Thursday, June 18, 2015

Now & Forever by Mary Connealy

Book Description

Shannon Wilde is the middle sister—and the one who loves animals. She’s established her own homestead and is raising sheep for their wool. Things are going fine…until Shannon gets swept over a cliff by Matthew Tucker.

Tucker seizes every opportunity to get away from civilization, but one particular walk in the woods ends with him sprinting away from an angry grizzly and plunging into a raging river, accidentally taking Shannon Wilde with him. Their adventure in the wilderness results in the solitary mountain man finding himself hitched to a young woman with a passel of relatives, a homestead, and a flock of sheep to care for.

As Tucker and Shannon learn to live with each other, strange things begin to happen on Shannon’s land. Someone clearly wants her to drive her off, but whoever it is apparently didn’t count on Tucker. Trying to scare Matthew Tucker just makes him mad—and trying to hurt the woman he’s falling in love with set off something even he never expected. 

My Review

I picked up this book as soon as I finished Tried & True. Mary Connealy wasted no time in this amazing sequel. She hits the floor running!

Shannon Wilde is the more tender hearted of her two sisters. Being in the war wasn’t easy. Fear and guilt still haunt her dreams. It’s wounded her spirit. Now she just wants to find some peace. 

Matthew Tucker is as wild as I’ve ever seen. He cracks me up! His mountain man friends almost made me crack a rib. He’s passionate and strong and he’ll do whatever it takes to protect Shannon. He’s the perfect match for her. 
I loved getting to know his mother, Sunrise, too. She is a character I just love to read.

After Slaughter River—it’s as scary as it sounds— a more heinous threat lurks in the shadows. Mary Connealy doesn’t waste a minute is showing who this new villain identity. Hiram Stewbold, the new land agent taking over for Aaron Mastersons. I thought Nev was bad in the first book when he was stalking Kylie, but this guy is the real psychopath. I couldn’t go to sleep if the chapter ended from his point of view, I had to keep reading and leave off with Shannon and Tucker (or finish the whole book). He still makes my skin crawl. 

My absolute favorite part in the entire book was when Tucker finally managed to get Shannon to share her story of being in the war. He said something to her that hit straight home, deep enough to make me cry. 

“You’ll never shake my faith. So you don’t have to fear saying the wrong thing. I’m strong enough to listen and not be hurt by your doubts, and, Shannon,
—I’m I’m strong enough to listen, then for certain God is.
—How could you go through something like that and not have doubts? God understands that. Not talking about them…well, God still knows.”

God always wants us to come to even, even if we are in doubt of his goodness and love. 

“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about what happens to you.” 
– 1 Peter 5:7 NLT 

He doesn’t want us to runaway and hide in shame. Tucker really said it when he said, 

“There ain’t much in this life that’s a bigger waste of time than trying to hide things from God.”

Now & Forever has become a new favorite in my collection. It’s filled with excitement, romance, laughter, a tad bit of thrill, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. If you haven’t read the first book “Tried & True” yet, I highly suggest you get on it. I can’t wait for final book, Fire & Ice

I highly recommend this book. 

I give it 5 out of 5 stars!

I received this book for free from the publisher’s in exchange for this honest and unbiased review as part of Bethany House Review program.

Friday, June 12, 2015

NLT Comprehensive Concordance

Book Description

You already know that the New Living Translation speaks your language. Now the NLT Comprehensive Concordance provides the perfect companion as a powerful tool to help you explore the depths of God’s Word.
  •       Full English concordance listings for every major word in the NLT
  • Introductions to the New Living Translation, including translation philosophy and scholars involved in the translation
  • The number of occurrence of each word listed
  • Inclusions of many archaic terms and common renderings from other translations which are not found in the NLT

A concordance is an invaluable tool for serious Bible study, and the NLT Comprehensive Concordance packs a lot of value into a single volume. Designed to be useful for serious in-depth study or for quick reference, this concordance will help you find what you are looking for.

My Review

I was so excited when this came in the mail! I redeemed it with my Tyndale Rewards! They really are so amazing!

I’ve always liked using the concordance in the back of my own Bible when I’m studying or trying to remember a certain verse, but I needed an upgrade. Man, did I get an upgrade! 1229 pages and hundreds of thousands verses worth of upgrade!

My dad brought it in from the mailbox and asked, “What is this? It’s so thick!”

It sure is. But it’s not monster size (thank goodness). It’s large enough so you don’t have to squint to read the letters, but not so big/heavy you hate pulling it off your shelf. I can’t wait to pick it up!

Every major word is listed (in the very back there is even a list of words not used in this book) and categorized by name. It’s really neat. For instance, I was looking for the verse “give your burdens to the Lord, for he cares for you.” But I couldn’t remember where it was. So, I pulled out my concordance and went straight to burdens. I found the verse in Psalms 55. But it still wasn’t the exact one I was thinking of. Then I remembered one that said “your cares” rather than burdens. I turned to C and found cares and found the verse I was looking for in 1 Peter 5.

