Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Month in Review: August 2011

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Books read: 
The Canary List by Sigmund Brouwer
Clear Blue Sky by F.P. Lione
Escape from the World Trade Center by Leslie Haskin
Waterfall(again) by Lisa T. Bergren
Breathe by Lisa T. Bergren

Pages read:
1,616

Reviews posted:
Never the Bride by Rene Gutteridge and Cheryl McKay
Nick of Time by Tim Downs
The Canary List by Sigmund Brouwer

Favorite of the month:
Both books by Lisa T. Bergren

Goal for September:
I can't believe I didn't read as many as I wanted this month again! This has got to stop.. My goal for next month is going to be the same, 8. I'm hoping to exceed it and post a lot more reviews too.

Waterfall Wednesdays - Week 1


Waterfall Wednesdays - A Read-Along Event
Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren 
Discussion 1- Chapters 1-6 
Today's questions hosted by Tinasbookreviews

Discussion Questions

Waterfall opens with the introduction of Gabi, shes depressed, a little angry and is dealing with feelings of loneliness. Are you connecting with her this soon in the novel? Do you see things you like or dislike? 

Almost immediately, Gabi became a favorite of mine. She's such an adventurous, courageous character that I couldn't help but like and wish I knew. Sure she complained a little(or a lot) at first, but what teen girl doesn't complain or make a huge deal about almost every little thing they feel is wrong or unfair about their life? It didn't bother me one bit and it just made her feel a lot more real.

Gabi gets to time travel back to 14th Century Italy- The Dark Ages in its prime. Is there anytime in history that fascinates you and would you travel back if you could? 

If I were able to, I think I would like to travel back to the 1940's. I don't really know why. Maybe it's because I'm so into everything about WWII. I know I'd probably be scared out of my mind to be living during a war like that, but I just love that time period.

Most of the men, including Marcello have a very set opinion about a woman's place. Gabi gets manhandled a bit in these first few chapters, and even gets asked if shes a witch. The men are shocked when Gabi rides a horse like a man and shimmies down the castle walls. What do you think of men's mentality back then? Gentlemanly, chauvinistic, simple-minded? 

I found their mentality to be extremely gentlemanly. During that time it was what they were used to and what was expected.

When Gabi becomes a part of this era, the people are immediately intrigued but suspicious of her. Many judge her by her difference. Do you think this is fair? Have you ever been in a situation where you felt like an outsider or that others were misjudging you? 

I think 99.9% of us have been in a situation where we feel like we don't fit in or misunderstood. There have been plenty of times when I've felt like an outsider, especially because I'm a shy person. Unfortunately a time where i really felt out of place was at a new church I started to go to. The girls weren't all that welcoming and didn't make me feel too good about myself. It sure didn't help boost my confidence, but I got over it after a while. Thank God all churches aren't like that though!

What do think the coolest thing would be about living in the Dark Ages? What would be the worst?

 I think it'd be pretty cool wearing the dresses. And the best part would be literally having a knight in shining armor =D

The worst part would be not having a toilet and shower, and other things like a tooth brush, a razor, and deodorant at my disposal. How could a girl walk over to a cutie like Marcello confidently with morning breath, forest pits, and bad BO trailing behind them?

Oh and not having electricity and Internet access would be horrible!

Ok so those are my answers for this week's Waterfall Wednesdays! Head on over to TinasBookReviews to join and link up your answers.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Change of address -UPDATED-

Hey everyone! I just wanted to let you know ahead of time that I'll be changing the URL of this blog in a week or so. I wanted to give you all the heads up so you can save the new address and update any links to my blog you might have. I've been wanting my blog address to be more closely related to the name so the new URL will be


Happy Reading!!
Crystal
 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
 
I have some more news about the changes that will be happening here. I'm going to be getting a custom blog design by Lori over at Use Your Imagination Designs!! I'm on the waiting list for...November. I know! I would love it if I could have it sooner, but I'm just happy to have gotten on the waiting list.

So I won't be completely moving over to a new blog and everything will remain the same for now. I'll just be changing my URL and the new design will come later. I'm so excited!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

FIRST Blog Tour: Grandma's Attic Series - Books 3 & 4

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the books:


David C. Cook; Reprint edition (August 1, 2011)
***Special thanks to Audra Jennings, Senior Media Specialist, The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
The late Arleta Richardson grew up an only child in Chicago, living in a hotel on the shores of Lake Michigan. Under the care of her maternal grandmother, she listened for hours to stories from her grandmother’s childhood. With unusual recall, Arleta began to write these stories for an audience that now numbers over two million. “My grandmother would be amazed to know her stories have gone around the world,” Arleta said.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:


Grandma did what? You might be surprised. Back in the 1880’s, when she was a young girl named Mabel, trouble seemed to follow her everywhere. She and her best friend, Sarah Jane, had the best intentions at home and at school, but somehow clumsiness and mischief always seemed to intrude. Whether getting into a sticky mess with face cream, traveling to the big city, sneaking out to a birthday party or studying for the spelling bee, Mabel’s brilliant ideas only seemed to show how much she had to learn. And each of her mishaps turned into lessons in honesty, patience and responsibility.

Arleta Richardson’s beloved series, Grandma’s Attic, returns with Still More Stories from Grandma’s Attic and Treasures from Grandma’s Attic, the third and fourth books in the refreshed classic collection for girls ages 8 to 12. These compilations of tales recount humorous and poignant memories from Grandma Mabel’s childhood on a Michigan farm in the late 1800’s. Combining the warmth and spirit of Little House on the Prairie with a Christian focus, these books transport readers back to a simpler time to learn lessons surprisingly relevant in today’s world.

Even though these stories took place over a hundred years ago, there are some things about being a girl that never change. Just like Mabel, girls still want to be prettier or more independent. It’s all part of growing up. But the amazing thing is—Grandma felt the same way! Sometimes your brother teases you or someone you thought was a friend turns out to be insincere. Sometimes you’re certain you know better than your parents, only to discover to your horror that they might have been right. It’s all part of growing up.

Richardson’s wholesome stories have reached more than two million readers worldwide. Parents appreciate the godly values and character they promote while children love the captivating storytelling that recounts childhood memories of mischief and joy. These books are ideal for homes, schools, libraries or gifts and are certain to be treasured. So return to Grandma’s attic, where true tales of yesteryear bring timeless lessons for today, combining the appeal of historical fiction for girls with the truth of God’s Word. Each captivating story promotes godly character and values with humor, understanding and warmth.

