Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Her Good Name - A Book Review

Her Good Name by Ruth Axtell is a wonderful book set in the late 1800's in the town of Holliston, Maine.  The main character, Epsy, a fisherman's daughter, dreams of having a life with Warren Brentwood, the heir of a large lumber company.  Being as they are from different classes of society she knows that she does not stand a chance so she tries to better life and takes a job at a local professor's home.

It doesn't take long for rumor's to begin to fly concerning Epsy's relationship with the professor.  Her whole world is turned upside down and she is left alone and penniless.  All she has left is her faith.  Will anyone ever believe her professed innocence and what about Warren?  Warren is has his own struggles.  He is torn between being the man society expects him to be and the man that God is calling him to be.

There are so many things I loved about this book.  I am a huge fan of historical fiction and I especially love it when and author writes a fiction story that is historical accurate and helps to enrich the readers knowledge of that time period.  Ruth Axtell did just that in Her Good Name.  I also love when an author encourages readers spiritually.  This book was rich in faith and the challenges that both Epsy and Warren faced in their efforts to do God's will was uplifting and makes the reader really think.  I also loved the the character of Epsy!  What a lovable character she was!  Always joyful no matter her situation.  Always holding her head high in-spite of the trials she is facing.  There is so much to be learned from this character.   It was a blessing to read about her and I was sorry to see the story end.

If you are a fan of historical fiction or christian romance I would highly recommend this book.  It is the first book I have read by this author, but I am confident in saying that it won't be my last!

If you would like to purchase Her Good Name you can click HERE.

To learn more about the author and the other books she has available you can find her website HERE.

***This book was provided to me through Moody Publishers blog review program in exchange for my honest review.

For the Joy Set Before Us - A Book Review

Most of us can remember a time in our Christian life that a missionary came to our church, showed pictures on a big screen, shared stories and asked for money.  Sadly that is the extent of what most of us know of missionary work.  There is so much more to it than that and For the Joy Set Before us by Erica Fye is a great book that shares with readers real insights on the life of a missionary. 

What prompted me to get this book was the fact that my 16 year old daughter desires to be a missionary.  She has had this desire for as long as I can remember.  She has many questions, questions that I cannot always answer.  This book has been a great help to her and to myself.  It offers so many answers and challenges you to examine your life and your true motives for wanting to go into mission work.  

The author does not always paint a pretty picture of what life is like for a missionary and I feel like that is very important and it gives the reader plenty to think about.  I think that if you are willing to go wherever God leads you, you have to be prepared and know that there are going to be challenges.  It will always be worth it and doing God's work is a blessing in itself, but it is good to know what some of those challenges will be.

I love the use of scripture in this book and I think that any christian will be uplifted and encouraged while reading the book.  

To purchase this book you can click HERE to find it on Amazon.

***This book was provided to me through the bookcrash blog review program in exchange for my review.

A Heart's Disguise - A Book Review

I first started reading Colleen Coble's books last year and quickly became a fan.  A Heart's Disguise is the first series she ever wrote.  After a freak accident that killed her brother Colleen visited Wyoming and it is there that this story was born.  It took six years for a publisher to pick it up and when it was the four books were titled Where Leads the Heart and Plains of Promise.  They have not been available in print for ten years.  Starting this month this series will be available again.  They are broken down into six books and starting this month one book will be released each month.

A Heart's Disguise takes place in Wabash, Indiana where the town is celebrating the end of the Civil War.  Sara Montgomery is in no mood to celebrate.  Her heart has been broken.  The love of her life, Rand Campbell was said to be killed in the war.

Sara's brother and ailing father pressure her into marrying Ben.   Not long after she agrees to the engagement she finds out that Rand is still alive and that Ben knew it and misled her.  Ben is not willing to give up easily and tries to kidnap Sara, but Rand comes to her rescue.

It seems like Rand and Sara can finally be together, but Rand informs Sara that he has been posted at Fort Laramie.  Sara does not want to leave her sick father's side.

