Monday, November 18, 2013

Book Review: Unspoken

You hear a lot about what a great suspense writer Dee Henderson is, and after reading the prequel to the O'Malley series, which was well written, I was ready to start a suspense novel from her. 

The first portion droned on and on about antique coins, how to date them, sell them, and all about them. At first learning about the coins was interesting but after a while it really was quite tedious. Throughout the story I was constantly waiting for that bombshell of mystery, suspense and action, but sadly it never came. The story plot held real promise, but it was not executed properly. The rest of the story was showing how Charlotte closed one chapter of her life to begin a new one. I never really bonded well with Charlotte, leaving little room for sympathy from my part.  Though the writing in itself was great, the dialogue very natural, and the details well researched, the story seemed lacking. 

I received this book for free, from Bethany House Publishers, in exchange for this independent and unbiased review. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Music Review: Our God Comes by Antioch Live

The album Our God Comes by Antioch Live debuted Sept. 19, 2013 reaching #2 on iTunes in the Christian charts. The album's genre is classified under Christian pop, however it is not limited to that. There were slow and instrumental songs that could easily be listened to during your prayer time. The fourteen soul stirring songs are each unique and for the most part written by the same group of people. The different instruments presented in the CD were well orchestrated throughout adding tremendously to all the songs. The rich baritones and sopranos were pleasing to the ears and clearly conveyed the message of their songs. The lyrics were clean and purely Godly portraying Him in his goodness, etc all the while praising only Him. 

I greatly enjoyed this CD and will continue to listen to it! You may visit their website or visit to learn more about Antioch Live and the Antioch Church Movement.

I received this CD for free, from BB Media, in exchange for this independent and unbiased review. 

Book Review: Beyond These Hills

In the year 1934, the government starts purchasing property in the Cades Cove to establish the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Many of the families have already sold and moved out, but the Martin's and Jackson's are determined to save their land. 

In this book we find a group of firm believers learning to trust God with their future. They learn to show love to others, even when it seems hard. Each character holds such rich christian morals that were very edifying to the reader. I enjoyed reading all three books in the Smoky Mountain Dreams series. Each book focused on the next generation of woman in the Martin family, drawing one closer to the family. 

The only fault found in this book is the speed in which Laurel and Andrew fell in love. It did not feel genuine. With that said there romance was still sweet and God fearing. 

I received this book for free, from First Wild Cards, in exchange for this independent and unbiased review.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Book Review: Truth Seekers

Twins, Jake and Jen, endure a move to Israel to stay with a father they barely know all-the-while mourning for their deceased mother.

Bill Myers creates an interesting book for teenagers to learn about trusting God for everything. Cool machines, quirky scientists, interesting facts, silly humor, and spiritual elements make their way creatively throughout the book. I love how the author makes references to the spiritual world of demons,  which most authors refrain from, and  shows how to handle them biblically.  

Whether it be when Jen learns to grow in her relationship with the Lord, getting over the fear of demons, and learning to love, each character's personal problems teaches the reader a lesson. 

The twins did some questionable actions including stealing a woman's wig, breaking and entering, and did not receive any consequences. The sometimes overplayed humor seemed to degrade the literary work, but no doubt younger children will love it. 

I received this book for free, from BH, in exchange for this independent and unbiased review.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Book Review- Snow on the Tulips

Cornelia, a young woman who understands the cruel realities of war firsthand, waits patiently at home for the allies to deliver the Netherlands from Nazi rule. She loves her quiet routined life but that changes when she has to hide her younger brother Johan. Not content to sit on his hands, Johan seeks adventure and brings one home in the form of Gerrit, a Dutch Resistance member. While nursing Gerrit back to health, Cornelia and her family learn invaluable lessons of true courage, love, faith, and lasting hope. 

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story. The author crafted her characters so thoroughly they resonated with my soul. Each character, even the secondary characters, added a unique dimension to the story. They each faced personal trials that made for many personal reflections. 

Liz kept the book very spiritual aligned. She portrayed many conflicting dilemmas like what is true obedience? Is it Ok to lie to save someone's life? She evenly portrayed different peoples point of view of the war, giving the reader a full picture.

Liza Tolsma crafted a wonderful WW2 novel including a gripping plot, endearing characters, and a well researched setting. The book being based on the authors family history makes the story all the more valuable and interesting. 

I received this book for free, from Litfuse, in exchange for this independent and unbiased review. 

Friday, November 01, 2013

Book Review- Last Night

Last Light, is the first book to the Restoration Series. Terri Blackstock creates a wonderful what if tale of the possibility of the power leaving the whole country. Cars are stalled in the middle of the road, brand-new generators fail to work, even watches stop working and the modern world is thrust in utter darkness of the 1800's. The Branning family witnesses firsthand the desperation the lack of electricity 
induces. While battling thoughts of hoarding their possessions versus sharing them they learn how to work as a family, trust in God, and live without electricity. 

