Thursday, December 18, 2014

Price of Privilege - A Book Review

I love when an Author writes a series of books and you really get to know the characters and get to read one continuing story throughout several novels.  What I don't like however, is when I make the mistake of getting a later book in the series and not realizing I'm reading the third book until after I start.  Grrr!  I have read several series that the author does such a good job at reintroducing characters and plots that it does not matter if you haven't read the previous books, but lately it seems like the later books in the series are continuing a story that I am clueless about and the author doesn't take the time to introduce new readers to the characters.

If you haven't guessed yet, this is what happened to me with the Price of Privilege.  Do to my own mistake, I requested a book to review that was book three in a series and did not realize it until after I started the book.  I was completely overwhelmed with all the different characters presented in Price of Privilege and I had no idea who was who and what was being talked about.  It took me a while to get passed this, but throughout the book I continued to feel like I was missing important information and trying to piece it all together was difficult.

What I did like was the author's writing style.  It was different than anything I have read lately.  The author, Jessica Dotta reminded me of an old soul.  Her writing reflects that of Jane Austen and seemed very elegant to me.  I liked the regal feeling to it and even though I had trouble getting into the story because of the above mentioned, I would definitely read more of Jessica Dotta's books.  A matter of fact this book sparked my interest enough to go back to the beginning and start with book one to see what I was missing out on.

I would recommend this book as long as you start from the beginning of the series!  The first book is Born of Persuasion and the second book is Mark of Distinction.

If you would like to learn more about the author and her books she has a website and you can get to it by clicking HERE.

Description from the back of Price of Privilege:

Having finally discovered the truth of her birthright, Julia Elliston is determined to outwit Chance Macy at his own game. Holding a secret he’d kill to keep, however, is proving more difficult than she imagined.

Just when Julia thinks she’s managed to untangle herself from Macy’s clutches, he changes tactics with a risky ploy. As the scandal of the century breaks loose, drawing rooms all over London whisper what so far newspapers have not dared to print: Macy’s lost bride is none other than Lord Pierson’s daughter—and one of the most controversial cases of marital law ever seen comes before Victorian courts.

Though Julia knows Macy’s version of events is another masterful manipulation, public opinion is swaying in his favor. Caught in a web of deceit and lies, armed only with a fledgling faith, Julia must face her fiercest trial yet.


***This book was provided to me by Tyndale Publishing in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Hope Crossing - A Book Review

When it comes to Amish fiction Cindy Woodsmall is one of my favorite authors.  Her style of writing is so enjoyable.  Her books are what I consider "easy reads".  They are the kind that I love to curl up with for an afternoon of reading with a blanket and a cup of hot chocolate.

Hope Crossing is the complete Ada's House Trilogy and includes all three books in the series.  The three books included are The Hope of Refuge, The Bridge of Peace and The Harvest of Grace.  I cannot pick a favorite book out of the three because they are all so good.  All the character's are easy to connect with and if you are anything like me you won't even want to take a break between books, you'll just keep on reading!

The first book, The Hope of Refuge is about Ephraim and Clara.  Clara has lived a hard life, after her mother died and her father abandoned her she grew up in Foster homes.  Now she has a little girl named Lori and they are running from a stalker who has been tormenting Clara for years.  Clara ends up in Amish country after finding a clue from her mother in a diary.  Ephraim comes to Clara's aide which gets him shunned in his community.  Clara and Ephraim are both surprised when the realize this is not the first time they have met.

The second book, The Bridge of Peace continues on with the same characters but now the main characters are Lena and Grey.  Lena is a school teacher and at 27 years old she is sure that she is to live her life alone.  With a huge birthmark on her face she knows that her looks turn everyone away.  She is happy with her life as a teacher, but now her job is being threatened and Grey is the only person who will stand up for her.  Grey is dealing with some personal tragedies of his own and only wants friendship from Lena.  Lena on the other hand is quickly developing deeper feelings for Grey.

The third book, The Harvest of Grace concludes the stories that we have been reading in a very satisfying way.  It completes the stories of the previous books, but also focus on Sylvia and Aaron who both have different goals in life and their struggle of trying to come together.  I read this book several years and it was actually the first book I read by Cindy Woodsmall and I have been reading her books ever since.

If you have not had the pleasure of reading this series yet, Hope Crossing is a good place to start since it has all three books combined in one book for one low price!

***This book was provided to me by bloggingforbooks.com in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Bracelet - A Book Review

The thing that drew me to The Bracelet by Dorothy Love was the mystery and I have to admit that it was the "mystery" that kept me intrigued, but that is about all.

The book starts off with a young distraught woman thinking about ending her own life, but she changes her mind...too late or so we wonder.  The death was believed to be accidental, but through some events it leaves the reader wondering if it was actually a murder?  Next, we fast forward to 1858.  It is a just a couple years before the Civil War.  I normally love books written from this time period, but I did not connect with the time period in this book.  There was something about it that just didn't seem true to that time period for me.

I also did not connect well with the characters.  The main character Celia has just gotten engaged to Sutton her childhood sweetheart.  At the same time a reporter starts poking around trying to uncover the mystery of the tragedies that took place when Celia was a child.  Celia begins to realize that there are some deep family secrets and she decides if she wants to know the truth she will have to discover it for herself.  As she begins to search out the truth she starts getting threats.  One inparticular is a Bracelet that has a secret message, a threat, within the stones.  Instead of backing down this makes Celia all the more determined to find out the truth of her family and who is sending her the messages.

I found no chemistry between Celia and Sutton.  I have to say I didn't even like Sutton's character so it was hard for me to want Celia to marry him.  There is also Ivy, who is just annoying to me.  Her character just seems stupid and I didn't connect well with her either.  All the "fluff" surrounding the mystery really just bored me.  I wanted to read about the mystery and find out the truth of the tragedies.  All the rest just bored me.

***This book was provide
d to me through booklookbloggers.com in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Love Unexpected - A Book Review

Love Unexpected by Jody Hedlund is a great historical fiction book.  I knew I would love this book because I love all of Jody Hedlund's books.  The way she writes is more like painting a picture, it's like watching a story unfold right before your very eyes.  I love the way she includes factual historical events and this is one author who really does her homework.  For example, at the end of Love Unexpected there is an "Author's Note" where she shares about the research she did and how the book ties in with real historical events, which things were true and which were just based on a true event.  Some of the character's are based on real people from the past and she shares who those people where and how they inspired her.  For someone like me, who loves history this is just awesome!

