Thursday, August 25, 2016

Always Watching by Lynette Eason


 Always Watching
by Lynette Eason
Elite Guardians series, Book 1
Christian Fiction / Romantic Suspense
February 2016 // Revell // 336 pages

About the Book
Intensity. Skill. Tenacity.
The bodyguards of Elite Guardians Agency have it all.

When it becomes clear that popular psychiatrist and radio personality Wade Savage has a stalker, his father secretly hires Elite Guardians to protect his son. But when Wade's bodyguard is attacked and nearly killed, agency owner Olivia Edwards must step in and fill the gap.

Olivia's skills are about to be tested to the limit as Wade's stalker moves from leaving innocent gifts at his door to threatening those closest to him--including Olivia. But in her mind, even more dangerous than the threats to her life is the hold her handsome client has on her heart.

Buy a copy  |  Read an excerpt  |  Find out what others think

My Thoughts
Every time I read a book by one of my favorite authors, I'm always hopeful that the newest book will live up to my expectations. I'm thrilled to say that Always Watching surpassed every expectation that I had for a new book from Lynette Eason. So what did I love so much about the book?

1. A strong female lead. It seems that the majority of suspense fiction features a strong male lead with a damsel in distress who needs rescuing. I certainly enjoy many of those stories, but it was nice to read a story featuring the female lead as the "rescuer." Plus, it added a great dynamic where the male lead needed to be protected but also wanted to do the protecting. Lots of tension there!

2. Intriguing relationships. Because of the tension between the protector and the protectee, it made the development of the relationships very interesting. I also enjoyed meeting Wade's daughter and seeing her struggle through the craziness that unfolded around her.

3. True suspense. At any given time, I had 4-5 suspects. Every time that I thought I knew who the "bad guy" was, I quickly realized I was wrong and began to rethink things. And no one was "cleared" until the very end when the culprit was revealed.

4. Strong faith element. Wade was an excellent witness of true Christian faith. Through conversations and the way he lived his life during extremely trying circumstances, his faith was evident to everyone around him.

Overall, I thought this was an amazing book. I honestly thought it was Lynette's best yet and am looking forward to reading the next books in the series!
[5 stars]

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my fair and honest review.

About the Author
Lynette Eason is the bestselling author of the Women of Justice series and the Deadly Reunions series. She was a 2013 finalist for the ECPA Book Awards and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. She has a master's degree in education from Converse College and she lives in South Carolina.

Lynette Eason Online 
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Happy Birthday to You! by Michelle Medlock Adams


Happy Birthday to You!
Written by Michelle Medlock Adams
Illustrated by Sandra Rodriguez
Children's Board Book
Available August 2016
Worthy Kids/Ideals
16 pages

About the Book
This musical board book includes all the ingredients that make a birthday special for a child: balloons and presents, cake and candles, and, of course, the birthday song! Follow along throughout a day of celebration, concluding with a good night blessing, then push the button to hear the melody of “Happy Birthday.” Book features a photo pocket on the last page to allow for personalizing.

My Thoughts
The idea of this book is super cute—a book to celebrate a birthday of a child. My favorite page was the last one, which was almost something of a blessing for the kid of the day. The other thing I absolutely loved about this book was the bright, colorful illustrations. I thought it was also fun to have a place for a picture of the birthday boy or girl and to be able to sing along with the birthday song.

Many families will enjoy this book, but it’s not the best for us; it just doesn’t fit how we celebrate birthdays. I loved the focus on celebrating big, but the focus was centered around a big party, big cake, big presents, big games, lots of guests, etc. And that isn’t how we typically celebrate birthdays. BUT if your family celebrates this way, this book will probably be a winner for you.  [3 stars]

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my fair and honest review.

About the Author
Michelle Medlock Adams began her career in journalism; but when she had two children of her own, she quickly turned to writing children’s books, including the successful What Is . . . series for WorthyKids/Ideals. Michelle has two grown daughters and lives in Bedford, Indiana, with her husband, Jeff.

