Category Book Reviews

Once Upon a Summertime

Product DetailsOnce Upon a Summertime
By Melody Carlson
Revell
Retail Price:  $14.99
Amazon Price: $12.06

Book Description:   Managing the Value Lodge in her hometown was not what Anna Gordon had in mind when she set out in the hospitality industry. But it’s a safe choice for a woman whose childhood was anything but stable. Out of the blue, she gets a once-in-a-lifetime chance to reinvent herself by moving to New York City, where she hopes for a management position at a stylish new boutique hotel. The big city is full of surprises–not the least of which is Sean O’Neil. Her childhood crush has applied for the very same position!

Sweet, romantic, and endlessly entertaining, this romp through the storied streets of New York City will enchant readers. Melody Carlson has created characters so charming that readers will long to meet them in the lobby of the stunning Rothsberg Hotel.

Review

This was really a fun read.  My interest was captured right from the very beginning and it never waned throughout the entire novel.  Though the main characters were not in my age group, I still enjoyed reading about their courage to live out their dreams, even when the prospect was not quite what they expected.  The plot was well developed and the Christian values shined through without being overly preachy or judgmental.  I am a Melody Carlson fan, and this book is a good example of the reason why!  It is a must-read!

~Reviewed by Rosie B.

    7 Secrets to an Awesome Marriage

    Product Details7 Secrets to an Awesome Marriage
    By Kim Kimberling
    Zondervan
    Retail Price:  $15.99
    Amazon Price: $11.40

    Book Description: 

    All of us want an enduring marriage, a beautiful marriage we can believe in. That kind of marriage happens through intimacy. Intimacy requires hard work and a guide. Dr. Kim Kimberling is that guide and this book and its tools will show you how communication and intimacy in marriage can be yours.

    Kimberling offers insights like connecting every day in spite of what’s in the way, learning how to fight in the right ways, stopping the insanity of doing the same thing over and over even when it isn’t working, and finding that the best sex ever is well within the context of Christian marriages.

    Once these 7 secrets are a part of your marriage, you can stand together and fight anything that would ever try to tear your marriage apart.

    Whether you have just celebrated your first anniversary or your fiftieth, 7 Secrets to an Awesome Marriage by Dr. Kim Kimberling is for you.  If you have a good marriage, this book can help you have a great marriage.  If you are struggling, Kim Kimberling will help you turn the corner and make your marriage into what you want it to be.

    Review

    This book is amazing! It does not matter if your relationship is good, bad or ugly, this book can help get you back on track to do the things that really matter. Love is a verb; it takes action!  If you read this book and take action, applying these secrets daily you will watch your relationship change for the better! I have learned so much from reading this book.  I now realize that as human being, we can make a lot of mistakes, but we have the power to keep the fire burning and have a happy life. I enjoyed this book because I can be a better person for me, for my marriage, and for my family
    ~Reviewed by Christine

      Twice Blessed

      Product DetailsTwice Blessed
      by Barbara Cameron
      Abingdon
      Retail Price: $24.99
      Amazon Price:  $21.98

      Book Description:

      About Her Sister’s Shadow
      Katie and Rosie Stoltzfus work part-time in an Amish store and part-time in Two Peas in a Pod, their own business raising vegetables and fruits and canning them for sale. Although they are identical twins, their personalities are very different: while Katie has always been more outgoing and attractive to boys, Rosie has always felt in her sister’s shadow. It will take an unexpected business opportunity and one very special man to help Rosie see that she’s a unique woman of her own.

      About His Brother’s Keeper
      Ever since they were boys, Ben Fisher has trailed after his brother, Mark. Ben has always envied Mark because he’s always been more adventurous, but he’s even more jealous now that Mark is engaged to Ruth, a woman they both love. When a terrible accident on Christmas Eve results in their mistaken identity, Ben suddenly has an opportunity to create the life he’s always wanted. While everyone believes he is his brother, who’s still in a coma, Ben finally has a chance with Ruth. But how can he realize an opportunity for real happiness if it means deceiving his kin?

      Review

      The author does a wonderful job in her books capturing the Pennsylvania Amish life and culture and you will not be disappointed in this book where she writes two Christmas novellas about two sets of twins.  While it was a very enjoyable read during the Christmas holidays, it can be enjoyed all year round.  Both stories revolved around twin siblings, each with their own problems and thoughts, during the holiday season.  Both story lines are intriguing and unique.  Cameron was very creative coming up with idea of basing the stories on characters who were twins and how being a twin affected them in their particular culture.  At the end of the stories you get five Pennsylvania Dutch recipes to try in your own kitchen, and group discussion guide to use in book clubs.

