Thursday 31 December 2015

Book Review: Until the Dawn

Cover Art

From The Back

Fascinated by Dierenpark, an abandoned mansion high atop a windswept cliff in the Hudson River Valley, Sophie van Riijn sees no harm in setting up a rooftop weather station for her work with the newly established Weather Bureau. While the villagers are suspicious of the mysterious estate and its tragic history, Sophie has come to see it as her own enchanted piece of paradise.

The first Vandermark to return to the area in sixty years, Quentin intends to put an end to the shadowy rumors about the property that has brought nothing but trouble upon his family. Ready to tear down the mansion, he is furious to discover Sophie trespassing on his land.

Instantly at odds, Quentin and Sophie yet find common ground when she is the only one who can reach his troubled son. There's a light within Sophie that Quentin has never known, and a small spark of the hope that left him years ago begins to grow. But when the secrets of Dierenpark can no longer be kept in the past, will tragedy triumph or can their tenuous hope prevail?

My Reflections:

Elizabeth Camden shares her love for history and vibrant ability to paint a canvas of beauty and heartache as we embark on her newest journey to Dierenpark. High atop of a small dying town sits an imposing abandoned castle, the playground to a select few caretakers and one Sophie van Riijn.  

The lead character Sophie van Riijn is all sunshine and rainbows, the epitome of  goodness. I really connected with this character as she struggled with the same feelings of failure and expectations from society that I have experienced. Sophie has a dream to run a weather station in her home town, it is her passion and she puts everything into it, that is until Quentin Vandermark shows up to muddle up all her plans. 

Quentin embarks on a mission to carry out the wishes of his grandfather, destroy all traces of Dierenpark, return the land to its natural state and in return break the curse on the family. Quentin struggles with debilitating pain, his past and melancholy. A combination that has devastated his life and is trickling down to his young sons life as well. 

Quentin was not my favorite character in the beginning of this novel. His hurtful words, his angry outbursts they were poison to the kind hearted Sophie. He did eventually warm up and his attitude was changed by the softening of God and with a little help from Sophie, it was slow and gradual as would be expected. 
I so enjoyed this story, it peeled back layer by layer building slowly to reveal the gem within. A story with the transforming beauty of love and gentleness. Camden has the gift of infusing history and  intrigue creating a symbiotic masterpiece. If you are looking to start the New Year off with a fabulous book this is your novel!

I received this book free of charge in exchange for my honest review from Graf-Martin Communications. Thank you Graf-Martin!


  1. Elizabeth Camden
    Photo courtesy of Ginger Murray Photography

    Elizabeth Camden

    Elizabeth Camden is the author of eight historical novels and has been honored with a RITA Award, Christy Award, and Daphne du Maurier Award. With a master's in history and a master's in library science, she is a research librarian by day and scribbles away on...
    Continue reading about Elizabeth Camden

Monday 28 December 2015

Book Review: At Loves Bidding

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From The Back:

She Sells Priceless Antiques.
He Sells Livestock by the Pound.
Is He Really the Man to Make a Bid for Her Heart?

After helping her grandfather at their Boston auction house, Miranda Wimplegate discovers she's accidentally sold a powerful family's prized portrait to an anonymous bidder. Desperate to appease the people who could ruin them forever, they track it to the Missouri Ozarks and make an outlandish offer to buy the local auction house and all its holdings before the painting can move again.

Upon crossing the country, however, Miranda and her grandfather discover their new auction house doesn't deal in fine antiques, but in livestock. And its frustratingly handsome manager, Wyatt Ballentine, is annoyed to discover his fussy new bosses don't know a thing about the business he's single-handedly kept afloat. Faced with more heads of cattle than they can count--but no mysterious painting--Miranda and Wyatt form an unlikely but charged partnership to try and prevent a bad situation from getting worse.

My Reflections:

At Love's Bidding is the second book in Regina Jennings series of the "Ozark Mountain." Having read the first book (and many others of Jennings work) A Most Inconvenient Marriage, I was thrilled to be able to review this one as well.

