Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Great Resource!

I will begin homeschooling my daughter this fall.  She will be in preschool.  I found out recently about this awesome sale that the wonderful people at The Old Schoolhouse Magazine are putting on.  If you're at all interested in having another great resource at your fingertips, click on the link below!

Check this out:

Warehouse Wipeout Sale: S-T-R-E-T-C-H Your Homeschool Dollar

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

Being the huge Jane Austen fan that I am, I have read and enjoyed all 6 of her complete novels (some on more than one occasion).  What a treat to be able to read and review this special edition of Sense and Sensibility from Bethany House!  I usually rank Sense and Sensibility in my top 4 favorite novels from Jane Austen.  I know there are only 6, which doesn't say much for my thoughts on 5 and 6.
In this timeless tale from Austen's hand, we find truths that still resonate with us today.  Struggles with money, love, truth, honesty, chivalry, etc.  The story of the Dashwood sisters is one that I cannot truly relate to since I only have a brother, but I find their love and care for each other to be genuine and true.  They each have their own defined personality and this can sometimes make for a lack of complete understanding between them.  Elinor, being the oldest of the sisters, certainly takes her role to heart in her choice of actions concerning Marianne and the rest of her family.  This story is full of rich characters: Colonel Brandon, Edward Ferrars, Willoughby, Sir John, John and Fanny Dashwood, etc.  Some characters will be dearly loved at the end of the book and some will leave you with a rather sour taste in your mouth.  But reading an Austen novel is always worth the time.  The language, history, ideas, and wit presented from Jane are rich and enjoyable.  I like the family in this story - Mrs. Dashwood, Elinor, Marianne, and Margaret.  They are a wonderful example to us.  I really think that Jane Austen truly wanted to give us a treasure when she illustrated some of her characters so well, and that is especially true in her representation of this family.  Family, I believe, was very dear to Jane.  This story is one of love, betrayal, family, and much more.  I truly recommend it to one and all.
The fun thing about this particular copy of Sense and Sensibility is that the wonderful people at Bethany House added some fun trivia and other tidbits to the novel.  Reading the bits of history, opinions on characters, word definitions, and other remarks made the novel more enjoyable.  In a way, it also felt as if someone was reading along with me and sharing their thoughts with me.  Who doesn't enjoy talking about a good book with their friends?  I really found this addition of detail to make this edition of the book a much more fun one to read and enjoy!  Definitely a good copy to share with fellow Austen enthusiasts!

This book was provided free for review by Bethany House Publishers.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Never the Bride by Cheryl McKay and Rene Gutteridge

Wow!  I'm not even sure where to begin.  I read this book in 4 days time, which is pretty quick for me right now.  Overall, I really enjoyed the story.  Cheryl McKay's characters honed into book format with Rene Gutteridge's help made for an interesting and thought-provoking story on many levels.  In the story, we meet Jessie Stone and follow her through life's misadventures and human assumptions.  She is thirty-four, single, longing for the man of her dreams, wanting her love story to finally happen.  She has tried all the avenues that most of us (until recently maybe) wouldn't try.  She's going through life on her terms without considering what God might want for her.  She is the ultimate romantic (hopeless or otherwise) and everybody who knows her knows this about her.  What is a woman to do when a mysterious man shows up in her life; a man who says that he's God.  This presents many interesting situations for Jessie as she talks to someone that only she can see, etc.  The story has twists and turns as does life when we try to follow our format for it and not the format (path) picked out for us by our Creator.  Many good characters, fun scenarios, and great details.
I have a problem or two or more with this story.  Normally, I try very hard to be very positive when I write my reviews, but I struggle to do that with some parts of this book.  I guess my trouble comes from the fact that I want all Christian fiction to be entirely Christian.  Not to say that Christians don't have their stumbling blocks (myself included).  The issues for me from this book are Jessie's sister (who has lived with one guy after another for some time now), Jessie's decision to move in with someone, Jessie's need to get drunk, and even Blake's shallowness when it comes to women.  The other thing that bothers me is that Jessie hasn't had a relationship with God for years, if ever.  At one point, we find out that she hasn't set foot in a church in 14 years or so, yet God comes into her life to write her love story.  I guess for me the state of one's heart in terms of their relationship with Christ is more pressing, but maybe I'm missing the purpose of this story or overanalyzing it when that much analysis was never what the authors wanted.  I believe truly that God wants to be involved in every aspect of our lives.  He loves His children (His creation) and wants to be involved in us, but we have a tendency to limit His involvement.  Truly, I believe this saddens Him.  So, from that point of view, I can see where the authors want us to see that God truly is concerned for us, wants to guide us, counsel us, reprimand us, praise us, enjoy us, etc.  I find that there is so much more that I could say about this story, but I don't want to tear about what really was an entertaining, fun, unique story full of interesting characters with human aspects we can each certainly relate to.  I did find the book funny, intriguing, and hard to put down.  Check it out and tell me what you think.

