Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Back to the Books Giveaway Hop



The Back to the Books Giveaway Hop is hosted by I AM A Reader, Not a Writer and Buried in Books. There's over 300 participates this year, so there's a good chance you'll win something! ;)

I decided to give away a fun, clean book I just finished reading, The Dashwood Sisters Tell All by Beth Patillo.




-U.S. only
-Ends Sept. 7th
-Following is NOT a requirement. If you like clean reads of all types of genres and/or Christian Fiction, I would be thrilled to have you along!!!!

To enter, simply leave me comment letting me know a clean read you would recommend. Make sure you leave a way for me to contact you. That's it!

For more giveways, click HERE or on the picture at the top. You'll be taken to the main page where there are LOTS of blogs listed with a giveway. Have fun!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Top Ten Books That Caught My Attention in August

Top Ten {Tuesday}


This list is what was formerly my wishlist that I was posting at the first of the month. I like it this way better, so I'll post the top ten books that caught my attention the last Tuesday of every month.

These are the books I always attempt to find at my library. If they don't have it(and they almost never do), I end up putting it on one of my swap site lists.

It was really hard to narrow it down to ten this month. I've saw lots of books I'd like to read!




The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

This one just looks really cool!





Maud Hart Lovelace's Deep Valley: A Guidebook of Mankato Places in the Betsy-Tacy Series by Julie A. Schrader

This one was actually brought to my attention in June(I think), but after reading Emily of Deep Valley it was brought more to my attention.




On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness: Adventure Peril, Lost Jewels, and the Fearsome Toothy Cows of Skree (The Wingfeather Saga)by Andrew Peterson

This is the first book in the series, and I'm getting to review the third book The Monster in the Hollows (Wingfeather Saga) as part of the Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Tour later this month. I'd love to read the first two books before I read the third, but I don't think that is going to happen.




Heist Societyby Ally Carter

Curious!




Small Town Sinnersby Melissa Walker


I saw this one as part of a giveaway. I didn't win, by the way. ;)




Centauriad #1: Daughter of the Centaurs by Kate Klimo


This one just looks really different and interesting.






Distant Waves: A Novel of the Titanicby Suzanne Weyn

I think the Titanic aspect of this story sounds intriguing.




Let Them Eat Cake (French Twist, Book 1)
by Sandra Byrd

I enjoyed one of Sandra's young adult books so much, I really want to see how I like this series.





Shadow Castle: Expanded Editionby Marian Cokrell

I've heard this is an awesome book, and I have to find out for myself.





There You'll Find Meby Jenny B. Jones

I loved Save the Date earlier this year, so Jenny is on my radar. This one comes out in October.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Clean Read Roundup(August 29th, 2011)

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If you have a clean read, old or new, please feel free to link it up!

Rules:
-No profanity(or very little-mild)
-No explicit sex scenes
-As long as the violence isn't really detailed or gross, it's fine.

If you have any other requests for rules let me know.

Any and all genres welcome!!!!

Have fun!!!


Bound By Guilt by CJ Darlington


Tyndale House Publishers (February 21, 2011) 416 pages

Description from Amazon:

Roxi Gold has been shuttled from one foster home to another for most her life. She longs for a family and will do anything to fit in even if it's against the law. Soon she's traveling the country in an RV, stealing rare books from unsuspecting bookstores. She knows it's wrong, but if she refuses, she'll be put out on the streets.
Police officer Abby Dawson has seen the worst of society, and not just at work. Her ex-husband wrested her daughter away from her in a bitter custody battle. The job she once loved has become a chore, the world isn't any safer, and there's no joy in her life.
One fateful night a man's innocent blood changes both Roxi's and Abby's lives forever. One searches for justice; the other finds herself on the run until a first edition of The Great Gatsby catches up with her. Will the power of forgiveness set them free, or will they both remain bound by guilt?

My Review:

This is one emotional read!! Please don't read Bound By Guilt until you've read Thicker Than Blood. You will be greatly depriving yourself of emotions that I think should be felt when reading Bound By Guilt. CJ's writing has shocked me more than any fiction I think I've ever read. In both books, I've been so shocked at something, I had to walk away from the story just to digest what happened or what was revealed. I found myself wanting to cry just thinking about it later!