The fabulous things I love about Jennings tales are they are light and there is always a smattering of humour peppered into the story line. This book was no different, It was a light hearted storyline, mixed with the devastating realities of dementia. It made me laugh it made me cry. The characters in this novel were nothing less than delightful, from Miranda to her grandfather to Wyatt. All these characters were fallible having to struggle with human emotions and reactions ranging from patience, determination, forgiveness and courage. 

One blunder leads to another when Miranda Wimplegate tries to unravel the mystery of a sold painting. She finds herself traveling from the posh city of Boston to the rough and tumble Missouri Ozarks. Expecting to find a sophisticated auction house she encounters nothing of the sort. The fancy Auction house she just paid a ridiculous sum of money for is actually a livestock auction house!

Poor Wyatt Ballentine is just a hard working country bumpkin trying to fulfill his father's dream of managing a livestock auction house. Not in a million years did he expect to be tangled up with these two city dwellers!

This book is a must read indeed. It can be read as a stand alone or in order. I so enjoyed the 1870 setting and the way Jennings painted the backdrop, certainly a place I would have loved to visit!
If you are a Jennings fan her newest book will certainly not disappoint!

I received this book free of charge in return for my honest review from Graf- Martin Communications.
Thank you Graf- Martin!


  1. Regina Jennings
    Photo courtesy of Ginger Murray Photography

    Regina Jennings

    Regina Jennings is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University with a degree in English and a history minor. She is the author of A Most Inconvenient MarriageSixty Acres and a Bride, andCaught in the Middle, and contributed a novella to...
    Continue reading about Regina Jennings

Sunday 27 December 2015

Book Review: Ruth's Redemption

From The Back:

Set in the 1800s, Ruth's Redemption, is an unusual depiction of the lives of slaves and free blacks in pre-Civil War America.  Bo, was educated while a slave.  He was given his freedom and now owns a farm buying slaves for the sole purpose of giving them their freedom. Bo is also a man of God and widower whose life is destined to change when he meets the proud and hard-hearted slave girl, Ruth.

Ruth has known nothing but servitude and brutality since being separated from her mother at age thirteen. Purchased and sold primarily for breeding, Ruth struggles to adjust to life outside of bondage.  She wants no part of Bo's Godly devotion.  Yet Bo is unlike any man she's known and her experiences with him will leave her forever changed.
A gripping slave era novel, Ruth's Redemption is a story of love, forgiveness, and redemption. Set against the backdrop of the Nat Turner Rebellion in Tidewater, Virginia, this novel shines the light of God's unconditional love in the darkness of a culture's cruel socially accepted inhumanity.

My Reflections:

I absolutely loved this book!

Talk about immersing yourself in history! It was such a fabulous reminder of what humanity is capable of and such a good reminder that we need to stand up for what we believe in, one person can make a difference when God is on our side!
I was quickly drawn into this story by the sheer power of the subject matter and the superb style of writing by the author, Marlene Banks. I will surely be looking for this author's name in the future.

Ruth a feisty and courageous woman who is living in the shackles of slavery, her role: a breeding slave. Yes it is exactly as you may imagine she is forced to endure the shame of using her body as a means to increase the population of slaves. Desperation, despair and humiliation are constant companions to Ruth.

Things quickly take a turn for the better when she finds herself on the auction block and being sold. Can she learn to trust, love and lean on a God who she blames for her past imprisonment?

Bo a free ex slave purchases her freedom, merely on the urging of God's still quiet voice. Bo soon finds himself in deep with this willful and hurting woman. He is still holding dear to his late wife's memory and struggling with his role as Ruth's protector.

Things heat up in Tidewater and everyone involved need to decide for themselves whose side they are on. Stakes are high, lives are on the line.

Drama, intrigue and action fill this novel with enough substance to keep you reading, while tender moments melt your heart and make you rally against the brutalities of this world.

Definitely a must read! We must never forget to listen to that still small voice no matter what the world around us says, It may make a life of a difference to someone.

I received this book free of charge in return for my honest review from Moody Publishing. Thank you Moody!

Saturday 26 December 2015

Book Review: Planet Middle School

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From the Back:

You are about to embark on a fantastic journey
If you've ever watched one of those movies where regular people are walking around minding their own business, until without warning their chests burst open and alien life-forms come slithering out, then you know what it's like to suddenly find yourself with a middle-schooler. Your once-peaceful home full of silliness and laughter morphs into the twisted landscape of a forbidding alien world, where moody adolescents drag their claws and moan about . . . well, just about everything.

