Children’s Corner: The Berenstain Bears’ Book of Prayers

23 Sep

61ct3zh6wnl-_sx432_bo1204203200_A collection of prayers from the iconic Berenstain Bears brand for children ages two to five.

This new prayer book for toddlers features Mama and Papa Bear, Brother, Sister, and Honey. Nearly 50 simple rhyming prayers cover a typical day and the typical worries of a young child. From waking in the morning to going to sleep at night, from thanking God for a meal to praying for His comfort when afraid, the prayers will help little ones see that any moment is a good moment to talk to God.

With its soft padded cover and convenient size, the book is the perfect way to teach children about prayer and the ways God cares for us each day.


My Impressions:

Prayer is important, even for little ones. The Berenstain Bears’ Book of Prayers is a great collection of simple, rhyming prayers to say with your preschooler. For every occasion — Rise and Shine, Mealtimes, Bedtime and more — this book has prayers to praise and thank God. I especially liked the sections titled Help And Guidance, Comfort and Forgiveness that have specific prayers that small children can identify with:

Dear Lord, I made a mess today
and didn’t help clean it.
I know it bothered Mom and Dad,
although I didn’t mean it.
It’s hard to say “I’m sorry”,
but that’s what I need to do.
Please help me say the words I should
to Mom and Dad and You.

Isn’t that sweet and the perfect prayer to teach your child? Over 40 prayers for all situations, plus the Bear Family modeling the importance of prayer, make The Berestain Bears’ Book of Prayers a wonderful addition to your family’s library!


Audience: children ages 2-5 (and their parents)

To purchase this book, click HERE

(Thanks to Worthy Kids for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Book Spotlight — A Lesson In Love And Murder

22 Sep

Jem and Merinda are back! After months and months of waiting, the second book in Rachel McMillan’s Herringford And Watts series, A Lesson in Love And Murder, is now available at all purveyors of  quality books! If you love sassy heroines, a puzzling mystery and history that comes alive, then you will want to get your hands on this book. Make sure to check out Rachel’s blog too.

5108yjurjsl-_sx326_bo1204203200_From political danger to personal drama, life is about to get explosive . . . 

The legacy of literary icon Sherlock Holmes is alive and well in 1912 Canada, where best friends Merinda Herringford and Jem Watts continue to develop their skills as consulting detectives.

The city of Toronto has been thrown into upheaval by the arrival of radical anarchist Emma Goldman. Amid this political chaos, Benny Citrone of the Royal North-West Mounted Police arrives at Merinda and Jem’s flat, requesting assistance in locating his runaway cousin—a man with a deadly talent.

While Merinda eagerly accepts the case, she finds herself constantly butting heads — and hearts — with Benny. Meanwhile, Jem has her hands full with a husband who is determined to keep her out of harm’s way.

As Merinda and Jem close in on the danger they’ve tracked from Toronto to Chicago, they uncover a sinister plot to assassinate presidential candidate Theodore Roosevelt. Will they be able to save the day and resolve the troubles threatening their future happiness before it’s too late?

Independence, love, and lives are at stake in A Lesson in Love and Murder, the gripping second installment of the Herringford and Watts Mysteries series.

To purchase this book, click HERE.


61nklodbtcl-_ux250_Rachel McMillan is a keen history enthusiast and a lifelong bibliophile. When not writing or reading, she can most often be found drinking tea and watching British miniseries. Rachel lives in bustling Toronto, where she works in educational publishing and pursues her passion for art, literature, music, and theater.

Children’s Corner: Baby, Baby! + Giveaway!

21 Sep

61lokwm4fl-_sy498_bo1204203200_A sweet, colorful board book that appeals to a baby’s interest in looking at other babies.

Babies enjoy books, looking at other babies, and their own flowering abilities. This short rhyming poem combines all three in a sweet and happy way, while introducing babies to God’s love for them. The simple words are paired with colorful images of babies engaging in familiar activities, allowing the book to be used as an introductory concept book as well. And it ends with a reminder that Baby is always loved by God.


dianestortzpic1_color-682x1024After more than twenty years in publishing as an editor and editorial director, Diane Stortz now writes best-selling books for children and adults. Her goal: making God’s wonders known to the next generation.

Her books include I AM: 40 Reasons to Trust God, Words to Dream On: Bedtime Bible Stories and Prayers, and Say & Pray Bible (all Tommy Nelson); The Sweetest Story Bible and The Sweetest Story Bible for Toddlers (Zonderkidz); A Woman’s Guide to Reading the Bible in a Year (Bethany House); and Parents of Missionaries (IVP). Two books for babies and toddlers, Baby, Baby! (Worthy Kids-Ideals) and Say & Pray Devotions (Tommy Nelson) release in Fall 2016.

