Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Christmas Gift Guide #4: The Berenstain Bears' Caring and Sharing Treasury by Jan and Mike Berenstain



Here comes another ideal gift idea for the littles in the family!!

The Berenstain Bears' Caring and Sharing Treasury

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  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Series: Berenstain Bears/Living Lights
  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Zonderkidz (July 5, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310753589
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310753582

About the Book:

Time after time the Living Lights, Berenstain Bears series has attracted young readers through creative and engaging stories that not only entertain but teach values and life lessons. Now, five of the series’ most loved books are available in a comprehensive bind-up. This Living Lights collection Back to School is sure to be a popular choice for Berenstain Bears readers who have enjoyed the series in the past.
This collection includes:
-        Jobs Around Town
-        Get Involved
-        Love Their Neighbors
-        The Biggest Brag
-        Gossip Gang

My Thoughts:

Did you catch the titles of the stories included?  Talk about a timely children's book!  And you simply cannot go wrong with a Berenstain Bears' book!  The cover is sturdy and has a solid binding.  The stories are fully illustrated, and the individual covers can be found on the back of the book.

Very reasonably priced, lots of reading, and a rock solid message to the little ones in your family...this gift is ideal.  Makes great bedtime reading, after school reading, reading out loud...even family devotional reading!

So don't miss out on this great book.  Get your copy now...hey, buy multiple copies and keep one for yourself!  Until next time...

Mark Your Place,

Deena

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Christmas Gift Guide #3: NIV Wonders of Creation Holy Bible



I'm still bringing you great gifts for friends and family!  We'll have at least 25 days of Gifts, just in time for your Christmas celebration!

Here is today's gift selection: NIV Wonders of Creation Holy Bible w/illustrations to color

  • Age Range: 8 and up 
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Hardcover: 1152 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan; Clr Csm edition (November 1, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310758912
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310758914

About the Book:

The NIV Wonders of Creation Holy Bible explores the wonders of our created world though detailed black-and-white illustrations—each one ready to be filled with the hues of your imagination. From amazing Eden-esque gardens to the creatures God made, this Bible features over 50 ready-to-color pages alongside the full text of the New International Version (NIV) translation.

Features include:
  • Beautiful cover with foil makes for a stunning gift
  • Over 50 pages of black-and-white illustrations ready to be colored
  • Key verses called out on each coloring page
  • The full text of the bestselling New International Version translation
  • Presentation page for gift giving
  • Ribbon marker

My Thoughts:

Gorgeous Bible!  While the NIV is no longer my translation of choice, it remains one of the top sellers in today's market.  The text is a tad small, but still easy to read.

And the coloring pages?  Good, heavy paper with a design on either side.  The quality of paper guarantees no bleeding through, and makes the coloring pages easy to find. And the designs are my favorite style...thick black lines and plenty of detail to fill in!

With adult coloring books all the rage these days, having God's Word before your eyes while you doodle in your designs makes for some great meditation time.  I'm in love with the NIV Wonders of Creation Bible, and I think you'll have a winner with your purchase!

Until next time...mark your place,

Deena

Monday, November 28, 2016

Double Header by Clarice G. James



  • File Size: 912 KB
  • Print Length: 314 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1941291244
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Mountainview Books, LLC (November 20, 2015)
  • Publication Date: November 20, 2015

About the Book:

Casey Gallagher has it all together—a lucrative marketing career in Boston, a happy marriage, and a successful sports column she writes with her younger brother Griffin. She’s got a plan to save for a dream home in the suburbs and then have kids, even though her cop husband Sam doesn’t see the need to wait. 

The memory of her father still looms large four years after his passing. He was the cop who let her shine his boots, and she’s idolized him since she was a little girl. Even Sam can’t live up to his legacy. Then Casey receives a letter that bursts her balloon. Could her father not have been all she believed he was, and if so, how can her mother, who recently remarried and found a new faith, so easily forgive her former husband? Even the Red Sox rookies Casey and Griffin have recently befriended seem to have an inner peace that puzzles her. 

As Casey attempts to fit the changes life throws at her into her idealistic plan, she is challenged by the dialogue running in her head. Is it her conscience, her imagination, or the voice of the God she’s not sure she believes in?

