Thursday, December 31, 2015

Book Review: The Man of the Desert

The Man of the Desert by Grace Livingston Hill

John Brownleigh had lived the lonely life of a missionary for three years, ministering to his flock of Indians in the desert. Although he longed for companionship, he knew it would take a special type of woman to live his chosen life with him.

Hazel Radcliffe arrived in Arizona by private car on a passing train. She planned to stay for only one day, but circumstances threw her into deep trouble. Saved by Brownleigh, she felt an immediate attraction for the strong, dedicated man. Could two such different people ever find happiness together? Or was their love fated to be put aside forever?

I actually read this book a couple months ago and never got around to writing a review for it, so I thought I best do so before the new year! This was a cute, lighthearted little romance story. I enjoyed it pretty well, though at times it got a little too wordy for me, and the perspective was a bit odd, but I think its style was what was popular for the time it was written, so I'm not going to complain too much. Overall a sweet story that could easily be read in just a couple days. A "cozy" read, if you know what I mean!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Book Review: Doodletopia: Cartoons

Doodletopia: Cartoons by Christopher Hart
Draw, Design, and Color Your Own Super-Fun Cartoon Creations

This is a neat book for learning to draw cartoons! The book is filled with drawing exercises and step-by-step tutorials that are fun and easy to learn. Unlike some drawing how-to books, this one has you draw right in the pages of the book so you don't have to have your own paper or sketchbook at hand to enjoy it! Plus, the book is laced with humor throughout which makes it even more enjoyable! I've done the first two step-by-step drawings and both proved to be quite simple to draw! Everything is explained quite clearly so it's easy to understand and follow along. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys drawing or wishes to better their skills!

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Review: The Time Chamber

The Time Chamber
A magical story and coloring book
by Daria Song

When a tiny fairy who lives inside a cuckoo clock
decides to explore the world outside, she discovers a
human realm where everything is immense and magical.

Filled with fantastical, intricate pen-and-ink illustrations by artist
Daria Song, The Time Chamber presents a Korean pop art-inspired 
vision of our world made new---and ready for coloring.

I've wanted an adult coloring book for some time now so I was excited when 
I saw that Blogging for Books had one available for review! 
This is a gorgeous book with lots of intricate and lovely pictures ready to be colored.
The cover of the book is also gorgeous and the pages are made of a very sturdy, good quality paper.
I already colored one of the pages, and look forward to coloring the rest! A very lovely book indeed! I recommend it to anyone who enjoys coloring, young or old! (though it's definitely more geared toward women than men!)

I received a free copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Review: Q&A a Day for Creatives

Q&A a Day for Creatives
A 4 year journal

From the back cover: 
Q&A a Day for Creatives is your go-to source for inspiration, whimsy, and idea generation. Each page of this four-year journal features a compelling question designed to get you thinking, drawing, and dreaming. Open the journal to today's date and fill in the appropriate space as you see fit. (Pencil doodles? Watercolor? Musical scales?) As the journal fills year after year, you'll own a showcase of your ever-growing creative output. 

I am super obsessed with journals, so I was ecstatic to get this! I haven't actually started it yet, but I can tell it will be lots of fun! Some of the prompts seem pretty easy, while others are more thought-provoking, which is nice to get you thinking and get your creative juices flowing! I've flipped through several pages and found lots of prompts that I know I'll really enjoy doing, while there are a few I'm not so excited about, but will be good for getting me outside my comfort zone. The book itself is beautifully put together and of a good, sturdy make. The cover is flexible but not flimsy, and the inside cover is a beautiful sky blue color. The book is a good size and easily lays open for you to do your work. The pages seem to be good quality paper that should hold up through whatever artistic endeavors you put them through. (Though some markers would probably leak through.) I am very pleased with this journal, and can't wait to begin! (The only struggle is deciding  whether to start it now or wait until January 1st!)

I received a copy of this journal for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Book Review: Luther and Katharina

Luther and Katharina 
Jody Hedlund


In the sixteenth century, nun Katharina von Bora's fate fell no further than
the Abbey. Until she read the writings of Martin Luther.
His sweeping Catholic church reformation---condemning a cloistered life and
promoting the goodness of marriage---awakened her desire for everything she'd
been forbidden.
Including Martin Luther himself.
Despite the fact that the attraction and tension between them is undeniable,
Luther holds fast to his convictions and remains isolated, refusing to risk
anyone's life but his own. Katharina longs for love, but is strong-willed. She
clings proudly to her class distinction, pining for nobility over the heart of a
They couldn't be more different.
But as the world comes tumbling down around them, and with the threat
on Luther's life a constant strain, these unlikely allies forge an unexpected
bond of understanding, support, and love.
Together, they will alter the religious landscape forever.

