Monday, December 22, 2014

The Healer's Touch by Lori Copeland

ISBN: 9780736956536 
About the book: Lyric Bolton desires friendship and acceptance from her Missouri community. Instead, her family is regarded with suspicion and fear because of her mother's mental illness. Resigned to living in isolation, Lyric doesn't see any way out---until Ian Cawley bolts into her life on a runaway stallion. But what will happen when he discovers her secrets?

My thoughts: I do enjoy Lori Copeland’s books and she has written a lot of them. The Healer’s Touch was not a favorite of mine, though. I felt the title somewhat misleading as I anticipated a character who truly had a healer’s touch in that they were helpful with people’s injuries and sicknesses. That was not the case in the story.

Secondly, while folklore is replete with a variety of “lights” and things that go-bump-in-the-night, this story capitalized on a “spooklight” legend from the mountains. I felt it was a bit overplayed and overdone as far as its inclusion into the story.

The characters were nicely fleshed out and seemed to fill the bill of “hillbilly” mountain folks. Lyric was the female lead and a devoted daughter. She was hard working and fell in love with the stranger, Ian, who literally came bolting into her life. My favorite characters were Lark (sister to Lyric) and Boots (friend of Lark’s). There two were into everything, totally preteen-mountain-kids, and so very funny. You’ll literally chuckle at some of their conversations and actions.

So what do I think about The Healer’s Touch? I think it is a good book to read. Clean. Funny. Characters that put God first and who have compassionate hearts. I can easily recommend it for a light, easy read. It just wasn’t one of my favorite Lori Copeland books.

DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy was provided by Harvest House Publishing in exchange for this review. Opinions are those of the reviewer. No compensation was received for this review.

Thursday, December 18, 2014


ISBN: 9780553418972

About the book: Released to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of the Broadway premiere, the full text and lyrics from the original production of one of the most beloved musicals of the 20th century

Fiddler on the Roof is well established as one of the great works of American musical theater. Adapted from the tales of Yiddish writer Sholom Alecheim and set in Tsarist Russia in 1905, it has proven an indelible tale of family, tradition, wit, and sorrow—all filtered through the ordeals of Tevye, a Jewish Everyman. Tevye, who lives in the fictional village Anatevka, is a hard-working milkman who clings to his faith and traditions, while dreaming of riches he'll never see. He believes he'll need a matchmaker to marry off his older daughters—but they soon force their more modern ideas about romance upon him. His celebrated journey to maintain his family and his faith amidst a rapidly changing world make for a timelessly profound read; the very definition of a classic. 

This edition also preempts the next Broadway revival, scheduled for 2015.

Review: FIDDLER ON THE ROOF is an easy read book written in the form of a play. Set in Russia in the year 1905, the plot centers around a loving husband and father, Tevye, who is steeped in Jewish tradition and struggles through the unorthodox ways in which his daughters fall in love, become engaged, and marry certain young men of the village.

As his character develops and begins to accept a more modern approach to romance, his love for his wife and children deepens; and, although at the end of the play he must move from his village and begin a new way of life, he still values the traditions of his ancestry and holds on to his faith in God who has orchestrated all circumstances.

FIDDLER ON THE ROOF has had a lengthy and quite successful run on the Broadway stage and is, no doubt, one of the most beloved musicals of the twentieth century. This copy of the play will be a good addition to the Alamance Christian School library.

Author information: Joseph Stein (1912-2010) was an playwright best known for such musicals as Fiddler on the Roof and Zorba. Born to Jewish immigrants, Stein grew up in the Bronx. He began his career as a psychiatric social worker, while writing comedy on the side. A chance encounter with Zero Mostel led him to writing for radio personalities. He was honored with the Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement in Musical Theater, and in 2008 was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame.

DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy of Fiddler on the Roof was provided by the Blogging For Books Review Program in exchange for our review. No compensation was received for this review. Opinions expressed are those of the reviewer.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Turtle Summer By Mary Alice Monroe Photography by Barbara J. Bergwerf

Hardcover $16.95
ISBN: 9780977742356
About the book: This is a companion book to Mary Alice Monroe's novel, Swimming Lessons, the sequel to The Beach House. In the novel, the readers witness a young mother, Toy, writing a journal for her daughter, Little Lovie. This is the journal Toy is writing. Using original photographs, this scrapbook journal explains the nesting cycle of sea turtles and the natural life along the southeastern coast, including local shore birds, shells, and the sea turtle hospital. Adults and children will enjoy the images, information and the journal with or without the novel.

