Monday, January 27, 2014

Book Review: With Autumn's Return by Amanda Cabot

Elizabeth Harding is so excited about moving to Cheyenne. Leaving the East Coast where no-one will accept a woman doctor, she feels sure that in this new blossoming town, people will be more eager to accept new ideas and open doors for women. Unfortunately, the town does not quite live up to her expectations and it seems things will be much harder than she expected. Even the handsome lawyer next door cannot accept that a woman could ever amount to more than a midwife.
When some sinister events happen that involve clients of both Jason and Elizabeth, they find themselves having to work together to save them.

With Autumn's return is the 3rd book in the Westward Winds series. I have read the second, but not the first. Cabot does refer back to the previous books so I would suggest not reading it as a stand alone, but you probably could without being too lost. I think you would just miss out on a lot of background into some of the other characters in the book. The main characters, though, did not pop up in the second book so you would not lose anything in the main plot line.
I really enjoyed the story, and especially as it moved toward the end it was very exciting to see how they would solve the mystery together. I also really enjoyed seeing some characters from the second book get their happy ending. A sweet story.

Thank you to Revell Publishers for a free copy of this book to review.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Top Ten of 2013

It's been a while since I've done any personal posting on here. Though I realize that this is almost the end of January, I at least want to give a quick review of 2013 :-)
So here goes - top ten of 2013 (in chronological order, not awesomeness order):

1. Jonathan was promoted to a vice president position at work and became part of our neighborhood home association board (He's pretty awesome like that).

2. Eoin turned 6. Angry Birds was the party of choice this year. We had fun knocking over our home made angry birds game!

3.  Eoin finished Kindergarten! He loves school and had a great year :-) Here he is giving his research project presentation on his last day of school.

4. Aidan turned 4. Aidan had a pirate birthday this year and despite a ship-wrecked cake right before we sang happy birthday, it was a great success.

5. Awesome vacation to WI for Cara's wedding and a trip to WI Dells. It was such a fun time - Cara's wedding was beautiful. We spent two nights and three days at Mount Olympus in Wisconsin Dells and we had a great time!

6. Karen went to a reunion with her college buddies. First time leaving the kids overnight and it. was. awesome! lol

7. Molly turned 2. Minnie Mouse was her theme and she LOVED being the birthday girl.

8. Molly was potty trained. My goal was to have all kids potty trained by my birthday as a present to myself - ha ha!

9/ We got a puppy. Flynn joined us when he was 8 weeks old. He's been a pretty good dog, especially for a puppy and he is really smart!

10. Jonathan ran in two 5k's!! One was during our second trip to WI for Thanksgiving which was also a great trip. With all the kids being potty trained and a little older, we made it in record time, even though we brought the puppy!

And there you have it - with a lot more fun memories in between these  things, it's been a year full of blessings :-) 

Book Review: The Big Book of Laugh Out Loud Jokes for Kids by Ron Elliott

This three in one joke book arrived at our house just in the nick of time! We had just got done with a day home from school with a nasty virus. Just as my 7 year old was starting to turn a corner and yet still not feeling well enough to play, we got a package in the mail!
Let me tell you, there were tears running down his face he was laughing so hard :-) The funny part is that quite a few of the jokes were over his head so I ended up explaining a lot of them, but it didn't matter - he thought they were are hilarious either way.
Some of his favorites include:
What kind of balls don't bounce?

Why did the Robin go to the library?
To catch book worms.

I will say, I get followed around quite often being told very corny jokes with him adding GET IT at the end of every one that he gets ;-) So be warned!

Thank you so much to Revell Publishers for a free copy of this book to review that cheered up a sick little boy :-)

Monday, January 13, 2014

Book Review: The Calling by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Bethany Schrock has been left hurt and confused after her ex-boyfriend showed his true and awful colors. Now she spends her time cleaning and organizing house for a bunch of old sisters and wondering where her life is headed.
The more she spends time with the sisters though, the more she sees their heart for others and it's kind of catching. On top of that, a visitor at her family's bed and breakfast who is also looking for direction from God, continues to show her what serving others is all about.
While Bethany is growing and maturing she also has some deep questions to deal with like some big issues from her past, and a new love interest in her future.

Once again, Suzanne Fisher has really delved into some real life hard issues in her book. The problems her characters face are not all wrapped up in a chapter with a bow and a happily ever after and I love that about her books. I also love that she weaves characters in from past series' so we can have a peek into the lives of other characters that we know and love. This is book two in the series and I would definitely suggest reading the first book before you begin this as it would be hard to read as a stand alone. I can't wait for the next installment!

Thank you so much to Revell publishers for a free copy of this book to review.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Book Review: No One to Trust by Lynette Eason

Everything changed the morning Summer Abernathy woke up to a gun pointed in her face. Why would these men be so interested in finding her computer programmer husband, Kyle? Unless Kyle isn't really Kyle after all. As Summer is forced to run for her life and the lives of those she cares about, the needs to figure out who she can trust because everything depends on it!

