Monday, September 8, 2014

Book Review: "Evergreen: A Christiansen Winter Novella" by Susan May Warren

"Evergreen" by Susan May Warren is a novella about the parents of the Christiansen Clan, John and Ingrid.  Now that the kids have all left home, Ingrid is feeling the loneliness and John wants to fix it, so he plans a getaway to Europe for Christmas.  Different responsibilities keep coming up that make the trip impossible.  John and Ingrid are missing the spark that they had when they were first married.  Will they be able to mend past hurts in order to keep their marriage evergreen?

After previously reading two of the Christiansen clan books, I was sort of surprised to find that John and Ingrid were facing a chilling in their marriage relationship.  I found myself discouraged and down while they struggled and felt renewed hope when things were getting worked out.  I can feel for both Ingrid and John's point of views and didn't think either of them was "more wrong" than the other.  The book mentions things that happen in the other books in the series, so it would probably be best to read them in order to get the "full picture".

I received a free hardcover book from Tyndaleblognetwork in exchange for my honest review.  I didn't realize it was going to be a hardcover.  It also was a slightly unusual size at 5.25 x 7.25".  It was a plain gray cover under a full color dust jacket.

Evergreen is available in hardcover:

  • Series: Christiansen Family
  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (September 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1414394012
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414394015

  • File Size: 2207 KB
  • Print Length: 209 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1414394012
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (September 1, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00J37IGL6

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Book Review: "My Learn to Read Bible" by Tracy Harrast

When "My Learn to Read Bible" by Tracy Harrast arrived in the mail, I was surprised how big it was!  It is approximately 9 x 11 inches and almost a full inch thick!   The pages are heavy duty, glossy, and colorful.  "My Learn to Read Bible" uses pictures to stand for certain words in the book so that younger kids can get involved in reading the Bible stories.   In the beginning of the book is a list of the pictures they use and what they stand for.   The book is divided into the Old Testament and the New Testament like a regular Bible would be.  There are 53 stories from the Old Testament and 60 from the New Testament.  Each story has a life lesson at the end of it as the "take away" of what the story is trying to teach.  My oldest child read this book with her youngest brother.  She would read the words and he would read the pictures.  They had a lot of fun reading the book together.

I would recommend this book to families of young children.  The listed age range is 4-8 but I think that younger children would enjoy reading this with their older siblings or parents.

"My Learn to Read Bible" is available in hardcover

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Zonderkidz (March 30, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310727405
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310727408
  • Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 8.8 x 0.9 

I received a free hardcover copy of "My Learn to Read Bible"  from Zondervans in exchange for my review through their ZBlogSquad.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

First Day of School 2014

This year, all four kids are in the same school, so we only had to make one trip on the first day of school.

1st Day of 3rd grade

1st Day of 2nd grade

1st Day of Kindergarten

1st Day of 5th grade
 (and last "first day" as an elementary student!)

 My camera batteries decided to die just as the kids were getting off the bus, so I didn't get pictures of them actually getting off the bus.

1st time getting on the bus for the year:

Andy's 1st time getting on the bus for the year.
He didn't go yesterday due to the staggered start.

Book Review: "Prelude for a Lord" by Camille Elliot

"Prelude for a Lord" by Camille Elliot is an Inspirational Historic Romance set in 1810 England.

Alethea Sutherton is the daughter of an Earl, but has never fit in.  She speaks her mind, is friends with her half sister, and plays the violin - all things that are looked down upon in Regency England.  So at 28, she has a mistrust of men and is considered beyond marriage age.

Bayard Terralton, Lord Dommick has come back from fighting Napoleon with horrible nightmares (what we now know as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) and is trying to repair the reputations of his mother and sister after the gossip of him being the Mad Baron.

Alethea and Dommick are thrown together to try and decipher what has made Alethea's bequeathed violin so valuable that someone is trying to steal it.  While they work on discovering it's provenance, they and their family face threats and danger.  As they get closer to the truth about the violin, they also grow closer to each other.  Will they let go of their pasts to face a future together?

I really enjoyed reading "Prelude for a Lord" by Camille Elliot.  I found myself transported to Regency England, and didn't feel any of the language/phrases or settings made me feel disrupted in reading the story.  I liked Alethea and Dommick as people and how they interacted with each other. I liked watching the feelings grow throughout the book and it felt natural and not too sudden. The secondary characters were also well developed and realistic.  There is a lot going on in the story as it follows the main story of the violin and it's provenance, but also there are stories about sisters and friends, too.  I could relate to the musical aspect of the story as a violin player myself.  I don't know if the talk about the violin's f holes and scrolls, etc would loose other people who were not familiar with the instrument (or if it's even necessary for them to totally understand, just that they were talking about the violin? )

The book has a "cast of primary characters" at the beginning and discussion questions at the end.

I would recommend this to those who enjoy Inspirational Romance, Historical Romance, Mystery Romance... It was a great book!

