Monday, December 27, 2010

The Charlatan's Boy
By Jonathan Rogers

"Ladies and Gentlemen . . . It is my privilege to introduce you to the World's Ugliest Boy!" 

Greasy-mustached, traveling showman Floyd can't be trusted by his audiences OR, for that matter, his boy:  ugly orphan Grady.  Lies are all part of Floyd's business, and Grady can't for the life of him figure out which of Floyd's story of Grady's originings is true.  Traipsing from town to town with the Charlatan, duping one "ignerent" village after the next, Grady finds himself torn between wanting the truth and loving the tall-tales . . . roughin' the big life on the road and still yearning for a sense of belonging. 

Amidst the adventures of stampedes, bull-riding, swamp hoofing, wild showmanship and knock-down drag out fights alongside a pretty girl, one cannot read this tale without falling in love with the ugliest orphan to ever show his face in Corenwald.  With cantering southern diction, Jonathan Rogers weaves a tall tale that is sure to delight, entertain and touch every reader.  I loved it! 

(I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.)  For a sneak peek at the first 2 chapters, go here.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Shameless Shutterfly Shabang!

Shutterfly is doing a promotion where if you write a 150 word article for them on your blog, you'll get 50 free Christmas cards!  I'm super excited about this because 1) anybody can do it, 2) I've got to hurry up and get on this Christmas card thing and 3) Shutterfly seems to have really good quality pictures, designs and photobooks.

Possible spoiler alert:  I really like the above Christmas card (Merry Blossom) and this one called Retro Christmas . . . One might be perfect for the Christmas picture we took at the beach this week.  Can't wait until Millie Bean can be on there with us . . . next Christmas! :)

Also check out these wall calendars if you still need a Christmas gift for Gramps, or this cutie birthday invite with a little chicken on it.  And if you're ever planning a baby shower, they have way cuter invites than you'll ever find at Target!  Like this one!  

Hope that y'all are having a great time planning/decorating for Christmas.  I plan to launch into it this week. Thanks for listening about Shutterfly!  And check your mail!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Birth That's Right for You by a doctor and a midwife, helps explain the birth process without inundating the reader with horror stories and heavy opinions.  Their premise is that what comes naturally to you defines how you will birth your baby.  (IE, if you don't breathe through your teeth, it's not going to come in that handy when you're fightin' through those contractions.)

I like to be informed without being influenced, so this book helped me feel more confident about going into labor and delivery.  A little more information about what the drugs actually do -- and their negative/positive affects would have been helpful.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sadly, many Christian movies have the reputation of being less than well produced. However, The Least Among You contains excellent cinematography and quality acting.

Caught up in the 1965 Watts Riots, Richard Kelly finds himself on probation in an all-white seminary.  Kelly is torn between his civil rights duties, spiritual calling and the presidents agenda for his presence at the all-white school.  Inspired by a true story, this movie doesn't shy away from the irony of racial prejudice and hatred within a Christian seminary.

Though the overall story was interesting, the plot moves somewhat slowly and ends uninspirationally.  However, the movie's thought-provoking contrasts and issues of morality allows for a wholesome way to spend an evening! provided me with this DVD for reviewing purposes.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Your Money God's Way: Overcoming the 7 Money Myths that Keep Christians Broke
Amie Streater

[Before I launch into the review, I gotta say that using a "Buy ONE get ONE free" Blizzard coupon from DairyQueen as a bookmark really propels and motivates you to finish a non-fiction book!  Think of it as a reward to yourself when get done!  I try to read fiction and non-fiction alternatively, and sometimes I need a little push.  Anyone want to come with me for a Blizzard???]

Your Money puts to the test Christians' often counterfeit convictions about spending money.  Unfortunately, Christians are not exempt from the staggering statistics of bankruptcy and debt that currently bear down on American families across our nation.  This book helps to dig up the doo-doo in our thought lives that lead us to spending ways that keep us poor.

