Ava’s Adventure

Title: Ava’s Adventure
Author: Laura Pedersen
Illustrator: Penny Weber
Publisher: Tilbury House Publishers
ISBN: 978-0-88448-388-5

“Disappointed when her parents say she can’t go on a snowboarding trip with a friend, Ava escapes to her room. There she finds that the power of imagination and her own creativity take her a greater distance than any snowboard could,” Laura Pedersen writes on the back jacket of her children’s book, Ava’s Adventure.

This unnumbered over-sized thirty-two page paperback targets children from preschool to early elementary school ages. With no scary scenes, it promotes learning to accept life’s challenges and disappointments and turn them into positive experiences. Due to some multi-syllable words, it would be best read aloud to beginner readers.

Illustrator Weber’s designs are colorful with their expressive, detailed emotions on the characters’ faces, making it easy to follow the storyline. Wording is usually printed in a simplistic font within small black boxes or outlined inserts overlaying the artwork.

In this short story, young Ava is at home when she gets a phone call from her friend, Lucas, asking if she can go snowboarding with his family for the weekend. When she asks her parents, they inform her that it costs too much. They reiterate they already pay for her sister’s violin lessons and her art classes.

Full of anger, Ava stomps upstairs to her bedroom, complaining that Lucas will find someone else to snowboard with and forget their friendship. With self-pity, she kicks her toys around and lies on her bed, not wanting to do anything.

Later that Friday she has a plan. She begins to work on a project that encompasses much of her time on Saturday morning through the evening and into Sunday, focusing on making herself happy as she designs and creates instead of being negative.

Unexpectedly she has a visitor; Lucas is home early from his trip because his brother got ill. Almost finished, she shows him an entire town she built, complete with a cabin, restaurants, trees, and paper snowflakes.

While the two friends complete the artwork, Lucas says he wants to be an Olympic snowboarder or professional soccer player while Ava dreams of designing things. They plan the next weekend’s creation, contented they are happy with whom they are.

Second book by the author, this story encourages children to look for the good in things when they do not always get what they want and find creative outlets when frustrated or unhappy.

Thanks to Bookpleasures for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s honest opinions.

This review will be posted on Bookpleasures and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

 

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Filed under **** Good Read - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Childrens, Fiction

** CONTEST ** THE LAST WITNESS by Glenn Meade ~ Book Giveaway!

WIN GLENN MEADE’S BOOK,
THE LAST WITNESS!

ENTER TO WIN A FREE BOOK!

One winner will be randomly selected to win FREE from Simon and Schuster
this just-released book!

REVIEW  TEASER: “’It’s done. I did what I had to do. What Shavik did makes me cry.’ My mother’s words exactly. What did she mean by that? What made her cry?” Carla asks in Glenn Meade’s book, The Last Witness.

SIMPLE steps to enter this 3-day contest

1.  Follow my blog if you do not do so already.
2. Post in the “LEAVE A REPLY” section below why you want to read this exciting book (could be funny, clever, serious, or the words “I want” since the winner is randomly chosen).
3. Like either one of these Simon and Schuster sites on Facebook or Twitter:

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This is a FAST CONTEST ending WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 20th @ 6 PM PST so follow the 3 requirements above and try for a chance to win a free copy that is mailed from Simon and Schuster directly to you! Winner’s shipping address must be in the U.S.A.

I read & reviewed this book – it’s a 5-star – GREAT READ!

Review link: http://connywithay.wordpress.com/2014/07/28/the-last-witness/

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An Aria for Nick

An Aria for NickTitle: An Aria for Nick
Author: Hallee Bridgeman
Publisher: Olivia Kimbrell Press
ISBN: 978-1-039603111

“You hurt me by rejecting me, then you crushed me by dying. I’ve been in pain for more than ten years. I felt like my heart had been ripped out of my chest,” Aria confesses in Hallee Bridgeman’s novel, An Aria for Nick.

Part two of the Song of Suspense series, this three hundred and twenty page paperback targets those who enjoy a contemporary romantic thriller. Due to topics of abuse, torture, and killing, it would not be appropriate for immature readers. After the story, acknowledgements, word translations, reader’s guides for menus and discussion questions, and the author’s biography along with advertisements and two book excerpts with contact information are included.

Although part of a series, the tale is a stand-alone current-day suspense about dealing with fear and trusting God. Fourth child and only daughter in the Suarez family, Aria excelled in piano while growing up as an Army brat in Georgia. Given a prestigious musical scholarship, she heads off to college, never able to tell the handsome Nick Williams how she feels about him.

