Home on the Range

home on the range

 

Can the brother left behind and a woman without hope work together for the good of two precious children?

Nick Stafford stayed in central Washington, working his family’s large ranch after his brothers left to pursue other passions—but his toughest job is being a single dad. As a child he watched his father fail at marriage and parenting, so Nick was determined to show him up. He’d be a better husband, father, and ranch manager than Sam Stafford ever was. Despite that commitment, three years after Nick’s wife left him, he has a daughter in trouble at school and both of his girls are facing issues that force him to rethink his stubborn plans.

For Dr. Elsa Andreas, life fell apart when tragedy caused her to abandon her family therapy practice and retreat to the backwoods of Gray’s Glen. Her school principal sister believes Elsa can guide the Stafford girls and that working with kids will draw Elsa out of her protective bubble.

Summer on the Double S teems with life and adventure. Amid the bounty of God and land, will Nick and Elsa find the courage to build futures based on faith rather than fear?

I know I have said this before…..but I must say it again. Writing Christian Contemporary Fiction cannot be easy.

But on a serious note… How have I gone this long and not discovered Ruth Logan Herne? Her new book Home of the Range  is a near perfect example of quality Christian contemporary fiction.

Now Home on the Range is the second book in the Double S Ranch Series and its ok if you start here like I did. (Although I will be going back to devour the first very soon).  These are stand alone novels that can be read separately.

I found Nick to be an absolutely wonderful main character with such a mix of strength and gentleness that is rarely seen today. Elsa was such a surprise as well. I love her depth and character development through the whole book. This book was raw, real, and something that I could completely relate too. (Despite the lack of cowboy in my life)

This was truly a book about second chances. Herne did such a wonderful job blending faith into real life situations. Because not everything is simple and that reminder of God being with you through the hard stuff is definitely needed.

I truly enjoyed this book and can’t wait to dig into the rest of the series.

Number of Pages: 352
Vendor: Multnomah Books

ISBN: 0735290660
ISBN-13: 9780735290662

 I received this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for my honest review.

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The Chapel Car Bride

chapel car bride

 

With her penchant for seeing the best in everyone, Hope Irvine sees a world full of good people in hard places. When her father accepts a position traveling in a chapel car as an on-the-rail missionary, she is determined to join him in his efforts and put her musical skills to good use by serving the mining families of West Virginia, saving their souls, and bettering their lives.

Luke Hughes shares Hope’s love of music and her love of God, but as a poor miner he knows he can offer her no future. Still, the notes she sings resonate in his heart. When she begins to travel with a young mine manager to neighboring counties, Luke can hardly suppress his jealousy. It isn’t until he begins to suspect these missions of mercy might be the mine manager’s cover for illegal purposes, though, that Luke feels justified in speaking up. But how can he discover the truth without hurting Hope or, worse, putting her in danger?

Judith Miller’s newest book The Chapel Car Bride is what one would expect from Miller. Miller is an award winning author with a gift for writing historical fiction. The Chapel Car Bride is an example of a simplistic plot with a rich background.

While the title does not shy away from telling you the ending, I found that when it comes to Miller its the middle of the book that always holds the best stuff. I really liked reading about the mining towns is West Virginia. I love that part of the United States.

Even though I found Hope kind of bland I really enjoyed the rest of the characters. I like Luke and his dedication to his family. Kirby brought a bit of enjoyment to the book as well because you had no idea how his story would end.

The Chapel Car Bride is an easy and light read. It is one of those laying in the hammock, summer reading books. I look forward to Miller’s next book.

Number of Pages: 352
Vendor: Bethany House

ISBN: 0764219057
ISBN-13: 9780764219054

I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review.

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Words From The Hill

words from hill

 

A disruptive and surprising journey through the Beatitudes.
Most of the time, life doesn’t work out like we expect it will. We spend time and energy trying to climb some sort of spiritual ladder, oblivious to the fact that it is God who is moving toward us.

We want answers to our problems, yet what is offered is presence.

