Instant Happy Journal 365 Days of Inspiration, Gratitude, and Joy By Karen Salmansohn

All of us want to be happy, and none of us purposely or knowingly focus on the negative. I think the problem lies in our fleshy nature wants happiness to be a “gimme”, not something we chose and work toward on a daily basis. This book is a great start in taking the step toward choosing what we focus on.
Being super busy, like everyone, and easily distracted by so many things shouting for my attention, I really like the way this book gives me something concrete to start each day. Don’t get me wrong, the book doesn’t tell you what to do to be happy, you are writing your own story on how to achieve that goal. It is super simple!
There is one page for each day of the year. At the top of the page is a quote, question, a scientific research tidbit, or a philosophical thought. After that it is all yours! The rest of the page is lined for you to journal what come to your heart and mind. You may even be prompted to “talk it out” with yourself and let go of something that is troubling you. There is even a place to write the date. I like this in case I happen to miss some days.
The book is compact but sturdy so you can take it with you and write anywhere and anytime. This is a great gift for anyone, but especially those facing hard times or those who love to journal. When you are done you have a keepsake book filled with memories and thoughts that bring you happiness!
I received a copy of this book free from http://www.bloggingforbooks.com/ . 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.”

Murder at the Courthouse by A.H. Gabhart

Hidden Springs, Kentucky is the ionic sleepy, little town where everybody knows everybody and everything about each other. The citizens are lulled by a daily routine that has lasted not days or months but years. Life is so predictable that the people take it for granted. Unexpectedly everything changes. A stranger is found dead on the courthouse steps. Unheard of!
Suddenly the town is alive with excitement, curiosity, and a lot of opinions about what happened! Michael, a young policeman attempts to find the murderer with basically no clues to start with. He has his work cut out for him, as his investigation also means dealing with the gossip, a newspaper reporter with a flair for inaccurate embellishments, and town characters just being themselves.
As he works to find the murderer, secrets about town residents are brought to light. The tragedy brings emotions of loss and pain from many of the character’s pasts, including Michael. Events will seemingly be plodding along when the reader is caught off guard by when a startling development in the case. This book is for sure a page turner! You will be surprised at who the guilty party is! As strange as it sounds this is a nice murder mystery. There is not a lot of blood, gore, and violence, just a good whodunit. I look forward to reading more of the Ms. Gabhart’s books!
I received a copy of this book free from Revell. 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.”

The Imposter By Suzanne Woods Fisher

David Stolzfus had his hands full. He is a widower with six children, runs the local store, and is also a minister in his local Amish church. After his wife’s death he relocated from Ohio to Pennsylvania, hoping to start a new life. A new life awaited him, but not one he could have imagined.
His two oldest children shock him with devastatingly poor choices they made. Some of the church members are trying to find him a new wife to “fix” his problem of being alone. On top of that the church is facing some serious problems and David has innocently become a target of hostility.
You really do want to read this book. It is so well written and the author did a wonderful job developing all the characters. I am not sharing the plot because it is so diverse to do so would be a spoiler.
When I saw the title I was looking for one imposter in the story. What I found was several kinds of imposters; those that are hidden, those that are obvious, and those that are fake even unto themselves. It gave me a whole new view point on so many ways we are not honest with ourselves and those around us.
David’s way of dealing with his adult children’s mistakes was a beautiful example to follow. His love, lack of condemnation, willingness to be there for them, and patience were amazing. I feel it is because of the way he handled it, they were able to change their lives.
I was impressed with the way David handled persecution and attacks by choosing to do it God’s way. He didn’t give into the flesh even though he suffered at the hands of his enemies. As much as he loved his family, God was first in his life and surrendered the outcome to the Lord. With several of the characters it was a reminder that the very answers we need are often right in front of us. If we keep looking to God He will show us.
I cannot wait to read more books in this series!
I received a copy of this book free from Revell. 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.”

