Saturday, June 29, 2013

Book Review: The Heiress of Winterwood

Disclaimer- This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you click on one of the links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission from that website, at no additional cost to you. Also, I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Heiress of Winterwood

About The Heiress of Winterwood

Pride goes before the fall . . . but what comes after?
Darbury, England, 1814
Amelia Barrett gave her word. Keeping it could cost her everything. An heiress to an estate nestled in the English moors, defies family expectations and promises to raise her dying friend’s baby. She’ll risk everything to keep her word—even to the point of proposing to the child’s father—a sea captain she’s never met.
When the child vanishes with little more than an ominous ransom note hinting at her whereabouts, Amelia and Graham are driven to test the boundaries of their love for this little one.
Amelia’s detailed plans would normally see her through any trial, but now, desperate and shaken, she’s forced to examine her soul and face her one weakness: pride.
Graham’s strength and self-control have served him well and earned him much respect, but chasing perfection has kept him a prisoner of his own discipline. And away from the family he has sworn to love and protect.
Both must learn to have faith and relinquish control so they can embrace the future ahead of them.

My thoughts on The Heiress of Winterwood

One of my favorite book genres is historical fiction.  I also enjoy mysteries and romance novels, too.  The Heiress of Winterwood combines all 3 into an exciting fast paced book, filled with mystery and a growing romance.  It is not often that I am unable to put a book down, but this is one of those books and I finished it in one sitting.  I especially loved Amelia's love and dedication to her beloved friend and to Lucy, her friend's daughter.  I also enjoyed watching as Graham moved through his grief and grew along the way. 

I recommend The Heiress of Winterwood to anyone who enjoys a quick, and exciting book, particularly one that is historical in nature and contains lots of mystery and a touch of romance.

About Sarah Ladd

Sarah E. Ladd has more than ten years of marketing experience. She is a graduate of Ball State University and holds degrees in public relations and marketing. "The Heiress of Winterwood" was the recipient of the 2011 Genesis Award for historical romance. Sarah lives in Indiana with her amazing husband, sweet daughter, and spunky Golden Retriever.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Book Review: When Jesus Wept

Disclaimer- This post contains affiliate links.  This means that if you click on one of the links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission from that website, at no additional cost to you.  Also, I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
When Jesus Wept

About When Jesus Wept

Book 1 in the Thoene’s new  Jerusalem Chronicles.
Brock and Bodie Thoene’s most powerful and climactic writing project to date, When Jesus Wept, captures the power and the passion of the men and women who lived through the most important days in the history of the world.
Lazarus occupies a surprising position in the Gospel accounts. Widely known as the man Jesus raised from the dead, his story is actually much broader and richer than that. Living as he did at Bethany, near Jerusalem, Lazarus was uniquely placed to witness the swirl of events around Jesus. When Jesus Wept, the first novel in The Jerusalem Chronicles series by bestselling authors Bodie and Brock Thoene, unfolds the turbulent times in Judea during Jesus’ ministry, centering on the friendship between Jesus and Lazarus. With rich insights from vineyard owners and vine dressers, the Thoenes explore the metaphor of Jesus as the True Vine, harvesting the ancient secrets found in the Old Testament.
Weaving the life of Lazarus, who owned a vineyard, into the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ will help you understand it is the hand of Love Divine that holds the knife, that cuts and breaks with such tender and loving touch, and that we who have born some fruit, after the pruning, can bear much more.

My thoughts on When Jesus Wept

I have found that I really enjoy Biblical fiction and When Jesus Wept, was no exception.  The story stays true to the scriptural accounts, but the authors take poetic license to add to the stories we all know and love.  This allows the reader to get an insight to what the people may have been feeling during that time and this allows the reader to feel more of a personal connection.  I enjoy being able to develop that connection as I find that when I go back and re-read the scriptural accounts, I have a more intimate connection with the stories and the people in them.

I recommend this to any one who enjoys Biblical fiction.

About Bodie and Brock Thoene

Bodie and Brock Thoene (pronounced Tay-nee) are bestselling authors of over sixty-five works of historical fiction. Their timeless classics have sold more than thirty-five million copies and won eight ECPA Gold Medallion Awards. The Thoenes have four grown children and eight grandchildren. They divide their time between Hawaii, London, and Nevada.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Are we robbing others of blessings?

