Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Quilted Heart (Review)

I just finished reading "The Quilted Heart" by Mona Hodgson. This book is actually three novellas in one. If I'm not mistaken, some of the characters are going to be intertwined into the next series, to continue the story.

I liked these books. They are historical fiction, so if you like that genre you will enjoy these. Each story focuses on one woman and her love story, but you get to know all the characters easily, so they are very familiar in each story. The stories are set in the 1800s so there are a lot of issues surrounding war, finances, and even deciding whether or not to head west in wagons. The stories all kept my interest and were enjoyable to read. The only problem I had with the last story is I felt it ended quite abruptly. You are given a glimpse of what Caroline's future is going to hold, but the story isn't completed in the end of the book. That's fine, but it did make me curious about the next series coming up, if it will answer the question about what happens to Caroline in the future.

All in all I would recommend this book. Hodgson is a great writer and will keep your interest throughout each novella.

Thank you to Waterbrook Press for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

You can buy a copy from Amazon here (affiliate link):

The Quilted Heart Omnibus: Three Novellas in One: Dandelions on the Wind, Bending Toward the Sun, and Ripples Along the Shore

Maybelle in Stitches (Review)

This is the third Quilts of Love book I have read. This is called "Maybelle in Stitches" by Joyce Magnin. One thing I like about the Quilts of Love series is the books are all so different. Each book is written by a different author and there is such a wide variety of topics in the books.

In this book, Maybelle is the wife of Holden, a soldier in World War II who suddenly is found to be missing in action. Maybelle has no experience quilting, but she finds an unfinished quilt in her recently deceased mother's closet. Her best friend urges her to finish it, with scraps from Holden's clothes as well as other meaningful pieces of fabric. With no experience sewing, they find a couple of other army wives to join in on the fun. They are determined to quilt until Holden returns home.

This book is awesome because it really shows the social aspect of quilting. These ladies are fully supporting one another as they receive one piece of bad news after another. They are all in it together, even though they are strangers at the beginning.

I highly recommend this book and thought it was a great read. Although there are ups and downs throughout the book, it does have a happy ending.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity and Abingdon Press for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

Quilts of Love Joyce Magnin Maybelle in

You can buy a copy from Amazon here (affiliate link):

Maybelle in Stitches: Quilts of Love Series

Friday, March 21, 2014

Build, Dogs, Build (Review)

This was a book that my kids were adamant about bringing home from the library. Anything having to do with construction is big right now. This is "Build, Dogs, Build: A Tall Tale" by James Horvath.

I liked this book because it isn't your usual construction book. I like books that are a little challenging and teach kids something new about something they already have discovered. The illustrations in this book are great for keeping kids' attention. They're very well done.

The book goes through each process of construction, starting with demolition. You learn that the crane has to be at the right angle to knock the building down. Then you go through the bulldozer and dump truck before starting the actual construction. Duke is the foreman in this book, but you find that there are tons of jobs to be done on the construction site. This includes digging trenches to run pipes, pouring concrete, putting girders together to make the frame, and even the jobs of electricians and plumbers.

I think this book is great. It easily kept the interest of my kids (3 and 4) and brought up a lot of new vocabulary and careers that we could talk about. It's a very cool book. I'll be looking for more by this author.

You can buy a copy from Amazon here (affiliate link):

Build, Dogs, Build: A Tall Tail

Dream Animals (Review)

My 4-year old daughter, who is a huge girly-girl, picked out this book after seeing pictures of fairies and elves on the inside pictures. This is "Dream Animals: A Bedtime Journey" by Emily Winfield Martin.

I have to admit I didn't enjoy this book as much as my daughter, but she loved it. I didn't feel there was a whole lot of substance to the story. But when you bring in a girl in a dress flying on a goose, fairies dancing, and mermaids having a tea party - my daughter is full in!!

The illustrations are beautiful and captivating. And although I personally wasn't a huge fan of this book, it seemed to have a really calming effect on both my kids (3 and 4).

You can buy a copy from Amazon here (affiliate link):

Dream Animals: A Bedtime Journey

Library Mouse (Review)

I think it's safe to say that my son picked this book out due to the cool mouse on the front cover with an acorn helmet and sword!

"Library Mouse" by Daniel Kirk was a very cute book to read. Sam is a mouse who happens to live in a library. He spends all day reading and eating crumbs. His imagination was running wild, so he decided to write a book. He wrote an autobiography and put it in the autobiography section of the library. When it was discovered, no one knew who this mystery author was. His next novel, "The Lonely Cheese" was another hit. When the librarian posts a letter pleading for the author to make himself known, Sam has an idea. He creates a way for all the children in the library to create their own stories and become authors. Eventually the library is filled with novels of all topics written by all kinds of people. I loved the line in the book that said, "Soon there was a whole shelf full of books written and illustrated by people who had never written a book before, telling stories that had never been told."

