Mister Max: The Book of Lost Things (Book 1) By Cynthia Voigt

Mister Max: The Book of Lost Things (Book 1) by Cynthia Voigt

Mister Max Bk1

Max’s parents were entertainers. William and Mary Starling owned the town’s only theater where they produced, adapted, acted, and managed the entertainment for their busy bustling port town in an age before television and radio were invented. They lived, breathed and dreamed of performing. They even took their show on the road from time to time. That is why they didn’t bat an eyelash when a courier brought to their door an invitation to perform for an important political figure across the sea. Of course they would go, but would they take Max?

Max’s parents forgot about him from time to time, especially when they were excited, or planning a new production. He did perform with them once in awhile, but he was mostly busy going to school. If Max didn’t travel with his parents, he usually stayed with his Grandmother, who lived in the house behind their garden. She used to be a school teacher, but was now a librarian. He didn’t mind staying with her, but she could be a little bit bossy. At 12, he wanted to be more independent. He didn’t realize he would soon get his wish.

On the morning of their departure, Max had a painting lesson. Then he was to meet his parents aboard the ship, The Flower of Kashmir, and join them for the journey. But when he arrived on time at the appointed place, the ship was not there. Neither were his parents. In fact, when he checked with the harbormaster, a ship of that name had never been registered nor seen in port. All his efforts to find them were fruitless.

Steam powered ships took time to reach their destinations in the early 1900’s, so Max and Grammie noted which ships were in the harbor that day, and watched their progress. It would take about a month to reach their ports, so in the meantime Max needed to find work to earn enough to live on. That’s when his adventures began.

steamboat Clermont_replica

My first impression reading this was that it fit in with the classics for middle grade readers very well. I thought of Winnie the Pooh, Mary Poppins, Pippi Longstocking, Charlotte’s Web, Julie of the Wolves, Where the Red Fern Grows and The Indian in the Cupboard when I read this. The author writes with a droll sort of humor and touches on things young readers want to read.

Max is a young man in the making. He has problems to solve; the first and foremost was whether or not his parents were missing by accident, by plot, or on purpose. With each situation he has to face, he draws on his parents’ acting roles (and trunks of costumes) for intuition. He adopts many roles, sometimes with comic results, until he finds the role he is most comfortable with: being himself. Yet by the end of the book, his parents were still missing. Fortunately, with his Grammie’s research and networking skills, they have some clues.

Max is a likable young person. When he adopts a role, no one seems to know what to make of him. Yet he always leaves a lasting impression and makes friends in the unlikeliest places. I think his character in this book would appeal to a wide variety of young readers. He also serves as a role model in how to deal with such issues as feelings of abandonment, the unwanted attention of a nosy girl, a break-in, criticism, a well meaning grandmother, and eventually clients.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from NetGalley, on behalf of Random House Children’s Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Shop Amazon – Mother’s Day Gifts in Home & Kitchen

Shop Amazon – Trade In with Three Easy Steps

Moore Family Films

click here for Emergen-C information

The Tears of Nero by Jason Brannon ~ Review ~

The Tears of Nero by Jason Brannon

The Tears of Nero

A madman called Nero. A deserted island. Poisonous snakes. A message in a bottle. A buried treasure chest. The four horsemen of the Apocalypse. A violin requiem by Mozart. A dinner party that wasn’t. Ravenous lions. A burning question: “Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?”

The story opens like a bizarre episode of the Survivor reality TV show. Five people who had been kidnapped and drugged woke up on the sandy beach of an unknown island. The sinister tone is set by a cryptic message in a bottle: “Dear lambs, I think God is mad at us. If you don’t believe it, look at your own lives for proof. You have all been punished to some degree. That is why you are valuable to me. You are here to help me understand why bad things happen to good people. You are part of an experiment in cosmic justice. You are here to help me come to terms with my own life and to set free the horses of Armageddon. You are all good people. As a result, expect bad things to happen.” Their “little predicament” quickly turned sinister at the appearance of dozens of poisonous snakes. Was someone just toying with them?

The author, Jason Brannon, has written a masterful work of suspense, mystery and even horror, as the story progresses and layer upon layer of the complex puzzle is peeled back to reveal an intense race for survival. But more was at stake than the lives of five people. A terrifying threat to millions was eventually revealed. How could this madman be stopped?

