Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Bookish Items From Once Upon A Page Designs

This past year I've gotten to know some really neat people and small business owners on Instagram. One of the people/small business owners I've connected with is Alissa who owns Once Upon a Page Designs. I was SO surprised when she asked me to be a rep for her business! I never felt like my bookstagram was one worthy of repping for anyone, so with that offer, how could I refuse?!

Well, the fact that the items she creates are AMAZING, I wouldn't have said, "No," even if I were a huge instagrammer. HA! Alissa is incredibly talented and creative. Both come through not only in her bookstagram photos, but also in her bookish crafts. She takes old books and makes them into amazing creations such as:

  • candles
  • necklaces
  • book planters
  • ornaments
  • and wreaths
Wondering what kind of characters or books she uses for her creations? Well, just about everything you can imagine! Just to whet your whistle, she uses books like: Anne of Green Gables, Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Naria, and Pride & Prejudice just to name a few.

Here's a Q & A with Alissa:

1. When did you start crafting bookish items?

I started crafting bookish items in 2017! I had a good full-time position but wanted to make some extra money to travel. Working as a cashier on the weekends on top of my regular 40+ hours a week was not great. My mom and I talked about different ideas for businesses, and it was her idea to try to make book page wreaths. I loved the idea because it two of my favorite things: combined books and art! I set up my shop in 2017 and have come a long way since then. I started with wreaths and now have so many different bookish items in my shop, and I am always coming up with new ideas! 

2. What made you think of taking pages to books that are falling apart and making something beautiful out of them?

Like I said, this business started as a way to work with books and art to make a bit of extra money. I think the original idea came from my Mom seeing something on Pinterest. When I first started, I was thinking of just using random recycled books to make wreaths. After a while, I thought to myself: “What if I used stories people love and cherish? Then they would connect with my art so much more!” I took the idea and started using widely beloved books and featuring favorite names, quotes, titles, and illustrations. I moved beyond just wreaths and started making candles, ornaments, necklaces, flowers, and more!

3. What's your favorite thing to make?

I still love making wreaths the most! I love trying different styles with different books. I have used everything from old copies of Pride and Prejudice to Disney picture books. I really love coming up with a new wreath idea because it is when I can be most creative. However, I do love making the candles too because I get to flip through my favorite books and find the best scenes and illustrations to feature. 

4. How long does it take you to make a large wreath?

My most popular wreath style takes at least 3 hours to make, but some styles take even more time. People often do not realize the time I put into wreaths to make them special and long-lasting. I take pride in them, especially since they are my favorite thing to make!

5. Do you have a favorite classic book that you turn into one of your creations?

I love making things from The Chronicles of Narnia! My love of Narnia started early with my parents reading them aloud to me really young. Then of course the new movies came out as I was growing up. I still love the old BBC miniseries too, and I can remember watching the giant VHS sets from the library with my parents. I still regularly listen to the radio dramas from Focus on the Family, which are wonderful. I love the representation of Aslan, and his lines can still make me cry.  It is my favorite series, so I absolutely love featuring it in my art!

6. Do you ever make specialized orders for people?

Of course! I love creating custom orders! If there is a book you love, I can find it and turn it into art for you. Just reach out to me and we can set it up! I can also use other paper like maps, letters, wrapping paper, etc.  One of my favorite custom orders was a wreath made from some letters from a Mother to her daughter. That was a precious project, and I loved it.

Take time to look through all of the goodies she makes! You will absolutely LOVE whatever you order!

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Along A Storied Trail By Ann H. Gabhart

along a storied trail
by Ann H. Gabhart
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 9780800737214

Having read Ann H. Gabhart's novel An Appalachian Summer a year ago, I knew she was a "must read" for me! So, when given the opportunity to read her new release Along a Storied Trail, I wasn't going to pass it up. I received the book for review.


Kentucky packhorse librarian Tansy Calhoun doesn't mind the rough trails and long hours as she serves her Appalachian mountain community during the Great Depression. Yet she longs to find love like the heroines in the books she loves. When a charming writer comes to town, she thinks she might have found it--or is the perfect man actually closer than she thinks?

Perdita Sweet has called these mountains home for so long that she's nearly as rocky as the soil around her small cabin. Long ago she thought she could love, but when the object of her affection up and married someone else, she stopped giving too much of herself away to others.

As is so often the case, it's easier to see what's best for others than to see what's best for oneself. Perdita knows who Tansy should choose, but why would anyone listen to the romantic advice of an old spinster?

My Review:

Reading an Ann H. Gabhart story will transport the reader to the location the story is set. You feel, as you read Along a Storied Trail, that you've landed right in the heart of Kentucky. The people, their way of life, the way they talk, it all blends together in a way that you feel like you're part of the story.

Tansy immediately stole my heart. She's set with where she's at in life, not married and a pack horse librarian. Does she like it? You can tell she's content and knows she's doing what needs to be done. Life isn't easy, but she, her ma, and her siblings get by.

