Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A-Z Wednesday

A-Z Wednesday is hosted by Vicky of Reading at the Beach. To join, look here.

This weeks letter is: P

I had too many choices! It came down to two, so you today you are getting two for one!

The Persian Pickle Club by Sandra Dallas

Book Description:
It is the 1930s, and hard times have hit Harveyville, Kansas, where the crops are burning up, and there's not a job to be found. For Queenie Bean, a young farm wife, a highlight of each week is the gathering of the Persian Pickle Club, a group of local ladies dedicated to improving their minds, exchanging gossip, and putting their quilting skills to good use. When a new member of the club stirs up a dark secret, the women must band together to support and protect one another. In her magical, memorable novel, Sandra Dallas explores the ties that unite women through good times and bad.

My thoughts:
This was such a fun book with a great plot!

The Prize Winner of Defiance Ohio:How Mother Raised 10 Kids on 25 Words or Less by Terry Ryan

Book Description:
The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio introduces Evelyn Ryan, an enterprising woman who kept poverty at bay with wit, poetry, and perfect prose during the "contest era" of the 1950s and 1960s. Standing up to the church, her alcoholic husband, and antiquated ideas about women, Evelyn turned every financial challenge into an opportunity for innovation, all the while raising her six sons and four daughters with the belief that miracles are an everyday occurrence. The inspiration for a major motion picture, Evelyn Ryan's story is told by her daughter Terry with an infectious joy that shows how a winning spirit and sense of humor can triumph over adversity every time.

My thoughts:
This is such an amazing, amazing story. This is a story that sticks with you after you have read it. It takes your emotions from one extreme to the other. Don't cheat and watch the film, read the book first!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What's On Your Nightstand - November

What's On Your Nightstand

Also not pictured because they are sitting on the hold shelf at the library:
No Place for a Lady by Maggie Brendan
Menu for Romance by Kaye Dacus
From a Distance by Tamera Alexander
Talk of the Town by Lisa Wingate

Wow! What a lot of reading I have lined up for December!

From my October post I read:
Organizing Your Day by Sandra Felton & Marsha Sims (review)
The Shaping of a Christian Family by Elisabeth Elliot (review)
The Promise of Lumby by Gail Fraser (review)
The Lost Art of Gratitude by Alexander McCall Smith (review)
Blogging for Bliss by Tera Frey

I also read:
The Bride Backfire by Kelly Eileen Hake (review)
Parenting the Heart of Your Child by Diane Moore (review)
Look to the East by Maureen Lang (review)
Montana Rose by Mary Connealy (review)
The Noticer by Andy Andrews (review)

I may have read one or two others, but Shelfari is off reading a short novel and won't let me see my shelf!

I am currently reading:
Elvis Takes a Back Seat by LeAnn Ellis
Family Driven Faith by Voddie Bauchman, Jr

I didn't get to:
The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte by Syrie James due to the fact I ran out of time and it was due back to the library.

Book Review: The Noticer by Andy Andrews

Book Description:
A new story of common wisdom from the bestselling author of The Traveler's Gift.

Orange Beach, Alabama is a simple town filled with simple people. But like all humans on the planet, the good folks of Orange Beach have their share of problems - marriages teetering on the brink of divorce, young adults giving up on life, business people on the verge of bankruptcy, as well as the many other obstacles that life seems to dish out to the masses.

Fortunately, when things look the darkest - a mysterious man named Jones has a miraculous way of showing up. An elderly man with white hair, of indiscriminate age and race, wearing blue jeans, a white T-shirt and leather flip flops carrying a battered old suitcase, Jones is a unique soul. Communicating what he calls "a little perspective," Jones explains that he has been given a gift of noticing things that others miss. "Your time on this earth is a gift to be used wisely," he says. "Don't squander your words or your thoughts. Consider even the simplest action you take, for your lives matter beyond measure…and they matter forever."

Jones speaks to that part in everyone that is yearning to understand why things happen and what we can do about it.

Like The Traveler's Gift, The Noticer is a unique narrative is a blend of fiction, allegory, and inspiration. Gifted storyteller Andy Andrews helps us see how becoming a "noticer" just might change a person's life forever.

My thoughts:
I have heard the best way to teach a lesson is with a story. Andy Andrews is one of the most gifted storytellers. Not only are you enjoying a great story, but you are learning a lesson to apply to your life.

