Friday, June 27, 2014

2 new Christian reads

I've been spending a lot of time with my Bible lately and in books that are an encouragement to me as both a Christian and a woman. They're my refreshment after a long day with a cranky toddler or even just a normal, happy day. I need to be in the Word and these two books are my most recent "refreshing" reads. 

Love, Skip, Jump by Shelene Bryan is all about saying "yes" to the things that typically scare you and take a true leap of faith. It was a great reminder at taking care of the things we have and not taking them for granted, as well as how others are living without many of our luxuries and we're called to care for those with less. 

Jumping into the adventure our Creator has planned for us is essential -- but much easier said than done. Bryan did an excellent job at using personal experience to inspire. 

Living Life Undaunted by Christine Caine has quickly become my new favorite devotional. It contains 365 readings to challenge us to help change the world. She is an incredibly powerful speaker and has a great writing style -- simple, but direct. I love opening this up with my Bible each morning to see what Caine has in store for me to chew on. 

Thanks to BookLook Bloggers for the chance to review these fantastic books. I hope to be featuring more from them in the near future! 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A beach book giveaway!

I just returned from 4 glorious days at the beach with my friends. It was a much needed mama-break and I enjoyed every single minute of doing almost nothing except lounging in the sand with my book.  SO relaxing!

Though I really enjoyed my alone time, I know Elliott would love the beach, so I'm hoping to take him to a closer one sometime this summer. We've been reading a lot of books about the beach lately and our favorite has been Duck & Goose Go the the Beach by Tad Hills. Who doesn't love this sweet pair of friends??

In their latest adventure, the excited pair head to the beach where Goose loves the sand and the surf... but, poor Duck is a little scared. It's the perfect blend of sweet and silly and kids will laugh all through the antics of these two crazy birds. 

For us, it's also a great intro for Elliott as to what life at the beach might be like. Sand, big waves, little tide pools, etc. The illustrations are fantastic, as Hills' always are, and he loved laughing at Goose being so silly. 

Random House has kindly sent an extra book and some Duck & Goose goodies to give away to one of you! Leave a comment on this post by Friday night and I'll pick a winner Saturday morning. Make sure you leave a way for me to contact you! U.S. only please. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Care and Management of Lies by Jacqueline Winspear

From the publisher:

By July 1914, the ties between Kezia Marchant and Thea Brissenden, friends since girlhood, have become strained -- by Thea's passionate embrace of women's suffrage, and by the imminent marriage of Kezia to Thea's brother, Tom, who runs the family farm. When Kezia and Tom wed, just a month before Britain declares war on Germany, Thea's gift to Kezia is a book on household management -- a veiled criticism of the bride's prosaic life to come. Yet when Tom enlists to fight for his country and Thea is drawn reluctantly onto the battlefield, the farm becomes Kezia's responsibility. Each woman must find a way to endure the ensuing cataclysm and turmoil.

I absolutely love Winspear's Maisie Dobbs series and was thrilled to see she had a stand-alone coming out. Though I wasn't quite as entranced with the characters as I had been with the series, I still found myself pulled into the time period and setting just as deeply. Winspear has a knack for creating an ugly beautiful -- the Great War being a terribly ugly time in history, yet her descriptions of life, place, and emotions are truly beautiful.

This one wasn't a quick read, but worth savoring. Add it to your beach bag if you're looking for something with depth, but also bits of humor. I loved it!

You can check out the rest of the tour here or head to Jacqueline Winspear's website or Facebook page. And if you haven't read a Maisie Dobbs book, YOU MUST.

Friday, June 6, 2014

The Dog Year... interview with Ann Garvin

You all know I love a good dog book. The Dog Year follows Dr. Lucy Peterman, a woman struggling to keep her head above water after losing her husband and unborn child in a tragic accident. She's caught stealing from the hospital she works in and is sent to a twelve-step program to attempt to help rebuild her life. 

She adopts a stray dog and slowly starts bonding with the people in her group while at the dog park. Proving that dog-people really are the best people, right? (just kidding, cats are cool too)

I thought it would be great if Ann Garvin would provide us with a little background that went into The Dog Year -- in the form of its playlist! 

What is the musical soundtrack you imagined to go along with The Dog Year?

This is a wonderful question and since there is a discovered iPod in the book where my protagonist listens and tries to feel connected to her husband after his death, it’s a perfect question for me. If I were to fill an iPod with music for listening while reading THE DOG YEAR, I would fill it with.

·         Everlasting Love by Gloria Estefan
·         Give Me Everything by Pitbull
·         Say Hey (I Love You) by Michael Franti
·         My First My Last My Everything by Barry White
·         It’s Raining Men by The Weathergirls
·         Bad Day by Daniel Powter

I’d also add to this list
·         Just Give Me a Reason and Blow Me (one last kiss) by Pink (Lucy has Pink’s attitude so often it seems to fit.)
·         The Show by Lenka (would be perfect for either Sara or Sidney)
·         Me and Mrs. Jones by Billy Paul
·         Hard Candy by The Counting Crows
·         You and I Both by Jason Mraz
·         At Last by Etta James
·         A Thousand Years by Christina Perri
·         Club Can’t Handle Me by Flo Rida
·         I’m Yours/Somewhere Over The Rainbow by Straight No Chaser (for closing credits)

And I would like nothing better than Thrift Shop by Macklemore to be playing while Lucy is stealing all the strange stuff she doesn’t need. How awesome would that be?

Thanks for joining me, Ann! And thanks to Penguin for sending a review copy along. If you're a dog lover, be sure to add this one to your summer reading list -- just be sure to have a box of tissues nearby!

Monday, June 2, 2014

The Bookman's Tale review and giveaway!

From the publisher:

Nine months after the death of his beloved wife Amanda left him shattered, Peter Byerly, a young antiquarian bookseller, relocates fromNorth Carolina to the English countryside, hoping to outrun his grief and rediscover the joy he once took in collecting and restoring rare books. But upon opening an eighteenth-centrury study of Shakespeare forgeries, he discovers a Victorian watercolor of a women who bears an uncanny resemblance to Amanda. 

Peter becomes obsessed with learning the picture's origins and braves a host of dangers to follow a trail of clues back across the centuries -- all the way to Shakespeare's time and a priceless literary artifact that could prove, once and for all, the truth about the Bard's real identity. 

This one definitely kept me up at night! The plot was fascinating, mixed with all sorts of twists and turns, along with the awesome literary points. Though I don't personally get a thrill from antique books, I do love reading about them. 

The time shifts were done well and kept me interested in the story. I didn't particularly care for Peter as a main character -- his melancholy was a bit overdone -- but I did love his emotions when it came to the actual mystery. 

Intrigued? The publisher is kind enough to give one of you a copy! Just leave a comment here telling me a summer reading recommendation and you'll be entered to win a copy. U.S. only. Enter by Friday night, 6/6. 

Make sure you leave me a way to contact you!