Monday, December 27, 2010

Love's First Bloom by Delia Parr



Bethany House; (September 1, 2010) 320 pages

Description: (from Amazon)
Ruth Livingstone's life changes drastically the day her father puts a young child in her arms and sends her to a small village in New Jersey under an assumed name. There Ruth pretends to be a widow and quietly secludes herself until her father is acquitted of a crime. But with the emergence of the penny press, the imagination of the reading public is stirred, and her father's trial stands center stage. Asher Tripp is the brash newspaperman who determines that this case is the event he can use to redeem himself as a journalist. Ruth finds solace tending a garden along the banks of the Toms River--a place where she can find a measure of peace in the midst of the sorrow that continues to build. It is also here that Asher Tripp finds a temporary residence, all in an attempt to discover if the lovely creature known as Widow Malloy is truly Ruth Livingstone, the woman every newspaper has been looking for. Love begins to slowly bloom...but is the affection they share strong enough to withstand the secrets that separate them?

My Review:
I had a really hard time getting into this book. I set it aside several times, trying to give it a fair chance, but I was never drawn into it. I agreed to review it, though, so I finished it, but if it was my own personal reading, I probably would have given up on it. I've heard nothing but great things about Delia Parr's other book, Heart's Awakening, so I won't hesitate a bit to read something else by Delia!!
I really didn't understand the point of ALL the lying in the book. It's hard for me to see any kind of relationship forming with so many lies. It just didn't seem very Christian-like of the main characters. If Ruth's life was on the line, I would understand more!! Newspaper gossip isn't the end of the world, or maybe I missed other reasons for hiding. Ruth seemed to stay mad at God more than anything.
I just didn't connect with the characters. I actually didn't like Ruth or Jake. My favorite characters were the Jones cousins and the Spinster(I forgot her last name, and can't seem to locate it). They had relatively small parts, though.
Again, I won't let this one keep me from Delia's other books.

*Thanks to Jim Hart @ Bethany House for my review copy.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Very Thrifty Christmas

I know I'm a bit late posting this, but I thought I would go ahead. It will be here for next year. :)

I'm sure I'm like every other stay at home mom this time of year. Money is even tighter than ever!! I made it my goal to decorate my tree without spending a penny on supplies. I have shatterproof ornaments, but I still don't feel safe with them. Not only do the tops come off, and pose a choking hazard, but the little metal "thingys" can be an electrical hazard if stuck in an outlet. As all moms with children know, you just can't watch them 24/7. (A couple of days ago, I saw some "childproof" ornament hangers. I'm not positive those aren't a choking hazard, but I will check more into that). I got to looking around and found a cloth ornament. I have lots of cloth and ribbon from old projects, so this was perfect for me.

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Here's the link with the directions I used.
Click Here

And I got my patterns HERE.
Scroll to the bottom for patterns. I used the 4 per page size. For a tree, I think the others were a bit big, but these could be used for all kinds of things. The big pattern might make a cute pillow. I will have to keep that in mind for next Christmas. :)

I also want to point out that I learned a lot along the way of doing these ornaments. I plan on making more for next year putting to use the things I learned, but for now, I'll post what I did get done.






I really wish my lights would show up better, because it looks so much better with those on!! Also, as filler, on the top 1/3 of my tree, I put some of my favorite ornaments, so it actually looks cute with all the lights on. :) Next year, I plan on making more. It will look much better with more of them. I also think various colors of thread will make them look SO MUCH better!! I'm hoping to get some clearance Christmas cloth after Christmas sometime, so I think that will also help. I just used what I had for this year. And like the link above that I posted, pinking shears will do wonders for the look of the ornament. I don't have any right now, though. I know mine doesn't look great, but I'm a beginner, and I really think this project has potential. I'm determined if the Lord blesses me with another year on Earth, I will have a gorgeous tree next year. :)

To go along with the thrifty Christmas theme, I wanted to share a few different wrapping options. I have tons of wrapping paper, as I'm sure most of you do, but this is fun. Last year I used comic paper for some of the smaller gifts. Plain newspaper can work just as well. I think it's cute idea if you know a crafter to wrap their present in cloth. For me, though, I have to have a piece of cloth the right size. I don't want to cut up a perfectly good piece of cloth just for wrapping paper.






The first picture is of an angel my momma made years ago. We all thought it was weird, but I just LOVE things like that!! It got passed to me a couple of years ago, so she always comes out at Christmas. :)

And lastly, this year I plan on making my puppy dog this toy. He's always been very good to his toys. I probably wouldn't make it if I thought he'd tear the insides out. Dog toys are very expensive, and we just can't leave him out. He always gets to unwrap a couple of his own presents.

I will attempt those tonight or tomorrow morning before my in-laws Christmas. Christmas day we'll be having a total of 3. We always have lots of fun, though.

I hope all of you have a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Within My Heart by Tamera Alexander



Bethany House (September 1, 2010) 384 pages

********This is a book I still very much want to read and plan on reading, but for now, here is my sister's review. :)

MY SISTER'S REVIEW:

Rachel Boyd lost the one man who meant the world to her. Thomas, her husband. She is struggling to raise 2 boys alone as well as keep her ranch. Rachel is behind on the loan and worries that she will lose the ranch which is meant so much to her. It was a dream of Thomas and she promised him that she would always take care of it.
As she deals with these thoughts, she learns that her son is having trouble at school.Notes are being sent home for intolerable behavior. She misses her husband so much, everything they had shared, yet, she feels so blessed to have her boys and her friends.
Rachel talks with friends and tries to help them cope with their struggles. She also tries to save a friend in desperate need of medical care. As she tries to locare the doctor, she finds him in a place that causes her to misjudge him, as we all would probably do. Rachel seems to dislike him from the start, but he touches her heart in a way that she started to reaccess her thoughts of him.
Rachel always told herself that she could never love anyone like her husband, but she comes to the realization that sometimes hearts can change. God has control, and everything works out the way he has planned.
I think you would really enjoy this book. It helps us to know that everyone has struggles in life and there is always a positive outcome even from things we consider negative. See how Rachel's life changed in ways she has never imagined possible. God has fixed the emptiness that was in her life with a new beginning.

*Thanks to Jim Hart @ Bethany House for my review copy.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Masquerade by Nancy Moser



Bethany House (August 1, 2010) 400 pages

Description:(from Amazon-Booklist)
When Lottie is told that she must marry an American whom she has never met in order to salvage what is left of her family’s reputation in Wiltshire, England, she sees all of her dreams of storybook love and romance crumble. Until she devises a plan. Heiress Lottie trades places with her longtime maid, Dora, and together they attempt to pull off the switch of a lifetime. How will Lottie survive the cruel streets of New York City on her own? Does Dora have what it takes to become an aristocrat? In Moser’s (How Do I Love Thee? 2009) latest inspirational tale, a princess faced with poverty and a pauper disguised as royalty undergo a test of faith and a journey to self-discovery as both women struggle to survive in two different facets of nineteenth-century America—the slums of industrialized New York and the lavish enclaves of the elite. A novel of friendship, faith, and finding out who one truly is, Masquerade slips off its mask to reveal great love and strength in unlikely places. --Elizabeth Ponder

My Review:
I really don’t know why, but I didn’t expect to like this book. I don’t recall seeing any bad reviews or anything, so I don’t know why I was under that impression. I kept holding out on reviewing this one for that reason, but I ended up really liking it. It’s definitely one of my favorite Christian fiction books that I’ve read!!

I had no idea how this story would end. I kept going back and forth. When you see a movie or book with a good guy and a bad guy, you know how it will end! When you have a story with two girls and three men, and all of them wonderful, kind people, it gets much harder to figure out what will happen. And there was one character that I disliked at the beginning. It brought tears to my eyes at how kind and forgiving she really was at the end.

I could so see Masquerade as a movie! I say that knowing that 90% of the time I don’t like movies made from books. Too much gets changed around! I really enjoyed getting to know Dora and Charlotte. I love how they got the chance to experience the way the other one lived. Masquerade has earned a spot on my bookshelf. And that’s a great accomplishment these days!! My house has been overflowing with books, so my husband has been very happy to see lots of them leaving. I will for sure be keeping a look-out for Nancy’s other books!

