Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Simple Pleasures ~ Stories From My Life As An Amish Mother~ Marianne Jantzi

  • Series: Plainspoken
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Herald Press (March 29, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1513800272
  • ISBN-13: 978-1513800271

Young Amish homemaker Marianne Jantzi invites readers into her family s life and Amish community. The mother of four young children, Jantzi writes about her daily routines and heartfelt faith with equal measures of wit and warmth. Sewing, cleaning, cooking, gardening, and helping to manage the family store take up most hours in her day, but Jantzi finds time to pen columns for the Connection, a magazine beloved by Amish and Mennonite readers. Never sugarcoating the frustrations of motherhood, Jantzi tells it like it is, broken washing machine and bickering children and all. But through her busy days, Jantzi finds strength in simple pleasures of family, fellowship with her Amish community, and quiet time with God.
Hear straight from Amish people themselves as they write about their daily lives and deeply rooted faith in the Plainspoken series from Herald Press. Each book includes A Day in the Life of the Author and the author s answers to FAQs about the Amish.

About the author:
Marianne Jantzi is an Amish writer and homemaker in Ontario, Canada. Formerly a teacher in an Amish school, Jantzi now educates and inspires through her “Northern Reflections” column for The Connection, a magazine directed mainly to Amish and plain communities across the U.S. and Canada. She and her husband have four young children and run a shoe store among the Milverton Amish settlement of Ontario.

My take on this book:
I have always loved reading about the Amish whether fact or fiction there is something about the lifestyle that has always fascinated me. With Simple Pleasures the author provides a look at her daily life as an Amish mother. She shares her story in a simply written journal style where her ordinary days of homemaking and helping run the family store made me feel like I was learning about an old friend. She shares the ups and downs, while also allowing me to sense her strong sense of faith and family. I think anyone who wants a true look at how an Amish family lives will certainly enjoy reading this story. It's the magic of the ordinary days of her life that she shares with us that makes this book so special. 

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016


Pocket Prayers (with various authors; Thomas Nelson, March 2016)
Bestselling author Max Lucado has teamed up with six authors to write the Pocket Prayers series for those in need of peace, renewal, rest, faith, hope, joy, direction, serenity, and courage.
Pocket PrayersShort, simple prayers are very effective, which is why each book in the series contains forty guided prayers and complementary scriptures for any situation, including for:
—Moms (written with daughter Andrea Lucado)
—Grads (written with daughter Andrea Lucado)
—Dads (written with Mark Mynheir)
—Military Life (written with Mark Mynheir)
—Teachers (written with blogger Jennifer Hale)
—Friends (written with Betsy St. Amant)

My take on these books:
The first thing I noticed about Max Lucado's Pocket Prayers is the size, the size makes them very portable, perfect for slipping into a briefcase or even a purse, but it was the contents inside that made these little gems a real winner! Each book contains forty prayers that are short and sweet but really are perfect when you are looking for a prayer that will get to the heart of the matter, I find as I use the book geared toward  mothers that the prayers ground me, allowing me to take a few seconds and talk to God about whatever may be bothering me. Each prayer begins with a relevant scripture verse, and then there is a brief prayer that gives God thanks. These books can be used as mini-devotionals or as they are intended as prayers in our time of need. Don't forget to read the introduction to these little gems because Mr. Lucado provides words of wisdom and provides insight to why prayer is so important.  
Pocket Prayers would make wonderful gifts for any occasion.

A complimentary copy of these books were provided for review.

Max Lucado


More than 120 million readers have found inspiration and encouragement in the writings of Max Lucado. He lives with his wife, Denalyn, and their mischievous mutt, Andy, in San Antonio, Texas, where he serves the people of Oak Hills Church.
Find out more about Max at

Enter to win a Pocket Prayers prize pack—two winners will be chosen! Each prize pack contains all six of the new Pocket Prayers books, a signed copy of Before Amen, and a custom Pocket Prayers paperweight. Click the image below to enter to win. The winners will be announced May 2 on the Litfuse blog!
pocket prayers

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Sit Stay Love ~ Dana Mentink ~ Litfuse Blog tour with giveaway

Sit, Stay, LoveTake one abrasive professional athlete, a quirky out-of-work schoolteacher, and an overweight geriatric dog, and you’re ready for a lesson in love . . . Tippy style.
Pro baseball pitcher Cal Crawford is not a dog guy. When he inherits his deceased mother’s elderly dog, Tippy, he’s quick to call on a pet-sitting service.
Gina isn’t thrilled to be a dog sitter when her aspirations lie in the classroom. Furthermore, she can’t abide the unfriendly Cal, a man with all the charm of a wet towel. But with no other prospects and a deep love for all things canine, she takes the job caring for Tippy.
As Gina travels through Cal’s world with Tippy in tow, she begins to see Cal in a different light. Gina longs to show Cal the God-given blessings in his life that have nothing to do with baseball or fame. When her longing blooms into attraction, Gina does her best to suppress it. But Cal is falling in love with her too…
Discover the charming story of Tippy, the dog who brought a family together.