Welcome to Planet Middle School. Better get comfortable. You'll be here awhile.

Lucky for you, New York Times bestselling author Dr. Kevin Leman successfully navigated Planet Middle School with five children. With his expert guidance, you'll see how you can help your child not only survive but thrive during these turbulent years. Leman shows you how to 

· understand your child's rapidly expanding world
· respond rather than react to mood swings
· tell your child about sex (before someone else tells their version)
· create opportunities for your child to practice selflessness and gratitude
· ensure that your kid is one who loves home and family
· and much more

Middle-schoolers can be a strange, unpredictable species. But with a little help from Dr. Leman, you can ride out the interstellar storm with humor and confidence.

Houston, we have a problem.
It happens to every parent. One day, you have a sweet son or daughter who loves to snuggle on the couch and who puts a smile on your face just by walking into the room. The next day, it's as if someone left the door open and let in an alien with a smart mouth and an attitude that, frankly, you could do without. Entering middle school is like stepping onto a different planet--for parent and child alike.

But these years don't have to create chaos in your family. In fact, they can be some of the best, most fruitful years of all, a time when you can grow closer rather than drift apart. From the internal storms of hormonal changes to the external challenges of peer pressure and our technology-saturated culture, your child is under constant bombardment. Learn how to come alongside your middle-schooler with the love, understanding, and values that will see you both safely back home to earth when your time on Planet Middle School is over.

My Reflections:
I was instantly drawn to this book for two reasons. 1) Dr. Kevin Leman is a leading expert in the field of psychology and parenting instruction. I trust his leadership and common sense approach and own several of his books already. 2) I am in the heat of the battle of Middle school drama. Mr. Leman is dead on when he says that life is grand one day and then a switch flips and a sullen moody alien invades your home! 
immensely enjoyed gleaning information and strategies in order to calm the chaos and restore peace in our home and although I know the suggestions will sometimes fail it feels good to have a few more tools in my arsenal of parenting strategies.

This book is extremely well laid out starting with where you are and progressing to where you want to aim for. I especially enjoyed the chapter titled "Expect the best, Get the best."  I gleaned so much from this chapter, and will be reversing quite a few of my parenting styles because of the information I read in this one chapter. Seriously this book is so full of great ideas, good sound biblically centred parenting advice that I would recommend it to anyone who is or will soon be entering this fun and challenging time in their child's lives. 

I have to say even though we have had some roller coaster moments (OK.. days..weeks....months) I have to say I think this is my favorite time of my children's lives, they are becoming who God has designed them to be, and that my friends is a beautiful thing to watch transpire. Such a gift! 

It is my opinion that Mr. Leman's humourous style, grace based approach and honest tutelage will uplift your parenting experience and ultimately family life. What are you waiting for? This purchase is a no brainer!

received this book free of charge in return for my honest review from Graf-Martin Communications. Thank you Graf-Martin!


  1. Dr. Kevin Leman

    Dr. Kevin Leman

    Dr. Kevin Leman is an internationally known psychologist, radio and television personality, and speaker who has taught and entertained audiences worldwide with his wit and commonsense psychology. He has made house calls for hundreds of radio and television...
    Continue reading about Dr. Kevin Leman

Friday 25 December 2015

Book Review: The Mistress of Tall Acre

Cover Art

From the Back:

There can be only one mistress of Tall Acre . . .
The American Revolution is finally over, and Sophie Menzies is starved for good news. When her nearest neighbor, General Seamus Ogilvy, finally comes home to Tall Acre, she hopes it is a sign of better days to come. But the general is now a widower with a small daughter in desperate need of a mother. Nearly destitute, Sophie agrees to marry Seamus and become the mistress of Tall Acre in what seems a safe, sensible arrangement. But when a woman from the general's past returns without warning, the ties that bind this fledgling family together will be strained to the utmost. When all is said and done, who will be the rightful mistress of Tall Acre?

Triumph and tragedy, loyalty and betrayal--you will find it all in the rich pages of this newest novel from the talented pen of Laura Frantz.

