Monday, August 27, 2012

"We Be Big" - Rick & Bubba's Story

Book Description from Booksneeze:

"The story of two unlikely radio hosts and what happened when they followed their faith and instincts.
Rick & Bubba are the most unlikely broadcast stars imaginable, yet hundreds of thousands of loyal listeners start their day with them every morning. Beyond that, they break the biggest no-no rule for secular radio as they openly share their faith in Christ and their common-sense way of looking at the world. Now, in We Be Big: The Mostly True Story of How We Became Rick & Bubba, readers learn how this unlikely pairing came about. Alternately hilarious and heartbreaking, this is also the highly personal story of two men who—like most of us—resisted stepping through the doors God opened for them, opting for the easier path when tested. When they finally decided to follow their instincts and their faith, though, not only did they became amazingly successful, but also a truly powerful platform became theirs."
My Thoughts:
Growing up in the south (North Alabama, actually), I know who Rick & Bubba are.  They come up in many conversations, and everyone loves them.  I requested this book from Booksneeze because I thought I would enjoy getting to "know" them a little better.  
"We Be Big" definitely helps you see into Rick & Bubba's world of radio and faith.  I enjoyed reading more about them and their "mostly" true story.  I did find the book a bit hard to read, though I am used to reading fiction or self-help type books and this is neither.  If you have no idea who Rick and Bubba are, then you most likely wouldn't really enjoy this book, but if you know who they are or have heard them on the radio, then you may enjoy reading a little more about their adventure.  There is plenty of humor, some heartbreak and a lot of stories in the book to help keep you entertained.

*I received this book from in exchange for my honest review.*

The Harvest of Grace by Cindy Woodsmall

Description of 'The Harvest of Grace' from CBD:

"When Sylvia Fischer turned down her beau's offer of marriage, she expected him to give her the time and space she'd requested, believing they would eventually wed. Instead he married her sister. When she learns that his betrayal was her father's idea--a proposition made to save the farm--she knows she'll never trust another man.
Despite the secrets hiding in Aaron Blank's youth, he thinks he's ready to face his future. As he sets out to make up for the wrongs he's done to his family, he meets Sylvia, the new farmhand from a nearby district. She doesn't want him around, seems to have his father's heart in the palm of her hand--and what she knows could ruin his future."

I love Cindy Woodsmall's "Ada's House" series.  They are wonderful books!  'The Harvest of Grace' is the 3rd book in the series ('The Bridge of Peace' was #2, see my review here).  These books are very well-written with love stories, drama, conflict, and pretty much everything you'd expect in a real-life story, but these things are all packed into Cndy Woodsmall's novels.  

In 'The Harvest of Grace' Sylvia wants to be able to run the farm that she loves, but can't do that because of her gender.  In the beginning of the book, her boyfriend asks her to marry him and she asks him to wait.  He marries her sister, which crushes her completely.  She lives on the same farm with them trying to be the best she can but one day something happens between them and she knows she has to leave her family farm.  Many things happen after this, many conflicts and many resolutions.  

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves to read fiction.  I loved it!

*I received an e-copy of 'The Harvest of Grace" from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.*

Tales of Goldstone Wood by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

Description of 'Heartless' from CBD:
"Princess Una of Parumvir has come of age and will soon be married. She dreams of a handsome and charming prince, but when the first suitor arrives, she finds him stodgy and boring. Prince Aethelbald from the mysterious land of Farthestshore has traveled far to prove his love--and also to bring hushed warnings of danger. A dragon is rumored to be approaching Parumvir. Una, smitten instead with a more dashing prince, refuses Aethelbald's offer--and ignores his warnings. Soon the Dragon King himself is in Parumvir, and Una, in giving her heart away unwisely, finds herself in grave danger. Only those courageous enough to risk everything have a hope of fighting off this advancing evil."

Description of 'Veiled Rose' from CBD:
"Rose Red trusts no one with her secret. She hides in the forest, her face veiled in rags, shunning the company of all save her old father and her nanny goat. Her life is bleak and lonely.
Until she meets a privileged young man sent to spend his summer in the mountains. Leo, a lonely lad, befriends Rose Red, and together they begin hunting for the Mountain Monster which, rumor says, stalks these lands.But the hunt which began as a game holds greater risk than Leo supposes."

"Desperate to regain the trust of his kingdom, Prince Lionheart reluctantly banishes his faithful servant and only friend, Rose Red. Now she is lost in the hidden realm of Arpiar, held captive by her evil goblin father, King Vahe.
Vowing to redeem himself, Lionheart plunges into the mysterious Goldstone Wood, seeking Rose Red. In strange other worlds, Lionheart must face a lyrical yet lethal tiger, a fallen unicorn, and a goblin horde on his quest to rescue the girl he betrayed.
With the Night of Moonblood fast approaching, when King Vahe seeks to wake the Dragon's sleeping children, Lionheart must discover whether or not his heart contains courage before it's too late for Rose Red... and all those he loves."

