Monday 30 December 2013

Book Review: Chasing Hope

Cover Art
ISBN # 978 0 7642 0827 0

From the Back:

A Touching Story of Two Unlikely Friends.
The Power of Trust.
The Struggle of Pain.
And How, Sometimes, Following God Can Lead You to the Most Unexpected Places.

A talented runner determined to make the Olympics, Sabrina Rice had her dreams shattered by a devastating diagnosis. One forfeited scholarship and several years later, she's forged a new vision for her future that has nothing to do with running, which she's buried deep, intent on forgetting...

Until the day she sees Brandy Philip running across the college campus, easily outpacing security. Sabrina immediately recognizes world class potential, and it's all the more painful that it belongs to a troublemaking teen. When a chance encounter brings the two young women together, Sabrina realizes she's Brandy's best hope to salvage a life about to spiral out of control forever.

My Reflections:

An, oh.. so gripping story about dreams lost and unlikely friendships found!

This story had me running late for every appointment I had booked. Needless to say it is a fast paced read filled with passion and depth. Have you ever thought you knew exactly what God had in store for your life? You knew your calling, your gifts and your life's desires? This story will touch each and every one of us, in an inexplicable way.

We have all felt disappointments in life, a road that had a u turn thrown in. Personally, looking back on my life I see those u turns as events that were terribly painful, but ended in great joy and fulfillment. God is good and he always has a plan for our lives, it's just hard to see it sometimes.

This book makes you think, ponder and rejoice the goodness of a Savior who loves us in the little details, through the devastating life quaking events, that shape and grow us into mature Christians.

Sabrina Rice is a real to life character who's passion and strength flows through the pages. Brandy Philip is a force to be reckoned with...but,  her life is about to take a turn for the right...can these two forge a relationship and hang onto the promises God has for them?

This book was one of those rare books that I will be keeping, and rereading. Cushman is a favorite author of mine, and she sure didn't disappoint with this book. I highly recommend this book to young and old. The inspiring story line will have you rooting for the underdog and laughing as this mismatched pair forge an unshakable bond. A must read!

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

About the author:
Kathryn CushmanKathryn Cushman is a graduate of Samford University with a degree in pharmacy. She is the author of five novels, including Leaving Yesterday and A Promise to Remember, which were both finalists for the Carol Award in Women's Fiction. She is also...
Continue reading about Kathryn Cushman

Sunday 29 December 2013

Book Review: Orchard of Hope

Cover Art
ISBN# 978 0 8007 3169 4

From the Back :

The smoldering embers of unrest are stirring--and even Jocie's sweet spirit can't put them out.
It's already been an eventful summer for Jocie Brooke. Little does she know, things have only just begun to heat up. Drought has gripped the quiet Kentucky town of Hollyhill and it seems as if everyone is waiting--for rain, for a fresh start, for the next step toward the future.

Into this tense haze of anticipation comes a new family, aiming to make a better life for themselves by planting an orchard on the outskirts of town. Fresh off the freedom train, Alex and Myra Hearndon are sensitive to what the color of their skin may mean in the segregated South. And even though Jocie quickly befriends the family, suspicion from both sides of the racial divide proves a formidable obstacle. Can Jocie help bridge the gap? Or will life in her quiet community fall apart at the seams?

Bestselling author Ann Gabhart invites you back to Hollyhill for a gripping tale of unexpected friendship, forgiveness, and the bright promise of a new beginning.

My Reflections:

I so enjoyed Gabhart's first book Scent of Lilacs, so revisiting characters in her new book Orchard of Hope along with a few new arrivals, felt to me like visiting long lost friends. This book is set in the tense times of the early 60's, when racism was rampant and many lives were in transition.

This is the second book in the Heart of Hollyhill series, and although it is a sequel it is written with enough detail and depth that it could be read as a standalone.

Jocie, the preacher's daughter is a character who is bold, tender and courageous. She knows what is right and is not afraid to stand up for it. It was so amazing to watch her character grow and learn in turn transforming from a girl to young adulthood. As with most people, this transition is rough, filled with heartache and trials.

David, Jocie's father is the unconventional pastor of his church. He is tentatively testing the deep waters of giving his love to another. Wes, the Jupitarian, and her sister Tabitha who awaits her baby out of wedlock, Myra Hearndon who has much to teach about love, acceptance and forgiveness. The cast is full the issues deep and meaningful.

This book is a savory read, I have to admit I found the first half of the novel a tad bit hard to get through, but that could have been that I was in full swing Christmas mode, so don't let that sway you. The last half of the book was very compelling, and let me warn you there may be a need for tissue.

I eagerly await the last book in this series "Summer of Joy".