I really enjoyed this book!  I love books set in this time period and I love how the Author always has a "bad guy" in her stories.  It is a very quick read and I finished it very quickly.   What I didn't like is that it is just too short.  It is less than 100 pages long and the story is left open.  I know it is a series, but I am not a patient person and I don't like having to wait for the next book and sadly, since there are 6 books I will have to wait quite a bit for the story to be completed.   The story was so good though that I will wait...just impatiently. ;)

***This book was provided to me through booklookbloggers.com in exchange for my honest reveiw.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Upcycled Denim Skirts

I know I have done posts in the past about the denim skirts I make for girls, but I decided it's time again!

The past couple months I have been super busy making skirts and promoting my designs in a new way.  Up until now I have mainly sold on ebay with occasional custom orders.  I have decided to put myself out there a little more and have created a facebook page for my Dots and Daisies skirt creations.  You can check it out and like it through this link:  https://www.facebook.com/sheilasdotsanddaisies 

I mainly make little girls in sizes 2T-16, but I occasionally make adult skirts as well.  I also do custom orders.  Some customers prefer me to get all the supplies, other customers like to send me the jeans and material and just have me do the sewing.  

Through my facebook page you can keep up to date with any new skirts I have available and I will also share when I list on ebay.  

All the pictures I am sharing are just a few samples of the skirts I have made and sold already this year!

I've been busy sewing all day today and will have at least 25 new creations available next week!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Sand in my Sandwich - Book Review

Sand in my Sandwich and other Motherhood Messes I'm Learning to Love is by Sarah Parshall Perry, a mother of three children, two of whom are on the autism spectrum.   According to Perry, "The hardest stuff is the quickest way to God" and it doesn't take long in reading her book that you realize that she has plenty of the "hard stuff" in her life.  But don't expect a downer!  This book if full of wit and encouragement!

I found myself laughing out loud at several of the stories shared and at times I would nod my head at an all too familiar incident that I could relate to.  I love how the author shares her life with the reader with openness and such honesty.  Sometimes we have to accept that our abnormal life is our "normal" and just embrace it and draw closer to God through it.  Perry shares her faith and it is evident that Christ shines through her as she shares His grace and love with her family.

If you are a struggling mother and motherhood hasn't been exactly what you thought it would be, this would be a great book for you.  Just don't expect a step-by-step parenting book.  Instead be prepared to be encouraged and uplifted and see that there are other mothers out there just like you.  When our lives don't go as planned God is still God and He never fails!  Embrace the life that He has blessed you with.  Life doesn't always go as planned, sometimes it's better.

If you would like to purchase Sand in my Sandwich you can do so by clicking HERE.

Sarah Parshall Perry is a wife and mother of three children ages nine and under, but she’s also been a lawyer, an ad exec, and an adjunct professor. She is the co-author of “When the Fairy Dust Settles: A Mother and Her Daughter Discuss What Really Matters” (Warner Faith 2004), and the author of a blog, numerous magazine articles, short stories, and poetry. She received her J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law, and her B.S. in Journalism from Liberty University.
Sarah has served in youth ministry for over ten years, and is currently writing for www.ChosenFamilies.org where she uses her son’s Asperger’s Syndrome diagnosis to encourage other families living with disabilities. She lives in rural Maryland with her family and a slew of animals, and spends most of her time fighting for time in front of the computer.

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

Finding Me - A Book Review

Finding Me by Kathryn Cushman is a contemporary fiction novel filled with a lot of mystery.