*A huge thanks to Jim Hart @ Bethany House for my review copy. This is my honest opinion.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Huge Birthday Giveaway @ Dark Glass Ponderings




Julia @ Dark Glass Ponderings is having a huge birthday giveaway @ her blog. 3 boxes of 11 books will be included!!!!!! This is such a generous giveaway, especially when it is HER birthday!! :)


HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JULIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


But that's not all! She's also having Shawna K. Williams @ her blog with another giveaway!!! All of these giveaways go through the 16th of December.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Charlatan's Boy by Jonathan Rogers




Desription: (from Amazon)
As far back as he can remember, the orphan Grady has tramped from village to village in the company of a huckster named Floyd. With his adolescent accomplice, Floyd perpetrates a variety of hoaxes and flimflams on the good citizens of the Corenwald frontier, such as the Ugliest Boy in the World act.

It’s a hard way to make a living, made harder by the memory of fatter times when audiences thronged to see young Grady perform as “The Wild Man of the Feechiefen Swamp.” But what can they do? Nobody believes in feechies anymore.

When Floyd stages an elaborate plot to revive Corenwalders’ belief in the mythical swamp-dwellers known as the feechiefolk, he overshoots the mark. Floyd’s Great Feechie Scare becomes widespread panic. Eager audiences become angry mobs, and in the ensuing chaos, the Charlatan’s Boy discovers the truth that has evaded him all his life—and will change his path forever.

My Review: Rose
This was such a fun book! I just loved it!!!
This book is mostly about one of the ugliest boys in the world and feechies. It's fun trying to figure out exactly what you think a feechie is. If you like reading to your kid's, this is a perfect book. It's narrated by Grady, who is very uneducated, so his language portrays that. He uses words like, perfesser, genterman, pap, and lots of other funny phrases. It would be a riot to read this one aloud with all the voices and language!!
As most of you know, I like to look at Amazon for age categories of books, because I have a family full of little boys, some of who love to read. It has this book listed as young adult(which is great-I think young adults will like it), but I also think young readers will do well with it, too. (9 and up) Of course, as always this is totally my opinion! And this is great for both boys and girls.
This review has came at the perfect time, because this book would really make a perfect Christmas present. I plan on lending my copy out to two of my nephews, and saving it for my two little boy's collections. I also plan on reading Jonathan's other books, because I just had so much fun reading this one. I found myself laughing many times throughout the story. :) I'm also very excited that the next book in the series will be coming out next year some time. I will definitely be reading it!!
Needless to say, I highly recommend you read this or find one for your kids. :) I'm absolutely thrilled that I now have a new author to add to my list.

*I recieved this review book in connection with the Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy blog tour. I was not required to give an positive opinion.

Book link -
Author’s blog/web site - (be sure to check out the Feechie Film Festival for some fun)

Make sure to check out all the other reviews of The Charlatan's Boy!!

Sally Apokedak
Amy Bissell
Red Bissell
Jennifer Bogart
Thomas Clayton Booher
Keanan Brand
Beckie Burnham
Jeff Chapman
Christian Fiction Book Reviews
Valerie Comer
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
April Erwin
Andrea Graham
Tori Greene
Katie Hart
Bruce Hennigan
Christopher Hopper
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Jason Joyner
Julie
Carol Keen
Shannon McDermott
Allen McGraw
Matt Mikalatos
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Nissa
Donita K. Paul
SarahFlan
Sarah Sawyer
Chawna Schroeder
Tammy Shelnut
Kathleen Smith
James Somers
Donna Swanson
Robert Treskillard
Fred Warren
Phyllis Wheeler
Nicole White
Elizabeth Williams
Dave Wilson

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Love Finds You Blog Party @ Season's of Humility





Amber at Season's of Humility is hosting a Love Finds You blog party starting TODAY!!! I just love this blog! Amber is very encouraging and inspiring. And I especially love her themed weeks.

You won't regret checking out her blog!!!! :) The Love Finds You party goes through the 10th.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Speech Therapy??

I'm hoping someone can give me some recommendations. My little boy has just started speech therapy. He's just over 2(26 months) and he only says a few words. He actually saw his speech therapist today, and she suspects him to be about a year behind right now overall. (As far as size, even more) Let me give you a mental picture of my little munckin. He's 30 inches tall and only 19 pounds. I've enjoyed my "little" boy, but i do want him to catch up. :)
I would love to get him some speech therapy-like toys that are reasonably priced to work with him. I saw a velcro folder(book)? that had farm animals in it. Imagine a manila folder, except thicker. I SOOOOO want to get this for him. Not only would it be great for teaching words, but it's a great quiet toy for church. I've looked and can't seem to find one like it, though. Anybody know what I'm talking about?
Does anyone have any recommendations at all, and not just for the velcro book. I've been looking around today and found a few things, but some of you may have some better ideas.

And just for fun here's some things I want to get for him.




Junior Helper Cleaning Set

I know this won't necessariily help him with speech, but he's always getting in trouble for stealing my broom and running around with it. (Only because he has the potential to break windows and so many other possibilities) I would love to have his own cleaning set for when I'm cleaning. His future wife will definitely thank me, too. :)



Pretend and Play:Rise and Shine Breakfast

I just saw this today at Muse Reviews and it looks SOOO cute. It has very good reviews, too.


Smart Snacks Counting Cookies

He's not even close to counting, but it doesn't hurt to keep trying.



Stand and Play Rampway

My hubby already has this for him for Christmas. So he does have plenty of "manly" toys. :)
My main concern is finding him some quiet, educational toys, especially if it could promote speech.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Nightingale by Susan May Warren



Summerside Press (November 1, 2010) 320 pages

Description:(from Amazon)
Wolfgang Jager has found himself on the wrong side of a
world war. Esther Lange is trapped inside a war of her own.
Can loving their enemies set them both free?
Wolfgang Jager grew up in Mason City, Iowa. So, what’s he
doing fighting for the Germans? If only his parents hadn’t
moved back to their native Germany when they believed
Hitler to be a hero. It’s almost a relief when he is captured
by the Americans and sent to a Wisconsin POW camp.
When the darkness turns to nightmare and Wolfgang is
accused of murder, can he stand firm in his faith - and
snatch the woman he loves out of the mouths of lions?
*Wolfgang?? Did I completely miss that part of the story or is that a misprint? Peter Hess is the only thing I recall him being called.

My Review: Lily/Rose
Ever since I saw Amber's review of Sons of Thunder, I knew I had to read one of Susan May Warren's books. So I jumped at the chance to review Nightingale and I wasn't disappointed in the least! I will admit war books are not my favorite. They're hard for me to read, and I like to escape to prairies and romance and all. The few war books I have read, though, I've enjoyed. (And I have TONS of respect for anyone having to do with the military)!
I waited to the last minute to start this one!! Thankfully, though, Nana wanted a sleep-over with my little boy, so I had more time for reading. If I hadn't liked this book so much, though, I never would have been able to read it that quick.(I know that's not that quick for most of you, but for me lately, it's a miracle!! It was so easy to fly through the story, though!
Esther and Peter's story just broke my heart. I could feel the helplessness they felt. Throughout the story, I kept telling myself that I would have ran, but I know it wouldn't have been that easy. Charlie's character somewhat confused me. I know he was an important part of the story, but I kept expecting him to actually play a bigger part in it. And I just loved little Sadie's character!(very cute name, too) :)I definitely recommend this book, especially to fans of war books! And even those who aren't. It was a great story.

*A huge thanks to Amy @ Litfuse Publicity for my review copy. I was not required to give a positive opinion.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Really Woolly Bible Stories by Bonnie Rickner Jensen



Thomas Nelson; Boardbook edition (November 2, 2010) 36 pages, Ages 4-8


Description:
Favorite Bible stories presented with the beloved Really Woolly art style help little children discover that God is faithful and true and that Jesus, The Good Shepherd, loves them.