21-Day Tummy By Liz Vaccariello

This book is more than a diet book. It is also a cookbook, a workout book, and a problem solving book for common digestive and stomach problems people suffer from. Science is finding more and more that over all good health begins with a healthy gut. This book guides you in working toward that. I really like the fact that it isn’t just about being slim but being healthy too.
Two chapters share about food that can cause stomach issues and those that help you have a well tummy and a slim one too. I like the 21 day meal plan, because I have a strategy lined out for almost a month, therefore I am less likely to fail and just eat what is available. I also liked the recipes. They are tasty and easy to make with all the ingredients available at your local grocery store. There were lots of vegetables included in the ingredients, an area I am severely lacking in right now. I enjoyed the pages showing individuals that have tried the diet and their experiences. It was very encouraging! The book high quality material and is user friendly. Another great book from Ms. Vaccariello!
I received a copy of this book free from FBS Associates. 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.”

On a Ring and a Prayer By Sandra D. Bricker

This book was quite a departure from my usual fare of historical and Amish fiction. I wasn’t sure I would like it but I did! Wealthy, rich and spoiled, Jessie Stanton’s whole life was about material possessions. She seems to have the perfect life and marriage, that others only dream of, until her world comes crashing down. With no warning or explanation her husband leaves her with nothing except the clothes in her closet and her wedding ring. Her only support is her best friend, Piper. Once her status and money was gone her other supposed friends abandoned her.
She hires Danny Callahan, private detective to find her missing husband and he soon becomes an ally and a supporter. To make a living she decides to open a store renting out all her designer clothing and accessories to women who cannot afford to buy such things.
This was a fun book with some serious lessons. Jessie is somewhat of a sob and had been detached from the “real” world. Her culture shock and disdain from being introduced so abruptly to this life sad but also humorous. It was almost as if she was dropped into the middle of another culture with no clue.
As she is humbled, and shed’s the fake affluent person she had become and begins to grow. I enjoyed watching her change. Stripped of her worldly life and all the trappings she thought she could not live without, her eyes are opened. Danny’s strong Christian example begins to reach her. She recalls her Grandfather’s faith in God and especially his prayers. Most of all she remembers her roots.
She learns she is strong and can make it without prestige and wealth, and be happy. Jesse also finds the meaning of true friendship. As I watched her overcome challenges and succeed I found myself cheering her along and excited about what she would do next. I am looking forward to reading of Ms. Bricker’s books!
I received a copy of this book free from Abingdon Fiction. 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.”

Stink Outside the Box By Jeremy Greenburg

First of all I love the title of the book! It sets the tone for all the humor and creativeness that follows. I always thought cats acted wise but who knew how much so! The pictures are adorable! For each topic of advice, different astute kitties share their wisdom. I thought it was great that all of them were hilarious; there were really great insights and lessons! How clever of Mr. Greenburg.
This is a great book anyone that needs a chuckle and their spirits lifted. It is a nice hardbound quality book. I don’t think you just have to be a cat or animal lover to enjoy it. Instead of “Dear Abby”, maybe “Dear Tabby”?
I received a copy of this book free from Andrew McMell Publishing. 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.”

Refining Fire By Tracie Peterson

In the late 1800’s the utmost on most girl’s minds was getting married, but not twenty-two year old Militine. In fact she never wants to marry. Yet her home is the Madison Bridal School in Seattle Washington. The three sisters who run the school have taken her in and provide for her in every way. They “think” they are also preparing her for marriage. Their niece, Abrianna, is of the same mind as Militine. Her desire is to serve God and help others, not find a husband. The two are best friends except in the area of God. Militine shuns Him as much as Abrianna embraces Him. Militine has secrets that keep her from trusting anyone, including the Lord and fearful her past may resurface at any time.
Thane and Wade are two upstanding young men that Abrianna’s aunts trust explicitly. They help around the school and are also good friends of the two girls. Thane also carries a dark and painful past of his own. Militine and Thane begin to build a relationship. Is it possible with their personal problems and lack of faith in God?
Abrianna secretly sets up a soup kitchen on skid row to help those in need. She throws all her heart into it, dragging the other 3 along as unwilling partners. Little did she know how this would affect each of their lives. Together the four face dangerous criminal situations and a massive city fire.
I was fascinated to learn historical information about fire departments during that time. I knew they were far from what we have now, but I never realized how helpless firemen were in these emergency situations.
Militine and Thane’s story reminded me so much of when people cannot understand how God is love when bad things have happened to them. I loved the way the author works through the characters bring about understanding.
I loved Abrianna’s spit fire courage and desire to follow the Lord completely. Her no nonsense, determined personality was frustrating to her friends, but she got things done. In her eyes, no sacrifice was too great nor any obstacle to large for her to follow through with what God had shown her. I wish more of us were like that.
The story is like a roller coaster. There is calm and sweetness, then the suspense builds until the reader is caught off guard by unexpected turns. I thoroughly enjoyed it!
I received a copy of this book free from Bethany House, a division of Baker Books as part of a blog tour. 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.”