Another thing I love about this book (and all her books) are how rich they are in faith.  This story shows how the mistakes we have made in the past can still affect our future even after we give our hearts to God.  I once heard a preacher say that even after you get saved you sometimes "reap what you sow".   Although God forgives us sometimes we suffer the repercussions of our mistakes after God has saved us.  I have experienced this in my own life, but through the grace of God, he not only forgave me of my sins, he turned those bad things into blessings!  Isn't God great like that?!

There was also a message of forgiveness and showing the same mercy to others that God has shown to you.  Sometimes this is a hard thing to do, but we have to remember that we were once a sinner just like them and we need to share the love of God so they can see God shining through you.

I loved the characters in Love Unexpected.  Emma is a young girl traveling with her brother when their ship is attacked by pirates.  Her and her brother are rescued by lighthouse keeper Patrick.  All Emma has ever wanted was a home of her own.  She has all but given up on that dream.  No man ever came calling and she doesn't think anyone would think her attractive.  Patrick has just buried his wife and is left to run the lighthouse and take care of his two year old son on his own.  It seems that Emma is the answer to his problem and after a quick wedding Emma finally has the home she has always wanted.  Now that she is married she is starting to realize that she knows nothing about being a mother and the man she married seems to have many secrets.  There are even rumors around town that he is a dangerous man.  When Emma discovers Patrick's secrets will she be able to stay with him?

There is a novella prequel to this book called Out of the Storm.  If you don't read it first it will not take away from the book, but it would help you connect with a certain part of the story, plus it is really good too.  Love Unexpected is book one in the Beacons of Hope series and I can't wait till the next book comes out!

If you have not read any of Jody Hedlund books, you are missing out, but it's not too late!  You can start with this series!

***This book was provided to me by Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Bachelor - A Book Review

I get  so aggravated at myself when I request a book to review only to find out it is the second in a series and I have yet to read the first.  I really need to pay more attention to this!  Sometimes this is not a problem, but more often then not it is better to read a series in order.  So, with that being said, that is what happened to me with The Bachelor.

The Bachelor by Stephanie Reed is book two in the Plain City Peace Series.  As I mentioned, I did not read the first book in the series and I feel like this really took away from the book for me.  I felt lost and unconnected to the characters, especially at first.  It seemed as if I was missing the first part of the story and I guess I was, I think this book picked up right where the first one left off.  The end of The Bachelor is a bit of a cliff hanger so I am sure that book three is going to pick off where this one ends as well.  Even though I started with the second book it did peak my interest enough to make me want to go back and read The Bargain, which is the first book.  I think I'll wait till the third book comes out though. The Bride is not to be released until 2016 so I will wait till closer to that time and read book one for the first time and then book two again to refresh my memory.

There were several things about The Bachelor that I liked.  It was different than a lot of the Amish fiction stories I have read in the past.  It is set in the 70's and I have read very few books from that time period and I really enjoyed that.  I also liked that it gave a more realistic view of Amish life and their beliefs.  I would definitely recommend reading it, but be sure to grab The Bargain first and start from the beginning!

More about The Bachelor:

Betsie Troyer is back home in her Amish community after her parents have left for the English world.  Her parents have been shunned by the community and Betsie is now caring for her siblings.  Betsie is happy with her life and feels like she is getting everything "back on track".  Her and  Charley Yoder have made promises to each other and she is looking forward to a future with him, but when her English neighbor asks Betsie to care for his 12 year old daughter Sheila, Betsie's life gets turned upside down once again.  Between trying to keep peace with Charley, taking care of a 12 year old, and her friendship with Sheila's brother..the draft dodging, hippy Englisher named Michael, Betsie begins to question what God's plan is for her life.  Will God make the choice clear?

More about the Author:

Stephanie Reed lives on the outskirts of Plain City, Ohio, the site of a once-thriving Amish community.  She gleans ideas for her novels from signs glimpsed along the byways of Ohio.  To check out her other books and learn more about her you can go to her website HERE.

***This book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Pray the Scriptures When Life Hurts - A Book Review

I have some mixed feelings about the book Pray the Scriptures When Life Hurts by Kevin Johnson.  I was first drawn to this book because of the title.  As a christian  it is important that we know God's word and it is good to use it in our prayer life.  The Bible is full of God's promises and His word can give us encouragement during the hurting times of our life.  I was hoping that the book would give me some guidance and encouragement in "praying the Scriptures".  On the second page of the first chapter the author uses the phrase "cut the crap".  Now I know what I am getting ready to say will get me viewed as a goody-two-shoes by some, but when I read that phrase I was instantly disappointed and frankly disgusted with the author of the book.   In my opinion, those words do not belong in a book entitled Pray the Scriptures.  This is a devotional book and I expect to see uplifting and godly words, not words that I hear out in the world every day.

I thought the book would be an encouragement, but instead I feel that it can discourage more than encourage.  Each chapter of the book focuses on a different emotion.  A few examples are loneliness, resentment, frustration, surrender, hope...In the beginning of each chapter the author shares some thoughts and then there is a section with a Bible verse followed by questions/journal prompts and a space for you to write your answers.  I did really like this set up.  I like a devotional that you can write in and that asks thought provoking questions that encourage you to examine your heart with the purpose of drawing you closer to the Lord.  But it seemed like a lot of the journal prompts/questions were focusing more on what you are going through and how bad it is rather than how great God is and how He will see you through anything that life throws your way.

It is my opinion that if you are in a hurting place in your life, a place of sickness, or heartache, maybe grief...whatever the trial, YOU can pray the scriptures.  Get your Bible out, read God's promises.  Be encouraged!  My all time favorite chapter in the Bible is Psalms 91 and it has encouraged me through many trials.  Here are just a FEW other scriptures that I believe are a good start to help "pray the scriptures".

Psalm 9:9-10
James 4:7
Psalm 50:15
Psalm 34:7
Isaiah 41:10
Exodus 14:14
Joshua 1:9
Deuteronomy 31:8

***This book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.


Friday, November 28, 2014

The Princess Spy - A Book Review

The Princess Spy by Melanie Dickerson is the first novel I have read by this author and I was not disappointed.  I chose this book because I thought it would be a great change from the type of books I normally read, but what first caught my eye was the beautiful cover.  I did think it would be a fairy tale type love story and even though it does resemble a fairy tale it is more of hero and heroine working together to fight evil/bad guys.  Even though I enjoyed the novel I do think it is best suited for teenage girls.  