While this book has several of the same characters from Thicker Than Blood, there are a several new characters brought into the mix. The story mostly centers around Roxi. My heart just completely went out to Roxi. It's so heartbreaking that her story is true for so many teens out there! It really makes you think about all the foster kids out there.

My favorite new character was Jan, though! Jan and her husband, Keith own a ranch close to May(a character from Thicker Than Blood). They've lost their only son, and this excerpt is one of my favorite lines ever!

"It was the quickest of flashes, but it made me realize my grief wasn't doing me or Keith-or anyone-one lick of good. Trae was in heaven. Even if he could come back, he wouldn't. In fact, if anything, I should've been envious he'd gotten there before me. I realized Trae isn't in my past. He's in my future."


Truly amazing !!

While I don't read a whole lot of the hard, emotional reads, I will definitely reserve a spot in my reading for any of CJ's future novels. And I do hope there are many more!

Friday, August 26, 2011

God Gave Us You by Lisa Tawn Bergren


WaterBrook Press; Brdbk edition (July 19, 2011) 22 pages

Description from Amazon:
When a charming polar bear cub climbs into bed one night, she asks her Mama a very important question:

“Where did I come from?”

As Mama bear tucks her youngest cub under the quilts, she lovingly explains, “We wanted you very, very much, and we are so very glad because…

“God gave us you.”

Perfect for bedtime, naptime, storytime or anytime, God Gave Us You builds children’s self-esteem and assures each one that he or she truly is a treasured gift from the Lord.

My Review:

I've got one of the other books in this series and really liked it! I was very excited that this one is a board book. Although Grasshopper takes pretty good care of his books, the board books are still better suited around my house.

We both liked the pictues(mostly) in this book. When I was trying to read through it quickly on my own, Grasshopper kept pulling it from me, because he wanted to see the pictures.

Other than that, unfortunately, I found the book to be a bit weird. If you get this book, your child definitely needs to fully understand that he/she grew in your belly. Grasshopper will be 3 next month, but he's behind with his comprehension. Even though he has a 4 month old brother, he doesn't have a clue that he came out of my belly. Don't get me wrong! I don't find growing a baby weird! The book just had an overall weirdness feel to me.

For example:

"Every night, I prayed for you, my special child.
I prayed that your bones would be straight and your heart would be strong. But most of all, I prayed that someday you would love God."


If not for the bones being straight part, that would have been beautiful.

If I have the opportunity, I will definitely try out the other books in this series, but I didn't care for this one.

*I was provided a review copy through the Blogging for Books program in exchange for my honest opinion.

Still More Stories From Grandma's Attic and Treasures From Grandma's Attic by Arleta Richardson





David C. Cook; Reprint edition (August 1, 2011) 160 pages

Description from Amazon:

Arleta Richardson’s beloved Grandma’s Attic Series returns with Still More Stories from Grandma’s Attic and Treasures from Grandma's Attic, the third and fourth books in the refreshed classic collection for girls 8 to 12. These tales recount humorous and poignant memories from Grandma Mabel’s childhood. Combining the warmth and spirit of Little House on the Prairie with a Christian focus, these books transport readers back to a simpler time to learn lessons surprisingly relevant in today’s world.

Richardson’s wholesome stories have reached more than two million readers worldwide. Parents appreciate the godly values and character they promote. Children love the captivating storytelling that recounts childhood memories of mischief and joy. Ideal for home, school, or church libraries, or to give as a gift certain to be treasured.

My Review:

These books are just precious! They are amongst the cutest books I've ever read!

I didn't realize until I was well into the first book that these are actually reprints. Arleta Richardson passed away in 2004. When I found this out, it made the stories even more dear to me.

The books consists of several short stories about Arleta's Grandmother's childhood and many of the lessons she had to learn the hard way. I found them all quite humorous!

My favorite was probably the one called, "High Society". Mabel(Arleta's grandmother) and her friend Sarah Jane get to see just how different life in the country and life in the city really is.

