Five by the Sea

Book Review: Free* Book
February 24, 2010, 7:02 pm
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Free* Book                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                By Brian Tome 

This was an interesting book with a twist on traditional conservative thought that brings to light a compelling question- how to be free and let go of all of the constraints that we as Christians often times place not only on each other but on ourselves. The author is passionate about freedom in Christ through a relationship with Him. He takes the tone of agitator throughout the book, oftentimes creating a sense of aggression against those who constantly follow the rules with a strict sense of doing what is “right” in the eyes of so many. The author creates a new sense of self in those that break the rules and live a life of freedom, yet still comply with the life of a Christian- loving the Lord with everything that we do. As he states (and I believe) Jesus was a man that loved everyone, not just those that were clean and well-to-do, he loved the dirtiest, filthiest and poorest and brought them into His kingdom for no other reason than that he loves them, as he loves us. Even in the dirty ways in which we live with temptations and lies surrounding us, He loves us completely. The main theme in the book is to let go of those things which bring us down and tie us to the thoughts of “I have to do this to be loved, accepted, etc.”. God loves us, with all of our faults and His true love shines through everything we do. He wants us to live fully with freedom to live a life created by Him.

There are challenges in getting through the book at the author consistently challenges conservative thinking on so many levels. I think he was trying to punch though the wall that many have that Christians are uptight, rule givers who don’t have any fun (which is unfortunately true in way too many cases).

Throughout the book I liked that the Scripture being referenced was both natural in the conversation and referenced at the bottom of the page. The principles were solid and the suggestions to break bondage, deal with the spiritual, and enjoy freedom were presented much well as the book progressed. My thoughts on the book- it is worth the read if you take it with a grain of salt and apply it to your own life as applicable.

Thomas Nelson provided this complimentary copy to me for review.


Book Review: The Crimson Rooms
February 23, 2010, 5:06 am
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The Crimson  Rooms                                                        By Katharine McMahon                                                                                                                                                               By Katharine McMahon

About the Book:

There are events that happen in our lives that change everything from that moment on. In the life of Evelyn Gifford that defining moment was a ring of the doorbell and an officer announcing the news that no one wants to hear- her beloved only brother had been killed in action in the Great War. Life goes on, but she is still haunted by the immediate loss.

Evelyn is completely unprepared when a young nurse named Meredith, and her six-year-old son Edward appears on their doorstep one night. To add to the angst and mystery, Meredith claims that Edward is the young son of James, conceived in a battlefield hospital. The grief-stricken Gifford’s’ take them both into their home with trepidation but with a sense of duty as this is family- even if newly discovered. This move proves to be stressful on all fronts- Meredith bursts into the very conservative home run by the Gifford women with a bit of extravagance and spunk, which puts them all on edge.

Evelyn is a struggling newly appointed attorney to Bascomb and Breen, a firm run by men that are taking a chance on hiring a woman to the firm, and a bit resistant to what she brings. Her first two clients are challenging to say the least. The first, a woman, Leah Marchant, who gave up her children to be cared for by the social services, but then decides she wants them back. And an intriguing murder mystery- Stella Wheeler, found dead in a field of grass after a picnic with her new husband. Both cases weigh heavily on both the time and thoughts of Evelyn who is working so hard to break into a man’s world. Coupled with the weight of having to support her entire family financially at a time when work for women lawyers is almost nonexistent leads to much anxiety and fear in Evelyn’s life.

My Review:

This story has twists and turns that keep the reader engaged and interested in the lives of the characters. The author has a compelling style that kept me guessing about where the storyline was headed and how it was all going to wind up. She is a brilliant writer in creating memorable storylines and characters. A good read for anyone interested in this time- 1920’s London and how women in this time period were on the edge of creating new careers for themselves. I really enjoyed it and now plan to read more by her!

The book is now available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indie Bound and other online retailers.

“I wrote this review while participating in a blog campaign by MotherTalk on behalf of G.P. Putnam’s Sons/Riverhead and received a copy of the book to facilitate my candid review. Mom Central sent me a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.”

Book Review: From Peanuts to the Pressbox
January 12, 2010, 8:36 pm
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From Peanuts to the Pressbox: Insider Sports Stories from a Life Behind the Mic
by Eli Gold

About the Book:

In this behind-the-scenes look at sports broadcasting Eli Gold tells how a kid from Brooklyn, New York, went from selling peanuts at Madison Square Garden to being one of the most recognizable voices in all of radio sports broadcasting.

