Thursday, December 14, 2017

Bible Promises to Live By for Women Review

This is a beautiful little book that I can definitely use quite often. It is a collection of promises from the bible that help with problems that plague women.

Sometimes, in the midst of a storm, it's difficult to gather your wits enough to look up a biblical promise that will help you in your struggle.  Or maybe you don't know what the bible has to say about a certain topic. This book is the help you need. There's an alphabetical table of contents that lists such issues as abandonment, brokenness, criticism, failure, family, happiness, integrity, overwhelmed, temptation, weariness, and so much more.

When you turn to the section for your topic, heaven, for example, there's a few words of encouragement or introduction before listing several bible verses having to do with that particular topic.
This book is just beautiful, too. I love beautiful things, and if my things are beautiful I'm more likely to use them. I will definitely use this beautiful book.

There's also a ribbon included to keep your place.

Here's a picture of the size of the book:
My hand for size reference. It's small enough to fit in my purse, but large enough that I'm still able to read what it says.

I definitely recommend this book. I'm going to buy several to give as gifts.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Ax to Grind Review

Yes, it's another Tonya Kappes book. She is definitely one of my favorite authors. If you haven't yet read one of her books, I highly recommend them. You're missing out! lol!

Anyways, this is the 3rd book in the Kenni Lowry series. Kenni is the sheriff in the small Kentucky town of Cottonwood. Her grandfather was Sheriff years ago, and now his ghost watches over Kenni and the town.

But even a ghost can't be everywhere all the time, and a murder is committed. This time, it's Beryle Stone's assistant, Cecily. Beryle was a best-selling author from Cottonwood that has passed away, and Cecily insisted that she wrote a tell-all book that has everyone in town on edge. Cecily also suspected that Beryle was murdered because of this book (that, by the way, no one has actually seen.) But before Sheriff Lowry can get any details from her, Cecily winds up murdered. And the only witness to the crime is in a coma. WHA?!?!?!?

Oh, this book is a page turner from the first to the last. Each of the Kenni Lowry books are better than the last. If life didn't intervene, I'm sure I could've read this whole book in one sitting. But, you know, kids and laundry and cooking and whatnot. It's a gripping mystery full of twists and turns that keeps the reader captivated until the murderer reveal at the end. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

*I received a free ecopy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The author is doing a giveaway (YAY!). Below is a pic, provided by her, of what's included in the giveaway.

Cute? :) I love giveaways, they're so fun! Click here to enter!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Wellness Revelation Review

The Wellness Revelation is a fitness book by Alisa Keeton. I'm not usually into fitness books because they make me feel depressed rather than motivated.

This book is an exception. It's not your typical "work out, you can DO it!" book. It also focuses on spiritual fitness. Your walk with the Lord. That's the most important kind of fitness.

There are some elements of the book I don't agree with, such as the yoga stuff (how do you take something and "yoke" it to Jesus? :/), and some of the bible verses are misunderstood or taken out of context.

But, all in all, I enjoyed this book. It gives practical advice on how love yourself where you are. I really think that's key for some of us that have had trouble with weight and fitness... loving ourselves as we are. If you can't do that, you can't really better yourself. Because you don't love yourself enough. That's what I took away from this book the most. It's not all that the book is about, of course, but it's the best part for me. Working on the heart of things is the key to changing.

I do recommend this book. It's very freeing. You'll feel better about yourself, so, in turn, you'll want to better yourself. I'll definitely be reading this one again, and I'll be highlighting and making notes. :)

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

A Knit Before Dying Review

A Knit Before Dying is the second book in the Tangled Web series. I don't normally read the second book in a series without having read the first, but I made an exception this time. And I'm glad I did. I really enjoyed this book.

Josie Blair is the owner of Miss Marple Knits (I love this name!), a yarn store in Dorset Falls, Connecticut. She is landlord to Lyndon Bailey, who is set to open an antiques store next to Miss Marple Knits.

