Claiming Noah by Amanda Ortlepp- Review

Title: Claiming Noah
 Amanda Ortlepp
Release Date: 4

Description from Goodreads: This riveting debut novel of psychological suspense explores the dilemmas that arise when motherhood and science collide. 

Catriona Sinclair has always had a well-developed sense of independence–in fact the one sore point in her otherwise happy marriage is her husband James’s desire to take care of her. As she’s often tried to explain to him, she took care of herself before she met him, and did a good job of it. But James has been especially attentive lately as they struggle to have a baby. They succeed at last through in vitro fertilization, but unwilling to risk the heartbreak of another miscarriage, they decide to make their “spare” frozen embryo available to another family. 

Diana and Liam Simmons are desperate for a child. Unable to conceive, they are overjoyed to learn that as the closest genetic match to the Sinclairs they are the recipients of the embryo donation. Diana’s only concern is her mother’s disapproval of IVF, but any doubts raised are quickly eclipsed by Diana’s joy of being pregnant. 

As Diana is finding delight in every aspect of motherhood, Catriona keeps waiting for the rush of adoration she knows she is supposed to feel, but instead slips into a deep depression. Just as Catriona begins to find her way back to normalcy, one of the babies is kidnapped. Suddenly, all of their lives begin to unravel and intertwine, and none of them will ever be the same.”

Review: This was a really interesting book. I was drawn into the world of infertility, joys and pains of motherhood, the way it affects everyone differently, and crumbling marriages right away. This is a world fortunately for me, is unfamiliar (at least so far, knock on wood) and was very intriguing for me.

This story was heart wrenching and suspenseful at times and I didn’t want to put it down. It really made me stop and think about how I would react and handle the different situations these women found themselves in. I cannot imagine going through what either of these women endured!

Recommendation: Overall, this was a very interesting and great book. I would recommend this to most anyone.

*I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher. A positive review was not required. All opinions are my own.*



God Loves Daddy and Me by Bonnie Ricker Jensen-Review


Title: God Loves Daddy and Me

Author: Bonnie Ricker Jensen

Rating: 5/5

Release Date: March 28, 2017

Description from Goodreads: God loves Daddy and me, He listens when we pray, When we tell Him “Thank You,” it’s the best part of our day!

Cuddle up cozy-close with an adorable reminder of God’s love for daddies and their little ones. Celebrating loving fathers, precious children, and the God who loves them all, God Loves Daddy and Me will remind parents and little ones of how much they are loved.”

Review: I ordered this book as a surprise for my husband for a special thing for him and our son. It is perfect and he loved it! It was nice to have a book that is just for the two of them and not a book that I will read to our son. It’s just for them.

This is such an adorable little board book. I loved the special relationship between the father and son in this book. There is something so special about that relationship and I love that this book gives a wonderful opportunity for daddy and child reading and bonding time. This is an extraordinary book for the two of them.

The illustrations in this book are super adorable and perfect for little eyes. They are captivating for children and follow the story nicely. Since this is a board book, your child can reach out and touch the pictures without worrying about dirty fingers or ripping pages.

Recommendation: I would recommend this book for any father and son. It could work for a father and daughter, but not as well. I love this little book!


*I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher. A positive review was not required. All opinions are my own.*

Treasured Grace by Tracie Peterson- Review


Title: Treasured Grace

Author: Tracie Peterson

Rating: 4/5

Release Date: February 28, 2017

 Description from Goodreads: “Grace Martindale has known more than her share of hardship. After her parents died, raising her two younger sisters became her responsibility. A hasty marriage to a minister who is heading to the untamed West seemed like an opportunity for a fresh start, but a cholera outbreak along the wagon trail has left Grace a widow in a very precarious position.

Having learned natural remedies and midwifery from her mother, Grace seeks an opportunity to use her skills for the benefit of others. So when she and her sisters arrive at the Whitman mission in “Oregon Country,” she decides to stay rather than push on.

With the help of Alex Armistead, a French-American fur trapper, Grace begins to provide care for her neighbors, including some of the native populace. But not everyone welcomes her skills–or her presence–and soon Grace finds herself and those she loves in more danger than she imagined possible.”

 Review: Lately I have stated to really enjoy historical fiction/historical romances and it is due to amazing books like this one. I was drawn into this world of the mid 1800’s and the quest for land west. The conflicts with the Native American tribes brought out the drama and suspense of the time period.

The romance between Alex and Grace was organic and developed over time. I loved the conflicting emotions they both endured and since both of them had separate obligations, there was the wonderful build up that we all love in our romance novels. The flow  of the romance was perfect for this book and the push and pull of their desires was flawless.