My Review:

I am a sports fan of sorts, but not really any of the sports that Eli Gold reports on- I am more of a jump on the bandwagon at the end of the season football and baseball fan. I tend to only be interested if it is the home team and it happens to be a play-off game with great importance, and even then really if there are only 5 minutes left in the game. I tend to ride the wave at the very end cheering them on to victory. Enough said, even though I may not follow many of the sports of Eli Gold’s illustrious career, I did find this book entertaining and informative. It gives the reader an inside look at the career behind the microphone by telling how it all began and how it cascaded into a lifetime of memories of some of the most well known events in sports history. An easy read that is sure to please most readers that have any interest in sports or the voice behind the plays.

Eli’s book starts off telling the story of a young boy who dreamed of one day working on the radio, doing what he loved to do most- talking about sports.  He has now been a sportscaster for over 25 years. He began his work as a young man, not even out of high school, on the radio and eventually landed on TV, doing commentary for NASCAR. Along the way he met many fellow sportscasters who would one day become well known to many, including Marv Albert and Bob Costas. Eli has covered a wide array of sporting events- from hockey to NASCAR. His dream began as a little boy listening to the radio before bed and even now has not diminished regardless of the success he has achieved as a renowned sportscaster. The book does not really go too deeply into Eli’s life but it does describe the world of sports during the 1970’s to today wonderfully.

My Word
January 6, 2010, 5:20 pm
Filed under: Random Thoughts | Tags: , , ,

I had a somewhat overwhelming and annoying day yesterday and thought that in order to get myself back in line I needed to spend some time on myself and what exactly I want to be doing moving forward. I am feeling a bit lost once again- not knowing where I am or what I am doing beyond being a wife, Mom, etc., which seems to be constantly all consuming for me. Don’t get me wrong, it is intensely rewarding, but I need something to refill MY spiritual well. I thought I would concentrate on my word for 2010, not for anyone/everyone else, but for ME. I think I have my word- intentional.

More and more I realize the key to happiness and success is in being INTENTIONAL. Life moves too fast to be only reactive. If you want to be better at something, you will have to work at it. If you want to change something, you will have to work at it. Of course, for most of us, the list is long. I want to be successful in my marriage, parenting, work, health, finances and the list goes on. So for each of those things I need to be deliberate, intentional, purposeful- all have the same meaning and the same concept. I have to have intention and purposeful action set aside in each area that I want to achieve more.

The truth is that I just know that I need to be intentional to get what I want. I have to constantly keep in mind however, that sometimes you have to do what you don’t want to do to get what you want to get.

So, there you go my word (probably one of many) for 2010.

Book Review: The Sweet By and By
January 6, 2010, 4:31 am
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The Sweet By and By  By Sara Evans and Rachel Hauck
By Sara Evans and Rachel Hauck

About the Book:

The main character is Jade, the daughter that has very strong feelings against her hippie mom, Beryl. Jade is getting married to the love of her life, Max Benson. Her mom comes to the wedding three weeks early. And thus the drama begins.

My Review:

This is a wonderful tale of forgiveness, secrets and mistakes, love and faith that captivates the reader in much the same way that a movie storyline captivates. This is a “chic-flic” in book form; it’s a good read, albeit very predictable. Sara Evens created a wonderful cast of characters and a storyline that are real and believable, this lends itself to the reader in that you find yourself laughing and crying throughout the story. A lesson is learned in this tale of what happens when secrets are kept and how they will haunt you until you meet them head on and deal with them.

Jade Fitzgerald is smart, successful, sweet, and is engaged to the man she loves, Max Benson. They agree on almost everything, especially keeping “the past in the past”. As the wedding draws closer, can her past really be kept under wraps, especially when she invites her hippie mother to the wedding and she arrives early? Jade finds out that sometimes we must look back to move forward, as this is where true happiness begins.

About the Author(s):

Sara Evans- Multi-platinum recording artist Sara Evans has been honored with numerous accolades, among them the 2006 Academy of Country Music’s Female Vocalist of the Year and the Country Music Association’s Video of the Year for “Born to Fly.” Evans has been named one of People Magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People” and won the hearts of television viewer’s as the first-ever country star to compete in ABC’s Dancing with the Stars. Sara is a Cabinet Member of The American Red Cross.