Having an abusive, alcoholic father, Nick does not feel good enough for Aria’s attention and enlists in the military after high school, serving in Iraq. Receiving letters from the friend serving abroad that she gave a Soldier’s Bible, Aria hopes their friendship will grow into something special.

Involved in an aircraft fire-fight while in Ramadi two years later, Nick is pronounced dead, leaving an insurance policy to Aria. During his funeral, the one woman who had deep feelings for him is injured, altering any future dreams of performing professionally.

Ten years trudge onward as Aria tries to forget her first love, working for Northwestern Technologies in Oregon as nuclear engineer. Knowing something is askew with her research involving nuclear weapons, she secretly gleans information that she passes on to the United States government.

When the man she loved so dearly shows up on her doorstep, both are caught up in a nuclear plot that could lead to a major catastrophe as they try to stay one step ahead from those that want them eliminated. Fleeing to California, Nevada, Florida, and Virginia, the couple gathers as much proof as possible that Aria is not the mastermind of the potential threat.

Bridgeman’s fast-moving but sometimes inconceivable storyline blends national security and covert operations with two individuals afraid to face their true feelings toward each other as they rely on God for safety and guidance.

Thanks to The Book Club Network Inc. for furnishing a complimentary book in exchange for the reader’s honest opinion.

This review will be posted on TBCNI, DeeperShopping, and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Godinterest, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

 

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Filed under **** Good Read - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Christian, Fiction

A Year of Prayer

Title: A Year of Prayer
Author: John MacArthur
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
ISBN: 978-0-7369-5865-3

“We need to pray more; we need to give more careful thought to the content of our prayers; and we need to spend more time preparing,” John MacArthur writes in the preface of his book, A Year of Prayer.

At two hundred and fifty-six pages, this collection of prayers targets those seeking guidelines to increasing their prayer-life over a year’s weekly period. Using the New American Standard Version of the Bible, it offers verses and prayers to read.

As per the introduction, with the nudging of MacArthur’s children, the compilation covers many years of pastoral prayers while preaching from the pulpit. Reminding the reader not to use the book as recital or repetition, it is a thoughtful, spiritual outlet to talk to God.

Divided into fifty-two weekly chapters, there are five divisions: Prayers on Worship and the Attributes of God, Prayers on Joy and Longing, Prayers on the Cross and the Gospel, Prayers on Personal Holiness, and Prayers on Useful Service. An appendix includes prayers on holy seasons such as Christmas and Easter.

Each chapter begins with the written Word of God in italics, from ten verses to complete chapters. These focus on a specific topic, followed by a one-to-two page prayer, written in poetic format with further Bible verse footnotes at the bottom of the pages.

Topics include Pursing Christ’s Perfect Righteousness, Praising God Alone, Contemplating Eternal Life and Joy, The Aching Heart Satisfied in Christ, Being Delivered from Darkness to Light, Remembering What We Were Rescued From, Experiencing All That God Would Have for Us, Being Imitators of the Lord, Seeking to Be a Blessing, and Carrying Out the Great Commission.

One example is Week 36 titled Longing for the Fruit of the Spirit, which writes out Galatians 5:16-26. Listing the deeds of the flesh in the beginning part of the text, we need to concentrate on the fruits of the Spirit. The prayer states there are two ways to live: sinful or holy. The end of the prayer follows:

“Keep us ever mindful of the grace that drew us to Christ,
the blood that cleanses us,
the righteousness that justifies us,
and the truth that sanctifies us.
We long to love You with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength –
but to do that we need the Spirit
May He control us completely so that we live for Your glory,
to the praise of Christ,
in whose name we pray. Amen.”

Promoting to be in the Word more often and pray more fervently, this is one book that concentrates on God and His love.

Thanks to Harvest House Publishers for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review based on the reviewer’s honest opinion.

This review will be posted on Harvest House, DeeperShopping, and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, LinkedIn, Godinterest, and Pinterest.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Filed under **** Good Read - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Childrens, GENRE - THEMES, Non-Fiction

Child’s Play

Title: Child’s Play
Author: Bill Myers
Publisher: Amaris Media International
ISBN: 978-0-578-13219-8

“I’m saying that when it comes to His children, God does not make mistakes. Regardless of how we judge ourselves or others, we are still His children, His creation, and He does not make junk,” Max explains to his friends in Bill Myers’s novel, Child’s Play.

