Friday, June 27, 2014

The One, The Selection Trilogy: A Review

The One, The Selection Trilogy

by Kiera Cass

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My Thoughts:
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, actually the entire series. This book was the best in my opinion. I read the entire series, straight through in two days. In my opinion it was better than the Hunger Games or Divergent trilogies. A great read. Thoroughly. I actually PURCHASED all three of these books. I usually get free copies from the publishers to review. Well worth the cost.

Publisher's Synopsis:
The time has come for one winner to be crowned.

When she was chosen to compete in the Selection, America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown—or to Prince Maxon's heart. But as the end of the competition approaches, and the threats outside the palace walls grow more vicious, America realizes just how much she stands to lose—and how hard she'll have to fight for the future she wants.

Praying the Prayers of the Bible: A Review

Praying the Prayers of the Bible 
by James Banks
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My Thoughts:  Prayer can be intimidating. Learning to pray is vital to growing as a Christian. Becoming confident in your own ability to pray is most definitely a requirement in growing your faith. This book helps grow your confidence. As you recite these prayer you will awaken the prayers in your own heart. I highly recommend this for new/young Christians wanting a more confident prayer life.

Chapters Include: Prayers to Praise and Honor God, Prayers to say Thank You, Prayers to Strengthen Faith and Give Ourselves to God, Prayers About Everyday Needs, Prayers to Confess Sin and Humble Ourselves, Prayers for Guidance and Direction, Prayers for Help and Protection, Wrestling Prayers, Blessing Prayers

Publisher's Synopsis:
Spending time in prayer is necessary to develop and maintain a personal relationship with God. In Praying the Prayers of the Bible, author James Banks provides a collection of prayers to help readers engage in intimate conversations with God. Readers can find prayers of praise and thanksgiving, prayers for wisdom and direction, prayers for blessing, and much more. This powerful book of prayers encourages readers not only to strengthen their relationship with God, but also to apply His Word to their daily life. Readers can discover how to respond to God’s invitation to draw nearer to Him as they pray the prayers of the Bible.Spending time in prayer is necessary to develop and maintain a personal relationship with God. In Praying the Prayers of the Bible, author James Banks provides a collection of prayers to help readers engage in intimate conversations with God. Readers can find prayers of praise and thanksgiving, prayers for wisdom and direction, prayers for blessing, and much more. This powerful book of prayers encourages readers not only to strengthen their relationship with God, but also to apply His Word to their daily life. Readers can discover how to respond to God’s invitation to draw nearer to Him as they pray the prayers of the Bible.


I was given a free digital copy of this title in exchange for my fair and honest opinion.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Two Towers: Lord of the Rings: A Review

The Two Towers

by J.R.R. Tolkien

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Great Book Series. A terrific story to read nightly to the older kids. Something to get into and even discuss. I remember my babysitter reading some of this book series to us many, many, many years ago.

J.R.R. Tolkien always comes through for us, the readers.

Publisher's Synopsis:
The Fellowship was scattered. Some were bracing hopelessly for war against the ancient evil of Sauron. Some were contending with the treachery of the wizard Saruman. Only Frodo and Sam were left to take the accursed Ring of Power to be destroyed in Mordor–the dark Kingdom where Sauron was supreme. Their guide was Gollum, deceitful and lust-filled, slave to the corruption of the Ring. Thus continues the magnificent, bestselling tale of adventure begun in The Fellowship of the Ring, which reaches its soul-stirring climax in The Return of the King.

View all my reviews

The Lord of the Rings: A Review



The Lord of the Rings

by J.R.R. Tolkien

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Great Book Series. A terrific story to read nightly to the older kids. Something to get into and even discuss. I remember my babysitter reading some of this book series to us many, many, many years ago.

J.R.R. Tolkien always comes through for us, the readers. 

Publisher's Synopsis:
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, the Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages it fell by chance into the hands of the hobbit Bilbo Baggins.

From Sauron's fastness in the Dark Tower of Mordor, his power spread far and wide. Sauron gathered all the Great Rings to him, but always he searched for the One Ring that would complete his dominion.

When Bilbo reached his eleventy-first birthday he disappeared, bequeathing to his young cousin Frodo the Ruling Ring and a perilous quest: to journey across Middle-earth, deep into the shadow of the Dark Lord, and destroy the Ring by casting it into the Cracks of Doom.

The Lord of the Rings tells of the great quest undertaken by Frodo and the Fellowship of the Ring: Gandalf the Wizard; the hobbits Merry, Pippin, and Sam; Gimli the Dwarf; Legolas the Elf; Boromir of Gondor; and a tall, mysterious stranger called Strider.