What if we were to become united with our brokenness rather than our victories? What if God moves closest to us in the absence, the ache, and the longing?

Words from the Hill turns each beatitude on its head to see the unexpected beneath the understood—diving into the story of a woman on death row to speak about mercy, personal stories from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to talk about peace, and much more. Stu Garrard has walked with these people in their stories, and he vulnerably offers his own as he unpacks the Good News of the Beatitudes.

God is on your side, and He is closer than you think.

Stu Garrard has written his first book. While writing isn’t foreign to him, since he has written many Christian songs, Word From The Hill is new territory for him.

I was excited to read this book because anything in the Beatitudes is always interesting to me. Stu did not disappoint. He walked the Beatitudes  and shared not only his personal stories but stories of others that have effected his life. I found this book full of personal examples of how God has worked in peoples’ lives.

That being said, I would not call this a Bible study or even a devotional. This is many experiences and journeys with Jesus. That is a good thing. They are testimonies. Examples of how God works in the simple ways and in the big ways.

Overall this book is just an excellent reminder of who we need to be looking for. Jesus.

Number of Pages: 224
Vendor: NavPress

ISBN: 1631465988
ISBN-13: 9781631465987

I received this book from Tyndale Publishing in exchange for my honest review.

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All These Wonders

moth stories

 

 All These Wonders….. WOW what a fun book. I mean I love people’s stories. I love stories period, but these short stories were so entertaining!

I don’t think there was a single story that I didn’t like. Some of them had twists and turns, others made you want to cry, and them some you were just laughing through because you could totally relate. You felt  whatever the person was feeling, well because these stories were real. The people transparent.

My favorite story was “Who Can You Trust?” While I won’t ruin anything all I have to say I NEVER saw that ending coming.

I really recommend this book. While it is just a book of personal memoirs there is just something about getting to know people’s stories that just bring them closer. It ties people together. There is something about authentic vulnerability that helps one another become friends….even family.

I had never read a Moth book or heard their podcasts, but now I may have to just find as much of their stuff as I can.

  • Series: The Moth Presents
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Archetype (March 21, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1101904402
  • ISBN-13: 978-1101904404

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

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Long Time Gone

long time gone

 

The Boden clan thought their problems had ended with the death of a dangerous enemy, but have they truly uncovered the real plot to take their New Mexico ranch? Rancher Justin Boden is now in charge. He is normally an unshakable and rugged man, but with his brother, Cole, shot and in mortal danger, even a tough man faces doubts. And it doesn’t help that Angie DuPree, the assistant to the doctor trying to save Cole, is as distracting a woman as Justin ever laid eyes on.

With her and the doc’s timely skills, Cole looks to be on the mend, and Justin and the rest of the Bodens can turn their attention back to the dangers facing them. It’s clear now that everything that’s occurred is part of a much bigger plot that could date back to a decades-old secret. Can they uncover all the pieces before danger closes in on them, or is the threat to the ranch even bigger than any of the Bodens could imagine?

Mary Connealy has written the second novel in the Cimarron Ranch series. Long Time Gone is definitely not a stand alone novel. If you haven’t read the first one you better get started before you read this book.

I honestly don’t know what I expected from this book. I know when you read Connealy she always follows a certain form in her writing. Two people meat, there are sparks, then trouble, last the devote themselves to each other and marriage.

While most of the time I enjoy Connealy’s simplistic plots this book just left me disappointed. For me there just wasn’t any chemistry. Angie just fell flat in so many ways for me. I also found Justin, almost obnoxious at times.

This kind of review is very rare for me. Normally I like Connealy’s books for a relaxing read. I really do hope Cole’s story in the third book is better.

Number of Pages: 336
Vendor: Bethany House

ISBN: 076421182X
ISBN-13: 9780764211829

I received this book from Bethany House Publishing in exchange for my honest review.

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When God Made You

when god made u

 

 

YOU; God thinks about you.
God was thinking of you long before your debut.

From early on, children are looking to discover their place in the world and longing to understand how their personalities, traits, and talents fit in. Knowing that they are deeply loved and a unique creation in our big universe is certain to help them spread their wings and fly.   
 