If you are attracted to knuckle-whitening, teeth clenching, eye popping, intense psychologically mind bending fiction that touches on horror, then this is a book you will love. There is an intellectual challenge as the participants deal with history, secret societies, supernatural elements, and criminal workings while trying to stay alive long enough to escape the island. But if you have trouble dealing with the eventual deaths of people you have come to know in the struggle for survival, then you should not read this book. The antagonist is evil incarnate and sadistic. Much of what happens on the island is unsettling and all too realistic. If you can deal with this, then there is an underlying message that will keep you from putting this book down, especially in the final chapters when additional twists to the story will take you by surprise.

Walk by faith not by sight2

This is not a genre I read very often. But I have read and reviewed one of this author’s other books and loved his writing style. It is tight, complex, intelligent, and purposeful. Like that other book, the resolution at the end of this story made the agony of reading something I’m not comfortable with completely worth it. Even after putting the book down, weeks later I was still thinking about the turn of events at the end.

About the author: Jason Brannon is the author of The Maze, The Cage, and other novels. His fiction features flawed characters trapped in dangerous situations that test and try their faith. He currently lives in Amory, MS. Visit his website at JasonBrannon.us

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Shop Amazon – Mother’s Day Gifts in Home & Kitchen

Shop Amazon – Trade In with Three Easy Steps

Moore Family Films

click here for Emergen-C information

A Beauty So Rare Book Promotional Week 5 ~A Pinterest Scavenger Hunt~

A beauty so rare week 5

Join me for a Pinterest Scavenger Hunt and win 1 of 7 copies of USA Today bestselling author Tamera Alexander’s newest novel, A Beauty So Rare, the second standalone novel in the Belmont Mansion series.

 

 

The questions are posted below and the giveaway runs through Sunday night, April 27. The answers to the questions can be found on Tamera’s Pinterest page. Not on Pinterest? Doesn’t matter. You can still participate and find the answers by using this link.

 

Your answers must be submitted to TameraAlexander@ymail.com (numbered 1 – 6) by Sunday, April 27, midnight Central to be entered into a drawing to win one of seven copies of A Beauty So Rare, the second standalone novel in the Belmont Mansion series.

Eleanor_Braddocks_Southern-at-Heart_Pound_Cake

 

Questions for the Pinterest Scavenger Hunt

 

1.     On the A Beauty So Rare board, find the pin that shares the seamstress who sewed the dress on the cover of A Beauty So Rare (featuring the heroine, Eleanor Braddock) and *click the pin* to discover what the seamstress’s most challenging part of making the pink dress was.

2.    On the A Lasting Impression board, find the pin where Tamera shares about the desert seasons in her life––those times that helped her write about a certain relationship in her novel, A Beauty So Rare. *Click the pin* to learn what specific relationship Tamera mentions in that blog. It’s the relationship between which two people?

3.    On the My Novels board, find the pin where Tamera shares about the inspiration behind A Beauty So Rare. *Click it* and watch the video to learn the true history that ties the Belmont Mansion (the setting of A Lasting Impression and A Beauty So Rare) to the real Insane Asylum that existed in Nashville in the 19th century.

4.    On the Recipes from my novels board, what’s the recipe from A Beauty So Rare that’s posted about most often on that board (doesn’t necessarily have the most re-pins)? It’s also a favorite of Eleanor’s.

5.    On the My Loves board, find the pin that references Easter weekend then *click it* to learn what kind of fish Tamera caught this past weekend.

6.    On the My Novels board, find the pin for the book trailer for A Beauty So Rare, then *click it* to watch the video. What is it that Aunt Adelicia is determined to find for Eleanor?

7. BONUS: LIKE Tamera’s Facebook Page for an extra chance to win.

 

In your email, remember to number your answers from 1 to 6, like this:

1. Answer

2. Answer

3. Answer

4. Answer

5. Answer

6. Answer

 

Hope you have fun with it!

A beauty so rare favorite quote2
 

Note: Pinterest is not sponsoring this promotion nor are they formally affiliated with it.

Gospel: Assurance and Warnings by Paul Washer ~ Review ~

Gospel: Assurance and Warnings by Paul Washer

Gospel Assurance and Warnings

This book is Part Three of the Recovering the Gospel series by Paul Washer. Book One is The Gospel’s Power and Message. Book Two is The Gospel Call and True Conversion. Based on the clear writing style of the author, in his ability to make basic Christian doctrines easy to grasp and understand, I would love to read the first two books in the series. But it is equally clear that the reader does not necessarily need these books to benefit from the message Paul Washer conveys in this volume.

