Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Peep Behind the Scenes by Amy Walton-AUDIO DRAMA

This is an audio drama of a story written in the 1800's. Young Rosalie is traveling from town to town with her parents. They are singer/actors. Rosalie's mother is very ill and her father is too fond of alcohol to see or acknowledge her illness.

While they are stopped for a performance a man gives Rosalie a picture of The Good Shepherd. Rosalie's mother tells her about The Good Shepherd and how He seeks to find His lost sheep. While Rosalie's father continues to follow one scheme after another Rosalie and her mother learn more about The Good Shepherd.

Along their travels Rosalie tells other people about The Good Shepherd. She touches many lives. Unfortunately Rosalie's mother's health continues to worsen. She tells Rosalie what events led her to marry her father and become an actress. How she walked away from all the people she loved to pursue a life on the stage. She makes Rosalie promise that when she is gone Rosalie will look for her aunt in the hopes that the aunt will take care of Rosalie. Both Rosalie and her mother pray that The Good Shepherd will find them before it is too late.

I enjoyed the story and I enjoyed the audio. The problem I have though with listening to an audio book is that I have trouble remembering parts of the story. In a book I can look up names that I have forgotten or scenes that I have forgotten, but it isn't so easy in an audio book. The characters were portrayed very well, and the sound was very good. I thought it was a high quality audio with well played parts by the actors and actresses. I guess I should say that this is an audio drama, so it isn't just a book being read by someone, it is a book being acted out. 

Waterfall Wednesday #1

Today is the first Waterfall Wednesday! We are discussing Chapters 1-6 of Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren. Head over to Tinas Book Reviews to link up the discussion questions. Then go visit everyone and see what they are thinking of this wonderful book!

Discussion Questions:

Waterfall opens with the introduction of Gabi, shes depressed, a little angry and is dealing with feelings of loneliness. Are you connecting with her this soon in the novel? Do you see things you like or dislike?

She seems like a typical teen to me at this point. I'm not sure if I was connecting with her or not. She is definitely a strong character. I don't know that I would be able to survive being thrown into another time period. Especially one so violent.

Gabi gets to time travel back to 14th Century Italy- The Dark Ages in its prime. Is there anytime in history that fascinates you and would you travel back if you could?

If I had a choice of where to get transported to I think it would be Jane Austen's time period in Pride and Prejudice. But then I'm not sure. I always thought if I lived in another time instead of being part of the gentry I would be one of the lowly servants and I don't think I would like that! So I guess I would stick with my more modern day comforts (running water in the house, toilets that flush, electricity, grocery stores to go get my food, computers etc. etc.). 

Most of the men, including Marcello have a very set opinion about a woman's place. Gabi gets manhandled a bit in these first few chapters, and even gets asked if shes a witch. The men are shocked when Gabi rides a horse like a man and shimmies down the castle walls. What do you think of mens mentality back then? Gentlemanly, chauvinistic, simple-minded?

I don't think they were Gentlemanly, chauvinistic or simple-minded. I think the time period was such that women were considered the weaker sex and therefore they needed to be taken care of. Marcello was a man that fulfilled his duties by taking care of his household. When Gabi came along she was just another member of his household that needed to be under his protection. 

When Gabi becomes a part of this era, the people are immediately intrigued but suspicious of her. Many judge her by her difference. Do you think this is fair? Have you ever been in a situation where you felt like an outsider or that others were misjudging you?

Being a shy person I always feel like an outsider when I go someplace. Unfortunately I think that we all make quick judgments about people before we really get to know them. No it isn't fair, especially because first impressions are usually wrong.

What do think the coolest thing would be about living in the Dark Ages? What would be the worst?

First off, the Dark Ages are not a place I would want to visit AT ALL! Too much violence, too much unrest, too many diseases, too much body odor, no flushing toilets(see answer to question 2 for a further list). I am a creature of comfort!

Head on over to Tinas Book Reviews to link up YOUR answers to these questions. Hope you are enjoying Waterfall as much as I did!

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Basket of Flowers by Christoph Von Schmid-translated from the German

Mary and her father live in a little cottage on the property of The Count of Eichbourg where Mary's father is a gardner. Mary's father maintains a beautiful garden for the Count. He has taught Mary his skills. When Mary is quite young her mother passes away. Mary's father teaches her about her Father in heaven every day of her life. Every instance in life is a teachable moment from the Scriptures. He has raised Mary to be a very honest and upright woman who loves the Lord and loves and serves her father well.