Rachel Hauck- Best-selling and award-winning author Rachel Hauck lives in central Florida with her husband, Tony, a pastor. A graduate of Ohio State University, she left the corporate software marketplace in 2004 to write full time.

Lakeshore Christmas by Susan Wiggs

The Book:

Maureen Davenport lives for Christmas—and there is nothing more magical than Christmas on Willow Lake. The prim librarian is finally getting to direct Avalon’s annual holiday pageant, and she’s determined to make it truly spectacular. But it might just require one of those Christmas miracles she’s always read about.

The problem is her co-director is recovering former child star Eddie Haven, a long-haired, tattooed lump of coal in Maureen’s pageant stocking. Eddie can’t stand Christmas, but a court order from a judge has landed him right in the middle of the merrymaking. Maureen and Eddie spar over every detail of the pageant. Is he trying to sabotage the performance to spite her? Or is she trying too hard to fit the show into her storybook-perfect notion of Christmas? And how is it possible that they’re falling in love?

Amid the holiday bustle of crackling fixes, caroling singers and delicious secrets, the season of goodwill becomes the backdrop for Willow Lake’s most unlikely love story yet.

My Review:

Who doesn’t love a romance any time of year, but especially during the holidays? Author Susan Wiggs has a holiday must-read with her newest book- Lakeshore Christmas, the sixth book in The Lakeshore Chronicles. This book spins a tale of people fighting to save a library, their personal interactions and the aid an angel brings to their struggles.

Set in the sleepy, upstate New York town of Avalon with a cast of eclectic characters, Susan Wiggs has created a realistic, charming setting for this romantic tale. The story is about accepting the past and learning to embrace the future- whatever it holds. Maureen is a librarian, she loves her job and feels safe surrounded by the familiar stacks of books, but struggles with heartbreak in her past; Eddie is trying hard to stay sober; Daisy is an unwed mother- working, taking care of her child and dealing with family issues. The circle of friends also includes one very happy and in love pregnant couple.

The story takes off when the cast of characters becomes involved (some more than others) in a Christmas pageant at the local church. Maureen and Eddie are the co-directors with two very different styles of directing, one laid back and very easy, the other super organized. Jabez, our angel, helps the group get through it all and finds a fresh way to save the library that amazes them all.

Susan Wiggs brings to life each scene and character with vivid description. Each character is beautifully developed with detailed personalities and situations that are completely believable. The interaction between her characters is well thought out and holds the reader’s attention. I could see each character and scene in my mind. I really enjoyed the main characters, Maureen and Eddie, and their struggles to deal with their own personal problems and perceptions. Wiggs clearly portrayed the position of public libraries and their importance to all communities in the past and the present.

I would happily recommend “Lakeshore Christmas” by Susan Wiggs to anyone, but particularly if you enjoy a well written novel, are interested in angels or just want a good ole fashioned holiday romance.

 “I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by MotherTalk on behalf of Lakeshore Christmas and received a copy of the book to facilitate my candid review. In addition, Mom Central sent me a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.”

Skeeter and the Mystery of the Lost Mosquito Treasure DVD
October 23, 2009, 8:48 pm
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Skeeter book cover

Based on the series by Max Lucado Hermie & Friends, this DVD stars Skeeter and his “perfect” brother Sir Sinclair M. Skeeto and their adventures in the garden and using each other’s gifts to find “hidden treasure”. Throughout the story kids are reminded that God’s love for us is the greatest gift of all and parents unconditional love for their children. It also addresses sibling rivalry in a way that kids can really relate to. Sibling rivalry is a part of most lives, this cute DVD shows kids how everyone is unique and different and has their own special gifts. In the eyes of God, everyone is special. The Bible verse Psalm 139:13-14 talks about each of us being designed especially by God, this DVD nicely captures the verse in a way that children will understand all that God has in store for each one of us, and how encouraging and loving one another is a much better way to live than tearing each other down.

The DVD’s in the Hermie & Friends series are a good fit for the 3 – 8 year old age range. The pacing is slow enough for little ones to follow the story yet have enough interesting parts for older children to watch along as well. And as one might expect, this is definitely family-friendly with no violence or questionable language at any time. Overall, Skeeter and the Mystery of the Lost Mosquito Treasure is a nice addition to the Hermie &Friends series and enjoyable for the kids.