When Lyndon is found dead, and his business partner is standing over his body, Josie needs to find out what happened.

I love cozy mysteries in general, because they're usually easy to read and quite enjoyable. But I really love this book. There are so many twists and turns to keep the reader guessing, in a good way, until the end. Just when you think you have the killer figured out, Ms. Hartwell throws you a curve. I honestly didn't see it coming.

The characters are so real and likeable. I can see several people I know in several of the characters in this book. Even Eb. I know a gruff but lovable guy like him. lol!

I definitely recommend this book... and I am going to purchase the first one too. :)

*I was given a free ecopy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

*NOTE* For some reason, my full review didn't publish at midnight, as I wanted it to... only the first paragraph or so. I have no idea why, but I've edited it with the full review. To the author: I'm sorry about that. I really have no idea what happened. :(

GIVEAWAY below! Woot-woot!

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Thursday, June 29, 2017

Scene of the Grind Review

I promise I'm not on Tonya Kappes's payroll. Lol! I just love her books. They're so fun to read, and her characters are so real. It's fun to delve into the pages of one of her books.

Such is the case with Scene of the Grind. This is the first book in the "Killer Coffee Mystery" series. Book 2 just came out, Mocha and Murder.

Anywho, Let's talk about Scene of the grind.

Recently divorced lawyer, Roxanne Bloom ("Roxie" to her friends) decided to move to her aunt's hometown of Honey Springs to open a coffeehouse there. Coffee was always a great comfort to her during her college days and in the midst of her divorce, so she knew opening a coffeehouse was a dream come true.

Honey Springs is on the verge of reopening their boardwalk area to locals and out of town visitors. The Bean Hive, Roxie's coffeehouse, is in a prime spot right on the boardwalk. Roxie couldn't be happier.

Until Alexis Roarke, owner of the Crooked Cat Bookstore, is found dead. By Roxie, no less. And who quickly becomes the main suspect? Aunt Maxi. So now Roxie has to use her sleuthing skills she'd learned in law school to track down the killer to get her aunt off the hook.

I loved this book! Mrs. Kappes has a talent for getting her readers to absolutely fall in love with her characters. It is so easy to fall right into their lives. They feel like your friends. And you definitely feel that way about the citizens of Honey Springs.

Now, anyone that has read my blog knows that I try to guess the killer before he/she is revealed at the end. I was trying to make what I thought was the least likely person, the guilty party. Everything they said/did I was all, "Mmmm-hmmm. That's because you're a killer." And, "That's suspicious activity, because you're a KILLER!" lol! But I was so very wrong. The killer was a complete surprise to me. I love that.

I definitely recommend this book. It's a page turner, for sure. :)

Monday, April 17, 2017

Southern Fried Review

Southern Fried is the second book in the Kenni Lowry mystery series.

Kenni Lowry is the sheriff in Cottonwood, KY. Her grandfather, in ghost form, looks out for her. And, with help from her ghost grandfather and hunky deputy Finn, Kenni sets out to catch a killer.

In this story, Owen Godbey was found murdered in Myrna's greenhouse. It was a very strange murder... it appears as though he was killed elsewhere and dumped there.

This book was great. There are so many twists and turns. Especially at the end! There is a major twist at the end that I totally did not see coming! I usually try to guess the killer before the protagonist does, but this book had me guessing until the end.

I call this another home run for author Tonya Kappes. A definite must-read for any cozy mystery fan!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Tranquility Review

The book I am going to be reviewing today is not an ordinary book. Tranquility: A Prayer and Reflection Coloring Journal is just what it says: a prayer and reflection journal, and a coloring book. And it's absolutely beautiful!

Now, anyone that knows me knows that I tend to be more apt to use pretty things. So I made my planner pretty, my binders are pretty, even my desk organizers are pretty. And if I find something I want to use (such as a really good bible study), and it isn't pretty, I'll pretty it up. I'll use sparkly gel pens, or I'll put stickers all over it. I am drawn to pretty things. They don't have to be super fancy or super expensive, they just have to be pretty.

