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Friday, August 28, 2015

Until My Name Is Known



Some of my favorite fiction novels since I've been a book reviewer are those that take a well known story from the Bible and expand on it without losing the initial meaning. We all know that there is more to the story than what we read and once again, another talented author has managed to do just that. Sonya Contreras has launched a series called Tell of My Kingdom's Glory and in the debut novel, Until My Name is Known, we are transported back to the time of Moses. Not the Moses who was put in a basket and floated up the river, but this was after his killing of an Egyptian guard and now he has be called by God to go to Pharoah to seek the release of the Israelites who have been slaves for more than 40 years.

Those familiar with the story remember how Pharoah isn't about to let them go, because they are the man power capable of building his empire, and no matter how many times Moses and Aaron attempt to convince him to let their people go, Pharoah refuses. After all he has the power of all the Egyptian gods he can call upon through his viziers and priests, so until the threats are taken seriously by all, the plagues of Egypt will continue. I love how Sonya will expand on the outcome of each of the plagues, how they might have been perceived by both the Egyptian people as well as the Israelites who got a slight reprieve from the plagues but still had to endure the first few. It showcases how Pharoah might have perceived his sense of power prior to the plagues and how with the downfall of each, he loses a bit more of his power but also the respect of his people who look to him for their sense of well being. Just like those in powerful positions, Pharoah isn't about to be taken for granted, and until it seems like it all is just about to slip away, he relents, but only enough to realize, he can't let the people stay gone. He has to bring them back otherwise suffer the ruination of his kingdom.

I received Until My Name is Known by Sonya Contreras compliments of Litfuse Publicity and Bull Head Press for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review aside from a free copy of this book, and the opinions contained here are strictly my own. I look forward to seeing what is next in this series and it truly does convey to the reader, that God doesn't want any to perish but to come to know Him, through the many wonders and promises found in His Word. You can tell quite a bit of research went into this book based on the number of resources she refers to in her bibliography to help us fill in the missing pieces. The best part of this book for me, was seeing it laid out as the 10 plagues of Egypt were called down by Moses and how it simply did just happen in the course of a couple weeks. It shows how far God is willing to go to reach people with each plague getting more darker as Pharoah turns in desperation to the gods of Egypt to counter God's power. I would rate this one 4 out of 5 stars based strictly on the formatting of the book. I would have like to have seen it spaced better to help the reader from feeling overwhelming by the lack of spacing on each page.

For more information about Until My Name is Known, Sonya Contreras, or where you can pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the links below:


You can find Sonya Contreras on Twitter to stay up to date on all her latest books.

To read more reviews on Until My Name is Known, please visit Litfuse Publicity's Book Tour page. 


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Unprocessed



I don't think I have ever read a memoir quite like Megan Kimble's. In fact the only time I will really read a memoir is if the author is someone I really want to know more about. However, her year long challenge to see if she could go without eating anything that is processed, was something I was truly interested in, especially after watching, Super Size Me, and watching how processed fast food impacts the body. I was more than pleasantly surprised after sitting down and reading this from cover to cover in one sitting and asking myself if I could do the same thing Megan did. My outcome, probably not, but I loved living vicariously through her while she did so on a very meager budget I might add.

When you think about it, most of the food we eat outside of fruits and vegetables are mostly processed in order to preserve shelf life and to last longer than it would without all those additives we seriously never considered what they do and if they are good for our bodies. I mean, they wouldn't be able to sell the stuff on the supermarket shelves if they did right? You might be just as surprised as I was after reading this. As Megan experiences things such as learning how to make bread, the old fashioned way, and what is the right grains to use, yes, she becomes a younger version of Martha Stewart and buys a grinder. She learns what it means by "rule of thumb" and how through trial and error manages to pull of home made bread that calls to her after she finishes baking it in the over. She shares with us all that even those tried and true places we believe may in fact be healthy like Trader Joe's and Whole Foods, might in fact not be as innocent and healthy as we thought.

She takes you on a journey not only how things are made, but at the conclusion of each chapter, she shares her secrets on how to make things like sea salt, bread, chocolate, how to can tomatoes, how to make your own almond milk, and so much more. For someone like me, this book is chalk full of great facts like knowing for example that 90% of our sodium intake is from processed food and only 10% is added by us in our daily diet. What the difference is between all those brands of sugars, raw and natural as well as artificial sweeteners, along with the differences between all those milk products we find, which is truly the best for our body and why we are often lactose intolerant. You might be more than surprised. I applaud her efforts to pulling this off and I learned quite a bit about reading my labels more accurately and supporting local farmer's markets to sell strictly organic, pesticide and antibiotic free produce and meat. We may not be able to change how supermarkets sell produce but we can decide how to spend the money we earn in a better way to support small co-ops and organic farmers and dairies.

