Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Ride of Her Life

Hello World!
First and Foremost I want to say congrats to Stacey, she was chosen for commenting on the Short Straw Bride review.  Please e-mail me your home address ( and you will get the goodies that Ms. Witemeyer sent me as well as this book that I'm reviewing now The Ride of Her Life :-)

The Ride of Her Life is the last book in the Lake Manawa Summers series.   Here we have Lilly a single mother trying to make the best for her son Levi.  Her life right now is trying to start over after her husband's death.  Not only does she have to deal with raising a son alone, but she has her late husband's parents dictating to her what they want of their grandson.  These wishes they have for her son is making him go to a year round boarding school at the tender age of six.  This poor woman has been through enough and now she's dealing with in-laws who want to separate her and her son.

You may remember Lilly from the previous stories, you will also see memorable characters that make up the other two books.  Lilly is in a tough time of her life and Ms. Seilstad does a great job of writing the angst of dealing with meddling grandparents, a new man in her life, and learning how to trust God.  Not only does she deal with these subjects, but she also throws in some mystery and danger.  If you like a good book that has suspense and romance you will enjoy The Ride of Her Life.
*This book was given to me via Revell a division of Baker Publishing Group for my honest opinion and I honestly did.  It is also “Available May 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

Proverbs 10:19 NASB
Don't talk too much, for it fosters sin.  Be sensible and turn off the flow.

I'm a talker, really I'm pretty sure I talk all the time.  Sometimes it's with thought and other times it just flows without thinking.  My mother always said "Breeze, think before speak."  And truthfully that's really hard, but here this verse is saying Don't talk too much!  It fosters sin,  wooh boy I really am not inclined to foster sin, so why I don't I be sensible and turn off the flow.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

A Heart Like His

Hello World!
So today was the first day that the outdoor swimming pool opened.  Kylar, Drew, and I went there and had a blast.  I love how their little faces light up with earnest expectation :-)  Then while we are there it's running, splashing, jumping, and playing just a perfect time in the afternoon.    Afterwards I made brownies and served it with ice cream, it was a treat for the whole family.  I love summer, if for the only reason that I get to see my kids faces shine with fun while they're playing together.

Ok on to the book :-)

One of the things I love about a Beth Moore Bible Study is the humbleness that she brings to her writing and speeches.  I remember once she described herself like her two grand-kids.  Her grandson wanted to feed his younger sister and Ms. Moore allowed him to do that.  What followed the feeding was a very hilarious picture of carrots all over the little ones face, body, and chair.  Some of the food did get into the mouth but not all.  I remember her saying (I'm paraphrasing here) "Sisters I am like my grandson, I am trying my hardest to feed you the truth, but I am inept and I pray that even some of it gets into you."  What a sincere heart.

 So when I found out that a new edition of a Heart like His was coming out I knew I needed to review it for you.  Beth Moore researches the life of David in such an amazing way that you can not get done with this study and not be changed. What I found (like in all of her studies)  was an in-depth study of the Bible.  Not only will you be immersed in scripture, but hopefully you'll find yourself yearning for "a Heart Like His."  This study is also intended for both genders.  So please don't think you guys can't read this study, you will gain a lot by picking up this book, and I pray that you do.
*This book was given to me via netgalley for my honest opinion and I honestly did.

1 Samuel 16:7
The Lord said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him.  The Lord does not look at the things man looks at.  Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

I love this verse.  If you ever doubt that you have value look at this verse and know that the God of the universe is looking at your heart and loves you completely!  Don't fall for what this world thinks, but cling to the one thing that truly matters.  Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.  What a relief.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Short-Straw Bride

Hello World,

I know I've been reviewing books like mad this week, but I had the pleasure of getting three books in the mail. I love getting books in the mail, and it's such a delight when  I get other treats too :-)  Our featured author today sent some fun knick-knacks for you guys.