So how happy was I when I opened the package containing this book to find out how very pretty it is?!?!? The line on the left of the cover that separates the design is actually raised. It's another piece on top. Here's another picture:
 It's a little easier to see there. You can click the picture to make it bigger.

Anyways, as soon as I opened the package I flipped through the book to see all the different elements. Here are some:
Oh, my goodness! Look how pretty! Love! :)
Some pages contain a prayer, a scripture, some lines for writing your thoughts, and something to color.

Other pages contain a quote from the bible, something to color, and a thought or question for you to draw or write about.

I color with gel pens and/or colored pencils. The color goes on nice and smooth, and it looks really good on the page. The pages are nice and thick, so I haven't had any problem with bleed through. And I got this book yesterday.

I call this one a home run. I just know I will enjoy my morning quiet time so much more with this lovely journal! I hope they make more. :)

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

A Ghostly Mortality Review

Tonya Kappes is definitely one of my favorite mystery authors. Her characters are humorous, her stories are easy to read and engaging. She has a way of weaving a tale that makes you want to come back for more.

That's why I was excited to read this book. Emma Lee Raines is a "Betweener," she can see the ghosts of murder victims. She needs to help solve the murders so the ghost can cross over. Fun premise, right? I thought so too. In this particular book, Emma Lee's client is her sister, Charlotte. *tear*

I wanted to like this book. I did. And I really tried to like it. But in the end, I was glad it was over. Not a lot of investigating was done by Emma. Also, the biggest clue did not even happen in this book, it happened in the last book. It appeared in this book as a flashback. There was so much potential in this book that was never used, so many plot components that were never expanded upon.

I'm not one that likes it when the killer is pulled out of left field. This was done here. The killer didn't even have a name for the longest time. I understand crafting the story so your readers are guessing until the end. But the killer should at least be a character in the story, not someone that was barely mentioned twice.

I will continue to read any books in the series that Mrs. Kappes continues to write, because I've grown attached to the citizens of Sleepy Hollow, KY. And because I am a fan of her work. But I did not care for this particular novel. And that's ok. It's not possible to please everyone all the time. Even Agatha Christie annoyed me with the ending of Murder on the Orient Express. And that's supposed to be one of her best ever. I disagree. And that's ok.

*Note: if you choose to read this book, please know that the ghost is Emma's sister, so it's a bit of a tearjerker at the end. Have tissues ready.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Selah Bible Study Review

Shelley Noonan from Pumpkin Seed Press has created a new bible study she calls Selah. I've seen this word in scripture before, but I never really understood what it meant.

Selah means pause and listen. And that is exactly what you do with this bible study. Each week, you are given a new section of scripture to study. After you read the passage, you begin to fill in the study journal. There are sections for listing the people in the passage, for looking up words you don't know, and for noting any questions you might have.

There's also a section for recording how God revealed an attribute (or more) of his character. She includes samples of this in the back to help you.

And there are sections to write your observations of the passage, and sections to write how you can apply what you learned to your own life. There's a spot to jot down a verse or 2 that maybe jumped out, the main theme of the scripture. And, of course, a section for prayer.

If this all sounds daunting, have no fear. There are instructions in the beginning. I was a little overwhelmed when I first started this study, thinking I had no idea how to do it, or if I was going to get anything out of it.

But, I must say, it's one of the better bible studies I've ever done.

There's so much to think about, but in the end, it's all about pausing and listening to what God is really trying to say to you. There's no need to do a big, complicated bible study. There's no need to rush through it at a chapter or two (or three!) a day. Everything God wants us to know is right there in his word. All we have to do is listen to him.

Another great thing about this study, is you read the same passage every day for a week. I don't know about you, but I can read the same scripture several times and get something different out of it each time. That's the purpose in this study. Read it again and again and again to make sure you understand what God meant for you when he inspired it.

I really enjoyed this bible study. If you'd like to read more about it, you can go to the Selah website. This study (it's on the book of Ruth) will be available at the end of April. And, trust me, you'll want to grab a copy when it's available.