      ~Reviewed by Allie B.

        An Amish Christmas Gift

        Product DetailsAn Amish Christmas Gift
        by Amy Clipston and Ruth Reid
        Thomas Nelson
        Retail Price:  $12.99
        Amazon Price: $10.00

        Book Description: 

        Naomi has begun to believe that she isn’t meant to find love, but she might receive more than she has ever hoped for this Christmas.

        Twenty-four-year-old Naomi King has all but given up on marriage and children. As Christmas approaches, Naomi is certain that her life will be spent as an old maid, helping with the family’s quilting business and taking care of her eight siblings. Then she meets Caleb, a young widower with a 7-year-old daughter, and her world is once again turned upside-down.

        An Unexpected Joy by Ruth Reid

        Abigail has driven other suitors away, but can Micah find a way to show her he cares?

        Being a caregiver for Micah Zook’s grandmother is the answer to Abigail’s prayers. In fact, the elderly lady keeps finding ways to set Abigail up with her grandson. Despite Abigail’s constant chatter, Micah realizes he’s beginning to care for her—until he makes a decision that leaves her feeling betrayed. With Christmas in their midst, can Micah find a way to reconcile with Abigail and to reveal the true feelings of his heart?

        A Christmas Visitor by Kelly Irvin

        Frannie Mast returns to Bee County for Christmas, but her heart stays back in Missouri with an Englisch farm boy.

        Frannie knows her parents have the best of intentions when they send her back to Bee County, Texas, to live with her aunt and her aunt’s new husband Mordecai. After all, Frannie knows nothing can come of a relationship with Rocky, the handsome Englisch farm boy back in Missouri. But all bets are off when Rocky follows Frannie to Texas to plead his case. Could he be the Christmas gift to end all gifts?

        Review

        This was a wonderful book that really added meaning to my holiday season.  All three talented authors bring share a sweet story with different plots and  different perspectives that will delight any fan of Amish fiction. I liked them all so much that I found it really hard to pick out a favorite. The authors did a wonderful job depicting the Amish lifestyle and how family, community, and love of God encompasses their daily lives.  These are stories of love, sacrifice, and willingness to follow God’s leading, even when it is not comfortable to do so.  While this is a book of Christmas novellas, I feel that the stories can be enjoyed all year long. 


        ~Reviewed by Barb M.

          If I Run

          Product DetailsIf I Run
          by Terri Blackstock
          Zondervan
          Retail Price: $15.99
          Amazon Price: $9.42

          Book Description: 

          Casey knows the truth.

          But it won’t set her free.

          Casey Cox’s DNA is all over the crime scene. There’s no use talking to police; they have failed her abysmally before. She has to flee before she’s arrested . . . or worse. The truth doesn’t matter anymore.

          But what is the truth? That’s the question haunting Dylan Roberts, the war-weary veteran hired to find Casey. PTSD has marked him damaged goods, but bringing Casey back can redeem him. Though the crime scene seems to tell the whole story, details of the murder aren’t adding up. Casey Cox doesn’t fit the profile of a killer. But are Dylan’s skewed perceptions keeping him from being objective? If she isn’t guilty, why did she run?

          Unraveling her past and the evidence that condemns her will take more time than he has, but as Dylan’s damaged soul intersects with hers, he is faced with two choices. The girl who occupies his every thought is a psychopathic killer . . . or a selfless hero. And the truth could be the most deadly weapon yet.

          Review

          Terri Blackstock is a Christian fiction writer that has become well known for her Christian mystery/suspense novels.  Her books are full of danger and intrigue as well as suspense and mystery and this one is no different!  InIf I Run Blackstock sets the stage for and exhilarating, satisfying read with redemptive qualities.  The book is well written and the characters are fully developed and she has an overriding theme of God’s redemption in a messed up world.  It left me thinking deeply about my own expectations of others, and understanding Gods plan in my own life.  This author always gets me thinking and challenges me to take a look at my own preconceived notions and judgments.

          Reviewed by Allie B.