Then there's Aunt Perdie. She's called "aunt" by everyone but isn't related to any of them. She's a cantankerous lady whose life doesn't have much left to it. But, God! I loved, loved, loved how God worked in her life because it didn't just affect her, it spread out to many others and it was amazing! I loved how she and Tansy, well, Perdita Sweet and ANYone, conversed. The author used their way of talking to make the story so much more authentic. She did an incredible job! Oh, and so many busy bodies! People sure do take to a plan. *cringe*

Of course we can't forget the men in the story. Damien, a flatlander who shows up and makes Tansy's eyes to wide. Honestly... such a highfalutin guy. My reaction to him was much like Rayma's! Caleb Barton, who grew up in the hills returns after his brother dies. When he was younger, people around those parts thought he was partial to Tansy's sister, Hilda, but he had eyes for the younger sister. Two fellas and one gal don't make for a good combination.

While life isn't easy for anyone in the hills, they're deeply rooted. Many wanting to stay, but plenty ready to leave. All at once you can understand it and not understand it. Their way of life is difficult but fulfilling. They're truly the salt of the earth people. They're the kind of neighbors we all want to be. And I hazard to say they're simple people who are also complex, but you can't miss the heart that's at the center of all they do.

I have to say, I took away some really good tidbits of wisdom from Aunt Perdie of all people. I think most of the quotes I have saved came from her. Her family Bible plays a fantastic role in this story! There's faith touched on in almost every chapter. I liked that Preacher never felt called to be an ordained preacher, but never shied away from sharing the Gospel or telling a Bible story!

Once again I was captivated by the author's writing and I can't wait to reach what she publishes next!

About the Author:

Ann H. Gabhart is the bestselling author of several Shaker novels--The RefugeThe OutsiderThe BelieverThe SeekerThe Blessed, and The Gifted--as well as other historical novels, including Angel SisterThese Healing HillsRiver to Redemption, and An Appalachian Summer. She and her husband live on a farm a mile from where she was born in rural Kentucky. Ann enjoys discovering the everyday wonders of nature while hiking in her farm's fields and woods with her grandchildren and her dogs, Frankie and Marley. Learn more at

Thursday, June 24, 2021

On The Cliffs Of Foxglove Manor By Jaime Jo Wright

On the Cliffs of Foxglove Manor
by Jaime Jo Wright
Publisher: Bethan House
ISBN: 9780764233906

Ok, I'll be honest. Jaime Jo Wright's books always make me nervous. EVEN though I've read numerous ones, I wonder if the next one will do me in! hahahaha It's never happened, but she always has me by the edge of my seat. I jumped at the chance to be on her launch team for her latest release!


Foxglove Manor would twist its way into your soul until one day it owned you, and it called to you, and it didn't cease haunting you until you came back.

In 1885, Adria Fontaine has been sent away from her home to recover goods her malevolent father pirated on the Great Lakes during the Civil War. Hoping to find freedom away from her father, Adria arrives at Foxglove Manor--a stone house on a cliff overlooking Lake Superior--but senses only wickedness hovering over the property. The mistress of Foxglove is an eccentric and seemingly cruel old woman who has filled her house with dangerous secrets, ones that may cost Adria her life. 

Centuries later, Kailey Gibson takes on a position as a nurse's aide at a senior home in a renovated old stone manor. Abducted as a child, she has nothing but locked-up memories of secrets and death, overshadowed by the chilling threat from her kidnappers that they may return. When the residents of Foxglove start sharing stories of whispers in the night, hidden treasure, and a love willing to kill, it becomes clear this home is far from a haven. 

As the sinister mysteries of Foxglove Manor haunt two women separated by time, they will have to risk it all to banish the past's demons--including their own.

My Review:

Just to give you some insight into how my review is going to go, the first page of the first chapter, which is only a 1/2 page, drew me in completely. The writing is so detailed. It reminded me of reading books of olde. I felt like every sentence in this story was artistically written. It suffused itself into my bones.

On the Cliffs of Foxglove Manor propels the reader back to 1885 on the UP of Michigan on Lake Superior. Now, for me, I've been to the MN side of the lake in Duluth. The cover of the book fits so well with the story! The story goes back and forth between 1885 and current day. And yes, it's a creepy story... sorta, but not really. I mean, that's what it's supposed to be. And listen, I'm not a fan of scary or creepy stories, but that's the point of her stories. To a degree, at least. That's the part that draws you in. What keeps you hooked other than the mystery is a) the relationships and b) how faith is infused into a story where you might least expect it.

This is where Jaime Jo Wright is such a master at story telling. She excels at so much with her writing. She doesn't just write an intriguing story, but time slip stories that are suspenseful and bring in the faith element! So much going on and she does it excellently!

We meet Adria Fontaine who is such a broken young lady that I just wanted to bear hug her to let her know she was loved. Her life has been so desolate and it just seems to go from bad to worse. The secrets at Foxglove Manor may just do her in! And not just her, but the other people living there as well.

In current day is Kailey Gibson and her brother, Jude, who is autistic. Their childhoods are just about as bad as Adria's. Kailey hopes visiting Foxglove Manor will give her some answers to trauma she experienced as a child. Unfortunately, their time at the Manor only gets more confusing and downright scary!