In 2003 Diane cofounded the National Network of Parents of Missionaries, a nondenominational ministry to help parents of missionaries connect with one another and learn to succeed and thrive as POMs. In 2008 she coauthored Parents of Missionaries: How to Thrive and Stay Connected When Your Children and Grandchildren Serve Cross-Culturally.

Diane blogs at She and her husband, Ed, a retired juvenile court probation officer, have two married daughters and four young grandchildren — all boys! When she’s not writing, Diane enjoys walking, gardening, and planning her next trip to visit her grandchildren.

ailie-promo-1_1__copyAilie Busby has been illustrating books for children for more than 15 years, and her work is published in the UK, Italy, France, Korea, USA, to name but a few.
She has published with Random House, Bloomsbury, Egmont, Scholastic, Orion and many others.

Ailie attended 2 Art schools, Nene College in Northampton, where she studied Graphic Design, and Cambridge school of Art where she specialized in Illustration.

When not illustrating, Ailie enjoys cooking, going to the cinema, rummaging around flea markets, walking her dog on the beach and chocolate.

Allie lives in the North East of England, Newcastle, with her husband, two children, two cats and a new edition to the family, Queenie the Fox Terrier.


My Impressions:

Baby, Baby! is a great book for connecting your young child with the world around them. Whimsical illustrations of all the wonderful things babies do — giggling, clapping, sneezing, kissing — combine with simple rhymes that lead to the final fun thing about your baby — God loves him/her! As the story progresses your child will see other babies doing all the things they do, and then the big finale — a mirror to include them in the story. Perfect for mom and dad and baby time, it is also a good way to include an older sibling in the joyous life of a brother or sister. I have just the family to share this book with — two sweet sisters and a new baby brother!


Audience: families with babies.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

(Thanks to Worthy Kids for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)


Thanks to Worthy Kids and FlyBy Promotions, I have a copy of Baby, Baby! to give away to one of my readers. Just leave a comment to enter. The giveaway will run through September 30. Good luck! (US entrants only)

(Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller/FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.)

Top Ten Tuesday — Suspense-Filled Audiobooks

20 Sep

This week the folks at The Broke And Bookish are talking all things Audio! I featured some of my favorite audiobooks in June for a Freebie Week. So today I will concentrate on my favorite genre — suspense. To find out what other bloggers are listening to, click HERE.


I started listening to audiobooks several years ago as I traveled twice a week to see my daughter’s college soccer games. Even home games were a 3 1/2 hour drive for me. Suspense novels helped to make the miles and hours go by more quickly, not least of all keeping me awake! Now that she’s graduated, I listen to audiobooks on my daily walks. It’s a great way to make me look forward to exercise! Here are 10 of my favorites.

Top 10 Favorite Suspense-Filled Audiobooks


Dubiosity by Christy Barritt

Double Blind by Brandilyn Collins

Trapped by Irene Hannon



Vanished by Irene Hannon

The Real Enemy by Kathy Herman

Fear Has A Name by Creston Mapes


Double Cross by DiAnn Mills

The Survivor by DiAnn Mills

A Cry from The Dust by Carrie Stuart Parks

A Matter of Trust by Lis Wiehl


What have you been listening to?


Book Review: Fifth Column

19 Sep

51jmprwkljl-_sx325_bo1204203200_Detective Inspector Jago investigates, uncovering deception and betrayal.

At first glance, the young woman found in the early hours of the morning where bombs have landed is just another casualty of the previous night’s air raid. But when the post-mortem shows signs of strangulation, Detective Inspector Jago is called on to investigate.

The dead woman is smartly dressed but carries no identification. However, a local engineering company reports a staff member has failed to appear at work that morning and the body is quickly identified as that of Miss Mary Watkins.

DI Jago’s initial interviews yield little fruit; no one can think of a reason why Mary would be murdered. But as the investigation continues DI Jago begins to uncover a trail of deception and betrayal.


1___Mike Hollow studied languages at Cambridge, then worked for the BBC and then Tearfund. Now a freelance writer and editor, he lives in Basingstoke (England) with his wife Margaret. A popular poet, his work has been widely performed and has appeared in many collections.