 

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A Tree Grows in Brooklyn: A Review

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn 

by Betty Smith

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

My Thoughts: I purchased this book. I never finished it. It seemed to seriously lack any sort of rhythm. I kept hoping a plot would come about but... I guess I eventually gave up on it. I never did finish reading it. 

Publisher's Synopsis:
The beloved American classic about a young girl's coming-of-age at the turn of the century, Betty Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a poignant and moving tale filled with compassion and cruelty, laughter and heartache, crowded with life and people and incident. The story of young, sensitive, and idealistic Francie Nolan and her bittersweet formative years in the slums of Williamsburg has enchanted and inspired millions of readers for more than sixty years. By turns overwhelming, sublime, heartbreaking, and uplifting, the daily experiences of the unforgettable Nolans are raw with honesty and tenderly threaded with family connectedness -- in a work of literary art that brilliantly captures a unique time and place as well as incredibly rich moments of universal experience.

View all my reviews


The Stand: A Book Review

The Stand
By Stephen King

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My Thoughts:  I enjoyed The Stand. I  am NOT a horror girl. I am plagued by nightmares. It is the only Stephen King novel I have been able to get through.... I am a complete wuss. I did enjoy it immensely and have recommended it to other readers. 

Publisher's Synopsis:
This is the way the world ends: with a nanosecond of computer error in a Defense Department laboratory and a million casual contacts that form the links in a chain letter of death. And here is the bleak new world of the day after: a world stripped of its institutions and emptied of 99 percent of its people. A world in which a handful of panicky survivors choose sides -- or are chosen.
 

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Sunday, June 22, 2014

Mrs. Geraldine's Ground Beef Casserole

This photo does NOT do this recipe justice.  This was is one of our family's favorite recipes. It never disappoints.  Ahmmazing.

Mrs. Geraldine's Ground Beef Casserole

Ingredients

    • 1 lb ground beef
    • 1 (15 ounce) cans tomatoes
    • 1/4 cup chopped onion
    • 1/4 cup chopped bell pepper
    • 1/4 cup chopped celery
    • 1 (8 ounce) cans mushrooms
    • 2 tablespoons brown sugar or 2 tablespoons sweet pickle juice
    • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
    • 1 (10 3/4 ounce) cans cream of mushroom soup
    • 1/4 lb sharp cheddar cheese
    • 1 (6 ounce) packages angel hair pasta, cooked, this is an estimated size bag- the original recipe called for 1 small bag
    • 1 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
    • salt and pepper 

      DirectionsBrown meat in large skillet or Dutch oven, 

      Add onions, pepper and celery and simmer for 15 minutes.Add tomatoes and tomato sauce, mushrooms, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce.Add salt and pepper to tasteCook in skillet for 1 hour.

    •  
From Food.com

I found it here:  Mrs. Geraldine's Ground Beef Casserole

Rekindled: A Silver Creek Novella: A Review


Rekindled: A Silver Creek Novella: A Review

By Maisey Yates

Publisher: Penguin Group

My Thoughts:
I enjoyed this title.  A newly divorced trophy wife has lost everything in order to find herself and now she is applying as a housekeeper for a man she tormented in high school.

I read this romance straight through. I even tore up my room to kind my Kindle charger when I was on the second to last chapter and my Kindle was fixing to power off!  Real life issues but nothing to weigh you down in reading, I really like that.

It was a bit more graphic than I care for but still tasteful and a very delightful read.  I love books that have an actual ending.  I will definitely put the other titles in this series on my reading list.

I gave this book a four star out of five rating on Amazon.

Publisher's Synopsis: Lucy Ryan got everything she thought she wanted, going from high school queen to Manhattan trophy wife. But none of it was worth staying in a loveless marriage. So now she’s back in Silver Creek—with no money and no place to stay, applying for a job cleaning someone else’s house. And her potential employer is the last person she ever expected to see again.

Mac Denton can’t believe the mean girl who once tormented him in high school is now his housekeeper. He looks forward to making her squirm for a few days before she runs back to her rich husband. But Lucy has changed, and he is surprised to find himself attracted to the beautiful, courageous woman she has become.

Lucy is finally ready to go after what she really wants from life. And what she wants more than anything is Mac. But is Mac ready to truly forget the past and embrace the future?

I receive a free digital copy of this title from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Beautiful Pebble Art

Art can be found in everything.  My definition of art is simply imagination in life form.

Below are some of my favorite Pebble Art projects:




  
Source - John Botica



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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Strawberry Gutters Forever.... just kidding but how awesome!

These Strawberry Gutters are so clever. Great space saving and water saving trick as well.  I seriously doubt this is the original source.  But it is indeed a terrific idea!


I may just have to try this.