"We have a pretty hard life don't we, Ma?"

She straightened up and looked at me with amazement.

"Now why would you say a thing like that?"

"Well, Sarah Jane's cousin Laura is visiting from the city, and she says we do. Not just us O'Dells," I hastened to add, "but everyone who lives out here in the country. She says she doesn't know how we live without servants to do the work."

Ma went back to her kneading. "I can tell her if she's really interested."

"That's what Sarah Jane's ma told her too. But Laura says she thinks we must be terribly unhappy. Do you suppose we should be feeling bad and we just don't know it?"


This was an especially sweet story to me and it get better as it goes along.

There's also 4 full page black and white drawings in each book that really adds charm!

As content as I am with my precious little boys, it's books like these that make me hope for a little girl one day! ;)

*A huge thanks to Audra Jennings at B&B Media Group, Inc. for my review copies in exchange for my honest opinion!



Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Emily of Deep Valley by Maud Hart Lovelace




Harper Perennial Modern Classics; Reprint edition (October 12, 2010) 336 pages

Description:

Emily Webster, an orphan living with her grandfather, is not like the other girls her age in Deep Valley, Minnesota. After graduation, she longs to join the Crowd and go off to college—but she can't leave her grandfather alone at home. Resigning herself to a "lost winter," Emily nonetheless throws herself into a new program of study and a growing interest in the local Syrian community, and when she meets a handsome new teacher at the high school, Emily gains more than she ever dreamed possible.


Emily of Deep Valley was my introduction into the world of Maud Hart Lovelace. In the past, I've enjoyed Amish books because they bring me into a world of simplicity. I've tired of Amish books at the moment, so I'm thrilled that these books bring me into that same world of simplicity!

I connected very easily with Emily. I could too easily see myself having the same feelings and thoughts through a great deal of the story. I think the big difference would be her great debating skills. My mind freezes up comepletely on display that way. Also, she lives with her grandfather, and I lived with my parents before getting married. I connected so much with Emily that even though this is my first book to read of Maud Hart Lovelace, I can't imagine it not being my favorite. I guess I'll have to wait and see.

The writing is so just so simple and sweet that it sometimes comes off a bit corny. ;) I still find it incredibly charming, though!

"Climbing to a stool at the soda fountain, she caught a glimpse of an attractive-looking girl and smiled, and the girl smiled, too, looking more attractive than ever. Emily saw, with amazement, that it was herself. The new headress gave her a winning air of maturity."


Christmas is celebrated through a small portion of the book, and it now has me smelling my Apple Spice candles that always come out during the holiday season.

"In the little house across the slough there were holidayish things to be done. Emily picked greens from her own hillside and wove them into wreaths for the windows and made a decoration for the table of hemlock boughs and pine cones. She had long since baked her fruit cake. Now she baked Christmas cookies and a mince pie, too, for although they always went to Aunt Sophie's for dinner, she liked to have a mince pie in the house."


My copy(Thanks Annette) of Emily of Deep Valley has extra information about the characters in the back. Lovelace based the characters of the Deep Valley books on actual people, and I find that incredibly fascinating! I also find myself wanting to know more!!

I'm also really looking forward to the Maud Hart Lovelace Challenge hosted by A Library is a Hospital for the Mind in October.

I absolutely adored this book!!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Monday Clean Read Roundup(August 22nd, 2011)



If you have a clean read, old or new, please feel free to link it up!

Rules:
-No profanity(or very little-mild)
-No explicit sex scenes
-As long as the violence isn't really detailed or gross, it's fine.

If you have any other requests for rules let me know.

Any and all genres welcome!!!!

Have fun!!! I know it isn't Monday yet, but I just wanted to make sure everything worked fine. ;)


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Clean Read Roundup

Just a quick note to let y'all know on Monday I'm starting a new linky for clean reads. I forgot how hard making a button can be! I think I made 5 before finding one that could halfway work with the size. It's over in the top left corner.

You don't have to have a "clean read" blog to participate! If you happen across a clean read, though, I'd love for you to share it. The link-ups can be old or new.

What makes a clean read?