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

 About the Author:

Ann H. Gabhart

Ann H. Gabhart

Ann H. Gabhart is the bestselling author of Angel Sister, Small Town Girl, and Words Spoken True, as well as several Shaker novels--The Outsider, The Believer, The Seeker, The Blessed, and The Gifted--and...
Continue reading about Ann H. Gabhart

Thursday 26 December 2013

Christmas 2013

Well It has been a relaxing, Christmas and Boxing day season. My family and I enjoyed the real reason for the season this year opting to keep Christmas simple. We didn't ask for i pads, gaming systems or fancy vacations instead we decided to focus on family, faith and the reason we are celebrating.

We had some funny, crazy memory making moments yesterday some of them being the local musicals where the black sheep decided to pick her nose and scratch herself... instead of sing.
Another one was when we had the turkey to supper, that was one happy turkey! Crazy family thought it was hilarious..until it pooped..then he got kicked back out to the barnyard.
Obviously we didn't have turkey that night but we did manage Mexican, hey at least the turkey was happy.

Another memory maker was the Risk game that lasted for two days and turning our kitchen island into a ping pong table...I have to say.. I won....because well, I never win....just saying.

So today is Boxing day and so far we have loaded the truck and trailer with more of that dang boat, (I officially hate that boat)  taken down one of the Christmas trees (two to go) and watched a family movie together. I love Christmas, there are just so many memories to make and cherish.

So from my family to yours,
 Merry Christmas, May 2014 bless you with love, faith, friends and family!

Wednesday 25 December 2013

Book Review: Switch on your Brain

Cover Art

ISBN# 978 0 8010 1624 0

About the Book:

You are not a victim of your biology!
The vast majority of the illnesses that plague us today are a direct result of our thought life. What we think about truly affects us both physically and emotionally. Today our culture is undergoing an epidemic of toxic thoughts that, left unchecked, create ideal conditions for illnesses.

Supported by current scientific and medical research, Dr. Caroline Leaf gives you a prescription for better health and wholeness through correct thinking patterns. She exposes the "switch" in your brain that will enable you to live a happier, healthier, more enjoyable life where you achieve your goals, get your thought life under control, and even become more intelligent. And her 21-Day Brain Detox Plan guides you step-by-step through the process of replacing toxic thoughts with healthy ones.

Ready to reap the benefits of a detoxed thought life? Read on . . .

My Reflections:

This book is featuring the 21 day brain detox plan is really one of a kind. When I decided it might be interesting to review, I never guessed that I would enjoy it so much. The fact based, research driven text, is backed up with scripture references and insightful and uplifting findings. Even though the book contains quite a lot of medical terminology it is presented in a way that the layman can easily grasp and understand.

I was thrilled to learn about how our brains are wired and the God designed path to a full and rewarding life, no matter if you are dyslexic, brain injured or just plain old. 

This book explains the medical science of neuroplasticity, the process of actually changing the brain by the way we think. The research Leaf has done and her finding are a subject that I found to be extremely uplifting. Just think baby neurons just waiting to be grown, new each and every morning. 

I especially felt overjoyed when I learned that genetic traits could be turned on and off by the way we view life the thoughts we have, and the effect our emotions have on our chemistry. So...darn..interesting, don't you think?

 Imagine not having to be defined by the diagnosis of a learning disability, or senior citizens sharpening their minds to the point where they can earn a degree. How about car accident patients labeled as vegetables, healing their brains enough to become contributing members of society. I mean wow!  I am not sure if these things are truly a reality, but the possibility sounds so amazing!

I enjoyed this book so much a friend and I are going to do the 21 day brain detox laid out in the back of the book for our New Year's resolution. I will let you know how it works out in a later blog!

 "Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from BakerBooks, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

About the Author:

Dr. Caroline Leaf  Dr. Caroline Leaf

Dr. Caroline Leaf is a communication pathologist and audiologist who has worked in the area of cognitive neuroscience since 1985. Her pioneering work on neuroplasticity--that changes in thinking actually change the brain and can effect behavioral change--paved...
Continue reading about Dr. Caroline Leaf

Friday 20 December 2013

Two of My Favorite Easy Gluten free Christmas Cookies

Christmas and baking go hand in hand in my world.

If you know me I am not in the Christmas spirit if I have not created Christmas delights. So having just arrived at feeling Christmas bliss, I decided to bless you with some dead easy recipes to make you feel like the super hero you are.

Here are two of my favorite Gluten free recipes that will earn you smiles from your gluten free kids and adults alike! They are so good Gluten eating people will not even know.

So let's not delay Christmas is less than a week away you know!

The easiest one for all of you "can't bake an edible thing" kind of people....Or the "what can I bake those freaky Gluten free people in my life?" folk, here you go three ingredients you CAN do it.

Peanut butter blossoms: we go!

2 cups peanut butter

2 cup sugar

2 eggs

Yep that easy, heck the kids can even manage that..

Mix it all together, drop by teaspoonfuls onto a cookie sheet sprinkle with sugar for a sparkly effect, and when you take them out after about 6-8 minutes plop a Hershey's kiss on top. Oh.. so simple, so easy, so perfectly perfect!

