The Bronte Plot by Katherine Reay

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I wasn’t sure what to think of this book based on the title. I have never read the Bronte sisters’ works so I had no basis to draw from. Basically, the story begins with Lucy, an assistant to an antiques dealer, who is secretly altering the value of the books she sells by adding a note to each book to inflate their value. When she sells one of her books to her boyfriend, James, her ploy is discovered and he breaks it off with her. But his grandmother, who the book was purchased for, pays a visit to Lucy and makes an offer to have Lucy travel with her to visit the town she lived in when she was young. Helen, the grandmother, had a secret of her own and time was short to make it right again. I enjoyed the story but I would probably not read it again. It was more of a time filler than a book that really resonated with me. Some of the plot twists were well done, but I never really connected with the characters.

This book was provided free of charge for the purpose of review. The opinions are my own and do not reflect any other offer or opinion.

Just Show Up The Dance of Walking Through Suffering Together by Kara Tippetts and Jill Lynn Buteyn

 

just show up

 

I have nothing but praise for this book. I had not heard of this book before but I was sent a copy to review. This book is told from the perspective of Kara, a young wife and mother who has terminal cancer, and Jill, her friend who tells us her insights into what it is to just show up, or to be there when loved ones are going through “the hard”, which are the tough times none of us ask for or want but few of us never have to deal with. Jill, like so many of us, struggles with not knowing what to do or say for her friend as she walks through the hard, but she knows that she needs to see her friend through to the end. Her resolve, and the resolve of many other friends, gives support and peace to the family as they deal with cancer, family, funeral plans, hospice, and the very painful reality that Kara is not going to make it. The friends come together in a beautiful way to honor their friend by sharing her children as co-parents and promising to go from that day forward making sure that the children always feel loved and cared for. Kara tells us from her perspective how it feels to take a back seat to someone else when your child needs you, to not have enough energy to keep awake to finish a task, and to know that you are going to miss out on all of those milestones that are so dear to us all.

This book really resonated with me. Part of it could be that my husband has metastasized cancer and we’ve been walking that journey for 5 years now. But I felt nothing but admiration for those friends who so lovingly gave of themselves to comfort and support that family. This is a wonderful book for anyone, a cancer patient, a friend or relative, even folks who just want to know how to be supportive in the best way possible when someone is suffering for any reason. It gives very concrete ideas for how to deal with pain and painful subjects. I would rate this a 5 and then some!

An Amish Christmas Quilt by Charlotte Hubbard, Kelly Long, and Jennifer Beckstrand Review

 

amish

 

I was sent a copy of An Amish Christmas Quilt by Charlotte Hubbard, Kelly Long, and Jennifer Beckstrand at no cost for the purpose of review. I actually had 2 books that were written with an Amish theme, but this one was Christmas themed so I decided that it was a great time to read it. I wasn’t familiar with any of the authors but I read a lot of new authors so that was okay.

The first story , A Willow Ridge Christmas Pageant by Charlotte Hubbard, begins with Mary Kauffman driving her wagon to a new town with her 2 children from her late husband, when she goes into labor. She is helped by one of the townsmen from the new town, Seth Brenneman, who happens by and sees that she is in trouble. What ensues is a delightful story of a woman thrust into a situation she never dreamed of and her ability to rise to the occasion and go beyond.

The second story, A Christmas On Ice Mountain by Kelly Long, is a tale of a feud that’s lasted so long that the two men feuding can hardly remember it never being that way. Nevertheless, it’s still in place and not only does it affect Luke Lapp and John Beider, but gets in the way of two young lovers, Matthew Beider and Laurel Lapp. Is their love strong enough to withstand the hatred their fathers have for each other?

The final story, A Perfect Amish Christmas by Jennifer Beckstrand, is the perfect illustration of how we can get so caught up in the details that we fail to see the bigger picture. Dottie Shrock is anxious to give her mother the perfect Christmas, from having a party for her to making all of the special foods and activities to make it a perfect Christmas. But in her haste to make everything perfect, she forgets what’s most important. Can Gideon, the handsome grandson of her relative, remind her what’s important in life?

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Nightingale

The Nightingale is set in France during World War 2. It is the story of 2 sisters, Vianne and Isabelle Mauriac, who move in and out of each other’s lives as the war rages around them.

Having been all but abandoned as children when their mother died, they were shuffled off to live with a nanny in a small french town. Vianne left Isabelle behind when she met and married her husband and Isabelle was left with no family to speak of. The sisters are thrown together when war breaks out and Isabelle’s father again insists she go to live with her sister. This book read with enough detail that I felt I was reading a historical story. The horrors the sisters had to endure were very realistic and I felt that I understood a lot more of what it had been like to be a Jew in France during the war. Excellent read!

A Respectable Actress by Dorothy Love Review

A Respectable Actress
The story opens in Savannah, Georgia in late 1870, where India Hartley is performing on her own after losing her father. The highly regarded and famous actress is preparing to go onstage when the director demands that she make a last minute change- using a stage gun to shoot Arthur Sterling, the city’s most loved actor, rather than throw a vase at him. When the shot rings out, Arthur collapses and dies and India is drawn into a mystery. Why did the gun have real bullets? Who prompted the change? And how will India be able to convince a judge of her innocence in the death of their city’s favorite actor? After a night in the jail, India is released to Philip Sinclar, a widowed lawyer who is hired by a wealthy local woman to represent her. Sinclair arranges to have India removed from the area to his plantation on Indigo Point, where she will be out of the eyes of the reporters who are eager to find her. Sinclair hopes to be able to make enough money to rebuild his plantation home which had been neglected and partially destroyed during the war. There, India quickly finds that the island holds a mystery of its own and she is drawn into intrigue once again. The story begins to twist as India is attracted to Philip and then is rebuffed by his staff. Ms. Love continues to introduce intrigue and weave mystery around the characters as the story unfolds. I find her writing to be fresh and the historical references add to the enjoyment of this book.
Advance copy of this book provided by The Fiction Guild for reading and review purposes.