The characters were so easy to love and to empathize with. I cannot imagine living in that time and experiencing all those people went through everyday. The pain, sickness, and death they all had to endure was heartbreaking.

The differences in the Native American’s viewpoints between tribes were interesting and seem realistic. Often we get the view of either angry Natives or peaceful natives; this gave the chance to see both and how that affected each of them as well as the whites who were moving onto their land.

At times some of the dialogue was a bit cheesy but for the most part this was a really great book and something I would definitely read again. I am excited that this is the start of a new series; I cannot wait to read more about these people and this new town!

Recommendation: I would recommend this book for anyone who loves historical romances.

 Read an excerpt here:


*I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher. A positive review was not required. All opinions are my own.*




Open When: Letters to Lift Your Spirits by Karen Salmansohn- Review


Title: Open When: Letters to Lift Your Spirits

Author: Karen Salmansohn

Rating: 4/5

Release Date: March 7, 2017

Description from Goodreads: “Happiness expert Karen Salmansohn presents a unique interactive book that invites readers to literally open letters of encouragement, wit, and wisdom whenever they need a boost.
Inspired by the trend of “open when” letters sweeping the nation, Instant Happy author Karen Salmansohn has created a bound collection of 12 notes for readers to flip open whenever they need a pep talk. With categories like “Open when you need a laugh,” “Open when you’re feeling stressed out,” and “Open when you need courage,” these little happiness-boosters are based on Salmansohn’s viral posters that combine witty sayings with colorful graphics.”

Review: This book is wonderful for a quick laugh. When you are feeling down or just need a laugh, these quick letters are perfect to help you feel better. The humor and practical advice will help tremendously, even if it is goofy advice at times. What better way to improve your mood?!

I will admit, I wasn’t sure if I would like this book or not. This is completely different than any book I have, but I am really impressed with it. Simply using positive affirmation to improve your mood is so helpful. This isn’t full of world changing advice, it’s simple practical letters to help you through your difficult situation.

This isn’t a world changing book, but the advice in this book could really change the way you react to stressful or bad situations. They say that “life is 10 what happens and 90 how you react to it” so why not try to give a positive reaction to it? This book can help.

Recommendation: I would recommend this book to anyone! It says in the first letter of this book that even positive people can bad days; therefore, even optimistic people could use some positive letters sometimes. In a world filled with negativity and darkness, everyone could use a little reminder to think positive!

*I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher. A positive review was not required. All opinions are my own.*


With Love, Wherever You Are by Dandi Daley Mackall- Review


Title: With Love, Wherever You Are

Author:  Dandi Daley Mackall

Rating: 5/5

Release Date: March 7, 2017

 Description from Goodreads: “Everyone knows that war romances never last. . . .
Helen Eberhart always had to fight for what she wanted. Survival in a family of thirteen gave her the grit to push through nurse’s training and support herself. But after the attack on Pearl Harbor, she can’t stand catering to the pampered patients on Chicago’s North Shore. Enlisting as an Army nurse, Helen is transferred to a military hospital in Battle Creek, Michigan. There she comes face-to-face with the waves of broken bodies of the wounded soldiers, many no older than her beloved brothers.

Frank Daley wasn’t trying to be a hero. He’d only enlisted to finish medical school, confident that the war would be over before his deferment ran out. Life just worked out for him that way. But Lieutenant Frank R. Daley, MD, is sent straight from his graduation to boot camp in Battle Creek as his last stop before a battlefield hospital in Europe. And none of his training prepares him for the chance encounter with the spirited nurse who steals his heart.

After a whirlwind romance and courthouse wedding, Helen and Frank are sent to the front lines of Europe with only letters to connect them for months at a time. Surrounded by danger and desperately wounded patients, they soon find that only the war seems real—and their marriage more and more like a distant dream. If they make it through the war, will their marriage survive?”

 Review: Amazing, incredible, uplifting, these words don’t even begin to describe this story. I was sucked into this story right away and it held me there until I turned that last page, actually it still hasn’t truly let me go to be honest. I felt the love and pain these two wonderful people experienced during such a sad and horrible part of history.

I loved each and every one of the characters, ok with the exception of Victoria, her I couldn’t stand. These people felt so real and close to me. I wish I knew them, but in a way I really feel as though I do.

Since this book based on the author’s parents, you could truly feel the sincerity and depth of the story; it brought such a personal touch to not only the characters but the entire story. All the descriptions of the hospitals, the different cities they were in, and the landscapes surrounding them were so vivid that I could picture it so clearly, I feel as though I was there myself.