I found the main character, Margaretha, very humorous.  She talks...a lot.  She is brave and headstrong, willing to do whatever it takes to protect her family.  Colin is the complete opposite of Margaretha and he is determined to find Lord Claybrook and expose him for the murderer he knows him to be.  When he finds out that he is planning on marrying Margaretha he becomes determined to protect her a well.  Margaretha and Colin unite and try to save Hagenheim Castle before it is too late.

After I read this book I found out that the author has other books based on some of the characters that are in The Princess Spy!  I'll definitely be checking out those books as well!

***Thanks to booklookbloggers for providing me with this ebook free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sketch - A Book Review

Sketch - The non-artist''s guide to inspiration, technique, and drawing daily life by France Belleville is the perfect book to give the aspiring artist (or anyone who likes to sketch) the motivation and inspiration needed to begin sketching their daily life.  

It doesn't matter if you have been sketching for a long time and consider yourself a skilled artist or if you are just starting out.  There are many creative prompts and detailed instructions that will give you the direction you need to move beyond your comfort zone and begin drawing great pictures.

Excerpt from Chapter 1:  "Have you ever wanted to simply draw but didn't because you did not know what to start with?  Is you lack of training a source of inhibition?  have you ever felt a longing for artistic creativity but shunned drawing becasue you saw it as a skill that couldn't enable you to make a living?  Have you ever felt eager to document the world around you buy always felt poorly qualified to do so?  have you ever needed a creative kick-start but never knew where to turn?  Have you ever felt discouraged by your own incapacity to lay something right on paper?  Have you ever thought you had to be formally trained in order to draw?"

I have always loved drawing.  In the past few years I have incorporated it more into my life.  I doodle, I nature draw, and I sketch.  I do not consider myself a good artist my no means, but it is something I enjoy and it is a very relaxing hobby.  Since I am not very good at it I like a good book that gives direction, but it is very hard to find a book that really helps.  This book really hit the mark for me.  Not only was it insightful and motivating, the samples of the author's work is simply beautiful.  

The book is separated into 6 chapters.  The first chapter covers the preliminaries, the second chapter covers what supplies are needed, the third chapter is basic techniques, the fourth chapter is drawing when time and resources are limited, chapter 5 is going digital and chapter 6 is prompts.

So whether you are a beginner or a novice this book would be a great asset to your home library!

***This book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for my review.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Secrets of Sloan House - A Book Review

Secrets of Sloan House is a great book that will have you captivated from chapter one till the very last page.  It's a book that you don't want to put down until you have completed it.  You know the kind....the one's that keep you from getting anything else done.   

The story is set in 1893 at the World's Fair in Chicago.  When I first read the synopsis of this book the setting is what drew me in.  I enjoy reading about that time period and a mystery surrounding the World's Fair was very intriguing.  

Rosalind's sister has gone missing and she is determined to figure out what happened to cause her to disappear.  In order to uncover what has happened she takes a job as a maid for the wealthy family that her sister used to work for.  While there she becomes friends with Reid who promises to help her.  She is below him in "class" and the family she works for are just very hateful people.  There are so many "suspects" that could be to blame for the disappearance of Miranda (Rosalind's sister) and you'll be guessing till the very end.  I can't wait to read the second book in this series!  

***This book was provided to my by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

When Mercy Rains - A Book Review

If you have read very many of my book reviews you know that Kim Vogel Sawyer is one of my favorite authors.  She has a way of writing beautiful stories that are entertaining and pull at your heart strings.  I love the way she intertwines a strong faith in her writings and her newest novel, When Mercy Rains follows the pattern of excellency.

There was a sadness to this story for me.  A family broken.  A sin that effected so many people, and heartache that seems impossible to heal.

The story begins with a young girl, Suzanne being sent away by her mother.  Suzanne and Paul were in love and made a mistake and now Suzanne is pregnant.  The only person she tells is her mother and her mother is determined to keep it a secret.  So she sends her daughter away.  She is to have her baby in a different community, give the baby away and then she can return home.  Jump forward about 20 years...Suzanne has been away from home for all these years and now she has received a request from her brother to come home and care for her mother who's health is failing.  She decides she must return to the family that she has not seen for all these years.  Her daughter Alexa is excited to see the family she has never known, but are they going to be excited to see Alexa?  Surprised is more like it!

I won't tell anymore of the story than that because I don't want to give anything away.  You can tell by the title of the story that God is going to do a great work in this family and His mercy is going to rain down.  This is the first book in Trilogy and I can't wait to see what is in store for the Zimmerman family.

***This book was provided to my by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Rice Krispie Pumpkin Treats

These yummy Pumpkin Rice Krispie Treats are super easy to make and the perfect fall snack.  We are taking a batch with us to a hayride tomorrow and I am sure all the kids will love them!  The stem is a tootsie roll and the pumpkin itself is an orange rice krispie treat.  
How cute is that?!
So if you have ever made Rice Krispie Treats before you will have no problem making these.  You use the same recipe and as you are mixing/melting your marshmallows in the butter you add a mixture of red and yellow food coloring until you get your desired pumpkin color.  After you mix in the melted marshmallows with your rice krispies you can start shaping them into pumpkins/balls.  We coated our hands with butter to keep everything from sticking and if you have little kids helping you, make sure the mixture has cooled a little before you start shaping them.   You don't want any burns!  I also unwrapped my tootsie rolls and put them in the microwave for about 10 seconds to make them easy to mold.  I gave them a little twist and pushed it in the top while the "pumpkins" were still warm.  That's all there was to it.  Simple and fun!


Here is the original Rice Krispie Treat Recipe just in case you have misplaced yours! ;)

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 package (10 oz., about 40)  Marshmallows
  • OR
  • 4 cups  Miniature Marshmallows
  • 6 cups Rice Krispie cereal

DIRECTIONS

1. In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat.   (this is the when you would add your food coloring)

2. Add Rice Krispie cereal. Stir until well coated. (after this step is when you would shape your pumpkins and then add your tootsie roll stems)

3. Using buttered spatula or wax paper evenly press mixture into 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan coated with cooking spray. Cool. Cut into 2-inch squares. Best if served the same day.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Forever Christmas - A Book Review

It seems like every October there are a few Christmas fiction books that start hitting the shelves.  This is about the same time I'm starting to think about what presents to buy for my loved ones,  decorating and snow and just getting in the "Christmas spirit".  I love to sit down with a good Christmas book, a cozy blanket and a cup of coffee.

