Saturday, February 27, 2010

Review of Abigail by Jill Eileen Smith

Revell Books sent me this complimentary book to review.

This is the 2nd book in the "Wives of David" series by Jill Eileen Smith.

Abigail's hopes and dreams for the future are wrapped up in her handsome, dark-eyed betrothed, Nabal. But when the long-awaited wedding day arrives, her drunken groom behaves shamefully. Nevertheless, Abigail tries to honor and respect her husband despite his abuse of her.
Meanwhile, Abigail's family has joined David's wandering tribe as he and his people keep traveling to avoid the dangerous Saul. When Nabal suddenly dies, Abigail is free to move on with her life, and thanks to her brother, her new life includes a new husband--David. The dangers of tribal life on the run are serious, but there are other dangers in young Abigail's mind. How can David lead his people effectively when he goes against God? And how can Abigail share David's love with the other wives he insists on marrying?

This is easily a read-alone book and was a very good read. I found it quite interesting how the author wove in some of the Psalms that David wrote right into the conversations/thoughts he had throughout the book. It also brought to light how hard it may have been for all the wives David had, how they may have interacted with each other and their feelings in having to share a husband. It flowed well and kept you captivated from beginning to end.

Available February 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Review of Swinging on a Star by Janice Thompson

Revell Books sent me this complimentary copy to review.

Bella Rossi's life is nearing perfection. She's got the perfect guy, she's running a successful business, and she's about to plan her most ambitious wedding yet, a Renaissance-themed fairy tale come true, complete with period costumes and foods, horse-drawn carriages, and even a castle. There's just one hitch. The best man just happens to be Brock Benson, Hollywood's hottest and most eligible bachelor. Oh, and did we mention he's staying at the Rossi house to avoid the paparazzi?

This is the 2nd book in the series "Weddings by Bella". It was a cute story and a very easy read. But it seemed very slow. At times I had to force myself through chapters to get to the next one. There was no anticipation of what was going to come next. I know it wasn't meant to be a mystery, but there really wasn't any "grab your attention" at the beginning to keep you wanting more.

Available January 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Have you ever seen God move in your kids? And you had not a single thing to do with it? To see your son in tears because of a song he was listening to about Jesus loving him. To hear your daughter say she prayed about how much to give to a school mission trip and take out a large bill she's been saving to give to it.

It's a very humbling feeling. To see that God feverishly loves my kids and makes himself known without me standing there. That he whispers to their young hearts and they know! Why should I even be surprised that God wants to be present in my kids' lives? They are his children too. Just like me. He loves them so much more than I ever could. And wants the best for them. Just like me.

Funny though how as an adult I have to work hard at hearing God. Make it a habit to listen for his voice. My kids don't. They just know.

Child-like faith ring a bell?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Review of The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen

I received this free copy of The Silent Governess from Bethany House to review.

What a great book! Totally unexpected ending. When I first opened the book in the mail it looked a bit daunting due to the length (438 pages to be exact). But boy, does it go fast!

Yes it's a romance, but woven in there is a mystery that keeps the book moving smoothly. Set during the nineteenth-century in England, this captivating story has unexpected twists and turns right up until the last page. The characters are developed well and there are just the right amount to keep track of.

Here is a little snip-it about the book:
"Believing herself guilty of a crime, Olivia Keene flees her home, eventually stumbling upon a grand estate where an elaborate celebration is in progress. But all is not as joyous as it seems."

A great read, one of which I will most likely pick up and read again.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Dreams That Won't Let Go by Stacy Hawkins Adams

Revell Books sent me this complimentary book to review.

"Indigo Burns is excited. Her wedding preparations to the man of her dreams are under way, her photography career is a success, and her family seems to be doing better than ever--all except her brother Reuben, who nobody has seen in years. But that's about to change."

This is book 3 in the Jubilant Soul Series. Totally a read alone book as well. I had no problem picking up where the story continued and easily jumped in with both feet.

I've read better books and worse books. The story line was easy to follow and the book was easy to read. Bitterness, heartache and forgiveness are the main components of the plot. A very easy, enjoyable read.

Available January 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Eating out of the cupboard

Last month I took up the challenge of making meals out of what I had in the pantry for the entire month. I sat down and made a month menu based on what I had in the cupboard and then went to the store for the supplement items. I have to admit that it wasn't a 100% success as I did end up at the store throughout the month, but I can say that my cupboard is much more bare than it was a month ago. I cooked much more than I have since starting my job 10 months ago. I love being in the kitchen, so getting the creative juices flowing again didn't take long. Healthier meals were cooked compared to the previous month which makes one feel so much better.

But I'm finding there's one problem. An empty cupboard. A much more empty cupboard. Not only the cupboards, but my fridge too. Makes for a little bit more of a food budget this month, but it was a good exercise overall. And getting into that habit has paid off.

The other night Ed had defrosted some ground chicken and I was going to grill hamburgers (I heart grilling), but realized after I was home, there were no buns. Menu changed to tacos. Threw in a can of black beans and corn, stretched the tacos into the next day for lunches too.

Today on the way to pick kids up from school I thought, "I need to stop by the store to pick something up for dinner" which was immediately followed by, "wait...what do I have at home? I have ground turkey in the freezer and a bag of red potatoes that need used. Shepherds Pie!" So grocery store trip was scratched off the list and I spent $0. Throw in some veggies (not IN the shepherds pie Anne...just in case you were wondering if I was feeling ok) and there's dinner!

So it CAN be done with a little brain work, some extra time and for me, creating a menu for the month (sure saves $$ when I'm shopping off a list instead of off my brain).

A Review of Songs of Deliverance by Merilynn Griffith

Revell Books sent me a complimentary copy of Songs of Deliverance to review.

Here is a short blurb about the book: "Four childhood friends have been torn apart by the mistakes and tragedies of their past. Now as adults, they are reunited in their hometown of Testimony, Ohio, where they sort through the messy, real-life struggles of secrets kept hidden, lost loves and unknown futures."

Unfortunately, I had a hard time with this book. I felt like I was jumping into the middle of a story I was expected to know. The characters were already developed and it took a long time to piece together what had happened "previously". It was hard to sync with the flow and by the end there were all sorts of characters it was a bit confusing. There seemed to be a lot of emotional trauma with the four main characters of which there was no sense of relief. I felt very weighed down by the end even with everything wrapping up happily. Not that every book has to end with happy, sun-shiny feelings. This ending seemed to try to do that, but it fell short.

I found out after finishing this book that it's a sequel, but is also considered a stand alone novel. Which then, made sense. For some books this works. For this one, it didn't.

Available January 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Monday, February 01, 2010

A Review of Jenna's Cowboy by Sharon Gillenwater

Revell Books sent me this complimentary book to review.

I read this book in a day. It was that good. Yes, it was predictable, but so emotionally well written. I think what made it hit home more is recently walking beside a close friend who's son returned recently from serving in Iraq. Like one of the main characters, it made it a sliver more clear the type of images, choices and emotions that come with defending our country.

Here's a little snip-it from the book:
Jenna Callahan Colby thought she was content. A partner on her father's successful ranch, she is surrounded by family and friends. But she never expected to see Nate Langley back in town--the first guy she ever noticed, the one her father sent away all those years ago.

Sharon Gillenwater did a remarkable job of creating a very sweet, simple read that was full of heartache that seemed so real. This is the book one in The Callahans of Texas series and I will definitely be keeping my eye out for book two.

Available January 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group