Posted in Book Reviews, Holidays On The Farm, Homestead Recipes

Giveaway ~ Celebrating & Savoring A Simple Christmas by Crystal Paine

Hello Readers,
I’ve been following Crystal on her blog Money Saving Mom for a long time now. Although I’m not a mom yet, I appreciate all of the coupons and freebies that she posts. About once a week she posts links for gluten-free products, which is coming in real handy right now with the diet my family is on (which is a whole other post!).
Anyways, today she released her e-book Celebrating & Savoring A Simple Christmas. Although I haven’t gotten the chance to read it yet (as it was just released) Crystal was kind enough to let me giveaway one copy of her e-book! Sooo, If you are interested, please comment below with your name and either your email or your website address. I will choose a winner by random number tomorrow night, so hurry up and get those entries in!
Also, until Thursday her e-book is on sale for $0.99, so if it sounds like it would interest you, head over to here to get it before the price goes up!

Good Luck!

Posted in Book Reviews, Fiction

Book Review ~ Covenant Child by Terri Blackstock

A Brief Description:

Amanda’s heart broke as she watched them drive her beloved twins away. She resolved to hope . . . and to fight for them to her last breath.

Kara and Lizzie are heiresses to one of the largest fortunes in the country. But when their father dies suddenly, the toddlers are taken from the arms of Amanda, their loving stepmother, and given to relatives who only want the children’s fortune for themselves.

Kara and Lizzie grow up questioning their worth . . . until the day when they learn the truth.

Intensely involving, emotionally charged, and infused with hope, Covenant Child is an inspiring story that challenges us to embrace the life God holds out to us.

My Review:

I honestly thought that Covenant Child was the best fiction book I’ve read in a long time. It did a great job of reminding me that I am God’s child, and that I HAVE that inheritance waiting for me. And I don’t need to do anything to deserve it, it’s His gift to me! I can relate at different times to Amanda, Kara, and Lizzie, and their feelings and experiences. Amanda is a great mother, and looks forward to the day when she is reunited to her daughters. Lizzie wants to believe that Amanda cares for her, but is afraid to open up after being hurt. Kara loves her sister, but has to decide whether to trust Amanda, or stay with her sister.

I’d give Covenant Child five stars, and I definitely would suggest that you read it!

I am required to mention that I got this book for free. I am not required to give a positive review.

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review ~ Swipe by Evan Angler

Everyone gets the Mark. It gives all the benefits of citizenship. Yet if getting the Mark is such a good thing, then why does it feel so wrong?

Set in a future North America that is struggling to recover after famine and global war, Swipe follows the lives of three kids caught in the middle of a conflict they didn’t even know existed. United under a charismatic leader, every citizen of the American Union is required to get the Mark on their 13th birthday in order to gain the benefits of citizenship.

The Mark is a tattoo that must be swiped by special scanners for everything from employment to transportation to shopping. It’s almost Logan Langly’s 13th birthday and he knows he should be excited about getting the Mark, but he hasn’t been able to shake the feeling he’s being watched. Not since his sister went to get her Mark five years ago . . . and never came back.

When Logan and his friends discover the truth behind the Mark, will they ever be able to go back to being normal teenagers? Find out in the first book of this exciting series that is Left Behind meets Matched for middle-grade readers.

My Review:

I decided to review Swipe because of several reasons. One, I like all things tech and gadgets. And it definitely had a lot of that in it! Second, I believe that the “Mark” is a very real possibility in the future, and I wanted to see how the author portrayed it and how it was used. Last, it sounded like an interesting story line!

I wasn’t disappointed. It was really good, and surprisingly realistic. Logan sounded and felt like a real person. The technology was believable. And the ending was totally unexpected! And yet not surprising at the same time.

I thoroughly enjoyed every chapter and couldn’t put it down. And I can’t wait for the next one in the series to come out! I’m giving this 4 stars out of 5. I’m only taking away a star because of a couple times it was a little hard to understand… needed to be re-worded.

