Monday, September 22, 2014

The Daughter of Highland Hall by Carrie Turansky Book Review

The Daughter of Highland Hall: A Novel (Edwardian Brides Book 2) by Carrie Turansky is the next book after The Governess of Highland Hall.  Katherine (Kate) Ramsey is ready to make her debut in London, England.  She's 18 years old and looking forward to finding a husband.  But as she engages in the society parties she feels empty and useless.  Her overbearing aunt Louisa is intent on finding the perfect match and will go to great lengths to ensure Kate's rightful place in society even if Kate is unhappy.  Jon Foster is a medical student who stays with Kate's family for the summer since his sister is marrying Kate's cousin.  Despite Kate's busy society schedule, she forms an unlikely friendship with Jon.  They both discover that they love to help others and they pursue activities with that goal.  Unbeknownst to the family, Kate and Jon have fallen in love and Kate's aunt is greatly displeased.  And to make matters worse, her cousin's brother is accused of murder and Kate's name is splashed all over the newspaper articles.  Will Kate be able to live a life of love she dreams about or be chained to a man she does not love because he comes from a proper place in society?

I have to admit that Kate Ramsey was my least favorite character in The Governess of Highland Hall.  She seemed very selfish and sour.  But in this book she shines!  Carrie does an excellent job in showing the inner workings of a London debut and the expectations of society for these young girls.  Kate is a stubborn and opinionated girl and fights for what she wants.  She is also torn because she wants to please the authorities in her life.  She is caught in the middle of what she desires and what is best for her, according to her aunt.  Even thought she did try to please her aunt, she knew she needed to follow her heart.   This story was exciting and filled with twists and turns.  I was entranced and couldn't put this book down.  Be sure to pick up your copy of the second book in Carrie Turansky's series The Edwardian Brides.

Be sure to check out my review of the first book in this series, The Governess of Highland Hall.

Check out the author's website for more information on the book: Carrie Turansky.

This book releases on October 7, 2014.

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

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Long Way Off DVD Review

My review:
Jake Abraham is unhappy working at his father's farm and wishes for a more fulfilling life.  He asks for his inheritance and rushes off to the big city.  He invests in some "worthwhile" ventures, but soon finds out that they cost a lot more than he bargained for.  Along the way he meets two women: Summer, a sweet coffee shop girl who is concerned for his soul and Laura, a seductive actress who is interested in his money.  When Jake finds out that he has lost everything he runs away and lives with the homeless community.  When he decides to finally come back home, his father welcomes him with open arms. 
This movie is a wonderful retelling of the story of the prodigal son for modern times (Luke 15:11-32).  I really liked the character, Summer.  At first I thought she might be someone who was going to steer Jake in the wrong direction, but she was sweet and smart and treated Jake with kindness and friendship.  She was also willing to do anything to help Jake recover from his drastic mistake.  This was a great modern day story of the lost son and the ending is predictable, but truly restorative. 
Check out more information at: A Long Way Off

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

Press Release:


“A Long Way Off”

 Best Picture Winner- 2014 International Christian Film Festival


Nashville , Tennessee- A LONG WAY OFF is a spirited, modern day retelling of the classic biblical Story of the Prodigal Son – a story about father-son relationships and about the mercy and forgiveness of both his heavenly Father and his earthly father.  Jake Abraham (JASON BURKEY/October Baby) works for his father (JOHN DIEHL/Stargate), a successful produce farmer in North Carolina.   Jake doesn’t like agri-business very much and he’s desperate to leave for the excitement and faster life of the big city. To his shock and delight, his father suddenly agrees to give Jake his inheritance so he can strike out on his own. Bidding farewell to his dad, his brother, Seth (DAVE BLAMY/Army Wives), their loyal secretary, Mrs. Grey (EDIE MCCLURG/ Ferris Bueller’s Day Off/Frozen) and their ranch hand, Jose (ROBERT AMAYA/Courageous), Jake heads to the city where he meets a new friend, Summer (ZOE MYERS/ Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues) at the local coffee shop. But Jake is all too eager to sow his oats and make his fortune in a series of sharp stock market moves. He soon runs afoul of an opportunistic temptress (JOANNA JOWETT/Destiny Road) and her mysterious boyfriend, Frank (ROBERT DAVI/ License to Kill/Goonies/Diehard), and in the process, loses everything and finds his life on the line.

Written by Jon Macy and co-directed by Michael Davis (Destiny Road) and John Errington (A Box for Rob). Davis also serves as producer; Gerald McGlothlin and Christy McGlothlin are the executive producers for ProdigalFilm LLC. Word Films releases A LONG WAY OFF on DVD and digitally August 19th.  For more information or to see the trailer go to

Synopsis-  Retelling the timeless parable of a father’s unconditional love, tempestuous young Jake tries to escape the duties of the family business by leaving his home and taking his dreams to the big city. Far from the wise words of his father, Abraham, Jake is finally free to live the high life that he’s always wanted, trading the traditional values of his upbringing to revel in every temptation that money can buy. Just when Jake thinks the world is his playground and every day offers another enticing opportunity, he must come face to face with the consequences of the life he’s chosen. Jake must learn that sometimes it takes losing everything to realize/appreciate what he left behind, and if his mistakes can ever outweigh the grace of a father’s forgiveness.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Hero DVD Review + Giveaway!!

