Monday, September 10, 2018

Amish story for the season

Through the Autumn Air (An Every Amish Season Novel) by [Irvin, Kelly]

Through the Autumn Air opens with Mary Katherine marrying off her last child.  Having been a widow for seven years doesn't lessen her need for her late husband to be near so she chats with him daily, at least in her mind, knowing he will never be far from her heart and has wisdom to help her through trials.  While her son is pressuring her to make some unwelcome changes in her life, Mary Katherine is searching for what the next phase of her life should look like, whether she should open a bookstore with her English friend, work in an Amish owned combination store, or even cook for an old friend, Ezekiel, in his restaurant.

A number of odd thefts have been taking place in the community and one night Mary Katherine finds herself somewhat of a victim.  Instead of turning to the authorities, she relies on Ezekiel to help her and the two are drawn together to help the young man Mary Katherine discovered in her kitchen.  Ezekiel and Mary Katherine grew up together and both have been alone for years after their spouse passed away.  Is the Autumn of their life too late to open their hearts to another?

Although Through the Autumn Air is the third in the series, I was pleasantly surprised that I didn't have any difficulty reading it as a standalone.  There were a lot of names thrown my way in the first chapter but that happens often, whether a series or not and Mary Katherine did have ten children!  I can only assume, with the ease of picking up the story and not feeling huge holes in the story, that each of the books in the series focuses on a different person.

I love the simplicity of the Amish way of life and enjoy reading Amish fiction--in bits and pieces.  Kelly Irvin is new to me but I think she did a nice job of portraying the Amish as you would find them in most Amish communities, with this setting being Missouri.  Men within the church always seem to have a great deal of authority and the women center their days around the home for the most part, quilting, cooking, etc.  The story line is perfect for those of us more in the later summer and nearing the autumn of life so I did particularly enjoy the ages of the main characters which are not often found.  I feel confident this will not be the last of Irvin's books I read and look forward to what she may write about the winter season.

I did receive this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review and am in no way obligated to write a positive one.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Precious Moments board book

There is no better time to begin to teach your little one to be thankful for all of God's blessings.  Whether it be those who love us, precious sounds, God's presence, playtime, or colors, there are things in all our lives we need to pause to be thankful for.  Little Book of Thanks featuring the beloved Precious Moments figures is a perfect board book that is a tool for every parent to use to help foster thankfulness. 

Each set of pages contains a brief Bible verse and short rhyming poems that focus on one thing to be thankful for.  The cover has rounded edges and is slightly padded, making it easy to hold and tough enough with the board book pages for the smallest of hands to be able to be introduced to reading and hopefully foster a love of reading.  The Precious Moments characters are timeless and adorable.

I have no problem highly recommending this new volume published by Tommy Nelson.  I was given a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review and am in no way obligated to write a positive one.  It will make a perfect baby or early birthday gift.  Recommended for children up to age 5.

Precious Moments Little Book of Thanks

Monday, August 27, 2018

God's promises for little ones

God Always Keeps His Promises: Unshakable Hope for Kids   -     By: Max Lucado

When life seems difficult and the world seems against you, it is God's promises that often hold you and get you through such difficult times.  What better gift can you give your child than to begin to teach your child about God's faithfulness and love?  The earlier we begin, as parents, the better. 

The very best time of day for me, as the parent of  young children, was bedtime.  I love the close of the day when we could all sit down, be still, and enjoy each other.  But I also loved reading to my children at night (when I wasn't so tired I fell asleep before they did).  These Bible stories would have been exactly what I looked for when selecting bedtime books for my children.

Each story is short enough that even I could keep my eyes open, can be used as a tool to help my children become the people God wanted them to be, and contains tools to help them hide God's word in their heart.  After each story, God's promise is put in a prominent place to help summarize the story.  There is a brief prayer and then a page of scripture verses that point right back to the promise.  The scriptures are short enough that they would be perfect to begin memorizing verses to hide in your heart.  I like that there are many to choose from so that, each time you read through the book with your child, you can select a different verse to memorize.

The book is a nice hard bound version that will stand the test of many readings.  The only somewhat negative thing I have to say about the volume is the coloring used on the illustrations.  I loved the pictures, I just felt like most of them looked as if they had been faded in the sun.  Nothing wrong with that, just not my taste.  In no way does this detract from the value of the collection.

I did receive this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review and am in no way obligated to write a positive one.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Precious board book for children

I Am: The Names of God for Little Ones  -     By: Diane Stortz
    Illustrated By: Diane Le Feyer

God has so many attributes....provider, protector, all-powerful, healer, teacher, creator, and Savior.  He also has names that mean just those attributes.  What a precious gift to give your little one to teach him the various names and attributes of God through easy to understand examples from the Bible and scripture verses.  Also included with each name for God is a brief prayer you can pray with your little one.  These special attributes and names for God will help him/her better understand the One who created them and how much He loves them.

