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Dr. Dobson's Handbook of Family Advice
Dr. Dobson's Handbook of Family Advice
Price: $9.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Brief snippets of advice, Would have liked more depth., March 6, 2015
Dr. James Dobson is possibly the best-known family counselor among Christian circles. With a radio show and multiple parenting books to his credit, he's also a father to two grown children. He's gone through the years of raising children and offers insights in Dr. Dobson's Handbook of Family Advice that are based on professional and personal experience.

Dr. Dobson's Handbook of Family Advice covers approximately thirty-three topics although others are added in along the way. Topics range from boundaries and communication to marriage and stress. Each entry is short, less than a page, but there are often multiple entries on a topic.

As best I can tell, Dr. Dobson's observations and advice are in line with Scripture and backed up by research as appropriate. Personally, I felt the entries were too short. Often an entry would touch on a subject, but I'd find myself left with questions and wishing he'd gone more in depth. I suppose this book is a good overview, entry-level kind of book, perhaps for those considering children. But, as one who is immersed in the challenges of the preschool years, I was looking for more depth.

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."


Mothering From Scratch: Finding the Best Parenting Style for You and Your Family
Mothering From Scratch: Finding the Best Parenting Style for You and Your Family
Price: $9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great resource for mothers!, March 5, 2015
Probably every mother has at times wished that her child came with an instruction manual. Wouldn't it be nice if there was an outline to follow, complete with a guarantee that the child would grow up to be perfect? There are no perfect children or perfect moms, but there are good moms. Despite what someone else may tell you, their way is not necessarily the best way for you and your child.

In Mothering From Scratch, Melinda Means and Kathy Helgemo show how to develop your own mothering style that will allow you to be the best mom for your kids. The book aims to help mothers examine their strengths and weaknesses in order to find what works best, find mentoring and support from other moms, and push past the fear of doing it wrong to allow grace for both mother and child.

For me, reading Mothering From Scratch was like receiving permission to breathe a little easier. I've had people in my life who tell me all about how they raised their children, with the unspoken (but sometimes spoken) message that their way is better than mine and I need to do it their way. I know I'm not alone in receiving this kind of “help.” So to hear that it's okay to be different is a wonderful reassurance. In a sense, I'd known this deep down and had continued to do what I believed was best for my child and I, but to be reaffirmed by someone further down the parenting road gives me more confidence. I especially liked the emphasis on playing to your strengths while working on your weaknesses.

Mothering From Scratch is a great tool for struggling moms and I recommend it to all moms. I fully expect to read it again in another year as I expect it's the kind of book that can speak differently to me at different points in the mothering journey.

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."


The Alarmists
The Alarmists
Price: $9.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Just so-so, for me., March 5, 2015
This review is from: The Alarmists (Kindle Edition)
Professor Brent Michaels is a leading sociologist, satisfied with life, and discounts the Mayan calendar end of the world conspiracies. However, when man-made and natural disasters seem to escalate, he's called in by a special Pentagon unit to look for order amid chaos. As December 21, 2012, nears Brent and the team struggle to find who is manipulating these events and prevent the so-called end of the world. Read more in The Alarmists by Don Hoesel.

The Alarmists is not my favorite book by Don Hoesel, but it had a solid plot with lots of twists. As expected, mystery and suspense were heavily involved, but the story did not hook my attention like Hoesel's other books have. Perhaps my expectations were a bit too high, but I recommend borrowing from the library before buying.

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."


Dauntless (Valiant Hearts Book #1)
Dauntless (Valiant Hearts Book #1)
Price: $8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Great read and I'm excited to read the sequel!, March 5, 2015
Merry Ellison once was a baron's daughter, esteemed a lady, and betrothed to her childhood friend. Following her father's assassination attempt on the king, she becomes an enemy of the throne with a death sentence should she ever be found. Her place in life is now to lead “The Ghosts of Farthingale Forest” who happened to be the orphaned children of the city her family was affiliated with. Stealing necessities becomes part of the way they survive. However, when a chest of gold is taken, their notoriety requires them to move their camp elsewhere. Merry is unaware that her former intended, Timothy Grey, serves as assistant to the local earl of Wyndeshire and that he's out to prove himself capable. Capturing a band of notorious thieves would certainly advance his goal of earning a title of his own. But when he finds Merry to be the leader of the thieves, his plans and beliefs are suddenly challenged. Read more in Dauntless by Dina L. Sleiman.

Dauntless is the first novel in Dina L. Sleiman's Valiant Hearts series as well as the first novel I've read by her. The novel's eye-catching cover portrays Merry's intensity and convinced me to give the story a try. I read this book in two sittings. The medieval setting intrigued me, the story held my interest, the clean, sweet romance between Merry and Timothy flowed beautifully, and the final twist provided for a lovely ending. It's a keeper for my bookshelf and I plan to read it again in the future. I'm already looking forward to the sequel.