So much mystery and intrigue surrounding the history of Foxglove Manor. The suspense is non-stop throughout the entire story. Just as you think the story is ramping up it gets even more mysterious. I kept thinking I might know what's going on only to find out I don't. Ope, we've got some questionable activity happening in both time periods!

Once again, Jaime Jo Wright brings us some crazy experiences through her characters and they wound their way into my heart. They were such deep, rich characters that I didn't want it to end! As much as I get nervous picking up her books, I never want to put them down once I get started.

I'm eagerly anticipating her next read already!!!

About the Author:

Jaime Jo Wright ( is the author of six novels, including Christy Award winner The House on Foster Hill and Carol Award winner The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond. She's also the Publishers Weekly and ECPA bestselling author of two novellas. Jaime lives in Wisconsin with her cat named Foo; her husband, Cap'n Hook; and their littles, Peter Pan and CoCo. To learn more, visit

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Bridge Of Gold By Kimberley Woodhouse & GIVEAWAY

Bridge of Gold JustRead Takeover Tour

Welcome to the Takeover Tour for Bridge of Gold by Kimberley Woodhouse, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours! I was sent the book as part of this tour.


Bridge of Gold Title: Bridge of Gold
Author: Kimberley Woodhouse
Series: Doors to the Past
Publisher: Barbour
Release Date: June 1, 2021
Genre: Christian, Split Time romance 

Repairs on the Golden Gate Bridge Uncover a Century-Old Murder 

Underwater archaeologist Kayla Richardson is called to the Golden Gate Bridge where repairs to one of the towers uncovers two human remains from the late 1800s and the 1930s. The head of the bridge restoration is Mark Andrews, who dives with Kayla, and a friendship develops between them. But as the investigation heats up and gold is found that dates back to the gold rush, more complications come into play that threaten them both. Could clues leading to a Gold Rush era mystery that was first discovered during the building of the bridge still ignite an obsession worth killing for? 

Walk through Doors to the Past via a new series of historical stories of romance and adventure. 

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & NobleBook Depository | IndieBound | Christianbook | BookBub



Kimberley Woodhouse

Bestselling author Kimberley Woodhouse has more than twenty books published. She is an avid reader, lover of history, and passionate about music and Bible study.

CONNECT WITH KIMBERLEY: WebsiteFacebook | Twitter | Instagram


(1) winner will receive a print copy of Bridge of Gold and a $15 Amazon gift card!

Bridge of Gold JustRead Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight June 21, 2021 and lasts through 11:59 PM EST on June 28, 2021. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours 

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Secrets in the Mist By Morgan L. Busse

Secrets in the Mist
by Morgan L. Busse
Publisher: Enclave Escape
Series: Skyworld
ISBN: 978-1621841876

Being an avid Morgan L. Busse fan I knew I needed to give her Skyworld series a try. When she gave the opportunity to join her launch team for Secrets in the Mist I was front and center. So glad I was! I was sent the ebook for review.


What’s lurking in the Mist is the least of their worries…

In a world where humanity lives in the sky to escape a deadly mist below, Cass’s only goal is survival. That is, until she finds a job on the airship Daedalus as a diver. Now she explores ruined cities, looking for treasure and people’s lost heirlooms until a young man hires her to find the impossible: a way to eradicate the Mist.

Theodore Winchester is a member of one of the Five Families that rule the skies. Following in his father’s footsteps, he searches for the source of the Mist and hopes to stop the purges used to control overpopulation. But what he finds are horrifying secrets and lethal ambition. If he continues his quest, it could mean his own death.

The Mist is rising and soon the world will be enveloped in its deadly embrace, turning what’s left of humanity into the undead.

My Review:

Wow! That's where I'd like to start with Secrets in the Mist!

I just finished listening to the author's steampunk series The Soul Chronicles and was excited to get started with this one. Can I just say I feel like she has cornered the market on Christian steampunk?! She's got me hook, line, and sinker!

She's created such an incredible and believable world that it came to life as soon as I started reading the story! Don't you love how you can feel such emotion for a character even when you've only just met them? That's how I felt for Cass. She's left alone in her world to fend for herself and thankfully finds herself on an airship that honestly, I would've loved to get a ride on and I don't even like flying!

We also meet Theo, from one of the rich families, who lives on the sky islands. And I have to admit, I'd love to try out one of his zippers. Lots of flying machines! While he may be from one of the Five Families, he has more of a care for those trying to survive below and those who suffer the purges.

I love how Cass ends up on the Deadalus. The captain becomes one of my favorite characters. He gives her a sense of family, belonging, and purpose. He also gives her more insight into Elaeros - this world's name for God. It's incredible how the author is able to weave the important faith element into her story! She seems to have a natural ability to be a diver and creates quite the reputation for herself.

Now, I totally get zombie vibes from this story and yes, it's super creepy when they show up on the scene. Those who end up in the mist, the Turned, are obviously my least favorite part of the story. I mean, who wants the divers being attacked? Imagine diving into unknown (and sometimes known) territory not knowing if you'll have a quiet day to retrieve artifacts or if you'll be shooting up Turned left and right!

The writing was so good in this story that my only problem is, the ending is such a HUGE cliffhanger, how am I supposed to wait patiently for the next book?!