About the Illustrator
Sandra Rodriguez grew up in Mexico in a house with a big garden. From doodling her way through math class to playing with her dogs, her creative spirit was evident. Rodriguez’s illustrations are inspired by simple, everyday life: children playing in the park, people walking their dogs, families interacting after school. Rodriguez favors watercolor because it allows her to transmit the movement and emotion of life into her illustrations.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

By Your Side by Candace Calvert

 
By Your Side
by Candace Calvert
Crisis Team series, Book 1
Christian Fiction / Romance / Medical Suspense
Available March 2015
Tyndale House
384 pages

About the Book
ER nurse Macy Wynn learned essential, gritty lessons in the California foster care system: land on your feet and trust no one. She’s finally located the fellow foster child she loves like a sister, but the girl’s in deep trouble. Macy’s determined to help, no matter what it takes. Her motto is to “make it happen” in any situation life throws at her—even when she butts heads with an idealistic cop.

Deputy Fletcher Holt believes in a higher plan, the fair outcome—and his ability to handle that by himself if necessary. Now he’s been yanked from Houston, his mother is battling cancer, and he’s attracted to a strong-willed nurse who could be the target of a brutal sniper.

When everything goes wrong, where do they put their trust?

My Thoughts
What a great book! It may be my favorite of Calvert’s so far! While this falls under the category of “medical suspense,” there’s a greater emphasis on the suspense and romance. Many of the characters are crisis chaplains, which is a unique role to see in a book. Perhaps a greater emphasis on helping people after a tragedy or trauma would decrease the fallout we’re seeing in this crazy world.

Macy and Fletcher were amazing leading characters. They’re both tough but have some baggage that needs to be dealt with. I especially enjoyed Macy as a character. She’s a great example of what happens when God is at work in your life. I readers will find ways (even small ones) to relate to Macy.

Love this book and recommend it highly!
[5 stars]

About the Author
Candace Calvert is a former ER nurse and author of the Mercy Hospital, Grace Medical, and Crisis Team series. Her medical dramas offer readers a chance to "scrub in" on the exciting world of emergency medicine. Wife, mother, and very proud grandmother, Candace makes her home in northern California. Please visit her website at www.candacecalvert.com.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

In the Beginning / The Great Flood Flip-Over Book


In the Beginning / The Great Flood Flip-Over Book
Written by B&H Kids Editorial Team
Illustrated by Heath McPherson
The Big Picture Interactive series
Children's Bible Story
Available May 2016
B&H Kids
32 pages

About the Book
What's better than a favorite Bible story? Two favorite Bible stories! Learn about how God created everything, and then flip the book over and learn about Noah and the flood! These Big Picture Interactive Flip-Over books offer coloring fun, as well, so you can make the story your own. Collect all six in the series:  In the Beginning/The Great Flood Brave Queen Esther/David and the Giant Mighty Miracles/Joseph the Dreamer Jesus Grows Up/Jesus Teaches the People Jesus' Miracles/Finding the LostThe Birth of a King/Jesus Saves His People.

Don't miss any of the products in the Big Picture brand, which includes The Big Picture Interactive Bible Storybook, The Big Picture Interactive Bible, The Big Picture Interactive Bible Stories in 5 Minutes, The Gospel Story, and The Big Picture Interactive Bible Stories for Toddlers.

My Thoughts
What's better than a great Bible story? Two great Bible stories for the price of one! And when the stories are really close to the stories as presented in the Bible (even using some of the same language and phrases), that's even better!

I really liked the format of this book as well. The coloring page for each story as well as the elements on each page for the child to color are sure to keep kids' minds engaged. And the parent connection for each story is great for helping parents talk with their kids further about the story and the truths that can be applied to each person's life.