How cool is that!  So here's the question what is your all time favorite book? Once you comment on the bottom I will put your names in a raffle and choose.  You have until this coming Tuesday and I will announce the winner on my next fiction review.  Have fun and I'm hoping we can get some great replies :-)

Short-Straw Bride...  How do I describe an incredibly amazing, funny, and down to earth book.  The Archer brothers have been sworn to protect their land and not allow anyone to steal it away from them, because of this commitment the handsome foursome become quite the recluses.   In walks in Miss Meredith Hayes (literally she walks on their land).  Having a debt to pay to the eldest brother she risks her life to tell them of a dangerous plot to buy them out of their land.  What happens after this meeting is a witty camaraderie where  the honorable four feel obligated to repay a good deed for a good deed.

I don't know how Ms. Witemeyer does it but each time she comes up with a unique story line that surpasses all other books.  Recently I have been inundated with sea books, don't get me wrong I like a good sea tale, but it is really refreshing to read such a well blended book where the plot is a rare find.  I found myself on edge wondering what would happen next.  There were also parts where I was laughing so hard I nearly peed my pants :-) The conversations were in depth, and meaningful.  I also loved how the side characters interacted with the main characters.  It truly was a fun read.  I hope you read Short-Straw Bride.

Ephesians 6:18 NASB
Pray at all times and on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit.  Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all Christians everywhere.

What a command!  Holy (as my brother in-law would say) doesn't it knock your socks off.  Pray at all times, during breakfast, work, playing, reading, and bedtime.  And on every occasion, birthdays, Christmas, anniversaries, and Father's day.  Stay alert, like when you're taking a test, and be persistent never giving up, like when one of my sweet bebs wants a treat.  For all Christians everywhere.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Heart's Safe Passage

Hello World!
Well today I talked to the Fine Arts Director at a local school district for a potential job.  To say that it went bad is an understatement (I'm laughing to myself right now).  Since I'm a stay at home mom I had to bring my sweet lively bebs with me.  Needless to say that poor man was told to lay down so my daughter could wash him, yelled at by my son, and thank goodness Liv just sat there looking sweet.  I don't really now what I would have done if she had thrown in a temper tantrum :-)  Do you have any funny or bad interview stories?  I would love to hear them (to make myself feel better lol).

Heart's Safe Passage is a multifaceted story.  We have Phoebe Lee who desires to practice midwifery, but still battles her past choices, and her pregnant sister in-law who had Phoebe kidnapped so she could have a midwife while in transit to rescue her husband.  And one of my favorite characters; Captain Rafe Docherty who has his own ulterior motive in bringing two women aboard his ship.  What happens on the high seas is an inquisitive look into mankind's desire for justice that might just cross the line of revenge.  Here, forgiveness and  learning to accept one's past choices are blended together for a great read.

I really enjoyed Ms. Eakes writing style.  Not only does she seamlessly blend the message of forgiveness, but she also brings characters alive with fun dialogue and creative descriptions.  I really need to mention how well she writes about Christ and faith in her book.  She does it so easily that I found myself fully involved in the book and not a bit sidetracked by christianese (I like to also call that church talk).  Here her characters are living examples of Christ Jesus, and they truly sought to glorify the Lord in everything they did.  It was a great reminder to me that in every situation people are watching what we are doing and how we are behaving.  I would highly recommend this book for the historical romance buff, who also like to grow a little closer to Christ in there fun reading time :-)

Psalms 47:1 
Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy!

 One of the best examples of pure unadulterated praise to God was when my husband and I went to a small church in Poland.  Here, when they clapped it wasn't everyone clapping to the same beat, but everyone clapping with different beats and staccato.  There you would hear shouts of praise and flags waving before God with dancer interspersed down the aisle and front.  I loved it, I loved the pure freedom and praising God.   I imagine that maybe that's what heaven might be like.  So maybe if you're in the shower or somewhere alone give a shout  to God, go ahead and clap your hands, and sing a loud song of joy.

