Category Archives: Christian

Review: You Can Shine So Bright

Title: You Can Shine So Bright
Authors: Jinger & Jeremy Vuolo
Illustrator: Naomi C. Robinson
Publisher: WorthyKids
ISBN: 978-1-5460-1381-5

“One act of love or kindness can change the world. Let your light shine!” states the back jacket cover of Jinger and Jeremy Vuolo’s children’s book, You Can Shine So Bright.

~ What ~
This thirty-two-page oversized hardcover with a matching jacket targets children ages four to seven years old who like to learn about letting their light shine by loving others. With no scary scenes, it contains easy-to-understand colorful illustrations on almost every page. A simplistic font covers the pages.

Written by the television couple who promotes their faith and values, this book teaches young ones about the Biblical fruits of the spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23 of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. With engaging artwork that includes many nationalities, there are usually four-line rhymes about the topics along with two-line rhyming statements. The story reminds us how God loves us so we should love others as we shine in the world.

~Why ~
This is a lovely way to encourage children to care for and love others, especially by befriending others, sharing toys, giving of ourselves, and helping one in need. I appreciate the drawings were interesting and included a boy in a wheelchair in some of them.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like a book that mentions God and Jesus may not approve of this one, but both are pivotal to letting our love shine. Some children with visual stimulation issues may not like a couple of the illustrations as they may be too busy, but they will keep a child entertained.

~ Wish ~
I wish all pronouns of God and Jesus were capitalized for reverence.

~ Want ~
If you want a book that helps little ones learn about the many Biblical fruits of the spirit, this read will wet their tender minds to want to shine like God does.

Thanks to Hachette Book Group and WorthyKids for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

#Hachette #WorthyKids #JingerJeremyVuolo #YouCanShineSoBright #NaomiCRobinson #ChildrensBiblicalFruitsoftheSpirit

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/3vPNkBr

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Filed under ***** Great - A Keeper, If You Borrow It, Give It Back!, Book Review, Childrens, Christian

Review: Adventure’s Invitation

Title: Adventure’s Invitation
Author: Cheri Swalwell
Publisher: Cheri Swalwell
ISBN: 9798670379786

“Life isn’t lived during the happily-ever-after anyway — those are celebrated because of the lessons learned during the tough stuff,” Holly is told in Cheri Swalwell’s novel, Adventure’s Invitation.

~ What ~
As the first book in The Redemption of Green Pines series, this story focuses on a young woman trying to overcome grief and resentment when life does not turn out the way she had planned it. With no profanity but topics of premarital sex, pregnancy, and death, it may not be appropriate for immature readers. While the beginning has a list of characters, the ending includes an excerpt of the next book in the series.

In this tale based in Indiana that spans more than ten years, college-aged Holly is jilted when her perfectly planned dreams abruptly end her anticipated happily-ever-life with her true love. As she tries to pick up the emotional and spiritual pieces, she discouragingly sees her family and friends move on without her. It is only when she completely trusts God that she understands He is the one in control of her life.

~ Why ~
This heartbreaking but redeeming story brings out the worst and best in Christians who can be judgmental and legalistic to compassionate and loving. I appreciate how the author tenderly handled crossing God’s set boundaries and dealing with an unplanned issue. Although it is the first book in the series, it is a stand-alone read.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like a Christian-based story that centers on God’s grace and mercy as one deals with trials may not like this read. Others may not care for the anger and frustration portrayed in some of the characters, but they are raw and realistic.

~ Wish ~
Being one who is fixated on correct punctuation and grammar, I wish the book was professionally edited. I do not recall the eternal plan of salvation was clearly stated.

~ Want ~
If you want a wholesome series that promotes God’s plans are often not our plans viewed from a young woman struggling with forgiveness and acceptance, this first book in the series will invite you to read more.

Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Thanks to the author for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

#CheriSwalwell #AdventuresInvitation #TheRedemptionofGreenPines #WholesomeRomance

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/3JewEcm

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

Review: Deception

Title: Deception
Author: Patricia Bradley
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3576-0

“There’s always an explanation … even though you might not be prepared for it,” Madison is told in Patricia Bradley’s novel, Deception.

