Friday, June 7, 2013

American History - a Creation Conversations (NewLeaf Publisher) review

It isn't often that I come across an opportunity to review curriculum. At this time last year, I was given the chance to review a copy of the Kindle version of American History by Dr. James Stobaugh and the teacher's edition of the textbook.

Book Description
Respected Christian educator, Dr. James Stobaugh, offers an entire year of high school American history curriculum in an easy to teach and comprehensive volume. American History: Observations & Assessments from Early Settlement to Today employs clear objectives and challenging assignments for the tenth grade student. From before the birth of our republic to the principles of liberty, American history trends, philosophies, and events are thoroughly explored. The following components are covered for the student:

- Critical thinking
- Examinations of historical theories, terms, and concepts
- History makers who changed the course of America
- Overviews and insights into world views.

Students will complete this course knowing the Christian influences that created a beacon of hope and opportunity that still draws millions to the United States of America. This 384-page student resource should be used in conjunction with the American History: Observations & Assessments from Early Settlement to Today for the Teacher. British History and World History are included in this comprehensive high school history curriculum for 10th, 11th, and 12th grades offered by Dr. James Stobaugh and Master Books.

My thoughts
First, let me say that I love history. My husband and I both do, and I'm one who could watch the History channel all day long if I had the time. So I was anxious to get my hands on this curriculum. Though looking back now, I wish that I had this in a paper, tangible version. Using it on the Kindle (I have a plain Kindle and my son has a Kindle Fire) is not as useful as having a hands-on textbook. I find that I much prefer hands-on textbooks than e-versions. Electronic just doesn't stack up to the real thing.

This is an independent study textbook for tenth grade history. I like how the book covers the positive parts about our American history as well as the negative. This textbook would be a great idea for a homeschooling family and would be good for use in a private school setting as well. This is a history textbook with a Christian foundation.

The teacher's edition provides extra thoughts for the teacher and extra guidelines for instructing and/or helping the student. Each of the lessons have a suggested time of thirty minutes each and instruction time is approximately 34 weeks.

I highly recommend this text. It was thorough and enjoyable!

I received American History - student and teacher e-textbook as a complimentary gift in exchange for review from New Leaf Publishing Group. My opinions are my own.

Love in the Balance - a Bethany House review

Regina Jennings is a fairly new author. Love in the Balance is her second novel published, and her first novel Sixty Acres and a Bride, which I reviewed, was absolutely fantastic. So, when I had the opportunity to get my hands on this second novel, I jumped at the chance!

Love in the Balance is a historical romance, Christian fiction, set in Lockhart, TX, in 1879. Molly Lovelace has been brought up by "fancy" parents. Her father owns a mill, and they want only the finest things for their daughter--including a well-to-do bachelor to wed. Molly, although liking some of the finer things in life, wants to get out from under her father's controlling clutches. So, she moves out of town and gets a job working for a judge.

Meanwhile, she has her eye on a handsome hard-working, though poor Bailey Garner. She finds his character and his handsome good looks charming, and she finds herself drawn to him inexplicably. In turn, Bailey is captivated by HER, too.

But when a family tragedy strikes and Molly sees her opportunity to wed someone well-off, who is she going to pick? Someone who can provide for her and appease her father, or the man who she really has her eyes on?

I'm not gonna tell!!! You'll have to find out for yourself.

I really like Regina's writing. She has a knack for creating personable, hilarious characters and situations. The characters were not without flaw--Regina created them to be realistic and sometimes frustrating to the reader! Sometimes I wanted to shout out, "C'mon, people!! Common sense, here!" at some of the characters. haha Also, I felt that the storyline wasn't completely predictable. She took me by surprise with the direction she took the story.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I look forward to reading more! This is definitely an author you will want to watch!

I received Love in the Balance as a complimentary gift in exchange for review from Bethany House Publishers. My comments and opinions are my own.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Promise Box - a Launch Teammate review & a chance to win!

Tricia Goyer is celebrating the release of her lastest novel, The Promise Box (Zondervan), by hosting an Amish Baking Box giveaway and connecting with readers during her June 12th Book Chat Party!

