Ибо так возлюбил Бог мир, что отдал Сына Своего Единородного, дабы всякий верующий в Него, не погиб, но имел хизнь вечную.
While I receive many books in exchange for review, I am never required to leave a positive review. All thoughts and opinions are my very own.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

UPDATED REVIEW: When The Squirrel Sings by Shana Hollowell

The girls wanted to review another book, so we're going to get their thoughts on this picture book. It's short, but sweet. (You've already read mine, but if you missed it you can catch it here)

Julie, 7: It was amazing. Great great great! My favorite page was the colorful, rainbow page. The story was great. The art was beautiful. My favorite part was looking for the hearts. It's my favorite shape! 🐾🐢🐧 Five stars. (She's chanting FIVE STARS over and over.)

Taylor, 11: The art was really good. I liked looking for the hearts. Some of them were really hard to find.
(Taylor is a girl of few words, and she feels like she's too old for picture books.)

I received this book complimentary from the author.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Review: Don't Drink The Pink by BCR Fegan

Don't Drink The Pink is a wonderful story about a little girl who receives a special potion on her birthday each year from her grandfather. She has lots of adventures with her adorable cat. This story will have your kids laughing and smiling the whole way and wishing that they had a potion-making grandfather too! I'm giving it five stars...

BUT..... Don't just take my word for it because...

Today we're having special guest reviewers, Taylor and Julia. I know you're going to love getting a real life opinion from real life kids. These gals are well-read, so they know what they're talking about. But here's a warning. There are SPOILERS!

Julia, aged seven: It was great. It was funny. Why did the grandfather have to die? My favorite potion was when she turned into a mermaid. My other favorite potion was when she could go back in time. And my third time was when every time she clapped her hands she got more money in her hands. The pictures were great great great great. Five stars. 😁😁😁😁😁😁😁😁😁😁 😺😺😺😺😺😺😺😺😺😺

Taylor, aged eleven: The story was ridonculous, and the sad and hilarious story is great for kids. The illustrations get a thumbs up. My favorite potion was when she multiplied. That would be my best dream ever. Four stars. 

Don't Drink the Pink is available for preorder at Amazon. Release date is August 1st!
I received an ARC of this book from the author free of charge.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Review: When You Are Near by Tracie Peterson

Goodreads Blurb--- "After her father's death, Lizzy Brookstone, the star trick rider of the all-female Brookstone Wild West Extravaganza, takes over management of the traveling show. In her new role, she has to work with both Wesley DeShazer, the man who once broke her heart, and Jason Adler, her financial partner. Soon, she finds herself torn between the two men.

Ella Fleming is fleeing a forced betrothal when she stows away on the Brookstone train. Lizzy finds her and gives her a job in the costume department, but Ella has a secret that could affect all of their lives, as well as the future of the Brookstone Extravaganza.

When Mary Reichert, a former sharpshooter for the show, learns that her brother, August, has been killed, she refuses to believe it was an accident. She returns to the show to find the truth, but is she seeking justice or vengeance?

As the three women work together to discover how August died, Lizzy strives to hold the show together. Can she keep the Brookstone Extravaganza alive without losing the desire of her heart?"

I'm giving this wonderful book 5 stars. I'm a sucker for Tracie's books. (I think I counted 45 of hers on my shelves...) I couldn't wait to read this newest one, and it did not disappoint. I don't think I have another book quite like this one on my shelves. An all-female wild west show? It's crazy! But amazing. I love the main characters in this book. Strong female leads, as always. And they're seriously relatable. The main themes of grief and love show life at its best and worst, simultaneously. And with a strong feeling of mystery in the whole book, you can't help but be craving the next book. I love how much I always learn from reading Tracie's books. There are so many random facts bouncing around in my head that I learn from reading. I think this is near the top of my list, if I were to rank how much I love Tracie's different books. I can't wait to read the next two in this series. Plus, get a load of this gorgeous cover. (Although, I have to say, the texture of this one kinda threw me for a bit. Once again, not like anything else on my shelves!) 

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Review: Echoes of Mercy by Kim Vogel Sawyer

"When a suspicious accident occurs at the famous Dinsmore Chocolate Factory in Sinclair, Kansas, Caroline Lang goes undercover as a factory worker to investigate the circumstances surrounding the event and how the factory treats its youngest employees—the child workers. Caroline’s fervent faith, her difficult childhood, and compassionate heart drove her to her job as an investigator for the Labor Commission and she is compelled to see children freed from such heavy adult responsibilities, to allow them to pursue an education.   

