Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Song - Book Review

This is my last book review for the year and
I will resume my other weekly posts in the New Year.
Looking forward to catching up with you, dear friends.

* * * * *

Jed King's life has been shaped and scarred by the songs and mistakes
of his his famous father.
He wants to sing his own song, but the words and melody are elusive.
Jed's dreams of a successful music career seem out of reach. . .
until he meets Rose.
Inspired by his love for the vineyard owner's daughter, Jed pens a new song-
a song with such emotional power and longing that it catapults him into stardom.
But with this life of fame comes temptation,
the same temptation that lured his father so many years ago
and now threatens to unravel his marriage.
The pull of "The Song" takes Jed and Rose on a journey 
that will force them to deal with failure, the pain of loss,
and the desire to be who God created them to be.
Together they will test the limits of the promise that love is the power that heals.
Lyrical and deeply honest, The Song asks hard questions of love and forgiveness.
When even the wisest of men is a fool for love, can love persevere?


My Thoughts
This novel is based upon the film The Song by Richard Ramsey
and is taken from the Song of Solomon, a book in the Bible.
I have not seen the film and am writing this book review 
solely on the novel written by Chris Fabry.

Jed King is the son of the famous singer and song writer, David King.
At a young age Jed falls in love with the guitar and begins making music
under the teaching of his father.
As he grows older he desires to share his music with the world,
but has difficulty getting his foot into the music industry.
Then he meets Rose - the beauty and inspiration he needs for writing music
that will touch the hearts of many.
They fall in love, have a God-honoring wedding, and begin their life together.

The morning of their honeymoon Jed writes The Song in honor of his new wife.
His life and heart is so full of love, adoration, and gratefulness 
for the precious and pure gift of marriage
that the words simply flow from pen to paper then from melody to music.
He has written his greatest hit and soon he is on the road performing
at concerts and living the life he only dreamed of,
but at what cost. . .

The Song is an emotional journey of sweet love,
heartache, regrets, loss, and precious forgiveness.
The book shows that there is always hope and blessed redemption 
in the arms of Jesus Christ and it's never too late to cry out to Him in humility.
God loves us with an everlasting love, He understands our pain,
and feels our heartache - and He wants to heal us, 
to comfort His children, to lavish us in love and tender mercies, 
and to pour out never-ending forgiveness upon our broken souls.

I don't recommend this book to youth or teens,
but rather to married couples who understand marriage 
and all that is involved between a wife and husband.
The Story is a good reminder of how important and vital it is to keep the Lord
as the head and leader of your life and marriage.

My only "issue" with the book is that it mentioned wine {a lot} 
and encouraged the use of alcohol as long as it's "controlled" and moderated.
I simply don't agree with that.

** I was given a free copy of this book from Tyndale Publishers for an honest review.
All thoughts are my own. No other compensation was received. **

About the Author
Chris Fabry is an award-winning author and radio personality 
who hosts the daily program Chris Fabry Live! on Moody Radio.
He has written more than seventy books for children and adults.
His novel have won three Christy Awards and an ECPA Christian Book Award,
but it's his lyrical prose and tales of redemption that keep readers returning for more.
Chris and wife, Andrea, have nine children and live in Arizona.
Visit his website at www.chrisfabry.com

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Bracelet - Book Review

There will be several book reviews appearing on my blog
during the next few days.
My usual weekly postings will resume in the New Year.

* * * * *

"There are no secrets that time does not reveal."
- Jean Racine -

Celia Browning dreams of the day when her childhood sweetheart
Sutton Mackay comes home to Savannah after two years in Jamaica
managing his family's shipping interests.
Sutton has all but proposed, and their marriage will unite 
two of the city's most prominent families.
But just as Sutton returns, a newspaper reporter arrives in town,
determined to pry into twin tragedies that took place at the Browning mansion
on Madison Square when Celia was a child.

The unsavory journalist continues to unearth the Browning family's dark past,
and Celia begins to receive threatening anonymous notes,
along with a bracelet imbued with a chilling message.
As the clouds of war gather over Savannah, and her beloved father's health worsens,
Celia realizes that her family's past has the power to destroy her future
and determines to uncover the truth about what really happened all those years ago.

Inspired by actual events in one of Savannah's most prominent 19th-century families,
The Bracelet is the story of a young southern woman whose dreams fracture
under the weight of her family's tragic past.


