The Sparkle Box By: Jill Hardie

Christmas is right around the corner, but if you have noticed we’ve been staring at Christmas decorations and holiday deals since September. I am not against celebrating Christmas but each year Christmas is becoming more of a show and what deals each person can find rather than the birth of our Savior. Each year it becomes a little more difficult to show kids what Christmas is all about. The Sparkle Box is a beautiful reminder of what the spirit of Christmas really is.

Sam is so excited for Christmas day! He cannot wait, but he is very curious about the sparkle box sitting on the mantle and what is inside of it. Each night he asks his parents if it is time to open it, but they tell him something was added to it but it is not yet time. Until on Christmas Day Sam gets to see what is in the Sparkle Box, and what is inside will remind everyone what Christmas is about.

This story is a fun, captivating story that fills you with the excitement of the season and will remind you what Christmas is all about. With vivid illustrations this book is a great story to help show kids that Christmas is not about the toys under the tree or how many presents they get but helping others and reaching out to people during a tough time of year. The Sparkle Box comes with its own sparkle box at the back of the book that can become a family tradition for years to come.

I received this book complimentary in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

-Elle

Advertisements

Pirates on the Farm

Pirates on the Farm By: Denette Fretz Illustrated By: Gene Barretta

The Sanders family were never very adventurous. Than one day 5 bad-mannered pirates move into their small town to the farm across the street. From their interesting food choices and their behavior  the Sanders family are in for a new adventure. Not quite sure how to deal with the pirates Mrs. Sanders begins to save money to move away from the pirates, however, her husband has something else in mind and shows the pirates how to become farmers and invites them to church and dinner.

Pirates are never expected to be found on a farm but this cute story teaches the importance of reaching out to your neighbors and not judging them on how they appear. The things they do not know may simply mean that no one has ever shown them. Pirates on the Farm is a great children’s story that shows how much simple acts of kindness can go a long way with your neighbors and in the end you may end up learning something yourself.

This book is filled with beautiful, descriptive illustrations that will make you laugh at the antics of the pirates but will also teach you and your children a valuable lesson about loving your neighbors.

I received this book complimentary from the publisher through the Booksneeze program in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and reviews are my own.

-Elle

Dear Mr. Knightley By: @Katherine_Reay

Many of us understands how it feels to live inside a book, to make friends with the characters and believe they are members of our own lives. That is exactly how 23 year old Sam feels, her life revolves around the writings of Austen to the point that when she becomes nervous in a conversation she thinks of how a character would respond and often responds by quoting that character. 

Sam has been on her own for most of her life, with both parents out of the picture she grew up in the foster care system, and after a few tries on her own and has ended up back at Grace House. This time the offer is her last chance, an anonymous benefactor has offered to cover all of her tuition to attend the Medill School of Journalism, the only catch is she must write to him regularly, the only thing Sam knows about him is that he calls himself Mr. Knightley. Throughout her time at Medill Sam must learn to live in the real world instead of living inside her books and relying on their words to get her through.

Reay has made a beautiful debut novel with Dear Mr. Knightley, Austen fans and book lovers alike will love this witty story and it’s multiple references to literature. At first I was concerned to read a book written completely in letters; however, I was proven wrong and loved the set up of letters which were full of detail and were able to translate the entire story to the point that I did not want the book to end. I cannot wait to see what the future holds in books for Katherine Reay!

-Elle

I received this book complimentary from the publisher through the Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

The Wayfinding Bible: Helping you navigate God’s Word

Finding the right Bible is never an easy task, whenever roaming around a bookstore, I usually check out the Bible section to find the Bible that is right for me, I have a regular NIV Bible that is great for carrying around, but in the last year I was really on a search for a new Bible that would also provide extra information that included maps and context and some other details that didn’t require pulling out a concordance or google search.

The Wayfinding Bible is a NLT that has three ‘routes’ to choose from.

The Flyover Route – This is a chronological overview of the events of the Bible

The Direct Route – This route helps you to gain a full perspective of the entire Bible and how everything fits together and can be completed in less than a year

The Scenic Route – This is a deeper look at God’s Word throughout the Bible

No matter which path you choose to take there is tons of additional information that helps you to understand the context with which you are reading. Each book of the Bible has an introduction that says more about the book, what was happening in the area when the book was written, the introductions also shows you how each book points towards Jesus.

The top of each page is clearly labelled to help you stay on the route you choose, with each route you will receive an introduction to the passage, after reading the section you can continue on to the observation point and the exploration point both of which will help you to dig deeper into the information you just read.

Throughout each book you will finding sections of additional information, full colored maps to give you an idea of what the area looked like, timelines of lineage (which prove helpful when reading numerous verses on the descendants).

I chose to read the Flyover Route, which gave a great overview of the Bible chronologically and is packed full of information, it is a great place to start especially for those that want to get an understanding of the Bible and gives them a good starting point that they can than go back and read one of the more detailed routes. The flyover route gave a lot of great details without being overwhelming and is great for any individual that it reading the Bible for the first time or gives a fresh glimpse for someone that has read it for years.

