Monday, June 25, 2012

End of Blogathon!

Well that was fun!  I didn't get as much done as I would have liked to, but I did get a few important things done.  Thanks for following along and I'll be back with a book review soon!

Love and blessings always!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Saturday Snapshot - June 23

My daughter was having a blast at my son's graduation this week, but not watching the graduation...  Here's what she did instead!!

A collage of Miss M!

Hmm, some very interesting angles!!

Love and Blessings Always!

Exciting Week for us!

Hello everyone,

Told you I would be blogging a lot this weekend!

On Wednesday June 20, it was an exciting day for us!  You see our middle son, Mr. B, graduated high school!  He will be going on to our local community college to study Psychology.  We are so proud of your Branford!!

Ready for graduation!

Highlights of our exciting night!

Did you have a graduate this year?  If so, leave a link below so we can 
congratulate you!

Sugar Crash by Elena Aitken

Sugar CrashSugar Crash by Elena Aitken
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I know in my life, I have a hard time asking for help, especially from people outside of the family. So I can empathize with the main character, Darci Johnson.
In Sugar Crash, Darci has it all under control. She is the perfect mother even though she is a single parent, and she is perfect at her job. She doesn't need help and she doesn't ask for it. One does not interfere with the other and that is all that is important. That is until tragedy strikes and her daughter gets sick. After her daughter Taylor's diagnosis, Darci realizes that she has friends that she can count on in the most unexpected places.  It's ok to ask for help and even more importantly, it's ok to accept help!  It is heartwarming to see how her and Taylor's friends step up to help in amazing ways.

The author's writing style is very comfortable with an easy flow.  Her character development is flawless, especially the Coach and Susanna, the mother of one of Taylor's best friends.  I thought the way she portrayed the disease and the various reactions to the disease was realistic.  The whole book was engaging and I sped through it, putting some of my other books aside.

From a Christian perspective:  There was not much mention of God in this book that I can recall. Even in her desperate state, Darci tended to rely on human support rather than support from God.  I wholeheartedly feel that human support is important, however, I would have loved to see her relying on God to carry her through the difficult time.  A prayer, a visit from a pastor, a scripture that she held on to.  As I read more and more Christian fiction, I'm coming to rely on things like that being part of the story.  Even with the absence of faith, there was none of the other mystical and negative imagery that is so rampant in young adult books.  This book is a clean read, other than a few kisses and a date, there was no foul language (that I can recall) and no sexual situations.

I recommend this book for any reader who enjoys a quick but meaningful read.

The author included her information in the back of the book so you can find more about her at 

You can also find this book on Sugar Crash

This is a book from my personal collection. Opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Love and Blessings Always!

Blogging weekend! #blogathon2

Hello everyone,

I just want you to know I've really been taking steps to clean up my blog and provide better content for you.  So this weekend I will be participating in the Biannual Blogathon Bash.  The Bash is set up with mini challenges that will help me improve my blog and make it a better experience for you the reader when you come visit.  The blogathon started yesterday, June 22, but we had severe thunderstorms so I'm just getting started today.

I will be around and blogging most of the day today.  My family is off for a day of fishing, Mom is staying home to do laundry, read and blog!  Some of the activities I will be doing for the blogathon are:

Learning to write a better book review
Learning to write better tweets
How to make photo collages
So much more!!

Tomorrow me and my daughter are taking in the movie Brave then off to church!  I'll be here in the afternoon though!  

I hope you'll check in periodically to see how I'm doing.  Or maybe you even want to join in!

Biannual Blogathon Bash 

So that's the deal and I hope to see you around this weekend!

Love and Blessings Always!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Too Good Not to Share: Righteous Ruth Rap by Liz Curtis Higgs #christian #christianrap

I got the tip on this up and coming Christian rap artist from the Blogging for Books team.  Enjoy!

Love and Blessings Always!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Christian Book Review: Wildflowers from Winter #christianbookreview

Wildflowers from Winter: A NovelWildflowers from Winter: A Novel by Katie Ganshert
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Bethany Quinn thinks she has it all with her fancy job in Chicago, her high profile boyfriend and staying as far away from Peaks as she can. That is until tragedy strikes and she's forced to face her fears that stem back to her childhood. Not only that, she's got Evan to deal with and she's not sure where he fits into her life. Follow Bethany's journey as she hooks up with old friends and faces old fears.

