Monday, December 24, 2012

A Christmas Home by Greg Kincaid



Crown (October 30, 2012) 240 pages

My Rating: 4/5 stars

My Thoughts:

This is the second book that features the dog, Christmas. I do think that I would have liked this book much better if I'd read the other one, but I still enjoyed it.

Todd is the leading man of A Christmas Home. He was a younger character in A Dog Named Christmas, but he's 24 in this story. He has disabilities, and finds great comfort in dogs and his new friend, Laura. When he learns his town's local shelter(which he works at)is closing due to financial needs, he's also on the search for a new job, and really struggles with which direction he needs to go.

This is a perfect book for the dog lovers out there! It's cute, and will help get you in the Christmas spirit. Of course, like all Christmas novellas, it's still a perfect read for anytime of the year. I typically stay away from animal movies and stories, simply because I KNOW I will end up crying. This one actually wasn't too emotional. It does have its moments, but its not too bad. Although dogs are a huge part of the story, Todd still holds center stage in A Christmas Home.

Overall, this ended up being a sweet and sometimes funny Christmas story!

*Thanks to the Blogging for Books program for sending me a review copy in exchange for my honest opinion!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Sacrifice by Cayla Kluver


Harlequin Teen; Original edition (October 23, 2012) 448 pages

Source: Pre-order from Amazon

My Rating: 4.5/5 stars


Description:

This is not the time for the fight to end. Now is when the fight will begin. This is the time to regain what has been lost.

Alera

Queen of a fallen kingdom, secretly in love with the enemy.

Shaselle

Daughter of a murdered father, rebel with a cause.

One lives behind the former Hytanican palace walls and walks the razor's edge to keep the fragile peace in her beloved homeland. The other slips through the war-torn streets, seeking retribution for her family's tragedy, following whispers of insurgency.

Both face choices that will separate them from those they cannot help but love. As their stories intertwine, a conspiracy ignites that may end in slavery or death—or lead to freedom anew, if only each can face what must be sacrificed.


My Thoughts:

*DO NOT READ THIS IF YOU HAVEN'T READ LEGACY AND ALLEGIANCE! THERE WILL BE SPOILERS FOR THE FIRST TWO BOOKS!

It's always hard on the last book in a series. Readers become so invested in the characters that if things don't work out like they want, it really makes a negative impression of the whole series...at least for me.

I think Kluver did an amazing job of wrapping everything up in Sacrifice. I'll admit I prefer more closure with my books, but other than that, I was mostly very pleased.

In Allegiance, we get to see Alera and Steldor's relationship strengthening throughout, so for me, it was a HUGE letdown to find out none of that really mattered as far as the love triangle goes. I was worried, because I still didn't like Narian or Alera all that much going into Sacrifice. There was no reason for worry whatsoever! Within the first chapter, I already felt guilty that I was ever hoping Alera and Steldor would end up together. (Don't take that as negativity towards Steldor in any way AND I still don't like how things were worked out with the whole marriage/annulment thing in Allegiance). Alera gets to be with the man she loves in Sacrifice! It didn't take long at all for Narian to grow on me, and Alera even won me over. Sure, she still makes some horrible decisions that made me mad. She's grown tremendously over the course of the series, though, and it's obvious! Every time she stood up to Cokyrian forces, I wanted to cheer for her. She shows her backbone at the perfect moments!

My favorite part of this book? Shaselle! When I heard that the chapters would be alternating between Shaselle(Baelic's daughter) and Alera, I was a little worried. Shaselle is barely mentioned in the previous books, so it's only through her chapters that we really see who she is. I wasn't really sure what the point of her chapters were going to be. Once again, though, there was no need for concern! Her added perspective made this my favorite book of the series in most areas. I immediately connected with her! I found this a bit strange, because in many ways, she reminded me of Alera. Alera had to work hard at making me like her, but Shaselle won me over without much effort.

Overall, I think this series covers a pretty wide variety of reading interests! And, once again, I was pretty pleased with the ending!

Just as a side note:

Good grief, this author doesn't mind killing off her characters! I was starting to wonder if anybody would be left at the end. I actually prefer a bit more "happily ever after" in that regard! I guess it does add a "real" factor to the whole series, since there is a war and all, though.


