Books reviewed on this site have been provided to me, at no charge, by the publisher, or by the author, in exchange for an honest review. I have received no further compensation for these reviews. All reviews are my honest opinions.

December 31, 2017

Changes {They Always Happen}

I'm not saying Goodbye, but this is definitely See You Later.

I started this blog almost four years ago because of my deep love of books. I wanted to tell the world about all the great books out there. None of that has changed. What has changed has been the ages of my children and my personal health.

My kids are now five and eight. They participate in sports. They want mom to hang out with them. They are learning to help out around the house. And they are growing up faster than I can handle it.

Also, I miss the days of walking up and down the shelves of the library. Selecting a book I never heard of and the thrill of opening that first page.

No, my love of books has not wavered. And I will continue to tell the world about books I love. But the days of this book review blog are fading away.

As of today, the end of 2017, I will no longer post reviews on this blog. I will keep the blog open so the reviews can live on. And who knows, one day I may return. But in this season of my life, I plan to discover new authors, enjoy the thrill of the first paragraph, and soak up every single minute of my children.

Thank you for being here through the years. Thank you for your comments and your discussions. I will still be on social media, so I hope to stay in contact.

And I hope you each have a wonderful 2018!

November 20, 2017

You're Gonna Love Me {Robin Lee Hatcher}

you're gonna love me robin lee hatcher
Samantha Winters prefers her life to be safe and secure, and rightly so. She lost her father in a skiing accident a few years ago and has been fearful ever since. Then she fell in love with Nick Chastain, who is a brilliant professor of fisheries and wildlife studies at Oregon State University but also an adrenaline junkie.

For spring break, Nick plans a kayaking trip on the rapids in Colorado. His thrill-seeking ways don’t sit well with Samantha, and after one argument too many—and a host of harsh words exchanged— the couple of six months end their relationship. Once she cooled down a few weeks later, Samantha emailed an apology to Nick. He never replied.

Two years later, Samantha moves to Thunder Creek, Idaho, to care for her grandmother. She is shocked when Nick walks into Gran’s hospital room and even more shocked to learn he no longer teaches at the university.

As Samantha and Nick get to know one another again, Samantha decides she should use her time in Thunder Creek to evaluate her life . . . and her fears. Could Nick have changed so much in just a matter of years, or will the call for adventure lure him back to his dangerous ways? Is love worth the risk of heartbreak all over again?

My Thoughts:
This is not the greatest book I have ever read, but it was a sweet love story just the same. I was fun to return to Thunder Creek and catch up with a few characters we previously met, and to get to know Sam and Nick as well.

The description of this book is basically the background information for the story. The book picks up with Nick already in Thunder Creek and Samantha arriving soon after. As soon as they speak to each other for the first time it is obvious sparks are flying and their relationship is going to pick back up.

But each character has healing to do in their heart and with God. It was sweet to see God perform that needed healing and calm their fears so they could pursue the relationship He had for them. Both Nick and Sam grew in God and with each other during their summer together in Thunder Creek and I wanted them to end up together so badly.

I thought this was a sweet read. It is the sequel to You'll Think of Me, but can still be read as a stand-alone very easily. A great addition to your reading list.
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November 7, 2017

Vanishing Point {Lisa Harris}

vanishing point lisa harris
During Garrett Addison's first week on the job as a criminal investigator for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, his team is called out to a murder scene of a young girl. She's the third victim in a string of disappearances with one thing in common--a Polaroid photo of each victim left behind at the crime scene.

The FBI is pulled into the case to help, and Garrett finds himself working with Special Agent Jordan Lambert, the woman he once loved. When yet another girl dies--number six--Garrett blames himself and believes he doesn't have what it takes to be an agent. What he'll discover is that, while he may be done with the killer, the killer is not done with him--or Jordan.

My Thoughts:
We finally get the conclusion to what has been one of the best series I have ever read!

This series began two years ago and I immediately fell in love with Nikki Boyd. With each book, we followed Nikki and her team as they investigated missing girls and more taunts from the Angel Abductor. With each installment, I hoped beyond hope we would finally discover the identity of the killer and learn the truth behind Nikki's sister's disappearance. And with each closing chapter, we were left with another cliff-hanger and more questions to be answered.

The wait is over.

