Friday, June 29, 2012

Girl of the Limberlost-June Bookclub

I haven't finished reading Girl of the Limberlost yet, but I still want to record some of my thoughts. I've had the best of intentions of participating every month of the reading challenge, and I've did horrible so far!

Back in January, when the reading list for the year was posted, I looked Girl of the Limberlost up on my library's online catalog, and saw that they had it. When I went to check it out, I realized that if I'd looked closer, I would have realized it was for the VHS of Girl of the Limberlost. So, as much as I detest computer book reading, that what's I've been doing. If I had a working VCR, I would have cheated and simply watched the movie. I'll be honest, and say that since I've mostly enjoyed the story, I do want to know how it ends, but I'll probably skim the rest. I've made it about halfway through at this point.

I'm a big sucker for sugar sweet writing. Of the few books I've read from this time period, they seem to capture that sweetness at it's best.

""It's Christmas for you, too, Margaret!" He shook out fold after fold of soft gray satiny goods that would look lovely against Margaret's pink cheeks and whitening hair. "Oh, you old darling!" she exclaimed, and fled sobbing into his arms."

That's just so sweet I had to snicker when I read it. I actually laughed a good bit throughout my reading!

"To send them a beautiful book, that is the way, is it not, little new friend of mine?"

"Then because she was a woman, she sat on a log and looked at her shoes."


"She's out there laughing like a blamed monkey!" he whispered indignantly."

I did find the writing a bit confusing at times. There were scenes in which it seemed like girls were being cruel to Elnora, but then they would all laugh, and I realized that wasn't the case. There were plenty of times when it wasn't clear what was happening, though.

Freckles was mentioned a good bit, and since I haven't read that book, I was extremely confused as to who he was/is, and what happened to him. Maybe I'll discover the answer with my skimming of the remainder of the story.

Overall, I enjoyed the story, but it definitely wasn't my favorite kind of writing. If I'd had an actual copy of the book in my hands, it's very possible I would have enjoyed it more.

Reading to Know - Book Club

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Parenting With Scripture: A Topical Guide for Teachable Moments by Kara Durbin

Moody Publishers; New Edition edition (March 21, 2012) 256 pages

My Thoughts:

Parenting With Scripture is SUCH a wonderful resource! I'm thrilled that it exists. This particular one is a reprint from 2001 with a much cuter cover, in my opinion. :) Y'all know how much I love my covers.

Kara spends the first part of the book discussing how to find teachable moments. There's always teachable moments waiting to be taken advantage of!

She then lists topics from A to Z(actually A to W). Each topic gets a two page spread, with Bible verses pertaining to the topic. I'd love to tell you that I know book, chapter, and verse by memory for every subject there is, but I'd be lying if I did! I really appreciate having a book like this for those of us like me in that regard. There's also discussion questions and tasks, a "Take Action" section, which has little challenges, a parenting tip section, and then some related topics that you can study along with it. For example, along with contentment, you can study greed and money.

As part of homeschooling, Lord willing, I hope to do purposeful "character" studies, in addition to simply learning through everyday moments. Now I don't need to buy expensive material in order to accomplish that. Parenting with Scriptures is perfect for that purpose. (I know I wouldn't HAVE to buy material in the first place, but this book makes things MUCH easier).

In case you can't tell, I definitely recommend Parenting with Scripture! It's been an awesome addition to our home shelves.

*A huge thank you to Moody Publishers for my review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Prophet by RJ Larson with GIVEAWAY!!!!

My Thoughts:

When the Infinite wants Ela to become his prophet, she doesn't understand why. She's also a little scared, because prophets always have a short life. She accepts, and along with her little sister, Tzana, who has an aging disease, she sets off on a journey.

Unfortunately, I just wasn't feeling it with this one. I think it was mostly "The Infinite". I know this story is fiction, but he's written so close to the real God that I felt like words were being put into His mouth. I didn't feel anything was wrong with what was said, but I still really struggled with that part, and I was uncomfortable with it. I know I'm a little weird with that, but I'm having to learn to listen to my reading comfort level more these days.

Honestly, I have seen nothing but praise for Prophet so far, so I KNOW one of you would really enjoy it!

I encourage you to look at some of the reviews at Goodreads to see if this one would be something up your alley more so than mine.


To enter:
Just leave a comment with your spam-free email address.

Feel free to leave extra entries in the same comment.