The Noticer: Sometimes all a person needs is a little perspective covers such topics as hopelessness, problems in marriage, worry and fear, picking a life mate, feeling your life is over, having a successful life, and forgiveness and having the right perspective. These are all interwoven in the story of Jones, the "Noticer". How can all these topics be covered and still be a good book, you ask? Read it and find out for yourself. I don't think you will be disappointed.

On a side note: I really enjoyed The Noticer, but it did not beat out my most favorite Andy Andrews book, Island of the Saints. Island of the Saints is a story that teaches about forgiveness. This book was phenomenal. I also highly recommend The Traveler's Gift and The Lost Choice.

Teaser Tuesday


Teaser Tuesday is hosted by Should be Reading.

The Noticer:Sometimes all a person needs is a little perspective by Andy Andrews

"I notice things about situations and people that produce perspective. That's what most folks lack--perspective--a broader view." p.131

Read my review here.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Book Review: Montana Rose by Mary Connealy

Book Description:
Fire up your love of romance with Montana Rose, where Cassie Griffin, a seemingly spoiled pregnant woman, is widowed one day and wedded the next. Marrying handyman Red Dawson seems the only alternative to Cassie’s being hitched to a brutal rancher. But can this “china doll” bear exchanging smooth silk for coarse calico? Red was reluctant to be yoked to an unbeliever, but sometimes a man has no choice. Will Red change Cassie’s heart by changing her name? Wade Sawyer is obsessed with saving Cassie from a marriage of convenience. How far will he go make her his own?

My thoughts:
After reading Mary Connealy's Lassoed in Texas Series and Christmas Cowboy I was excited to read Montana Rose, the first book in the Montana Marriages Series. I was not disappointed. Montana Rose was a delightful read. The author explains that she was wrote this story after reading Janette Oke's book, Love Comes Softly, though she added a lot more action. The only similarities in the stories to me were widowed women, after that the story follows the author's fun writing style. I look forward to the next book in the series, The Husband Tree.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Grandma's Visit

My mom flew in for a week long visit. It flew by very fast, but we had a great time!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Book Review: Look to the East by Maureen Lang

Book Description:
At the dawn of the First World War, the French provincial village of Briecourt is isolated from the battles, but the century-old feud between the Toussaints and the de Colvilles still rages in the streets. When the German army sweeps in to occupy the town, families on both sides of the feud must work together to protect stragglers caught behind enemy lines. Julitte Toussaint may have been adopted from a faraway island, but she feels the scorn of the de Colvilles as much as anyone born a Toussaint. So when she falls in love with one of the stragglers—a wealthy and handsome Belgian entrepreneur—she knows she’s playing with fire. Charles Lassone hides in the cellar of the Briecourt church, safe from the Germans for the moment. But if he’s discovered, it will bring danger to the entire village and could cost Charles his life.

My thoughts:
I was attracted to Look to the East by Maureen Lang because it was set during World War I. I had a very hard time getting into the story. The books starts with introducing the main character Julitte Toussaint, who has a very mysterious background. Instead of having a feeling of mystery surrounding Julitte, I felt very confused about her. It wasn't until the middle of the book that you are told why their is a mystery. The story didn't seem to have any exciting action until after page 200. After that point I was able to get into the story a little better. I think you could have taken this story and set it in World War II since the I didn't find the historical events any different, but that could be my ignorace about World War I. Overall, I was disappointed in the story and I'm not sure if I'll read the sequel when it comes out.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A-Z Wednesday

A-Z Wednesday is hosted by Vicky of Reading at the Beach. To join, look here.

This weeks letter is: O

An Old Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott

Book Description:
When Polly Milton goes to Stay with the wealthy Shaw family in the big city, she feels like a plain country girl, compared with the fashionable Fanny Shaw. Fanny is embarrassed by Polly's old-fashioned ways and doesn't understand her lack of interest in clothes and parties. Only Tom, Fanny's brother, accepts Polly as she is. He helps her overcome her envy of Fanny's glittering life and encourages her to cultivate her own fine qualities.

Years later, Polly is living in the city, earning her living by giving music lessons. Then she discovers that Tom has been expelled from college and is in debt. What can a poor old-fashioned girl do to help a once-rich friend regain his fortune?

For generations readers have sympathized with Polly Milton's struggle to be herself, a goal as timely today as it was when An Old-Fashioned Girl first appeared.

My thoughts:
I know I read this when I was younger, but I honestly don't remember much about it. I know I must have liked it, because I bought it. I guess it is time for a re-read!

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Teaser Tuesday


Teaser Tuesday is hosted by Should be Reading.