My Thoughts:

This novel was a very pleasant surprise!  Clarice G. James has crafted a story that is more than just a tale about baseball.  It's about a family with secrets and faith and how both really cannot coexist if you want a solid relationship with Jesus.  Believe me, that was a huge undertaking, but Miss Clarice hit it out of the park (sorry, but I had to go there!).

Casey was so easy to identify with.  Like Casey, I had a plan for my future and it was a good one.  Also like Casey, I informed God of my plans and asked that He sign off on them.  She kept trying to steal home, but God needed her to round every base in His timing.  As for me, God didn't give me the life I'd planned.  Instead, out of His great love for me (and for Casey, even though I'm real and she isn't--I think!), He winked at my plans and gave me something far greater instead.

I absolutely adored Griffin!  He was the ideal foil to Casey's doubts and concerns, and he was able to speak truth into her life even as he worked out his own relationships.  If only men like Griffin existed in real life (I actually believe they do!).  He's quite the catch (yes, I went there yet again!).

I loved my time with "Double Header" and I'm eager to see what Miss Clarice comes up with next!  I'm giving this one my "Oh, The Feels" award, and encouraging you to get your copy today!  Until next time,

Mark Your Place (I was tempted to say "Batter Up!"),

Deena

My Humble Apologies



I know, I know...I broke my promise to be consistent.

In my defense...well, I have no defense.

Just the holidays, family visits, and illness.

But I'm back, and have I got books for you!

Til then,

Mark Your Place,

Deena

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Finding Father Christmas and Engaging Father Christmas by Robin Jones Gunn



  • Series: Father Christmas
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: FaithWords (September 6, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1455565946
  • ISBN-13: 978-1455565948

About the Book(s):

By beloved author Robin Jones Gunn, two timeless, heartwarming Christmas novellas bound together for the first time in an omnibus edition.

In FINDING FATHER CHRISTMAS, Miranda Carson's search for her father leads her unexpectedly to London with only a few feeble clues as to who he might be. Immediately welcomed into a family that doesn't recognize her, and whom she's quickly coming to love, she faces a terrible decision. Should she reveal her true identity and destroy their idyllic image of her father? Or should she carry the truth home with her to San Francisco and remain alone in this world? Whatever choice she makes during this London Christmas will forever change the future for both herself and the family she can't bear to leave. 

In ENGAGING FATHER CHRISTMAS Miranda Carson can't wait to return to England for Christmas and to be with her boyfriend, Ian. She has spent a lifetime yearning for a place to call home, and she's sure Carlton Heath will be it, especially when a hinted-at engagement ring slips into the conversation. But Miranda's high hopes for a jolly Christmas with the small circle of people she has come to love are toppled when Ian's father is hospitalized and the matriarch of the Whitcombe family withholds her blessing from Miranda. Questions run rampant in Miranda's mind about whether she really belongs in this cheery corner of the world. Then, when her true identity threatens all her relationships in unanticipated ways, Miranda is certain all is lost. And yet . . . maybe Father Christmas has special gifts in store for her after all.

My Thoughts: 

With a heavy nod to the Christmas classic by Charles Dickens, Robin Jones Gunn has written what is destined to become its own Christmas classic.

"Finding Father Christmas" is the story of Miranda Carson and her search for the father she has never known. Her journey takes her to England, just in time for the Christmas holiday.

Alone, fearful, and feeling quite lost, she stumbles her way to a tiny shop called Tea Cozy. Immediately Miranda is welcomed into the fold by a booming voice calling, "Come in, come in, and know me better, friend!" (my favorite line from "A Christmas Carol"--especially the Muppets version:-)

Katherine and Andrew, co-owners of the Tea Cozy, are taking part in a Christmas Eve production of "A Christmas Carol"...at least, a modified version of the play. Invited to attend, Miranda does so with a reluctant heart. But in the process of the rest of this story, she not only finds her heart, but finds her answers in the most unlikely of places.

Filled with delightful characters and a brief tribute to C.S. Lewis' Narnia classic, Robin has written a holiday hit. I fell in love with Miranda and related to her need for that father her heart longs for. The writing is so powerful that you feel what Miranda is feeling...the emotion leaps off the page and into your own heart.

