Saturday, June 27, 2009
There are some series when you know that it's going to end but you don't want it to because the characters have become friends. This is the case in the Brides of Gallatin County book 3 entitled A Dream To Call My Own by Tracie Peterson and published by Bethany House. What a great series it has been and it was great meeting the Gallatin sisters.
This book is the story of Lacy Gallatin, the third and youngest of the Gallatin sisters. She is strong willed and not at all like women of her day and she has a mission - to find her father's killer. Dave Shepard has been one to tell Lacy how unfeminine she is and it drives Lacy crazy - to the point where she and the deputy sheriff for Gallatin crossing bicker and fight. Neither are prepared for their feelings and are even more unprepared for what happens later.
This story is one of suspense, as the unsavory characters want to ruin Gallatin Crossing and have plans to take over the town for their own immoral and illegal happenings, regardless of who gets hurt - or killed. The characters become even more real as they have grown in the past two books in their faith in God and realize they must rely on Him and Him only for them to survive. The suspense is woven throughout the entire book, making it one that is hard to put down, at the same time though you don't want to leave the characters.
A Dream to Call My Own is also a love story, one of imperfectness, as all love is. A story of learning, truthfulness and communication. The characters realize that failure to learn can mean that they won't grow, either in their Faith or in their own personal lives such as becoming a lady. The characters emerge strong and it isn't your usual sappy love story - although I will say the kissing scenes would be inappropriate for a unmarried, young lady to read since the two kissing are not married - but the characters know when to say when because not only do they fear for their own reputations but they worry more about what God would think - much more important.
Kudos go out to Tracie Peterson for once again weaving another wonderful story! I'd love to see an addition telling her readers what happens to the Gallatin sisters, their town, children and husbands. Wouldn't it be nice to drop in again and see your friends to see what they have been up to?
My reviews for the first two books can be found at this post.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
**For those who commented I only have one email, please leave me another comment with an email.**
I am a BzzAgent and recieved a three pack of Bic Soleil Bella razors. I was very excited since I usually just use whatever triple blade I can find at the store that are cheap. I don't have anything against the cheap ones but these Bella's were very nice.
The first thing I noticed and really liked are the colors! I love color, the feminine the better and these were definitely that! They are tropical colored but in a shade of blue, green and light green - they are very pretty. The next thing I noticed is the wider than usual handle, this made it easy to control the razor and not have to worry about slipping and sliding all over my leg.
The other advantages of the Bic Soleil (French for 'sun') Bella (Italian for 'beautiful') are:
- Four blades, gives a closer, smoother shave with less effort
- "e-z rinse" technology, water goes over and under the blades for easier cleaning
- Flex and pivot, flexible blades and a pivoting head glides over legs
- Soothing strip, enriched with coconut oil
- Curvy, comfy grip - enough said.
I also used these on my under arms and that was a mistake. Whether these were made for underarms or not I am not sure but these gave me severe razor burn - to the point it burned terribly to wear deodorant for two days and instead opted for corn starch. I do not recommend these razors for your underarms - no matter how thick your shaving cream is.
These razors retail for $6.00 at Wal-Mart, Target, CVS and others and while I am not sure if I would actually pay that much money (equals to $2.00 per razor) I would say I do think it's worth it. They don't seem to rust as fast as the typical razor giving you and extra shave or two out of them and the great shave on one pass is excellent (excpet on underarms).
Now I do have some coupons and the first 3 people to contact me by leaving a comment will get a $3.00 coupon off a purchase of a three pack of Bic Soleil Bella razors! I will enclose a BzzAgent chat card as well.
What He Must Be if he wants to marry my daughter by Voddie Baucham, Jr.
This book is definitely what all Christian parents need to read if they want their daughter's to be married to godly men who will treasure them and do their Biblical duties and also what they need to train their sons to do as we prepare them for marriage. Truly this book is a breath of fresh air, in a culture full of feminism, gender neutrality and humanism.
At first I thought that the book review program at Crossway got things mixed up because at first glance I thought it was a book for me on what their daughter's need in a marriageable husband - I was wrong! This is a book that both mother's and father's can get a lot out of. While I already had thoughts of courtship for my children, my husband isn't convinced. I experienced severe personal heart ache in the leftovers of dating romances - which only time and God can heal and I don't want my son or my daughter's to enter their marriage with such heart ache.
