Monday, December 30, 2019

Serving Up Love - Harvey House Brides Collection

Serving Up Love
by: Tracie Peterson, Karen Witemeyer, Regina Jennings, and Jen Turano
Publisher: Bethany House
ISBN: 9780764232695

It's been forever since I've read a novella and when Karen Witemeyer gave me the opportunity to review Serving Up Love, I couldn't resist!


On the Menu for These Ladies?
Adventure, Independence, and a Big Serving of Romance!
A storied part of American history, Harvey Houses offered women a unique chance to gain independence and see amazing parts of this great country. Celebrated historical romance writers Tracie Peterson, Karen Witemeyer, Regina Jennings, and Jen Turano offer four fun, romantic tales of Harvey girls whose western adventures lead to love. 

Tracie Peterson - 
A Flood of Love
Returning home to New Mexico for the first time in years to fill in at the Harvey House, Gretchen Gottsacker is sure the past is behind her. But nothing can be that simple. When the man she loved long ago steps back into her life--with a daughter, no less--will she ever be the same?

Karen Witemeyer - More Than a Pretty Face
Rosalind Kemp becomes a Harvey Girl, clinging to the promise of one day transferring even farther west, someplace her youthful indiscretion won't catch up to her. But the past is hard to escape, and when the worst occurs, will anyone stand up for her? 

Regina Jennings - Intrigue a la Mode
When Willow Kentworth is warned that strange things are happening in the railyard after dark, she never intends to get involved. That is, until a handsome new employee at the Harvey House--who has secrets of his own--needs her assistance. 

Jen Turano - 
A Grand Encounter
After her fiancé abandons her, Miss Myrtle Schermerhorn flees New York's pity for a position at the El Tovar Hotel on the rim of the Grand Canyon. She's determined to hold fast to her life of independence--but a rugged, frequent guest of the hotel makes that vow difficult to uphold.

My Review:

I've forgotten how quickly a novella story goes! You have to be prepared for it to go fast, and I wasn't quite prepared. HA!

What I loved about Serving Up Love is know how each author writes and finding their style with each novella. What I didn't realize was how familiar I am with each of their styles. Tracie Peterson tends to have a more serious toned storyline and that came through with her plot. I think for me, hers was the hardest to get into. The reason may be because they already had a history the reader didn't get to experience and we don't get to build up their relationship at the same time. Does that even make sense? I liked the characters and the story. I probably would've enjoyed it more as a full novel. There was so much more I wanted to know about their back story.

Karen's story was delightful. If you've read The Patchwork Family Series then you'll appreciate this little addition! I didn't realize this novella went along with the series, so when I hit chapter 2, I felt like I was having deja vu. Turns out this follows Book 2 of the series. I liked how once again Rosalind was trying to escape her past, but it wasn't to be. I felt like we got the full story even in novella form. You can always count on Karen's stories to satisfy your love of a couple falling for each other. Don't you love books that feel like a warm, cozy chair?

I've only read one other Regina Jennings books and enjoyed it. There was more mystery surrounding her story. That definitely added intrigue that I really appreciated. I really liked Willow because she is is comfortable in her position as a Harvey Girl. Graham comes along and disrupts her life unintentionally. The writing kept me turning the page because the story really pulled me in. Also, as a side note, I'm reminded once again that Pinkertons are somewhat new to me and I wonder if there are any novels out there about them.

We know my love for all things Jen Turano. As with all of her tales, this one had me laughing out loud. Jen's characters also have the best names. Myrtle learns very quickly that Jack, a guy who always seems mute in her presence, has a fondness for her. How she finds out is hilarious and is thanks to his brother, Walter. Unfortunately for Jack, Myrtle has sworn off men. Oops! There's a bit of miscommunication, which is no surprise when it comes to Jen's writing.

About the Authors:

Tracie Peterson - A Flood of Love
Tracie Peterson ( is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than 100 novels. Tracie also teaches writing workshops at a variety of conferences on subjects such as inspirational romance and historical research. She and her family live in Montana.