Oliver Dinsmore, heir to the Dinsmore candy dynasty, has his own investigation to conduct. Posing as a common worker known as “Ollie Moore,” he aims to find out all he can about the family business before he takes over for his father. Caroline and Oliver become fast friends, but tension mounts when the two find themselves at odds about the roles of child workers. Hiding their identities becomes even more difficult when fate brings them together over three children in desperate need. When all is revealed, will the truth destroy the love starting to grow between them?"
Have I ever read a book by Kim that I didn't love? (I'll give you a hint- NO!! NEVER!) Echoes of Mercy is certainly no exception. First of all... she set a book in a CHOCOLATE FACTORY! Hello??? What better place is there? Second, her characters always leap off the pages for me. From Caroline and Ollie to their three young charges to Noble and Annamarie. Each one was so faceted and what my 9th grade lit teacher would call "round characters". Something I always find as a theme in Kim's books is that family is who you choose, those that love you and whom you love in return. Caroline's family wasn't her birth parents. Her family was Noble and Annamarie, the couple that raised her as their loved daughter. With faith filling every corner of this book (without a moment of preachiness) you're sure to fall in love with this story as quickly as I did. Kim is one of the few authors that repeatedly keeps me up past midnight. (Roseanna White is the other I can think of who disrupts my late night sleep) Kim even manages to make each and every "villain" in all her stories as round and complex as our heroes, making the conflict not only believable, but also relatable. I hope you have a chance to grab this 5 star story and read it! You won't be disappointed. Okay... that's kinda wrong, because you will undoubtedly wish for some of Dinsmore's World Famous Chocolates. And then you'll be disappointed that they are merely fictional. But other than that!

Friday, July 12, 2019

Review: No Ocean Too Wide by Carrie Turansky

Goodreads blurb- "Between the years of 1869 to 1939 more than 100,000 poor British children were sent across the ocean to Canada with the promise of a better life. Those who took them in to work as farm laborers or household servants were told they were orphans–but was that the truth?

After the tragic loss of their father, the McAlister family is living at the edge of the poorhouse in London in 1908, leaving their mother to scrape by for her three younger children, while oldest daughter, Laura, works on a large estate more than an hour away. When Edna McAlister falls gravely ill and is hospitalized, twins Katie and Garth and seven-year-old Grace are forced into an orphans’ home before Laura is notified about her family’s unfortunate turn of events in London. With hundreds of British children sent on ships to Canada, whether truly orphans or not, Laura knows she must act quickly. But finding her siblings and taking care of her family may cost her everything.

Andrew Fraser, a wealthy young British lawyer and heir to the estate where Laura is in service, discovers that this common practice of finding new homes for penniless children might not be all that it seems. Together Laura and Andrew form an unlikely partnership. Will they arrive in time? Will their friendship blossom into something more?

Inspired by true events, this moving novel follows Laura as she seeks to reunite her family and her siblings who, in their darkest hours, must cling to the words from Isaiah: “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God”."

Wow! This book has just zoomed to the top of my 2019 favorites! This was my first chance to read a book by Carrie Turansky, and I am over the moon in love with it! No Ocean Too Wide has it all- characters who will tug at your heartstrings, a unique plot, enough injustice to keep your blood boiling the entire time, and NO reason to ever put it down. I enjoyed learning about the home children. Each character was so perfect in their place. If they could do it right, I'd wish for a movie. (But they really hardly ever do it right...) I can't get over this book, and I am so sad that I have to wait till next year for the sequel. With a plot that weaves in and out, the book had me gasping and hoping and trying to orchestrate circumstances (as useless as that sounds) and I devoured every page. The chapters are long, but that's okay. You really won't be looking for a stopping point. Inspiring and touching, this book should probably be bumped to the top of your TBR list. I'd give this book more than 5 stars, but we can't break the ceiling ;)

I read this book courtesy of NetGalley

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Review: The Killing Tide by Dani Pettrey

Amazon Blurb- "When one Coast Guard officer is found dead and another goes missing, Coast Guard Investigative Service special agent Finn Walker faces his most dangerous crime yet. His only clues are what little evidence remains aboard the dead officer's boat, and the direction the clues point to will test Finn and the Guard to their limits.

When investigative reporter--and Finn's boss's sister--Gabby Rowley arrives, her unrelenting questions complicate an already volatile situation. Now that she's back, the tug on Finn's heart is strong, but with the risks she's taking for her next big story, he fears she might not live through it.