My take on this book:
Heart touching story that put a smile on my face. I love that one of the main characters is Tippy the overweight dog, that in itself would have made this book a must read for me, she was truly a character herself, often doing laugh out loud funny things, but the author also provides a sweet story with enjoyable characters that made this book a joy to read. Gina is an out of work teacher who is doing a stint as a dog walker and Cal, who really isn't a dog person,  has just inherited a dog and needs someone to take care of her. While Gina isn't crazy about Cal she loves Tippy.

Loveable characters and a heartwarming story makes this a wonderful little read. Anyone who enjoys reading about dogs will find it a must read, but honestly anyone looking for an uplifting, put a smile on your face kind of read really should read it as well.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review.


Dana Mentink lives in California, where the weather is golden and the cheese is divine. Dana is an American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year finalist for romantic suspense and an award winner in the Pacific Northwest Writers Literary Contest. Her suspense novel, Betrayal in the Badlands, earned a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award. Besides writing, she busies herself teaching third and fourth grade. Mostly, she loves to be home with her husband, two daughters, a dog with social anxiety problems, a chubby box turtle, and a feisty parakeet.
Find out more about Dana at

Join Dana in celebrating the release of Sit, Stay, Love with a blog tour and a Travels with Tippy prize pack giveaway!
sit stay love-400
One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of Sit, Stay, Love
  • A $75 Visa cash card
  • A basket filled with Tippy-themed goodies
    • Travel-themed decorator box
    • Reading dog statue
    • Dog journal
    • Poems for Dog Lovers
    • Snuggle Paws fleece blanket from Animal Rescue Site
    • Pawprint scarf
    • Doxie desk pen
    • Pupmobile auto magnet
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry! The giveaway ends on April 25th. The winner will be announced April 26th on Dana’s blog.
sit stay love-enterbanner

Freedom's Child ~ Jax Miller

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; Reprint edition (March 1, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553446878
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553446876

Freedom Oliver has plenty of secrets.  She lives in a small Oregon town and keeps mostly to herself.  Her few friends and neighbors know she works at the local biker bar; they know she gets arrested for public drunkenness almost every night; they know she’s brash, funny, and fearless.  

What they don’t know is that Freedom Oliver is a fake name.  They don’t know that she was arrested for killing her husband, a cop, twenty years ago.  They don’t know she put her two kids up for adoption.  They don’t know that she’s now in witness protection, regretting ever making a deal with the Feds, and missing her children with a heartache so strong it makes her ill.

Then, she learns that her daughter has gone missing, possibly kidnapped.  Determined to find out what happened, Freedom slips free of her handlers, gets on a motorcycle, and heads for Kentucky, where her daughter was raised.  As she ventures out on her own, no longer protected by the government, her troubled past comes roaring back at her: her husband’s vengeful, sadistic family; her brief, terrifying stint in prison; and the family she chose to adopt her kids who are keeping dangerous secrets. 

Written with a ferocious wit and a breakneck pace, Freedom’s Child is a thrilling, emotional portrait of a woman who risks everything to make amends for a past that haunts her still.

My take on this book:
Freedom's Child was a book that I struggled to read. Freedom Oliver is a tough character to like. She did something that not only caused her to go into the witness protection program, she also gave up her children for adoption. That didn't keep her from missing them, so when she learns that her daughter is missing she becomes determined to figure out what happened.
I just couldn't connect with the characters in this story. There was a varied selection of characters, and most of them seemed like they came from a bad episode of Jerry Springer. Skinheads, meth heads with rotten teeth. I think the author does a good job of allowing the reader to visualize the characters and the plot does move along pretty well, for me though there was nothing that held me to the plot. I didn't care what happened one way or the other and found myself often skimming the story to just make it to the end. Overall not really a book for me.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Devlin's Curse ~ Lady Brenda

  • Paperback: 262 pages
  • Publisher: Solstice Publishing (March 1, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1625263333
  • ISBN-13: 978-1625263339

A wicked tale of love and immortality, set against the backdrop of the Old West… Esmeralda Jones, exorcist and healer travels to the notorious gold town of Virginia City where a demonic presence lurks deep in the Gilded Bird mine. A woman with a mysterious past she sets herself up in a fine salon where she can fulfill her calling to purge innocent souls from unspeakable evil. An unexpected encounter with Devlin Winter, gambler, gunfighter and sinfully handsome vampire puts her soul and carefully guarded heart in peril. Driven by a passion of many lifetimes and the thirst for revenge, Devlin doesn’t count on Esmeralda becoming the bait that draws him into the demon’s lair, deep inside the Gilded Bird mine. During his quest he confronts Virginia City’s most prominent mine owner’s, a rabid pack of hired guns and a Babylonian demon. Devlin and Esmeralda face a fierce battle that even his immortal strength and her magical abilities may not be enough to win against. A battle in which Esmeralda herself may have to choose between a half-life and immortality to survive.

