Thursday, December 27, 2012

Bible Stories that End with a Hug

Little children love getting—and giving—hugs! Hugs generate warmth, affection, and a feeling of acceptance. Show your little ones just how much you treasure them while teaching them about the Bible and God’s unconditional love for his creation. Bible Stories that End with a Hug! features 75 easy-to-understand Bible stories with charming illustrations, lessons on how to apply the stories to your child’s daily life, memory verses from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, and a special “Hug Time” during which you can share a great big hug with your child.

Bible Stories that End with a Hug is a cute new take on teaching young children about the Bible. Each two page spread includes a beautiful illustration, Bible verse, two question and answer paragraphs, and an invitation for a hug. An example is the page on creation, the Bible verse from Genesis 1 is quoted with a typical illustration of the earth from afar on the left page. On the right page, the author paints a vivid image of life before and after God created the earth. He then writes to children about how God changed everything by creating all the we see, including people. The two questions at the beginning of the paragraphs are "How did God change it?" and "Did God create people too?" On the outer edge of the right page it states in flowing font "Hug time!  Give the one made by God . . . a great big HUG!" I love that each invitation for a hug relates to the lesson from the page, and my three and four-year-old daughters got very excited for the hug at the end of the lesson. My one-year-old son even seemed to understand when the hug was coming. The down side to this take is that my children seem to glaze over the lesson to get to the hug, however, it does get them asking for "just one more page!" and therefore more exposure to the Bible. My daughters are 3 and 4 and go to church twice a week, so they are ready for a bit more depth in their Bible study. I do feel this would be a nice way to introduce children with less exposure to the Bible to God's love for them. Overall, a nice children's book.

I received a complimentary copy of Bible Stories that End in a Hug through the Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for an honest review.

Silent Night

As Christmas day nears, Bree and her faithful search-and-rescue dog Samson follow the trail of a troubling mystery into the snowy forests of Rock Harbor.

Bree Matthews is preparing for Christmas guests, but her heart is reeling from the recent and tender loss of her unborn child. Her sister-in-law, Lauri, suddenly turns up on the doorstep of the lighthouse home Bree shares with her husband, Kade, in Rock Harbor. Secretive and withdrawn, Lauri seems curiously intent on discovering what happened to a parachuter who disappeared in the North Woods along Lake Superior's icy shore.
As Bree and Samson, her search-and-rescue dog, plunge into the search, Bree wonders if Lauri may know more than she’s admitted about the parachuter. And then the clues lead them to the trail of a young woman whose family fears the worst about her disappearance.
Will the search on this snowy, silent night lead Bree and Samson to more than clues about the missing girl? And will Bree’s prayer for a baby ever be answered?
If you are a fan of the Rock Harbor characters, you will most likely enjoy this book as much as the others. It is important to note that this is a novella; about 70 epages long, not a full novel. Despite the length, the story is complete and does not feel rushed. Time moves along quickly, and there is much happiness for almost all of the characters. Loose ties from previous books are tied up and have happy endings. Definitely a book that will leave the reader feeling good at the end, and wanting to know what lies ahead for the Matthews family.
I received a complimentary copy of Silent Night through the Thomas Nelson Publishing Booksneeze Blogger program in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Secretly Smitten

Summer, fall, winter, spring—Smitten, Vermont, is the place for love . . . and mystery!

There’s a secret in Grandma Rose’s attic—a forgotten set of dog tags belonging to her first love. But David Hutchins was killed in action and never returned to Smitten. How did the dog tags end up in the attic?

The mystery intrigues Rose’s three granddaughters—Tess, Clare, and Zoe—and they decide to investigate, though their mother, Anna, warns against meddling. But as the seasons turn and the mystery unravels, the three young women and their mother encounter some intriguing mystery men of their own. Has a sixty-year-old puzzle sparked something new for this close-knit family of women?

Join popular romance novelists—and real-life BFFs—Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt, and Denise Hunter for four delightful intertwined tales of mystery and sweet intrigue.

 Secretly Smitten is just as great as all the previous books with these characters in them. This book was written differently, with each author taking one fourth of the story and focusing it on one of the characters falling in love. There is an additional romantic mystery interwoven throughout the four vignettes. When I completed each vignette I'd find myself feeling disappointed that I wouldn't get to read more about these two main characters. Then I'd remember there's another story starting on the next page. All the characters were in each vignette, but the main characters rotated. I loved trying to guess who the next main female lead would be, and how the authors would find a new leading man. I am also very excited that there is another Smitten novel scheduled to be release in 2014. Keep them coming!

Friday, December 21, 2012

His Love Endures Forever

An unplanned pregnancy. An absent father. Can love really endure all things?

Danielle Kent is anything but Amish. But as destiny would have it, she has fallen in love with an Amish man.

Now she’s 18, pregnant, and hopeful that the child’s Amish father—Matthew Lapp—will do the right thing and marry her. She knows Matthew plans to leave his Colorado settlement for a life in the Englisch world. But that plan never included a baby.

When Matthew walks away from her and their unborn child, she has nowhere to turn. Her unlikely friendship with Levi offers some comfort—yet they have so little in common. This wasn’t the plan she had for her life, and she has never felt so alone. She doesn’t want to be pregnant. Doesn’t want to be Amish. Doesn’t want to trust God.

And yet.

God has plans beyond what her mind can imagine . . . loving plans to show a lost young woman that His love never fails but endures forever.

Beth Wiseman is a wonderful storyteller. She is one of those authors that I cannot put down. Her characters are flawed and real, and I find myself wanting to see them through to the end. His Love Endures Forever is a slightly different Amish fiction book, as the main character is not Amish. I enjoyed the way that Wiseman reveals her characters' past as the story unfolds and deepens the reader's understanding of why the character reacts to things the way that s/he does. Bottom line, if you have enjoyed any of Wiseman's books you will most likely also enjoy His Love Endures Forever. I certainly did.