My Impressions:

Fifth Column is the second book in Mike Hollow’s Blitz Detective series. Set during the years of the Nazi bombings of London, this mystery is perfect for those who want an authentic look at England during WWII. I loved the attention to detail that Hollow brings to his novel — from women’s fashion and popular culture to the more serious issues of the nightly attacks from the skies and the threat of sabotage from spies (fifth column refers to a group within a country sympathetic to the enemy). While Fifth Column is the sequel to Direct Hit, it can be read as a standalone. But I recommend you begin at the beginning; you don’t want to miss any part of this great series.

The nightly bombings are beginning to wear on Detective Inspector John Jago. A survivor of the Great War, he never thought that his world would be upended in such a way again. But he has a job to do. When a body of a young woman is discovered at the site of a bombing, it becomes obvious that a bomb was not the culprit and a murderer is on the loose.

Rescue squad volunteers search the wreckage of bombed houses in South Molton Road, Canning Town, September 1940. Corrugated-steel Anderson shelter to the left. (Newham Heritage and Archive collection.)

Rescue squad volunteers search the wreckage of bombed houses in South Molton Road, Canning Town, September 1940. Corrugated-steel Anderson shelter to the left. (Newham Heritage and Archive collection.)

Fifth Column has a number of strengths. It is a slowly unfolding mystery that will keep you guessing. There are quite a few suspects all with tenuous connections to the victim. DI Jago, DC Craddock and the reader have their hands full trying to discover just what is going on. Thrown into the mix are blackmarket dealings, pro-Nazi sentiment, thefts and an extortion plot. Sounds like a lot going on and there is, but Hollow allows his detective to methodically and intuitively work through each clue. DI Jago is an interesting and sympathetic character. All alone in the world and with his life revolving around his work, he, nevertheless, looks to the future that seems just out of reach. Other characters are great compliments to the story and to Jago’s character development. For historical accuracy, Fifth Column cannot be beat. It is obvious that Hollow spent a great deal of time on research. Every detail seems just right and adds a depth to the story not often found in mystery fiction. The author’s website is a treasure trove of information surrounding the story and the history of the era.

I loved Fifth Column, and if you are a fan of historically based mysteries, I am betting you will too. A plot line concerning Jago’s personal life is left dangling, ensuring that I’ll have another enjoyable return visit with The Blitz Detective.


Highly Recommended. Please note: this is a British novel and contains some language.

Audience: Adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

(Thanks to Kregel and Lion Hudson for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Book Review: Ties That Bind

16 Sep

41zjty430wl-_sx331_bo1204203200_Ariana’s comfortable Old Order Amish world is about to unravel. Will holding tightly to the cords of family keep them together — or simply tear them apart?

Twenty-year-old Ariana Brenneman loves her family and the Old Ways. She has two aspirations: open a café in historic Summer Grove to help support her family’s ever-expanding brood and to keep any other Amish from being lured into the Englisch life by Quill Schlabach.

Five years ago Quill, along with her dear friend Frieda, ran off together, and Ariana still carries the wounds of that betrayal. When she unexpectedly encounters him, she soon realizes he has plans to help someone else she loves leave the Amish.
Despite how things look, Quill’s goal has always been to protect Ariana from anything that may hurt her, including the reasons he left. After returning to Summer Grove on another matter, he unearths secrets about Ariana and her family that she is unaware of. His love and loyalty to her beckons him to try to win her trust and help her find a way to buy the café — because when she learns the truth that connects her and a stranger named Skylar Nash, Quill knows it may upend her life forever.


816nu3lsh7l-_ux250_Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times, CBA, ECPA, and USA Today best-selling author who has written seventeen (and counting!) works of fiction and one of nonfiction. She and her dearest Old Order Amish friend, Miriam Flaud, coauthored the nonfiction, Plain Wisdom: An Invitation into an Amish Home and the Hearts of Two Women. Cindy has been featured on ABC Nightline and on the front page of the Wall Street Journal,and has worked with National Geographic on a documentary concerning Amish life. In June of 2013, the Wall Street Journal listed Cindy as the one of the top three most popular authors of Amish fiction.

She’s won Fiction Book of the Year, Reviewer’s Choice Awards, Inspirational Reader’s Choice Contest, as well as one of Crossings’ Best Books of the Year. She’s been a finalist for the prestigious Christy, Rita, and Carol Awards, Christian Book of the Year, and Christian Retailers Choice Awards.

