Snap Decision by Nathan Whitaker

In only 8th grade, Chase is faced with a big decision. He is finishing his season as the JV quarterback, while possibly getting aSnap Decision book cover chance to play with the varsity football team and of course staying up with his classes. However, his choice deals with being truthful when it’s not popular…with his best friend. 

My daughter actually picked this book for me to review. She wanted to read a book about football “since Daddy loves it”. She thought that it would be fun! Also, we have a young son who’ll enjoy it in a few more years. :)

Snap Decision is the first book in Nathan Whitaker’s Game Face series. It is definitely a book that will encourage kids to make the hard choices that aren’t popular but are needed! There needs to be more books that call our youngsters to live their faith day in and day out. However, the actual story was just ok. I felt like it was a little choppy and slow. But I do have hopes that the story (since fiction is new for Whitaker) will improve. I do love the role models and father figures that are in Chase’s live, especially since his parents are divorced and his dad isn’t involved.

This is a series with potential. :)

I received a free copy of this book from BookLook in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review.

The Knight and the Firefly: a boy, a bug, and a lesson in bravery

by Tara McClary Reeves and Amanda Jenkins, illustrated by Daniel FernandezThe Knight and the Firefly book cover

The Knight and the Firefly was so needed in my family right now! One of my kids is similar to this story’s little boy, Oliver, — with the questions and worries that ONLY show up AT NIGHT! Reading this story together was a wonderful way to allow this child to hear the truths repeated that we’ve already shared. Thank so very much, Tara McClary Reeves and Amanda Jenkins, for backing us parents up!!

What a well written book with lessons from Psalm 91:1-2 “The one who lives under the protection of the Most Hight dwells in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, ‘My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’” The illustrations are supper cute and colorful!! I love the bravery of Oliver and the honesty of his millions of questions at night. :) There is also a bonus feature called “Parent Connection” at the end. It allows the parents and kids to dig a little deeper and apply the truth’s of God’s Word that were presented in the book. Excellent addition!!

May this book be an encouragement to your kids and a reminder of God’s faithfulness all the time! 

I received this book for free from B&H Publishing Group in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion.

B&H Publishing

Murder at the Mikado by Julianna Deering

Author Julianna Deering stepped it up with Murder at the Mikado! Murder at the Mikado book cover

This is the third book of the The Drew Farthering Mystery series. I would recommend starting with the first one, Rules of Murder. However, in all honesty, I had been a little lukewarm about this series. There are many positives… These books are set in a fun time period and location filled with quirky characters. They are clean, as in I don’t have to wade through vulgar language or embarrassing bedroom situations, AND I would be willing to let my daughters read them. Also, there a sweet love story developing between the solving of mysteries! But I have been won over with Murder at the Mikado! :)

So… Is there going to be another one, Deering?

Drew and his financee Madeline are looking forward to their wedding. However, Fleur, an old flame of Drew’s steps into the picture and stirs up some buried wounds in Madeline. When Fleur becomes the prime suspect in some murders, her husband asks for Drew’s help while Madeline is hoping just once he would say no! …Will they make it to the alter or will their relationship die a tragic death of it’s own.

I loved that she pulled the original detective trio — Drew, Madeline (though not as excited this time), and Nick, Drew’s best friend — back together! Madeline’s aunt Ruth is still a wonderful addition to the story. Also Chief Inspector Birdsong has become a favorite for me — gruff and serious, but his willingness to allow these amateurs to get involved has grown through the series. :)

Deering kept me guessing to the end. I would think I had it figured out and then a kink would be thrown in!! Who is involved? … Fleur? Her husband? The nanny? One of the maids? One of the actors? The missing reporter?

I received this book for free from Bethany House in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion.

Death by the Book by Julianna Deering

This is Julianna Deering’s 2nd book in the The Drew Farthering Mystery series. The first was Rules of Murder. I would definitely recommend startingDeath by the Book book cover  there to get to know the characters, their relationships and the setting better.

Aunt Ruth (Madeline’s aunt from America) has unexpectedly shown up. She’s worried about Madeline and suspicious of Drew’s intentions. Although a great twist to throw into their whirlwind romance, it also causes some separation in the witty crime-fighting trio from book 1 — Drew, Madeline and Nick, Drew’s best friend.

I was excited about this series. It’s been clean with good messages throughout – the kind of books I wouldn’t mind passing along to my family or friends. I love the setting – both time and location. The characters of this small English town are quirky additions. However, I haven’t been truly won over as a fan. However, on a positive note, all the book covers have been very creative! :)

…But it was truly a surprising ending! I wasn’t expecting that!