Book One of the Last Fool series and a Jerry B. Jenkins Select book, this three hundred and twelve page paperback targets those seeking a more casual, comical side of understanding God. With no profanity, the topics of drug use, insanity, and dying may not be apropos for immature readers. This reviewer wishes there was consistency in capitalizing pronouns of God.

In this fictitious tale set fifty years after the Religious Wars in America, anyone discussing religion or God is sent immediately to a state mental facility for rehabilitation. With drug treatment and therapy, the lock-down pod becomes a tight group of eclectic patients with a myriad of issues.

Each chapter is written in first person, showing four people’s lives intersecting. Bernard has been committed for over twenty years because inanimate objects such as Uno cards, nightlights, cleaners, and shavers constantly argue and complain to him. Aging and frustrated Doctor Aadil on probation tries arduously to help his patients, especially newcomer Max who has seen God. Saffron, a homeless mother who turns tricks to survive, wants to do everything in her power to protect her thirteen year old daughter. Alex, the daughter of Max, does drugs to hide from herself. Other inmates such as Jamal the Jihadist, pill-stealing Darcy, chair-clinger Joey, Nelson the Quoter, and others make up a family of misfits.

When Max starts proselytizing that God is like a father who loves his child no matter what, only seeing what is missing and not what is wrong, the institutionalized residents begin to listen to him. By writing lists of daily sins and omissions, Max and Bernard find relief and comfort having the Trashman take and burn their papers.

As each patient fears being sent to the Center of Religious Rehabilitation, never to return, they question God’s existence, love, grace, and power. Although the plan of eternal plan of salvation of Jesus shedding His blood on the cross and rising the third day is not spelt out, sin, the Holy Spirit, and Bible verses are explained.

A quirky, quick story, Myer’s book of over-the-top characters is engaging and humorous while having a deep spiritual message that hones in on a relationship with God. Readers will look forward to the next in a strange series that conveys the Truth.

Thanks to The Book Club Network Inc. for furnishing a complimentary book in exchange for the reader’s honest opinion.

This review will be posted on TBCNI, DeeperShopping and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Pinterest, Godinterest, and LinkedIn.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Filed under **** Good Read - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Christian, Fiction

A Bouquet of Love

Title: A Bouquet of Love
Author: Janice Thompson
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 978-0-8007-2155-8

“Working with flowers was my dream job. Definitely the ribbon on my proverbial bouquet. But Babbas would never allow it. Like every Greek daughter, I would remain tied to his apron strings until the day I married,” Cassie ruminates in Janice Thompson’s novel, A Bouquet of Love.

At three hundred and fifty-two pages, this fourth in the Weddings by Design series targets those that enjoy Christian contemporary romance and family dynamics. With some slang, no overtly sexual scenes or extreme violence, it would be apropos for teenage and adult age groups. This reader wishes all pronouns of God were capitalized for reverence.

In this tome written in first person, twenty-three year old Cassia Pappas is torn between loving her out-going, boisterous Greek family and becoming an independent woman, making her own decisions. When the family moves from California to Galveston Island, Texas, to start a second Super-Gyros Restaurant, she would rather work at the quaint florist down the street, making lovely bouquets.

Her father insists there will be no distractions to the new business venture as he pours his energy into marketing strategies, trying constantly to outdo the competition across the street, a pizza joint owned by the Rossi family patriarch. As the rivalries between the two men escalate, her father forbids his wife and children to have any contact with the enemy.

While Cassie enjoys working at the florist shop, she meets Alex Rivas, a half Greek cowboy whose Southern charm sweeps her off her feet. Unconsciously humming Judy Garland songs whenever in deep thought, the young girl is not only fascinated with the well-mannered boy, her relationships grow and deepen with several Rossi members doing business in the area.

As the Greeks and Italians square off to glean more customers with tempting treats like baklava, tzatziki sauce, gyros, pizza, and sweet tea, comedic tensions arise, making it complicated for individuals who feel trapped, wishing their lives were different. Only once the characters realize they have to change their hearts, not convince others to, friendships and bonds are established.

With clever Greek quips at the beginning of each chapter and quirky first-person thoughts of a young Greek daughter who yearns to find her true self, this delightful novel does an excellent job showing how families must learn to get along.

Thanks to Baker Publishing for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s honest opinions.