+2 for old followers
+1 for new followers
+1 for advertising in any way(Facebook, Twitter, Blog, anything)


U.S. only
Must be 13 years or older
Ends July 3rd at midnight central
Winner will be picked using

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Discussion Post: 1 Timothy 1:3-4

First of all, I'll mention that participating in this discussion will get you 5 extra entries in the next giveaway of you choice. (One giveaway will post tomorrow-The Prophet, and one next week-Narnia related. They are both U.S. only, by the way, although I hope you participate no matter what). :)

And I apologize for all the posts today! I know that's unusual for me.

I'm going to post 1 Timothy 1:3-4 in several different translations, and I just want to know how you interpret it. What meaning do you get from it, especially in connection with the "fables and endless genealogies" part? Different churches and different people translate verses different ways, and I'm really curious what each of you take from these verses. I'm going to be perfectly honest with you, and say that I don't remember ever seeing these verses. I'm more than positive that I have read them, but they've never stuck out to me until last night. I randomly started reading in 1 Timothy, and ended up re-reading the verses several times. Due to the thoughts that have been running through my mind lately, I don't think it was by coincidence.

1 Timothy 1:3-4

"As I urged you when I went into Macedonia-remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine, nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith."

"As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer nor devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God's work-which is by faith."

"As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, not to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith."

"When I left for Macedonia, I asked you to stay behind in Ephesus so that you could instruct certain individuals not to spread wrong teaching. They shouldn't pay attention to myths and endless genealogies. Their teaching only causes useless guessing games instead of faithfulness to God's way of doing things."

I'm looking forward to seeing your thoughts!

Together on Tuesdays: Favorite Recipe

Annette and Dorie from This Simple Home and These Grace Filled Days are hosting Together on Tuesdays for the next several weeks.

This week we're sharing our favorite recipe. I really debated on which one to share. I almost decided on my bean burger recipe, since I'm vegetarian and all. Then I decided, since we're supposed to be getting to know one another, I decide to share my Chocolate Cobbler recipe. Unfortunately, I'm all about some sugary chocolate, and this thing is pretty awesome! But, if you REALLY want to know me, you have to know that I'm not the most organized person. I have great dreams of being organized, and I've made GREAT progress this year in that area, but that doesn't include my recipes. (I did START organizing my recipes, but I've lost that binder somewhere). ;P I know most of them pretty well for winging it, so I usually don't need my old recipes, except when I need to give someone exact measurements. I can't find my Chocolate Cobbler recipe at the moment, though. Lord willing, I'll do another post just so you get the chance to taste it's goodness when I find it.

For today, since I do have my Apple Dumpling recipe handy(which is a miracle, I tell you!), and it's my most requested dish for gatherings of any sort, that's the one you'll get. I honestly don't know where it came from, but I assure you it is not one of my creations!

Apple Dumplings

4-6 peeled and sliced apples
1 cup water
1 cup Bisquick(I've tried several different substitutions here, and Bisquick just tastes WAY better).
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 T cinnamon

Mix apples, bisquick, and milk in 9x13 baking dish. (It's easier to mix the bisquick and milk separately and then kind of drop it in spots on the apples). Bring water, sugar, and cinnamon to a boil, then pour over apples mix. Bake @ 425 for 25 minutes.

So simple, but really good. I'm usually not a "baked apple" fan either!

What's on My Nightstand for July

What's On Your Nightstand

What's on Your Nightstand is hosted by 5 Minutes for Books every 4th Tuesday of the month.

This month, I have plans to read/finish:

Anything: The Prayer That Unlocked My God and My Soul by Jennie Allen

I'm about halfway through this one. Mixed feelings so far.

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne Valente

This is my pick for The Bookclub for August.

The Story Shell: A Tale of Friendship Bog and Pibbin the Small by Gloria Repp

These are SO cute!

My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade

As you can see, I've got a light reading month ahead of me compared to normal. I'm excited to do some catching up. :)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Glamorous Illusions by Lisa Tawn Bergren

David C. Cook (June 1, 2012) 416 pages

My Rating: 4/5 stars

My Thoughts:

After arriving home from school, Cora Diehl discovers her father in extremely bad health. Soon after, she discovers that she is actually Cora Kensington, the illegitimate daughter of Wallace Kensington. She's invited on a "Grand Tour" as a way to expand her education and get to know her half-siblings, Felix, Vivian, and Lillian.

The chapters mostly swap between Cora's viewpoint(1st person) and Will(3rd person), but Wallace(also 3rd person) gets a couple of sections to himself. Although it was a little different from what I'm used to, I really liked this feature.

