Time or another Rhe’s Bookshelf review. This time, I am happy to give you all a chance to win a copy of the
book yourself. Good luck.
Through 25 rhyming devotions and fun activities, Mom can answer these questions for the curious little one. It’s a great way to introduce kids to faith at an early age yet in an age-appropriate and understandable manner. Each devotion also includes a short Bible verse and a prayer that mother and child can recite together. Some of the activities include creating a card, making a heart wreath, and singing—all of the activities are directly related to the theme for the devotion. These devotions translate to hours of meaningful, faith-filled fun.
The book ends with a touching prayer every mother will want to pray for her children.
What I Thought:
I have a couple different devotions that I’ve used with the kids. I prefer ones that are interactive. My kids seem to learn, engaged and remember better when there is an activity associated with whatever it is we are talking about. Plus it usually gets a moving, or having a discussion for longer. This particular devotion, beautifully illustrated by the way, is perfect for smaller children, probably about 3 I would say. The devotions are short enough that your smaller children could sit and read and stay engaged as well.
The devotions are set up simply: Bible Verse, devotion (something that the children learn – God keeps us safe, God gives us what we need, God is your friend), prayer and an activity. The activities range from simply going outside and looking for things, while some are more artsy.
4 out of 5 stars
This is a great devotional for very young children. While I’m sure older children (my 5 and 7 year old included) wold enjoy this, I prefer a little more in-depth study, and one where they would sit for just a smidge longer. The illustrations are sweet and this would make a great gift and/or heirloom.
I am so excited to be taking part in Tyndale Publishing’s blog tour for Grace’s Pictures, by Cindy Thomson. Please visit Cindy’s blog to find out more about her and the other books she’s written.
When the Brownie Camera was introduced, it changed photography forever. What
was before expensive and not very portable, suddenly became available for the
average person. I read a contemporary commentary that expressed the concern that
with everyone carrying a camera, someone could have his/her photograph taken without permission, and what an invasion of privacy that would be. That got me thinking…what if that happened, and at a time before there were very many mug shots available of criminals.
I love writing about immigrants because their stories are a part of who we are today. If not for their bravery and ingenuity, our lives would be much different today, and probably more difficult.
2. Tell me about your main character, Grace McCaffery. Was her character based upon anyone in particular?
Grace comes to America wounded by her experiences of having an abusive father, being evicted from her home by the police, and then having to survive in a workhouse. When her mother gets remarried, to a policeman no less, Grace is horrified. In her mind, avoiding the kind of people who hurt you is the only way to stay safe. When she is sent to America to start a new life, she is not certain she wants to go. She wishes for the confidence and joy she sees in others around her, and she tries to capture it in drawings and snapshots so she can better study it. I know a lot of people, me for one, who would rather observe for a while before stepping out and trying something new. But historically, immigrants could not do that. They were thrust into change and had to adapt and endure.
Grace, like most fictional characters, is not based on any particular person. She is a conglomeration of our grandmothers and great-grandmothers who came to this country seeking a better life, but without many options to support themselves. They must have been frightened at first by this vast new country, but somehow they overcame that fear and founded our American families.
A lesson that I hope is learned in this story is that God provides what we need, but many times it requires us to put aside our preconceived ideas. No matter what disadvantages we start with, we can turn things around, with God’s help.
4. How do you expect Grace’s story to resonate with women?
Grace, a young woman who was not nurtured much as a child, becomes a nurturer. She is a nanny with a role that becomes essential for the children she cares for. I think most women are nurturers. Unfortunately, Grace had a far from ideal childhood. I think many women struggle with not having been nurtured themselves. Grace’s story illustrates the hope that God can turn that around, and even in unexpected ways. Grace meets someone who cares for her, who just happens to work in that dreaded occupation—a policeman.
5. As a writer, what did you particularly enjoy about crafting this story?
I loved learning about Ellis Island, visiting New York City, and imagining those immigrants of the early 20th century moving along the same paths I was exploring. I loved writing about how the children Grace cared for helped to change her. History is fascinating to me, and it’s a privilege to be able to write about it.
6. What is your hope for this story? How would you like it to impact readers?
I hope readers will be transported to a time in history when everything was changing at a rapid pace and experience a bit of what their ancestors’ lives were like. I would like readers, through Grace’s Pictures, to not only appreciate the sacrifices their ancestors made, but also find the courage to meet their own challenges—everyone has them.
7. How has this novel helped you to grow as a storyteller?
Grace was at first a difficult character to figure out. I had a loving father who passed away a few months before I started working on this book. Grace, who did not have a loving father, stretched me a bit, but it was good to explore what life was like for her and try to imagine how someone like her could not only survive but thrive.
