Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Total Christmas Makeover By Melissa Spoelstra



In the bustle of the Christmas season, it can be easy to get swept up in all of the things to do. But it’s important to pause and remember that our priority should be to spend time celebrating Christ’s birth and not forget to invite Jesus to his own party.
Christmas is far more than a celebration of an event from long ago or a modern holiday centered around shopping. Mindfully take time to listen to how God continues to speak through the Christmas story as the Gospel narratives centered around the birth of Jesus provide encouragement and revelation concerning the love of God and his wisdom for us today.
In Total Christmas Makeover, author and Bible teacher Melissa Spoelstra provides a practical approach for you and your family to turn your attention toward God’s grace day-by-day as you prepare for Christmas. This 31-day devotional presents key scriptures, ideas to implement with each reading, and questions for reflection to guide you in rediscovering rituals, relationship, and rest to connect you more deeply with Christ this holiday season. 
 
 
 
Hi all! My name is Melissa Spoelstra. First and foremost I am a Christ-follower. I am madly in love with Jesus and addicted to the study of His Word. I am passionate about knowing Christ and inspiring other women to seek Him by opening our ears to listen to His Spirit, reading His Word curiously, asking questions, exercising good hermeneutics, and clinging tightly to God through the storms of life.

Talking about this stuff is much easier than actually living it out in everyday life. As wife to my awesome church planter husband Sean, and mother to four great kids, Zach(20), Abby(17), Sara(17), and Rachel(14), I am working out my faith on a daily basis. Between sports practices, doctor’s appointments, church stuff, and the minutia of everyday life, I need God’s Word to draw me back to the things of first importance. I hope this blog encourages you to do the same.

Other stuff about me. I have a degree in Bible Theology from Moody Bible Institute. I’ve had articles published in ParentLife, Women’s Spectrum and Just Between Us women’s magazines. I've written 4 women's Bible studies (Jeremiah, Joseph, First Corinthians, and Numbers) as well as Total Family Makeover (2016) and Total Christmas Makeover (2017). I’m following God through every door He opens and pray that all glory in these endeavors is His alone.
 
My Thoughts...

 Do you want to truly celebrate Christmas with your Savoir? This is your book.
This would be a great book for a small group, it has Questions for reflection at the end of the 31 devotions. Or it could just be part of your Bible reading each day with something to help keep your mind on the reason for the season. Jesus.
I think this would make a great gift.
I gave this devotional 4 stars. 
The Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are our own.

Monday, October 16, 2017

A Forest, A Flood, and an Unlikely Star By J.A. Myhre







Just thirteen-years-old, Kusiima has no time for school, sports, or hanging out with the other boys in his African village. With no father or mother to take care of him, he works long hours to support his grandmother and sickly baby sister. Then one day, Kusiima s life suddenly changes when he travels into a nearby protected forest. In the forest, Kusiima is presented with many choices, all with uncertain outcomes. Should he go along with illegal logging? Help to save an endangered baby gorilla? Follow a donkey to who knows where? With each choice, Kusiima has to make yet another decision about what is right in front of him. As he does, he meets a mysterious doctor who holds the key to his past and his future. In the end, Kusiima is faced with the hardest choice of all. Can he forgive a great wrong and heal a broken relationship? Readers of all ages won t want to put down this exciting book that addresses current realities like AIDS, malnutrition, and environmental destruction, all set in a richly detailed African adventure story. Following along as Kusiima makes his decisions, readers will find themselves considering their own choices and growing in empathy for others. This action-packed tale of a boy, his sister, and an orphaned gorilla is also a clear call to give up bitterness and forgive deep hurts, restoring broken lives and relationships. A Forest, a Flood, and an Unlikely Star is the third book in the Rwendigo Tale Series and follows Book One, A Chameleon, a Boy, and a Quest, and Book Two, A Bird, a Girl, and a Rescue.

Pick up your copy....

J. A. Myhre, MD, serves as a doctor with Serge in East Africa where she has worked for over two decades. She is passionate about health care for the poor, training local doctors and nurses, promoting childhood nutrition and development, and being the hands of Jesus in the hardest places. She is married to her best friend and colleague Scott, and together they have raised four children for whom The Rwendigo Tales were written as Christmas presents.

