Monday, May 16, 2016

Crossway's Family Devotional Bible

I am a BIG fan of the ESV edition of the Bible.  So when I saw there was a Family Devotional Bible in ESV, I was pretty excited!  This Family Bible is going to be a family favorite!  The layout is fabulous - you read your entry for each day, and it tells you which page to go to to find the next devotional entry.  The pictures are reminiscent of ones I had in a Bible growing up and I remember them fondly - they are Bible-time-ish and add so much to this lovely Bible.  The questions can be easy for our younger ones to answer but they also have some probing questions that will challenge our little ones to think beyond simple answers and use some application skills.  DO NOT miss the maps in this edition either - they are very kid-friendly and easy to read. 

I think this would make a great gift for young families or baby showers - it will be a family treasure!

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255:  "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Adverting."

Saturday, May 14, 2016

The League and the Lantern

Are you looking for a new read for your middle school readers?  I may have been introduced to JUST the thing!  Brian Wells' brand new novel, The League and the Lantern, is sure to capture readers - boys and girls alike.  This is a riveting, fast-paced novel that starts with a seventh-grade sleepover gone bad and how Jake and his friends must figure out a mystery dating back to the Civil War.  I thought this was fabulous!  It will be one I recommend to my boy readers who are struggling to find a good read - but also to girls who just want a fast-paced mystery.  It is clean and one they will be able to conquer.

It is also an amazing kick-starter campaign story that reached it's $10,000 goal in under four hours!  That says a lot about this book and the need for it!  Another thing I so loved about this story and author is that for every book ordered off of their website,, a hardcover book will also be donated to a child who could otherwise not afford one - all affirming the book's goal to show kids lessons in mercy, compassion, and charity through the story.

Do not miss this new novel - aimed at middle school readers - but one that will resonate with SO many readers!

 *I was sent a copy of the book by the publisher for an honest review on my blog.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Hunting Hope

Sometimes you just find a book that resonates with every part of you - Hunting Hope did just that with me.  Nika Maples has written a book that captures the essence of hurt and hope from that hurt.  Nika knows - she has dealt with lupus and a brainstem stroke that left her paralyzed at the age of 20.  She has seen God work through her hurt and others' as well and she has found hope in the journey and wants to share that with her readers.  The book is short and the chapters are wonderful for reading in small sittings.  Be encouraged and inspired by her words!

*I was sent a copy for review purposes by the publisher for an honest review on my blog.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Sister Dear

What if you were accused of a crime you didn't commit?  What if you spent years locked away in jail for that crime?  Now you are out on parole and you want to clear your name and start a new life.  This is Allie Marshall's story in Sister Dear by Laura McNeill.  This is truly a riveting story - you feel for Allie and her challenge of assimilating back into a small town that is having a hard time forgiving and moving on....even her own daughter wants almost nothing to do with her.  McNeill crafts a story that will keep readers wanting to find out what is coming next and to learn how Allie can overcome this gigantic hurdle and maybe prove her own innocence - even at the cost of family....

McNeill is an author to watch!  Don't miss this excellent Christian fiction title.

Laura McNeill is a writer, web geek, travel enthusiast, and coffee drinker. In her former life, she was a television news anchor for CBS News affiliates in New York and Alabama. Laura holds a master’s degree in journalism from The Ohio State University and is completing a graduate program in interactive technology at the University of Alabama. When she’s not writing and doing homework, she enjoys running, yoga, and spending time at the beach. She lives in Mobile, AL with her family.

Find out more about Laura at

**I was sent a copy of the book by the publisher for an honest review on my blog.

Friday, April 15, 2016

8 Simple Tools for Raising Great Kids

Is there anything simple about raising kids?  I don't think so!  But there are tools out there that can help make raising kids easier.  Advice from those that have gone before you can NEVER hurt!  Dr. Todd Cartmell, a clinic child psychologist and author, has written 8 Simple Tools for Raising Great Kids and it breaks up parenting into 8 different tools:


For each tool, Cartmell provides Connecting Tips and very useful advice that parents can take and put into action immediately.  This book is so practical and relate-able that anyone can take it and make it work for them.  The chapters are short and make it possible for even the busiest parents to find time to chew on parenting tips.  I was impressed with this parenting tool - it's a book written for the average man with practical, down-to-earth, ideas. 