One day while Mary is out gathering Lily of the Valley's to brighten up their home the Counts daughter and wife come by. Feeling a desire to brighten their day Mary gives them the flowers she has gathered. There begins a friendship between Mary and the young Countess Amelia. When Mary presents Amelia with a lovely basket of flowers for her birthday Amelia gives Mary a lovely dress in return. With the gift Mary's father is concerned that Mary will become discontent and seek treasures of the world if she is not careful of her heart. He feels that the dress will bring his daughter trouble. He is soon proved correct.

Shortly after Mary returns home with the dress a ring is found to be missing from the Countesses bedroom. Mary is the only one that was in the rooms so it is assumed that she is the thief. She is carried off to jail in disgrace. With the testimony of a maid condemning her Mary and her father are soon banished from the village. All the while Mary has told the truth, even when threatened with death, that she did not steal the ring.

Throughout her time in jail and after being banished Mary and her father never falter in their faith in the Lord. There is no bitterness in them. They know that they are in the Lord's hands. Mary's father continues to teach her lessons of life through readings of Scripture. These lessons help to form Mary as a young girl and into womanhood, through trials and tribulations and through triumphs she never waivers in her faith.

Originally written in the 1700's The Basket of Flowers has been translated from German. I really enjoyed this tale of disgrace and triumph. Mary's father lived out the scripture, speaking of God's commands, "These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals  on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." Deut. 6: 6-9

What a blessing our children would have today if we were as faithful as Mary's father and taught our children God's truths from the time they are born!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Teddy's Button by Amy LeFeuvre

Teddy is a young boy full of mischief. He is very popular among the boys because of his great story-telling skills and ideas for getting into mischief. His favorite story of all is the one about his father. His father was a soldier, a hero who died in battle. Teddy carries his father's war button around with him and aspires to be a soldier just like his father.

When Teddy's mischief gets him into trouble at church he soon learns of another Captain he can follow~Jesus Christ. He soon "enlists" into the Lord's army. At first Teddy is wanting an enemy to fight. He soon finds that enemy in himself. He names his enemy "Bully" and he has many struggles throughout the rest of the story battling Bully in order to not disappoint his Captain.Teddy has such a sensitive heart for his Captain. He wants to serve his Captain well. He finds that sometimes though he loses his battle with Bully.

Originally written in 1890, Teddy's Button is still a relevant story for today. I loved how much Teddy wanted to please his Captain. One of my favorite parts of the whole story was when Teddy arranged for the local Vicar to host a tea party for the soldiers coming through town. He wanted the Vicar to tell the soldiers about his Captain. I also loved the description of Teddy's struggle within himself with good and evil. We all have our "Bullies" to battle. This was a great classic book to read and I can't wait to share it with my grandson someday soon.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Blood Wounds by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Willa lives with her mom, step-father and 2 step-sisters. They are an unusual blended family in the fact that they all get along, they love each other and they are one big happy family.

There are secrets being kept in Willa's family though. Willa's mom will never talk about Willa's real father. In fact she will not talk about her life before Jack, Willa's step-father. Willa has a few secrets of her own. She can never share how resentful she is of Jack's 2 daughters. But there is another darker secret that Willa knows she can never share with any of them. It is a secret that keeps her in control of her own life. Something she turns to for comfort when she really wants to scream.

When Willa's real father murders his present family and seems to be heading for Willa and her mother, Willa's life seems to spiral out of control. Bent on learning about her father's family Willa returns to the small town that her mother and her escaped from when Willa was only 4 years old.  Learning about her father, step-brother and step-sisters helps Willa discover who she is as a person.

At first I thought that this book was going to be more of a suspense/mystery. But that is only part of the story. The majority is Willa discovering who she is and where her place in her family is. I really enjoyed the story.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Christian Fiction Book Club

Next meeting will be hosted by Lydia at The Overweight Bookshelf on September 24th.
Our next book for discussion will be The Preacher's Bride by Jody Hedlund.

If you would like to participate read the book and then on September 24th join us for the discussion. All are welcome. Lydia will have a form for you to link up your review. Also here is a site that has discussion questions for the book: Discussion questions
Pick out one or two(or more) discussion questions to answer and post the question with your answers on your review. Hope to see you on the 24th!