This review will be posted on Revell, DeeperShopping, Bookpleasures, and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, LinkedIn, Godinterest, and Pinterest.
GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Filed under ***** Great Read - A Keeper, Christian, Fiction, Give It Back!, If You Borrow It

The Big-Flavor Grill

Title: The Big-Flavor Grill
Authors: Chris Schlesinger amd John Willoughby
Publisher: Ten Speed Press
ISBN: 978-1-60774-527-3

“So our preferred approach is to grill the main item, put it in a really big stainless steel bowl, then add all the remaining ingredients individually, and toss vigorously to combine them,” Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby write in the introduction of their cookbook, The Big-Flavor Grill: No-Marinade, No-Hassle Recipes for Delicious Steaks, Chicken, Ribs, Chops, Vegetables, Shrimp, and Fish.

At two hundred and forty pages, this hardbound book targets those looking for grilling recipes that can be made quickly and easily. After an introduction, the book is divided into seven chapters. Full-page colored photographs cover about one-quarter of the completed concoctions. The ending has a few component recipes, ingredients, and topical index, along with the authors’ biographies.

With over twenty-five themes, the authors begin the book explaining what live-fire grilling is and that it should be simple and easy. Using spice rubs instead of marinades, fresh flavors are instantly noticed when applied after food is cooked. Considered “casual” eating, the razzle-dazzle approach of adding ingredients later produce unique, bold, and creative tastes.

Divided into food-group sections, there are six steak, twelve lamb, eighteen pork, twenty-eight chicken, thirty fish, twenty vegetables, and fifteen drink recipes. After super-basic formulas per section, usually one dish per page lists a heading at the top that includes a sentence below about the recipe’s specialty. Three boxes contain Prep, Grill, and Toss instructions with all ingredients in bold font in the first box. Sometimes small photographs are added.

Some of the delicious sounding grilled recipes are Skirt Steaks with Honey-Mustard Ranch Dressing, Lamb Chops with Roasted Red Pepper Relish, Lamb Kebabs with Turkish Flavors, Pork Chops with Corn-Save Vinaigrette, Thai-Style Baby Back Ribs, Chicken Breasts with Orange-Green Olive Relish, Chicken Thighs with Spinach, Yogurt, and Grapes, Hoisin-Glazed Chicken Wings, Chicken Skewers with Deconstructed Pesto, Japanese-Style Shrimp with Togarashi, Fish Fillets with Ancho Chile Salsa, Tuna Steaks with Sesame-Seaweed Salad, Hot Potato Salad, Eggplant with Feta and Maras Pepper, Corn with Chile Mayo, Cherry Tomatoes with Curry, Raisins, and Yogurt, and House Ginger Beer.

While the Jerk Wings from Hell may be a tasty treat with a puree of eight ingredients and topped with three later, the three ingredients for the Grilled Tuna Steaks with Sweet and Sour Chile-Garlic Glaze covered with scallions sounds mouth-watering.

Although pictures are not included for every completed meal, the full-page photographs force the reader to get up, start the grill, and get cooking. For novice or expert, there are plenty of big-flavor recipes to choose.

Thanks to Blogging for Books for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review of the reader’s honest opinion.

This review will be posted on Blogging for Books, DeeperShopping, and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Godinterst.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Filed under ***** Great Read - A Keeper, If You Borrow It, Give It Back!, Home / Garden / Food

The Impressionist

Title: The Impressionist
Authors: Tim Clinton and Max Davis
Publisher: Destiny Image
ISBN: 978-0-7684-0491-3

“Today is a defining moment for you, Adam, whether you are going to begin walking in the light and forgiveness. Are you going to get back into the fight, or are you simply going to continue on the same path getting the same results?” Jim Ed asks in The Impressionist: Becoming the Masterpiece You Were Created to Be by Tim Clinton and Max Davis.

At one hundred and ninety-two pages, this thin paperback book targets those interested searching for God by shedding regret, bitterness, and guilt in life. With no sex or graphic violence, topics of divorce, drug use, murder, and death as well as using words such as hell, crap and “nigger,” may not be appropriate for immature readers. With a short foreword by Karen Kingsbury, the ending contains acknowledgements, the introduction and first chapter to Ignite Your Faith, both authors’ biographies, and various advertisements.

In this allegorical current day tale written in first person by Adam Camp, a monumental fight with his wife of almost nineteen years has occurred. As he storms out of the house, refusing to check on his high school son who is a drug addict, he ends up walking to a nearby park where he meets Jim Ed, an elderly black man who is an impressionist painter.

Jim Ed asks if he can paint a portrait of the broken Adam who reacts before thinking when it comes to stress, anger, and disappointment. When the man who doubts his actions and attitudes agrees, Jim Ed slowly tells his life story that is filled with hatred and love.

