Monday, September 17, 2012

The Deliverer by Kathi Macias

Though physically free of her prior life as a sex slave, Mara still struggles to leave behind the mental and emotional bondage of the past. Jonathan, the young man who rescued her from human trafficking, has spoken and written to her of a loving God who can free her of all the evil of the past. Mara desires this ultimate freedom, but doesn't believe it could truly happen for her. Mara's search for freedom will lead her through an examination of her feelings towards the family who sold her into slavery, her uncle who oversaw the entire operation, and the God who allowed it all to happen. Will Mara be able to move beyond her past? And if she could, would her growing affection for Jonathan blossom? Before anything else, she must learn to trust the One who knows her intimately and longs to bring healing and freedom.

The Deliverer by Kathi Macias is the third book in the Freedom Series. I highly recommend reading these books in order although some back story is given. I had expected this to be the final book in the series. However, there may be another book forthcoming as certain situations with some characters were left open at the end. The plot of this story is far more complex than a small synopsis can provide and that is one of the beauties of Macias' writing. Like the prior two books in the series, I was challenged by the topics presented in the book, but still enjoyed reading the characters' stories, particularly Mara's. It is far too easy to ignore or forget that human trafficking does exist and this series is a wake-up call for Christians to arise and fight the evil that is far closer to home than most of us realize. I recommend this book to any mature reader because it does deal with dark, though not overly explicit, topics.

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."

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

365 Things Every New Mom Should Know by Linda Danis

Infant massage, the baby blues, husbands, pacifiers, lack of sleep, etc... As a new mom, it's easy to be overwhelmed by the so-called “new normal.” Still, a universal desire of new mothers is to love and nurture the wonderful new human beings that are born to them. In 365 Things Every New Mom Should Know, Linda Danis offers daily inspiration on how to love and nurture your child whether you are struggling or thriving in your new role as a mommy.

I actually received 365 Things Every New Mom Should Know by Linda Danis about two months after the birth of my first child. Therefore, I read the suggestions for days one through sixty-five during feeding sessions and started with the daily readings on day sixty-six. As of this writing, I'm only on day eighty-six, but wanted to go ahead and give my review in a timely manner.

The suggestions in 365 Things Every New Mom Should Know are quick to read and very practical. Each one probably takes less than a minute to read with the exception of the end of the week devotional and that probably takes five minutes or so. (Clearly the author knows the value and scarcity of a new mother's free time!) The author gives some great tips. Some I already knew and some I didn't. Some of my favorite ideas are when she gives poems that include hand motions to do. I loved the motions for the Itsy-Bitsy-Spider! So cute and Baby does seem intrigued by it.

In my opinion, 365 Things Every New Mom Should Know is a blend of practical ideas to nurture a child and spiritual refreshment for new moms. I absolutely would recommend this book to any new mom, whether it's their first, second, third or any subsequent child! It would also make a nice baby shower gift.

Click here to visit the FIRST Wild Card Blog Tour for 365 Things Every New Mom Should Know by Linda Danis and to read an excerpt from the book.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher as part of the FIRST Wild Card 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."

FIRST Wild Card Tour: 365 Things Every New Mom Should Know by Linda Danis

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Harvest House Publishers (April 2012)

***Special thanks to Ginger Chen of Harvest House for sending me a review copy.***


Linda Danis has a degree in marketing and spent five years in hotel management before staying at home to run a hotel of a different sort—guests ages 3, 6, 9, and 11. Linda has written Sunday school curricula, started a co–op preschool, and leads a Moms in Touch prayer ministry at her children’s school.  She lives with her husband, Dave, and children in California.


This daily guide to the first year of a baby s life combines prayerful, playful, and practical information to energize new moms. Features weekly devotionals and daily activities that foster a baby s physical, emotional, social, and spiritual growth.

Product Details:
List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-0-7369-2382-8

Click here to read my review of 365 Things Every New Mom Should Know by Linda Danis.