If you follow my blog, you know what  a big fan of board books I am.  I love how little hands can handle the book without fear of damage.  This volume is no exception with its sturdy pages, slightly padded front cover and rounded corners.

I enjoyed the bright colorful illustrations but was a bit taken aback by the final illustration of Jesus returning on the white horse, hand raised as if saying "I'm here!".

I do think this book most appropriate for children at least 3 or 4 years of age in order to begin to have an understanding of the names of God and obtain a sense of what that means to them.  I must admit that I had difficulty trying to figure out one of the pronunciations even with it phonetically illustrated.  Other than the names of God, the language is simple enough for children younger than my recommendation.

I did receive this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  I found the content solid and firmly believe it is never too early to help children gain an understanding of God's love.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Similar story, different location

A Daring Venture  -     By: Elizabeth Camden

Set in the early 1900's, Elizabeth Camden's newest novel, A Daring Adventure, is the story of biochemist Rosalind Werner's fight for the use of chlorine to make the drinking water safe for the people of Jersey City.  She is a highly motivated young career woman whose past has made her future path clear.   Chlorine use has proven itself safe for cattle but has yet to be tested on humans so Nicholas Drake is determined his filtering process is far safer in protecting the residents from a cholera outbreak.While they both have the same ultimate goal, their difference of opinion land them in opposite sides of the courts but neither can deny their attraction to the other.

When I started reading this novel, it didn't take me long to think the story familiar.  A little digging on other reviews I have done revealed why.  It seems to follow a similar storyline to another of Camden's books, A  Dangerous Legacy.  The strong females in both stories are pitted against men who have differing viewpoints regarding the water system, just in different cities on the eastern coastline.  I enjoyed both stories but, as stated, I found them too similar in nature.  In both, the characters are well developed and spunky, particularly the women.  I admire that these women took on roles that weren't common for the early 20th c. but I also wonder how accurate the portrayal is.  I haven't studied early 20th c. women enough to know but these two certainly don't fit the stereotype.  In some ways that stereotype got in the way of making the women believable.

The book seems well researched for historical accuracy and Camden does weave a nice story.  I don't believe I will stop selecting her titles but this duplication of plot does discourage me a bit.  I did receive this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review and was in no way obligated to write a positive one.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Precious time with your children

God's Blessing Day By Day: My Daily Devotional for Kids

What can be more important that beginning or ending our days in God's word?  However, it seems as if life gets so busy that our devotional time and prayer time is the first to get pushed to the back burner.  How might your priorities be different if spending time with God had been priority from as early in your life as you can remember?

Pastor of First Baptist Church of Woodstock, GA, Johnny Hunt, has a wonderful tool to help make devotional time with your children easy and enjoyable, setting them up to make it a habit that will continue with them throughout life.  Written by himself, other members of his church, and friends throughout the US, God's Blessing Day by Day contains a year's worth of one page devotionals with easy to understand scripture references, a brief prayer, and a short one sentence summary of the Truth the devotion centers around.  I won't even begin to attempt to cover the range of topics because they focus on every aspect of life your child (or we as adults) face.  The cute animal centered illustrations are bright and attractive, many of them reinforcing the truth held within the devotion.  Bottom line, I loved this devotional and highly recommend for your own family or for a gift. I know it will go on my list of either baby or sibling gifts.

The sturdy hard bound volume has durable binding and an attached ribbon bookmark to hold your place.  The book also contacts a list of contributors and scripture index divided by book of the Bible from Genesis through Revelation.

I did receive this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review and am in no way obligated to write a positive one.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Wisdom for every father

God's Words of Life for Fathers

Parenting is the most challenging job there is.   My husband and I have raised ours to adulthood and the job gets no easier.  We have relied on the wisdom of many who have gone before us but only God can provide the wisdom we truly need.

Whether you are seeking wisdom on work, or you feel stressed or fearful, or wonder what God has to say about setting priorities, this small soft covered book will guide you straight from scripture.  Each of the forty-two topics has multiple scriptures that will guide your thoughts and actions and give you the words that will soothe your mind and provide the wisdom you seek.   Following the listed scriptures with their full text is a brief one page devotion on the topic

The book is a perfect gift sized book that would be perfect for travel or your dining room table.  I love that the scriptures chosen are NIV, come from both the New and Old Testaments and, is in an easy-to-read font.  The cover is of a durable synthetic material that is easy to wipe clean with a damp cloth.  I do think that a small ribbon marker would have been a nice addition to consider for those who want to read the book from cover to cover rather than skip around by topic.  There is an index of scriptures as well that is broken down and listed by the book of the Bible.

If you are looking for a gift for a new father as I am, I think this book a perfect gift.  I did receive this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  I was in no way obligated to write a positive one.