            Guardians of the Heart

            Product DetailsGuardians of the Heart
            By Loree Lough
            Whitaker House
            Retail Price: $13.99
            Amazon Price: $10.98

            Book Description:  Nell Holstrom wanted no part of her grandfather’s barren gold mine that had taken the lives of her mother, father, and younger brother; even if there may still be hidden wealth inside. Instead, she went to Denver and took a job as housekeeper at the old Stone Hill Inn. Asa Stone was barely more than a boy when his father dragged him and his brothers to fight with Colonel John Chivington. But Asa refused to participate in the raid on the peaceful Cheyenne and Arapahoe; and when the smoke cleared, his father and brother lay among the slaughtered. Besieged by guilt, Asa wandered the West for years before returning to Denver to rebuild the old inn he’d inherited. Together, Nell and Asa work hard to restore Stone Hill. But when disaster hits the inn, Asa retreats into despair and Nell is forced to return to her family’s mine. Asa faces the hard fact: He’ll never be the man Nell deserves. Can he overcome the dark secrets of his past? And will Nell still love him when she learns the truth?

            Review

            Loree Lough is one of my favorite Christian authors.  Her books are always “real” and scripturally sound and I can always trust recommending her to my friends knowing they will find a great faith-based read.  In her new book
            Guardians of the Heart
            , we will find an historical novel filled with action, intrigue, romance, and redemption.  The characters are very likable and you come away feeling like you are fast friends.  You will experience  highs and lows along with them as they travel their path to healing and wholeness.  It was a fantastic read.

            ~Reviewed by Allie B.

              Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World

              Product DetailsRaising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World
              By Kristen Welch
              Tyndale House
              Retail Price:  $15.99
              Amazon Price: $14.39

              Book Description:  “But everyone else has it.” “If you loved me, you’d get it for me!” When you hear these comments from your kids, it can be tough not to cave. You love your children―don’t you want them to be happy and to fit in?

              Kristen Welch knows firsthand it’s not that easy. In fact, she’s found out that when you say yes too often, it’s not only hard on your peace of mind and your wallet―it actually puts your kids at long-term risk. In Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World, Kristen shares the ups and downs in her own family’s journey of discovering why it’s healthiest not to give their kids everything. Teaching them the difference between “want” and “need” is the first step in the right direction. With many practical tips and anecdotes, she shares how to say the ultimate yes as a family by bringing up faith-filled kids who will love God, serve others, and grow into hardworking, fulfilled, and successful adults.

              It’s never too late to raise grateful kids. Get ready to cultivate a spirit of genuine appreciation and create a Jesus-centered home in which your kids don’t just say―but mean!―“thank you” for everything they have.

              Review

              Over the past decade, science has shown that gratitude is one of the most valuable and important emotions we possess, and it is a virtue that anyone can cultivate. In fact, researchers have developed many different methods people can use to foster an attitude of gratitude, and the science shows that many of them really work.  This is the book that parents have been waiting for!  It is chock-full of engaging examples and stories and clear, easy-to-follow recommendations for how to instill gratitude in your children…starting today!  Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World is a thoughtful, engaging, informative book that will change your family.

              ~Reviewed by Beth L.

                Making Manna

                Product DetailsMaking Manna
                By Eric Lotke
                Brandylane Publishers
                Price: $16.00

                Book Description:  Libby Thompson is just fourteen years old when she flees her abusive home with her newborn son, Angel. Now they must build a life for themselves on hard work and low wages, dealing with police who are sometimes helpful-but not always-and a drug dealer who is full of surprises. As Angel gets older, he begins asking questions about his family, and Libby’s tenuous peace threatens to crumble. Can a son without a father and a young woman without a past make something beautiful out of a lifetime of secrets? Making Manna explores the depths of betrayal, and the human capacity to love, flourish, and forgive in the face of heartbreaking odds.

                Review

                While I wouldn’t call this book a light read, it certainly was an interesting one.   The author takes a compassionate look at the victims of sexual abuse and all that they have to overcome to make it in this world.   The care and detail Lotke took in creating his characters was touching.  This is much more than a book with a message.  It was a book with a call to action. Lotke brought Libby to life for me and made her real.  And Libby’s story made me more sensitive to the topic in real world situations and made me think on how I can help those who are victimized. 

                ~Reviewed by Sharyl K.