As the artist applies watercolors to a blank piece of paper, Adam starts to understand that he is the problem and learns how God looks and accepts him. Using the illustration of King David and Joseph in the Bible along with the effect of light, Jim Ed shows how important it is to value self and cherish others along with knowing the difference between good and evil.

In the end, not only Adam is enlightened that he is God’s creative masterpiece as day-to-day problems and challenges arise, others can see the Light too. The authors provide an engaging read that hones in how the Almighty is in control and we must look to Him for grace, forgiveness, and answers.

Thanks to The Book Club Network Inc. for furnishing a complimentary book in exchange for the reader’s honest opinion.

This review will be posted on TBCNI, DeeperShopping, and Amazon with links on Bookfun, Godinterest, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Filed under **** Good Read - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Christian, Fiction

** CONTEST ** WHY GOD WHY? by Karen Jensen ~ Book Giveaway

 

WIN KAREN JENSEN’S NEW BOOK WHY GOD WHY?

ENTER TO WIN A FREE BOOK!

One winner will be randomly selected to win FREE from McCain and Company this book!

REVIEW  TEASER: “In order to break down camps of pain, sadness, regret, confusion, or disappointment, you have to ask questions, then put them on the back burners and trust God,” Karen Jensen writes in her book, Why God Why? What to Do When Life Doesn’t Make Sense.

SIMPLE steps to enter this 3-day contest

1.  Follow my blog if you do not do so already.

2. Post in the “LEAVE A REPLY” section below why you want to read this exciting book (could be funny, clever, serious, or the words “I want” since the winner is randomly chosen).

3. Like either one of these social media sites:

 

 
 

This is a FAST CONTEST ending FRIDAY, AUGUST 15th, 2014 @ 5:00 PM PST so follow the 3 requirements above and try for a chance to win a book that is mailed from the publisher directly to you! Winner’s shipping address must be in the U.S.A.

I read & reviewed this book – it’s a 4 STAR!

Here is my review: http://connywithay.wordpress.com/2014/07/30/why-god-why/

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Love Letters from the Edge

Title: Love Letters from the Edge
Authors: Shelly Beach and Wanda Sanchez
Publisher: Kregel Publications
ISBN: 978-0-8254-4347-3

“Where were you, God? Wasn’t I important enough? Was I just too bad – the one person who wasn’t worth it?” Shelley Beach and Wanda Sanchez write in one of the letters to God in their book, Love Letters from the Edge: Meditations for Those Struggling with Brokenness, Trauma, and the Pain of Life.

At two hundred and ninety-six pages, this paperback targets those interested in focusing on God and understanding His will when viewing a personal hardship or catastrophe. With no profanity, topics regarding addictions, illness, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. This reviewer wishes all pronouns of God were capitalized for reverence.

With seventy percent of the United States adult population having experienced a traumatic event during their lives, virtually no one is immune from heartache, heartbreak, or tragedy. Beach and Sanchez offer a way to look toward God for hope in despair and healing of brokenness.

After an introduction and instructions how to use the book, it is divided into twelve weekly sections that contain five daily chapters with a “weekend feature” of Bible study. The conclusion contains seven appendices, acknowledgements, and the authors’ biographies.

Beginning with a short Bible verse, all but the last two chapters start with a letter to God about a stressful, sometimes tearful situation. His purported loving response with no Bible references follows, ending with a paragraph called “Hope on the Edge” where a few questions are given and a short prayer listed under “Heart Cry.” Each weekly ending chapter has Bible reading with discussions, assignments, and aids.

Covering topics from drug addiction, nightmares, loss of a child, molestation, abortion, divorce, depression, and suicide to regrets, guilt, shame, fear, and abandonment, the profound loss one goes through is written from the heart in first person by those who have experienced the painful event. However, God’s love, grace, forgiveness, and compassion shine through His reply, giving hope and encouragement in any challenge faced.

With the final two chapters being only letters from God to His child, the appendices concentrate on post-traumatic stress disorder: what it is and how to diagnose and understand it. Also listed are spiritual affirmations along with bullet reminders of forgiveness and restoration.

Knowing we all have our sorrows, sins, and secrets, this touching read draws a person to Christ as the only answer to forgive the sinful or tragic past, accept God’s will in the present, and face a more uplifting, blessed future.

Thanks to The Book Club Network Inc. for furnishing a complimentary book in exchange for the reader’s honest opinion.

This review will be posted on TBCNI, DeeperShopping, and Amazon with links on Bookfun, Pinterest, Godinterest, and LinkedIn.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Filed under **** Good Read - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Christian, Health