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Sharing our thoughts and experiences on life as a Christ following family of five...

Once In A Blue Moon by Eileen Goudge

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Do you love Jodi Picoult and LuAnn Rice? Have you heard of Eileen Goudge? With more than four million copies of her books in print worldwide, you’re going to want to check her out now if you’re not already hip to her talent.
Eileen Goudge is the New York City-based author of The Diary, Domestic Affairs, Woman in Red, One Last Dance, Garden of Lies and Thorns of Truth.

With four-time New York Times bestsellers in her bag, Eileen’s newest project Once In A Blue Moon is sure to be worth a look!
What’s Once In A Blue Moon about?

Sisters Lindsay and Kerrie Ann have known hardship from an early age. Without guidance from their neglectful mother, their only aid came from an unlikely source, a retired exotic dancer by the name of Miss Honi Love. When the girls’ mother was sent to prison, Miss Honi tried unsuccessfully to save them from being separated and sent into foster care.


Thirty years later, Lindsay is still trying to reconnect with her sister. The owner of a bookstore in the sleepy California seaside town of Blue Moon Bay, she was lucky enough to have been adopted by a loving couple. Unbeknownst to her, Kerrie Ann has suffered a very different life. Bounced from one foster home to the next, she ran away as a teenager before becoming a drug-addicted single mother. Now, newly sober, Kerrie Ann is fighting to regain custody of the little girl who was taken from her.

Neither sister’s expectations are met when they’re finally reunited. But as the two sisters engage in the fiercest battles of their lives, they are at last drawn together despite their differences, restoring belief in the unshakable bond of family.

My Thoughts…

I was quite moved by this story, I laughed, cried, and often thought there was no hope for certain people in the story as things got pretty rough. I myself have never lived life styles like the characters found throughout these pages but I know people that are living and fighting just to hang on to whatever hope that they can like you’ll find one of the leading ladies doing in this book.

Many challenging issues like loss, infidelity, adoption, foster care, make for quite the novel.  I appreciated the author spotlighting how important family is to each and everyone of us and how much compassion and understanding can truly make a difference in the lives of others. I also believe Eileen captured and displayed that in order to grow and move on in life that we have to open our hearts no matter how hard it may seem sometimes.

If you are interested in the this story as well as the author, you may want to check out the following links…

Eileen’s website: http://www.eileengoudge.com

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I received an advance copy of this book  to review from the One2One Network as part of a campaign to spread the word.

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Find Your Strongest Life- What the Happiest and Most Successful Women Do Differently By Marcus Buckingham

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Overview…

In Find Your Strongest Life, Marcus Buckingham reveals the powerful key to bring fulfillment, peace, and control into a woman’s life.

In today’s world, can a woman truly “have it all”? A fulfilling career full of passion and performance? A belief that she is truly becoming the best, authentic version of herself? A happy, healthy life outside of work?

Countless women would roll their eyes at the possibility. Work is overwhelming. And for many of them, add the necessities of family and home. It all feels disconnected, out of control, and relentless.

In Find Your Strongest Life, Marcus Buckingham reveals the powerful key to help women draw enough strength from life to feel fulfilled, loved, successful, and in control. Even more, he helps women reconnect with their purpose and gives a starting point for change. A research-based message that applies to work and life, Find Your Strongest Life shows women how they really can have it all . . . the right kind of all.

My Thoughts…

I was eager to read this book when asked to participate in reviewing it through Thomas Nelson Publishing.  I was very curious to learn what insight someone had to offer overwhelmed women who are for searching for the strength and inner satisfaction missing or blindly not seen in their own lives.

I appreciated the letters added from woman from all sorts of lifestyles and backgrounds that were mentioned throughout this book.  The practical insight given by the author was heart fully given to suggest ways to solve and better each of the situations at hand. I learned of stay at home mothers, woman leading in the workplace, and many others that were looking for ways to de-clutter their own lives and find out what they should really be doing. Honestly, it really suprised me that  apparently women are less happy now than they were 40 years ago.

The books reads in three parts, foundation, advice, and the third part is real life examples the advice in action. I enjoyed that at the end of each chapter there’s a section called “What to Take Away From This Chapter” and also I took a whole lot to heart from the section Tactics for Stronger Children and in how to encourage and build up our own children’s strengths in life.

I think this book would be wonderful to study with a friend or a woman’s group, it’s perfect  for those looking for some sort of direction and encouragement in their lives.

