Monday, June 6, 2011

Learning by Karen Kingsbury

Learning, book two in The Bailey Flanigan series, picks up where Leaving ended. Bailey Flanigan and Cody Coleman are not only sparated by physical distance, they are also face with great emotional distance. While Bailey grows closwer to her dream to be an actress and dancer in New York, Cody coaches a small high school football team...on and off the field. But neither feels complete without the chance to share their dreams with one another.

Can distance truly make the heart grow fonder? Or will Cody learn to turn to others to share in his happiness? And in the face of tragedy, who will be there to provide comfort?

As Cody's past catches up with him, he must learn to reach out for help or risk withdrawing permanently inside himself. Both Bailey and Cody find themselves learning significant life lessons in this poignant love story, featuring members from Karen Kingsbury's popular Baxter family.

I have enjoyed every KK book I have ever read. Learning is no exception. The characters in this book and many others are some of my favorites, Bailey especially. To watch her grow from a young teenager into a strong young woman off on her own in New York is quite exciting. It almost felt like I was there with her as she started her job and learned the routines. I love the special relationship she has with her mom. I think every teenage girl and mom should read these books and desire to have a relationship like that. I have to admit I am not too sure about what is best for Bailey as far as her man. I love seeing how happy she is when Brandon Paul treats her so special. I am upset with Cody for ignoring her, no matter his reasons. I can see many good things about it each way. I have always loved when her and Cody were together. I see such a special relationship between them that neither can have with anyone else. But Cody has made some choices that have kept them apart. And those choices have hurt Bailey greatly. So each of them has to live life down the path that those choices have put them on. It's like real life, the choices we make effect our lives and we can allow God to use them for good or we can keep making more bad choices. God is able to do great things no matter what our choices. And like the message that is throughout these books, God has a plan for our lives, a plan for good. That is something that I love about her books. She brings out how even through hard times and through things that we find impossible to live through God can and will bring us through if we will cling to Him through it. I cannot wait for the next two books in this series! They are going to be awesome, I know.

Want More?

Her website:

Her Facebook: Meet Karen Here

Bailey Flanigan's Facebook: Meet Bailey Here

Book 1: Leaving: Available Now!
Book 3: Longing November 2011

Friday, June 3, 2011

Night of the Cossack by Tom Blubaugh

Night of the Cossack is a compelling adventure by Tom Blubaugh about a teenager who is forced to grow up quickly. The main character, Nathan Hertzfield faces many life or death situations during his saga.

Join Nathan on his exhilarating journey through parts of Russia and Europe during the early 1900's. Don't miss the adventure and suspense in the riveting story, Night of the Cossack.


When I read the introduction to the book it made me want to start reading right away. The author talks about this story being how he imagines his grandfathers life to have been when he was a young man. I was drawn to the many details about Russia, the Cossacks and the Russian army. There are many things about that time period that I don't know anything about. One of the things that I love about historical fiction, when done well, is that it takes you to a time period and shares it with you in a way that becomes much more real than a history book. This book did that. It was very well written and the story just flowed naturally.

I am passing this book along to my 12 year old son. I can't wait to talk to him about what he has read and what he thinks about Nathan's adventures and hardships. One thing we enjoy doing together is discussing great literature we are reading.


Want More:

Bound By Faith Publishers:

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The iShine Bible

The iShine Bible helps tweens understand their Value, Identity, and Purpose (VIP). Tweens will see how they are valued by God, how their identity is found in Jesus and the purpose that they have because of this.

QR codes and URLs in the Bible link to videos on these topics and other online faith-building content. This compact Bible for tweens brings together the popular Christian tween brand iShine with the clearly understandable New Living Translation. The iShine Bible answers questions relating to many of the issues that tweens face with a tween-friendly index.


I received two complementary Bibles from Tyndale House Publishers and was thrilled to review them. I got a copy of each the boy and girl Bibles. Perfect because each one of my kids got their own. These pictures only show part of the cover. The boys iShine Bible has a guy playing a guitar on the cover. It is a dark navy and light orange color. The girls iShine Bible is light and dark pink with stars on the cover and outlines of three girls at the bottom. It has a pink ribbon for a book marker. I can place my hand on the Bible and reach from top to bottom and with my fingers together almost tough the sides.

I asked my 12 year old what he liked about the Bible. This is what he had to say. "I like it because it's small and easy to carry. The cover has a nice feel to it. (It's a leather type cover). The words are a little small if you have bad eyesight. (We discussed that if you have bad eyesight you probably have glasses and could see it just fine.) He also likes the name of the Bible.

My 9 year old fell in love with the little pink Bible and has used it from day one. She likes the size, too. It is different from the NIV version that she is used to but it is still easy to understand.

The website links are great. They have a website that has all sorts of fun stuff on it. It has music, videos, games and such. The kids spent a lot of time when they first went on it. I asked them to go on there and then let me know what they thought. One of the videos we found was a new song by Toby Mac. It is such a fun song to sing along with. I love the fact that this Bible has some neat things to help the kids learn and understand the way they should live and react to things that come up in their lives.


Want More:

The official iShine site:

Tyndale House Publishers:

Tyndale House Publishers iShine Bible:

The iShine people made a great promo video with some insight as well, check it out here.