Product Details:

Still More Stories from Grandma’s Attic
:

List Price: $6.99
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook; Reprint edition (August 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0781403812
ISBN-13: 978-0781403818


Treasures from Grandma’s Attic:

Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook; Reprint edition (August 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0781403820
ISBN-13: 978-0781403825

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTERS:

Still More Stories from Grandma’s Attic

When Grandma Was a Little Girl

One hundred years! What a long, long time ago that is! Not very many people are still alive who can remember that far back. But through the magic of stories, we can be right there again.

When I was a little girl, I thought no one could tell a story like my grandma.

“Tell me about when you were a little girl,” I would say. Soon I would be back on the farm in northern Michigan with young Mabel—who became my grandmother—her mother and father, and her brothers, Reuben and Roy.

The old kitchen where I sat to hear many of Grandma’s stories didn’t look the same as when she was a little girl. Then there was no electricity nor running water. But my grandma still lived in the house she grew up in. I had no trouble imagining all the funny jams that Grandma and her best friend, Sarah Jane, got into. Or how it felt to wear long flannel stockings and high-buttoned shoes.

From the dusty old attic to the front parlor with its slippery furniture, Grandma’s old house was a storybook just waiting to be opened. I was fortunate to have a grandma who knew just how to open it. She loved to tell a story just as much as I loved to hear one.

Come with me now, back to the old kitchen in that Michigan farmhouse, and enjoy the laughter and tears of many years ago....

1

Face Cream from Godey’s Lady’s Book

Receiving mail always excited me. I never had to be told to get the mail for Grandma on my way home from school. But sometimes the mail became even more important. Like the time I was watching for something I had ordered from Woman’s Home Companion.

When the small package finally arrived, my face revealed how excited I was.

“What did you get a sample of this time?” Grandma asked as I came in proudly carrying the precious box.

“You’ll see. Just wait till I show you,” I said, promising Grandma the box held something special.

Quickly I tore the wrapping paper off the small box. Inside was a jar of skin cream for wrinkles.

Grandma laughed when she saw it. “You certainly don’t need that,” she said. “Now it might do me some good if those things ever really worked.”

“You aren’t wrinkled, Grandma,” I protested. “Your face is nice and smooth.”

“Perhaps so. But not because of what I’ve rubbed on it. More than likely I’ve inherited a smooth skin.”

She took the jar of cream and looked at the ingredients “This doesn’t look quite as dangerous as some stuff Sarah Jane and I mixed up one day. Did I ever tell you about that?”

“No, I’m sure you didn’t,” I replied. “Tell me now.”

Grandma picked up her crocheting, and I settled back to listen to a story about Grandma and her friend, Sarah Jane, when they were my age.

***

Sarah Jane had a cousin who lived in the city. This cousin often came to stay at Sarah Jane’s for a few days. She brought things with her that we were not accustomed to seeing.

One morning as Sarah Jane and I were walking to school together, Sarah Jane told me some very exciting news. “My cousin Laura will be here tomorrow. She’s going to stay all next week. Won’t that be fun?”

“Yes,” I agreed. “I’m glad she’s coming. What do you think she’ll bring this time?”

“Probably some pretty new dresses and hats,” Sarah Jane guessed. “She might even let us try them on.”

“Oh, I’m sure she wouldn’t want us to try on her dresses. But maybe she wouldn’t mind if we peeked at ourselves in the mirror to see how the hats looked.”

Laura arrived the next day with several new hats. She amiably agreed that we might try them on.

They were too big, and had a tendency to slide down over our noses. But to us, they were the latest fashion.

As we laid the hats back on the bed, Sarah Jane spied something else that interested her. It was a magazine for ladies. We had not seen more than half a dozen magazines in our lives, so this was exciting.

“Oh, Laura,” Sarah Jane cried, “may we look at your magazine? We’ll be very careful.”

“Why, yes. I’m not going to be reading it right away. Go ahead.”

Eagerly we snatched the magazine and ran out to the porch. The cover pictured a lady with a very fashionable dress and hat, carrying a frilly parasol. The name of the magazine was Godey’s Lady’s Book.

“Ooh! Look at the ruffles on her dress!” Sarah Jane exclaimed. “Wouldn’t you just love to have one dress with all those ribbons and things?”

“Yes, but there’s little chance I’ll ever have it,” I replied. “Ma wouldn’t iron that many ruffles for anything. Besides, we’re not grown up enough to have dresses like that. It looks like it might be organdy, doesn’t it?”

“Mmm-hum,” Sarah Jane agreed. “It looks like something soft, all right. And look at her hair. It must be long to make that big a roll around her head.”

We spread the magazine across our laps and studied each page carefully. Nothing escaped our notice. “I sure wish we were grown up,” Sarah Jane sighed. “Think how much prettier we’d be.”

“Yes, and how much more fun we could have. These ladies don’t spend all their time going to school and doing chores. They just get all dressed up and sit around looking pretty.”

We looked for a moment in silence; then Sarah Jane noticed something interesting. “Look here, Mabel. Here’s something you can make to get rid of wrinkles on your face.”

I looked where she was reading.

Guaranteed to remove wrinkles. Melt together a quantity of white wax and honey. When it becomes liquid, add the juice of several lemons. Spread the mixture liberally on your face and allow it to dry. In addition to smoothing out your wrinkles, this formula will leave your skin soft, smooth, and freckle free.

“But we don’t have any wrinkles,” I pointed out.

“That doesn’t matter,” Sarah Jane replied. “If it takes wrinkles away, it should keep us from getting them too. Besides,” she added critically, “it says it takes away freckles. And you have plenty of those.”

I rubbed my nose reflectively. “I sure do. Do you suppose that stuff really would take them off?”

“We can try it and see. I’ll put some on if you will. Where shall we mix it up?”

This would be a problem, since Sarah Jane’s mother was baking in her kitchen. It would be better to work where we wouldn’t have to answer questions about what we were doing.

“Let’s go to your house and see what your mother is doing,” Sarah Jane suggested.

We hurriedly returned the magazine to Laura’s bedroom and dashed back outdoors.

“Do you have all the things we need to put in it?” Sarah Jane asked.

“I know we have wax left over from Ma’s jelly glasses. And I’m sure we have lemons. But I don’t know how much honey is left.

“I know where we can get some, though.” I continued. “Remember that hollow tree in the woods? We found honey there last week.”

