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Book Reviews



The Lucado Inspirational Reader: Hope and Encouragement for Your Everyday Life by Max Lucado
·       Hardcover: 416 pages
·       Publisher: Thomas Nelson (November 22, 2011)
·       Language: English
·       ISBN-10: 0849948304
·       ISBN-13: 978-0849948305
·       Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5.7 x 1.6 inches
This book is a collection of quotes and inspiration from other books by Lucado.  The twenty seven chapters are each on different topics, making it easy to select on to suit your mood or spiritual needs.  Some of the topics are: Comfort; Passion; Faith; Family; Forgiveness; Hope; Peace; and Perseverance.  
I have many of Max Lucado books, but I love it when he does a book like this one – it’s like reading the best of his works, but then, I think they are all the best.  It’s the perfect book to pick up when you need a lift or to be inspired.  I would recommend it to anyone who needs a gift for a loved one, or as addition to a home library.
I rate this a 5/5.  It is definitely a keeper, one I would recommend to friends, and read again and again.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Our Giveaways are in no way sponsored or promoted by Facebook.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 You can buy this book here:


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The "What's for Dinner?" Solution
By Kathi Lipp
·       Format: Kindle Edition
·       File Size: 391 KB
·       Print Length: 210 pages
·       Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0736938370
·       Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (October 1, 2011) 
“What’s for dinner?” is a question sure to rile me every time I hear it!  That’s because I just don’t know – not until around thirty minutes before meal time most days.  And, then I usually grab the quickest prepared meal from the freezer and slap it in the microwave or oven.   So, this lazy cook was excited to read Kathi Lipp’s book.  I was definitely looking for a solution!
This is a well-laid out book, filled with easy to follow tips on saving time and money in the kitchen.  There are four main sections: Get Prepared; Get Organized; Get Your Food; Get Cooking.  Kathi gives us some of her experiences and stories from others to show us why and how to begin by organizing everything from our kitchen tools to our pantry, recipes – and the biggie, meal planning.  She tells how she preps several meals at once and freezes the extras so they will be ready on a busy night.  There are some lessons to be learned about bulk shopping and she finishes up with some very yummy-sounding recipes for the slow cooker that can simplify our dinner hour.
I give this book 5/5 stars – I loved it, found it easy to follow, and would definitely recommend it to my friends, to any busy Mom, and working women everywhere!  It’s a keeper!
I received this eBook free from the for the purpose of an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

You can buy this book here:

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FORENSICS BY THE NUMBERS (Jewel Connor Mysteries)
 By Carolyn Chambers Clark & Anthony Auriemma
·       Format: Kindle Edition
·       File Size: 326 KB
·       Print Length: 203 pages
·       Language: English
·       ASIN: B00599RQUY  
Forensics Nurse Examiner, Jewel Connor, isn’t satisfied with waiting for Lt. Graham (her team member with an attitude) to follow leads and clues when the next crime victim turns out to be her friend, Sara, the DA.  As Jewel investigates, it stirs a long-buried memory that urges her on to fight for these women that have been battered and sliced by a serial killer.  She stays right on his trail, but soon finds out he is also following her and waiting for her. 
As to who the killer is – well, there are several characters that seem to have motive and ability to carry out these attacks.  I found my heart racing at some of the twists and turns this mystery takes.  Jewel’s husband helps her by using contacts from his mysterious past and his technical expertise on the computer.  Both of them realize her life is in extreme danger, but she is compelled to follow through to the conclusion. 
I give this a 4/5 and recommend it to those who enjoy a good thriller.  It kept me guessing, which is what I look for and the reason I would consider reading more by these authors.  This is a well-written, fast-paced mystery that will keep the reader on the edge of their seat (or bed in my case, as I read this in two nights in bed!)  I couldn’t put it down. 
I received this book free from the author for the purpose of an honest review.  All opinions are my own.