Some will find this book archaic and backwards, especially in our culture who today says women can have a marriage, family and career - oftentimes finding that isn't the case. Men who become stay at home dads - when this becomes Biblical please give me the Scripture reference. Men who love their wives and wives who submit to their husbands. Men who WANT and welcome children, who are the sold provider for their families, men who are the protector, and the priest in the home. This is not a popular view and Mr. Baucham recognizes that but thankfully he doesn't back down from that either. He supports everything with Scripture. When he discusses Biblical submission this doesn't mean allowing a man to beat on his wife or the wife has to be at his beck and call - this detracts from his being a protector, provider and priest. Husband's have to submit to Christ and the wives are to show their husbands the same love and respect.
This is a refreshing wake up call to churches who are more and more finding themselves having to condone live in relationships before marriage, believers marrying non believers, young men and women swearing off marriage and children until they can afford it among other issues. This book will challenge your beliefs in marriage and raise the bar on what we expect of our sons and our future son in laws. As a mother this is what I want my children to look toward, in a world that my daughter's are already being pushed to make career choices (they are only 7 and 4 1/2), it's going to be hard to go against the grain and say, "no". I am not saying that Mr. Baucham has all the answers, but he brings a lot of good points that are Biblically based and sound in what we need to be on the look for.
So if you are a Christian parent and don't want to settle for a son in law just because he loves your daughter (is he a true Bible believing, God fearing Christian) or do you want someone who wants to emulate Christ and follow God's Word? If the answer is yes, read this book and if the answer is no, GET THIS BOOK because if you are willing to settle for less than what God wants for your son and for you daughter's then you will be sacrificing something that didn't need to be sacrificed.
book wouldn't stand up to other Christian fiction books, I was pleasantly surprised. I will admit I am sometimes leery of branching out into new authors so I am glad that reviewing for Bethany House allows me the luxury of enjoying new authors.
Deena Livingston is a Southern girl who moves into her grandpa's cabin in the mountains of North Carolina. Her plans are to be reclusive and start her own cake decorating business while recovering from a broken heart after her fiance leaves her in the dust. Her new family is one she wouldn't expect to eventually love but she must per her Grandpa's request - and she is happy she did. A classroom of middle school students, a social worker who works with the children and a plumber are all things that may or may not get Deena to enjoy life once again.
This book really spoke to me. Deena wants to trust in God but her human side makes her want to rely on herself. Healing from a relationship that God didn't intend for her. Realistically it summed up what most women go through before growing up and maturing in their walk with God. We struggle just as Deena struggles and eventually though we can't see the light at the end of the tunnel, we have to rely on God to get us through and He will - in His time. It's hard to realize that in times of hardship though.
The other thing I like about this book is it has some recipes. I have already tried one and it's yummy and has been requested at two of my children's upcoming birthday parties! There is a recipe for peanut soup hidden in the pages of story, and while my family isn't excited to try it, I would like to one day actually put it to the test. How great is it that you can feed your Faith with a story that includes Christ and at the end feed your stomach with a great tasting cake? I'd say that's pretty awesome!
So I say get yourself a copy of How Sweet It Is sit back with some Southern Sweet Tea (in my life it's sweetened with Stevia LOL) and enjoy a book that weaves together Faith, imperfect human love, food and God!
I was given an advance reading copy of Held Hostage by Ken Cooper and published by Chosen. This book is due for release in August 2009 and I would suggest this book be reading if you have a heart for prisoners or just to minister to the least of these like Christ told us to do and showed up from His life.
Held Hostage is about Ken Cooper's double life, one of family man and the other a 'gentleman bank robber'. It starts out with the robbery and backracks through getting married, having a child, robbing banks and up through his time spent in jail and prisons. He held a job as a publicity director for a Christian college all the while robbing banks, taking a hostage and then letting them go - unharmed.
There were moments in the book that had lots of shock value, Mr. Cooper does not gloss over prison life to spare the reader. I was appalled at the behavior described because surely while I am not as naiive to think that some of this stuff doesn't go on but surely the gaurds would stop it. Not so. I cannot imagine men living like animals, and don't forget their are plenty of women in prisons too who I am sure are not immune to this sort of behavior. After many years of his mother praying, he finally gives his life to God.
The changes that occur in him are testimonial to God's great works. I am not saying that he is perfect, none of us are perfect, no not one but his life changes for the better and he is free even in prison. This book is one that will make Believer's see Christ's life changing power at work and will make a non-believer rethink what they thought they knew - or at least I pray it will. Truly this is a book that doesn't come along often and should be a must read especially those who want to know how to help those in prisons - including the appalling parts, they too must be read so that the rest of Mr. Coopers transformation in Christ to be understood.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
As gas prices go back up, food prices continue to climb and trying to make sure we have enough money for a house payment, one van payment, electricity, water, food, etc I try to find ways to cut corners. For my family, food is one way we look to cut corners and I have been already been doing a lot of scratch baking and freezing. It's amazing how one can stretch a $1.55 (on 'sale' at Aldi's) bag of flour! So that was one thing I concentrated on this book, the food. Also by cutting out cable and satellite *GASP* and not having a cell phone *GASP AGAIN** we don't live like most Americans.