"When a cursed dragon-witch kidnaps the lovely Lady Gleamdren, Eanrin sets boldly forth on a rescue mission... and a race against his rival for Gleamdren's favor. Intent upon his quest, the last thing the immortal Faerie needs is to become mixed up with the troubles of an insignificant mortal.
But when he stumbles upon a maiden trapped in an enchanted sleep, he cannot leave her alone in the dangerous Wood Between. One waking kiss later, Eanrin suddenly finds his story entangled with that of young Starflower. A strange link exists between this mortal girl and the dragon-witch. Will Starflower prove the key to Lady Gleamdren's rescue? Or will the dark power from which she flees destroy both her and her rescuer?"

My Thoughts:

I recently finished Books 1-4 in the "Tales of Goldstone Wood" Series by Anne Elisabeth Stengl.  These books are not my "normal" reading material.  I normally shy away from the fantasy fiction books; however these caught my attention for some reason.  Once I started reading, the books were so strange I kept wanting to toss them out, but at the same time they were so strange I just had to keep reading.  Once I finished the first one I decided I needed to go ahead and read the next one.  The more I read, the more sense they began to make to me.  I describe the books as a mix between Narnia and Lord of the Rings (which is still a far-fetched description). These books include goblins, dragons, queens, and many other fantasy aspects.  If you enjoy fantasy books, then you will likely enjoy these. They are very well-written, just not exactly my style of reading.  I would recommend reading them all in order so that they make more sense.

Love in Disguise by Carol Cox

From CBD's product description:

"When costume-maker Ellie Moore suddenly finds herself out of a job in the middle of a bleak Chicago winter, she uses her knowledge of theatrical disguise to secure a position as an undercover operative with the Pinkerton Detective Agency. Her assignment: find the culprit behind the theft of silver shipped from the mines near Pickford, Arizona.
Disguised as Lavinia Stewart, a middle-aged widow, Ellie begins her investigation. Soon she finds she must also pose as the dazzling young Jessie Monroe, whose vivacious personality encourages people to talk."

My Thoughts

I enjoyed reading "Love in Disguise" by Carol Cox.  It was a very entertaining book.  I love a good mystery novel, and while this wasn't the most on-the-edge-of-your-seat book, it was very entertaining.  I loved the light humor in the book between the characters and the easy flow of the story.  Carol Cox did a great job writing this book.  The characters were all very unique and seemingly true to the "wild west" that I have always imagined.  The idea that a young girl could successfully pull off a private investigation is a nice change and definitely shows that girls can be strong and successful.  The love story in the book wasn't too "mushy" for me (I hate lovey-dovey books haha).  It was a more subdued love story in which even I was rooting for love to win out in the end!  The ending was a bit too clean for me though, because I didn't see that ending ever happening in real-life, but who knows?  The story would have needed several more chapters for what I'd consider a real-life ending ;)

*I received "Love in Disguise" by Carol Cox in exchange for my honest review. No other compensation was received.

Almost Amish by Kathryn Cushman

I recently received "Almost Amish" by Kathryn Cushman from Bethany House Publishing Group to review.  I never thought I would enjoy reading Amish fiction, but the more I read the more I get drawn in!  Apparently I love reading about the "simple" lifestyle.

From CBD's produt description:
"Julie Charlton is at the breaking point. She's overwhelmed and burned out, and in today's unrelenting society, her kids are, too. When her sister-in-law Susan, a Martha Stewart-in-training, lands the chance to participate in a reality TV series promoting simple living, and needs another family to join her, it seems like the perfect opportunity.
The location is an idyllic farm outside an Amish community in Tennessee. Julie, with her two children, joins Susan and her teenage daughter for a summer adventure. Susan needs to succeed in order to become self-sufficient after an ugly divorce, Julie needs to slow down long enough to remember what her priorities are and regain a sense of purpose and meaning. It becomes clear from the start that "living simple" is no simple matter. With the camera watching every move, Susan's drive for perfection feels a lot like what they left behind, while Julie suddenly finds herself needing to stand up for slowing down. With each new challenge, their season of "going Amish" gets more and more complicated, as each woman learns unexpected lessons about herself and her family."

First off, I will say that I absolutely loved this book.  I completely identified with everything Julie was going through.  Having 2 young kids and never having enough time to do everything exactly as I want leaves me exhausted more often than I'd like to admit.  There were many things in this book that actually helped me feel like less of a failure.  This was more of an entertaining "self--help" book than a fictional novel.  Kathryn Cushman is an amazing writer, and I can't wait to read more of her books.  The problems and solutions in this book were very true to real-life problems and solutions even though it has a reality t.v. setting.  If you are having trouble identifying what your true gift is and just need some encouragement, I'd recommend this book.   There were several thought-provoking statements made in this book, and I feel like a better person for having read it....which says a LOT for a fictional novel!!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

God Gave Us You

I received "God Gave Us You" by Lisa Tawn Bergren to review from WaterBrook Press through the Blogging for Books program. 

We own a few of the "God Gave Us" book, and we love everyone of them!  These books are great tools to teach your child that God made them special no matter what.  I love our new "God Gave Us You" book because it is small enough to take along with us and read anytime.  The art by Laura J. Bryant is beautiful, as always!  My daughter loves the pictures of the polar bears.  "God Gave Us You" is an easy-to-understand book that teaches kids that are each treasured gifts from the Lord.

I would definitely recommend this book to everyone I know with kids! This would be a great book for new parents!

*I received a copy of "God Gave Us You" in exchange for my review.*