This was an interesting read. I enjoyed the historical value it held and learning what things were like back then---quite awful, I might say! It was also interesting to learn about Martin Luther and Katharina, and the hardships they faced. It kept my interest through its entirety, and rarely had a dull moment. It was my third read by this author and probably won't be my last. While Jody tends to focus perhaps a bit much on the physical aspect of relationships, her writing is good and she keeps the story flowing at a comfortable pace. I give it four stars.

I received this book for free from Water Brook Press in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Book Review: Sabotaged

Sabotaged by Dani Pettrey (Alaskan Courage book 5)

Growing up, Goody-two-shoes Kirra Jacobs and trouble-maker Reef McKenna were always at odds. Now as they work search-and-rescue together for Alaska's arduous Iditarod race, a growing attraction seems to be forcing aside old arguments. Then Reef catches Kirra sneaking from camp in the middle of the night.

Kirra's uncle, a musher in the race, has disappeared. Kirra and Reef quickly track the man, but what they discover is harrowing: Frank's daughter has been kidnapped. Kirra and Reef, along with the entire McKenna family, are thrown into a race to stop a shadowy villain who is not only threatening a girl's life---but appears willing to unleash one of the largest disasters Alaska has ever seen.

This was a good book! The first I've read by this author, and I'd be interested in reading more by her. Even though it was the 5th in a series it didn't seem to throw me off much, I think that while the books have a lot of the same characters, they don't necessarily have to be read in order. I actually do have one of the other books in this series that I had gotten for free a while back on my iPod, so now I'm looking forward to reading that one! All-in-all a good, suspenseful read that will hold your interest right up until the end.

I received this book for free from Bethany House publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Book Review: The Pharaoh's Daughter

The Pharaoh's Daughter 
Mesu Andrews 
"You will be called Anippe, 
daughter of the Nile. Do you like it?"

Without waiting for a reply, she pulls me into her squishy, round tummy for a hug.
I'm trying not to cry. Pharaoh's daughters don't cry . . .
When we make our way down the tiled hall, I try to stop at Ummi Kiya's chamber. I know her spirit has flown yet I long for one more moment. Amenia pushes me past so I keep walking and don't look back.
Like the waters of the Nile, I will flow.

Anippe has grown up in the shadows of Egypt's good god Pharaoh, aware that Anubis, god of the afterlife, may take her or her siblings at any moment. She watched him snatch her mother and infant brother during childbirth, a moment that awakened in her a terrible dread of ever bearing a child. Now she is to become the bride of Sebak, the kind but quick-tempered captain of Pharaoh Tut's army. In order to provide Sebak the heir he deserves and yet protect herself from the underworld gods, Anippe must launch a series of deceptions, even involving the Hebrew midwives---women ordered by Tut to drown the sons of their own people in the Nile.

When she finds a baby floating in a basket on the great river, Anippe believes Egypt's gods have answered her pleas, entrenching her more deeply in deception and placing her and her son, Mehy, whom handmaiden Miriam calls Moses, in mortal danger.

As bloodshed and savage politics shift the balance of power in Egypt, the gods reveal their fickle natures and Anippe wonders if her son, a boy of Hebrew blood, could one day become king. Or does the god of her Hebrew servants, the one they call El Shaddai, have a different plan for them all?

This book is easily one of the best I've read in a long time! It's fast paced and compelling, and once you start reading it, you won't want to put it down! I sat up late several nights in a row until finishing it last night. It's so full of many different things---love, war, suspense, drama, joy, sadness . . . everything a book needs to be truly good! This was the first book I've read by Mesu Andrew's and I look forward to reading the next book in the series, the story of Miriam! I highly recommend this book and suggest you get your hands on it as soon as possible! My only complaint would be that I felt at times the characters acted and talked a little too modern, and some of the descriptions had a few modern phrases or words thrown in as well. But other than that, a stupendous read! A five star rating from me. 

