Homemade Cleaners By Dionna Ford and Mandy O’Brien

Making your own household cleaners is all the rage right now and rightfully so. The benefits include protecting the environment, your family’s health from harsh chemicals, and financial savings. I have definitely hopped on this band wagon! All across the internet are recipes for every type of cleaner imaginable. I have been faithfully copying, pasting, and saving the recipes in my documents. And there they sit, to be edited, re-fonted and printed to put in a special binder. You guessed it I haven’t done it yet. The thought of all that work stops me cold. I was excited to see this book! Now I have all the recipes in one book and easy to access!
They have thought of everything you can imagine and some you haven’t! The recipes cover every room in the house, laundry, yard, outdoors, and more. I was impressed with how few ingredients you need to mix so many different cleaners and most you will have on hand or can easily find. A great book!
I received this book free from Ulysses Press Publishers in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I have stated are my own.

God Made You Just Right By Jill Roman Lord

I strongly believe a child is never too young to be introduced to reading and books. It will create a life time love of both and open the door to so many adventures and opportunities to learn. Not just any books are acceptable, but wholesome, quality ones. This book is perfect! It is a sturdy, washable board book that a little one can call their own and hold up to budding bookworms.
Today even the youngest children are made to feel self-conscious about themselves and it only grows worse as they get older. Through media, friends, and even unintentional examples of parents and older siblings, they begin to struggle with self-acceptance. I very much liked how this book focuses on the fact that God is our basis of self-worth. As the title says, He made us “just right”.
The sweet story covers all the bases; ability, size, physical features, aptitude, sense of humor, creativeness, and uniqueness in every area!
Illustrations are excellent, depicting activities children participate in and enjoy. I love the way the author sums it all up with the most important point of all, “You may not be like other kids- that’s not your job at all.” An encouraging and uplifting book for little hearts!
I received this book free from Worthy Publishing in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I have stated are my own.

When There Are No Easy Answers By John Feinberg

When something tragic happens in our life, that alters it forever, there is the tendency to ask “Why?” Sadly there is never an answer to this question, and if there were, none could bring relief and comfort.
Mr. Feinberg openly, transparently, and honestly walks the reader through grappling with the “whys” of personal tragedy. He shares his step by step is journey of pain from the diagnosis of his wife’s Huntington disease to acceptance, as one who has been there. I could relate to much of what he shared in relation to the death of my husband. He helps the reader understand that that God is a loving and caring even though He does not prevent bad things from happening to His children. The author shares his rawest emotions and thoughts as he wrestled with the unchangeable circumstances his family faced. He delves deep into scriptures to not to answer that age old question, but to find the help and strength that is needed to go on.
The book also does a wonderful job of instruction friends and family in how to be a support to one facing such challenges. This includes things NOT to do and some of these might surprise you as they are fairly common offerings when people try to minister to those that are hurting. Though it might sound like a depressing subject, this book is one of hope and healing.
I received this book free from Kregel Publications in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I have stated are my own.

Nano Workouts By Joakim Christoffersson

I know I need to exercise more and I want to. I can’t afford the gym and going takes valuable minutes out of an already busy day. Exercise videos are great too, but again, I have to set aside time. Where extra time is concerned I have trouble being motivated on top of my regular lack of motivation! What’s a girl to do? This book was the answer to my problem! It incorporates exercise into tasks I am already doing!! A win win solution!
The exercise illustrations are great and even a bit humorous. The book is divided into areas of daily routine we all do: the bathroom, (yes you can sit on the toilet and exercise! Genius!) shopping, cleaning, driving, at the office, in the kitchen, on the couch, and in the bedroom. The small size of the book makes it easy to carry it with you from room to room.
This won’t prepare me to enter a fitness pageant, but I be getting into better shape. I see once these workouts and everyday activities become a habit, my fitness level will increase. I believe success and feeling better will motivate me to do more, maybe some exercise videos. You never know, I might even save up and go some classes at the gym!
I received this book free from Ulysses Press in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I have stated are my own.