Official Website-

I can offer you a 50% off coupon on my blog!  If you go to and purchase the book, use the code GREATKIDS16 at checkout and get 50% off until May 15, 2016.
Free access to the HEARTS AT HOME "ESSENTIAL WORKSHOP COLLECTION FOR PARENTS" with every purchase: (so readers not only get 50% off with the coupon code at, but also get access to a slew of freebies).

#8SimpleTools  #flyby

**I was sent a copy of the book by the publisher for an honest review on my blog.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Pocket Prayers

Max Lucado has written a series of books with prayers in them.  They are hardcover and beautiful and would make wonderful gifts!

I was sent:
Pocket Prayers for Moms
Pocket Prayers for Dads
Pocket Prayers for Friends
Pocket Prayers for Military Life
Pocket Prayers for Graduates
Pocket Prayers for Teachers

They are all small-sized, hardbacks that give you short prayers to read and enjoy everyday or a few times a month.
Don't forget - these would make great gifts for -
Teacher Appreciation Day - May 3, 2016
Mother's Day - May 8, 2016
Memorial Day - May 30, 2106
Father's Day - June 19, 2016

I can see so many possibilities for these - I would highly recommend these bite-sized books!
Go HERE to learn more!

*I was sent these from the publisher to review for an honest review on my blog.

Monday, March 21, 2016


Jennifer Kennedy Dean is an author who seems to live and breathe the Word.  Her books are life-changing and resonate with so many readers on a deep level.  Her latest book, Synced, is no exception.  She explores what it means to live in Sync with God in depth through this book and she's not afraid to go deep.  By showing examples from Jesus' life - his life of prayer and being in a constant flow of power by being in the places where God had a plan for him - we, as readers, can see what it means to live connected to Jesus and see this power in our own lives.  There are even present day examples included to encourage readers that God is working and is real in our lives. 

As a believer, I truly feel many of us are not as "in tune" as we ought to be to the voice of God.  This book challenges that - encouraging us to find ways to be in sync and tuned to the voice of our creator.  Her teachings are not prosperity-gospel however, as she seeks to show how God can work when we are connected to Him, listening to His voice, and willing to go where He shows us.

Blog Tour Landing -

Dean1 *I was sent a copy of this book by the publisher for an honest review on my blog.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Finding God in the Ruins

Matt Bays has written a book that still lingers with me long after I've read it.  Finding God in the Ruins is a powerful book that shows how God can redeem pain and suffering for His good.  I was so impressed with this - I think it has information that resonates with everyone - we've all had some sort of pain or suffering and, if we are being honest, have asked what good can come of it.  Instead of abandoning your faith during a trial, this book shows how it's possible to discover God, the God who heals, in the midst of pain.  What a picture of redemption!  A powerful book with something for everyone who reads it.

*I was sent a copy of this book by the publisher in return for an honest review on my blog.

Saturday, March 05, 2016

A Box of Chronicle Books!

Here are some titles you DO NOT want to miss in book world!

Follow the Moon Home by Philippe Cousteau and Deborah Hopkinson is a fabulous children's book.  It is the story of a little girl who finds a baby sea turtle who is not near the ocean.  This prompts her to ask why he is so far from the water and leads to her discovery that the beach houses, with their lights on at night, are luring the turtles away from the water.  The community kids work together to get their whole community excited about helping the turtles.  I loved the story and the illustrations are watercolor that fit perfectly with the story.

Let's Play by Herve Tullet is a fun, interactive book that kids just love.  We have Press Here and Mix It up!, his other titles as well and kids are always begging to be read these over and over.  The illustrations are simple and yet so clever that kids are drawn to the feel and interactiveness of the book.  HIGHLY recommend these!

This is Not a Picture Book!  by Sergio Ruzzier is quite a romp!  Little ones will love this - they will be talking back to the book and that's what we love - interaction!  And I love how the story starts even before the title page - Clever!  This is an adorable picture book with even more adorable pictures!