Kelly grew up having a close relationship with her father, but after a tragic automobile accident that kills both her father and step mother, she finds herself wondering if she ever really knew this man she called dad.  As Kelly begins sorting through her fathers belongings she soon discovers that her dad had been covering up a huge secret concerning Kelly.  She quickly realizes that her whole life has been based on lies and the family that she thought she had lost in a fire are all alive and well and living in Tennessee.  The more she digs into her past the more she realizes that she doesn't really know who she is.  She was born as Darcy not Kelly and her mom and siblings think that Darcy and her dad were killed in a boating accident.  Kelly wants to find out why her dad faked their deaths, why he left his wife and other children and why he had lied to her for all these years.  To find out the truth and to find herself she decides she must go to Tennessee and get to know these people that her father has kept her from, but she must get to know them as Kelly not Darcy.

When I first started reading this book I was a little overwhelmed with all the characters.  It was almost too much for me to sort out, but by the 3'rd or 4'th chapter I started to connect more and was soon enthralled in the mystery of this great novel.  I loved the faith aspect in the book and enjoyed the character of Beth, Kelly's biological sister.  There is a great message of forgiveness and the need of a Savior within the pages of this book.

This is the first book I've read by Kathryn Cushman and would love to read more of her writings!

I received an Advance Readers Copy of this book through Bethany House Publishing and Net Galley in exchange for my honest review.

If you are interested in reading Finding Me it will be released on April 7'th and you can pre-order it now!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Why Holiness Matters - A Book Review

Why Holiness Matters by Tyler Braun is a book about pursuing a holy life.  In today's world people seem to have a "whatever makes you happy" type attitude.  It seems like the old ways have long been forgotten.  I do believe there are still some Christians that are trying to live a holy life, but sadly these people are often deemed as "holier than thou" individuals.

Tyler Braun shares the struggles he has faced and is very open and honest about the "skeletons" in his closet.  He shares with the reader how as a teen he lost his way and how he came back to Christ.  The main point of the book is that true holiness comes from a relationship with Christ.  There are many quotable points made in the book and I found myself reaching for a highlighter on several occasions.  Some of his statements really spoke to my heart.

There were a couple things that I didn't care for.  The book was written for the millennial generation and I have to admit that before this book I had never heard that phrase before.  I actually had to google what the millennial generation was and had I of known before hand I would reconsidered getting the book.  Another thing that I did not care for is the repeated reference to different movies.  Not only did the author refer to certain movies, he quoted them frequently throughout the book.  Now this may be something that would be appealing to the millennial generation, but for this 40 year old, I just found it annoying.  I would much rather be pointed towards Bible verses or quotes from great men of God, not from Hollywood.

There were definitely some good points in this book and I do feel that it would be a helpful resource for someone who needs encouragement in their Christian walk, but overall I think it is best suited for young adults.

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

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Effortless Healing - Book Review

Effortless Healing:  9 Simple Ways to Sidestep Illness, Shed Excess Weight and Help Your Body Fix Itself by Dr. Joseph Mercola is a book chocked full of valuable information on healing your body.  The key word is Effortless and the 9 simple ways seem just that.  Things such as walking outside barefoot (otherwise known as earthing), drinking plenty of pure water and getting a good nights sleep are just a few of the simple steps included within the pages of the book.

What I really liked about the book is that Dr. Mercola backs all of his medical advice with scientific evidence.  The thing that I thought seemed most difficult of the 9 steps was the diet part.  To completely cut out sugar and eat the way that is outlined in this book would most definitely be a challenge for me, but I was so intrigued by the facts and information shared that I think it would be well worth the effort.

This came at the perfect time in my life.  I have been wanting to make some healthy changes, but was having trouble getting motivated.  After reading this book, I am excited!  I think that I can feel better following the guidelines that Dr. Mercola presents.   As I read through the book I kept marking pages that I wanted to go back to and read again, websites that I want to look up, things that I don't want to forget.  This book will go on the favorite section of my bookshelf and I'm sure I will be referencing it quite often.  I am looking forward to a new journey of feeling better!  Thanks Dr. Mercola!!