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Free (Living Life Series)
Angela De Souza
Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 189 KB
Language: English
ASIN: B005BXVFTG

Aren't we women all wondering why we are here, what our purpose is, who we are? From the time we are young girls to old women the questions are the same - until we can finally learn to be Free. Free from Masks, our Past, Shame, Fear - to Forgive, Say No, Be Me, Live, Be Weak, Love, Laugh, Give, Lead. These are the chapter headings and the areas of our lives that hold us hostage.
The author discusses all of these and gives us personal accounts and testimonies to show us ways to overcome these chains that keep us from being the woman God created us to be.
I found myself in every chapter, during one phase of my life or another. The book encouraged me to face my fears and failures, misconceptions and hurt feelings and to listen to God when He tells me He loves me, that I am special, that He will stand beside me always. My soul was touched, my heart could feel the beginnings of joy, and my eyes were opened to things so hidden I forgot they existed.
I rate this a 4/5 for covering such a complicated and challenging topic an a caring and thoughful manner. I would recommeng this to every woman, young or old, perhaps especially the young - to use it as a roadmap to finding out who we really are.

I received this book free from the author in exchange for my honest review. My opinions are my own. I was not compensated. This giveaway is not connected to Facebook in any manner.
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Judgment Day
By Wanda L. Dyson
Paperback
340 Pages
Copyright 2010
Publisher: Waterbrook Press
This book is my first exposure to Wanda Dyson’s writing and it didn’t let me down.  It is a mystery thriller with a light touch of romance and a hint of Christian morals.  The lead character, Suzanne Kidwell, is a highly-rated, though hardly highly regarded, TV anchor that reports on sensational news stories  but doesn’t necessarily verify her information.

Her life and career take some serious twists and turns when 1) her boyfriend is killed in a car bomb explosion while driving her vehicle; 2) several young people turn up missing; 3) she comes home to find a seriously injured man on her floor, he later dies, she finds herself waking next to the body, and she is blamed for the murder.   Her only chance of clearing herself is to take her attorney’s advice and hire the two top private investigators – one of which happens to be her ex-fiancé.  The tension builds as the mysteries unfold and run together in a deadly mix of murder and black market activity.
I felt the characters could have been developed better, but I enjoyed them nevertheless.  The Christian aspect was so minimal as to be barely noticeable.  I think the author missed an opportunity to develop the moral theme and the chance for Suzanne to find faith at the end.  She started to lead up to that, but never finished the task.

I rate this book a 4/5 because it kept me up all of one night and part of the next as I raced through it, unable to put it down except to get some much-needed sleep!  I love a good thriller and this had enough surprises and took some unexpected avenues that kept me guessing, not so much as to who was the bad guy, but what exactly his crime was!
Disclosure of Material Connection: “I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review”.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Our Giveaways are in no way sponsored or promoted by Facebook.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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Black Purse


·       Paperback: 344 pages
·       Publisher: CreateSpace (August 20, 2011)
·       Language: English
·       ISBN-10: 1466250895
·       ISBN-13: 978-1466250895

This is a fiction book based on fact.  It has romance, suspense, mystery as well as tackling a couple of difficult social and cultural issues.  The main character, Exilee, is a child of mixed races – part American Indian mixed with black and part white.  She identifies with her Indian heritage most and battles cultural stigmas in all areas of her life.  All of her life she has understood animals to the point that she felt the could talk to her.  This insight is pivotal toward the end of the book.  At the same time she finds and is about to marry the man of her dreams, she lands right in the middle of a homosexual hate crime and soon after, discovers her soon-to-be inlaws’ home hides part of the Underground Railroad.  Exilee comes across as a very strong woman who had a few stellar role models in her life.  She also dealt with some major pain and sadness in her life.
I thought this book was difficult to read and to review, but a good story all the same.  I had a hard time following from the end of a chapter to the beginning of the next chapter.  The author left too much hanging at the end of one chapter and jumped right into the next event without letting the reader know how we got there.  Nevertheless, as I said before, the story grabbed me and I had to keep reading.  There were some references to body parts that I feel could have been omitted, and the drunkenness was a bit overdone.  It was also difficult to understand what was evidently a slang used by the Native Americans in that area.

The story shed light on two cultural and social issues that are even today not understood.  I could feel disgust and anger at the slurs and ugly comments made to Exilee regarding her heritage and to Jake regarding his homosexuality.  The author did a good job of championing their causes.  It reflects well that 'Black Purse' is in all NC's state capital libraries.     I would recommend this book as a good thriller that leaves you guessing right up to the end.  I rate it a 3 out of 5.