My Reflections:

A delightfully endearing historical romance by an author I am not well acquainted with, Laura Frantz. This novel had me from the beginning. The lovable characters, realistic setting and just enough history to satisfy everyone made this novel such a pleasure to read. Mrs. Frantz has the talent of building onto a story creating a multi dimensional plot that ensconces the reader.
I will certainly be on the look out for her books in the future.

The main characters Sophie and Seamus were so endearing  that you instantly fall in love with their plight and root for a favourable out come for all. Sophie having just lost her mother, and only source of security finds herself in dire straights. When an opportunity to solve two peoples problems presents itself, things take a turn for the worst. A marriage of convenience gone horribly wrong...
Sophie must make hard decisions and she is not the only one she must think of. Her choices reflect her strong upright character and moral regard. I found myself thinking that this is one character I would admire if she were my friend!

All in all I will definitely be flagging this author's name and waiting with baited breath for her next novel!
A fine book to start the new year's reading list off strong!

received this book free of charge in return for my honest review from Graf-Martin Communications. Thank you Graf-Martin!


  1. Laura Frantz

    Laura Frantz

    Laura Frantz is a lover of history, is the author of The Frontiersman's DaughterCourting Morrow Little, and The Colonel's Lady, and currently lives in the misty woods of Washington with her husband and two sons.
    Continue reading about Laura Frantz

Thursday 24 December 2015

Book Review: The Painter's Daughter

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Sophie Dupont assists her father in his studio, keeping her own artwork out of sight. In private, she paints the picturesque north Devon coast, popular with artists--including handsome Wesley Overtree, who seems more interested in Sophie than the landscape.

Captain Stephen Overtree is accustomed to taking on his brother Wesley's responsibilities. Near the end of his leave, he is sent to find his brother and bring him home. Upon reaching Devonshire, however, Stephen is stunned to learn Wesley has sailed for Italy and left his host's daughter in serious trouble.

Stephen feels duty-bound to act, and strangely protective of the young lady, who somehow seems familiar. Wanting to make some recompense for his own past failings as well as his brother's, Stephen proposes to Miss Dupont. He does not offer love, but marriage "in name only" to save her from scandal. If he dies in battle, as he fears, she will at least be a respectable widow.

Desperate for a way to escape her predicament, Sophie finds herself torn between her first love and this brooding man she barely knows. Dare she wait for Wesley to return? Or should she elope with the captain and pray she doesn't come to regret it?

My Reflections:

Julie Klassen's newest novel had me intrigued right from the the start, the bio on the back paints a vivid picture of a multi layered, dynamic story line, and that was just the back of the book! I was so very glad to have reviewed this it. It was every bit as intoxicating as I expected. I was not able to escape the pages, and was held within the confines of this book until I was finished, it was 4 am in the morning!

Sophie Dupont has fallen for a man of ill character. He may seem charismatic, handsome and say all the right things, but when he leaves for Italy and Sophie finds herself with child, she knows he may not have been all that he seemed. Unmarried and heartbroken Sophie must do whatever it takes to save herself and her child from the shadow of shame.

Captain Stephen Overtree finds himself drawn into the web his brother has weaved, perhaps on some level he can atone for some of his past mistakes? When he learns of Sophie's predicament he offers to marry her and give her unborn child his family name. Stephen is a gentle kind man who has a heart. I found myself liking his character more and more as I read this novel. He is perfect for Sophie, she just has to realize that for herself!

This book has a ton of little side stories that keep the pages flying and you reading, hence why I was up so late. I would highly recommend this book for anyone looking for a great holiday read! Undeniably one of my favorite Julie Klassen novels.

I received this book free of charge in return for my review from Graf-Martin Communications. Thank you Graf Martin!