Soon we were on our way to collect it in a small pail.

“This is sure going to be messy and sticky to put on our faces,” I commented as we filled the pail.

“Probably the wax takes the sticky out,” Sarah Jane replied. “Anyway, if it takes away your freckles and makes our skin smooth, it won’t matter if it is a little gooey. I wonder how long we leave it on.”

“The directions said to let it dry,” I reminded her. “I suppose the longer you leave it there, the more good it does. We’ll have to take it off before we go in to supper, I guess.”

“I guess so,” Sarah Jane exclaimed. “I don’t know what your brothers would say. But I’m not going to give Caleb a chance to make fun of me.”

I knew what Reuben and Roy would say, too, and I was pretty sure I could predict what Ma would say. There seemed to be no reason to let them know about it.

Fortune was with us, for the kitchen was empty when we cautiously opened the back door. Ma heard us come in and called down from upstairs, “Do you need something, Mabel?”

“No, Ma’am,” I answered. “But we might like a cookie.”

“Help yourself,” Ma replied. “I’m too busy tearing rags to come down right now. You can pour yourselves some milk too.”

I assured her that we could. With a sigh of relief, we went to the pantry for a kettle in which to melt the wax and honey.

“This looks big enough,” Sarah Jane said. “You start that getting hot, and I’ll squeeze the lemons. Do you think two will be enough?”

“I guess two is ‘several.’ Maybe we can tell by the way it looks whether we need more or not.”

“I don’t see how,” Sarah Jane argued. “We never saw any of this stuff before. But we’ll start with two, anyway.”

I placed the pan containing the wax and honey on the hottest part of the stove and pulled up a chair to sit on. “Do you suppose I ought to stir it?” I inquired. “It doesn’t look as though it’s mixing very fast.”

“Give it time,” Sarah Jane advised. “Once the wax melts down, it will mix.”

After a short time, the mixture began to bubble.

“There, see?” she said, stirring it with a spoon. “You can’t tell which is wax and which is honey. I think it’s time to put in the lemon juice.” She picked up the juice, but I stopped her.

“You have to take the seeds out, first, silly. You don’t want knobs all over your face, do you?”

“I guess you’re right. That wouldn’t look too good, would it?”

She dug the seeds out, and we carefully stirred the lemon juice into the pan.

“Umm, it smells good,” I observed.

Sarah Jane agreed. “In fact, it smells a little like Ma’s cough syrup. Do you want to taste it?”

“Sure, I’ll take a little taste.” I licked some off the spoon and smacked my lips. “It’s fine,” I reported. “If it tastes that good, it will certainly be safe to use. Let’s take it to my room and try it.”

We carefully lifted the kettle from the stove. Together we carried the kettle upstairs and set it on my dresser.

“It will have to cool a little before we put it on,” I said.

“What if the wax gets hard again? We’ll have to take it downstairs and heat it all over.”

“It won’t,” I assured her. “The honey will keep it from getting too hard.” By the time the mixture was cool enough to use, it was thick and gooey—but still spreadable.

“Well, here goes,” Sarah Jane said. She dipped a big blob out and spread it on her face. I did the same. Soon our faces were covered with the sticky mess.

“Don’t get it in your hair,” I warned. “It looks like it would be awfully hard to get out. I wonder how long it will take to dry?”

“The magazine didn’t say that. It would probably dry faster outside in the sun. But someone is sure to see us out there. We’d better stay here.... I wish we had brought the magazine to look at.”

“We can look at the Sears catalog,” I suggested. “Let’s play like we’re ordering things for our own house.”

We sat down on the floor and spread the catalog out in front of us. After several minutes, Sarah Jane felt her face.

“I think it’s dry, Mabel,” she announced, hardly moving her lips. “It doesn’t bend or anything.”

I touched mine and discovered the same thing. The mask was solid and hard. It was impossible to move my mouth to speak, so my voice had a funny sound when I answered her.

“So’s mine. Maybe we’d better start taking it off now.”

We ran to the mirror and looked at ourselves.

“We sure look funny.” Sarah Jane laughed the best she could without moving her face. “How did the magazine say to get it off?”

Suddenly we looked at each other in dismay. The magazine hadn’t said anything about removing the mixture, only how to fix and spread it on.

“Well, we’ve done it again,” I said. “How come everything we try works until we’re ready to undo it? We’ll just have to figure some way to get rid of it.”

We certainly did try. We pushed the heavy masks that covered our faces. We pulled them, knocked on them, and tried to soak them off. They would not budge.

“I think we used too much wax and not enough honey,” Sarah Jane puffed as she flopped back down on the bed.

“That’s certainly a great thing to think of now,” I answered crossly. “The only way to move wax is to melt

“Mine feels like it’s already on fire. I don’t think this stuff is good for your skin.”

“You’re going to have to think about more than that,” I told her. “Or this stuff will be your skin. There has to be some way to get it off.”

“We’ve tried everything we can think of. We’ll just have to go down and let your rna help us.”

That was the last thing in the world I wanted to do. But I could see no other alternative. Slowly we trudged down to the kitchen.

Ma was working at the stove, and she said cheerfully, “Are you girls hungry again? It won’t be long until suppertime, so you’d better not eat ....”

She turned around as she spoke. When she spotted us standing in the doorway, her eyes widened in disbelief.

“What on earth? ... What have you done to yourselves?”

I burst into tears. The sight of drops of tears running down that ridiculous mask must have been more than Ma could stand. Suddenly she began to laugh. She laughed until she had to sit down.

“It’s not funny, Ma. We can’t get it off! We’ll have to wear it the rest of our lives!”

Ma controlled herself long enough to come over and feel my face. “What did you put in it?” she asked. “That will help me know how to take it off.”

We told her.

“If you two ever live to grow up, it will only be the Lord’s good mercy. The only thing we can do is apply something hot enough to melt the wax,” Ma told us quickly.

“But we boiled the wax, Ma,” I cried. “You can’t boil our faces!”

“No, 1won’t try anything as drastic as that. I’ll just use hot towels until it gets soft enough to pull away.”

After several applications, we were finally able to start peeling the mixture off. As it came loose, our skin came with it.

“Ouch! That hurts,” I cried.

But Ma could not stop. By the time the last bits of wax and honey were removed, our faces were fiery red and raw.

“What did we do wrong?” Sarah Jane wailed. “We made it just like the magazine said.”