~ What ~
The fourth book in the Natchez Trace Park Rangers series, this three-hundred-and-ninety-two-page targets those who like romantic suspense that searches for the truth about the past and forgiving others. With no profanity but topics of addiction, murder, and death, it may not be appropriate for immature readers. The ending includes acknowledgments, an excerpt of another book by the author, her biography, and advertisements.

In this story, thirty-five-year-old Madison Thorn is an ISB ranger who switched from violent crimes to cybercrimes after killing an FBI agent in self-defense. When she has a case in Natchez, Mississippi, where she spent summers as a child, not only does she become involved in several shootings under mysterious circumstances, but also she must trust another man to help her. As the two work together to solve several crimes, they try to resolve their shortcomings while avoiding their feelings for each other.

~ Why ~
This quick read reinforces how the past’s secrets can be hard to accept yet, with forgiveness, they can be redeeming. I liked the protagonist’s determination to find who is trying to kill those she cares about as she learns to rely on God for answers. Although it is the fourth book in the series and I have not read any of the others, it is a stand-alone read.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like a Christian-based story that centers on God being with us always, prayer, and forgiveness may not like this read. Others may not care for the many characters and the roles they play as their lives intersect because it sometimes gets confusing.

~ Wish ~
I wish the eternal plan of salvation were clearly stated. I prefer all pronouns of God capitalized for reference.

~ Want ~
If you want to read a story that promotes forgiving pasts that are full of deception, this one with suspense will keep you engaged.

Thanks to Revell for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

#Revell #PatriciaBradley #Deception #NatchezTraceParkRangersSeries

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/3va4ppB

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

Review: The Stories of God (and Kiki)

Title: The Stories of God (and Kiki)
Author: Dave Connis
Illustrator: Amy Domingo
Publisher: WaterBrook
ISBN: 978-0-593-23357-3

“God thinks Kiki is awesome. He loves when Kiki does Kiki things. And because God thinks you’re awesome. He loves when you do you things,” Dave Connis writes in his children’s book, The Stories of God (and Kiki).

~ What ~
A part of the Made in His Image series, this forty-page hardbound targets three to seven-year-old children who like reading how God is writing our story. With no scary scenes, there are colorful illustrations on all the pages that contain one to two sentences each.

In this short tale, Kiki is a young child who is creative and imaginative as she is compared to God and how He made her like Him. Correlating her designing artwork and writing stories to the Almighty, it describes the similarities and differences between them. As she writes the biggest story ever, it reminds us how God is also writing a story of each of us plus making all things new in the future.

~ Why ~
This is a story that contains silly writing ideas of an inventive girl mixed with the awesomeness of God. Not only does it have an otter prince, sea cucumber, and gerblins, but it also mentions in passing the Bible stories of creation, the Garden of Eden, Queen Esther, Jesus’s resurrection, God being all-knowing, and a reference toward eternity.

~ Why Not ~
Some children will not like the confusing choppy sentences with the overly-busy artwork, especially if they have issues with visual stimulation. Others may not realize the book is more about feeling special in the way God made you and your God-given talents. With such a title, I expected this book to have Biblical stories in it, so I was disappointed at its minimal reference to Scripture. Often I did not understand what was going on in the writing and illustrations until I reread the book several times.

~ Wish ~
Although I appreciate the book mentioning how we are created in God’s image and He brings us joy, it does not give the plan of eternal salvation. Stating that God loves you “when you do you things” may be misconstrued as there is no right or wrong included.

~ Want ~
If your child does not mind a read that has a lot more of a little girl’s imagination and creativity than actual stories from the Word of God, this may be perfect for him or her, but I didn’t care for it.