THE SMALL CHANGE SOLUTION By Kimberly Petrosino

Most people want to be healthier, but knowing what changes to make and implementing the new habits can be overwhelming. A busy schedule, and a boat load of responsibilities, can make it seem impossible. Look no further! Ms. Petrosino’s book is a mini- health coach!!! I was impressed with this little book!
I have made list after list of things I want to change concerning my health but always I lost them. When I had them in front of me I had trouble making a workable plan. The author has done the work for me and it is all in one book, small enough to carry with me everywhere. She has even included goals I would like to accomplish but never thought of.
The book has 52 changes to make concerning your health, diet, time, exercise, and attitudes. That is one a week for the entire year. Each one has thoughts and ideas, no more than 1 to 2 pages long. They are very concise, clear, and easy to follow. I especially liked this because it gives me a target to aim for and does not intimidate me. If you need more than a week or don’t accomplish what you want, no pressure! Just start again the following week. You are in control. You don’t’ have to do them in the order they are written. This is a guide to help you not tie you down. Ms. Petrosino suggests keeping a journal to track your successes. She also offers a website. Every three months has a “Check In” to help you see what you have accomplished and give an extra dose of encouragement. This book is just the help you need!
I received this book free from the author in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I expressed are my own.

The Cantaloupe Thief By Deb Richardson–Moore

The quirky title is the first thing that caught my eye! A criminal novel involving cantaloupes!? I had to read it and I am glad I did. Brannigan Powers grew up in Gambling, Georgia. She knows everyone, and everyone knows her. This makes her a perfect fit as a reporter for the town newspaper. She is assigned the job to report on the unsolved murder ten years ago of a wealthy octogenarian. This opens a whole can of worms not only for Brannigan but the entire town. Since a homeless person is suspected of the crime. She finds herself reconnecting with Liam, an old family friend, and pastor who runs the homeless shelter. What seems to be a simple assignment turns very complicated and dangerous, for her and others. Brannigan finds herself confronted with different people and the world they live in on a very personal level. This is especially true of the homeless.
This was a top notch mystery! Hard as I would try, I couldn’t guess what was coming next or who the murderer was! I liked the way the story switched from the present to ten years previous. This gave the reader special clues into the murder. This was not at all confusing and added to the intrigue of the story. I loved the closeness of her family and the small town spirit. The detail in which the author shares the problems and suffering of the homeless was an eye-opener. She brought to life their everyday struggles, hopelessness, and how overlooked and rejected they are by society.
I cannot wait to read more of Ms. Richardson-Moore’s books!
I received this book free from Kregel Publications in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I have stated are my own.

Like A River From Its Course By Kelli Stuart

The first thing that comes to my mind is “WOW WHAT A BOOK”! The writing of this novel was a labor of love and it shows! When we read about events in history, we the read the facts and highlights of that time. We don’t take into consideration the people that lived through the occurrence and even if we do it is only skimming the surface. The author did an incredible job of taking us deep into the experiences of those living during WW2 in the Ukraine. Their suffering from the war was great without being added to the fact they were suspended between fighting regimes of Hitler and Stalin. What makes it even more intriguing is that the book is inspired by the combined true accounts people that survived this dreadful time. Ms. Stuart took 15 years of research and interviews with survivors!
I liked how her four characters showed the diversity of experiences from the varied viewpoints of people in different walks of life. This is so beautifully written that all their stories weave together. It is not disjointed or confusing.
The author opens your eyes that war is very complicated. Every person involved is an individual with their own emotions and struggles. The problems they were dealing with before the war are still there and made even more complicated by the fighting.
Ivan has a family he desperately wants to protect. While trying to help a neighbor, he becomes a part of the Jewish prisoners march to death. He barely escapes but the horror he witnesses thousands being killed emotionally devastates him. He returns to his family a shell of a man.
Masha, his daughter, is only 14 years old when the war begins. The devastation of her city and starvation were overwhelming for her close knit family. Then one day the thing her parents had feared, happened. She was captured and taken to a concentration camp.
Luda’s life was a nightmare before the war with her abusive, alcoholic father. She is only 16 and manages to escape to the home of dear friends who welcome her. When it looks like her life is taking a turn for the better, she is brutally raped my Nazi soldiers and ends up pregnant.
Frederick is the enemy, a young boy that has been raised to be part of Hitler’s killing machine, a Nazi soldier. He is totally committed not only to the cause, but also to try and win the acceptance of harsh and unloving father.
I liked that I was able to see the character’s not only through the war but how they lived afterward. I have never read a book like this! If I could I would give it 6 stars!!
I received this book free from Kregel Publications in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I have stated are my own.