Content:

There's an instance of premarital sex. It's not detailed. (It's a pretty tricky situation in some aspects, so some of you may disagree. The premarital part is my opinion). There's also profanity, although mostly mild. Bit** and Bas**** are the most commonly used words that I recall. My huge disappointment was when G**Da** was used(once)! I was greatly upset about that, to be perfectly honest.

There's a good bit of violence! I'm a wimp(!!), but some of it was too much for me. If not for the violence, this series would remain on my keeper shelf, with the help of a tiny bit of white-out for language. As much as I enjoyed it, though, due to the violence, I won't likely re-read it.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Pregnancy Cravings



Since I haven't officially announced on my blog.......




It's a BOY!!!!!




We're excited! 3 boys? That's a pretty special blessing. ;) We can't wait to meet our newest little guy. Well, we can(and hope, Lord willing) to wait about 12 more weeks.

I've decided to go with Bumblebee as #3's nickname. So, from now on that's what I'll refer to him as.



(This one was taken by our wonderful photographer during our fall pictures. It's one of my favorites, since it shows a glimpse of brother bonding).


I'm curious to know what you craved during your pregnancy(s)!

With Grasshopper, I craved meat, mainly chicken. In case you're new around here, I'm a vegetarian, so that was quite odd for me. I did ignore that craving, though. The closest thing I came to craving otherwise was Taco Bell's Nacho Bell Grande, with beans, of course. At that time, there wasn't a Taco Bell in our town, so we'd have to drive to the next one over to fulfill that craving.

With Firefly and now with Bumblebee, I craved(am craving) oranges, which is a pretty great thing to crave, especially during cold season! Jonathan brought home an 8 pound bag of navel oranges one day, and was afraid they'd go bad. Ha! I think they might have lasted a few days. I picked up another bag a couple of days ago. I'm hoping to make a batch of blueberry-orange muffins with a couple of them before they disappear.

How do you like to eat your oranges?




I like to cut the peeling completely off with a knife and then eat only the pulp. I can't stand eating all the extra stuff in there.



It is pretty messy. I always have a hand towel nearby when eating them.

So! Let's hear those pregnancy cravings! Anything unusual? My cravings have remained pretty boring, but I'm okay with that! :)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Anger Workbook: An Interactive Guide to Anger Management by Les Carter, Ph.D. and Frank Minirth, M.D.


Thomas Nelson; Reprint edition (October 30, 2012) 256 pages

Source: Booksneeze Review Program

My Rating: 5/5 stars

My Thoughts:

I think anger is one of those things that people are afraid to admit that they struggle with. I think almost all(if not all)of us struggle with it. We simply deal with it in different ways. Some have learned to deal with it in healthier ways than others. We're all imperfect, selfish creatures! I never realized I had anger issues until I got married and had children. You really HAVE to learn the art of being unselfish when you have to share EVERYTHING! "Me" time? Ha! It ceases to exist. ;) Don't get me wrong. I love my children. Sometimes they are so sweet and precious that it takes my breath away that I've been blessed with these amazing little beings. Other times....well, they are a great lesson in anger management.

I really like the list that this book starts out with. It gives you a real picture of just how many faces anger takes on.

A few examples from the list:

-When I am displeased with someone, I may shut down any communication or withdraw.
-I feel inwardly annoyed when family and friends do not comprehend my needs.
-When facing an important event, I may obsessively ponder how I must manage it.
-Sometimes I walk in another direction to avoid seeing someone I do not like.
-When discussing a controversial topic, my tone of voice is like to become persuasive.
-I do not easily forget when someone does me wrong.
-Sometimes my discouragement makes me want to quit.
-Although I know it may not be right, I sometimes blame others for my problems.
-At times I struggle with moods of depression or discouragement.

That's just a few from the list! I like it, though, because it proves that anger isn't just about flying off into a rage. I think that stereotype is why people are afraid to admit they have anger.

I've made it no secret that I don't care for "workbook" type of books. From the title, it's obvious that this is a workbook. I do make exceptions when it's a subject that I care about. There is a great deal of journaling, but surprisingly, not as much as I expected.

I think the best thing about this book is that it is written for EVERYONE! Young, old, male, female. Everyone!

Overall, I think The Anger Workbook: An Interactive Guide to Anger Management is a pretty awesome book and I definitely recommend it!

