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.