Monday, August 10, 2015

Through Waters Deep by Sarah Sundin Book Review

Through Waters Deep by Sarah Sundin is her newest book set right before the beginning of WWII.  History, romance and mystery make this a page turning novel.  Mary Stirling is a secretary at the Boston Navy Yard and encounters a high school friend, Jim Avery,  who is now an officer and is eager to start his career in the Navy.  Jim and Mary catch up from old times and quickly discover a sabotage plot among the workers in the shipyard.  Mary works undercover with the FBI to track down suspects.  As she and Jim spend more time together they start to fall for each other, but don't let on that they feel this way.  Jim is shipped out for a month and when he returns he is in for a surprise.  The plot thickens as the saboteur gets more daring and Mary releases her fear of being too prideful to save the lives of co-workers and risk her safety.

I really enjoy Sarah's history novels and this one was a treat with a mystery twist.  I really like how all parts of this story work together to create a unique plot that continued to keep me guessing and longing for a good outcome.  Sarah throws in plenty of surprises and lots of history to help the reader feel the mounting tension leading up to the bombing of Pearl Harbor at the end of 1941.  I really enjoyed the sweet romance between Jim and Mary despite some of the mistakes they made and the misunderstandings.  Another prize winning story from the queen of WWII fiction and more coming in the series! 

Check out Sarah's blog post on Through Waters Deep and video of the making of the cover. 

Sarah Sundin Facebook Page
Sarah Sundin Pinterest Board for Through Waters Deep
Sarah Sundin Blog

*I was given a complimentary copy of this book by Revell for the purpose of this review.  All opinions are my own.*

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

When Calls the Heart: Trials of the Heart (Movie 1) and Heart and Soul (Movie 2) DVD Review

As the second season of When Calls the Heart begins, Jack and Elizabeth travel back to Hamilton to take Elizabeth home to help care for her mother.  They do not anticipate Charles, a family friend,  to start to rekindle a "romance" with Elizabeth.  Jack returns to Coal Valley, a trial begins to clear Noah Stanton's name in the mine tragedy and Abigail suspects Bill Avery of not being completely honest about his past.  Rosemary pokes her nose in everyone's business and becomes interested in the new man who comes to start a logging business in place of the mining business.  There are love triangles, mystery and uncertain moments for all characters as this new season starts. 
I am so glad to continue this journey with Jack and Elizabeth, but in these two DVD's they were not really together at all.  I did see lots of other people adding to the mix of characters that can add some excitement and maybe some frustration for the leading couple.  I am very interested to find out what happens with Abigail and Bill Avery.  Abigail does a fine job of giving a cold shoulder to a very dishonest man who continues to pursue her.  I would totally do what she does!  I think Elizabeth is very na├»ve in her relationships with men.  She seems to really like Jack, but spends a lot of time with Charles in intimate conversations and she doesn't seems to think that he has much interest in her beyond being a friend.  Oh, I know how I want things to end, but I guess I will have to wait.  

*I was given a complimentary copy of these DVD's for review.  All opinions are my own.*

Uncommon DVD Review

Synopsis:  When the students of Rosewood High lose their drama department due to budgets cuts, they decide to create their own! Equipped with unique talents, they bond together to prepare the perfect production with a modern take on the Bible’s parables. Fighting overwhelming challenges, the teens defend their privilege to worship, meet and perform.  Armed with expert legal counsel and unexpected help from Christian music’s finest, these teens realize what it means to be…UNCOMMON!

My review:
Aaron's brother dies and his parent's marriage is on the rocks. He and his mother move to a new town and he starts in a new high school.  Aaron is unsure of his faith, but as he gets involved with his cousin's drama group and is befriended by the school janitor (played by Erik Estrada), he comes to realize that God wants him to be bold and different and stand up for his beliefs and fight for what's right.  When the students of Rosewood High are declined the opportunity to have the drama club, they enlist the help of Mark Garcia, the school janitor, as their sponsor.  He not only he supports the students, but he gives them a chance to learn to serve others as well.  The drama group has a hard time coming up with their program until Aaron shares some ideas he gleaned from his brother's journals.  They start to rehearse their Uncommon play, but they are stopped by the principal.  They go to court and fight for their religious freedom and win with plenty of restrictions, but they pull it off.

I found this movie to be very inspiring for young high school students.  In this day of many cultural versus biblical clashes, kids need to keep focused on the one true God and sometimes defy the odds and be bold to stand for what's right and true.  This movie had a lot of good twists and turns.  I like how most of  the teenagers respected the adults and the adults that cared really helped the kids to achieve their goals.  I liked how the kids persevered under trial and even when they gave up for a time, they still really wanted to continue their dream.  There was good music, humor, drama, resistance and a cast of remarkable people who proved to give this movie a good foundation for Christian young men and women. 