                 

                 

                  Lucky Me

                  Product DetailsLucky Me
                  By Saba Kapur
                  Amberjack Publishing
                  Retail Price:  $11.95
                  Amazon Price: $9.95

                  Book Description:  

                  For eighteen year old Gia Winters, having a movie star for a father, a former Playboy bunny as a mother, a Hollywood mansion, and a closet stocked with Chanel is simply another day in the life. But her world is turned upside down when her father mysteriously hires a group of bodyguards to trail the family 24/7 and threatening phone calls from a “Dr. D” start buzzing daily.

                  When Gia scores the coveted role of Miss Golden Globe, she is forced to strike a deal with her bodyguard, Jack, who is almost as arrogant as he is attractive. Juggling Gia’s romantic failures, fashion faux pas, and celebrity obsessions, the duo investigate a series of clues with the help of a police cadet, who has a special set of skills and an even better set of dimples.

                  But with the Golden Globes just around the corner, danger levels rise higher than her stilettos as Gia learns that the biggest secrets might be the ones buried in her own home. In a place where the hills have eyes, high school nemeses, bad hair days, raging parties, and stolen kisses, there can only be trouble for a girl who was just starting to consider herself lucky.

                  Review

                  I read this with my sixteen year old daughter so that we would be able to discuss the plot, characters, and overall story line of the book.  We’ve done this before, but not for quite some time, so it was the first time we have read the same book that had more grown up themes.  Our experiment was a success and this was a good book to begin with.

                  First of all I thought this was good “coming of age” novel and I found the main character quite intriguing.  The author did a good job narrating the story through Gia’s eyes, which was appropriate since it was HER story.  The author used humor to draw you in and make Gia both likeable and real.  Of course the sub story of the love interest with her bodyguard, Jack,  was a good twist and kept the reader connected to the book always looking for the time that they would figure out their attraction to each other. I found the mystery itself was intriguing and the ending satisfactory.  I would read this author again for sure as would my daughter.

                  ~Reviewed by Lisa J.

                    CCNA Collaboration Official Cert Guide Library

                    Product DetailsCCNA Collaboration Official Cert Guide Library
                    (Exams CICD 210-060 and CIVND 210-065)
                    by Michael Valentine and Brian Morgan
                    CISCO
                    Retail Price:  $79.99
                    Amazon Price: $67.97

                    Book Description: 

                    CCNA Collaboration Official Cert Guide Library is a comprehensive self-study tool for preparing for the new CCNA Collaboration exams. This package includes the two books: CCNA Collaboration CICD 210-060 Official Cert Guide and CCNA Collaboration CIVND 210-065 Official Cert Guide. Complete coverage of all exam topics as posted on the exam topic blueprint ensures readers will arrive at a thorough understanding of what they need to master to succeed on the exams. The books follow a logical organization of the CICD and CIVND exam objectives. Material is presented in a concise manner, focusing on increasing readers’ retention and recall of exam topics. Readers will organize their exam preparation through the use of the consistent features in these chapters, including:

                    • Pre-chapter quiz – These quizzes allow readers to assess their knowledge of the chapter content and decide how much time to spend on any given section.

                    • Foundation Topics – These sections make up the majority of the page count, explaining concepts, configurations, with emphasis on the theory and concepts, and with linking the theory to the meaning of the configuration commands.

                    • Key Topics – Inside the Foundation Topics sections, every figure, table, or list that should absolutely be understood and remembered for the exam is noted with the words “Key Topic” in the margin. This tool allows the reader to quickly review the most important details in each chapter.

                    • Exam Preparation – This ending section of each chapter includes three additional features for review and study, all designed to help the reader remember the details as well as to get more depth. Readers will be instructed to review key topics from the chapter, complete tables and lists from memory, and define key terms.

                    • Final Preparation Chapter—This final chapter details a set of tools and a study plan to help readers complete their preparation for the exams.

                    • CD-ROM Practice Test—The companion CD-ROM contains a set of customizable practice tests.

                    Review

                    CISCO Exam Preparation Guides are the best study tools to use if you want to ace your exams.  This one is well done and very helpful. It is also exhaustive so that you will have every tool you need at your fingertips for your studies.  I highly recommend this and I found it extremely useful.

                    ~Reviewed by Don H.

                    GIVEAWAY

                    If you would like to win a FREE copy of CCNA Collaboration Official Cert Guide Library email us with your name and address and include the reason why you would like a free copy of this book.  Good Luck!