Friday, August 19, 2011


                                                            Waterfall Wednesdays

For the next 5 Wednesdays There will be a Waterfall Read-Along sponsored by: Missie at The Unread Reader, Joy &Serena at Edgy Inspirational Romance, Nic at Irresistible Reads, Jenny from Supernatural Snark, and Tina from Tina's Book Reviews .

Go to Tina's blog to link up to join the discussion. The first 5 discussion questions are listed on Tina's blog.

Discussion Schedule:

August 31- Chapters 1-6 Hosted by Tina at Tinasbookreviews
Sept 7- Chapters 7-11 Hosted by Missie at The Unread Reader
Sept 14- Chapters 12-17 Hosted by Joy&Serena at Edgy Inspirational Romance
Sept 21- Chapters 18-23 Hosted by Jenny at Supernatural Snark
Sept 28- Chapters 24-28 and Wrap Up Hosted by Nic at Irresistible Reads

Lisa Bergren has offered a set of all 3 books to one lucky winner! Signing up automatically enters you into the drawing! 

I just finished reading Waterfall and I can't wait to join in the discussion!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren-KINDLE #4

Gabriella and her sister Evangelia are in Italy with their mother an Etruscan artifacts archeologist. Both of their parents were archeologists, but now that their father has passed away their mother is on her own in her search for Etruscan treasures. While at their mother's latest discovery the girls decide to do some exploring on their own.

Gabi and Lia find themselves in one of the Etruscan tombs that their mother has been excavating. Knowing that they should never touch anything, Gabi is tempted by hand prints on one of the walls. When she places her hand print in one it fits perfectly. Instead of cold stone there is a warmth emanating from it. She has Lia put her hand into the smaller print which fits perfectly. Movement starts happening and even though Gabi tries to hold onto Lia, the girls are separated.

Coming out of the tomb Gabi finds herself in the middle of a battle between 2 families. She soon realizes that she has been transported to the 14th century where there are lords and ladies and where loyalties can be bought for a price.

Marcello, in the heat of battle, is startled to see Gabi appear. He cannot figure out why a girl would be wearing such clothing and also be in the middle of a battle. He offers Gabi shelter in his castello. He feeds her and clothes her as a proper lady. Marcello is not the lord of the manor. His father is still alive(but has suffered a stroke), and his older brother is still alive although very sickly. Marcello has command of his knights though and they are loyal to him. Marcello is also betrothed to lady Rossi. A union between her family and Marcello's will prove very advantageous.

Obsessed with finding her sister, Gabi insists on being allowed to return to the tombs. With unrest all around and battles at every turn Gaby feels the restriction of being a woman in the 1300's. Also with her growing attraction for Marcello and his for her, Gabi knows she must find her sister quickly and return to the 21st century before it is too late.

WOW WOW WOW! I loved this story! I read it on my Kindle, but I think I may have to go buy the trilogy(Cascade is already out and Torrent is coming out soon), just for the covers of the books! They are gorgeous! There was suspense(biting my nails) and toe-curling kisses(sigh) that kept me turning the pages late into the night.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Race Against Time by Kimberley and Kayla R. Woodhouse

While out exercising her sprint dog team Zoya witnesses a murder. Not only does she see the man being shot, but then the murderer turns and shoots at her as well. From that moment on Zoya's life is changed. She is plunged into an abyss of shaken faith that she doesn't know if she can ever climb out of.

Anesia is Zoya's mother. She owns a thriving business of raising prize sprint dog teams. Anesia and Zoya have always been close. They have always been able to share everything with each other. After all it is just the two of them. Zoya's father died before she was ever born. Anesia has had to be strong to face the stigma of never having been married to Zoya's father. Anesia would do anything to protect her daughter, but is at a loss as to how to help her out of the abyss that Zoya has plunged into.

Sean has trekked across the country trying to escape from his father's tyrannical rule over his life. When he arrives in North Pole, Alaska he senses it is time to stop traveling and settle down. He applies for a job in Anesia's kennels. Anesia hires him to care for the kennels, but also to protect her and Zoya from the men that are still out to kill her. 

Zoya has allowed her anger at God to fester in her soul. A question that she asks Sean at one point is, "Why does God allow the bad junk to happen?" She no longer feels that God is there with her. She resents that He allowed her to see the murder. She resents that He has allowed the killers to still be out there threatening her. She pulls away from her family and her best friend Andie. She doesn't want them to know how much she is struggling with her anger towards God. She feels that they would never understand. The only voice she seems to hear is the one telling her never to trust Him again.