You can see the complete book description on Amazon: Wildflowers from Winter: A Novel
My Review:  
For me this book was just OK. I don't think I ever developed an emotional connection to it, it just felt like a story being told to me.  I like to feel like I am part of the story.

The major character were developed well.  I did gain an understanding of Bethany and Evan as well as the secondary characters of Robin, Dan and the other minor characters.  Robyn's mother was also developed very well.  

As for the storytelling, I think the story could have been developed better.  While the characters were described well, I didn't relate to them or get any sort of emotional response from their stories. This is important for me when reading a book, I have to be able to relate or at least have an emotional response.  I think the storyline is an overused one where the "heroine" really hates this guy then ends up dating him.  

This book received a three for several reasons.  One, the characters were not made out to be super-Christians.  They got mad at God when they faced tragedy, they called out to Him in moments of weakness.   Also, while there weren't scripture references, you got the sense that the characters spend a lot of time in the Word which is essential for a strong Faith.  Again, this made their faith more realistic.  Finally, everything wasn't tied up so neat and tidy.  People died, people got their feelings hurt, people had their eyes opened.  I really enjoyed those aspects of the story. 

Overall, this book would make a pleasant weekend read, but don't expect much depth as it is very predictable.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book as part of the Blogging for Books program.  I was not required to write a positive review, as such, opinions expressed are completely my own.

Love and Blessings Always!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Book Review: Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1) #bookreview

Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin, #1)Grave Mercy by R.L. LaFevers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ismae has lived a life of abuse, first her father and then her "husband" to be. Ismae is resigned to this life until she is rescued and sent to live with in the convent. This is no ordinary convent for they serve the gods of old, including the god of Death, Mortrain, for whom the convent is named. Ismae is extra special because she has the marks of the daughter. Ismae is trained in various arts until she is ready to perform her masters duties. This sits well with Ismae until she meets him, the one who changes everything for her!

This book follows Ismae from her life with her father to her arrival at the convent to her most important mission.  You can see the full description on Amazon: Grave Mercy (Book I): His Fair Assassin, Book I (His Fair Assassin Trilogy)

I have to say I was fascinated with this book. Even with the subject matter, it was one of the most well written books that I have read in a while. When I first started reading it, I immediately got chills.  I almost put it down 1) because of the subject matter and 2) because it really scared me, I thought I was going to have nightmares!

But I have this thing about reading books, once I start them I have to finish them.  So I pressed on and I'm glad I did.  As you know if you've read my other reviews, I am an emotional person.  Any book that evokes an emotion from me ranks high.  Like I said earlier, this book put fear in me right from the start.  I felt sorry for Ismae but then with the let's say fervor that she took to her new responsibilities, I no longer felt sorry.  I loved that she felt empowered but in the end went with her gut feelings of knowing right from wrong.  The change in her from the beginning of the book to the end of the book was so subtle that I still gasped at the end of the result.  But then when I thought back over the book, I realized it was leading to this point all the time.

I also enjoyed the writing style of this book.  It seemed to start off slow and I will admit, it did drag in some parts.  But I have to say overall, the story was told very well.  I had to keep reminding myself that this was fiction. I'm not sure if I will read the future books in the series but we'll see!

From a Christian perspective:  Well, this is obviously not a Christian book so if that makes you uncomfortable, then you don't want to read this book.

I think some people will be offended because it does seem the convent is modeled after the Catholic Church.  I don't say this is right or wrong, it just is.

I don't recall any foul language, but there is brutality and murder.  Surprisingly, for the main characters, there is no extramarital sex although it comes close a few times.  However, it is hinted at in other parts of the book.  There is also an encounter with Death at one point.

It seems weird to give this book a high rating given the subject matter.  But since I review all types of books, I feel that is a fair rating and I stand by it.

I'm curious, as a Christian Reader, would you read this book?  

Disclaimer: I received this book from NetGalley and as a condition of accepting it, I agree to review it.  I was not compensated other than a copy of the book and opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Love and Blessings Always!