Running On Red Dog Road and Other Perils Of An Appalachian Childhood By Drema Hall Berkheimer

I have always been drawn to anything about life in the Appalachians. The people and their stories inspire and fascinate me. I wish this book had been longer, it was incredible.
Looking at the past through the eyes of children is remarkable. You are able to see the untarnished truth told with innocence and honestly. Adults live the moment but children savor it. They capture details grown-ups miss because they have lost that magic and wonder of the ordinary. I love the way the author has captured her family history from her childhood memories.
It was 1940, in West Virginia, and Drema was only 5 months old when her father died. She and her two siblings are raised by their grandparents while her mother seeks work in New York City. World War II is in its beginnings. Drema’s recollections go back to when she was 8 years old. Her nostalgic, personal writing makes the reader feel like they have stepped into her childhood home to visit.
Her grandfather, a Pentecostal preacher, and grandmother stole my heart. No matter how difficult the times, they faced it with their strong faith and a positive outlook. I was reminded how adults soften the seriousness and pain in life for young children, giving them a sense of security. Their wisdom and sense of humor made me want to remember all their sage words. So many beautiful life lessons were shown.
Drema and her sister’s escapades kept me laughing and thoroughly enjoying all the down-to-earth fun of her childhood. Her perception of people and events were delightful and brutally honest! She took me back to the simpler times, when money and possessions were scarce, but family, love and the joy of life were center stage. I hope Ms. Berkheimer will write more books about her family and include old snapshots. A phenomenal book!
I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers 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 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Busy, Busy! By Eileen Spinelli

I love board books for toddlers! Their sturdy pages and washable surface make it a great introduction for little ones to enter the world of reading. The book is their own to explore and enjoy without any restrictions. I appreciated that this book has 20 pages instead of the average of only 12 most offer. That’s more to see and enjoy!
Each page has a colorful illustration of a different animal smiling as they do their job. This also helps a child see the “work” each animal does that is unique to its species. This adds learning to the fun!
We live in a day and age of constant busyness. Children, with no concept of responsibility, have difficulty understanding why adults have so much to do. Ms. Spinelli’s book shows children that everyone has lots to do, even the animals. Yet no matter how full the schedule the child is still important and there is always time for them.
A very sweet book with a very important message: Children are always important!
I received this book free from Worthy Publishing in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I have stated are my own.

Room for Hope By Kim Vogel Sawyer

This one of those rare books with such a unique story line, that you don’t want it to end, you want to keep the book to read it again, and you want to share it with others! I have always enjoyed Ms. Sawyer’s books, but this I rate this one at the very top!
It is 1936, the Great Depression, but Neva Shilling feels beyond blessed, two beautiful children and an incredible man, Warren Shilling. Her love for him knows no bounds. Her family wants for nothing, thanks her hardworking husband. In fact they live in luxury. She hates the fact he is gone every other month purchasing stock for their store she runs in his absence. His homecomings are an occasion for a great celebration.
She is preparing for just such a time when she hears a wagon. Rushing out to greet her husband, she is surprised to see it is a deputy with a large wagon. Jesse Caudle sadly informs her “brother”; Warren Shilling and his wife are dead. They died of food poisoning and before he passed, he asked that certain items and furniture be delivered to her. There is more. In the back of the wagon are 3 frightened children of the deceased couple sent to live with their “aunt” Neva.
Shocked, she directs him as to where the store the items and takes the children inside. In the midst of such shattering agony and betrayal she immediately begins to take care of the children. She doesn’t share the situation with the deputy, or her children, or anyone for that matter. She bears the burden alone with the Lord has her Guide. Trusting Him to provide for her as a widow with now, 5 little ones to feed and clothe. What is she to do? Give the children up? They are innocent victims and growing up in an orphanage herself, she knows that is no life for a child. Yet she has no desire to expose her husband or bring a lifetime of rejection and shame on her children or these pathetic orphans.
Her problems continue to multiply as her son begins to rebel, a rival store owner pressures her to sell to him; she is rejected by even her church when the truth is revealed about the children, and a serious emergency threatens to break her.
Neva and her predicament wrapped tight around my heart. She shows forth love, forgiveness, mercy, and astounding faith in God. Neva continues to display concern and care for others in need. Her desire to do what was right in the Lord’s eyes, regardless of the sacrifice and consequences to herself is painful to read but uplifting to my spirit. This is a one of a kind book!
I received this book free from Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I have stated are my own.