Like a River From Its Course by Kelli Stuart

I seem to have so little time to read recently and it saddens me greatly! However, I am privileges to have the opportunity to invest my time in an amazing book like this. I highly recommend this book to all!

A beautiful, heart wrenching story of loss, love, terrible tragedies and amazing forgiveness from the brave men and women of Ukraine. I did not realize that they “faced more deaths per capita than any other country in World War II due to their high Jewish population (Jews were killed by both the Nazis and the Soviet Red Army), and their rich soil, which particularly interested Hitler.” You can tell that Kelli Stuart lovingly and carefully compiled her 15 years of research in her writing of this book. She focuses on four different individuals that are loosely rooted in the true stories she compiled. I tend to love books and even movies like this one, where stories are honest, broken, and yet redeemed. Yes, I cry with the characters and the pain and loss they endure, but I also feel that after reading a book like Like a River From Its Course I have grown with the characters and learned from them and their experiences.

“In the still, dark moment of this frozen night, I embrace [peace]. I think of our life before the bombs, the river of our days flowing so calmly in a direction that I thought would last forever. In a flash, that river was turned, unexpected and quick, dragging us along this unforeseen path. Like a river from its course, life has swirled away from all I expected or planned. Sluggish and slow, this river carves a new path. There are calmer waters that wait.”

**Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Kregel Publications in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Like a River From its Course cover & more

The Jazz Files by Fiona Veitch Smith

Poppy Denby moves to London to take care of her aunt, but soon realizes that her auntThe Jazz Files cover wasn’t being honest. It’s the 1920’s and her aunt, a militant suffragette, felt that Poppy would have more of a chance pursuing a career in London. So, Poppy ends up getting an editor’s assistant job with The Daily Globe. However a reporter’s body falls at her feet on her first day. An accident or could it be murder? He had been looking into some past mysteries involving the suffragettes, and with Poppy’s connections she becomes the ideal person to help finish the story…. However, not everyone wants the past dug up!

Fiona Veitch Smith combines a popular genre and an interesting time period in The Jazz Files, which starts the Poppy Denby Investigates series. The main character is Poppy, a young woman wanting to stretch her wings. She is a bit naive but learns quickly and shows quite a bit of bravery. However, she also desires her choices and possible career to be done in truth. She does some real soul searching in the middle of the book after she was involved in lies and deception.

She is a Christian surrounded by people living in sin, so we’ll see how her faith survives and hopefully grows through the series.

**Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Kregel Publications in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Mr. Zip and The Capital Z by Kimberly Bryant-Palmer

I love tracking down new and interesting books for my kids! I really want my kids to loveunnamed-2 reading. Now if I can find a fun clean series that will pull them in AND include history — What a find!! 🙂

I really enjoyed Mr. Zip and The Capital Z. The main character is, of course, Mr. Zip, an older gentleman who owns a very unique shop with “everything you would need to know — from A to Z.” He is a very likable and yet slightly strange character that has a hint of Mr. Whitaker from Adventure’s in Odyssey and Finnian Jones from Lamplighter Theatre. (Great audio resources I would highly recommend!)

This book focused on a young boy called Peanut. He learns a little more about family, history and his heart. Somehow with Mr. Zip he sees glances of history from General Jackson in the War of 1812 to General Washington in the Revolutionary War to as far back as the Tower of Babel.  I love the last chapter with the interaction between Peanut and his dad. What a special moment!

Mr. Zip shares an interesting fact from history between each chapter. Also, there’s footnotes and endnotes concerning the history, if you want to check more out.

We look forward to the next book in the series — Mr. Zip and The Capital Z ~ Lucy Jane Pennywhistle Comes Home!

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

The Lion Comic Book Hero Bible by Suiku, Richard Thomas and Jeff Anderson

The summary of The Lion Comic Book Hero Bible is what caught my attention first… “Theunnamed men and women of the Bible are not perfect; but nor were they ordinary. Faith gave some power. To Lead. To Save. To destroy evil. Others succumbed to the darkness. But still more was required. An ultimate hero. To fight the ultimate battle.” What a great and honest summary of the Bible! Also I want my kids to realize they are not perfect, but WITH GOD they are not ordinary either. They can lead and save and destroy evil, because Jesus who fought and won the ultimate battle is their Lord and Savior and Ultimate Hero!

My son found it intriguing. “Read another one, please!” My daughters weren’t too sure, such as “Why did they draw his eyes so scary?” (Don’t you think Pharaoh’s dreams probably scared him?!) They all agreed that the “Hero” names given to some of the men and women in the Bible were great!! Some examples are Abraham as Faithman, Ruth as Fierce Friend, Joseph as Dreamboy, Mary as Wonderful Woman, and Paul as Grace Man.

I’m not sure why they chose to use two different artists – one for the Old Testament and one for the New Testament. Maybe to appeal to more, because the styles are very different. Suiku’s seem to be more of a comic book/superhero style while Thomas’s is more realistic. On a personal note, my family ended up agreeing that they liked the New Testament depictions better.

**Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Kregel Publications in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Life Support by Candace Calvert

After reading the first two books in the Grace Medical trilogy, finally reading Life Support felt like hanging out with an old friend! Life Support book cover


These books can be read as separate novels, since each book branches out with a minor character from the book before. However, I would suggest starting at the beginning, with Trauma Plan.


In Life Support, Candace Calvert weaves several side stories and issues – mental health, handling family issues, single parenting, spousal abuse, and even hurricane safety – around the main story of Eli and Lauren. We fall in love with Eli’s daughter, Emma and his brain-damaged brother, Drew. We want Lauren’s sister, Jessica, to be open to help. We open a book full of drama, both medical and personal!


The ending seemed a bit too neatly wrapped up. However, then I considered what all they had been through….situations like those can help people realize what is important, be less selfish, and be more willing to step up.


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

Perfecting Kate by Tamara Leigh

Perfecting Kate introduced us to Kate who is a very talented artist but not as confident in pretty much every other area of her life. She’s dealing with health issues thatPerfecting Kate book cover contributed to a painful broken engagement in her past. This still haunts her as she isn’t willing to trust men completely because she feels that she will be rejected in the end, again. She feels lacking physically, especially recently, because of some unsolicited comments, advice and even a makeover. Kate then begins to “perfect” herself. However, will she lose sight of the love of Christ and her trust in Him. Will she accept the truth that her true beauty shines from within?

This chick lit book is well written and very enjoyable to read. I connected with the characters, especially Kate. I felt that I could relate to her, maybe not in her specific issues, but as a woman dealing with the ups and downs of life. The story was cute and funny, but not unrealistic or silly. I would recommend it to women of all ages and a great title to enjoy by the pool this summer!


On a side note… I love chick flicks, so I’m not sure why I haven’t really gotten into chick lit. However, I am so glad that Tamara Leigh introduced me! Now I definitely plan to check more out of her’s and other Christian chick lit authors.
“What is ‘chick lit’?” you ask. I searched the all knowing 😉 Wikipedia: “Chick lit is genre fiction which addresses issues of modern womanhood, often humorously and lightheartedly. The genre became popular in the late 1990s, with chick lit titles topping bestseller lists and the creation of imprints devoted entirely to chick lit. Although it sometimes includes romantic elements, chick lit is generally not considered a direct subcategory of the romance novel genre, because the heroine’s relationship with her family or friends is often just as important as her romantic relationships….Chick lit typically features a female protagonist whose womanhood is heavily thematized in the plot.”
And what a bonus to have chick lit and Christian together in titles such as Perfecting Kate!!! Then fans get to enjoy the story without having to wade through sex scenes and such, which always seem to get thrown in. (Thank you, Mrs. Leigh, for choosing to listen to God and start honoring Him with your gift of writing in 2003!)

Here’s a few Perfecting Kate and Tamara Leigh resources for you to check out:

Disclosure: I received this ebook free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group’s book review bloggers program, BookSneeze. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

The Passionate Mom: Dare to Parent in Today’s World by Susan Merrill

Have you ever really wanted to read a book but then didn’t quit feel confident in yourself to write a clear, positive, and thoughtful review? That’s me with Susan The Passionate Mom book coverMerrill’s The Passionate Mom!! I don’t want my lack of talent with words to cause any mom to dismiss this book. (What I’m simply saying is “Read this book!”)

However, if everyone looks at a few of those who have already written glowing reviews for this book…

*Shaunti Feldhahn (wife, mom, speaker and best-selling author of “For Women Only”),

*Tony & Lauren Dungy (parents of 9, author, retired NFL coach and National Spokesman for All Pro Dad),

*Jill Savage (wife, mom, author and founder & CEO of Hearts at Home),

*Dr. Dennis Rainey (husband, father, author and host of FamilyLife Today), and

*Denise Jonas (wife and also mother of Kevin, Joe, Nick and Frankie Jonas)…

(What they are also saying is “Read this book!”)

Wow! The influence of my words won’t be that big anyway!


But I figured that most moms also want to hear from “real” moms (no offense to those above, but I’m sure you know what I mean). 🙂 So, here are my thoughts:

I was draw to this book, first because I’m a mom and really feel the need for some God-centered wisdom for raising kids in today’s world. Secondly, I loved that she uses Nehemiah to apply to parenting, and I wanted to see how she did that! I read through the book pretty slowly because there was so much — generous encouragement, Merrill honestly sharing her struggles, practical help, biblical advice…. This is not a quick read, but a book that you work through and God also will use to work through you.

Susan Merrill shows us Nehemiah’s pattern… “He knew what he was called to do. He perceived the situation, he pondered every task, he was driven with passion to search for solutions, he prayed for direction, he patiently waited for opportunities, he methodically prepared to take action, he maintained his purpose, he developed the plan, and he persevered through problems (problem solving) to the end.” Individually she apply these ten Ps to “building the wall” for protection and “opening the gates” for provision around our children.


And if you didn’t get my point already, let’s try this one more time. Yes, I am trying to encourage you to Read This Book!! Enjoy! And God bless you and your family 🙂


Disclosure: I received this ebook free from the publisher through the BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.