Vanishing Point takes us back to when it all began. When the TBI and the FBI first realized they had a serial killer on their hands, and they began their journey to stop the man responsible for the death of so many girls. We get to witness the moment Sarah Boyd goes missing and the events that led to Nikki joining the police academy. We get to follow the team through the highlights of the past ten years and see the effects of the unsolved case in their lives.

But finally, we learn the identity of the Angel Abductor. We learn what really happened to Sarah Boyd. Of course, it doesn't come without challenges and broken hearts, but I can place this last book on my shelf knowing these characters are okay.

If you haven't read this series I suggest you start at the beginning. You can read this book as a stand-alone but you will enjoy it so much more if you start from book one.

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October 23, 2017

In This Moment {Karen Kingsbury}

in this moment karen kingsbury
Hamilton High Principal Wendell Quinn is tired of the violence, drug abuse, teen pregnancies, and low expectations at his Indianapolis school. A single father of four, Quinn is a Christian and a family man. He wants to see change in his community, so he starts a voluntary after-school Bible Study and prayer program. He knows he is risking his job by leading the program, but the high turnout at every meeting encourages him.

A year later, violence and gang activity are down, test scores are up, and drug use and teen pregnancy have plummeted. The program is clearly working—until one parent calls the press. Now Quinn faces a lawsuit that could ruin everything.

With a storm of national attention and criticism, Quinn is at a crossroads—he must choose whether to cave in and shut down the program or stand up for himself and his students. The battle comes with a high cost, and Quinn wants just one attorney on his side for this fight: Luke Baxter. In This Moment is an inspiring, relevant story about the nuances of religious freedom and how a group of determined people just might restore the meaning of faith in today’s culture.

My Thoughts:
I have to be honest - I did not enjoy this book. I've read through the entire Baxter series this year and was really looking forward to continuing to catch up with the family. However, this book is hardly about the Baxters at all. And Wendell Quinn just never hooked me.

Yes, this book has a current storyline, and clearly, Luke Baxter has become a legal success. But I wanted more Baxters. More of the family I have fallen in love with. More of their time together and their lives. I just feel this one felt forced and fell flat. Such a disappointment for me.

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October 16, 2017

KJV Know the Word Study Bible

Diving deeper into God's Word can be easy and rewarding if you break it down book by book, verse by verse, or topic by topic with the new KJV Know The Word Study Bible by Thomas Nelson. The book-by-book series of notes leads you through the main points of each book of the Bible. The verse-by-verse notes help you to dig deeper into God's Word. The topic-by-topic articles, which cover 21 theological topics, guide you through a series of insightful notes and give you a thorough biblical understanding of each topic. With the beautiful and timeless text of the KJV translation, the KJV Know the Word Study Bible offers you choices of how to study Scripture and grow in your relationship with Christ.

My Thoughts:
For years I have wanted to study the Bible - like REALLY study it. But I honestly did not know where to start. The thought of just picking it up and trying to break down verses was intimidating to me, but I have not been able to get my hands on a KJV resource. This Bible is the answer to my prayers - literally!

Within this Bible are so many resources to help kick off an in-depth study of God's word. Words and phrases are broken down with simple explanations or background information linked to each. Verses are cross-referenced to help in the study as well. I have found great use of my Bible highlighters with these pages as I match words with their definitions, verses with their related texts, and meanings I would have never figured out on my own.

If you are looking to really dig into the Bible - and especially if you are a fan of the KJV - then this Bible is a resource you cannot afford not to have in your hands. You will love how this Bible can guide you in your walk to really know God's word. I am so thankful for the opportunity to receive this Bible and will cherish it for years to come.

This fall, become a regular student of the Bible and enter to win the Kindle Fire giveaway!

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of the KJV Know The Word Study Bible
  • A Kindle Fire 7
  • A Kindle Fire case (winner's choice)
Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on October 31. The winner will be announced November 1 on the Litfuse blog.

October 9, 2017

Blue Ridge Sunrise {Denise Hunter}

blue ridge sunrise denise hunter
Former free spirit Zoe Collins swore she’d never again set foot in Copper Creek or speak to the man who broke her heart. But return she must when her beloved Granny dies, leaving the family legacy to Zoe--a peach orchard nestled at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

When Zoe returns home with her daughter and boyfriend Kyle, she finds that she’s the only person in town who doesn’t expect her to give up the life she’s established far away from Copper Creek. Everyone believes she was born to run the orchard, but how can she make it her home after so many years?