This case-bound padded board book from the Really Woolly® brand by DaySpring® makes it easy to share important stories from God’s Word with little children, while teaching them about God’s shepherd-like love for them. Bible stories include Creation, Noah, Abraham, Moses, the Ten Commandments, Joseph, Samson, Daniel, David and Goliath, Jonah, Jesus’ Birth, Jesus Loves the Little Children, Jesus Feeds 5,000, Jesus the Good Smaraitan, Jesus Walks on Water, Jesus’ Death & Resurrection, The Great Commission. Little ones will love the charming Really Woolly® illustrations.

Illustrations by Julie Sawyer Phillips. Stories retold by Bonnie Rickner Jensen.


My Review: Rose
I love this book. It is just adorable. But more importantly, my little boy LOVES this book! It seems to be one of his top picks. The pictures seem to really capture his attention.
The stories or ryhmes are very sweet and written for the younger readers. There was one paticular sentence that might need a little explaining. "Joseph's coat-colorful, bright-Helped to put him in a plight." Plight isn't the most common of words! :) I totally understand its need for rhyming, though. Otherwise, it was very appropriate.
As far as the cover, the color scheme seems more targeted for girls, since it is a light pink. I've been keeping it in my little boy's diaper bag, though, so I by no means have let the color pink keep him from it.
I absolutely recommend this book for all children!

*A huge thanks to Thomas Nelson Publishers for my review copy. I was not required to give a positive review.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Website I Want To Share... And Another Movie

I really like the Christmas TV movies!! Some of them are actually favorites of mine. It never fails, though, that I end up missing most of the ones I wanted to see. I stumbled across this website, though, that lists all the holiday movies coming on starting Nov. 19th, along with the channel and time(Eastern time). Now I can make sure I TiVo the ones I want to see and fast forward through the commercials! :)

2010 TV Christmas Holiday Schedule - Specials & Movies

And here's one I TiVoed that I ended up really liking. (Sorry for all the movie reviews-There's even more I want to do!)I'm still on the couch a lot, so I'm just watching more movies than I normally do. :)

Avalon High on the Disney Channel


I don't have all the info like length and all. It just previewed a few nights ago, I think. It's also based on a book by Meg Cabot. I had never heard of it, but I did really like the movie. Keep in mind it is a TV movie, so those are always "lower budget." But I think all of the actresses and actors did very well! Sometimes, I can't say that on the Disney movies. I love that I can watch these types of movies, and KNOW there won't be any cussing. I'm still careful about other things in the movies. For example, I've learned that Nickolodeon shows and movies are much LESS conservative than Disney. I have found some of their "stuff" very inappropriate for my tastes. But this is a good, clean, fun movie!!!!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Few Movie Reviews

These are a few movies I've been meaning to review for awhile!!!



Letters to Juliet

Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Summit Entertainment
DVD Release Date: September 14, 2010
Run Time: 105 minutes


This was a very clean movie that I felt was appropriate for all ages. The only part that isn’t good is when a man holds up his middle finger. I didn’t hear any bad language, either.
While it didn’t end up being a favorite of mine, it was really sweet and definitely worth watching. It ended up being a bit different than I expected, but not in a bad way. The leading guy’s character wasn’t even close to what I expected of him. But again, very clean.





The Karate Kid

Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Sony Pictures
DVD Release Date: October 5, 2010
Run Time: 140 minutes

This movie is rated PG, but I would be careful with children watching this movie. I definitely don’t recommend it for younger viewers, but that’s just my opinion. There’s profanity throughout the movie. I think the main word used was the “a” word. There’s also fighting/bullying scenes that might be disturbing to younger viewers. I also feel this is the type of movie that children will try to imitate the fighting scenes.
As an adult, I didn’t really care for this version, either. I really wish they had used an older person for the leading boy(Jaden). He did a great job, but I felt a little weird watching a 12 year old boy workout and develop a 6-pack. I felt at times they kept the movie for an older character and at times did great with the new, younger age. There’s also a very serious scene about a wreck. I’m actually surprised this wasn’t PG-13.






How to Train Your Dragon

Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: DreamWorks
DVD Release Date: October 15, 2010
Run Time: 98 minutes

I LOVED this movie! I think it took over my #1 spot for favorite cartoon movie. I ended up watching this movie twice when I rented it. It really kept my little boy’s attention, and we were up late the night I rented it, so I put it in again. I’m so glad I did because somehow I missed the most important part of the ending. It was just so sweet. This movie is on the top of my list of movies to be added to my collection.
I didn’t hear or see anything that could be inappropriate. It is about Vikings, so there’s some “war” tools around, but I don’t think they were used in a way that would be scary or anything. I think I saw it was rated PG, because of language, but I didn’t hear any. Obviously, I highly recommend this movie!!
As a side note, when I was looking up the release date and all, I read a few reviews. I haven’t read the books, and didn’t even know it was based off a book until I read some reviews. I usually hate movies based on books. So, if you’ve read the books, you probably won’t like this movie. I haven’t, so I just adored it!!





The Polar Express

Rated: G (General Audience)
Studio: Warner Home Video
DVD Release Date: December 26, 2005
Run Time: 100 minutes

I added this one in, because it’s what me and my little boy are watching right now. It has did a great job of keeping his attention! He’s not feeling well after his vaccinations and flu shot(Well, flu mist, which I DO NOT recommend!!) He’s been sick and very needy this morning, so it’s great that it has kept him happy! :) When I used to babysit my nephews, they loved this movie, too. It’s one of my favorites. I really like the music throughout, and my absolute favorite scene is the “hot chocolate” song and dance!! I guess I was a bit in the Christmas mood, and the movie I want to watch won’t come out until Tuesday(Christmas Carol with Jim Carrey). I’ve been a bit surprised at how early Christmas decorations have went up this year. As soon as November 1st arrived, Christmas decoration pictures have popped up all over facebook. No offense to those of you who already have yours up!! We’re all different. My hubby won’t let me put mine up until the day after Thanksgiving. With a very curious 2 year old, decorations will be a bit different this year, but I’m still looking forward to it. (Not to mention, only 11 more days until we find out pink or blue). Yah!! :)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

In Every Heartbeat by Kim Vogel Sawyer




Bethany House (September 1, 2010) 352 pages

Description:
As three friends who grew up in the same orphanage head off to college together, they each harbor a cherished dream. Libby wishes to become a famous journalist, Pete plans to study to become a minister, and Bennett wants to join a fraternity and have as much fun as possible. But as tensions rise around the world on the brink of World War I, the friends' differing aspirations and opinions begin to divide them, as well. And when Libby makes a shocking discovery about Pete's family, will it drive a final wedge between the friends or bond them in ways they never anticipated?

My Rating: Iris/Rose (See details at the bottom of this post).

My Review:
This was the first book I’ve ever read by Kim Vogel Sawyer, but I’ve heard great things about her books. I wasn’t disappointed at all. In ways, I really connected with Libby, especially at the beginning. I totally understood her getting along with the guys better!! Before I got married, I just didn’t connect with very many girls. Of course, I’m married now, so I'm the opposite. :) But going to college was a great disappointment to me. I spent one year in a community college and one semester at a university in Tennessee. People are so mean, and I’ve always lived a sheltered life, so it broke my heart to see how cruel some of the girls were. And I went to a Christian college!! Needless to say, I quit college, and brought my broken heart home. But reading this story brought back all those memories.
I just cheered inside when a certain person had revenge taken upon them. I know! I shouldn’t be that way. :)
I loved the romance scenes in this book!! They were so sweet! I just wish I could bottle up the “new couple” feeling and keep it forever.
The only thing I didn’t exactly agree with is a certain person accepting God into their life. It doesn’t completely and immediately transform a person. At least I’ve never witnessed that. I’ve been a Christian 17 years, and believe me, I wish it immediately transformed me into a patient person. It didn’t, though. Getting rid of those bad qualities takes tons of practice and even more prayers. It’s HARD!!!!
I also want to say that the book isn’t completely about college. The story actually took a completely different turn than I expected, and touched upon some very serious subjects. And while I was looking at some of the book recommendations in the back, I noticed that one of the characters in this book has a story of her own. Maelle’s story is in My Heart Remembers. I do plan on reading it at some point. Not reading it in no way affected In Every Heartbeat, though.