View all my reviews

Power Outage! #christian

Yesterday I got the dreaded call at work.  My brother in law called to let me know that we had lost power in our home and they didn't know when it would be restored!  He was working to find a generator to keep our basement from flooding.  Of course, right after the call, it started raining in earnest.  Yes God, you DO have a sense of humor don't you?  Luckily, our neighbor had one we could borrow and we just swapped it back and forth.  Also of course (I know, not proper grammar!) I had just done some grocery shopping the day before.  Sigh...

So hubby arrived home just before I did and the kids had a leadership meeting.  We couldn't cook, we couldn't watch TV, so we had to keep each other company!  So hubby and I were sitting and chatting, and in walked the children... who were soaking wet from the rain... who decided their Momma need a hug... a soaking wet hug... and thought it was hilarious!  Oh how I LOVE those children!

My delightful children when they are NOT wet!

After their loving greeting (NOT!!!), we sat and ate pizza (the one good thing about no power is you HAVE TO ORDER OUT!!!), then we started telling "ghost" stories.  It was HYSTERICAL!!  Then we did a round robin story where each of us would do one sentence of the story.  It got sillier and sillier the whole time!! We ended up having some great family time (and we ate a LOT of ice cream! To keep it from going to waste of course!).  It's not often we are all sitting in the same room!  It took a power outage to remind us how much fun we have as a family with our silly antics and games. Even my Mom (whom I called for a pity party) got into the fun.  She reminded me that Emma Yoder from the Half-Stitch Amish Quilting Club manage quite well without electricity.  Remind me to never lend my mom any more books! (Just kidding Mom!).

But this whole situation reminds me of another;

Does it take a "power outage to get you to spend time with your Father?  

Do you realize, that when you are experiencing a temporary loss of power, that all you have to do to "plug in" is pray?  Jesus tells us in John 14:13-14 (NIV):

And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. 

He even tells us WHAT to pray in Matthew 6:9-13:

After this manner therefore pray ye: 
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, 
Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
 Give us this day our daily bread.
 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: 
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Wait a minute, do I see the word POWER!!  Yes, He is our power and to put that power to work we just need to ask him!  We don't even need to wait until there is a full power outage.  Even if it's just a "brown out" or a partial loss of power, we can be recharged by just seeking Him, asking Him. 

It didn't take long for our power to be restored, much earlier than they said it would be thank God!  But when it did, my son went to his room, my daughter went to get ready for a school trip, hubby flicked on the TV.   In other words, we left each others presence.  

You see where I'm going with this right?  Just because your power is restored, be careful that you don't leave HIS presence.  We still NEED HIM! He is our constant power supply.  It's only when we step away, no matter how brief, that we experience that power outage.  Stay close and stay charged!

I hope this has blessed you in some way.  If it did, leave a comment telling about recent power outages in your life and how you recharged. 

Also, don't forget to enter my giveaway for My Big Bottom Blessing by Teasi  Cannon here.

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by the Holy Spirit.  The only compensation I received was the blessing of being able to share this.  Scripture share belongs 100% to God!  

Love and Blessings Always!

Monday, June 11, 2012

CLOSED: Christian Book Review: My Big Bottom Blessing by Teasi Cannon #christianbook #giveaway

Faith Hope Cherrytea!!!

My Big Bottom Blessing: How Hating My Body Led to Loving My Life by Teasi Cannon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My Big Bottom Blessing is a nonfiction book about well... Teasi Cannon's big bottom! It's a delightful, humorous and fulfilling book regarding our "broken" views of body images. If you are looking for a diet book, this is not the book for you! However, if you are looking for an inspirational, God-honoring, love yourself as you are book, then you've chosen well!

I really loved the format of this book. There was the reading or what I like to refer to as the "testimony" part with scriptural references/reinforcement, then there was the self evaluation part, thoughtful questions that really allowed me to examine why I respond the way I do, and finally the "pep talk." Combined, these different approaches all helped to reinforce the reading.

Another thing I enjoyed about this book was it felt like I was sitting and chatting with a friend. Very emotional at times but also very cleansing! With that said, this book is not for the "perfect" Christian woman.  This book is for the Christian woman who knows that she is broken, who knows that she is nothing without Jesus and who is learning that when God made her, he used his best mold to make sure that she was fearfully and wonderfully made. 

