February 24, 2015

Reviewing "The Beauty of Grace"

   "Tbe Beauty of Grace" is a collection of amazing, inspirational short stories written by some of today's popular writers and arranged into a wonderful book by Dawn Camp.  The book is arranged into sections such as "Worship", "Trust", and "Purpose" and each section is filled with short stories written by different authors.  The stories are about 2-3 pages in length and range in style from poetry to journal entries to stream of consciousness.  Each writer pours their heart out onto the page in hopes of encouraging the reader with a meaningful thought for the day accompanied by a Bible verse.
    I found myself completely sucked in as I started paging through the book and immediately decided that this was something I should highly recommend.  It's almost a devotional book but more like a collection of experiences, feelings, and ideas that will line your heart up to face your day and let God take on the troubles of the world for you.   Though everyone may not identify with each story, there is something for everyone in this collection.  It will inspire you, make you think, and make you want to continue reading it tomorrow.

Disclaimer: I received this book from Revell Reads in exchange for an honest review. 

February 17, 2015

Reviewing "Becoming a Spiritually Healthy Family" by Michelle Anthony

         As parents, we all have hopes of raising our kids in an environment that will mold them into wonderful, godly young adults some day.  But sometimes, the way we were raised or the environment we grew up in, or simply the fact that we are living in a fallen world results in less than stellar first instincts of what it means to be a good parent.  "Becoming a Spiritually Healthy Family" is a great tool to help parents identify the 6 dysfunctional parenting styles that they might be susceptible to falling into, and provides a guide for increasing the health of your family life in general. The topic based chapters include scripture references and reflection questions, as well as ideas for creating special moments that will be meaningful for your family for years to come.
       I would definitely recommend this book for Christian families who want to make sure their homes are grace-filled and Christ centered. The book doesn't delve incredibly deeply into the different parenting styles but gives you a general understanding of behaviors and attitudes that parents should avoid. It's a good starting point for further research, especially if you see yourself in any of the dysfunctional categories. Its also a good resource to make us aware of things we should look out for in our daily lives,  and lifestyles we should work toward attaining for our families.

Disclaimer: I received this book from Litfuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review.

February 14, 2015

Reviewing "Hope Crossing" by Cindy Woodsmall

        Cindy Woodsmall is one of my favorite Amish Fiction writers, so it's not a surprise that I really enjoyed this book.  It is comprised of "The Complete Ada's House Trilogy" and includes three full length novels. It's quite a weighty paperback to lug around! But it's worth it because you get three great books to read in one. The three novels are titled, "The Hope of Refuge", "The Bridge of Peace",  and "The Harvest of Grace."
        The characters' stories are continued through each novel with the addition of new characters along the way.  They are likable although each has their own issues to deal with, and they draw the reader in pretty quickly.  Even though there are three different novels, you may end up reading them all as one because you can't wait to see what happens next.  Throughout each book, themes of grace, faith and hope abound. If you are a fan of Amish fiction, you should definitely give this one a try.  If you can set aside an entire weekend and read the whole thing, I imagine that would be perfect!

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

February 12, 2015

Reviewing "Beyond All Dreams" by Elizabeth Camden and a Kindle Fire Giveaway

"Beyond All Dreams" by Elizabeth Camden is a fantastic book.  It's one of those books that you mention to other people when they ask you if you have read any good books lately.   Not only is it a wonderful story, it is expertly written in a way that makes you feel like you've read a classic when you're finished. Needless to say I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction.
Now for the synopsis.  The main character, Anna O'Brien is a map librarian at the Library of Congress, which, by the way, sounds like an amazing job.  She stumbles across some mysterious information when researching a ship that disappeared at sea, but when she brings it up to the people in charge of such things, she is met with anger and harsh words, and sent on her way without any answers. Meanwhile, Congressman Luke Callahan, a lover of libraries and an admirer of Anna, finds himself in his own scandal. In an effort to get his mind off of his own problems, he agrees to help Anna solve her mystery, but end up finding way more than he bargained for.
As I mentioned above, you should read this book.  It is so enjoyable, so well written, I cannot recommend it highly enough. Read it. :)

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Litfuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review.

Check out this great giveaway!

Travel back in time to the U.S. Capitol and the Library of Congress in Elizabeth Camden's newest release, Beyond All Dreams. From the gilded halls of the Capitol where powerful men shape the future of the nation, to the scholarly archives of the nation's finest library, Anna and Luke are soon embroiled in secrets much bigger and more perilous than they ever imagined. Is bringing the truth to light worth risking all they've ever dreamed for their futures?

Elizabeth is celebrating the release of Beyond All Dreams with a Kindle giveaway and Facebook party on February 17.
One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • One copy of Beyond All Dreams
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on 2/17. Winner will be announced at Elizabeth's 2/17 Beyond All Dreams Facebook author chat party. RSVP for a chance to connect with Elizabeth and historical fiction fans, as well as for the opportunity to win some great prizes!

RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK, TWITTER, or PINTEREST and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 17th!

February 7, 2015

Reviewing "A Stitch in Crime" by Cathy Elliott

"A Stitch in Crime", by Cathy Elliott, is a cozy mystery novel centered around a historical quilt. The main character, Thea, has accepted an assignment to act as co-chairperson for her town's first quilt show and related activities. To Thea's dismay, strange things keep happening and the police end up being called to come to every event she's in charge of.   Meanwhile, her so-called best friend is treating her horribly and some of the people who are supposed to be helping her with all of the events keep disappearing.
I enjoyed "A Stitch in Crime" and found the mystery to be very unpredictable up until the very end of the book.  The characters were very believable and Elliot's writing style makes them jump right off the page. I could picture much of the interpersonal drama happening at any quilt guild, not just the fictional "Quilt-Without-Guilt" guild described in the book.  
As I always enjoy books from the "Quilts of Love" series, this one did not disappoint.  I love mysteries and the quilting community so this book was right up my literary alley. Check out the promotional materials below for more information about a fun giveaway.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Litfuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review.

Don’t miss the newest Quilts of Love book, A Stitch in Crime by Cathy Elliott. Thea's first quilt show begins to fall apart at the seams. Will she be able to piece the mystery together and save the town’s investment in the quilt show before another attack happens . . . with far worse results.
Enter to win a Kindle HDX!

One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle HDX
  • A Stitch in Crime by Cathy Elliott
  • Masterpiece Marriage by Gina Welborn
  • Swept Away by Laura V. Hilton and Cindy Loven

Enter today by clicking the button below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on February 8th. Winner will be announced on the Quilts of Love blog February 9th.

Enter today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning.

January 29, 2015

Reviewing "The Case of the Jewel Covered Cat Statues"

       "The Case of the Jewel Covered Cat Statues", by Cindy Vincent, is a really cute book for young readers.  It is based on a pair of cat detectives who have assigned themselves to the duty of protecting their family and their mom's antique business. No matter what drama unfolds, the cat detectives immerse themselves into the details of the mystery. They are smart and determined cats with special investigative talents that sometimes get them into trouble. But even when they get into trouble, their hearts are in the right place which makes this story so heartwarming for kids and adults as well. The action/adventure element of the book is continuous, and there is never a dull moment.  I like how each chapter is akin to an episode of a cartoon, where you can't wait to tune in next time to see what happens.
    I would recommend this book to be read aloud to elementary school kids. It is written for the younger set, but the length of the book (242 pages) might bog down the young reader if an adult isn't there to make it exciting and interactive.  The cats are very lovable, and would definitely entice young kids to find out what happens at the end of the book.  I think the cover art could be changed to look a little more mainstream and you'd have a real winner of a book.

Disclaimer: I received this book from Litfuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review.

January 28, 2015

Simplifying Your Life and Getting Rid Of The Clutter

         I find great delight in organization. I crave order in my everyday life to the point that I even enjoy organizing other people's rooms and collections.  My most recent organizing project is that cute little cart you see in the photo above.  I wanted to have a little collection of art supplies and games within arms reach of our dining room table, but I also wanted this little collection to be organized. So we invested in a couple (extremely adorable) carts from a large Swedish big box store nearby and now I consider them to be my trolleys of fun. This little story is to illustrate just how serious I am about loving to be organized.
       Now that you have an idea of how much I like organization, you can probably guess that I'm not a fan of clutter. Clutter is my nemesis. Today as I was perusing Pinterest, I came across a neat decluttering system that my husband and I decided to implement tonight.  I am so excited about it, I couldn't resist sharing it with you guys right away. The people over at Old World Garden Farms came up with this wonderful plan which they call the "One-A-day/365 Day Decluttering Experiment". The gist of the whole thing is that in order to live more simply and keep your house devoid of unneeded clutter, each person gets rid of one item a day for an entire year.  You can donate, recycle, sell or trash the item depending on what it is, and it can be as simple as a mug you don't use, or a pen that doesn't work. How easy is that? Click here to read their full story.
      Tonight I picked a long glass votive candle holder that we aren't using at all. It's going into our donation box and when that box gets full, we will take a short drive and drop it all off.  For the most part our house is pretty organized, but the closets are full, the cupboards are full, and the garage is full.  I know that we have a lot of stuff we aren't using that could be put to good use somewhere else, and the feeling of freeing up space in our home for things we do need is freeing in and of itself.
      I challenge you to join me in this journey of decluttering. I think we would probably all sleep better and think more clearly if everything in our homes was useful, enjoyable and had a place in our daily lives.