  1. Julie Klassen
    © Farrow Media

    Julie Klassen

    JULIE KLASSEN loves all things Jane--Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. Three of her books, The Silent Governess, The Girl in the Gatehouse,...
    Continue reading about Julie Klassen

Saturday 5 December 2015

Book Review: A Believe Devotional For Kids: Think, Act, Be Like Jesus

Book Description

Written for children 6-10, the Think, Act, Be Like Jesus; A Believe Devotional for Kids is part of the national church-wide program led by bestselling author Randy Frazee that shows children how they can think, act, and be more like Jesus, with 90 devotions from the Old and New Testament.
They know the story of the Bible, but do they know what it means?
This 90-Day devotional, written by Oak Hills Church pastor Randy Frazee, is part of the church-wide, ground-breaking Believe campaign and encourages children to follow the footsteps of Jesus. Think, Act, Be Like Jesus; A Believe Devotional for Kids shares the message that the more you believe, the more Jesus can change you from the inside out to become the best person you can be.
As children ages 6-10 walk through 90 devotions from the Old and New Testament—they’ll complete a journey that will take them closer to the heart of Jesus and deeper into the words of Scripture. They’ll learn what the Bible has to say about everything from the nature of God and the identity of Jesus, to prayer, worship, and the fruit of the Spirit. Foundational and faith-building, this book can be used by individuals or in conjunction with the all-church campaign.

My Reflections:

When I had the opportunity to review this devotional I was absolutely thrilled!  I am always on the lookout for relevantin-depth and fun devotionals for my kids; this one jumped out at me right away.

Upon receiving this devotional I was immediately impressed with the quality of the binding (hard cover and sturdy) The pages were thick and glossy, colorful and well laid out. It was a pleasure to read and review this devotional. A wonderful resource for children ages 8-12.

The true test came when it was time to work through the devotional with my children. I was excited and eager to share this devotional with them, as it was exactly what I was looking for a fresh, fun and in depth way to share our time together in the word. I am sure as we work through this book my children and I will have many opportunities to study scripture and delve into new and exciting topics. My little one has a passion for reading right now and she was very happy to be able to turn the glossy new pages in her little hands and read to me!

I love the layout of this devotional it has 3 categories titled:
Think, Act and Be. Under these headings is sub categories which explore deeper topics relevant the the main category. An example would be the first category Think, it has: 

God, Personal God, Salvation, The Bible, Identity in Christ, Church, Humanity, Compassion, Stewardship and Eternity.
Each devotional starts with scripture and questions then ends with a prayer.

I would highly recommend this devotional if you have a child in this age range, it would certainly make a nice Christmas gift!

I received this book free of charge in return for my honest review form Book Look Bloggers. 
Thank you Book Look!

About the Author
Randy Frazee is the senior minister at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas. Oak Hills is one of the largest churches in America, where Randy teaches and leads in partnership with pastor and author Max Lucado. A leader and innovator in spiritual formation and biblical community, Randy is the architect of The Story church engagement campaign. He is the author of The Heart of The Story, The Connecting Church 2.0, The Christian Life Profile Assessment. He also coauthored Real Simplicity with his wife Rozanne.

Sunday 29 November 2015

Book Review: Vendetta

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From The Back:

"Filled with red herrings and heart-pounding danger, Vendetta will leave readers anxiously awaiting Nikki Boyd's next adventure."--Irene Hannon, bestselling author of the Private Justice series
No one needs to push Nikki Boyd to excel on the Tennessee Missing Persons Task Force. The case of her own missing sister, still unsolved after ten years, is the driving force in her work. When a Polaroid photo of a missing girl shows up at a crime scene, Nikki quickly recognizes similarities to the past. The closer she gets to the abductor, the more she feels this case has become personal, and she is not the hunter . . . but the hunted.

With this explosive first book in The Nikki Boyd Files, award-winning author Lisa Harris takes you on a fast-paced pursuit of justice that will have you holding your breath until the heart-stopping finish.

My Reflections:

I always enjoy Lisa Harris's books and this was no exception. 

Her newest novel, "Vendetta" had me racing through the pages and on the edge of my set the whole way through the book. It was pretty silly that I started the book on a stormy night while I was all alone, it made the creep factor just that much more intense! 
This is the first novel in Harris's new series called the "Nikki Boyd Files" I am eager to read on, I absolutely love sequels, the story lives on!

Nikki Boyd is a agent with the Tennessee Missing Persons Task Force. She gets called out to a case of a missing teen who is abducted from a remote cabin, near the location where she is spending a afternoon rock climbing with her friend, Tyler. 