New inventions were constantly popping up, things that we take for granted today. For instance, telephones were becoming more widely available, but immigrants were not familiar with them. Same with electricity. There was a huge disparity between the rich and the poor, and the middle class was the minority. Monopolies were not yet forbidden. The rich were extremely rich. The poor were extremely poor, and the conditions in the tenements were disgraceful. And yet, this was not overlooked. There were gangs and corrupt police, but also scores of charities working hard to protect, educate, and care for immigrants. And it was also a time period of huge numbers of immigrants coming to the country, most through Ellis Island, so in that way this time period has impacted a great many Americans today.
9. What lessons can we learn from the pages of historical fiction?
The Bible tells us, “Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls” (Jeremiah 6:16, NLT). Historical fiction uses the power of story to help us find those old ways. We deceive ourselves if we think no one has experienced the struggles we have. Someone has. Why not learn those stories and be led by them?
10. What is one of the best pieces of advice or encouragement you have received?
I’m always open to sound advice. Here is one that has encouraged me. It’s from a tea bag quote.
What I thought:
Darek Christiansen is almost a dream bachelor—oldest son in the large Christiansen clan, heir to their historic Evergreen Lake Resort, and doting father. But he’s also wounded and angry since the tragic death of his wife, Felicity. No woman in Deep Haven dares come near.
New assistant county attorney Ivy Madison simply doesn’t know any better when she bids on Darek at the charity auction. Nor does she know that when she crafted a plea bargain three years ago to keep Jensen Atwood out of jail and in Deep Haven fulfilling community service, she was releasing the man responsible for Felicity’s death. All Ivy knows is that the Christiansens feel like the family she’s always longed for. And once she gets past Darek’s tough exterior, she finds a man she could spend the rest of her life with. Which scares her almost as much as Darek learning of her involvement in his wife’s case.
Caught between new love and old grudges, Darek must decide if he can set aside the past for a future with Ivy—a future more and more at risk as an approaching wildfire threatens to wipe out the Christiansen resort and Deep Haven itself.
**Read the first chapter of Take A Chance on Me, here
Author Q & A:
What I Thought:
Take A Chance on Me was not what I expected when I started reading it. After doing so many reviews of Christian novels I was beginning to notice a pattern among them. I didn’t feel as challenged by the reading perse. The stories seemed to be lost in the attempt to portray God and the reasons to have faith in Him, or seek out a relationship with Him. The characters and what they were going through seemed to be secondary to the faith parts of the book. There have obviously been exceptions to this, but as someone who considered herself to be absolutely obsessed with books, I wasn’t finding satisfaction in the stories. All that being said, let me take a second to praise Susan Warren’s book! The characters were wonderful, deep, complex and relatable. The story was also all of those things. There was real emotion of love, anger, hatred, all honestly laid out, which I had found to be a unique trait in this genre of novel. All of those involved in the book with real and they made mistakes. They didn’t claim to be perfect and they weren’t trying to be. That’s what I loved, loved, loved about this book.
5 out 5 Stars
I received this book in partnership with the Tyndale Blogging Network, in exchange for my honest review. I was not compensated in any other way.
I am happy to bring you another great book, this time from Tyndale Publishing. Working with Tyndale Publishing has been a pleasure. There are so many new books that I’ve been able to read and share with you.
Claiming Mariah – Pam Hillman
In light of her father’s death, Mariah Malone sends a letter that will forever alter the lives of her family. When Slade Donovan, strong willed and eager for vengeance, shows up on her front porch, Mariah is not ready to hear his truths: her father’s farm, the only home she’s ever known, was bought with stolen gold. With Slade ready to collect his father’s rightful claim and force Mariah and her family out on the streets, Mariah must turn to God for guidance. Though Mr. Frederick Cooper, a local landowner, promises to answer her financial woes if she agrees to be his bride, Mariah finds herself drawn instead to the angry young man demanding her home.
With the ranch now under Slade’s careful eye, he will unearth more than he ever imagined as a devious plot of thievery, betrayal and murder threatens more than the well-being of the ranch, endangering the lives of those who hold it dear. With days dwindling until the rest of the Donovan clan arrive to the Lazy M ranch, Mariah and Slade must rise above the resentment of their fathers and see their true feelings before greed alters their futures forever.
What I Thought:
Claiming Mariah is a wonderful book. This is my first historical type fiction with a western flare. I’m no stranger to a strong women in an unfriendly era though. This reminded me of another book I recently read, A Path Toward Love. If you appreciate a strong women, some love and romance, even stronger men, with a little adventure thrown in Claiming Mariah would be a great ad to your bookshelf. Since I don’t want to give away to many spoilers, I’ll leave it at that. You can snatch up this book for your Kindle (I read mine on IPhone) on Amazon. Check to the left. Ms Hillman has done an excellent job weaving a wonderful story, with heartfelt characters, and a strong story of faith.
4 out of 5 stars
I received this book in partnership with Tyndale Publishing. I was not compensated in any other way. My thoughts and opinions are my own.