Hayes helping in her millinery shop. But when a near tragic event again strikes her family Maggie's childhood friend Nate is determined to be her rescuer.

But time and distance have shaped Maggie's view of Nate and he will have to work hard if he hopes to again call Maggie friend.  There is just one problem - Nate isn't quite sure what Maggie's resentment against him is. Add to that the pressure of assuming his father's leadership in family, estate and business holdings and Nate more than has his time filled with concerns beyond Maggie.

But when Maggie's concerns about her her family's lake "accident" lead her on a search for the truth she turns to her old friend for help. But why would anyone have had reason to wish her family harm? Or are her suspicions unfounded?

Meanwhile England is undergoing a transformation of its own. The common person is demanding rights and protections - one problem those who profit from their labors are not willing to lose their gains by letting the workers live a life where the daily effort of feeding, clothing, and caring for one's family be eased.  And unfortunately for Nate this is a problem that he has just inherited. His actions may determine the future of Heatherton and her people.

Set in the early 1900s this is a book that will appeal to those who love Edwardian English fiction. The world is on the cusp of change. We often look back and talk about simpler times which if one reads this book is quite obviously false. Life was as trying though their trials were not technologically derived.  This book has a thread of mystery that adds intrigue and a touch of romance.

Fans of Carrie Turansky's Highland Hall series will be thrilled with this newest book ~ it's a highly recommended read. This is a feel good book when you turn the last page you won't regret a moment spent reading it!

I was provided a review copy of this book by the publisher Multnomah with no expectation of a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.


About the Book:
Separated by an inconceivable tragedy, can faith and love reunite childhood friends and light the way to a bright future? 

In a quiet corner of northern Edwardian England, Margaret Lounsbury diligently works in her grandmother’s millinery shop, making hats and caring for her young sister. Several years earlier, a terrible event reshaped their family, shattering an idyllic life and their future prospects. Maggie is resilient and will do what she must to protect her sister Violet. Still, the loss of her parents weighs heavily on her heart because she wonders if what happened that day on the lake…might not have been an accident.

When wealthy inventor and industrialist William Harcourt dies, his son and Maggie’s estranged childhood friend, Nathaniel returns from his time in the Royal Navy and inherits his father’s vast estate, Morningside Manor. He also assumes partial control of his father’s engineering company and the duty of repaying an old debt to the Lounsbury family. But years of separation between Nate and Maggie have taken a toll and Maggie struggles to trust her old friend.

Can Maggie let go of the resentment that keeps her from forgiving Nate—and reconciling with God? Will the search for the truth about her parents’ death draw the two friends closer or leave them both with broken hearts?