Well, for this link-up, I'd prefer it have no profanity(or very little, at least). No sex scenes, either. I'm not as picky on violence, unless it's really detailed and gross, so use your best judgement on that subject.

Again, this is just a quick note. I'll have it more organized Monday. Hopefully! ;)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Thicker Than Blood by C.J. Darlington



Tyndale House Publishers (December 17, 2009) 400 pages

Description from Goodreads:

Christy Williams finally has her life on track. She’s putting her past behind her and working hard to build a career as an antiquarian book buyer. But things begin to unravel when a stolen Hemingway first edition is found in her possession, framing her for a crime she didn’t commit. With no one to turn to, she yearns for her estranged younger sister, May, whom she abandoned after their parents’ untimely deaths. Soon, Christy’s fleeing from her shattered dreams, her ex-boyfriend, and God. Could May’s Triple Cross Ranch be the safe haven she’s searching for? Will the sisters realize that each possesses what the other desperately needs before it’s too late? A stunning debut from the latest Christian Writers Guild winner.

Mt Review:

Thicker Than Blood ended up being much darker than I anticipated! It's definitely not my normal type of read.

I think it's important to know that this is not a romance book. It is a beautiful story of forgiveness on many different levels.

Christy was a bit different than most leading ladies in Christian Fiction I read. She's a chain smoker and an alcoholic. I don't drink or smoke, so I didn't exactly connect with her. I did have sympathy for her and liked her well enough, though. Towards the end of the book, something is revealed that disturbed me so bad I had to walk away from the story a bit. There are parts of the story that are hard to read! It's definitely not light and fluffy.

The bad guy of this story was the meanest I've ever read about. As I mentioned ealier, this isn't my normal type of read, though.

I found the antique books part of the story absolutely fascinating! I just adore old, antique books! I could spend days in any type of bookstore, but especially an antique bookstore. C.J. really brought Dawson's Book Barn to life in my mind. I could smell the books!

I really enjoyed most(minus the hard parts ;) ) of this story and I can't wait to read Bound By Guilt!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Under a Fairy Moon by T.M. Wallace (with Giveaway)




Brownridge Publishing (July 19, 2011) 222 pages

Addy is a fourteen year old girl who thinks her neighbor, Mrs. Tavish, might be a witch. Despite this, she enjoys spending time in Mrs. Tavish's garden. One day, she meets a boy named Conner, and together they discover that the garden is actually a Median Realm.
With the help of Entuia, a pixie, they learn they must play a game of Fairy Chess, which really isn't like the game of chess we know, to return to their world. They learn more about themselves in the process, along with a bit of heartache.

This was just a fun story! It really reminded me of the Goosebumps series from when I was a kid. There's definitely a creepy factor, but not too creepy. Under a Fairy Moon is just a lovely book for young readers!
For awhile, I had stopped reading fairy stories. It seemed so much of the same thing. Under a Fairy Moon was definitely different! It has some of the well known things about fairies, but there were still unique plot points.

T.M.'s writing just has a beautiful quality about it!

""Come here, human child." It was a command.

Addy Coaxed her jellied legs to obey. She looked deeply into the beautiful and terrifying face of the Fairy Queen, strangely drawn to the queen's amethyst eyes. They conjured images of fresh fields of lavender lit by moonlight: fields swathed in midnight magic that begged to be explored by bare-foot, would-be princesses. Addy breathed in the heady scents of lavender and thyme and was carried away for a moment, spell-bound."


If you would like to read the first chapter, you can do so at Literarily Speaking.

I'm so excited about this author AND this publishing company. When you enter The Brownridge Publishing website, you are welcomed with the phrase, "Good, wholesome books." They are definitely on my radar!

Because I'm so excited about the author and publishing company, I want to help spread the word. I'll be giving away my lovely copy of Under a Fairy Moon to one lucky reader.

Rules:
-U.S. only
-Leave an email address(spam-free edition), so I can contact you if you win.

Mandatory Entry:
-Just leave a comment relating to the book, author, review, or just letting me know you want to win. :)

Extra:
-Visit T.M. Wallace's website and let me know something you learned about her.
-Advertise this giveaway in any way you want. (facebook, blog, twitter, etc.)