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."


A Lady at Willowgrove Hall (Whispers On The Moors Book 3)
A Lady at Willowgrove Hall (Whispers On The Moors Book 3)
Offered by HarperCollins Christian Publishing
Price: $9.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Briefly entertaining, but a bit forgettable...., February 26, 2015
Completely disconnected from her family, friends and impulsive youth, Cecily Faire takes a respectable position as a lady's maid at Willowgrove Hall and is suddenly thrust back into contact with the man who knows the secrets and shame of her youth. Desperate to avoid the truth and retain her position, she closes herself off from relationships with those around her – including Nathaniel Stanton, the handsome and capable steward of Willowgrove Hall, who bears his own set of secrets. While she struggles to maintain outward control, fighting to contain her heart is even more difficult. Will Cecily and Nathaniel be able to trust each other with the secrets of their past and, more importantly, will they trust the God who can bring them together? Read more in A Lady at Willowgrove Hall by Sarah E. Ladd.

A Lady at Willowgrove Hall is the third book in Sarah E. Ladd's Whispers on the Moors series. I've not read the other two and this one was fine as a stand-alone book. I appreciated the theme of how speaking the truth opens up possibilities for healing and relationship. The plot was solid and well-paced. Writing style was adequate, neither amazing nor disappointing. However, while the novel was entertaining for a few days, I don't see myself revisiting it again in the future as there was really nothing to elevate it above any other book of its style.

While A Lady at Willowgrove Hall by Sarah E. Ladd is not my favorite book, many readers will like it. I think it is best suited for readers who enjoy clean, nineteenth-century romances that are entertaining, but not amazing.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this ebook free from the publisher via Netgalley. 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."


Beyond All Dreams
Beyond All Dreams
Price: $9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite book by Elizabeth Camden!, February 9, 2015
This review is from: Beyond All Dreams (Kindle Edition)
Anna O'Brien loves her position as map librarian at the Library of Congress. Preserving historical details and assisting those who need such information gives her great satisfaction. When Anna discovers a discrepancy regarding the demise of the USS Culpeper, the ship on which her late father was stationed, Anna immediately alerts the navy. Surprisingly, the navy has no intention of correcting the error and Anna's preoccupation with the USS Culpeper heightens. Her search for answers leads her into partnership with Luke Callahan, a dashing and powerful congressman, who wants more than friendship. As the mystery and danger deepens so do the feelings between Luke and Anna. Will their relationship survive when the truth is revealed? Read more in Beyond All Dreams by Elizabeth Camden.

Beyond All Dreams is my favorite novel by Elizabeth Camden. The original plot, combined with romance, historical mystery, and poetry references created an enjoyable story that I intend to read again in the future. The book lover in me appreciated the setting of the Library of Congress, perhaps more than others would. However, other aspects kept me reading. I could identify with Anna's respect and affection for books and details. Luke Callahan's character was a powerful force in the story and the romance between Luke and Anna was complicated, but sweet. The mystery of the USS Culpeper was unpredictable and remained a mystery to me as long as it was to Anna. Overall, reading Beyond All Dreams was a wonderful experience. I recommend it to fans of inspirational fiction who are interested in a tale of mystery and romance with just the right amount of depth.

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."


Hidden Agenda (Southern Crimes Book #3): A Novel
Hidden Agenda (Southern Crimes Book #3): A Novel
Price: $9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Riveting... with a themes of freedom and healing., January 21, 2015
Michael Hunt's time is up. After working undercover, attempting to bring down a drug cartel, his cover is blown. With less than twelve hours to live, he is rescued by Olivia Hamilton, the beautiful daughter of the man who wants him dead. As they run for their lives, no one and no place is safe. Michael and Olivia are forced to trust and depend on each other, but soon find attraction bringing them closer. Their only chance for survival is bringing down the cartel by finding it's leader and the dirty agents that aid the cartel. Will they find the proof they need in time? Can Olivia hand her family over to the authorities? Read more in Hidden Agenda by Lisa Harris.

Hidden Agenda is the third novel in the Southern Crimes series by Lisa Harris. It was the first book I've read by Lisa Harris and worked fine as a stand-alone novel. The opening scene was riveting and the suspense kept me interested from that point on. The plot was well-written and there were twists that kept me wondering about identities and how situations would work out. I could relate to the theme about finding freedom by learning the truth. Reminded me that true freedom and healing can only come when secrets are exposed and dealt with.

In conclusion, I enjoyed reading Hidden Agenda by Lisa Harris. It's a keeper and I recommend it to fans of contemporary suspense novels.

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."


The 5 Love Languages of Children
The 5 Love Languages of Children
Price: $7.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Insightful and challenging..., January 13, 2015
In The 5 Love Languages of Children, Dr. Gary Chapman and Dr. Ross Campbell apply Chapman's popular concept of the five love languages to the parent-child relationship. Each of the five love languages is explained and examples are given of how to use (and how not to use) a child's love language. Parents are encouraged to love their children unconditionally, which is sometimes not as easy as one would assume it to be, and to successfully express that love to a child.