Cookie #2

Ginger sparkle Cookie

This one is from my best cookie making friend Raelene K (but she never reads my blog, so she won't know)..I have turned her gluten recipe into a Gluten free dream, this cookie is soft moist and spicy good!

1 1/2 cups of shortening (I like butter)
2 cups of sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup of molasses
4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
4 tsp ginger
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp cloves
3 cups rice flour
2/3 C potato starch
2/3 C Tapioca starch
2 TSP Xantham gum

Cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs, molasses and spices. Mix in flours, chill for 1 hr (or not) roll into balls. Roll into sugar. Bake for 8-10 minutes. @ 350 degrees. Yields 6 dozen

Even gluten free can taste delicious!

Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Enjoy my friends, and Merry Christmas!

Saturday 30 November 2013

Book Review: Christmas At Harmony Hill

Cover Art 

 ISBN# 978 0 8007 1982 1

 She stared up at the Shaker buildings. They took in those in need. That was why she was riding into their village. But she couldn't stay here. Not forever. They divided families. She'd heard her grandmother speak harshly of the way Shakers didn't believe in marriage and had special houses where children were kept from their parents.

Heather put a hand over the swell of her baby inside her. Surely they wouldn't take a newborn from his mother's bosom. Heather's mother couldn't have imagined that happening or she'd have never told her to come . . .

My Reflections:

Ann Gabhart has opened my eyes to the intriguing Shaker village, of Harmony Hill. Set in 1864, in the midst of the Civil war, this story takes place when nations are torn apart by the devastation of war and unrest.

Heather a young wife who is following the army as a washerwoman to be with her solder husband, is heavy with child and must leave his side to go home to her family to deliver her baby in a safer environment. Although upon arriving home home she is not met with open arms and is forced to flee to her relative who happens to be a Shaker, residing in a peaceful and segregated community.

This author never disappoints when it comes to the depth and life she breaths into her novels. You are able to truly grasp the lives and emotions of the characters Gabhart so aptly pens.  I was wholly fascinated reading this enlightening story about a community I knew very little about. It encouraged me to do more research into the Shakers and find out what they believe. What I discovered just lead to more questions; I spent quite some time looking at pictures, videos and documentation, and still my questions are not fully answered.

This book was a leisurely, relaxing read that captivated me. It encouraged me to ponder what I believe and how to reach out to others who have differing views.

This book is a wonderful Christmas story with threads of forgiveness, faith and fortitude of the human spirit. If you are looking for that Christmas gift for the avid reader in your life this would make a delightful gift!

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group". Thank you Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin!

About The Author:

Ann H. Gabhart

    Ann H. Gabhart is the bestselling author of Angel Sister, Small Town Girl, and Words Spoken True, as well as several Shaker novels--The Outsider, The Believer, The Seeker, The Blessed, and The Gifted--and...
    Continue reading about Ann H. Gabhart

Saturday 23 November 2013

Book Review: Amish Peace

From the Back:

In our instantly connected world, it’s surprisingly easy to lose our connection to God. This devotional taps Amish wisdom in order to help us draw closer to God and hear his voice.

In The One Year® Book of Amish Peace, you’ll get a daily taste of Amish values and wisdom. Tricia Goyer shares her fascination with the Amish in a way that will inspire and encourage believers to carve out more time in each day to listen to God and experience his presence.

This daily devotional contains interesting facts about the Amish, recipes, and information about the way the Amish handle money, rear their children, and center their lives on faith in God. You’ll be inspired to slow down and find ways to simplify so that you, too, can experience God in the ordinary.

My Reflections: 

This little devotional was just what I needed each morning with my hot tea, a great way to start my day. The devotions were just the right length for this busy homeschooling mom, yet were packed with nuggets of truth and thought provoking wisdom. I so look forward to my morning, readings I always feel so grounded and peaceful afterward.

What I enjoyed most about this book was that it is not merely fluff, it has some deep and convicting truths to it. I felt challenged in a good way on several occasions, and I know this is a healthy step toward maturity. This daily discipline has definitely proven to deepen my faith walk. One thing that stands out with this devotional is it's simple elegance, the pages are laid out in a fashion that draws the reader in, focuses attention and readies the reader to draw near to god in a very intentional fashion.

I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about the Amish and their ways, the devotional even includes some Amish recipes and a prayer at the end of your daily reading.

This book is very refreshing and dynamic. I would recommend this book to any woman seeking not only to draw closer to God but also learn about the simplicity of the Amish people and customs.

I received this devotional from the Author Tricia Goyer, in return for my honest review, my opinions are my own. Thank you so much Tricia Goyer.