Last week I became very ill with a combination stomach bug/chest cold.  In addition to the gastrointestinal issues, I felt achy, had chills and cold sweats and a severe cough, but no fever.  It lasted 4 full days, and the cough has lessened, but is still lingering on.  There have been 2 times in my life, not counting hospitalizations, where I found myself so sick I could not even tend to my children.  The first time was when I had the swine flu and last week was the second.  Being that I have older kids, it was not terrible as they were able to help with the little ones, but it was still a whole lot to put on them.  Fortunately, I have an amazing network of friends.  I received offers of assistance from many people and knew of many more that I could have called on at any moment.  Unfortunately, I, like many of us, do not like to ask for or accept help unless I truly feel I absolutely NEED it. Then, somebody reminded me that when others are helping us, they are being blessed as well.  I had not thought of it that way and remembered a friend many years ago telling me years ago that if I did not accept his help, I would be robbing him of blessings.  The more I thought on it, the more willing I was to accept help, and I am glad I did.  My family received a warm dinner on the day I was hit the hardest and as I was recovering, friends came over and helped put the house back in order.  Both of these things could have been done without my friends' help, but burdens were lifted from my shoulders and the shoulders of my family members.  I feel incredibly blessed to have received their help and I hope to remember this lesson the next time I am offered, or could use, some assistance. 

Do you find it difficult to accept help from others when you could get by without it?  Does thinking of the fact that they are also blessed by providing service help you to accept their service?

Friday, June 7, 2013

Product Review: Oscillococcinum

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.  This means that if you click through the link, and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you.  I received a sample of this product from Boiron/Oscillo and Naturally Savvy in exchange for my honest review.


About Oscillococcinum

Oscillococcinum temporarily relieves flu-like symptoms such as fatigue, headache, body aches, chills and fever.  The active ingredient is anas barbariae hepatis et cordis extractum 200CK HPUS (The HPUS indicates that the active ingredient is officially included in the Homeopathic Pharmacopcoeia of the United States.) The inactive ingredients are lactose and sucrose.  The product comes in small tubes, with each tube holding one dose.  To use, adults and children ages 2 years and older, dissolve contents from one entire tube in the mouth, every 6 hours, up to 3 times a day.  Oscillococcinum works best when taken at the first sign of flu-like symptoms.  Clinical studies have shown Oscillococcinum to help reduce both the duration and severity of flu-like symptoms.  There are no side effects, such as drowsiness; no risk of overdose, and no drug interactions.  While it is safe for everyone over age 2, there is also a child's version available.  The sweet-tasting pellets melt away easily with no water, chewing or swallowing necessary.

As a precaution- stop using and contact a doctor, if your symptoms last longer than 3 days or worsen.  Also, if you are pregnant or breast-feeding, ask a health professional before using.  As with all health products, keep out of reach of children.

My thoughts on Oscillococcinum

I recently had a pretty severe head cold, with some flu-like symptoms, but no fever.  I decided it was as good a time as ever to see how well Oscillococcinum would work.  Although I love the idea of homeopathic medications, I approach each one skeptically.  I have yet to find one that has not worked as promised.  The same goes for Oscillococcinum.  My headache and minor body aches cleared up pretty quickly, even quicker than with traditional medications.  I did not feel over medicated or groggy.  I found the pellets to be almost a treat to take.  They really do melt quickly and taste slightly sweet, with no funky flavor or aftertaste.  I also like the cute little vials, but wish I could I figure out a cute craft or something to make with them.

I recommend Oscillococcinum to anyone who is interested in using homeopathic treatments for cold and flu-like symptoms. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

DVD review: Dance Academy (tv series)

Disclaimer- This post contains affiliate links. This simply means that if you click on them and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no cost to you. I also received the DVDs for free in
exchange for my honest review.