Thrown together by the heinous crime, Finn and Gabby can't ignore the sparks or judgments flying between them. But will they be able to see past their preconceptions long enough to track down an elusive killer, or will they become his next mark?"
I've been hearing so many good things about this book! And when I remembered that I could grab it on NetGalley... oh happy day! The Killing Tide has to be one of my favorite books by Dani so far. The setting of the Alaskan Courage series had me hooked, and the danger from her Chesapeake Valor series was thrilling, but I was so invested in the characters of this new series! Especially Rissi. (I was going to be pretty upset if her story wasn't next, but it looks like I'm safe ;) ) The setting of this was also pretty great, although I'm not so sure that I'm too excited for our next trip to Topsail *insert nervous laughter* By the ending I'm pretty sure I was reading faster and faster with each chapter. I couldn't help being a little nervous for Gabby and Kenzie and Finn and Noah as they all got into some pretty tight scrapes! And I'll confess to a little horror at the freaky bad guys at the end. (But an admiring horror... that she could write something so deliciously scary!) Don't let the short chapters fool you into thinking that you are going to find an easy stopping place. If you put it down for anything other than food (I always get hungry reading Dani's books cause the characters are always eating!) then I don't know what to tell you except that you're off your rocker crazy. As a navy girl at heart, I still know that you guys are going to LOVE the Coast Guards in this series! 5 Bright Shining Stars!!!

You can pre-order now on Amazon here

I read an ARC of this book from NetGalley.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Review: The Reckoning by Beverly Lewis

Katherine, formerly Katie Lapp, is settling into her life in the English world as mistress of her birth mother's mansion. She gets to experience the world, just like she's always longed to do, and yet she still has a longing deep inside that she can't describe. It's almost like her Plain roots are tugging her back, but she's sure that can't be it. And then Daniel Fisher comes back from the dead, and she's all mixed up. And when Dan claims to have found the truth about God... well Katherine isn't ready to jump back in where they left off five long years ago.

I'm giving this book 4.5 stars.

1: Beverly Lewis is my absolute favorite Amish-fiction author. Without. A. Doubt. She catches the spirit, while also telling an actually interesting tale, and I've never doubted the validity of what she says.

2: We gotta take a minute and just appreciate the wonderful person who is Ella Mae Zook. She lived among the Plain people for years, found the truth, and then still stayed there to help and guide the Amish with God's love.

3: Katherine's staff, from protective Fulton, to sisterly Rosie, to Theodore, the chauffer turned almost-grandfather. How perfect are they? They're sweet, funny, and always ready to help poor Katie navigate the world.

4: I love how everything, from sweet dying Willie, to Laura's tombstone, to wonderful Dan himself (They make the cutest couple!) to Lydia, to the minister at Rosie and Fulton's church, to Ella Mae, kept pointing Katie to exactly what God wanted her to see, His goodness and love!

5: As far as ending a trilogy goes, this one bout takes the cake! It's wonderful, with an ending that you just can't help getting excited over!

Monday, July 1, 2019

Review: The Lost Girl of Astor Street by Stephanie Morrill

Amazon blurb- "Lydia has vanished. Lydia, who’s never broken any rules, except falling in love with the wrong boy. Lydia, who’s been Piper’s best friend since they were children. Lydia, who never even said good-bye. Convinced the police are looking in all the wrong places, eighteen-year-old Piper Sail begins her own investigation to solve the mystery of Lydia’s disappearance. With the reluctant help of a handsome young detective, Piper goes searching for answers in the dark underbelly of 1924 Chicago, determined to find Lydia at any cost. When Piper discovers those answers might stem from the corruption strangling the city—and quite possibly lead back to the doors of her affluent neighborhood—she must decide how deep she’s willing to dig, how much she should reveal, and if she’s willing to risk her life for the truth."

This book has been on my wish list since its release day. Maybe before. I finally decided to add it to my cart a few days ago, and I finished it the same day that I rescued it from the mailbox. When I told my friend that I had ordered it she asked me what it was about. I couldn't tell her. I ordered it because I remembered one of my favorite authors, Roseanna White, raving about it. That was enough for me. And lo and behold, she wasn't exaggerating how awesome the book was. The book is written in first person. That bothers a lot of people. Rarely me. It is also written in present tense, however, and THAT drives me crazy! But this book is so well written that I wasn't even bothered by the present tense. I was too focused on the story to focus on the words, which I think is the point of good writing, yes? I don't think I've ever read a book set in 1920s Chicago before, and now I'm hooked. I can't wait for a sequel. (Assuming... hoping... there is one!) With characters like Piper and Walter, Joyce and Sidekick, Mariano and Emily, there's plenty to keep you invested in the story. The mystery/suspense in this story had chills crawling up and down my back. This is the type of book that you don't want to put down. Ever. With a lawyer dad, a motherly housekeeper, and a sleuthy teen, it seems like we could have a new Nancy Drew on our hands, except for this- Piper is more realistic, her adventures are scarier, and her stories more relatable and less put-down-able than Nancy Drew. (Don't get me wrong, I loved Nancy Drew growing up, but Piper Sail is the Nancy Drew for grown up me!) 5 Stars!