I think this is a great lesson for our kids. We all have stories that should be told. We all have the ability to create stories. It would be so much fun to have kids write a book after reading this one. It doesn't have to be lengthy, but I guarantee they will have a blast. I did this with my husband's cousins several years ago when they were younger and made them copies of the book. We all still have our copies. They are so fun to look back on! It's a great way to stretch the imagination.

My kids (3 and 4) loved this book. I will say it is a little long. It was no problem for my kids, but it took 10-15 minutes to read the whole story. Mine are used to sitting for long periods and reading but if yours aren't you could break up the story. I think it's interesting enough to keep most children's attention anyway.

You can buy a copy from Amazon here (affiliate link):

Library Mouse

Lost Cat (Review)

My 3-year old son had me read this twice at the library and then begged to bring it home. I guess he couldn't pass up those eyes on the front cover! This book is "Lost Cat" by C. Roger Mader.

The story is a little far-fetched, but it sure made my kids (3 and 4) very happy with the ending! Poor Slipper the cat gets left behind on moving day. She sets out on an adventure to find a new person to adopt. There is something wrong with everyone she finds though. You just know she won't be satisfied with anyone other than her previous owner, Mrs. Fluffy Slippers.

I think this story is cute. It's fun to read and I like the attitude the cat has. For instance, one person she comes across is really nice, but she is a dog owner. Slipper thinks to herself that she could have adopted the woman, but that dog? Never!

This is one that has been read over and over in our house and my kids really enjoy it. As an adult you may see the ending coming (actually, even my 4-year old guessed it) but that doesn't make it any less enjoyable for the kids.

You can buy a copy from Amazon here (affiliate link):

Lost Cat

Thunder Bunny (Review)

We are always on the lookout for new books from the library. One of our latest is "Thunder Bunny" by Rodney Alan Greenblat.

In this book, there are three children featured. Chops, who talked "endlessly", Specks, a reader/writer, and Artemis, an artist. These children are friends who frequently get together and create stories. One day they find a huge egg which hatches, and over the course of a few months, this bunny that hatched becomes as large as a house. Off they embark on a quest to find his mother. They travel through lands such as "Chatterland", "Scribblearia", and "Volcanoland". They do eventually find his mother.

This book is really cute. It is different from any other book we've read. I like all the different lands the children travel through in their adventure. Even though some lands are not talked about as much as others, it can bring up some really fun activities you can do with your kids. For instance, when traveling through Silly Sea-Monster Ocean, you could have your kids describe or draw some monsters that would be in that ocean. This would also be a great opportunity to make up some silly lands with your kids and see how creative they are!

My kids (3 and 4) really enjoyed this book, and I did too.

Buy a copy from Amazon here (affiliate link):

Thunder Bunny

Big Bad Wolf is Good (Review)

My kids absolutely love anything having to do with the "Big Bad Wolf" character. So this was an easy pick from the library for them. It's called "Big Bad Wolf is Good" and is written by Simon Puttock.

In this book, Big Bad Wolf is trying to change his ways. He decides that in order to be labeled as "good" he just has to act good. Unfortunately, he already has a reputation, and people think his good manners are just an act. So he decides he needs to be good and useful. Unfortunately, no one will let him help out with anything due to his reputation again! So he finally decides he must be good and useful and do a noble deed.

I won't spoil the ending in case you want to read it. But my kids (3 and 4) really enjoyed the book as a whole. The pictures (illustrated by Lynne Chapman) are really awesome. The story is fun to read, too. Actually, my daughter (4) was pretty upset that the other characters kept being mean to Big Bad Wolf, but it brought up a couple of great topics, such as second chances and not judging people by how they look.

You can buy a copy from Amazon here (affiliate link):

Big Bad Wolf is Good

Real Women Leading (Review)

Real Women Leading with Proverbs 31 
Values Lisa Troyer Dawn Yoder
Win an iPad!
I was very excited to read the book "Real Women Leading with Proverbs 31 Values" by Lisa Troyer and Dawn Yoder. A few years ago I was introduced to someone on the Proverbs 31 team, but I had no clue what that was. Since that time, I have come in contact with many of the wonderful ladies on the Proverbs 31 team. I think they are all so unique and bring something really awesome to the table. I think it is a ministry that is vital to our society today and modern women.