Written in playful, charming rhyme and brought to life with vivid, fantastical illustrations, young readers will be encouraged and excited to learn about their own special gifts and how they fit into God’s divine plan as they grow, explore, and begin create for themselves.
 
’Cause when God made YOU, somehow God knew
That the world needed someone exactly like you!

 

When God Made You is a visually stunning piece of art. This book illustrated by David Catrow is so gorgeous. The way each page just comes alive is remarkable. My youngest just loved looking at the pictures in this book.

The writing was whimsical and the whole book just flowed well with all the rhyming. That being said this book only focuses on God’s love for us. While that is not a bad thing, if your looking for a book about a relationship with God this is not it.  The book’s sole purpose is the description of God’s love for us.

Overall it is an good book. We need to know that God loves us. The simplicity of this message is rooted in the whole book: Love one another.

 

 

ISBN: 1601429185
ISBN-13: 9781601429186
Ages: 3-7

Number of Pages: 48
Vendor: WaterBrook

 

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review

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Quick Tips For Busy Families

busy families

 

 

Ingenious Parenting Shortcuts Every Mom and Dad Should Know

Parenting can be hard work, and our lives continue to get busier and busier. Is it possible to lighten the load but still raise great kids?

From his experiences as a dad as well as interacting with countless other parents, Jay Payleitner has gathered scores of secrets worth passing along–simple things veteran moms and dads have learned over the years. Things as simple as passing along truths during TV commercials. Or connecting with your children as you tuck them in at night. Or learning how to laugh over spilt milk.

Some of the ideas are old-school secrets that were passed from one generation to the next; others deal with issues that would have never crossed Grandma and Grandpa’s minds. All of them are easy to implement.

This book is designed for a quick, breezy reading experience, letting parents pick and choose those ideas that will make their lives easier, their kids happier, and their futures even brighter.

I think I have been trying to write this review for two weeks. Finding time to sit and write this review has been hard. I totally understand what it means to be a busy family. So when I saw Quick Tips For Busy Families by Jay Payleinter, I was like “give me please!!!”

This is a quick and easy read….thank goodness. It is broken down into 144 different tips ranging from astronomy, to how to explain 911, to camping trips, or even taking home leftovers that are offered.

Not all of these were tips, some were experiences he had with his own kids. While some of the tips were good, others left me scratching my head. Some I thought were just common sense like “Barge Into Their World” or “Explain 911”.

I think over all this book is ok. It may be for parents of younger kids as just to prepare them for some of the crazy that could happen. Not all scenarios will fit with every family. So read the book and take what you will what is good for your family.

Vendor: Bethany House

Publication Date: 2017

 ISBN: 9781441230928

ISBN-13: 9781441230928

I received this book from Bethany House Publishing in exchange for my honest review.

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Your Magnificent Chooser

chooser

 

 

We all have choices to make every day, even the youngest children. The choices we make play a large part in forming who we grow to be as adults. For kids, those choices can include whether to be obedient or disobedient, to share or be selfish, to have a good attitude or not, and more. John Ortberg addresses the ability to choose in a whimsical way by inviting children to use their “magnificent chooser” that God gave them to make right choices daily. Parents will love reading this book to their kids, and kids will enjoy the content while learning lessons that will stay with them throughout their lives.

As my kids have gotten older one of the things that I miss is reading children books to them. They still like me to read to them but instead of Dr. Seuss, John Lithgow, or some of mom’s other favorites….it’s now J.K. Rowling, Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, or some crazy book on snakes.

So any time I get to review a children book I do because I LOVE them. A good children’s book can stay with a kid their whole lives. So then, what of Your Magnificent Chooser by John Ortberg??

First, what a great topic. It is something that I discuss with my kids even as they get older. The power of a good choice. I was excited the Ortberg touched on this topic with the younger generation.

The book itself is beautiful. Robert Dunn did very well with the illustrations. I loved the rhyming and how it was written. Something that was really cool was my youngest snuggled up and we read it together and he was confused. He wanted to know what the whole book meant so we had a talk about what it means to make a God honoring choice.