I received Unprocessed: My City-Dwelling Year of Reclaiming Real Food by Megan Kimble compliments of William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins Publishers for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review aside from a free copy of the book, and the opinions expressed are strictly my own personal. For this reader, I may decide to take up canning if done properly to ensure I have some great produce available when it is out of season, and now found some new uses for my food processor. Overall, well written, informative, and engaging to keep me interested in finishing this in one sitting, thus a 5 out of 5 star rating in this reader's opinion.

For more information about Unprocessed, Megan Kimble or where you can pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the links below:


You can find Megan Kimble on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest books.

To read more reviews on Unprocessed, please visit William Morrow's Website. 


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Fervent



Looking for a great book on the strategies of battle worthy prayer for women? Something like industrial grade survival gear to face off against the enemy instead of taking on friendly fire, or being defeated in yet another daily spiritual battle? How many more times we will risk falling victim to the enemies schemes to cause division in our homes, families, marriages, relationships and just about every area of our life, while he simply seems to get better at it? If you are ready to get serious about prayer, free from whatever is keeping you held down and held back, wanting to reach our destiny and experience God's promises in our lives, than I would encourage you to pick up Fervent: A Woman's Battle Plan for Serious, Specific and Strategic Prayer by Priscilla Shirer.

Inspired by the upcoming movie the War Room, Priscilla takes us deep into the heart of the very ploys that Satan designs us to fail in specific areas of our life and shows us exactly how he plans on doing that. It creates an eye opening look to what his plans are, what the symptoms look like, and how we can pray more boldly for victory each time an attack comes. She even designed tear out cards you can create to put in the place you pray most often so you can use that specific prayer when facing a particular attack in that area.

As long as prayer remains an afterthought, no matter how badly we may want it, without the confidence, meaning, clarity, and vitality needed in our prayers, we simply waste years doing a whole lot of other things. Things that thoroughly exhaust us but ultimately don't work. We end up, for all our trying, missing the point on what God intended, missing the whole heart of what really matters. This book is designed to help you create, plan and pray specifically and strategically with precision in areas like passion, focus, identity, family, our past, our fears, our purity, pressures, hurts and relationships. It will teach you that when you pray about the places where we seriously suspect the enemy is at work - that is how we keep our prayers focused, not only on particular situations, but on biblical truths that are consistent with maintaining victory in the midst of them.

I received Fervent by Priscilla Shirer compliments of Icon Media Group and B and H Publishing Group for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review aside from a free copy of this book, and the opinions contained here are strictly my own. Priscilla Shirer is not only a best-selling author, but she is also taking part in acting in the upcoming movie the War Room. This book is so great at helping you format specific and powerful prayers in certain areas in your life, because it is the one weapon that truly works in those spiritual areas of our life that are impacting us daily. For me, this was a must read because my prayer life could use a revitalizing and I got exactly that through my reading of this book. I would easily rate this one a 4.5 out of 5 stars in my opinion and looking forward to seeing the movie when it comes out this month.

For more information about Fervent, Priscilla Shirer, or where you can pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the links below:


You can find Priscilla Shirer on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest books.

To read more reviews on Fervent please visit B and H Publishing Group. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

After Alice



Just in time for the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carrol's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, comes this novel After Alice from Gregory Maguire, (author of Wicked), who picks up the story after Alice falls down the proverbial rabbit hole. The title itself can be a bit misleading, because I had the notion it would be a sequel of sorts about what happened "after Alice" came back from Wonderland, but it is the story of Alice's best friend, Ada Boyce, who readers get a brief glimpse of in the original book. This is highlighted in the opening to this book where we find an excerpt from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland where Ada is mentioned.

This novel on the other hand is what happens when Ada follows Alice quite unfortunately in an attempt to find Alice, thus the fitting of the title "After Alice" comes into play. She wasn't intentionally looking for her, but was headed out exploring and trying to avoid her nanny of sorts, Mrs. Armstrong, whom Ada refers to as Mrs. Armstrong Headstrong, who has lost sight of Ada and fears the repercussions from Ada's father when she returns without her. Mrs. Armstrong doesn't know quite where Ada has run off and spends the length of the novel attempting to find her as the chapters toggle between Ada's adventures in trying to find Alice while she herself is lost in the many wonders in Wonderland, and Mrs. Armstrong's attempt to find her with little help from Lydia, Alice's older sister.

As Ada struggles to understand what is happening to her, we catch a sneak peek at some of our beloved characters from Wonderland like the Cheshire Cat, the Walrus and the Oysters, the talking roses and more as Wonderland rushes to make preparations for the Queen of Hearts garden party. Ada finds herself always a step behind where Alice has traveled and even finds herself accused of stealing a spoon from the Mad Hatter and March Hare when she sits down for tea, failing to realize she had the spoon in her pocket when she was in her home, trying to console her sickly baby brother.

