Newton & Polly



Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
that saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found

Now remembered as the author of the world’s most famous hymn, in the mid-eighteenth century as England and France stand on the brink of war, John Newton is a young sailor wandering aimlessly through life. His only duty is to report to his ship and avoid disgracing his father—until the night he hears Polly Catlett’s enchanting voice, caroling. He’s immediately smitten and determined to win her affection.

An intense connection quickly forms between the two, but John’s reckless spirit and disregard for the Christian life are concerns for the responsible, devout Polly. When an ill-fated stop at a tavern leaves John imprisoned and bound, Polly must choose to either stand by his side or walk out of his life forever. Will she forfeit her future for the man she loves.

Step back through the pages of history, to uncover the true love story behind a song that continues to stir the hearts and ignite the faith of millions around the globe.

Why would you read a book when you already know the story…. Because Jody Hedlund wrote it, of course! Hedlund does not disappoint in her newest book Newton & Polly.

Hedlund expertly tells the tale of John Newton and Polly Catlett. Her research is phenomenal and I am always amazed by the things I learn by reading her books. I mean not only does she tell a great story but I can learn something too!! Bonus!!

Newton and Polly has such a richness to it. Hedlund just takes you through a whirlwind of emotions. Laughter, tears, fear, and such amazing joy. This story on its own is wonderful and Hedlund does an amazing job of staying true to it. She really is an amazing writer.

I am sure you all know the song Newton wrote. Newton and Polly’s story is one that is crafted by God to bless future generations. I am so glad I read this book and I urge you to read it as well.

Number of Pages: 400

Vendor: WaterBrook

ISBN: 1601427646

ISBN-13: 9781601427649

Blogging for Books gave me this book in exchange for my honest review.

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An estimated 4,000 churches are planted every year. An estimated 3,700 churches close every year. It’s not easy starting or sustaining a vital Christian witness of any kind. It’s even harder when there’s no structure to support the good work you’re doing. Guardrails offers structure to your good impulse to follow the great commission to go and make disciples right where you are.

Guardrails provides six principles that allow for sustainable growth in a church’s mission, for the health of God’s people and the sake of the world.


In Alan Briggs new book Guardrails, he brings real world church growth and health to the forefront of church ministry. His six principles outlined are:

  1. Simple
  2. Holistic
  3. Adaptable
  4. Regular
  5. Reproducible
  6. Positive

Seem simple and almost a no brainer on the surface. The way Alan unpacks these six principles is what sets him apart. Using a solid goal and guardrails to keep you focused. He uses his experiences as a church planter to give examples of both challenges and victories along the way.

If you feel that you are being lead to church plant, disciple people, or are looking for fresh eyes on an old church problem I would give this book a read. But more importantly I would apply those concepts. This book was a great read.


  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: NavPress (September 15, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1631464353
  • ISBN-13: 978-1631464355

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

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A Love Transformed



The Riveting Final Story in the Sapphire Brides Series

When Clara Vesper’s husband, Adolph, dies suddenly, Clara is stunned–but not grief-stricken. Her marriage to Adolph had been arranged, their primary interaction revolving around the sapphire jewelry Clara designed and Adolph produced and sold. Widowed and penniless, with two small children, Clara decides to return to her aunt and uncle’s ranch in Montana, the only place she has ever been happy.

Curtis Billingham, injured in a sapphire mine collapse, is recuperating at the ranch of his friends, Paul and Madeline Sersland. But when the Serslands’ niece returns from New York City, Curtis curses both his broken body and his broken past. Clara, the love of his life, has come back to him, but he is no longer worthy of her love.

Clara’s brother-in-law Otto Vesper, Adolph’s business partner, fears that the loss of Clara’s design skills will doom the company’s prospects. Following her to Montana, Otto is prepared to do whatever it takes to get Clara to return with him to New York.

As Clara fights for love and freedom, a dangerous secret in her late husband’s life comes to light, threatening everyone she loves.

I have read a lot of Tracie Peterson. I mean how could you not?? She has written a lot of books. Her newest one, A Love Transformed may be one of her best books yet. It is the final book in  the Sapphire Bride Series, but don’t worry it is a stand alone and you don’t have to read the first two……but you should.

I really liked this book. I adored Clara and her growth as a women and mother in this story. The story starts quick right on the first page and doesn’t quit until the last. Clara is tired of living a life she didn’t want and tired of being bullied, so she decides to take charge.