My take on this book:
Devlin's Curse by Lady Brenda takes readers on a mind bending journey to Virginia City, Nevada during 1877 where something evil lurks within the tunnels of the Gilded Bird gold mine, a place where most men fear to go and often don't make it out alive. Devlin Winter has come to town to try and eradicate that evil, but when his path crosses with Esmeralda Jones he finds himself longing for normalcy, something that he can never have. There is one person that want's to embrace the evil that lurks within the mine and will do anything in order to accomplish his goal. What occurs is a battle of evil that leaves one wondering what the cost of winning against this age old evil might be.

Lady Brenda pens a unique tale like none I have encountered before with Devlin's Curse! I am a huge fan of western tales and when you add the paranormal elements of vampires, windigos and an age old evil demon to the mix along with an amazing love story that spans time well you get just a brief idea of what makes Devlin's Curse so fantastic! Lady Brenda allows the readers to see the story unfold through the eyes of more than one character which makes for a rich telling full of vivid imagery that allows for a multi-layered story that flowed smoothly from the pages, grabbing the imagination. The slow reveal of who or what the characters were added a suspenseful element. Truthfully though there were plenty of suspenseful elements , actually edge of your seat type of scenes, where the twists provided kept me guessing who might make it out alive!  I found myself drawn into the story of Devlin and Esmeralda and wondered about the past that was hinted at, when their story was finally revealed it was greater than any I could have imagined.   I for one was hooked within the first few pages of the story, and remained captivated  until the last page, and to be truthful I really find myself hoping the author provides a sequel because I think that Devlin and Esmeralda's tale is far from finished!  While there were a few editing issues with the story they couldn't overshadow the caliber of  writing skills exhibited by Lady Brenda. 

Reviewed for

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Can a Princess Be a Firefighter? ~ Carole P. Roman

  • File Size: 7711 KB
  • Print Length: 19 pages
  • Publisher: Red Feather Publishing (April 4, 2016)
  • Publication Date: April 4, 2016
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English

Two little girls pepper their father with questions about whether or not they can be a profession and still be a princess. Motivated by her granddaughter's fascination with all things 'princess,' Carole P. Roman penned this adorable poem celebrating all the wonderful possibilities waiting ahead for them.

My take on this book:

Can A Princess Be A Firefighter? is a book that every young girl should have read to them, and then they should be reminded often. The positive message in this book is one that all girls young and old need to hear. Girls and women can be whatever they want to be, and if they change their mind, well that's ok too! Carole P. Roman has a fantastic way of blending a fun little read together with positive messages, that can't be shared with a young girl often enough. The illustrations are paired perfectly with the story to make this a book that  will become a favorite. This book should be in every library.
A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review.

Rocket-bye ~ Carole Roman

  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (March 13, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1530243378
  • ISBN-13: 978-1530243372

Carole P. Roman travels to the stars, orbiting the moon and rocketing past planets in this adorable journey to the far reaches of the galaxy. A beautiful bedtime poem, this verse is sure to delight any child before they go to sleep.

My take on this book:
Imagine soaring through the universe on a rocket, yep I said on a rocket not inside one! That's just where Rocket-bye by Carole P. Roman takes youngsters imagination in her wonderfully illustrated book. Youngsters imaginations will be soaring in the clouds as they zoom along with two brothers find themselves gliding through the galaxy, soaring above the trees and speeding past the stars and constellations. Thing is these two don't feel any fear instead it's a sense of awe and wonder as they get a rocket ride they won't soon forget. No matter where they soar though they always wind back up safe in bed at home! 

Carole P. Roman does it again. This time she does a rhyming story that's perfect for bedtime. Youngsters will find their imaginations caught up as they travel along on this journey through the galaxy. They will also learn the names of some planets and constellations. A great book for youngsters but I think anyone would enjoy this trip through space.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review.

