Sunday, September 28, 2014

NIV First-Century Study Bible... a book review

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The NIV First Century Study Bible

Publisher: Zondervan / Harper Collins
Available: September 9, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-310-93890-3
Hardback price: $49.99



Publisher's Description:

Experience the Bible through the eyes of a first-century disciple by exploring the cultural, religious, and historical background of the Bible. This Bible allows you to understand God’s Word in its original cultural context, bringing Scripture to life by providing fresh understanding to familiar passages, beloved stories and all the Scripture in between. The NIV First-Century Study Bible invites you into the questions, stories, and interpretations—both ancient and modern—which introduce you to a world vastly different from your own.  Let us read with an eye on the past and with our feet planted in our present questions and circumstances.  Join Kent Dobson as he unpacks the culture of Bible times, and illuminates Scripture passages while asking thoughtful questions along the way.
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I was thrilled to have the chance to review the NIV First-Century Study Bible from Zondervan.  I had just started an Old Testament Literature class as college and knew this would be a great help in understanding many Old Testament passages.  I was not disappointed!  This new study Bible introduces the reader to explore the Biblical culture in a more meaningful way. 


Special features of this Bible include...
     -  book introductions and outlines for each book of the Bible
     -  study notes for understanding and challenging the reader through thought-provoking questions
     -  word studies to better understand the scriptures
     -  "Addressing the Text Articles" that delve deeper into the passages of scripture
     -  "Day in the Life Articles" to help modern-day readers to understand the Biblical culture


The NIV First-Century Study Bible even included the type of literature found in each book  This was so helpful to me in my current course as it reinforced the best way to interpret that particular book.

Thank you Zondervan for this wonderful study Bible - bringing Biblical times and culture to life for today's reader.  I look forward to mining more of God's Word with the NIV First-Century Study Bible.


My rating:  5 out of 5 stars
A+


I received a complimentary copy of NIV First-Century Study Bible from Zondervan and Harper Collins Publishing's BookLook Bloggers program for my honest review.

Blessings,

     Ellen

Tried & True... a book review

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Tried and TrueTried & True


ISBN: 978-0-7642-1178-2
Publisher: Bethany House Publishing Group
Available: August 26, 2014
Fiction / Christian / Historical Fiction
Series: Wild at Heart

 

Publisher’s Description:
Saddle up for a wildly fun ride with the Wilde sisters!

Kylie Wilde is the youngest sister--and the most civilized. Her older sisters 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 using 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 the luxuries of life back East.

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

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          Tried & True is the first book I have read from author Mary Connealy.  The book teaser intrigued me.  I knew, historically, women fought in the Civil War.  I was excited to read a book loosely crafted from this time period.

          The story was alright, but the characters were not well developed.  Also, the basic plot of the story was transparent… with one exception.  But, even with the one exception, the story did not draw me in or hook me into the unfolding tale.  I will not be reading the rest of the series.

My rating:  C       2.5 out of 5 stars


I received a complimentary e-copy of Tried & True from Bethany House Publishing for my honest review. 

Blessings,

    Ellen

Sunday, September 14, 2014

A Cowboy's Christmas Promise... a book review

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A Cowboy’s Christmas Promise

ISBN: 9780553394566

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group Loveswept

Available: November 18, 2014

 



Publisher’s Description:
Boston veterinarian Hayley Scampini tends the city’s pampered pets but dreams of the rural life of a country vet. She’s single and determined to stay that way, convinced that love isn’t permanent enough to trust. Then a vacation to the Whisper Creek dude ranch introduces her to Daniel McKee, a sexy single dad who runs the kind of veterinary practice she aspires to—and rattles her conviction to keep men at a distance.

Managing a thriving practice, coping with the loss of his wife, and fighting a custody battle with his in-laws over his twin daughters, Daniel couldn’t be more overwhelmed. Hayley is a godsend, accompanying him in the field and winning over his girls. It doesn’t take Daniel long to realize he’s falling for this woman, hard and fast. So before Hayley returns to Boston, he extracts a promise: that she will return to Whisper Creek for Christmas. It’s the perfect time and place to show Hayley that the promise of a beautiful life together is something she can believe in.