And you?

 

 

I received this book for free from Bethany House in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion.

Saving Amelie by Cathy Gohlke

“He who saves one life saves the world”Saving Amelie book cover

Rachel is a German orphan turned pampered American. She is the only child of Dr. Kramer, who is suspected of being involved with Hitler’s genetic studies.

Lea is German born and raised. Her mother died during childbirth, and she was raised by her Oma (grandmother).

Amelie is a four year old deaf daughter of an high ranking SS officer.

Jason is an ambitious American journalist in Germany.

How do their lives intersect? What is the truth of their pasts? Will there be a future for each?

 

Saving Amelie by Cathy Gohlke is set in Germany in 1939. It includes Bonhoeffer, who was a real life hero during this time. He was a German pastor, spy and martyr. He recognized early on how dangerous and twisted Hilter’s ideology was and he challenged the church to stand against it, protect others, and stand for Christ.

 

“Germany is at stake—heart and soul…

When the church stops standing for Jews—for anyone—then we stop begin the church. Grace is costly—it took the death of our Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior, to achieve that grace. It requires just as much from each of us.

But we’ve come to practice cheap grace—grace that appears as a godly form but costs us nothing—and that is abomination, a stench in the nostrils of God.”

(Truths from Bonhoeffer shared in this historical fiction book)

 

This is a story that draws us in and sends us on a realistic journey through a very difficult, dangerous and twisted time in the world’s history. It was well written and I really “enjoyed” (you know what I mean) reading it. I had a hard time figuring out how to write the review, so this part took longer than even reading the book! However, I would recommend it, not just as a very good read, but as an excellent reminder to stand up for others and to not continue to allow our religious freedoms to be taken away.

 

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers. It was not required that I give a positive review, but to solely express my own thoughts and opinions.

Smart Money Smart Kids by Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze

If “Raising the Next Generation to Win with Money” is a priority in your parenting, then you need to read Smart Money Smart Kids by father and Smart Money Smart Kids book reviewdaughter team Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze. The book’s basic information will be familiar if you have read any of Ramsey’s books or listened to him at all. However, the difference is that it is directly written to parents who want to instill financial wisdom in their children. Also, it was nice to have it written from the point of view of a daughter who was raised with these principles and it is now succeeding as a financially responsible adult.

The chapters include Work, Spend, Save, Give, Budgeting, Debt, College, Contentment, Family, and Generational Handoff. They are easy to read, informative and practical.

My husband and I having been working through Dave Ramsey’s principles ourselves, but now this month we are beginning to plant these principals in our children’s lives and heart. This will be our “generational handoff” to bless their generation and future generations of our family.

 

Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Persecuted by Robin Parrish

”In American, we have become insulated in our lives to the point few people, if any, seem to understand what it means to take up their cross and Persecuted book coverfollow Christ….This is not the case in much of the world today, as elsewhere persecution is something that is understood as part of the package in accepting salvation. Jesus said: “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”…This is a wake-up call. Many of our freedoms granted to us by God will surely be ripped away unless we make a stand. This story is just the beginning.” —from the foreword by Daniel Lusko, writer and director of Persecuted

…Wow!!

 

I haven’t read a “political thriller” but after that foreword I was definitely interested to see what Persecuted: I Will Not Be Silent by Robin Parrish was about. (This book is based on the film called Persecuted by Daniel Lusko and will be in theaters July 17, 2014.)

 

Through many bad choices John Luther made his life rough as he grew up, but God and his dad never gave up on him. His life changed dramatically by the grace of God and the support of other Christians. Now he is the head of a ministry focused on sharing the good news of Jesus with as many as possible. However, leaders in Washington see him as a threat because he will not support their new religious-equality bill, so he is framed for several crimes …and the action begins and continues strong throughout the book! Using his experience from his past, John tries to figure out the truth to clear his name and reunite with his family. He also has to decide who he can trust and who is truly behind this plot.

 

Persecuted: I Will Not Be Silent by Robin Parrish is an interesting story, yet scary (because it feels so real), but and challenging (because I want to stand up for God no matter what). I strongly recommend it to all Christians—teenage and up, men and women. “It is my hope that this story inspires a new generation to get involved—to take action on behalf of persecuted Christians.” Well said, Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice.

 

Here’s a couple quotes included in the book…

 

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. —First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States

 

The framers of our Constitution meant we were to have freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. —Billy Graham

 

**Bethany House has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.

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