I don’t know one genuine believer in Jesus Christ who doesn’t need the assurance the Scriptures teach us. In addition, the warnings in this book were written to aid the believer in keeping this relationship with Christ as close to Scripture as possible, thus as pure as is humanly possible. So there are several topics covered in this book that may be considered controversial by some.

“The gospel of Jesus Christ is the greatest of all treasures given to the church and the individual Christian. It is the power of God for salvation, and the greatest revelation of the manifold wisdom of God to man and angels.”

“Each generation of Christians is a steward of the gospel message, and through the power of the Holy Spirit, God calls upon us to guard this treasure that has been entrusted to us. If we are to be faithful stewards, we must be absorbed in the study of the gospel, take great pains to understand its truths, and pledge ourselves to guard its contents [note: not to hide any secrets, but to be certain its message stays true to the original]. In doing so, we will ensure salvation both for ourselves, and for those who hear us.”

His ways are not our ways

His ways are not our ways

The author has divided this book into two parts. Part I is a study of biblical assurance based on the following premise, “Salvation is by grace alone through faith alone, yet the nature of salvation guarantees that saving faith will have real and practical evidences.” He uses many Bible verses to formulate this premise, but my favorite one is, “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves” (2 Corinthians 13:5). The author then examines the apostle John’s first epistle and uncovers twelve doctrinal and moral criteria we can use to test ourselves. He dedicates a chapter to each one.

In Part Two, Paul Washer turns his attention to admonitions and warnings in the Scriptures. This study is based on the premise that care must be taken not to trivialize the moment of our salvation, the moment when the heart is justified and made new, nor believe that our journey toward sanctification is easy. Grace is not cheap, and the work of the Holy Spirit must not be seen as trite or haphazard. There is nothing easy about being a follower of Christ. If our walk with Christ lacks the interaction of God’s hand of discipline and re-direction, then we should re-examine the status of our hearts. Are they truly regenerated?

As I read through the twelve tests we are to use to examine ourselves, I remembered the early years of my life when I recall how God worked over time to prepare my heart for salvation. It took many years because the church I attended did not preach the biblical Gospel. Yet, I distinctly remember a “before” and an “after”, attesting to the moment when I placed my trust in Christ for salvation, and He gave me a new heart. These chapters were written so well that I had no trouble identifying each of the tests and finding them fulfilled in my life (not to my credit, but to Jesus’). It’s true as John wrote: “These things have I written to you…that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13). I’m certain this part of the book will be encouraging for many.

The author writes boldly and plainly, yet not in an overly severe tone. His is one of the best explanations I have ever read that makes the way of the gospel clear. My impression, as I read through these chapters, is that Mr. Washer has a genuine concern that his readers experience a true conversion through faith in Christ Jesus. He does not want us to be deceived by those who would over-simplify the doctrines of regeneration and perseverance and live in false hope. It was obvious to me that he desires us to have a living and loving relationship with our God.

The latter half of the book serves as a reminder that there is always a danger of watered down biblical teachings and misdirections, leading many to experience false assurance of salvation. It is the position of the author that there are too many people sitting in our churches who fall into this category. He makes it clear that it is not difficult or too late for us to have unshakable faith, based on a firm biblical foundation. Overall, the book is written to appeal to the everyday person; you don’t have to have a theological degree or be a seminarian to understand the author’s precepts, or to put them into practice.

word_actions

Because this book is written clearly enough to be used by anyone who is looking for a biblical basis for assurance of salvation, it would serve well as a personal Bible study or group Bible study. The book also encourages its readers to live out our lives as living signposts, pointing others to the reason we walk with such confidence and joy from day to day–Jesus made us completely whole.

Cross Focused Reviews

Cross Focused Reviews

About the author: Paul Washer ministered as a missionary in Peru for ten years, during which time he founded the HeartCry Missionary Society to support Peruvian church planters. Paul now serves as one of the laborers with the HeartCry Missionary Society. He and his wife, Charo, have three children: Ian, Evan, and Rowan. HeartCry Missionary Society

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Cross Focused Reviews (A Service of Cross Focused Media, LLC)on behalf of Reformation Heritage Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Shop Amazon – Mother’s Day Gifts in Home & Kitchen

Shop Amazon – Trade In with Three Easy Steps

Moore Family Films

click here for Emergen-C information

Prayers of a Mother’s Heart: For a Chosen Generation ~ Book Blast ~

CrossReads Book Blast featuring Amy von Borstel

 

ebook-3d-small
Prayers of a Mother’s Heart: For a Chosen Generation
By Amy von Borstel

About the Book:

If you knew that your prayers could change the lives and futures of your children or grandchildren, would you pray regularly? Prayers of a Mother’s Heart: For a Chosen Generation is a hope-filled resource for those desiring a life of prayer and for those seeking God for miracles.