Though the book didn't address my personal counterfeit conviction: guilt about spending money, it did a good job addressing over-spending and getting out of debt.  I am often so inspired by good money books! sent me this book complimentary on the condition that I write a review for it on my blog!  I say, yes please!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Last Child
John Hart

It took me about three late nights to devour this suspenseful book--but I don't recommend reading it before bed:  it's kinda scary!

A family torn apart by a missing child suddenly becomes entangled in a deeper plot when another child goes missing.  Dun dun duuun . . .

This book had some language and the subject matter (child abductions) can get a little heavy.  It's a big time page turner (but that could also be because I got the large print edition. :)  I'm a huge fan of large print . . . . John Hart keeps things moving right along with deft symbolism and engaging action.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

How to Be Your Own Selfish Pig:  And Other Ways You've Been Brainwashed
Susan Schaeffer Macaulay 

I remember seeing this glaring, obnoxious title on Daddy's bookshelves for as long as I can remember.  Now I have my own copy, and figured it was about time to read it!  Susan Schaeffer Macaulay--Francis Schaeffer's daughter--calmly and rationally explains Christian apologetics with a potato peeler in hand and soup simmering on the stove.  Without compromising truth, she brings huge life issues down to earth, explaining controversial topics with wisdom and perspective.

Macaulay documents the stories and journeys of real-life people--from those who cut themselves, to those who have had abortions, to others who just can't believe in God.  The underlining premise is that beliefs eventually change the way you live your life--and that the world can only really make sense if you believe in one creating, sustaining God.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Mysterious Benedict Society

The Mysterious Benedict Society
Trenton Lee Stewart 

When I got this big, chunky book from the library, I couldn't wait tear into it.  Needless to say, I wasn't disappointed.  Juvenile fiction has been and always will be my favorite genre because the author is forced to be concise, clever and adventurous.  And I don't have to muddle my way through bad language or romance cheese (unless of course you're reading those vampire book).  

The Mysterious Benedict Society's action centers around four children with some odd talents -- such as the gifts of being contrary (I too currently have that gift), resourceful, good at solving riddles and speed reading.  My favorite aspect of this ragtag group of kids is their moral integrity--a huge surprise for a modern read!

Twists and turns, riddles and adventures make this book so amusing.  The author uses foreshadowing excellently--I patted myself on the back a few times for "guessing" what was coming next only to be nailed by a surprise at the ending that I should have seen coming all along.  

Monday, August 23, 2010


Patton:  The Pursuit of Destiny
By Agostino Von Hassell and Ed Bresslin

One hardly knows what to expect when cracking open this beautiful hardcover about the rough Army General George S. Patton.  While we know him for his military prowess in leading US troops in WW2, his contributions to the US military and personal accomplishments outside of warefare were astounding.  His life and lore--the scandalous as well as the sincere--are portrayed fabulously in this quick-moving epic of Gen. Patton's life.

Though famously controversial with character flaws as big as the moon, Patton's genius, work-ethic and amazing stories of cunning will not only awe but will command  immense respect. sent me this book to review!  Thanks, BS. :)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Same Kind of Different = Best Kind of Different

Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall and Denver More, with Lynn Vincent 
A true story account that reads like a novel, Same Kind of Different as Me will move you to tears and challenge your faith.  This first-person account of the relationship between a street-dweller and art-dealer turns prejudice and expectations on their heads.  Too often, when we think we are ministering to the less-fortunate, it is they who are changing OUR lives and perspectives.  

The authors' trials range from Ku Klux Klan-type abuse to marital despair, from street violence to a millionaire's discomfort during serving at a soup kitchen. Without a doubt, these twists and turns lead two men into a bewildering, unlikely friendship that changes their lives and prepares them for the most shocking event of their lives. 

Though the book hinges on the lives of a few exceptional characters, the overwhelming presence of God permeates each vignette, constantly driving home His sovereignty in the divine choreography of our lives for His glory.  The story sticks in my brain and makes me look for ways that God will not only use me in others' lives, but use others to make me want to follow even harder after Him.