This book went through each of the values outlined in Proverbs 31. Many of us have probably read that chapter many times in our lives, or heard women talk about it at conferences. It's nice to break down each quality though, such as forgiveness, responsibility, and attitude. Each quality is also matched to a woman in the Bible. Responsibility is matched with Martha, and planning is matched with Lydia, for example.

Each chapter is very detailed but easy to read. At the end of each chapter you are encouraged to write down an action step you are going to take which will help you in that specific area.

I highly recommend this book. It will challenge you and have you nodding your head throughout the book. It is very easy to relate to and interesting to read.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity and New Hope Publishers for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Buy your copy from Amazon here (affiliate link):

 Real Women: Leading with Proverbs 31 Values

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Distortion Review

I love the author Terri Blackstock, so I was excited to read her newest book "Distortion".  It is part of the Moonlighters Series but I definitely think it can be read separately. Blackstock has never disappointed me in any of her other (multiple) books that I've read of hers and this one was another great one.

This book follows a family who has gotten together in the career field of law enforcement, primarily by being private investigators and a lawyer. When Juliet, one of the private investigators, watches someone shoot her husband, they begin investigating. Unfortunately, they uncover that her husband had a pretty sordid past and was involved in a lot of things he shouldn't have been. This book covers the story of finding out his whole past and finding the people at the top of the food chain, so to speak.

This is a great Christian suspense novel. If you enjoy that genre, or Terri Blackstock in general, I highly recommend this book.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity and Zondervan for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Buy your copy from Amazon here (affiliate link):
Distortion (Moonlighters Series)

The A-Z of C.S. Lewis Review

I was definitely intrigued to read this book by Colin Duriez - "The A-Z of C.S. Lewis". It labels itself as "an encyclopedia of his life, thought and writings". Duriez points out right away that most people know of Lewis in just one range of his writings; either his science fiction genre, or children's stories, or the theological genre. The purpose of this book is to discover C.S. Lewis as a whole person.

As it states, the book is written in encyclopedia form, touching on everything from A-Z. This includes "Alambil", a Narnian planet; Lizzie Endicott, his nurse when he was a boy; Poggin, a character from "The Last Battle"; and undeception, a concept Lewis brought up in many essays.

This encyclopedia is incredibly thorough. I cannot imagine the painstaking process that Duriez went through to complete this. I am very impressed. If you are interested at all in the life and/or works of C.S. Lewis, this will make for a great tool for you to use. Particularly if you are reading any of his books, I can see this being a great supplement.

I highly recommend it, not for light reading, but for study and discovery.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity and Lion Hudson for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

Buy your copy from Amazon here (affiliate link):

The A-Z of C S Lewis: A Complete Guide to His Life, Thoughts and Writings

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Thief Review

I just finished reading "The Thief" by Stephanie Landsem. This book, admittedly, took a few chapters for me to get into. I liked the story, but I wasn't emotionally invested. I was curious, but I wasn't on the edge of my seat. It took me quite a while to read the first half of the book, honestly. But then the story started clicking for me. I realized how intricately Landsem had planned out this book. A random Samaritan named Stephen is discussed - and it clicked to me that it was Stephen the martyr. She created details concerning Malchus, the servant whose ear is cut off in the garden with Jesus and the disciples. The story is based on one of the most famous healings in the Bible. And at one point, as I realized where the end of the story was going, I was completely and utterly involved emotionally at that point. I'm so glad I kept reading. I highly recommend this book and I'd love to read some more of Landsem's work as well.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity and Simon and Schuster for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Buy your copy from Amazon here (affiliate link):
The Thief: A Novel (The Living Water Series)

Captivated by Thabiti Anyabwile Review

I recently was able to read a book called "Captivated" by Thabiti Anyabwile. This book topic is surrounding the mystery of Jesus' death and resurrection.

Each chapter is based on something that Jesus felt at a different point in the process of His death and resurrection. For example, the chapter titles are things such as "Why Have You Forsaken Me?" and "Why Do You Seek the Living Among the Dead?" I think this is something that is completely new and very relevant. I have never read a book that explored  the statements of Jesus like this.

I enjoyed reading this book. It is a pretty quick read because it is a somewhat short book, but there is a lot to be gleaned by reading this book. Especially as we get closer to Easter it is a great reference for getting you in the mindframe (somewhat) that Jesus was in as He was on this journey.

I highly recommend this book.

Thank you to Cross Focused Reviews and Reformation Heritage Books for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

Buy your copy from Amazon here (affiliate link):
Captivated: Beholding the Mystery of Jesus Death and Resurrection

Thursday, March 13, 2014

May 2013 Pictures

More pictures uploaded! These are from last May. Eventually I'll catch up!

Some pictures from Brianna's 4th birthday party:

Hunter's new big boy bed!