Curtis was one of the best male characters that I have read in while. He was  strong even among his weaknesses. He was hard but soft. I really appreciated how Peterson developed him.

One of my favorite things about this book was how God used the “bad” for good. Clara’s mother sent her away for the summer to her aunt and uncle’s home and they were the ones that planted that seed of faith in her. That is where Clara wanted to return. I love that concept of you never know what will happen but never be afraid to plant those seeds. You never know what God will do with them.

Peterson wrote an amazing book here. I cannot wait until her next one.

Number of Pages: 352

Vendor: Bethany House

ISBN: 0764213385

ISBN-13: 9780764213380

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

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From the daughter-father duo that created Brooklyn’s beloved live pun competition comes Punderdome, the “Punderful card game [that] will replace Cards Against Humanity at your next party” (

One part game, one part conversation starter, you don’t need to be a pun master to master Punderdome: the goal is to make bad jokes and have fun along the way.

A player (the prompter for that round) draws two prompt cards from the deck, and then reads the prompts to the rest of the group, who have 90 seconds to create a single, groan-worthy pun that combines the two prompts.     

When time is up, pun makers share their puns with the prompter, who awards the prompt cards to the player whose pun he or she likes best. The winner then draws the next pair of prompt cards and the process repeats. Players win by obtaining 10 pairs of cards.

Every Game Set Comes With:
·         200 double-sided cards (100 White and 100 Green)
·         2 Mystery Envelopes with fill-in prize slips
·         2 80-page pads for drafting puns
·         1 instruction card and 1 pun example card
·         A stu-PUN-dous time for 3 or more players

Oh my do we love playing games. Yep as a whole family. Let me tell you how crazy a game of Candyland could get when the kids were younger. Well they are getting older now and we have to find games that are fun and challenging. Well we found one.

Punderdome is a hilarious game. It challenges you to think outside the box. Even my kids enjoyed making stuff up. Super easy to understand.

Our favorite part had to be the prize envelopes. My kids loved coming up with crazy prizes. Everything from extra scoop of ice cream, pick the movie for movie night, or donuts from your favorite donut place.

This is also a great game to play with just adults. You know if you ever get away from the children and have adult time. 😉 If you can speak any level of sarcasm this game will be so much fun.

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

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Jesus Talked To Me Today

jesus talked


A Heartwarming Story Collection of Children’s Encounters with God, Angels, and Miracles

Children have a special place in Jesus’ heart. He said they are the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, and their angels continually see the face of God. Perhaps that’s why children seem to be more receptive to supernatural experiences than adults.

This new collection reveals how God works in the lives of these precious little ones. It contains the touching true stories of children who have heard Jesus speak, encountered angels, and experienced miracles. We could all use more childlike faith, and these stories “from the mouths of babes” will encourage readers to be open to hear from the Lord in a fresh, sweet, and pure way.

How do you even review a book like Jesus Talked To Me Today? I mean here are real people’s stories of how God worked in their lives.

These miracles of healing and God speaking directly to them. I mean how lucky can one get. I mean you read about miracles and those types of healing in the Bible, but do you believe enough that God can still do it today?

This book made me laugh, cry, weep, and cheer. It was encouraging to remember that God is still working. Read it, it’s good to remember God’s amazing goodness.

Number of Pages: 256

Vendor: Bethany House

ISBN: 0764217224

ISBN-13: 9780764217227

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

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The Drawing Lesson

the drawing lesson


For the first time ever, drawing instructor and graphic novelist Mark Crilley brings his easy-to-follow artistic instruction to aspiring artists in the form of a comic book, providing you with a one-of-a-kind how-to experience. In The Drawing Lesson, you’ll meet David—a young boy who wants nothing more than to learn how to draw. Luckily for David, he’s just met Becky—his helpful drawing mentor. Page by page, Becky teaches David (and you!) about the essential fundamentals that artists need in order to master drawing, all in a unique visual format. In panel after panel, Crilley provides lessons on shading, negative space, creating compositions, and more, with accompanying exercises that you can try for yourself. Are you ready to start your drawing lesson today?

I was so excited to see that some one came out with a graphic novel on how to draw. The Drawing Lesson by Mark Crilley came at just the right time for Seth. He is really into both art and graphic novels.