Thanks to WaterBrook and Multnomah Book Launch Team for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

#WaterBrook #MultnomahBookLaunchTeam #TheStoriesofGodandKiki #DaveConnis #AmyDomingo

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/3zhAiyL

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Filed under ** Think Twice - I Didn't Like It, Book Review, Childrens, Christian

Review: The Extraordinary Deaths of Mrs. Kip

Title: The Extraordinary Deaths of Mrs. Kip
Author: Sara Brunsvold
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 978-0-8007-4027-6

“But he is a God of new life, Miss Kelley. A God of rescue and redemption,” Aidyn is told in Sara Brunsvold’s novel, The Extraordinary Deaths of Mrs. Kip.

~ What ~
This three-hundred-and-sixty-eight-page targets those who like fiction that focuses on dealing with one’s end of life here on Earth. With no profanity but topics of alcoholism, dying, and death, it may not be appropriate for immature readers. The ending includes the author’s note, biography, and advertisements.

In this story, seventy-nine-year-old Clara is living her last days in a hospice facility, trying ardently to show God’s love one last time before she meets her Maker. When the hospitable yet ornery spitfire is interviewed by a twenty-two-year-old journalist for her supposed obituary, the dying woman has to step up her game one last time to help guide the girl with a youthful, naive ego to understand the power of faith, prayer, and trusting the Lord.

~ Why ~
This is a tear-jerker read that tenderly shows how a person who has given others love deals with dying. The quickly growing relationship between the two women is uplifting and caring while the cub reporter matures observing a spunky but graceful lady passing into eternity. Since I have volunteered with the elderly for years and have dealt with loved ones passing, I appreciate how accurate the process of dying was told.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like a Christian-based story that conveys peace and comfort at the end of life may not like this book. Others may not care for the slow start of the story or that there were some presumably stereotypical characters, yet both were necessary to the flow of the tale.

~ Wish ~
I do not recall the eternal plan of salvation that Jesus died on the cross for our sins, was buried, and rose again the third day was thoroughly explained. I prefer all pronouns of God capitalized for reference.

~ Want ~
If you want to read a story about an elderly woman dealing with mortality and a young woman finding new life, this one that promotes the extraordinary gift of companionship will be cherished.

Thanks to Revell for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

#Revell #SaraBrusvold #TheExtraordinaryDeathsofMrsKip

This book can be purchased at https://.to/3AxCKm3

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

Review: I Can Be Your Friend

Title: I Can Be Your Friend
Author: Pamela Kennedy
Illustrator: Lisa Reed
Publisher: WorthyKids
ISBN: 978-1-5460-0214-7

“We all need good friends.
Veggies know that is true.
You can be friends with others.
They can be friends with you,”
Pamela Kennedy writes in the VeggieTales children’s book, I Can Be Your Friend.

~ What ~
This twenty-page oversized board book with rounded corners targets children one to four years old who like having friendships with others. With no scary scenes, it contains simplistic illustrations of playful vegetables that keep the attention of little ones. An easy-to-read font covers the pages.

Part of the VeggieTales series, this one told in rhyme focuses on how to be a friend to others shown through a bunch of veggies that include asparagus, cauliflower, cucumbers, peas, squash, tomatoes, zucchini, and more. It promotes that to have a good friend, one must be a good friend by caring, sharing, listening, helping, and being nice. It reminds young ones that friends come in all colors and shapes, play together, take turns, brighten another’s day, and always come through when there are problems. The ending confirms that God is our all-the-time, very best friend.

~Why ~
This is a cute way to combine vegetables with big eyes as friends who have fun outdoors and indoors. I like the expressive but simple artwork that keeps a toddler engaged. I appreciate the reference to God being our best friend.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like a book that mentions the Almighty may not approve of this one, but He is only mentioned at the end of the book. Others may not like scenes of veggies playing on playgrounds or sick in bed, but it is iconic of the VeggieTales’ series.

~ Wish ~
Since this book is part of the VeggieTales franchise, adding their website link would be helpful for parents who want to know more about their videos, movies, television shows, and other merchandise.

~ Want ~
If you want a book that helps little ones learn how to make and be a friend, this one would be a great addition, especially if the child likes anything related to VeggieTales.

