Sunrise (Sky King Ranch #1) by Susan May Warren | Contemporary Romance Review

Sunrise by Susan May Warren

Sky King Ranch #1
Contemporary Romance

Coming home was never the plan

After a terrible family fight, pilot Dodge Kingston left home to join the Air Force. A decade later, he's headed back to the destiny that awaits him as heir to Sky King Ranch. But that's not all that's waiting for him at home.

Echo Yazzie is a true Alaskan woman--a homesteader, dogsledder, and research guide for the DNR. After her childhood best friend and former flame, Dodge, fled Denali, she settled into life on the Alaskan range. She's made her peace with being left behind--by her mother and by Dodge. And she's strong enough to live without them.

When one of Echo's fellow researchers goes missing, Echo sets out to find her, despite a blizzard, a rogue grizzly haunting the woods, and the biting cold. What she doesn't know is that there are more than just the regular dangers of the Alaskan forests stalking her . . .

As Dodge sets out to find Echo, he can't ignore the feelings he still has for her. But will he be able to find her in time? And if he does, is there still room for him in her heart?

Read an excerpt.
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My Thoughts

A new series by Susan May Warren always excites me. I know I'm in for a riveting tale with engaging characters. Sunrise  is the first installment of the Sky King Ranch series. It's set in Alaska so we know there's going to be plenty of adventure. 

The main characters are the Kingston family. A widowed father, a set of triplets, Dodge, Ranger, Colt, and a sister Larke.  The death of their beloved mother was hard on everyone but especially Dodge. Through the years he's become estranged from his family and has no plans to rectify that.

Of course God is very good at allowing circumstances to change our paths and that's what happens with Dodge. His father is in an accident and so Dodge finds himself coming home out of obligation to help his father. He has no intention of staying any longer than he has to and he has pre-planned to avoid everyone.

Poor Dodge! Small town life just doesn't work that way. People tend to get in your business whether you want them to or not. And that includes an old flame.

This book has a bit of everything. Adventure, mystery, suspense and of course a complicated romance. The story is primarily focused on Dodge but there's also a secondary story that I imagine will continue through the series. After finishing the first book I'm itching to dive into the second. 

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Disclosure

I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review.
 

God's Creation Help Tell the Story by Joanne Liu | Children's Book Review

God's Creation by Joanne Liu

illustrated by Joanne Liu
Juvenile Nonfiction

God’s Creation: Help Tell the Story, presented in the same style as Press Here, offers an exciting way for children to experience God’s creation of the world as they interact with the words and illustrations, follow along with easy-to-understand directions, and watch the story of God’s creation unfold.

This interactive picture book not only engages and keeps kids’ attention, but also helps them internalize and commit the story to memory. Bold, conceptual art by artist Joanne Liu leaves room for little ones’ imaginations to expand the story and begin to understand the greatness of God and his creation.

God’s Creation: Help Tell the Story is perfect for: 
  • Reading aloud with active preschoolers and early readers who will love participating in the story
  • Encouraging kids to learn the creation story from the Bible
  • Fans of Press Here, Don’t Push the Button, and Tap the Magic Tree


God's Creation by Joanne Liu



My Thoughts

I adore beautifully illustrated children's books. Don't get me wrong the words that are included are important but for a young child the pictures are what bring the story to life. 

Joanne Liu has used a mixture of tempera paint and finger-paint style of illustrations to demonstrate the timeline of God's creation. The colors are vibrant and I personally think it would be a fun activity for your preschooler to recreate the pictures.

Another aspect that is going to be a hit is the interactive directions that are given during the telling of the story. I think this allows the child to feel like they are part of the story and keeps them engaged. 

I recommend this book for your personal, church, or preschool library. It would also make a lovely gift for your favorite little one.



Disclosure

I was provided a copy of this book to facilitate my review.



 

The Berenstain Bears School Days Collection by Jan & Mike Berenstain | Juvenile Fiction Review

 

The Berenstain Bears School Days Collection by Jan & Mike Berenstain

Jan & Mike Berenstain
Juvenile Fiction

Head back to school with the Berenstain Bears! Young readers will enjoy the stories, activities, stickers, and recipes in The Berenstain Bears School Days Collection, an addition to the Living Lights™ series of The Berenstain Bears books. With stories about starting school, new students, rumors and gossip, and settling disagreements, this treasury is perfect for children beginning a new school year or right in the middle of one.