Monday, May 21, 2012

A Love Forbidden

Hello World!
It is a beautiful rainy day here in Amarillo, Texas.  Since we've moved here (three years ago), rain has been scarce so when we do get rain it is a BIG blessing.  The dryness is swept away and a peace just settles in.  I love rainy days with the kids.  They are indeed full of fort building, picnics in the living room, and homemade cookies.  I try to make it fun for them because they can't go outside.  What do you do on a rainy day?

 Kathleen Morgan continues her Heart of the Rockies series with book two "A Love Forbidden".  Here we have strong and confident Shiloh Wainwright who's heart is leading her to teach the Ute children of the White River Indian Agency.  Her heart is to give these children an education as well as showing them Christ's love. What she enters into though, is a perplexing situation, where nothing is as it should be.  Tension is high between the Agency and the Ute People, and it seems that nothing is being resolved.  While all this is going on Shiloh runs into an old friend who has held her heart for years, but disappeared after a horrible confrontation.  What will happen to Shiloh and what will happen to the Ute nation?  Read the book :-)

Kathleen Morgan is one of those authors where I can absolutely love the book, or I can't seem to get into the book.  This book was one of those books that I absolutely loved and thoroughly enjoyed.  The characters were real and dealt with problems and emotions that anyone would deal with.  The book is also historically accurate, and the romance I will say is steamy, but not too steamy where I wouldn't let my daughter read it.  Just gut wrenching steamy (if that makes sense).  This story is full of unrequited love and full of Christ's loving message of forgiveness, acceptance, and freedom.  If you like your books to be full of adventure, history, and a steamy relationship read this book.

*This book was given to me via Revell Publishers for my honest opinion, and I honestly gave it :-)  It is also “Available May 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

Proverbs 11:24 NASB
It is possible to give freely and become more wealthy, but those who are stingy will lose everything.

When I read this verse it seems like an oxymoron.  To give your wealth freely and get more?  But if you save you will lose everything?  Hard words to take in, but they're true.  Proverbs is full of wise truths that can help a person be better.  What joy it is to give freely, and the blessings that come with it are sent from heaven above.  Try giving, whether to your church or a person in need, and God will bless you abundantly more then you could have ever thought.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Year of Plenty

Hello World,
I'm sliding in by the skin of my teeth today :-)  Sorry for the late night review, but today we celebrated a very joyous occasion, our Kylar Marie had her very first recital with Lone Star Dance Academy.  I'll admit I was tearing up seeing my baby girl (who's not a baby anymore) up on stage doing her ballet and tap routine.  It was a great time with a lot of chuckles (three year olds are a hoot to watch).

Year of Plenty was one of those fun library finds where I walked past it and the cover got me.  I've recently been trying to start a garden so this cover and the title drew me in.  The subtitle was just as interesting "One Suburban Family, Four Rules, and 365 Days of Homegrown Adventure in Pursuit of Christian Living."  Here we have the Goodwin family tired of years of consumerism and wanting to try something different.  So one day shortly after Christmas they concoct a plan to only use materials that are locally made, home grown, or homemade.  What follows this decision is a year of unexpected choices, simple rewards, and a deeper relationship to Christ.

This was one of those books where I contemplated it for a very long time.  Truthfully I would love to do something like it, to be able to live in a world where I buy from farmer's markets, and reduce my need of a consumer world.  I then have to realistically look at what Todd and I could really do in reducing our waste and where I really can't sacrifice.  For instance we use cloth diapers for our little Liv, it's something that I can do and doesn't really bother me.  My friend can't do that, it grosses her out, but she does make her own laundry.  I guess what I'm trying to say is as a whole we don't need to go over board and throw away anything that isn't home grown, but we should realistically look at our life and see what a need versus a want is.  This book Year of Plenty made me think about how our life is and what we can do to better our world, and better our relationships.  In doing so, we're honoring God, and sharing Christ to others.  Read this book if you want to chew on something and maybe try to change for the better.