In "Engaging Father Christmas", Miranda has finally found the family she's always longed for, and her hope is to join them in Jolly Old England. As she makes her plans to return to Carlton Heath, Miranda carries a secret wish...

...for a new found love.

Bumping into an old boyfriend at Paddington Station wasn't in her list of things to do. But if not for Josh, Miranda wouldn't have discovered her family and her father. The least she can do is share her news; news that MUST be kept secret.

The joy of Miranda's return is evident in every member of her new family--except for Margaret, the family matriarch. News of Ian's father being hospitalized, the unexpected encounter with Josh...will anything go according to Miranda's plans?

My response: why should things go her way now? God has been orchestrating a beautiful melody in Miranda Carson's life, and I'm loving the sound of it! Reading Robin's Christmas novellas reminds me that God is always in control, and even when things look bleak, the Son will shine through.

I'd love to say this was a most satisfying sequel...but my bookhound nose is scenting a trilogy in the making. Quite possibly, I'm wrong. I hope I'm not. I'd love another trip back to Carlton Heath next Christmas. I have a feeling you would as well, once you've been there with Robin, Miranda and company.

You can see "Finding Father Christmas" on the Hallmark Movie Channel this Christmas season, and the dual book is available now in bookstores everywhere! My thanks to my friends at FaithWords Publishing for my complimentary copy, with no obligation.  Both stories receive my "Oh, The Feels!" award, and be watching for the THIRD novel, coming soon!  Until then...

Mark Your Place,

Deena

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Christmas Gift Guide #2: Has Anyone Ever Seen God? by Carolyn Larsen, illustrated by Amylee Weeks





  • Hardcover: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale Momentum (September 15, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1496411749
  • ISBN-13: 978-1496411747

About The Book:

No one has ever seen the face of God, but we can be sure He is near.

Cheerful artwork with a modern whimsical style wraps around honest, easy-to-understand answers to your toughest questions about God, the creation, and the Bible. 

Has Anyone Ever Seen God? will inspire and offer comfort as you grow closer to God and gain a better understanding of his character, the world he created, and his Holy Bible. 

Also serves as a heartfelt gift of love and promise to those who are considering faith or are new believers.

My Thoughts:

This little book is ideal for new believers, teens and tweens, and anyone who has ever had a question about God or His character.  The cover is gorgeous, and the design is extremely appealing.

Each reading is brief and to the point, easy to understand and provides a solid answer to the 101 questions covered in the book.  And the unique artwork joins with the text to craft a very special gift for someone.

Pair this book with a nice bookmark, or even a journal and you've got a wonderful gift!

My thanks to my friends at Tyndale Publishing for my complimentary copy.  I am under no obligation, and all ideas and thoughts are my own.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Long Way Gone by Charles Martin



  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (October 4, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0718084713
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718084714

About the Book:

“No matter where you go, no matter whether you succeed or fail, stand or fall, no gone is too far gone. You can always come home.”
At the age of eighteen, musician and songwriter Cooper O’Connor took everything his father held dear and drove 1,200 miles from home to Nashville, his life riding on a six-string guitar and the bold wager that he had talent. But his wager soon proved foolish.
Five years after losing everything, he falls in love with Daley Cross, an angelic voice in need of a song. But just as he realizes his love for Daley, Cooper faces a tragedy that threatens his life as well as his career. With nowhere else to go, he returns home to the remote Colorado mountains, searching for answers about his father and his faith.
When Daley shows up on his street corner twenty years later, he wonders if it’s too late to tell her the truth about his past—and if he is ready to face it himself.
A radical retelling of the prodigal son story, Long Way Gone takes us from tent revivals to the Ryman Auditorium to the tender relationship between a broken man and the father who never stopped calling him home.

My Thoughts:

Hold on for just a moment...I'm trying to find my tissues.  Charles Martin broke my heart, pieced it back together again, then broke it one more time.  I've always loved his books, but...MAN, this one tore me up and back again!

The back cover states this is a 'radical retelling of the prodigal son story'...to put it mildly!  It's a little bit Frank Peretti, a little Karen Kingsbury, and a whole lot of slow, southern storytelling from (in my opinion) one of the best in the genre.