Jonni McCoy offers Eleven Miserly Guidelines that are easy to implement and keep with it. Some of these I had already been doing such as not shopping at the same store, making and freezing food, making meals from scratch, etc but she offers other ideas for taking it further. She gives idea for baby care including whether to use disposable or cloth diapers, making your own baby food (we save on this by my nursing for however long the baby wants and not starting solids until 7 or 8 months when the baby can generally some of the foods I make for everyone else). There is also a section for working moms, although she does advocate for mom's who stay home she knows this isn't always a possibility for all moms.
The section on clothing was the one section I disagreed with as she said she she figures out how many outfits her family needs each month or two and tries to find the best deals for the items needed. I couldn't imagine being able to buy new clothing or even buying clothing at thrift stores every couple months - it's not in our budget. So that to me was a bit much, but I don't have an issue with my clothes not being the latest fashion either.
Overall, I was very impressed with the ideas in the book and she has included several recipes. I made the taco seasoning, I hate buying the store bought seasoning with all the MSG and other junk, so I made the recipe in her book and it was GREAT! My husband said he liked it better than the store bought as well. It had more taste and definitely more healthy and cost effective (it makes 12 servings). There are many more recipes and ideas for "pre-packaged" convenience foods to make at home - like baking mixes you can use for biscuits and pancakes. If you'd like to learn how to save money I would definitely suggest you get this book!
because it was very well written and very enjoyable. I have never read Siri
Mitchell before and am glad this is the first book I read by her.
I will tell you a little about the book first and then go on to give my opinion on it.
Taken from Bethany House's website:
In the small Puritan community of Stoneybrooke, Massachusetts, Susannah Phillips stands out both for her character and beauty. She wants only a simple life but soon finds herself pursued by the town's wealthiest bachelor and by a roguish military captain sent to protect them. One is not what he seems and one is more than he seems.
In trying to discover true love's path, Susannah is helped by the most unlikely of allies, a wounded woman who lives invisible and ignored in their town. As the depth, passion, and sacrifice of love is revealed to Susannah, she begins to question the rules and regulations of her childhood faith. In a community where grace is unknown, what price will she pay for embracing love?
Like I said at the beginning I was very glad to have had the opportunity to read this book as part of the Bethany House blogger review program and since it was my first time hearing of or reading Siri Mitchell I was also excited. While she isn't a new author in the truest sense of new, she is new to me and I am glad to have had the chance to read one of her books - a fictional historical romance. Siri Mitchell had me hooked from the time of the first page and kept me wanting to turn them!
What I especially liked about this book is the historical accuracies that were detailed in the book. I could feel myself walking down the street in Stoneybrooke living among the Puritans and looking into their every day lives. From the grueling woman's work in a hot house over a hot fireplace all day to knowing that one slip up could forever label me a woman unfit to have her own husband, home and children. The pressure was high to succeed and jealousy and 'spies' were watching. From my research of the way Puritans lived this summed up very well how their lives were lived. While they thought their works would save them - not the grace of God and having to be on the look out for a busy body one could easily become overwhelmed with the enormity of it all.
There were two scenes that bothered me and they were between Susannah Phillips and Simeon Wright and given the character's personality and knowing that there was something evil about him one could say that this helped to establish his character. I see far worse things on the nightly news, so I can't come down too hard on Siri Mitchell, since it did help to establish his character without being so blatant that would make it seem like a dime store romance. I appreciate that.
Overall, this book had me on the edge of my seat and rooting for Susannah in a time of arranged marriages regardless of the man or how that man carried on his business and secretly happily when the truth is found out. I could write so much more but that would spoil it and I don't want to provide a spoiler! So I will say if you like historical accuracies in a book then this definitely has it, if you like romance without all the raunchy stuff this is a great book, if you want a book that seeks to lift up God then this it! I suggest you look into getting your hands on this book and sit back for an enjoying read.
This being said I would not recommend this to an unmarried, young woman but if the woman is married and has a good marriage then I would recommend this.
For more information or to order visit Bethany House.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
I had the chance to review The Wackiest Wildest Weirdest Animals in the World by Jack Hanna and published by Thomas Nelson.