My child, you hold the whole of my heart in your small hands.
Author Unknown
Week 1
Day 1
After all these long months, your precious little baby has finally arrived. The child you have longed for is here to hold, to look at, and to touch. Your baby will look up at you and recognize your familiar voices. You are the ones he has been longing to meet—his mommy and daddy! Get to know your sweet little baby—hold him, rock him, smell his skin, gaze at him, marvel at his tiny fists, caress him. Treasure this awesome miracle!
Day 2
On the day you bring your baby home for the first time, have everyone in your family place their hands on her and pray for her. This will be a precious moment for your family to share together as you welcome her into your family and give thanks to God for this wonderful gift!
Day 3
If you have older children who want to hold their new sibling, use a nursing “donut pillow” to help them support your baby’s head. Have your child sit all the way back on the couch. Place the semicircle nursing pillow around his waist. Set your baby on the pillow with his bottom wedged in between your older child’s tummy and the pillow. Rest your baby’s head on your older child’s arm that is resting on the pillow. Even if your child lets go of the baby, his head will still be secure on the pillow. Of course, you should always be sitting right next to your new baby, monitoring his safety. This also works for young visitors, but I would suggest waiting a week or two before letting a nonfamily-member child hold your baby.
Day 4
Despite what all the books may say, most women experience some soreness (or a lot of soreness!) in the first weeks of nursing. Try using your Lamaze breathing when your baby latches onto your breast. If your nipples are cracked or blistered, blot them dry with a cotton diaper after you have finished nursing. Saliva has enzymes that can irritate sore nipples. After you have dried the saliva off, express a little milk and rub it on your nipples. Let them air dry. Also, do not look down at your baby the entire time you nurse. This position can strain your neck and cause tension headaches. If you can persevere through the first two weeks of nursing, things will get better.
Day 5
Sometimes as a new parent it’s hard to tell whether or not you should call your pediatrician. If you are reluctant to call your doctor in the middle of the night, you can usually call the nursery at the hospital where you gave birth. The nurses are awake and can advise you as to whether you should call your doctor right away or if it can wait until the morning. Do not wait if your baby has a fever higher than 99.9 degrees rectally (this is the most accurate way to take your baby’s temperature). Call your doctor immediately.
Day 6
Drink water every time you nurse to stay hydrated and to maintain your milk supply. Always keep a water bottle close at hand. It is a good idea to set up a “nursing station” wherever you will be nursing the most. Have everything you need right at hand—a water bottle, a burp cloth, a nursing pillow, a book or magazine to read, and nursing pads.
Day 7
When your baby startles while lying on her back (the Moro reflex), gently but firmly hold her hands together close to her chest to calm her and make her feel more secure. Say, “It’s okay, sweetheart. Mommy will help you.” This reflex will disappear by four months.

Reflections on the Week
I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him.
1 Samuel 1:27
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.
Jeremiah 1:5
An Incredible Love
You have had your baby only one short week and yet you can hardly remember what life was like without him. You prepared for months for his arrival—read books, set up the nursery, went to prenatal classes—yet nothing could prepare you for the overwhelming love you feel for this child. There are no words quite powerful enough to describe the emotions you feel.
Then the impossible happened; each day you grew to love him more. The sheer magnitude of love takes your breath away. Can there be anything more wonderful than when he gazes into your eyes, when you feel his small body curled up in your arms, when you feel his warm breath on your cheek, when his little fingers wrap tightly around yours? Your heart is ready to burst with this new miracle in your life.
It doesn’t matter if this is your first or fifth child, the profound love you feel for your new baby never changes. I remember during my second pregnancy, I secretly worried that I might not love this new baby as much as my first. How could I ever love another child as much as I loved her? But the moment I held my new baby, I knew immediately I had worried for nothing. There was no difference in my love. It was as amazingly wonderful and intense as the love I had for my first. It happened again when my third and fourth children were born. We don’t have to divide our love between our children. Our love actually multiplies, giving us even more love to share. It is one of the ways God’s love works in motherhood. We just have more and more love to give away!

Dear God, thank You for this precious little baby. He is everything I prayed for. Everything about him is perfect. Words can hardly describe how much I love him. Because of him, I have a better idea now of how much You, my heavenly Father, love me. Please help me adjust to all the changes I will face as a new mother. Amen.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Love's Reckoning by Laura Frantz

Silas Ballantyne needs only to complete his blacksmith apprenticeship before he can finally embark on his journey to the west. Eden Lee dreams of escaping her dysfunctional family and joining the Quaker hospital. Liege Lee, Eden's father and Silas' employer, appeals to the tradition of the apprentice marrying one of the master's daughters. Liege decides that Elspeth, Eden's sister, should wed Silas, but will Silas agree to such a plan? The developing kinship between Eden and Silas threatens to ruin Liege's plan and Silas' choice will determine the course of far more than simply his own destiny.

Love's Reckoning is the first installment of The Ballantyne Legacy Series by Laura Frantz. I did enjoy reading this book, but it isn't a piece of light fluff. There's more suspense in this historical romance than I expected. The foreshadowing at times left me with a sense of impending dread – literarily, of course. However, Frantz's writing is flawless and it was hard to put this book down at times. The characters are vibrant, yet authentic. I especially enjoyed Silas' character. He was imperfect and human; yet, he rose above his circumstances to be the hero. I also appreciated Frantz's originality in her choices of scenes and plot development. Far too many Christian fiction novels lack that spark of originality to set them apart. If there was not a sequel on the way, I would have been disappointed by the ending. Fortunately, the next installment in the series appears to be slated for publication next year and I intend to continue reading this family saga.

I definitely recommend Love's Reckoning by Laura Frantz to fans of historical romances.

Available September 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.  Click here to visit Revell's website and read an excerpt from Love's Reckoning by Laura Frantz.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell Publishers. 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."