Race Against Time is the sequel to the book No Safe Haven by the mother/daughter authors Kimberley and Kayla Woodhouse. Race Against Time starts out heart pounding and ends just as strong! I was on the edge of my seat several times. I have to admit too that I had to put the book down a couple of times because the action was so intense I had to get up and walk around before I continued! The action wasn't the only thing that held my interest though. Zoya's struggle with her anger towards God was heart-breaking. The relationship growing between Sean and Anesia was special. I loved that the characters from No Safe Haven (Jenna, Andie and Cole) were also part of Race Against Time. And I'm hoping that Kimberley and Kayla are working on a 3rd book to the series because I think there is still lots more of the story to be told!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Women of Faith Conference

I was chosen to attend the Women of Faith Conference near me! My conference dates are November 11-12 2011. I'm so excited. I get 2 free tickets(Thanks to Book Sneeze) to attend the event. I am going to take one of my daughters. I'll be facebooking at the event. It has been years since I attended a WOF conference. In fact I believe the last one I attended was in Sacramento, CA in 1996. I went with my mom, so I am looking forward to experiencing this conference with one of my daughters. Check out the button to the right! Here is a promo:

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Her Best Catch by Lindi Peterson-KINDLE #3

Allison Doll is a 29 year old auditor that lives with her mother and grandmother. She loves her job and she loves the Lord. She has been best friends with Trent and Velvet since they were children. Trent and Velvet have recently become a couple. Allison refers to them as Trelvet. She is having a hard time being the third wheel in their relationship.

Ashton Boyd is a baseball relief pitcher that recently injured his throwing arm. When he shows up in Allison’s Sunday School he makes quite a stir, not only with the guys, but also with the girls! When Ashton (known as a player) sets his sights on Allison, Trelvet has misgivings.

Allison is attracted to Ashton, after all his kisses make her weak at the knees! But Ashton is working on a comeback that will take him out of town the majority of the year. Allison’s father was away for much of her life with his job. Allison doesn’t know if she could handle a long-distance relationship. 

I really enjoyed this story. Allison was such a fun character and there were several laugh- out- loud moments. 

Saturday, August 13, 2011


This month's Christian Fiction Book Club is hosted by Jules at My Own Little Corner of the World. If you read Digitalis by Ronie Kendig and would like to discuss it with us, choose a question from HERE and link up your post. No blog? You're welcome to hop around and join our discussions in the comments.  
(Thanks to Joy at Edgy Inspirational Romance for posting this blurb, I stole it from her! Below is my review and opinions)

Colton (Cowboy) is part of the Nightshade team. He is a sniper for the team. He battles the memories of being held captive and tortured, of his sister being killed, and of his wife leaving him. The only good thing to come of that relationship was his daughter Mickey.

Piper works at a department store. She is in hiding. Her true identity can never be revealed or her father will be in deadly danger. She cannot afford to be careless and she cannot afford to enter into any relationships that may endanger her life and the lives of those she loves.

From the moment Colton and Piper see each other in the department store there is an attraction. Goaded by his team, Colton finally works up the courage to ask Piper out. It seems that they are meant for each other. After all, Mickey has dreamed for a mother and brother and sister, she thinks Piper is perfect.

Evil catches up with Piper quickly. Unable to tell Colton her secrets soon puts a strain on their relationship. Especially once that evil visits Colton’s home and leaves tragedy behind.

The story was definitely action-packed. Unfortunately for me the relationship between Colton and Piper just didn’t work. Frankly I got irritated with both of them too often. Both of them kept secrets from each other. Colton was unable to tell Piper what his true job was. Piper was unable to tell him about the danger that she was in. Yet when Colton finds out about Piper he is unable to forgive her for holding the secret and drawing him and his family into her danger.  I thought their declarations for love to one another started way too fast before they ever had a chance to really KNOW each other.  Also, a pet-peeve that I have is the editing of the story. I read my copy on my Kindle and it was full of typos, to the point of distraction.  I think that Digitalis can be a standalone story, but the first in the series is Nightshade, and coming out soon is Wolfsbane.  Nightshade may have explained the reason the group was formed, but I caught up pretty quickly with the characters in Digitalis. 