I review for Thomas Nelson Book Review Bloggers

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Book Review:Guardian of the Flame by T.L. Higley

447323: Guardian of the Flame, Seven Wonders Series #3 Guardian of the Flame, Seven Wonders Series #3

By T.L. Higley / B & H Publishing Group

The year is 48 BC. Sophia, a woman hurt by past loss, guards the famous lighthouse of Alexandria, Egypt, in order to hide herself away from a world she deems cruel and unloving. But there is no escape. Political turmoil swells as Roman general Julius Caesar and his legion storm the city, and Cleopatra, Greek queen of Egypt , fights to retain her country against both Caesar and bloodthirsty rivals within her own household. Sophia is caught in the middle between a loyalty to Cleopatra and her maddening interest in Bellus, the Roman soldier whom Caesar has instructed to overtake the lighthouse.


My Thoughts…

I did a little research on the author of this book and found out that she has traveled to the sites of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the world to create these fictional stories! What dedication and what better inspiration that setting foot in  the areas in which her stories are inspired.

Throughout the pages of this story, I found myself themselves swept up into another time and era. I felt that the author captured every essence of Ancient Egypt in vivid detail so well that you’ll feel like you are there!

The characters of this story include Cleopatra, Julius Caesar, though mainly we are drawn to the story of Sophia whom is guardian of a famous lighthouse in Alexandria and Bellus a Roman centurion. This book draws us to witness broken down walls in life as well experiences of God’s Grace.

The story will compel you. Though this books is christian historical romance book, there is plenty of adventure  and mystery that will leave you turning page after page to know what will happen next! I can’t stand romances that are over the top and so mushy that it honestly could never happen in real life.

This story is the third installment in the Seven Wonder series by author T.L. Higley and it stands well alone. After reading this fine work of Historical fiction, I eagerly want to read the rest of this authors books. 5 Stars!

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The Great Christmas Bowl by Susan May Warren

978-1-4143-2678-8The Great Christmas Bowl: One Mother’s Hilarious Quest to Serve Up the Perfect Holiday
by Susan May Warren
Tyndale House Publishers (August 17, 2009) ~ 176 pages
Fiction / General / Inspirational / Holiday

About The Great Christmas Bowl:
Marianne Wallace is focused on two things this holiday season: planning the greatest family Christmas ever and cheering on her youngest son’s team in their bid for the state championship.
Disaster strikes when the team loses their mascot-the Trout. Is it going too far to ask her to don the costume? So what if her husband has also volunteered her to organize the church Christmas tea.
When football playoffs start ramping up, the Christmas tea starts falling apart. Then, one by one her children tell her they can’t come home for Christmas. As life starts to unravel, will Marianne remember the true meaning of the holidays?

About the Author:
Susan May Warren is the RITA award-winning author of twenty-four novels with Tyndale, Barbour and Steeple Hill. A four-time Christy award finalist, a two-time RITA Finalist, she’s also a multi-winner of the Inspirational Readers Choice award, and the ACFW Book of the Year. Her larger than life characters and layered plots have won her acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. A seasoned women’s events and retreats speaker, she’s a popular writing teacher at conferences around the nation and the author of the beginning writer’s workbook: From the Inside-Out: discover, create and publish the novel in you!. She is also the founder of http://www.mybooktherapy.com/, a story-crafting service that helps authors discover their voice. Susan makes her home in northern Minnesota, where she is busy cheering on her two sons in football, and her daughter in local theater productions (and desperately missing her college-age son!) A full listing of her titles, reviews and awards can be found at: www.susanmaywarren.com

My Thoughts…

I had questioned reading Christmas themed book in the middle of September but I don’t think it’s ever to soon to enjoy a heartfelt story about the holidays, plus retail stores are already carrying holiday decorations for Christmas so why not get a head start in thinking about  what the season is really supposed to be about!

I enjoyed this fun little book. I’d been interested in the author’s books since I attended a facebook party a few months ago and finally was able to get my hands on this one!

Though I am probably many years younger than the main character, I felt like I could relate to a lot of the things she thought and did throughout the story. No I don’t have four kids, I’m not struggling with empty nest syndrome. I don’t find myself trying to hold together holiday traditions that have lasted for years ( note that I am still trying to create new ones) In reading this book you’ll come to realize or be gently reminded that sometimes things don’t go like we want. Our ways our not Gods, indeed. God works in bigger and greater ways that we sometimes don’t see. It’s amazing when God lets us see just a glimpse of His moving through a series of events.

This book was touching, heartfelt, amusing, and inspirational. I would definitely recommend this book to those looking for a short but good read. I think this book would make a great gift during the holiday season, especially for mothers and those with a love of high school football!