In the Prayers of a Mother’s Heart eBook, there are several personal stories that reveal the power of prayer, a collection of heartfelt prayers that address a wide range of concerns many mothers have for their children, along with over ninety-five Scriptures, simple guidelines for preparing the heart for prayer, a chapter on prayer journals, and a chapter on the importance of generational blessings.

Be inspired by Prayers of a Mother’s Heart to begin trusting that Jesus truly holds the answers to the challenges in your children’s lives. Jesus promised He would do the impossible if only we would believe (Mark 9:23).

LINK to KINDLE

Amy 2014Amy von Borstel is a passionate follower of Christ, a wife and mother of two—one adult child and one teen. She attributes her twenty-eight year marriage and happy home to the love of God and living a life of faith-filled prayer. She’s been a writer since she was a little girl, writing poetry and keeping journals as a way to find peace and rest in her soul. Her first published short story, A Divine Hair Appointment, was released in the 2013 Thomas Nelson book, When God Makes Lemonade. She is passionate about helping orphans and seeing people find abundance through an intimate relationship with Christ.

Follow Amy von Borstel

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Enter to Win a $50 Amazon Gift Card!

Enter below to enter a $50 Amazon gift card, sponsored by author Amy von Borstel!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This book blast is hosted by Crossreads.

We would like to send out a special THANK YOU to all of the CrossReads book blast bloggers!

Shop Amazon – Trade In with Three Easy Steps

Shop Amazon – Get Up to 80% Back When You Sell Us Your Books

Moore Family Films

click here for Emergen-C information

Love Finds Faith: The Homeward Journey Book 2 by Martha Rogers ~ Review ~

Love Finds Faith: The Homeward Journey Book 2 by Martha Rogers

Love Finds Faith

Love Finds Faith is the second novel in the Homeward Journey series, in which a family in the post Civil War years is featured. Book one is Manfred and Sallie’s story. You can find my review for that book here. Love Finds Faith is about Sallie’s younger sister, Hannah, who has come to the frontier town of Stoney Creek, Texas to assist as a nurse in her brother-in-law’s medical practice. Both books can be read independently of each other. The third book in the series will be released in the Fall of 2014.

Hannah Dyer was a talented, caring young woman who had grown up in proper Mississippi society. Her one challenge to living the life of her dreams, one with a family of her own, was a physical disfigurement. One of her legs was shorter than the other. To keep from being thrown off balance as she walked, she needed to wear a special elevated shoe which was unfortunately heavy and awkward. Yet Hannah’s faith in God was strong and she was not afraid to lean on Him for strength and wisdom. She had decided years ago to accept the fate of remaining single and prepared to support herself by studying to become a nurse. The story opens at her arrival in Stoney Creek by train.

Arriving on the same train in the same town was Micah Gordon, returning home after a five year absence. His was not the joyous homecoming you would expect. He had left his parents’ ranch under a cloud, angry at the world, at his brother Levi, his father, and at God. While he wasn’t the same reckless, brash young man he was when he’d left, he was still angry at God, if he even believed there was one at all. Circumstances seemed to reinforce this lack of faith when things started to go all wrong at the ranch.

be strong let your heart take courage

Levi wouldn’t speak to him the moment he walked into the door. Micah argued with his Pa over his responsibilities at the ranch. When perusing the financial ledgers in his father’s office one day, he realized the ranch was barely solvent. Drought and losses had taken their toll on the herd. They were in debt to the bank. Costly mistakes had been made. When he offered to help with the financial end, his father stubbornly refused to talk about the problems. And he noticed his father’s health was failing. A sense of boreboding hit him. All of this was hurting his mother and sisters.

Barely a month after his arrival, Micah’s father was fatally shot during a bank robbery. The entire ranch’s fortunes were turned on its head. Levi had gone to live and work at a neighbor’s ranch, leaving Micah in charge of the home spread; he was not handling it very well.

The author, Martha Rogers, has written a flowing historical fiction that’s filled with the angst of family conflict fueled by gnawing human stubbornness, pride, sibling jealousy, self-centeredness, faulty perceptions and misunderstandings, overly zealous self-reliance, and vanity. As I grew to care about many of these family members amidst daily conflicts, I despaired they would ever reach resolution.