Visit their website for more information:
*I was given a complimentary copy of this DVD for review.*

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

31 Days to Becoming a Happy Mom by Arlene Pellicane Book Review

31 Days to Becoming a Happy Mom by Arlene Pellicane is her latest book addressing the happiness of moms.  She explores the way moms should be feeling, thinking and doing so that their happiness is not dependent on the ups and downs of motherhood, but rather on a solid foundation of the these 5 keys: Healthy, Action-Oriented, Prayerful, Perseverant and Yes-Filled.  It's not easy being a mom and Arlene knows that full well with her house of three active kids.  This book takes you on a 31 day journey and so each day there is a Bible verse, a relatable story from Arlene's family, some quotes from other experienced moms, some words for step moms and single moms, an energy boost and a prayer for the day.  Each day has a practical application to help the reader make it personal and profitable.  She also includes a list of Bible Verses for the Happy Mom and a short discussion guide.

I was thrilled to be able to review another book from Arlene Pellicane.  Each one focuses on a different aspect of who we are as women and this one was specifically for moms.  I like how I can really relate to Arlene's stories and actually apply her suggestions to my every day life.  Toward the end of the book I really felt challenged to step out of my shell and comfort zone and pursue some things that would benefit not only me, but also my children.  After 31 days of reading this book, you will begin to see that you can be a happy mom.  It's an intentional choice and one that you will not regret.

See this video featuring Arlene and her children!

*I was given a complimentary copy of this book for review.  All opinions are my own. *

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Catching Faith DVD Review

Synopsis:  John and Alexa Taylor appear to have the perfect life – they’re the envy of all the parents in town. Their son Beau is the high school football star and their daughter Ravyn is a straight-A student. But when Beau is caught drinking alcohol, his place on the team and his bright future are on the line. With the football season at stake and the judgmental community turning their backs on them, every member of the Taylor family is at a crossroads. Now, they must find the strength from one another, and the spiritual courage from within, to prove that faith and family is the only score that really matters.

My review:
It seems that Alexa's world is perfect.  She is a stay at home mom with twins.  Her son is the star of the football team and her daughter is the valedictorian of the senior class.  She is married to a successful businessman and has the support of her father. But one day, it all falls apart.  Alexa does not know how to keep it together, but she learns to trust in God and be content to be His Child. 
This movie showed how even though some tough situations can happen in a person's life, God is always there.  Alexa's father died and her mother moved in but was not an easy person to live with.  Her son was caught at party drinking and she and her husband decided to ask him to step out of the football games per the handbook rules.  Her daughter had the opportunity to cheat on her hardest exam to keep her senior standing.  And Alexa hid the fact that she exchanged a gift her husband gave to her.  Alexa decides to not let anyone but God be her guide even when her world comes crashing down on her.  She realizes that having faith is all that she needs.   
I really liked how the son was humbled, yet kept a good attitude (after a bit) and was able to help the coach during football games.  And the twins had some cute moments where they supported each other in their struggles.  This was a great movie to promote family unity. 
Find more resources here:
*I was given a complimentary copy of this DVD for review.  All opinions are my own.*

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Recipe for Summer: Breakfast Salad

So the other day I couldn't think of anything to make for dinner, but I knew I wanted a salad.  I usually don't go for salads with hard boiled egg, but I thought I would give it a try.  So I did!  Here is what I came up with.  I shared it on my personal facebook page and got lots of  "likes." 

Breakfast Salad:
Lettuce or Spinach
1 hard boiled egg cut in chunks
2 slices of turkey bacon cut in small pieces
1/2 an avocado
a bit of grated cheddar cheese
1/2 tomato cut (I added this after I took the picture)

Very good and healthy!  Enjoy!  PS.  I actually eat this for lunch, but I call it breakfast salad since it's all stuff I would eat at breakfast. 

Speaking of breakfast, be sure to sign up for the  30 Day Simple Green Smoothie Challenge for July!   It's FREE!  I love the smoothie recipes the have.  Have a great day!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Father's Love DVD Review

My review:   Sarah is young woman full of life and laughter, but she longs for love and romance.  She meets Reece at a party and he begins to pursue her.  He gives her everything her heart dreams.  Then he begins to act mysterious and starts to change their dates and cancel trips.  Sarah can't seem to understand this change, but when he offers make up gifts she forgives him and runs back to his arms.  Then he drops a bombshell on her and she's crushed.  She sinks into a depression, but begins to look to God for love and security.  Sarah still learns some hard lessons and goes back to Reece as he insists he still loves her even though he is married.  She eventually realizes that she is not who she wants to be and says good bye to Reece and yes to God.

I felt really bad for Sarah when she discovers Reece's secret and then I wondered why she still seem to need him.  I can see that many women would fall into a cycle like this without realizing that God is the answer to all their needs.  This movie was inspired by a true story and shares how God can help heal a broken heart.  Women are inspired to pursue the love of the Father and to embrace the freedom and hope found only in God.  I thought this movie had a sweet ending as Sarah realized The Father's Love. 

Synopsis: Struggling to find fulfillment in romance, blossoming filmmaker, Sarah moves to New York City to pursue her passion.  Then she meets Reece, the man of her dreams!  As the story unravels, Sarah experiences heartbreak and forgiveness as she ponders a lifetime of relationships.  Can she find the strength to put the past behind her?

*I was given a complimentary copy of this DVD for review.  All opinions are my own.*