My Thoughts
This was my first novel from Dorothy Love and
I would say her writing in The Bracelet is solid and concise,
but not exactly spectacular or memorable. . .
There is certainly suspense, romance, and secrets intertwined throughout the chapters,
but unfortunately it was rather simple to figure out the plot and
who was sending the anonymous messages to Celia - 
I had it figured out before I was halfway through the book.
And I was rather disappointed to see that the character involved in the threats
seemed to get away with it even when it came down to a matter of life or death.

Celia, the main female character, is not the type I typically relate to
and unfortunately I didn't find a connection with her.
She is indeed kind and caring and dotes upon her father,
but I also found her to be spoiled, too perfect, and something else, 
something I can't quite put my finger on. . .
Sutton, the main male character, is certainly a kind gentleman with a big heart for Celia,
but once again I did not connect with him.
These are minor issues, but connecting with the characters is a big deal for me
and if I can't find some common ground with them than the story falls short.

The southern history was fascinating and I applaud Dorothy Love
for doing a wonderful job of portraying Savannah, Georgia during 1858.
There is much talk of a war {the Civil War} taking place among the homes in Savannah
and I found the thoughts about the war to be quite interesting
and from a good view point.

All-in-all there was a little bit of excitement throughout the book,
but most of the time the story and characters fell flat.
I have read many books over the years,
books that still stand out in my mind because they were unforgettable,
but The Bracelet is, sad to say, forgettable.

** I was given a complimentary copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers
for an honest review. All thoughts are my own and no other compensation was received. **

About the Author
A native of west Tennessee, Dorothy Love makes her home in the Texas hill country
with her husband and their golden retriever.
An accomplished author, Dorothy is known for her Hickory Ridge novels among others.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Promise - Book Review

There will be several book reviews appearing on my blog
during the next few days.
My usual weekly postings will resume in the New Year.
Looking forward to catching up with you, friends!

* * * * *

Mallory's search for happiness leads her to a faraway place.
There she finds heartache, betrayal - and danger.

Mallory Hammond is determined that no one 
will stand in the way of her goal - to save a life.
She had that chance years ago, and she failed to take it,
leaving her adrift and in search of the real meaning of her life.
Finally, she meets a man online from a volatile corner of the world
who offers her a chance to find that purpose.
But she will have to leave everyone she loves behind in order to take it.

Tate Webber has loved Mallory for many years.
He understands that Mallory will never be happy with him
until her deepest heart's desire is satisfied.
When Mallory decides to travel across the world to fulfill her dreams,
Tate begs her not to go but tries to give her the space she needs.
Mallory embarks on her dangerous journey only to discover 
how swiftly and easily promises can be broken.
And Mallory can only pray that she will make it alive.

Inspired by actual events, The Promise is a riveting story
that asks the question: how far will we go for love?



My Thoughts
I was extremely disappointed and disgusted with The Promise.
This was my first novel from Beth Wiseman and it will be my last.

I never understood where the author was coming from spiritually speaking.
Mallory has no faith and doesn't seem to have any desire to understand God.
Tate is a devoted Catholic yet he sleeps with his girlfriend {Mallory} 
and wants her to move in with him.
Ismail and Soraya are Muslims and are engaged to one another,
but they are also sharing the bed before marriage.
I don't appreciate the fact that intimacy outside of marriage was portrayed
and even encouraged throughout the book.

I was disappointed that the Quran was mentioned the most throughout the book 
with an emphasis on what it said rather than the written Word of God, the Bible.
The way the author talked about Catholics, Muslims, and Christians
seemed like she was saying all religions are the same 
and it just depends on which religion we're born into.
The author was never clear on who the one and only God is - 
His love, mercy, caring, and forgiveness was never brought to light
and more importantly, salvation through the shed blood of Jesus was never mentioned.
When Jesus was mentioned he was mentioned as only a prophet which is what the Quran says.
There was no emphasis on true Christianity 
so I am confused as to why this book is labeled under Christian fiction.
To finish it off the author used a nasty cuss word towards the end of the book
which was absolutely not necessary!

Have we, believers of Jesus Christ, conditioned ourselves to just accept the ways of the world?
Do we think a cuss word here and there 
or unmarried couples sleeping with one another is okay?
Do we simply bypass our convictions just so we can read a good storyline?
When I pick up a Christian fiction book I always feel safe opening the pages
because I know it will be clean and wholesome,
but this book was the opposite. . .

I cannot, in good conscience, recommend this book to my readers 
for no one can take away from it that there is one way of salvation 
through Jesus Christ and that He is the one and only true God - 
the God that the Bible presents.

** I was given a complimentary copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers
for an honest review. All thoughts are my own and no other compensation was received. **

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Price Of Privilege - Book Review

There will be several book reviews appearing on my blog
during the next few days.
My usual weekly postings will resume in the New Year.