Review: This is an amazingly informative book about sea turtles. I loved the photography and explanations for each photograph. I learned a lot from this book and that it will be a great book for all ages. The excellent photography will help to keep the reader engaged while learning all about sea turtles.

Identification of other sea life and shells creates a multipurpose read or study for children to learn about the seacoast. The back of the book has a special section, "For Creative Minds," which helps the reader (and the adult to guide the child) in learning about the wonderful cycle of sea turtles and shell identification. This would be a wonderfully engaging book for families to read prior to a trip to the coast and to take with them.

Author: Mary Alice Monroe is the New York Times bestselling author of The Beach House, Swimming Lessons, Beach House Memories, Skyward, Sweetgrass, Time is a River, Last Light Over Carolina, and The Butterfly’s Daughter among other novels. Her first children’s book, Turtle Summer: A Journal for my Daughter (ASPCA Henry Bergh award-winner) was released to great acclaim in 2007 as a picture book companion to her adult novel, Swimming Lessons.

Illustrator: Barbara J. Bergwerf photo journals her nature-related volunteer involvement at the South Carolina Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Hospital, the Island Turtle Team on Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s Island, and the South Carolina Center for Birds of Prey.

DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy was provided by Arbordale to facilitate this review. No compensation was received and opinions expressed are those of the reviewer.

Friday, December 12, 2014

(Review & Giveaway) Farewell, Four Waters…A Novel based on True Events…One aid worker’s sudden escape from Afghanistan by Kate McCord {Review & Giveaway}

About the book: In 14 days, the life she knew would end on the streets of Kabul.  All Marie needed was a few stamps and signatures – the mandatory paperwork necessary for the Afghan government – and she could hold literacy classes in the rural town of Shektan.  Her hope:  Afghan women would learn to read.

Suddenly, shots resonated.  An aid worker killed at an intersection in Kabul.  The community scattered.
 Most decided to say farewell.  Not Marie; she chose to stay, to teach.  But she was unaware that this choice would make her a pawn at the center of a local feud.  Kidnapping was Marie’s worst fear.  She didn’t know treachery was more deadly.

Farewell, Four Waters is based on actual events the author and other aid workers faced in Afghanistan in 2008.  See through their eyes the dangers faced globally even today.

Review: This is an excellent book.  I was so intrigued by the author’s story – her desire to be in Afghanistan, to help the women and to also share truth about Jesus – to live in a country where women are viewed in a much lower way than we could ever possibly know as citizens of the United States.

The author shows us we can and should depend upon the Lord for guidance and protection; and while this is not the main topic of the book, it is a thread that runs throughout her story.  The author takes us into the country and beyond just what we may see on the evening news.  She shares with us the friendships she built, the deep sadness of leaving the country and the ultimate horror of watching innocent people being killed for little to no reason.

Farewell, Four Waters is the second book written by Kate McCord.  It is a sequel to In the Land of Blue Burqas and I will be reading it as soon as I can.  If it is anything like Farewell, Four Waters, I will not be disappointed and will perhaps have an greater understanding of the people in Afghanistan and an encouragement to pray for that country.

We take for granted all that we have here in the United States and think that a little trouble is great tragedy.  We do not have to worry about persecution for expressing our beliefs.  If we are persecuted, it is so small in comparison that it cannot be called persecution.  I highly recommend this book to our High School students and desire that through their reading of this story,  they may realize how very fortunate they are to be a citizen of the United States of America!

GIVEAWAY is open for USA & Canada for a print copy of Farewell Four Waters. Begins Dec. 12 & ENDS January 5 @ 12:01 a.m. ET.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
About Kate McCord: Kate McCord, a protective pseudonym, lived and worked in Afghanistan from 2005 to 2010. During her years in country, she worked as a humanitarian aid worker, delivering projects to benefit the people of Afghanistan. She also learned the local language and developed deep and lasting friendships with local Afghans. After evacuating from her home in Afghanistan, Kate transitioned into a mentoring, training, consulting and coaching role to other workers serving in the region. Prior to moving to Afghanistan, she worked in the international corporate community as a business process and strategy consultant. Today, Kate serves Christ through writing, speaking, mentoring and conducting workshops and seminars.

DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy was provided by Side Door Communications in exchange for our review. Opinions expressed are solely those of the reviewer. No compensation was received for this review.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Daring Heart of David Livingstone – Exile, African Slavery, and the Publicity Stunt that Saved Millions by Jay Milbrandt

About the book: In the century since his death, David Livingstone's life has been recast, rewoven, and retold as the rugged adventure of a patriotic scientist on the dangerous road to discovery. He has been alternately painted as a real-life Indiana Jones and a one-man Lewis and Clark. Livingstone has been secularized, lionized . . . and misunderstood.

Most consistently overlooked (or ignored) in accounts of Livingstone's life is the contribution he made to the abolition of the slave trade in Africa--and the Christian faith that drove his efforts. The Daring Heart of David Livingstone removes the veil that history has cast over the faith of a valiant Christian believer.

The quest for the source of the Nile will forever be associated with David Livingstone, and his adventures in the name of scientific ambition certainly make for a compelling story. Equally compelling, however, and far more important, is the story of African liberty, freedom, and redemption that this flawed foreigner left in the wake of his death.

Here, finally, is David Livingstone's complete story: the story of a man of great faith, fallen in his humanity but driven by his belief in the sanctity of God's creation. Though few could ever match his wonder at the natural world, it was his horror at human enslavement that propelled him in his most courageous, longsuffering work.

Review: I must quickly confess that prior to reading this book, I knew very little about the life of David Livingstone.  What I had heard through Sunday School was all that I knew – David Livingstone was a great missionary to Africa, preaching and sharing God’s Word and the plan of salvation.   I had no idea he was considered a great explorer and scientist.  I knew little to nothing of his desire and goal to abolish slave trading in and out of Africa and that the great expedition to discover the source of the mighty Nile River was a means to an end for Livingstone – the abolition of slavery.  I am embarrassed at my ignorance about this great man, but I can definitely say that it is not as great now as before.

This book has been an eye-opener for me and a good teacher.

 “The Daring Heart of David Livingstone” begins with Livingstone’s return to London at the end of 1856 and culminates with his death May 1, 1873, and the signing of a treaty for complete abolition of slave trading in Africa in August 1874.  The book takes us through an almost 20-year journey by Livingstone.  Along the way, we experience Livingstone’s success and failures.  We see him as man with faults, but never wavering from his desired goal – a goal he did not see achieved during his lifetime.  

In the author’s note at the front of the book:  “Livingstone would never know the success of his grand publicity stunt.  A mere thirty-six days after passing away deep in the heart of Africa, legislation in Zanzibar would make slavery illegal in East Africa.  He passed away believing he failed in almost everything in life.  For abolition, he sacrificed his career, his reputation, his fortune, his wife, his children, and eventually, his own life.”

“The Daring Heart of David Livingstone” is a good book and one I recommend.  I will be reading more about David Livingstone.  Thank you to the author Jay Milbrandt.

Jay Milbrandt, author,  is a professor at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota. He is a Senior Fellow in Global Justice with the Nootbaar Institute at Pepperdine University School of Law where he formerly directed the Global Justice Program. He travels throughout the world as a human rights lawyer, manages global initiatives in Africa and Southeast Asia, and consults with organizations engaged in human rights and legal development efforts.

DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy was provided by BookLook Blogging program on behalf of the publisher and author to facilitate this review. Opinions expressed are solely those of the reviewer. No compensation was received for this review.

Ready, Set... WAIT! What Animals Do Before a Hurricane by Patti R. Zelch & Illustrated by Connie McLennan

ISBN: 9781607180722
 Hardcover $16.95
About the book: Hurricane . . . just the word brings to mind the power of these natural disasters. Humans watch the news and know of impending arrival. We board up windows and gather supplies. We might huddle in our homes or go inland. Then we wait for the storm to arrive. But what do wild animals do? Do they know when a storm is coming? If so, how do they prepare? This book explains how nine animals sense, react, and prepare for a hurricane. Based on research or observations, the brief portraits are explained in simple, poetic language for children of all ages.

Review: What do animals do when a hurricane is coming? That is what this book discusses. It talks about people and how they get prepared as well as many animals in and out of the ocean.

This book is best for younger children. Although, there is a lot of informative information that would be helpful to adults even at the end of the story.
I recommend this book for younger children. It is a great book that describes hurricanes in a "not so scary" way.

DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy was provided by Arbordale Publishing to facilitate this review. Opinions expressed are solely those of the reviewer. No compensation was received for this review.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

If a Dolphin Were a Fish By Loran Wlodarski & Illustrated by Laurie Allen Klein

Hardcover ISBN: 9780976882329, $15.95
About the book:  "If a Dolphin Were a Fish" is the clever story of a dolphin who imagines that she is a fish, a turtle, a bird, an octopus, or even a shark or manatee. She (and the readers) learn just how special she really is and how special each of her other sea animal friends are too. The Creative Minds section has teaching trivia, crafts and games related to dolphins and some of her sea-creature friends.