I received this book for free from Water Brooke Press in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Book Review: The Secret of Pembrooke Park

The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen

Abigail Foster is the practical daughter. She fears she will end up a spinster, especially as she has little dowry, and the one man she thought might marry her seems to have fallen for her younger, prettier sister.
Facing financial ruin, Abigail and her father search for more affordable lodgings, until a strange solicitor arrives with an astounding offer: the use of a distant manor house abandoned for eighteen years. The Fosters journey to imposing Pembrooke Park and are startled to find it entombed as it was abruptly left: tea cups encrusted with dry tea, moth-eaten clothes in wardrobes, a doll's house left mid-play . . .
The handsome local curate welcomes them, but though he and his family seem acquainted with the manor's past, the only information they offer is a stern warning: Beware trespassers drawn by rumors that Pembrooke Park contains a secret room filled with treasure.
This catches Abigail's attention. Hoping to restore her family's finances---and her dowry---Abigail looks for this supposed treasure. But eerie sounds at night and footprints in the dust reveal she isn't the only one secretly searching the house.
Then Abigail begins receiving anonymous letters, containing clues about the hidden room and startling discoveries about the past.
As old friends and new foes come calling at Pembrooke Park, secrets come to light. Will Abigail find the treasure and love she seeks . . . or very real danger?

This was a fairly good book. The mystery kept me interested, though it did have a few slow parts throughout it. One thing that kind of annoyed me was that it seemed like the author was trying to make her characters act like the people do in Pride and Prejudice, and I just didn't like that very much. It was TOO much like Pride and Prejudice and how the people talk in those movies. Most of the men ended up having "prissy" voices in my head because they didn't talk like men . . . haha. But other than that, a pretty interesting read that kept my interest all throughout it, and I would recommend it to anyone who likes a good mysterious historical romance!

I received this book for free from Bethany House publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Review: The World Needs More Love Letters

The World Needs More Love Letters
All-in-one stationary and envelopes
by Hannah Brencher

The World Needs More Love Letters is a stationary pad with forty pages of stationary that fold into envelopes. It also comes with wafer seals to close off the sides of the letter. It's a cute idea and I'm excited to use it to write some letters! It's sad how hardly anyone writes letters anymore, so this is a nice way to get people back into letter writing. It also has suggestions for what you could write if you're having trouble thinking of what to write yourself. I've always loved stationary, so of course I had to get this. My only complaint is that it said it came with forty "gorgeous" pages, so I thought the paper would be a bit prettier, but there are only five different designs and they are not what I would call "gorgeous", in dull shades of lime green, red, white and gray. But aside from that, a cute idea and neat little pad of stationary!

I received this book of stationary for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Book Review: Where Treetops Glisten

Where Treetops Glisten
Three Stories of Heartwarming Courage and Christmas Romance During World War II
by Tricia Goyer, Cara Putman & Sarah Sundin

The crunch of newly fallen snow, the weight of wartime. Siblings forging new paths and finding love in three stories, filled with the wonders of Christmas.

Turn back the clock to a different time, listen to Bing Crosby sing of sleigh bells in the snow, as the realities of America's involvement in the Second World War change the lives of the Turner family in Lafayette, Indiana.
In Cara Putman's White Christmas, Abigail Turner is holding down the Home Front as a college student and a part-time employee at a one-of-a-kind candy shop. Loss of a beau to the war has Abigail skittish about romantic entanglements---until a hard-working young man with a serious problem needs her help.
Abigail's brother Pete is a fighter pilot here returned from the European Theatre in Sarah Sundin's I'll Be Home for Christmas, trying to recapture the hope and peace his time at war has eroded. But when he encounters a precocious little girl in need of Pete's friendship, can he convince her widowed mother that he's no longer the bully she once knew?
In Tricia Goyer's Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Meredith Turner, "Merry" to those who know her best, is using her skills as a combat nurse on the frontline in the Netherlands. Halfway around the world from home, Merry never expects to face her deepest betrayal head on, but that's precisely what God has in mind to redeem her broken heart. 
The Turner family believes in God's providence during such a tumultuous time. Can they absorb the miracle of Christ's birth and His plan for the future?

I got this book hoping I could read it around Christmastime, but it didn't arrive until just a few days before Christmas, I believe. I started reading it right away but didn't have time to read all of it before Christmas, so I've slowly been making my way through it since. I did put it aside for a while to finish another book, and then picked it up again a month or so ago. It was good for what it is---three novellas centered around Christmas. I don't normally go for Christmas stories as they tend to be a bit cheesy in my opinion, but I thought this one might be good because of the time period it takes place. Each of the stories were short and sweet, but nothing too incredible. I found the first one to be a bit boring because it dealt mostly with this guy's money problems, but the second one I really liked. It was more interesting and I guess I liked that author's writing style the best out of the three. I thought I'd like the third story because it sounded like it'd have more action and be a bit more interesting... but it actually ended up being a bit boring as well, and seemed to repeat a lot of things and focused way too much on people talking and sitting around thinking about things rather than doing things, which is much more interesting in my opinion! So overall a quaint little read if you want something cozy to read around Christmas time, but certainly not something you HAVE to read.