My Thoughts...
 
This is story is set in the jungles of Uganda.  It's a young adult adventure, spy type story. A story of hope. I would say it's a read that most young adults would enjoy. It was different but it was worth the read. 
The  black and white illustrations were very different.
I gave this book 4 stars.
The Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are our own.


Saturday, October 14, 2017

All Fore Love By Kellie Coates Gilbert




Ryan Banderman’s golf career is soaring until a scandal sends him plummeting to the bottom of the leader board. To resurrect his reputation and get back in the good graces of his sponsors, he agrees to participate in a charity golf tournament in Sun Valley, Idaho. There, he meets Beth Michaels, a fledgling publicist with career aspirations of her own.

From the first moment Ryan and Beth meet, intense sparks of attraction fly. But will a mean-spirited reporter ruin their chance for love, and send both their lives up in flames?

Pick up your copy here...
 
 
 

Kellie Coates Gilbert has won readers’ hearts with her compelling and highly emotional stories about women and the relationships that define their lives. A former legal investigator, she is especially known for keeping readers turning pages and creating nuanced characters who seem real. 

In addition to garnering hundreds of five-star reader reviews, Kellie has been described by RT Book Reviews as a “deft, crisp storyteller.” Her books were featured as Barnes & Noble Top Shelf Picks and were included on Library Journal’s Best Book List of 2014. 

Born and raised near Sun Valley, Idaho, Kellie now lives with her husband of over thirty-five years in Dallas, where she spends most days by her pool drinking sweet tea and writing the stories of her heart.

My Thoughts...
 
As with all of Gilbert's books. I flew through this one.  I loved the humor in this. The Caddie Danny was telling golf jokes through out the book.  The romance that took place was so much fun to watch blossom. The characters were so easy to love, well most of them were.
This golf tournament was for foster kids and I LOVED that this was part of the story. 
I would love to be in Sun Valley and enjoying the lodge there.  
You can feel the love that Gilbert poured into this book.
I only had one problem with the book. I am not a fan of Great authors writing novellas they end way to soon for my liking.
I gave this book 5 stars and I cant wait for Gilbert's next book, lets hope it's a whole novel next time.
The Mary Reader received this book from the Author for review. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are our own.

Friday, October 13, 2017

God's Great Love For You By #1 New York Times bestselling author Rick Warren



God’s Great Love
Created the entire universe
 
And everything in it
 
Including you.
 
God’s Great Love for You, written by #1 New York Times bestselling author and respected pastor Rick Warren, takes children on a whimsical and heartfelt journey that lets them know God’s love is with them wherever they go. With breathtaking illustrations by Chris Saunders, the simple yet poignant text comes alive as a child journeys to places far and near and discovers God’s great love is perfect, and everywhere, and will never end.

Pick up a copy here...


As founding pastor of Saddleback Church with his wife, Kay, Dr. Rick Warren leads a 30,000-member congregation in California with campuses in major cities around the world. As an author, his book The Purpose Driven Life has sold more than 34 million copies. As a theologian, he has lectured at Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, University of Judaism, and dozens of universities and seminaries. As a global strategist he advises world leaders and has spoken to the United Nations, US Congress, Davos Economic Forum, TED, Aspen Institute, and numerous parliaments. Rick has also founded the Global PEACE Plan, which Plants churches of reconciliation, Equips leaders, Assists the poor, Cares for the sick, and Educates the next generation in 196 countries. You can listen to Pastor Rick’s Daily Hope, his daily 25-minute audio teaching, or sign up for his free daily devotionals at PastorRick.com.

My Thoughts...
 
This is such a cute book and the illustrations were so well done. They will get your child's attention. It only has a few words on each page a four your old could read it. The  whole message was all about how God loves us.                     
This would make the perfect Christmas gift. I love that young kids can read it and it will hold their attention because it is so short and right to the point.                     I gave this book 5 stars. A perfect children's book with a great message.                      The Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are our own. 
 
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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Lady Jayne Disappears By Joanna Davidson Politano


When Aurelie Harcourt's father dies in debtor's prison, he leaves her just two things: his wealthy family, whom she has never met, and his famous pen name, Nathaniel Droll. Her new family greets her with apathy and even resentment. Only the quiet houseguest, Silas Rotherham, welcomes her company.