*A huge thanks to Jim Hart @ Bethany House Publishers for my review copy. This is my honest opinion.


Here's my new rating system:

Blue+ Rose- Permanent place in my library. If anything happens to my copy, I will replace it.

Rose- Loved it! A Must Read(This is the equivalent of 5-star)

Iris- Liked it. Maybe not a keeper, though.

Carnation- It was okay.

Dandelion- “Weed” this one off your reading list.

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Vigilante's Bride by Yvonne Harris




Bethany House (August 1, 2010) 297 pages

Description: (from Amazon)
Emily McCarthy needs either a job or a husband. Since teaching posts for women are few and far between, Emily reluctantly accepts the mail-order-bride offer placed in the Chicago Daily Tribune by wealthy Montana rancher Bart Axel. On the way there, her stagecoach is held up. Luke Sullivan never intended to “rescue” Emily; he simply wanted the money Axel had cheated his father out of years ago. However, when Luke sees Axel’s fiancĂ©e, he knows Emily has no idea of the kind of man she is about to marry, which leaves Luke with only one option: take Emily with him.

My Review:
4 stars-I'm trying to come up with a more creative rating system, because I haven't even been using one, but for now I'll just use stars. :)

I would have liked to have seen more from Emily’s point of view, or about her, I guess. Most of the story seems focused on Bart and Luke’s fight. (I actually think guys would enjoy most of this story). I still recommend this book. There just seemed to not be as much romance as I would have liked.
I love stories with Native Americans involved. I have Cherokee in my blood, so I always really enjoy reading about Native Americans, to an extent. There’s a lot of involvement from the Crow in the story. I didn’t really care for the scalping scenes and all that. I find all that gross. I guess that’s why I typically don’t watch movies, except cartoons, involving Native Americans.
I also love stories with orphanages in them, and this story has one of those, too. I would have loved to have saw more focus on it, too.
This book had so many parts that could have easily made it a favorite of mine, but I think the lack of romance kind of kept it from its full potential for me, but I still really enjoyed it and recommend it. And, I do want to point out there is romance, it just doesn’t seem to be the main focus.
Also, this isn’t the typical, I know everything that’s going to happen, type of book. (Parts of it, but not most of it).

*Thanks to Jim Hart @ Bethany House Publishers for my review copy. I was not required to give a positive review.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Naomi and Her Daughters by Walter Wangerin JR




Zondervan (August 17, 2010)288 pages

Description: (from Amazon)
*As you'll see in a moment, I don't agree with this description.

From master storyteller Walter Wangerin, Jr. comes this familiar biblical saga told in a fresh, transfixing way. You'll feel you've never heard it before! Melding historical accuracy with imaginative detail, Wangerin uses the biblical books of Judges and Ruth to explore themes of love, faith, grief and community set against a backdrop of war and political instability. The widow Naomi grieves the deaths of her two adult sons after the shocking murder of a beloved adopted daughter, while pondering her responsibilities toward her Moabite daughters-in-law. Ancient Israel is in chaos. When her daughter-in-law, Ruth, begs to return to Israel with Naomi, events are set in motion that will change the course of history. But wait...this isn't the tame, flannel graph story you heard in Sunday School. In the tradition of Anita Diamant's The Red Tent and Elissa Elliott's Eve: A Novel of the First Woman, Wangerin imbues his tale with strong female characters and an earthy realism that gives the timeless Old Testament narrative so much power. You'll find echoes of contemporary issues throughout: deceit, heartbreak, loss, war, and, of course, the power of love. Naomi's combined strength and tenderness becomes the pivot upon which a nation turns; her decisions ultimately lead to the founding of the family lineage of Jesus Christ. Breathtaking descriptions, shocking violence, and inspirational courage make this spellbinding novel by a beloved award-winning author a story you won't soon forget. It's the perfect novel for your book group, and a satisfying read for those who love thoughtful biblical fiction.

My Momma's Review:
*I want to note that my momma read this book and I somewhat interviewed her. Therefore, this review is written by me, but is mostly her thoughts and some of my own. She gave me a few passages to read to show me what she meant with her thoughts.

I'm shocked at this book!!!!!! The story of Ruth in the Bible is a beautiful love story and this has been turned into a perversion of God's Word. The author should have completely changed the names of the characters and not even had this book in connection to the Bible.

The characters in this book are not the same characters in the Bible. For instance, Naomi is a God-fearing woman in the Bible, but in this story she is portrayed as hateful and evil. My momma said the way the author portrays her reminded her of the Hunchback of Notre Dame. Boaz was a good man, but he is portrayed as rebellious. Ruth is portrayed as slutty. The author makes everyone's lives full of misery.

The story goes back and forth so much that it is very confusing. Also, the book was just absolutely gross!!!! The scenes are extremely detailed. (birth, killing, war). The language is not that of a Christian book. It contains a couple of words of profanity and uses God's name in vain.

I've never given a book one star, until now. I don't recommend this book to anyone. I'm surprised that Zondervan even published it. I'm extremely disappointed.

*I recevied this book from Zondervan in exchange for my honest opinion.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pursuit of Justice by Diann Mills



Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (September 7, 2010) 384 pages

My Sister's Review:
Bella Jordan works for the FBI and is asked to do an assignment on some murders in Texas. Murders that are suspected to be in connection with the "Spider Rock Treasure." Although Bella is reluctant on taking this assignment, she does so in hopes of getting a promotion.
Bella is afraid the past will begin to haunt her even more, and as she begins to learn during her investigation, she was right. Bella's life will bever be the same. This book takes us on a journey through Bella's struggles with the past, along with struggles others around her were facing as well. Everyone has battles they are fighting. So, even though Bella took this assignment hoping for a big job promotion, she learned a lot along the way. She will be dramatically changed.
Will Bella be able to go through with the investigation with a clear mind? Can she handle the stress of dealing with her past in the process? And did she ever find out if the murders were involved with the treasure?
I do hope you all read this book and find out. It is very entertaining and exciting.

*5 stars

*Thanks to Tyndale House Publishing for this review copy. A postive review was not required.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Waiting by Suzanne Fisher Woods




Revell (October 1, 2010) 311 pages

Description:
Jorie King has been waiting for Benjamin Zook to return home to Lancaster County so they can marry. When news arrives that Ben has been killed, Jorie finds comfort in the friendship of his brother Caleb. That friendship ripens into love, and it seems that they are meant to be together. But when the unexpected happens, their worlds are turned upside down once more. Will Jorie trust God to lead her into the arms of a new man? A multifaceted story about complex people living the simple life, The Waiting is the second book in the LANCASTER COUNTY SECRETS series. Readers will find themselves transported into the world of the Amish and deeply invested in these wonderful characters.

*I want to point out that I don't like this desciption at all! Because of it, I was a bit confused at the beginning, and even reread a some of the story. I did quickly catch on as to what was going on, but it still gives away part of the story, and I think it would have been more powerful to discover everything as you read. But this is the description on the back of the book.

My Review:
This is the book that officially broke my reading “dry spell.” I read it in less than 2 days!! Yah! That’s almost a miracle for me lately. That shows just how much I enjoyed this book. I couldn’t wait to see what happened. When I started the story, I mostly knew what would happen. I’ve read enough that I can pick up what will most likely happen in a story. Don’t get me wrong, I love predictable stories. I usually get through those the fastest, just to see HOW it happens. But, the closer to the end of this book, the more I truly didn’t know what would happen! So the author did a great job!!

I loved Epraim’s character!! I didn’t become a vegetarian until I was 16, but I struggled with those same feeling he did about animals. I live in the South, so while I never actually witnessed an animal being killed for food, I heard plenty of stories, and it made me sick. Everyone eventually learned to keep that stuff quiet around me.:) I’m SOOOOOO grateful my hubby has never enjoyed hunting! So, Ephraim was definitely my favorite character, and I’m thankful he has such a big part in the story.