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

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Starflower by Anne Elisabeth Stengl


Bethany House Publishers (November 1, 2012) 352 pages

Source: Pre-order from Amazon

Description from Amazon:

When a cursed dragon-witch kidnaps the lovely Lady Gleamdren, Eanrin sets boldly forth on a rescue mission...and a race against his rival for Gleamdren's favor. Intent upon his quest, the last thing the immortal Faerie needs is to become mixed up with the troubles of an insignificant mortal.

But when he stumbles upon a maiden trapped in an enchanted sleep, he cannot leave her alone in the dangerous Wood Between. One waking kiss later, Eanrin suddenly finds his story entangled with that of young Starflower. A strange link exists between this mortal girl and the dragon-witch. Will Starflower prove the key to Lady Gleamdren's rescue? Or will the dark power from which she flees destroy both her and her rescuer?

My Rating: 5/5 stars

My Thoughts:

As if I wasn't looking forward to another installment to the Tales of Goldstone Wood series enough, when I discovered that Eanrin was one of the main characters in Starflower, my patience was even thinner as I waited. Eanrin has been my favorite character throughout the series. He's arrogant and selfish, which would make you think I'd dislike him, but that's not the case. I've discovered through my reading that arrogant men hold a special place in my reading heart....as long as their heart of gold shines through. Eanrin's definitely shines through! He's an immortal human/cat. Sometimes he's human, sometimes cat. I found myself snickering quite often at parts including him in both of his forms.Eanrin is also completely blind in the first three books(I can't remember now if he even played a part in Veiled Rose or not). In Starflower, we get to go back to a time when he has eyesight.

Despite my love for Eanrin, though, Starflower was the one who won me over in this story. She's the strong, silent type. While she's had a hard life, love still shines through. She comes from a land where women are worthless, with the exception of providing male heirs to the men. I got a strong Native American vibe from Starflower and her land. If I wasn't supposed to get that vibe, just let me live in blissful ignorance! This particular aspect of the story especially thrilled my reading heart. Do you know how difficult it is to find great, clean Native American fantasy stories?! Extremely! (Feel free to leave me suggestions in this area.)

Starflower can be read as a standalone, but PLEASE don't! I can't recommend to you enough to read this series in order. You simply can't get a full appreciation for the characters or the brilliance of writing when read out of order. All the little details come together perfectly. It's time for a re-read of the whole series for me, because there were characters that I couldn't quite place exactly. I did get a little confused at times. While I did recognize everyone, I couldn't remember what part some of them played in the earlier books. That's something else that I love about this series, though. You will want to read them over and over. I can't imagine how many extra little moments I'll find special the next time I read them.

This series has it's allegory moments. I've finally learned to accept that I'm simply not comfortable with Christian allegories. It's not so overwhelming in this particular series that I can't ignore those moments, though. I read this book as a great fantasy and nothing else. Hopefully, that doesn't offend anyone! ;)

Overall, as all my regulars around here should already know, this whole series gets a HIGHLY recommended from me!



Crossed by Ally Condie


Dutton Juvenile (November 1, 2011) 367 pages

Source: Won at Sarah's YA Blog

My Thoughts:

I read Matched about a year ago, and didn't really care for it. While I didn't hate it, I had no intentions of reading the rest of the series. Spur of the moment, I entered a giveaway @ Sarah's YA Blog, and won! (Thanks Sarah!) I have a great deal of respect for any author that dares to write a CLEAN YA book(or any book for that matter). I also believe that WHEN a person reads a book greatly affects how much they like or dislike a book. So! I decided this series was worth another chance.

Crossed arrived in my mailbox on a Monday afternoon, and by Tuesday evening, I was finished. That's really quick for me! I'm apparently a slow reader. I know that a great deal of people can read a 300+ page book in one sitting, and I'm a little jealous. I can't do it. I liked Crossed, though, and I couldn't wait to see what happened. I wish I had Reached in my hands right now! (I have it pre-ordered, so my copy should ship out today!!!! Don't you just love Swagbucks?!) I also wish that I hadn't parted with my copy of Matched, because I'd love to re-read it. I also think it's a decent "boy" read. I can tell it's more targeted for girls, but it can work for boys. I think this could be a great "home-school" reading assignment, so it's going on my keeper shelf.

I think with this read, I had a greater appreciation for the dystopian society. With the direction our nation is headed, I could more easily see this becoming a reality(not completely, but partially). It was scary to think about. When I read Matched, I was coming to the conclusion that maybe I don't like dystopians, but after reading Crossed, I'm wanting to get my hands on every dystopian I can!