You can view the book here:

About the Author:  
 tricia looks up 2 2209
Tricia Goyer has written more than thirty-five books, including both novels that delight and entertain readers and non- fiction titles that offer encouragement and hope. She has also published more than 500 articles in national publications such as Guideposts, Thriving Family, Proverbs 31, and HomeLife Magazine.
Goyer’s fiction and non-fiction books have won awards from the American Christian Fiction Writers and Mt. Hermon Writers’ Conference. She is also a two-time Carol Award winner, as well as a Christy and ECPA Award Nominee.
Tricia has authored several books on family and parenting, as well as co-written with Max Lucado and Robin Jones Gunn. She collaborated with Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges for Lead Your Family Like Jesus, published by Focus on the Family/Tyndale.
Tricia’s contemporary and historical novels feature strong women overcoming great challenges. She recreates historic wartime eras with precise detail through perseverant and comprehensive research. Tricia speaks to groups interested in these eras, with the intention of preserving and honoring the memory of the men and women who served.
She is a beloved author of Amish fiction, as well, writing the Big Sky and Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors Series. Tricia is currently working on The One Year Book of Amish Peace: Hearing God’s Voice in the Simple Things and a true Amish story co-written with Ora Jay and Irene Eash (contracted to release in 2013 and 2014 respectively).
Tricia is also the visionary force behind the new website, Not Quite Amish. Inspired by the writing process of her Amish releases, she wanted to create a community where Amish and simple living experts can become contributors. Launched in the fall of 2012, the Not Quite Amish lifestyle blog features daily posts about recipes, repurposing, simple style, beautifying your home, sewing Amish proverbs, and more. In addition to having more than fifteen regular contributors, readers are also encouraged to submit ideas, questions, and posts for topics they’d like to see written about.
In addition to Not Quite Amish, Tricia also posts regularly at her personal blog and is a contributor to other family and homeschooling blogs, such as The Home Educating Family, The Better Mom, Allume and MomLife Today. In 2010, she was selected as one of the Top 20 Moms to Follow on Twitter by
Throughout the past ten years, Tricia has been interviewed by numerous national TV and radio programs and magazines.

Thursday 21 November 2013

Music Review: Our God Comes

Antioch Live Worship CD, “Our God Comes”

Waco, TX- Antioch Live, the worship band for Antioch Community Church in Waco, Texas, has signed with the new record label Clear Day Worship. As the music arm of Clear Day Media Group based in Waco, Texas, Clear Day Worship and Antioch Live debuted the new album OUR GOD COMES at the World Mandate Conference September 20 and the CD hit #2 on iTunes.

“World Mandate 2013 was the perfect venue for launching this new CD. Everyday people were united by a passion for Jesus with a desire to worship God and change the world. That is what we are about,” states Clear Day Media Group president, David Seibert. “OUR GOD COMES is a passionate and thrilling worship release captured at Antioch Community Church in Waco, TX. We look forward to seeing how God uses this worship music to bless the Church.” continues Seibert. 

Antioch is home to a worldwide church planting and worship movement, ministering to the needs of thousands internationally. Antioch Community Church currently has 30 church plants in the United States and another 40 in other parts of the world with more than 30,000 people involved with the movement. Antioch Live's “Forever Sound” CD released last year was #3 on iTunes.
The worship music and lyrics on OUR GOD COMES expresses the heart cry, prayers and joy of the worship team, songwriters and musicians from Antioch, led by James Mark Gulley. From the opening strains of audience approval, joyous praise and worship floods the listeners’ ears and ageless unchanging truths find a new sound for today! The savvy musical arrangements and gifted song writing flow from “Come” to “Our God Comes”, and the glorious experience is documented from the choruses of “Wonderful Counselor”, “How Much More” and “Savior Forever”.

Clear Day Media Groupcreates products to help people see God clearly and impact the world through Christ-centered content.

The 72-minute, live recording was produced by James Mark Gulley and assistant Owen Wible, recorded by Randy Adams and mastered at Marcussen Mastering in Hollywood, CA by Stephen Marcussen. Featuring songwriters James Mark Gulley, Stephen Gulley, Brandon Seibert, Thomas Wilson and Johanna Six, OUR GOD COMES also features worship leaders James Mark Gulley, Stephen Gulley, Johanna Six and Clare Berlinsky.

The full track listing for OUR GOD COMES is as follows:

  1. Come
  2. God And King
  3. Wonderful Counselor
  4. God Who Saves
  5. How Much More
  6. I Will Raise
  7. …Response
  8. Light Me Up
  9. Awaken Us
  10. One Hundred Three
  11. …Return
  12. Savior Forever
  13. …Selah
  14. Our God Comes

My Reflections:

I so enjoyed listening to this CD in our home, and in the truck driving the kids from one activities to the next. The music is lively, uplifting and has such an amazing beat. One of my favorite song on this Cd would have to be Light Me Up. The upbeat tempo, the lyrics and the live background is perfect, it just speaks to the place where God has lead me awesome!

 At the very time of writing this review the music from Our God Comes is cranked up and the house is alive with the sounds of clapping and dancing! Now that is proof enough of the talent of this band!