"Prelude for a Lord" is available in paperback:
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (August 5, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310320356
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310320357
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces

or Kindle edition:
  • File Size: 927 KB
  • Print Length: 349 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0310320356
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 5 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: Zondervan (August 5, 2014)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishing
  • Language: English

I received an eBook version of "Prelude for a Lord" from booklookbloggers in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Book Review: "An August Bride" by Debra Clopton

"An August Bride" by Debra Clopton is the next installment in the "A Year of Weddings Novella" series (Book 9).

Kelsey Wilcox hated weddings, and cowboys, and ranching.  That's why she moved to Corpus Christi and started her bistro in the first place - to get away from the ranching lifestyle.  So why does she keep thinking about Brent Corbin, a very hunky cowboy after meeting him at her cousin's wedding?  Will Brent be able to patiently wear away Kelsey fear of all things cowboy?

I enjoyed reading "An August Bride".  It was a quick read (being a novella!) which is nice when you want to have a good romance story without spending a lot of time to get to the happily ever after.  Kelsey's aunt and her friends are known as the "Matchmakin' Posse of Mule Hollow" and they throw their best efforts towards getting Kelsey and Brent together and they were like your own crazy aunt with their quirky ways.  I liked the characters and felt like a part of the story while waiting to see if they'd get together (Which you assume since a happily ever after is expected in the series!)  There was an August wedding, but it was the cousin's wedding and not our hero and heroine, so she isn't really an August Bride, which I kind of missed.  If it's a story about a "month" bride, then I think there should be a wedding and several of the books in the series haven't had a wedding at the end.  But I still liked the story, just wished for that extra step at the end!

"An August Bride" is available on Kindle.

  • File Size: 2227 KB
  • Print Length: 100 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 5 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: Zondervan (July 29, 2014)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishing
  • Language: English

I received a free Kindle edition of "An August Bride" from Booklookbloggers in exchange for my honest opinion.

Potato Festival 2014

There will be a video coming soon!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Book Review: "Four Weddings and a Kiss" by Margaret Brownley, Debra Clopton, Mary Connealy, and Robin Lee Hatcher

I was given a copy of "Four Weddings and a Kiss" to review through Booklookbloggers. 

"Four Weddings and a Kiss" is a collection of four novellas, each having to do with a heroine who is a strong,  independent woman who can do things for herself.  The four novellas are tied together by the Prologue which introduces us to Reverend Gregory Miller.  Gregory just broke up with his sweetheart Elizabeth Princeton because she was too "reckless" and wouldn't make a proper preacher's wife.   His four preacher compainions each tell him a story about a independent woman they knew and how they found God's leading for their lives.

"Spitfire Sweetheart" by Mary Connealy tells about Maizy MacGregor and Rylan Carstens.  When Maizy's recklessness causes Rylan to be injured, she becomes his nurse and housekeeper until he heals.  In the process, Rylan realizes there is more to Miazy than her tomboy ways.  Will they give up their stubborn ways and find a way to love?

"A Love Letter to the Editor" by Robin Lee Hatcher tells of Molly Everton who writes a column for her father's newspaper.  She is angry when her father hires Jack Ludgrove to be the new editor instead of her.  She determines that she will do all she can to make Jack want to keep on moving instead of settling in Killdeer, Wyoming.  Jack isn't planning on staying for long anyway as he has always wanted to travel.  As they get to know each other, their priorities start to change.  Will it be enough to write a perfect ending?

"A Cowboy for Katie" by Debra Clopton follows Katie Pearl who lost her father when a tornado leveled their home.  Now she's known as Crazy Katie and the townsfolk avoid her.  When Treb Rayburn comes into town looking for work so he can buy a new horse and continue on his adventures, Katie hires him to rebuild her home.  Can Treb help Katie deal with her demons and will he be able to stick to his plans of moving on once the house is built?

"Courting Trouble" by Margaret Brownley tells the story of 'Black Widow' Grace Davenport, accused of killing her third husband.  Her son begs attourney Brock Daniels to take on her case and prove her innocence.  He doesn't want to take on the case until he meets her and then he wants to figure out a way to get her out of jail.  Why does he feel drawn to her and can they find a future together? 

The Epilogue wraps up Gregory and Elizabeth's story when she picks him up from the train after receiving a telegram sent by the other preachers in Gregory's name.

There are Reading Group Guides for each story in the back of the book.  I enjoyed reading the novellas and liked that they were quick reads with good Christian morals in them.

You can buy "Four Weddings and a Kiss" in paperback:

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson; 1ST edition (June 10, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401688543
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401688547
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.4 x 1.2 inches

  • Series: Thorndike Press Large Print Christian Romance Series
  • Hardcover: 468 pages
  • Publisher: Thorndike Press; Lrg edition (October 29, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1410472329
  • ISBN-13: 978-1410472328
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 1 inches

or in Kindle edition

  • File Size: 1130 KB
  • Print Length: 381 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (June 10, 2014)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Christian Publishing
  • Language: English

The stories are also each available individually in Kindle edition.