Friday, June 15, 2018

$100.00 to spend on books? Yes, please!

Every week Coffee Addicted Writer hosts the Book Blogger Hop. Participants answer a question and then visit other blogs of fellow participants to chime in on the discussion. This week's question is:

"You have just won a $100.00 Visa gift card. WIll you spend the entire amount on a rare collector's edition you have always wanted, or buy several newly-published books? Explain your choice. (Submitted by Maria @ A Night's Dream of Books)

My answer: Several newly published books.  At the top of my wish list are:

  • Inspired by Rachel Held Evans.
  • Send Down the Rain by Charles Martin.
  • Olivia Twist by Lorie Langdon.
  • Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate.

Important to note: I would buy the physical version, because I like love filling up bookshelves.

What about you?


Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The Road to Magnolia Glen by Pam Hillman


Kiera Young braved a voyage across the Atlantic with two younger sisters, expecting to wed upon her arrival in Natchez, Mississippi. Quinn O'Shea also crosses the Atlantic looking to begin a new life full of adventure and devoid of the responsibilities he's carried for years. When Kiera's fiance turns out to be an unsavory business man with no intention of marriage, Quinn intervenes on behalf of Kiera and her sisters. Secreting them away to Breeze Hill where his older brother resides, Quinn finds himself protecting Kiera time and again. Gradually, he finds himself steeped in Breeze Hill with no desire to leave. Will Kiera and Quinn surrender to the tender feelings growing between them? Is there freedom in Kiera's future? Read more in The Road to Magnolia Glen by Pam Hillman.

The Road to Magnolia Glen is the second novel in Pam Hillman's Natchez Trace series. It gives sufficient background information on Isabella and Connor's relationship, but they feature prominently, so I do recommend reading The Promise of Breeze Hill first.

The Road to Magnolia Glen boasts a beautiful cover to match the beautiful story in its pages. Themes of sacrificial love, faith, and redemption weave together through Quinn and Kiera's story. A well-paced plot that mingles romance and danger carried my attention the entire time I read this novel. I especially liked Quinn's character and the extent to which he was willing to go in order to redeem others. Though the ending is thick with action and developments, it did not feel rushed. This novel earned a permanent home on my book shelf to be reread in the future. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series.

I recommend The Road to Magnolia Glen by Pam Hillman to fans of historical Christian romances, especially those who read and enjoyed The Promise of Breeze Hill.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The Captured Bride by Michelle Griep


Mercy Lytton's keen eyesight and stealth preserve her life as she scouts on dangerous missions. Her newest mission includes Elias Dubois, who is a French traitor, and a huge stash of gold. As they navigate the perils of the New York wilderness, delays and danger are constant. Working, living, and surviving together draws them close despite their divided loyalties and uncertain futures. Will they complete their mission and part ways? Or is their a greater purpose for this mission that could lead to an abundant life? Read more in The Captured Bride by Michelle Griep.

The Captured Bride by Michelle Griep is the third book in The Daughters of the Mayflower series. I have not read the others and this one was fine as a stand-alone. From beginning to end, this novel's romance, danger, and beautiful prose held my attention. I adored the occasional use of French and Mohawk words. The attraction between Mercy and Elias mixed with tension and suspense as they carefully sought the truth of each other's motives and hearts. Their relationship blossomed into a most satisfying love story that I expect to reread in the future.

Overall, I enjoyed The Captured Bride by Michelle Griep and I think most fans of Christian romance will as well. This novel earned a permanent spot on my bookshelf and I look forward to enjoying more of Michelle Griep's books.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.  

Sunday, May 20, 2018

The Study Bible for Women: CSB Version


I was so excited to receive The Study Bible for Women: Christian Standard Bible (CSB) produced by Holman Publishers. I've never had a study Bible and I liked the idea of having one written specifically for women as the last few months I've been seeking to glean truths from studying women in the Bible. This hardcover Bible is well-made. It lays flat when open and has two built-in bookmarks. Without the dust cover, it is a bit plain, so I hope the cover holds up for awhile.

I have heard really good things about the Christian Standard Bible version. The introduction discusses the translation method of “optimal equivalence.” Basically, they stick to a literal translation as much as possible, but if the literal translation would be confusing to a modern day reader, they strive to translate the original thought while staying close to the literal translation.

I won't try to review each part of the introduction because this review would be too long, but to summarize, there are family trees, a marriage contract (ketubah), family milestones, reading guides, information about this translation, and charts of weights and measures.

The CSB Study Bible for Women is comprehensive. There is so much information. I will probably use this Bible most often when I can be alone and sit down for awhile. I estimate it takes at least three times as long as normal to read a chapter, if you read all the word studies, footnotes, commentary, character profiles, hard topics, personal application, maps, charts, etc. It is a lot of information and good if you want to dive deep. But not something I can read when my young children are awake. Sometimes the commentary notes, profiles, etc. are more concentrated near the beginning of books because they are introducing people, families, concepts.

So far, I feel like I have learned a lot. I have not had time to read this entire Bible before writing my review. Overall, I feel the translation itself is solid and I expect to learn a lot. I also expect to disagree with the editor on a few issues (as is probably the case with any study Bible).

Other things to consider when deciding if The CSB Study Bible for Women is for you:

The underlying worldview and editorial commentary (often titled as Biblical Womanhood or Hard Topics) are very “evangelical” Christian. If that isn't for you, you might want to try a CSB Bible without all the study features.

There is anti-feminism bias. I haven't yet seen any definition of what they consider “feminism” but the writer(s) blame it for negative things/situations and expect the reader to accept their perspective.

Regarding the complementarian v. egalitarian debate about marriage roles, the Biblical Womanhood sections seem to fall heavily on the complementarian side.

