Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Gardener's Log Book: A Five Year Planner

On of the most enjoyable things for me is gardening.  At the first sign of spring (and sometimes earlier) I begin planning what I will plant as soon as it's warm enough. I've always kept notes on how many tomato plants I get, how many rows of corn, etc. 

I was really excited for the opportunity to review A Gardener's Log Book.  It's a Five year gardening planner in one spiral bound book.  There are several things that really stand out about this planner.  For one, the cover is waterproof.  This is perfect for taking outside with you when you go to do your gardening.  It will wipe clean if you get it a little dirty.

It also has a place for plant names with a place to document bloom and harvest times throughout the entire year.

It is also divided by seasons which is nice.  For each season it gives reminders for planning, planting, chores, etc.

There is also plenty of pages for journaling and drawing pictures just the way you want to document it. 

The only thing I wasn't completely satisfied with is the size.  It's a medium size book and I would have loved it to be a bit bigger.  Five years is a lot to cram into such a small book.

Overall, I think it is a great planner and I would definitely recommend it for anyone who loves to garden.  Whether it be vegetable gardening, flower gardening or both, you will enjoy documenting your activity in this great planner!

***Thanks to bloggingforbooks.com for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Sibley Birds of Land, Sea and Sky Postcards

Whether you are a birdwatcher, art enthusiast or lover of nature, Sibley: Birds of Land, Sea and Sky Postcards is something you are sure to love.

The 50 postcards come in a very nice and sturdy box.  The box is so nice, with colorful birds displayed on front, that I will be displaying it on my book shelf.  The postcards feature original bird paintings by David Sibley.  They are in vertical format and rendered in watercolors.  Within the box they are divided by tabs separating them by type (sea birds, birds of prey, songbirds).

These would be great for mailing to friends and family.  You could use them as gift tags.  Or you can use them like I will...for inspiration in my own artwork.  I love to sketch and I plan on using these beautiful watercolor paintings as my inspiration.

This is a great set that I would highly recommend.  It would make a great gift or you could just treat your self to this beautiful set!

***Thanks to bloggingforbooks.com for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

If I Live - Book Review

If I Live is the third and final book in the If I Run series by Terri Blackstock.  I was so excited to get this long awaited book.  This has been one of the best suspense series that I have ever read and the way the Author wrapped up the series was perfect.

The story continues in the third book and we are still following along with Casey as she is fleeing the law.  She is wanted for a murder she didn't commit.  There are sever "dirty" officers on the force and they want her dead.  She is arrested and she has to fight for her life like never before.

You definitely need to read this series in order.  It is not meant as a stand alone book.  The good thing is that now all three books can be read and you don't have to wait for the release of another book.  That was the worst thing for me.  Having to wait.  Each book was so good I could hardly wait until the next book release.
I would highly recommend the whole series.  In the final book there were still a few surprises and a lot of action that keeps you turning the page until the very end.

***Thanks  to booklookbloggers.com for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

When God Made Light - A Children's Book Review

When God Made Light is a sweet children's  book that focuses on God's wonderful creation. More specifically when He created light.

The story is brought to you in rhymes, which is sure to keep your child's attention. The illustrations are bright, colorful and very creative.

It shares with the child the many things that can be done during the light that God creates. For instance, when the sun is shining you can "go skipping or flipping or down a slide slipping". When the stars are shining you can "sing songs around campfires, make marshmallow s'mores, let grandpa tell stories, wage flashlight wars".

To end the story there is a perfect timed message as to not be fearful of the dark and how the child can shimmer and shine and be the light that God made them to be.

This is the perfect book to include in your child's library or to give as a gift!

***Thanks to blogging for books for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Phoebe's Light - A Book Review

Phoebe's Light is the first book in a new series by Suzanne Woods Fisher called "Nantucket Legacy".

After caring for her father for years, Phoebe yearns for an adventure of her own.  Finally her dreams are coming true as she marries Captain Phineas Foulger.  As they prepare to sail away from Nantucket, Phoebe's father gives her the journal that belonged to her great grandmother.

Phoebe soon learns that the adventure she craved is not so easy. She's lonely and disillusioned so she turns to the pages of her great grandmother's journal and finds within the pages a secret that can change the course of everyone on the ship.