As I was reading, it seemed like there was more action than in Matched. In hindsight, though, I'm not sure. I can't remember a great deal happening.

I'm definitely Team Xander at the moment! I'm not sure why, but I just don't overly like Ky. I don't hate him by any means, but not loving him. I wasn't sure in Matched that I recall, but definitely now. I almost never get my way when I love triangle is involved, though, so it's highly unlikely I'll be happy with the ending. ;P

Overall, I think this is a series worth your reading time!

Content:
There are one or two scenes that I remember where kissing is involved. There is a bit of violence. Da** is used twice.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Legacy and Allegiance by Cayla Kluver


Harlequin Teen (June 28, 2011) 496 pages

Description:

In her seventeenth year, Princess Alera of Hytanica faces one duty: to marry the man who will be king. But her father's choice of suitor fills her with despair.

When the palace guard captures and intruder—a boy her age with steel-blue eyes, hailing from her kingdom's greatest enemy—Alera is alarmed…and intrigued. But she could not have guessed that their clandestine meetings would unveil the dark legacy shadowing both their lands.

In this mystical world of court conspiracies and blood magic, loyalties will be tested. Courage won't be enough. And as the battle begins for everything Alera holds dear, love may be the downfall of a kingdom.

My Quick Thoughts:

*If you plan on reading this series, I'd highly recommend getting the Harlequin published version as opposed to the self published(if you can still get that version). That is simply based on other reviews I've read. The Harlequin published version is apparently more edited.

I read Legacy a few months ago, but never posted my full thoughts on it. Although it took me a little while to get into it, I was eventually pulled into the story. I didn't care for the leading lady(still don't in the second book), but I see her growing. As far as I know this series is labeled as a romance, but I didn't feel a great deal of that going on. There's way more in Legacy than in Allegiance, and I'm guessing there will be more in Sacrifice, but I'd say this story is more than just romance! There is a love triangle going on, but it's not your typical one. It's historical, but I couldn't begin to guess what time period it is. There is just a touch of fantasy, but it's mostly realistic. I think the first book only had one word of profanity and there's several mild words in the second, but overall, very clean!

Based on the fact that I bought a copy of Allegiance(for full price) and pre-ordered Sacrifice, I think you can guess that I like this series! :)



Harlequin Teen (February 28, 2012) 512 pages

Allegiance is the 2nd book in the Legacy Series, so if you haven't read the first book, Legacy, you probably shouldn't read my thoughts on this one. There will probably be spoilers for Legacy. Warning: This is mostly a whole lot of rambling in an attempt to jot my thoughts down.

It's been a couple of weeks now since I finished Allegiance. I've been pondering my thoughts since then. I strongly debated between 3 and 4 stars, but the fact that I'm still thinking about it so much makes me go with 4. I've completely wrapped myself up in this world that Kluver has created. The possibility of 3 stars was mostly due to my complete disappointment in the ending, and my strong dislike of the leading lady. There really is SO MUCH that I LOVE about this book, though!

First, let me knock out a little venting about Alera. Mercy, that girl is stubborn! I can tell that she's supposed to be a strong leading lady at times, but for the most part I found her weak, selfish, and just plain annoying. It seemed like she was constantly fainting or being so overcome by exhaustion that a man was having to carry her to bed, or to a horse, or.....! Don't get me wrong. I'm all for the damsel in distress routine, as long as she has a backbone and has others' needs at the front of her mind. (Think opposite of Buttercup in The Princess Bride. I didn't care for her at all either.) I'm still keeping hope that she wins me over in the final book. I haven't completely given up hope on her.

Now the men of this series(other than Narian, which I still don't like), are a completely different story. I LOVED those guys! Steldor, Destari, Halias, Galen, and even shy Temerson have won me over. My favorites are definitely London and Cannan, though! Kluver has truly created an awesome group of guys. London's story so far has went a little different than I predicted. I'm still hoping some of the things concerning him in the first book are addressed in the final book.

Even though the two stories are completely different, while reading Allegiance, I was constantly reminded of The Girl of Fire and Thorns, which I adored!

The ending....oh, it was enough to make me throw my book against the wall. Almost! :) So, so disappointed! Apparently, when a love triangle is involved, 95% of the time the author and I have different ideas of who should end up together.