Disclaimer: This book was provided free for review by WaterBrook Press.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Changes to New Blog Tour Challenge

1. The Bridge of Peace by Cindy Woodsmall
Reading Dates: June 25-July 6, 2011
Blog Tour Dates: July 6/7, 2011

2. A Measure of Mercy by Lauraine Snelling
Reading Dates: July 4-12, 2011

3. Never the Bride by Cheryl McKay and Rene Gutteridge
Reading Dates: July 12-15, 2011
Blog Tour Dates: July 15, 2011

4. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
Reading Dates: Jul 15-26, 2011
Blog Tour Dates: Jul 26/27, 2011

5. Talk of the Town by Lisa Wingate
Reading Dates: Jul 28-Aug 8, 2011
Blog Tour Dates: Aug 8/9, 2011
Finished: August 11, 2011

6. Word Gets Around by Lisa Wingate
Reading Dates: Aug 10-21, 2011
Blog Tour Dates: Aug 21/22, 2011

7. Never Say Never by Lisa Wingate
Reading Dates: Aug 23-Sep 3, 2011
Blog Tour Dates: Sep 3/4, 2011

8. Beguiled by Deeanne Gist and J. Mark Bertrand
Reading Dates: Sep 5-16, 2011
Blog Tour Dates: Sep 16/17, 2011

9. Sixteen Brides by Stephanie Grace Whitson
Reading Dates: Sep 18-29, 2011
Blog Tour Dates: Sep 29/30, 2011

10. The Lord's Prayer by R. T. Kendall
Reading Dates: Oct 1-12, 2011
Blog Tour Dates: Oct 12/13, 2011

11. No More Christian Nice Girl by Paul Coughlin and Jennifer D. Degler, PhD
Reading Dates: Oct 14-25, 2011
Blog Tour Dates: Oct 25/26, 2011

12. Love is a Flame Compiled by James Stuart Bell
Reading Dates: Oct 27-Nov 11, 2011
Blog Tour Dates: Nov 11/12, 2011

13. A Measure of Mercy by Lauraine Snelling (Originally #2)
Finish Reading Dates: Nov 13-15, 2011
Blog Tour Dates: Nov 15/16, 2011

14. The Rose Legacy by Kristen Heitzmann
Reading Dates: Nov 17-28, 2011
Blog Tour Dates: Nov 28/29, 2011

15. Christians Are Hate-Filled Hypocrites...and Other Lies You've Been Told by Bradley R. E. Wright, PhD
Reading Dates: Nov 30-Dec 11, 2011
Blog Tour Dates: Dec 11/12, 2011

15. The Vigilante's Bride by Yvonne Harris
Reading Dates: Dec 13-24, 2011
Blog Tour Dates: Dec 24/25, 2011

16. From A Distance by Tamera Alexander
Reading Dates: Dec 26-Jan 6, 2012
Blog Tour Dates: Jan 6/7, 2012

17. Beyond This Moment by Tamera Alexander
Reading Dates: Jan 8-19, 2012
Blog Tour Dates: Jan 19/20, 2012

18. Within My Heart by Tamera Alexander
Reading Dates: Jan 21-Feb 1, 2012
Blog Tour Dates: Feb 1/2, 2012

19. A Rush of Wings by Kristen Heitzmann
Reading Dates: Feb 3-14, 2012
Blog Tour Dates: Feb 14/15, 2012

20. Hatteras Girl by Alice J. Wisler
Reading Dates: Feb 16-27, 2012
Blog Tour Dates: Feb 27/28, 2012

21. The Girl in the Gatehouse by Julie Klassen
Reading Dates: Feb 29-Mar 11, 2012
Blog Tour Dates: Mar 11/12, 2012

22. To Win Her Heart by Karen Witemeyer
Reading Dates: Mar 13-24, 2012
Blog Tour Dates: Mar 24/25, 2012

23. Spiritual Warfare for Women by Leighann McCoy
Reading Dates: Mar 26-Apr 6, 2012
Blog Tour Dates: Apr 6/7, 2012

Bonus Days: Apr 8-11, 2012

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Bridge of Peace by Cindy Woodsmall

I found this book to be very enjoyable.  Once I got into the story and the characters, I had a really hard time putting the book down.  Lena has lived her whole life with a birthmark on her face and has struggled with the comments and remarks that have come with that.  She is a wonderful young woman who loves teaching her students and wants to help them in every way possible.  Her story is one of coming to an understanding of herself.  I enjoyed her story, Grey's story, and the many other stories in the book.  The details of Amish life are always so interesting to me, and Cindy Woodsmall does a great job capturing so many aspects of Amish life.  This book had some very intense moments, twists, and turns, which just added to the draw of the story.  I find the books in this series so interesting for several reasons: there's romance, there's suspense, there's faith, there's Amish life, and so much more.  I have so many thoughts swirling through my head about this book, but I can't seem to capture them well.  I really found it to be another great story from Cindy Woodsmall.  She really has a way of bringing Amish life to life for her reader.  I look forward to the next book in this series.  I'm hoping that some loose ends get tied up!  I so enjoy reading about each characters struggles and challenges and joys!  If you love Amish fiction, you will certainly enjoy this story!!

Disclaimer: This book was provided free for review by WaterBrook Press.