I found The 5 Love Languages of Children to be insightful and challenging. The explanations of each language were informative, but the real life examples were what I found to be most helpful. There is a full chapter as well as a love language “game” at the end dedicated to help parents correctly identify how a child gives and receives love. At times, the book was a bit overwhelming to me as it felt like I have to do everything perfectly or I'm going to really mess my child up. I know that was not the authors' intention and maybe not everyone will get that feeling, but that's how it was for me.

The 5 Love Languages of Children is geared for children above age five. My child is only two which is a bit young for her love language to be obvious. The authors say five is usually the minimum age before a child's love language can be determined as it's prone to fluctuate in the early years. Therefore, a lot of the information was good, but not completely relevant to me. The main points I was able to take away from the book were: unconditional love is the desire of a child's heart, whether or not a child's love needs are fulfilled will affect them positively or negatively, and it's important to practice all five love languages at this point. I plan to keep The 5 Love Languages of Children and will probably revisit it in a few years.

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."


Esther (A Dangerous Beauty Novel Book #1): Royal Beauty
Esther (A Dangerous Beauty Novel Book #1): Royal Beauty
Price: $9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A well-written retelling of the Biblical account of Esther, January 10, 2015
The Biblical tale of Esther recounts the life of a Jewish maiden as she rises from obscurity to queen of Persia. Taken from her home by the edict for beautiful women to be gathered for the king to choose his new queen from, Esther finds favor with those around her while retaining the secret of her heritage. After Esther is crowned queen, a law is issued to exterminate all Jews. To save her people, Esther must risk her life by violating Persian law in order to convince the king to save her people.

I almost passed over Esther: Royal Beauty by Angela Hunt. Some time ago, I'd read another version of Esther's story and disliked the romanticism and idealism. However, the stunning cover stands as an example of how a cover can positively affect a book's appeal and convinced me to try it.

Ultimately, I was glad that I choose to read Esther, the first in Angela Hunt's Dangerous Beauty series. I didn't get too much idealism and the plot was well-written. I liked the perspective changes between Esther (Hadassah) and the king's attendant as it added depth and, at times, suspense to the story line. The plot captured my interest early on and didn't drag – I finished the book in two days.

The ending seemed a bit rushed. The author spent substantial time throughout the book adding in fictional, but appropriate, details that made for a good work of fiction. However, the finale recounted the Biblical ending without much fictional addition. This isn't necessarily bad, but it just felt different from the rest of the book. I still will reread the book in the future and recommend it to people who enjoy Biblical retellings.

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."


Love Unexpected (Beacons of Hope Book #1)
Love Unexpected (Beacons of Hope Book #1)
Price: $9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Well-written, Well-paced, Well Done!!!, December 22, 2014
Emma Chambers craves stability. Coming from a turbulent past, her intense desire for a home and family leads her to a hasty marriage after she and her brother lose everything in a pirate attack. Emma's new husband, Patrick Garraty, is handsome, kind and God-fearing, but besieged by his own dark past. When rumors about Patrick's role in his late wife's death reach Emma, the suspicions she already had seem even more real. Still, Emma finds herself deeply drawn to Patrick in spite of her doubts. When the truth is revealed, will Emma and Patrick find the grace to forgive and release their pasts? Read more in Love Unexpected by Jody Hedlund.

I thoroughly enjoyed Love Unexpected. Themes of grace and forgiveness, not only between Emma and Patrick, but also between God and humanity were expertly dealt with. The story commences with a pirate attack that effectively engaged my interest. The story was well-paced, well-written and had no trouble holding my interest. I felt like the physical desire aspects were a little overdone as Emma and Patrick were continually desiring one another, yet holding back. Still, this added tension to their relationship and the story, so I can see why it was included.

I could totally relate to Emma dealing with Patrick's son, Josiah, a strong-willed toddler. This added authenticity and a bit of humor to the story. However, it seemed to me that there were strong parenting messages in the novel regarding spanking, thumb-sucking, discipline. I personally agree with the stance that Emma chooses, so I wasn't offended, but those who adhere to more strict ideas regarding spanking, not co-sleeping, and ending thumb-sucking at a certain age may be at odds with the parenting messages that are conveyed.

Love Unexpected is the first, full-length novel in Jody Hedlund's Beacons of Hope series. There is a prequel, Out of the Storm, which is a free e-book novella that ties in with Love Unexpected. However, if you don't read the prequel, it won't negatively affect your understanding of Love Unexpected.

I recommend Love Unexpected to fans of inspirational romances. Like the rest of Jody Hedlund's books, this one is a keeper for my bookshelf. I'm sure I'll read it again and I'm already looking forward to the next book in the series.

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."


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