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

Monday, March 16, 2015

More Than Just the Talk - A Book Review

I grew up in a home that did not talk about sex.  I still remember "the talk" my mom had with me when I was much too old to just then be having the talk.  I simply informed her that I already knew about it and after a few embarrassing moments and comments we went back to what we were doing beforehand and never talked about it again.  Really, I didn't know very much, but I was too embarrassed to talk about it with my mom and I figured I heard and would continue to hear enough at school to fill in the gaps.  I will say I filled in the gaps pretty badly.  I'll spare you all the sordid details of my misconceptions, but lets just say it was far from being lined up with what the Word of God says.

Now I am a mother myself and times have sure changed since I was a young girl.  Kids face much more and at an earlier age than anything I ever faced.  We live in a world where sex is everywhere you look.  It's not only exposed to our children's eyes, but their ears as well.  I am thankful to be a homeschool mom.  There are strict rules in place in our home, but no matter how strict the rules you can not shelter your kids from everything.  Standing in a grocery store they merely have to look at the magazines in the checkout line to be bombarded with sexual images and words, shopping in a clothing store or eating in a fast food restaurant a song comes over the speakers with sexually explicit lyrics or even sitting at home watching a family show on television a commercial comes on that is not fit for christian adults eyes let alone a young person.  

It's important to keep and open line of communication with your children, to talk to them about sex.  Will it be embarrassing at times?  Yes.  Will it feel awkward?  Probably.  But if you do not talk to your teenager I can guarantee that they will get their knowledge elsewhere.

More Than Just the Talk:  Becoming Your Kids Go-To Person About Sex by by Jonathan Mckee is a book for parents.  It is very informative in opening a parents eyes to what young people are faced with on a daily basis.  It equips parents with the "how to's" of how to face the challenges of talking and keeping an open line of communication with your teen.  It's very straightforward.  The author does share plenty of Bible verses and I think it is a good book for parents with public schooled children.  Maybe it was too straightforward, but something about the book made me a little uncomfortable.  Maybe the fact that it was written my a man and I'm just old fashion.

With that being said...I have to say, that I think there are better books out there on the subject of sex that are more suitable for christian and homeschool families.  Don't get me wrong.  I know that just because I homeschool doesn't keep my family immune to the world, but I think that for our family a different book is better suited for us.  Yes, we talk about sex. I just approach it differently than this book advises.  If I had a kid in public school I would probably have a different opinion, but since I don't and my teenager is not exposed to worldly things at such a high level I feel that a more Christ centered approach is better for us.

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

A Harvest of Hope - A Book Review

I am always excited to get a new "Blessing" book from Lauraine Snelling!  A Harvest of Hope is a continuation of the Bjorkland family in the town of Blessing.  I have been reading about the Bjorkland family through Lauriane's writings for years and oh how I have come to love this family.  Getting a new book is like getting a letter from home.  I can't read it fast enough!  

A Harvest of Hope is the second book in the Song of Blessing series.  One great thing about all of the series on Blessing, North Dakota is that you don't necessarily have to start at the beginning.  They work as great stand alone books, but I do think it is well worth the time to start at the beginning!  

This book starts off where book one ended.  The Bjorkland family is deeply mourning the loss of their beloved Haakan and are trying to figure out a new normal to their way of life.  Miriam, a trainee at the Blessing hospital, is also mourning the loss of her mother.  She is torn with knowing where she belongs.  Her siblings are all back in Chicago and as the oldest she feels obligated to care for them, but her heart is beginning to tie her to Blessing.  Trygve has declared his love for Miriam and she is starting to have feelings for him as well.  She is struggling with her faith and now must make some decisions for her future.  Will she choose Blessing or Chicago?  

I really can't get enough of these books and I can't wait till the next one comes out.  There is always something exciting going on in the town of Blessing and if you haven't had the pleasure of reading any of these books yet I encourage you to do so.  Not only will you enjoy reading and experiencing what life was like in the late 1800's to early 1900's you will be encouraged in your faith as well!