About the Author:

Morgan L. Busse is a writer by day and a mother by night. She is the author of the FOLLOWER OF THE WORD series, THE SOUL CHRONICLES, and THE RAVENWOOD SAGA. She is a three-time Christy Award finalist and winner of both the INSPY and the Carol Award for best in Christian speculative fiction. During her spare time she enjoys playing games, taking long walks, and dreaming about her next novel. Visit her online at

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

The Heart's Charge By Karen Witemeyer

The Heart's Charge
by Karen Witemeyer
Publisher: Bethany House
Series: Hanger's Horsemen
ISBN: 9780764232084

As an avid Karen Witemeyer fan, I was thrilled to be chosen to join her launch team for book 2 in her Hanger's Horsemen series. Just over a year ago I was able to read At Love's Command, the first story in the series. I was sent the book for review.


For Years They've Been Nomads for Justice, but a Final Mission May Just Lead Their Hearts Home.

Members of the legendary Hanger's Horsemen, Mark Wallace and Jonah Brooks arrive in Llano County, Texas, to deliver a steed, never expecting they'd help deliver a baby as well. Left with an infant to care for, they head to a nearby foundling home, where Mark encounters the woman he nearly married a decade ago.

After failing at love, Katherine Palmer has dedicated her life to caring for children, teaming up with Eliza Southerland to start Harmony House. Eliza understands the pain of not fitting society's mold, being illegitimate and of mixed ancestry. Yet those are the very attributes that lead her to minister to outcast children. The taciturn Jonah intrigues her by defying all her stereotypes of men, but there are secrets behind his eyes--ghosts from wars past and others still being waged.

When the Horsemen hear rumors of missing children, they stay to investigate, sticking close to Harmony House and its beautiful owners. As they work together to uncover the truth, love and danger grow hand in hand until a final sinister scheme threatens to destroy them all.

My Review:

Ok, first of all, the cover to The Heart's Charge is amazing! Nothing like a man on horseback! Jonah and Mark start off this story ready to charge in and save the day, but little do they know they're putting their lives in danger to help a woman in labor...who's wielding a gun!

The whole situation of Mark helping to deliver the baby left me laughing as do several other scenes throughout the story. I liked how this baby's birth knocked the rest of the story into place. It's a great way of showing how God can move in the lives of His people.

It was fun to have 2 main characters in this book! I enjoyed how the author gave them a blended storyline while also having individual ones as well. While Jonah and Mark are similar men, their lives have been very different. I liked them getting to know the ladies running Harmony House. Is it sad that I wish they would've been on the cover too? lol

Watching how their lives converged throughout this story made my heart full! Mark and Katherine having left their well bread lives behind as well as their history, but now they come face to face with each other again. Jonah not even considering a future that would include a woman and Eliza whose life is set to run Harmony House with Katherine, have time to get to know each other as the men try to figure out what's happening to boxcar children who might be going missing.

While there's a lot going on in this story, it all flows smoothly and pulls us along throughout. As with all of Karen's books, I appreciated the faith element scattered throughout the story. It was good to see God moving in the story and the character's lives.

I'm thoroughly looking forward to the last although I'm not ready for the series to be over yet!

About the Author:

Voted #1 Reader's Favorite Christian Romance Author of 2019 by Family Fiction Magazine, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer( offers warmhearted historical romance with a flair for humor, feisty heroines, and swoon-worthy Texas heroes. She makes her home in Abilene, Texas, with her husband and three children.

Moms Raising Sons to Be Men Audiobook & GIVEAWAY

 <Moms Raising Sons to Be Men JustListen Audiobook Blog + Review Tour

Welcome to the JustListen Blog + Review Tour for Moms Raising Sons to Be Men by Rhonda Stoppe, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours! I was given the opportunity to listen to this audiobook for this review.


Moms Raising Sons to Be Men
Title: Moms Raising Sons to Be Men
Author: Rhonda Stoppe
Publisher: Christian Audio
Release Date: March 9, 2021
Genre: Nonfiction / Christian Family / Christian Living

Mothers of boys have the special calling to shape future men of God. Popular speaker Rhonda Stoppe, mom to two sons, knows this opportunity is a challenge, a joy, and probably the most important work of a woman's life. Drawing from years of ministering to youth and to women and from her own parenting experience, Rhonda provides refreshingly relevant guidance, biblical and contemporary examples, and humorous insights to help each listener discover how to guide a son without hovering and smothering; how every action and choice can serve a godly goal; ways to communicate so a boy will listen and be heard; and God's power and grace to become-and give-her best.

Packed with practical help from parenting experts and other moms, this inspirational resource will revive the faithfulness and fortitude a woman needs to partner with God as they shape the character and heart of a future godly man. 

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Christian Audio | Christianbook | IndieBound | BookBub


Listen to (or read) one chapter per week and join Rhonda live on Wednesdays at 11 am Pacific to chat about the chapter & help YOU apply insights to raising your son. Rhonda will answer your questions in the comments too! Join the Summer Book Club Facebook Group.

My Review:

Being a mom of 2 grown boys, I think this is an incredible resource for any mom of a boy(s)! The author make sure every mom knows the most important piece of raising boys - God. Everything we do as moms should point our boys to God. Listen, we're not perfect and that needs to be kept in mind no matter what parenting resource we use.