* * * * *

Where will she turn when the truth 
becomes more dangerous than the lie?

Having finally discovered the truth of her birthright,
Julia Elliston is determined to outwit Chance Macy at his own game.
Holding knowledge he'd kill to keep secret, however, 
is proving more difficult than she imagined.

Just when Julia thinks she's managed to untangle herself from Macy's clutches,
the scandal of the century breaks loose.
Drawing rooms all over London whisper what so far the newspapers have not dared to print:
Macy's lost bride is none other than Lord Pierson's daughter, Julia-
and one of the most controversial cases of marital law ever seen 
comes before Victorian courts.

Though Julia knows Macy's version of events is another masterful manipulation,
public opinion is swaying in his favor.
Caught in a web of deceit and lies, armed only with a fledgling faith,
Julia must face her fiercest trial yet.



My Thoughts
Before I share my thoughts about this book let me first say that
Price of Privilege is the third book in the Price of Privilege Trilogy.
You must begin with book number one in order to keep up with the story
as each book is a continuation of Julia's life.

Price of Privilege is the grand finale in this series written by Jessica Dotta
and once again she does not disappoint.
Have you ever eagerly awaited the final book in a series 
only to have it in your hands and not want to open it. . .
because once the book is in your possession than you will naturally open it
and your eyes will begin reading the lines and the story will come to an end. . .
You want to find out what happens yet you don't want the drama, the suspense, 
the romance, and the intrigue to end - 
you wish you could just keep it close buried deep in your heart. . .
That's how is was for me when I received Price of Privilege -
I hungered to know what happened to Julia, Edward, Isaac, Macy, and Lord Pierson,
but I was sad to know that my journey with these characters was coming to an end.

Jessica Dotta writes in a way that draws the reader into the lives of her characters;
it's as if the reader has jumped into the pages and is part of the Victorian era.
The characters are like old friends that weave their way into the hearts and minds 
of the readers leaving behind a fullness and satisfaction of knowing them,
but also an emptiness when the realization hits that their lives have been lived 
and have now come to a closing with the last line in the book.

In Price of Privilege, Jessica Dotta really brings forth 
the beautiful and precious gift of forgiveness and healing.
Julia has struggled throughout the first two books with the idea of God being in her life
and the fact that He offers love and forgiveness to all.
In the third book she finally comes to understand how much God loves her.
She finally lets go and allows the Lord to have full reign in her life,
but there are still difficult and painful steps that she must take - 
and in taking these steps she has to fully trust God and His ways,
but sometimes the outcome is not what she wanted or even expected. . .

Oh, how I would love to go on and on about this book,
but I'm afraid in doing so I would only spoil the story for you.
Long after reading Price of Privilege I still think upon the trials 
Julia, Edward, and Isaac faced and feel the heartache they experienced,
the heartache and pain that only made them stronger.
Tears flood my eyes as I remember the phenomenal journey Jessica Dotta took me on - 
not many authors can bring this sort of reaction from me.
I clap my hands for you, dear Jessica, for you have won my heart and approval
with your incredible gift of writing and story-telling.

I have been left in complete awe from the Price of Privilege series.
If you have read many of my reviews than you know 
I don't often highly recommend a book unless I absolutely love it and support it.
Well, I highly, highly recommend this series!
Each book is a masterpiece that you don't want to miss out on.
Read this series, my friend, you won't regret it.

** I was given a free copy of this book from Tyndale Publishers for an honest review.
All thoughts are my own. No other compensation was received. **

Read the review for the first book, Born of Persuasion, here.
Read the review for the second book, Mark of Distinction, here.

About the Author
Jessica Dotta has always been fascinated by England during the Regency and Victorian eras.
Her passion for British literature fueled her desire to write in a style that blends the humor of
Jane Austen and the dark drama of a Bronte sister.
She lives in the Nashville area with her family
and works as a freelance media consultant and publicist.
Visit her online at www.jessicadotta.com

Monday, December 22, 2014

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

From home to home,
and heart to heart,
from one place to another,
the warmth and joy of Christmas
brings us closer to each other.
- Emily Matthews -

* * * * *

Merry Christmas, my friends!
I have a cup of hot cocoa prepared just for you,
the fire is warm and delightful,
and the Christmas tree is all lit up in beauty.


As I look upon the Christmas tree branches 
I see years of sweet memories all wrapped up in each ornament. . .
they are one of my most favorites items to pull out during this season
and it would be a joy to share some with you. . .


