Harlequin Love Inspired Series {review}

Whenever I would think of a Harlequin romance, my mind would run to a book cover with a man and a woman enveloped in each other’s arms. I heard how steamy the stories were, so I never read them when I was younger. As I got older, my interest never moved towards wanting to read a Harlequin romance novel.


My opinion regarding Harlequin books changed when I was introduced to their Love Inspired book series, which are faith-based and everything, as a Christian, I want in a romance novel. The book covers are even ones I would not be embarrassed for someone to see while I am reading one of the books.

The books come monthly in a quantity of six. I received The Bachelor Takes a Bride by Brenda Minton; The Doctor’s Second Chance by Missy Tippens; The Single Dad Finds a Wife by Felicia Mason; Winning the Teacher’s Heart by Jean C. Gordon; Bachelor to the Rescue by Lorraine Beatty and A Firefighter’s Promise by Patricia Johns. The book covers made me smile with depictions of happy couples or families. All of the aforementioned books and others may be purchase from Harlequin {http://www.harlequin.com/store.html?cid=236}.

Love Inspired books: faith-based entertainment for women that nourishes the soul as it affirms the values of devotion, hope and love.

With six books from which to choose, it was really a toss-up as to which book to read first. The lucky book that really caught my eye and grabbed my interest was A Firefighter’s Promise.

I like romance, but I do not like to read torrid type romances. Just as in real-life, you want the romance to be slow, thoughtful and how you would want to be romanced as a Christian. And yes, the stories do draw you in.

A Firefighter’s Promise, which was actually hard for me to put down, tells the story of Deputy Fire Chief Matt Bailey, Rachel Carter and her son, Christopher. Rachel is a firefighter widow who has been raising her son, whom Matt saved when Christopher was an infant. Haunted by an on-the-job failure, Matt is wants to escape from the town where he has lived all of his life, while Rachel is returning to the same to start a new life for her and Christopher. They both must decide if what they desire for their lives is the path God really has for them.

I read the book in three days in between life – cooking, cleaning and doing every thing else one needs to do. There was good story telling, romance, anticipation of how the story would end and nothing “preachy.” Johns’ writing style was engaging in a manner that made following the story very easy holding my attention to see what was going to happen next.

Each month, readers receive six titles. That may seem quite a bit for your average reader like me, but I could see myself reading and finishing the books in a little over one month. The books offer a good and clean (content) escape, where grabbing a few minutes throughout each day would make it possible to quickly finish each book before your next month delivery arrived.

The books are currently on sale through Thursday, May 28 and would make a perfect gift for Mother’s Day. They only have a shelf life

Take a look at the books offered through the Love Inspired Series.

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“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World {review}

growing_upI have concluded anytime Gary Chapman writes a book about parenting, it is probably a book I should take the time to read. I have always learned something and enjoyed some of his other titles that include The 5 Love Languages of Children, The Marriage You’ve Always Wanted and now I have added Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World to my list.

Growing Up Social is a book Chapman coauthored with Arelene Pellicane, who is a speaker and also an author. They address a challenging topic that affects most families today, which is the presence of technology in the family.

My children and I are daily users of technology in our home. Although I believe I have found a good balance, where we use it for school needs and to watch an occasional television show, There are days where immediately following a “good morning,” comes a “may we turn on the television?” Usually, I tell my children no. There, there have been some days where they have spent the entire day mesmerized by the television and before I know it, their bedtime arrives and there passes an entire day where their attention has been drawn elsewhere and we, as a family, have failed to truly connect.

Chapman and Pellicane, do not mince words. Growing Up Social begins with an introduction of how to take back you home from the excessive use and dependency on technology and the amount of screed time we often fall victim to.

Screens are not the problem; the problems lies in the way we constantly use them.” ~ Growing Up Social

Readers are introduced to the five A+ skills that include Skill of Affection; Skill of Appreciation; Skill of Anger Management; Skill of Apology; and Skill of Attention. They also look at the effects of screen time regarding areas like security, parental authority and the brain.

The chapter on the effects of screen time on the brain was extremely interesting. Screen addiction was discussed. Another effect is that screen time has the ability to dumb children down as they become more dependent on their gadgets, relying on them to do things like correct their written errors.

Children also depend on their tools for communicating with others rather than doing so face-to-face.
Another interesting fact shared in the chapter was that many employees of technology giants like Yahoo!, Google, etc. limited, if not prohibit, screen time use by their children.

Chapman and Pellicane provide an excellent case as to why you should reign your child away from the screen and reconnect, while also giving the reader the tools they need to do so.

Take a quiz to see if your child is spending too much time with screens {}. Learn more about Growing Up Social.

Purposeful Design {TOS review}

We reviewed Purposeful Design: Understanding the Creation, which is a book by Jay Schabacker Purposeful Design is geared towards all ages.


I can hardly believe this is the last review for the 2014 cruise year. Purposeful Design: Understanding the Creation by Jay Schabacker was an interesting read. Schubacker’s book walks the readers through God’s creation one day at a time.

The book is too pretty to be called a textbook, but it can easily be used and covered in school. It is purposeful_design01too scientifically detailed to be an evening read-a-loud, although it is not a science book. A simple description is it is a hardcover, coffee-table book with beautifully designed pages that are colorful and engaging. Purposeful Design covers scientific and Biblical facts in a manner that is appealing to young children and also interesting to adults.

There are seven chapters (for seven days of creation) that cover the following:

Chapter 1: The First Day Creation of the Heavens and the Earth – the Foundation of it All
Chapter 2: The Second Day Creation of the Atmosphere and Water
Chapter 3: he Third Day Creation of the Dry Land and Vegetation
Chapter 4: The Fourth Day Creation of the Sun, Moon and Stars
Chapter 5: The Fifth Day Creation of the Birds and Fish
Chapter 6: Creation Day Six Creation of Land Creatures and Humans
Chapter 7: The Seventh Day

Although Purposeful Design is only 91 pages long and full of many pictures, it is not one to completely read in one sitting. Each chapter is complete and full of interesting content that ties everything together enough where you could take your time reading through the book one chapter each day.

Schubaker has written a workbook to go along with the book that allows you to use the book as more than just a flip through read. I wanted the children to enjoy reading it, so I did allow them to go through the book alone.. The older two did grab the book and read ahead, but we also sat together and used the workbook pages when I read the book as a read-a-loud. Depending upon the age of your child, Purposeful Design may just be a good read-a-loud. If you have older children who can write and put their thoughts together well, then using the workbook is another way to get even more from Schabacker’s book.

We actually took some weeks to read through the book covering at least one chapter a week and included the exercises available in the workbook. The student workbook is downloadable and there is also a downloadable answer key available for the workbook.

Our schedule looked like this using the workbook:

Day One: We read chapter one and discussed our thoughts.
Day Two: We covered the workbook sheets for the related chapter.
Day Three: We read and discussed the reflection verses as to how they related to the chapter.
Day Four: We completed the remaining exercises.

You may read excerpts from the book.

We enjoyed reading through the book. It would be a nice accompaniment when reading through the story of creation while studying the Bible with your children. I can also see my children picking up the book again later to just read sections at a time that interest them.

If you have a coffee table, then Purposeful Design would be a good one to place on it. I can see it as a book that someone would pick up and glance through making it a great conversation starter with visitors in your home about God.

Children who read the book may also join the Young Explorer’s Club, which is free.

Purposeful Design is regularly $24.95, but may be purchasde for $18.95 through PayPal. The purchase also includes the free Young Explorer’s Club curriculum.

You can read more reviews of this item by fellow crew members on The Homeschool Crew Blog.

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