As you can probably surmise our family loves worship music and we often only listen to Praise 106.5 in our vehicles. That being said this CD was widely accepted by the children as something new and fresh, they were asking for it to be played over again on the first go around.  For me the depth to the music is what caught my attention, I absolutely loved the lyrics and the way the music mirrored my feelings toward my God, it was a great way to show praise to him. The beauty and passion of the artists are clearly felt, lending this Cd to be a popular choice in our house, I know we will enjoy this music on our car trips and leisure time for months to come. 

I would certainly recommend that you hop on over to I tunes and take a listen for yourself!

This CD was given to me by B and B Media in exchange for my honest review, Thank you B and B Media!

Tuesday 19 November 2013

Book Review: Truth Seekers The Machine

ISBN#978 1 4336 9080 8

From the Back:

For ages 8 to 14, Truth Seekers is a fast-paced, thoughtful, and funny new series using a 21st century approach to sharing ancient Bible truths.

In book one, The Machine, twin siblings Jake and Jenny have just lost their mother and are not thrilled about moving to Israel to stay with their seldom seen archaeologist dad. They don’t yet understand how “all things work together for good to those who love God.” But they will when a machine their father invented points them to the Truth.

My Reflections: 

I waited a long time for this book to arrive in the mail to review, in fact I had pretty much given up hope that it would show up, imagine my surprise when it did!
I had to battle the kids first to get my hands on it. When I finally did get to read it I promptly assigned it for homework. A book for the book club! The boys in our homeschooling group all bought it read it and had a great time in discussion. Now that is great value!

All the boys were between the ages of 13-14. They all read it in less than 2 days, and the consensus was a mixed bag. My son said it was good, stellar vocabulary... but hey he is 13. He did elaborate and say it was cool to explore the bible times in a new and exciting format. I think the fact that the mother has died, the siblings having to be uprooted, had something to do with his lack luster attitude (he hates books where people have died)

Not having known their archaeologist father well the siblings who are also twins are sent to be with him in Israel. Upon arrival the adventures abound, with the aid of quirky gadgets and ingenious inventions the kids get to experience the history of artifacts and learn about the Bible and most importantly how it points us back to a relationship with God.

The characters were well rounded for a YA book, and the humor was awesome, I found my self chuckling from time to time. I loved how this book portrayed the relationship between the children Jennifer and Jake. So true to life, and I think kids could really relate to this on again off again sibling behavior. I loved how when times got tough they worked together to get through, this really shows our kids what family means.

This was a wonderful resource for my homeschooling curriculum, and I would highly recommend it for the YA in your life!

I received this book from B and B Media Group in exchange for my honest opinion, thank you B and B!

 About the Author: 

Bill Myers

Bill Myers is the author of the humorously imaginative The Incredible Worlds of Wally McDoogle series, which currently numbers 27 episodes and over 2.1 million units sold. He is also the creator and writer of the McGee and Me! video/dvd series. Myers is a director as well as a writer, and his films have won over forty national and international awards. He has written more than 50 books for kids, teens, and adults. Myer's work is enjoyed by millions around the world. He lives with his wife and two daughters in Southern California.

Monday 18 November 2013

Book Review: Loving

ISBN: 978 1 4908 0788 1

From the Back:

Hannah Mattox longs to be a mother. However, her heart disease, pulmonary hypertension, prevents her from safely bearing children. Karla Valez is a homeless prostitute who despises the "thing" growing inside her and hopes to kill it in utero with the drugs that have buried her painful past for nearly five years. Gabriella Greene, founder of the Sanford Crisis Pregnancy Center, finds herself the bridge between these two women. A time when questions far outweigh answers, there is one most pressing: why would God allow this?

Weaving together the lives of three very different women, Loving will take readers on an emotional journey that reveals one common thread: they each need to surrender to a God of love.

My Reflections:

Unbelievable!, this book is one of those rare reads that stick with you for months on end. I know, you are saying to yourself, "just another Christian fiction Tanya" but I can assure you that it is not!

This book had me gripped in it's clutches until one in the morning. I seriously could not put it down...for anything.

The story line is  tender and yet dramatic reminding the reader of the fragility of the human condition, it holds you captive until you read the last word. The characters are so incredibly true to life, you are immersed into the world of drugs, prostitution and the realities these women face on a day to day the lines.

Add in an innocent babe, a childless couple who desperately desire a family. More life. The kind of honest real life that compels you to loose yourself within the pages, raw emotion and depth that you rarely get to experience through a novel.

The plot is not predictable as one would think with this type of subject matter. On the contrary it twists and turns wrapping the characters around each other until the story line is a beautifully cohesive web, sparkling off the pages with the dew of anticipation. I am telling you this book has all the earmarks for a best seller, it may be short but it is beautifully written!

I read a lot, and I can honestly say this is a wonderfully written, god inspired, life changing book. I cannot wait until the sequel comes out! I have so many questions that simply need answering!

So if you are in search of a great Christmas present, this one is perfect for the reader who yearns for a deep, meaningful drama that highlights the redeeming love of Gods good and merciful grace, look no further buy this book, it's a winner!