I'll be on the lookout for the other titles in this series. These would be a great addition to every young reader's library! [5 stars]

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my fair and honest review.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

God Made You Just Right by Jill Roman Lord


God Made You Just Right
Written by Jill Roman Lord
Illustrated by Amy Wummer
Children's Board Book
Available August 2016
Worthy Kids/Ideals
22 pages

About the Book
Here is a message that every parent will want to share with his or her child: “You’re brilliantly created and there’s no one else like you!” In a manner that even the youngest child will understand, Jill Roman Lord shares the message that God created each of us in just the right way. Bright and engaging illustrations from Amy Wummer pair perfectly with the text.

My Thoughts
What a sweet story about how God created each of us uniquely—and just right for whatever we're supposed to do! I do wish that the focus had been more on character and less on physical traits (arms, legs, etc.), but it's still a great message. And very poetic. The illustrations are beautiful as well, lovely watercolors! If you're looking for a book that teaches children about how God made them, check this one out! [4 stars]

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my fair and honest review.

About the Author
Jill Roman Lord won her first writing contest in first grade, and she’s been writing ever since. Some of Jill’s titles include One Night in Bethlehem and If Jesus Lived Inside My Heart. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, three children, and their golden retriever.

About the Illustrator
Amy Wummer has been illustrating children’s books for 18 years. Her playful watercolor illustrations evoke the wonder of a child’s delight in the world.

Monday, August 8, 2016

How Big Is Love? by Amy Parker

 
How Big Is Love?
Written by Amy Parker 
Illustrated by Breezy Brookshire
Faith, Hope, Love series
Children's Board Book
Available August 2016
B&H Publishing Group
24 pages

About the Book
“Mama, just how does love get so big?”

Little Hedgehog is determined to understand just how love works. His curious questions will warm your heart, and his sweet story will remind you that love grows every time you give it away.

Based on the important message of 1 Corinthians 13:13, the Faith, Hope, Love series will plant important seeds in children's hearts. Don't miss the other titles in the series: How Far Is Faith?, How High Is Hope?, and The Faith, Hope, Love Devotional.

My Thoughts
How Big Is Love? is a padded board book that is perfect for small children. I loved the message of this book—that nothing (!!!) is bigger or more anything than God's love! What a great message to read to and with babies and young children.

The language is simple enough for toddlers, yet succinctly tells a bigger story. The illustrations are whimsical. And the construction of the book is perfect for little hands (thick pages definitely won't tear easily).

This is one of the best children's books that I've read recently, and I'll be watching for the rest of the series! [5 stars]

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my fair and honest review.

About the Author
Amy Parker has written more than twenty books for children, teens, and adults including the best-selling A Night Night Prayer and three Mom’s Choice Awards winners. Amy and her husband have two children.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Big Picture Interactive Bible Story Devotional (5 stars)


The Big Picture Interactive Bible Story Devotional
by B&H Publishing 
Children's Devotional
Available February 2015
224 pages

About the Book
The Big Picture Interactive Bible Story Devotional is the perfect way to bring the Bible to life in a kid's heart! This unique 52-week devotional is packed with value and includes interactivity kids will love. A Bible story is at the center of each weekly devotion, and a two-to-four minute video is available by scanning a QR code. Plus, a free downloadable app lets kids experience a digital "pop-up" (using Augmented Reality) of each Bible story along with narration by Jenna Lucado Bishop. Get more info here.

My Thoughts
I'm always looking for new books that will help kids grow in their relationship with God, and The Big Picture Interactive Bible Story Devotional is a resource I can recommend. The book is divided up into 52 short devotions for elementary-age kids. Each devotion is divided up into several sections: a one-page devotion, a short "augmented reality" clip that they can watch and hear using the mobile app, a passage of Scripture, questions for further thought, a video clip, and more. While it's intended for children to use on their own, I can see how this could also be used in family worship or even in homeschooling. One "devotion" could easily be stretched into a week's worth of discussions.

The devotions themselves are short, easy to read, and straightforward. If read in order, they will take a child through the entire Bible, showing how the Bible tells one complete story. This is something that I've only learned as an adult, so I love the emphasis on teaching children from a young age.

I definitely recommend this devotion and will confidently give it to the littles in my life. [5 stars]

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my fair and honest review.


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