For the younger set - the Cozy Classics by Jack and Holman Wang are board books, based on classic stories, with only one word per page.  At first glance, I wondered how much these would be used, but what I LOVE about these is not that they introduce the children to a classic, but that they broaden vocabulary!  The pictures as illustrations are also endearing in these baby board books.  I liked these FAR more than I thought I might!

* I was sent copies by the publisher for an honest review on my blog.

Friday, March 04, 2016

And It Was Beautiful

When someone dies of cancer and can still call it a gift that, to me, says, "Sit up and take notice!"  That is the life of Kara Tippetts.  She co-authored Just Show Up - a book that is a wonderful resource when dealing with friends and family who may be to love them in a meaningful way, taking in all of Kara's experience after having fought a fight with cancer.  Her latest book, And It Was Beautiful, is composted of  Kara's words, but published after her death.  Most of the writings were published on her blog previously but are now compiled in this tribute to her life.  Kara's writing is heart-felt and deeply thought-provoking.  Read it and be encouraged. 

Visit the link to other reviews on this book -

* I was sent a copy of the book by the publisher for an honest review on my blog.

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Good Good Father

You may have heard the song....but have you seen the video?

What a fabulous reminder - we all need this one! In Chris' words, "We all have a picture of who we think God is. When we get down to the foundation of what we believe, the truth is that God is exactly who He says He is - a good, good Father."

NOW - go enter the giveaway!

Link for Chris’ giveaway: 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Legend of the Easter Robin

Dandi Daley Mackall has written another story for our young listeners that explains legends behind Christian symbols or traditions.  I so enjoyed this legend of the Robin and how he got his red breast all tied in to Easter and Christ on the cross.  It's an Easter story you can share with your little ones that shows real compassion and faith using nature and the tender relationship between a grandmother and her granddaughter.  The illustrations by Richard Cowdrey are also tender and colorful adding much to the storyline.  This would be a fantastic read aloud in a Sunday School or Christian school setting.  I guarantee after reading this, you will look with new eyes at a Robin.

*I was sent a copy of this book by the publisher for an honest review on my blog.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Chinese Culture in Children's Books

I was sent two books to review that I was not familiar with at all - but having two daughters born in China, struck a chord with me.  They are created by the China Institute in America to introduce children to Chinese culture at an early age and are in the We All Live in the Forbidden City book series.

What Was It Like, Mr. Emperor? is a fun book that allows kids to see the life of an emperor and learn about life in the palace.  Some fun facts about certain emperors are even included to make it more personal and take an active look at history.  The book is fun for kids to read and the illustrations keep it engaging.

Bowls of Happiness is a book that, in such a fun way, explores the tradition and uses of porcelain art found in the Palace Museum's collectibles.  Readers can see first-hand how the bowls are made and can see the culture and value of Bowls of Happiness in the Chinese tradition.  The illustrations in this one are whimsical and fun.

Both are wonderful to add to a collection of books on history or Chinese culture and are ones my girls are thoroughly enjoying!

*I was sent copies of the books by the publisher for an honest review on my blog.

Beatrix Potter and the Unfortunate Tale of a Borrowed Guinea Pig

What is there not to love about a tale of Beatrix Potter?  This latest tale of Potter's early life is simply wonderful!  Deborah Hopkinson delivers a tale that was found in one of Potter's journal entries.  It is the story of young Beatrix wanting to draw a guinea pig - so she borrows one from her neighbor to use as a model and alas, the little guinea pig eats the paper, some string and more that is left lying on the desk and when Beatrix finds the model guinea pig dead, she knows she has trouble ahead!

Truly a tale to relish with a young one on your lap.  The illustrations are the icing on the cake.  One can only hope they find more stories in Potter's journals - what a wonderful life!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Gift of Friendship

A friend is a treasure - but friends can be quirky...relationships can be hard....we are all human!  I think that is what I LOVE about Dawn Camp's new book, The Gift of Friendship - it celebrates all that friendship is - the good and the bad.  It is a beautiful compilation of stories that all revolve around friendship.  This is a book that I can not devour in one sitting, it must be savored slowly as in fine, dark, chocolate!  It's a coffee or bedside table book that draws you in, lets you savor, and allows you to keep ruminating for hours. 