Karen Witemeyer - More Than a Pretty Face
Winner of the HOLT Medallion and the Carol Award and a finalist for the RITA and Christy Award, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer writes historical romance to give the world more happily-ever-afters. Karen makes her home in Texas, with her husband and three children. Learn more about Karen and her books at

Regina Jennings - Intrigue a la Mode
Regina Jennings is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University with a degree in English and a minor in history. She's the winner of the National Readers' Choice Award, a two-time Golden Quill finalist and a finalist for the Oklahoma Book of the Year Award. Regina has worked at the Mustang News and at First Baptist Church of Mustang, along with time at the Oklahoma National Stockyards and various livestock shows. She lives outside of Oklahoma City with her husband and four children and can be found online at 

Jen Turano - 
A Grand Encounter
Jen Turano, ( a USA Todaybestselling author, has written four historical romance series. She is a member of ACFW and RWA and lives in a suburb of Denver, Colorado. Visit her website at

Sunday, December 29, 2019

The Moon Is Always Round By Jonathan Gibson

The Moon Is Always Round
by Jonathan Gibson
Illustrated by Joe Hox
Publisher: New Growth Press
ISBN: 978-1-64507-027-6

I was sent a complimentary copy of The Moon is Always Round by New Growth Press for review.


Even young children want answers to the hard questions about God and suffering. In The Moon Is Always Round, seminary professor and author Jonathan Gibson uses the vivid imagery of the moon to explain to children how God's goodness is always present, even when it might appear to be obscured by upsetting or difficult circumstances.
In this beautiful, full-color illustrated book, he allows readers to eavesdrop on the conversations he had with his young son in response to his sister's death. Father and son share a simple liturgy together that reminds them that, just as the moon is always round despite its different phases, so also the goodness of God is always present throughout the different phases of life.
A section in the back of the book offers further biblical help for parents and caregivers in explaining God's goodness to children. Jonathan Gibson reminds children of all ages that God's goodness is present in the most difficult of times, even if we can't always see it.
My Review:

What a compelling story for children who have tough questions or have experienced loss. The Moon is Always Round was unexpectedly beautiful to me.

The text in the story is written to flow along with the illustration. The style and bolding of words certain words brings emphasis throughout the story. The illustrations go along beautifully with the story, which help make the reader become invested emotionally in the story.

When I read the story, it pulled on my heartstrings for any family who has endured loss, and for that reason needs to read a book like this to their child. On the other hand, this is such an important book for families to have in the face of loss. I'm sure it can be hard to know how to have such a difficult conversation with a child, but this book will help.

What I liked most about this story is how it gives a concrete example of how God can exist even when we can't see him, just like the moon when it waxes and wanes. Also, because this is based on a true story, you have an appreciation of how the author understands how to relate loss to children in a simple, but straightforward way.

I appreciate at the back of the book the lessons that will help children grasp the story on deeper levels. The catechism at the end will help adults and children have a discussion about the moon while relating it to how we know there's a God even when we can't see Him.

About the Author & Illustrator:

Jonathan Gibson (PhD, Cambridge) is ordained in the International Presbyterian Church, UK, and is associate professor of Old Testament and Hebrew, Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia. He is coeditor with Mark Earngey of Reformation Worship, contributor to and coeditor with David Gibson of From Heaven He Came and Sought Her, and Covenant Continuity and Fidelity: A Study of Inner-Biblical Allusion and Exegesis in Malachi. He is married to Jacqueline, and they have two children: Benjamin and Leila.
Joe Hox was raised on a farm in southern Iowa where he doodled whenever he wasn’t spading thistles or feeding pigs. Everyone knew by his crooked hay rows that he would choose art over farming. Joe earned his BA in Art and Education from Dordt College and his MA from the University of Nebraska. Today he lives with his wife and four children in Pella, Iowa, where he illustrates and teaches art. Joe has illustrated all of the Good News for Little Hearts series.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Christmas Books From Zonderkidz & Giveaway

I'm so excited to bring you two Christmas books from Zonderkidz. They've got some great options available just in time for the holiday.