This is a book that will make a permanent place on our book shelves.

Number of Pages: 32
Vendor: Tyndale Kids

ISBN: 1496417429
ISBN-13: 9781496417428

I received this book from Tyndale Publishing in exchange for my honest review.

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Is The Bible Good For Women?

bible good for women

 

Many, both inside and outside the church, are concerned that an orthodox understanding of the Bible is threatening and even harmful to women. After all, the Bible has a number of passages regarding women that are deeply troubling and hard to read.

But is that assessment accurate?

In this fascinating look at God’s work of redemption from Creation to today, Wendy Alsup explores questions such as: 
* How does God view justice and equal rights for women?
* What does it mean to be made in the image of God?
* How have the centuries distorted our interpretation of how God views women?
* How did Jesus approach the Old Testament and how does that help us read difficult passages today?
* What is the difference between a modern view of feminism and the feminism that Scripture models?
* How does the Bible explain the Bible to us?

Using a Jesus-centered understanding to look at both God’s grand storyline and specific biblical passages, Alsup gives practical, accessible tools for understanding the noble ways God speaks to and about women in its pages and the dignity He places on His daughters.

 

So, Is The Bible Good For Women? This title intrigued me. But, when I pulled it out of the box and my daughter read the title (and proceeded to say what a dumb question that is ….of course the Bible is good!)… I couldn’t help but wonder what I was getting myself into by reading this book.

And now that I have read it, my feelings are all over the place about it. This is a book that I would like to have a group of women read together with our Bibles right beside us and dig into the word for the truth that Alsup seems to be looking for. Alsup does her best to sift through scripture to determine God’s design/purpose for women.

She does start her book off in the introduction with a discussion on her opinion on gender itself. Which was completely unexpected and let for some really strong discussion with Erik and I. I also had the impression that sometimes Alsup was afraid to stand firm in her opinions.

Don’t get me wrong, there were a lot of opinions in the book and Alsup did her best to express them. In my opinion though this book should be used as a group discussion and not just a read alone book. This book needs to be argued and debated, not just ingested.

 

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Multnomah (March 21, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1601429002
  • ISBN-13: 978-1601429001

 

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

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Kingdom Family Devotional

kingdom family

 

This new devotional from Dr. Tony Evans and his son Jonathan Evans will provide both single and married parents with a resource tool to maximize those family devotional times, such as the dinner hour or bedtime. The family virtues–based devotional provides 52 separate topics, one for each week of the year, and five devotionals within each topic that will guide devotional times Monday through Friday. This is a wonderful way to build a spiritually strong family week by week, day after day—a perfect way to head into the weekend. Topics range from the basics of the faith—such as salvation, spiritual warfare, prayer, forgiveness, and discipleship—to essentials of living as followers of Christ: money, prayer, family, friends, and priorities. The subject matter is simplified so even young children can grasp important concepts. This is a perfect resource for busy families.

I cannot stress enough the importance of getting into the word of God everyday. Not just for myself, but for my family as well. How will my husband lead if he isn’t in God’s word. How will my children get the foundation they need or even know where to get their answers from if not shown?

That is why I like family devotionals. The new family devotional from Tony Evans Kingdom Family Devotional is right up my family’s alley.

First it is a 52 week devotional!! Yeah a whole year!! Second it is broken down into weekly themes and then daily devotionals from there. Can I just say how much I adore the weekly theme! Doing a theme for the week helps to reinforce what you are talking about day to day.

I liked how it was simple. There were activities for the family to do together. Like dancing, writing your own worship song, even writing your own sermon. I do believe thought that this devotional is geared toward older kids. My youngest is 8 and wont be writing his own sermon but he may just go and preach one! I do think that this is a good devotional overall for the whole family.

Number of Pages: 288

Vendor: Focus on the Family

ISBN: 1589978552

ISBN-13: 9781589978553

I received this book from Tyndale Publishing in exchange for my honest review.

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