Lily’s Story: A Puppy Tale By W. Bruce Cameron

I know this book is recommended for 8 – 12 year old but I thoroughly enjoyed it as an adult! I played it in my car to listen to during trips and couldn’t wait to go somewhere so I could listen to more!
This is a charming story about a mother dog and her puppies brought into an animal shelter. One particular one is the runt and very tiny. Being the only girl, her brother’s rough housing hard to handle. Maggie Rose is also the only girl and the “runt” of her family with 2 older brothers. She can relate to Lily’s situation. She was at the shelter frequently because her mom was director. She falls in love with this little puppy and names her Lily.
The story is told through Lily’s eyes and Maggie Rose. I am reviewing the audio book and the voice of Lily was so spot on! It is the sweet, innocent voice of what you would think a precious little puppy would have. The author does an amazing job of describing the experience, thoughts and feelings a tiny pup might have. If dogs could talk I think this would be accurate! He also captured the emotions of a child that has fallen in love with a puppy. Maggie Rose and Lily’s adventures are humorous, fun, and sometimes sad. The descriptiveness and narration were so good, pictures of the tale play across my mind like a movie.
A second story is told here, the plight of animal shelters with so many pets that need to be adopted and find a forever home. I feel it spoke about those generous volunteers across the country, who face heartbreak, give their time, compassion, and hard work to help the helpless.
A wonderful book for any age!

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Don’t Overthink It By Anne Bogel

This book’s title finds me guilty as charged! It is an area of my life I am working on. I have a master’s degree in overthinking. The author clearly and convincingly verified what I knew in my heart to be true but didn’t know how to change. For one, I realized in doing so am complicating any decision I need to make. Overthinking adds many unimportant ideas that appear as facts to me at the moment. There are usually nothing more than a lot of “what ifs”. I can see now that the Devil runs with this and my imagination goes wild. I believe it is a useful tool of his because my thinking becomes so cloudy I lose sight of God and what guidance He had in the matter. I also find myself caught up in anxiety which drains me mentally and physically. The more I over analyze the deeper I go and find I am stuck in this vicious cycle. Not only is there no answer to be found this way, but the useless thoughts just keep coming. Whew! No wonder I ended up in such a mess and still no direction!
The author goes even further than just learning to overcome this destructive thought process. She reminded me that by focusing on the principles that guide my life, (which for me come from God and His Word) I will be able make clearer decisions, because those are what most important to me. Another part that jumped out at me is this destructive way of thinking is linked with perfectionism which also goes hand in hand with fear of failure! A great book to help you overcome what is possible one of the biggest hindrances in making sound, choices.
I received this book from Baker Publishing in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I have stated are my own.

Made to Move Mountains By Kristen Welch

Whatever mountains loom ahead of us in our spiritual walk, whether a dream or a problem, they usually seem enormous and impossible to overcome. I always try to remind myself that God loves impossible situations to show Himself strong.
Ms. Welch tells about the mountains she has climbed in her life. I liked that she was open about her experiences, sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly. Transparency like that helps me get more out of the book. I can relate to being imperfect and do not feel I am somehow don’t measure up. Like many of us, her life had a mountain range to overcome and by that I mean they were in different areas of her life. As the founder of an organization providing homes for pregnant teens her challenges seemed hopeless. She did not falter but obediently looked to God no matter what fears or obstacles. This rang true for each mountain that arose in her path.
I liked that she used her own experiences to illustrate the different kinds of mountains we might encounter. Included are scripture references to direct and encourage the reader. I like the scriptures, and questions at the end of each chapter to help me apply the information to my personal situations. I also appreciated the page to journal my thoughts. It made the book even more personal to me.
I received this book from Baker Publishing in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I stated are my own.

A Glitter of Gold By Liz Johnson

This was a fun exciting read! Anne has made some bad choices. Finding it difficult to face the shame and embarrassment in her home town, she moves away for a new start. Just wanting to, well hide, she comes to Savannah, Georgia hoping for a fresh start. There she attempts to start a tour company. Dressed up in pirate garb she takes tourists, hungry for adventure, on excursions to historical spots, regaling them with stories of famous pirates. The picture of cute girl on the front with the sassy look definitely captured Anne’s personality!
Struggling with her finances a facing defeat she was very discouraged, until while walking on the beach after a storm she finds a sword hilt sticking out of the sand. She hopes it will be of great value and allow her to remain in Georgia. She sneaks our Carter Hale, the director of a small museum that was also facing a lack of funds. He believes the hilt may prove the shipwreck of a famous pirate ship that had never been proven to exist. They consult a pirate’s diary from 1750 for clues. Journal entries from book are shown throughout the story. This I really enjoyed!!! It added to the excitement!
While Carter and Anne are both on the same page about verifying shipwreck and the hilt’s authenticity they are going in totally different directions in other areas. This causes conflicts in their budding relationship. Aunt Tessie was precious. Her scriptural wisdom and sweet spirit drew me to her character. All in all, God clearly has a plan for both Carter and Anne to heal from wounds they are carrying.