The author provided a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.  The opinions expressed here are my own.
Stephanie Sellers website: FictiononFact,  https://sites.google.com/site/fictiononfact/ 

For limited time an ebook copy is free through Smashwords.com. Code is AS45A.
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by Stephanie M Sellers







  • Paperback: 84 pages 





  • Publisher: CreateSpace (August 21, 2011) 





  • Language: English 





  • ISBN-10: 1466254017





  • ISBN-13: 978-1466254015














  • Oginalii is written for young adults, but I enjoyed it just the same.  It is the prequel to Black Purse (see review above) and covers the time in Exilee’s life just after she lost her Mother and was being raised by her Aunt Bell.  Even at this young age, she communicated with the animals in her life – Yellow Cat, her horse, cows and the neighbor’s 3 ½ legged buffalo that she calls Oginalii.
    Exilee is quite the tomboy, preferring to put on her own little pony shows to learning the piano as her Aunt Bell insisted she must do.  She and her sister have a strained relationship, Glennie being jealous of Exilee.  Their Nanny, Miss Ginger often has to step in to settle arguments.  After the death of Aunt Bell, the tension increases as the girls attempt to solve a mystery.

    This book is easy to read and quick-paced.  It keeps you involved, brings you right into the story and keeps you guessing right up to the end, as it leads you towards the sequel, Black Purse.  I give this book a 4/5 and recommend it to any age group.




    The author provided a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. The opinions expressed here are my own.
    Stephanie Sellers website: FictiononFact, https://sites.google.com/site/fictiononfact/

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    Dreams and Nightmares
    Published July 19, 2011
    In the first two chapters we meet two distinctly different characters.  Decker, who dreams of being a successful writer, meets her live-in boyfriend at a fancy restaurant at his request, expecting a marriage proposal, and gets instead, an awkward statement that he is leaving her for another woman and moving to Chicago.  Her devastation soon turns to elation when her manuscript is accepted and she receives a check for $100,000 and a contract with a top literary agent.
    At the same time, we meet Albert, a career criminal who, in a bank robbery gone horribly wrong ends up in prison again.  The author keeps us guessing as he plots to escape by getting sent to the infirmary, and his hope that his girlfriend and his cousin will understand his coded message asking for their help.
    I liked that the book was unpredictable.  I knew these two characters must have some connection, but there seemed to be none.  I didn’t want to put the book down – afraid the clues I was looking for were just ahead in the next chapter or two.  I was not disappointed, but I’ll save the ending for the next reader to discover.  It was well worth staying up late to finish this book! 
    Disclosure of Material Connection: “I received this book for free from ARK Stories for this review”.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.  Our Giveaways are in no way sponsored or promoted by Facebook.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

    Buy This Book Here


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    The author, her daughter, and three other women took on this subject during their King's Daughters Girls Nights.  Through the course of a year they applied verses of the Bible to their lives as women, asked themselves tough questions, and answered from their hearts - questions concerning the real meaning of being a woman in the 21st Century.  This is not only a journey they took, but one the reader finds herself taking as well. 

    It was evident by the replies to the questions that these four women were feeling conviction, fear, joy, tears, and unabashed love for Jesus.  Their spiritual growth was clear and I felt as if I was right there in the room with them.  The subject is is an in depth look at how God expects us to be as women - to be beautiful, not because we wear designer clothing, or have plastic surgery, but from the inside out.  The questions and answers help us to know how we can strive to achieve that.

    When I requested a review copy of this book I wasn't sure what to expect, but I thought I would probably learn something along the way. What I didn't expect was the soul-searching I would find myself doing and the baggage that I found hidden in my heart.  I would highly recommend this book to every woman I know.  It would also be a good guide for a home study.   

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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    Healing Is A Choice by Steve Arterburn
    Ten Decisions That Will Transform Your Life & The Lies That Can Prevent You From Making Them

    Publisher: Thomas Nelson
    Copyright: 2005, 2011 
    After having listened to Steve Arterburn’s radio show, New Life Live, and hearing him talk about this book, I have been wanting to read it.  So, when it was one of the choices of books to review, I jumped at the chance!  As the title states, the author cites ten choices one can make to heal, whether emotionally, physically or spiritually, and ten lies Satan plants in our minds to make us think we can’t heal.  He tells us the choice is God’s and He will equip us if we just trust Him to get us through our situation or the baggage of guilt, unforgiveness and/or shame that we have been carrying around for years.  The workbook for this was included with the Kindle version, with corresponding workbook segments after each chapter.