Nikki mus try and separate her painful past from the reality of the case if she ever hopes to find the missing girl. This becomes impossible when a Polaroid photo of the missing girl is found....eerily similar to the one found when her own sister was abducted years prior. 

This novel will certainly cause you to hold you loved ones close, and lock all your doors! Frighteningly plausible scenarios, non stop action and suspense will keep you guessing as to who the bad guy is. There is a smidgen of romantic tension, but nothing much to speak of really, perhaps in future books? A must read if you are a Lisa Harris fan.

I received this book free of charge in return for my honest review from Graf-Martin Communications. Thank you Graf-Martin!


  1. Lisa Harris

    Lisa Harris

    Lisa Harris is a bestselling author, a Christy Award winner, and the winner of the Best Inspirational Suspense Novel for 2011 from Romantic Times. She has sold over thirty novels and novella collections. Along with her husband, she and her three...
    Continue reading about Lisa Harris

Book Review: Worship Changes Everything

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From the Back:

An Invitation to Praise and Honor God in Every Area of Life
It can be easy to have a heart filled with worship on a Sunday morning as the church band is playing your favorite song. But then comes Monday morning's commute and Tuesday afternoon's pile of laundry. How do we maintain a heart of worship in the daily grind?

Darlene Zschech has spent her life thinking and teaching about worship. With wisdom and contagious joy, she shares her thoughts on what worship truly is and how it should invade every facet of our being. Everything we do can be an act of worship to the Lord, transforming our work, our friendships, our churches, our families. It's all about living in His presence--being aware of the Lord by our side and at work in our lives.

Learn to live a life of worship. You will be amazed by the purpose and freedom it will bring.

My Reflections:

Darlene Zschech brings us a refreshing look at the heart of worship in her new book, Worship Changes Everything.
Darlene is no stranger to this subject as she has lead worship for many years and produced songs we all know and love like "Shout to the Lord" and "For all you have done" to name just a few.

Darlene explores what worship looks like when we move past ordinary to extraordinary. Thing is she uses ordinary to exemplify the very heart of the matter. We can worship in our everyday lives, in the commute to work, during life crises, while doing the dished and as we raise our families. Worship is a act of faith and a walk in love, a way to give back to the one who gave us everything.

I enjoyed reading this book, It was a refreshing reminder of how we can live our lives. I always say attitude changes everything, but now I will also include worship changes everything, because without worship attitude is pointless. When we turn our eyes up we will see what we are meant to see, live the way God intended us to live.

I recommend this book as a great supplement to your regular daily devotionals, or as a gift this Christmas season. 

I received this book free of charge in return for my honest review from Graf-Martin Communications. Thank you Graf-Martin!


  1. Darlene Zschech

    Darlene Zschech

    Darlene Zschech and her husband, Mark, are pastors of Hope Unlimited Church (, which meets in various campuses across the Central Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Acclaimed worldwide as a singer, songwriter, worship leader, author, and...
    Continue reading about Darlene Zschech

Tuesday 24 November 2015

Book Review: Making it Home

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From the back:

Growing up in the murky space between Gloria Steinem and Martha Stewart has left a whole generation of women struggling to define and embrace the meaning of home. There is constant pressure to do things a certain way and often intense criticism from those who think you're doing it wrong. But what if home isn't really about whether or not you homeschool or have a career or make your own artisan bread?

What if home is more about who you are than what you do?
My Reflections:

This book by Emily T Wierenga is a raw and candid memoir. I was not quite sure what I was requesting when I ordered this book. What struck me was the synopsis on the back jacket "What if home is more about who you are than what you do?"
It spoke to me, I mean what if. It would be great news!
Wierenga's writing reminds me of Ann Voskamp except not quite...

I can't say that I enjoyed this book. I actually disliked the way the book flowed. It was choppy and felt forced switching between diary/ memoir past tense and present, it just didn't speak to me in the place I am today. 
Perhaps If I read this book twenty years ago I may have felt more of a connection to what the author was trying to convey. 
I feel pretty bad giving this book such a negative review, since the author is so open and candid with her life experiences. Quite frankly this is such a brave and honest way to help others with similar life experiences. It just was not what I was hoping for or expecting. When reviewing this type of book it feels downright disrespectful to give such an honest opinion about a book, the book is so connected to the author herself. This is not my intention. It is an awkward situation indeed, but I feel I must be forthright in my reviews.