I received a free copy of this study in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Kneaded to Death Review & Giveaway

Kneaded to Death. I requested to review this book because I liked the name. And the series name. Bread Shop Mystery. So cute and homey.

Anyways, Kneaded to Death is about a woman names Ivy Culpepper. She returned home after the tragic death of her mother. While there, she decided to take a breadmaking class, hoping to find inspiration for her photography blog. When one of the students in the class turns up poisoned, Ivy sets out to catch "whodunit."

The pros: The descriptions of the people and the scenes are so vivid you can almost see them. Ms. Archer has a wonderful gift for setting a scene. Also, the characters are extremely likeable. I had no problem curling up under a blanket and delving into their lives. It was quite enjoyable. As for the story, it definitely kept my interest until the end. Ms. Archer gives you clues as to who the killer is so you can figure it out, unlike some authors that keep an important detail or two hidden until the end when the protagonist reveals the killer. I don't like that. I feel cheated. I, however, didn't pick up on some of the clues so the murderer was a complete shock to me. Then, afterwards, I was all, "OH! So that's why..." or "That's what that meant!" lol!

The cons: Ivy's obsession with her high school sweetheart, Miguel, is a little schmaltzy and over the top at times. I believe that could've been toned down a bit. 

All in all, it's a really good book. It didn't take too long to read and was quite enjoyable. I can't wait for the next book in the series.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Publisher hosted giveaway:
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Monday, February 20, 2017

How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind

I rarely (and i mean rarely) review a book before I've finished it. Some examples include coloring books (because they take a long time) and bible studies (because there's often no need to finish them to be able to give a proper review). But books? No, I finish them first.

So why is this one an exception? Because I couldn't wait. I've only just started chapter 7 (of 29), and I've been chomping at the bit since page 1 (actually, page 7) to tell you about it.

I love this book. Love it! The author, Dana of A Slob Comes Clean is so funny! And she's real. She shares her struggles with being a slob with raw humor that I find refreshing. Loads of these types of books are all "I used to have this problem, but now I have life all figured out, and everything's super and perfect and roses and peaches and stuff." But Dana's all "I had this problem, but I figured out how to fix it, but I still struggle sometimes and that's ok." I just love that.

And, for real, I totally feel like she's talking about me (or to me) when she describes her struggle with being a slob. And she's real about how people might read her book ("Some of you flipped to this chapter and are starting here. I totally get it. You're desperate." p. 37, and "...I'll explain a little. [But not a lot. That's what the chapters you skipped are for.]" also p. 37). XD She even includes a picture or 2 of her mess. Makes me feel much better knowing I'm not the only one with a pile of dished on the counter.

Again, I'm only on chapter 7, but I can already tell this is going to be one of my favorite books. I'm going to pull it out again and again when I need a reminder or a little encouragement. I'm going to highlight my favorite passages and put sticky tabs on important pages. I am definitely domestically challenged, but for the first time in a long while, I feel like I can overcome that.

So head on over to get your copy of How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind. (Don't worry, it isn't an affiliate link.) I'm off to do the dishes. ;)

Saturday, February 4, 2017

A Patch on the Peak of Ararat Review

 A Patch on the Peak of Ararat is a children's book by Gary Bower. Now, right off on the cover, you can tell that the ark in this book isn't the "bathtub" type of ark that most children's books portray. You know the ones. The cute little boat with Noah standing on the deck, and the giraffe's heads sticking out the top. That type of ark makes it very difficult to believe the account of Noah's Ark as truth. But this book has a nice, big ark with no animals sticking out of it. Safety and whatnot. :)

Anyways, this book, of course, rhymes (as most children's books do). But this book is reminiscent of "The House That Jack Built" in that each new phrase builds on the last. And each phrase is repeated after each new one is introduced. Which is fun for kids.

The illustrations by Barbara Chotiner are fun, too. My son, 7, that I read this book to said he loved the pictures.