I'll pick a winner August 31st. Good luck!!

If you would like to see what others on this tour are saying, click HERE.

*I was provided a review copy through Pump Up Your Book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Princess Curse by Merrie Haskell




HarperCollins (September 6, 2011) 336 pages

Description from Amazon:

Twelve princesses suffer from a puzzling (if silly) curse, and anyone who ends it will win a reward. Reveka, a sharp-witted and irreverent apprentice herbalist, wants that reward. But her investigations lead to deeper mysteries and a daunting choice—will she break the curse at the peril of her own soul?

My Review:

The story is told from the point of view of Reveka, a thirteen year old girl. The Princess Curse is a really interesting mix between the story of The Twelve Dancing Princesses and the myth of Hades and Pershephone. With this story, though, you get an outsider's view of the Dancing Princesses. It's suppose to be somewhat of a mystery through the first half of the book, but if you know the story at all, you'll know what is going on.

The humor in the book seemed to be targeted for a young boy at times. There's constant talk of people "farting"(I hate that word, by the way. I didn't even want to put it in the review!). ;) Also, with words like "poop" and telling that a character was scratching his backside, I think the book will most likely be enjoyed by a younger audience. That said, there are some aspects of the book that are probably better understood by an older audience. While Reveka is mature for her age in many ways, you can definitely see her immaturity shine through quite often. I very much enjoyed the book despite all this! Especially when I got halfway through, I just kept turning the pages to see what would happen!

There's really not a lot of romance in this book. A bit, but not much. Reveka is actually trying to earn a dowry so she can become an herbalist in a convent. Her mind is not on romance.

I don't know if the ending is just one of those that is suppose to leave you hanging a bit, or if there will be a sequel. I really hope that there will be a sequel!! I will be snatching it up quite quickly!

If you like fairy tales and retellings, I definitely recommend you give this one a try!

Was it clean?

Very much. There's was no profanity at all, very little romance, no violence that I recall. Overall, I think it's a great book for all ages, and I'm so grateful that another author has decided to provide the world with another great, clean read. :)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

It Couldn't Just Happen by Lawrence Richards




Thomas Nelson; Reprint edition (August 2, 2011) 256 pages

Desrciption:
This four-color, Gold Medallion Book Award winner is a perfect tool that offers solid, biblical answers to some of the tough questions kids ask about evolution and our world.

“Did Earth begin with a ‘Big Bang’ cosmic explosion?”

“Does science contradict the Bible?”

“What happened to dinosaurs?”

“Is there life on other planets?”

“Did we evolve from apes?”

“What makes my body work on its own?”

Kids are daily exposed to the theory of evolution by the media and public schools. It’s not safe to assume that your kids will reject that theory. It’s up to us as parents and Christian leaders to make sure our children know the truth about the creation of the world. With thousands of evidences to prove He created and sustains the universe, It Couldn’t Just Happen will fascinate kids with fun activities and examples of God’s marvelous works.


My Review:

This is such a great resource to have! I believe with all my heart that God created the universe. But, it's great to have proof!

I decided to read this book because I really don't know if my children will reject the theory of evolution. I've saw someone raised as a Christian accept evolution. I want my children to have their minds properly equiped with the information they need to push the devil out if he tries to creep in there! (And I know that ultimately that is their decision, not the parents).

I find science absolutely fascinating in small doses. Too much, though, and I become quite bored. This book is no different. If you're like me, it's not one you would just sit and read cover to cover(you might)! It is incredibly interesting, though.

The look and format of the book reminds me of a school textbook. This is definitely one that will go on our future homeschooling bookshelf as a science supplement. I've saw a few reviews claiming some wrong information was printed in the book. I won't even pretend that I retained a whole lot of science facts from school to say what is wrong and right. Despite that, I still think this is a great book to have around!

*I was provided a review copy through the Booksneeze program in exchange for my honest opinion.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

My First Hands-On Bible





Amy @ Hope is the Word hosts the weekly meme, Read Aloud Thursday.