The “letter” scene broke my heart. The older I get, the more I cry!! I think the wives out there can relate to the sadness of the scene. That’s something we just don’t want to have to think about.

When I first finished this book, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. I liked the ending, but at the same time, I almost wished the events leading up to the ending were a bit different. I don’t think I’m giving away anything, but if you’re worried, look away from the next sentence. It’s almost like, since person X is definitely out of the way, then I can be with person Y. I wish that decision was made a little earlier. And then there was a goodbye scene about 3/4th of the way through. I didn’t get why that was there. It confused me a bit. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized as far as one of the characters, there wasn’t much else that could have happened to keep the story realistic, so I guess ultimately, I’m happy with everything. I definitely recommend this The Waiting! I don’t think you will be disappointed with it!!

*I received this book as part of the Litfuse Publicity Tour. This is my honest opinion.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Memory Between Us by Sarah Sundin




Revell (September 1, 2010)439 pages

Description:
Major Jack Novak has never failed to meet a challenge--until he meets army nurse Lieutenant Ruth Doherty. When Jack lands in the army hospital after a plane crash, he makes winning Ruth's heart a top priority mission. But he has his work cut out for him. Not only is Ruth focused on her work in order to support her orphaned siblings back home, she carries a shameful secret that keeps her from giving her heart to any man. Can Jack break down her defenses? Or are they destined to go their separate ways? A Memory Between Us is the second book in the WINGS OF GLORY series, which follows the three Novak brothers, B-17 bomber pilots with the US Eighth Air Force stationed in England during World War II.

My Review:
I think A Memory Between Us is a great book for all types of readers. There's lots of battle and war scenes and details(nothing gross), so if you like that type of thing, you'll love this book. If you're like me, and don't like that stuff so much, you'll still enjoy this book, because it doesn't interfere with the story.
I had saw a review while I was reading A Memory Between Us where someone didn't like Jack's character. I was very surprised at the time, but he grew to not be my favorite hero. I still loved the book, but I did find it hard to like him. May was probably my favorite. I'm so glad she played such a big role in the book.
My heart went out to Ruth's character. I can't imagine having to make the decisions she had to make for her family.
I really enjoyed this book!!

*I recieved this book from the Litfuse Publicity review program in exchange for my honest opinion.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

"Big Red" Holy Bible -Contemporary 3-D Art




Thomas Nelson (October 12, 2010)1152 pages

Description:
The same "Big Red" Bible that you've trusted for 25 years . . . now with updated, fresh, 3-D art for today's video-game generation.
A full-text of the International Children's Bible translation with bright Red cover and ALL NEW contemporary art, that was created especially for children ages 6 to 12"Big Red" has been updated with an all new collection of beautiful full color pages, illustrating treasured Bible stories. Inside the type is big and readable for this age group. Kids will love having a Bible to take to church that's easy-to-read and understand!

My Review:
This is a fun Bible for kids. I felt it would be more appealing for boys with the colors and all, but that doesn’t mean girls won’t like it. The only issue I have with this Bible is the cover. For the age category that the Bible targets, I would have liked to have seen a sturdier cover. There’s just going to be more wear and tear with kids, so I think a thicker cover would have been more appropriate.
I also really like the translating so younger kids can understand God’s message better. I do encourage you to be careful with different translations. Sometimes they misrepresent what the original version said. I have several versions of the Bible. KJV and NKJV are probably my favorites. I like ESV, but one time in Bible class, I was asked to read a verse, and I did, but I was asked to read the rest of the verse. I had to say, “That’s it.” The ESV had cut half the verse off. NIV is another one to be very careful with. Obviously, I didn’t read through the entire Bible to check every verse in this version, so all I can tell you is to be careful with it. I didn’t notice any specific verse, though. The chapters that I compared with the NKJV were translated to my satisfaction.
The pictures are wonderful. I think they are very appealing for kids.
Overall, the cover would be my only hesitation with buying this Bible.

*I was provided a review copy free from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Friend in the Storm by Cheryl Ricker



Zondervan (August 6, 2010) 96 pages

Description: (from Amazon)

Author Cheryl Ricker reaches into the depths of human suffering from the perspective of Christ speaking to the reader in soothing poetic words. This elegant gift book will reach the heart and soul of anyone facing difficult circumstances, leading them through their suffering into the arms of a faithful loving God. Each two-page spread includes a poem, as well as reflections written by Christian leaders, along with healing Scripture verses. An elegant foil-stamped fabric binding makes this the perfect gift.

My Review:

A Friend in the Storm is just what I needed right now. When I first agreed to read this book, I anticipated it being for someone with a death of a loved one, a sick friend or relative, etc. I really didn’t think it would be a book for me at the time, but it turned into thinking it was written just for me.
I have really struggled lately with my pregnancy. I have EXTREME sickness!! I’ve turned my dream of having 3 kids into only wanting 2. I don’t have energy for anything, and I‘ve been really depressed about the whole thing! I can’t imagine going through this again, and my pregnancies have not been what women dream of when they picture being pregnant. (All you single ladies, it’s not like this for everyone!! I’ve heard way more great stories than bad). :)
Unfortunately, I haven’t relied on God like I should have, and this book has reminded me to do just that. I’ve always relied heavily on God, but recently I’ve drifted away from bearing my soul to Him. I have truly been blessed and I have to look past the bad to the blessing!!
A Friend in the Storm has lots of poems, Bible verses, and quotes. It would be a perfect gift for anyone and everyone, even yourself, because we all struggle at times. I don’t think there’s a person out there who hasn’t had some type of trial in their life. This book has been a blessing to me and I’m very grateful to have had the chance to read it!!

*I recieved this book free from Litfuse Publicity in exchange for my honest opinion.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Venom and Song by Wayne Thomas Batson and Christopher Hopper




Thomas Nelson (July 13, 2010) 384 pages

Amazon page

Description: (from Amazon)
Now in the strange realm of Allyra, the Seven young lords confront a traitor in their midst, a creature-infested forest, teenage fears and doubts, inexplicable mysteries . . . and the Spider King himself.

In a rigorous training program that makes boot camp look like Disneyland, the Seven must quickly learn to harness their own powers, work as one, and elude the Spider King's spies. But as the ancient Berinfell Prophecies are revealed, the Seven soon discover their training might not be enough. To stop the Spider King they must also unravel the secrets of the Rainsong, travel to a creepy, trap-infested fortress to find the legendary keystone, and lead the Berinfell Elves in an attack on the Spider King's own turf. An epic adventure with powerful messages about true strength, forgiveness, and working together as one body that will grab the attention of intermediate readers.

Learn more about The Berinfell Prophecies at www.heedtheprophecies.com.

My Review:
I will admit I had a really hard time getting into this book. This is the second in the series and I didn’t read the first one, The Spider King. There was tons of characters, and for that reason I HIGHLY recommend reading The Spider King first. I think that would have really helped me with this book. It seems to pick up right where the first one leaves off.
It has a Lord of the Rings feel to me, so this is a great book for boys(girls, too-I just try to point out boy books, since they’re harder to find).
Amazon has the target age range at 9-12 years old. I greatly disagree with that. I have 3 nephews in that age range, all good readers, one advanced, and I wouldn’t give this book to them to read quite yet. Definitely later, but not yet. There’s nothing inappropriate at all in it. I just think that MOST kid’s in that age range would have a hard time reading it and really understanding. I think teens and older would enjoy this book the most. Again, that was at Amazon. That may not be the actual target age range.
Overall, it’s a great, adventurous book!

*In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.


Be sure to check out all the other reviews on this tour.

