Saturday, September 27, 2014

Review of Raising a Princess by John Croyle

This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, you may be helping to support a voracious curriculum buying habit. Be warned. And thank you for clicking through to purchase.


princessAlthough I often read Christian fiction most often, I do enjoy reading nonfiction also. I especially like a book that makes me think, that convicts me, or that inspires me. I recently had the opportunity to review Raising a Princess by John Croyle, and it did all three.


About John Croyle: 

John Croyle was an All-American defensive end at the University of Alabama during a renowned title run under Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. Croyle declined a career in the National Football League and instead went on to found and develop the Big Oak Ranch for Boys. Over the next few decades they worked to start the Girls’ Ranch as well as the Westbrook Christian School. He and his wife, Tee, together have raised hundreds of young men and women, including their daughter and Big Oak child care director, Reagan Croyle Phillips, as well as their son and former NFL quarterback Brodie Croyle. For more information, please visit www.bigoak.org.

Because of his years spent working with boys and girls at the Big Oak Ranch and because of his experience parenting his own children, John writes with knowledge about the subject of teaching your daughter how to be a real princess. 

Many of the comments in the book were aimed at dads, but the information was also very relevant to me as a mom. And I think that it can be beneficial for me as a mom to think about these virtues that John is describing and question whether or not I truly display that virtue myself. Was I taught that this was important. And do I communicate its importance to my daughters. 

About the Book: 
The Bible defines godly womanhood in the frequently referenced chapter of Proverbs 31. John Croyle is one of today’s most respected child advocates. In his new book, Raising A Princess, Croyle asks, “How do you equip your daughter to become the kind of woman described in Proverbs 31? After all, a woman like that doesn’t appear out of nowhere. Somebody taught her to become the woman she was designed to be.”
Based on Croyle’s life and experience parenting more than 1,900 abused and neglected children at Big Oak Ranch, alongside his two biological children, this book is organized around eight essential virtues a parent can build in his or her princess:
- Praiseworthiness
- Righteousness
- Initiative
- Nurture
- Character
- Empowerment
- Servant-Heartedness
- Stability

In each of the book's chapters John examines one of these virtues. He describes what that virtue will look like and gives practical suggestions for instilling those virtues in your daughter. Throughout the book he weaves stories from the Ranch and from his own children to illustrate.

I was encouraged and inspired by Raising a Princess. I can walk away with practical ideas for my own girls. And I can definitely recommend this one as a good read.

This book can be ordered from the Big Oak Ranch website and all profits go to the running of the ranch.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own, and I was not compensated in any other way.



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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Review of Evergreen by Susan May Warren

This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, you may be helping to support a voracious curriculum buying habit. Be warned. And thank you for clicking through to purchase.

I've been enjoying the Christiansen family novels from Susan May Warren over the last couple of years. The books are romantic Christian fiction centering around the grown children of the Christiansen family one at a time. I've had the privilege to review all of them so far.
Take a Chance on Me
It Had to Be You
When I Fall In Love


I recently received Susan's novella- Evergreen- to read. Evergreen takes a detour from the lives of the Christiansen kids to look at their parents.

Evergreen is all about John and Ingrid Christiansen. They think they're destined to be empty nesters for the holidays, and each of them is handling the idea differently. The story is a touching look at the reality of kids grown and gone and the relationship that the parents have once the kids are moving on.

I love all of Susan's stories. I haven't yet read one that I dislike. But I have to admit that I didn't want to like Evergreen. And here is why. I am forty. I have children who are very quickly growing older. I have two teenagers already. I can see the day coming when they are leaving home. As I've read the Christiansen novels, I've loved each one. I read and I can relate to the lives of these fresh, young people heading into life, falling in love. Because in my mind, I'm still twenty-something. But when I read Evergreen, I had to admit that, perhaps I'm more like John and Ingrid than like their children. Perhaps I have a little more in common with their stage of life.

And despite my desire to dislike it, I couldn't. Evergreen was another great story from Susan. Her characters are always so easy to relate to. The story has moments of humor and moments that are very touching.

Evergreen is a novella, so it was a quick read and one that I could mostly finish in an evening. It makes for a great, short holiday read. And for fans of the Christiansen novels, it's a great side story that gives a little more insight into the family.

I can give Evergreen five stars and a PG for content. It's another great read from Susan May Warren.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own, and I was not compensated in any other way.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Review of Hidden In the Stars by Robin Caroll

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Hidden In the Stars in the most recent Quilts of Love book that I've had the opportunity to review. This one is a mystery/suspense/romance novel. It was a pretty light read with no deep theme or character development, but I enjoyed the story line and the sweet romance.

The story- a mystery surrounding the murder of a Russian woman and the beating of her daughter- was one that grabbed my interest at once. It moved quickly and held me. It was one I finished quickly because it wasn't a hard read, and I didn't want to stop until I found out what had happened.

I can recommend this one as an interesting, easy read. I give it four stars and a PG for content.









Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.
This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Hidden in the Stars
Abingdon Press (September 16, 2014)
by
Robin Caroll


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Born and raised in Louisiana, Robin Caroll is a southerner through and through. Her passion has always been to tell stories to entertain others. Robin’s mother, bless her heart, is a genealogist who instilled in Robin the deep love of family and pride of heritage—two aspects Robin weaves into each of her books.

When she isn’t writing, Robin spends time with her husband of twenty-plus years, her 3 beautiful daughters, 2 precious grandsons, and their character-filled pets at home—in the South, where else?

ABOUT THE BOOK

Following an attack that killed her mother and stole her ability to speak, 21-year-old Sophia Montgomery has no choice but to accept her estranged grandmother’s offer to return to their family home. Although detective Julian Frazier is working hard on the case, Sophia unknowingly frustrates him because her inability to speak thwarts her eyewitness evidence. The fact that Julian is undeniably attracted to Sophia doesn’t help either, so Julian hides his feelings as concern for a trauma victim and focuses instead on finding the killer.

Little do they know, the clues to solving the case may be right in front of them, displayed in Sophia’s mother’s “special” quilt design. Who will realize the secret Sophia’s unwittingly been hiding in plain sight? When the truth comes to light, will Sophia find her voice again? Or will the murderer—still at large—silence her forever?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Hidden in the Stars, go HERE.



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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Review of Silver Threads: Weaving Godly Wisdom Into the Life of Younger Women by Kate Megill

This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, you may be helping to support a voracious curriculum buying habit. Be warned. And thank you for clicking through to purchase.

Quite a few years ago, as a young homeschooling mama, I stumbled upon a web board that was a forum for Christian homeschoolers. Many times, through the early years of homeschooling and child rearing, I asked questions on the board, seeking advice and encouragement and prayer. It was difficult, with young children, for me to get out very often and join a group like this in real life. And, to be honest, I hadn't found this kind of mentoring and encouragement in the few places I had looked.


One of the women who was a huge encouragement to me on the board was Kate Megill, a homeschooling mama of eight. Many times Kate answered a question or made a comment in a way that was just what I needed to hear at them time. Always her statements were Christ-like and kind. And she always based her opinions in Scripture.

I'm not an extrovert- in real life or online- so I seldom carried on long conversations on the board. Kate probably doesn't even know the impact that her words sometimes had, the discussions I had with my husband about things she had said. Even some of the things that strengthened my relationship with my husband during those early years of parenthood were things I learned from Kate.

And so, when I learned that Kate had written a book about mentoring younger women, I know it would be wonderful. Who better to share her wisdom about mentoring? And I have had the privilege to read through Kate's book for review. Kate's book is Silver Threads: Weaving Godly Wisdom Into the Lives of Younger Women.

Kate begins Silver Threads by taking a look at why we need godly older women to come alongside younger women (from Titus 2:1-5). Sharing her own story, she shows the importance of these godly older women, and she talks about discipleship.

Part One looks at some of the characteristics of the "older women" mentioned in Titus 2. She also looks at where to find these older women mentors and even gives younger women some advice of what to do if they can't find an older woman to be in their lives.

In Part Two Kate shares about becoming the older woman mentioned in Titus 2. Always focused on Scripture, Kate uses several passages to discuss the traits needed to develop in the older woman. Then she gives some practical things that the older woman should remember- dos and don'ts of discipleship.

Kate also takes a look at how the older woman might begin being an influence in the lives of younger women- whether in an organized way or simply in living by example. And she reminds us of something very important- beginning this discipleship process of older women teaching younger women with our own daughters. I must admit that I was convicted here. While I love the idea of being a mentor and encouragement to younger moms, I often overlook the fact that my daughters are going to be those future young moms!

In the final section, Kate takes a look at the impact of discipling younger woman on the local church and even on the world. As I said in the beginning of this post, I can certainly testify to the impact that can be made when an older woman takes the time and effort to make a difference in the lives of younger women.

Silver Threads is an excellent call to action. I want to be an influencer as Kate- and later others- have been for me. I want to remember to begin at home with my daughters. (I have a teenager and a preteen!) And I want to be and encouragement and adviser to other women also.

You can purchase Silver Threads through Amazon as a Kindle read or a paperback. And it's a read I can highly recommend!


Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are entirely my own, and I was not compensated in any other way.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Review of The Curious Case of the Missing Figurehead by Diane Noble

This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, you may be helping to support a voracious curriculum buying habit. Be warned. And thank you for clicking through to purchase.


The Curious Case of the Missing Figurehead was a fun read. At times it was romantic, at times suspenseful, and at times thoughtful. But it was at all times a fun read.

There isn't anything really deep as far as character development in the story. The perspective changes from the first person perspective of our main character- El Littlefield- to third person perspective focusing on other main characters at time.

But even though there isn't lots of depth of characters, the fast-paced, suspenseful story was a really enjoyable read. I was caught up in the mystery from the start. And, although transitions were a little choppy at times, the mystery of the figurehead's disappearance along with El's missing best friend not to mention the trouble of all the illness from the banquet catered by El's catering group, were all enough to keep me very interested in reading to the end.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own, and I was not compensated in any other way.