I enjoyed the authors unique story line. I was immediately drawn to the many hardships the different characters faced. The book allowed for many thoughts of reflection. What would I do without electricity? How would I survive? I loved how the everything in the story tied together in the end. My only complaint was the fact that the Branning family was presented as a christian family. They did not act very Christ-like before the power outage, but they did receive a Christ intervention in their lives. 

I cannot wait to continue my journey with the Branning family in the next books of the series. I
received this book for free from BookSneeze in exchange for this independent and unbiased review.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Book Review- Glittering Promises

In the beginning of our journey we find Cora a poor farmers daughter. She soon discovers that she is the daughter of Copper King Walter. Hoping to reclaim his daughter, Walter sends Cora on a grand tour of Europe with her new siblings. Throughout the journey she learns how to act like a wealthy lady, fall in love, and trust in God. Cora faces rejection, headaches, scandal, and love. 

Glittering Promises is the culminating book to this grand series. In order to appreciate Lisa's extraordinary research and master story telling, you have to read the previous two installments. Lisa did an wonderful job describing the culture and exciting places of Italy. Her characters remained well developed throughout the series, their various experiences did help mature them though. The only flaw that really bothered me was Cora's unwillingness to completely give her french suitor the boot, her constant heart battle was quite annoying. Though understandable to some extent, Will and Cora fought so much and then made up and back to fighting, it proved to be rather distracting. 

Overall I enjoyed my 1900's summer vacation to England, Austria, France, and Italy with dashing heroes, wonderful balls, and experiencing the interesting sights and people. Though the journey is over, I am satisfied with the way things turned out and how neatly Lisa cut off every loose thread.

I received a complimentary copy, form Litfuse, in exchange for this independent and unbiased review.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Book Review- I, Saul

I, Saul is a story that goes back in forth from present day Rome to Bible character Paul's prison. Right before Paul's execution he yearns to receive his parchments to finish his first account of his early life. Even on the throes of death Paul with Luke's help defy the Romans to do the Lord's will. Finding Paul's account proves to be the greatest find in present day times, and leads to unimaginable adventure and danger. The double stories provided a very unique aspect to the story. 

The extensive research included in this story is clearly evident, so much so it felt that you were walking along the roads of Damascus and Jerusalem. Even the modern day culture in Rome felt quite authentic. My only regret is that there is no actual thing as Paul's parchments. The fictional account of his childhood helped to make Bible reading more alive and personal. 

Tim Lahaye and James Mcdonald did a wonderful job creating a historical, contemporary, adventure, and Christ-centered story. I can't wait to continue my journey with the next installment to this series, I, Paul. 

I received a free copy from, FIRST Wildcard Blog Tours, in exchange for this independent and unbiased review.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Summer Recap `

Summer is basically over, cozy socks and boots have me convinced. This summer was very laid back but still enjoyable. This summers theme in my life was REUNION. As I look back I am thankful for all the people apart of my life. In May my family was able to travel to D.R. and reunite with our church family and meet some family members for the first time. Later in July I was able to see my best friend from school that I had not seen in years. It was so fun to visit her in her house and have her come to church with us. Early August my family went to my Uncles house in upstate New York. Little did we know we'd have a mini family reunion. I was able to see aunts, uncles, cousins, and family friends I had not seen in almost two years since my great- grandmothers funeral. Lastly a couple of days ago my aunt who is here from Ecuador visited our home. Family is such a beautiful thing!

Another reoccurring theme this summer was MATURITY. Kianna and I volunteered at a school starting winter through early summer. I also started volunteering at a hospital. Just with that I was able to come out of my shell, find my 'voice', and just do things for myself. 

I also enjoyed: Learning how to swim. Starting 11th grade. Eating italian ices while watching fireworks from our window. Turning sixteen! Getting in touch/ seeing many of my old school friends through Instagram. Watching new movies. Getting my second pair of Toms. Taking online college courses. Visiting different Vera Bradley stores. Cotton Candy. Carnival rides. Going to the American Girl store, and buying a mini one. The Lord's work in my life.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Book Review- So Long Insecurity

So Long Insecurity is a  woman's devotional helping woman to overcome the many insecurities life throws at them. Woman are not the only ones who struggle with insecurities. This edition of So Long Insecurity is written for the teen girl.

The magazine style helped to enforce the teen vibe. The magazine layout with its polls, girl testimonials, and tests also helps to make the reading easier. The reading portions are small a bonus for those who find long passages to be boring ( however, a minus for this reader) I enjoyed the topics that Beth brought up and many people tend to overlook in matters of insecurity. I felt the book was geared more towards girls who are either not Christians but are interested in God or a young Christian. If you want a devotional to get deep in the word with this may not be your fit. Overall I enjoyed reading the magazine.It was attractive, and God glorifying.

I received this complimentary copy from Tyndale for my independent and unbiased review. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Carnival Fun!

My little sister and I would pass by the carnival and say how much we would like to go. In my mind it was just wishful thinking, but to my surprise on a Monday night my parents said we could go. I enjoyed the piercing lights with their contrast against the black sky. The sounds of people enjoying themselves, and the machines whirling away. Some friends were visiting and we were able to go on Saturday as well! God is so good!