Angela
Brandon Barr
Keanan Brand
Amy Browning
Beckie Burnham
Morgan L. Busse
Melissa Carswell
Jeff Chapman
Valerie Comer
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
April Erwin
Tori Greene
Ryan Heart
Bruce Hennigan
Timothy Hicks
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Jason Joyner
Julie
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Dawn King
Leighton
Rebecca LuElla Miller
John W. Otte
Donita K. Paul
Chawna Schroeder
Tammy Shelnut
James Somers
Kathleen Smith
Rachel Starr Thomson
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Jason Waguespac
Dona Watson
Phyllis Wheeler
Jill Williamson


Wayne Thomas Batson – http://enterthedoorwithin.blogspot.com/

Christopher Hopper – http://www.christopherhopper.com/blog/

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Nativity Collection by Robert Morgan




Thomas Nelson (October 5, 2010) 128 pages

Description:
Step into the wonder-filled world of Christmas with this endearing collection of original stories.

Even though he has two million copies of books in print, Robert J. Morgan writes only one short story each year—an original work to share with his church on Christmas Eve. These Christmas stories are now available in one beautiful volume for your own enjoyment. You’ll meet a shy, bookish boy who finds himself center stage in the Christmas pageant, a Pennsylvania family whose car disappears on December 24th, and a mountain man trapped in a blizzard with his grandson on Christmas Eve. From six different settings, you’ll meet characters you feel you’ve known your whole life, who’ll make you laugh one minute and cry the next. So this year, and the years to follow, gather your family and experience the true spirit of love at Christmas through this timeless gift of story.

My Review:
This is a cute book to get you in the Christmas spirit. I’m one of those people who believe Christmas should be celebrated year round, and I think the stories in this book are great for the whole year. They remind you what it’s all about.
I got this book for my momma, because she absolutely loves Christmas books, but I really enjoyed the stories, too. I think it would be a perfect gift for anyone who loves Christmas stories, even if it’s a gift for yourself!
Each set of pages have part of the story on one side and a Christmas picture on the other. Each story is pretty quick to read, too, so it’s also a perfect coffee table book! It’s slightly bigger than what I normally think of a gift book, but still not as big as a regular book.

*Thanks to Thomas Nelson Publishers for my review copy. This is my honest opinion.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Coffee Shop Conversations by Dale and Jonalyn Fischer



Zondervan; (April 13, 2010) 240 pages (Click here for Amazon page)

My Review:
Coffee Shop Conversations is a wonderful book that teaches you how to talk to others about God. I’ve saw too many times others trying to bring people to Christ by being pushy and it never works. I’ve heard of a Christian telling someone else that they are going to Hell if they don’t do this or that. That breaks my heart, because unless a child is involved, I’ve never heard of that approach working. Dale and Jonalyn teach you how to talk to others and accept them no matter what beliefs they have. It doesn’t matter if they are Wiccan, Buddhist, or any other religion, they want to be respected just like Christians do. God made us all with the ability to make out own decisions, and form our own views, and I think the world is a beautiful place!

Dale and Jonalyn also teach you how to read the Bible. They show how too often we take Bible verses out of context. I know we’re all probably guilty of that. They give examples and stories throughout the book.

I want to mention that Coffee Shop Conversations is narrated by both Dale and Jonalyn, but if one of them is talking, their name is put in () beside the word “I”. They even tell you this at the first of the book, but it still somewhat confused me at first. I quickly caught on, though.
I also want to point out that I don’t agree with everything in the book, as far as religious views and all. I still really recommend this book, though.




Meet the authors of Coffee Shop Conversations, Jonalyn and Dale Fincher.

Dale Fincher and Jonalyn Fincher speak and write nationally as a husband-wife team through Soulation, a non-profit dedicated to helping others be appropriately human. They are energetic and experienced public speakers, and their previous books include Living with Questions and Ruby Slippers. They make their home in Steamboat, Colorado, with corgis, snowshoes and a colorful library of books.

Learn more about Jonalyn and Dale at http://soulation.org/.

Be sure to check out all the other review for Coffee Shop Conversations. Click here for a complete list.

*Thanks to the publisher for my review copy. This is my honest opinion.

TWO WINNERS WILL RECEIVE $25 GIFT CERTIFICATES TO STARBUCKS!

1) Leave a comment on the tour post to be entered into a drawing for a $25 Starbucks Gift Certificate.

2) For up to two additional entries, follow the Finchers on Twitter (http://twitter.com/soulation) AND/OR tweet about this contest using the hashtag #soulation. Let us know you did in the comments of the tour post*.
3) For another entry, "like" the Finchers on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/soulation) and tell us in the comments in the tour post*.

*Please note the contest is AT THE TOUR POST, NOT MY POST. :)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Author Valia Lind



Click here for Simplicity's page on Amazon.


I recently learned of a new author named Valia Lind. She's first time published author of a book called Simplicity. It's a Christian Romance Adventure. She's holding a giveaway right now at her blog Words Are Things..My Journey As A Writer.

This would be the perfect chance to win her book and help spread the word about Simplicity. I haven't read it yet, but I do hope to in the near future. :)

Blogfest Winner!!!!!!




I couldn't seem to figure out how to do a form for my contest or how to number my comments, both which would have made this much easier!! I ended up numbering on a paper and listing the entries, including the extras. I ended up with 516. Then I had the number randomly drawn at Random.org. The winner is ..................




Number 97.................Hannah(from Taunt Society)





I've contacted Hannah and I will give her 72 hours to respond, and if I don't hear back I'll pick another winner. Thank you so much to everyone who visited! I'm amazed that I got so many entrants this weekend!

And Congratulations to Hannah!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Blogfest 2010!!!!!!!!!!!!! Christian Fiction and Nonfiction Giveaway-Pick 3




The giveaway: There will be one winner who can pick any 3 books from the list. (These are my review copies, so they've been read by me).

The books:
Love On A Dime by Cara Lynn James
Claire Knows Best by Tracey Bateman
Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart by Beth Patillo
Angel Song by Sheila Walsh and Kathryn Cushman
Chosen by Ginger Garrett
Intercessors Arise by Debbie Przybylski
Bittersweet by Shauna Niequest

This giveaway will end the Sept. 12th @ midnight Central Time.

Mandatory Entry: Simply leave a comment telling me which books you would pick. If you win, I'll give you the chance to change your mind. Also, please leave your e-mail, so I can contact you if you win. Open International.

Extra Entries:
+1 Follow my blog.
+1 Follow my sister's blog, Dreamer03.
+1 Follow The Christian Scroll.

You can leave these entries in one comment or separate, whichever is easier for you.

Next on the list is About Happy Books, so check out their giveaway.

For a full list of all participants, vist A Journey of Books.

Outlive Your Life by Max Lucado



Thomas Nelson (September 14, 2010) 240 pages

Description:
These are difficult days in our world's history. 1.75 billion people are desperately poor, natural disasters are gouging entire nations, and economic uncertainty still reigns across the globe. But you and I have been given an opportunity to make a big difference. What if we did? What if we rocked the world with hope? Infiltrated all corners with God's love and life? We are created by a great God to do great works. He invites us to outlive our lives, not just in heaven, but here on earth. Let's live our lives in such a way that the world will be glad we did. (Please note: International Bloggers will receive International Edition.)

My Review:
This is probably one of my favorite books this year! It will truly light the fire under you to get involved. I love the examples Max gives and the stories. I hate to say that this is the first book that I can remember reading by Max, but I really enjoyed it!
This book also deals with some issues I feel very strongly about. When Haiti had the earthquake and there were several ways Americans were trying to raise money, it broke my heart at all the comments left on Facebook about how mad people were that we were helping another country and not taking care of our own. I wish people would think about things before they post it!! I don't for a second believe that if two starving children were standing in front of these people, one American and one not, that they would send the one from another country away starving. God loves us all the same! We all suffer and we all need each other. This book encourages you to get involved no matter who it is or where they're from. We are a very spoiled nation and noone should be suffering, as far as poverty goes. I think if we open our eyes, there's so much we could do. I include myself in that. I curl up in my own little world, because it's easier. It's easier to pretend like there's not anyone suffering, but I need to help! The saying, "Ignorance is bliss," only applies to the one that's not suffering.
This book will really make you think about your life. I always look around my house and think about how I want to change it. I want new cabinets, new paint, new vehicle. I, and most Americans, have so much more than the poverty stricken nations ever dream about.
Some of the stories and examples Max gives will bring tears to your eyes. Some will make you laugh, and some are the biggest wake up calls!
Needless to say, I highly recommend this book. The world would be such a better place if we all did SOMETHING!

