Sunday, July 24, 2016

Christian Fiction by Mike Dellosso

Kill Devil (Jed Patrick)
I just read Kill Devil by Mike Delosso, a new fiction author for me.  This was the 2nd book in his Jed Patrick series, but I was able to read it as a stand alone book without reading book #1.

It was a good suspense and adventure novel that reminded me of the Bourne books/movies.  But it also has messages of faith woven throughout the book, primarily in conversations/reflections with Patrick's young daughter.  The reminders of God's presence and comfort through trials is a message we all need to hear!  But there are also disturbing scenes of psychological torture and hearing voices.  I enjoyed most of the book, but could have done without some of the more disturbing elements.

From the publisher: "Jed Patrick is convinced he’s doing all it takes to keep his family safe―new names, new location, new identity. But just when he thinks he finally has his life back, trained men claiming to be CIA agents break in and threaten his wife and daughter, proving once and for all his family will never truly be safe until he eliminates the agency dead set on hunting him down. Not knowing if Karen and Lilly are better off by his side or in hiding, Jed is determined to protect them while finding a way to use the classified information that he possesses to dismantle the Centralia Project. But he soon learns that eliminating Centralia may require compromising his own values. As danger escalates, Jed isn’t sure whether there’s anyone or anything he can trust―including his own senses."

I would recommend this book to male and female readers age 15 or older.

I received this book as a gift from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Delilah - a fictional account by Angela Hunt

This is another book that's hard to put down.  It's a fictional account of the biblical narrative of Samson and Delilah.  Told from the perspective of both main characters, the reader gets to peek into the culture and life of Bible times.

From the publisher:  "Life is not easy in Philistia, especially not for a woman and child alone. When beautiful, wounded Delilah finds herself begging for food to survive, she resolves that she will find a way to defeat all the men who have taken advantage of her. She will overcome the roadblocks life has set before her, and she will find riches and victory for herself. When she meets a legendary man called Samson, she senses that in him lies the means for her victory. By winning, seducing, and betraying the hero of the Hebrews, she will attain a position of national prominence. After all, she is beautiful, she is charming, and she is smart. No man, not even a supernaturally gifted strongman, can best her in a war of wits."

Hunt is a very good author.  Her storylines are interesting and easy to follow.  Themes throughout the book remind the reader of God's providence, God's protection, God's faithfulness, God's calling for our lives, God's forgiveness, and God's presence.

I would recommend this book to readers over age 16, because there are some graphic scenes and some sexual innuendos. There is also sexual and physical abuse.

This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

medical fiction novel

The Lethal Harvest
By William Cutrer and Sandra Glahn 

Another page turner, this medical fiction novel tells the story of an embryologist, his colleagues and his family a they wrestle with:
The balance between work and family
The meaning of real love
The quest for cures to diseases
The power struggle over who controls human life
The ethical debate over embryotic and stem cell research

From the publisher: "In order to save the president's life, a brilliant embryologist— the president's nephew made a "devil's bargain" with a secret group of federal agents. But Tim Sullivan's illegal genetic manipulations of human embryos place everyone he knows at risk. Before he can finish his work, a freakish accident kills him and leaves only troubling questions behind.  Now his partner, Ben McKay, and Tim's widow, Marnie, must uncover the hidden truth about Tim’s research before more lives are swept away. In the process, they’re forced to face their feelings for each other and the dark secrets in their own pasts. This story of love, loss, and danger crosses international borders from Mexico to the former Soviet Union in order to answer one searing question: if Tim's research is completed, what form will the strange and dangerous harvest take?  Ambition, jealousy, and the ultimate meaning of love move this riveting story through the dark labyrinth that may lie buried under breakthroughs in genetic research and cloning."

The book is clean, easy to read, and it keeps your attention.  I would recommend it to any reader age 15+.

I received this book as a gift from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Shopping for Tall Men

My eldest son has reached 6'5, so I'm struggling with shopping.  I asked tall friends for advice, so I thought I'd share the websites they suggested, and see if readers have more ideas!

Old navy
LL Bean
Lands End
Dillard's big and tall
Macy's , big and tall - Levi's
American Eagle
deluth trading company
Kohls The non wrinkle flat front khakis are 34 x 38 online only and they even have some hem to let out if you need more. 
BUCKLE is great for jeans because they can also order but have several 37.5 lengths in store. Give them a shot for jeans. I know they are expensive but they fit wonderfully. 

SALDLY athletic pants are the hardest - Adidas tall have the longest inseam. Nike's tall ones are a JOKE 

for shoes:

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Potty Training Tips

Potty Training Essentials - items to have on hand for successful potty training
I've forgotten all about potty training, since my big kids are ages 9, 11, and 14.  But with the baby at 15 months, it won't be too long 'til we pull out the potty chair. I saw simple mom's post on potty training, so I thought I would share:

Monday, June 20, 2016

A Flight of Arrows by Lori Benton

I just read Lori Benton's new book, a flight of arrows. It is the second book and a sequel about the intertwined names of two cultures, Native Americans and English colonists  in 1757 on a brink of the Revolutionary War.
Its a well written book with fascinating insights to the two cultures, and intimate look inside the minds of soldiers. But honestly, I had to push myself through the book. It was a little slow, and didn't hold my attention as well as I thought it would.