I received this book in exchange for my honest review, from the author. 

~The Author has graciously provided a signed giveaway copy, so please don't forget tweet about this blog post, then let me know you did to be entered into the draw..... You may be the lucky winner of a signed copy of Loving!

About the Author:
Corin Hughs

As pillows hug little heads, and my home grows quiet, I nestle into my "spot" on the couch. With my laptop in place and coffee on the end table, I get lost in another world. I write.[...] Read More

Sunday 17 November 2013

Book Review: Unspoken

Cover Art
ISBN # 9780764211713

From the Back: 

Charlotte Graham is at the center of the most famous kidnapping in Chicago history.

The task force of FBI and local cops found her two abductors, killed them, rescued her, but it took four very long years. The fact she was found less than three miles from her home, had been there the entire time, haunts them. She's changed her identity, found a profession she loves, and rebuilt her life.

She's never said a word--to the cops, to her doctors, to family--about those four years.
A family legacy has brought her back to Chicago where a reporter is writing a book about the kidnapping. The cops who worked the case are cooperating with him. Her options are limited: Hope the reporter doesn't find the full truth, or break her silence about what happened. And her silence is what has protected her family for years.

Bryce Bishop doesn't know her past, he only knows she has coins to sell from her grandfather's estate--and that the FBI director for the Chicago office made the introduction. The more he gets to know Charlotte, the more interested he becomes, an interest encouraged by those closest to her. But nothing else is working in his favor--she's decided she is single for life, she struggles with her faith, and she's willing to forego a huge inheritance to keep her privacy. She's not giving him much of an opening to work with.

Charlotte wants to trust him. She needs to tell him what happened. Because a crime cops thought was solved, has only opened another chapter...

My Reflections:

Dee Henderson is known for her brilliant romantic suspense books, she is a solid writer who does her research. I must say she has done more than her share of research in this novel, let me tell you. I don't think I have learned that much about coins...ever...My husband loves coins and I often go glassy eyed when he talks about them, unfortunately this book talks about coins and the business of selling them more than my husband.

I really wanted to enjoy this book, as an avid reader I enjoy most books I read, unfortunately this one just didn't do it for me. Perhaps it was the complexity of the characters, the unhurried plot, or that the story continuously switches from character to character. It could very well have been the intertwining plots that distracted me from the main story. 

That being said I did enjoy parts of the story line. One in particular was the point where we learn why Charlotte struggles with her faith, the questions she has about why God didn't protect her from her kidnappers and the aspects of forgiveness. This is serious subject matter, and I quite liked the way this faith message was delivered. I also enjoyed Bryce Bishops character, he was a genuinely nice hero, kind, patient, and a godly man willing to nurture Charlotte with respect and gentleness.

So in closing, I can't in all honesty recommend this book, It was extremely difficult for me to dredge through the 441 pages it took to complete the book and fulfill my obligation to write this review. That being said it could just be me, perhaps you are a fan of coins, long dialog and slow blooming romance? Don't let me sway you, decide for yourself!

  "Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

 About the Author: 

Dee Henderson is the author of eighteen novels, including Jennifer: An O'Malley Love Story, New York Times bestseller Full Disclosure, the acclaimed O'Malley series, and the Uncommon Heroes series. Her books have won or been nominated for several prestigious industry awards, such as the RITA Award, the Christy Award, and the ECPA Gold Medallion. Dee is a lifelong resident of Illinois.
Learn more at

Monday 11 November 2013

Book Review: My Name is Erin (4 books)

My Name is Erin: One Girl's Mission to Make a Difference

Do you often wonder why? Why am I here? Do I serve a purpose? God says yes. No matter your age or your circumstances - you have a powerful purpose.
Do you have a passion for something? The poor? A country? Justice?  Because you are in school doesn't mean you can't do something about it now.
Your purpose and your passion intersect. For a reason.
Read My Name is Erin: One Girl's Mission to Make a Difference and:
  • Discover and replace your fake purpose with your real purpose.
  • Learn how to stop waiting and live as a mission-minded girl NOW.
  • Be inspired by stories of girls like you that said "Yes, Lord."
 My Name is Erin: One Girl's Journey to Discover Truth
Is truth real? How do you define truth? What happens when your definition of truth is not the same as your best friend? Or your parents? Whose truth becomes the real truth?
See a problem?
The culture says truth can change. God's Word says Truth is solid.
In My Name is Erin: One Girls Journey to Discover Truth you will be guided by Erin to learn
?         Truth is not defined by your circumstances, your heart, or your mind
?         Truth can be discovered - not created
?         How to protect yourself and your friends with Truth
?         Lies that masquerade as Truth
?         How to make invisible spy ink

My Name is Erin: One Girl's Journey to Discover Who She Is

Come meet Erin. Like you she has struggled with many questions about being a girl.
Why does it matter that God created men and women?
Why did God make guys and girls so different?
Why does gender (that's just a fancy word for the traits that make girls girls and boys boys) matter anyway?
So, she set out on a journey to learn who she is. From the only place she could - God's Word. After all, He was the one who made her and the only One who could really answer her questions.
And she learned that whether you're a mega tomboy, a pretty-pretty princess, or someone somewhere in between, God has a plan for your girlhood that goes way beyond ribbons and curls. You were made to bring God glory and the purpose of your design is to point to Him.

