Friday, April 3, 2015

Fairy Tale Romance Collection by Melanie Dickerson: A BookLook Blogger Review

Like most girls, I love a good princess story. Some of my favorite stories growing up were fairy tale stories. Good versus evil, conflict, good doesn't get much better than that! At least I thought it didn't.

Melanie Dickerson is an author I only recently discovered. I had the chance to review The Princess Spy. At the time I had no idea this was part of a series of princess novels written by her! I was delighted to have the chance to review the entire collection. This collection includes all of the previously published titles in the Fairy Tale Romance Collection: The Healer's Apprentice, The Merchant's Daughter, The Fairest Beauty, The Captive Maiden, and The Princess Spy.

Only after I began reading more from this series did I realize that these are actually loosely based on well-known fairy tales. This made them that much more fun for me! I've always loved the classic fairy tales and reading these updated versions have been simply delightful. I'm so glad I had a few days without a lot to do so I could read to my hearts content. Whether you fancy Beauty and the Beast or Cinderella, the Princess and the Frog or Sleeping Beauty or perhaps even Snow White, you will find a heroine in one of these brilliantly crafted novels.

The best part of this series is that woven throughout these classics are stories of faith. I've never before read fairy tale stories which made me feel closer to God. The journey the characters take with their faith is never forced or tossed in as an after thought. I love how even in the fairy tale setting I can relate to the struggles the heroines and heroes face. These stories were excellent reminders that God sees us all as individuals, no matter our status, and pursues us relentlessly.

While these are classified as young adult novels, which I definitely no longer am, I thoroughly enjoyed each story. My daughters are still too young for young adult literature, but in the not to distant future I'm going to very much enjoy sharing this collection with them.

Disclosure:  I received this book free from the publisher through the® <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Deception on Sable Hill: A Booklook Blogger Review

Last year I read one of the best fiction books I've come across in a very long timeSecrets of Sloane House by Shelley Gray was one of those novels you lose sleep over as you convince yourself that just one more chapter won't hurt your sleep any. I thoroughly enjoyed this read and my delight was doubled when I discovered the second book in the Chicago World's Fair Mystery series!

As much as I loved the first book in this series, I think this second one may be even better! I love a good historical novel, especially when the history is intertwined seamlessly as it is in Shelley Gray's novels. I never feel like I'm reading a textbook as I do with some author's and I'm always drawn to learn more about the time period presented. 

The story opens where Secrets of Sloane House left off. The main characters were introduced towards the end of the previous novel and I was excited to see them more fully developed. Eloisa is a socialite, the woman every man desires to have on his arm, and the victim of rape. This secret which she guards very closely threatens to tear her apart as news begins to increase of the Society Slasher who is attacking women of her social standing all over the city. 

In the midst of the turmoil Eloisa is drawn to an unlikely man for comfort and refuge. Sean Ryan, an Irish policeman from a very poor background, becomes the one person with whom she feels safe. Their social differences are enough, however, to give pause to even a friendship. As their relationship grows, so does the fear and danger gripping Chicago's elite. 

Intrigue, romance, and faith are woven together into a beautiful novel. I had to force myself to set this aside and not simply read it in one setting. Although I love to read, there have been few books in recent memory which have captivated me as Shelly Gray's have. I hope there are more novels to come in this excellent series!

Disclosure:  I received this book free from the publisher through the® <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

A Plague of Unicorns: A BookLook Blogger Review

I remember getting the list of books I would read for my adolescent literature class in college and anxiously perusing the list of authors. I recognized most of the names, but Jane Yolen was one I had never read. After the one required book by Yolen I was soon checking out one after the other from the library knowing each would be an excellent read. I was over-the-moon excited when I saw her name appear with an opportunity to read another of her novels!

My oldest daughter, Rose who is 9, read this as part of her school work, but I can honestly say I know it didn't feel like school when she read it! More than once I caught her taking the book away from the schoolroom to read just one more chapter as she couldn't wait to get to the end!

The reading level was probably at 3rd-4th grade and while Rose's ability is a few grades above that, she thoroughly enjoyed the story and quality of writing. I had planned for her to read this over the course of two weeks but I was pushing it to make her stretch it throughout the week!

When I asked her what her favorite part was she told me she liked how they made up a plan to get rid of the unicorns. She really liked the adventure aspects of of this story. She really enjoys fantasy and I liked how the unicorns were given a different role than most stories. Instead of being a good thing in this land, the unicorns are actually like a plague which must be overcome. This coming-of-age story will delight all ages is a great introduction to the genre of fantasy.