I always look forward to getting Lynette Eason's books in the mail, except for the fact that I always stay up way to late reading just one more chapter. The story had a good few surprises along the way and though you already knew the main bad guy, just like Summer, you did not know who to trust! I also enjoyed that the main characters were married so that added another level of depth past the usual two people falling in love really quickly thing that always bothers me in these kinds of books. A great read for over the holidays so you can sleep in a little later after staying up all night reading :-)

Thank you to Revell Publishers for a free copy of this book to review.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Book Review: Spiritual Warfare for Women by Leighann McCoy

LeighAnn McCoy focuses on areas in a woman's life that are often specifically attacked by Satan. Family, Friends and Church and how to deal with it in a Scriptural manner.

I will admit, I was a bit disappointed in this book but I can't exactly put my finger on why. I think it was not so much the content of the book as the writing style just wasn't my preference. Either way, it took my FOREVER to get through. I did like the "Sharpen your Sword" sections at the end of each chapter which just give the main thoughts of each chapter in a concise sentence with the Scripture backing it, as well as a challenge to commit something to memory. I wouldn't say don't read it, because I think she had some good things to say, just not in a way that is easy for me to read.

Thank you to Bethany House Publishers for a free copy of this book to review.

Book Review: Over the Bridge by Mary Connealy

Poor Seth Kincaid has never been right in the head since childhood and after he returned from fighting in the Civil War, he just seemed to get worse. Nightmares, wandering off, and forgetting large chunks of time keep his brothers on their toes watching out for him.
When one day, a women shows up claiming to be of all things, Seth's WIFE (that he can not even remember marrying) the crazy just keeps getting crazier!!

The last book in the Kincaid Brides series, I thought this was the best by far. All of the boys' stories and backgrounds come together to explain a lot about their personalities and actions. I'm not gonna lie - you will need a tissue towards the end! I was balling. If you have read any of the series so far, you will definitely want to finish the series. If you haven't read any, I would highly suggest going back and reading the pervious books - they are closely linked and the story is continuous.

Thank you to Bethany House Publishers for a free copy of this book to review.

Book Review: Love in the Balance by Regina Jennings

Molly Lovelace is certainly a passionate girl. And though her heart is completely taken by Bailey Garner, he is poor as a church mouse and so they cannot get married. Sent away to town to get her head about her and her heart under control, Molly meets the man of her family's dreams, Edward Pierrepoint. Rich, handsome and charming, Molly gets caught up a whirlwind romance even though Bailey is always in the back of her mind.

All I can say is you will not believe all the twists and turns this plot takes. It was a refreshing read in that I had no clue what was about to happen. On more than one occasion there was a sharp intake of breath on my part :-) I love how the characters learn about self control, wisdom, and empathy along the way. A good one!

Thank you to Bethany House Publishers for a free copy of this book to review.

Book Review: Stealing the Preacher by Karen Witemeyer

Joanna Robbins is about to get a birthday present she will never forget. She has been praying for a preacher for so long now, she can hardly believe it when her father shows up with one. But then she finds out where he came from and how her father came by him.
Stolen from a train on his way to interview for a church, Crockett Archer can no more believe that he has been stolen than the red headed girl who he was brought to!  He cannot wait to escape and get back to his previous plans, but Joanna's passion for the Lord and her empty church just won't stop coming to mind.

This was a sweet story of finding out that God's ways are not always our ways and when we listen to Him, we often find that what he has in store can be beyond what we ever would have planned for ourselves. This book is definitely a keeper on my shelves. I love the characters and the twists that play out just when you think you know whats going to happen next!

Thank you to Bethany House Publishers for a free copy of this book to review.

Book Review: A Noble Groom by Jody Hedlund

Annalisa Werner's husband is dead. Sad that she should actually feel a kind of relief in that, despite the fact that without a good crop and a husband to bring in that crop, there is little chance of her keeping her home and farm. So her Father sends a letter to the Old Country, asking his brother to send a new groom for Annalisa.
Meanwhile, another man from the Old Counrty appears and agree to help with the farming until the new husband arrives. Though it is plain to see that this former school teacher knows little about the ways of farming, he ways with Annalisa and her daughter are tender and kind and he is willing to work hard to  help her. But they must keep their hearts guarded for the new husband could arrive at any time.

I really loved this story. I tend to enjoy any story with little kids involved and this one will melt your heart. As you follow the plot, watch their hearts grow, and uncover the hidden secrets, you will be turning pages well into the night. I will be re-reading this one for sure!

Thank you to Bethany House Publishers for a free copy of this book to review.

Book Review: Dragonwitch by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

Lord Alistair has a terrible secret. Every night he is plagued with awful terrors and vicious nightmares. There is no way he can get married with the torments he faces, but yet that is exactly what is to happen. So Lady Leta arrives at the castle to get to know this prince to whom she is to be wed. But the nightmares are just the beginning of the strange happenings at the castle as all who live there are to find out. Wars that had been fought in hidden kingdoms are about to become very real to the inhabitants of the castle and the regions beyond. Prophecies and stories of old come true as battle must be waged against the dragonwitch!

I am not usually a big sci-fi fan, in books at least, but this seemed like the kind of book my husband would find interesting so I gave it a go. I was surprised how much I enjoyed it actually. This is not the first book in the Tales of Goldstone Wood, but I was able to follow the story very well without having read the others, but I imagine reading the others would give more depth to the tale. If you are into tales of other lands and worlds, I think you would very much enjoy this read.

Thank you to Bethany House publishers for a free copy of this book to review.