My Thoughts

It's back to school time around here and probably where you are too. One of the books that we've added to our home library this year is The Berenstain Bears School Days Collection. It's made up of six previously released books but bound all together into one. Let me first tell you what the titles are. 
  • The Berenstain Bears School Time Blessings
  • The Berenstain Bears Stand Up to Bullying
  • The Berenstain Bears The Truth About Gossip
  • The Berenstain Bears Blessed are the Peacemakers
  • The Berenstain Bears Bear Country Fun Sticker & Activity Book
  • The Berenstain Bears Country Cookbook
The individual stories are a great way to remind our kiddos how to treat others. The activity book includes stickers and areas for your children to write in answers. Our favorite part is the cookbook. The recipes included are kid friendly. They are easy to make and consist of foods that most kids will eat. 

This book would be a great back to school gift or one for your personal home library. Or even a nice classroom gift for your child's school.

Heirlooms by Sandra Byrd | Contemporary Fiction Review

Heirlooms by Sandra Byrd

Contemporary Fiction

Answering a woman’s desperate call for help, young Navy widow Helen Devries opens her Whidbey Island home as a refuge to Choi Eunhee. As they bond over common losses and a delicate, potentially devastating secret, their friendship spans the remainder of their lives.

After losing her mother, Cassidy Quinn spent her childhood summers with her gran, Helen, at her farmhouse. Nourished by her grandmother’s love and encouragement, Cassidy discovers a passion that she hopes will bloom into a career. But after Helen passes, Cassidy learns that her home and garden have fallen into serious disrepair. Worse, a looming tax debt threatens her inheritance. Facing the loss of her legacy and in need of allies and ideas, Cassidy reaches out to Nick, her former love, despite the complicated emotions brought by having him back in her life.

Cassidy inherits not only the family home but a task, spoken with her grandmother’s final breaths: ask Grace Kim—Eunhee’s granddaughter—to help sort through the contents of the locked hope chest in the attic. As she and Grace dig into the past, they unearth their grandmothers’ long-held secret and more. Each startling revelation reshapes their understanding of their grandmothers and ultimately inspires the courage to take risks and make changes to own their lives.

Set in both modern-day and midcentury Whidbey Island, Washington, this dual-narrative story of four women—grandmothers and granddaughters—intertwines across generations to explore the secrets we keep, the love we pass down, and the heirlooms we inherit from a well-lived life.

Read an excerpt.
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My Thoughts

Prepare to have your heartstrings tugged! In fact by chapter thirteen you're probably going to need a tissue. Sandra Byrd has become known for her stirring tales and in my opinion, Heirlooms, shoots to the top of the list.

The story begins in the late fifties and takes place on the beautiful Whidbey Island just off the coast of Washington state. There we meet Helen and Eunhee. They are two young widows that are as different as can be but through time they come to realize that their differences are also their strengths. 

Later in the story time shifts to the present day and we meet their granddaughters Cassidy and Grace. Both girls were very close with their grandmothers and I venture to guess they thought they knew almost everything about them. They didn't. In fact the two grandmothers shared a secret that sent shockwaves through the girls.

This was such a beautiful story of love and friendship. I will never look at my Rose of Sharon bush or my old handwritten recipe cards the same. I'm neither a foodie nor a gardener but I have an appreciation of both and this story just enhanced that appreciation. 

Heirlooms is definitely a story not to be missed. Treat yourself with this one. It would of course be a lovely gift as well.



Disclosure

I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review.




 

Among the Innocent by Mary Alford | Romantic Suspense Review

Among the Innocent by Mary Alford

Romantic Suspense

When Leah Miller's entire Amish family was murdered ten years ago, the person believed responsible took his own life. Since then, Leah has left the Amish and joined the police force. Now, after an Amish woman is found murdered with the same MO, it becomes clear that the wrong man may have been blamed for her family's deaths.

As Leah and the new police chief, Dalton Cooper, work long hours struggling to fit the pieces together in order to catch the killer, they can't help but grow closer. When secrets from both of their pasts begin to surface, an unexpected connection between them is revealed. But this is only the beginning.

What will it mean for Leah--and Dalton--when the full truth comes to light?

My Thoughts

What an incredibly intense story! The genre is considered romantic suspense, and it is, but there is also an element of psychological thriller mixed in. Prepare to be captivated by all the details that make up this fascinating read.

The story is set in the small Amish community of St. Ignatius, Montana. We the readers join the story about ten years after the family of Leah Miller has been brutally murdered. In those intervening years Leah has left the Amish and been taken in by the local police chief Ellis Petri and his wife Marge. Their love and kindness has helped Leah to heal and move on with her life. She has chosen to join the police force and follow in the footsteps of her new father.

As the anniversary of her family's deaths looms closer it becomes evident that there is a serial killer in their midst. What a terrifying thought. In so many ways the Amish are easy targets. In general they are trusting people and they are also non violent. I was so stressed out for them as I was reading their story!

Mary Alford has taken Amish fiction and kicked it up a notch. I have read a few of her other romantic suspense titles and I think she's a very talented author. I do have to say that I think that Among the Innocent is her best yet.

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Disclosure

I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review.



 

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