This "cuddly" bear ornament was a gift from my Grandma Betty.
When I pulled it from its box to hang on the tree I began crying 
because I was once again reminded of my precious Grandma.
This is the second Christmas without her and I dearly miss her. . .


She also gave this cute snowman to my son when he was only 2 years old.
Grandma always liked fuzzy and cuddly critters and when she'd see one
she would always say, "Aww... isn't he cute!" with a little giggle.


My beloved piano teacher, Mrs. Collett, gave me this sparkly red bird
when I was about 14 or 15-years-old.
Mrs. Collett is a tender-heart and greatly enriched my younger years.
She and I often played duets together during practice,
she on the organ and I on the piano.
I went through a phase of playing "oldies" type music
and whenever I played 'A Blossom Fell'
tears would always come to her eyes. . .
I often wondered if there was a story for her behind the song.


I made this ornament with a dear lady, Helen, during Sunday School 
when I was about three-years-old.
My cousin Brian and I were in the same class at that time 
and we were inseparable - he was my best bud :)


This white bear sitting in the red rocking chair is one of my very favorites!
It has been around since 1988 and always brings a smile to my face 
when I pull it out to put on the tree.
I remember as young girl I used to look for it in the box of decorations
so that I could be the one to hang it up.
I would often pull it off the Christmas tree
so that I could play with it.


This was made by Marie {my dad's cousin} and given to my parents years ago.
It was another one I enjoyed playing with because the tree in the back comes out.
My parents gave it to me when I got married and now my son can also play with it :)


As many of you know, I love tea cups!
So my sweet mom gave this pretty tea cup to me several years ago.
When I hang it upon the tree I always think of her-
her kindness and caring,
her gentleness and compassion,
her wisdom and encouragement,
her precious love.


My older sister also knows I adore tea cups
so she gave me this pretty miniature tea cup and tea pot a few years ago.
The cup and pot are covered in Cardinals - Grandma Betty's favorite bird.
My sister blessed me twice by giving me something I love
and something that reminds me of Grandma.


Ahhh. . . my loooong snowman :)
I remember picking this cutie out at Pier One Imports.
the Christmas year before I got married.
I looked at their display of ornaments for some time
and continued to come back to this one - 
it's one I look forward to hanging on the tree.


This sweetie is another childhood favorite - I've had it since I was a little one-year-old.
Oh, how I remember the years that I would play with this guy-
his leg used to spin so I would often spin it around and around.
I don't know how many times I broke it {a lot}
but my mom would always glue him back together for me
so that I could have the enjoyment of hanging him on the Christmas tree.


And last, but certainly not least, is this darling little Hershey's book
that is filled with sweet and tasty recipes.
This is another ornament that I couldn't wait to pull out 
from the Christmas decoration box when I was younger
because I always enjoyed looking through the pages.


I hope you enjoyed these cherished memories 
as much as I enjoyed telling you about them.

* * * * *
The hot cocoa is now gone,
the cozy fire is quietly crackling in the background,
and the Christmas tree lights are casting a soft glow upon the room. . .
The time has come to bid each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas.

Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Let your heart be light
From now on,
our troubles will be out of sight

Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Make the Yule-tide gay,
From now on,
our troubles will be miles away.

Here we are as in olden days,
Happy golden days of yore.
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more.

Through the years
We all will be together,
If the Fates LORD allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough.
And have yourself A merry little Christmas now.
- Ralph Blane -

May you and your loved ones have a joyous and blessed Christmas season
as you celebrate the precious birth of our Savior!

JESUS. . .
the ANSWER to all our questions,
the YES to all God's promises,
the AMEN to all our prayers,
He is the GIVER of all our blessings,
the FORGIVER of all our sins,
the SAVIOR of all who trust in Him.

He is the greatest story, the most amazing gift,
and the blessed hope of all who believe.

Merry Christmas, sweet friends!


I will be taking a small blogging break during this holiday season
and will "see" you in the new year :)
Love to you!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest:
and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever;
and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
- Luke 1:32, 33 -


O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.


O come, O come, Thou Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes, on Sinai's height,
In ancient times didst give the Law,
In cloud, and majesty and awe.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.


O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan's tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save
And give them victory o'er the grave
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.


O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
O drive away the shades of night
And pierce the clouds and bring us light.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.