The Wayfinding Bible is a great Bible for everyone, with a beautiful layout that adds to your daily readings rather than distracting with too much information, with three different routes to take if you aren’t sure where to start or to use as your everyday Bible. The coloring of the maps and highlighting of supplemental information is very helpful. I highly recommend this Bible for anyone searching for something a little different than your regular Bible. This Bible does not change the text of the Word it only enhances with additional information that helps you understand what is happening contextually.

I received this Bible from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

-Elle

Coming Home for Christmas Review and Giveaway

Christmas is right around the corner, it’s a time for families to come together and enjoy one each others company and to celebrate together, but for sisters Kate and Melanie Christmas hasn’t been that way. After a disastrous wedding five years earlier the once close sisters no longer speak to each other. With the pain and absence of Kate and Melanie, their parents marriage is suffering and is close to an end. Kate is determined to put the past behind her and reach out to Melanie to save their parents’ marriage. She has a big plan to get everyone together at the house where they grew up, where there were happier memories, the only problem is that somebody else is living there. Will Kate be able to get her family together for Christmas and make amends with Melanie before it’s to late?

Norman Rockwell presents Coming Home for Christmas, a heart-warming story of hope and forgiveness during the holiday season. Many times when it comes to Christmas movies you get very cheesy films; however, this one was a sweet story about how important family is, although it has a few cheesy moments overall I really enjoyed this movie and lose the message that it presents. This is a great movie for friends and family to watch throughout the Christmas season.

I received this DVD complimentary in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

*Giveaway*

Leave a comment about what you are excited to be ‘Coming home for Christmas’ too for a chance to win a copy of this movie!

 

-Elle

Ephesians: Discovering Your Identity and Purpose in Christ By: Sue Edwards

Sue Edwards has put together an amazing and challenging study on the book of Ephesians. From the start of the study to the end you will be challenged and discover what your identity in Christ is. This book contains 9 Lessons that you can complete at your own pace, starting with learning to sit and ending with sit down to stand each lesson will have you read a passage of scripture than go into questions about the content of the section and what Paul is teaching.

With each lesson Edwards has given you the option of how in depth you want to get into the section, along with optional memory verses, as well as thoughts from Sue. The questions that Sue provides will help you to dig into who you are in Christ and the message that He brings.

Edwards Bible Study will bring you to a better understanding of the book of Ephesians, this book is not a study that tells you everything but instead leads to great topics of discussion as well as opportunities to really grow in your relationship. This is a book that is great Bible Study for groups as well as for individual study.

I highly recommend Sue Edwards Bible Studies.

-Elle

I received this book complimentary from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Forgiveness: Overcoming the Impossible By: @Matthew_West

Forgiveness, it’s such a simple word but encompasses so much, many times we are told to ‘forgive and forget’ but it is never that easy, and because of that not forgiving others actually causes more harm to us.

A few years back, Christian music artist, Matthew West, was on a mission to discover the stories of the lives of ordinary people. What happened was incredible as he received over twenty thousand beautiful stories of everyday people. Through these stories West learned that forgiveness was unavoidable and an essential part of life that could bring peace and fulfillment.

Forgiveness can define who we are as a person, it can mean the difference between brokenness and healing, joy and peace. Through all of the stories West realized there were four very important questions that needed answered

1. Is there someone in my life I need to forgive?

2. Is there someone I have wronged and need to ask to forgive me?

3. Have I forgiven myself for mistakes I’ve made in my past?

4. Have I embraced my need of the forgiveness God offers to me?

Through this book Matthew West has compiled a list of stories about forgiveness that will touch your heart but will also move you to realize the story of forgiveness in your lives. Each story will cover different topics from forgiving others, forgiving yourself, asking for forgiveness and embracing God’s forgiveness.

This book will help you to understand how the power of forgiveness can affect someone’s life and show you that although it is difficult, and everything in you may be screaming not to forgive someone for the hurt they have caused, that the only way to find peace and joy is to give forgiveness and accept it from others.

This is a powerful book that will have you examining who in your life you need to forgive or whose forgiveness you may need to accept. You will be moved with the many stories of real people and what they have gone through. This is not necessarily a book you can read straight through, but is a great reminder that when you are struggling to forgive someone you can turn to any of these stories and be reminded of the power of forgiveness.

I received this book complimentary through the Booksneeze program in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

-Elle

The Prodigals: Giants in the Land Book 2 By: Clark Burbidge

In book two of Clark Rich Burbidge’s Giants in the Land we return to the villages seventeen years later, the towns have been attacked frequently by raiders and they take everything and anyone they please.

Tommy is tired of being compared to his grandfather, Thomas, he was  a great man who became a giant in his town and now Tommy’s parents see the same characteristics in him, but he doesn’t believe he can live up to his grandfathers name and rebels against becoming like him. Than one day the person that understands him best, his thirteen year old sister, Rose, is kidnapped by raiders and Tommy knows that it is his turn to step up. That he is the one meant to go after his sister. Much like his grandfather did many years ago, Tommy sets out in search of help from the Giants to be able to save his sister.

