Mother of Pearl

Mother of Pearl is the debut novel of contemporary women's fiction author, Kellie Coates Gilbert.  Barrie Graeber, mother of two, is a high school counselor.  She deals with teen issues--AND a frustrating football coach on a daily basis, but when her daughter Pearl is betrayed by close friends, Barrie struggles with how to help her.  Pearl's behavior brings unthinkable consequences, and in the midst of dealing with that, Barrie learns the coach is much worse than she originally thought.

This is one of those novels that you come away thinking about the realities within the story, and I had to talk about it when it was over.  The plotline and extremely real characters evoked strong emotions.  Overall, Mother of Pearl is a incredible debut novel, and I am looking to more from Kellie Coates Gilbert.  She delivers an inspiring story while creating awareness about a sensitive issue--fantastic job!!

I'm going to do something new with this review and link to a couple of other posts about this book that I enjoyed reading.   The first is a heroine interview with Barrie Graeber on Margaret Daley's Blog.  I found it to be a fun and informative post!  The second is from Lena Nelson Dooley's blog: A Christian Writer's World.  She does author interviews and book giveaways, and this post gives great insight into author, Kellie Coates Gilbert.

I did receive a free copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.  


Win a Kindle or Nook from @SarahSundin and RSVP for “With Every Letter” Facebook Party 9/27!

Celebrate with Sarah by entering to win a eReader (winner's choice of Kindle Fire or Nook Color)!

See what folks are saying about With Every Letter!
Or See my own review!

One fortunate winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire or Nook Color (winner’s choice)
  • Handmade With Every Letter First Aid Kit
  • With Every Letter by Sarah Sundin
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on September 26th. Winner will be announced at the “With Every Letter” Author Chat Facebook Party on 9/27. Connect with Sarah, get a sneak peek of her next book, try your hand at a trivia contest, and chat with readers just like yourself. There will also be gift certificates, books and a Book Club Prize Pack to be won (10 copies for your book club or small group)!

So grab your copy of With Every Letter and join Sarah on the evening of the September 27th for a chance to connect with Sarah and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the book – don’t let that stop you from coming!)
Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter
Don't miss a moment of the RSVP today. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 27th!


With Every Letter

Oh, I really enjoyed this one!  Sarah Sundin is another new author for me, and I look forward to reading more from her.  With Every Letter is the first in the Wings of the Nightingale series.  Philomela Blake, Mellie, is a air evacuation nurse serving in WWII.  When asked to join a morale boosting anonymous letter exchange, her letter ends up in the hands of Lt. Tom McGilliver.  Each with personal reasons, an anonymous friendship is appealing, and they begin a regular correspondence.  As they begin to care for each other, they wonder how to proceed.

I loved this: the letters, the characters, the relationships, the secrets, the growth, the lessons--a strong message delivered in a complete package.  There was good flow and a little suspense and great character depth.  I really connected with the characters.  Both main characters really learned something and grew throughout the story.  I liked the secondary characters as well, which is why I'm really glad this is a series!  I am excited to read the rest.  I would definitely recommend this one!  You can get it through Amazon by clicking below.
I did receive a free copy in exchange for my honest review.


365 Things Every New Mom Should Know

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Harvest House Publishers (April 2012)

***Special thanks to Ginger Chen of Harvest House for sending me a review copy.***


Linda Danis has a degree in marketing and spent five years in hotel management before staying at home to run a hotel of a different sort—guests ages 3, 6, 9, and 11. Linda has written Sunday school curricula, started a co–op preschool, and leads a Moms in Touch prayer ministry at her children’s school.  She lives with her husband, Dave, and children in California.


This daily guide to the first year of a baby s life combines prayerful, playful, and practical information to energize new moms. Features weekly devotionals and daily activities that foster a baby s physical, emotional, social, and spiritual growth.

Product Details:
List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-0-7369-2382-8

My Thoughts: 
This is a sweet book for new moms, with 365 short daily readings, and weekly devotionals and prayers.  Each day is a different encouragement, suggestion, or activity to do with your child.  There were some unique ideas and beautiful reminders to treasure your little one.  My youngest is now 18 months old, but I enjoyed reading through this.  Some of the suggestions were still applicable and others were fun to remember when he was so small and young.  This would make a lovely baby shower gift, or a special treat to take to a new mommy in the hospital!!
I did receive a free copy in exchange for my honest review.