O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Where all Thy saints with Thee shall swell-
O come, O come, Emmanuel!
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.
- Plainsong, 13th Century -


Behold a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son,
and they shall call his name Emmanuel,
which being interpreted is, God with us.
- Matthew 1:23 -

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given:
and the government shall be upon his shoulder:
and his name shall be called 
Wonderful,
Counsellor;
The mighty God,
The everlasting Father,
The Prince of Peace.
- Isaiah 9:6 -

Have a blessed Lord's Day, sweet friends!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Pink And Silver Christmas Tea

My sweet mom called me up on Monday
and asked if we could have a tea party at my home - just her, my son and me.
Of course I said yes so on Tuesday she came over
for a delightful Christmas tea with lots of pink beauty.


Mason jars were filled with silver tinsel 
and pink vintage glass balls.


Lovely pink pearls adorned the top of the jars. . .


And a lacy cupcake liner sat upon the tinsel.



I filled a vintage mold with silver glittery balls
and more pink pearl goodness.



This lovely belle of the ball held our spoons.


My pink rose tea pot was used for the special occasion
as was my 'Stephanie' rose china.


Place setting cards were created out of card stock
and adorned with the same pink pearls that were on the Mason jars.


And a delicate crown was made out of lace and set by the name.
I got the idea from sweet  Marcia who shared a similar crown on her blog.
You should check hers out :)

I applied Mod Podge to the lace and allowed it to dry
so that it made the lace hard and not flimsy.
Then, I hot glued the ends together and added some pink rhinestones.


Instead of drinking from matching tea cups 
I had my mom and son pick out the cups that they would like to use.
My mother always picks the tea cup pictured below.
I received it from Linda who blogs over at My Sew What Blog
during a past tea cup exchange.


And my son always picks this rose covered tea cup
which I found at the thrifty store a few years ago.


I decided to use a tea cup that my mother-in-law gave me
which belonged to her mother.


Now let me share our menu. . .


Sparkling Cranberry Brie Bites

You can find the beautiful recipe here.



Cucumber Slices With Herb Cream Cheese

I added fresh basil, oregano, and chives to softened cream cheese
as well as some salt, pepper, and a dash of garlic powder.



Ham or Turkey Cheese Sliders With Caramelized Poppy Seed Glaze

These were so, so, so good!
I will share the recipe at the end :)



For dessert my mom brought homemade cookies
that are family favorite recipes.
In fact, you can find the recipes on her blog.





We had a wonderful day together and my heart was truly blessed.
It's easy to think we don't have time during the holidays 
to just sit with family and friends and chat over tea, 
but I have realized that there is always time and it's always worth it.
Quiet, simple moments are always memorable
and cherished for many years.

We had a fourth guest show up right when we pulled out the camera. . .
It's ol' Frosty again!
It's becoming quite apparent that he loves stealing the show :)
Once we were done taking pictures he had to leave
since we had a cozy fire going - a little too warm for our "cold" friend.


Now here is the recipe for the sliders that were so delicious.

Ingredients Needed:

1/4 lb deli fresh maple glazed ham
1/4 lb deli fresh black pepper turkey
Swiss cheese slices
BBQ sauce
1 package of Kings Hawaiian rolls
1/4 cup butter
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tablespoon poppy seeds
2 heaping tablespoons brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Slice open the rolls and place 1 1/2 or 2 slices of deli meat onto the roll.
Cut the cheese slice into quarters and add two onto the meat.
Add about 1 teaspoon of BBQ sauce to the slider.
Repeat this process - you will get 12 sandwiches.
Place the sliders into a 9 x 13-inch baking dish 
{place them close together so that they are touching}.

For the sauce:
add the butter, Worcestershire sauce, poppy seeds, and brown sugar
to a small sauce pan.
Brings the sauce to a boil.
Remove from heat and drizzle the sauce over the sandwiches.

Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes.
Enjoy!

May your weekend be beautiful, bright, and merry!
Hugs and blessings to you!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Wrap It Up...With Book Pages

Hello, beautiful friends!
Christmas - oh, how I love this delightful holiday!
One thing I enjoy about this time is the wrapping of gifts for loved ones.


There's nothing quite like listening to good ol' Christmas carols,
drinking a cup of coffee with cream and sugar,
and sitting by the crackling fire while wrapping goodies.


This year for the smaller gifts I used book pages to wrap them up.
If you don't have any extra books lying around than visit your local thrifty store.
You should be able to find one for .50 cents.


I used stamps to add extra Christmas cheer to the gift.
Two pages were torn out of the book, trimmed to size,
and sewn together with the sewing machine.
I left a small gap so that I could slip the gift in
and then finished sewing it up.


Two holes were punched out at the top and I used red lace for a pretty addition.
Then I tied on a handmade Christmas tag for the finishing touch.


Use your lovely creativity, sweet friends, 
and bless someones day with a beautifully wrapped gift :)
Hugs to you!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...