How to Enjoy Reading Your Bible By Keith Ferrin

I think everyone has struggled with reading their Bible at one time or another. I know I have. When I do I feel guilty. This is God’s love letter to me, shouldn’t I be enjoying it? What is wrong with me? Even though I know I should be doing it in obedience to Him, I hate finding myself reading “just because I am supposed to.”
This book is perfect to overcome those “blah” times in the Word.
Ferrin gives 10 helps that will not only make your time in the Scripture more of a pleasure but also more profitable without making it a chore. It is short, well written, plus very easy to read and implement the ideas!
The author brings out two very important truths we tend to forget. 1. Bible reading is God talking to me. 2. Prayer is me talking to God. In other words it is you spending time with the most important person in your life (or should be), your Heavenly Father. Bible reading isn’t an item on your to-do list to check off but building a close relationship with the Lord.
I was so inspired and encouraged by these ideas! I see how there have been areas I have failed in my quite time. I was present (sort of) with the Lord but not truly a participant. No wonder those times were stale and I seemed to walk away with little.
There are study guides, further scriptures to pursue, prayers, Bible reading plans and even challenges! I am so excited to start reading God’s Word with a fresh start! If I ever slip back to my old habits I can just refer back to this book! It is becoming a permanent fixture in my library!
This little book is a treasure chest! It is great for new believers, old believers, young and old people alike! I think every Christian should read this! You will be glad you did!
I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishers 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 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Sex Matters By Jonathan McKee

When I first saw the book title, I thought, “At last a book to teach young people about sex from a biblical perspective.” Upon beginning to read the book I found the questions to be very straightforward. Ones that a youth would ask, and maybe not have the courage to ask but wonder about.
God’s plan and guidelines for sex are being brazenly disregarded today by youth and adults alike. For many it is the fact of simply not knowing what God’s word says. A appreciate the author covering what some young people consider a “gray area” in sexual conduct. Yet is God’s eyes there are no gray areas concerning purity, it is only black and white.
While the author did include scriptural references, I felt there could be far more. And as Scripture is our foundation for all things I find this very important. I understood that the book would be somewhat graphic, but I felt it was more so than needed. We can share details without stepping over the line and making it unsuitable. Many parts of the book seem to be using reasoning rather than God’s Word to encourage youth to do what is right. For example, I do not think a young woman needs to know that she will have better orgasms after marriage if she is a virgin when she weds. The discussion questions at the end were very good to further talk with your child. I forewarn you to read it before you give it to your teen. This book is not what I had hoped it would be.
I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishers 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 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The Paranormal Conspiracy: The Truth about Ghosts, Aliens and Mysterious Beings By Timothy Dailey

As a Christian I see our world being obsessed and overrun with the occult and paranormal. It is seen in music, television shows, books, and even children’s cartoons. The sad part is how widely accepted it is by even those who profess to know Christ. Because the supernatural seems to have no other explanation, ridiculous and impossible stories are believed. I know these things are but a smokescreen to Satan’s greater and darker agenda in this world.
My desire to read this book was twofold. First, to be able to share the truth based on God’s Word about mysterious occurrences with those who are deceived.
This is not a big book, but it is packed with documented and thoroughly researched material. Mr. Dailey certainly has all his ducks in a row! He pulls the curtain back and exposes these facades for what they are: deception and lies. He also sounds the alarm that this is not innocent fun and games but can result in serious harm to Christians and non-believers alike.
Even though I have never believed in these peculiar events others report, I was curious for an explanation. The author systematically and plainly lays out the subterfuge of each type paranormal incident. He even covers some things I had never thought of. I boils down to the fact there is no evidence to prove any of them to be real. A unique book needed in a time when few are addressing the onslaught of satanic ideas and falsehoods. An excellent resource!
I received this book for free from Baker 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 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”