Jeremiah 29:11 ESV
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

When I read this verse I feel a peace and contentment over flow me.  I can't tell you how many times I've read this verse and it's been a rock that I have stood on in the midst of everything else crumbling.  How incredibly reassuring that the God of the universe cares to know my plans, and He promises that it is for the good of my welfare, a future and hope.  Sweet words whispered to me by the Almighty Lord, who's very thought could extinguish the world I live in, but He doesn't because of His incredible mercy and love.   Oh Lord you are too good to me.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Pursuit of Lucy Banning

Hello World,
What a great day today :-)  Yesterday my parents celebrated their 41st anniversary!  How amazing and truly beautiful to see two people I absolutely love go through life's ups and downs together.  They truly are an example of a Godly marriage living faithfully and lovingly for God and then each other.  If you're married how long have you been married, or if you're not married who is a married couple that you respect?

Olivia Newport out did herself with this cover.  I absolutely loved it from first glance.  The dress alone is dreamy :-)  I know what you guys are thinking, but ladies come on who wouldn't love to get dressed up like this beautiful woman on the cover, absolutely breathtaking.  The Pursuit of Lucy Banning  is set up right before the World's Fair of 1893.  If you're not familiar with the World's Fair, also known as the Word's Columbian Exposition you can look it up at this link World's Fair.  It's a pretty awesome look at our history and Chicago.

 Ok, with a little bit of history and cover candy behind us we can dig into the book.  Here we find Ms. Lucy Banning a young lady of the elite with practically her life planned out by her parents.  Engaged to her childhood friend, Lucy is expected to step into the life of the rich and famous.  Unfortunately, she desires more then tea parties and socials.   With desiring to do more with her life Lucy is put in to a precarious position of choosing what she has grown up with or stepping on to a new path.

The turn of the century and World Fair as the background; this book is simply a great visual for the mind. I really enjoyed the pace of the book too, a lot of times an author can either take the romance at high speed or just the opposite and I sit there thinking that wasn't very real.  Here, Ms. Newport handled the romance and timeline expertly.  I also really loved the side characters, at the end of the book I found myself hoping that Ms. Newport would write more about Leo, Daniel, and Charlotte (future books in the making, I hope).  This was truly a fun book, I would like to say that this is also a lite Christian book.  God is mentioned but I did feel that if you're looking for a romance that has God and verses entwined in every chapter, this is not the book for you.  Other then that I truly enjoyed the book and the history behind Chicago's World Fair.

*This book was given to me via Revell Publishers for my honest opinion, and I honestly gave it :-) This book is available May 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

James 19-20
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

I have been learning this command/lesson these past few days.  Children seem to tend to bring our my quick to speak, slow to listen, and quick to get angry.  Lord Jesus please forgive the times where I don't sit and listen to my children when they are trying to express themselves, please forgive the times where I have spoken to quickly with harshness instead of grace.  Help me Lord to love them daily and truthfully to remember these two verses when I deal with anyone.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Raising Your Kids to Love the Lord

Hello World,
Sorry that this is a couple of days late, Todd was at a soccer tournament this weekend and he took the laptop. So you as well as me had to learn a little bit of patience until my computer came back.  Ok now I have to brag a little bit about my husbands girls team.  They have been improving so much this year and this last tournament they took first!  Beating out the sixth best team in New Mexico!  It's so great to see these young ladies grow into some pretty amazing athletes as well as beautiful women.  Todd and I both are so proud of them.

Raising Your Kids to Love the Lord was one of those books that came at just the right time.  Lately my children have been testing the limits of, well, actually everything.  There have been days where I have been at the end of my rope.  Literally I have felt that I've tried everything, and then I started reading this book.  Let me just preface, this is not a have a perfect child by Friday kind of book, nor is it a self help book.  As Dave Stone puts it "I survived!"  Those two words were about the most helpful bit of advice that I received, because in them was a bit of relief that other parents have struggled with the same problems that I have, and THEY SURVIVED :-)  If you are a parent who wants their child to grow up and love the Lord this is the book for you.  In this book you will find helpful insight of how to handle certain situations, a lot of encouragement through  life examples, and genuine moments of amazing truths.  It really is a good book.

