Category Book Reviews

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.


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.

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    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?


    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.

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      If I Run

      Product DetailsIf I Run
      by Terri Blackstock
      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.


      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!  In If 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.

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        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?


        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.

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          Twice Blessed

          Product DetailsTwice Blessed
          by Barbara Cameron
          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?


          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.


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            7 Secrets to an Awesome Marriage

            Product Details7 Secrets to an Awesome Marriage
            By Kim Kimberling
            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.


            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
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              Once Upon a Sumertime

              Product DetailsOnce Upon a Summertime
              By Melody Carlson
              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.


              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.

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                Product DetailsEve
                By Wm. Paul Young
                Howard Publishing
                Retail Price: $16.00
                Amazon Price: $8.75

                Book Description:  From the author of the twenty-five-million-copy bestseller The Shack comes a captivating new novel destined to be one of the most talked-about books of the decade.

                Eve is a bold, unprecedented exploration of the Creation narrative, true to the original texts and centuries of scholarship—yet with breathtaking discoveries that challenge traditional beliefs about who we are and how we’re made. Eve opens a refreshing conversation about the equality of men and women within the context of our beginnings, helping us see each other as our Creator does—complete, unique, and not constrained by cultural rules or limitations.

                When a shipping container washes ashore on an island between our world and the next, John the Collector finds a young woman inside—broken, frozen, and barely alive. With the aid of Healers and Scholars, John oversees her recovery and soon discovers that her genetic code connects her to every known race. No one would guess what her survival will mean…

                No one but Eve, Mother of the Living, who calls her “daughter” and invites her to witness the truth about her own story—indeed, the truth about us all.

                As The Shack awakened readers to a personal, non-religious understanding of God, Eve will free us from faulty interpretations that have corrupted human relationships since the Garden of Eden.

                Thoroughly researched and exquisitely written, Eve is a masterpiece that will inspire readers for generations to come.


                I generally enjoy the books written by Wm. Paul Young so I was excited to read his latest book Eve.  While I don’t always agree with the author’s theology, I must admit that he always makes me think outside the box and examine my own beliefs.  This book had the same effect on me.  Eve was in interesting and thought provoking read that was basically two stories in one.  The first storyline follows a young woman who washes up on the shore of an island and her journey to health and wholeness. The second storyline is a retelling of the biblical account of creation and man’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden.  I am not totally sure I agree with his retelling of man’s fall, but it is interesting that he puts the blame squarely on Adam’s shoulders while most theological circles blame Eve as if she was alone in the garden when tempted.  All in I found this book enjoyable. The characters were well-written and interesting and I thought Young did a great job describing the setting.  I think readers will need to remind themselves that this is a fiction book, bordering on the fantasy genre, and should not be seen as a theological treatise.  If one can look at it this way, I think the book is more likely to be enjoyed.  Personally, I recommend it.  Let it stretch you.

                ~Reviewed by Jason C.


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                  Heaven Help Heidi

                  Product DetailsHeaven Help Heidi
                  By Sally John
                  Harvest House
                  Retail Price:  $13.99
                  Amazon Price: $9.79

                  Book Description: 

                  Welcome to the Casa de Vida–eleven quaint bungalows located three blocks from the Pacific Ocean in tiny Seaside Village, California. Owner Liv McAlister never advertises vacancies beyond a small hand-lettered sign out front, preferring to trust that God will send the right tenant at just the right time. And He always does.

                  Heidi Hathaway’s life has been turned upside down. After an accident leaves her injured, unable to work, and incapable of negotiating the stairs in her multilevel oceanfront condo, she leases her home and moves into a cozy little cottage in the charming garden complex where her friend Piper lives. There she finds so much more than a place to rest and recover.

                  Piper Keyes knows Jared is not coming back from Afghanistan. After making it through the fifth anniversary of his death, she wonders if she’s at last ready to get on with life. She gingerly explores new avenues–photography, cooking, and buying her own boutique–and learns to open her heart again.

                  The most comforting thing about living at the Casa is that the women there become each others mentors and confidantes, learning from their own mistakes and arriving at new, healed places in their lives.


                  This is the 2nd book in the Family of Heart series by Sally John and has become my favorite series.  Heaven Help Heidi is a perfect example of why that is!  John captures not only your interest but your heart.  The characters are warm, loving, and supportive, though all of them are flawed and their lives are not at all perfect.  The Casa is a place you will want to visit and secretly wish that you could live there!  While the main storyline is about Heidi, there are many rabbit trails to follow that end up being inter-connected.  The author has an intriguing way of weaving several storylines together to make one amazing whole. While this is a stand-alone book I would definitely read Between Us Girls first to get to know the characters more fully before moving on to this 2nd installment.  I highly recommend this book and this series!

                  ~Reviewed by Rosie B.

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                    Her Brother’s Keeper

                    Product DetailsHer Brother’s Keeper
                    By Beth Wiseman
                    Thomas Nelson
                    Retail Price: 
                    Amazon Price:$8.97

                    Book Description:  

                    Charlotte came to Amish country to find answers. What she never expected to find was peace.

                    Charlotte Dolinsky is not above playing dress-up and telling a few lies to find out what happened to her only brother. In fact, that is exactly what she’s come to Lancaster County to do. Now, calling herself Mary and slipping on a kapp, Charlotte will lie her way into the confidence of anyone who knows why Ethan had to die. Unless she gets found out first.

                    But when Charlotte befriends a quiet Amish man named Isaac Miller, she begins to rethink her motives. And with a little help from a friend back home, Charlotte might find out that love comes packaged in ways she couldn’t have foreseen.

                    Isaac’s been caring for his cancer-stricken father and sympathizing with his frustrated mother for three difficult years. And that means he hasn’t been dating. He believes Hannah King is the woman for him, but Hannah is still grieving the loss of her fiancé, and Isaac has all he can handle on the farm. When Hannah’s family plays host to a woman named Mary, their new cousin shakes things up for all of them.

                    As Charlotte digs deeper into the mystery of Ethan’s death, she finds more than she’d bargained for in the community he once called home. But will she ever learn the truth? And what will the community—and her new family—do if they learn the truth about her?


                    I love Amish fiction and I felt that this particular book was an excellent read.  It really was a faith-based book with a mix of several genres.  While I wouldn’t call it a romance novel, it did have some romance.  While I wouldn’t call it a mystery novel, it did have mystery.  You get the picture!  If you enjoy reading Amish fiction or if you never have before but want to try it out then this would be a good book to read. It’s a story of love, faith, and forgiveness. I do highly recommend this book.

                    ~Reviewed by Barb M.


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