Don't let my review sway your thoughts on this subject pick up the book and find out for yourself if Mrs. Wierenga's life experiences and words of wisdom speak to your soul.

I received this book free of charge in return for my honest review from Graf Martin Communications. Thank you Graf Martin!


  1. Emily T. Wierenga
    © Justina Gibson

    Emily T. Wierenga

    Emily T. Wierenga is an award-winning journalist, columnist, artist, author, and blogger at Her work has appeared in many publications, including Relevant,CharismaDesiring GodThe Gospel CoalitionA...

    Continue reading about Emily T. Wierenga


Tuesday 10 November 2015

Book Review: My Name Is River

My Name Is River

From The Back:

It’s 1983, and twelve-year-old River Starling’s life is anything but normal. She was adopted on a whim and came without a birth certificate. Her adoptive parents gave her up to her grandmother when she was only two, but River is certain her parents will come back. River’s hopes fall apart when Gram uproots them from their farmhouse and decides to move to Birdsong, West Virginia, the most miserable town River has ever seen. There she makes an unlikely friendship with an unusual boy and learns about acceptance, hard work, forgiveness, and the love of Jesus. Discover the unforgettable story of one girl’s search for a place to call home. - See more at:

My Reflections:

The story River written by Wendy Dunham is a sweet, moving drama that will speak to the pre-teens and teens alike. It is the perfect springboard to deep discussions about your child's life and thoughts. 

There are some big issues raised in this book. Some of them include being abandoned, having a disability, Preconceived notions about people and our reactions to those beliefs. Lots of fodder for you to get into some great late night chats, and really connect with your young lady. I read this book first then gave it to my 13 year old to read. We had some great talks and I was able to gain an understanding of where she was at on some of these topics. 

Twelve year old River has not only been abandoned by her birth parents but also by her adoptive parents. Raised by her adoptive parents grandmother River must come to terms that she is loved and cared about, even without traditional parents. River faces being uprooted from her home and moves with her grandmother to Birdsong West Virginia. There she meets William Wippoorwill and the duo learn quite a bit about life and acceptance. Their adventures lead them into some dangerous situations, a friendship is bound and new experiences grow River in ways she never imagined.

A very touching story, I would have no hesitations in recommending this book to pre-teens and teens alike. 

I received this book free of charge in return for my honest review from Harvest House Publishers. Thank you Harvest house!

About the Author:

Wendy Dunham

Wendy Dunham

Wendy Dunham is the author of My Name Is River and a registered therapist who works with children with special needs. Her desire is to honor her Creator with whatever it is she's writing about. Whether it's a poem, an article, a devotional, or a novel, her goal is to share hope, encouragement, and unconditional...
Read More > - See more at:

Friday 6 November 2015

DIY Goo ....It's not a solid it's not a liquid

A late fall day, a grumpy messy mass of children, that was my day. What to do when your homeschooling journey is off the track, my answer....make Goo!

It is easy, most people have everything that you would need right in their own cupboard. It is non toxic, gluten free and most importantly fun!!

I'm sure you could even squeeze out some of those PLO's in science, so what are you waiting for?

The recipe is so simple: three little ingredients:

-Corn starch


-food colouring (Optional)

Mix cornstarch with water and food colouring with your hands, slowly add the water just until it flows nicely not too watery. This is a messy experiment so bear that in mind it does however clean up easily.

Things to try:

-Smack it, if you hit it really hard it can look as though it is breaking.

-Pour it from one hand to the other...slowly, it flows like water.

-Roll it if you keep up the motion it will stay in a ball shape, but once you stop it will turn into a puddle.

-Bounce it, if you get just the right consistency you will be able to bounce a little ball around, once you stop however it melts into a puddle.


So now you need to explain what is happening in order to tick off your science for the day.

The cornstarch is made up of long chains of atoms, a polymer. Pour fast and these atom chains roll over each other. If you apply force and pressure these Atom chains react by holding firmly like a solid. Not an extremely technical explanation but hey I am teaching grade three science!

That's it! Hours of fun and wide eyed wonder, so go ahead wow your kids and get a much needed tea break!
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