The characters are well developed and the plot is very unique. She describes the settings so well, so it's easy to picture the landscapes.  Elements of faith in forgiveness are woven throughout the book, but Christianity is not pushed in any way.

From the publisher:  Twenty years past, in 1757, a young Redcoat, Reginald Aubrey stole a newborn boy—the lighter-skinned of Oneida twins— during the devastating fall of Fort William Henry and raised him as his own. No one connected to Reginald escaped unscathed from this crime. Not his adopted daughter Anna. Not Stone Thrower, the Native American father determined to get his son back. Not Two Hawks, William’s twin brother separated since birth, living in the shadow of his absence and hoping to build a future with Anna. Nor Lydia, who longs for Reginald to be free from his self-imposed emotional prison and embrace God’s forgiveness— and her love.  Now William, whose identity has been shattered after discovering the truth of his birth, hides in the ranks of an increasingly aggressive British army. The Redcoats prepare to attack frontier New York and the Continentals, aided by Oneida warriors including Two Hawks, rally to defend it. As the Revolutionary War penetrates the Mohawk Valley, two families separated by culture, united by love and faith, must find a way to reclaim the son marching toward them in the ranks of their enemies. 

The book is appropriate for a readers over age 12. There is also a readers guide for those who want to read the book together and discuss the book.

I received this book as a gift from the publisher in exchange for my honest review

Dee Henderson's new novel - Traces of Guilt

Product Details

Dee Henderson's newest novel, Traces of Guilt, is one that I could not put down this week. It is an Evie Blackwell cold case mystery.

I loved to get into know the Thane family and their friends through the various mysteries in this book. The characters are delightful, easy to relate to, and real. The relationships are deep and rich. The mysteries are intriguing and creative, though also heavy and sad. Henderson's writing style is so easy to read, & I always sink into the lives of her characters.

From the publisher:  Evie Blackwell loves her life as an Illinois State Police detective . . . mostly. She's very skilled at investigations and has steadily moved up through the ranks. She would like to find Mr. Right, but she has a hard time imagining how marriage could work, considering the demands of her job. Gabriel Thane is a lifetime resident of Carin County and now its sheriff, a job he loves. Gabe is committed to upholding the law and cares deeply for the residents he's sworn to protect. He too would like to find a lifetime companion, a marriage like his parents have. When Evie arrives in Carin, Illinois, it's to help launch a new task force dedicated to reexamining unsolved crimes across the state. Spearheading this trial run, Evie will work with the sheriff's department on a couple of its most troubling missing-persons cases. As she reexamines old evidence to pull out a few tenuous new leads, she unearths a surprising connection . . . possibly to a third cold case. Evie's determined to solve the cases before she leaves Carin County, and Sheriff Thane, along with his family, will be key to those answers.

It's a very clean book that I would recommend to any reader over age 14. I received this book as I gift from the publisher and exchange for my honest review.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Like Never Before by Melissa Tagg

Like Never Before by Melissa Tagg is a cute and clever book. It's an easy read that I did not want to put down each night. Believable and relatable characters with real life struggles.  It's book two of the Walker series, but I didn't feel behind, and I haven't read the first book.

The themes include life-work balance (who can't relate to that?!), love, Faith, forgiveness, loyalty new starts, family, and life purpose. So many great themes! If readers take the story to Heart, they will have an opportunity for self-reflection that might lead to shifting priorities and paths. It would be a great read for a book club, because there are so many great discussion points woven throughout the book.

I wasn't surprised to hear that the book was named by Publishers Weekly to their spring 2016 "Religion and Spirituality" Top 10 list

I would recommend this book to any female reader age 16 plus, though readers 18 + may find the story easier to relate to.

I received this book as a gift from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Camping Tips

Mique published a great set of camping tips at thirtyhandmadedays...

Camping.  It seems like everyone is talking about their upcoming trips and plans for the summer.  Growing up I didn’t camp much so it isn’t my favorite thing.  Josh on the other hand, went camping A LOT.  His mom loves the smell of campfire.  Me? Not so much.  He has turned our kids into fans of camping and we have a trip scheduled for next month.  Wish me luck!