One "promising" winner will receive:
  • Apron, hot mitts, and kitchen towels
  • Amish baking items (rolling pin, pie plate, etc...)
  • Sherry Gore's Simply Delicious Amish Cooking
  • The Memory Jar and The Promise Box by Tricia Goyer 
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on June 11th. Winner will be announced at the "The Promise Box" Facebook Author Chat Party on June 12th. Connect with Tricia for an evening of Amish fun - book chat, trivia, laughter, and more! Tricia will also share an exclusive look at the next book book in the Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors series and give away books and other fun prizes throughout the evening.

So grab your copy of The Promise Box and join Tricia on the evening of June 12th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 12th!


Book Description and My Thoughts

I am on Tricia Goyer's 2013 Launch Team. This means that I've been provided an opportunity to review her novels for this year in exchange for a free novel(s). I last reviewed Love Finds You in Glacier Bay, Alaska, and now I'm reviewing The Promise Box (a Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors series).

The Promise Box is the story of Lydia Wyse, an adopted Englisch child into an Amish home. Lydia has left her Amish community of West Kootenai to move to Seattle to edit books. While she is gone, her Amish mother passes away, leading to her return to the Amish community.


While visiting the community again, she finds herself falling for bachelor Gideon Hooley. The problem is that she can't forget where she came from--the dark history of her birth haunts her. Gideon himself has his own secrets that plague him.


I've been reading Amish novels since I was a teenager. I love them! Unfortunately, I had a hard time getting involved with this one. It didn't capture me like some of Tricia's books have in the past. I'd read a few pages, then set it down and do something else. That bothered me, and I wondered what was wrong with me! It took me several weeks to finish the book, because it just didn't draw me in.


The story was sweet in itself and had proper development, but I didn't feel a lot of emotion (i.e. love or interest) between the two characters. It almost felt like they were being drawn together by sheer force by the author. I enjoyed the progression of the story about Lydia. Tricia did a good job about making me wonder about what actually happened to Lydia and where she'd come from. However, I felt that Gideon's history seemed unrealistic and trivial in comparison.


There was some slang used in this story, but it wasn't overwhelming. This is a problem many others struggle with. Being an Appalachian, the overuse of slang in a story bugs me--it seems forced and unrealistic. The Amish also have their own slang, and sometimes that can get a bit overwhelming in an Amish novel. Thankfully, this wasn't a big issue for me. There was one spot in the story where I thought slang should have been left out. It was in Chapter Seven in the letter from Lydia's adoptive mother. The going back and forth from using "yer" to "your" felt unrealistic. I know "yer" is often used in conversation among the Amish in novels (the same as Ja or ach), but in a letter, the fact that she used "your" equally to "yer" made me feel like the character wouldn't have thrown in "yer" as well. Otherwise, the character's spelling was correct, so the misspelling of your didn't make sense.


Overall, this story was a nice read. If you enjoy Amish fiction, I think that you will enjoy this one, too. 


I don't like to write reviews that aren't full of positive response, especially when I've been asked by the author to review it. My intent is not to be harsh or judgmental but to provide my honest responses while I read.

I've been given a copy of The Promise Box, in exchange for my honest review. My opinions are my own.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


Back in December, I had the opportunity to read and review a novel by Anya Wylde called The Wicked Wager. Since then, I've read a second novel, Penelope.

Book Description
Leaving behind the rural charms of Finnshire, Miss Penelope Fairweather arrives in London with hope in her heart and a dream in her eye. The dowager, no less, has invited her for a season in London, where she will attempt to catch a husband.

Thus begins our heroine's tale as she attempts to tackle the London season with all her rustic finesse. Unfortunately, her rustic finesse turns out to be as delicate as a fat bear trying to rip apart a honeycomb infested with buzzing bees.

What follows is a series of misadventures, love affairs, moonlit balls, fancy clothes, fake moustaches, highwaymen, sneering beauties, pickpockets, and the wrath of a devilishly handsome duke.
My thoughts 
Just like the last novel, this one was very witty. The characters have a corny, nonsensical way about them that makes me laugh. However, there were some things about the story that were unbelievable. The characters, falling in love, didn't convince me. I'm not sure if the author is trying to make the reader disbelieve that the characters really are in love (I remember feeling that way about the previous story's characters, too) or if this is just a wee faux pas in character weaving. The story has a ridiculousness that sorta has me confused--does Anya Wylde WANT her reader to feel that its characters and the things they say are ridiculous? I'm not entirely sure.

The story is clean--no offensive language or lewd scenes take place. A bit more editing would be my suggestion, along with some clearer purpose from the author. All in all, it's a light read, inciting chuckles, and a quick read!