My children love animals, any animals, particularly hippos, penguins, lions, bunnies and horses. So this book was a big hit in our house and as soon as I unpacked it they were devouring it! My oldest began reading it right away to my younger children. I love how a book that has a theme which all children love can bring peace into a house!
I was impressed with this book as well. I particularly like books that don't focus on millions of years or evolution - none of which I found in this book. Educational is also one of my goals for books, and this hit the nail on the head. There are over 20 different animals listed in this book and you can learn about what they eat, where they live, how big they get, what makes them wild, weird or wacky and a few other neat facts about the animal. For instance did you know that the Great White Shark's skin looks rubbery but it actually feels like sandpaper? Neither did I, nor do I want to get close enough to check it out personally!
The book is a hardback with a colorful cover and animals on it, which will grab your and your children's attention immediately. The pages are wonderfully thick, just right for the little ones in the house to be able to enjoy the book without risking ripping the pages. The pages are also very colorful, with huge pictures of the animals so you can get up close and personal to the animal. The book is not overly difficult to read so that the youngest reader with a good knowledge of phonics can grasp the words. My 7 year old read it just fine, with some help sounding out some words or names, like Chameleon.
Also included in the book, is a DVD full of bloopers from Jack Hanna. This didn't interest my younger two as much as it did my oldest and I. There were some funny moments that made me laugh out loud. The DVD is secured in the front of the book in a plastic case that can be removed. If you order this book on a hot summer day though be prepared for the gluey tape that holds it together to become very sticky! I had to put some packing tape over the area where the DVD was secured to cover up the glue factor from the DVD. Overall though it wasn't a major drawback.
I do recommend this book w/DVD to any parent who has children who enjoys animals or just wants their children to learn more about animals. So if your child would like to know what animal can lick it's own ears, eats regurgitated food for dinner or smells like popcorn then I suggest you get this book written by Jack Hanna, the Director Emeritus of the Columbus (Ohio) Zoo.
You can purchase this book directly through Thomas Nelson.
Thursday, June 04, 2009
My oldest daughter who is 7 has been asking for this Bible for some time so we were excited to see it come up for a review opportunity on Thomas Nelson's blogger review program.
I am so happy to finally be the owner of God's Little Princess Devotional Bible the hardbound cover is beautiful in pink with sparkles and a crown complete with 'jewels'. The binding looks like it will hold up to years of use and with two daughters that is something is a big plus in our family. You can learn more about Sheila Walsh by visiting her website.
- The devotional Bible has the following features: Down in my Heart, Beauty Secrets, Bible Princesses, My Hero, Take A Bow, I Adore You!, Princess Charming, Worthy of Love and Royal Truths.
I will admit at first I was kind of leery about Beauty Secrets because we don't use makeup and jewelry is limited to special occassions, one pair of earrings and play dress up. That isn't what is though so I am very happy with that. Beauty secrets is letting your real beauty, the inside and the way God made you to shine through. She writes as how it relates to the girl today, talking about glasses and other relevant life happenings.
There is a section for parents that tell you how each section is supposed to work. Down in my Heart promotes Scripture memory, Take a Bow is a way for girls and their moms to put on a play that is Biblically sound, Princess Charming gives the girl insight into manners, poise and charm. Everything is Biblically sound and written for easy understanding for a child aged 4-7. Scripture and Bible stories come from the International Children's Bible for easier understanding. This is an excellent Bible tool for getting a girl digging deep into the Bible and relating it to everyday life.
Tuesday, June 02, 2009
Monday, June 01, 2009
About the Book:
In A Vote of Confidence, the stage is set for some intriguing insight into what it was like during 1915 to be a woman in a “man’s world.” Guinevere Arlington is a beautiful young woman determined to remain in charge of her own life. For seven years, Gwen has carved out a full life in the bustling town of Bethlehem Springs, Idaho, where she teaches piano and writes for the local newspaper. Her passion for the town, its people, and the surrounding land prompt Gwen to run for mayor. After all, who says a woman can’t do a man’s job? But stepping outside the boundaries of convention can get messy. A shady lawyer backs Gwen, believing he can control her once she’s in office. A wealthy newcomer throws his hat into the ring in an effort to overcome opposition to the health resort he’s building north of town. When the opponents fall in love, everything changes, forcing Gwen to face what she may have to lose in order to win.
