Saturday, November 13, 2010

A distant melody

a novel by Sarah Sundin

Heiress Allie Miller and pilot Walt Novak meet at a mutual friend's wedding. They are both considered rather homely, but are attracted to each other although Allie is already in a relationship. They begin a correspondence which increases while he is in combat overseas in WWII. Because of Walt's lies to and about her, they almost end their friendship.

I usually enjoy wartime novels and this was a good one. The main characters were both Christians, but far from perfect. The story was entertaining and thought-provoking. The timing was especially appropriate for me since I read it during Remembrance Day week. The lessons on truthfulness and obedience were clear without sounding preachy.

This was the author's debut novel and I think she did a great job.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Shepherd's fall

by W. L. Dyson

Bounty hunter Jake Shepherd is part owner of a fugitive recovery business, left to him by his father. The business is not doing well, his marriage has fallen apart, and his teenage daughter is rebelling. Jake has always been confident in his abilities, but when a convict who has threatened to hurt his daughter escapes from prison, Jake can't keep all the balls rolling anymore.

This story was suspenseful and fast-paced, well-written and believable. It goes into the world of crime and drugs without being explicit. I appreciated the way the main character returns to his faith at the end. Recommended.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Denim by design

by Barb Chauncey

This books has a number of accessory projects to make with denim; a few use old jeans and others use flat denim fabric. There are detailed instructions and patterns are included.

I was disappointed with this book because I had expected more ideas for using worn-out jeans. I also didn't like what most of the projects looked like.


a novel
by Melody Carlson

Claudette Fior is an elderly widow who returns to her hometown because she can no longer afford the Hollywood lifestyle she is used to. She is afraid that she will be bored and lonely. She manages the move with a great deal of help from her step-son but when he leaves her on her own, she is almost helpless. She eventually makes friends and learns to do things for herself.

I truly enjoyed this book. It was a glimpse into a world and lifestyle that is far removed from mine. I liked the fact that the main character is old and I found it enlightening to see things from that point of view. The story was easy to follow, interesting, and alternately poignant and hilarious.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


A true story or war, love, and survival
by Dean King

This is the story of the "Long March" of Mao Zedong's Chinese Red Army in 1934-35 and especially the 30 women of the First Army division who walked the 4,000 mile journey. It tells of the incredible hardships of the trail, the horrific battles they fought, and the heartbreaking decisions made along the way.

This is the most fascinating book I have read since Baby Catcher; I was absolutely riveted. Before I read it, I knew almost nothing of Chinese history and geography. What an interesting way to learn! Because it is factual and written from old records and interviews with survivors, it is not a smoothly flowing narrative, but I did not find that in any way took away from the story. I very highly recommend this book.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Crafty activities

over 50 fun and easy things to make

by Judy Balchin

This book has dozens of projects to make, all arranged under the categories of printing, creative lettering, mosaics, papier mache, origami and handmade cards. The instructions are clear and there are many step-by-step photos.

Since I am homeschooling my children this year, I borrowed this book from the library for art class, and we did a couple of the activities. We had fun and they turned out well. I would recommend this book.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


By Terri Blackstock
Ella Carmichael has been killed by someone who found her through her social networking site and her sister Krista is determined to find the killer. In her quest to bring changes to the networking site, Krista becomes friends with the CEO of the company. Her attempt to lure the online predator into a trap seems to have no results, but in reality had led her into danger.

This book was hard to put down; the story was captivating and realistic. Predator will certainly help people realize the danger of posting personal information on social networking sites. It also reminds us that while God allows evil, He is still a God of love.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

White Roses

by Shannon Taylor Vannatter
Pastor Grayson Sterling is a widower who loved his wife dearly and is having difficulty moving on with life after her death in a car accident. Adrea Welch is a florist with a standing order for white roses for Grasyon's wife's grave every Valentine's Day—which would have been Adrea's wedding day if she hadn't been jilted two years earlier, coincidentally on the day of Sara Sterling's death. They meet and are immediately attracted to each other. But will they be able to get over the difficulties of their pasts to begin something new together?

This story included romance and a bit of mystery, which I found made it more exciting. The book was very interesting and it was nice to see how the details fit together in the end to answer the unsolved questions. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian romance.

Thanks to the author for sending me a copy to review. Visit her website at

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Julie and Julia

365 days, 524 recipes, 1 tiny apartment kitchen: how one girl risked her marriage, her job, and her sanity to master the art of living by Julie Powell

This is the true story of Julie Powell's project of cooking all 500-something recipes in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking in one year. She started a blog and chronicled her journey, gaining many blog followers over the weeks.