Let me share one of my favorite paragraphs:

I'm putting out a call to be brave.  To embrace the sweetness and depth of real friendship.  To hold ourselves to a higher standard than silence.  To become the kind of friend we pray our daughters have.  This kind of friendship isn't easy.  It's hard and messy and can come with real heartache.  But it can also come with richness and love and someone to really do life with too, and it is so worth it.

Do not miss this one - it is fabulous!

*I was sent a copy for review purposes on my blog for an honest opinion.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Chronicle Titles that WILL Captivate!

A few fun Chronicle books to share:

The Quickest Kid in Clarksville by Pat Zietlow Miller and illustrated by Frank Morrison

So I LOVE everything about this book.  It is a delightful story of a little girl and the day before the big parade.  She doesn't have good shoes so she is worried about even making it to the parade, but she thinks of Wilma Rudolph and she knows she can do it....even when the girl with fancy running shoes shows up!  It is a great book with potential for discussion on those less fortunate and even Olympics and Wilma Rudolph - because she shows up in the big parade!!! 
AND the illustrations are amazing!  Don't miss this one.

President Squid by Aaron Reynolds and illustrated by Sara Varon

What does it take to be a president?  Squid thinks he knows and he's going to share that with us, as readers, and even PUSH it on us.  But he has a rude awakening when he realizes that not everyone agrees with him - nor are the fish impressed...until he shows his "presidentialness".  GREAT reminder to adults too  - what it takes to be a leader.  The illustrations are captivating and fun as well.  This will be super for election season!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Plans I Have for You

It is tough to find devotional books for that 8-12 year age range.  I have TWO in that age range right now, and believe me, it's been a challenge.  SO when I was given the opportunity to read Amy Parker's devotional, The Plans I Have for You, I was thrilled to take the challenge.  I was pleasantly surprised!  This books packs a punch for our young readers - it challenges them to think about their future, while focusing on God's purpose for each of them.  I loved the way Parker uses scripture and Bible stories to drive home the idea of focusing on all you can be for God - to find His plan for you.  It is written right on their level - the illustrations by Vanessa Brantley-Newton are fabulous and eye-catching as well.  AND the biggest bonus is the accompanying journal which is also right on their level.  It gives them places to write, draw, and doodle to show their ideas on paper - in a form that they can keep forever.  I love the whole idea of this - teaching our young ones how to journal and express themselves while focusing on God's great love and plan for us.

About The Plans I Have For You Devotional

The devotional is an illustrated 90-day devotional written by bestselling children's book author Amy Parker and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton, teaching and inspiring kids to dream about their future, to focus on faith, love, and joy, and recognize that God has a plan and purpose for each and every one of us.  
Hardcover; 160 pages
Age Range: 8-12 years

About The Plans I Have For You Journal:
The journal prompts creative thinking and exploration of the talents and personalities that make us special, and then helps explore how God may use our unique traits to spread love and joy and make the world a better place. 
Stationery; 208 pages
Age Range: 11-14 years

About author Amy Parker:

Amy Parker has sold more than thirty books for children, teens, and adults.  She has also collaborated with authors ranging from New York Times bestsellers to her very own son.  Two of these collaborations are recipients of Christian retailing's Best Awards, and she has also won three Mom's Choice Awards.  But Amy's greatest reward is being a wife to Daniel and a mom to their amazing sons, Michael and Ethan. 

About illustrator Vanessa Brantley-Newton:
Vanessa Brantley-Newton is a self-taught illustrator, doll maker, and crafter.  Her passion for children's books began when she came across The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats as a child in the 1960s.  Growing up in a musical family who love to sing, Vanessa's illustrations are as fun and whimsical as a beautiful melody.  Vanessa currently makes her nest in Charlotte, NC with her husband of 20 years, their daughter, and a very rambunctious cat named Stripes.

#PlansIHave  #FlyBy

I was sent copies of these books for an honest review on my blog.