My child, you hold the whole of my heart in your small hands.
Author Unknown
Week 1
Day 1
After all these long months, your precious little baby has finally arrived. The child you have longed for is here to hold, to look at, and to touch. Your baby will look up at you and recognize your familiar voices. You are the ones he has been longing to meet—his mommy and daddy! Get to know your sweet little baby—hold him, rock him, smell his skin, gaze at him, marvel at his tiny fists, caress him. Treasure this awesome miracle!
Day 2
On the day you bring your baby home for the first time, have everyone in your family place their hands on her and pray for her. This will be a precious moment for your family to share together as you welcome her into your family and give thanks to God for this wonderful gift!
Day 3
If you have older children who want to hold their new sibling, use a nursing “donut pillow” to help them support your baby’s head. Have your child sit all the way back on the couch. Place the semicircle nursing pillow around his waist. Set your baby on the pillow with his bottom wedged in between your older child’s tummy and the pillow. Rest your baby’s head on your older child’s arm that is resting on the pillow. Even if your child lets go of the baby, his head will still be secure on the pillow. Of course, you should always be sitting right next to your new baby, monitoring his safety. This also works for young visitors, but I would suggest waiting a week or two before letting a nonfamily-member child hold your baby.
Day 4
Despite what all the books may say, most women experience some soreness (or a lot of soreness!) in the first weeks of nursing. Try using your Lamaze breathing when your baby latches onto your breast. If your nipples are cracked or blistered, blot them dry with a cotton diaper after you have finished nursing. Saliva has enzymes that can irritate sore nipples. After you have dried the saliva off, express a little milk and rub it on your nipples. Let them air dry. Also, do not look down at your baby the entire time you nurse. This position can strain your neck and cause tension headaches. If you can persevere through the first two weeks of nursing, things will get better.
Day 5
Sometimes as a new parent it’s hard to tell whether or not you should call your pediatrician. If you are reluctant to call your doctor in the middle of the night, you can usually call the nursery at the hospital where you gave birth. The nurses are awake and can advise you as to whether you should call your doctor right away or if it can wait until the morning. Do not wait if your baby has a fever higher than 99.9 degrees rectally (this is the most accurate way to take your baby’s temperature). Call your doctor immediately.
Day 6
Drink water every time you nurse to stay hydrated and to maintain your milk supply. Always keep a water bottle close at hand. It is a good idea to set up a “nursing station” wherever you will be nursing the most. Have everything you need right at hand—a water bottle, a burp cloth, a nursing pillow, a book or magazine to read, and nursing pads.
Day 7
When your baby startles while lying on her back (the Moro reflex), gently but firmly hold her hands together close to her chest to calm her and make her feel more secure. Say, “It’s okay, sweetheart. Mommy will help you.” This reflex will disappear by four months.

Reflections on the Week
I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him.
1 Samuel 1:27
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.
Jeremiah 1:5
An Incredible Love
You have had your baby only one short week and yet you can hardly remember what life was like without him. You prepared for months for his arrival—read books, set up the nursery, went to prenatal classes—yet nothing could prepare you for the overwhelming love you feel for this child. There are no words quite powerful enough to describe the emotions you feel.
Then the impossible happened; each day you grew to love him more. The sheer magnitude of love takes your breath away. Can there be anything more wonderful than when he gazes into your eyes, when you feel his small body curled up in your arms, when you feel his warm breath on your cheek, when his little fingers wrap tightly around yours? Your heart is ready to burst with this new miracle in your life.
It doesn’t matter if this is your first or fifth child, the profound love you feel for your new baby never changes. I remember during my second pregnancy, I secretly worried that I might not love this new baby as much as my first. How could I ever love another child as much as I loved her? But the moment I held my new baby, I knew immediately I had worried for nothing. There was no difference in my love. It was as amazingly wonderful and intense as the love I had for my first. It happened again when my third and fourth children were born. We don’t have to divide our love between our children. Our love actually multiplies, giving us even more love to share. It is one of the ways God’s love works in motherhood. We just have more and more love to give away!

Dear God, thank You for this precious little baby. He is everything I prayed for. Everything about him is perfect. Words can hardly describe how much I love him. Because of him, I have a better idea now of how much You, my heavenly Father, love me. Please help me adjust to all the changes I will face as a new mother. Amen.

Unending Devotion

This is my first Jody Hedlund book, and I was pleasantly surprised.  I tend to be an author follower.  If I read a book that I like, then I watch for others by the same author.  The Doctor's Lady is now on my To Read Shelf and The Preacher's Bride on my kindle!  

In Unending Devotion, Lily Young is traveling the logging towns of 1883 Michigan, trying to find and save her sister.  With corruption surrounding her, she manages to rescue a few girls from the many brothels, but she meets her match in the town of Harrison.  Connell McCormick is an influential owner of three of the local lumber camps.  A necessary evil is how he describes the corruption, not only in the saloons and brothels, but also in the lumber business itself.  Can Lily change his thinking, and can Connell help Lily find her sister and get her out of the life that she is stuck in. 
There is suspense and romance, as well as relationships and character growth.  I really liked this book. Lily had some lessons to learn.  Sometimes we must wait for God to move and not try to take matters into our own hands.  Connell also learned that often by not acting against the evil that surrounds us, he was actually supporting it, and God had a plan for him as well.  Unending Devotion has a good-paced plot with strong characters.  I was thoroughly involved in the story and enjoyed reading it.  

I did receive a free copy in exchange for my honest review. 


The Reunion by Dan Walsh

I just finished reading this book this afternoon.  I have been carrying my kindle around all day, reading whenever I can, just to finish it.  I really enjoyed it, but I do think the ending was a little quick.  Although, not a historical novel, I loved the history included.  The Reunion is a very personal and heart-felt book.  Many lives are woven together in a unique way that demonstrates how God works in our lives.
Years after earning the Congressional Medal of Honor in the Vietnam War, Aaron Miller is alone.  He has lost his family, struggled with addiction, and lived on the street.  Now he is a humble handyman at a small trailer park, still selflessly serving others.  His children, Steve and Karen grew up without him, feeling abandoned.  Meanwhile, Dave Russo is writing a book honoring Vietnam War veterans in memory of his own father.  While interviewing one veteran he is given an offer that he cannot refuse, and he sets out to find Aaron Miller.  God alone can join and reunite these friends and family.
I ended the book in tears.  It was beautifully written and emotionally touching.  I loved the characters, the memories, the feelings. I would highly recommend The Reunion.
Actually I would recommend any of Dan Walsh's books.  I have also reviewed Remembering Christmas and The Discovery.
I did receive a copy of this book free in exchange for my honest review.  


Millie Fierce

What a cute story!  Millie is a young girl who feels left out and overlooked, so she decides to become "fierce."  She is loud and mean, but she feels noticed.  As she continues with this behavior she sees that it is not all it's cracked up to be.  She learns new ways to get noticed.
With fun illustrations, Millie Fierce is an enjoyable story with a good lesson.  I read it to my kids, and my son stopped playing to hear the story.  Millie Fierce gets all three of our votes!
I did receive a free copy in exchange for my honest review.  


"Unending Devotion" by Jody Hedlund | Nikon Camera Giveaway and 9/18 Facebook Party! Enter and RSVP today.

Celebrate with Jody by entering to win a Nikon Camera Prize Pack!

See what folks are saying about Unending Devotion!

One “devoted” winner will receive:
  • A Nikon COOLPIX Digital Camera
  • $25 Shutterfly gift certficate
  • Unending Devotion by Jody Hedlund
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on September 17th. Winner will be announced at the “Unending Deovtion” Author Chat Facebook Party on 9/18. Connect with Jody, get a sneak peek of her next book, try your hand at a trivia contest, and chat with readers just like yourself. There will also be gift certificates, books and a Book Club Prize Pack to be won (10 copies for your book club or small group)!

So grab your copy of Unending Devotion and join Jody on the evening of the September 18th for a chance to connect with Jody and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the book – don’t let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the RSVP today. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 18th!