I know what you're thinking, Bre you have had an awful lot of parenting books.  I know I'm reviewing them a bit, but truthfully right now in my life I need them :-)  I love my children, but recently it has been a struggle to discipline them with love, as well as help them understand how God wants them to act.  It has been hard, and there have been moments where I know I haven't done my best.  This book has been so helpful, more so then the others I would say.  Here I am pointing out certain things in my children and saying "would God want you to do this?  The Bible says you need to be slow to anger, are you doing that?"  This truly has worked for me because not only is it allowing the kids to know that God is real and is watching, but it also puts my attention on God as well, giving Him the honor and glory He deserves.  These last few days may not have changed much, but we have been putting God first in every situation and I am grateful for that.  I'm much calmer now disciplining my children and my children are realizing that God is real and He wants the best for everyone.
*This book was given to me via netgalley for my honest review and I honestly did.

1 Thessalonians 5:17
Pray without ceasing,

Such a simple command.  So hard to remember to pray without ceasing.  I continually need to remind myself  that in times of joy, give thanks to God, in times of need, give your petitions to the Lord, in times of calm, give your listening ear to the Lord, or in times of great sorrow, give your heart to the Lord.  Any time or moment in my life I need to be praying without ceasing.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Just Wait!!!

Hello World! I have a great book to review today, but it's going to have to wait until later tonight. So far today has been extremely busy with ballet, dropping the kids off at the sitter, and I am off to a wedding to play cello for two amazing friends. So hold on to your knickers, and you'll be getting a great review soon! I promise :-)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

In Too Deep

Hello World,
Happy Wednesday to you all, I hope you're enjoying the spring weather.  It is a beautiful day in Amarillo, Texas, but truthfully Amarillo starts having nice weather around February.  I absolutely love that I live in a warm state :-)  This morning we visited some dear friends, the kids had fun playing together and I got to have a little adult time.  As Kylar says "Mommy I love going to this house."

In Too Deep is just a sweet romance of second chances. The Kincaid Brides series has it all, romance, mystery, suspense, Christ's amazing love, and memorable moments.  Book two the of the series doesn't let the reader down with all of the above :-)   Here we get Ethan and Audra's story.   Two character's deeply wounded by their past experience and are afraid to fully love.   What happens is a story that tells of trusting God and one another.

I really enjoy reading books that have a little bit of everything in them.  By that I mean not ten different story lines, but a little dash of suspense, maybe a cup of romance, half cup of mystery and Christ's love as the main ingredient.  In the end the story is like a beautiful baked pie, when adding everything together you get a delightfully delicious treat.  Sorry for the food comparisons, I'm  craving one of my Grandma Marion's apple pies :-)  I would recommend this book, it is beautifully written and very fun to read.

Proverbs 2:9-11
Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair, and you will know how to find the right course of action every time.  For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will fill you with joy.  Wise planning will watch over you.  Understanding will keep you safe.

Oh how many times have I cried out to God for wisdom.  Beseeching God for the direction He wants us to go in.  And do you want to know a secret...  God has never let me down in giving it to me or my husband.  What a beautiful thing to understand what is right, just, and fair, to know the right course of action.  All I have to do is ask!  For then wisdom will enter my heart, and knowledge will fill me with joy.  I will finally be able to plan wisely, and understanding will keep me and my husband safe.  Why wouldn't you want to ask God for wisdom, it seems like a no brainer :-)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Building Family Ties with faith Love and Laughter

Hello World,
Happy non-fiction Saturday.  As the days get longer and soccer season (for my husband) is soon ending I have much to be thankful for.  One amazing husband, children who are pretty darn entertaining, and truly God has provided everything for us.  I have a contented heart :-)  How are you doing today?  Are you content with what   God has provided for you?  For some reason God is putting this on my heart for you dear readers.  Even in times of hardship we are to be content and have joy.  He will not leave you or forsake you, and when you need anything you can ask God our Father for it.  Matthew 18:18-20  we'll look at that later.

