Thursday, April 30, 2015

A Sparrow in Terezin by Kristy Cambron--Review

Two women, one in the present day and one in 1942, each hope for a brighter future. But they'll both have to battle through their darkest days to reach it.
Today. With the grand opening of her new gallery and a fairytale wedding months away, Sera James appears to have a charmed life. But in an instant, the prospect of a devastating legal battle surrounding her fiancé threatens to tear her dreams apart. Sera and William rush to marry and are thrust into a world of doubt and fear as they defend charges that could separate them for life.

June 1942. After surviving the Blitz bombings that left many Londoners with shattered lives, Kája Makovsky prayed for the war to end so she could return home to Prague. But despite the horrors of war, the gifted journalist never expected to see a headline screaming the extermination of Jews in work camps. Half-Jewish with her family in danger, Kája has no choice but to risk everything to get her family out of Prague. But with the clutches of evil all around, her escape plan crumbles into deportation, and Kája finds herself in a new reality as the art teacher to the children of Terezin.

Bound by a story of hope and the survival of one little girl, both Sera and Kája will fight to protect all they hold dear.

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About the Author

Kristy Cambron has been fascinated with WWII since hearing her grandfather's stories. She holds an Art History degree from Indiana University and has 15 years industry experience as a corporate learning facilitator and communications consultant. Kristy writes WWII and Regency fiction. She makes her home in Indiana with her husband and three football-loving sons. Website: Twitter: @KCambronAuthor Facebook: Kristy-L-Cambron-Author

My thoughts:Suspense, romance, love, friendship and forgiveness all of these things and more are found in this book! Kristy takes you on a ride to the past and brings it to life like nothing I have seen before. The vivid pictures she brings to your mind through each seen will leave you wanting the next chapter and then the next. This was my first time reading one of Kristy's books and I couldn't put it down. Her characters are so lifelike and I felt as if I were right there in the middle of every scene and every place that the book takes you. This book spoke to my heart and desire to know more about the holocaust and World War 2. I was overcome by grief, joy and love all in what seemed like the same chapter! The lives of Kaja and Sera intertwine beautifully throughout the book. This book is the second book in the series but it reads well as a standalone. I understood the hints about the first book easily and it only made me want to read the first book more. You will definitely not be sorry for buying this book. It's well worth the money. 
I received this book through the blogger program in exchange for my review. A positive review was not required.

Monday, April 13, 2015

On Shifting Sand by Allison Pittman--Review

Long before anyone would christen it “The Dust Bowl,” Nola Merrill senses the destruction. She’s been drying up bit by bit since the day her mother died, leaving her to be raised by a father who withholds his affection the way God keeps a grip on the Oklahoma rain. A hasty marriage to Russ, a young preacher, didn’t bring the escape she desired. Now, twelve years later with two children to raise, new seeds of dissatisfaction take root.
When Jim, a mysterious drifter and long-lost friend from her husband’s past, takes refuge in their home, Nola slowly springs to life under his attentions until a single, reckless encounter brings her to commit the ultimate betrayal of her marriage. For months Nola withers in the wake of the sin she so desperately tries to bury. Guilt and shame consume her physically and spiritually, until an opportunity arises that will bring the family far from the drought and dust of Oklahoma. Or so she thinks. As the storms follow, she is consumed with the burden of her sin and confesses all, hoping to find Russ’s love strong enough to stand the test.
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Q&A with Allison Pittman
Author of On Shifting Sand
About the Author…Award-winning author Allison Pittman has penned more than twelve novels, including her series set in the Roaring Twenties—All for a Song, All for a Story, and All for a Sister. Allison resides in San Antonio, Texas, with her husband, Mike, their three sons, and the canine star of the family—Stella. Visit her at

1. What inspired you to write On Shifting Sand?
This is always the hardest question to answer. I loved writing about the dynamics of marriage with my Sister Wife series. But then, a story of a marriage needs conflict, and I’ve yet to see a CBA novel really tackle the idea of adultery in a way that showed it to be a conscientious, willful sin, disassociated from the circumstances of the marriage, or the relationship between the husband and wife. Too often, it was a backstory to justify a divorced character. Or it was a series of close calls, but never fully realized. I wanted to portray it as sin. Pure and simple, but unique in the fact that it reaches beyond the sinner, and carries with it a risk in confession. And then, I wanted to write a story that follows through a journey of restoration—not simply coming back to Christ, but coming back to life. It took a bit for all the pieces to come together, and so many of them weren’t discovered until I was buried in the story. More than any of my books, inspiration for this story came bit by bit.