“You may have used the wrong quantities, or left it on too long,” Ma said. “At any rate, I don’t think you’ll try it again.”

“I know I won’t,” Sarah Jane moaned. “I’m going to tell Laura she should ignore that page in her magazine.” She looked at me. “The stuff did one thing they said it would, Mabel. I don’t see any freckles.”

“There’s no skin left, either,” I retorted. “I’d rather have freckles than a face like this.”

“Never mind.” Ma tried to soothe us. “Your faces will be all right in a couple of days.”

“A couple of days!” I howled. “We can’t go to school looking like this!”

***

“We did, though.” Grandma laughed as she finished the story. “After a while we were able to laugh with the others over our foolishness.”

I looked at the little jar of cream that had come in the mail.

“I don’t think I’ll use this, Grandma. I guess I’ll just let my face get wrinkled if it wants to!”


************************************************

Treasures from Grandma's Attic

Cousin Agatha

My best friend, Sarah Jane, and I were walking home from school on a cold November afternoon.

“Do you realize, Mabel, that 1886 is almost over? Another year of nothing important ever happening is nearly gone.”

“Well, we still have a good bit of life ahead of us,” I replied.

“You don’t know that,” Sarah Jane said darkly, “We’re thirteen and a half. We may already have lived nearly a third of our allotted time.”

“The O’Dells live to be awfully old,” I told her. “So, unless I get run down by a horse and buggy, I’ll probably be around awhile.”

We walked along in silence. Then suddenly Sarah Jane pulled me to the side of the road.

“Here’s the horse and buggy that could keep you from becoming an old lady,” she kidded. We turned to see my pa coming down the road.

“Want to ride the rest of the way, girls?” he called. We clambered into the buggy, and Pa clucked to Nellie.

“What did you get in town?” I asked.

“Some things for the farm and a letter for your ma.” Around the next bend, Pa slowed Nellie to a halt. “Your stop, Sarah Jane.”

“Thanks, Mr. O’Dell.” Sarah Jane jumped down. “I’ll be over to study later, Mabel. ‘Bye.”

“Who’s the letter from?” I asked Pa.

“Can’t tell from the handwriting. We’ll have to wait for Ma to tell us.”

When Ma opened the letter, she looked puzzled. “This is from your cousin Agatha,” she said to Pa. “Why didn’t she address it to you, too?”

“If I know Aggie, she wants something,” Pa declared. “And she figured you’d be more likely to listen to her sad story.”

Ma read the letter and shook her head at Pa. “She just wants to come for Thanksgiving. Now aren’t you ashamed of talking that way?”

“No, I’m not. That’s what Aggie says she wants. You can be sure there’s more there than meets the eye. Are you going to tell her to come ahead?”

“Why, of course!” Ma exclaimed. “If I were a widowed lady up in years, I’d want to be with family on Thanksgiving. Why shouldn’t I tell her to come?”

Pa took his hat from the peg by the door and started for the barn, where my older brothers were already at work. “Don’t say I didn’t warn you,” he remarked as he left.

“What did Pa warn you about?” I asked as soon as the door closed behind him. “What does Cousin Agatha want?”

“I don’t believe Pa was talking to you,” Ma replied. “You heard me say that she wants to come for Thanksgiving.”

“Yes, but Pa said—”

“That’s enough, Mabel. We won’t discuss it further.”

I watched silently as Ma sat down at the kitchen table and answered Cousin Agatha’s letter.

Snow began to fall two days before the holiday, and Pa had to hitch up the sleigh to go into town and meet the train.

“It will be just our misfortune to have a real blizzard and be snowed in with that woman for a week,” he grumbled.

“Having Aggie here a few days won’t hurt you,” Ma said. “The way you carry on, you’d think she was coming to stay forever!”

Pa’s look said he considered that a distinct possibility. As I helped Ma with the pies, I questioned her about Cousin Agatha.

“Has she been here before? I can’t remember seeing her.”

“I guess you were pretty small last time Agatha visited,” Ma replied. “I expect she gets lonely in that big house in the city.”

“What do you suppose she wants besides dinner?” I ventured.

“Friendly company,” Ma snapped. “And we’re going to give it to her.”

When the pies were in the oven, I hung around the window, watching for the sleigh. It was nearly dark when I heard the bells on Nellie’s harness ring out across the snow.

“They’re coming, Ma,” I called, and Ma hurried to the door with the lamp held high over her head. The boys and I crowded behind her. Pa jumped down from the sleigh and turned to help Cousin Agatha.

“I don’t need any assistance from you, James,” a firm voice spoke. “I’m perfectly capable of leaving any conveyance under my own power.”

“She talks like a book!” Roy whispered, and Reuben poked him. I watched in awe as a tall, unbending figure sailed into the kitchen.

“Well, Maryanne,” she said, “it’s good to see you.” She removed her big hat, jabbed a long hat pin into it, and handed the hat to me. “You must be Mabel.”

I nodded wordlessly.

“What’s the matter? Can’t you speak?” she boomed.

“Yes, ma’am,” I gulped nervously.

“Then don’t stand there bobbing your head like a monkey on a stick. People will think you have no sense. You can put that hat in my room.”

I stared openmouthed at this unusual person until a gentle push from Ma sent me in the direction of the guest room.

After dinner and prayers, Pa rose with the intention of going to the barn.

“James!” Cousin Agatha’s voice stopped him. “Surely you aren’t going to do the chores with these two great hulking fellows sitting here, are you?”

The two great hulking fellows leaped for the door with a speed I didn’t know they had.

“I should guess so,” Cousin Agatha exclaimed with satisfaction. “If there’s anything I can’t abide, it’s a lazy child.”

As she spoke, Cousin Agatha pulled Ma’s rocker to the stove and lowered herself into it. “This chair would be more comfortable if there were something to put my feet on,” she said, “but I suppose one can’t expect the amenities in a place like this.”

I looked at Ma for some clue as to what “amenities” might be. This was not a word we had encountered in our speller.

“Run into the parlor and get the footstool, Mabel,” Ma directed.

When Cousin Agatha was settled with her hands in her lap and her feet off the cold floor, I started the dishes.

“Maryanne, don’t you think Mabel’s dress is a mite too short?”

Startled, I looked down at my dress.

“No,” Ma’s calm voice replied. “She’s only thirteen, you know. I don’t want her to be grown up too soon.”

“There is such a thing as modesty, you know.” Cousin Agatha sniffed.