I received this book for free from Waterbrook Press in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Book review: To Everything a Season

To Everything a Season 
Lauraine Snelling

Trygve Knuton is devoted  to his family and his community. With his job on the construction crew, he is helping to build a future for the North Dakota town of blessing. Though he loves his home, he sometimes dreams of other horizons--especially since meeting Miriam Hastings.

Miriam is in Blessing to get practical training to become an accredited nurse. She's been promised a position in the Chicago women's hospital that will enable her to support her siblings and her ailing mother. Although eager to return to her family, Miriam is surprised to find how much she enjoys the small town of Blessing. And her growing attachment to Trygve soon has her questioning a future she always considered set in stone.

When a family emergency calls Miriam home sooner than planned, will she find a way to return? If not, will it mean losing Trygve--and her chance at love--for good?

So that's what it says on the back of the book... from the sound of that this book is about Miriam and Trygve, right? Nope. Miriam doesn't even come into the story until chapter SIXTEEN! Going by the description, I thought this would be an interesting story, as I like most anything that has to do with doctors/nurses etc. But really, what it says up there is only a very small portion of the story. This book is supposed to be the first in the series, but there are already two other series about these same characters and town, so unless you've read those, you'll be lost! There are way too many characters that it follows and mentions, and all throughout it I was confused as to who this person was and how they were related to that person and so forth. Not to mention the fact that the book really didn't have much of a plot at all. It was mostly this huge family's day-to-day lives with random things suddenly thrown in to add a little excitement. The romance was very disappointing and short, and wasn't even resolved by the end of the book, leaving you no choice but to read the next one in the series if you want to find out how things end up between Miriam and Trygve.
Basically, this book felt like a big mess and the author has an odd style of explaining things. There were some things I liked in the book and found interesting, but overall it was just too many characters going about their days and I just didn't find that interesting. So, unless you've read other books by this author and positively love her stories, I wouldn't suggest reading this book.

I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House publishing company in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Book Review: Anomaly

And here is my first book review for this year!

Krista McGee

Thalli has fifteen minutes and twenty-three seconds left 
to live. The toxic gas that will complete her annihilation is
invading her bloodstream. But she is not afraid.

Decades before Thalli's birth, the world was decimated by a nuclear war. But life continued deep underground, thanks to a handful of scientists known as The Ten. There they created genetically engineered human beings who are free of emotions in the hope that war won't threaten the
world again.

Thalli is an anomaly, born with the ability to feel emotions and a sense of curiosity she can
barely contain. She has survived so far by hiding her differences. But then her secret is 
discovered when she's overwhelmed by the emotion of an ancient piece of music.

The Ten quickly schedule her annihilation, but her childhood friend, Berk--a scientist being
groomed by The Ten--convinces them to postpone her death and study her instead. While in
the Scientist's Pod, Thalli and Berk form a dangerous alliance, one strictly forbidden by the 
constant surveillance. 

As her life ticks away, she hears rumors of someone called the Designer--someone even more 
powerful than The Ten. What's more, the parts of her that have always been an anomaly could in
fact be part of a much larger plan. And the parts of her that she has always guarded could be the answer she's been looking for all along.

Thalli must sort out what to believe and who to trust, before her time runs out . . .

Overall, I liked this book quite a bit! Not so much at first, but then it got really interesting and I read a whole chunk of it in one night, then it seemed to get a little boring toward the end and I finished it up a little more slowly. At first I thought it was just another one of those "Hunger Games" and "Divergent" type books, which it kind of is, but this one is actually Christian, which was a refreshing touch! (and sadly, probably why they haven't made a movie out of it.) 
So I did like it quite a bit aside from a few things, and would recommend it to anyone who likes this sort of story. Also, it doesn't have anything bad in it, so that's nice! 
I will say, though, it ends in the middle of things and now I need to read the next one!

Books I read in 2014

So it's a bit late, but here's a collage I made of all of the books I read in 2014.

I haven't been reading much so far this year, but I hope to get back into reading soon and just maybe read more than I did last year!