I had high hopes for Forever Christmas.  From the synopsis it sounded good, I had read some reviews and they were all praising this great story, but I have to say though that I was not as impressed.  I did like it, but I struggled getting in to the story line.  I also am very picky about the type of books I read.  I want good wholesome books with a good story line.  Even one curse word turns me off.  As a book reviewer and a Christian it is hard for me to recommend a book that has even one bad word in it. I feel that it reflects on me as a Christian.  I was not very far into Forever Christmas when I read the first curse word so from that moment I was disappointed.

On a more positive note, the book sends a strong message of not taking your life for granted and to cherish those you love.  It was not predictable and I was really surprised with the ending.  The story reminded me of It's A Wonderful Life and the whole thing had a familiarity about it.  It's also a quick read and depending on how much time you have you could possibly finish it in one sitting.

***This book was provid
ed to my by Booklook in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

To Everything A Season - A Book Review

I was so super excited when I seen Lauraine Snelling's newest novel To Everything A Season where she returns to Blessing, North Dakota and continues her story of the Bjorklund family!  As soon as my book came in the mail I ripped open the package and began reading.  It felt like a letter from home!  I have come to love the people of Blessing and have connected so much to the characters that I love when a new series or book becomes available.  I was afraid that the last series would be the end of The Red River of the North stories, so I was pleasantly surprised (okay, jumping for joy) when I seen that Lauraine Snelling is continuing the saga with this new series - The Song of Blessing.

This book was so good.  I soaked in every word and really felt like I was getting updates from my distant relatives.  One thing I really like about the books about Blessing is that even if the story is about a certain character, for instance this one is about Trygve finding love, there is still enough information about all the other characters that I have connected with in the past.  I will admit that there have been a few series (this new series makes five) that have been a little slow paced, but this book was right on track for me.  I couldn't read it fast enough and it reminded me of the first series when I first came to love this family.

I would definitely recommend this book, but I'm not sure it would be a good "stand alone" book.  I think you would enjoy it much better if you start from the beginning and journey with the Bjorklund's from the start.   I don't think you will be sorry!

If you want to find out more about Lauraine Snellings books you can check out her website HERE.

Now I just have to wait for the next book in the series, A Harvest of Hope!

***This book was provide to me by Bethany House Publishing blog review program in exchange for my honest review.

An Amish Second Christmas - A Book Review

There is something about fall and the onset of cooler weather that makes me want to curl up with a blanket and a book.  An Amish Second Christmas is the perfect book for doing just that.  It consists of four novellas by some of the best Amish Fiction authors.  Beth Wiseman, Ruth Reid, Kathleen Fuller and Tricia Goyer are all featured.  Each story is centered around the Amish celebrated Second Christmas.  Second Christmas is the day after Christmas and it is a continuous celebration of Christmas that is spent with family and friends.

The is a great book and I thoroughly enjoyed all four stories.  They were heartwarming and well written.  My favorite was When Christmas Comes Again by Beth Wiseman.  It was different and not as predictable as a lot of fiction novels I have read.  My second favorite was Her Christmas Pen Pal.  I would of loved for this one to of been longer!

More about the novellas:

When Christmas Comes Again by Beth Wiseman - Christmas is just around the corner and Katherine knows that it will be hard for her and her children.  This will be their first Christmas without Elias their beloved husband/father.  To add to the stress, a mysterious Englischer is following Katherine.  He presents her with photographs of her late husband and her whole family.  When she learns who this mystery man is she is in for a surprise and he blesses their family in ways unimaginable.

Her Christmas Pen Pal by Ruth Reid - Ever since her parents died Joy has engulfed herself into the family business, a bakery that her parents started.  Joy is expecting a proposal from Henry, but instead she finds him courting another woman.  She writes a letter to her cousin that ends up in the wrong hands.  A young cabinetmaker reads the 10 page letter and decides to write her back with his opinion.  They become pen pals, but a lot of twists and turns keep them from coming together.

A Gift for Anne Marie by Kathleen Fuller - Anne Marie and Nathaniel have always been best friends.  When Anne Marie's mother decides to remarry in another state Anne Marie is devastated.  How can she possible leave all her friends, but most importantly how can she leave Nathaniel.  Soon Nathaniel and Anne Marie begin to realize that their feelings for each other are stronger than friendship...seems like everyone else new it all along.

The Christmas Aprons by Tricia Goyer -  Vanilla crumb pie has been Esther's mom's signature pie for decades.  When Esther goes to help a family member she is called upon to help the town  in a benefit for the fire department.  Her mom shares the secret recipe for her vanilla crumb pie with Esther.  What she thought was a simple dessert turns into something much more...bachelor bait!

If you love Amish fiction and short novellas this is the perfect book for you!  Each novella is a fast read, but put together the four novellas offer more than 400 pages of enjoyable reading.  This would make a great Christmas gift too!

***This book was provided to me by the publisher through booklookbloggers.com in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, October 10, 2014

A Robertson Family Christmas - FREE BOOK GIVEAWAY!!

Who doesn't love one of America's best known red-necked families?!   That's why I know ya'll will be super excited about the chance to win "A Roberston Family Christmas".  It is a novella written by Miss Kay Robertson herself with the help of Travis Thrasher.  It is a crazy story of a troubled teen who finds the true meaning of Christmas where he least expects it.

Even though it is a fictional book it is based on real Robertson family Christmas traditions.  As I was reading the book there were several laugh out loud moments along with some heartfelt moments.  It may be a fictional story, but it is written as if it actually happened.  All the things that the characters say are exactly the things you can imagine, and have heard them say on their television show!  It was a cute story and a fast read.

I received two books from Tyndale Publishing.  One to review and keep for myself and an extra copy to giveaway to one of my readers!  It is a nice hardback book with a festive book cover!

So here is what we are going to do...the contest is going to run from now until midnight on Wednesday, October 15, 2014.  I will announce the winner on Thursday the 16'th.

To enter:

1.  Follow my blog if you don't already.
2.  Leave me a comment and tell me what your favorite Christmas tradition in your family is.
3.  Share a link to my blog about the contest on FB or Twitter

For each of the above you will get one entry.  So be sure to do all three to increase your chance of winning and be sure to let me know if you are sharing on FB or twitter.

Winner's address must be in the USA.

***Thanks to Tyndale Publishing for providing me with a copy of A Roberson Family Christmas for review and an additional copy to giveaway!