The author gives incredible examples of men and women of the Bible who either should be given as examples to our boys or as moms we should emulate. Another aspect that I can't say enough about is being surrounded by other believing moms who will come alongside you on this parenting journey. I remember how much I relied on my friends when I was a single mom to help me pray for my children and to encourage me.

There are so many nuggets of wisdom to take away from this book. She has 7 principles that she goes through to help you with raising your sons. Scripture you can turn to, the importance of prayer, your example, and so much more have a profound impact on your son(s). Yes, my boys are grown now, but I STILL put int lots of bookmarks throughout listening to the book. I think this is one of those books we should gift to moms when they give birth to little boys so they can see the importance of starting off right!

As Christian parents we have a duty to raise our kids, not just our sons, to know the Lord. We, as moms, have the most profound effect on our boys. These little boys become men one day and how do we want them to turn out? Do we want them to be thoughtful, kind, loving, etc? If so, we need to start training them up from the start to love God.


Rhonda Stoppe

Rhonda Stoppe is a popular Christian speaker and author of 6 books. She’s a favorite radio and podcast guest, appearing frequently on Focus on the Family. With over 30 years experience of helping women build a No Regrets Life. Rhonda helps women to discover significance and purpose for their lives, impact the moral fiber of the next generation by raising children with integrity, find victory over people-pleasing, parent without regrets, enjoy a marriage others dream about, build an incredible legacy, and become more influential than they ever dreamed possible.

Join Rhonda’s FREE NoRegretsWoman Community by signing up for her newsletter. To learn more about Rhonda’s books and schedule her to speak at your event visit:

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter


(1) winner will receive a paperback copy of Moms Raising Sons to Be Men and a code to download the free audiobook
(1) winner will receive a 15-minute boy-mom coaching call with Rhonda Stoppe

Moms Raising Sons to Be Men JustRead Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight June 15, 2021 and lasts through 11:59 PM EST on June 22, 2021. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours 

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Zonderkidz Summer Reading

I have to tell you, I was SO excited for the timing of the two books I am reviewing today. They showed up on my doorstep the day before I was heading to see my granddaughter! What I forgot though was that I have actually reviewed Fiona It's Bedtime before! Ooops. This time it's a board book so in that sense it's different. BUT, what IS different this time is that my granddaughter is here and I was able to read this to her. It's wonderful that she'll be able to enjoy the board book now and enjoy the hardcover when she's a bit older. I just enjoy the Fiona books so much I want them all. I should've done the Early Reader books as well, but she's got quite a bit of time before she's there yet.

Here are my reviews for both books I received!

The Beginner's Bible First 100 Animal Words
Publisher: Zonderkidz
ISBN: 9780310770633


Are you looking for a fun way to teach your toddler about animals? Early readers will learn their first animal words set within classic Bible stories with The Beginner’s Bible First 100 Animal Words.

Presenting child-friendly illustrations, this beautifully illustrated board book offers:

  • Emerging readers ages 0-4 an opportunity to learn words from beloved Bible stories
  • A sturdy format that is perfect for toddlers’ little hands
  • Engaging 3D art with plenty of details to hold a young child’s attention 

The Beginner’s Bible First 100 Animals Words is great for:

  • Birthdays, Easter baskets, Children's Baptism and holiday gifting
  • Road trips, boredom busters, and activity time
  • Home school and Children’s Ministry (Sunday school) use

The Beginner's Bible has been a favorite illustrated Bible with young children and their parents since its release in 1989 with over 25 million products sold. Followers of this brand should also check out The Beginner’s Bible First 100 Bible WordsThe Beginner’s Bible Learn Your Letters, and The Beginner’s Bible Learn Your Numbers.

My Review:

It was really fun to go through this book with my granddaughter. Yes, she's still a baby, but the illustrations are so colorful! With 100 animals Zonderkidz had a fun array of them to teach my granddaughter about. They used animals and words that you might not find with a traditional book to teach about animals. I mean, how often do you read the word "sand cat" to an infant?

I hadn't thought about how many animals one could learn about through the Bible unless it was the plagues or a talking donkey, BUT, The Beginners Bible did a great job of coming up with a fun selection of them such as the kind the disciples who were fishermen might've encountered!

I would've thought they'd go in order of Biblical accounts, but they had Genesis 1 after Genesis 2. It was strange reading about Adam naming the animals and then reading that God made the animals. Just one of those things that makes me twitchy.

Fiona It's Bedtime
(Board Book)
Illustrated by: Richard Cowdrey
Publisher: Zonderkidz
ISBN: 9780310767749


Join your favorite hippo, Fiona, in this cuddly read-aloud picture book as she says good night to all her animal friends at the zoo before she snuggles up with her mama and settles in for a warm and safe slumber—encouraging your own child to drift off to sleep with their own bedtime routine.

A follow-up to the New York Times bestselling Fiona the Hippo and A Very Fiona ChristmasFiona, It’s Bedtime is the first sleepy time board book starring the adorable internet sensation from the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens.