A Very Fiona Christmas
by Richard Cowdrey
Publisher: Zonderkidz
ISBN: 9780310767732


It’s Fiona the hippo’s very first Christmas, and the zoo is sparkling with holiday spirit. When the adorable little hippo asks her friends, “What’s Christmas?” they set out to show her all the wonders and excitement of the season. With each new experience Fiona lets out a snort, wiggles her ears, and asks, “Is THIS Christmas?”
Amidst the snow, twinkling lights, mistletoe, and stockings, Fiona ends up meeting a new friend at the zoo who helps her discover the true meaning of the holiday: Love. Snuggle up with your little ones and join Fiona and her adorable animal friends for a heartwarming holiday romp through the zoo. 
My Review:

A Very Fiona Christmas is such an absolutely delightful book! The hardcover is textured. The lightbulbs as well as the snow and part of Fiona's scarf have sparkly glitter on them. Honestly, if the cover doesn't pull you into the story, I don't know what will. First impressions are everything and this cover doesn't disappoint.

Is there anything cuter than a hippo enjoying her first Christmas? The illustrations throughout the story is beautiful and something even the adults reading the story can appreciate. Fiona interacts with a variety of other animals who live at the zoo as she tries to understand what the day is all about. At the beginning of the book you'll notice a koala bear watching Fiona's activity from afar. This plays into the full story.

Now, this isn't a Christian book so there isn't any discussion about Jesus, and I think my readers need to be aware of that. The point of this story is teaching children to think of others and show kindness. Both of those are important lessons for our children to learn.

I can see this book becoming a must-read every Christmas season with your little ones. It would also make a wonderful gift to anyone with little ones.

I'm giving away A Very Fiona Christmas on my Instagram page along with a group of other bookish items! Be sure to enter. Giveaway ends 12/10 at 11:59pm ET.

The Beginner's Bible: Jesus is Born
An "I Can Read!" Book
ISBN: 9780310769279


A young girl named Mary is going to have a special baby. When he is born, God’s angels tell everyone the good news. But the king is not happy at all. What will become of Baby Jesus?

Featuring vibrant art from the beloved The Beginner’s Bible®, this faithful retelling of the story of Jesus’ birth from the New Testament is perfect for parents to share God’s Word with their children. Few books capture the iconic story about the first Christmas for beginning readers as memorably as the proven format of this My First I Can Read! book—The Beginner's Bible Jesus Is Born.

My Review:

I have been a fan of The Beginner's Bible stories since my daughter got her first Bible as a toddler. Jesus is Born covers the time before Jesus is born all the way to when the angel told Mary & Joseph they could go back home.

The illustrations go along with the rest of the series and are as sweet as you'd expect. The story is easy to read for children to help pick out some basic words. The type is written large enough for children to be able to attempt to participate as they read along with the story. The story is simple enough for children to grasp that Jesus was born to Mary, but Joseph wasn't His father, but God is. They can understand how Jesus was born, that He was visited by shepherds & wise men, and that they had to leave Bethlehem because Herod wanted to capture Him.

I appreciate the simplicity of the story and how easy it is to enjoy it. What a great book to read leading up to celebrating Christ's birth. This would even make a great stocking stuffer!

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Tony Evans Study Bible Review & Giveaway

I love Tony Evans. There. I said it. Oh, but not in THAT way. Like, if he were my uncle, he'd be my favorite uncle! He has been a staple in my life for pretty much the entirety of me being a Christian. Can I share a memory, albeit a vague one, of my one and only time seeing Tony in person?