I am required by law to state that I got this book for free in exchange for a review. I am not required to give a positive review.

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review ~ The 13th Tribe by Robert Luparulo

Immortal vigilantes from the time of Moses have planned the unthinkable. But how can you stop what you can’t see?

The battle didn’t start this year . . . or even this millennium.

It began when Moses was on Mt. Sinai. Tired of waiting on the One True God, the twelve tribes of Israel began worshipping a golden calf through pagan revelry. Many received immediate death for their idolatry, but 40 were handed a far worse punishment-endless life on earth with no chance to see the face of God.

This group of immortals became the 13th Tribe, and they’ve been trying to earn their way into heaven ever since-by killing sinners. Though their logic is twisted, their brilliance is undeniable. Their wrath is unstoppable. And the technology they possess is beyond anything mere humans could imagine.

Jagger Baird knows nothing about the Tribe when he’s hired as head of security for an archaeological dig on Mt. Sinai. The former army ranger is still reeling from an accident that claimed the life of his best friend, his arm, and his faith in God.

The Tribe is poised to execute their most ambitious attack ever and the lives of millions hang in the balance. When Jagger’s wife and son are caught in the crossfire, he’ll stop at nothing to save them.

But how can one man stand against an entire tribe of immortals?

My Review:

I requested this book because I was interested in the idea of a “cursed” tribe that lived immortally. And it was certainly captivating. I couldn’t put it down because it was soo interesting and exciting. And I liked how detailed it portrayed the main characters. I could almost imagine talking with Jaggar, or with Tyler, or Nevaeh.

And the technology is amazing! I could imagine the whole tribe in their invisibility suits! And the thought of the drones. Wow.

However, it was gory. Nevaeh has a ridiculous fascination with all things well, dead. And the Tribe is constantly killing. And I take away a star just for that – I don’t want to read about 500 ways to kill a person. I understand that it needed the violence for the story, but all the same, I didn’t like it.

So, I give this 4 starts. I probably won’t recommend it to a friend.

I am required by law to state that I got this book for free in exchange for a review. I am not required to give a positive review.

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review ~ The Realms Thereunder by Ross Lawhead

Uncover a land that has been hidden for over a thousand years.

Beneath the land of Britain, a great army is sleeping. On a visit to an old church, Daniel Tully and Freya Reynolds awaken two ancient knights from a centuries-old slumber. They are kidnapped and taken to an underground city that stands in peril, besieged in all directions by a vicious warhost. Nidergeard is the only thing protecting the upper world’s blissful ignorance of mythical forces that have been held at bay since the creation of the world. In order to return home, Daniel and Freya must strike at the heart of the opposer’s power.


I finished the book, but I found it quite hard to, as it was very confusing. The story line was goofy, and you really need to read the next book in order to figure it out.

I wouldn’t give this book more than 2 stars.

According to new laws, I’m required to state that I got this book for free in exchange for a review. I am not required to give a positive review.

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review ~ Love You More by Jennifer Grant

Following the invisible thread of connection between people who are seemingly intended to become family, journalist Jennifer Grant shares the deeply personal, often humorous story of adopting a fifteen-month-old girl from Guatemala when she was already the mother of three very young children.

Her family’s journey is captured in stories that will encourage not only adoptive families but those who are curious about adoption or whose lives have been indirectly touched by it. Love You More explores universal themes such as parenthood, marriage, miscarriage, infertility, connection, destiny, true self, failure and stumbling, and redemption.

My Review:

I decided to review this book from Thomas Nelson because I was interested in adoption, and I love reading other people’s trials, stories, and how God works in them.

This book was heartwarming and interesting, though I had a hard time getting into it at first. It’s a great way to learn about the trials and joys of adoption (and how God sometimes wants you to step out of your comfort zone).

I’d give this book 4 out of 5 “hearts”.