I like that the book contains God's promise to never flood the earth again, but it never mentioned that God flooded it in the first place. Or why. The only time God is mentioned is when Noah followed his "carpentry plan" (lol!), and the promise of no more global flood.

However, it does tell you at the end of the book where you can read the whole flood account (calls it a "story" which I do not like) in the bible. So this is a nice way to introduce what happened in sort of an overview manner, then you can choose to go in depth in the bible.

It may sound like a lot of complaining, but I'm particular about my biblical children's books. This is actually a super cute book that tells about the account of the flood from the bible. While it's not particularly informative, it's catchy, fun, and it's a great way to begin (or end) a discussion about the how and why of the global flood.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Killing Us Softly Review

Killing Us Softly by Efrem Smith. Now, let me just say right off that this is not a mystery. That seems to be most of what I've reviewed here is mysteries, and with "killing" in the title I'm sure you'd assume right off that it's a mystery. But it's not.

That said, Killing Us Softly is a book about sin and redemption.

God's world was perfect in the beginning. Then sin entered into it, and it turned, as the author puts it, upside-down. Like Bizarro World in Superman. Mr. Smith painted a vivid picture of our world today and how it compares to the fictional Bizarro World. Things are all wonky and crazy. Animals kill each other. People kill each other. Diseases are rampant. Hopelessness abounds. How can we endure it?

There is hope. God has a plan for taking us away from all of this. And it's wonderful. So wonderful, in fact, that he wants to change us to conform to what he wants rather than what the world wants, so we can tell others about God, and that they can see a difference in us.

But to do that, we have to die to certain things. It may feel like God is killing us, very softly.

It's a powerful book and I really enjoyed reading it.

I like what he said about race: "There is no biological basis for 'race.' What we mean by race is not based on ethnicity or nationality; it has no correlation to particular behaviors or intelligence. It's based entirely on arbitrary classifications such as skin color." Also, "God did not create racial groups of human beings." However, then he goes on to say that such-and-such white guy killed people and he was arrested. Such-and-such white guy killed people and he was arrested. Such-and-such white guy killed people and he was arrested. And then, 9 black people had run-ins with cops, and they were killed. I don't like this. And I don't agree with it. The situations were vastly different. I almost quit reading the book right then and there.

But I didn't. And I'm glad. Because it really is a wonderful book. It teaches about the power of sin and what it does to man, and about how to be redeemed from that sin.

As for me, it's a pleasure to be killed softly by the loving hand of my Creator.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

A Ghostly Reunion Review

Tonya Kappes has done it again! Seriously!

I really love Tonya's books. They're fun, engaging, and easy to read. She writes like people talk. Meaning she doesn't use overly complicated words or phrases that are difficult to understand. For me, that makes her books very enjoyable to read. You can concentrate on the story rather than decipher complicated imagery or whatnot.

That said, let's talk about the book. It's a mystery, so I can't tell you too much.

Jade Lee Peel was a beauty contest winner from Sleepy Hollow, Kentucky. She made it big as a reality show star, and came back to Sleepy Hollow to attend her high school reunion. 

But clearly, someone wasn't happy with her. Because they killed her. Now it's up to Emma Lee Raines, owner of Eternal Slumber Funeral Home, and her hunky boyfriend, sheriff Jack Henry Ross, to find the killer. 

There's something I haven't told you about Emma Lee... thanks to a bump on the head, she can see and hear ghosts. So not only does she have super cute Jack Henry to help solve the crime, she has Jade Lee herself. 

This book is fun from the first page to the last. (And the killer is quite a shock.)

Each Ghostly Southern Mystery ends with Emma meeting up with a new client; the ghost from the next book. At the end of A Ghostly Reunion we meet her next client, one I am personally very sad about. It's a beloved character. So I really can't wait until February 28th when A Ghostly Mortality is released. 

Anyways, this is another home run for Tonya Kappes. I really enjoyed it, and I hope you do too. :)