This board book edition is great for little hands that love to explore. Fiona, It's Bedtime:

  • Features art by New York Times bestselling artist Richard Cowdrey (Fiona the HippoBad Dog, Marley)
  • Takes kids on a nighttime adventure as they get to see how the zoo animals sleep at night
  • Has fun, rhyming text that will engage children while soothing them for their own bedtime ritual

Fiona, It’s Bedtime is the perfect gift for Fiona enthusiasts, birthdays, holiday gift giving, and any animal lover who’s ready for a story that’s a little bit sweet, a little bit cuddly, and a little bit different than other read-aloud bedtime board books.

Check out other titles in the Fiona the Hippo series: Fiona the Hippo and A Very Fiona Christmas

My Review:

There's just something about an adorable hippo getting ready for bed at the zoo that is irresistible! As with the hardcover that I reviewed, this board book is absolutely precious. The illustrations are sweet and soft looking. You may think this book might only appeal to the little ones, but once you turn the first page, as a mama, grandma, daddy, or grandpa, you'll be just as enthralled as they are!

Visiting the animals like the otter family or tortoises, Fiona sees how all of the other animals fall asleep.  How could you not want to hug up to her as she's going to sleep and fall asleep right along with her? The poem on each page is delightful and I think each child will be drawn into the story though each one. This story will make you want to have more of Fiona's experiences at the zoo!

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Between The Wild Branches By Connilyn Cossette

Between the Wild Branches
by Connilyn Cossette
Publisher: Bethany House
Series: The Covenant House
ISBN: 9780764234354

Ok, I don't like to play favorites, BUT, when it comes to Biblical fiction, Connilyn Cossette holds a special place in my heart. I had just learned about the "cities of refuge" in the Bible when I read her Cities of Refuge series the past couple of years. She brought that time period to life in an incredible way for me. SO, when I had the opportunity to join her launch team for book 2 in her The Covenant House series, I couldn't say, "No." I was sent her book for review.


Finding a Way to Freedom Might Cost Them Everything

Lukio has spent the past decade as a famous Philistine fighter, achieving every material goal with the help of his ruthless cousin. He's also spent the time burying painful memories of betrayal that he associates with the Levite family that guards the Ark of the Covenant and once adopted him. Now, just as the champion of Ashdod is set to claim the biggest prize of all--the daughter of the king--his past collides with his present. 

After a heartbreaking end to her secret friendship with Lukio, Shoshana thought she'd never again see the boy with the dual-colored eyes and the troubled soul. But when she is captured in a Philistine raid and enslaved in Ashdod, she is surprised to recognize the brutal fighter known as Demon Eyes. 

When their renewed connection threatens to expose Shoshana's dangerous secrets, Lukio must decide how far he'll go to face his past and keep her protected.

My Review:

It's not often that when I start the next book in a series that my mind still feels so fresh from the previous one. Well, with Between the Wild Branches certainly felt like it picked up with my emotions right where To Dwell Among Cedars left off - at least with my emotions towards Lukio.

I wasn't surprised to find Lukio exactly where I expected - in a fight for money. Sigh... it was rough to find him in such conditions, but that seemed to be what he was searching for when he left Kirya-Yearim all those years ago. He really was just a heart broken, lost boy back then. While my heart went out to him, I was also frustrated with him. lol

I think Lukio reminds me of all of us in one way or another to some extent. We're all trying to find our purpose. Some of us are running because we don't know what that purpose is and the running makes us feel safe only to find out we're not where we thought we'd be.

It was such an interesting idea to be drawn into Philistia fictional world. The way we see them in the Bible as so ruthless and following idols, I liked how the author created an idea of what it was like during those times. And for her to bring Shoshana into this difficult world brought the story to life.

To see Lukio now through not only Shoshana's eyes, but also through the eyes of the Philistines was quite the dichotomy. When she first was remembering their childhood together in book one, I felt like I was remembering it at the same time. I could also feel the tension of having lived in two different worlds for Lukio. He can see his future with King Nicaro's daughter, but now he's being reminded of his past.

I loved watching God's hand move throughout this entire story! We know about the Ark and it being sent back to the Israelites, but to get a glimpse of slaves in Philistia and how God uses people to rescue them is wonderful! The way He ties people together to work for His good! So well done!!

Of course, the redemption thread in the story is, to me, the most important one. Also, grace and mercy are shown through a variety of characters in the story. All important ones for us to use as examples in our own lives. Betrayal comes with a price, but when there's a chance to give mercy and/or grace, that we should take the opportunity to do so!

I can't wait to see what Connilyn Cossette has up her sleeve for her next novel, but not matter what, I'll be first in line to read it!!

About the Author:

Connilyn Cossette ( a Christy Award and Carol Award winning author whose books have been found on ECPA and CBA bestseller lists. When she is not engulfed in the happy chaos of homeschooling two teenagers, devouring books whole, or avoiding housework, she can be found digging into the rich ancient world of the Bible to discover gems of grace that point to Jesus and weaving them into an immersive fiction experience. Although she and her husband have lived all over the country in their twenty-plus years of marriage, they currently call a little town south of Dallas, Texas, their home.