With All Your Heart By Christine Hoover

How times have we said or heard someone say, “I love you with all my heart.” Those that profess usually truly believe they do, but do they? There are actions and outward signs if an “all my heart” love is the real deal. This is true also with a Christian’s love of God. Children of God make this declaration often, but again is it true? This book helps us look within and see if the Lord does have all our heart. I personally feel this is very important and much needed if we are to serve Him that does love us with all His heart.
It is easy in our day and time to give bits and pieces (be they large or small) of our hearts to other things. There are so many to choose from, pulling at our emotions, affections, time and attention. We may not even realize we are doing it. Ms. Hoover calls them “allegiances” I see them as other gods, anything that comes between us and God. She presents these in a way I had never thought of before. Anxiety and Isolation, two the author names, made me realize I had never looked at them in this light. These were eye openers to me! As the author points out they are all part of the kingdom of “self”.
Once we become the Lord’s nothing can take His place or we will be robbed of our joy and leave us in despair and frustration. If one is not careful they will be caught up in the endless circle of pursuing them to meet our needs that only God can.
Ms. Hoover’s style of writing was easy to relate to and touched my heart. The questions at the end of each chapter gave me a time to reflect and take a good look at myself.
I like books that cause me to dig deep within and point out any blind spots in my Christian life that need correcting. It is not a book you will want to read quickly, but work through and absorb all it has to teach. I found it helpful, but also especially relevant for the times we are facing.
I received this book from Baker Publishing in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I have stated are my own.

New Life in Christ By Steven J. Lawson

The expressions “born again” and “saved” are commonly used to describe when a person accepts Christ as one’s Savior. What do they really mean? What really happens when an individual receives God’s gift of eternal salvation. Through my almost 40 years as Christian, I have talked to many people. Depending on their background and practicing religion it means very different things and some do not coincide with Scripture. I wanted to read this book because I was excited to see a through scriptural study and explanation on what truly happens when someone accepts Christ. The author uses the story of Nicodemus and Jesus to explore all that occurs when spiritual conversion takes place.
The book is well written, and has many scripture references which makes it an excellent study. I like the detailed and complete view of what changes come about in a person’s spirit and life. Mr. Lawson is very thorough.
But as scripture says in Galatians 5:9, “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” I do not agree with the author’s belief that the Bible teaches God “chooses” who can become a Christian and who cannot. That there are other certain “elect” souls. What a hopeless message this is for the world. This is the teaching of “predestination” which I do not find in the Bible. God’s Word tells us that He sent His Son to die for all and the gift of salvation is there for “whosoever” will take it. The rest of the book is excellent, but because of this I cannot recommend the book to others.
I received this book from Baker Publishing in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I have stated are my own.

Stitches in Time By Suzanne Woods Fisher

I was looking forward to this book, the second in Ms. Fisher’s series, The Deacon’s Family. After giving up his wild boy ways and turning back to God, Luke wins the hand Izzy, the one he truly loves and marries her. Though deeply in love, their marriage requires a lot of adjustment and it is no wonder with how very different the two are. In spite of his wayward youth, Luke finds himself chosen as a Deacon. He doesn’t feel capable of fulfilling this lifelong appointment. Izzy isn’t too happy about the title either as her husband is away from her most of the time. While growing in the Lord, She still has much healing to do from her childhood in foster care. When Luke attempts to fulfill and a promise to Amos lap, to find homes for all the foster children in the county, the conflicts between them grow.
Molly a sweet, young single woman and school teacher for the Amish community wants with all her heart to foster children and show them the love they have missed. She gets more than she wished for when she becomes foster mom to a set of twins that are constantly in trouble. Sam, Luke’s brother, is concerned about what Molly has gotten herself into and tries to help when problems arise. Both couples find themselves facing challenges they never have before.
I have enjoyed in both books Izzy’s love of her “woolies” (sheep) and the way God teaches her through them. Made me want a sweet lamb to put in the backyard! Whenever facing problems physical or emotional, the characters were confused and suffered, but always looked to God and trusted Him. The author does a wonderful job of showing that while difficulties did not immediately go away; they did not give up on the Lord. Molly reminded me of so many young people who have the zeal to follow what they believe to be God’s leading but have no clue of the price that will be exacted of them. I look forward to reading the next book in the series!