The story is told in three parts: present day, past history, then back to present day.  And don't expect to have all of your questions answered until you turn the final page.  Drove me just a little crazy, but once I had my answers I was like, "Oh, well, of course!"

And prepare to lose your heart to Cooper, Daley, BigBig, Dad, and Jimmy.  Martin includes some supernatural themes that will spark a bit of child-like wonder if you'll allow...do allow.  And you'll learn way more than you most likely ever wanted to know about guitars and music, but every bit is fascinating.

Charles Martin is one who does his research, and he goes deep, all to craft an authentic and truthful work of fiction that you'll never forget.  I am so thankful to my friends at Thomas Nelson Publishing for my advance copy, received under no obligation.

"Long Way Home" is a true journey, and while not ever moment of the journey is pleasant, every one is necessary.  Read Cooper's and Daley's story and find healing in your own.  I'm giving "Long Way Gone" my "Oh, The Feels" with "One For the Ages" combined.

Bring tissues.  Lots and lots of tissues.  Until the next book,

Mark Your Place,

Deena

Friday, November 4, 2016

Another Day, Another Dali by Sandra Orchard



  • Series: Serena Jones Mysteries (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (October 18, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0800726693
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800726690

About the Book:

A Fast-Paced, Keep-You-Guessing Whodunit with a Dash of Romance
When a valuable Salvador Dali painting belonging to her grandmother's friend is mysteriously replaced by a forgery, FBI Special Agent Serena Jones is called in to investigate. Serena hopes finding the thief will also mean finally measuring up to Nana's expectations. But when the evidence points to members of the owner's own household, it becomes increasingly clear that Serena won't be winning any popularity contests.

The Dali isn't the only painting that's fallen prey to the forgery-replacing thief, raising the specter of a sophisticated theft ring--one with links to dirty cops, an aspiring young artist, and the unsolved murder of Serena's grandfather.

With plenty of edge-of-your-seat moments, Another Day, Another Dali gives the plucky Serena Jones--and readers--a new high-stakes case to crack.

My Thoughts:

I love this series!!  Sandra Orchard has created a crime fighting character that will keep you in stitches while she hustles to solve the case of the day.  And a thoroughly unique concept keeps the mystery running until the final page.

An over-arching theme runs through both the first and current books in the series as Serena Jones follows every lead in the murder of her grandfather.  She was just a little girl when he was killed, and she's carried the memories and the feelings with her ever since.

But someone doesn't want Serena to find out who's behind the art forgeries...or how her grandfather died.  And they will do anything to stop her, at any cost.

The romance is okay, but I'm reading these for the suspense and the unique relationship Serena has with her family.  Aunt Martha is a hoot, and Nana needs to loosen up a little.  Until she does, I'll be eagerly waiting for the next mystery from Orchard.

I'm giving "Another Day, Another Dali" my "Oh, The Feels" award, and until next time...

Mark Your Place,

Deena

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

It Started With Goodbye by Christina June


  • Print Length: 272 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 5 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: Blink (May 9, 2017)
  • Publication Date: May 9, 2017
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishing
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01HAKH5LY

About the Book:

Sixteen-year-old Tatum Elsea is bracing for the worst summer of her life. After being falsely accused of a crime, she's stuck under stepmother-imposed house arrest and her BFF's gone ghost. Tatum fills her newfound free time with community service by day and working at her covert graphic design business at night (which includes trading emails with a cute cello-playing client).

When Tatum discovers she's not the only one in the house keeping secrets, she finds she has the chance to make amends with her family and friends. Equipped with a new perspective, and assisted by her feisty step-abuela/fairy-godmother, Tatum is ready to start fresh and maybe even get her happy ending along the way.

A modern play on the Cinderella story arc, IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE shows us that sometimes going after what you want means breaking the rules.
 

IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE will appeal to fans of Sarah Dessen, Stephanie Perkins, and Jennifer E. Smith.

My Thoughts:

I was so excited about this book!  It was on my wishlist for the longest time, and when I was given an advance copy I couldn't wait to dive in and read my way to the end.  While I enjoyed "It Started With Goodbye", it wasn't what I was anticipating.

Sometimes I think we can set ourselves up and miss out on a really great read.  Had I known this was a twist on the classic Cinderella tale, I probably would have passed.  But I didn't, so here is what I thought...