Underlying all the drama was Hannah’s steadfast faith in the Lord. As she was making friends in her new community, it became clear to her sister that Hannah had become attracted to Micah when they had met at the train station. In spite of their warnings against developing feelings for him, together the Whitefield family watched his family’s pain first through the brothers’ estrangement and then in Mr. Gordon’s death and prayed for them. But Hannah wanted to do more.

God puts things togeher

The author skillfully contrasts Hannah’s peaceful, quiet and calm demeanor with Micah’s impatient, obstinate and self-centered behavior. It didn’t seem even possible the two could ever become a couple in spite of Hannah’s yearnings. It was this interesting type of suspense that kept me on the edge, waiting for some kind of resolution, right up to the final pages of the book. For this reason, I enjoyed this second book of the series even more than the first book. There was a good balance of character development and action to keep the story line moving along briskly.

My only disagreement about the way this book was written is that, to me, the Gordon family’s emotional trauma took up a disproportionate amount of book space compared to the other elements of the story including the romance between Micah and Hannah. It seemed a bit too drawn out. The budding romance was insufficiently developed and ended too quickly in my opinion. In that light, the overall atmosphere of the book felt more like a historical fiction piece than a historical romance.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from The Booketeria on behalf of Charisma Media/Realms. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Shop Amazon – Trade In with Three Easy Steps

Shop Amazon – Get Up to 80% Back When You Sell Us Your Books

Moore Family Films

click here for Emergen-C information

The Third Day: The Gospel of Luke Chapters 22 – 24 ~ Review ~

The Third Day1

The Third Day: The Gospel of Luke Chapters 22 – 24

Art: Alex Webb-Peploe (pencils, inks, colours)
Andre Parker (Art Director, Design, colours)

Words by Luke (the Bible)

Publisher: The Good Book Company (2014)
ISBN:  9781909919556
Page Count: 48

Many of us have read the Gospel accounts of Jesus in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and realize that all four tell the story of His life, including His final three days, in slightly different ways, as if from four different perspectives or vantage points.

I’ve heard an analogy that explains it well: Four blind people who have never encountered an elephant are led up to the animal and asked to describe it based on their perception. The man with the heavy trunk in his hands will offer a different description than the one touching the tail. The man running his hands over the toughened leg and foot would sound as if he were describing an entirely different animal than the one confronted with the elephant’s massive side. Each description is so vastly different than the others’ that to a stranger it may sound contradictory or about four different animals. But for the one who desires to see the complete picture, only the combination of the descriptions tells the full story. So it is with the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection and the events that followed.

This book relays the story of Jesus from Luke’s point of view. He was not one of the disciples that sat at Jesus’ feet. He was a researcher, given the challenge of collaborating the events of Jesus’ life by interviewing “eye witnesses and servants of the word” (Luke 1:2), including the oral accounts of the apostles. The book was written to Theophilus, possibly the one who commissioned him to do the research. Luke was an educated man, who used his keen observational skills to write with precision and orderliness. The words in this book are quoted from Luke’s account.

This is also a book in graphic story format. For me, the familiar tale sprang alive frame by frame through the accuracy of detail, diligently researched by the designers and artists. Even better than the details are the emotions portrayed by the facial expressions, the use of their hands, and body language. In frames with more than one person, you could vividly read the reactions and feelings of the key characters of that segment of the story.

In one example, a frame shows three events simultaneously. Jesus stands humbly before the guards gathered to take him captive; He asks why bring weapons now when he has stood before them all openly in the temple day after day. At the same moment, the servant whose ear had been cut off then healed by Jesus’ hand has the look of incredulity on his face as he touches his ear, and yet the guards who have come to take Jesus carry an unimpressed demeanor as if to say, “Yeah, yeah…we’ve seen it all before. We’re just doing our jobs, so come along peacefully now.” A sample of unforgettable moments in graphic form. It was easy for me to become immersed in the significance of the tale as I saw it unfold step by step.

I would love to see the entire book of Luke, and for that matter all of the Bible, presented in this format by these artists. Their talent for packing a lot of message into each frame is immense. For a generation which has grown up in the world of digital media, this work makes an important contribution to a deeper understanding of Jesus and His mission on earth.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Cross Focused Reviews (A Service of Cross Focused Media, LLC)on behalf of The Good Book Company. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

Shop Amazon – Trade In with Three Easy Steps

 

Shop Amazon – Get Up to 80% Back When You Sell Us Your Books

 


Moore Family Films

click here for Emergen-C information