The Happy Camper By Melody Carlson

My heart always beats a little faster when I see Melody Carlson has a new book! I love how all her books have such different story lines. As always I was immediately drawn into the story and her characters.
Dillon Michael’s life takes a drastic turn in just one day. The put together, on track, organized career girl who is never impulsive leaves everything behind within a day. She breaks up with her boyfriend, quits her job and heads home to Oregon to the only true home she has ever known, her widowed grandfather’s farm.
She is excited about surprising him, but a few surprises await her too! Her mother, whom she calls Margot, (who was never much of a mother), has moved in too! Not only does she have to bear her mother’s bossiness, controlling attitude, and laziness, but finds herself sleeping on a very uncomfortable couch. Margot has moved into Dillon’s old room and isn’t going to budge!
Things look pretty dim until her grandfather gifts her a retro, tear-dropped shaped little trailer. This is just the lift Dillon needs. She throws herself into decorating it for her own place to live. She finds she has quite flair and might possibly make a business of it. She meets Jordan, owner of the hardware store which becomes a bigger plus that just his advice and help for her project. Dillon thinks this might be the start of something special, until someone from her past steps into her present. Dillon struggles with doubt and confusion.
I hated to have this book end. Dillon and her little trailer made me want to get one. It was such fun to read about all the details of her decorating it. Her close relationship with her grandfather and the descriptions of the farm were heartening. The small town atmosphere and activities gave me such a warm feeling. This was a fun and delightful read, a real escape from all that is going on.
I received this book from Revell Publishing in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I have stated are my own.

The Basic Bible Atlas By John A. Beck

What a fantastic Bible reference book for study and just reading! The book isn’t big or long, but what it packs into 171 pages is incredible. I liked the way the book was arranged. I know the Bible is true and real without a doubt, but the author brought it to life for me. The Bible history, eye-catching, clear map illustrations and the wonderful word descriptions that went with them gave me a greater picture of the events I have read about so many times. I know from now on when I read my Bible what I have learned will come to mind and add to my time in the Word. Mr. Beck covered from Genesis to Revelations! Some thing that impressed me was the many scriptural references on every page. The scripture index and place names index at the back of the book make it simple to look up specific books, scriptures, locations you might be studying. A treasure to have! I know I will be using it often.
I received this book from Baker Publishing in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I stated are my own.

Out of the Embers By Amanda Cabot

I can always be assured any book my Amanda Cabot is not only a great read, but also a wholesome decent book. After the death of her parents Evelyn had made the orphanage and Mrs. Folger the matron her safe haven and home. She was 23 years old but remained there as an employee. Six year old Polly and orphan also had a special place in her heart and she watched out for her. Upon returning to town with Polly from a trip, she finds the orphanage has been set on fire and no one survived.
It was no accident just like the brutal murder of her parents. Ever since that horrible day she had felt someone following and watching her, wanting to kill her too. She felt sure this was their doing and she was in danger. Immediately she leaves, taking Polly with her and instructing the child to say they were sisters. On the way a terrifying thunderstorm forces them to take shelter under their wagon.
Wyatt Clark is heading home in the storm and comes up them. Hungry, frightened and exhausted he takes them to his ranch where he lives with his mother and sister. There they are taken in, loved and cared for like they were part of the family. Her excellent cooking leads to the Clarks encouraging and helping her open a restaurant in the nearby town of Mesquite Springs. There is even an apartment above the business for a new home. Her life is turned around with opportunity, hope, friends, and independence for her and Polly. But are they truly safe? It seems the “Watcher” may have found her.
The suspense and mystery in the book was kept me turning the pages! Evelyn’s courage and Wyatt’s gentleness and character endeared me to both of them. I especially liked the descriptions of the restaurant and running it. I cannot imagine how they did all the cooking, cleaning and serving without modern conveniences! I am very excited to know that this book is the first in a series!
I received this book from Revell Publishing in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I have stated are my own.