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Monday, January 15, 2018

The Sound of Rain

The Sound of Rain by Sarah Loudin Thomas takes place in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina in 1954 in the wake of Hurricane Hazel. Right away, I was intrigued by this novel based on its setting. The Sound of Rain did not disappoint. In fact, the settings are so richly woven throughout the story that they almost become characters--from the mountains of Appalachia to the warm sand and ocean breezes of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Judd Markley and Larkin Heyward are about as different as two characters can be. He is a hardscrabble man, dealing with depression and grief after a mine collapse inured him and left his brother dead. Larkin is a privileged socialite, the daughter of the owner of the timber company Judd comes to work for, who spends her nights dancing and her days in the sand. But, there is much more to these characters than meets the eye, and the author does a wonderful job of bringing them to life and showing what lies beneath the surface.

Their relationship is tested in several ways, and with God's help, it develops into something truly special. I enjoyed the time period, the characters, the setting, and the overriding theme of The Sound of Rain. As I read, I could picture family members of mine living these same circumstances. That, plus the familiar setting of Myrtle Beach make this book a winner.

The publisher provided a review copy of The Sound of Rain.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Holding the Fort

Holding the Fort by Regina Jennings is Book One in the Fort Reno Series from Bethany House. Fort Reno is a cavalry fort in Indian Territory, where Louisa Bell has mistakenly become a governess.

1885 is an exciting time for Fort Reno, with Cheyenne uprisings, vigilante cowboys, and illegal activities. After leaving her job at a saloon, Louisa seeks help from her brother and ends up helping him. When she is mistaken for a governess, she ends up finding herself in a role that she never expected to take on.

There is a lot of chemistry between Louisa and her new employer, Major Daniel Adams. Holding the Fort has strong characters who really move the story along. Daniel and Louisa's developing relationship is fun to read, and though there are some serious moments in the book, the overall tone is lighthearted and fun. The author has done a nice job of incorporating historical events into the story, but still keeping it entertaining and interesting. I especially like how Louisa has overcome many odds and has maintained a grace and strong sense of values in spite of her hardships.

I'm looking forward to the next book in this series!

The publisher provided a review copy of Holding the Fort.

Monday, January 1, 2018

May the Faith Be With You Holy Bible

NIrV May the Faith Be with You Holy Bible is the perfect Bible for young padawans. As the mom of three boys, I can't remember a time when jedi masters and light sabers weren't a part of our day. So, if there is a Bible that specifically taps into their interests, it's a no-brainer that I would want my boys to have it.

This hardcover NIrV edition features several star-covered glossy pages with "Master Moments" and "Ways of Wisdom" with special explorations of faith. The text is a two-column format with a smallish, but readable font on tissue thin paper. Though it is hardback, this Bible is lightweight and easy to hold in one hand. I especially like the foil accents on the cover and the continuous space theme throughout.

The NIrV translation is wonderful for new and early readers, but it isn't babyish language, so older readers who struggle with other translations will enjoy this one--especially ESL readers. It's nice compact size make it portable, and the spine itself is so cool looking on a bookshelf. The silver lettering of the title resembles the opening sequence of the popular movie franchise.

Even though NIrV May the Faith Be with You Holy Bible is very appealing to boys, anyone who is a fan of astronomy, space travel, or a certain galaxy far far away will love it.

The publisher provided a review copy of May the Faith Be with You Holy Bible.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Church of the Small Things

Church of the Small Things: The Million Little Pieces That Make Up a Life by Melanie Shankle is a joyous celebration of all the little things that give life true meaning.

This series of snapshots from Melanie's life are hilariously relatable and remind us that all of the small things that don't seem to matter at the time are really what make up a life. As a mom, wife, and writer, Melanie has a unique way of looking at things, yet everything she shares makes you feel that you are definitely on the same page with her. Her fun conversational style makes it hard to put this book down!

Through anecdotes from her life going back to her college days, her first job, and her days as a mom, Melanie's story unfolds piece by piece. In the introduction, she writes:

"Life is what is happening all around us while we're waiting for the thing we hope will give us some sort of inner peace, contentnent, or joy. The problem is that when and if that thing happens, we usually enjoy it for all of three-and-a-half minutes before realizing nothing in us has fundamentally changed" (p. 13).

Church of the Small Things is a wonderful reminder that we don't need to wait until we look back on our lives to really live. Melanie reminds us to embrace each moment  and relish in it--now. Busy moms will especially enjoy this book!

The publisher provided a review copy of Church of the Small Things.