I had been trying to remember where that verse was for two days! This book has really become a great tool.

I’m sure some of you are thinking, “why not just search for it online? Surely, it would be so much faster than hunting through a book.” But that is such thinking in this digital age where everything is at our fingertips. Many don’t want to take the time to search. They’d rather skip over the wonderful yellow-brick road straight to the emerald city. You ‘ll never know what treasures await you if you don’t take on the adventure.

Another major problem for me, and I’m sure many more alike, is that having the internet at our fingertips causes many more distractions than if we searched for and pulled out a book.

I recommend getting a concordance for any version! But, if you just so happen to have an NLT than this is the book for you.

Monday, June 8, 2015

A Love Like Ours by Becky Wade

Book Description

Former Marine Jake Porter has far deeper scars than the one that marks his face. He struggles with symptoms of PTSD, lives a solitary life, and avoids relationships.

When Lyndie James, Jake's childhood best friend, lands back in Holley, Texas, Jake cautiously hires her to exercise his Thoroughbreds. Lyndie is tender-hearted, fiercely determined, and afraid of nothing, just like she was as a child. Jake pairs her with Silver Leaf, a horse full of promise but lacking in results, hoping she can solve the mystery of the stallion's reluctance to run.

Though Jake and Lyndie have grown into very different adults, the bond that existed during their childhood still ties them together. Against Jake's will, Lyndie's sparkling, optimistic personality begins to tear down the walls he's built around his heart. A glimmer of the hope he'd thought he'd lost returns, but fears and regrets still plague him. Will Jake ever be able to love Lyndie like she deserves, or is his heart too shattered to mend?

My Review

"Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance” 1 Corinthians 3:7 NLT
      This is a love like ours.

This is the third book in Becky Wade’s Porter family series. Focusing on the last of the porter brothers, Jake. As a former Marine Jake suffers from the traumatic events that sent him home six years ago.
When we’re in pain it’s easier to shift blame onto something or someone else, even ourselves. Why do we struggle so much with this? Why must there be someone to blame for our troubles?

Now on to our next character Lyndie. A light-haired young woman, and Jake’s childhood friend, this sweet natured woman carries her own set of worries. With a younger sister completely dependent on her family to just get through the day.
The relationship between Lyndie and Jake is a strained one, and it was interesting to watch them grow in their friendship, even when Mr. Tall, dark, and brooding, did everything in his power to push Lyndie away.

So many subjects were broached in A Love like Ours from single parenting to being single, and weathering the storms life throws our way. Characters from Becky Wade’s previous two books, Undeniably Yours and Meant to Be Mine, make an appearance in the third book, along with a hint for perhaps a fourth book. A Love like Ours picks up where its predecessor lagged behind. It can also be read out of order without leaving the reader feeling like they have missed something really important

All the way around the book came out to be much better then what was first expected of it. And if you are looking for another good Texas romance with plenty of humor, horses, and real life struggles, then I recommend this book

I received this book for free from the publisher’s in exchange for this honest and unbiased review as part of Bethany House Review program.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Tried & True by Mary Connealy

Cover Description

Kylie Wilde is the youngest sister—and the most civilized. Her older sister might be happy dressing in trousers and posing as men, but Kylie has grown her hair long and wears skirts every chance she gets. It’s a risk—they are homesteading the special exemptions they earned serving in the Civil War as “boys”—but Kylie plans to make the most of the years before she can sell her property and return to luxuries of like back East.

Local land agent Aaron Masterson is fascinated with Kylie from the moment her long hair halls from her cap. But now that he knows her secret, can he in good conscious defraud the U.S.  government? And when someone tries to force Kylie off her land, foes he have any hope of convincing her that marrying him and settling on the frontier is the better option for her future?

My Review

Mary Connealy has done it again! Swoons. From the first page it was hook, line, and sink for me!

Kylie Wilde is a spunky woman not afraid to be what God created her to be: a woman. Despite what her sisters say and her Pa demands, she’s tired of dressing like a man. She wants to live in society, not backwoods and mountains. She hates being in the middle of nowhere and alone. Everything changes when the tall and handsome Aaron Masterson suddenly comes to her rescue. However, it doesn’t take him a minute to see through her disguise! And he can’t believe she actually served in the war for two years; those men had to blind or stupid not to see she was a woman.

Aaron Masterson is haunted by what he left behind in Shenandoah Valley. The war not only took away his home, but the only family he had. Leaving him alone and forcing him to come out west as a land agent. But when he meets Kylie Wilde all he wants to do is take care of her.