Last time we went, I scoured the internet for recipes, printables and more.  I thought you might enjoy some of the favorites that I found. Read more here.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Pearls from the Mother

by Lyn Overholt, my beautiful aunt

Routine is a mother’s best friend.
Never say “I won’t love you if….”Remember that discipline means guidance, not punishment.When praising a child, begin by saying “You must be proud of yourself.  You have worked hard at whatever it is……” THEN say, “I’m proud of you, too. “ The reason: we want to teach children to reinforce their own work, not work only for other’s approval.  I will explain what I mean.When looking at children’s art work, ask them to tell you about their picture instead of saying “What is that?”Say what you mean and mean what you say.Model the behavior you want your children to exhibit.Listen more than you speak. You don’t always have to “fix it.”Good question to ask: what do you think should be done?Tell your children that they can call you from wherever at any time of day or night and you will come and get them no questions asked… (…..until later.)You can ask me anything about anything and we will deal with it together.Sex:  a beautiful god-given thing between two equally committed adults.(Not to be treated casually.)Males NEVER hit females.Define your family values in words – and deeds.Do the right thing… and then explain why you did it.Be as polite to your children and husband as you are to strangers.Use anatomically correct names for body parts.State everything positively. Don’t EVER use racial or gender based slurs.Stay tuned to all aspects of your child: physical, emotional, spiritual, mental and intellectualRemember that you are your child’s first and most important teacher.Mothering is not something that is automatic.  We tend to parent as we were parented.  If you liked your upbringing that is great.  If not, you are able to change your approach.  Learn all you can about what is developmentally appropriate for your child at his/hr age.  Study! Help your child become a good decision maker from a very early age:  just be sure the choices are both okay with you.  Examples given. Let your child choose as practice: menu, clothes, activities.Catch your child being good. ..  and give honest praise.Remember that negative attention is better than none, so give lots of attention to the positive behavior of your child.  Sometimes ignoring bad behavior is a good thing.  Laughing at inappropriate behavior is a no-no.  Laughter is quite a reinforcer.  (even if it is funny!)Don’t compare your child – to anyone or anything.Keep your sense of humor.Admit it when you are wrong and apologize.The rules are the same for everyone… but age appropriate.Tell the truth.Teach your child skills as you go along:  sort the laundry, put up toys, etc.Let your children take the consequences for breaking the rules.Tone of voice is everything.Teach your children that you trust them.Role play: “what would happen if…..” Jigsaw puzzles, carpooling, teaching children to drive are wonderful opportunities to listen and learn.Tell family stories…especially about how much you wanted them and  how much they have added to the family.  Focus on positive things, not negative ones.Spend lots of time, not money on your children. Some of the most fun family times are free.Boys and girls are different from the get-go. Remember you are the role model for femininity and your husband is the role model for masculinity. This is an awesome responsibility.Individual differences are inevitable ….and fascinating.Remember, by the time we learn our jobs, they are over.  Grandparenting is grand.When you make a rule, enforce it.  If it’s not working, change it.Remember that you are in charge.Remember, everyone else ISN’T doing it.  Check with other parents for facts.Remember that dealing with a two year old is excellent practice for dealing with teenagers:  the issues are the same:  autonomy, independence, trust and “I can do it myself.”Never use derogatory labels for any child: you are stupid, ugly, fat, lazy, bad, etc., etc., etc.  Children believe what you say.Start family traditions early.  Example:  bible verses at Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Try to keep holiday times as low key as possible.  Sometimes the emphasis on perfection seems to be the highest at these times.  We need to talk about our expectations so that no one is disappointed that X didn’t happen when no one knew what they expected.Don’t make a big deal over things that are really not important, like hair.  Some of these are just testing and are not fatal.Help your child set standards for himself……friends, behavior, drinking, smoking, sex.  What would Jesus do is a wonderful standard.We want to encourage independent thinking.  (so they won’t be so dependent on others (peers) when making decisions for themselves.)Using expressions like “good decision, good thinking,  sounds like a good plan,” are encouraging words to  someone learning to think independently.Parents should always reinforce each other.  If they disagree, they need to discuss it away from the children and present a united front.When a child needs correcting, separate the child from the group.  Do not embarrass him/her in front of their friends. Teach your children to handle money responsibly.  Money is not free or automatic.  Work and money are directly related.When your child comes home from school, give him/her your undivided attention for five minutes. This will save lots of time later.When your child talks to you, look at him/her.Deal with disciplinary tasks when and where they occur.  Don’t threaten your children with “Wait  until your daddy gets home.  Not only will they be scared of daddy, but they won’t want him to come home.Encourage your child to be able to pretend and to be creative.  This will be helpful in teaching them to think for themselves later.Be consistent!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

cups of coffee and cups of life

Look at the beautiful sign my sister made for her kitchen!  I love the way it reminds her each morning, as she's getting her CUP of coffee about her overflowing CUP of blessings!
We all need that morning reminder, don't we?

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Book Review: Back in the Saddle by Ruth Logan Herne

I've been living on a ranch out west for the last week.  Well, not really, but while reading Back in the Saddle by Ruth Logan Herne, it's felt like I've been riding horses with a ranching family.

It's the story of a modern day prodigal son who returns home to find himself, his family, and his new role in life.  It's the story of a strong woman moving from a place of hiding to freedom, while embracing faith, courage and forgiveness.  It's the story of a dying father forgiving himself for past mistakes, and using the time he has left to love others and rebuild relationships.  It's the story of a family with a history of harmful choices becoming a  family that heals a community.

Every reader is sure to identify with one of the many well-develiped characters in this book.  It's a light-hearted and enjoyable book packed with life lessons and beautiful scenery.  I would recommend this book to any female reader age 14+.  

I've never read a noval by Herne, but I look forward to reading more.

I received this book as a gift from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.