 My $5.00 cotton candy that I bought only for nostalgic reasons.

I get dizzy super fast. Spin twice and I'll start feeling dizzy! This ride called the Round Up is all about spinning! It starts completely level then spins until it is on its side. At one point it felt like the park was upside down. Of course I got on it! I must have a daring side after all.

 Little sisters favorite ride the spinning swings! 

This ride is similar to the Round Up just that you are sitting. When Kianna and I were little I remember her encouraging me to get on this ride and I did... I do not remember it being so 'scary'. It was definitely the most intense ride of the day! We were able to relive that childhood moment (this time I insisted on being on the inside so all my weight landed on her this time:) 

Over all we had a great time! My favorite moments were going on the ferris wheel with my very active and daring little cousin. Trying that what appeared super scary/ dizzing ride. The power going out (thankfully none of those in our group were on a ride) Screaming just cause you can! Though not a enjoyable feeling being dizzy at the end. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Book Review: Bible Study

Guest post: Karen 

In Thirty Days of Bible Study for Busy Mamas: Colossians 3, Pam Forester seeks an "inspiring, in-depth Bible study, five minutes at a time." I would have to agree that she accomplished two out of the three goals for this book. 

Being familiar with Pam Forester, I knew this book would provide plenty of suggestions for mom on how to carve out some time to do Bible study. I also foreshadowed her giving a list of additional resources and tools to facilitate Bible Study. In accord with her other studies, she also provided lots of ideas on how to engage one's children, both young and old, into Bible study. These are trademarks of her materials I have come to know and expect from this author. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this study. The author packs a lot into the day's study. She does not offer (a lot) of commentary but rather lets the student find the jewels in the text. She often included self-reflection questions and prayer prompts which further enriched the study. 

The only thing I would have to strongly caution is the amount of time each assignment takes. I could not finish the assignments in five minutes. Although the author does provide catch up days (which can also be used for further/deeper study), on a daily basis the assignments require anywhere from 15-20 minutes. Although this was not a problem for me, it may discourage other students who can not spend "extra" time in the Word. 

Overall, this study was enjoyable and insightful. It encourages one to dig deeper into the Scriptures providing lots of resources, tools, and knowledge of the importance to make time for the studying of the Scriptures.

I received a complimentary copy from BookCrash in exchange for this independent and unbiased review. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Monday, August 12, 2013

5 Washi Tape Ideas

1. Cute-i-fying your memorization/flash cards

2. Decorating your letters 

3. Funifying piano learning

4. Marking your things

5. Adding style to your homeschool notebooks

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Score Thrifty

For some time I have wanted to write a score thrifty post, but was waiting to have a good size haul to share with you.
Thrift Store- Vintage looking basket for $3.00

Vera Bradley Outlet- Notebook retails for $15.00. The outlet had it for five dollars minus the 50% off the total was $2.50

Target- Infinity Scarf $3.00

Thrift store- Vintage Better Homes and Gardens cookbook $0.45

Thrift store- The Crucible book a play on the Salem Witch Trials was $0.80 but with it being half off the total become $0.40. 

Target- Thanks to Kianna who found this special, we got these cute sandals for only $5.08. They were originally $17.00 dollars. We saved about $12.00!

Grandma- Conair mini Pro blow dryer for FREE! 

Thrifting is a new 'love' of mine. All of the items came out to $14.43. If I had bought any one of these items full price I most likely would have spent the total amount for all of these or more.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Teen Book Review: Anomaly

Dystopian young adult novels are an upcoming new trend. I have read several and have enjoyed each one for their individual uniqueness. Though different they share many common factors such as controlling government, crazy scientists, low morals, and technological advance. Anomaly did include such factors, but went further and dealt with topics of deep spirituality and physiological affects paired with technological advances. 
I enjoyed the slow but not boring pace of the book. I was able to deeply intertwine my feelings in the characters lives. I thoroughly enjoyed the musical references. Through music we see how it brings out emotions in Thalli that are not supposed to exist. Music further helps her to recognize her creator and speak to him.
The book was not an edge of your seat action packed book, but was definitely not a dull one either. I enjoyed the journey many of the characters experienced in their quest to find God.
Loved the ending. Just when you think you know the ending- BAM! Look forward to reading the next book in the series.
I received a complimentary copy from BookSneeze in exchange for this independent and unbiased review. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Braces, Besties, and BBQ's

For some time Kianna and I knew that we were going to a BBQ on the 27th, so we decided to have a mini photo shoot, with the 'real', cameras that Saturday. It is a lot harder than it looks to position people and to pose them the way you see on Pinterest:) Nonetheless I had a fun time doing it and hope the next time I take someone's photos I am more at ease. The majority of the pictures I took were in manual mode which was another plus.

As you know Kianna has been my best friend since I was basically born. She's like the only one I could take photos of and admit I do not know what I am doing. She recently got braces and I was able to capture some shots of her beautiful new look. Her braces even matched her outfit! 

Here are a few of my favorites...