Discussion Questions:

 6. Have you or a loved one ever endured something painful (an illness, injury, broken relationship) and you wondered why God didn’t supernaturally intervene? Why do you think He does not eradicate our problems or pains?
While this in not an illness, injury or broken relationship story it is one that at the time was a struggle for me to get through. In 1997 the base that my husband worked at was closed down. We had to make the decision of being relocated or find another job. My husband had almost 20 years of service in though so we didn’t think we wanted to lose his retirement. We opted to be relocated. While I was grateful for my husband being offered a job at another base it was hard for me because I had never been away from my family before. Now I was faced with being half the country away from my parents, sisters and friends. It is not easy for me to make friends, and my family was my support system. I have to say though that even though the first year was a struggle with many tears and rants to the Lord, after being here for 14 years the Lord has provided so much for us that looking back I am amazed at my immaturity in thinking that I knew what was best instead of resting in God’s promise that HE knows what is best for us always. As far as why He doesn’t eradicate our problems and pains I believe those trials and tribulations are to help us grow in maturity to our Lord and Savior.  Through that time even though I was asking Him WHY I was still calling to Him for help. He provided a wonderful church family for us. He has provided friends that have become our surrogate family. I still miss being physically close to family, but with internet, phone calls and visits we stay intimately close.

2. Colton is a Marine, he has seen combat, and as a sniper, he has killed enemy combatants.  Yet without his precise skill, innocent lives would have been lost. Our troops often face horrible accusations by those who have never weathered combat. What are your thoughts about Colton’s profession?
Unfortunately war is a result of sin in the world. I admire our military for the sacrifices that they give every day for our safety. Colton was a sniper, he took out bad guys. Bad guys need to be taken out, that’s just a fact. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Disaster Status by Candace Calvert-KINDLE #2

Erin is an ER nurse who has a hard time trusting people-especially men. All while she was growing up she could never trust her father because he always let her down. She cannot forgive her father so she has hardened herself and separated herself from her family. She has convinced herself that she is strong and doesn't need to trust anyone else.

Scott is a firefighter with ambitions to be chief. He likes everything "by the book". Having failed to help his sister out of a miserable marriage with disastrous results, he blames himself. He too has slowly separated himself from his family.

When a chemical spill brings several people to the ER it throws Erin and Scott together. Sparks instantly fly between them. There is definitely an attraction between them but will they be able to get past their own hurts and be able to trust each other?

This was a fairly quick and easy read. I was a bit disappointed in that I thought the initial disaster would play more of a part in the story. While there were several emergencies during the story the author focused more on the relationships and the personal struggles of several characters.

A Tailor-Made Bride by Karen Witemeyer-KINDLE #1

Hannah is a seamstress that has dreamed of having her own shop. When an elderly woman customer makes that dream a reality Hannah is thrilled. She moves to the town of Covington to open her shop in the building she was bequethed. She knows it will take time to establish a clientele but she is prepared to prove her worth as a dressmaker.

J.T. owns the livery across the street  from Hannah's shop. He is resentful that he was unable to buy the building that Hannah's shop is in. He had tried to buy it in order to help out the laundress-a proud woman who is raising 3 children on her own. When he learns that Hannah is opening a dress shop he is further resentful and prepared to dislike the new seamstress before he even meets her.  After all his mother left him, his father and sister because she preferred the outward beauty rather than inward beauty.

When Hannah and J.T. meet sparks fly. Unable to understand J.T.'s angry behavior, Hannah is determined ot make him smile. J.T.'s sister Cordelia befriends Hannah and becomes her first customer. Determined to gain the attention of the local telegraph operator Cordelia enlists Hannah's help is changing her appearance. When J.T. learns of this endeavor he has to ask himself some serious questions. Can a woman really be both beautiful on the inside as well as on the outside?

Hannah seems to be proving all of J.T.'s pre-conceived notions wrong. She has be-friended a man who recently lost his wife. It seems the man hasn't bathed since his wife's passing-the town hasn't reached out to him, but by first being kind to him each day, Hannah has managed to bring him back into society. She has also found small ways to help the laundress provide for her family. Surely someone with such a caring heart as Hannah can have beauty within and without.

I enjoyed this story very much. I did get a bit frustrated with J.T.'s struggle to not let go of his rigid ideas but ended up very happy with the outcome.


Hi Everyone! I was on vacation for 10 days with limited access to internet. That was hard! I enjoyed vacation though. Join The Christian Fiction Book Club tomorrow for our reviews of Digitalis by Ronie Kendig. I'm going to try and get some reviews up tonight. I did manage to read a couple of books while on vacation.