Her real-life connections with Amish Mennonite and Old Order Amish families enrich her novels with authenticity. Though she didn’t realize it at the time, seeds were sown years ago that began preparing Cindy to write these books. At the age of ten, while living in the dairy country of Maryland, she became best friends with Luann, a Plain Mennonite girl. Luann, like all the females in her family, wore the prayer Kapp and cape dresses. Her parents didn’t allow television or radios, and many other modern conveniences were frowned upon. During the numerous times Luann came to Cindy’s house to spend the night, her rules came with her and the two were careful to obey them — afraid that if they didn’t, the adults would end their friendship. Although the rules were much easier to keep when they spent the night at Luann’s because her family didn’t own any of the forbidden items, both sets of parents were uncomfortable with the relationship and a small infraction of any kind would have been enough reason for the parents to end the relationship. While navigating around the adults’ disapproval and the obstacles in each other’s lifestyle, the two girls bonded in true friendship that lasted into their teen years, until Cindy’s family moved to another region of the US.

As an adult, Cindy became friends with a wonderful Old Order Amish family who opened their home to her. Although the two women, Miriam and Cindy, live seven hundred miles apart geographically, and a century apart by customs, when they come together they never lack for commonality, laughter, and dreams of what only God can accomplish through His children. Over the years Cindy has continued to make wonderful friendships with those inside the Amish and Mennonite communities–from the most conservative ones to the most liberal.

Cindy and her husband reside near the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains in their now empty nest.

If you’d like more information or to contact her, you can go to her website: or Facebook


My Impressions:

Cindy Woodsmall is one of my book club’s very favorite authors. We actually won her first two books and an author call from Cindy (back before Skype, so you know that was a long time ago!). The hour we spent listening to her talk about her writing and inspiration was wonderful. We have read every full length novel she has written and usually do so as soon as they come out. I’m not sure what happened with Ties That Bind, but I am glad we waited to read it, otherwise, we would have had some very anxious readers awaiting book 2 in this series. Fraying at The Edges, book 2 in the Summer Grove series is out now and will be making an appearance very soon. In the meantime, here are some of my thoughts on Ties That Bind.

Cindy Woodsmall writes Amish fiction, but it is more than sweet romance and simple living. In fact there is nothing simple in the lives of the characters, both Plain and English. Ties That Bind takes its characters on an emotional journey of faith, family and culture. The English and Amish worlds collide despite the attempts of many of the characters to keep things separate and secret. This novel explores the influence of nature and nurture on two young women. As the story unfolds, the reader knows more of what’s going on than the characters and the tension and suspense is palpable, making the pages fly. There is also the contrast of the human free will, God’s grace and the legalism that often dominates our religious practices. You don’t have to be Amish to be legalistic! Ties That Bind really makes you think about that. As with any novel by Cindy, the characters soon find a place in your heart. I really came to care about them and felt their anguish, fears and sense of lost dreams. A glimmer of hope is seen at the end, and I will be really glad when I can begin Fraying at The Edges in just a few days.

Have you read Ties That Bind? What did you think about it? We are meeting tonight and I am looking forward to some wonderful and lively conversation.

Highly Recommended.

Audience: older teens to adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

(I purchased this book for my Kindle. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Book Review: Gratitude — A Prayer And Praise Coloring Journal

15 Sep

61avhglpwl-_sx373_bo1204203200_Gratitude: A Prayer and Praise Coloring Journal invites you to bring creative journaling and the calming act of coloring into your quiet time with God. This beautifully designed interactive prayer book from Tyndale’s Living Expressions collection helps guide your thoughts as you pray about concerns such as health, overcoming stress, personal relationships, and more. Gratitude gives you a way to celebrate and give thanks to God for the many blessings he provides. Filled with over 100 designs to color, plenty of space for journaling and sketching, and 40 needs-based prayers, Gratitude helps you express your devotion to God with your whole heart!



Check out more products from Tyndale’s Living Expressions Collection.

My Impressions:

Creativity and quiet time combine in this fun, relaxing and encouraging book from Tyndale Publishers. Gratitude: A Prayer and Praise Coloring Journal has everything you need to bring meaning to your time with God. I love the interesting illustrations to color, the prayers that speak to deep needs, the accompanying Bible verses for meditation and memorization, and the space dedicated to writing out concerns, questions and requests. Its hardback presentation makes it a sturdy companion for your purse, backpack or briefcase — easy to take along with you wherever you need to go! Gratitude is the theme and isn’t that something we need to keep in the front of our minds when spending time with God? There is so much to be thankful for even in the midst of busyness, and this coloring journal will remind you of that.


Audience: older teens and adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

(Thanks to Tyndale for a review copy. All opinion expressed are mine alone.)