Friday, July 25, 2014

When I Fall In Love - A Review

Published - Tyndale House Publishers, June 2014
Series - Christiansen Family Book 3
Author - Susan May Warren
Title - When I Fall In Love
Format - ebook, paper
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Grace Christiansen is preparing to go culinary school. When her family surprises her with a trip to Hawaii for a cooking retreat, she is forced out of her safe, comfortable world. She didn't expect to fall in love while she was there though. Maxwell Sharpe lives on the ice as a hockey player, but he really loves cooking. For the past few years he has gone to the culinary retreat in Hawaii. When he's asked to help Grace out, he reluctantly agrees. As he and Grace get to know one another, he finds himself falling for her. Only that's something he knows he can't do. Will he figure out a way to battle his own demons to find happiness with Grace?

I think that this may be my favorite one of this series so far. The Christiansen family is one of faith and love. Yet each of the siblings must come to understand that faith and love in their own ways. I loved Grace. I loved how her family saw something in her that others didn't and pushed her out of her comfort zone. I loved how Max doubted and wanted to protect Grace. I loved the relationships with the other siblings. I cannot wait for the next book. I'm hoping it's Casper's story.

I read this book for pure pleasure as part of Tyndale's Summer Reading Program. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of Karen Kingsbury, Laura Frantz, Julie Lessman, Melissa Tagg, Becky Wade, Debbie MacComber

Rating - 5 stars

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Switched - A Review

Published - Tyndale House Publishers, April 2013
Series - TJ & the Time Stumblers Book 5
Author - Bill Myers
Title - Switched!
Format - ebook, paper
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Book 5 finds TJ and her 23rd century friends, Tuna and Herby, in the midst of another adventure. Tuna and Herby have identified what is needed to fix their time machine and return home. Only the way to fuel the machine is through a nuclear submarine's power pack. And those are hard to come by. Then there's the Swiss Army Knife that has gone berserk. It's caused TJ to switch bodies with her archenemy, Hesper Breakahart. Yet even here, there's something for her to learn.

Once again, I have found myself delighted with TJ's adventures. And Tuna and Herby's attempts at making things better really don't help. But what I really loved about this book was that the lesson TJ learns is to not judge others. I also loved Chad, TJ's dreamy neighbor. I found him to be a truly genuine character in the entire series and I thought he was a sweetheart.

I would recommend this series to all teachers who want to provide a few books that teach lessons in a humorous way to their students. I have really enjoyed reading this entire series.

I rented this book from the library to read as part of Tyndale's Summer Reading Program. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series, teachers, librarians, kids ages 8-12.

Rating - 5 stars

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

New Kid Catastrophes - A Review


Published - Tyndale House Publishers, January 2013
Series - TJ & the Time Stumblers
Author - Bill Myers
Title - New Kid Catastrophes
Format - paper, ebook
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T.J. Finkelstein and her family have just moved to Malibu, California from Missouri. They are hoping to start over after the death of her mother. T.J. is also hoping to just fit in at school. What she doesn't realize, yet, is that there are two 23rd century time travelers who show up to study her because she grows up to become a great leader. There's only one problem. TJ is the only one who can see these guys! With the time travelers stuck, TJ realizes she's got to make the best of  the situation including learning the lessons that will help her become a great leader someday.

The first book in the TJ & the Time Stumblers Series sets the stage for all of the others. I've really enjoyed this entire series. I love how humor is used to teach basic lessons like seeing beyond a person's appearance to who is inside.

I laughed my way through this book. While it is the first in the series and VERY helpful to read it before the rest of the series, it can be read alone. I think I actually read this one AFTER reading books 2-6.

I'd recommend this to any child ages 8-12.

I rented this book from the library to read as part of the  Tyndale Summer Reading Program. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series, teachers, librarians, kids ages 8-12

Rating - 4 stars

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Death Takes A Ride - A Review

Published - June 2014, Revell Books a division of Baker Publishing Group
Series - The Cate Kincaid Files Book 3
Author - Lorena McCourtney
Title - Death Takes a Ride
Format - ebook, paper
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Cate Kincaid has the worst possible timing. She shows up at an auto repair shop to pick up a friend of her aunt's and ends up as a witness to a robbery and shooting. To make matters even more interesting, the shooting victim is hanging on for his life and his partner hires Cate to get to investigate. Only not the shooting. He wants her to locate the owner of a rare motorcycle he'd like to buy. In typical Cate fashion, she finds herself involved in an investigation that is bigger than she is and soon suspects that there is more to the shooting at the shop than what she saw. Will Cate figure out what really happened?