I received After Alice by Gregory Maguire compliments of William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins Publishers for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review aside from the free copy of the novel and the opinions contained here are my own personal ones. While I wished this book would have stayed focused on Wonderland, I found the alternating chapters involving Alice's sister Lydia a bit distracting from the story. It was like having two very different stories in one book but alternating them. It was not something I preferred, but did enjoy the those chapters in which Ada's exploration into the mysterious world of Wonderland come to life again. I would rate this one a 4 out of 5 stars in my opinion and fans of Gregory Maguire's novels such as Wicked would love this one as well.

For more information about After Alice, Gregory Maguire or where you can preorder a copy of this novel which is released in October of 2015, please click on the links below:


You can find Gregory Maguire on Facebook to stay up to date on all his latest books.

To read more reviews on After Alice, please visit William Morrow's website. 

You can preorder a copy of this novel at Amazon.com.




Monday, August 24, 2015

When Calls the Heart: Heart of the Family



I have absolutely fallen for the series When Calls the Heart, produced by Michael Landon Jr, and based on the novel by Janette Oke. Now part of the Hallmark Channel this series takes viewers back to the good old days of family entertainment, where good wholesome values and love can still be found without all the questionable content families want to see in their television shows, much like the old Little House on the Prairie series we appreciated quite awhile ago.

In the second series, Heart of the Family brings us back to those beloved characters we fell in love with in the first season. Jack Thornton (Daniel Lissing)  and Elizabeth Thatcher (Erin Krakow)are facing a series of challenges in their relationship when Charles Kensington is thrown in the mix, a childhood friend from Elizabeth's past who believes he is the right man for her and has garnered her father's support as well. Seeing that her mother is well, Elizabeth returns to Coal Valley only to learn some changes have taken place, and for one, a new town name, Hope Valley now. School is just ready to start again, and Jack can't wait to show Elizabeth the schoolhouse he has built for her along with the help from others in town.

Mr. Henry Gowen has now become the new mayor and is still up to his underhanded ways to control those in town who refuse to adhere to the way he wants to conduct business beginning with Abigail Stanton (Lori Loughlin), and now added to the mix is Lee Coulter who is trying to revive the town through opening a sawmill now that the mine is closed down. Only Mr. Gowen will stop at nothing to ensure that Lee's business is brought down at all cost gouging him with fees and paperwork. Rosemary is still giving Lee a run for his money as the harder he tries to garner her interest, she keeps him at bay. She is now taking on an advice column in the local paper, "Ask Mary Rose!" She believes the women in Hope Valley will take her advice because her life is filled with glamour and romance!



Just when you think it couldn't get any seedier, Bill Avery returns hoping to persuade Abigail of his true intentions despite the fact he remains married. He seems to be up to no good dealing with counterfeiters but assures Jack that he is merely working undercover to expose who the head of the operations really are. Abigail meanwhile begins to accept the help of her newly discovered daughter in law Clara, who is trying to find a fresh start in town by being courted by the young men of Hope Valley. But Abigail is still dealing with the loss of her husband and son, and believe it's too soon for Clara to date, but is it?

I received When Calls the Heart: Heart of the Family compliments of Hallmark Channel, Word Films, and Edify Media Inc for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review outside of a free copy of the DVD and the opinions contained are my honest and personal ones. The running time on this DVD is 88 minutes and includes exclusive behind the scenes interviews with your favorite characters. I love this series, because it takes us back to a much simpler time in history and I've always been a huge fan of westerns and historical romances. Just like in life, things aren't always each to work out, much like the relationships we see happening in Hope Valley. They offer us a chance to see the consequences played out when they make the choices they do. I only wish there were more television shows like this. For me this one rates a 5 out of 5 stars.

For more information about When Calls the Heart: Heart of the Family, The Hallmark Channel, Word Films or where you can get a copy of this DVD today, please click on the links below:


You can find When Calls the Heart on Facebook to stay up to date on all the latest episodes and fun.

You can find Word Films on Facebook to stay up to date on all their latest projects and films.

To purchase a copy of this DVD on Amazon, please click here. 


Friday, August 21, 2015

A Heart's Home



The sad part is here, and that is the Journey of the Heart series by Colleen Coble is unfortunately here. In the final novel in the series, A Heart's Home is the sixth book in this wonderful historical western series that is stationed at Fort Phil Kearny in Wyoming in 1866. Readers have gotten bite size chunks of this heartwarming series in each subsequent book that has lead us to the final part, and that is dealing with Emmie who has finally decided that she will put aside her past, and move forward in a future with Isaac Liddle. The women have formed a united front in this series with each taking a lead role at some point in their own book, and with the conclusion it's going to be one that you don't want to miss.