Pa and the boys returned just then, so Ma didn’t answer. I steered an uneasy path around Cousin Agatha all evening. For the first time I could remember, I was glad when bedtime came.

The next day was Thanksgiving, and the house was filled with the aroma of good things to eat. From her rocker, Cousin Agatha offered suggestions as Ma scurried about the kitchen.

“Isn’t it time to baste the turkey, Maryanne? I don’t care for dry fowl.”

“I see the boys running around out there with that mangy dog as though they had nothing to do. Shouldn’t they be chopping wood or something?”

“I should think Mabel could be helping you instead of reading a book. If there’s one thing I can’t abide . . . “

“Mabel will set the table when it’s time,” Ma put in. “Maybe you’d like to peel some potatoes?”

The horrified look on Cousin Agatha’s face said she wouldn’t consider it, so Ma withdrew her offer.

A bump on the door indicated that the “mangy dog” was tired of the cold. I laid down my book and let Pep in. He made straight for the stove and his rug.

“Mercy!” Cousin Agatha cried. “Do you let that—that animal in the kitchen?”

“Yes,” Ma replied. “He’s not a young dog any longer. He isn’t any bother, and he does enjoy the heat.”

“Humph.” Agatha pulled her skirts around her. “I wouldn’t allow any livestock in my kitchen. Can’t think what earthly good a dog can be.” She glared at Pep, who responded with a thump of his tail and a sigh of contentment.

“Dumb creature,” Cousin Agatha muttered.

“Pep isn’t dumb, Cousin Agatha,” I said. “He’s really the smartest dog I know.”

“I was not referring to his intellect or lack of it,” she told me, “‘Dumb’ indicates an inability to speak. You will have to concede that he is unable to carry on a conversation.”

I was ready to dispute that, too, but Ma shook her head. Cousin Agatha continued to give Pep disparaging glances.

“Didn’t you ever have any pets at your house, Cousin Agatha?” I asked.

“Pets? I should say not! Where in the Bible does it say that God made animals for man’s playthings? They’re meant to earn their keep, not sprawl out around the house absorbing heat.”

“Oh, Pep works,” I assured her. “He’s been taking the cows out and bringing them back for years now.”

Cousin Agatha was not impressed. She sat back in the rocker and eyed Pep with disfavor. “The one thing I can’t abide, next to a lazy child, is a useless animal—and in the house!”

I began to look nervously at Ma, thinking she might send Pep to the barn to keep the peace. But she went on about her work, serenely ignoring Cousin Agatha’s hints. I was glad when it was time to set the table.

After we had eaten, Pa took the Bible down from the cupboard and read our Thanksgiving chapter, Psalm 100. Then he prayed, thanking the Lord for Cousin Agatha and asking the Lord’s blessing on her just as he did on the rest of us. When he had finished, Cousin Agatha spoke up.

“I believe that I will stay here until Christmas, James. Then, if I find it to my liking, I could sell the house in the city and continue on with you. Maryanne could use some help in teaching these children how to be useful.”

In the stunned silence that followed, I looked at Pa and Ma to see how this news had affected them. Ma looked pale. Before Pa could open his mouth to answer, Cousin Agatha rose from the table. “I’ll just go to my room for a bit of rest,” she said. “We’ll discuss this later.”

When she had left, we gazed at each other helplessly.

“Is there anything in the Bible that tells you what to do now?” I asked Pa.

“Well, it says if we don’t love our brother whom we can see, how can we love God whom we can’t see? I think that probably applies to cousins as well.”

“I’d love her better if I couldn’t see her.” Reuben declared. “We don’t have to let her stay, do we, Pa?”

“No, we don’t have to,” Pa replied. “We could ask her to leave tomorrow as planned. But I’m not sure that would be right. What do you think, Ma?”

“I wouldn’t want to live alone in the city,” Ma said slowly. “I can see that she would prefer the company of a family. I suppose we should ask her to stay until Christmas.”

“I think she already asked herself,” Roy ventured. “But she did say if she found things to her liking. . . .”

We all looked at Roy. Pa said, “You’re not planning something that wouldn’t be to her liking, are you?”

“Oh, no, sir!” Roy quickly answered. “Not me.”

Pa signed. “I’m not sure I’d blame you. She’s not an easy person to live with. We’ll all have to be especially patient with her.”

There wasn’t much Thanksgiving atmosphere in the kitchen as we did the dishes.

“How can we possibly stand it for another whole month?” I moaned.

“The Lord only sends us one day at a time,” Ma informed me. “Don’t worry about more than that. When the other days arrive, you’ll probably find out you worried about all the wrong things.”

As soon as the work was finished, I put on my coat and walked over to Sarah Jane’s.

“What will you do if she stays on after Christmas?” she asked.

“I’ll just die.”

“I thought you were going to be a long-living O’Dell.”

“I changed my mind,” I retorted. “What would you do if you were in my place?”

“I’d probably make her life miserable so she’d want to leave.”

“You know I couldn’t get away with that. Pa believes that Christian love is the best solution.”

“All right, then,” Sarah Jane said with a shrug. “Love her to death.”

As though to fulfill Pa’s prediction, snow began to fall heavily that night. By morning we were snowed in.

“Snowed in?” Cousin Agatha repeated. “You mean unable to leave the house at all?”

“That’s right,” Pa replied. “This one is coming straight down from Canada.”

Cousin Agatha looked troubled. “I don’t like this. I don’t like it at all.”

“We’ll be all right,” Ma reassured her. “We have plenty of wood and all the food we need.”

But Cousin Agatha was not to be reassured. I watched her stare into the fire and twist her handkerchief around her fingers. Why, she’s frightened! I thought. This old lady had been directing things all her life, and here was something she couldn’t control. Suddenly I felt sorry for her.

“Cousin Agatha,” I said, “we have fun when we’re snowed in. We play games and pop corn and tell stories. You’ll enjoy it. I know you will!”

I ran over and put my arms around her shoulders and kissed her on the cheek. She looked at me in surprise.

“That’s the first time anyone has hugged me since I can remember,” she said. “Do you really like me, Mabel?”

Right then I knew that I did like Cousin Agatha a whole lot. Behind her stern front was another person who needed to be loved and wanted.

“Oh, yes, Cousin Agatha,” I replied. “I really do. You’ll see what a good time we’ll have together.”

The smile that lighted her face was bright enough to chase away any gloom that had settled over the kitchen. And deep down inside, I felt real good.