I am huge fan of historical fiction and I love reading about the Quaker lifestyle so this book was a joy for me to read.  It has a dual storyline that jumps back and forth between Phoebe and Mary the great grandmother.  The characters are all well developed and I quickly connected with them all. What was a surprise to me was the twists and turns in this book.  I did not expect page turning suspense and was well pleased with the excitement of this book.

I can't wait to read the next book in this series!  Definitely a book to read if you are a fan of Quaker life and historical fiction.

***Thanks to Revell for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

A Passionate Hope - A Book Review

The Bible story of Hannah is one that is well known.  Her words "for this child I have prayed" are heard and seen all around.  They are used at baby dedications, whispered by mothers, hung as wall decor in nursery's...but have you ever thought much on the women behind the words?  Do you ever wonder what she was really like?

Jill Eileen Smith does a beautiful job of feeling in the gaps for us.  We know what the Bible tells us, but in A Passionate Hope we can read a fictional account of what the life of Hannah may have been like.  The book will transport you back to biblical times and you'll feel like you are write there experiencing the sadness, patience and hope that Hannah deals with.

I know that some people are hesitant to read biblical fiction.  I have read some novels in this genre that I was sorry I ever picked up, but that is not the case with this book.  I think it is important to remember that this is just a fictional account based on true events.  If you keep that in mind, this book will give you a deeper and better understanding of a well loved woman of the Bible.

This was the fourth book in the Daughters of the Promised Land series.  You do not have to read the books in order.  I haven't read any of the previous books, but I will definitely be checking them out now!

***Thanks to Revell for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Judah's Wife by Angela Hunt

Leah has had a hard life.  Her father is abusive and she has watched her mother suffer at his hands for years. When Judah seeks Leah's hand in marriage she sees it as a way of escape from her home life.  Judah's family is nothing like her own and Judah is a kind and loving husband.  For the first time in her life Leah has peace in her life, but that peace is short lived.

The king has decreed that all Jews are to conform to Syrian law or risk death for following the laws of Moses.  Judah's father resists the decree and he does so without shame.  He does not hide the families prayer time, or things such as circumcising their children. He does them open and without shame.  Soon war breaks out and Judah's father commands that Judah pick up his sword and fight.  Leah struggles with her husbands decision to fight.  All she wants is peace in her life.  She will soon learn that love sometimes requires courage and sacrifice.

I really enjoyed the first several chapters of this book.  I loved the story line of Judah and Leah, but after they were married and the fighting started it got boring and drawn out for me.  Those areas of the book seemed too long and detailed.  I know it was an important part of the story, but it seemed to consume too much of the story.  The love story of Judah and Leah was beautiful and I found myself skimming over a lot of the other drawn out details just to get to the parts that I found more interest in.

I did enjoy that this was a biblically based story with fictional characters.  I thought it was a really nice portrayal of history during that time period and the author definitely did some great research.

***Thanks to Bethany House Publishing for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Trade Your Cares For Calm by Max Lucado

Do you ever feel overwhelmed with worry?  Consumed with fear or anxiety?  Does it feel like you are not enjoying life like you used to?  If the answer is yes, then Trade Your Cares for Calm is the book for you.

The last month or two I have been struggling with many emotions.  There seems to be no good reason.  There has not been any tragic events that have happened in my life, but yet I've struggled with many sleepless nights and shed more than a few tears.  Trade Your Cares for Calm came at just the right moment for me.  It has helped me get my focus back where it needs to be and focus on things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous and praiseworthy.

Fear sees a threat.  Anxiety imagines one.

Don't start tackling tomorrow's problems until tomorrow.  You do not have tomorrow's strength yet.  

C - Celebrate God's Gooness
A - Ask God For Help
L - Leave your Concerns with Him
M - Meditate on good things

What I have in God is Greater than what I don't have in this life.

A lot of what is included in this book is snippets from Max Lucado's other books. It is not a long read.  It is broke down into 10 chapters that include topics such and worry, fear and anxiety, God's goodness, practicing Gratitude, etc. There are thoughtful questions at the end of each chapter that help you think through where your focus is and where it needs to be.  