A Vote of Confidence is a great read, while I may not agree with everything about the book, it was very well written. I felt like I knew the town of Bethlehem Springs and knew the people who lived there. The characters were well developed and even with the "shady lawyer" one could feel the animosity the man felt through the pages of the book. I read through this in just over two days, so it's also a quick, a good thing for a busy mom.
While I don't agree that women can't hold public office, I do believe according to Scripture and my own personal convictions, if there is a man who is qualified and can do the job then he should be the one to hold the office. This supports him being able to care and provide for his family. So while this didn't detract from the story, I could see why Gwen, would be a better person because she genuinely cares for her town. I did like the end part, but I won't say what it is because that will give everything away.
Also Gwen's sister, Cleo, is a wrangler and as such wears men's clothing and makes no apologies about it. She claims she can't do what she needs to do in a dress. I manage to do plently in my dresses and skirts as have women down through the centuries including the fronteir women who many times had to do plowing, gardening, and other such farm work.
Like I said, while I don't agree with everything in the book, it seems quite accurate historically and Robin Lee Hatcher does her best to clarify if she took liberties on a year or a date, but she did very well in writing this book to be historically accurate. I never realized that women had the vote in 1896 in Idaho by their State Constitution, way before women were given the right to vote in the United States Constitution.
I do recommend that if you are looking for a historically accurate, Christian fiction book that you would look into this book from Zondervan.
**Picture of the book cover and the text for About the Book is taken from Zondervan's website.
About the Book:
Rachel Harris, single, beautiful and in want of adventure applies for and recieves a job as a governess for a family. Two young girls, a father and a mother is who Miss. Harris will be living with. Dru, the mother is dying and there is nothing she can do about it and only through her faith alone can she bear the thought of leaving her children. A marriage of convenience, Dru and Gavin, live together in name only so that when she is gone Gavin can be dad to her two girls. Unbeknownst to Gavin and Rachel, what Dru wants is for them to find love and for Rachel to lead Gavin to what he needs above all else.
When Love Bloons is a great book with one big caution, at least for me. It is evident what the mom of the family wants, she wants Gavin and Rachel to fall in love and marry. To me, even if a marriage is in name only and one of the spouses is going to die soon, the marriage needs to be honored. No interference from anyone, period. Even if that interference is arranged by the wife who is dying. When Rachel begins having romantic thoughts toward Gavin she immediately prays to ask God to help her, even going so far as to agree to a marriage in which the love given is not returned. Gavin to begins to have feelings toward Rachel even though he tries to push them aside. This all rubbed me the wrong way from the start. Had the love blossomed after Dru died I would have been okay with it but not while she was alive and not while the marriage was still a marriage in God's eyes.
I try not to throw the baby out with the bathwater and overall the book wasn't bad but I think that Robin Lee Hatcher could have come up with a better scenario without alluding to something that to me, is akin to emotional adultery. With that being said the end result is that the two do marry and even being their own family, adding to Dru's two daughters. Gavin does turn his life over to Christ. Everyone lives happily ever after.
Overall, it was a quick read and one that makes you think about happenings you wouldn't normally think on. If you'd like more information on how to purchase this book visit Zondervan.
**Picture of book cover taken from Zondervan's website.
About the Book:
Kaycee Raye, a popular syndicated newspaper column writer makes fun of her own fears to help others get over their fears. Is her paranoia and fear making her 'see' things that aren't there or are the images and items that seem so real but then disappear really real? Is she crazy? Is she sane? Christian faith blended to make a thrilling ride of suspense that makes one wonder if Kaycee will survive.
Brandilyn Collins has written another great book. Exposure is a nerve tingling ride that you will be hard pressed to put it down, at least I was. The constant twists along with just enough terror to not overdo it, will keep you guessing. I was proven wrong a couple of times as I continued to guess who done it? Kaycee's fears are real and one would think staying alive through her way of helping others.
While some may seem leery of a Christian book having terror, murder and fear in it, it is definitely Christian. Kaycee's constant crying out to God in her prayers to get her through a dark, lonely night at home while waiting for whoever is stalking her, is the only thing that gets her through the night. Kaycee and the other characters rely consistently and constantly on God and their Christian faith. There is nothing inappropriate insofar as cussing, nudity and overt romance. It never ceases to amaze me that what we see in Hollywood today can be wrong with inappropriateness but a Christian fiction writer can write suspense without all the nudity and cussing and make it a great form of entertainment while still having characters grounded in Christian faith.
I would recommend you take a look at Zondervan's product page for more information on how to purchase the book. The only thing I wouldn't recommend is don't read it alone at night, unless you have every light on your house on and the curtains tightly closed!
**Picture of book cover taken from Zondervan's website.