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. :)


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
Carol Keen
Shannon McDermott
Allen McGraw
Matt Mikalatos
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Donita K. Paul
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.