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Allegiant (Divergent Series): A Review

Allegiant (Divergent Series)

By Veronica Roth

My Thoughts:  This was my favorite book in the series.  It was a bit different than the other two titles.  There was less violence and the characters were already fully developed so it was like I already knew them.  I read this through in one sitting.

No spoilers here!! I wrote next sequel in my mind immediately after finishing this volume. Too bad it will never come to happen. I know in my mind the my version of the fourth book is correct and it completes the set (in my mindset, at least).

Perhaps I should write a separate blog post with my ending?

This is a good series.  It isn't perfect, but extremely entertaining.

Publisher's Synopsis:
The explosive conclusion to Veronica Roth's #1 New York Times bestselling Divergent trilogy reveals the secrets of the dystopian world that captivated millions of readers and film fans in Divergent and Insurgent.

One choice will define you. What if your whole world was a lie? What if a single revelation—like a single choice—changed everything? What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?

Told from a riveting dual perspective, this third installment in the series follows Tris and Tobias as they battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and their selves—while facing impossible choices of courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love

My son checked out this book from the school library for me to read.  Thanks Nathan!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

INSURGENT (Divergent Series, Book 2): A Review

INSURGENT (Divergent Series, Book #2)

By Veronica Roth

My Thoughts: Captivating, active, quick paced read.  You love and hate all the characters.  This title was my least favorite of the three, but still a very active, gripping, good read. An emotional story, bring tissues.

Go ahead and get Allegiant before you begin...trust me, do it.

I won't summarize. I hate reviews that merely summarize.  I thoroughly enjoyed Insurgent but this one was a little too...violent for me of the three.  I still highly, recommend it!

Publisher's Synopsis:

One choice can destroy you. Veronica Roth's second #1 New York Times bestseller continues the dystopian thrill ride that began in Divergent.
A hit with both teen and adult readers, Insurgent is the action-packed, emotional adventure that inspired the major motion picture starring Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Ansel Elgort, and Octavia Spencer.
As war surges in the factions of dystopian Chicago all around her, Tris attempts to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Divergent (Divergent Series, Book 1): My Review

DIVERGENT (Divergent Series, Book 1)

By Veronica Roth

My Thoughts:  Different, A little Hunger Gamesy... but quite addictive.  My fourteen year old son urged me to read this YA book series.  I was glad I did. I fell in love with Tris.  A character that begins as a young, scared girl and turns into this one of a kind heroine that you love and get irritated with over and over again.  I can't believe I liked it, but I did. Yep. I did.  I still think about it.

I won't summarize the story because most everyone has already heard about it. I thoroughly enjoyed getting caught up in it and read all three books straight through one after another, yes, the lose your sleep kinda books.

Every single book has flaws but this story shines through. A definite, to read series... so go ahead, get yourself a Young Adult book series... A fast action paced, compelling, thought provoking series.

Publisher's Synopsis:
In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.


I bought this book.  Hard earned money. No disclosure needed.

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Down By The River: Book Review


DOWN BY THE RIVER
By Lin Stepp

Published by Kensington Books

My Thoughts:  This is a lovely, inspirational, feel-good, Christian novel. Down By the River is a light-hearted, non-sappy, just enough real life family drama and light romance. The story line is about a second chance at a new life and love for a widow as she steps out of her comfort zone, stands up to her self consumed grown children, moves away and reopens a Bed and Breakfast in a small community in the Smoky Mountains and rediscovers herself, her talent, her strength, her ability, her dependence and love.  I enjoyed this book, no illicit sex, blood and violence. There are no scripture quotes throughout the book, just a story about life and the characters allowing themselves to listen to the voice and direction of God.  A good light read. 

Publisher's Synopsis:  Set against the backdrop of Tennessee’s breathtaking Smoky Mountains, Lin Stepp’s Down By the River is a warmhearted novel that proves it’s never too late—or too early—for a fresh start…


While on a visit to the Smokies, Grace Conley makes a stunning decision: she’s going to walk away from her busy life in Nashville to move to tiny Townsend and open a bed-and-breakfast. There’s a beautiful old inn for sale along the Little River that will do perfectly. Of course, Grace’s family is scandalized. After all, she’s a middle-aged widow! And as a career homemaker, she’s always been available for babysitting, chauffeuring, and generally being the peacemaker among her grown children. Has Grace lost her mind? She begins to wonder the same thing once she finds herself attracted to the local ladies’ man. But the surprises don’t stop there…
To further complicate her move, Grace’s daughter, Margaret, has grudgingly come to live with her. Having just graduated from college, remote Townsend is not where she envisions her future. Yet the handsome young minister next door is convinced he and Margaret are meant for each other. As life choices abound, soon both women will discover that the biggest decisions require confidence, a sense of humor—and a deep, abiding faith.
A special thanks to Kensington Books and NetGalley, for an advanced reading copy, 
in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.