2. The story is written from the perspective of Nola Merrill, who finds herself in an adulterous relationship. Why did you decide to write the
story from the perspective of an unreliable narrator?
I think we are all unreliable narrators in our own lives, especially when it comes to facing our sin. We justify our sin, proclaim ourselves victims, assign blame and downplay responsibility. We can bury ourselves so deeply in guilt, we’re blind to the idea of redemption, so we ignore what God tells us about confession and grace and mercy. We lie to ourselves the same way Nola lies to herself—and, thereby, to the readers. I have no doubt this character will make readers uncomfortable. She made me uncomfortable. They are going to be
frustrated with her choices, disappointed by her actions, but I’m OK with that. I think Nola is the realest character I’ve ever created.

My thoughts: Stuck in a deep pit of dirt and filth and nothingness in the dust bowl of Oklahoma. Nola feels she has no purpose in life, no meaning. She is trapped in this awful place feeling alone and useless. Can She get past the sin and see God's love and forgiveness or will she slip away, just like the dust in the Oklahoma air.

As I read this book I struggled through the whole thing, trying to decide if I liked it. I knew I couldn't stop reading it. Wanting to read it everyday to see what was happening. So, why was it I couldn't say definitely that I liked or even loved the book? I have decided that it is because the book is written in the first person. I felt the book was too one sided for the subject matter. I read the author's explanation of this in the back of the book and I understood completely why she wrote it the way she did, but it just didn't work for me. My personal opinion is that the secondary characters (especially Russ, the husband) should have had a bigger part in telling the story. I really felt like I needed to see more of how her husband felt and responded to the situation not just her feelings about it. The writing is done very well and I did enjoy the book to a point but, I just couldn't fall in love with it, as I have books in the past. I am still very interested in reading other books from this author. I was in no way turned off by this book, it just wasn't the right fit for me. I encourage you to read it for yourself and make up your own mind.

I received this book through the Tyndale Blogger Network in exchange for my review. I was not required to give a positive review.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

After A Fashion by Jen Turano Review

Miss Harriet Peabody dreams of the day she can open up a shop selling refashioned gowns to independent working women like herself. Unfortunately, when an errand for her millinery shop job goes sadly awry due to a difficult customer, she finds herself out of an income.

Mr. Oliver Addleshaw is on the verge of his biggest business deal yet when he learns his potential partner prefers to deal with men who are settled down and wed. When Oliver witnesses his ex not-quite-fiance cause the hapless Harriet to lose her job, he tries to make it up to her by enlisting her help in making a good impression on his business partner.

Harriet quickly finds her love of fashion can't make her fashionable. She'll never truly fit into Oliver's world, but just as she's ready to call off the fake relationship, fancy dinners, and elegant balls, a threat from her past forces both Oliver and Harriet to discover that love can come in the most surprising packages.

About Jen

Jen Turano is the critically acclaimed author of The Ladies of Distinction Series, published through Bethany House.  Her novel, A Most Peculiar Circumstance, was chosen by Booklist as a Top Ten Romance for 2013.
JenTuranoJen grew up in St. Clairsville, Ohio, a small city bordering Wheeling, WVA.  Her childhood was idyllic and she spent many an hour ice-skating on a little pond, playing with friends in her treehouse, boating at the lake, and reading under the shade of numerous trees.  High School, surprisingly enough, was fabulous.  She roamed the halls with eight wonderful girls, all of whom she’s still friends with to this day.  Student Council took up much of her time as she was Secretary of her class all four years, Vice-President of Student Council her junior year and President her senior year.  After High School, she began her next great adventure – College.  Pursuing a degree in Clothing & Textiles, Jen was a member of Alpha Phi sorority.  She left college after the required four years and set out to take the fashion world by storm, finding out that fashion wasn’t nearly as glamorous as she’d been led to believe.
Meeting her husband, Al, when she was working at a department store in upstate New York, she married him mere months after they’d met, to everyone’s concern.  Twenty-something years later, she and Al are still going strong, proving the concern was all for naught.  Her son, Dominic, was born after she’d been married for quite some time, and it was then she decided to hang up her heels and settle into the best job of her life – Mom.
Her writing career began rather oddly, right when Dominic was in the third grade.  Disgusted with a series they’d been reading together, Jen and her son set about writing a book of their own.  It was a strange story, filled with smelly beasts who had a propensity for eating children, or at least wanting to eat them, but Dominic proclaimed it to be perfect and that was all it took for Jen to begin writing in earnest.  Her earlier works were met with swift rejections, but when she settled on romance, she managed to snag an agent and she’s been writing romance ever since.
When Jen’s not writing, she spends her time hiking around Colorado, socializing with friends and family, and taking great pride in watching Dominic, who will soon be off to college, turn into a remarkable young man.  (For readers of A Change of Fortune – Dominic was the inspiration behind little Ben – which is why you won’t be surprised to learn Jen’s been slightly taken aback over the fact Dominic’s turned out so well.)

