Book Review : Mermaid Moon

I have enjoyed past novels by Colleen Coble and when Mermaid Moon popped up in my inbox to review I jumped at the chance.  Colleen writes  action packed novels with a bit of romance sprinkled in.  In Mermaid Moon, the setting is Maine, so I was even more excited to dig into this story!

Main character Mallory returns to her hometown in Maine following a strange phone call from her father.  Game Warden Kevin helps her investigate the strange circumstances surrounding her fathers phone call and death.  There is a great deal of suspense with this story, while trying to figure out who killed her father Mallory also needs to solve questions regarding her own past.

The characters in Mermaid Moon are the kind you want to know more!  Mallory also has a 14 year old daughter, and while at first I thought her character was a bit standoffish, I realized that Haylie is portrayed as a very typical 14 year old.  I even appreciated Haylie’s relationship with her mom and her role in the story, as I have my own 14 year old.  I really enjoyed Mallory’s best friend Carol as well, as she was not her own age, but a good bit older.  The dynamic these two characters had was a good reminder of why we should all have friends older and younger than we are!

I flew through this book in about a day, of course that particular day I was stuck in another town getting new tires put on.  Thanks to this book in my bag I spent the afternoon much happier than if I was just waiting for my car!!  The book helped the time fly by and I was mentally in my happy place : Maine!

I always enjoy books by Ms. Coble and the journey we get to go on while reading her stories!  The characters make you want to keep reading more or coming back, which is great since this is book 2 in a 3 book series!!

NOTE : I received a copy of Mermaid Moon in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review : The Five Times I Met Myself

Ok, so I’m going to be honest with you.  Sometimes I request books in a rush to get a book without thinking through whether I really want to read it or not.  This might have been the case with James L. Rubart’s newest novel.  I just know when it arrived I wondered what I was in store for with this book.

The-Five-Times-I-Met-Myself

I have enjoyed other books that Mr. Rubart wrote, they are a spiritual kind of science fiction, if you will.  I like that kind of thing, but I know not everyone does.  So I said yes to this one to see what Mr. Rubart was going to do this time.

The review on the cover, by Andy Andrews says “If you think fiction can’t change your life and challenge you to be a better person, you need to read The Five Times I Met Myself.”  Let me just tell you this is true.  This book has me still thinking.  Wondering.  Looking at decisions today and in the past in a new light.

I really enjoyed this book, the characters were more developed than any book I have read and let me tell you why.  First you meet the characters in the initial story that Brock Matthews, the main character, is in.  But you get to see several different versions of his life throughout the book and in each variation the characters are different.  They change depending on the choices that are made in that variation.  This is hard to do.  For James to be able to wrap his mind around this idea and write it out in a way that flows, makes sense and seems almost logical is absolute genius.  I am still wondering how he did it!!

I have shared the story with Robert and we are still talking about it, how things would be different if…

I cannot wait to let Jacob read it, this is a book that could have a very profound impact on a young adult, one who has not made very many life altering decisions yet.

I loved the story, the plot will keep you glued and guessing!!  I loved the redemptive element that is throughout as well.  I highly recommend this book, but know it is not light reading, you have to be fully invested as you read this to keep up and really get it!!

Great job Mr. Rubart, again you have hooked me with an amazing story and made me think long after the last page was read!!

NOTE : I was offered a copy of The Five Times I Met Myself in exchange for an honest review.


About the book: 
The Five Times I Met Myself
 (Thomas Nelson, November 2015)

What if you met your twenty-three-year-old self in a dream? What would you say?

Brock Matthews’ once promising life is unraveling. His coffee company. His marriage.

So when he discovers his vivid dreams—where he encounters his younger self—might let him change his past mistakes, he jumps at the chance. The results are astonishing, but also disturbing.

Because getting what Brock wants most in the world will force him to give up the one thing he doesn’t know how to let go . . . and his greatest fear is that it’s already too late.


James L. Rubart is a professional marketer and speaker. He is the author of the best-selling novel Rooms as well as Book of DaysThe ChairSoul’s GateMemory’s Door, and Spirit Bridge. He lives with his wife and sons in the Pacific Northwest.

Book Review : Keeping Christmas

I love a good book.  I love to get lost, although I am not sure my family loves it so much!  I love to get my hands on a book that is going to leave an impression on me, make me thing, or just make me find joy in the day to day.