I'm really looking forward to the final chapter of this series. I pre-ordered Sacrifice, which has FINALLY shipped! :P I'm hoping to get it Wednesday.

Content: There are a handful of mild words of profanity(he**, da**, bas****). There is almost no romance at all in this book, so no worries there! There are a few kisses, though. There is a great deal of violence and scenes of torture, although never greatly detailed.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

When Hope Blossoms by Kim Vogel Sawyer


Bethany House Publishers (July 1, 2012) 350 pages

Description:

Amy Knackstedt moves with her children to Weaverly, Kansas, to escape the speculation surrounding her husband's untimely death.
She hopes the new location will provide a fresh start for them all. But her neighbor, Tim Roper, is not pleased to have a Mennonite
family living next to his apple orchard. When the children try to befriend him, he resists. Tim left the Mennonite faith years ago and doesn't want any reminders of his former life. Yet Amy and Tim find their paths colliding far more than either could have foreseen. Will this tentative relationship blossom into something more?

My Rating: 4/5 star

My Thoughts:

*My cover doesn't have that truck on it. I kind of wish it did.

To be honest, when I picked When Hope Blossoms up, it was only because it was my LAST review book at the time. I wasn't really in the mood for a Mennonite story. Despite that, I was pleasantly surprised at just how quickly I was pulled into the story.

I think it's important to know that this isn't a romance, despite the fact that it's labeled as one(I think). There is a little. Very little! It's a heartbreaking story of two families healing from loss and hard times. If you're exceedingly emotional like me, then go ahead and grab a box of tissues when you read it.

I liked the "Apple Orchard" aspect of the story. I have to confess that ever since reading Jan Karon's books, which contain an apple orchard, I've had dreams of having one someday! ;) I also enjoyed the Mennonite aspect. This was actually the first one I've ever read(although I have read several Amish stories). It was fun getting to see how much more "worldly" the family in this story was over the Amish books I've read. Of course, they are still much less "worldly" than me.

There are children in this story. I'm not the biggest fan of children in romance books(or what I expect to be romance books). I know. I sound horrible. I do remember another blogger admitting the same thing(Amber, maybe?? ;)) I do love children! Lets hope so, huh?! They work in here, though! They were a big part of the story, and without them, I wouldn't have gotten one of my all-time favorite lines ever in a book. "Momma made brownies for dessert. So lick your fork, Mr. Roper!" I might have laughed out loud at that part. :)

Overall, while it is a heartbreaking story, there are funny moments. I enjoyed it, even if I was afraid I wouldn't.

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

The Orphan King by Sigmund Brouwer


WaterBrook Press (July 10, 2012) 224 pages

Decription:

The future of the Immortals is in the hands of an orphan

My greatest fear was that they would find us and make of us a sacrifice beneath a full moon. Now you, Thomas, must help us destroy the circle of evil.

The last words of a dying woman would change the life of young Thomas. Raised behind monastery walls, he knows nothing of his mysterious past or imminent destiny. But now, in the heart of medieval England, a darkness threatens to strangle truth. An ancient order tightens their ghostly grip on power, creating fear and exiling those who would oppose them. Thomas is determined fulfill his calling and bring light into the mysterious world of the Druids and leaves the monastery on an important quest.

Thomas quickly finds himself in unfamiliar territory, as he must put his faith in unusual companions—a cryptic knight, a child thief, and the beautiful, silent woman whom may not be all she seems. From the solitary life of an orphan, Thomas now finds himself tangled in the roots of both comradery and suspicion.

Can he trust those who would join his battle…or will his fears force him to go on alone?

My Rating: 3/5 stars

My Thoughts:

I found the description of The Orphan King so fascinating that I felt I HAD to read it. "A cryptic knight, a child thief, and a beautiful silent woman"?! It definitely had me curious!

I hate to say that I had a hard time getting into the book. To give the book a fair chance, I kept going to other books, and then coming back to it. It just wasn't working for me. It's not that I thought it was bad! It's just that I had no connection to the book. I could have easily left it, and not really cared what happened.

All of that said, I do think that teen guys(and girls) would enjoy it more than I was able to right now.

Faye @ Labor Not in Vain wrote a very interesting review of it, and I think that the background information about the series she gives is very useful. Definitely read it before deciding about this series!

*I was provided a review copy through Waterbrook's blogging program in exchange for my honest opinion.

