Tag Archives: Zondervan

Stories behind the Great Traditions of Christmas | Ace Collins

 

This would make a great, early Christmas gift for family and friends.

 

 

Today I am reviewing Stories behind the Great Traditions of Christmas

Here is a brief synopsis:

The fascinating stories and origins behind Christmas traditions such as the colors of red and green, the Christmas tree, caroling, nativity scenes, the Yule log, gift-giving, stockings, advent wreaths, mistletoe, and holly.

The cheer of a crackling hearth fire. Colorful cards from friends and loved ones. An evergreen tree festooned with ornaments. The golden traditions of Christmas—gifts, wreaths, stockings, carols, mistletoe, and more—infuse our celebration of the season with meaning and glowing memories. And, in ways you may not realize, they point us to the birth of Christ. Stories Behind the Great Traditions of Christmas reveals the people, places, and events that shaped the best-loved customs of this merriest of holidays. Here are spiritual insights, true-life tales, and captivating legends to intrigue you and your family and bring new luster and depth to your celebration of Jesus’ birth. Discover how:

• after eighteen centuries of all but ignoring the event, churches began to open the door for believers to commemorate Jesus’ incarnation.

• the evergreen tree, once a central theme in the worship practices of pagan cultures, came to represent the everlasting love of God.

• the magi’s three gifts—gold, frankincense, and myrrh—are filled with spiritual symbolism.

The traditions of Christmas lend beauty, awe, and hope to the holiday, causing people all over the world to anticipate it with joy. The stories in this book will warm your heart as you rediscover the true and eternal significance of Christmas.

 

MY THOUGHTS:

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year…

If you’re looking for a Christmas book full of traditions, stories and information, this is the one to pick! I was very impressed with this wonderful book. First, it’s a beautiful, hard-bound, book that’s small enough to tuck into your bookcase among your other favorite Christmas books. And it’s the perfect keepsake… with stories and information about everything Christmas… from advent to mistletoe to The Nutcracker Ballet…

This is a wonderful book to share with your children and grandchildren during the holiday season.

 

God Bless You!

and MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Review © 2018 DJ Mynatt

 

On This Christmas | 5-year journal

 

 

Today I am reviewing On This Christmas, a five-year journal of your favorite traditions, memories & gifts.

Here is a brief synopsis:

Capture five years of your favorite Christmas memories in this beautiful, keepsake guided journal. Building on the highly popular “one line a day” journal concept, On This Christmas: A Five-Year Journal of Your Favorite Traditions, Memories, and Gifts is an interactive keepsake that allows you to record your holiday celebrations over the course of five years.

Every joyful Christmas season you think, I’ll never forget this! But the memories slip quietly away over time. Now you can save them and treasure them all in one place. This Christmas is a five-year guided journal with thought-provoking prompts such as “The gift I’m most excited to share,” “We are choosing to slow down the holiday by ______,” “A special blessing we enjoyed,” and “Our favorite tradition this year.”

With Scripture and inspirational thoughts, This Christmas will help you preserve precious times with friends and family as you celebrate the Christmas season.

 

MY THOUGHTS:

I was very impressed with this 5-year journal. First, it’s a beautiful, hard-bound, book that’s small enough to tuck into your bookcase among your other favorite Christmas books.

And it’s the perfect keepsake… a special place to preserve all your memories of each Christmas season, beginning on the very first day of the month and ending on Christmas Day — not just for one year, but for 5 years!

What a wonderful idea… a journal to share with your children and grandchildren during future holiday seasons.

HINT:  This would also make a great, early Christmas gift for family and friends.

 

God Bless You!

and MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Review © 2018 DJ Mynatt

 

The Girl From the Train by Irma Joubert

 
Today I am reviewing The Girl From the Train by Irma Joubert.

Here is a brief synopsis:

Six-year-old Gretl Schmidt is on a train bound for Auschwitz. Jakób Kowalski is planting a bomb on the tracks.

As World War II draws to a close, Jakób fights with the Polish resistance against the crushing forces of Germany and Russia. They mean to destroy a German troop transport, but Gretl’s unscheduled train reaches the bomb first.

Gretl is the only survivor. Though spared from the concentration camp, the orphaned German Jew finds herself lost in a country hostile to her people.

When Jakób discovers her, guilt and fatherly compassion prompt him to take her home. For three years, the young man and little girl form a bond over the secrets they must hide from his Catholic family.

But she can’t stay with him forever. Jakób sends Gretl to South Africa, where German war orphans are promised bright futures with adoptive Protestant families—so long as Gretl’s Jewish roots, Catholic education, and connections to communist Poland are never discovered.

Separated by continents, politics, religion, language, and years, Jakób and Gretl will likely never see each other again. But the events they have both survived and their belief that the human spirit can triumph over the ravages of war have formed a bond of love that no circumstances can overcome.

 

MY THOUGHTS:

This is the story of Gretl Schmidt, a young Jewish girl – who’s the daughter of a Nazi soldier – providing a much different angle of the experiences a child goes through during a war.

The book was originally published in 2007, but was translated into English and is being re-released this year.

It begins in Southern Poland in 1944… as a young girl, on a train bound for Auschwitz, Gretl is told to jump from the train, along with her sister. They are rescued temporarily by a Polish family, but when Gretl’s sister dies, the family asks Jakób Kowalski to find her a home. Jakób eventually gains custody of her and their story begins…

The author is well versed in the history, particularly of Poland during the war. Now, that’s not really something I’m very interested in – but if you enjoy reading historical fiction, you should read The Girl From the Train.

 
God bless you!

 
Review © 2015 DJ Mynatt

 

The Dandelion Field | Kathryn Springer

 

Today I am reviewing The Dandelion Field, by Kathryn Springer.
Here is a brief synopsis:

Nothing has ever come easy for single mom Ginevieve Lightly. Over the years, she’s managed to pay the bills waitressing, and she is deeply devoted to her daughter, Raine. Gin has been satisfied moving from city to city, never putting down roots or making commitments. But when engine trouble temporarily strands them in the small town of Banister Falls, Wisconsin, Gin promises her daughter they will stay put until Raine graduates from high school in the spring.

Dan Moretti couldn’t imagine a life without Evie, but she married his best friend. After Max died while fighting a huge blaze, Dan has looked out for Evie and her son, Cody. Evie has always made it clear she thinks of him only as a friend, but Dan has secretly held out hope that her feelings would change. When a small town scandal erupts, Dan is caught in the middle and his loyalty put to the test when he realizes his feelings are the ones that are changing. He’s falling for a beautiful, unconventional waitress named Gin.

As Cody and Raine move closer to making decisions that will affect the rest of their lives, Dan makes a decision, too. But can he convince a woman who doesn’t believe in happy endings to take a chance on a new beginning . . . with him?

 

My Thoughts:

If you’re a fan of romantic Inspirational books, you will love this book. It’s emotional and realistic with just a touch of God’s guiding hand.

Kathryn tackles some pretty serious issues – between teen pregnancy and Gin’s troubled past, but she does it with class, and without the heavy handed preaching you typically find in this type of story.

There are so many readers who will identify with one of these characters. We have all been through tough times and Kathryn has given us some truly realistic characters to draw inspiration from.

And the way – what could be a very difficult situation – is handled, reminds us that God’s grace is always there for us.

A wonderful inspirational novel with a dash of romance thrown in just for good measure.
Title: The Dandelion Field
Author: Kathryn Springer
Genre: Romance Fiction
Publisher: Zondervan
Release Date: January 2015
ISBN: 978-0310339632

 

Don’t miss this wonderful NEW inspirational romance by Kathryn Springer – The Dandelion Field.CLICK TO TWEET!

 

You can also find more information and/or buy the book from these popular sites.

GOODREADS   ZONDERVAN   KATHRYN‘S WEBSITE

Buy from Amazon.Buy from Barnes and Noble.Buy from Christian Book Distributor.Buy from iBooks.

 

Don’t Miss the giveaway for this wonderful book!

Dandelion Field Kathryn Springer

 

Kathryn Springer

{MORE ABOUT KATHRYN SPRINGER}

Kathryn Springer is a USA Today bestselling author. She grew up in northern Wisconsin, where her parents published a weekly newspaper. As a child she spent many hours sitting at her mother’s typewriter, plunking out stories, and credits her parents for instilling in her a love of books – which eventually turned into a desire to tell stories of her own. Kathryn has written nineteen books with close to two million copies sold. She lives with her husband and three children in Marinette, Wisconsin.

Find out more about Kathryn athttp://www.kathrynspringer.com.

 

GOD BLESS YOU!

 

Copyright © 2013-2015 donnasbookshelf.

destination unknown | Amy Clipston Marathon


Today I am reviewing destination unknown, the sequel to roadside assistance by Amy Clipston.

This is what GoodReads has to say about destination unknown:

It’s senior year, and Whitney Richards is tired of the constant pressures to be perfect.

When she gets a D in Calculus, her mother immediately hires a tutor, worried Whitney won’t get into the ‘right’ college—her alma mater—with imperfect grades.

Her tutor, Taylor, is a quiet, mysterious boy who is unlike anyone Whitney has met before. But Taylor’s rougher upbringing has her mother and friends discouraging any type of relationship.

Tired of having to play a part for everyone else, Whitney quits the cheerleading squad that once defined her social identity, and begins spending more time with Taylor.

Her mom and friends worry Whitney is making a huge mistake, and even Taylor begins to show concern for some of her choices. But for the first time, Whitney is in the driver’s seat of her life. Will she be able to find her identity—and God’s plan for her life—before she throws everything away?


MY THOUGHTS:

I was thrilled to discover destination unknown, a sequel to the equally amazing roadside assistance!

Although I’m miles past my young adult years, it was much simpler than I expected to re-connect with my teenage thoughts and feelings – I have a theory that Amy Clipston writes such amazing books that she makes it easier to connect because she writes it just as I remember it to be.

Don’t let the cover fool you… Whitney stays and shows everyone that she knows what she wants and she’s willing to do what it takes to get it.

Without giving away too much (hopefully), I could so identify with Whitney when she lies to cover up a truth that she knows will just upset everyone else. She tries to convince herself it really isn’t much of a lie, but she knows better. And when the truth comes out, lots of people end up hurt – including Whitney!

Fortunately, she is learning to depend on God through prayer, as well as being strong enough to face her family and friends with the truth – and sincere apologies.

Amy is an amazing writer!

I’ve been told not to expect any other YA novels after Miles From Nowhere is published, but I’m hoping in the years to come that Amy will be able to publish more YA novels… teenagers need to read and hear her sage advice, hidden inside her novels.

Happy Reading!!!

And don’t forget to click below to find out how you can enter the BIG contest!

Amy Clipston Marathon | GIVEAWAY!

 

Click HERE for more from Zondervan.

You can click HERE to read more reviews and find other info on GoodReads.

Click HERE to purchase the book on ChristianBooks and HERE for Amazon

Click HERE to visit Amy Clipston’s website.

God bless you!

 

©Donna J. Mynatt 2014

roadside assistance | Amy Clipston Marathon

Today I am reviewing roadside assistance, a young adult (YA) novel by Amy Clipston.

This is what GoodReads has to say about roadside assistance:

Emily Curtis is used to dealing with her problems while under the hood of an old Chevy, but when her mom dies, Emily’s world seems shaken beyond repair.

Driven from home by hospital bills they can’t pay, Emily and her dad move in with his wealthy sister, who intends to make her niece more feminine – in other words, just like Whitney, Emily’s perfect cousin.

But when Emily hears the engine of a 1970 Dodge Challenger, and sees the cute gearhead, Zander, next door, things seem to be looking up.

But even working alongside Zander can’t completely fix the hole in Emily’s life. Ever since her mom died, Emily hasn’t been able to pray, and no one—not even Zander—seems to understand. But sometimes the help you need can come from the person you least expect.

MY THOUGHTS:

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up roadside assistance to read… one thing I knew for sure, was if Amy Clipston had written it, it would be a “great read”… but since I’m nearing retirement, I wasn’t sure if I could see it from the eyes of a teenager, which would make sense, as it is being listed as YA fiction.

While it is true that I identified easily with the adults… Brad, Darlene and Chuck, Pastor Keith and Jenna… it was also remarkably easy to identify with the main character.

Seventeen-year-old Emily loses her mom, her boyfriend, and then her home. She and her dad are forced to move in with his sister and her family. Emily turns away from God, feeling like she’s lost everything that matters (except her dad).

I really loved this story… it drew me in quickly and without warning; before I knew it, I was over half done and obviously I wasn’t going to put it down until I was finished. Thankfully I began reading early, with minor interruptions, so I was able to finish and get to bed before midnight.

Normally wait until I have written the review before picking up another book, but I couldn’t wait to get started on the sequel, destination unknown… this story focuses on Emily’s cousin Whitney! Cool!

I’ll be posting my review of destination unknown in a couple of days, but let me just say it’s every bit as good as roadside assistance. I know, because I read it during my lunch hour at work and had the hardest time putting it down and going back to work. I will even admit that I left the book at work and didn’t remember until I reached home – where I promptly turned around and went back after it!

We’re talking Nashville traffic, people… during rush hour! My normal trip home usually takes 25 minutes; this round trip took almost 90 minutes!

But I finally got home, ate dinner and wrote this review… now I can finish destination unknown!

Happy Reading!!!

And don’t forget to click below to find out how you can enter the BIG contest!

Amy Clipston Marathon | GIVEAWAY!

 

Click HERE for more from Zondervan.

You can click HERE to read more reviews and find other info on GoodReads.

Click HERE to purchase the book on ChristianBooks and HERE for Amazon

Click HERE to visit Amy Clipston’s website.

God bless you!

 

©Donna J. Mynatt 2014

A Dream of Home (Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel #3) | Amy Clipston Marathon

 Today I am giving you an advanced look at A Dream of Home, the third novel in the Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel series by Amy Clipston. This book is scheduled to be released on November 4, 2014.

 

This is what AMY has to say about A Dream of Home:

Moving to Pennsylvania wasn’t in Madeleine’s original plans. She should still be in California and should have married her pilot fiance a year ago-but death has a way of changing everything.

Now the former Air Force flight nurse is living alone in Paradise, Pennsylvania, and working as a maid at the Lancaster Grand Hotel. She isn’t exactly a widow . . . but she sure feels like one.

Saul Beiler isn’t exactly a widower . . . but his wife is long gone. His eleven-year-old daughter, Emma, doesn’t know that her mother fled the Amish community-and married another man-but she does know that her dat is lonely, and that a pretty young maedel just moved in next door.

Madeline’s numb heart begins to thaw as she spends more time with the innocent and ever optimistic Emma. The stronger her friendship grows with the young girl, the more intrigued Madeline grows about the humble, strong, man raising her on his own.

But even as a strange attraction pulls Saul and Madeleine across a stark cultural divide, they-and everybody else-have to wonder: What could they possibly have in common besides heartache? Will love allow Madeleine to finally find the home she’s been dreaming of all along?

 

MY THOUGHTS:

This week I have had the honor of reading and reviewing Amy Clipston’s newest sequel for the Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel… A Dream of Home.

Just for a bit of a recap, in A Hopeful Heart, Hannah meets Trey… they’ve both lost their spouses and although Joshua proposes, Hannah chooses to marry Trey and open a Bed & Breakfast in Paradise.

In A Mother’s Secret, Joshua gains a family when he marries Carolyn and adopts her son Benjamin.

In A Dream of Home, Madeline and Saul fall in love…

I have to admit, when I began reading about them, I was shocked! I NEVER expected to read that Saul, who had courted Carolyn in A Mother’s Secret, had lied to everyone about his wife – the truth was she had NOT died, but had left him to marry another man!

Hold on a minute… the Amish aren’t supposed to get divorced… and if they do, they are not allowed to remarry… or are they?

I’m not giving anything else away…..

I loved the story… every bit of it! There were obviously a few twists and turns –to make it more interesting – plus Carolyn and Joshua get married with their families in attendance.

I am so thankful that Amy entrusted me with an advanced copy of A Dream of Home to read and post my review during this special month-long marathon along with the others in the series.

I’ve already pre-ordered my copy from Amazon… don’t wait until the price goes up, click the link below and get pre-order your own copy now (release date is November 4, 2014).

Keep watching! Amy has worked very hard and she has a 4th book in this series coming out next year called A Simple Prayer. You can count on me to read and review it – as quickly as possible!

Happy Reading!

And don’t forget to click below to find out how you can enter the BIG contest!…I didn’t realize the comments would automatically be closed after 14 days… I’ve amended it, but it’s simpler to go to this link and just “like” the post or “follow my blog”!

Amy Clipston Marathon | GIVEAWAY!

 

Click HERE for more from Zondervan.

You can click HERE to read more reviews (coming soon) and find other info on GoodReads.

Click HERE to pre-order the book on ChristianBooks and HERE for Amazon

Click HERE to visit Amy Clipston’s website.

God bless you!

©Donna J. Mynatt 2014

A Mother’s Secret (Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel #2) | Amy Clipston Marathon

 

Today I am reviewing A Mother’s Secret, the second novel in the Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel series by Amy Clipston.

This is what GoodReads has to say about A Mother’s Secret:

Carolyn Lapp dreams of marrying for love. But will the errors of her past destroy this dream forever?

Carolyn Lapp longs to have a traditional Amish family. But she lives on her brother’s farm with her parents and her 15-year old son, Benjamin. Carolyn has never revealed the identity of Benjamin’s father and lives daily with the guilt and shame of her youthful indiscretion.

Her brother simply will not forgive her. His answer is to arrange a practical marriage for Carolyn to Saul, a widower with a little girl. But Carolyn isn’t convinced that Saul really loves her and believes he is simply looking for someone to help raise his daughter.

When Benjamin causes trouble at a local horse auction, horse breeder Joshua Glick decides that he must be taught a lesson. Carolyn and Joshua are unmistakably drawn to each other, but Joshua mistakenly assumes that Benjamin is Carolyn’s brother. Carolyn fears that if he discovers the truth, her past will destroy their budding romance.

After years of shame and loneliness, Carolyn suddenly has two men vying for her attention. But which of them will give her the family—and the unconditional love—she’s longed for?

 

My thoughts:

Amy Clipston writes great Amish fiction!

I have another new favorite series… the Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel series!

I love how this book is part of the Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel series; it’s not necessarily what happens in the hotel that is most important – the focus is on the characters in their homes and community. But the ladies who work at the hotel are imperative to the story!

I was glad to see that Hannah and her children are doing well, although they’re living as Englishers now (well, all but one). Amanda seems to be thriving – and hopefully she’ll be able to connect with her twin sister. I also like how this story doesn’t talk about Hannah, except in passing. The author realizes that readers are still interested in knowing how Hannah is doing, and mentions her without taking away from the main character in this book.

In the last story, I was rooting for Joshua, but I thought the story ended well. He is still a focal point in this story and I’m happy to say he is doing better than ever! Let me just say that by the end of the book, I was mighty proud of him!

I’m trying to not give away anything – at least anything pertinent – so bear with me. If you enjoyed A Hopeful Heart, you’re gonna love A Mother’s Secret… but it’s really terrific if you read them in order.

If you haven’t read A Hopeful Heart yet, read it… then dive right in and read A Mother’s Secret… and thankfully (whew) A Dream of Home is expected to be released soon (see pertinent information below).

I enjoyed every moment of this story… even better, Amy has entrusted me with an advanced copy of A Dream of Home to read and post my review this month along with the others in the series. I’ve already pre-ordered my copy from Amazon… don’t wait until the price goes up, click the link below and get your copy ordered (release date is November 4, 2014).

PRE-ORDER HERE

Keep watching… I’ll be posting my review for A Dream of Home very soon!

…Amy has worked very hard and she has a 4th installment coming out next year called A Simple Prayer. You can count on me to read and review it – as quickly as possible!

Happy Reading!
And don’t forget to click below to find out how you can enter the BIG contest!

Amy Clipston Marathon | GIVEAWAY!

 

Click HERE for more from Zondervan.

You can click HERE to read more reviews and find other info on GoodReads.

Click HERE to purchase the book on ChristianBooks and HERE for Amazon

Click HERE to visit Amy Clipston’s website.

God bless you!

 

©Donna J. Mynatt 2014

A Hopeful Heart (Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel #1) | Amy Clipston Marathon

Today I am reviewing A Hopeful Heart, the first novel in the Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel series by Amy Clipston.A Hopeful Heart

 

This is what GoodReads has to say about A Hopeful Heart:

In A Hopeful Heart, the first novel of the new Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel series from best-selling author Amy Clipston, Hannah finds herself at a crossroads in her life.

Her community offers her love and support after the untimely death of her husband, but an Englisher offers her the chance of a new life after her unexpected tragedy.

Wealthy businessman Trey Peterson is surprised by his attraction to the gentle Amish woman who works as a housekeeper in the Lancaster Grand Hotel. They share a common bond of loss and are able to offer each other comfort and support as they journey through their grief. Joshua Glick wants nothing more than to offer his friendship and love to Hannah and her family. Not only is he her late husband’s brother and business partner, he has always been in love with Hannah.

A Hopeful Heart is filled with surprising twists as Hannah tries to balance her life in the Amish community and her growing love for an outsider.

MY THOUGHTS:

I thought I knew Amy Clipston’s writing… after all, I have read (and reviewed) all the novels and novellas in the Kauffman Amish Bakery Series, which includes five full-length novels, two novellas and one YA (young adult) novel – that’s a lot of writing – and Amy does a superb job of keeping the reader’s interest.

But the Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel series immediately gives the reader the impression that the characters have changed… grown… and to be prepared for the unexpected!

Is Hannah tempted to change everything because an Englisher shows interest and concern for her, or because he offers her the life she’s always wanted… will she consider taking a chance on losing her home, her friends, her church, even her children… or will she accept an offer of marriage from one who has loved her for many years, yet never had the courage to show it.

If you’re curious, read the book – don’t read the reviews that give too much away – read the book! It’s a wonderful story, with a few twists to confuse everyone, but an ending that you probably won’t be surprised to discover.

Amy Clipston writes Amish fiction as if she’s lived the life… and knows the feelings of her characters. I enjoyed every moment of this story and I can’t wait to read the next installment (thankfully it’s on my bookshelf, so as soon as I post this review, I’ll be pulling it off the shelf and digging in, although this means I’ll have trouble putting it down and going to sleep at a decent hour)!

Happy Reading!!!

And don’t forget to click below to find out how you can enter the BIG contest!

Amy Clipston Marathon | GIVEAWAY!

 

Click HERE for more from Zondervan.

You can click HERE to read more reviews and find other info on GoodReads.

Click HERE to purchase the book on ChristianBooks and HERE for Amazon

Click HERE to visit Amy Clipston’s website.

God bless you!

 

©Donna J. Mynatt 2014

Amy Clipston Marathon | GIVEAWAY!

 

I have dedicated the entire month of August on my bookshelf blog to:

AMY CLIPSTON

Amy has graciously offered to sponsor not 1, not 2, not even 3… but 4 giveaways!

So, how do you win?

To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment below or on my facebook post. That’s it!

— of course I’d love for you to “LIKE” the post (and follow me if you’d like to read all my reviews).

And… if you’d like another chance to win, you can do one (or all) of the following: 1) share this post on the social media site of your choice, come back here and leave another comment with the URL, or 2) share my facebook post.

*EDIT: When you SHARE on Facebook, there is no way that I know of to get a URL for that specific share so reply with a link to your FB Profile or Page

Sharing this post on several media sites will give you multiple chances to win! Yay!

Two WINNERS will be chosen during the month… the first on August 15th and the second on August 25th — these WINNERS will each receive a gift pack from Amy! We can’t divulge the contents, because it’s a surprise…

The GRAND PRIZE WINNER and SECOND PLACE WINNER will be announced Sunday, August 31st…

The SECOND PLACE WINNER will receive a signed copy of “The Gift of Love” and a bookmark.

The GRAND PRIZE WINNER will receive her choice of three of Amy’s books (*An Amish Kitchen is not included)!

Hint… I’m planning to have more monthly contests in the future, so if you follow my blog, it’ll be easier to see when they begin and who wins!

Now go enter! And tell your friends about this contest!

Blessings!

 

©Donna J. Mynatt 2014

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