This is the third book in this series. And it stands alone, though it may be helpful to read the others.

To be perfectly honest, I wasn't too engaged in this book. It was cute. The characters are humorous, but I really wasn't invested in them. The mystery itself made the book truly worth reading for me. Though it did take me quite a while to read it. I frequently found myself putting it down and picking up something else. I didn't dislike it. But I didn't find it to be stellar either. It truly was just ok. If there is a 4th one in the series, I will read it because I've enjoyed this series so far.

I loved both Octavia (Cate's cat) and Clancy (the dog of the shooting victim). Those two animals made the story awesome!

Still, I'd say for a lazy summer day or for a day at the beach, this would be a book worth reading.

I received this book for free from Revell Books for the purpose of reviewing. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of mysteries, cozy mysteries, contemporary

Rating - 3 stars - I think it really was just ok.



Saturday, July 19, 2014

For Such A Time - A Review

Published - Bethany House Publishers, April 2014
Title - For Such a Time
Author - Kate Breslin
Format - ebook, paper
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Hadassah Benjamin has Aryan looks that could protect her from Nazi Germany. She's even got a new identity - Stella Mueller. When she is rescued from Dachau by SS Commandant Aric von Schmidt and pressed into service as his secretary at the transient camp of Theresienstadt in Czechoslovakia. There she sees her people living in squalor and she does what she can to ease their situation. As she works closely with Aric, she sees and senses he's different than the other Nazi's. Yet these are dangerous times. When her secret comes out, will she risk everything for her people?

This is Kate Breslin's debut novel. But reading it, you wouldn't know that! It's been on reading list for ages and while I missed it when it came up to review, I was able to request it from the library.

I've read a lot of WWII books in the past and this one is so different. First, it's a retelling of the book of Esther. I loved Hadassah's struggle. And I loved Aric. I loved how he struggled with what he knew to be right and true versus the teachings of the Nazi Party.

I can see myself rereading this one, once I obtain a copy for myself that is. Rich in details and full of deep characters, I cannot wait to read what else this author has to come.

I rented this book from the library and read it for pure pleasure. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of WWII, Brock & Bodie Thoene, Jody Hedlund, Katie Ganshert

Rating - 5 stars

Friday, July 18, 2014

Yikes! - A Review

Published - Tyndale House Publishers, April 2013
Series - TJ and the Time Stumblers Book 6
Author - Bill Myers
Title - Yikes!
Format - ebook, paper
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Tuna and Herby have almost fixed their time pod and will be able to return to the 23rd century. They just need an ostrich to digest the chili. But needless to say, they still manage to accidentally transport TJ's science class to the wilds of Africa, get turned into a baby ostrich, and send a Mama Gorilla to New York. Still it's business as usual for TJ as she once again has a lesson to learn.

This is the conclusion to this series. (Well not for me as I still need to read books 1 & 5). I have to say I've enjoyed this series far more than I thought I would. I love the way that Tuna and Herby teach TJ practical lessons and that she really does learn them.

In this one, TJ learns the importance of being a servant. She learns that there is more to leadership than just leading. Leaders must also serve.

I have loved each of these books. I highly recommend them to kids ages 8-12.

I rented this book from the library to read as part of the Tyndale Summer Reading Program. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series, teachers, librarians, kids ages 8-12

Rating - 5 stars

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Ho-Ho-Nooo! - A Review

Published - Tyndale House Publishers, April 2013
Series - TJ and the Time Stumblers Book 4
Author - Bill Myers
Title - Ho-Ho-Nooo!
Format - ebook, paper
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Christmas is only days away and TJ has no idea what  to get her father. She only knows it needs to be bigger and better than what her sister Violet is getting him. So she takes a job at the mall. Tuna and Herby are determined that TJ learn what Christmas is really about. And so in their usual "helpful" fashion, the guys set out to ensure that TJ learns a lesson.

Just like the others in this series, this one was hilarious. It seems that the more that Tuna and Herby try to help, the more things go wrong. Still, it's a great read. I found myself giggling the entire time. The one thing that I wish that this book talked about was Jesus being the reason for Christmas. Not the good deeds, etc.

Still kids ages 8-12 will enjoy this book.

I rented this book from the library to read for the Tyndale Summer Reading Program. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series, teachers, librarians, kids ages 8-12

Rating - 4.5 stars