*A huge thanks to Thomas Nelson Publishers for my review copy. This is my honest opinion.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Boy Who Changed The World by Andy Andrews




Thomas Nelson (August 31, 2010) 40 pages: Ages 4-8

Description:
Did you know that what you do today can change the world forever?

The Boy Who Changed the World opens with a young Norman Borlaug playing in his family’s cornfields with his sisters. One day, Norman would grow up and use his knowledge of agriculture to save the lives of two billion people. Two billion! Norman changed the world! Or was it Henry Wallace who changed the world? Or maybe it was George Washington Carver?

This engaging story reveals the incredible truth that everything we do matters! Based on The Butterfly Effect, Andy’s timeless tale shows children that even the smallest of our actions can affect all of humanity. The book is beautifully illustrated and shares the stories of Nobel Laureate Norman Borlaug, Vice President Henry Wallace, Inventor George Washington Carver, and Farmer Moses Carver. Through the stories of each, a different butterfly will appear. The book will end with a flourish of butterflies and a charge to the child that they, too, can be the boy or girl who changes the world.

My Review:
The Boy who changed the world is a wonderful book that I’m so glad I can add to my little boy’s collection. It’s a perfect bedtime story or devotional book. It’s a quick read, so most older kid’s would be able to sit through the whole thing. I love that this book actually gives your child a good lesson. It teaches that no matter who you are, you’re special and you could change the world. I think it could make every child feel like a superhero.

I haven’t read The Butterfly Effect, but this book teaches the same lesson. Every thing we do matters. Each little thing could end up being huge and helping thousands of people. I’ve always believed if children’s dreams came true, the world would be such a better place. I remember as a child wanting to help so many people, but as I got older and older I learned the importance of having to have money for those dreams.
As always, when I finish my review, I look at some of the others. I truly think some people misunderstand the meaning of the story. The point of this book is everything we do COULD make a huge difference. Going for a walk could infuse your child with a love of nature. Feeding your child breakfast could make them happier. Without it, they could be ill, resulting in a fight. The list is absolutely endless! I truly believe that every second of your life is an opportunity for something! I really don’t think the book is saying everything you do will change the world, but that everything you do holds the possibility.

The pictures are beautiful. I love how on most of the pages, there is a butterfly somewhere in the picture. This book was much bigger than I anticipated. It’s one of the larger sized children’s books. I don’t think you would be disappointed with this book. It’s a very sweet and encouraging story.

*Thanks to Thomas Nelson Publishers for my review copy. This was my honest opinion.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Doctors in Petticoats by Mary Connealy




Barbour Books; Sophie's Daughters Series edition (July 1, 2010) 320 pages

Description: (from Amazon)
Doctor Alex Buchanan is a wanted man--a deseter from the army stalked by a bounty hunter--but he'd rather be dead than inflict any more pain on his patients. Beth McClellan is idealistic, believing the nursing training she received will be enough to help her serve as doctor to her home town in West Texas. When Alex and Beth meet in a stagecoach accident, they find that they work well together. But are his demons and her dreams too deeply rooted for either of them to pay the price required for a future together?

My Review:
I was hanging on the edge of my seat though most of this story. I’ve heard such great things about Mary’s writings, and I wasn’t disappointed in the least!! I love how all the women are so tough, and don’t hesitate to take care of themselves. From reading reviews, I saw that some of the characters are the same from one of Mary’s other series. That definitely makes me want to go back and read them all even more!

From the way the beginning of the story goes, I was very surprised with the turn of events. I enjoyed most of the characters, and can’t wait to find out what’s going on with them. There were a couple I didn’t like and I wonder if I might eventually start to like them.

I felt sorry for Alex at the beginning and didn’t really like Beth, but that didn’t last long. You can’t help but love all the women of Doctors in Petticoats. And I love how Mary has added marriage lessons to the story. I need all the reminders I can get!

I absolutely can’t wait to read Wrangler in Petticoats, which comes out in October. It will continue with the story of Sally. As I was Reading Doctors in Petticoats, I was hoping the next one would be about Sally. I highly recommend this book. I loved it!!

*Thank you so much to NetGalley for my review copy. This was an e-book. I wasn’t required to give a positive review.

Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist




Zondervan (July 23, 2010) 256 pages

Desciption: (from Christianbook)
Change can be frightening or exhilarating, but it's always challenging---and educational. Drawing on her own recent experience of pain and chaos, Niequist explores nuggets of wisdom and growth she learned the hard way---through loss and transition. Her warm, lyrical reflections will help you perceive the blessings of change in your own life.

My Review:
When you write about things in your life, people are going to be judgemental! It doesn’t matter how perfect or un-perfect your life is, people will judge you. It comes with the territory of wife and mom. I learned that very quickly. That being said, I try really hard not to be judgemental, but I don’t always succeed. I think a lot of people who read this book might give Shauna a hard time. I guess I somewhat had a hard time with parts of it. I’ll write about those first and end with the good, because I do think the good outweighs the bad.

Shauna talks about not having money to spend, but then they seem to take lots of trips. I don’t think her idea of money being tight is the same as mine. Therefore, I don’t think some people will be able to relate to this book. They also seem to eat out a lot and have lots of parties. They may save their money very wisely and use it for special occasions, though. I don’t know. But we haven’t ever flew anywhere, so I guess in my mind they may seem a little spoiled.
I would have liked to have seen more of God in the essays. He’s there, but sometimes it seems like He’s forgotten in some of them. You can tell Shauna has great faith, though. She even fasts for a few weeks at one point.

Now to the good parts. I love that Shauna is honest. None of us are perfect, and she makes me feel better that I never made my own baby food. I bought the jars. The “perfect” mom would have and I felt guilty about that. She took the guilt away from me for never, ever having a house that is 100% clean. We all have our “specialties” and the things we don’t do so well. I have to say, I’m still hunting my specialty!! None of us can do it all.
I think throughout the story Shauna tries to emphasize the fact that even if we don’t have money to spend, do what it takes to keep friends around you. Even if we have a potluck meal at our house that isn’t clean, that’s okay. Again, we don’t have to be perfect. She comments that even if your friends live across the country, mark a weekend and fly out and get together. That’s not realistic for most of us, but I understand her point. Maybe I could get more creative and use my budget skills to come up with an alternative.
There are times, especially with her miscarriages that just broke my heart. I would never wish that on anyone, and I just wanted to wrap my arms around her.
Shauna is just like the rest of us struggling through life. I’ve always said that no matter how rich or poor or what bad things are happening in your life, there’s always someone that is better off and someone who is worse off. That doesn’t take away from your suffering knowing that, though. For example, if I lost one family member and this other person lost five, it’s still going to hurt just as much knowing it could have been worse. But at the same time, you might get more sympathy from the person that is better off than you, and less from the one who is worse off. I think that will very much apply to this book.
Overall, I think this was a good book, but it wasn’t my favorite. After I read a book and write my review, I like to look at what other people wrote in their reviews, and on Amazon, Shauna has 31 five-star rating and only 5 that are under that, so I do encourage you to read those, too, because this could end up being the very book that changes your life!! We’re all different.

*Thanks to Zondervan for my review copy. This is my honest opinion. (This copy was an Advanced Reading Copy).

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Intercessors Arise by Debbie Przybylski



NavPress (March 15, 2008) 224 pages

Description: (from Navpress)
Intercessory prayer connects God’s power with the needs around us. This type of prayer needs to be cultivated with passion and discipline.

Using teachings that build on each preceding concept, author Debbie Przybylski shares how to expectantly and purposefully wait on God and identifies the obstacles that keep us from drawing close to His heart.