My Name is Erin: One Girl's Plan for Radical Faith

Maybe you've had a moment-a time in your history when God did something radical in your heart. Putting your faith and trust in Him certainly feels like taking a giant leap, but really it's just the beginning of the exciting, and-yes-radical journey that comes with agreeing to live as God calls you to.
What does being radical look like? In the Bible, the common characteristics are:
* They trusted God.
* They listened to God's voice and then obeyed-even when it cost them.
* Because of their faith, they lived lives that looked different from everyone else's.
That's a short list and a tall order, but basically it means you can be a radical too. There's nothing on that list that is impossible for you. There's nothing on that list that requires you to be older, or more financially stable, or to have a college degree. No matter who you are or where you live you can live a radical faith.
Meet Erin, she has learned practical ways to do just that.

My Name is Erin: One Girl's Plan for Radical Faith is part of a 4-book series:

   My Name is Erin: One Gilr's Journey to Discover Truth
    My Name is Erin: One Girl's Journey to Discover Who She Is
    My Name is Erin: One Girl's Mission to Make a Difference

P.S. You can read them in any order - but be radical and jump in!

My Reflections:

This is a fabulous series of books created for tween girls!

Kids at this time of their lives test just about everything they can, boundaries, friendships and faith, to name just a few. Books like these are treasures to be sure, as they are written in a language children can relate to, about topics that are central to their lives.

My daughter loved these books and I found them to be a springboard to conversations that could have otherwise been awkward. The books delve into what it means to be godly, in a world that is not. It challenges girls to be "set apart" I was thrilled that the books though small were action packed with places to "challenge your faith", Journal, and pray. These books may look tiny but I feel they could really leave an impact on my girls lives.... I'm sold!

So if you are looking for books to grow your child's character and faith I would recommend you pick these books up and start your own little mom and daughter date nights.
Grab your hot cocoa and snuggle up to read theses together. I also think these books may be a great tool for a youth bible study.

About the Author:

A popular speaker, author and blogger, ERIN DAVIS has addressed women of all ages nationwide and is passionately committed to sharing God's Truth with others. She is the author of several books including Graffiti: Learning to See the Art in Ourselves, True Princess: Embracing Humility in an All About Me World, The Bare Facts with Josh McDowell and Beyond Bath Time: Embracing Motherhood As a Sacred Role. Erin's quest for the perfect scoop of ice cream is never ending and her family is her constant source of entertainment.

Sunday 10 November 2013

Book Review: A Wild Ride Through the Bible Adventure Bible Handbook

From the Back:

A fun and exciting journey through the Bible told in comic book style for kids ages 9-12. Companion to the bestselling Adventure Bible.

Kids (ages 9-12) and parents who love the bestselling Adventure Bible and want a fun and engaging supplement to their biblical study need look no further. The Adventure Bible Handbook leads tween boys and girls across the Holy Land and back in time on an entertaining, educational, and inspirational quest to find their missing father.

Four siblings travel with their archaeologist father to the Holy Land, where he is conducting an expedition in search of scientific truth. When he disappears, the children try to find him by joining an offbeat tour group organized by two zany guides whose mission, they eventually discover, is to lead kids on a fun, exciting, and life-changing quest for ultimate truth. Soon the group is visiting ancient cities, important geographical sites, and experiencing biblical times firsthand—traveling back in time with the help of some RSPs (Really Smart Phones) and all sorts of wacky modes of transportation.
It’s a fast, fun, eyewitness adventure around the world and through some of the greatest Bible stories to learn what life is really all about.

My Reflections: 

I was thrilled to get to review this Bible Inspired comic book study guide for tweens. My children promptly plucked it out of my hands upon it's arrival and kept it for a full week before I was able to fully read it for the purposes of reviewing it.

The book centers around a lost father, and the adventures the kids have trying to find him. Along the way they learn many facts about Bible stories, and culture. The Adventure Bible Handbook  correlates with the Adventure Bible, which we just so happen to have bought for my middle daughter when she was in grade 4. I would highly recommend purchasing it along with this book as it is a really good version of the Bible for this age group.

The bible stories in this handbook are simplified, but encourage children to dig deeper into the Bible to find out more in depth knowledge. I loved how this little book wet my children's appetite to want to read their bibles, and as a result talk about what they discovered. We had many interesting conversations over dinner about some of the stores they read. Like How after reading about the tower of Babel they looked at the map and we discussed how many languages the world has today.