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

Monday, March 9, 2015

Mercy's Rain - A Book Review

Mercy's Rain by Cindy K. Sproles is one of the best books I have read in a while.  I started it at night which was a mistake, because I literally did not sleep at all!  I could not put the book down!  It grabbed at my heart strings from the get go and even after it was finished I couldn't stop thinking about it.   There is only a handful of books that have moved me to tears and this one made the list.

The author penned this novel in such a way that I could feel the heartbreak and pain that the main character experienced.   Some books make you feel as if you are watching a story unfold from the sidelines, but not this book.  I felt so connected to the story and the characters that it was as if I was actually experiencing it first hand.  Also, if you have read many of my reviews you would know that I am not a big fan of books written from the first person narrative.  Mercy's Rain was written from that point of view, but it did not effect my love for this story.

The only thing I feel needs warning in this book is the abuse.  Mercy, the main character has suffered terrible abuse in her lifetime and has seen some horrific things.  Reading about them is hard.  It is detailed and may be difficult for some people to read.  I also feel like this is definitely a book for adults.  I would not want my teenage daughter reading it.  It in no way crosses any lines, but it is a delicate subject and as I already said, very detailed.  Those details are what draws the reader in though and I would not of enjoyed it as much if it were any different.  The author did a perfect job of penning this great novel and I think most people would enjoy it.


Mercy Roller knows her name is a lie: there has never been any mercy in her young life. Raised by a twisted and abusive father who called himself the Pastor, she was abandoned by the church community that should have stood together to protect her from his evil. Her mother, consumed by her own fear and hate, won't stand her ground to save Mercy either.
 The Pastor has robbed Mercy of innocence and love, a husband and her child. Not a single person seems capable of standing up to the Pastor's unrestrained evil. So Mercy takes matters into her own hands.
 Her heart was hardened to love long before she took on the role of judge, jury, and executioner of the Pastor. She just didn't realize the retribution she thought would save her, might turn her into the very thing she hated most.
Sent away by her angry and grieving mother, Mercy's path is unclear until she meets a young preacher headed to counsel a pregnant couple. Sure that her calling is to protect the family, Mercy is drawn into a different life on the other side of the mountain where she slowly discovers true righteousness has nothing evil about it--and that there might be room for her own stained and shattered soul to find shelter. . . and even love.
Mercy's Rain is a remarkable historical novel set in 19th century Appalachia that traces the thorny path from bitterness to forgiveness and reveals the victory and strength that comes from simple faith.
You can find out more about the author Cindy Sproles and see what other books she has available at cindysproles.com.

You can purchase the book at Amazon by clicking HERE.

***I received a complimentary copy of this book from Kregal Publications in exchange for my review.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Anna's Crossing - A Book Review

If you are a fan of Amish fiction and a fan of Historical fiction I am sure that you will thoroughly enjoy Anna's Crossing by Suzanne Woods Fisher.  From the very first chapter I was captivated by Anna's story.

Anna Konig is a young Amish woman who is traveling with her Amish Community from Germany to the New World aboard the "Charming Nancy" ship.  Anna has taken special care in bringing along a rose bush that was her grandmother's so she will always remember where it is she came from.  What the Amish group of travelers didn't know was that their trip was not going to be an easy one.  Storms, sickness and even death hit those on board hard and it is going to take a strong faith in God to see them through to the New World.

Bairn is the ships carpenter and is trying to forget his past.  The first encounter between Anna and Bairn is anything but pleasant, but when Anna is the only passenger who speaks English and has to interpret for the ship, things begin to change and her and Bairn are drawn together.  Through the perilous situations that they face aboard the "Charming Nancy"  Bairn  begins to question if his faith is something he should leave in his past or not.

I am a huge history buff and I love reading a fiction novel that is rich is real historic facts.  The Author of this book did an outstanding job of doing just that.  The Charming Nancy was an actual ship that carried Amish immigrants to the New World.  Anna's Crossing is the type of book that brings history alive and helps you see what type of challenges the people aboard the ship may have faced.  

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