Friday, October 3, 2014

A Love Undone - A Book Review

When it comes to Amish fiction Cindy Woodsmall is definitely one of my favorite authors.  She has a way of writing about the Amish community that brings it to life and makes the characters seem real and relate-able.   In her most recent novel, A Love Undone, she tells a beautiful story of shattered dreams and God's unfailing grace.  The main male character is Andy Fischer.  If you are familiar with Cindy Woodsmall's books that name may ring a bell.  We were first introduced to Andy in The Dawn of Christmas, we only seen a few glimpses of his character then as he was a minor character.  Since Andy did not have a main story line in The Dawn of Christmas you don't need to read it before you read A Love Undone, however, it is a great story that I think you will love, so you may want to pick up both of these great novels.

More about the book:

In A Love Undone Jolene is a young 19 year old girl who is on the brink of having all her dreams come true.  She is getting ready to marry Van in just 10 days and then she will follow her dreams of painting and selling her work.   In a blink of an eye her world comes crashing down around her.  When her mom and dad are killed in an accident, Jolene is overcome with grief but knows she must step up to the responsibility of taking care of her siblings so they are not separated.  Ten years have now passed and Jolene is comfortable with the role of who she is.  Most of her siblings have started a life of their own except for Hope and Ray who are the youngest.  Ray was struck  by lightening when he was a young child and has many problems as a result.

Andy Fischer is a "grass widower" (a man whose wife has left him) with a young son named Tobias.  He trains horses for a living and when Andy and Jolene come together to train some horses from the Humane Society sparks instantly fly.  When Jolene realizes that they cannot be together because of his marital status her heart is broken.  They fight their feelings and remain separated from each other, but despite their best efforts their feelings for each other remain and the rumors begin to circulate.

A few thoughts:

I really enjoyed the story of Ray.  Reading about his struggle with his emotions and anxieties and watching him come to age was really enjoyable.

Andy and Jolene's story was very unique and I was a little concerned about how the author was going to write this story and keep it "safe" since it was dealing with a married man.  As to not give too much away I will only say that I was very pleased with how the story was concluded.  Both Jolene and Andy are such admirable characters that want to please God and the elders of the church, even if it means sacrificing their own happiness.  It is also a great story of God's healing.  Sometimes life happens and it is not at all what we expected, but God can heal our hearts and help us to come out victorious!

If you want to learn more about the author and her other books you can check out her website at www.cindywoodsmall.com

***This book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.  

Monday, September 15, 2014

Tried and True - A Book Review

I was first introduced to Mary Connealy's books when I read The Kincaid Brides series and I became an instant fan.  Her next series was The Trouble in Texas series and I was a little disappointed with that series.  Now I just finished the first book in her new series Wild at Heart and let me tell you, she has captivated me again!  I absolutely LOVED this book and I cannot wait for the next book to come out.  From the very first page to the last I was intrigued with this well written and highly entertaining novel.  

Mary Connealy has a unique writing style.  Her books are all westerns and she has a lighthearted, comedic way of writing her stories.  There is also a lot of romance in them.  If there is such a thing as a wild west fairy tail then that is how I would describe the way she weaves her stories.  I loved all of the characters in this novel and there was plenty of page turning action and suspense!  This is surely a series you don't want to miss!

ABOUT THE BOOK:
Kylie and her sisters disguised themselves as men and fought during the civil war, now the war is over and they have all claimed homesteads and are still disguising themselves as men in order to get their homesteaders exemption.  Kylie is not like her sisters though, she likes dresses and pretty things and dreams of a civilized life.  Her plans are to prove her homestead, sell out to her pa and then head for civilization. 

Aaron Masterson is a land agent and it doesn't take him long to discover that Kylie is really a woman.  When someone starts threatening Kylie's life in an attempt to run her off her land Aaron comes to her rescue time and time again, but will the only way to keep her safe be to marry her?  Will Kylie marry Aaron and give up her dreams of a civilized life?  You are just going to have to read for yourself to find out!  

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

  

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Bend Your Brain - A Book Review

Calling all nerds...okay, maybe you don't have to be a bonafide nerd to enjoy Bend Your Brain, but if you love puzzles and bind benders this is a great book that you are sure to love.

Once you pick up Bend Your Brain it is hard to put it down.  It is filled with 151 puzzles, tips and tricks that blow and grow your mind.  There are five sections - Visual Perception, Word Skills, Critical Thinking, Coordination, and Memory. There is a wide variety of puzzles ranging from easy to hard.   

I sat down with my 16 year old daughter and worked through a lot of the puzzles together and what fun we had!  Some of the puzzles were challenging, but that just gets your brain working all the harder.  

Since I am a homeschool mom these type of books always intrigue me.  I have purchased several "mind bending" type puzzle books through the years and I have to say this is the best I've seen.  The puzzles are new and fresh and unlike any that I have seen in previous books.  The directions are clear, examples are given when needed and the answers are in the back of the book in case you get completely stumped or just want to check and see if you are right.

The only negative thing I have to say about the book is that many of the puzzles require writing and once you write on the puzzle that's it.  I like a book that can last for several uses, so we used a pencil, wrote light and then erased so someone else in the family could try the same puzzle.  So it still worked, but that was the only draw back I found. 

***This book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Honor - A Book Review

Honor is the first book in the Quaker Brides series by Lyn Cote.  I absolutely loved the story of Honor Penworthy, a young Quaker woman, who due to some unfortunate circumstances finds herself without a home, money or hope for a future.  All she has is her maid Royale, a black servant whom she has promised to free.  With no skills Honor's future depends on a marriage to Samuel Cathwell.  Samuel lost his hearing as a child, but has learned sign language and is a successful business man.  Despite his success he is withdrawn from the hearing world and feels like everyone sees him as a burden.  

Samuel and Honor along with Royale and a few other servants that they have hired, head west to start a new life.  Honor is very passionate about freeing slaves and soon becomes involved in the Underground Railroad.  Samuel knows that his wife is hiding something, but he is not sure what.  

Honor is such a brave character and is willing to risk everything to do what she feels is right.  The way the author portrays the feelings between Honor and Samuel is so realistic and I could relate to both of them.  I have a passion for deaf culture and have been learning ASL myself so I was instantly drawn to this book because one of the main characters was deaf.  It is so well written.  There is courage, suspense and love.  Honor is a true heroine and I was captivated from the first page to the last.  On top of loving the story of Honor and Samuel there were several minor characters that added so much to the story!  I can't wait to read the next book in this series.  