My Review:
This is a wonderful book to help inspire and encourage your prayer life! Debbie gives lots of examples of people and how prayer helped them. She also has Bible verses and examples of prayers that you can say. She ends each chapter with a personal application, where she gives you Bible passages to read, questions, challenges, and just ways to put the chapter into practice.

There’s probably not anyone who agrees 100 % with another person, so like all books, there’s some things I don’t necessarily agree with, but it’s still a wonderful tool to have.

There’s one passage about how we have to listen to God and really understand what He is saying. I couldn’t help but laugh because it was so funny. She tells of a translator interpreting for an American.
The American said, “What happened was so funny that it tickled me to death!” The translator asked him to repeat himself several times, and then hesitantly translated, “ It was so funny that I scratched myself until I died.”

I think this book is set up to be a chapter a week Bible study, and there’s even exercises that require multiple people, like a church class. This would still be great for an individual study. For me, I like it as a chapter every 2 to 3 days. That gives time to answer the questions honestly and really soak in the information. For review purposes, I read it a bit quicker than that this time.

There’s lots of great advice in Intercessors Arise. If you need a prayer boost, you would definitely benefit from this book. Every time I picked it up, I started singing, “Soldiers of Christ Arise.”

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NavPress Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Encouragement Needed :)

No, not me. ;)

S. Dionne Moore over @ The Borrowed Book could use some encouragement and a good laugh!!! I can't seem to find my picture that would guarantee her a laugh, so y'all go take a shot at it. 25,000 words in 6 days!!! She deserves some love and encouragement!

Monday, August 30, 2010

I've Got Something To Celebrate Giveaway Week @ Reading To Know

Carrie, at Reading To Know is having a "I've Got Something To Celebrate" Giveaway Week. Not only is this her birthday week, but she's celebrating having a new little one on the way. How exciting!!!! Be sure to check it out.

Click here to go to Reading To Know.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Radiant Darkness by Emily Whitman




Greenwillow Books (April 28, 2009) 288 pages

Description: (from Book-A-Million)
He smiles. "Hello."

It's a deep voice. I can feel it reverberate in my chest and echo all the way down to my toes.

I know I should leave, but I don't want to. I want to keep my senses like this forever. I'm all eye, all ear, all skin.

Persephone lives in the most gorgeous place in the world. But her mother's a goddess, as overprotective as she is powerful. Paradise has become a trap. Just when Persephone feels there's no chance of escaping the life that's been planned for her, a mysterious stranger arrives. A stranger who promises something more--something dangerous and exciting--something that spurs Persephone to make a daring choice. A choice that could destroy all she's come to love, even the earth itself.

In a land where a singing river can make you forget your very name, Persephone is forced to discover who--and what--she really is.


My Review:
I felt a little odd reading this book. I've always been intrigued by mythology, but I really don't know much about it. I don't think I had ever heard the original story of Persephone, so this book was new to me. It wasn't really my cup of tea, but if you like mythology and all, you'll probably enjoy this book.

Parental Concerns:
I saw this book on a "clean book" list at another site, so I was a little surprised that is had the "d" word over and over. I also wouldn't really recommend it for young readers. There's a scene that talks about throwing baby pigs into a snake pit as sacrifices. There's not any sexual scenes, but they are implied very slightly. Overall, it was pretty tame compared to most young adult books, but I still wouldn't consider it clean.

Winner of Hot and Forgotten




I almost forgot about this!! I'm so sad. I used the list randomizer at Random.org and had with extra entries a total of 31. The winner's name ended up in both the 1st and 2nd place spot.


The winner is.....................












Christ is Write








Congratulations!! Be looking for my e-mail. If I don't hear back in 72 hours, the person in the 3rd slot will be the winner.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Love, Charleston by Beth Webb Hart




Thomas Nelson (August 31, 2010) 320 pages

Description: (from Amazon)
Charleston's past is full of romance. Does Anne's future hold the same?

Charleston's Anne Brumley has long dreamed of love while rining the bells at St. Michael's, but those dreams are beginning to fade. Her sister Alisha and cousin Della encourage the thirty-six year old to move somewhere new for a fresh start.

Widower Roy Summerall has happily ministered to the country folks of Church of the Good Shepherd for years. So why would the Lord call him and his daughter away to Charleston--the city that Roy remembers from his childhood as pretentious and superficial? Surely the refined congregation of St. Michael's won't accept a reverend with a red neck and a simple faith.

Meanwhile, Anne's sister, Alisha, struggles with her husband's ambition, which seems to be taking him further from their dreams of a happy family. And Cousin Della's former fiance has returned to Charleston, making her wonder if she chose the wrong path when she married her gifted but unemployed-artist husband.

Family, friendship, and faith converge in a beautiful story about how God's transforming love works in the Holy City of Charleston.

My Review:
This book ended up being SO much more than I anticipated! It deals with real issues.
Love, Charleston is written in third person perspective, but the chapters alternate between Roy, Della, Lish, and Anne.
For me, Lish’s story stands out so much more than the others. She’s a mom to 3 and suffers from severe depression. I don’t think I’ve ever read a fiction book about depression, but it’s such an important issue. I’m so glad Beth included this in her story! I think it proves how so many husbands are in denial or don’t understand the symptoms. I just wanted to smack Lish’s husband upside the head! I’ve always said that when these women are on the news for doing something to themselves, their children or husband, that I guarantee you they begged for help, but maybe the signs weren’t understood or taken seriously. I would even suggest this book for husbands as far as Lish’s story. Being a mom is SO HARD!!! I sometimes don’t think husbands fully grasp that. (I know there’s some wonderful husbands out there. I’m not husband bashing here. I’m very grateful for all my husband does for our family). :) It’s just such an important issue! I think that all moms suffer from depression in varying degrees.
It also really stresses the importance of friends and family. Everyone, especially moms need to be surrounded by a loving network.
This book also goes on to deal with the effects of the recession, adultery, and also includes a sweet romance. It took me a few chapters to get into it, but I really enjoyed this book! I do think that the older readers will enjoy this book more than the younger ones, but I still recommend it! :)

*A huge thanks to Thomas Nelson Publishers for my review copy. This is my honest opinion.

Have you enjoying reading any of Beth's work or just want to leave her an encouraging comment? I'm sure she would enjoy hearing from you! :)

Beth's e-mail address: bwh@bethwebbhart.com

Beth's website: http://bethwebbhart.com/

Beth's facebook page

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Plain Jayne by Hillary Manton Lodge



Harvest House Publishers (January 1, 2010) 300 pages

Description:(from Christianbook)
Jayne Tate loves her life as it is-living in a big city, working as a reporter for a fast-paced newspaper, and dating a guy who knows nothing about her past. When her father passes away though, she's forced to take another look at what she wants out of life. After losing out on the big career opportunity she was hoping, for she decides to escape to Oregon Amish country, seeking solace and maybe a big story.
Even in this land of buggies and bonnets, Jayne finds life more complicated than she expected. Can she persuade herself that her growing friendship with the mysterious and handsome Levi Burkholder is just about research? And what's a latte-drinking, laptop-using, motorcycle-riding reporter to do when this new life starts to change her?

My Review:
Many times Amish stories paint them to be perfect. While I love parts of the Amish lifestyle, like working together and the simplicity, there are many things that I don’t agree with. Plain Jayne gives you the good, along with the bad. I love that Hilary gave both sides.
I do want to point out that this isn’t really an Amish story. While they do play a big part in the story, for the most part scenes don’t even take place at the community. (Some do, though). So for those of you bored with that type of book, this might be a bit different. I've still only read the one Amish book, so I'm not overly qualified to decide. :)
I can’t wait to read Simply Sara, which will be coming out September 1st. It will be from Sara’s perspective. Plain Jayne was from her perspective. If you like your endings to be a surprise, don’t read the description of Simply Sara before you’ve read this one. It will giveaway the ending. Although, part of it shouldn’t come as a surprise!
From my understanding, this was Hilary’s debut book, so I’m very impressed, and can’t wait to see what else she writes!