While I found the story itself interesting, I cannot recommend this book because of the profanity in it. Julie herself even writes in the book of blog comments objecting to it.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Miserly Moms

by Jonni McCoy

This book has tons of tips and instructions for living frugally. There are ways to reduce expenses in almost every area of your life without being cheap or stingy. Jonni suggests ways to cut back on the price of groceries, travel, furniture and many more things. Each chapter covers a broad topic and there are a number of recipes at the end of the book.

I loved this book! The money-saving ideas were great and I really liked some of the recipes. Find out more at the author's website.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


by Christopher Paolini
is a fantasy story about a 15-year-old boy named Eragon who finds a dragon egg. It hatches one day and over several months Eragon learns how to use his new powers as a dragon rider while he travels around his country trying to protect the innocent from the evil government. The book ends after a huge battle.

I found Eragon very interesting. I read it wondering if it might be appropriate for my 12-year-old son, but I don't think he's ready for it since there is quite a bit of violence. As an interesting note, the author wrote the first draft at age 15 and Eragon is the first book in a trilogy.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

200 fast & easy artisan breads

no knead, one bowl by Judith M. Fertig

This cookbook is arranged in sections with a basic dough recipe and then several modification recipes, some only in the shape, following the dough recipe. The basic method is to mix the ingredients together, let the dough rise for 2 hours, and then use it and/or refrigerate up to 9 days. They take just a few minutes of hands-on time and there is no kneading involved. There were many recipes for every kind of bread from baguettes and pizza to brioche, bagels and sweetbreads.

I tried two (different) batches and they were easy and delicious. I would have tried more, but the book was due at the library. I highly recommend this book and will certainly be getting it again!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Learning at home:

a mother's guide to homeschooling by Marty Layne
This book covered things like responding to people who question your decision to homeschool, learning not to worry about children learning at different ages and benefits of children spending time outdoors. The author used very little formal curriculum when she taught her children and she explains how to teach the different subjects from everyday living.

While I didn't agree with everything in this book, I did learn a lot from it and found quite a bit of useful information. I would recommend this to homeschooling moms.

The tempest for kids

by Lois Burdett
This is a re-telling of Shapespeare's play in simpler language that children can understand. It is in rhyming couplets and illustrated by the author's grade 2 students.

I read this to my children (aged 8 and almost 12) last week and they enjoyed it very much. They were interested in the story and especially liked the pictures. Since there were many of them and all were drawn by different children, the story characters looked different in all the pictures. My kids thought that was cool.

Homeschooling for the rest of us

by Sonya Haskins

This book covered many topics related to educating your children including choosing curriculum, scheduling, avoiding burnout, field trips and much more. The author also included her website address for further help.

I enjoyed reading Homeschooling for the rest of us, and I think it is a great resource for homeschoolers.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Use what you have decorating

by Lauri Ward
This book has great advice on furniture arrangement and art placement for creating a comfortable, restful room. Each chapter covers a common decorating mistake and suggests a solution. There are many real-life before and after pictures from the author's own decorating business in clients homes.

While I liked Use what you have decorating, the edition I read is somewhat dated. She recommends painting walls white, which I find rather boring, and the furniture in the photos is from about 20 years ago. There is likely a newer edition, though, as I have seen newer-looking cover photos on the internet. I didn't have a choice since I got this from the library.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Home by design:

Transforming your house into home by Sarah Susanka. This was my second time reading this book and I read it more carefully this time. It's about home design, specifically the details that make a house interesting and homelike. It considers things like the long view through the house as you enter the front door, when the design should be symmetrical or asymmetrical, mouldings and trim and different kinds of windows.

I liked this book, but would not recommend it to most people because it is quite involved and I think all but a few would find it rather boring. It would, however, be helpful to people who want to change their house from a box-like set of rooms to something homier and would like to know what things they could change.

Sew and stow

31 fun sewing projects to carry, hold, and organize your stuff, your home, and yourself! by Betty Oppenheimer has great projects including a hammock, sun visor organizer, apron, hanging organizer, firewood tote, bags and more. The instructions are clear, well-written and easy to follow.

I think this a great book would recommend it to anyone who likes sewing projects like these. If I ever complete the things I've already started sewing, I would like to get this book from the library again to make some of these lovely things.

