Thursday, December 31, 2015

Book Review: After you by Jojo Moyes

After You is the sequel to Me Before You. I love both of these books.

Where it is helpful to read the first book to build a relationship between the reader and the characters, it may not be absolutely necessary. Saying this, however, I am so happy that I read After You first.

This book is so well written with a few surprises, but it was great. Louisa, along with her family and the Traynos are back. Here is just a taste of what was discovered in the first to give a good preview of this book. Will is a quadriplegic who has gone through many carers until Louisa shows up. At one time, Will was adventurous. After the accident he became suicidal. Louisa is funny and so unique and she falls for Will. Anymore will give away a wonderful story which deserves to be read by all.

I was given this book by NetGalley and Penguin Group Viking in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review: 52 Ways to Connect as a Couple

I believe that it does not matter if a couple is dating, newlyweds or married for many years, there can never be enough help to keep things fresh and new. This book is just the right thing for any of these couples.

This book is written in 52 short reading. Each is filled with ways to help a couple become unified in common ways and to share integrity. I found the solutions put forth by Jay Payleitner to be fun and unique.

I was given this book by NetGalley and Harvest House Publishing in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Book Review: The Girl From the Train

Oh my, I loved this story. The story is set during WWII but is primarily a story about Gretl Schmidt and Jakob. Gretl lost family members and jakob is Polish and is working with those that are fighting for freedom from Germany.

Gretle had jumped off of a train and Jakob found her in the woods. He took her to his family who cared for her. He then read about German children being taken to South Africa to be adopted. The rest of the details need to be read but it is an excellent story.

Through the storytelling, the reader discovers some of the history of the time. The two character's stories work together so well as we learn about the different areas they move on to.

This is a wonderful book to read while wrapped in a blanket with a beverage and just read it until the end.

I was given this book by NetGalley and Thomas Nelson in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Cookbook review: Green Smoothies

Smoothies are wonderful, not matter the time of year. This book is filled with recipes to make smoothies, juices, nut milks and tonics. The pictures that go with the recipes are so well done that they look like they could be lifted off of the page and drank.

Each of the recipes are easy to make with step-by-step guidance. Included are recipes for Coconut Kale and Popeye's juice and more.

I think this book will be useful in my household for years to come and I highly recommend it to anyone that enjoys drinking and making nice, healthy drinks.

I was given this book by NetGalley and Ten Speed Press in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Book Review: The Sweet Side of Suffering

There are times when the suffering in life seems overwhelming. At least it has for me. Between the loss of loved ones and constant pain, there are times when I wonder what can be done. It is so easy to ask for God's love and help, yet it seems to be the one thing that gets put on the back burner. This book allows the reader to look at their own suffering differently.

The author uses her own suffering to show how turning to God during those times helped to make her faith stronger. She also uses scriptures and shows how to apply them to your own life.

I was given this book by NetGalley and Discovery House Publishing in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review: Bella's Christmas Bake Off

I love Christmas fiction and this one is as funny as the title states. It also is dangerous to read while reading on an electronic reader as drooling may cause a short, just kidding.

The main character, Amy is a mother of grown children. And as her husband leaves she is on her own at Christmas. She feels a homeless shelter calling her for help. She also discovers her mother's old recipes being used by an old friend Bella, on her own cooking show. Bella is also claiming them as her own.

The characters were so well-written and full of joy. This is a book that is easy to enjoy and will leave the reader laughing out loud.

I was given this book by NetGalley and Bookouture in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review: Where Dolphins Dive

This book, written for the middle school reader, helps children learn the history of North Carolina in a very creative way. It is the third book in the Starfoot and Brown series.

The main characters are two Chihuahuas and their owners as they learn a number of mysteries and information about sea life. The dogs are to be taken care of during the summer by Bonnie. Jordy is a friend of Bonnie's. Together they meet a captain who has a pirate map and asks them to help find the treasure before another captain, Captain "Pell Smell". The children learn abotu the history of pirates here and the wildlife along the coast. With a mockingbird, a dolphin and the dogs, the location on the map is found. Children will love the action thoughout the book.

The illustrations help to bring more life and excitement to this already exciting book. I can think of many middle school aged children who would love to read this book.