Building Family Ties with Faith, Love, and Laughter is a book that gives encouraging hints to help your family grow closer to each other.  It discusses key moments, topics, and activities that will arise in a family or can occur.  Dave Stone uses examples to give the reader an idea of what families can do to have fun, and how they can build a Godly child.

This my friend is a highlighting book!  Yes I basically highlighted the whole book.  The ideas in here were amazing and the gentle reminders of what not to do was just perfect.  I loved that he immersed each example in scripture.  For example Mr. Stone emphasized how important a family mission statement is, and how effective dinner at the table is for children.  I will be using these two examples and many more to help my family grow close to God. He was simply brilliant in executing this book, and I will be forever grateful for the unique ideas.  Again, I will definitely be using this book to help my kids grow into adults who love Jesus, and I hope you do too!

Matthew 18:18-20
Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.  Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.  For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.

What awesome verses, but how often do we take these verses to heart?  I ask you this, because it is stating that when two or more people are together and are praying, God will be listening and it will be done.  Have you ever prayed with people and truly asked God for something unbelievable?  Has it ever actually happened?  I know for me I need to use this verse more often, from protecting my family in times of danger, to praying for things that might seem too hard and too big to actually happen, unless God has in hand in it.  So my dear readers gather a friend or a family member and pray :-)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Cooking the Books

Hello World,
I woke up this morning with a slight sinus headache, and a stuffy nose.  I was contemplating how I was going to get out of bed feeling like my head was trampled by a bunch of alpacas (my kids are watching The Emperors New Groove, thus the alpaca hehe).  All of a sudden the door opens and my husband walks in with a cup of coffee with my favorite creamer. The world looked a whole lot better to me with that first sip.  Now with a good decongestant the headache is gone and I'm ready for the day :-)

The book starts out with a confrontation between mysterious men leaving us with a cliff hanger wondering what happened.  We then skip ahead a month later to our leading lady (Sloane Templeton) who is struggling with the death of her mother and a history of abuse from her ex-husband.  On top of that she is now the owner of a coffee shop slash book store, and the responsibility of unique and quirky characters.  With a man trying to buy the business and cyber threats this book has a lot to offer for the reader.

Ok now I have a horrible thing to say, it really is something that is frowned upon for reviewers.  I didn't finish the book.  I am so sorry dear readers, but in all honesty this book just didn't seem to click for me, so I skimmed  the book.  That is not to say that this book isn't for everyone, there is a lot of humor and some quick wit, but for me, I just didn't get the humor and some of the sayings just didn't really click for me.  There is a strong thread of faith in Christ, and the mystery will keep you wondering who done it.  Again I do apologize for not fully reading the book, but it just wasn't for me, and to motivate my attention deficit self to read something I'm not really digging is really hard to do.
*This book was given to me via netgalley for my honest opinion, and I honestly did

Deuteronomy 13:4 NASB
Serve only the Lord your God and fear him alone.  Obey his commands, listen to his voice, and cling to him.

The last couple of months I've been reading albeit slowly through the Old Testament.  At first it was really hard because there are so many names, laws, and commands, but then you start seeing patterns of God's love and amazing acts of mercy.  So when I read a verse like this it doesn't seem like it's very loving, but in fact it is.  When you serve only God, when you fear him (revere, respect), when you obey his commands, listen to him and cling to him; you will be protected, you will be loved, you will lack for nothing, and have a peace that surpasses all.  These are God's promises to those who put their trust in him, don't forget that dear readers.