I enjoyed getting to learn about so many characters. I did get a couple of the guys confused just a little at the beginning, but it was pretty easy to keep up with all of them after that. The Kensingtons are traveling with another family, so with the "bears" there's 8 traveling, not counting the servants. I also really enjoyed getting to be a part of the "tour". It was fun getting to "see" the artwork and monuments through someone's eyes in 1913.

There was a good bit of drinking. I didn't care for all that at all, especially in a Christian book. I don't care what kind of bow it's tied up in, I don't agree with it. There was also gambling. Honestly, I'm just surprised about some of the content.

Also, I'm used to Christian books in a series mostly being stand alones. Glamorous Illusions is the first part of the whole story. The ending is very abrupt, and I'm very disappointed in that. If I'd known, I would have waited until the whole series was out before reading it.

It was fun after just reading Lisa's River of Time Series to see the writing similarities, especially when this series if COMPLETELY different.

Overall, I really did like it. Without the issues I mentioned, I LOVED it! If you enjoy Christian fiction just a little on the edgier side, definitely give this series a try!

*A huge thanks to David C. Cook via Litfuse Publicity for my review copy!

Win a $350 “Glam” Visa Card Prize Pack from @LisaTBegren &
RSVP for 6/27 Facebook party!

What is our "true" identity? Join the conversation at Lisa Tawn Begren's
Author Chat Facebook Event
. On the evening of 6/27 we'll gather to talk about our spiritual journey,
share our stories and a few laughs.

In the meantime, celebrate with Lisa by entering her Glamorous Illusions

One "glamorous" winner will receive a "Glam Prize Pack":

  • A $350 Visa Cash Card (Oh ... think of what you could do: treat yourself
    to a mani/pedi, a fabulous new dress, dinner for two, or even a two-night escape in a
    lovely hotel - you're only limited by your imagination!)
  • Glamorous Illusions (by Lisa Tawn Begren)

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends
6/26/12. Winner will be announced at Lisa's
"Glamorous Illusions" Facebook Party on  6/27
 {Fun begins at 5pm
PDT / 8pm EDT}
. Lisa will be hosting an evening of meaningful chat, fun trivia,
laughter, and encouragement - bring your friends! She'll also be giving away some
GREAT prizes: gift certificates, books, and a Book Club Prize Pack! (Ten copies of the
book for your small group or book club and a live chat with Lisa via video or phone.)

So grab a few of your friends and your copy of Glamorous Illusions and join Lisa
on the evening of June 27th for an evening of fun.

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

Don't miss a moment of the fun. RSVP
and tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to
see you on the 27th!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The River of Time Series by Lisa T. Bergren

I decided to just lump all three of these into one post. A great deal of my thoughts involve all three of them, so this just seemed easier.

My Rating: 5/5 stars(for the whole series) I really debated between 4 and 5 stars, because there is a great deal of things that I didn't care for with this series. But, I was sucked so completely into their world, even after I stopped reading, that I have to give it 5 stars. And, I really did end up liking WAY more than I didn't.

Really quick summary:

Gabi and Lia accidently discover a portal to 1332 Italy.

My Thoughts:


When I first started reading Waterfall, I didn't like it. There was TONS of teenage slang, and it bothered me. Why? I don't know. Maybe it made me feel old. :) I've never been a big fan of heavy slang use in books. I also thought Gabi was a complete brat. I really didn't care for her that much, unfortunately.


Good grief! This one was non-stop action. I was exhausted by the end just reading it.


By now, I was mostly used to the language, although I still don't like God being referred to as "The Big Guy". I warmed up a bit to Gabi. She didn't grow as much in her Christian journey as I thought she would. She also makes some horrible choices(don't we all, though).

I was really hoping Torrent would be much slower in pace, and it was! The first half let me fall for Lord Greco, the second half for Marcello(finally). I never disliked Marcello, but it wasn't until Torrent that I grew to really like him. I was surprised there wasn't more of Lord Greco, though. I thought he'd play a bigger part, judging from all the crushes around the web. I'm going to assume he has a much bigger part in the novellas. To show you how much I do like this series....I am going to HAVE to read the novellas on my computer, which I detest! But I'm willing to just so I can read more about the gang.

Torrent was also much more passionate than I anticipated. I've saw HUGE fans of this series tear a secular book apart for the SAME thing, so I'm a little confused about what's different. (I tend to go in the opposite direction).

SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I was also surprised that Gabi suggests having sex before they are married, since nobody would know. It's Marcello who tells her God will know, and refuses. In what is supposed to be the last book of a series, and since Gabi has been strengthening her faith through the each of the books, I was just...surprised.

And the Dad?! There were several parts of the time travel aspect in this series that didn't add up, but the dad part was the one thing I couldn't completely accept. The 2012 girls(where Dad/Husband is dead) go back to 2010(where he's living) and grab him. They then head back to 1343 with him. Well, shouldn't 2010 girls be wondering where in the world Dad/Husband went. He just disappears from their lives? I know when time travel is a main subject, there's most likely going to be things that are confusing. That was the only part that my mind couldn't seem to wrap around.

END SPOILERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This isn't a series I would recommend to just anybody. If you like teenage drama, love at first sight romance, time travel, and TONS of action, AND you are a mature reader, then definitely give them a try! (Honestly, though, if I'd saw that description I probably wouldn't have picked them up. This series seems to crossover to ALL kinds of readers, it appears). The teenage slang is probably the only reason I'd hesitate recommending it to some of you, and the passion for the younger readers.

Just make sure you've got all of them ready, because the endings are cliffhangers, and you'll want the next one handy. It will pick up immediately after the one before. I didn't mean to read these all at once, because I do have review books waiting, but I couldn't stop!


There's lots of passion in the Torrent, but the first two I don't recall TOO much. There's TONS of violence in all of them. It's definitely a series for mature readers.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Together on Tuesdays:Introduction

Annette and Dorie from This Simple Home and These Grace Filled Days are hosting Together on Tuesdays for the next several weeks.

"Together on Tuesdays is just a casual way to meet and connect with other women because being together really is more fun!"

Week #1(June 19) Introduction to self and link to favorite post
Week #2 (June 26) Favorite food or recipe
Week #3 (July 3) Favorite book or film
Week #4 (July 10) Favorite place (local or vacation spot)
Week #5 (July 17) Summer plans, activities, and traditions
Week #6 (July 24) Tell us about your family (those in your home or beyond)
Week #7 (July 31) Tell us about where you live (local area or your home)
Week #8 (August 7) Favorite backyard (or neighborhood) activities for summer
Week #9 (August 14) Person who influenced your life
Week #10 (August 21) A summer wrap-up or fall plans

(from This Simple Home)

My Introduction:

I'm Bluerose(a.k.a. Tammy). I've been married to my husband, Jonathan, for 7 years(as of May 5th). We have 2 precious little boys. Grasshopper is 3 and Firefly is 1. I'm 30, at least for several more weeks. :) I'm truly blessed to be a stay-at-home mom, and we hope to homeschool when the time comes for that. We are a Christian family doing our best to please the Lord. I don't really like labels of religions, but just so you get a general idea of our beliefs, "church of Christ" is on the sign outside of the church building we attend worship. We picked the church to match our beliefs, not the other way around.

I've done a couple of posts over the past 2 years with little "fun" facts about me. Since I don't really have a favorite post, I'll just use those as my links.

30 Things About Me

10 "Fun" Facts About Me(I think most of them are different).

I debated all week on something unique to share from my life, and I FINALLY decided I'd share one of my life-changing moments.

Everybody has those moments in life that change them. Some are little moments. Some are huge. This is one of mine.

Almost 4 years ago, at 25 weeks pregnant, I went for a regular check-up. We were completely blindsided when I was admitted to the hospital in an attempt to save our baby. We didn't know what was wrong at the time, but we found out little Grasshopper wasn't getting the oxygen or nutrients he needed. I was hooked up to a monitor 24/7. We watched his heart-rate drop and then come back up. The doctors were trying to buy as much time as possible to help him develop more. 2 weeks later(and those 2 weeks were a HUGE blessing), they decided Grasshopper was better off outside of me than in. The moment his tiny 1 pound, 8 ounce body was taken from mine, changed my life forever. As Jonathan sat beside me holding my hand, and we heard his little kitten-like cry before they stuffed a tube down his throat, we changed more than we ever imagined. The next 3 1/2 months were the hardest of my life, as I watched my baby suffer. They were also the most blessed 3 1/2 months, as we watched our baby LIVE and as we grew closer to God. We met some of the most wonderful people that will remain in our hearts forever. We were overwhelmed with the love and support shown to us! We are incredibly grateful that God blessed us with the doctor that He did. Most of all we are grateful to God that He chose to let Grasshopper stay with us.

With my second pregnancy, I'm ashamed of the depression I endured throughout. It was a perfectly normal, blessed pregnancy, but I let fear and anxiety overtake me. I only mention that, so you know my faith isn't always as strong as it should be. I think we all have highs and lows.