Breakthrough Bible ~ Ray Geide

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Breakthrough Version Publishing (January 30, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0962801240
  • ISBN-13: 978-0962801242
  • Bibles should not be Misleading

    People assume that the Bible tells the same message as it did hundreds of years ago. It doesn’t. It’s words are the same, but they have changed in meaning.

    English is constantly changing. Hundreds of years ago when English Bibles were first written, believe used to mean trust. Today it doesn't. Reward used to mean pay. Today it doesn't. There are hundreds more. This is a problem few readers are aware of.

    Today's new Bible versions miss most of these. They still use the old words even though they don't mean what readers think they mean. This is misleading. Bibles should not be misleading.

    To solve this problem, Ray Geide (a former missionary, pastor, and Bible teacher with an MDiv in New Testament Studies) spent over thirty years developing a new set of words that accurately portray the original meaning. These words and many new breakthroughs are integrated into this handy New Testament.

    • accurate

    • easy to understand

    • corrects thousands of problems in the other versions

    • brings out special nuances from the original Greek text

    • uses common everyday words

    • sets a new standard for Bible versions

    Bible versions today are a minefield of misunderstood words. In a recent survey, people misunderstood 68% of the Bible's common words. Words like believe, lord, preach, study, grace, and worship, do not mean what the reader thinks they mean because they come from old Bible versions written when these words meant something else.
    This book does something unique. It goes back to the Greek text, digs up the original meanings, and replaces the misunderstood words with new words that communicate the proper meaning.

    But there are more problems. Few people realize that the KJV and newer versions are not consistent in their translation of the Greek text. They use different English words to translate the same Greek word. They also use transliterations that hide the meaning of some words. They do not convey nuances found in the Greek text. And they propagate many incorrect renderings. The Breakthrough Version fixes these problems and many more.

    The New Testament: Breakthrough Version is a complete makeover of the New Testament. It is a contemporary literal translation of the old Greek text that tears down the language barrier of other Bible versions and develops a better understanding of God's Word.

My take on this Bible:
I am always looking for better understanding of my Bible reading and the Breakthrough Bible is written for today's reader, in an easy to understand format that uses words that are taken from the Greek manuscripts and translated to the accurate English words. Mr. Geide even includes a Bible word helper card that share commonly misunderstood words. Anyone can pick up this translation, read it, and get the gist of what God's message is. I will be the first to admit that I always fall back to my KJV Bible, and I know many people feel the same way, but don't let that stop you from exploring this translation because you may just get a clearer understanding of what you are reading. If I had one complaint it's that the version is only New Testament, because I would love to read the Old Testament using this version.  

A complimentary copy of this Bible was provided for review

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Would a Worm Go on a Walk? ~ Hannah C. Hall

  • Age Range: 4 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 2
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Ideals Childrens Books (April 5, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 082495677X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0824956776

Would a worm go on a walk, if you could lead him down the street? / Would he wear his tiny tennies, if he had two worm-sized feet?
So begins this humorous and imaginative picture book that introduces children to the idea that animals are uniquely created by a loving and wise God. Would a Worm Go on a Walk?, with its colorful, comical illustrations, is a fresh, fun way to teach young children that God created all things very good. He gave all the animals, and children, too, wonderful qualities and unique strengths. Children will giggle over the ridiculous scenarios presented, and they will come away with the knowledge that we all are loved and special. Ages 4-7.

My take on this book:
If you think the cover of this book is vibrant then you really need to see the illustrations inside. They are wonderfully done with bright,beautiful colors and they are paired perfectly with the rhyming prose that Hannah C. Hall shares. The pictures will certainly capture the imagination, and probably put a smile on the face as your child learns the valuable lesson that God created each of the animals in the story differently, with their own unique strengths, likes, and dislikes, just how he planned them to be. The final page though really wraps the story up perfectly, and children will know that they are a part of God's creation and created perfectly as well. 

What a wonderful story to share with youngsters, positive messages and self esteem building can never start to early in a youngsters life and this book really provides the message that they are special, one of God's true masterpieces in spades. I can see this book becoming a favorite.  Truly a delightful read.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Busy, Busy ~ Eileen Spinelli

  • Age Range: 2 - 5 years
  • Board book: 20 pages
  • Publisher: Ideals Childrens Books; Brdbk edition (April 5, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0824919718
  • ISBN-13: 978-0824919719

Sometimes, when life gets hectic and schedules get crowded, children may feel a little lost in the shuffle. In this new board book, the animals are all quite occupied. Beaver is busy; squirrel is busy; frog is busy. Mole is digging, bear is fishing, and cat is pouncing. And like many parents, Mama is busy too. But she's not too busy for a hug! Children will love the busy animals and the warm conclusion. This lighthearted, lyrical book will gently reassure children that, in spite of how busy their families are, there is always time to share love. Ages 2-5.

