3.30.2015

More: From Messes to Miracles by Tammie Head {Christian Life Review & Giveaway}

"If we want more of God we must let God do more in us." Tammie Head

Book review disclosure.

Tammie Head
Christian Living

PEOPLE EVERYWHERE ARE LOOKING FOR SOMETHING
MORE

People everywhere are looking for something more. They're in the grocery store aisle behind you, in the nail chair beside you, singing praise songs in front of you, and perhaps in the mirror staring back at you. People feel messy; plagued by looming feelings of ineffectiveness, indifference, depression, and puposelessness.

Does this sound like you?

What if more of God is actually what's missing from your life? Whether it's a messy life or a messy problem, it can become a walking miracle when we see God anew and wholly surrender to Him.

You were made for more than surviving. Old stale religion never satisfies. Neither doe the solutions the world has to offer. What all of us need is an encounter with God that sets our hearts ablaze. Tammie has seen this in her own life as well as in countless lives around her. Moin her in More for a picture of how you can move from a life marked by messes to one that is truly miraculous.

READ AN EXCERPT

My Thoughts

To say that Tammie Head's life was a mess is perhaps an understatement. Tammie grew up in a dysfunctional environment and by the time she was fifteen she found herself performing in a gentleman's club. Her newest book More: From Messes to Miracles gives a frank account of those awful years. 

In most cases this would inevitably be a book that would depress you and leave you questioning why this happens. But this book is written by Tammie and her effervescent nature just explodes all over the page. Instead of dwelling on how dreadful her situation was she almost immediately introduces you to her beloved future mother-in-law who would play a very integral role in helping her find her way out of the mess and straight into the arms of Jesus. 

I have been a Christ follower since I was nine years-old but after reading this book I want more of what Tammie has. A deeper love for the very One who brought both of us out of a dark pit. Don't think that you have to be in some depraved place in your life to read this book. Each and every one of us just needs more of Jesus. You can just never get enough of Him!

Join Tammie in a remarkable journey that will help you turn whatever mess you are in into a walking breathing miracle. Satisfaction is within your grasp as long as you are reaching for Jesus.

Connect With The Author

Tammie Head

Facebook  I  Twitter  I  Instagram  I  Goodreads


The Giveaway

We have partnered with B&H Publishers to offer one of our readers a copy of More: From Messes to Miracles. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents and will run through midnight on Monday, April 13, 2015. You must be at least 18 years old to enter. The winner will be contacted by email and will have forty-eight hours to claim the prize. If unclaimed, a new winner will be drawn. The winners’ entries will be verified. Please enter the contest using the Rafflecopter form below. All entries are optional.



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3.29.2015

Anna's Crossing (Amish Beginnings) by Suzanne Woods Fisher {Historical Fiction Review & Giveaway}

Anna's Crossing (Amish Beginnings) by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Book Review Disclosure

Amish Beginnings
Suzanne Woods Fisher
Historical Fiction / Amish

Some endings are really beginnings . . .

On a hot day in 1737 in Rotterdam, Anna K├Ânig reluctantly sets foot on the Charming Nancy, a merchant ship that will carry her and her fellow Amish believers across the Atlantic to start a new life. As the only one in her community who can speak English, she feels compelled to go. But Anna is determined to complete this journey and return home--assuming she survives. She's heard horrific tales of ocean crossings and worse ones of what lay ahead in the New World. But fearfulness is something Anna has never known.

Ship's carpenter Bairn resents the somber people--dubbed Peculiars by the deckhands--who fill the lower deck of the Charming Nancy. All Bairn wants to do is to put his lonely past behind him, but that irksome and lovely lass Anna and her people keep intruding on him.

Delays, storms, illness, and diminishing provisions test the mettle and patience of everyone on board. When Anna is caught in a life-threatening situation, Bairn makes a discovery that shakes his entire foundation. But has the revelation come too late?

Bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher invites you back to the beginning of Amish life in America with this fascinating glimpse into the first ocean crossing--and the lives of two intrepid people who braved it.

READ AN EXCERPT

My Thoughts

I really enjoy reading Amish fiction, but up until this book I don't think that I have ever read an account of the original crossing of the Amish from Germany to America. In the author's notes Suzanne shares that there is very little known about the crossing. But the facts that are known have been woven into a fascinating tale of courage for this persecuted band of believers.

Several years before this voyage Bishop Jacob Bauer crossed the Atlantic to secure land for his people. Minister Christian Muller is tasked with bringing the group to America to start their new community. Anna has no desire to go. She would much rather stay behind with her grandparents, but she is the only one that speaks English so she must go for the good of her people. 

The journey just to get to the Atlantic is filled with delays and discouragement. How will they ever make it across the vast ocean if they can't even smoothly sail to England? Once they are on the open ocean the delays and dangers just seem to increase. But amid the disasters a tentative friendship strikes up between Anna and the ship's carpenter Bairn. 

Bairn is drawn to Anna but refuses to acknowledge the God she serves. He is sure that God left him long ago and doesn't care anything for him. Anna's response to Bairn is priceless,
"You're trusting God by relating it to circumstances. Trust is much more than circumstances. Much, much more."
God of course shows up and allows Bairn to realize that Anna's words are true. The enfolding story is a beautiful story of Providence. Every single hard thing in all of their lives works together to bring each of them to the exact point that God designed for them to be.

Suzanne Woods Fisher is a brilliant writer and it is my hope that this is just the beginning of a series about these intriguing characters. She has included some very interesting facts at the end of the book to fill in some of the back story on the crossing. There is also a thought provoking set of discussion questions that will be beneficial to anyone that is reading this book with their book club.

Connect With The Author

Suzanne Woods Fisher
Photo Credit: © Dan Davis Photography


The Giveaway

We have partnered with Family Christian Stores to offer one of our readers a $25 Appreciation Certificate that can be used either online or in one of their stores. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents and will run through midnight on Sunday, April 12, 2015. You must be at least 18 years old to enter. The winner will be contacted by email and will have forty-eight hours to claim the prize. If unclaimed, a new winner will be drawn. The winners’ entries will be verified. Please enter the contest using the Rafflecopter form below. All entries are optional.



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3.26.2015

Books To Add To Your Easter Baskets!

Books to add to your Easter baskets.

Book review disclosure.

I love to fill my kids Easter baskets with chocolate peanut butter eggs, jelly beans and chocolate bunnies with the hopes that they will feel generous and want to share their bounty with their momma. My husband and I also fill plastic eggs with little surprises and spend Saturday night dyeing real eggs with the kids. (Wouldn't want my kids to be the only ones to show up to Sunday School without stained fingers!) 

But I have to admit that while I love all of these silly traditions the obligation to share with my children the real reason for the celebration weighs heavy on my heart. All the chocolate in the world can't hold a candle to the power behind the death and resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ and my kids need to know that. 

One of the easiest ways that I have found to keep our Easter celebration centered on Christ is to add some wonderful new Easter themed books to their Easter baskets. I thought I'd share with you some of the ones I came across for this year's baskets.

Little Chick's Bible and Little Bunny's Bible
Little Chick's Bible  or Little Bunny's Bible is a soft, cuddly Bible that children can call their own. Throughout this plush-covered book, little ones learn about God's love and faithfulness in stories from the Old and New Testaments on the Bible. With sweet, rhyming text and colorful illustrations, this storybook Bible is sure to become a favorite with preschoolers.

The First Easter Ever
The First Easter Ever by Dennis Jones is perfect for 6-12 year olds. Dennis' drawings are sure to bring a smile to your face.

The first Easter was a day of great rejoicing! Jesus had done exactly as his Father wanted on earth. He showed us just how much God loves everyone--including you and me! And now he has risen from the dead! Read all about Jesus and his work and rejoice! Alleluia! 


