Sunday, June 29, 2014

Christ or Hitler (Review)

This review is for the book "Christ or Hitler? Stories From My Life and Times, by Pastor Wilhelm Busch", compiled by Christian Puritz. When I began reading this book I had never heard of Wilhelm Busch. In fact, it took me quite a while to read the first couple of sections of the book. After I started learning about the environment Busch was in (Nazi Germany) his stories were incredibly intriguing. This is a man who was a German Christian throughout Hitler's reign. Thrown in prison multiple times and threatened, terrified, separated from family... but continued to preach no matter what.

If you have interest in reading true stories of evangelists, I urge you to read this one. This man's courageous faith is such a testimony. It was so encouraging to read. We have no clue in this modern day of persecution as Christians. This man, and others he met, truly stood up for the right to learn about Christ and preach. He risked his life every day just to tell others about the love of God. It really made me examine myself as I read this book. It is not exactly an easy book to read. Busch is well-learned and the speech isn't very modern, but the stories are so interesting you will quickly look past all of that.

Thank you to Cross Focused Reviews and EP Books for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

You can purchase your own copy from Amazon here (affiliate link):

Monday, June 23, 2014

When We Were on Fire (Review)

This review is for the book "When We Were on Fire" by Addie Zierman. I cannot even describe how much this book resonated with me from the very beginning. I am approximately the same age as Addie and grew up in a Christian household so all the things she talked about were very relevant to me - See You At the Pole, WWJD bracelets, sword drills, DC Talk - I felt like Addie and I would have been incredible friends growing up. Unfortunately Addie's life took a turn that I did not experience. She had a painful, controlling relationship that really defined her thoughts of Christians. Not only that, but when she went through a period of depression there was absolutely no one who reached out from any church she attended. I could just feel her sinking further into this hole, wanting to be seen and not getting the help she needed.

I am so glad Addie has shared her story with the world. I think this is an incredibly honest book and definitely worth the read.

Thank you to Waterbrook Multonah for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

You can purchase a copy from Amazon here (affiliate link):

Happy to Be Alive (Review)

This review is for the book "Happy to be Alive, Because" by Chelsea Jacobs. This story follows the journey of Avery, who is seventeen years old. Avery has just lost her mother and in the beginning of the book the reader finds her floundering. Most people are trying to help her move on from her mom's death or saying too many cliches. Then she finds out that her mom was planning a special trip, just the two of them, to visit her hometown. Spontaneously, Avery decides to take the trip by herself.

The rest of the book is about the healing process that Avery goes through. She meets some incredible friends who help her over the hump, so to speak. She starts journaling because her mom did the same thing. Her mom always wrote in her journal, "I'm happy to be alive because...." and would write something different every day. In her honor, Avery begins doing the same thing, although it is really tough at first.

There is a small twist at the end of the book. Most people who are avid readers will probably have some idea of how it will end, but it's still a great story. I can't figure out if Chelsea Jacobs has more books written or not (I think this is her first) but I can't wait to follow her career. A great summer read and original story.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity and Nyree Press for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

You can purchase a copy of the book from Amazon here (affiliate link):

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Death by the Book (Review)

This review is for the book "Death by the Book" by Julianna Deering. This is part of the Drew Farthering mystery series. This is the first book by this author I have read and I really enjoyed it. I love mystery novels but I really enjoy British novels. I always read them with an accent in my head, honestly.

One person, I saw, labeled these books as Downton Abbey meets Agatha Christie. I think that is a great description. There is plenty of humor in the book and the story is great. I can almost guarantee you will not be able to figure out "whodunnit" until right at the very end.

I recommend this particular book and I know I would like to read more of this series in the future, as well as other stories by this author.

Thank you to Bethany House for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

Meant to Be Mine (Review)

This review is for the book "Meant to Be Mine" by Becky Wade. This is the second book I have read by Becky Wade and I enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed the other one. I do think the plot is a bit far-fetched, but it is fiction after all, and I liked it, so I am letting it slide.

In this story, Celia and Ty spontaneously get married in Vegas. When they wake up in the morning, Celia is still a starry-eyed bride while Ty is wondering what in the world he has done - he is still in love with his recent ex-girlfriend. Fast-forward five years later and the two are still married even though they haven't spoken in all that time. Not only that, but Celia gave birth to Ty's daughter without even telling him.

When they meet up again Ty remembers why he fell in love with Celia. She always loved him but he knows he has got to earn back her trust and confidence in him. It is a really hard road they are traveling together, especially when you involve a 5-year old who would love nothing more than to see her mommy and daddy end up together.

I like Becky Wade's style of writing. It's very easy to get into and enjoy reading the story. I'm never bored when I read one of her books. I recommend this one and look forward to reading more from her in the future.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity and Bethany House for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

You can purchase your own copy from Amazon here (affiliate link):

Saturday, June 21, 2014

All My Belongings (Review)

This review is for "All My Belongings" by Cynthia Ruchti. It is a book about Jayne, who is on the run. Her story is different from most, though, because she is on the run to separate herself from her father in prison. She goes to great lengths to start a new life - legally changing her name and moving far away from her hometown. Unfortunately when she falls in love in the new town, things become complicated. Even more so when she is accused of murder!