I loved that this book had a clear ending. The lose ends were all wrapped up nicely and I wasn’t left hanging. I closed the book sad that it was over, but satisfied as well. This is my first book by Dandi Daley Mackall, but it definitely won’t be my last. I just hope the rest of her books are at least half as good as this one was.

Recommendation: I would recommend this book to anyone! Anyone who loves WWII books, historical novels, or romances would especially love this book.

Author’s Website:

Read the first chapter here:

*I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher. A positive review was not required. All opinions are my own.*



The Berenstain Bears Bless Our Pets by Mike Berenstain- Review


Title: The Berenstain Bears Bless Our Pets

Author: Mike Berenstain

Rating: 5/5 

Release Date: March 7, 2017

 Description from the publisher: In the newest Berenstain Bear Living Lights title, The Berenstain Bears Bless Our Pets, Brother, Sister, and Honey Bear love their pets Little Lady, Gracie, Swish, and Cutsie … they are just like part of the Bear family. So when Preacher Brown holds a special Blessing of the Pets service on Sunday, the Bear family joins in. But what starts as a peaceful gathering of Bear Country neighbors and their animal friends on the lawn of the Chapel—including dogs, cats, rats, goats, and even a snake or two—ends up needing a little heavenly intervention.

 Review: This book is absolutely adorable! I read the Bernstein Bear’s books growing up and I am so glad I get to read them to my children. There’s something so special about passing down stories that meant so much to you as a child. It’s a wonderful way to connect and it makes great stories for my kids. They love to hear about grandma reading these books to me.

The illustrations are adorable! They are perfect for little one’s eyes and are detailed enough to keep then interested. The colors are intriguing for smaller kids too.

I love that this book combines kid’s love for animals and their pets with their faith in God. I want my children to learn about God in a fun and interesting way, making it more personal and easily relatable, and this book does it perfectly.

The fact that this book also covers the work that goes into having a pet and the responsibility that goes into it, is fantastic for kids to learn early. I want my kids to learn responsibility while they are young so they carry that forward in their adult life. As it says in Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go, And even when he is old he will not depart from it.” 

Recommendation: I would recommend this book for any child.

*I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher. A positive review was not required. All opinions are my own.*


Loyal by Rebecca Ascher-Walsh- Review

Loyal cover

Title: Loyal: 38 Inspiring Tales of Bravery, Heroism, and the Devotion of Dogs

Author: Rebecca Ascher-Walsh

Rating: 5/5

Release Date: March 7, 2017

Description from the publisher: “This special collection of dog stories and photographs features four-legged heroes who have worked side by side with soldiers, searched the wreckage of natural and man-made disasters, changed families’ lives through emotional support, and administered aid around the world and at home in the United States. Heartwarming photographs and touching anecdotes bring to life thirty-eight caring canines who have served the people who mean the most to them, from a German Shepherd who leads a blind man on his marathon training mission to a belly rub-loving Sheltie who supports at-risk youth in the classroom. For anyone who has experienced the extraordinary affection of a dog, Loyal is a lasting celebration of the joys of canine companionship.”

Review: This was an absolutely astounding book for a dog lover like me. It was a super quick read, I think I read the whole book in an hour, and I was sad that it was over. I loved reading about programs that employ shelter or rescue dogs rather than going to a breeder. What is better than saving dogs lives to save people’s lives? I know which organizations I will be donating to in the future!

I loved that these dogs all served such different services. I was really surprised to learn that there are organizations that take shelter dogs to prisons and have the inmates train them, teaching the inmates valuable lessons about life and love. What a wonderful idea! I thought I knew the power of a dogs love, but I had no idea. I salute these brave dogs that go to work every day, and some who definitely risk their lives for their people.

As well as reading wonderful, heartwarming stories about brave dogs and their influence on their communities, and the world really, this book offered information about the different breeds of dogs mentioned in the book as well as some little known facts about dogs. I was fascinated by some of the information that I had no clue about!

Recommendation: This book would be perfect for any dog lover. I couldn’t recommend it enough.

Check out more about this book from National Geographic Here!

About Rebecca Ascher-Walsh: Rebecca Ascher-Walsh is a writer who specializes in celebrity and lifestyle coverage, but who also loves dogs and telling stories about amazing animals. She contributes to many newspapers and national magazines including Entertainment Weekly, Adweek, and the Los Angeles Times. She is a volunteer at a high-kill shelter in Manhattan and a founding director of the Deja Foundation, devoted to funding the medical care and training costs of dogs rescued from high-kill shelters.


*I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher. A positive review was not required. All opinions are my own.*


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