My (short) Review -
These are the most adorable books I've read in a long time. Mabel went on so many adventures and learned lots of valueable lessons with her best friend, Sarah Jane. Girls of all ages will enjoy these short, humorous stories and learn a lot from them. I'll be passing these books on to my niece.

WWW Wednesdays

Hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading

What I'm currently reading
It's Christmas in Houston, and homicide detective Roland March is on the hunt for a killer. A young woman's brutal stabbing in an affluent neighborhood bears all the hallmarks of a serial murder. The only problem is that March sent the murderer to prison ten years ago. Is it a copycat -- or did March convict the wrong man?

Alienated from his colleagues and with a growing rift in his marriage, March receives messages from the killer. The bodies pile up, the pressure builds, and the violence reaches too close to home. Up against an unfathomable evil, March struggles against the clock to understand the hidden message in the pattern of wounds.

What I recently finished reading
Protected by the dark of night, Jaimie Piper runs. But is anywhere safe when Evil is hunting you?She’s just a twelve year-old girl, bumped around between foster homes and relegated to school classes for challenged kids, those lagging in their test scores or with behavioral issues. But her real problem is that she can sense something the other kids can’t—something dark. Something compelling her to run for her life.

All Crockett Grey wants is to mark the anniversary of his daughter’s death alone. But when his student Jaimie comes to him, terrified, her need for protection collides with his grief, and a tangled web of bizarre events sends them both spiraling toward destruction. Crockett’s one hope of getting his life back is to uncover the mysterious secrets of Jaimie’s past and her strange gift. It isn’t long before his discoveries lead him to a darker conspiracy, secrets guarded by the highest seat of power in the world—the Vatican.

What I think I'll read next
When Gabi and Lia finally learn to surf the river of time, they realize they must make hard choices about life and love in the third and final book in the River of Time series.

Gabi and Lia Betarrini have learned to control their time travel, and they return from medieval Italy to save their father from his tragic death in modern times. But love calls across the centuries, and the girls are determined to return forever—even though they know the Black Plague is advancing across Europe, claiming the lives of one-third of the population. In the suspenseful conclusion of the River of Time series, every decision is about life … and death.

GFC Tip

Has your GFC widget been acting kind of weird like mine was a few weeks ago? It would be just fine one minute and the next it'd be gone? Yeah, it's soo annoying! I have no idea why this has been happening a lot and I know it isn't just on my blog.I figured out a way to make sure your GFC widget stays put and stops playing that annoying game of hide and seek.

First log onto the Google Friend Connect site. Now just follow the instructions in the pictures below.

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You should be able to see your new Google Friend Connect button in your sidebar now. Ever since I did this, mine doesn't disappear anymore. I hope it works just as good for you :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Waterfall Wednesdays - A Read-Along Event


I'm so excited about this! I absolutely love Lisa T. Bergren's River of Time Series and gladly take my place in the River of Time Tribe ;). I'm sure you've heard something about these awesome books somewhere, they're amazing! Starting August 31 there's going to be a read-along event with discussion questions and a giveaway each week for 5 weeks! So, whether you've already taken a dive into the River of Time or not, Waterfall Wednesdays is an event you do not want to miss.

Discussion Schedule: 
August 31- Chapters 1-6 Hosted by Tina at Tinasbookreviews 
Sept 7- Chapters 7-11 Hosted by Missie at The Unread Reader 
Sept 14- Chapters 12-17 Hosted by Joy & Serena at Edgy Inspirational Romance 
Sept 21- Chapters 18-23 Hosted by Jenny at Supernatural Snark 
Sept 28- Chapters 24-28 and Wrap Up Hosted by Nic at Irresistible Reads 

To find out more, click HERE.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Review: The Canary List


The Canary List by Sigmund Brouwer 
WaterBrook Press (June 21, 2011)
Fiction/Suspense

Protected by the dark of night, Jaimie Piper runs. But is anywhere safe when Evil is hunting you?

She’s just a twelve year-old girl, bumped around between foster homes and relegated to school classes for challenged kids, those lagging in their test scores or with behavioral issues. But her real problem is that she can sense something the other kids can’t—something dark. Something compelling her to run for her life.

All Crockett Grey wants is to mark the anniversary of his daughter’s death alone. But when his student Jaimie comes to him, terrified, her need for protection collides with his grief, and a tangled web of bizarre events sends them both spiraling toward destruction. Crockett’s one hope of getting his life back is to uncover the mysterious secrets of Jaimie’s past and her strange gift. It isn’t long before his discoveries lead him to a darker conspiracy, secrets guarded by the highest seat of power in the world—the Vatican. 

...My Thoughts... 

Sigmund Brouwer is a new-to-me author so I didn't know what to expect from The Canary List. Reading the book description I thought, "This actually sounds like it could be really good!" I was excited and thought I was going to like it, but it turns out that it's not my kind of story. I didn't like that there was so much about witches, satanism, and demons. The satanic ritual scenes in the beginning were a huge turn off so at that point I basically had my mind set on how I felt about it. I didn't want to be unfair so I made myself read the entire story. If I hadn't done that, I know some people might say I didn't give it a chance. Well... I finished it and still feel the same way about it.

The beginning of the story was fast paced and the characters were interesting, but that ended after a few chapters. Towards the middle things started to get confusing and it was hard for me to follow along with the story. There were a lot of characters, so every time the point of view would switch from one to another it would get even more confusing. I didn't understand where the author was leading us and the ending really doesn't offer any kind of answers.

 With there being so much emphasis on all the evil in the world, I was expecting for the author to end with the fact that Jesus has already conquered it. There is no message of the hope we have in Christ and that irritated me the most. I don't expect every story I read to have a happy ending or to be neatly wrapped up in a bow, but since this is labeled as Christian fiction I'd expect it to have a message of redemption, hope, or God's love for us. I don't like giving negative reviews but it's just the way I feel about this book. Others might have really liked it but it just wasn't for me and I wouldn't be able to recommend it for the above reasons.

Rating - 2 stars

(This book was provided for review by Waterbrook Multnomah through their Blogging for Books program.)
 

Friday, August 19, 2011

A "Just Because" Giveaway

Ok, so I'm kinda sorta super excited about finally reaching 50 followers! I've decided to do a "Just Because" giveaway. Just because you guys are so awesome. Just because I love you so stinkin' much. Oh yeah and because I've reached 50! I guess you could also call it a "50 Follower Giveaway."