Thanks to Hachette Book Group, WorthyKids, and VeggieTales for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

#Hachette #WorthyKids #VeggieTales #ICanBeYourFriend #PamelaKennedy #LisaReed

This book can be purchased at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/i-can-be-your-friend-with-cd-veggietales/1132448874

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

Review: Among the Innocent

Title: Among the Innocent
Author: Mary Alford
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 978-0-8007-4026-9

“You’ll never belong to him or any other man. You’re mine. Do you hear me? You’re mine,” Leah is told repeatedly in Mary Alford’s novel, Among the Innocent.

~ What ~
This three-hundred-and-four-page romantic suspense targets those interested in a serial killer taunting a woman a decade later in a small Montana town. With no profanity but adult situations, topics of violence, brutality, and murder may not be appropriate for immature readers. The ending includes the author’s biography and advertisements

In this story, Police Officer Leah Miller still has internal demons chasing her from when a sweet-talking man lured her away from the Amish faith and killed her family. With physical, spiritual, and mental scars from the past, her life is upended when another Amish girl is found dead. With the help of a new police chief named Dalton, the two try to stop more murders but are always a step behind the killer, especially when they realize she is the target.

~ Why ~
This is a non-stop thriller with a hint of romance that keeps the reader wondering what happens next to Amish girls who are swayed by an Englisher. The tale of secrets moves along quickly as both protagonists try to overcome their pasts to locate the killer. I liked the blend of the simple way the Amish live with a police force that erroneously closed a murder case years ago.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like romantic suspense with a touch of Christianity about praying to God may not consider this book, although it is lightly mentioned. Others may not care for the scenes containing violence and death, but they are pivotal to the read. I guessed the ending about halfway through reading.

~ Wish ~
I normally do not read any Amish novels anymore as they are predictable in the romance department, yet this one’s tone was not pivotal to the story and could have been omitted. It would have been thoughtful to include the eternal plan of salvation in this story. I prefer all pronouns of God capitalized for reverence.

~ Want ~
If you like an Amish story that has a psychopath determined to follow up on a past crime and characters who keep secrets hidden, this would be an engaging read that includes a bit of romance.

Thanks to Revell for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

#Revell #AmongtheInnocent #MaryAlford #AmishSerialKiller

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/3NaOjlL

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

Review: Sunburst

Title: Sunburst
Author: Susan May Warren
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3983-6

“Yeah, well, she’d gotten them into this mess. She could get them out,” Noemi Sutton determines in Susan May Warren’s novel, Sunburst.

~ What ~
Book two of three in the Sky King Ranch series, this three-hundred-and-sixty-eight-page paperback targets those who like a Christian contemporary romance about a mission of marrying and finding love. Containing no profanity, topics of kidnapping, physical abuse, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The author’s biography and advertisements are included.

In this fast-paced tale, Navy SEAL Ranger Kingston doesn’t know what to do involving his faltering career so jumps at the first chance to help rescue his brother in Nigeria who is held captive with Noemi Sutton, a past love he cannot forget. Posing as husband and wife to leave the country, the two marry, questioning if it could be something they are both seeking. As terrorists follow them to Alaska, they must learn to rely on God and remember He will always find us and love us unconditionally.

~ Why ~
This story is engaging and entertaining as it deals with two people who want to control and take charge. It has plenty of action mixed with a romance revisited from the past. I appreciated its focus on God always watching and waiting for us to call out to Him. The Nigerian culture and wedding ceremony were interesting.

~ Why Not ~
Some may not like a tale that includes kidnapping in Boko Haram territory. Others may not care for the added character later in the story as it is hard at first to connect the dots. Since I had read the first in the series and loved it, I was a bit disappointed in this one’s disjointed ending and sometimes unrealistic situations, but there is one more book being written.

~ Wish ~
While I greatly appreciated the reference to God always being there for us, I wish the author included a more detailed eternal plan of salvation. I prefer all pronouns of God capitalized for reverence.

~ Want ~
If you enjoy a suspenseful read about trying to accomplish a mission while finding what is the most important in life, this will be enjoyed. No doubt, you will want to read its final sequel to find out what else happens to the Sky Ranch family.