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I was so excited to realize this was a continuation from Maggie McGinnis’ book Accidental Cowgirl published April 30, 2014.  I enjoyed returning to Whisper Creek Ranch for Kyla’s wedding.   This book focuses on Hayley and her determination to remain single… and happy.  I curled up with the book and laughed and smiled and welcomed home some great friends!  Okay, okay… I know they are just my literary character friends, but I do so enjoy getting lost in their stories.

My rating:           A             4.5 out of 5 stars

I received a complimentary e-copy of a Cowboy’s Christmas Promise from NetGalley for my honest review. 

Blessings,
 
    Ellen

Friday, August 29, 2014

Seagrass Pier... a book review

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Seagrass Pier

Available: July 1, 2014

ISBN: 9781401690083

Fiction / Christian / Suspense / Romance

Series: Hope Beach Series, #3

Publisher: Thomas Nelson
 

Publisher’s  Description:

In a secluded corner of Hope Beach, one woman must decipher a stranger’s memories . . . before they cost her everything.

Elin Summerall was one of the lucky ones. Not only did she get a heart transplant, but the donor was a perfect fit. A miraculously perfect fit.

But when Elin begins having violent flashbacks—and vivid dreams of being strangled—she realizes that she has been the recipient of more than just a new heart . . . Elin is remembering her donor’s murder.

Her strange affliction has attracted some unwanted attention: from the press, from the authorities . . . and from the killer himself. Now, living alone with her young daughter and aging mother, Elin is being stalked—by a man she’s only met in her nightmares.

The police are dubious of her story, but one off-duty FBI agent agrees to help her: Agent Marc Everton.

Now, in a remote cottage on Hope Island, Elin and Marc must probe the secrets buried in her borrowed heart. And there’s no time to waste. One man is desperate to silence her—before she remembers too much.
 
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The transplant brought her life ---- and the donor’s memories may bring her death.
 
In the third book in the Hope Beach Series, we meet Elin, the central character, as she learns to walk a difficult path in her life.  She is a widow who has recently undergone a heart transplant – the blessing is turning into a curse.   Why is Elin having vivid nightmares of her donor’s murder?  And why, if the police don’t believe her, does the murderer set his sights on Erin?

She moves to Hope Island to begin anew with her 4 year old daughter.  The 100-year old home is filled with treasures of days gone by including an old diary from the original owner’s widow.  Add Elin’s mother who is suffering front dementia and you have rich storylines apart from the murder / stalker mystery! 
 
My rating: 6 out of 5 stars

Can I do that?  YES!  I just did… this book is that good!

I received a complimentary e-copy of Seagrass Pier from Thomas Nelson Publishing for my honest review.
 
Blessings,

   Ellen
 
“Contentment is found in your heart, Elin.  It’s not in a profession or in a relationship.  Your roles don’t define who you are.  You define your roles.” - Elin's mother (Ch. 9 – Seagrass Pier)
 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Healing Quilt... a book review

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The Healing Quilt (The Half-Stitched Amish Quilting Club, #3)The  Healing Quilt

Available: August 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-61626-087-3 

Soft cover: $15.99  

Fiction / Christian / Amish / Romance

Series: The Half-Stitched Amish Quilting Club

Publisher: Handlebar Publishing and Shiloh Run Press,
an imprint of Barbour Publishing

 


In the third book in the Amish Quilting Club series, we meet Emma and Lamar as they begin a new quilting class in Sarasota, FL.  The six students – ages teenage to retirees -  come from many different backgrounds.  The Quilting class is not all about teaching the craft, but being God’s light and love in a hurting world.  Yet, even Emma and Lamar could not imagine the challenges of their new students.

The premise was great – show the love of God through actions.  Yet, there are many characters and story lines being introduced and resolved within a single book.  I felt that due to this, the story just skimmed the surface of the characters’ struggles.  The book would have been richer had there been less plot lines to follow and more in-depth story lines.   If you want a simple, feel-good read, you will enjoy this book.  I was hoping Wanda E. Brunstetter would flesh out the characters’ and their histories better – put more meat on the spine of this book.

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Enjoyable, but left me wanting more

I received a complimentary copy of The Healing Quilt from Handlebar Publishing for my honest review.

Blessings,

   Ellen
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