BOTH of our little blessings have changed our lives forever!

Now that you know a little more about me, I'm off to learn more about you. :)

Friday, June 15, 2012

Treasures of Healthy Living by Annette Reeder and Dr. Richard Couey

*I just got this book last week, so I haven't read the whole thing. My post is due today, though, so my thoughts about it are from some reading and a good bit of browsing. More than anything I'm pretty much just putting it on your radar.

Treasures of Healthy Living is set up as a 12 week study with a lesson for 5 days a week. Friday is called "Fabulous Foodie Friday", which looks to be pretty much experimenting with food. For example, one Friday is a challenge to gather friends and come up with as many ways to "liven up" water as you can using vegetables, herbs, extracts, or teas.

There's lots of Bible lessons throughout that are centered on food. There's also tons of journaling or fill in the blanks. I've mentioned before that I'm typically not a journaling type of person. Unfortunately, this book is no exception on that. That's not negative in any way. Some of us are journaling people, some aren't.

It's theme is "treasure", so it's very "pirate-y"(to me anyway). Just from my browsing, it looks like Treasures of Healthy Living is (at times) like a food science book, which I think is really cool. That said, it does look like a great deal to take in at one time. It might need to be a bit more than a 12 week study depending on what you're wanting to get out of it. I'm very much looking forward to reading more in it, because I am trying really hard to eat healthier, and knowing more about food in general helps with that goal.

If you're wanting to learn more about foods and eat healthier while also learning more about the Bible, I definitely recommend giving Treasures of Healthy Living a chance(from what I've seen of it so far).

**I was provided a review copy through Glass Roads Publication in exchange for my honest opinion.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Read Aloud Thursday: A Few Fun Children's Books

Read Aloud Thursdays is hosted every Thursday by Amy @ Hope Is The Word.

I've been intending for awhile now to join back in with the Read Aloud Thursday meme. We read some great books around here that I always want to share about and simply document for myself. I like making note of books others recommend, too. When I'm browsing through used books, I always get excited to find a book that someone has recommended.

Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy E. Shaw

We picked this one up ridiculously cheap at Books-A-Million a few weeks back(it's the big lap board book). It's been read MANY times since then. So many times, apparently that I have the book just about memorized and randomly start "reading" it at any given moment. The boys love it, and it has to be one of my all-time favorites.

It's told in rhyme, with only a few words on each page.

"Beep! Beep! Sheep in a jeep in a hill that's steep.

Uh-oh! The jeep won't go."

The pictures are adorable. They add more humor to the little story. I'm definitely keeping an eye out for the other "sheep" books!

I'm as Quick as a Cricket by Audrey Wood

I got this one a few days ago at our library sale(along with the next one). They've both been read many times since.

I think Grasshopper likes the pictures in this one more than anything. It's pretty low on word count, too.

"I'm as quick as a cricket.

I'm as slow as a snail.

I'm as small as an ant.

I'm as large as a whale."

I got it simply because of the cricket on the front. Grasshopper loves his crickets. I left him with my daddy for about an hour a couple of days ago and when I came to pick him up, he had a little bowl filled with grass and crickets. :)

There ended up only being the one cricket page in the whole book, but both boys really like it anyway.

Skip to My Lou by Nadine Bernard Westcott

This one has cows through it, so of course it's a winner with Grasshopper. As far as I know, it's simply the song, "Skip to my Lou" with pictures. I think the boys really enjoy having the book sung to them. I love how the pictures all tie together, too.

"Cows in the kitchen,
Moo cow moo."

(You see the cows making a mess through the kitchen, but at the corner of the page, you see the pantry door with eyes peeking out).

"Roosters in the pantry,

Each page leads to the next in some small way. We really enjoy going back after the song and looking at everything going on in the pictures.

These three have gotten the most re-reads this past week.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Blood Sugar Solution by Mark Hyman, MD

My Rating: 4/5 stars

My Thoughts:

The Blood Sugar Solution: The UltraHealthy Program for Losing Weight, Preventing Disease, and Feeling Great Now! is endorsed by Dr. Oz. When I see Dr. Oz endorse something, I want to read it. Sad, but true. (I hope authors and such realize how seriously the public takes their names on "things").

The Blood Sugar Solution is an education in food! I learned all kinds of things that I never knew. So much, in fact, that it was a bit overwhelming at times. I had no idea that oatmeal for breakfast is bad(not that I eat oatmeal very much), or that rye bread is healthier than whole wheat.