I highly recommend this book and Rose has already loaned it out to her cousin to read with a glowing review!

Disclosure:  I received this book free from the publisher through the® <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

I Can Learn the Bible: A BookLook Blogger Review

Ever since my oldest daughter was just an infant we have made an effort to teach our children biblical truth. Rose was barely old enough to sit on her own when we started having family devotions with her. I remember clearly the sweet little board book devotional I picked out from a Christian Bookstore which was going out of business. It had just a few sentences on each page and a song to go with each of the devotions. It was great for tiny tots and we enjoyed starting out with this. We also have multiple children's Bibles with pictures and stories and questions that we have used as they grew.

I have loved these previous resources, but I am ready for something more. Each of my girls has professed their faith in Christ and I have wanted something for our devotional time as a family which addressed more areas of discipleship.

I was so very excited to have the opportunity to review I Can Learn the Bible by Holly Hawkins Shivers. This children's version of the Joshua Code has been exactly what my husband and I have been looking for to use with our girls. The cover of the book struck me as being adorable, but I wasn't sure if it was going to really challenge my girls or grow them further in their relationship with Christ. They already know most of the Bible history by heart and I really wanted them to begin to engage more personally with Scripture. This sweet cover does not even begin to express the depth of truth my girls are gaining from it!

Subjects ranging from world view to your purpose as Christian are covered in a very real, yet understandable way for elementary children. Many of the topics were not ones I had really thought about addressing with my daughters who are 9, 7, and 5. I love answering their questions, but with this devotional we have been able to have a more direct, proactive approach to discussing certain topics. A key Scripture verse is included for each week as well as discussion questions and challenges for you as a family. It also ends with a suggested prayer to help you guide your children to know how to pray about what they are learning.

We are at war with our culture for the hearts of our children. I need as many weapons, both defensive and offensive as possible. Through resources like this we are more prepared for the battle and are preparing these sweet little hearts to know how to live godly lives.

Disclosure:  I received this book free from the publisher through the® <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Explore Dinosaur National Monument from Awesome Science: Moms of Master Books Review

My girls love learning about dinosaurs! They are ages 9, 7, and 5 and we have often enjoyed a trip to our local children's museum to see life-size sculptures and have a chance to dig for fossils. I love giving them more opportunities to learn about these incredible creatures from the past and they just devour all the information I can give them. 

Awesome Science's newest DVD, Explore Dinosaur National Monument from Master Books (an imprint of New Leaf Publishing) is a great addition to our collection of dinosaur information. It's fun and engaging style really interests my oldest daughter especially. My younger two are not quite old enough to appreciate the great amount of scientific information provided, but they did enjoy seeing much of Dinosaur National Monument. 

Noah Justice is a dynamic communicator. My girls enjoy having a younger person explaining and teaching about history and science from a biblical perspective. I was recently asked how I expected my girls to handle learning about evolution in college when all they ever knew was Creation. I was excited to explain that my girls do know about evolution and understand both viewpoints to an extent. I'm not afraid of my girls hearing or learning about those who choose to remove God from the equation of Creation. I want them to be equipped and I want them to come to their own conclusions and beliefs because of their study of the evidence rather than try to force them to accept what I believe just because I believe it. Awesome Science just one of the items in my tool kit for teaching my girls how to incorporate the Bible into their understanding of science as well as what and why secular scientists believe and teach what they do. 

One of the best things about this DVD and others in the series is how my daughters get to experience some of the great wonders of America which they may not see anytime soon. Living on the East Coast makes traveling to some of these locations very difficult. We might one day get to travel to Utah and some of the other areas west of the Mississippi River, but until then we will enjoy learning with resources such as these. 

This incredible DVD series isn't just for children either. I'm often saddened by just how angry and vehement those who hold an opposing view of creation react and find myself unable to have a real conversation about science because of it. I'm not afraid to share my beliefs, but I do not care to converse with someone who fires hateful responses in my direction because I believe the Bible to be the inerrant Word of God. I'm very grateful to have the resources from Master Books which I do to help me learn for myself how I can balance my trust in the Word of God with evidence from science. I hope to one day have meaningful conversations with some of my friends on the matter and I want to be as equipped as possible. 


Hi, my name is Melissa. Pour yourself a cup of tea and stay a while. I'm completely devoted to my Savior, madly in love with my husband, and joyously raising my daughters. I'm so glad you stopped by and I hope you enjoy your time here!