Monday, April 26, 2010

I review for BookSneeze
I am waiting for my first book to arrive from Thomas Nelson publishers to arrive so that I can read it and review it here for you.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Creative Correction

Creative correction by Lisa Whelchel (of The Facts of Life). I really loved this book; it is full of great ideas that help teach the lessons rather than just punish the child. Most of the creative ideas actually come from the Bible. I think I will buy this book.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Linen, wool, cotton - Akiko Mano

Country Living storage style - Lesley Porcelli

How to cheat at gardening and yard work : shameless tricks for growing radically simple flowers, veggies, lawns, landscaping, and more by Jeff Bredenberg

Martha Stewart's dinner at home : 52 quick meals to cook for family & friends

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Home education: Training and educating children under nine - Charlotte Mason

My story by Sarah Mountbatten-Windsor, Duchess of York

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A scarlet cord, Unlikely angel

A scarlet cord is another great novel by Deborah Raney. Melanie, a widow with a young daughter, falls in love with Joe, who was hired by her church as a Bible teacher. They eventually become engaged, but one day Joe disappears, leaving a letter behind assuring her of his love, but saying he can never return and explaining nothing. I enjoyed reading this book.

Unlikely angel : the untold story of the Atlanta hostage hero by Ashley Smith is a really interesting story. Well-written and easy to follow. Brian Nichols, who had killed three people in an Atlanta courthouse and another who wouldn't cooperate when Brian wanted his vehicle, showed up at Ashely's apartment at 2:00 in the morning with three guns. Ashley was determined not to die and decided to do whatever it took to convince him to release her.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Magdalene, Beneath a southern sky

Magdalene by Angela Hunt was an interesting read. In it, Mary's family is killed by Roman soldiers and not long after, she becomes demon-possessed. After Jesus heals her, she spends the rest of her life seeking revenge for her family, not knowing until shortly before her death that her youngest son was saved by one of the soldiers.

Beneath a Southern Sky by Deborah Raney is excellent! I think this is the first time I've read this author and I am very impressed. The only thing I didn't like was that the back of the book told too much of the story; it would have been better to have been surprised by what happened instead of knowing what was coming. Daria and Nate were missionaries in South America when he was killed while trying to help a down-river tribe. She returned to the US and gives birth to Nate's child. Daria eventually moves on with life and remarries. If you read this book, don't read the back cover.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Easy Homeschooling Techniques

by Lorraine Curry. I must admit, I was hoping for a lot more from this book. It recommends using old books (the older, the better), using what you already have as much as possible and reading aloud a lot. There are resources listed at the back as well as a rough grade-by-grade course of study. Not recommended.

6 craft books

Simply sublime bags by Jodi Kahn. I returned this to the library some time ago so I don't remember too well, but I think the bags were pretty cool—a lot of them were no-sew and used stuff like duct tape, but some were made the usual way. There was a neat one, I remember, that was made from a T-shirt. I discovered this book through a Martha Stewart video.

Slipcover style by Alison Wormleighton was very nice, but too involved for me. It described how to make slipcovers for different pieces of furniture. They were lovely, but the method was quite difficult-looking.

Sew darn cute by Jenny Ryan certainly had a lot of cute projects but it would be easy to tone down the cuteness by leaving off some of the embellishments. I think these make good quality items that are sturdy and beautiful.

Sew what! Bags by Lexie Barnes has lots of great projects. Everything from an eyeglasses case to a backpack. I want to make a couple of the bags; I would make more, but I already have more tote bags than I need.

Fabulous felt by Sophie Bester was not what I had hoped it would be. The projects are very "crafty". Some are pretty, but very few would be useful.

Sew fabulous fabric by Alice Butcher has instructions for making an apron, clothespin bag, curtains, fabric art, backpack, flower corsages and more. Some useful things and some not. The instructions are well-detailed.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Let darkness come by Angela Elwell Hunt

was a great book. Briley, a young female lawyer, must defend another woman who is accused of murdering her husband, a politician from an influential family. The solution comes in the form of a very unusual circumstance. I love Angela Hunt's books, but I'm not sure I like having solutions that depend on something almost supernatural. A similar ending happened in another of her books, The Canopy. I was actually disappointed with the ending after having loved the story.

Vintage style, Hold on to your kids, Screwtape, Bloodletting, Praying woman, Ninth Witness

Decorating vintage style by Christina Strutt not so great, poor photography, however, some very cluttered interiors inspired me to go tidy up.

Hold on to your kids : why parents matter
by Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Maté was very long. But somewhat interesting. I didn't agree with everything but I did agree that kids need their parents and family more than they need anyone else. And that too much "socializing" with their peers often does more harm than good.

The Screwtape letters; with, Screwtape proposes a toast by C. S. Lewis was great. Sometimes a little funny, and always thought-provoking. In case you don't know, they are a collection of letters written from an old demon giving advice to his nephew.

Bloodletting & miraculous cures : stories
by Lam, Vincent. Uh, not really my style. No comment.

The power of a praying woman by Stormie Omartian. I got bogged down in this one and didn't finish it.

Ninth witness
by Bodie Thoene was an excellent novel. It was about Jesus at 12 and was very interesting. Not at all irreverent or overly imaginative, it was entirely within the realm of possibility.