    Arterburn pulls no punches as he gives us suggestions and prodding – and gives us real-life examples of people who have faced the challenge of healing and succeeded or are at least on the right path to healing.  It is to the point and written so the average person can understand.  There were many places in the book where I found my own baggage and was forced to face some issues that I have had buried for years. 

    I will re-read this several times as I let each challenging point sink in and I work on my inner healing, too.  That wasn’t my first thought when I began this book, but it is what I have come away with – a promise to myself.  I highly recommend this to anyone who has experienced unforgiveness, emotional and/or physical abuse, and any other unresolved issues.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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    “A Sound Among the Trees” by Susan Meissner

    Superstitions and Family Roots…

    “A Sound Among the Trees” is a novel set in an old family mansion in the South.  A new bride soon hears many conflicting stories of ghosts and a curse that set her on a mission to discover the truth.  The book goes between current times to Civil War times with the family history and the history of their property – tying the lives of Susannah Page, an ancestor who was accused of being a spy during the Civil War, and Marielle Bishop who marries into the family.

    I liked the story with its romantic aspects, its historical aspect, and the family dynamics that kept the reader guessing about the ghosts and whether there was a curse on the women of the family through the years.  Marielle’s questioning and investigating take her back to the time of Susannah page via some letters that were found hidden long years ago.  The letters hold the key to all of her questions.

    I would recommend this to anyone who likes a good love story, a little history with a lot of superstition going on!  The antagonist could have been developed more, but overall, I thought the characters were realistic and the family dynamics believable.  There was a touch of humor with Adelaide’s lady friends, which was refreshing.  It is a quick read and an entertaining story.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: “I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review”.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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    Babylon’s Falling The Story of Belteshazzar, also known as Daniel

    By William G. Collins

    This story is biblically-based fiction, taken from Chapters 1-6 of the Bible’s Book of Daniel, including the stories we know well from our Bible studies – the capture of the Judahites, their years under the rule of King Nebuchadnezzar, the fiery furnace, the lion’s den, and the fall of Babylon.  The author gives life to the story and gives us a picture of how these friends faced their trials and struggles in captivity.

    The story is well-written, flows well, and is a believable account of Daniel and his friends.  I liked the fact that they were portrayed as humble, obedient servants of God, yet, I felt that they were just ordinary men.  The glimpse into their thinking and the way of life in that time was interesting and educational.  The detail gave a complete picture, yet wasn’t overwhelming.  The reader could feel as if he were there with them on their journey.  Even though Daniel's story is known to me, I still did not want to put the book down, not wanting to miss a minute of the drama.  I would recommend this book to anyone interested in history, the lives of men of the Bible, or just likes a good, uplifting read.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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    Book Review: The Next Thing I Knew (Heavenly)

    by John Corwin

    Kindle Edition

    Published July 12th 2011  
    A good read, easy to follow, and well-written, this work of fiction was very enjoyable, even though I am not usually a fan of the paranormal.   The story begins with a group of high school acquaintances apparently dead, in a type of afterlife, along with everyone else in their town.  It doesn’t take them long to figure out that all human life appears to have been extinguished by some mysterious force. 
    This group of teens soon sets out to discover the truth behind the deaths and how they can save the world from being taken over.  With a lot of help from the nerdy friends in the group, they find ways to accomplish tasks and maneuvers that previously would have been thought of as magic, if not totally impossible for the human mind to comprehend.
    The characters were likeable (well, most of them) and the interaction between them was very much as one would expect of teenagers.  The story had a bit of romance, jealousy, mystery, a lot of adventure as one might expect - and a touch of sexual content that in my opinion did not need to be there.  When I began reading I thought a couple of my grandchildren might enjoy the reading, but as I read further, I have to say I could not in good conscience recommend it for young adults – at least not mine.  That’s just me, however, and each reader should make their own call on that issue.
    Over all, the book held my interest throughout, entertained me, and I was not able to guess what would happen next, which made it all the more exciting to read.  I found it difficult to put down.  I would definitely read other books by this author and recommend his works to others.
    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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