Short Straw Bride by Karen Witemeyer



Bethany House Publishers (June 1, 2012) 368 pages

Description:

No one steps on Archer land. Not if they value their life. But when Meredith Hayes overhears a lethal plot to burn the Archer brothers off their ranch, a twelve-year-old debt compels her to take the risk.

Fourteen years of constant vigilance hardens a man. Yet when Travis Archer confronts a female trespasser with the same vivid blue eyes as the courageous young girl he once aided, he can't bring himself to send her away. And when an act of sacrifice leaves her injured and her reputation in shreds, gratitude and guilt send him riding to her rescue once again.

Four brothers. Four straws. One bride. Despite the fact that Travis is no longer the gallant youth Meredith once dreamed about, she determines to stand by his side against the enemy that threatens them both. But will love ever be hers? Or will Travis always see her merely as a short-straw bride?

My Rating: 5/5 stars

My Thoughts:

When it comes to a Karen Witemeyer book, I need absolutely no convincing to read it. I know that I'm going to get a SWEET, "melt my heart" kind of romance, and I enjoy those ever so often! I wasn't disappointed in the slightest with Short-Straw Bride!

It was fun to not only see Travis and Meridith's relationship grow, but to also see her welcomed into the family by the 3 brothers. They weren't a traditional family in the least, but I adored their family bonds. I'm thrilled that there will be a companion book to this one, too!

Overall, it's sweet and funny. There's even a "teary-eyed" scene thrown in. I recommend this and any other Witemeyer book for any fan of Christian fiction, although I do have to warn you that this particular book was much more "physical" in the romance department than I was expecting. I don't recall her other books being so physical. That may or may not bother you, though.

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

Friday, October 5, 2012

Sandwich, With a Side of Romance by Krista Phillips


Description:

She moved to Sandwich, Illinois, in search of a new life, but ended up in a giant pickle.

Sandwich represents hope for twenty-year-old Maddie Buckner and Kyle, the eleven-year-old brother Maddie wants to spring out of foster care. Then she loses her new job after less than a day. It’s all Reuben-the-Jerk’s fault, and she’s determined to make him right the wrong.

He does so, reluctantly, by giving her a job at his restaurant, The Sandwich Emporium. Then crazy things start happening at the restaurant, and Kyle’s foster parents apply to adopt him. To stop it all, Maddie must learn the art of humbling herself and accepting the help God has arranged, risking her heart to Reuben in the process.

And she’d rather eat a million corned-beef on rye sandwiches than do that.

My Rating: 4.5/5 stars

My Thoughts:

I'm not typically a fan of Contemporary Christian books. I don't know what it was about this one, but I latched onto it from the time I heard the title. I knew I had to read Sandwich, With a Side of Romance. I was expecting to like it, but it actually surprised me JUST how much I grew to love the story and characters!

A great deal of Christian romances involve a pure, Christian girl trying to tame the guy. I simply adored the twist on this story! We get a pure, Christian guy attempting to tame the girl with a pretty horrible background. Good guys DO exist girls! Don't get me wrong. Rueben has his faults. There are times I wanted to smack him upside the head. We all make bad choices and make wrong assumptions at times, though. None of us are perfect. He was a pretty awesome character. I'm not one to gush over fictional guys(or real guys for that matter...other than my husband), but Rueben made my heart melt a little! ;) I don't really care for most names of affection in books. I actually just skip over dialogue when someone is constantly getting called "baby". :P Rueben calls Maddie "hon" at one point and I think that might just be the sweetest scene I've ever read. It's such a simple scene, but I loved it!

I was amazed at all the humor that was packed in the pages, despite some very tough topics. Maddie has had a rough life, so she's got a bit of a chip on her shoulder. She's not the easiest person to like at times. She's a bit less conservative than me with her prayers to God, to say the least. I couldn't help but cringe with some of them. She grew on me, though!

Overall, this was a fun, humorous story. While I don't read a great deal of contemporary stories, I found this one to be unique!

*I was provided a review copy though the Pump Up Your Book blog tour in exchange for my honest opinion.

Cover Reveal for Dragonwitch by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

The moment I've been waiting for.........




An Ancient Evil



Long ago, Etanun buried his sword in the depths of the Netherworld then vanished from all known history. One day, it is said, his heir will find the sword, and the Dragonwitch, firstborn of the Dragon King, will be finally slain.