When Aurelie decides to complete her father's unfinished serial novel, writing the family into the story as unflattering characters, she must keep her identity as Nathaniel Droll hidden while searching for the truth about her mother's disappearance--and perhaps even her father's death.

Author Joanna Davidson Politano's stunning debut set in Victorian England will delight readers with its highly original plot, lush setting, vibrant characters, and reluctant romance.

Pick up your copy here...
 
 
Joanna Davidson Politano freelances for a small nonfiction publisher but spends much of her time spinning tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives. Her debut novel, Lady Jayne Disappears, releases October 3 from Revell. She lives with her husband and their two babies in a house in the woods and shares stories that move her at www.jdpstories.com 

My Thoughts...

Must read book of the year! I can't not write a review to do this book justice. It was remarkable, fantastic, un-put downable it was out of this world GREAT, I HIGHLY recommend this 5 star book you will not be sorry. It is the one book everyone who reads must read this year.
The plot, the characters, everything about this book was spot on.
I can't wait to read more by Politano.  If you are on my Christmas list you WILL be getting a copy of this book this year!
 The Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are our own.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

A Simple Wish By Charlotte Hubbard



The Amish residents of Willow Ridge share their talents at the Simple Gifts crafts shop—and share the blessings of faith, hard work, and love with their community—even when family secrets bring unexpected challenges . . . 
Making rugs for Simple Gifts has taught Loretta Riehl that an unassuming pattern can reveal surprising depth. People, too, have a way of defying first impressions. Drew Detweiler came to Willow Ridge under a cloud, but the handsome craftsman has gained the community’s respect for his upholstery skills and commitment to making amends for his mistakes. As her new brother-in-law’s twin, he’s joining the family for dinners and Sunday visits at the Riehl house, and Loretta can’t deny enjoying his attentions.

If only her dat were willing to let a little joy into his life. Cornelius Riehl grows more stern with each passing day, and Drew suspects there’s more to his moods than missing Loretta’s late mamm. Hoping to fulfill Loretta’s wish to live in a peaceful, happy home again, Drew sets out to learn the truth. It’s a journey that will bring to light painful realities—but also the chance to forge a new, honest, and loving future together…

Pick up your copy here...
 
 
Charlotte Hubbard sold her first historical romance in 1990, and she’s been a slave to her overactive imagination ever since. As she writes, her stories invariably take on a life of their own, different from the way she proposed them: unforeseen characters and plot twists come along, and they keep her guessing right along with her readers!

Charlotte has lived in the Midwest most of her life. When she’s not writing, she loves touring historic homes, trying new recipes, crocheting, and playing with her Border Collie, Ramona. She’s a Presbyterian deacon, sings in her church choir, and plays in the percussion ensemble. She’s married to a fine man who—bless him—has never once suggested she get a real job! 

My Thoughts...

Book two in the Simple Gifts series. It is a very fast easy read. It can be a stand alone but you are not going to want to miss book one A Simple Vow.
Making rugs would be so much fun. Loretta gets to do that in this one. I loved the whole story from the first page to the last.
You will read this one in one sitting. And you will enjoy the simple life and simple story about a simple wish.
I gave this book 4 stars. I hope that you will read this series.
The Mary Reader received this book from the Author for review. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are our own.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Dangerous Illusions By Irene Hannon




Trish Bailey is on overload trying to deal with a demanding job, an ailing mother, and a healing heart. When a series of unsettling memory lapses leads to a tragic death--and puts Trish under police scrutiny--her world is once again thrown into turmoil.

Detective Colin Flynn isn't certain what to think of the facts he uncovers during his investigation. Did Trish simply make a terrible mistake or is there more to the case than meets the eye? As he searches for answers, disturbing information begins to emerge--and if the forces at work are as evil as he suspects, the situation isn't just dangerous . . . it's deadly.

Bestselling and award-winning author Irene Hannon captures readers with a mind-bending story that will have them doubling back to retrace their steps--and figure out what they missed!

Pick up your copy here...
 
