Fiction Review: Lynn Austin’s “On This Foundation”

Once again, I enter a series late to the party! But no harm done, as this work is based on an entire book of the Bible – Nehemiah – and stands alone unto itself very well. Yet, looking at the previous titles in Ms. Austin’s Restoration Chronicles, I can see how it works in the overall tapestry, as they are each distinctive weaves. I greatly appreciated that about this book – it allowed me to recommend it to some friends, even though I didn’t have the others on hand.

I’ve read the Book of Nehemiah before in my Bible studies, and really enjoyed it as both a tale, and a lesson of obedience and faithfulness. Yet Ms. Austin’s rendering really made the story pop, putting in cultural context that helped me see deeper layers not first obvious.

I also liked that as the Book of Nehemiah is a very thorough account, Ms. Austin didn’t have to get overly “extra biblical” with embellishment. She stayed true to the actual, amazing story, which allowed the realness of her depictions of historical characters to come through even brighter. And as her writing style is one of amazing descriptions and storytelling, I found it first class in immersion!

I’ve already handed off my copy and will continue to highly recommend!


I received a review copy of this work from the publisher


Fiction Review: Jim and Joyce Lavene’s “A Dickens of a Murder”

Today’s review is a stop on the Great Escapes blog tour for A Dickens of A Murder. Also, a rafflecopter giveaway!

cover   joyce and jim

“Then the ghost of Charles Dickens shows up–“
When I was browsing and read that on the cover, how could I NOT read this book? A great hook, for a great book.

The book is fast paced, extremely so, and very short, a one-sitting read by its very nature, in addition to the fact that I didn’t want to put it down! Engaging characters, witty banter, and lots of humor keep the reader engaged from the first page to the last!

I greatly enjoyed how we got to know the characters through their interactions, a great way of doing characterization, made even better by stellar writing. It is obvious how much the authors love writing, and how hard they have worked to hone their style and voice.

All I can say is I wish I could have that great house and plethora of books for my own – minus the murderous intentions of the villain, of course!

Enter the Great Escapes Giveaway here:

In memory of Joyce Lavene

Non-Fiction Review: Bee Wilson’s “First Bite”

“The best children’s food is a result of adults controlling the nutrition, but children controlling what they put in their mouths.”

I love that quote, and I must admit, I had to stop myself from quoting the book over and over in this review. It is incredible, with so many parts worth sharing and talking over with those around you. I stopped nearly every other page to look at my husband and say “listen to this!”

And that is saying something, as this is a hefty book, almost textbook-esque in its scope and content. But the author’s writing style pulls you in, making the information very understandable and fun to read! There is so much amazing information and history, that I loved reading the work, but had to take a break in between chapters to process everything I’d just finished reading.

Through it all though, the work inspires you. Ms. Wilson is very factual, not deriding or preaching about better or lesser food habits, but allowing the reader to learn and internalize the food truths she lays out. I came away with new ways to look at my own eating and my family’s eating, and a new appreciation and understanding for why I like the things I do, and the way I want to bring up my children when it comes to food.

This book releases December 1, 2015, and I HIGHLY recommend a copy!

I received a review copy of this work from the publisher through NetGalley

Non-Fiction Review: Rob Burkhart’s “Five Questions of Christmas”

I must confess, the title initially confused me, and I was expecting a different book. Once I got into reading, however, it was so much more than I was expecting! The questions asked are those which were asked AT the first Christmas, not questions ABOUT Christmas. It makes a large difference.

This book is small, but I happened to read it slowly, one chapter at a time, while going about other tasks in my life. So it happened that each chapter hit and spoke deeply to different life events I was going through at that exact moment. I was very encouraged by Mr. Burkhart’s words and the truths he spoke about in a very clear and understandable way. His writing style is very easy for anyone to relate to, and this would be a great book to read through with older children.

Mr. Burkhart doesn’t rehash the “love, joy, peace to all” message that most Christmas-themed books will do. He looks deeper, helping the reader see how Christmas, and the events surrounding it relate directly to our search for identity, purpose, and meaning, and really brings those truths to light in a great way. I was encouraged and challenged with each page. And the questions at the end of each chapter helped me pause and dig deeper into the thoughts and understanding I was gaining.

I highly recommend this work!

I received a review copy of this work from the publisher through NetGalley