Monday, June 7, 2021

Come Back To Me By Jody Hedlund

come back to me
by Jody Hedlund
Publisher: Revell
Series: Waters of Time
ISBN: 9780800738433

I am thrilled to have been chosen to be on the launch team for the first book in Jody Hedlund's new series Waters of Time. I jumped in knowing nothing about the book other than time travel was involved! I enjoy the author's writing enough to not know a single thing about a story and want to read whatever she wrote! I was sent the book for review.


The ultimate cure that could heal any disease? Crazy.

That's exactly what research scientist Marian Creighton has always believed about her father's quest, even if it does stem from a desire to save her sister Ellen from the genetic disease that stole their mother from them. But when her father falls into a coma after drinking a vial of holy water believed to contain traces of residue from the Tree of Life, Marian must question all of her assumptions. He's left behind tantalizing clues that suggest he's crossed back in time. Insane. Until Marian tests his theories and finds herself in the Middle Ages during a dangerous peasant uprising.

William Durham, a valiant knight comes to Marian's rescue and offers her protection . . . as his wife. The longer Marian stays in the past, the more she cares about William. Can she ever find her father and make it back to the present to heal her sister? And when the time comes to leave, will she want to? 

Bestselling author Jody Hedlund is your guide down the twisting waters of time to a volatile era of superstition, revolts, and chivalry in this suspenseful story.

My Review:

This. Book. Was. Excellent!

I had NO clue what to expect from Come Back to Me other than it was time travel. The cover called my name when the opportunity to join the launch team came up, and I had to respond! I think the cover alone will be a favorite of 2021, but will rank up there as one of my top favorites period.

Jody Hedlund is a prolific writer and I think she could write about a sack of potatoes and it would come out amazing. This time she sends us back to 1381 and you need to join us on this adventure.

We meet Marian who is just your everyday, ordinary research scientist whose mom has passed away, her sister is very sick, and her father is in a coma. No big deal other than the fact that there are so many things wrong with the scenario Marian can't help but try to figure out what's going on.

I really liked her character. Marian is caring yet strong willed; thoughtful yet a force of nature; loving yet determined. This all helps her start to put the pieces together of what her father was working on in England. Unfortunately, things go from bad to worse and those pieces start to come together and people start getting hurt.

I loved how the author seamlessly wove the future into the past and brought Marian there to get answers. Leading up to it made my heart start to race. Oh my goodness, I knew I was going to love this story.

And then there's William Durham. You could easily feel the same appreciation Marian had for him as she gazed upon him and then as she got to know him. I mean, imagine a knight in fine fighting form in 1381. Their quick acquaintance leads to a situation neither expected!

Now let me tell you something. If you want romance, to feel it in a palpable way, to feel like you need to find a fan to cool yourself down, but in a way that doesn't cross lines... do. not. miss. this. book. Oh heavens to Betsy, the author outdid herself with Will and Marian's story. Is it cheesy to feel like their love was timeless? And it wasn't really instantaneous. Those tropes annoy the life out of me. No, this was different. There was this connection that you just knew. It wasn't contrived. It wasn't forced. It WAS a force!

Now, I felt for Marian as she was a 21st Century gal who likes her modern conveniences! In 1381, there were nowhere to be found. But, she had to find ways to communicate with the present because she kept having moments where she would come back to the "now" and then slip back to the past. What her father had learned, and she had now learned could be world altering. So many choices to make, but what would be the right one?

I have NO clue what book 2 will be like, but I hope we get to be with Will and Marian again!

About the Author:

Jody Hedlund ( is the bestselling author of over 30 historical novels for both adults and teens and is the winner of numerous awards, including the Christy, Carol, and Christian Book Awards. Jody lives in Michigan with her husband, busy family, and five spoiled cats. She loves to imagine that she really can visit the past, although she's yet to accomplish the feat, except via the many books she reads.

Friday, June 4, 2021

Power Play By Rachel Dylan

by Rachel Dylan
Publisher: Bethany House
Series: Capital Intrigue
ISBN: 9780764234323

I'm always a little sad when the last book in a series comes out. I was excited to be chosen to participate in Rachel's launch team for the book. It's the first time I've been able to partner with her. She sent me her book to help facilitate this review.


Trapped in a dangerous game, can she counter the enemy's deadly power play?

When Vivian Steele, an attorney at the State Department, witnesses two ambassadors collapse as if poisoned at a diplomatic dinner in Washington, DC, she is recruited to be a member of a joint FBI task force assigned to investigate. But she soon finds her by-the-book ways clashing with a special agent in the Diplomatic Security Service, Jacob Cruz. A former Navy SEAL and in charge of the event's security, Jacob takes the attack personally and is driven to act quickly, unhampered by rules and regulations. 

As Viv starts to work her diplomatic sources, her past as a State Department lawyer comes back to haunt her, and secrets held tightly by the government thrust her into a web of danger. Afraid, she turns to the one man bent on protecting others. But can she accept Jacob's reckless ways as exactly what she needs to stay alive and to discover the truth behind the attacks?

My Review:

Ok. I loved Viv's story in Power Play!! I enjoyed how unique each storyline was, but for some reason, I liked Vivian's the best. Maybe I'm just saying that because I just read it, but I don't think so. Viv wasn't a special ops person or have skills other than being an attorney. Unfortunately, that doesn't keep her behind the scenes like she would like. Two deaths at a dinner put her in danger and things spiral out of control from there.