In November, I typically get to kick off the Christmas season with a few Christmas books.  This year I have finished two of my three, and let me promise you – they are all so good!!  So much more than a little sappy Christmas story.  Wow.

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The first one up is Keeping Christmas by Dan Walsh.  I love to read Dan’s books, no matter the subject matter, I have thoroughly enjoyed each one and walked away a better person, I believe!

Keeping Christmas is about a couple who are empty-nesters, and this is the first Thanksgiving/Christmas they will have without any of the kids coming home.  While I know this is a few years off for me, hopefully at least 9, this is a story I could really relate to.  It made me think of our friends here who do not have kids in the house, some of our older friends at church that are widows or widowers.

Judith and Stan are the couple the story centers around, and their friends are Barney and Betty.  I loved their relationship that was clearly very precious to each of them.  I loved to see Barney and Betty really love on Judith while she was in a depression over the empty holiday nest!

While this was a simple story of adjusting to a new normal as a parent with kids out of the house, it was a story that also made me think about how people are feeling in their season of life.  It made me think about my in-laws, my friends – people, particularly the moms, who poured everything into their kids.  Such a hard truth to realize how much we invest in making memories, repeating traditions, and then watching as our kids move out.    This story was a good reminder that this is the way it is supposed to be, and it is good and a new normal is possible.  In the end Judith found something she could get involved with, use her talents for good, and help other families.

My favorite part of the story was the homemade ornaments, “The Ugly Ornaments” that Judith really struggled with.  The memories attached to those ornaments were too much knowing the kids were not going to hang them or be there to enjoy them.  This book made me decide to find some home made ornaments the kids could make this year for our tree – ones they would have the liberty to do what they want with, even if the nativity looks a little like aliens!!

This story was a great kick off for the Christmas season, and I think it would warm the heart of any reader looking for a little Christmas cheer.  While the story was serious, and Judith was struggling the relationships of everyone and the end results were worth it all.

NOTE : I received a copy of Keeping Christmas in exchange for an honest review.


About Dan

Dan was born in Philadelphia in 1957 to a mostly dan walsh
blue-collar, hard-working Irish family. His father was the first person on either side of the family to earn a college degree. It took him 9 years, working during the day, going to college at night, using the GI Bill. In the mid-60s, GE hired his dad as an engineer for the Apollo space program. Dan’s family packed up and moved to Florida, which is where Dan spent most of his childhood.

Dan’s primary interests through high school were basketball and surfing. His family attended church every Sunday, but it was’t until his senior year that Dan made a personal decision to become a Christian. In the spring of that same year, he met Cindi, the woman who would become his wife. They were married in 1976. Today, they have 2 grown children and 2 grandchildren.

During a personal retreat in 1977, Dan experienced a call to pastoral ministry. He began studying and preparing for the next several years. In 1985, he was ordained as a pastor and served in the same church for the next 25 years. In August 2010, after 3 of his novels were published by a major publishing house (Revell – Baker Publishing Group), Dan retired from ministry to write fulltime.

– See more at: http://www.danwalshbooks.com/about-dan/#sthash.CechqhTo.dpuf

Book Review : Get Your Story Straight (YA Devotional)

Get Your Story Straight is a devotion book for teenagers, it really is a teen’s guide to learning and living the Gospel.

get your story

It is all about the fact that we were made in the image of God.  One of the main points is that we were made to get caught up in peoples stories, really God’s story.  Instead, today we find ourselves getting caught up in other stories like movies or tv.

Get Your Story Straight teaches you to go back and reconnect with God and get refocused on His story. It is a  devotion book with 52 scheduled weeks, with each week starting with a scripture passage on day 1, with a devotion on day 2, journalling questions on day 3 and 4, then on day 5 there is a place for journalling a prayer.

The three main categories are Getting the Story Straight, My Life Mixed into the Story, and The Story and Me Lived Out With Others.  There are many sub-categories in each main section including topics like Heart Change, The Best Witness Ever, Friendship Foundations, and many more.

I think it is a really good book, it does not need to be a teenager going through this book, even my younger brother who is 11 would get a lot out of it.  This would be a great book to do as a family devotion together also.