You know what I'm giving away?! A $10 Amazon GC! I could just give away a book or something, but I want the winner to choose it or use it for whatever they want. Like I've said before, I would love to be able to give all my followers a special little gift, but I just can't =( I'll be doing as many giveaways as I can to show you all how much I appreciate you!

Giveaway Details:{Giveaway Closed}
- To enter you must follow this blog at least one way - GFC(publicly), Twitter, or via an email subscription.
- U.S. residents only please.
- Leave a comment on this post letting me know you want to be entered and how you are following.
- Leave a valid email address so I can contact you if you're the winner. Remember to disguise it! (If there is no email in your comment you will not be entered.)
- The giveaway end date is for me to know and for you to find out... soon. It'll be a surprise! =)

Giveaway Winner

I'm sorry I forgot to announce the winner of last weeks book giveaway!

The winner of Never the Bride is...
Karenk

Congrats! I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did!

(The winner has already been emailed. If she doesn't claim her prize within the next 48 hours, I'll have to choose someone else.)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Liebster Blog Award

What an exciting start to my day! I was awarded the Liebster Blog Award! A million thank-yous to Katie over at Legacy of a Writer for giving me my first blog award. Katie's blog focuses on books and her personal writing journey. There's always something fun and interesting going on over there so make sure you check it out! Her book reviews can also be found at Book Reviews by Lady Katy. Thanks so much Katie! 


The Liebster is awarded to bloggers with less than 200 followers. It is an opportunity to shine the light on great blogs and their authors in an effort to build readership.

Here are the rules:

1. Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them.

2. Give the Liebster Blog Award to five bloggers and let them know in a comment on their blog.

3. Copy and paste the award on your blog.

4. Have faith your followers will spread the love to other bloggers.

5. Have blogging fun!

And now, for the new winners of the Liebster Blog Award:
Enjoy the award ladies! You have wonderful blogs and I've enjoyed reading them. :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Awesome book giveaways!

Hey guys! I just wanted to let you know about a few great giveaways going on at these awesome blogs. I've also added a list of current giveaways that you can enter on my sidebar, so keep checking back for new ones.

Conception(Future Savior book 1)  by Jennifer Hartz @ Page by Paige
Surrender the Dawn by MaryLu Tyndall @ Page by Paige
A Big Giveaway Bash @ Legacy of a Writer
Yesterday's Tomorrow by Catherine West @ Legacy of a Writer

If you want your giveaway added to my sidebar, just comment here with the link to the giveaway post and I'd be happy to add it :)

Happy Reading!
Crystal

Monday, August 15, 2011

Blogoversary Giveaway Winners!

Finally it's time to announce the two winners of the $10 Amazon Gift Cards. Sorry to keep you all waiting! The winners are...

The Paper Princess 

Mary

Congrats Ladies!

I wish everyone who entered could have won but I just don't have that kind of money =D I'll be having an end of summer giveaway in a couple of weeks and you'll have another chance to win a $10 Amazon GC! The details will be posted soon!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Review: Nick of Time


Nick of Time by Tim Downs
Thomas Nelson (May 17, 2011)
Genre: Fiction/Mystery/Suspense

The Bug Man is getting married on Saturday 
. . .if his fiancee can find him.

Forensic entomologist Nick Polchak lives in a world of maggots and blow flies and decomposing bodies. No wonder he's still single.

But Nick has finally found a woman as strange as he is—dog trainer Alena Savard, a woman who is odd, reclusive, and can seemingly talk to animals. It was a match made in heaven. Nick and Alena are scheduled to be married on Saturday—but there's one small problem. Nick has disappeared.

Caught up in a murder case involving an old friend, Nick finds himself on a manhunt that's drawing him farther and farther from the church where Alena is waiting. But will he make it back in time? Could Nick's single-minded focus cause him to forget his own wedding? Is he really pursuing a killer, or is he running away from something else?

...My Thoughts...

Nick of Time was a suspenseful read full of mystery, thrill, and lots of drama tossed in the mix. Since this is the 6th book in the Bug Man series I did expect to feel lost at times since I haven't read the others, but I was surprised at how well I was able to follow along. This book would do fine as a stand alone and I thought the author did a great job of filling us in.

Nick Polchak is a stubborn, obnoxious, extremely sarcastic guy, but he’s still a very unique character. There were other strong, likeable characters with different personalities that fit the story well. The plot was a bit slow but it gradually picked up and by the middle I couldn't stop reading. I also learned a few things about maggots, blow flies, and other types of flies that are drawn to decomposing bodies. I’m a big fan of CSI so I wasn’t really grossed out, lol! There were some parts that I just skimmed through because I wasn’t all that interested in how maggots pupate(is that how you say it?) and I wanted to get on with the story.

Other than the few unrealistic parts in the plot, I thought this was a well written novel. There are definitely things that caught me off guard and at one point I actually had that ‘heart drop’ feeling! It was also the suspense that kept me reading, I couldn't even come up with my own guess to the big mystery and the answer surprised and frustrated me at the same time. I was upset over how the ending turned out, but it still left me wanting more. I don’t know if I would say this is a Christian novel. I don’t remember the characters mentioning their faith or anything about God. It’s still a very clean read that anyone can enjoy, as long as you don’t mind all the bug talk. I'll definitely be looking out for the others in the series now.

Rating - 4 stars

(This book was provided for review by Thomas Nelson through Netgalley.)

Almost at 50 followers!


I can't believe I didn't post anything yesterday! It was my Blogoversary!! How could I not post about it?! I'm so frustrated with myself right now..LOL! I guess there was just so much going on and I didn't even realize it was the 10th. Oh well, at least I'm posting something right now =)

I've had a blast these past two years and I've gotten to know some really awesome people. I've read great books by authors I probably never would have heard of if it weren't for the blogger review programs I'm signed up with. I've had so much fun and enjoyed every opportunity I've had to help promote and spread the word about lots of wonderful authors and their books.

Oh yeah and I'm almost at 50 followers! Woohoo! I know it's pretty sad for someone who's been blogging for 2 years, but I wasn't as social with other bloggers like I am now. Giveaways help too! ;) I've also just realized that yesterday I posted my 80th book review! So many milestones this month! I think I'll do something special for my 100th review =D Thank you to all my readers for your support and for stopping by to say hi and let me know that there really are people out there reading this.

Thanks again and Happy Reading!