Burbidge has created a fantastic series, during a time when supernatural books are the trend it is amazing to see a series aimed at the younger generation that not only pulls them into a story and gets kids reading, but a story that also challenges kids to find their full potential and to grow and become giants in their own lives. Burbidge’s book teaches you that as you go through life working towards being a giant the journey may be tough but that faith will get you through and that it is all worth it.

I absolutely love the Giant in the Land series! These books are easy to read for everyone not only are they stories full of action and adventure but they also teach an amazing lesson. These books will entertain kids and have them thinking but also go to a deeper level that will challenge adult readers.  This is the perfect book for any reader looking for something new to read!

I received this book complimentary from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

Also! I have the opportunity to give away a Giants in the Land T-shirt! If you would like to enter leave a comment on this post!

 

Win This!

-Elle

The 12 Days of Christmas

Christmas is getting closer! Don’t jump ahead of yourself though and remember to celebrate Thanksgiving surrounded by friends, family and a few good books to prepare you for the holiday season! If you are looking for the perfect holiday read, or a short holiday novella to breeze through as you wait for the turkey to cook I have the perfect books for you!

For those of you planning to be cooking and entertaining guests here are two quick reads from Colleen Coble you can enjoy and finish quickly in the free moments that you find!

Holy Night By: Colleen Coble

Leia has everything planned. The caterers are booked, the food ordered, the dresses bought. She is finally ready to be married, but in one moment her innocent little sister Eva has disappeared, and in a moment all of her wedding plans have changed. With a single phone call Leia is scared for her sister Eva and unsure of where to turn, with her wedding cancelled her relationships are tested as she searches to find Leia.

Colleen Coble has pulled together a short and sweet story that at the same time is filled with mystery and suspense that keeps you guessing at each turn. With a Hawaiian wedding Coble has added a new scene to the stereo-typical Christmas stories, you will love trying to discover what has happened to Eva, the only negative being that as a novella the story comes to an end much too soon!

In Silent Night Colleen Coble brings us back to our friends in Rock Harbor. Bree Matthews is preparing for Christmas, ready and waiting for family to arrive, her sister-in-law Lauri shows up early, even though classes don’t end for another two weeks and on top of that Bree and her faithful search-and-rescue dog, Samson are back on the trail after a parachuter has gone missing, while searching Bree finds Lauri out in the woods, and things with her are not adding up. Bree and Kade know that Lauri is hiding something, and that she may no more than what appears about the missing parachuter and his neighbor who went missing a few weeks earlier.

Another beautiful Rock Harbor story from Colleen Coble, we see the inner struggles of these characters, we see as Lauri begins to understand what it means to not be selfish and to be others-focused. Coble has a beautiful skill with words and an ability to drag you into a story where you can curl up and feel like you belong in the town of Rock Harbor.

Set in Ohio just after WWII A Christmas Gift for Rose follows the story of Rose, a young Amish woman, who believed she knew what her future held, a typical Amish life, married to Jonathan and staying at home creating the family she dreams of. With Jonathan returning from the war, she doesn’t know if she could go back to him, with the disapproval of the Amish community. Rose’s family has a secret about her life, and in the midst of everything with Jonathan they give her some information that sends her world into a spiral of questions and has her wondering where her life will lead.

A Christmas Gift for Rose is a beautiful story about love and finding yourself and finding where your home truly is. Tricia Goyer has shared with us an amazing story of love, faith and family just in time for the Christmas season. This book will pull at your heartstrings. A short and quick read, this is the book you will want to share with all your friends and family.

Anna loves her grandparents who raised her, her grandfather, the bishop, however, is very strict and does not want to see change come into their Amish community. Anna doesn’t understand why no one seems to be interested in her, but those who have considered courting her are afraid to because of her grandfather. There’s a new boy in town and he finds that Anna may be the person he wants to court.

Anna is starting to see that her grandfather’s strict rules are dividing the community. Everyone is hiding secrets and Anna finds her faith slipping as she tries to follow her dream to start a family. Can Anna figure out how to balance the two important people in her life? The grandparents who raised her and her love for Jacob?

This was my first Beth Wiseman book, and I am not always a fan of Amish fiction but Beth Wiseman knows how to weave a story and create characters on all levels. Through this book you can see the struggle and process as Anna tries to figure out what to do and how to do what is best for her family. This is a beautiful story of faith and following your dreams for the future.

I received all of these books complimentary through the Litfuse Publicity Program for the 12 Days of Christmas in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

-Elle

The 12 Days of Christmas!

Thomas Nelson & Zondervan Fiction are hosting the 12 Days of Christmas! They’ve teamed up with three of their authors for a Merry Facebook Party on November 12th {5pm Pacific / 8pm Eastern}. Colleen, Tricia, and Beth will host an evening of book chat, Christmas traditions, and of course plenty of presents!



But wait! There’s more! Each day between now and November 12th a different book (10 copies of each book) will be given away on the Thomas Nelson & Zondervan Fiction Facebook Page. Ring in the holiday season and warm your heart with some great reads from Thomas Nelson and Zondervan!

xmasparty-500

Click here to ENTER each day’s giveaway here.
RSVP for the Christmas Party here!
Good luck and hope to see you on the evening of the 12th!