And then, hello, there's Jacob. Brooding and intense former SEAL... he is at the diplomatic dinner for one reason only - security. I liked that neither was keen on each other from the start and he didn't have a favorable opinion of attorneys. hahaha

There were multiple storylines going on and each of them was intense. I liked that they veered off with each of the deaths and that we followed the trail with Delaney/Weston and Jacob/Viv. Oh, did I mention Viv and Jacob end up having to pair up to find answer to the deaths?

While there was a LOT going on, it was incredibly easy to keep up and I never lost sight of what was happening. I know it's easy to get lost in multiple storylines, but because they converge from the same dinner and as a full team, it's simple to keep the dots connected. There was one piece of the story that was easy to guess, but another that had me wondering until the very end. It's funny how you get pulled into what the characters thoughts and reactions are.

I appreciated that the main characters have a shared faith as well as the supporting characters from the previous book. While it's not in your face, it's there and talked about. I think it also plays a part in how Vivian reacts to Jacob as their story progresses.

There was a lot of action and there were twists I totally didn't expect. I actually woke up in the middle of the night thinking about how the story ended and could I have done the things Viv did. lol Yes, it got me thinking. These kinds of books always do. How would I handle these intense situations?

While I'm sad the series is over, I can't wait to get my hands on whatever Rachel Dylan writes next.

About the Author:

Rachel Dylan ( is an award-winning and bestselling author of legal thrillers and romantic suspense. Rachel has practiced law for over a decade, including being a litigator at one of the nation's top law firms. Her Atlanta Justice series has won the Holt Medallion, the Maggie Award, and the FHL Reader's Choice Award. Rachel lives in Michigan with her husband and five furkids--two dogs and three cats.

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Sticks & Stone By David James Warren

Sticks & Stone
by David James Warren
Publisher: TriStone
Series: The True Lies of Rembrandt Stone
ISBN: 978-1954023055

Being on the launch team for this series has been amazing! I've never read any books like these before and I am absolutely HOOKED! I was sent the ebook for review from the publisher.


Rembrandt Stone has only made things worse. This time, upon his return, he discovers his closest friendship is up in flames. Andrew Burke’s new scars reflect the havoc Rembrandt has left on his own timeline and he must go back—one last trip into the past. This time he'll save Burke, fix his life and track down a serial killer who possess an uncanny ability to evade him through time. 

When Rembrandt lands in the past and two children disappear into an epic Minneapolis blizzard, he's in a race with time to save the children, his partner, and create a future he can live with.  

Sticks and Stone—the third book in the gripping True Lies of Rembrandt Stone series—starts sprinting on page one and doesn’t slow down till the final words. 

Hold onto your head...and your heart.

My Review:

I would say that these stories just keep getting better, but that would do a disservice to the books that came before. I'll just say the amazingness is continuous. I can NOT get enough of these stories and unfortunately, I devour it so fast I end up wanting the next book NOW!

I love Rem. I love Eve. I love Rem and Eve. Get to know them, and you will love them, too. Trust me, they are one of my all time favorite love stories. Crazy, I know, because of the way this series is going, but Rem's love for Eve deepens and grows with each book. Eve, it's fun (and painful) to watch her love for him grow from the start, but also differently each time.

Listen, these time travel novels are hard to explain my thoughts on because I know the "things". lol And Rem knows this too. He's always talking at us, giving us a hard time, but also inviting us to kind of agree with the choices he's making.

Once again, Rem is trying to not mess with time, but also trying to stop a crime. Unfortunately, changes are changes and time is affected. This story is such a build up for the next one I can hardly stand the wait. I think about halfway through I was already anticipating book 4! It's so hard to wrap my mind around the "real time" happening in Rem's life because when he's back in time days go by!

I can understand why Rem needs an assistant. He, and we, needs someone to keep track of all of the events. HA! I also love how Shelby is becoming more entwined in the story. Burke continues to be one of my favorite characters in the story.

Of course, there are a couple of twists that I hadn't seen coming and now I'm just sitting here trying to take it all in and wondering how book 4 will unfold!

About the Authors:

James L. Rubart is 28 years old, but lives trapped inside an older man's body. He's the best-selling, Christy Hall of Fame author of ten novels and loves to send readers on mind-bending journeys they'll remember months after they finish one of his stories. He's dad to the two most outstanding sons on the planet and lives with his amazing wife on a small lake in eastern Washington. More at

Susan May Warren is the USA Today bestselling, Christy and RITA award-winning author of more than eighty novels whose compelling plots and unforgettable characters have won acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. The mother of four grown children, and married to her real-life hero for over 30 years, she loves travelling and telling stories about life, adventure and faith. For exciting updates on her new releases, previous books, and more, visit her website at

David Curtis Warren is making his literary debut in these novels, and he's never been more excited. He looks forward to creating more riveting stories with Susie and Jim, as well as on his own. He's grateful for his co-writers, family, and faith, buoying him during the pandemic of 2020, and this writing and publishing process.

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