I was given this book by NetGalley and Tamarin Press in exchange for my honest opinion.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Children's book review: Tales from Christmas Wood

This is a charming book of five stories that fit together to create a sixth one. In the town of Christmas Wood lives a group of animals. Badger, who loved the town from first glance, decides to live there. This friendly little animal has one thing which keeps others from being friends with her, her teeth. Each of the stories tell about how the animals come to be her friends and welcome her into their community.  The sixth story has all of the animals gathered together for Jesus' birth.

I loved this book, each story touched a part of my heart. The illustrations are perfect for the story and I believe all children will want to look at this book again and again. I would highly recommend this book to all.

I was given this book by NetGalley and Lion Children's Book in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review: The confession of Richard Plantagenet

This book is set in 1471 in England and Richard Plantagenet is fighting for the throne, the York throne. Richard, Edward IV and George are fighting against the Duke of Warwick.

This book covers the second half of the Wars of the Roses and shows Richard softer side, a side that is not generally shown in books. It covers all the details of the time including love, family and friendship.

Dora Greenwell McChesney wrote this historical fiction with a talented hand. 

I was given this book by NetGalley and Albion Press in exchange for my honest review. 

Book Review: Christmas Cravings

This is a cute book which reads quickly. Christmas Cravings is a part of Greedily Yours Series. Even though it is a part of a series it is easy to become part of the series quickly. The author helps this along by looking back to help understand the story.

Christmas is here, but Mia and her boyfriend, Tom, aren't speaking. The sad thing is she doesn't have any idea why. Tom and Mia have had obstacles to overcome but they still seem to be made for each other.

Grab a warm blanket and a cup of tea and sit down for a story to help bring Christmas into the room with you. This book will fit in very well with the holiday times. 

I was given this book by NetGalley and Bastei Entertainment in exchange for my honest review. 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Book Review: The Secret Chord

The Secret Chord is a novelization of the story of David. We are invited to read about his life from a different viewpoint. He was gifted with the ability to learn quickly and, when he was placed in the king's court, he was able to keep his life.

I have read other works by Geraldine Brooks and these are books that have found a permanent place on my reading shelf, while I tell others about the artistry of this writer. She has a way of taking the reader to a level beneath the surface so that we feel we are truly seeing all aspects of David. We discover how he related to all those in his lives, including his friend and wives.

David's story is a glorious Biblical story and Geraldine Brooks was able to allow me to see it differently, yet keep my feelings about him with me. This is a book that is difficult to put down and even though we know the ending from the Bible, I still did not want it to end.

I was given this book by NetGalley and Penguin Group - Viking in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Coloring book review: Every Little Thing: A Flat Vernacular Coloring Book

I have enjoyed coloring, and coloring books, for as long as I can remember and I am thrilled with the "new" fad of adult coloring books that are on the market.

This book, Every Little Thing, is a compilation of coloring pages with a wide variety of themes. Every page was hand-drawn and, as is stated on the back cover, it reminds me of a kaleidoscope. Each page brings a grin as the anticipation of beginning the coloring process overcomes the artist inside.  

The artist is Payton Cosell Turner is a part of Flat Vernacular, a Brooklyn-based wallpaper studio. 

The book has a removable dust cover which is too shiny to color but the inner cover is just right. I do wish that the pages could be torn out of the book easier as I have discovered that there are times when it is difficult to color in this type of book format. Plus there are times when I like to display my artwork. There are five sections of the book, which makes it easier to separate the sets, but then there is the risk of wrinkles and creases. 

I love this book and look forward to more of this kind in the future. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Children's book review: It's Hard to be Good

Ellie is a sweet Wienerdog who tries very hard to be good. But sometimes it is too hard. Her owner, however, praises her when she is good and this makes Ellie feel so good. I love the story, the colorful illustrations and Ellie. The lesson learned in the story is great also. I can see this as an early reader or for parent/child reading time.

I received this book from NetGalley and Smith Publicity in exchange for my honest review.

Children's book review: Good dogs, Great Listeners: The Story of Charlotte, Lily and the Litter

This is a heart-warming book of Charlotte and her love for her dog Lily. Lily becomes injured and has to go to the vet. This causes Charlotte, who is known for her adventures, to slow down and spend quality time reading to Lily.

Charlotte was a 6 year old who was one of the Sandy Hook shooting victims and Charlotte's Litter is an program for therapy dogs in educational settings.

This book, written by her parents JoAnn and Joel Bacon, is a great way to inspire all who read this book. Such a great book to honor a lovely child.