Cruz Huntley never quite got over his first love Zoe Collins, the little sister of his best friend Brady. Not when she cheated on him during their “break,” not when she took off to parts unknown with good-for-nothing Kyle Jenkins, and not even now—five years later.

As life-changing decisions and a history with Cruz hang over Zoe’s head, tensions rise between her and Kyle. Even as she comes to terms with the shifting relationships in her life, Zoe still isn’t sure if she can remain in Copper Creek with her new responsibilities . . . and her first love.

My Thoughts:
I must admit I have very conflicting feelings about this book. Parts of my loved it, while parts of me wanted to put it down. But after much thought about this book, I feel I was mostly just not used to Hunter bringing such real characters to life on the pages of her books. This book has pre-marital sex, unwed mothers. divorce, abuse, and so very much heartache.

Zoe has lived her life far from God. When she found herself young and pregnant, she ran off with with a singer and began living the life of a performer on the road - and participating in all that comes with that. She has returned home and inherited her grandmother's peach orchard and begins trying to put her life back together. However, I felt Zoe's change of heart from Kyle to Cruz happened so quickly and gave a false hope of how easy it is to get out of an abusive relationship. These things don't typically happen overnight.

I loved Cruz so much. I feel his heart has always been in the right place when it comes to Zoe and her family. However, he has made mistakes in the way he has tried to express his love and affection for the family. This has brought about so much paid for himself and the ones he loves. I appreciated him taking up for Zoe even though she was pushing him away. And his patience in entering back into her life was endearing.

In the end, I was disappointed with parts of this book. But I still enjoyed the start of this new series from one of my favorite authors. We also were introduced to several characters who I feel have stories coming during this series and I definitely do not want to miss those. So, I would recommend this book for Hunter fans, and those who enjoy a good turned-life-around story. However, if you are easily offended by mention of situations not always found in Christian fiction, I recommend you give this one a pass.

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September 4, 2017

When Parenting Isn't Perfect {Jim Daly}

when parenting isn't perfect jim daly
Perfection is the enemy of parenting. Jim Daly sees and hears from mothers and fathers trying hard to pursue perfection. They listen to the best experts and read all the right books. When someone gives them a “World’s Best Mom” or “No. 1 Dad” coffee mug, they want it to be true. And they want their children to pursue perfection, too.

It’s admirable for parents to be the very best moms and dads they can be for their children. But sometimes in so doing, they leave grace behind—both for themselves and their children. Jim believes that our quest for perfection, a quest that he believes is particularly strong among Christians, runs counter to God’s own boundless gift of grace. We can become Pharisaical parents, quoting endless rules and holding everyone to impossible standards. But God doesn’t want us, and our kids don’t need us, to be perfect. As parents, we’re called to simply do our best. And when we fail—which we will—we’re called to try again tomorrow.

Though he’s the President of Focus on the Family, Jim does not promise that his book will be a catalyst for a perfect family. But it can help point the way toward a good family—one that feels safe and warm; one filled with love and laughter. This book will encourage mothers and fathers to embrace the messiness of parenthood and show grace to their own less-than-ideal children. Jim, through his own experiences, expertise, and array of stories, will lead both moms and dads to a better understanding of what being a good family is all about.

My Thoughts:
I love listening to Jim Daly on the Focus on the Family podcast each week, and I looked forward to getting my hands on this book when he started talking about it on air. From listening to Daly, I knew I would enjoy his book. Truth? It has been a long time since I enjoyed a parenting book as much as I loved this one.

Daly brings real life to pages of this book, often bringing his own struggles and family to use as examples of just how un-perfect we all are. This parenting gig is hard and I enjoyed the tidbits of information, references to scripture, quotes from experts, and real language used throughout this entire book.

One of the things I enjoyed the most about this book was the entire section on marriage. It is not often a parenting book takes a timeout to discuss the importance of marriage, but this book does just that. It goes without saying that having a strong and faithful marriage can go a long way in easing the burden of parenting, but not many authors take the time to point that out.

I also appreciate the Daly family for allowing their lives to be exposed through this book. Knowing the struggles they go through simply enhances the effectiveness of the message in this book.

There is a lot of highlighting and notes in my copy of this book and I plan on pulling it out often as a reference and encouragement as my husband and I journey on this parenting gig. I definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for real-life parenting advice with encouragement and the truth of Jesus' love.

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