A Desperate Hope



These stories are no more than nursery rhymes. In a world of cold reality, what room is left for fairy tales? Lady Leta of Aiven is pledged to marry a man she does not love . . . sleepless Lord Alistair struggles to unite the stubborn earls of the North Country . . . Mouse is lost, far from home, slaving as a kitchen drudge . . .



. . . and the reclusive Chronicler, keeping the records of Gaheris Castle, bears a secret so dangerous it could cost him his life and plunge the North Country into civil war.



An Impossible Journey



But when nursery rhymes begin to come horribly true, will these unlikely heroes find the strength they need to fulfill a prophecy of fire? For the Dragonwitch lives. And she has vowed vengeance on all who have wronged her.

______



Coming Summer 2013

Tales of Goldstone Wood

Timeless Fantasy that will keep you Spellbound!

(www.anneelisabethstengl.blogspot.com)


Isn't it gorgeous?! To me, it's much different than the other 4 covers, but I still love it. I can't wait to add it to my collection! I have to admit it's just a bit cruel getting to see this beautiful cover knowing I now have to wait until next year to read it, though! :)


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Return to Sunday Dinner by Russell Cronkhite


Thomas Nelson; Rev Upd edition (October 16, 2012) 272 pages

My parent's rating: 5/5 stars

Our thoughts:

I missed out on another book that my parents wanted, and I felt bad. I got Return to Sunday Dinner instead, and they were pretty happy with the trade-off. I flipped through it before giving it to them, and I was pretty impressed. It's a really nice hardcover book! It's not a "gift-type" book, but it would make a perfect gift. It's also a cookbook. I thought it was going to be more of a regular book with recipes sprinkled in, but it's pretty much recipes!

This is an updated and revised book from 2003, by the way.

Now to my parent's thoughts. They were even more impressed with the book than me. My momma has quite a few recipes that caught her eye, including the glazed baby carrots, the family friendly meatloaf, twice baked sweet potato casserole, and the Sunday comfort macaroni and cheese. She's also excited about some of the soup, biscuit, and cake recipes.

My daddy even got in on the reviewing. As I talked to my momma on the phone, I heard him in the background telling not to forget the pictures. He found them very appealing. ;) They both liked the way it was wrote and the steps given. There was even time saving tips for cooking. Sometimes it's just easier to cook some things ahead!

Overall, we have to recommend it! It's a beautiful addition to any cookbook collection!

*We were provided a review copy of this book through the Booksneeze program in exchange for our honest opinion.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Rock Solid Faith Study Bible for Teens(NIV)


My Thoughts:

I think the Rock Solid Faith Study Bible for Teens is a great Bible for teens, although I do think the cover looks a little more boyish than for girls(generally speaking). Inside, I do think could appeal to both, though.

It's a hardcover, but it does lay flat, which is hugely important for me in a Bible. I want it to lay flat on the table or in my lap. Hardcover Bibles don't always do that.

Like most specialty Bibles, the actual verses are the Bible(in this case New International Version), but there are sections throughout that give thoughts or devotionals that would I imagine would appeal to a teen. (It's been a few years since I was a teenager. ;P)

I really like the color maps at the back of the Bible. There are 8 of them. There's also lots of indexes that aren't in most Bibles. For example, there's a "Rock Solid PLANS index" and "Unshaken PEOPLE Index", etc. There's a reading checklist of all the books of the Bible. There's only 1 box by each book and chapter, though, so I'd prefer to have a separate checklist that wasn't in my Bible. I imagine this would appeal to many, though.

This Bible is going to my oldest nephew(13) and I do think he will enjoy it!

*I was provided a review copy through B&B Media in exchange for my honest opinion.

Be The Mom: Overcome Attitude Traps and Enjoy Your Kids by Tracey Eyster



I apologize profusely to the author and publisher for the lateness of my review!

My Rating: 4/5 stars

My Thoughts:

Be the Mom is a quick boost of encouragement for the moms out there. I really enjoyed it! The chapters are relatively quick to read through, so it's a perfect book to read here and there. It became my favorite "waiting room" read.

The author and I really didn't seem to have a lot in common, but I still connected with her. We do have the "mommy" part in common. I liked her! She's writing as an experienced mom with older(teen) children(from my understanding). The suggestions she gives are methods that worked for her. She saw things that wasn't working for her family and she changed them. We get to see how these changes worked out. I'm not at all against moms who give suggestions as a "young" mom(young children), but it is great to get advice from the "wise" moms(older children).