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review ~ The Skin Map and the Bone House by Stephan Lawhead (ebook)

The Skin Map

Kit Livingstone’s great-grandfather has re-appeared with an unbelievable story–the ley lines throughout Britain are not merely the stuff of legends but truly are pathways to other worlds. So few people know how to use them, though, that doing so is fraught with danger.

But one explorer knew more than most. Because of his fear of being unable to find his way home, he developed an intricate code and tattooed his map onto his skin. But the map has since been lost and rival factions are in desperate competition to recover it. What none of them yet realize is that the skin map itself is not the prize at the end of this race . . . but merely the first goal of a vast and marvelous quest to regain Paradise.

Enter the ultimate treasure hunt–with a map made of skin, a playing field of alternate realities, and a prize that is the greatest mystery of all.

The Bone House

Kit is on a quest for the ultimate treasure. But are his travels in time changing history for better or worse?

When Kit Livingstone’s great grandfather appeared to him in a deserted alley during a London rainstorm, he revealed an incredible story: the ley lines throughout Britain are not merely the stuff of legend but are in fact pathways to other worlds. An intricate code–a map of bizarre symbols–is the roadmap they need to navigate the multi-layered universe. But the five pieces have gone missing. Braving constant danger, Kit accepts his place in the adventure–though he has no idea just how critical a role he’ll play.

The Skin Map and The Bone House are the first and second books in The Bright Empire Series.

My Review ~

I originally requested The Bone House because I’ve read another book by Stephan Lawhead and liked it, and I was interested in The Bone House’s plot line. Shortly after downloading it though, I realized it was the second in the series. Thankfully, Booksneeze kindly agreed to let me review The Skin Map as well.

Kit is a likable young man, though in the beginning he was disrespectful of grandfather (which can be justified somewhat by what his grandfather was telling him) and well, just plain lazy. He matures and grows wiser though the book. And the plot is interesting – boy meets long lost great-grandfather, then travels through time using ley lines.

However, the story is a bit confusing at times, and not to mention that the thought of a “skin map” is just creepy. Add in some ancient Egyptian ceremonies and some gruesome deaths, and you have a book – or in this case – books, that are not really worth reading. It was interesting reading the historical parts of it, and the thought of time travel certainly is mind-boggling, but God is mentioned only a couple times, and the main character doesn’t believe in Him. All in all, I probably won’t read it again.

In accordance with the law, I am required to state that I got this book for free from in exchange for a review. I am not required to give a positive review.

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review ~ Sweet Sanctuary by Sheila Walsh and Cindy Coloma

Without the storm, how would we know the sweetness of shelter?-RuthOut of the clear blue, Wren’s Grandma Ruth arrives on her doorstep, dreaming of a grand party to celebrate her 95th birthday. Wren and her young son Charlie love the idea, but it quickly gets complicated: Ruth wants Wren’s estranged siblings to attend and she wants Wren to sing her all-time favorite song: “His Eye Is On The Sparrow.” It’s the very song Wren sang one fateful day during her childhood . . . and Wren hasn’t sung a note since.

Though she’s glad to have Grandma back in her life, Wren’s sleeping on the couch in her own house now . . . and worried about the expenses piling up. After all, her job at the community library is in jeopardy after budget cuts, and the fancy music program she wants for her son is getting farther and farther out of reach. What’s more, Paul-the guy she’s drawn to yet avoids-ends up being a major part of an important library project. With family arriving and old wounds resurfacing, Wren’s about to fly when she discovers something special-a gift of grace beyond her wildest dreams.

My Review

This is the second e-book that I’ve gotten, and I have to say this one was better than the first.

Wren is a likeable young lady who is hard-working and dedicated to giving her son the best she can. I also like the fact that she loves books and her son plays violin. 😉 And she’s trying very hard to make the right decision about a husband for herself and father for her son. For that I give her credit. And everyone loves her grandmother, Ruth, who has very strong values and a great faith.

However, there are a couple things in the book that are a little weird. For example, her sister’s husband and Wren have an awkward moment on the beach. To Wren’s credit, she does the right thing and tries to steer clear of him.