I absolutely recommend this book to any parent of tween aged children. It is a simplified fun way to expand their knowledge of Bible facts and get them interested in learning more about their favorite stories. I feel It would also be a wonderful gift to non churched families, to introduce them to the Bible in a fun and engaging manner.

I received this book from Book Sneeze in exchange for my honest review. Thank you Book Sneeze!

Thursday 31 October 2013

List of Halloween goodies a celiac can indulge in!

If you know me well you know how much I love sweets, so in order to steal candy from my kids goodie bags this year, I found this extensive list of all goodies  Celiac's can indulge in.
 Hehehehe, Thought you may find this list helpful as well. I think I may keep this list posted for dear son to reference. But remember manufacturers change ingredients often so please watch your labels, as well.

A very special Thank You to the Celiac Support Group at Children's Hospital, Boston, GI / Nutrition Department 300 Longwood Ave., Boston, MA 02115 Phone 617-355-2127

Gluten Free Candy List For Halloween

Master Foods USA
(M&M Mars)
Consumer Affairs
800 High Street
Hackensack, NJ 07840

All Starburst
Starburst Jelly Beans
All M&M's (EXCEPT the blue package of crisps)
3 Musketeers
Milky Way Dark Chocolate Covered almonds
Snickers Bar
Snickers with Almond
Snickers Cream molded
Dove Truffle Egg
All Dove Chocolate
Amazing Bars (Peanut Butter Chocolate only; NOT crunchy)
M& M Chocolate Hollow Filled Characters

Revere, Ma

Necco Wafers
Mary Janes
Mary Janes Peanut Butter
Canada Mint & Wintergreen Lozenges
Haviland Thin Mints & Candy Stix
Clark Bars
Talking Pumpkins
Squirrel Nut Zippers
Squirrel Nut Caramels
Banana Split and Mint Julip Chews
Necco Ultramints
Sweethearts Conversational Hearts Skybars
Haviland Peppennint & Wintergreen Patties
Necco Candy Eggs

Consumer Relations Department
100 Crystal A Drive Hershey, PA 17033

Hershey Kisses
Milk Chocolate Bar
Milk Chocolate Bar with Almonds
Jolly Rancher Candy
Jolly Rancher Lollipops
Almond Joy
Reese's Peanut Butter Cup
Reese's Pieces
York Peppermint Patties
Heath Bar
Mr. Goodbar

Confections & Snack Division
P.O. Box 2178
Wilkes Barre, PA 18703 (800-258-6728) nestlebaking(JO,
Babe Ruth
Nestle Milk Chocolate
Oh Henry!
Sweet Tarts
Nestle Turtles
Butterfinger BB's
Nestle Treasures
Wonka Bottlecaps
Wonka Gobstoppers
Wonka Mix Ups
Wonka Pixy Stik
Wonka Shock Tarts
Wonka Tart 'N' Tiny
Wonka Fun Dip (Lik-M-Aid)
Wonka Laffy Taffy
Wonka Nerds
Wonka Nerds
Wonka Runts
Wonka Tangy Taffy
SweetTARTS Lollipops

Chicago, 1L. 60629

Tootsie Rolls
Fruit Rolls
Tropical Dots
Tootsie Pops
Tooties Peppermint Pops
Caramel Apple Pops
Fruit Smoothie Pops
Tropical Stonnz Pops
Child's Play

A division of Tootsie Roll

Blow Pops/Super Blow Pops
Charm Pops
Zip-A-Dee-Doo-DA Pops
Fluffy Stuff Cotton Candy
Sugar Daddy Pops
Charms Squares
Charms Sour Balls
Family Fun
Pops Galore
Andes Mints
Sugar Babies

A division of Tootsie Roll

Cella's Milk Chocolate Covered Cherries
Cella's Dark Chocolate Covered Cherries

A division of Tootsie Rolls

Junior Mints
Charleston Chew Junior Charms

Consumer Affairs (800445-5787)

Year Round Candies
Original Fruits
Tropical Typhoon
Berry Blast
Jolly Joes-Grape
Tangy Twister

Original Hot Tamales
Hot Tamales Fire


Original Fruitz
Punch Fruitz


Jelly Beans


Strawberry and Vanilla Creme Flavored MASRSHMALLOW PEEPS Hearts
Non-flavored Hearts

MARSHMALLOW PEEPS Pumpkin, Spooky Cats and Ghosts
MARSHMALLOW PEEPS DelightFills and Cocoa Cats Snack Pack and Variety Pack Bags + MIKE AND IKE, HOT TAMALES, AND ZOURS

MARSHMALLOW PEEPS Christmas Trees and Snowmen
Holiday Cookie Flavored MARSHMALLOW PEEPS Cutouts

401 York Ave. Dayra, PA 18642

Ring Pops
Push Pops
Juicy Bugs
Juicy Drop Chews
Big Mouth Candy Spray
Flip & Dip Push Pop
Baby Bottle Pops
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