Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Scent of Lilacs

The Scent of Lilacs
Ann Gabhart
Revel Publishing
Publication date: Available March 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Before Ann H. Gabhart became well-known for her much-loved Shaker novels, she wrote three poignant novels centered on the loveable Jocie Brooke and her family, who lived in 1960s small-town Kentucky. Once named as one of "Booklist"'s Top Ten Christian Novels and now featuring a brand new cover, "Scent of Lilacs" is poised to capture the hearts of new readers everywhere. Life-changing events rarely happen here, and when they do, they are few and far between. But for Jocie Brooke and her family, they happen all at once. Jocie has questions that need answers. As she digs into her family's past, she finds a whirlwind of discoveries, and everything begins to change. In the end, will Jocie find the answers everyone so desperately needs, or will her questions lead to truths that were better left uncovered? 
Combining unforgettable characters, true-to-life struggles, and the perfect dose of humor and nostalgia, this riveting story takes readers through the universal experiences of true love, new life, and renewed faith. With a beautiful new cover, "Scent of Lilacs" is poised to capture the hearts of readers everywhere.

I'll admit I had a hard time getting into this one. It started out a little slow and clunky for me. However, I stuck with it and I'm glad I did. Gabhart is an excellent storyteller and her books have yet to disappoint me. Joice is a fun character and that you'll fall in love with almost immediately. Her dad has his own tragic air about him and I quickly found myself rooting for him as we'll. The  secrets are intense and the story will capture you as event begin to unfold. You'll enjoy the journey of discovery and healing so beautifully portrayed in this book. 

My thanks to Revell Publishing for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Easter Books for Kids

Easter is Coming!

$7.99 / Board book / 48 pages
Candle Books
Candle Library--Easter
 by Karen Williamson; illustrated by Marie Allen

An adorable collection of pocket-sized board books for pint-sized readers! The Candle Library--Easter collection includes six individual Bible storybooks in a handy slipcase. Each eight-page story is written in clear and simple text, with charming illustrations by Marie Allen. Just the right size for little hands to hold and convenient for travel.

Stories include: Ride into Jerusalem, Easter Meal, Jesus Is Arrested, The Crucifixion, The Resurrection, and Jesus Returns.

$5.99 / Saddlestitch / 16 pages
Candle Books
Easter Sticker Book
by Karen Williamson; illustrated by Amanda Enright
A delightful sticker book retelling the Easter story! TheEaster Sticker Book sensitively depicts the story of Easter, from Palm Sunday through to the good news of Jesus' resurrection, with clear and simple text and bright colorful stickers. Featuring sixty reusable stickers, children interact with the Easter story by searching for the correct stickers to complete each illustration.
$5.99 / Saddlestitch / 16 pages
Candle Books
God Helps Me Sticker Book #1 and #2
by Juliet David; illustrated by Clare Caddy

The God Helps Me sticker books feature a mixture of Old and New Testament stories drawn from the God Helps Me Bible. Each page has a simple line of text, a key Bible reference, and a large, colorful picture to complete. Each volume comes with sixty reuseable stickers so children can play again and again.   
$5.99 / Saddlestitch / 16 pages
Candle Books
God Helps Me Sticker Book #2
by Juliet David; illustrated by Clare Caddy
$6.99 / Hardcover / 32 pages
Lion Children's

My Very First Easter Story
by Lois Rock; Illustrated by Alex Ayliffe

The Easter story is at the heart of the Christian faith, and here it is retold simply and powerfully--from Good Friday toEaster Sunday--in a way that very young children can easily understand. Extracted from the hugely popular My Very First Bible (Good Books).

$5.99 / Saddlestitch / 16 pages
Lion Children's
My Very First Easter Story Sticker Book
by Lois Rock; illustrated by Alex Ayliffe
Here is a story and activity book containing a complete retelling of the Easter story presented in a simple manner for young children to grasp. The stickers are used first to complete the illustrations in the main story. Then there are extra activities on each page alongside the story--counting, naming, identifying--with stickers for each. All of the stickers are found in the center of the book where they are grouped and numbered according to activity to make it easy for young children to find the right sticker.

A fun and interactive way for children to learn the Easter story.

I was privileged to be able to review each of these books and I have to say they are super sweet. I tested them out on my 2 year old niece and for the most part they passed the test.

The Library:
These are board books that seem to be very durable. They are pretty small but the pictures are very sweet and the message is clear. Definitely passed the 2 year old test.

All of the sticker books are awesome. The pictures are clear and colorful without being garish. Very child appropriate. My niece tried to eat the stickers but once I helped her figure out where to actually put the stickers she had a blast. Definitely a fun way to get a child involved in an activity while teaching bout Easter.

My Very First Easter Story:
This book has an awesome hardback cover which is a bit deceiving. The pages are paper and I was really hoping for board pages. My niece could not handle turning all of the pages. It's a nice idea for a child but not for the "very young child" it advertises for.

In general this collection is simple and sweet. The story is clearly told and kids will have fun with it too. It wil definitely not knock your socks off but I think you and your child will enjoy this bright and true collection.