{This review was written by my 14 year old son, since he would know whether this was interesting to teen far more than I would! While he is a boy of fewer words on here, than me, I know he really did enjoy this book.  He has been using it for his devotion time daily and is very engaged in it.  I think it is a great tool to get their eyes (teens) off themselves and onto God! }

NOTE : I received Get Your Story Straight at no cost in exchange for an honest review.


More about the book:

What’s your story?

We all tell stories to each other–stories about what happened when we were kids, stories about last night, and stories where we dream about the future. Some stories are funny, some are amazing, others are sad, but they all have something in common–each of us is the hero of our own story. Our thoughts, feelings, hopes, and dreams take center stage. But when it’s all about you, it’s also all up to you. You have to make life work, find meaning, and hope for the best even when you mess up or things go badly wrong.

But what if we were made for something different? What if the main character in our life story isn’t us, but it is the God who became like us and is now with us? What if being fully human means knowing him and growing to be like him? What if the way to be fully alive is to be caught up in Jesus’s story?

This 52-week devotional book and small group resource is designed to help you live with Jesus in his gospel story–the good news that your sins are forgiven, your future is assured, and following him is the only meaningful way to live. No matter your age, where you live, who your family is, or what your past, God wants you to experience the freedom that comes in being secure in his love.

Divided into three parts, starting with creation, each section progressively explores the idea that the whole Bible is the unfolding story of Jesus. Through this grid, who Jesus is and why we need him will shape your understanding of freedom and grace and how you grow to be like him. This yearlong study for teenagers and young adults is designed for individual devotional times, but a small group discussion guided by a mentor would help participants to absorb and live out the truths of each week’s teaching.


About Kristen Hatton:KHatton-338

Kristen Hatton is a native Texan now putting roots down in Edmond, OK with her church-planter/pastor husband and their three children. With a public relations background from Southern Methodist University, Kristen has a wide array of professional experiences, none of which she counts as important as the job of being a “present” mom. Through leading a small group Bible study of teenagers, she has discovered her passion for teaching and writing about God’s grace.

Book Review : The Horse of my Heart

My daughter and I have thoroughly enjoyed each story in the book The Horse of my Heart!

horse of my heart

I confess that I may have shed a tear or two during many of the stories.  Each story is about four or five pages, a pretty quick read.  This has been a sweet book that Anna and I have enjoyed as we read a story or two a day during our school time.  I think one benefit is that she is seeing that there is a lot more to owning a horse than she may have thought.  She is also learning the tremendous joy that comes from having a horse that you have invested in and loved.

There are 32 sweet stories, each story is a heartwarming story about a horse owner.  Many reflect on a long seeded desire to own a horse as a child to be realized as an adult.  Many more take you into the heart of the horse and capture the relationship between the owner and the animal in a very intimate way.

If you know of anyone who is interested in horses, this really is a great book to jump start their passion for these amazing animals.  While each story is written by a different author, and many different perspectives are highlighted, the general theme of each story is a love of horses and this is clear in every story!

NOTE : I was offered a copy of The Horse of my Heart in exchange for an honest review.

The Horse of My Heart

edited by Callie Smith Grant

Shining coat flashing in the sun. Silky mane rippling in the wind. A toss of the head and the stamp of a hoof.

Few of God’s creatures are as noble and soul-stirring as the horse. Even those of us who aren’t lucky enough to have horses of our own seem to have an innate desire to connect with these beautiful, regal beasts. As children we read stories about them, collected models of them, and tacked posters of them up on our walls. Throughout history they have carried us and calmed us, pulled our loads and pulled at our heartstrings. They give us a taste of wildness and yet make us feel at home.

In this inspiring collection, you’ll meet horses who show up at the right time, who help their humans learn important truths, and who rescue the very people who rescued them. These true stories of horses and the people who love them are sometimes touching, sometimes humorous, and sometimes miraculous. Always they are inspiring, like the horses themselves. They will touch your heart, renew your spirit, and show you that surely God had us in mind when he created these magnificent creatures.


Callie Smith Grant is the editor of The Cat in the WindowThe Cat on My Lap, The Dog Next Door, and The Dog at My Feet. She is also the author of several nonfiction books for young readers and adults, as well as many animal-themed stories and poems that can be seen in Guidepostsanthologies and in magazines such as Small Farmer’s Journal.