My Thoughts: Reading this book was absolutely delightful. It was surprisingly very funny and charming. I loved every character. Each one had its own appeal and even the secondary characters were well written and brought an added bonus to the book.  I enjoyed the character of Harriet so much, I felt as if she and I would have been very good friends. This book was very light-hearted but also had a sense of urgency and intrigue when it comes to the climax of the book. I felt as if I was sitting right in the middle of each and every scene in the book. I was almost sad when it ended. The author also did an excellent job of adding surprise to the end of the book. I definitely did not see it coming. I am most definitely excited to read more by Jen. Do not delay in reading this book!

I received this book through the Book Club Network reviewer program in exchange for my review. I was not required to give a positive review.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Walking with God in the Season of Motherhood by Melissa B. Kruger Review----GIVEAWAY

Winner is Amy!

Being a mom usually means being busy. Really busy. Whether you’re zipping from your children’s piano lessons to their next ballgame or nursing a baby while comforting a toddler, life is brimming with activities.
Yet one encounter can help shape every moment: time in the Word with Jesus. In Walking with God in the Season of Motherhood, you’ll learn how to nourish your own heart, mind, and soul with the wisdom you need to become the mother you long to be.
As you spend time with God through this eleven-week Bible study, you’ll gain life-shaping insights to help you…
·         Understand and pursue your purpose as a mother
·         Live out your true priorities
·         Entrust your child to God
·         Bear the fruit of the Spirit in your everyday interactions
·         Recover from Perfect Mom Syndrome (PMS)
Each week offers four days of study geared specifically to a mother’s concerns, with the Bible passages already printed out for your convenience. The fifth day is a warm-hearted devotional reading to help you reflect on and apply the truths you’ve learned.
As your relationship with God deepens through prayer and studying His Word, you’ll discover how His imprint on your heart can make a lasting impression on your children.

You Can find this devotional at the following online retailers:

About Melissa

I love teaching women the Bible.  In addition to speaking at conferences and retreats around the country, I’m on staff in women’s ministry at my home church, Uptown PCA. I hope to share helpful tools and resources that have benefited our women’s ministry. If you are looking for those items, be sure to check out the Women’s Ministry sidebar on the right. I’ve written two books, The Envy of Eve: Finding Contentment in a Covetous World and Walking with God in the Season of Motherhood.

Melissa Kruger is a wife, mom, and the author of The Envy of Eve and Walking with God in the Season of Motherhood. She enjoys teaching women the Bible and serves on staff as women’s ministry coordinator at Uptown PCA.

Are you a Mom? Do you ever wonder what your purpose in life is? Do you seem to struggle with how you are doing as a Mother? If any of those questions describe you, than this devotional is for you. Follow Melissa through 11 weeks of Biblical truths that help Moms like us to understand our true purpose in life, not just as mothers but as followers of Christ. Each week is a different topic to help us navigate through each day and help us to be the moms God wants us to be.
                                                    Week 1: Understanding Your Purpose
Week 2: Knowing God's Word
Week 3: Entrusting Your Child to the Lord
Week 4: Ordering Your Home
Week 5: Reflecting the Heart of God
Week 6: Encouraging a Thankful Spirit
Week 7:Fighting Against Anxiety and Worry
Week 8: Letting Go of Harshness and Anger
Week 9: Training Hearts Through Disipline
Week 10: Guiding in Godliness by Example
Week 11: Recovering from Perfect Mom Syndrome (PMS)

I am absolutely in love with this devotional. I have enjoyed doing it each morning and I have learned new things everyday. I am so impressed with the way Melissa brings to light each aspect of motherhood and shows us the proper ways to fulfill our purpose in life. I have always struggled with my worth as a wife and mother and this devotional has really encouraged me. I would highly recommend it to any mom out there, no matter what stage of motherhood you are in.
I was given a copy of this book to review from the blogging for books reviewer program. I was not required to give a positive review.

  I am Doing a giveaway of Melissa's Book Walking with God in the Season of Motherhood. To enter simply leave a comment below answering the following question. When is your favorite time of day to have your quiet time?
 For an extra entry please tell me how you follow (Facebook, Google+ etc.)

Giveaway is for continental US residents only. Must be 18 yrs or older to enter.

Must leave an email or way to contact if you win.
Winner will be sent a paperback copy by USPS of Walking with God in the Season of Motherhood.
Contest ends April 20th, Winner will be chosen randomly on April 21st. 
This promotion is hosted by Reader's Cozy Corner. No social media sponsorship.
Blogger cannot assume responsibility for prizes lost in the mail.