Look to the East by Maureen Lang

"Which will be next?" Hauptmann Basedow called with a half smile, as if calling for a game. "Come now. Confess your secrets and the rest will be spared." p. 298

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Book Review: Parenting the Heart of Your Child by Diane Moore

Book Description:

Parenting the Heart of Your Child offers practical strategies and tools for parents to help their children become morally mature people who make good decisions when no one is looking. Using God’s plan for human development, parents can assess their children’s maturity stage and help them move to the next level. The result, says Diane Moore, is heart maturity, not just compliance with rules.

My thoughts:
Parenting the Heart of Your Child by Diane Moore was a recommended book at my monthly home school meeting. The basis of the book is based the author's own research of scripture and Lawrence Kohlberg theory of "the six stages of moral development." The author breaks down the six stages of Moral Development as follows:

Level One: It's all About Me!
Stage 1-Fear of Punishment
Stage 2-Anticipation of Reward

Level Two: It's All About Us!
Stage3-Crude Conformity
Stage 4-Majority Rules

Level Three: It's Bigger Than Us!
Stage 5-Self-Evident Truths
Stage 6-Love and Truth

I really liked how this material was presented and it really stuck a chord with me. As my husband and I have been raising our children we have been trying to focus on teaching them "why" something is wrong and not that it is wrong because "I" say so. I, also appreciated her covering the influence of the postmodern world and how to guide our children through it. Parenting the Heart of Your Child definitely gave me food for thought and I will be adding it to my personal library in the near future.

In Honor

A-Z Wednesday

A-Z Wednesday is hosted by Vicky of Reading at the Beach. To join, look here.

This weeks letter is: N

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

Book Description:
Ten-year-old Annemarie Johansen and her best friend Ellen Rosen often think about life before the war. But it's now 1943 and their life in Copenhagen is filled with school, food shortages, and the Nazi soldiers marching in their town.
The Nazi won't stop. The Jews of Denmark are being "relocated," so Ellen moves in with the Johansens and pretends to be part of the family.

Then Annemarie is asked to go on a dangerous mission. Somehow she must find the strength and courage to save her best friend's life. There's no turning back now. --

My thoughts:
I read Number the Stars several years ago and have also listened to the book with my children. This is a very intense and exciting story. One that you won't easily forget. If your children are learning anything about World War II this book is a must read.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Book Review: Organizing Your Day:Time Management Techniques That Will Work for You by Sandra Felton & Marsha Sims

Product Description:
For more than twenty years, Sandra Felton's books have helped countless readers organize their homes, rooms, offices, and paperwork. She now joins forces with professional organizer Marsha Sims and applies some of the same principles to help readers build a successful system for organizing their daily schedules and routines. Their unique approach with helpful anecdotal stories offers a variety of easy-to-implement, effective ideas. From goal setting, project management, and to-do lists to daily scheduling, creating new habits, and curing chronic lateness, the topics covered in Organizing Your Day will hit home with busy readers. Everyone from creative free-wheelers to well-organized perfectionists will love these solutions. With solutions for both home and work, this book is ideal for office workers, homemakers, business owners, retirees, or anyone who wants to get more out of their days.

My thoughts:
I came across Organizing Your Day:Time Management Techniques That Will Work for You by Sandra Felton & Marsha Sims while browsing at the library. Since I always feel I'm not quite organized enough I grabbed it thinking I would just browse through it. I was surprised to find that it was a very readable book and ended up reading through the whole book. The chapters are not too long and the advice given is very doable. All the ideas given had a real life situations implementing the solution. Overall, even though many ideas I was aware of, I found that it made me rethink several situations in my life and home and got the creative juices flowing on how to make them better.

Book Review: The Bride Backfire by Kelly Eileen Hake

Book Description:
Come on down for a real family feud in this witty romance, the second novel in Kelly Eileen Hake's Prairie Promises series. In the Nebraskan Territory of 1857, the longstanding feud between their two families makes Opal Speck desperate to save the life of the Grogan who once pulled her from a burning building. Will her big white lie-that Adam is the father of her unborn child-land in enemy territory for the rest of her life? Find out how Adam and Opal deal with the repercussions of their shotgun wedding in The Bride Backfire!

My thoughts:
I really enjoyed reading The Bride Backfire by Kelly Eileen Hake. It really threw quite a few surprises at you and I couldn't wait until Opal and her husband, Adam, finally were able to resolve all their misunderstandings. Of course, that didn't happen until the end of the book! The Bride Bargain has foes, friendships, fun, suspense and romance all tied into one great read.