Dr. Hyman recommends going "cold turkey". Go through your kitchen and throw out anything with labels(unless there's less than 5 ingredients on the label, and doesn't contain certain sugary ingredients). No white flour, no white sugar, no processed foods, and no dairy. My kitchen would be drastically more empty if I did that. There's NO doubt whatsoever that going cold turkey is the best way in this case, but I think I need some cooking lessons first(and a lot more money if I'm basicly starting from scratch to re-stock my kitchen). If you decide suddenly to not eat ANY processed foods whatsoever, you better know how to cook! ;) I've been wanting to cut out most of the processed foods we eat around here, and it's just too easy for it to slip back in. A lot in our case! So, again, I do understand the going "cold turkey" thing. If this plan came with a coach, cook, and budget, I'd be all for it!

There's lots of quizzes throughout the book to determine something in your diet you might be lacking or a problem you might have, like a lack of magnesium or a thyroid problem. I'm always skeptical of quizzes. If you start looking up your symptoms online, it seems like it always comes back around to cancer. I honestly do think the quizzes are helpful in this book, though.

There's recipes, online support, and just tons of useful information in here! I recommend it as an education in food and how it affects our health. I take the information that I've read VERY seriously and I do want to put some of it into effect in our lives. But, I'm not completely jumping on the "Blood Sugar Solution" bandwagon. It's a HUGE change, and simply unrealistic for the average person(as far as "cold turkey" goes). Do I think putting this book's advice into practice would result in better health? Of course! Absolutely! But, it will take TONS of work(and money).

Overall, if you're wanting to eat healthier, I definitely recommend picking The Blood Sugar Solution up. I do think it will at least motivate you to get moving in the right direction.

*There's more recipes and information at the website..... I'm pretty excited about the extra recipes. :)

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

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Building Family Ties With Love and Laughter by Dave Stone

Thomas Nelson (May 8, 2012) 160 pages

My Rating: 4/5 stars

My Thoughts:

Building Family Ties with Faith, Love, and Laughter is a gift-type book, meaning its chapters are short and sweet. My rating is based on that fact. The points made are "to the point", so they leave plenty of room for your own thoughts to expand on them. The pages are thick and glossy, and the book is smaller in size than a "normal" book.

Despite its small page count, there are bits of wisdom scattered throughout! I like that at the beginning Stone recommends your family coming up with a mission statement. Stone's family mission is:

"Go to Heaven when we die and take as many people with us as we can."

"Recently our family went out to dinner with another couple. Beth's friend later told her, 'When we go out to eat at a restaurant, we go to eat. But you all go with a totally different agenda. It's like you're building relationships with the waiters and managers there.'
She was exactly right. We choose where to eat based on who we need to check up on or follow up with, or where we think we can plant some seed. We've nurtured relationships with staff, attended birthday parties for children, offered help when they've faced hardships.....God has blessed us as we've tried to live out our mission."

I thought that was great food for thought!

There's lots of humor sprinkled in, too. I really enjoyed the story about Stone's father reading off the visitor's names. I even had to tell it to Jonathan, so we both got a good laugh.

Overall, I think it's great if you're looking for a very quick boost of encouragement.

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

Monday, June 11, 2012

She's Got Issues: Seriously Good News for Stressed-Out, Secretly Scared Control Freaks Like Us by Nicole Unice

My Rating: 5/5 stars

My Thoughts:

I immediately connected with Nicole! I love how honest she is in She's Got Issues: Seriously Good News for Stressed-Out, Secretly Scared Control Freaks Like Us. She used herself frequently as a negative example. One of the biggest turn-offs for me is when an author only uses themselves as a positive example, trying to hold themselves up as a perfect image. None of us are perfect. I'm about as far from perfect as a person can get, so I don't like reading about people who think they've made it there without me. ;)

"Finally I stole away for sixty seconds of luxurious "me" time: just enough to hurriedly brush my teeth in peace. But as all mothers know, the click of the bathroom lock is the signal for a code-red emergency to break out. On this morning, it was my daughter's unsuccessful search for a pair of matching socks.
'Mama, I need socks!'
'Mommy, I can't find my purple and white socks. Mommy!'
'MOMMY, I need help! MOMMY, where are you? MOMMY!'
I spit into the sink and screamed so loud that my voice scratched as if it were coming from a blown speaker. 'BEEEEEeeeeeeee PAaaaaaaTIENT!!!!'
At that moment, I caught a panoramic view of myself in the triple bathroom mirrors. With toothpaste on my lip, hair scrambled on top of my head, and a wild look in my eye, I screamed 'Be patient!' like a woman possessed. The mirrors captured the irony of my statement in triplicate. I began to wonder how my own issues were becoming my kids' issues. Ouch."