Review: Delfina is a dolphin who wonders what it might be like to be another animal. The reader learns about other animals and how they live compared to Delfina, the dolphin.

The illustrations are wonderful and help to keep the reader engaged. They flow (like water) with a gentle artistry and the use of watercolors is beautifully executed. This is a beautifully written story - simply stated but engaging and educational. I recommend this book to everyone especially elementary children.  There is a section in the back called "For Creative Minds". This is an educational section for further learning.

Loran Wlodarski, author,   is a science writer for SeaWorld and has written six books for them in addition to his many normal daily responsibilities. He has been published in sources such as Grolier’s Encyclopedia for Children and The Marine Mammal Encyclopedia. 

Laurie Allen Klein, illustrator,  has been a freelance artist for nearly 25 years. Over the last several years, she has worked as the on-staff artist for a marine park, where she does everything from painting life-size sea animal murals to illustrating children’s activity books.
If a dolphin were a manatee,
Delfina would only eat plants.
If a dolphin were a fish,
Delphina could spend all of her time
DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy was provided by Arbordale Publishing to facilitate this review. Opinions expressed are those of the reviewer. No compensation was received for this review.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Oceans Seasons By Ron Hirschi Illustrated by Kirsten Carlson

Hardcover ISBN: 9780977742325, $15.95
About the book: Seasons change in the ocean much as they do on land. Spring brings new plants and baby animals, while summer oceans are aglow with sparkly plankton lights, and autumn winds blow across the open water. In winter the humpback whales migrate to warmer waters, just as some land animals move to warmer climates. In fun, fanciful form, children learn about plants and animals that are joined through the mix of seasons, food webs and habitats beneath the waves. While set in the Pacific, similar changes occur in all the world's ocean.

Review: This book discusses the seasons of the sea - just as the land surface of the Earth has seasons, so does the sea. Plants and animals throughout this book are presented with interesting facts about the ocean. This would be a great book for ages preschool through elementary.  The incorporation of math in the story line adds interest and depth to the value of this lovely book.
The illustrations are colorful with gently flowing lines and coloration and will keep the reader intrigued. The text is engaging and lyrical.
The back of the book contains information to help with educational pursuit of ocean ecology in the way of little tear-out cards (which can be copied or also downloaded from the website). Information on the seasons of life, food chain of life, and also yearly seasons is fleshed out for use as an add-in for curriculum, great for libraries, super for pre-beach trips. Further value is afforded by Arbordale with the reading and math quizzes provided on the website here and also here.

I recommend this book for any younger child who loves the ocean and wants to learn more about what is under the sea.

Author Ron Hirschi (Ocean Seasons) lives on a small island in western Washington and walks the beach most days of the year. As a biologist, he also spends much time on the water, learning about and helping salmon and other aquatic fish and wildlife. As an author, he brings the excitement of what he learns onto the pages of books for young readers. Ron has written over 50 children’s books. His books have been listed as Best Science Trade Books of the year, and won the John Burroughs Nature Book among other awards. 

Illustrator Kirsten Carlson is fascinated by animals and nature. Her background in biology, scientific illustration and design has given her the tools to share stories about the natural world through illustration. She believes illustrating children's books are a wonderful way to connect others to nature. 

DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy was provided by Arbordale to facilitate this review. Opinions expressed are our own.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Movie Reviw: SUSIE'S HOPE distributed by Green Apple Entertainment

About the movie: Run time 105 minutes:  Based on the true story that successfully passed Susie’s Law in North Carolina, which seeks stricter punishment for animal abusers, Susie’s Hope brings to life the inspirational relationship between pit bull attack survivor Donna Lawrence and Susie, a pit bull-mix puppy found beaten, burned and left for dead. Recognizing neglect and abuse were to blame for the tragic attack that nearly claimed her life 10 months earlier, Donna rescues the battered animal and accepts her as family. Together, they learn to heal, love and forgive as they lead a historic effort to seek justice and protection, not only for Susie, but all animals. Starring Emmanuelle Vaguer (40 Days and 40 Nights), Burgess Jenkins (Remember The Titans) and Andrea Powell (Ender’s Game, The Twighlight: Breaking Dawn Saga: Part 2), Susie’s Hope is an incredible story of love, loss and redemption.