Friday, January 15, 2016

The Peaceful Wife

April Cassidy has written, The Peaceful Wife:  Living in Submission to Christ as Lord.  I was intrigued by this when I was sent a copy to blog about.  I would highly recommend this book.  Not only is it easy to read and digest, but it is very thought-provoking.  It probes challenges we face in marriage through Cassidy's own struggles in learning how best to relate to her husband.  I appreciate her insight and honesty as she shares what she has learned about being a Godly wife.  She points out how so much of what we struggle with in our marriage stems from our own issues in our spiritual life and when we can get that where it needs to be, our love for our spouse may flow freer and easier and not feel like such a lot of work!  I love her look at what biblical submission is and is not...and how we, as women, can live under submission without feeling like we are losing our identity or opinions.  This was an informative read that I would suggest for others to read as well!

* I was sent a copy of the book for an honest review on my blog.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Salvation's Tide is Rising

Passion is one of those projects that continually puts out high quality music projects.  Their latest, Salvation's Tide is Rising, is another album that just amazes me at their high commitment to excellence.  Song after song raises the bar for not only Christian music in general, but for worship music at its best. 

What is Passion?  It is "Rooted in the confession of Isaiah 26:8, Passion exists to glorify God by uniting students in worship, prayer and justice for spiritual awakening in this generation.  From its start in 1995, the Passion Movement has had a singular mission--calling students from campuses across the nation and around the world to live for what matters most.  This yearly conference uses live worship music and teaching to encourage young people to live for the glory of God.  In 1998, Passion decided to document the musical portion of the annual conferences via live worship recordings -- raw, in-your-face praise songs with an alternative edge."

This album features some of "the greats" - Chris Tomlin, Crowder, Matt Redman and Kristian Stanfill. 
Track List:
1.  Salvation's Tide is Rising - Passion featuring Kristian Stanfill
2.  My Victory - Passion featuring Crowder
3.  Remember - Passion featuring Brett Younker & Melodie Malone
4.  God & God Alone - Passion featuring Chris Tomlin
5.  Simple Pursuit - Passion featuring Melodie Malone
6.  I Turn to Christ - Passion featuring Matt Redman
7.  Your Grace Amazes Me - Passion featuring Christy Nockels
8.  All We Sinners - Passion featuring Crowder
9.  Surrender - Passion featuring Jimi Cravity
10. Good Good Father - Passion featuring Kristian Stanfill 

One of my favorite songs on the album is the opener, Salvation's Tide is Rising.  I love the music on this one - the instruments and voices sound other-worldy in parts and the words are powerful.  Stanfill does not disappoint  - his lyrics are meaningful and catchy. 

Another that I find myself singing often is "Remember" by Brett Younker.  It's upbeat and also just what I need to hear most days lyric-wise. 

Don't miss "Your Grace Amazes Me" by Christy Nockels.  This is another song that speaks to me deeply and reminds me of the incredible grace of God.  It's tender and has deep lyrics that challenge me every time I hear it.



***I was sent a digital copy of the CD by the publisher for an honest review on my blog.


Friday, November 20, 2015

Mercy Me and Christmas!

There are new Christmas albums coming out all the time - but I want one that has new twists on old carols or new songs altogether!  Mercy Me hit it this time!  This album is full of new Christmas tunes as well as some of the old ones - I think just enough to keep everyone happy!

The opening "Newborn" gives me goosebumps - what a wonderful rendition of old and new!  I also loved "Sleigh Ride" - talk about a new rendition of an old song - I thought it was SUPER!  A fun song with a county twang is "Our Lullaby" - I told you this album has a little something for everyone.  And don't miss "Joy" - another new twist on an old song.  This is really a fabulous album!

And Mercy Me has teamed up with Pizza Ranch on this awesome album!

Mercy Me It’s Christmas​ CD will be available in Pizza Ranch locations beginning November 1, 2015 through December 31, 2015.  It has 4 exclusive songs that can only be found on the CD version being sold by Pizza Ranch.  Each CD will be sold for $5 plus tax.  Pizza Ranch will give away the CD with a $25 gift card purchase as well as sell the full album at each of its 200 locations throughout the Midwest and Great Plains states.  "We are so excited to debut our new Christmas album, MercyMe, It’s Christmas, with Pizza Ranch” said Bart Millard with MercyMe. “Pizza Ranch is a fantastic restaurant with a great mission to glorify God. It's the perfect gift to give this Christmas season and the perfect CD to get you in the Christmas spirit."

*I was sent a review copy by the publisher for an honest review on my blog.

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