I’m swept away in the river of Klylie and Aaron’s budding romance. But that’s not all that kept me turning the page. Someone is trying to make Kylie give up her land, but no one knows who or why. Everything from flaming arrow to snakes! No one knows what he or she will do next to scare Kylie into leaving her homestead, for good. But there is something else in the air, a whisper, a warning of an even greater threat.

Doesn’t that just make you tingle all over!? Well, then I highly recommend you get this book and start reading as soon as possible. Otherwise you just might miss out on a right, Tried and True, book.

There isn’t much more I can say about this book. I finished over half the book in a single day (which for me is a cause to celebrate these days!) I loved every word written and look forward to the next two volumes! In fact, I’ve already started on the second one and will probably finished with it shortly after I post this review (maybe even before!).

I give this book a 5 out of 5 stars!

I received this book for free from the publisher’s in exchange for this honest and unbiased review as part of Bethany House Review program.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Untangled by Carey Scott

Cover Description

We all want to feel valued. We crave approval and acceptance in the eyes of family, friends, and even strangers. But when we seek confirmation that we are enough using the world’s standards, it seems like we always fall short. As a result, we cannot believe we are who God says we are—accepted, loved, beautiful, and treasured.

My Review

Untangled: Let God loosen the knots of insecurity in your life.

Like anyone, I have insecurities about a lot of things. Little things, big things, and things I don’t even know I have. But God knows them, because he knows my heart. Which is the very heart message of this book and why I like it so much.

Throughout this book Carey Scott points you to God. This isn’t some self-help book that tries to give you the perfect remedy to make you good enough instead she shares how to untangle our hearts from those lies the devil has so deeply woven in them.

Each tangled story she shares, from childhood to college, to marriage and friendships, is a tale of untangling those lies of I’m not good enough.

When I reached her chapters about marriage, I thought, “Surely none of this will apply to me. I’m not married! And this next chapter about being tangled with kids, that most definitely doesn’t apply to me.” I almost considered skipping those chapters. I almost wish I could say that I decided not to because I am, indeed, a true devout reader, but to be honest God called me to read them. And I am glad to boast about that. Though as a single person, the parts on being a wife or parent didn’t really apply to me, however, it opened my eyes to the insecurities my mom might be facing, even now.

As I neared the last chapter, I thought to myself, “I really like this book, but for all the insecurity issues, I’m rather disappointed.” Here’s why.

I’m overweight. For the longest time it was a huge insecurity. I didn’t like the feeling that people might be looking at me, not talking to me, and think I was ugly or unlovable because of my size.

“That’s a pretty huge tangle for a lot of women, why isn’t it being addressed in this book?”

Sure, appearances had been brought up from make-up, hair, and clothing, but why not bodyweight? Maybe she just didn’t have that problem.

I started reading the last chapter, Carey Scott leading up to the unveiling of her last tangle, and then I heard God whisper, “Surprise. I didn’t forget.” She shared her heartfelt tangle of insecurity on being overweight and how God reached in to the deepest part of her heart to make it well again.   

I am so glad she shared that story. It was a perfect ending. 

The only thing I disliked in the book was the constant change in bible version references. I know typically, I see people use 2-3 versions to better explain their meaning behind the verses they use. Most times the meaning is the same as the previous version, it just words it a little clearer for the reader. However, I found the versions used: CEB, TLB, GNT, and GW, to be too altered.

In one beginning chapter, she uses Proverbs 4:23 in CEB.

“More than anything you guard, protect your mind, for life flows from it.” Did you catch that? More than anything else, protect your mind. You see, when you undermine your worth through words and thoughts, you change how you see yourself.”

So her message was surrounded by that word change from ‘heart’ to ‘mind’. Yet she mentions that the road from the head to the heart is one less traveled.
Then, in the end chapter she uses the same verse but from the GW version.

“Proverbs 4:23 says, “Guard your heart more than anything else, because the source of your life flows from it.” Those are strong words—more than anything. God is saying that protecting our hearts should be our biggest priority. Why? Because all of our emotions, thoughts, and actions originate there.”

And then in the very next paragraph says how she likes the GNT version of that verse which says, “Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts.”

I actually found this pretty conflicting to start with. I felt the versions were used to help tell the story or get the point across rather than letting the Bible actually speak for itself. I know their are great poems and sayings that say the like, "watch what you think because they become your actions." And I know the bible speaks of this in certain words, but I would have rather seen her ue quote than try to use whatever version of the bible suited her needs. However, I just pulled out my bible when I came to verses and took what she was trying to convey from her heart to her readers. Which was beautiful and lovely, encouraging and inspiring.

I give this book a 4 out of 5 stars.

I received this book for free from the publisher’s in exchange for this honest and unbiased review as part of Revel Review program.