My thanks to the publisher for providing me with free copies of each book in exchange for my honest review. 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

A Heartbeat Away

A Heartbeat Away
Harry Kraus
David C. Cook
Fiction, Medical, Romance

When a brilliant surgeon undergoes a heart transplant, her life transforms as she begins experiencing memories of a murder she never witnessed. The residents worship her. Nurses step out of her way. Her colleagues respect and sometimes even fear her. But surgeon Tori Taylor never expected to end up on this side of the operating table. Now she has a new heart. This life that was formerly controlled and predictable is now chaotic. Dr. Taylor had famously protected herself from love or commitment, but her walls are beginning to crumble. And strangest of all, memories surface that will take her on a journey out of the operating room and into a murder investigation. Where there once was a heart of stone, there is a heart of flesh. And there is no going back.

Kraus is an excellent writer. He creatively weaves medical and fiction and Jesus all into one delightful read. I was a little apprehensive about this book initially but I ended up thoroughly enjoying it. Tori's journey of healing both physically and spiritually is beautiful. Watching her heart soften and begin to heal is truly inspiring. The story overall will keep you engaged with just enough mystery, just enough romance, and just enough story to keep you reading for hours. Hats off to Kraus for writing yet another delightful and inspiring read. 

My thanks to David C. Cook Publishing and Netgalley for providing me with a free e-copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 

Harvest of Rubies

Harvest of Rubies
Tessa Afshar
Moody Publishers
Romance, Biblical, Fiction
Date: May 1, 2012

The prophet Nehemiah's cousin can speak numerous languages, keep complex accounts, write on rolls of parchment and tablets of clay, and solve great mysteries. There is only one problem: she is a woman.

In her early childhood years, Sarah experienced the death of her mother and her father's subsequent emotional distance and she came to two conclusions: that God does not care about her, and that her accomplishments are the measure of her worth - the measure of her self.

Sarah, the talented scribe and cousin to Nehemiah, is catapulted into the center of the Persian court, working too many hours, rubbing elbows with royalty, and solving intrigues for the Queen. Ironically, it isn't failure but success that causes Sarah to lose her only source of external validation.

Sarah soon learns that she has something of worth to offer beyond her ability with languages and sums - her very being proves to be a blessing to others.

This was a truly fun read. I loved it! Yes, it was indeed a reach but I was happy to go there. Sarah is so well developed and watching her grow up and ultimately fall in love with her husband was delightful. The scribe aspect was very interesting as well. When an author can help the reader fully engage in another time and place they have a win. This was a win. Read it, you won't be sorry! 

My thanks to Moody Publishing and Netgalley for providing me with a free e-copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 


Siri Mitchell 
Baker Publishing
Romance, Fiction, Historical 
Date: March 1, 2013

Three-Time Christy Finalist Pens Another Winning Historical Romance 

Lucy Kendall always assumed she'd help her father in his candy-making business, creating recipes and aiding him in their shared passion. But after a year traveling in Europe, Lucy returns to 1910 St. Louis to find her father unwell and her mother planning to sell the struggling candy company. Determined to help, Lucy vows to create a candy that will reverse their fortunes. 

St. Louis newcomer Charlie Clarke is determined to help his father dominate the nation's candy industry. Compromise is not an option when the prize is a father's approval, and falling in love with a business rival is a recipe for disaster when only one company can win. Will these two star-crossed lovers let a competition that turns less than friendly sour their dreams?

No pun intended, this was a sweet read. Lucy and Charlie are adorable as individuals and even more so as they begin to fall in love. I very much enjoyed this book. The candy aspect was fresh and new and extremely engaging. The time period and setting is also somewhat new and exciting. Lucy's parents are a completely conundrum to me but I enjoyed her. Watching her "grow up" and come into herself was a delight. Charlie is just a sweet as pie and completely at odds with the guy we first meet who is a bit of a criminal. 

There are boggy places throughout but for the most part this was a very fun read. Enjoy it! 

My thanks to Baker Publishing and Netgalley for providing me with a free e-copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 

Moonlight Masquerade

Moonlight Masquerade
Ruth Axtell
Revell Publishing
Romance, Fiction, Historical
Available March 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Lady Celine Wexham seems the model British subject. French by birth but enjoying life in 1813 as a widowed English countess, she is in the unique position of being able to help those in need--or to spy for the notorious Napoleon Bonaparte.

 When Rees Phillips of the British Foreign Office is sent to pose as the countess's butler and discover where her true loyalties lie, he is confident he will uncover the truth. But the longer he is in her fashionable townhouse in London's West End, the more his staunch loyalty to the Crown begins to waver as he falls under Lady Wexham's spell. Will he find the proof he needs? And if she is a spy after all, will he do the right thing?

This was a cute book. Not overly intriguing or amazing but an easy read. The spy part was not over done and was at times quite humorous. Lady Celine and Rees are interesting subjects that are enjoyable to get to know. Without much knowledge of the Regency era I found myself struggling to catch up with the historical aspects of the book. I also found the ending both long and short at the same time. When Celine and Rees are reunited there is a quite a bit of detail that I didn't feel was entirely necessary. And yet after the detail there was suddenly very little and it seemed like the book rushed to be finished. 

Axtel weaves a good tale and I did enjoy reading this one. It didn't keep me up late into the night but I looked forward to reading it when I had the time. 

My thanks to Revell Publishing for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 

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