Thanks to Revell and the author for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

#Revell #SusanMayWarren #Sunburst #SkyKingRanch

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/3O4h7h3

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

Review: Time After Tyme

Title: Time After Tyme
Author: Kay DiBianca
Publisher: Wordstar Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-735788821

“I heard you say there was a murder. We want to help you solve it,” Reen tells Kathryn in Kay DiBianca’s novel, Time After Tyme.

~ What ~
The third in The Watch series, this two-hundred-and-forty-six-page paperback targets mainly Christians who like a fictional mystery that contains scripted clues. Using the English Standard Version of The Holy Bible, the story contains no profanity, but due to its topics of sexual harassment, injury, and murder, it may not be appropriate for immature readers.

In this contemporary tale written in both first and third person, sisters Kathyrn and Cece decide to help solve a murder at Bellevue University. With the unprompted help of two young curious girls, the four try to uncover the killer through sleuthing and code deciphering as they sometimes jump to conclusions to find the truth.

~Why ~
Although this is the third in the series, it is a stand-alone read that may be enjoyed by those who like puzzles, alphabet codes, and trying to determine the whodunnit. I like the first-person writing from the ten-year-old’s perspective as it was interesting and accurate.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ may not relate to this story that does not include the eternal plan of salvation. Others may feel there are too many characters, making it confusing at times. More than once, the main characters say they are not going to tell anyone about something, yet they do. I had trouble with the little girls being able to freely roam a college campus. The printing format wastes paper often at the end of chapters.

~ Wish ~
It would be helpful if the story targeted a specific age group as initially I thought our eight-year-old granddaughter would like this one based on Reen, but there is too much adult talk about graduate programs, Christian and Jewish theology, and psychology that a middle-schooler would not understand. It may promote lying when Kate and Cece come up with a plan to get information.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for the third book in a series about uncovering a murderer, this may be for you, but, unfortunately, I had some issues trying to figure out its target audience. But who knows, you might like this type of mystery.

Thanks to Christian Indie Publishing Association and the author for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

#CIPA #ChristianIndiePublishingAssociation #TimeAfterTyme #ChristianMystery

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/39YYeN7

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Filed under *** OK - Don't Love It, Don't Hate It, Book Review, Christian, Fiction

Review: All the Places We Call Home

Title: All the Places We Call Home
Author: Patrice Gopo
Illustrator: Jenin Mohammed
Publisher: WorthyKids
ISBN: 978-1-5460-1266-5

“Here I’ll sleep. And here I’ll dream of these places that matter to me,” Patrice Gopo ends in her children’s book, All the Places We Call Home.

~ What ~
This thirty-two-page oversized hardbound with a jacket cover targets children ages four to eight years old. With no scary scenes, it shares memories and stories of one’s upbringing around the world. Engaging, colorful designs grace the pages with a decent font size.

In this tale, every night when a little girl goes to bed, her mama tells her family stories from lands she and the girl have lived. With the child asking if she can visit each country, the mother mentions memories from South Africa when the girl was a baby, her great-grandmother’s home in Zimbabwe, and her mother’s house in Jamaica before she drifts off to sleep.

~Why ~
This is a calming book to read to a young child at bedtime who wants to know more about her past as it promotes how a girl is connected to other people and places around the world. I appreciate the added highlights in the countries such as Table Mountain in South Africa, the lush hills and msasa trees in Zimbabwe, and the tropical flowers of Jamaica.

~ Why Not ~
Those who were born in one country and lived there their entire life may have no interest in this read unless they are inquisitive about other places. This book has complicated wording so would not work for beginner readers. It may not interest older children as its informational content is limited.

~ Wish ~
While I liked the idea of a book about one family’s culture and community, it may not relate to others. I found some of the writing confusing, which may make it hard for young ones to understand.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a book that briefly covers three continents and how a family lived in each, this may be something for your child.

Thanks to Hachette Book Group, WorthyKids, and the author for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

#Hachette #WorthyKids #AllthePlacesWeCallHome #PatriceGopo #JeninMohammed #CultureCommunity

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/3Nqkeir

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Filed under *** OK - Don't Love It, Don't Hate It, Book Review, Christian