Come on. Who doesn't relate to that?!

Nicole touches on issues in our lives that are sort of shoved to the back burner. We don't take them as serious issues, because we've simply accepted them as a normal part of our lives. She's Got Issues tackles our issues of comparisons, anger, fear, control, unforgiveness, and insecurity. I struggle with ALL of those, some more than others!

"There is a stubborn streak in me that wants to set my world in motion all by myself, that believes I truly know what is best for myself. It is the part of me that wants the world to rotate around me-my needs, my whims, my desires. This force has been kicking in me since I was born. And it's not dead yet."

I can't even tell you how much I needed this book! *IF* I were a hugging person, I'd give Nicole a giant hug for writing it. ;) The chapter on fear has made a HUGE impact on me. So much so, that I have a completely different post planned for that subject.

I think you can tell that I HIGHLY recommend She's Got Issues. HIGHLY(!!!!) But, I'm going to give some of you a couple of "warnings". One, there's a somewhat positive reference to "The Shack". I despise that book with every fiber of my being! I know some of you feel the same way as me about that. It's only one little sentence, though. I've made notes about my dislike of the book(in my book) in case anybody else ever sees it. Two, this book was definitely written for the "modern" woman. I don't consider myself one of them, but it didn't bother me at all. There's song lyrics from popular artists, references to modern day television shows I don't watch, and there's even a smartphone scan thingy at the end of each chapter. I don't have a smartphone, nor do I have any intentions at the moment of getting one, so I had to laugh a bit when I saw it at the end of the first chapter. It made me realize how behind the times I really am. I'm okay with that, though. Again, all that stuff didn't bother me a bit, but I know it might for some of you.

I think this book is awesome for ANY woman. Period. (teenagers, unmarried women, married women, mothers, elderly, EVERYONE) But, I think it pretty awesome for social phobia sufferers, as a bit more specific. The comparisons, fear, comes with the territory. So while I recommend it to all women, I definitely recommend if you have social phobia to pick it up!

*A HUGE thank you to Tyndale for my review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Friday's Fave Five #13

Friday's Fave Five is hosted by Living to Tell the Story. It's a great way for me to stay on the positive side, and remember both the big and little blessings in life.

I missed last week, so I'm combining the last two weeks.

1. A trip to the lake.

Well, to us, it's just called "the lake". Most all of Jonathan's family was there, so we enjoyed spending time with them. The boys got to play in the water, ride in a boat, and play at the playground that's up there.

2. My cell phone has been located.

3 weeks! It was lost for 3 weeks inside our house. One morning as I was fixing my hair, I saw Firefly's little hand sneak up to grab my phone off the counter. I had mousse all over my hands, so I figured he could play with it a few minutes to keep him occupied and happy(it was locked, so no dialing). When we got ready to leave, I couldn't find it. The next morning, I heard my phone alarm going off, but it wasn't loud enough to wake the boys up, so I ignored it. I should have gotten up with or without sleep, because after that apparently the battery died. And, every time I tried to call it before that, it went straight to voicemail. We just about tore the house apart looking for that thing. Curious where it was at? Stuffed inside a contact solution box. We keep our HBA "stockpile" inside the walk-in closet right next to that particular bathroom I was in. Firefly is a sneaky little booger. ;)

3. Jonathan doesn't mind shopping.

We do the whole couponing thing around here. The stores that we do the best with(Publix and CVS) aren't close to where we live in order for me to do the shopping. They are close to where Jonathan works, though. I make the list and gather the coupons needed, and when he gets off, he does the shopping. This sometimes gets him home an hour or two later. I really do appreciate the fact that he does it, though. I know he's tired and ready to get home when he finally gets off.

4. 10 cent books!

The ARC store is having all of their books for 10 cents each for the past few weeks. I've snagged quite a few. Just this week, among several others, I found a cow book for Grasshopper. Needless to say, he was excited. I was pretty excited to find another one of the "Little House" books for when I finally get to those.