Review: This video presentation is based on the true story of Donna Lawrence, survivor of a pit bull attack, and her adopted dog Susie, Susie, part pit bull, had been viciously abused by her previous owner and left for dead. Donna overcomes her fears to care for this beaten and burned puppy.

Donna’s own attack was the result of neglect and abuse, and Donna determined to fight to see a law pass in North Carolina which would seek stricter punishment for those found guilty of animal abuse. Because of the efforts of Donna Lawrence and others who were supportive of the legislation, the Susie’s Law was passed in North Carolina.

As far as the movie itself is concerned, while the true story of Susie was very interesting, the acting left something to be desired in my opinion.  In addition, there was one occasion when an expletive was used and another scene that involved drinking alcohol which makes me hesitant to fully endorse for family viewing.  The movie has not been rated, and in light of those scenes as well as showing the scene of the dog attack I believe this movie would probably receive a PG rating.  I did find the movie information interesting because it dealt with a true story that occurred in my own native North Carolina.  (reviewed by J.LaTour)

About Susie:  Susie was found nearly dead in Greenfield Park in Greensboro, North Carolina on August 20, 2009. Just a puppy, Susie had licked the face of her owner’s newborn baby. Her owner became violent—she was beaten so severely her jaw was broken. That wasn’t enough, though. She was then set on fire and left for dead. Incredibly and against all odds Susie survived. Donna Lawrence adopted her two months later. Susie is now a trained therapy dog and event won the American Humane Association’s American Hero Dog this year!

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Monday, December 1, 2014

God Gave Us Angels by Lisa Tawn Bergren – art by Laura J. Bryant

ISBN13: 9781601426611
About the book: “What do angels do all day, Papa?”

When Papa finds Little Cub looking for angels, it gives him a chance to tell his beloved child about those that may be in their midst, even when they can’t be seen.  Exploring their exhilarating Arctic world as they talk, Papa lovingly answers all of Little Cub’s questions about angels—and as usual, she has a lot. She wants to know what they do, how they look, how they guard God’s loved ones, and best of all, how they serve the Creator of the world.  

"God really created angels to serve him more than us, Little Cub. They love him and would do anything for him.” 

This uplifting tale will encourage young hearts by exploring the glory and design of God’s messengers, while turning toward him with praise.  

Review: This is a very sweet book with beautiful illustrations.  This the first book I have read by Lisa Tawn Bergren, but I will be looking for her other books to purchase for my family.  She has written over 40 books, with many of them be the same type of thought…”God Gave us”.  I enjoyed the way she had the little cub asking questions about angels and the Dad being able to answer those same questions in a biblical way.

The story talks about how there are angels all around us and how they watch over us and love us, but that God loves us more because He created us and the angels.

The target age for the book 3-7 years of age or preschool to 2nd grade.  The text is written in such fashion that a 1st or 2nd grader who is a strong reader can read the book alone.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading the this book and look forward to sharing it with my grandchildren. (rev. P.Howard)

DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy was provided by Blogging for Books Review Program in exchange for our review. Opinions expressed are those of the reviewer. No compensation was received for this review.

Look Inside The Time of Jesus – a Lift-the-Flap Discovery Book By author: Lois Rock Illustrated by: Lorenzo Orlandi

Price: $14.99
ISBN:  978-0-7459-6398-3 
About the book:   Jesus took his message to all kinds of people in all kinds of places—from the shores of Lake Galilee to the bustling streets of Jerusalem. This book takes readers right into the world that he knew, with appealing illustrations and flaps that open to reveal all kinds of fascinating details. Brief text explains the setting, and references events and stories from Jesus' life.

Review:  This is a great book.  My children always enjoyed “lift-a-flap” books and we would read them over and over again.  My children are now grown, but my grand-daughter is no different.  This particular book covers the life of Jesus from birth to ministry to crucifixion to resurrection.  The short and simple descriptions give opportunity for further discussion about the life of Jesus.  The illustrations are colorful and very nicely done.  Although the target age of this book seems to be K5 and older, you can easily adapt to a younger children.

The book is only 16 pages long, but each page is detailed enough that you could treat each page as an individual book and spread the reading out over several days or for bedtime stories. It is also a hard-copy book and the pages are thick cardboard type material.

I highly recommend this book as a staple to your library for your children.  It is very good!! (rev. P.Howard)

DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy was provided by Kregel Publication in exchange for a review. Opinions expressed are solely our own. No compensation was received for this review. More on the book: Click Here