This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Curious Case of the Missing Figurehead
David C. Cook (September 1, 2014)
by
Diane Noble


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Award-winning novelist Diane Noble writes stories that tap into the secrets of the heart.

With more than a quarter million books in print, Diane feels incredibly blessed to be doing what she loves best—writing the stories of her heart.

For the last three years Diane has been honored to be lead author for the popular Guideposts series, Mystery and the Minister’s Wife (Through the Fire, Angels Undercover), and has recently returned to writing historical fiction. She recently finished writing book two of her new historical series, The Brides of Gabriel. Book one, The Sister Wife, and book 2, The Betrayal, which are published by Harper Collins/Avon Inspire, are now in bookstores.

Now empty nesters, Diane and her husband live in the Southern California low desert, near a place known for the lush and beautiful gated communities of the rich and famous.

ABOUT THE BOOK

She’s Passionate about Solving the Case ... with the Town’s Life-Long Bachelor

El Littllefield runs The Butler Did It catering. It’s the perfect cover for her to solve “who-done-its” (nothing too dangerous, please!) in this small university town nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. While catering her most important event yet—a fancy retirement dinner for Dr. Max Haverhill, life-long bachelor and history dean—countless guests fall ill, a 200 year-old relic is stolen, and her best friend vanishes. All in the first hour.

As El and Max race to solve the mystery, they discover there’s more to their relationship than simply solving the case. Welcome to Eden’s Bridge—the perfect small town setting for big intrigue, romance, and humor.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Curious Case of the Missing Figurehead, go HERE



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Friday, September 12, 2014

Review of Mirror Images by Laurie Norlander

This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, you may be helping to support a voracious curriculum buying habit. Be warned. And thank you for clicking through to purchase.

Laurie Norlander is a new to me author. But I was very intrigued by the title and description of the book - Mirror Images- when I chose it to review.


From the book's description:
They say seeing is believing... What if they’re wrong?

That's Maddy's dilemma when she sees her volatile ex-boyfriend at his identical twin's funeral. It's the first of many surprises as Maddy quickly discovers nothing is as it seems in the close-knit community of Churchill, Wisconsin. Despite lingering feelings for Nic, Maddy’s skeptical of claims that his millionaire brother committed suicide. Her suspicions turn to horror when Maddy stumbles across evidence the man was murdered - and Nic may be responsible.

Maddy's search for truth plays out against the backdrop of small town politics and a personal struggle with doubt. When a second tragedy tangles Maddy in a web of danger and betrayal, how far will she go to unmask the killer?

Mirror Images is a riveting romantic suspense novel woven with insights on friendship, forgiveness, and the power of faith.


So I began reading the book with high hopes. But I was soon to be disappointed.

Although the book is written in first person from Madison's perspective, we don't get to know her or the other characters very well at all. I didn't feel like they were developed well. And it always frustrates me to read a book when I can't identify with the characters.

But I thought at least the mystery and intrigue would hold me, make me want to keep reading to find out what happens. And I have to admit that the story was set well in the beginning to capture my attention. But even that intrigue wasn't enough to make me want to keep reading.

The story was rambling and somewhat difficult to follow. Things would happen that just didn't seem to make sense in light of other information we had from previous events. This made the story line very choppy and hard to keep up with.

I didn't feel like the book was really a "romantic suspense novel" either. Throughout most of the book, Madison (rarely called Maddy in the book) hates the primary male character. And when her feelings for him are revealed, the change is very abrupt and doesn't fit very well.

Although I began with high hopes, I just couldn't like this one. I give it two stars and a PG for content (there is reference to murder and suicide but not graphic descriptions).

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own, and I was not compensated in any other way.

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Saturday, September 6, 2014

Review of The Healer's Touch by Lori Copeland

This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, you may be helping to support a voracious curriculum buying habit. Be warned. And thank you for clicking through to purchase.

The Healer's Touch is a very simple Christian fiction/romance novel. It's an historical novel set in the Old West. There wasn't anything deep or momentous in this read, but it was a decent story with a somewhat interesting plot.


Lyric's mother is plagued with a mental illness so people leave them alone- far alone. None of the folks from nearby Joplin, Missouri want to get anywhere near them. The presence of a very strange and creepy light that occurs near their home place doesn't help matters. (The author explains the very real phenomenon of this light in the introduction.) But a mysterious man- who happens to be a U.S. marshal crashes into her barn one day running from the light. Lyric helps the man and cares for him as he recovers. But as they grow closer, she is concerned about the fact of her mentally ill mother.

There wasn't much depth to this read. The characters were not developed extremely well, so I didn't feel as if I got to know them very much. The plot was interesting but not very believable. I was interested enough to want to keep reading and find out the conclusion.

I can recommend it as a simple, short read. I give it 3 stars and a G rating for content.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are entirely my own, and I was not compensated in any other way.


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