The Beginner's Bible Stories About Jesus
The Beginner's Bible Stories About Jesus follows the story of Jesus’ life from his humble birth to his life as an adult as he preaches and teaches the people. Using the classic iconic art and simple text from  The Beginner's Bible , this padded board book will appeal to the youngest reader with its message of God’s love and its stories of the miracles and words of Jesus.










Come Celebrate Easter Sticker & Activity Book
What little kid doesn't like stickers? This would be perfect for all the little boys and girls in your family. It is a consumable that the kids are expected to write and color in. Perfect for a quiet pew activity. 

The Easter story comes to life through age-appropriate puzzles, activity pages, and stickers in this friendly and fun The Beginner’s Bible Easter Sticker and Activity Book featuring classic art and simply written content from The Beginner’s Bible.





Gift Bible for Kids
From the time my kids were little they absolutely loved to carry their very own Bibles to church. It made them feel so big! One of these inexpensive Gift Bible for Kids would make the perfect addition to your Easter baskets. 

Gift Bibles have come a long way. These are absolutely beautiful. They have imitation leather covers with cute designs. If you buy them at your local book store you can probably get them imprinted with the child's name. 

The bonus content explores the teachings, ministry, miracles, and parables of Jesus, as well as life in New Testament times, helping the bible come alive for kids. 

Features include:
  • Words of Christ in red
  • Bible dictionary concordance
  • Book introductions
  • Presentation page for personalizing and gift giving


I hope this list gives you some ideas on bringing the good news of the death and resurrection to your Easter baskets. It's not too late to order online. If you have a local Christian book store consider stopping in and picking up some great books for your kids.

Even if you don't personally have children consider gifting children you know with an Easter book. The First Easter Ever retails at $1.99 so it would be an inexpensive way to share about the true meaning of Easter with your Sunday School class or even neighborhood children.

 

3.23.2015

Mist of Midnight (Daughters of Hampshire, Bk 1) by Sandra Byrd {Gothic Romance Review}

Mist of Midnight (Daughters of Hampshire, Bk 1) by Sandra Byrd

Book review disclosure.

Daughters of Hampshire, Bk 1
Sandra Byrd
Gothic Romance

REBECCA RAVENSHAW, daughter of missionaries, spent most of her life in India. Following the death of her family in the Indian Mutiny, Rebecca returns to claim her family estate in Hampshire, England. Upon her return, people are surprised to see her . . . and highly suspicious. Less than a year earlier, an imposter had arrived with an Indian servant and assumed not only Rebecca's name but her home and incomes.

That pretender died within months of her arrival; the servant fled to London as the young woman was hastily buried at midnight. The locals believe that perhaps she, Rebecca, is the real imposter. Her home and her father's investments reverted to a distant relative, the darkly charming Captain Luke Whitfield, who quickly took over. Against her best intentions, Rebecca begins to fall in love with Luke, but she is forced to question his motives--does he love her or does he just want Headbourne House? If Luke is simply after the property, as everyone suspects, will she suffer the same fate as the first "Rebecca"?

A captivating Gothic love story set against a backdrop of intrigue and danger, Mist of Midnight will leave you breathless.

My Thoughts

I like chocolate but I love dark chocolate. Just like that dark chocolate, a well written gothic romance is something to be savored. It has a nice blend of bitter and sweet that keeps you guessing as to what is coming next. Mist of Midnight is definitely a dark chocolate flavored book!

In Sandra Byrd's newest book, Mist of Midnight, we travel with Rebecca Ravenshaw from the dangerous land of India that has claimed the lives of her parents and brother to her family home in Hampshire, England. Much to Rebecca's dismay she finds upon her arrival that an imposter has already laid claim to her family home. What is even worse is that person is now dead and the family estate has reverted to the dashingly handsome yet mysterious Luke Whitfield. 