Teaser Tuesday


Teaser Tuesday is hosted by Should be Reading.

"She should say no. She should remind him that he had a fiancée." p. 113

Friday, November 6, 2009

Book Review: The Lost Art of Gratitude by Alexander McCall Smith

Book Description:
The sensational sixth installment in the best-selling chronicles of the irrepressibly curious Isabel Dalhousie.

Isabel’s son, Charlie, is now of an age—eighteen months—to have a social life, and so off they go to a birthday party, where, much to Isabel’s surprise, she encounters an old adversary, Minty Auchterlonie, now a high-flying financier. Minty had seemed to Isabel a woman of ruthless ambition, but the question of her integrity had never been answered. Now, when Minty takes Isabel into her confidence about a personal matter, Isabel finds herself going another round: Is Minty to be trusted? Or is she the perpetrator of an enormous financial fraud? And what should Isabel make of the rumors of shady financial transactions at Minty's investment bank?

Not that this is the only dilemma facing Isabel: she also crosses swords again with her nemesis, Professor Dove, in an argument over plagiarism. Of course her niece, Cat, has a new, problematic man (a tightrope walker!) in her life. And there remains the open question of marriage to Jamie—doting father of Charlie.

As always, there is no end to the delight in accompanying Isabel as she makes her way toward the heart of every problem: philosophizing, sleuthing, and downright snooping in her inimitable—and inimitably charming—fashion.

My thoughts:
I accidently requested The Lost Art of Gratitude:An Isabel Dalhousie Novel by Alexander McCall Smith thinking I was requesting the next book in the #1 Ladies' Detective Agency Series. Since I was behind in reading the Isabel Dalhousie Series I added it to my pile to be read. It really took me a long time to get into this book, but about half way through I seemed to get into the story and ended up enjoying it. After I finished reading the book I finally realized that I hadn't read The Comforts of a Muddy Saturday, the fifth book in the Isabel Dalhousie Series, which probably would have helped. So, I'm now off now to order The Comforts of a Muddy Saturday!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Kreativ Blogger Award

Wow! I'm floored. I just received this blog award from Lori at Some of my Favorite Things.
I am to list 7 of my favorite things and send it on to 7 other bloggers, so here goes...

My Favorite Things:
1. My family
2. Books, books, books
3. Browsing blogs
4. Browsing bookstores
5. Browsing the library
6. Pumpkin pie, pumpkin bars, pumpkin roll, pumpkin bread
7. Shopping!

7 Bloggers (many of these I have just discovered):
1. Christy at Southern Sassy Things
2. Lee at Butterfly Blessings
3. Nise' at Under the Boardwalk
4. Kim at Page After Page
5. Angie at Never a Dull Moment
6. Carrie at Reading to Know
7. Sarah at A library is a hospital of the mind...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

If only...

If only all my laundry looked like this!


A-Z Wednesday

A-Z Wednesday is hosted by Vicky of Reading at the Beach. To join, look here.

This weeks letter is: M

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

Book Description:
Mansfield Park is about money and marriage, and how strongly they affect each other.

From this perplexing novel's sharply satiric opening sentence, Jane Austen castigates the materialism fundamental to her society: "About thirty years ago, Miss Maria Ward, of Huntingdon, with only seven thousand pounds, had the good luck to captivate Sir Thomas Bertram, of Mansfield Park, in the county of Northampton, and to be thereby raised to the rank of a baronet's lady, with all the comforts and consequences of a handsome house and large income."

Shy, fragile Fanny Price is the consummate "poor relation." Sent to live with her wealthy uncle Thomas, she clashes with his spoiled, selfish daughters and falls in love with his son. Their lives are further complicated by the arrival of a pair of witty, sophisticated Londoners, whose flair for flirtation collides with the quiet, conservative country ways of Mansfield Park.

Written a decade after her previous novel, Mansfield Park retains Austen's familiar compassion and humor but offers a far more complex exploration of moral choices and their emotional consequences.

My thoughts:
I have not read Mansfield Park, but after reading the book description I think I may have to move up on my TBR list. I have enjoyed all of Jane Austen's books I've read so far and don't see myself being disappointed.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Passionate Wake-Up Call

This was sent to me. Wow! A moving call to prayer. (You will need to scroll down a little ways and turn off my player.)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Teaser Tuesday


Teaser Tuesday is hosted by Should be Reading.

"Do you think," began Isabel, "that a man who loved his son would agree never to see him again? Let's say that he had to choose between his career and his son? p. 210


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