I really enjoyed this story. The act of forgiveness in the end (not between the two romantic characters) really makes for a happy ending. It is not too sappy, and very enjoyable to read. I liked this and I look forward to reading more by Ruchti in the future.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity and Abingdon Press for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

You can purchase your own copy from Amazon here (affiliate link):

Friday, June 20, 2014

Easy as Pie (Review)

This review is for the book "Easy as Pie" by Marcia and Michael Folsom. I like books like this a lot. I think we will need to check out this book again in a year or so. My kids weren't familiar with a lot of the sayings, like "tough as nails" and "strong as an ox". The book pairs up a letter of the alphabet with a popular saying and goes through the whole alphabet. One thing I didn't like is for the letter "X" they use a phrase containing the word "Xmas". It bothers me because I don't consider "Xmas" to be a real word. But I'm sure it was hard to find something to go with the letter X. We will be reading this one again for sure, once I think my kids know more of these sayings. It's a great guessing game book.

You can purchase your own copy from Amazon here (affiliate link):

The Great Math Tattle Battle (Review)

This book review is for the book "The Great Math Tattle Battle" by Anne Bowen. This was a cute book which my kids enjoyed even though they may be just a little too young for it. The story at first is about Harley, who is awesome at math but is a huge tattletale. When Emma Jean joins his class he gets a run for his money. She is just as good at math and just as big a tattletale! The story is pretty cute about this feud between students. I liked the story and so did my kids. I think older children (6-9 years old) would also enjoy it because they would probably understand it better than my kids.

You can purchase a copy from Amazon here (affiliate link):

The Horrendous Hullabaloo (Review)

This review is for the book "The Horrendous Hullabaloo" by Margaret Mahy. I am not sure I have ever read a book with so much alliteration in it. I was tripping over my tongue this whole book! It is full of tongue twisters! I actually did not think the story was that great. It's about a pirate who parties all the time and never lets his aunt and parrot come along. They decide to throw a party without him and no one shows up. It's a story where nothing really happens but it's still pretty silly to read just because of all the tongue twisters.

You can purchase a copy from Amazon here (affiliate link):

How to Babysit a Grandma (Review)

This review is for the book "How to Babysit a Grandma" by Jean Reagan. Okay, this book is such a winner. I have not read the previous book, "How to Babysit a Grandpa" because it is always checked out at our library! I loved reading this book to our kids because we are just getting ready to take them to stay with their grandparents for a few nights. It puts the night at Grandma's house in the perspective of the child babysitting (put sprinkles on everything, comfort Grandma when she misses your parents, etc.). Super cute story and I can't wait to read more by this author.

You can purchase your own copy from Amazon here (affiliate link):

If You Take a Mouse to the Movies (Review)

This review is for the book "If You Take a Mouse to the Movies" by Laura Numeroff. I am sure that most parents know this series of books. We have a ton of them on our bookshelf at home. This was one I had never heard of before and my kids wanted to read. It is just as cute as all the other "If You Give a Mouse...", "If You Give a Moose..." books in the series. Do be aware this is a Christmas story so it is great to read any time but you may want to check it out again around December.

You can purchase your own copy from Amazon here (affiliate link):

Isabella: Girl on the Go (Review)

This review is for the book "Isabella: Girl on the Go" by Jennifer Fosberry. My kids get this book from the library almost every time we go. Isabella is a little girl with a huge imagination. She changes occupations frequently while "visiting" tons of cool locations like the Eiffel Tower and the Great Wall of China. The back of the book includes real pictures and information about all of the places she pretends to visit, so it is really cool to share that part with kids after you read the book together. I definitely recommend this book for young children.

You can purchase your own copy from Amazon here (affiliate link):

Llama Llama Time to Share (Review)

This review is for the book "Llama Llama Time to Share" by Anna Dewdney. I bet most parents are familiar with Llama Llama books. We absolutely adore them in this household. This is one that teaches a lesson my 3-year old and 5-year old really need to be reminded of! In this book, Llama's mother has a friend come over, and that friend has a daughter who is the same age as Llama. They have to learn the hard way how to share the toys. I love the style with which these books are written and I highly recommend them to parents of young children.

You can purchase your own copy from Amazon here (affiliate link):

The Pigeon Needs a Bath! (Review)

This review is for the book "The Pigeon Needs a Bath!" by Mo Willems. Willems is seriously one of our top three favorite authors in this house. He has a whole series of books that we consistently check out from the library. They are quirky, original, and hilarious. My 3-year old and 5-year old love them but I think older kids would enjoy them as well. The characters have major attitude, but not in a bad way. We could read Willems over and over and over again! I highly recommend any book by him.

You can purchase your own copy from Amazon here (affiliate link):

Thursday, June 19, 2014

August 2013 Pictures

 Totally normal - loving the purple shoes Hunter is wearing:

Prescilla and Hunter enjoying popsicles at church:

Cooking together:

Bowling with Ethan and Aubree and Barbee:

 Reading a favorite, "Good Night Gorilla":

 Playing on together:

 Completing a cross window cling together:

 Hunter and Matthew at Impact practice:

 Pictures of Evan, Claire and Riley at our yard sale:

A is for Alligator craft:

TONS of visitors at our house last August!!

 Natalie's 1-year birthday party: