Posts Tagged ‘christian’

Lock, Stock, and Over a Barre
l (Dear Daphne Series #1)

Melody Carlson

B&H Publishing Group


paperback, 320 pages

Book Description

With high hopes, Daphne Ballinger lands her dream job at The New York Times. But it’s not long until writing about weddings becomes a painful reminder of her own failed romance, and her love of the city slowly sours as well. Is it time to give up the Big Apple for her small hometown of Appleton?

When her eccentric Aunt Dee passes away and leaves a sizeable estate to Daphne, going back home is an easy choice. What isn’t easy is coming to terms with the downright odd clauses written into the will.

Daphne only stands to inherit the estate if she agrees to her aunt’s very specific posthumous terms — personal and professional. And if she fails to comply, the sprawling old Victorian house shall be bequeathed to . . . Aunt Dee’s cats.

And if Daphne thinks that’s odd, wait until she finds out an array of secrets about Aunt Dee’s life, and how imperfect circumstances can sometimes lead to God’s perfect timing.

I loved this book! Lock, Stock, and Over a Barrel is an entertaining Christian novel. Interesting characters and story made it a lighthearted read that I’d recommend for girls of all ages. (teens – seniors) There are ten discussion questions at the end of the book.

By the end of the story, Daphne has become hopeful, encouraged, and confident with her “second chance”. The ending is not so much of a conclusion to the story as it is a to-be-continued ending. I’m looking forward to the next book!

Disclosure of Material Connection: This book was provided by the publisher, B&H Publishing Group, in exchange for an honest opinion. No other compensation was received. 


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CHOOSE JOY Because Happiness Isn’t Enough

Kay Warren


256 pages

Choose Joy Text Book

Publisher’s Description

Ever wonder why some people seem to experience joy in their daily lives–even in the tough times–and others can’t seem to find it no matter how hard they search? Is a joy-filled life really possible?The answer is yes! And it’s possible for every woman, no matter what her circumstances may be. In this inspiring book, Kay Warren teaches women what joy really is, where to find it, and how to choose it in the good times and the bad. With compassion and wisdom, she shows readers–even those who live with the constant companions of discouragement and depression–that true joy is deeper, richer, and more accessible than they might think. Perfect for small groups or individual reading, Choose Joy will empower women who feel like their emotions and well-being are at the mercy of others by helping them understand the life-giving truth that joy is within their grasp–every day.
I highly recommend this book. Although written for women, it is extremely valuable for men and women alike showing us how joy is a choice and how to put it into practice in our lives despite any circumstances.
Kay writes in a personal style that keeps the reader’s attention on true biblical joy. Each chapter opens with a scripture and a quote and ends with questions for reflection. While scripture is referenced throughout, Chapter 3   “Rediscovering  Jesus, the Man of Joy”, looks at Jesus’ example of joy by His attitudes, words and actions.
There are so many great points throughout the book. Some that stood out most to me are:
(1) Learning that joy is a choice and Kay’s definition of joy. “Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in all things.”
(2) Her concept that life isn’t like “waves” or “hills and valleys” but like a set of parallel train tracks.
(3) Philip Bernstein’s quote in Chapter 11, “We have no right to ask when a sorrow comes, ‘Why did this happen to me?’ unless we ask the same question for every joy that comes our way.”
This book is a definite read again book. I recommend it for everyone and would highly recommend it for those currently dealing with a difficult circumstance and or depression.
This book was sent to me by a friend. I enjoyed it, learned so much, and hope that you will read it, too!

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Book 1 in the Gleenbrooke Series

Robin Jones Gunn


288 pages

About This Book

The Glenbrooke Series

Jessica ran from her past…but can she hide from love?

Jessica Morgan wants desperately to forget the past and begin a new life. She chooses a small, peaceful town tucked away in Oregon’s Willamette Valley as the place to start over—Glenbrooke. Once there, Jessica conceals her identity from the intriguing personalities she meets—including the compassionate paramedic who desires to protect her and the jealous woman who wants nothing more than to destroy her. 

Will Jessica’s deceit ruin all hope for the future? Or will she find a deeper peace that allows her to stop hiding the truth from those who love her most of all? 

This heartwarming bestseller, book one in the Glenbrooke series, introduces the fascinating people of Glenbrooke in a compelling tale of romance and spiritual truth.

Secrets is the first book in the Glenbrooke Series and the first book I have read by Robin Jones Gunn. The story is about Jessica after she arrives in the small town of Glenbrook, Oregon looking for a new start. The author is a terrific story teller. Her characters were believable and interesting; the plot was intriguing with a bit of mystery (Jessica is keeping a secret). The story provided important truths that Jessica came to understand such as learning to trust people and surrendering to God’s plans. 

I recommend Secrets to readers from middle school age to adult who enjoy Christian fiction/romance/series books.

Author Spotlight:

ROBIN JONES GUNN is the best-selling and award-winning author of more than seventy books, with over 4 million copies of her titles sold worldwide. Best known among them are the Christy Miller, Sierra Jensen, and Christy and Todd: College Years teen series. A Christy Award winner and a two-time finalist for excellence in fiction, Robin has also been a Gold Medallion finalist. She and her husband have a grown son and daughter and live in Hawaii.

This ebook was provided for review by WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange for an honest opinion. A positive review is not guaranteed, and all opinions are my own. No other compensation was received.

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Secretly Smitten

Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Denise Hunter, Diann Hunt


pages 391

Book Description

Summer, fall, winter, spring—Smitten, Vermont, is the place for love . . . and mystery!

There’s a secret in Grandma Rose’s attic—a forgotten set of dog tags belonging to her first love. But David Hutchins was killed in action and never returned to Smitten. How did the dog tags end up in the attic?

The mystery intrigues Rose’s three granddaughters—Tess, Clare, and Zoe—and they decide to investigate, though their mother, Anna, warns against meddling. But as the seasons turn and the mystery unravels, the three young women and their mother encounter some intriguing mystery men of their own. Has a sixty-year-old puzzle sparked something new for this close-knit family of women?

Join popular romance novelists—and real-life BFFs—Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt, and Denise Hunter for four delightful intertwined tales of mystery and sweet intrigue.

Secretly Smitten is Christian fiction and this is a genre that isn’t my typical read. I was pleasantly entertained by this book which is actually considered a novella. If you are not familiar with the term, novella is fiction that is shorter than a novel but longer than a short story. Secretly Smitten is a collection of four novellas each written by a different author. The stories are “Love Between the Lines”, “Make Me a Match”, “Knit One, Love Two”, and “Love Blooms”. The stories have the same characters just with a shift in the main characters. Each is a romance. The book is number two in the Smitten Series but it can be read on its own. At the back of the book is a reading group guide. I’m thankful for the Christian-minded romance stories of Secretly Smitten; it was sweet and entertaining. This was the first book I read on my Kindle and that made it quite fun, too!

Disclosure of Material Connection: This ebook was provided, by Booksneeze, in exchange for an honest opinion. No other compensation was received. 


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This is the first art post (ARcTic post) that I will be featuring this year on Notes From Dawn. (the polar bear blog)

I want to offer ARcTic posts as a way to promote talented emerging and established artists and to share God’s word visually through art. The art that I will feature may or may not have been created from a Christian-minded artist. I want to share it here; to appreciate the work created as well as the talent that the artist demonstrates, always from a Christian perspective.



Carrie offers pen and ink drawings on her Etsy store. She sent me two prints that are from her wild animal series. The intricately patterned animal illustrations are bold and attractive and she displays the unique characteristics of each animal perfectly in this black and white medium.


Resting Fox:

Foxes are beautiful animals, elusive and alert. Here Carrie has drawn a fox in a sweet resting position where he has found refuge. Psalm 4:8 comes to mind.

Psalm 4:8

English Standard Version (ESV)

In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.




Polar Bear:

Of course I found the polar bear irresistible! He is drawn reflecting his strength and beauty; nicely captured with a soft gaze and relaxing position. The pattern on his forehead reminds me of the sun.  A nice reminder to “be still and know”.

Psalm 46:10

English Standard Version (ESV)

10 “Be still, and know that I am God.
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth!”


He is shown off equally well in either a black frame or a white frame.


iusa_75x75.9982060About Carrie

I live in Pennsylvania with Brad, my husband of 15 years and our two children Dakota 12 and Seth 2.  They fill my everyday with love and understanding.  That in itself is a endless source of inspiration and motivation.I have always drawn throughout my life but never trained.  I have kept my drawing journals to remind myself to keep creating and improving.  I often will have 10 projects going at once; wood-burning  sewing, painting, drawing, etc… I create because of an inner urge to do so but recently I have begun to sell my art on Etsy.  It has been a new source of inspiration and a new direction as well.  I was so hesitant to try and sell any of my art because of fear of my enjoyment of creating being tarnished.  It turned out to be quite the contrary.I love to draw in black and white pen and ink but dabble in different medias as well.  I get my patterns for my designs from microscopic slides, nature, textures and many more things I see everyday. I use Prismacolor Pens and watercolor paper for my originals.

If you are interested in purchasing any of the artwork featured on this ARcTic post, please contact the artist directly.
I’d like to thank artist Carrie Dietrich for her participation and for the beautiful pen and ink prints she provided.

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