Be forewarned that author Susan May Warren has included a Clam Chowder recipe in the back of the book that drove me on  a wild craving.

CONTEST:

Be a part of the Great Christmas Bowl recipe exchange!
Susan loves getting recipes from friends, and sharing the delicious cookies, soups, breads and other fun fixings that go with celebrating the Christmas season. More than that, she loves the crazy stories about favorite Christmases – serious, touching, funny…whatever. Find the recipe contest here: http://thegreatchristmasbowl.blogspot.com/2009/07/recipe-exchange.html

Will you share your story and recipe with Susan and the readers of the Great Christmas Bowl? She will post your story and recipe on the FRONT PAGE of the Great Christmas Bowl website, and send you a link when it goes up so you can tell all your friends. Then, at the Great Christmas Bowl party (December 5th, 10am, online! Details TBA) she’ll make the entire cookbook available for download!

For every recipe/story you submit (up to 3), you will be entered in a drawing to receive one of SMW’s collections (Noble Legacy, Team Hope, Heirs of Anton, Deep Haven Series, Josey series, or THE ADVANCED COPY of Sons of Thunder – Susie’s brand new epic World War 2 novel, due out in January 2010!)

Go – run, get your recipe, then come back here and click on the link below to share your Christmas memories!

Blog Tour Schedule!
Would you like to see other review of this great book? Visit LitFuse by going here: http://www.litfusegroup.com/latest/current-blog-tours/91-the-great-christmas-bowl-blog-tour

If you’d like to purchase this book, you can find The Great Christmas Bowl at Christian Book for just $5.99 by following this link: http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/product?event=AFF&p=1149611&item_no=326788

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Cowboy Christmas by Mary Connealy

604933: Cowboy Christmas Cowboy Christmas
By Mary Connealy / Barbour Publishing

Get ready for a fun and suspenseful Christmastime romance. Trouble follows singer Annette Talbot to Wyoming-and rancher Elijah Walker finds himself directly in its path. Though still wounded by the betrayal of his ex-fiancie, Elijah finds himself attracted to the secretive singer. When it appears Annie is a threat to his mother’s life, Elijah must decide if Annie’s deep faith and love of God is genuine or if it’s all just a ruse. He decides to trust her-until he discovers she’s a wanted woman. As Christmas draws near, will Elijah respond to God’s gentle persuasion to find the truth before he loses Annie forever?

My Thoughts…

This was my first Mary Connealy book and it definitely won’t be my last! This story was an adventure from beginning to the end! Nothing but excitement and wonder can be found in all the in-between. I finished reading this book in a day because I refused to put it down till I knew how it ended!

I enjoyed the characters quite a  bit and on more than one occasion they brought a smile to my face and also kept me on the edge of my seat through some of their choices and actions!

I appreciated the faith found in Annette the lead lady character in this story. Though she loved the Lord with every bit of herself she still made some choices that weren’t too smart but came to realize her mistakes as well as triumphs through God’s hand in  this story.

Main man Elijah being eaten up by the death of his father through his fiancie consumes him and through out the story you’ll find him  struggling to want to trust any woman again.

I don’t want to give anything away but would encourage you to check this book out! I give it 4 stars!

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Three Weddings and a Bar Mitzvah (86 Bloomberg Place Series #4) by Melody Carlson

191082: Three Weddings & a Bar Mitzvah, 86 Bloomberg Place Series #4 Three Weddings & a Bar Mitzvah, 86 Bloomberg Place Series #4

By Melody Carlson / David C. Cook

* Wedding bells spark a crazed competition for bridesmaids, reception locations, showers, and attention among the roommates at 86 Bloomberg Place. Lelani wants to book her wedding date, but Megan and Marcus have a commitment, Anna and Edmond plan to attend his brother’s bar mitzvah, and Kendall wants to wed her “Maui Man” the same weekend! 320 pages, softcover from Cook.

My Thoughts…

I did not finish this whole book, I decided my review on this book would be a lot better if I had read the whole 86 Bloomberg Series.  I just felt that I was missing a lot of much needed information.  Some book sequels stand perfectly well on their own, sadly to say for me this one doesn’t.

I’m not saying Melody Carlson is a bad author in any way. I have heard a lot of good things about her, in fact her book “All I Have to Give is sitting on my shelf for must read holiday books for this  wonderful winter season.

From what I did read, the christian standards of the characters were not my own but that’s to be expected in reading christian books with characters on all different types of walks with the Lord.

If you like chick-lit with a bit of Christianity thrown in the mix, check out this series from book #1.

*** 3 stars

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