I have quite a few quotes marked throughout this book, and I was having a hard time deciding what to share. Unfortunately, I have misplaced this book at the moment, so I can't share any of them. This book is already really late, though, so I'm going ahead with posting. "sigh" I assure you there are lots of things to leave you thinking, though!

The sections on being busy and comparisons are the parts that I got the most from. I'll be the first to admit that sometimes Facebook/blogging is my worst enemy. I see moms who are keeping busy going here and there, and I think I'm just not doing enough. Being busy doesn't automatically equal a great mom, though, and I appreciate the reminder. We're very simple around here. And comparisons. I've came a LONG way from what I used to be. I'm finally realizing that it's okay that my home and family doesn't look like it came out of a Martha Stewart magazine. It has never been spotless, and I no longer expect it to be at any point soon. It's okay that I can't cook worth anything, and that many of our meals come out of a box. I've spent so much time imagining a life of perfection that I've forgotten how to be content with what talents God has given me. I'm finally learning to do what works for us, and that's okay! This book helped me along with those journeys.

Overall, this is a simple, down to earth book with great mommy advice. I liked it!

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

Catch Up!

I've gotten really behind on reviews! I'm ashamed at how late a couple of them are. I do hope to finally get all of these reviews up THIS week, though. I also get to reveal a book cover by one of my all-time favorite authors on Friday, so I'm excited about that, too! :) I'm hoping that Friday will wrap up all of my current review books, at least as far as fiction goes. I have requested a children's Bible, and my parents have a book, but otherwise I've did great at passing up review books. I'm working on the last fiction review book at the moment, and I do hope to have it finished in the next couple of days. I've decided not to ditch my blog completely. I still won't do any of the memes that I used to, and I may not post often, but I'm still going to share the books I loved(and maybe some of the ones I didn't so much love).

I've also gotten horrible at commenting! I apologize for that, and I have intentions of doing better. I still read your blogs. It's not that I'm not on the computer, because I am(although not near as much as blogging days). I'm just not very productive when I am on here.

I'm finally feeling halfway normal again, though, so I'm attempting a great deal of catch up, both on the computer and in "real life". I've been spending my reading time either sleeping, laying on the couch, or watching T.V.(particularly catching up on Once Upon a Time on Netflix) Horrible, I know! I do have a good excuse, though. I've been sick. This past week has brought me halfway back to normal, and that's very exciting. I'm officially off of Zofran. These little pills take the edge off of the sickness part, but they come with some SEVERE side effects. If you've taken them, you know what I mean. I'm thrilled to be rid of them! In case you haven't already guessed, baby #3 is on the way. :D I'll be 17 weeks tomorrow. 3 more weeks and we find out the gender. This is our last one, and we have 2 boys, so I'm sure you could guess we're hoping for a girl. That said, we know God has blessed us with what He wants us to have, and we'll be MORE than thrilled either way.





This weekend, we celebrated Grasshopper's 4th birthday. After attending 2 other birthday parties in the two weeks before, he now connects the word birthday with cake. I met him at the bottom of the stairs on birthday morning and wished him a "Happy Birthday". He immediately ran to the table apparently looking for his cake. We went really simple this year. He's been obsessed with the moon the past few weeks, so that's what went on his cake. It was very exciting for all of us. This is the first year that he's REALLY understood it was his special day, even if he didn't understand why. :)


I'll leave you with a few of the books I have planned to read in the next couple of months:



Starflower (Tales of Goldstone Wood) by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

I've gushed about this series enough. Y'all should know I adore it by now. ;) It releases November 1st, and I've got it in my Amazon cart to pre-order just as soon as I decide on one more item to make the $25 free shipping.




Sacrifice by Cayla Kluver

This is the other book in my cart ready to pre-order. I read Legacy a couple of months ago, and loved it. I'm currently reading Allegiance(yes, I'm working on two books at once), and I can't wait to see how Kluver wraps up everything!




The Bards of Bone Plain by Patricia McKillip

Not only do I love the cover artwork, but I heard that McKillip has a similar writing style to Juliet Marillier, which is one of my favorite authors. I'm excited to open this one up!

Now I'm off to work on the many posts I've been procrastinating writing.