If you enjoy historical fiction I am sure you will love this book too!

***This book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for my review.


Monday, September 1, 2014

Making Marion - A Book Review

Marion Miller comes to Sherwood Forest to uncover he father's mysterious past.    She is looking for somewhere to stay, but instead finds herself on the wrong side of the reception desk at the Peace and Pigs campsite.  Despite her shyness, she promptly lands herself a job working for the big-hearted and irrepressible Scarlett.

It takes all of Marion's determination to come out of her shell and get to grips with life on a busy campsite, where even the chickens seem determined to thwart her.  Then an unfortunate incident with a runaway bike throws her into the arms of the beautiful, but deeply unimpressed, Rueben...

Can Marion discover her father's secret?  And will she find peace, and perhaps even love among the pigs?

I have to admit that the thing that first attracted me to Making Marion by Beth Moran was the cover.  Unlike most books I've read lately the cover looked fun and lighthearted, then when I seen that it was a Robin Hood story I was even more intrigued.  After reading more serious drama filled books I was ready for something fun.

I hate to say that I was disappointed with what I found within the pages of the book.  The story was just okay, but what bothered me the most was some of the language.  There was not a huge amount of bad words, but enough to turn me off from it.  I am very particular as to what I read and I would not classify the book as a christian novel and because of those reasons I could not recommend this book to others.  

About the Author:

Beth Moran lives in Nottningham with her husband, and three children.  When she's not writing, Beth helps lead a national women's network.  You can visit her website by clicking HERE.

***This book was provided to my by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Little Book of Book Making - A Book Review

I am an avid scrabbooker, I love smashbooks, I have sketchbooks, nature journals and I keep a daily journal so I was confident that the Little Book of Book Making would be very beneficial to me in all my artistic endeavors and I was right!

This "little book" comes in a convenient size, 7.5 x 7.5 inches, but don't let the size fool you.  Within it's pages it is packed full of beautiful pictures and instruction.  It has all the information you need to start making your own books!  Be prepared to me motivated and get your creative juices flowing.

The first two sections of this book is packed full of pictures of the inspirational work of different bookmakers. It shows the different methods of folded bindings and the different methods of sewn bindings. 

Next you will find a section on page and cover treatments.  Again, there are a ton of beautiful pictures to give plenty of inspiration so you can make your own unique books.  

Section four concentrates on the book packaging, or cover.  This chapter gives you a lot of info on how to make your book stand out.  

The last section of the book is the best!  It gives you the "how-to".  It gives pictures and description of the tools needed to make your own books. It then goes through step by step instructions on how to make several different styles of books.  It includes materials you will need and special tips!  

This handy size book gives all the information you need to start making your own books.  I am seeing lots of mini books, journals, Christmas gifts and more in my future!   If you love to be creative and think you will enjoy bookmaking this book is just the think you need to help you start your journey!

***This book was provided to me by blogging for books in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

With Every Breath - A Book Review

Every now and again I'll pick up a book and within the first couple pages I know I am going to love it.  That was the case for me with this book by Elizabeth Camden.  I was captivated from the first page to the last.

The book starts out with Kate and Trevor competing at their school for Valedictorian.   The winner also gets a scholarship.  For the past four years Trevor has been Kate's nemesis.  The only way that Kate will be able to continue her education is to win the scholarship.  Trevor is rich and rebuffs everyone who tries to make friends with him.  Trevor wins the competition and the scholarship.  Kate hopes she never has to see Trevor again, with that the book skips forward twelve years...

Kate is working as a government statistician when she is offered a position to work with a doctor.  This is the job she has been dreaming of, but the doctor just so happens to be the one man she hoped to never see again...Trevor!  Despite her misgivings she agrees to work for him.  Trevor is trying to find a cure for tuberculosis and he is certain that Kate will benefit his efforts.

This book has it all!  There is breath taking romance, twists and turns and a little bit of a mystery.  The characters are interesting and well developed.  I love the element of faith that is portrayed in Kate's life and the ending way great!  And I have to add that I think the cover is beautiful.  It looks exactly like the way the author describes Kate!

I would definitely recommend this book and it is one that is going on my book shelf with my other favorites that I know I will read again!

***This book was provided to me by Bethany House Publishing in exchange for my review.

The Butterfly and the Violin - A Book Review

The Butterfly and the Violin is the first book by Kristy Cambron and she has done an excellent job in creating a masterpiece of a story!  The thing that first caught my eye about this novel is the exquisite cover.  It simply is beautiful!  A beautiful cover that matches the beautiful story!

This is a story that you won't soon forget.  The novel is about two women, Sera and Adele.  Sera is from present day and Adele is from 1942.  Sera is an art dealer that becomes enthralled with a painting of a young violinist.  Sera is determined to discover who the painting is of.  The painting is of Adele who was imprisoned in a concentration camp for smuggling Jews.  Adele played her music to honor God even in the midst of her circumstances.

I did enjoy the historic part of the story much better than the present day part with Sera and William, but it was all good!

There are so many things that can speak to your heart and soul within the pages of this book.  Even when there seems to be evil all around us, we need to just open our eyes and see the beauty that God has for us and see that his presence is ever near and also to learn to look past the pains of yesterday and move past our mistakes into a brighter future.  Let go, trust and embrace freedom!

I can't wait to read the next book by Kristy Cambron!  She is definitely an author that I will be keeping my eye on.  You can find out more about her at kristycambron.com.

***This book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for my review.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Your Family In Pictures - A Book Review


I love preserving our families memories through pictures.  I'm just a mom though.  I don't have a fancy camera or special talent when it comes to photography.  I'm just average and guess what!  This book is awesome for people just like me!!  

Your Family in Pictures is written by Me Ra Koh.  Her work and photo recipes have been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show, The New York Times and Parenting Magazine just to name a few.  This is the third book in a series and even though it is the first one I have read I would really like to check into the other two.  


This is such and inspirational book!  It is filled with forty photo recipes that has step by step directions that include:  when, prep, compose and capture.  The photo's in the book are absolutely beautiful and are a motivation in themselves.   The author includes lots of tips and "steps" to capturing great family photo's.  It even includes tips on capturing great photo's with your smartphone!  



Whether you take photo's professionally or are just a simple mom who wants to preserve your families memories I believe this book will be beneficial to you! 