***Thanks to booklookbloggers.com for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

The Masterpiece - Book Review

Roman Velasco is a rich, self centered artist who's artistry is highly acclaimed and sought after, by night he is know as "bird/BRD" and works in secret as he tags buildings with his signature marked graffiti.  He has experienced loss and betrayal throughout his entire life and has shut off his heart from everyone.  In walks Grace...

Grace has her own set of problems.  She lost her parents tragically at a young age, she made some poor choices and gets married to someone she thought she knew while they were both in college.  Soon after, Grace has to quit college to support her ill tempered husband.  When she catches him cheating on her in their home he announces he loves the other woman and leaves Grace.  Shortly after Grace deals with an unplanned pregnancy.  She decides to give the baby up for adoption, but as soon as he is placed in her arms she knows she can never give her precious baby up.  Struggling to make a fresh start Grace begins working for Roman Velasco as his personal assistant.

These two have a lifetime full of scars.  If there were ever more complete opposites these two are it.  Grace is grounded, Roman is reckless.  Grace loves God, Roman is an atheist.  Grace likes order, Roman's life is chaos.  Grace struggles to make ends meet, Roman has more money than he knows what to do with. The list goes on and on, but these two are drawn together by jaded pasts and what awaits them is a masterpiece of God's redeeming love.

Overall, this was an enjoyable book.  The story jumps smoothly between past and present so the reader gets a good feel for everything the characters have dealt with in their past.  Both of their stories are heartbreaking, and their was a sadness to the book, but the ending gives hope.

There were a few things I didn't care for in this novel.  They are nit picky things.  One example would be that one of Grace's church going, christian friends encouraged her to get an abortion.  There is also mention of drinking cussing and sex.  I realize that Roman is a rough character and this is how the author chose to portray the depth of his sin. The last book I read by Francine Rivers was Redeeming Love and although many people rave about the book, I did not care for it and felt it was too detailed in sexual matters.  So with that I was a little leary about this book.  Overall, I enjoyed it, but due to my own christian convictions, a lot of what she writes did not sit well with my heart.

***Thank you to Tyndale Publishing for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Coldwater - A Book Review

Cold Water by Samuel Parker is a dark and disturbing novel.  It is unlike any book I have ever read, but from the first page I was drawn into a story that was so well written that I could not put the book down.  I finished the whole book within two days, which I must add, included two sleepless nights.  I could not stop reading.
I'll admit that I was a little unsure about what I was reading.  Especially at first.  Being someone who only reads christian fiction, this book did not fit the regular mold of books I read.  It is published by Revell which is a Christian publishing company so I felt at ease knowing that they approved.  There is some drinking, bar scenes and smoking in the book.  These things are not glorified though and it did fit with the story line. There is violence and evil scenes that are NOT going to be for everyone.  I would definitely recommend this book for adults only.  There is no cursing or sex which is good, because that would have turned me away immediately.

There is no mention of God and I think that is why most people are questioning whether or not this fits into the christian category.  Mercy is mentioned and there is redemption and justice at the end, but the evil is still there.  There are things that happen in the story that are supernatural.  This was the part that I struggled with the most.  It was just too unreal.  I believe a person can be devil possessed.  I believe that evil can control a person entirely, but some of it was just not possible.  I may be reading too much into it, but I felt like that was were a lot of the symbolism came into play.  For me, this book made me think. A lot.

I think there is so much more to this story than what a lot of people are realizing.  It's deep.  I think there is a much bigger message than what meets the eye.  We live in an evil world.  If you don't believe there are demonic forces, you have not seen some of the things I have.

I would love to sit down with the Author and have him explain his thoughts on this story.  I'm sure I'm missing some of the symbolism and I would just love to pick his brain.  Sometime down the road I will read this book again and maybe get a deeper perspective of it the second time around.

I won't go into any of the details of the storyline, there are too many spoilers that would be spilled.  From the very first chapter it grips you and it's something you will have to experience for yourself.  Like I said though, this book is not for everyone.  I would describe it best as a thriller and yes, after reading it, I would say a Christian thriller.

***Thanks to Revell for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.