My take on this book:
Let's face it life gets busy but with Eileen Spinelli's book Busy, Busy ! youngsters are going to be reassured that no matter how busy their mother might be she will always have time to share her love and snuggle with them. 

This is a sturdy little book that will withstand young hands, and many readings. The pages and covers are hardboard and shiny which would be easy to keep clean, and the rounded corners to the front of the book are great. The  illustrations are vibrant and bright, I found myself smiling at the various animals as I turned the pages. I can see youngsters wanting to read along and I would think it would be great to point out the various animals on the pages. Written in a rhyming prose that flows smoothly. This book is really geared toward mothers, whether you're a stay at home mom, or work outside the home, life is always busy and this adorable little book would be perfect for reminding your youngster that you are never too busy to spend time with them! I can just imagine this being a great little read right before naptime or bedtime, or just anytime you want to snuggle with your youngster.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review.

Under the Sea Holy Bible, NIrV

  • Age Range: 6 - 10 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 5
  • Hardcover: 1152 pages
  • Publisher: Zonderkidz (March 1, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310754046
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310754046

The Under the Sea Holy Bible, NIrV is a perfect gift for children ages 6 to 10. Themes of underwater fun and sparkling fish grace the interior of this wonderful children’s Bible. The outside is covered in foil and sparkle. The interior has color inserts featuring whimsical underwater scenes with themes of God’s care and love for each of us and all of creation.

My take on this Bible:
The cover of the Under The Sea NIRV Bible is bright, sparkly, and eye catching. The NIRV translation is an easy to understand reading experience for youth or anyone who wants an easy to read Bible. I love that there is a presentation page which makes this cute little Bible easy to give as a gift. Instead of there being illustrations and pictures there are just three colored, illustrated pages within this Bible. Each of the three pages discuss things such as The Lord's Prayer, what prayer is, The Ten Commandments for kids, love passages for kids, famous children of the Bible, and the most important by far, the ABC's of becoming a christian. There is also a small dictionary along with a list of great Bible stories. Overall this is a cute little Bible, with a few frills printed in an easy to read translation. 

A complimentary copy of this Bible was provided for review.

NIV Life Connect Study Bible

  • Hardcover: 1792 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan; Special edition (April 5, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310426405
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310426400

In Your Spiritual Life
Dr. Wayne Cordeiro has something to say to you today: Love your Bible.
In a world competing for your time and attention at every turn, that’s easier said than done. Until now.
Through helpful notes and articles, a variety of study tools, and links that direct you to an incredible set of digital resources, connecting with the Word of God is never more than a click, a tap, or a swipe away.
The NIV LifeConnect Study Bible includes expanded margins with subtle ruled lines, so you can personally interact with the Bible by writing down your thoughts and insights right on the page.
Includes access to a wealth of digital resources about Biblical discipleship and in-depth Bible study by Dr. Wayne Cordeiro and others, right on your handheld device.
  • The complete text of the NIV Bible, the world’s most-read and most-trusted modern-English translation
  • Thousands of verse-by-verse notes explain and provide background on the Scripture text
  • SOAP (Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer) articles invite interaction with the text through a helpful framework
  • Extra room in the margins and after each Bible book allows for writing directly on the page
  • LifeConnect Articles bring the truths of the Bible to your life today
  • Insightful quotes invite reflection
  • Study tools include book introductions, NIV cross-references and an NIV concordance
My take on this Bible
The NIV Life connect Study Bible is an easy to use study Bible that also has lined margins and blank journal  pages making note taking easier. The blank pages are lined and have a heading which includes date, title, page, the bottom of the page asks the question, how will I be different today because of what I have just read. There are some other features with this Bible that really stood out for me including life connect articles that are intended to help believers grow stronger in their faith. There are also SOAP articles, and soap stands for scripture, observation, application, and prayer. The blank journaling page seems to follow each soap article as well as appearing after each book of the Bible. Speaking of books, each book of the Bible opens with an extensive introduction, and users can expect to find bottom of the page notes along with reference along the outer pages The study notes aren't extensive as the other study Bibles that I own but they are ok. There is the standard concordance and maps included in the back of the book, along with a Bible reading plan. . I think one of my favorite things has to be that this is a red letter edition, something that I always enjoy. One thing that is lacking with this Bible is a presentation page, something that I normally look for when giving a Bible as a gift. The print was big enough for me. When you purchase this Bible it includes access to a wealth of digital resources. Overall if you're looking for a study Bible this one might be for you, especially if you're looking for one with lined margins. A good Bible for everyday use.

A complimentary copy of this Bible was provided for review.