***This book was provided to me from Blogging for Books in exchange for my review.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Captured by Love - A Book Review

Jody Hedlund has done it again!  She has captivated me with another beautifully written historic romance novel.  Captured by Love is the third book in the Michigan Bride Collection series.  You do not have to read all three books in order to know what is going on.  The one thing that the books have in common is their setting is in Michigan, however, all of these books are so great I don't think you want to skip any of them!

Captured  by Love takes place during the war of 1814 on the Mackinac island.  The British have control of the island and America wants the island.  In their attempts to gain control of the island they block supplies from coming to Mackinac.  The people of the island are starving.

Angelique lives on the island with her stepfather who is very controlling and likes to punish her by locking her in the attic.  She is betrothed to Jean but is in love with his brother Pierre.  Pierre is a fur trader and when he comes back to the island as a spy sparks begin to fly between him and Angelique.  Angelique knows that he will not stay on the island and she does not want to leave the land that she loves.  She also battles with staying true to her betrothed.

Pierre has recently come to know God, but still struggles with knowing what the right thing to do is.  He finds himself helping both the British and the Americans and soon finds out you can't ride both sides.  As the war begins and his betrayal is revealed his own life becomes endangered.

Jody Hedlund is an amazing author who knows how to paint beautiful pictures with her words.  She has such an elegant writing style!  I love the playfulness that she brought out with Pierre and Angelique and I truly felt as if I was sitting on the sidelines watching the story unfold before my very eyes.  I can't wait to see what Joday Hedlund has in store for her readers next.  Whatever it is I m sure it will be great!

***This book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for my review.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Super Stitches Sewing - A Book Review

Super Stitches Sewing is A Complete Guide to Machine-Sewing and Hand-Stitching Techniques by Nicole Vasbinder.

I was so excited when Super Stitches came in the mail and I got even more excited as I began to flip through the pages.  This book is loaded with so much information and beautiful illustrations that are easy for even the beginner sewer!

I have been sewing for about 10 years and most of what I know I have taught myself.  I usually stick to the basic stitches and I knew that I was not getting the full benefit of my sewing machine.  Super Stitches has opened up a whole new world for me.  I finally "get" what some of the other features of my machine do.  The book not only gives step by step instructions it shows step by step pictures so you can actually see what you are supposed to be doing.  An example of some of the things shown is how to do a zipper, button hole, hems and smocking and that is just to list a few.

In addition to all the great sewing machine techniques the book also covers hand stitches.  I was super excited about this feature as well.  I remember a few hand stitches from home economics, but that was quite a few years ago (I'm not telling how many).  Like the machine stitching the hand stitching section is complete with instructions and pictures.  A few examples of the stitches to be learned are the ladder stitch, darning, basting and the whip stitch and there are many more!

Another feature that I loved about the book is that the author includes a section on tools and equipment. This section describes the different kinds of needles and their uses for both machine and hand stitching, it shows and describes the different pressure foots and also the different kind of threads and their uses.

Whether you are just starting out as a seamstress or you have years of experience this is an amazing book that I know I will be referring back to for years to come!

As a homeschool mom I must add that this book is a great resource for teaching home economics as well!

***This book was provided to my by the publisher in exchange for my review.

Love Letters from the Edge - A Book Review

Love Letters from the Edge

MEDITATIONS for those STRUGGLING with BROKENNESS, TRAUMA, and the PAIN of LIFE

by Shelly Beach and Wanda Sanchez

I think it is safe to say that whoever you are, wherever you live, no matter what your circumstance in life, at some point you, or someone close to you has been affected by a traumatizing event.  Maybe it was abuse, (do you know that it is reported that one in every four women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime) or rape, maybe a medical trauma or the loss of a loved one.  There are so many things that can shake our lives and turn them upside down, leaving us feeling abandoned, afraid and alone.

I have experienced my share of "trauma".  I was a one in four.  I'll never forget the night that me and my kids fled in fear of our lives from our home.  The abuse had been going on for years, but that night....that night was different.  There was an eerie feeling in the air and things had been really bad for days.  I can honestly say that I have never been so scared before or since in my life.  I had been warned that he was going to "take care of us" once and for all and that night it was all getting ready to explode like never before.  In our pajamas with no money we fled, certain that if we stayed we would not survive.  We spent that night in a parking lot.  My nine year old slept in the back seat while me and my fourteen year sat in fear with each passing car, afraid that he was coming after us.  That night was a turning point in my life.  In the days following, with the help of family, a restraining order was issued and we relocated.  

After fourteen years in a tumultuous relationship I finally had the courage to stand on my own two feet.  It has been 7 years since that night and I can honestly say I am happy.  My kids are happy and we have come out stronger, but I would have never survived if it had not been for God, an awesome family and lots and LOTS of prayer! 

You may have a similar story, or maybe it's not a story, maybe it's your reality.  The events of your life may make my story pale in comparison.  Whatever the case I can tell you that there is a God that loves you.  He loves you so much that He wants to carry you through this dark time.  I know you feel broken, that you feel that no one cares.  That you are tired.  Just tired.  I know that feeling.  I know the feeling of crying till you can't cry anymore and then somehow the tears start falling again.  Feeling worthless.  That it is your fault.  That you deserve it.    You believe the lies you've been told.  "You're worthless, mental, crazy.  No one will believe you, you'll never make it on your own".  But I have one word for you...HOPE.  There is hope.  There is a BETTER LIFE.  There is HEALING.  I KNOW the God who can give it to you!  

If you are going through a difficult situation, something that has left you feeling depressed, anxious and maybe even considering self harm I encourage you to pray, to find someone to talk to, read the Bible and maybe the book Love Letters from the Edge can help you!  It is a 12 week book of meditations that will help you with some of your questions and frustrations that you are feeling.  The book has activities such as journaling, letter writing, art projects and more that will help you in your healing process and also build a stronger relationship with God.  

The book is written from two perspectives.  The first half of each entry is a letter from the brokenhearted to God.  The second half is God's love letter of response to his wounded child who has been hurt by sexual abuse, violence, abandonment, victimization, or other painful life events.  

I'd like to share a couple excerpts with you from the book.

From the wounded individual to God:

This thing called life has taken a toll on me God.  I'm beyond exhausted.  Weary, bone tired.  I don't feel like I can take another step.  Everywhere I turn, life pounds away at me, and I'm panicking.  With each passing day, I'm less able to pull myself together.  

I long for calm and quiet.  I struggle to remember what peace felt like.  I try to shut out the chaos in my head and listen for your voice, but exhaustion tells me to give up.  You seem so far away, and I just can't seem to hear you...