Tyndale Kids (July 1, 2011) 416 pages (Ages 4-8)

I love that this storybook uses actual Bible text. So often when Bible stories are re-written, the author adds, takes away, or totally re-writes what actually happened using common misconceptions about stories. For example, the three wise men. The Bible never said there were 3. There could have been 2, maybe 10. We don’t know. And, Jonah and the whale. The Bible said it was a big fish. It may or may not have been a whale at all. The list could go on and on!!
I didn’t notice any of the common misconceptions while reading through My 1st Hands-On Bible. I’m not a Bible Scholar, so I’m not saying you won’t find any!

There are 85 stories included, and each one has “handprints” that alert the parent/child of an activity to do or something to say.

For example:

Exodus 20: 7

“You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God. The Lord will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name.”

Then the handprint with that verse says:

“God said not to do things that show we don’t respect him. Shake your head no three times.”

Numbers 13:3

“So Moses did as the Lord commanded him. He sent out twelve men, all tribal leaders of Israel, from their camp in the wilderness of Paran.”

Handprint:

“How many spies can you count on this page.”

There’s all kinds of different things that accompany the handprint.

Then at the end of each story, there’s 3 various types of activities, a prayer, and a “Jesus Connection.”

One of the activities at the end of “Wise Men Visit Jesus” is a Treasure Hunt.

“Play a game with your child by taking turns hiding a special object. The person who hides it will hold a hand up like a twinkling star to guide the other person to the treasure. Discuss how God sent a star to show the wise men how to find Jesus, the greatest treasure of all.”


My First Hands-On Bible is like a Bible storybook with a parent/teacher's guide.

I’m not overly familiar with the New Living Translation Bible. I know that with each translation there’s good and bad. So far, I have loved what I’ve read of it, though. This edition of the Hands-On Bible is obviously for younger children. There’s an edition for older kids, too. I’m planning on getting my hands on one of those, also. I’m thinking one of the two would make perfect gifts for my nephews and niece!

In case you couldn’t tell, I highly recommend this book! ;) I LOVED it!!!!!

*I was provided a review copy from Tyndale in exchange for my honest opinion.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Top Ten TV Show I've Enjoyed Through the Years

Top Ten {Tuesday}


I really don't watch a whole lot of TV these days. Most of these shows were favorites from my younger years. And, it does not include children's shows. That's a whole different Top Ten list! ;)
Some of my links show up for certain seasons, but for the most part, I'm not too partial to a specific season. I like them all!





I Love Lucy: The Complete Series

If I could only watch one show, I Love Lucy would be it! I absolutely adore this show! I grew up watching Lucy and Ethel, since my momma also adored it. Love it!!!!!!




The Andy Griffith Show - The Complete First Season

This is my second favorite show. I grew up with it, too. It's just such good, wholesome fun, and there's lots of parenting lessons sprinkled in the episodes!


Perfect Strangers: The Complete First and Second Seasons

This was probably my all time favorite show as a young person. It's been years(and years) since I've seen it, so I'm curious if I would still like it. I have watched a show that I liked back in the day and wondered what I was thinking!




Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman: The Complete Series

My whole family adored this show. It was one we tried very hard not to miss.



Family Matters: The Complete First Season




Matlock: Sixth Season

I haven't saw this show in many years, but I'd love to watch it again!




18 Kids and Counting: Season 2

I DVR episodes and watch them some mornings when I'm up early with Firefly. It's only been this year that I've started watching The Duggars, but I love these shows!!





In the Heat of the Night



CHiPs: The Complete First Season







7th Heaven: The Ninth Season

I came back and added this one in, because my list just isn't complete without it!! I watched it until the end!




And here's a few close runner-ups:




Boy Meets World: The Complete Fourth Season





The Munsters: The Complete Series




Walker Texas Ranger - The Final Season

My favorite part of watching this show was the theme song at the beginning. Yes, the one sung by Chuck Norris! Jonathan thinks I'm absolutely crazy for liking that song. It's been going through my head since writing this post, though.




The Golden Girls - The Complete First Season

It's only been in the past few years that I saw this one for the first time, but I really like it!