I really liked how this book is geared toward kids and inexperienced artists. The instructions are simple to understand yet it actually challenges the reader how to see their world differently. The artwork itself in the book was simple and not overdrawn as well. One of the best parts was in wasn’t about drawing comics. Not that comics are bad, but this is an actual art book.

There was only one thing I didn’t like and maybe I am being picky. I just thought the story line itself was a little weird. As a parent I just wondered where the kid’s parents were. Did they meet Becky?? I know that may sound weird, but the kid was showing up at her house at 8 in the morning.

That being said overall I think this was a great book to get kids started in drawing. The subject matter was good. I even learned a few things about art myself. If your kids are looking for a book to learn and like graphic novels this may be for them.

  • Age Range: 10 – 13 years
  • Grade Level: 5 – 8
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Watson-Guptill (July 5, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385346336
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385346337

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

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No Way Up

no way up


When Cimarron ranch patriarch Chance Boden is caught in an avalanche, the quick actions of hired hand Heath Kincaid save him. Badly injured, Chance demands that his will be read and its conditions be enforced immediately.

Without anyone else to serve as a witness, Heath is pressed into reading the will. If Justin, Sadie, and Cole Boden don’t live and work at home for the entire year, the ranch will go to their low-down cousin Mike.

Then Heath discovers the avalanche was a murder attempt, and more danger might follow. Deeply involved with the family, Heath’s desire to protect Sadie goes far beyond friendship. The danger keeps them close together, and their feelings grow until being apart is the last thing on their minds.

Wow what a crazy month it has been since my last review. I have so many reviews to catch you up on and articles that I hope you will love. But this mamma needed a vacation. So let’s start with Mary Connealy’s newest book No Way Up. It’s the first book in the Cimarron Ranch Series and what a solid start it was for her.


Connealy brings in a Heath Kincaid which is from one of her other series but you do not have to read the other series in order to understand Heath at all. (But I was a little excited to hear updates on the characters from that series) I really like Heath’s growth through this book. He was quirky and funny as well.

This story’s main focus was Sadie and Heath’s relationship but that doesn’t mean Connealy can’t weave others into it. I really liked Sadie’s siblings Justin and Cole and can’t wait to see where the next books take them.

I liked how the “conflict” of this book didn’t end at the end of the book. It looks like the same conflict will be weaved through the rest of the series. I really liked the layers to this story it was good but yet still a light enough read I could just relax with and bring on vacation with me.

Overall this book had Connealy’s style written all over it. It was a light and fun read. A good dose of romance with a mix of danger. I look forward to reading the rest of the series.


Number of Pages: 336


Vendor: Bethany House


ISBN: 0764211811


ISBN-13: 9780764211812

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

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Eden Hill

eden hill


Nothing seems to change in Eden Hill, Kentucky, and that’s just fine with Virgil T. Osgood. He’s been content to raise his family and run the only service station in town. But when a new station is set to open right across the road from Virgil’s pumps, he suddenly faces obstacles in his career, his marriage, and his self-worth that he’s never even dreamed of.

Cornelius Alexander wants his new Zipco station to succeed and help establish a strong foundation for his growing family. As long as he follows the Zipco guide, he’s sure to be a success—and prove his father wrong.

Reverend Caudill wants to be a conduit for grace in his town, but that grace is challenged by the changes sweeping through in the early 1960s. For the sake of this small town, Virgil and Cornelius must learn to get along, but how do you love your neighbor when his very presence threatens to upend everything you hold dear?

I have a hard time believing this is a debut novel. Bill Higgs wrote an amazing novel in Eden Hill. There is something so wonderfully refreshing and yet rare about Eden Hill.

Despite taking place in the 1960’s there was still so much of it that I could relate to today. Yet there were still things that I long for. You know neighbors knowing neighbors, small town business, just a simple life.

The characters in the story and their development were astounding. Virgil, Cornelius, Mavine, JoAnn, Glady’s, and even crazy Madeline Crutcher. I loved the simplicity of the story, yet it has twist and turns. People’ s secrets, their loves, their goals, and their struggles.

This story is a real story of faith. The what would you do if this happened, if your faith was tested? How to love your neighbor. I loved how these questions and more were wrestled with. This was an amazing debut novel and I hope Bill Higgs writes more. We need more stories like this in Christian Fiction.