 
Irene Hannon is the best-selling author of more than 35 novels. Her books have been honored with the coveted RITA Award from Romance Writers of America, the HOLT Medallion, the Reviewer's Choice Award from Romantic Times BOOKreviews magazine and the Daphne du Maurier Award for mystery/suspense. Irene and her husband make their home in Missouri, USA. Irene invites you to visit her at her website, www.irenehannon.com 

My Thoughts...
 
This is book one in Hannon's new series Code of Honor. A much anticipated series.
Not at all predictable, you will be guessing and sitting on the edge of your seat trying to guess this one. It will throw you for a loop more than once.
I was very happy with the build up. I was not let down that is for sure.
I gave this book 4 stars and I can't wait for book number two in this series.
The Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are our own.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Fierce Hearted By Holley Gerth




A fiercehearted woman looks life in the face and says, "You can't beat me." She knows love is a risk but reaches out anyway. She chases Jesus with a tender, world-changing wildness. She never gives in, never gives up, and never lets go. Best of all, the potential to be a fiercehearted woman is inside each and every woman on earth.

In her most powerful book yet, beloved bestselling author Holley Gerth inspires her readers to become the stronger, braver, truer women they long to be by sharing personal stories of her own struggles and victories. As readers join Holley on this journey, they'll discover a freedom they never imagined could be theirs: the freedom to experience life, love, and faith to the fullest because fear can no longer hold them back.

For the woman who is restless or longing for more, Fiercehearted is an invitation to the life God has always meant for her to embrace.

Pick up your copy here...
 
 
Holley Gerth is a best-selling writer, licensed counselor, certified life coach and speaker. She is cofounder of (in)courage, an online destination for women, which received more than one million page views in its first six months. She also reaches out to readers through her popular blog at www.holleygerth.com and a partnership with DaySpring. Holley lives in the South with her husband, Mark.

My Thoughts...
 
We are stronger than we think because of The Lord. Garth's latest book has that message all through it.
It is a message we all need to hear. Garth wants you to look life in the face and say You can't beat me.
This is a very powerful book and one that I hope everyone who reads it takes to heart the message it holds.
Begin living Fierceheart today, get your copy. I will be rereading this one over and over again.
I gave this book 5 stars and I HIGHLY recommend it. Share it with your best Friend, I know I am.
The Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are our own.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Phoebe's Gift By Jerry Eicher



Dreams Never Die When You Believe in Them
Phoebe Lapp's grandmother was anything but ordinary. Before her death, the eccentric elderly woman purchased three Assateague ponies, seemingly for no reason. But after her passing, Phoebe learns of her beloved grandmother's wish to start an Amish pony farm in a lovely little valley near the Adirondack Mountains for hurting Englisha children. That dream now lies with Phoebe if she decides to fulfill it, but a teaching position is available as well. Which path should she choose?

Further complicating her decision, before her passing, Grandma Lapp asked a neighbor, David Fisher, to be involved in running the farm and help Phoebe. David agrees, but his sister Ruth has yet to abandon her rumspringa, and the only reason she hasn't left the church already is because of Grandma Lapp's kindness. Unbeknownst to Phoebe, David has secret hopes of attracting her affection, but Ruth's decision to stay or jump the fence could make things difficult for him.

Phoebe knows she has choices to make—whether or not to honor her grandmother's legacy and what to do about David's growing attentions toward her. But she's not alone. God is with her every step of the way. 

Pick up your copy here...
 
 
 

 

As a boy, Jerry Eicher spent eight years in Honduras where his grandfather helped found an Amish community outreach. As an adult, Jerry taught for two terms in parochial Amish and Mennonite schools in Ohio and Illinois. He has been involved in church renewal for 14 years and has preached in churches and conducted weekend meetings of in-depth Bible teaching. Jerry lives with his wife, Tina, and their four children in Virginia. 



 
My Thoughts...
 
Book two in the Peace in the Valley series. It can easily be read as a stand alone.
It is a very simple story about the plain people with so much heart. The whole premise Dreams never die when you believe in them is through out the whole book. Phoebe Lapp was not your plain ordinary Amish girl. And her story was one that you will be thinking about and talking about for some time after you read the last page. The story did end leaving you wondering, well maybe I should say left you hanging. I am sure that book three will answer my unanswered questions. And fill in the blanks.
This is a 4 star book and one you should check out.
The Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are our own.