My roommate, and dear friend, Vicki won tickets to go see him preach in downtown Seattle. I had this image of him in my head of this large man to fit his booming voice. Back in the mid-90s I couldn't Google him. We went to hear him speak and I think she and I were the only caucasian women in the crowd. Then there he was. His stature wasn't what I expected, but his voice was the same one I heard on the radio. lol We had the most incredible time at that church service! The only thing I honestly remember is his voice didn't match how I pictured him.

Now I have The Tony Evans Study Bible! I was BEYOND thrilled when I found out I could review this thanks to FrontGate Media. Let's check it out!

Introducing The Tony Evans Study Bible from BH Publishing on Vimeo.

CSB Tony Evans Study Bible
Contributors: Tony Evans (author)|CSB Bibles by Holman (editor)
ISBN: 9781535971133


Tony Evans is one of the most influential church leaders of our time and has been studying and preaching the Gospel for over 50 years. He serves as senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, TX and founder of The Urban Alternative, a ministry which promotes a kingdom agenda philosophy designed to enable people to live all of life underneath the comprehensive rule of God.

The Tony Evans Study Bible includes extensive study notes and other ancillary resources carefully crafted and curated by Dr. Tony Evans as General Editor and adapted from his sermons, teachings, and writings. These features are strategically placed alongside the biblical text to explain God’s Word in a fresh way. Applying these truths will empower readers to have transformed lives that then transfer the values of the kingdom of God to others.

Features include: Elegant design, study notes crafted from Tony Evans sermons and writings, 40 inspirational articles, 50 “Lessons on Kingdom Living,” a plethora of “Questions & Answers,” numerous "Hope Words,” over 150 videos of sermons, devotionals, and teaching from Dr. Evans, page-edge cross-reference system, black-letter text, presentation page and introductory front matter, special back matter section with key definitions, theological and doctrinal charts, and other study helps, concordance, Bible reading plan, full-color maps, and more.

The Tony Evans Study Bible features the highly readable, highly reliable text of the Christian Standard Bible® (CSB). The CSB stays as literal as possible to the Bible's original meaning without sacrificing clarity, making it easier to engage with Scripture's life-changing message and to share it with others.

My Review:

Ok, let me warn you. I'm going to gush about this Bible. This has become my go-to Bible. I'm NOT just saying that. The Tony Evans Study Bible is stunning! There's no other way to put it. Let's start with the cover. The one I received for review is black/brown leathertouch. It may be imitation leather, but you would never know it. The stitching also adds to the gorgeous design. The pages have a gold trim. I also love the added touch of the gold embossed crown on the spine.

Let's head into the Tony Evans Study Bible. One of the features I liked immediately is that it lays flat. I don't have to constantly have to try to keep it open. I appreciated the section on how to use the Bible. Study Bibles tend to have a lot included in them, and to understand how each piece can be used effectively is essential to getting the most out of it. The brown shading they use to highlight the resources is easy on the eyes and draws you to notice them as part of the page, but doesn't distract from it.

Now here's a funny for you. As I began reading the Bible for my studies, guess what I heard? Dr. Tony Evans voice. Ha! I'm not kidding. I've listened to him on the radio for so long I can hear his voice as I start to read. Speaking of hearing his voice, one of the resources through out the Bible is his video devotions. You can scan the QR code or underneath each code is the url. It's so helpful to read scripture and hear teaching to go along with it.

The back of this Christian Standard Bible is loaded with all kind of helps. There are:
  • Definitions of key terms and doctrines of the Christian faith
  • Topical index
  • Attributes of the triune God
  • Bibliology
  • Names of God
  • Reading plan
  • and more
I haven't even been able to take it all in there's so much to it! I haven't done it yet... I'm still in the honeymoon phase of my new Bible -- you know what I'm talking about, right? Trying not to crinkle the pages and such, but I have a feeling I'll be doing a lot of highlighting and note writing in the one. I haven't done that for years! Can you believe it?

Now you have the opportunity to win your very own Tony Evans Study Bible!

Creative Commons License
Woven by Words by Mimi B is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.