A father returns after 7 years away from his family.  His wife passes away and his son wants nothing to do with him.  Joe Finn teams up with his reluctant son David to coach a little league baseball team.  He decides to enlist the help of the fathers of the players but finds the dads to be too busy or absent from their son's lives.  He knows he can't change the past and he desperately wants his son to love him despite all of his past mistakes.  David longs for his father to connect with him and can't understand why he cares more about the boys on the team than his own son.  Both Joe and David learn that making a relationship work is tough.  The boys on the team need this father/son partnership to be strong as they struggle with their own hurts. And in the end both Joe and David are restored.  Hero is a movie for every son and father to watch.

I love how Joe Finn doesn't give up despite all the opposition he comes against with his own son and the community of dads that need encouragement to step into their son's lives.  The story that really gripped my heart was the young father in prison who helped his son play baseball behind the fence.  It was touching to see him involved and even though he could not physically touch his son, he was intentional to coach his son.  Watch Hero and be ready to cheer on fathers and sons for the effort they give to make time for each other.

This movie releases on Tuesday, September 16 in stores.

Get more information at the Hero Family Movie.

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

Press Release:

“A TERRIFIC must see movie!  watch it and be inspired!”
-Dove Foundation


Dads are a Superpower
Coming to DVD September 16th


Los Angeles, California- From producers of Alone Yet Not Alone, comes a heartfelt movie about legendary small town baseball coach, Joe Finn (Burgess Jenkins, Remember the Titans, Nashville, The Shunning), who after taking his shot as a scout for the big leagues returns home to discover the damage he's done by leaving his family behind.   Now on a quest to rebuild his relationship with his son David, Joe forms a new baseball league to reinvigorate the underdog little league team his son had been coaching.  Together, as father and son, they try to put away their differences and help bring their ragtag team of ball players, “The Gappers”, to victory.

Burgess, who has a child of his own, was excited about the film.   “This movie really reinforces the importance of fathers in a child’s life.  Sports can be that vehicle to solidify the bond.”  George Escobar, a producer of Hero, wanted to make a movie that highlighted the real value in playing a sport and trying to win.   “I grew up playing sports, and this idea of playing without winners and losers just seems like a missed opportunity to teach the kids how to train themselves to win.  As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.  A rival will push you harder than the desire to do your best.”  

In a movie sure to inspire fathers and sons alike, Hero presents an all-star cast including Gregory Alan Williams (In the Line of Fire, The Preacher's Kid), R. Keith Harris (Big Fish), and Mark Joy (The Ultimate Gift).    The film also includes a musical score by Grammy winner, Michael Omartian.  For more information or to see the trailer go to

Synopsis:  A father’s broken relationship with his family fills him with determination to win back the son he left behind.  Reaching out through the game they both love, he deliberately forms a baseball team designed to reconnect both fathers and sons, transforming their town in the process.  The story shows how one good man can lead change in his community for the common good.

Enter to win this DVD (US only).

Giveaway ends Friday, September 19.

Fill out the form below to enter!  Thanks!


Monday, September 1, 2014

Growing Up Social by Dr. Gary Chapman and Arlene Pellicane Book Review

Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World by Dr. Gary Chapman and Arlene Pellicane is a book about how to raise kids to be responsible in a digital world.  With so many media outlets, it's easy for kids to check out of real life and create an online life that affects health, relationships and emotional well being.  The authors address many valid questions and give parents guidelines on how to teach children to be balanced in their digital activity.  They gave several tips of how to engage kids in the real life activities as well as safety for online time.  They focused on teaching several skills (affection, anger management, appreciation, apology and attention) that are desperately needed in youth today as well as impact their future relationships.  They also shared many personal stories and situations where critical decisions need to be made concerning the use of technology in the home.  Both Arlene and Gary gave unique perspectives to this subject and offer parents hope and specific actions to make the digital overload a manageable part of everyday life as kids these days are being raised with social media.

I highly recommend that every parent read this book.  It is a book that is current with our culture.  I really appreciated all the positive ways these authors addressed social media.  This was a book to help families not only teach our children the social skills they need, but also to manage the social media that is so prevalent in our society.  They made some wonderful suggestions and practical points in how to make the digital world be a part of a child's rather life rather than most of it.  I know that I am being very careful of what social media my kids are using, but I think I need to be more diligent in how I manage my social media use.  It's a different world that we need to navigate.  This book will be a great tool to guide families to make good choices in this media saturated society.

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

When Calls the Heart: Second Chances DVD Review

When Calls the Heart - Second Chances DVD is another heart warming story of love, loss, and second chances.  The community of Coal Valley continues to recover from the mine accident that stole so many fathers and sons.  Abigail tries to piece her life back together and seeks to open a cafĂ© to sell her baked goods, but she is asked to give up more than she bargained for.  Mountie Jack is trying to keep in Elizabeth's good graces, but seems to keep coming up short at every turn.  Elizabeth tires to help a student who can't read with some unconventional methods, but the father is against it.  Adam Miller returns back to town with a peg leg and he can't seem to fit back into his family who desperately loves him.  And Elizabeth is expected to lead the Founder's Day Play in one week and she scrambles around to find help from every corner of the town.  Life continues to move along in Coal Valley as each member finds their place in society and begins to make changes to create a new normal. 

I absolutely love this series of movies that also show on the Hallmark Channel.  I have fallen in love with Jack and Elizabeth and I love all the interactions between them.  I also enjoy how each of them reach out to the community and make themselves available for help and encouragement.  This movie was about second chances and it seems that each character was able to make a second chance happen for them.  Be sure to watch for the surprise picture on the painting for the Founder's Day Play. 

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