About Dance Academy

Season 1: Volume 1 (from the back of the DVD case)- Ever since she was a little girl, Tara Webster dreamed of becoming a dancer.  In Season 1: Volume 1, country girl Tara leaves her home, family and friends to audition for the prestigious National Academy of Dance in the big city.  When she's given a spot she's sure her life will be spectacular, but what she doesn't realize is that there's a whole lot more to surviving the Academy than just dancing.

Tara soon meets the other first years: carefree Kat, gorgeous Ethan, rebellious Christian, loveable Sammy and overachiever Abigail.  Together they manage the pressures of exams, crushes and dancing, all the while knowing that at the end of the year not everyone makes the cut. 

For the first time on DVD,, see 13 episodes from Season 1 of the hit drama series about chasing dreams. 

Bonus Feature: Cast Photo Gallery

Season 1: Volume 2 (again from the back of the DVD case)- In Season 1: Volume 2, Tara returns from the holidays excited to have been awarded a first year scholarship, but the rest of the year is full of challenges no one could have seen coming.

The group continues to put all their effort into dancing, but along the way some battle eating disorders, struggle with their parents, overcome physical injury and even deal with big breakups.

With the end-of-year Nutcracker performance approaching, can the Academy group pull it together? And does Tara really have what it takes to stand center stage?

For the first time on DVD, see 13 episodes from Season 1 and take a special behind-the-scenes look at the making of the hit drama about chasing dreams with your very own backstage pass.

My thoughts on Dance Academy

Thanks to Netflix, my girls have fallen in love with Australian teen dramas, so when I had the opportunity to review the DVDs of season 1, volumes 1 and 2, of Dance Academy, I was excited to do so. The fact that they are about dancing, particularly ballet and some hip hop, was especially intriguing as my girls love to learn about dancing.  My older girls (ages 12 and almost 11) really love this show for all that it is, while my 6 year old is really just interested in the dance scenes and could care less about the "drama" parts.  I like that the characters are diverse both culturally and personality-wise.  I also like how it shows how Tara learns not only the commitment and dedication required to follow ones dreams, but she learns how to navigate teen relationships with both males and other females.  There is some minor violence and mean-girl behavior, along with some references to sex, but otherwise it is a pretty tame show. 

I recommend this series to anyone who enjoys good-natured teen dramas and/or tv shows about dance.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Book Review: Unrivaled

Disclaimer- This post contains affiliate links. That simply means that if you click on them, and end up making a purchase, I will receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you. I also received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

About Unrivaled

Lucy Kendall returns from a tour of the Continent, her luggage filled with the latest fashions and a mind fired by inspiration. After tasting Europe's best confections, she's sure she'll come up with a recipe that will save her father's struggling candy business and reverse their fortunes. But she soon discovers that their biggest competitor, the cheat who swindled her father out of his prize recipe, has now hired a promotions manager-a cocky, handsome out-of-towner who gets under Lucy's skin.
Charlie Clarke's new role at Standard Manufacturing is the chance of a lifetime. He can put some rough times behind him and reconnect with the father he's never known. The one thing he never counted on, however, was tenacious Lucy Kendall. She's making his work life miserable...and making herself impossible for him to forget.

My thoughts about Unrivaled

I enjoy candy making, but had never thought much about it on a manufacturing level.  I found the setting of the book, about rival candy makers, to be fresh and fun.  Lucy finds herself in a tough predicament as a female trying to run a business during a time that women just did not do that.  She decides that she must be ruthless in her attempts to outdo her competition, as Charlie's father was trying to undo Lucy's business.  Meanwhile Charlie is simply trying to help his stubborn father while he rebuilds his life.  It is a story about faith, forgiveness, and second chances, with a star-crossed romance thrown in.  I did find the storyline a bit predictable, but it was still a well written book.  

I recommend Unrivaled to anyone who enjoys romance stories, stories about second chances, or about the candy business.

About Siri Mitchell

Siri Mitchell is the author of nearly a dozen novels, among them the critically acclaimed Christy Award finalists "Chateau of Echoes" and "The Cubicle Next Door". A graduate of the University of Washington with a degree in business, she has worked in many different levels of government. As military spouse, she has lived in places as varied as Tokyo and Paris. Siri currently lives in the DC-metro area.