As we left Emmie in the last book, she was facing a future with a child she had with a man she believed was her husband. When she learned he never conveyed the truth that he was already married, Emmie realized that all she was counting on to help her move forward in the loss wasn't rightfully hers so she headed west to stay with her good friends in Wyoming. Only it seems that no matter where she goes, the truth of her situation follows her and threatens her potential marriage to Isaac if the truth gets out. If only Emmie can find a way to tell Isaac herself before someone else does, she might stand a chance. But when tragedy strikes the heart of the fort, Emmie's only chance at happiness slips away like the sand in an hourglass and there isn't anything she can do about it if she believes she is a good Christian woman!

I received A Heart's Home by Colleen Coble compliments of Litfuse Publicity and Thomas Nelson Publishers for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation outside of a free copy of the book for a favorable review and the opinions contained here are strictly my own. This is such a poignant way to end the series, and find myself now wanting to go back and read them all in one sitting. Each of these books feels like a full length novel and the women I've gotten to know through each of these books feels like friends and not just characters in the story. They all have their own challenges living at the Fort and must band together to help each other out in the face of rising hostilities among the Sioux Indians! I'd give this one a 4 out of 5 stars in my opinion and hope Colleen Coble decides to write more western romances in the very near future.

For more information about A Heart's Home, Colleen Coble or where you can pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the links below:


You can find Colleen Coble on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest books.

To read more reviews on A Heart's Home, please visit Litfuse Publicity's Book Tour Page.


A hidden pregnancy, a promise sure to break hearts, and a tragic loss at Fort Phil Kearny: Don't miss the gripping conclusion in book six, A Heart's Home, of Colleen Coble's A Journey of the Heart series. With the Sioux Wars threatening outside the fort, Emmie’s solemn vow threatens her happiness from within. Will she honor a promise sure to break her heart—and Isaac’s? Or is there another way to find a home for her heart?

Colleen is celebrating the final book release of her A Journey of the Heart series by giving away the entire series and the chance to host Colleen virtually at your book club, local library, or women's group to talk about the series.

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One grand prize winner will receive:
  • Books 1–6 of A Journey of the Heart series
  • A chat with Colleen via Skype or Google Hangout
  • A custom book-club kit PDF, featuring Colleen's favorite recipes and group discussion questions
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on August 31st. Winner will be announced September 1st on Colleen's website.

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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Uncommon - DVD Review



It seems that lately more and more of our rights keep being stripped away. Just lately, we have watched our traditional marriage rights between one man and one woman being challenged by the Supreme Court as well as the banning of the Confederate Flag and soon the stripping of more monuments and icons based on what offends anyone these days. Its funny how a difference in opinion has gotten completely out of hand and now rights need to be defended or rejected. None greater than anything dealing with Christianity. It seems to be the one thing that remains untolerated by most groups.

In the DVD movie of Uncommon, Aaron Chase (Ben Davies) has relocated to another highschool, Rosewood High after the death of his brother Chase during a school shooting. As he struggles to piece together his new life, he runs across his brothers journals that speak to him about what he only wished he had been able to communicate when he was alive. It becomes an inspiration that Aaron utilizes to challenge his civics teacher, Mr. Stevens, who feels compelled at every turn, to persecute the Christian way of life. Aaron even goes as far as sponsoring a student led Bible study at school but is bullied by the teacher at every turn.

Now that the school is subject to budget cuts, they have eliminated the theater and music departments which is disappointing to the students facing their senior year and now risk losing their potential scholarships unless they can convince the principal to let them try to put together a show on their own. She relents but only if they can find a staff member to supervise them, which comes under the unlikely candidate of the janitor, Marc Garcia (Eric Estrada). He manages to work with the students if they agree to put some time in at a local senior center that is going through refurbishment and needs all the help they can get. Will they be able to manage through the storms facing them ahead?



I received Uncommon by JC Films compliments Edify Media Group for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review of this DVD and the opinions expressed here are my own honest personal ones. While this DVD deals with the right to religious freedom in the high school, the overall film did not really appeal to me. I found that the lack of concern for the main characters was missing and thus the reason I couldn't thoroughly enjoy the film. Aaron's dry personality was something that just didn't engage me as a viewer and found myself wondering when this movie would end. The only thing really saving it was understanding the implications facing students to attempt to keep their religious convictions while attending a public school from a Bible study to a play centered around a religious theme. The Liberty Counsel which supports the film was the only real aspect of the movie I enjoyed. There are some bonus features like a discussion guide available at the uncommonfilm website and trailers for this movie. I would rate this one a 3 out of 5 stars.

For more information about Uncommon, JC Films or where you can pick up a copy of this DVD today, please click on the links below:


You can find JC Films on Facebook to stay up to date on all their latest movies.