Chondra Pierce- Still Laughing After All These Tears Review and Giveaway til 1-18-2016

Chondra Pierce- Still Laughing After All These Tears

Chondra Pierce

This is a wonderful 8 disc set of Chondra Pierce at her funniest! Each DVD contains a full concert, including a brand new concert taped in 2015! Chondra tackles some tough subjects with humor and tongue in cheek dialogue. She offers up some of her funniest and sometimes embarrassing experiences and then brings it around to how to apply the particular experience to our walk with Jesus and how we can be effective Christians in this crazy world. I love how easily she goes from one story to another, sometimes breaking into song, always willing to laugh at herself and sometimes the audience. Some of the DVDs include:

 

 

I particularly loved the segment in disc 7 when she was describing how she broke into the tv market. At one point, she was on the Wanda Sykes show. She read an email that was sent in response to the show, where the writer blasted her for not calling Ms Sykes out for living the lesbian lifestyle. She explained that she had enough time to chat for 2 ½ minutes with Wanda, who was very kind and friendly. She said her job was not to judge, as God would have plenty of time to do that, but to meet and love her. She knew that was why she was there. What a great witness! She called us out as not always being a good witness around non believers and her reasoning was sound in my opinion. Sometimes I think we do things automatically without thinking how they are perceived by others. It doesn’t paint the grace and mercy that God has given us. But we are given that mercy from God as long as we are willing to give the same mercy to others in return.

This collection of DVDs includes a DVD of  Exclusive Bonus Features:

    • A new, never before seen show
    • Life Today Interview
    • Preview of Chonda’s first movie “Laughing in the Dark”
    • Laughtones for your phone
    • new taped interviews introducing all 7 shows
    • desktop pictures for computer and/or tablet

If you are looking for a new approach to Christianity and appreciate a little humor, I think you’ll like this set. Family Christian graciously sent it to me at no cost in exchange for a fair review. To order this set online, go to:

http://www.familychristian.com/catalog/product/view/id/340132/s/still-laughing-after-all-these-tears-ultimate-fan-collection-8-dvd-set/

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Update!! Family Christian has graciously offered to give away a copy of the Chonda Pierce – Still Laughing After All These Tears DVD Set. Choose as many entries as you want- come back and enter every day until January 18th!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Deck the Halls Giveaway

Prize:
Framed Art $75 Gift Code 
3D Light FX Minions Mini Light Set
Oak Leaf 66 Ft Solar String Light
Oak Leaf 6 Pack Bamboo Wall Hooks
Decal Guru Gift Code
ARV:
$175+
 

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Pet Resolve Dog Training Collar with Remote Review

We have 2 dogs that we love dearly as members of our family. One is Frosty, our West Highland Terrier, and then there is Duke , our German Shepherd pup. I say pup but he’s about 80 pounds and 2 years old. He’s fiercely protective of our yard and his people. That being said, our neighbor has a dog that bounds from the house straight for the fence, yipping and carrying on. Each time he does this our Duke goes to the fence and defends his territory. We’ve used many techniques to remedy this with no luck, as the other dog is still allowed to challenge without reprimand from his owner. I had high hopes that we’d be able to keep Duke from going to the fence by using the Pet Resolve Dog Training Collar with Remote. I was offered a collar for a discounted price in exchange for a fair review. I tried without success to set up the collar and finally tried contacting the company. No customer service chat, no answer at their phone number. I sent an email and was called a while later. The representative was quite helpful in walking me through the directions, which were quite different from what was on the little usage manual included. I would never be able to do this again on my own and I’m pretty savvy about stuff like that. I was able finally to get the collar working and tried it out on Duke but found that it had to be fairly tight on his neck to make good contact. If I shaved his neck hair short it might work better but it was sporadic and not what I expected. It’s a very good quality collar and is supposed to work while swimming, etc. There is a test light (plastic odd shaped piece) that comes in the kit, but no explanation that I could find for it. I would have loved for this to have worked better, but it’s got some issues that need to be worked out, such as even longer prongs for larger dogs with long fur, better directions, and better customer support.

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Pet Resolve Dog Training Collar with Remote was offered for a discounted price in exchange for a fair review.

Angel Crafts White Vinyl Roll Review

 

I enjoy making crafts with my scan and cut. Since it’s the Christmas season, I am working on some Christmas gifts using my Angel Crafts White Vinyl Roll. I really like this vinyl because it comes on a roll, so if I’m working on a lengthy project like a sign it will just keep going.

It measures at 12 feet by 1 foot and it is 3 mil thick so it’s made to hold up well, whether you use it for indoor or outdoor use. It has a 2 1/2 inch core so it will roll up nicely when finished. The rolled vinyl comes in a 12’ by 12” White roll or a 9″ by 12′ Black roll. It is proudly made in the USA and will work in a Cricut, Silhouette, Brother Scan and Cat, or most any other cutter.

I made a Charger Plate with a few different designs on it and I was very pleased with how well it worked on my projects. I don’t have time to worry about if my vinyl will release or if it has enough adhesive to last- that’s why I’m very pleased with Angel Crafts White Vinyl Roll!
Angel Crafts White Vinyl Roll was provided at a discount in exchange for a fair review.

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