The journey to prove that she is indeed the real Rebecca Ravenshaw is littered with snares. Her family departed England when she was a very young child so no one really remembers her. All that would prove who she is in India has been destroyed. How can she get past the suspicion of those that are in charge of granting her title to her home? 

Fortunately Captain Whitfield chooses to believe her until it can be proved otherwise. But there is just something about the handsome Luke Whitfield that makes Rebecca a little nervous. Who is he and what are his motives? He may be willing to trust Rebecca, but can Rebecca trust him?

As Rebecca sets out to discover who her imposter was she stumbles even further into a dark mystery. Just when she thinks she might have figured out a portion of the puzzle, a missing piece hampers the continuing discovery. Who would be brazen enough to pretend to be her? And did she really die from self-murder or was something else afoot?

There are so many delicious layers to this story. There are characters that you like but find out you shouldn't. There are characters that you don't like from the very beginning but can't exactly put your finger on the reason why. There are even characters that you think you know everything about until the very end. 

If Mist of Midnight is any indication of the caliber of the Daughters of Hampshire series, then this is going to be a set of books destined for must read lists everywhere.

Connect With The Author

Sandra Byrd






New Spring Games: Peanuts Matching and Marvel Dominoes from Wonder Forge {Review & Giveaway}

New Spring games from Wonder Forge.

Product disclosure

I don't know how it's been in your area of the country but here in the Ozarks it has been a long cold winter. That means that we have had a lot of indoor time playing games. I enjoy playing games but when you've played the same one about a million times it kind of wears thin.

So when we received a package from Wonder Forge with a couple of their new spring games we were thrilled! They sent us the Marvel Dominoes Game and the Peanuts Matching Game. We have a new baby in the house so I was thrilled that both of the games were able to be played by my three-year-old and my six-year-old . . . together! 

Playing games with new baby.
The games both had simple rules and made it easy for me to sit on the floor with the boys holding the new baby while they played. Both games are basically matching games with different strategies. The Marvel Dominoes game is a great way to introduce your children to the concept of dominoes without having to keep score. 


Playing dominoes with toddlers.
We use pretty relaxed layout rules when playing with the three-year-old. He gets the concept of the matching pictures but the need for a double sided picture to have dominoes go off in different directions just doesn't matter to him yet. I don't mind because those chubby hands are so cute and will only remain that small for a short time!

One of the added bonuses about the Marvel Dominoes game is that it is quite compact. It would be an adorable addition to an Easter basket. I plan on tucking it in the diaper bag to help entertain while we are waiting in doctor's offices or restaurants. 




Peanuts Matching Game tiles
Next up for a trial run was the Peanuts Matching Game. It comes with 72 colorful tiles which makes 36 pairs. The nice part about that is you can use as many of the tile pairs for a game as you wish.                                                                                  When the six-year-old is playing he wants to use them all. When the three-year-old is playing I tend to cut that number in half. 



                                                                                                  The illustrations depicted on the tiles are iconic Peanuts character scenes. I'm not sure which was more fun, playing the game or the silly discussions about a particular event, i.e. Lucy pulling the football from Charlie Brown.

Another nice thing about this game is that it can be played by one or more players. That makes it the perfect thing for the oldest one to do when the younger ones are napping and I'm trying to catch up on something. 

This game would also make a nice addition to an Easter basket or as a great take along. Just slip the pieces into a baggie instead of the box and it is instantly portable!

Peanuts Surprise Slides Giveaway


The Giveaway

We have partnered with Wonder Forge to offer one of our readers a copy of the new Peanuts Surprise Slides Game. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents and will run through midnight on Monday, April 6, 2015. You must be at least 18 years old to enter. The winner will be contacted by email and will have forty-eight hours to claim the prize. If unclaimed, a new winner will be drawn. The winners’ entries will be verified. Please enter the contest using the Rafflecopter form below. All entries are optional.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure of Materials

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