From God to the wounded:

Dear Child,  I feel the sting of sweat when it streams into your eyes.  I know the ache of illness, the burn of disappointment, and the exhaustion that suffocates sleep from you spirit.  I know the pounding of your heart when you cannot catch your breath.  I know the weight of weariness that bows you back and saps your spirits.  

I know because I took on flesh and blood, sweat and sorrow, betrayal and bruises to sit beside you in the dirt and the darkness, even when you did not see my face or my tears for you.  I know because I exchanged my strength for your weariness....


This is just a small sample of what is inside the pages of this book.  I encourage you to read and see for yourself that God loves you.  When all else fails, God never will.  He can be your rock!

This week you can get Love Letters from the Edge in ebook form for a special discounted price.  Just click HERE.

***This book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for my review.






Sunday, July 6, 2014

The New Colored Pencil - A Book Review

The New Colored Pencil by Kristy Ann Kutch is a great resource book for the aspiring artist.  It is full of beautiful pictures of artwork created with colored pencils.  I am fairly new at creating pictures with colored pencils and I was simply amazed at some of the pictures in this book.  It really is amazing what you can do with pencils.  The book is very informative and gives so much insight to the average person (like me) who is wanting to get started in making beautiful artwork.

The author give lots of information on the tools needed and I had no idea there were so many choices not only in pencils but in the surfaces that you can use.  The book takes you step by step through the techniques it takes and the whole book has broadened my knowledge greatly!

The book has ten chapters and is divided into three sections.  Part One is on Wax-Based Traditional Colored Pencils, Part Two is on Water-Soluble Colored Pencils and Part Three is on Wax Pastels and Combining Colored Drawing Media.  If you are an art student, a seasoned artist or just a novice like me I think this book will be a great resource in your library!

About the Author:  

Kristy Ann Kutch has taught more than two hundred colored pencil and watercolor pencil workshops to artists and students nationwide.  She is the author of Drawing and Paining with Colored Pencil, and is a contributor to several colored pencil publications, including The Best of Colored Pencil, Creative Colored Pencil, and Colored Pencil Explorations.   Her work has appeared in International Artist Magazine and Pratique des Arts.  She also authored a DVD called Colored Pencil Landscapes: Beyond the Basics.


***This book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for my review.

The Loving Kitchen - A Cookbook Review

The Loving Kitchen is a cookbook by food blogger Leann Rice and is chocked full of delicious recipes that your family is sure to love!  

When it comes to cookbooks I am pretty picky.  I want recipes that I will actually use with ingredients that I actually have.  Is that really too much to ask?  I think not!  The Loving Kitchen offers exactly what I always look for in a cookbook.  Not only is it full of delicious recipes with ingredients that I usually have on hand it is centered around family and God.  It has Bible scriptures throughout and little notes from the author on how to make your kitchen a loving, family atmosphere.

Extending hospitality to family and friends through the recipes you make can be a blessing to both the giver and the receiver.  This great cookbook is an awesome resource to help extend the love of God to others.  Even if the only people you cook for is your immediate family this cookbook will help you show your love and appreciation with the meals you prepare for them.

It has recipes for every course including:  Morning Fare (breakfast), Bountiful Breads, Starters and Salads, Soups and Sandwiches, Entrees, Vegetables and Sides and Desserts.  I loved all the categories but I was particularly fond of the Vegetables and Sides section and the Dessert section.  I get tired of making the same side dishes and this cookbook has some great new recipes that I know will be a hit with my family.  The dessert section has so many yummy recipes that I literally want to try them all!

I hadn't heard of Leann Rice up until I got this cookbook, but I will be looking up her blog now and her cookbook is one that I will be using for years to come!

***This book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for my review.


All for a Sister - A Book Review

All for a Sister by Allison Pittman is the first novel I have read by this author.  It is the third book in the "All for" series but you don't need to read them in order as the only thing that is similar is the fact that they are all set in the roaring 20's.  I was excited for the chance to read this book for review.  I have never read a novel set in the 20's and thought it would be a pleasant read.  I don't like to give negative reviews but I just did not care for this book.

First of all I must say that one thing that really bugs me is when a book is classified as a "christian" novel but has a story line that is not christian material.  There are no curse words and that is good, but there are a lot of references of adultery.  I do think the story could of been written without a lot of that and it really irks me when I get a book from who I think is a christian author only to find it full of worldly sins.

Second of all, I really disliked the set up of the book.  It jumped around so much that it kept me confused most of the time.  It jumped form character to character and time period to time period.  I found it confusing when it went from past to present to past again and again.  Some of the chapters were set up like a movie script and I didn't care for that either.

Thirdly, it was fairly predictable.  I pretty much figured out where the story was going after just a few chapters and the longer I read the more I realized that there were no surprises.

The story is about Celeste and Dana who have found out that they are sisters.   Celeste's mother was an evil woman who put Dana in jail at the young age of 12 years old.  Now Dana is 32 and out of prison.  Celeste's mother has died and her inheritance has been split between the two girls.  Also left is a 100 page confession of sins and regrets.  As Celeste and Dana share their stories and begin to get to know each other a movie producers wants to make a film of their lives.  Each chapter jumps between Celeste, Dana, the producer and the mother's confession.

***This book was provided to my by Tyndale Publishing in exchange for my review.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Garden Joys

I am starting to see the fruit of my labor and I am loving it.  We are having plenty of fresh produce straight from the garden to go with our meals each day!  Tonight I fried up our first zucchini and I've been picking green beans like crazy!  The cucumbers our tasting so yummy and everything in the garden looks so healthy.  The corn looks great and the tomato plants are loaded with green tomatoes.  This year I have been using Epsom Salt on the tomato plants and I really think it is making a difference.  We have caught four raccoons and we know there is at least one more that is out-smarting us, but hopefully we can get him soon too.  I am so happy that the garden is producing so well this year especially since last year was not so great (major raccoon problems that destroyed my entire garden).  

This year I have tried freezing some of my green beans.  This is a first for me and I hope they turn out good.  (I plan on doing a post on the procedure soon)  I've frozen 3 gallon bags so far and I picked so many beans today that I think I'll get the pressure cooker out this week.  The cucumbers are just starting to come on but if my plants produce well I would like to can some relish.  I've never done that before, but I love trying new things and I'm sure it will turn out great!




Lots of Kale!  So easy to grow and so yummy!


Lots of green beans to pick!


My little "field of dreams"!


SUNFLOWERS!!!!  Can't wait till they bloom!