All in all, I think the book was sweet, and had a great moral. I would give it 4 stars however, because of the couple weird things in it and I might recommend it to a friend, depending on the friend. Recommended age: 16+

I am required by new laws to say that I got this book for free from in exchange for review. I am not required to give a positive review.


Posted in Book Reviews

Double Book Review ~ Thunder Dog by Michel Hingson and The Penderwicks by JeAnne Birdsall

I decided to do a double review today, because these books are both really good.

Thunder Dog

A blind man and his guide dog show the power of trust and courage in the midst of devastating terror.

It was 12:30 a.m. on 9/11 and Roselle whimpered at Michael’s bedside. A thunderstorm was headed east, and she could sense the distant rumbles while her owners slept. As a trained guide dog, when she was “on the clock” nothing could faze her. But that morning, without her harness, she was free to be scared, and she nudged Michael’s hand with her wet nose as it draped over the bedside toward the floor. She needed him to wake up.

With a busy day of meetings and an important presentation ahead, Michael slumped out of bed, headed to his home office, and started chipping away at his daunting workload. Roselle, shivering, took her normal spot at his feet and rode out the storm while he typed. By all indications it was going to be a normal day. A busy day, but normal nonetheless. Until they went into the office.

In Thunder Dog, follow Michael and his guide dog, Roselle, as their lives are changed forever by two explosions and 1,463 stairs. When the first plane struck Tower One, an enormous boom, frightening sounds, and muffled voices swept through Michael’s office while shards of glass and burning scraps of paper fell outside the windows.

But in this harrowing story of trust and courage, discover how blindness and a bond between dog and man saved lives and brought hope during one of America’s darkest days.

My Review: I requested this book from Booksneeze because I’m very interested in Guide dogs. My sister used a service dog for a couple years, and during that time I decided I wanted to train guide dogs. I currently have a golden retriever that I’m training as a service dog, and I’m hoping to train her puppies as service dogs (it’s still in the beginning stages though).

I loved this the book because of the relationship between Mike and Roselle. Mike Hingson, the author, did an excellent job telling his story of how he survived 9/11 and what it was like being blind and growing up.  It’s so hard to describe the feeling I got when reading it – it was  heartwarming and moving. I finished it in two days, if that helps!

To sum it up, I loved it. I’d give it 5 stars. And friends, please read it!


The Penderwicks

A Summer Tale of Four Girls, Two Rabbits, and A Very Interesting Boy.

In Jeanne Birdsall’s humorous novel (Knopf, 2005), four motherless sisters—Rosalind, 12, Skye, 11, Jane, 10, and Batty, 4—their absentminded professor dad, and the family dog share a summer retreat on the Massachusetts estate of Arundel. Owned by the frosty Mrs. Tifton and her lonely son, Jeffrey, Arundel’s pretentious mistress treats the oddly-matched Penderwick sisters and their doting father as social misfits. Feisty Skye and sensitive Jeffrey become best friends, drawing the reluctant Mrs. Tifton and the entire Penderwick clan into a series of hilarious misadventures, including runaway pets, an encounter with a bull, and a first crush. The sisters are determined to help Jeffrey escape being sent to the Pencey Military Academy, Where boys become men and men become soldiers. Susan Denaker’s gentle narration of this 2005 National Book Award winner perfectly captures the subtle humor and charm of each character. Fans of Sydney Taylor’s All-of-a-Kind Family or Maud Hart’s Betsy-Tacy novels will love this updated version of a comfortable childhood adventure. Just the ticket for an extended family car trip.
My Review: I started reading this by myself, but liked it so much that I started reading it aloud to my family. I would describe it as a younger version of Little Women. It was really good – my family hated when I had to put it down. I’m hoping to get the next two books to read aloud.
In short, another five star book. This would be great for a family read aloud, but I suggest doing voices to keep the lines separated (my sisters had a hard time keeping track of who is who sometimes).