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (July 1, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1496410831
  • ISBN-13: 978-1496410832



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

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A Flight of Arrows

flight of arrows



Hearts are Divided
Loyalties Will Be Tested
The Fates of Two Families Hang in the Balance
Twenty years past, in 1757, a young Redcoat, Reginald Aubrey stole a newborn boy—the lighter-skinned of Oneida twins— during the devastating fall of Fort William Henry and raised him as his own.
No one connected to Reginald escaped unscathed from this crime. Not his adopted daughter Anna. Not Stone Thrower, the Native American father determined to get his son back. Not Two Hawks, William’s twin brother separated since birth, living in the shadow of his absence and hoping to build a future with Anna. Nor Lydia, who longs for Reginald to be free from his self-imposed emotional prison and embrace God’s forgiveness— and her love.
Now William, whose identity has been shattered after discovering the truth of his birth, hides in the ranks of an increasingly aggressive British army. The Redcoats prepare to attack frontier New York and the Continentals, aided by Oneida warriors including Two Hawks, rally to defend it. As the Revolutionary War penetrates the Mohawk Valley, two families separated by culture, united by love and faith, must find a way to reclaim the son marching toward them in the ranks of their enemies.

Book 2 in the Pathfinder Series

If you haven’t discovered Lori Benton yet STOP right now. Go to your library or Amazon or wherever you get your books and get the Path Finders Series. Oh and if you haven’t gotten Burning Sky, which is her first book, get that one too!

A Flight of Arrows is the second book in Benton’s Pathfinder Series and it is a must read. After you read the first in the series of course. This book was such a wonderful read.

Benton is an amazing author. She has such a depth and richness to her writing that is so rare in books written today. Her books are so well researched. She can change character perspectives and intertwine her stories so well its amazing.

I loved Two Hawks, Anna, Aubrey, William, Stone Thrower, and Good Voice. The whole cast of characters is amazing and they will all hold a special place in your heart. You could feel there pain and joy through the whole series.

I loved the struggles with God as well. Both the white man and the Native American struggles. They were honest and curious and felt so very real. I can’t tell you how much I loved this book. If you love historical fiction, you will love this book.

Number of Pages: 400

Vendor: WaterBrook

ISBN: 1601427344

ISBN-13: 9781601427342

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

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No Other Will Do

no other will do


Men are optional. That’s the credo Emma Chandler’s suffragette aunts preached and why she started a successful women’s colony in Harper’s Station, Texas. But when an unknown assailant tries repeatedly to drive them out, Emma admits they might need a man after all. A man who can fight–and she knows just the one.

Malachi Shaw finally earned the respect he craved by becoming an explosives expert for the railroad. Yet when Emma’s plea arrives, he bolts to Harper’s Station to repay the girl who once saved his life. Only she’s not a girl any longer. She’s a woman with a mind of her own and a smile that makes a man imagine a future he doesn’t deserve.

As the danger intensifies, old feelings grow and deepen, but Emma and Mal will need more than love to survive.


Ok so after taking some much needed time from reviewing books (really its only been 3 weeks 😉 ) I am back!! Hey a mom has to finish out a school year or as I put it crawling slowly and dramatically over the finish line of our fourth year of homeschooling. But enough about that for now.

Let us get to Karen Witemeyer‘s newest book No Other Will Do. I am so glad she wrote this book. I have read every book she has written and this book was just so very good.

Emma and Malachi were awesome. Aunt Henry and Aunt Bertie were funny and Tori brought balance to the book. Witemeyer’s characters always have such a way of mingling together so well, I just never want to put the book down.

I enjoyed the plot about a women’s colony. Witemeyer walked a fine line with this story and I was happy to see that there was no “man bashing” in this book. That isn’t easy especially when your writing a book about women who have been abused.

But out of all the Christian romance books that I have read, the thing that I LOVED about this book was that Emma and Malachi kept in contact while they were apart. They were friends. I can’t tell you how it can annoy me, even in Christian fiction, how the main characters love each other and barely know each other.These two had a friendship that made me feel like it “would last.” I know that sounds silly and stupid but I can’t tell you the number of times I have closed a book and thought “yeah I give them two years tops.” So I am grateful to Witemeyer for that part of the story.

This may be Witemeyer’s best book. I also noticed it looks to be the start of a series so I look forward to going back to Harper’s Station to see what happens to the ladies.


  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (June 7, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764212818
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764212819


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

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