Christina June has a definite ability to tell a story.  Her characters are well formed, and she keeps a steady pace with no drag in the story.  And I enjoyed every word of this book...I just didn't love the story. My hope is, for her next novel, Christina June writes a completely original tale so we can truly see her talent shine.

I wonder if the step-mother would have felt less like a caricature and more like a woman struggling with her own issues of acceptance and control.  I wonder if the dad would have had more to do with the story, rather than just a throwaway character.

I'll be watching for Christina June's next novel, because I'm curious.  And she can tell a story very well.  I just want to see her tell her own story.  That's why I'm giving "It Started With Goodbye" my "One To Watch" award.  Until then...

...Mark Your Place

Deena

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Christmas Gift Guide: Gratitude, A Prayer and Praise Coloring Journal


Remember when I promised you a gift giving guide here at Just One More?  Well, I'm kicking it off with something unique and ideal for the coloring fan on your gift list!



  • Hardcover: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale Momentum; Jou edition (September 1, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1496415795
  • ISBN-13: 978-1496415790

About the Book:

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!

My Thoughts:

I love this book!  The design, the content, the cover...all perfectly put together to create an ideal gift!  Pair this book with some sweet colored pencils and you'll have something special to give a loved one this Christmas.

The front and back cover is made of sturdy cardboard, providing protection and a great surface to support the pages within.  The colors selected for the cover design are a gorgeous palette of oranges and yellows and a soft green, giving a warm and inviting display.

Inside are pages for writing prayers, verses of Scripture, your favorite moments...anything you'd like to save in a gorgeous journal/book.  Some pages have guided prayers or journal prompts, and you'll find some of the best coloring designs inside as well.

Part journal, part coloring book, part devotional...you won't find a better book for your favorite coloring lovers!  My thanks to my friends at Tyndale Publishing for my advance copy.  Five out of five ornaments for this Christmas gift!

Mark Your Place, and be sure to come back for more recommendations!

Deena

The Promise of Rayne by Nicole Deese


  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Waterfall Press (November 1, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1503937704
  • ISBN-13: 978-1503937703

About the Book:

Rayne Shelby has spent her entire life trying to earn the approval of her high-powered family, with the hope of one day managing her late grandfather’s prestigious Idaho lodge. But when she makes a mistake that puts her future in jeopardy, she faces an impossible choice: defy her family or deny her dream. 
The only way to fix the mess she’s created is to enlist the help of her neighbor, Levi, the apprentice of her family’s greatest enemy. And if Rayne gets caught crossing the divided property lines, the consequences will be irreparable.
Levi Harding has never forgotten the August night he shared with Rayne when they were teens—or the way she later rejected him. Despite his warring instincts, he can’t ignore her plea for help or the spark that’s ignited between them. 

But now, as wildfires bear down on their town and family secrets are revealed, their newfound alliance might just go up in smoke.

My Thoughts:

Wow.  I was blown away the emotional power of Nicole Deese's latest novel, "The Promise of Rayne".  I lost count of how many times I wanted to throw my Kindle across the room after a scene with Rayne Shelby's uncle.  What a mean-spirited, controlling man!  Oh, how I wanted to reach into the story and smack him!

And her father...man up, stand up, and shield your daughter!  Watching him cave time and time again under the force of his brother was almost too much to bear.  The unhealthy dynamics of the Shelby clan were at times overwhelming...but in a good way.  Your compassion for Rayne will grow with every clash in the Shelby clan.

And then there was Levi...caught up in the maelstrom of the Shelby feud, and standing by Ford Winslow at every turn.  But his heart was growing tender toward Rayne, and he stood the chance of losing everything he'd worked for if he pursued her.

Shades of the fan favorite television drama "Dallas" are scattered through the book.  The thing that sets this book apart is the element of faith and the strength of genuine family.  This is some powerful and emotional reading, and it's worth the tears you'll shed as you turn the pages.

I'm very thankful to Nicole for my advance copy of "The Promise of Rayne".  I've become a new fan, and I can hardly wait to read more of her books.  I'm giving "The Promise of Rayne" my 'Oh, The Feels!' award, and handing you a ginormous box of tissues!

Until next time,

Mark Your Place.

Deena