The managing editor, Dorothy Kelley Patterson, is the wife of Paige Patterson, President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Mr. Patterson is accused of perpetuating domestic abuse through his teachings / counseling and there is a huge debate / uproar at the moment about this. His wife may hold similar views and her personal view may filter into the commentary.

Again, I have not had time to read The CSB Study Bible for Women all the way through before writing this review. I think the translation is solid. I have enjoyed reading the Biblical text and many of the features are informative. I disagree with some of the commentary, but I can still learn from this Bible.




Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this Bible free from the publisher. 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."


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Storm Front by Susan May Warren


Brette Arnold ran away from Ty Remington and their budding love over a year ago. Chasing storms, specifically tornadoes, with her digital camera pays her medical bills and keeps her occupied... right until it lands her in the same house as Ty.

Ty's determination to find Chet King, Ty's mentor and team leader, drives Ty to step out of the shadows he's been living in and direct the current resue mission. He refuses to accept defeat of the mission and works to tear down the walls that Brette uses to keep him away. But loving Brette will come at a high personal cost to Ty. Will Brette open her heart to Ty? Can they embrace love inspite of the looming future? Read more in Storm Front by Susan May Warren.

Storm Front, the fifth novel in Susan May Warren's Montana Rescue series, delves deep into Ty and Brette's relationship which began back in A Matter of Trust (Montana Rescue #3). I do recommend reading the entire series because each book is so good and Kacey and Ben from Wild Montana Skies (Montana Rescue #1) feature prominently with their own relationship issues.

Like the other novels in this series, the plot is filled with action, suspense, and romance. The storyline easily held my attention through the duration of the novel. Ty was the shining character in this novel for several reasons – his character development as he learns to trust himself and his Creator, his selfless treatment of Brette inspite of her health issues, and his stubborn determination to complete all that he has set his heart to accomplish. Without spoiling anything, I will mention I loved Ty and Chet's conversation about “rescuing” near the end, possibly one of my favorite scenes in the novel.

I recommend Storm Front and all the other novels in this series by Susan May Warren to fans of Christian fiction who are looking for a gripping story filled with action, suspense, romance, and faith.

Read an excerpt from Storm Front by Susan May Warren on the publisher's website.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. 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."

Saturday, May 12, 2018

ColorFull by Dorena Williamson

Racial tension is common in politics and news.

I never expected VPK in a Christian school would be my daughter's introduction to racial prejudice. It didn't take long for her to experience exclusion due to her skin color and to learn that the same classmates who excluded her also excluded people of other skin colors. And so, I had to talk with her about that. It was hard for her to understand. I tried to explain that God created us all with different skin colors and no one should be treated as lower or higher than another.

ColorFull: Celebrating the Colors God Gave Us by Dorena Wiliamson is a beautful tool that I can use to combat her own experience of discrimination and teach her sympathy for others. In ColorFull, Imani, Kayla, and Christopher learn about colors through playtime activities and a wise Granny Mac who leads the conversation into skin color. Essentially, the message is that all skin colors were chosen by God in his wisdom and love. All are equally loved by their Creator. Rather than trying to be colorblind, we can choose to celebrate the different skin colors we have.
ColorFull is a sturdy, hard-cover, children's book featuring whimsical, vibrant illustrations by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu. My daughters haven't seen the book yet because it's a birthday gift, but I expect the illustrations to hold their attention while I read. Discussion questions, appropriate for 4-8 year olds are included. I think my two year old will enjoy the story and illustrations, but the discussion questions will be above her comprehension level.

I recommend ColorFull: Celebrating the Colors God Gave Us to anyone with children. Every child will eventually encounter racial prejudice of some form and this book can help them grow up with a healthy perspective.





Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. 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."

Sunday, April 15, 2018

The Healing Power of Essential Oils by Dr. Eric Zielinski, D.C.


I have a friend who uses essential oils to promote health. I have another who eschews medical use and will only use essential oils for cleaning. I have a family member who believes in bleach, chemicals, and antibiotics. If you do an internet search on essential oils, there's an insane amount of information, and it's frequently conflicting.

Enter The Healing Power of Essential Oils by Eric Zielinski, D.C. In this book, Dr. Zielinski, who is a health researcher and aromatherapist, begins to disentangle the truth, half-truth, propaganda, and nonsense that can surround the use of essential oils. In my opinion, he's more evidence-based than what is normally found in the blogsphere or essential oil Facebook groups. He's also quick to state that in some oils, there just hasn't been a lot of research or there is still more research needed.

This book covers numerous topics: fundamentals of aromatherapy, using essential oils safely, how to start off, house cleaning with essential oils, basic essential oil recipes for wellness, more advanced recipes for specific physical issues with an emphasis on women's health, and more! It took me a few weeks to read through this book and I was bit overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information, including a few parts that were very scientific. That being said, Dr. Z's approach is to start with what you can. No, you can't completely change everything all at once. Integrate what you can and add more as you learn.

And I did learn a lot in the book! Overall, it's very understandable and Dr. Z lays down the safety issues and basic procedures at the very beginning. He also repeats that you should listen to you body, discontinue use if something seems off, and that we all have biological differences stemming from gender, race, family history, etc... therefore, what works great for one person may only give moderate relief to someone else.

So, did this book convert me to essential oils? Maybe. It's definitely opened my mind up to them and exposed some harmful substances I wasn't aware of. (example: toxicity of hand sanitizer) I do plan to start small and give some of this a try. I will keep The Healing Power of Essential Oils by Eric Zielinski, D.C. on my bookshelf for future reference.

One last note: Dr. Z. is a proponent of Biblical health and mentions prayer and Biblical health guidelines throughout the book. If you are uncomfortable with that, this book may not be for you.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. 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."