About the Author

Teasi Cannon Teasi (pronounced Tee See) is married to her best friend, Bill Cannon, and
they have three awesome children: Carli, Ben, and Sam. Teasi has a master’s degree in
pastoral counseling from Liberty Theological Seminary, and is a sought-after speaker who
loves to help women remember who they are in Christ.

I'm attaching this interview as well.  If you aren't sure you need to read this book, listen to this interview, and you will KNOW you need to read it!

Still not convinced?  Take a look at this sample chapter to get a feel for the book.

 I don't often give out 5 stars, but I couldn't give this book anything less!

I was blessed to be able to offer my readers one copy of this book! I can only ship in the Continental US,  and you must be 18 years old to enter. Contest ends midnight (ET) on June 18.   A winner will be picked using Random.or

To enter, please be a follower of this blog and leave a comment below to let me know, what is it about you that YOU see as a blessing from God?

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book for the purpose of review.  I also received a free copy to give away to my readers.  No other compensation was received and I was not required to write a positive review. 

View all my reviews

Love and Blessings Always!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Book Review: Hope Springs by Kim Cash Tate #christianbookreview

Hope SpringsHope Springs by Kim Cash Tate
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

From Thomas Nelson:

In a small Southern community where everyone is holding tight to something, the biggest challenge may be learning to let go.

Hope Springs, North Carolina, is the epitome of small town life—a place filled with quiet streets where families have been friends for generations, a place where there’s not a lot of change. Until three women suddenly find themselves planted there for a season.

Janelle Evans hasn’t gone back to Hope Springs for family reunions since losing her husband. But when she arrives for Christmas and learns that her grandmother is gravely ill, she decides to extend the stay.

Becca Anderson is finally on the trajectory she’s longed for. Having been in the ministry trenches for years, she’s been recruited as the newest speaker of a large Christian women’s conference. But her husband feels called to become the pastor of his late father’s church in Hope Springs. Will small town living affect her big ministry dreams?

And Stephanie London has the ideal life—married to a doctor in St. Louis with absolutely nothing she has to do. When her cousin Janelle volunteers to stay in Hope Springs and care for their grandmother, she feels strangely compelled to do the same. It’s a decision that will forever change her.

As these women come together, facing disappointments both public and private, they soon recognize that healing is needed in their hearts, their families, and their churches that have long been divided along racial lines. God's plan for them in Hope Springs—and for Hope Springs itself—is bigger than they ever imagined.

My Review:

Can I just say WOW! This book has it all! Faith, family, friendship, romance, even race relations!

The book starts off with a family reunion and ends with a funeral. Kim Cash Tate weaves a story like none I have read in recent times. It will make you laugh, weep and want to go all out for Jesus!

The author of this book captures her characters perfectly. To be able to weave so many people together seamlessly is truly a gift. There are about 6 or 7 different stories going on but they work and I like that. Her characters touched me emotionally with the similarities to people in my life and family. Each is carefully developed without drawing away from anyone else in the story.
I feel like Janelle, Stephanie, Becca, and Libby were like my long lost cousins!

Emotionally the book took me on a rollercoaster. One minute I was laughing, the next I was weeping, the next I was ready to worship. LOL! It really was like that! I loved the flow of the book and didn't really find any disconnects where I lost what was going on. The incorporation of race relations wasn't subtle but it because such an integral part of the story that it would not have been complete without it. It's a true picture of a small town whether it's in the north, south, east or west.

Oh and Kim Cash Tate, if you read this, thanks for the shout out to Monmouth County, NJ!

From a Christian perspective, this is a wonderful book. The characters are frequently stepping out on faith. The pastors of the two town churches are integral to the story and work to unite the town. While there are references to infidelity and extramarital sex, it's not in a derogatory way. It's used to describe characters who have been redeemed or a on their way to accepting the redemption of Jesus. There is no foul language and nothing out of place in a Christian novel.

I HIGHLY recommend this novel. It's not often that I give 5 stars but this was that good!

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book for the purpose of review as part of the Thomas Nelson Booksneeze program. I was not required to post a positive review, all opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Love and Blessings Always!

View all my reviews