5. A day out at the park.

We all went to the park to play at the "splash pad", have a picnic, and play at the playground. We cooled off with a snow cone. One duck even showed up for a little leftover biscuit.
It makes me incredibly happy that the boys' grandparents are willing to spend time with them! They even got to see one of their aunts and two cousins. It was a fun day!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Secret Keeper by Sandra Byrd

*Quick note: I got a bit confused with my post dates. I had thought this one was going up tomorrow, and I was going to announce the winner then, but obviously it posts today. I'll still draw the winner tomorrow morning, though. So, you can still enter to win a copy of The Secret Keeper! Just go HERE.

My Rating: 5/5 stars

My Thoughts:

Juliana St. John narrates The Secret Keeper. Through a chance meeting with Sir Thomas Seymour and a series of events, she becomes a "lady in waiting" for Henry VIII's 6th wife, Kateryn Parr. Juliana has the gift of prophecy, but she lives in a time where this gift is extremely dangerous! If the wrong person discovered her gift, it could mean death, but she knows she shouldn't keep the prophecies secret. Throughout the story, she meets another lady with her same gift.

I thought the prophecy aspect of the story was a unique touch. I enjoyed learning more about it. Sandra elaborates a bit more on that subject in the notes at the back of the book. I've mentioned before how much I adore all those extra notes when I finish a historical book! Especially with this particular story, it was icing on the cake to have a little more to read when the story was over.

I'm continually amazed at the corruption and lies of this period of time in history. It seems like everyone had to walk on tiptoes just to avoid a death sentence. Beheading, burning, and hanging were extremely common punishments during those days. I'm also continually grateful that I didn't live during that time! I feel blessed beyond words that I was born in the time and place I was.

Really, y'all. I just can't brag on this book enough! The writing is simply beautiful! Sandra gives us a look at the corruption and lies in a clean format that in no way takes away from the story. Since I enjoyed reading it so much, I immediately lined up another "royalty" book. Let's just say that it made me appreciate Sandra's books even more. Needless to say, The Secret Keeper quickly made it's way to my keeper shelf, right next to To Die For.

*There is some violence throughout The Secret Keeper. There's a rape scene and a burning scene. I don't think they're overly detailed at all, but I would offer caution to the younger readers.

**Thank you to Howard Books for my review copy in exchange for my honest opinion!

Monday, June 4, 2012

5 Miles South of Peculiar by Angela Hunt

My Rating: 4/5 stars

My Thoughts:

Several years ago, one of my friends loaned me her set of Hunt's Heirs of Cahira O'Connor books. I loved them! Since then I've put a post it note on my brain to read more of Angela's books, but it wasn't until now that I've done so. I really connect with her writing(with a couple of exceptions in this particular book).

Although Five Miles South of Peculiar has many different stories going on, they all revolve around the Caldwell sisters. Carlene and Darlene are the 50 year old twins.

According to Peculiar, Carlene is famous. Right after high school, she left her family, friends, sisters, and boyfriend to make it to the "big time" with her beautiful singing voice. Many years later, after 3 failed marriages and an ended career, she's making her way back to Peculiar.

Darlene is more down to earth. She can make a mean cupcake! Since her beloved husband passed away, and her children have moved away, it's just been her and Nolie in their big house.

Nolie(short for Magnolia) is the youngest sister by 10 years. Bless her heart, she completely won me over. She's very much attached to her routine and rarely ventures out except to hand deliver the aprons she enjoys making and giving away. She doesn't drive, except for her bicycle. She always wears white, and loves her Leonburger dogs. It's briefly mentioned that she might have Autism and/or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

(Photo Credit)
Through the pages, hurts and secrets are revealed, and we discover whether or not the girls can move past their issues.

There's many things that remind me of The Mitford Series. I remember reading Karon's series straight through and cooking more than normal. There's lots of food mentioned throughout the pages of Peculiar, too. Reading about all those desserts sure doesn't help sugar intake! ;) There's not quite the variety of people that I remember in Mitford, since Peculiar mainly focuses on the Caldwell sisters, but it does have an overall feel of Mitford, though.

I didn't overly like some of the turns that were taken toward to the end. About 20 pages from the end, I just sat and cried in disappointment for one of the characters. It broke my heart! That said, it's still a beautiful novel, because it's real, unfortunately. I want so badly to explain myself more, but I can't without spoilers.

Reading Five Miles South of Peculiar only proved that I need to pick up more of Hunt's novels.

*I do want to make note of something just in case that might keep some of you from reading it. One of the main characters is a divorced man. His wife left him, because she discovered she wasn't cut out to be a preacher's wife. They divorced. This man does develop a relationship with another woman in the story. So, you can take what you want from that.

**A huge thanks to Howard Books for my review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.