Crystal

P.s.
I'll be announcing the winners of the $10 Amazon gift cards soon!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Never the Bride - Giveaway

I'm giving away my copy of Never the Bride. You can read my review HERE

Giveaway Details:
- To enter you must follow this blog at least one way - GFC(publicly), Twitter, or via an email subscription.
-U.S. residents only please.
- Leave a comment on this post letting me know you want to be entered and how you are following. - Leave a valid email address so I can contact you if you're the winner. Remember to disguise it! (If there is no email in your comment you will not be entered.)
- The giveaway ends next Wednesday, August 17th.
- I'll be using Random.org to choose the winner. I'll be announcing who that is on the 18th.
-  The winner will have 48 hours to respond. If I don't get a response from them after that I will have to choose someone else.

Review: Never the Bride


Never the Bride by Cheryl McKay and Rene Gutteridge
Waterbrook Press (June 2, 2009)
Fiction/Christian/Romance

Since she was just a little girl, Jessie Stone dreamed up hundreds of marriage proposals, doodled the romantic ideas in her journal with her treasured purple pen, and fantasized about wedding dresses and falling in love. She’s been a bridesmaid nearly a dozen times, waved numerous couples off to sunny honeymoons, and shopped in more department stores for half-price fondue pots than she cares to remember.

But shopping for one key component of these countless proposals hasn't been quite as productive–a future husband. The man she thought she would marry cheated on her. The crush she has on her best friend Blake is at very best…well, crushing. And speed dating has only churned out memorable horror stories.

So when God shows up one day, in the flesh, and becomes a walking, talking part of her life, Jessie is skeptical. What will it take to convince her that the Almighty has a better plan than one she’s already cooked up in her journals? Can she turn over her pen and trust someone else to craft a love story beyond her wildest dreams?

...My Thoughts...

I love it when a book has me laughing out loud 90% of the time. Never the Bride is a wonderful mix of romance, humor, and faith. Rene and Cheryl make a great team and have created such a funny, sweet story! I'm not really into Chick-Lit, but this was entertaining from the start and I loved it.

I absolutely loved Jessie's fun, witty personality. She has dreams of her future prince charming, her wedding day, and living a happily ever after just like a lot of us girls do. Although, maybe she does obsess think about it a little more than most of us. There were lots of other great characters in Never the Bride, but the most memorable was Jessie's best friend, Blake. I really liked the relationship between the two and the way he was so protective over her with the guys she dated was so sweet.

The ending of the story might have been a bit predictable, but the journey to it wasn't. This book is pretty tough to put down once you start reading it and it'll have you laughing till you cry. I had so much fun reading this and loved the message of God's love for us. He already has a plan for our lives that's even better than we can ever dream up or imagine. We just have to surrender our "purple-feathered pens" and let Him write our story for us. Easier said than done, right?

Rating - 4 stars

(This review copy was provided by WaterBrook Multnomah through their Blogging for Books program.)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Blogoversary Giveaway Update


There are 5 days left to enter my Blogoversary Giveaway and I was just thinking... A 2-year Blogoversary calls for twice as many prizes, right?! What do you think about me giving away TWO Amazon Gift Cards? I've decided to do just that. Now there are going to be two winners that will each get a $10 gift card. The rules are the same and you still have to enter on my first post about the giveaway. If you've already entered, you don't have to do it again.

Oh yeah and one more thing. I wanted to ask if you could help spread the word about this giveaway. I know you're probably thinking, "Yeah right! It'll make it harder for me to win!" But it would help me so much and if you tweet about it or post about it on your blog, you'll get another entry! If you decide to help, thank you so much! I really appreciate it!

Remember, there's 5 more days to enter! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Crystal

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

WWW Wednesdays

Hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading

What I'm currently reading
Katie Parker knows life isn’t fair. After all, when your mom’s in jail and your dad’s a no-show, you figure things just aren’t going your way. But hey, she can deal.

Then she finds out she’s being sent to live with a foster family—in In Between, Texas.What kind of town has a name like In Between? And what kind of family wants a kid like her?

One thing’s for certain: None of this will be good. Sure enough—thanks to some new “friends” and her non-Mom’s crazed mother, Mad Maxine—life sails right past bad to stinking.

Then again, she’s just a temporary kid, they’re just temporary parents, and she definitely doesn’t have any ideas about making any of this permanent.

God, on the other hand, may have other plans altogether.

What I recently finished reading
Since she was just a little girl, Jessie Stone dreamed up hundreds of marriage proposals, doodled the romantic ideas in her journal with her treasured purple pen, and fantasized about wedding dresses and falling in love. She’s been a bridesmaid nearly a dozen times, waved numerous couples off to sunny honeymoons, and shopped in more department stores for half-price fondue pots than she cares to remember.

But shopping for one key component of these countless proposals hasn't been quite as productive–a future husband. The man she thought she would marry cheated on her. The crush she has on her best friend Blake is at very best…well, crushing. And speed dating has only churned out memorable horror stories.

So when God shows up one day, in the flesh, and becomes a walking, talking part of her life, Jessie is skeptical. What will it take to convince her that the Almighty has a better plan than one she’s already cooked up in her journals? Can she turn over her pen and trust someone else to craft a love story beyond her wildest dreams?

What I think I'll read next week
Ambitious young attorney Tom Crane is about to become a partner in a high-profile Atlanta law firm. But first he must clear one final matter from his docket-the closing of his deceased father's law practice in his hometown of Bethel, Georgia. Killed in a mysterious boating accident, John Crane didn't appear to leave his son anything except the hassle of wrapping up loose ends.

But instead of celebrating his promotion, Tom finds himself packing up his office, having suddenly been "consolidated." To add insult to injury, that same night his girlfriend breaks up with him . . . by letter.

Returning to Bethel with no sense of his future and no faith to fall back on, Tom just wants to settle his father's final affairs and get back to Atlanta. But then he runs into an unexpected roadblock-two million dollars of unclaimed money stashed in a secret bank account. And evidence that his father's death may not have been accidental. Worse still, a trail of data suggests his father played a role in an international fraud operation.

Tom follows the money into a tangled web of lies, theft, and betrayal. Along the way, he meets a woman who is as beguiling as she is beautiful. And her interest in the outcome of the case is just as high as his. She challenges Tom's assumptions . . . and his faith. Now he has to decide who he can trust-and how far a father's love can reach.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Book Giveaway Winner!

Thanks to those of you who entered my giveaway for Shadows on the Sand. Check out my Blogoversary Giveaway that's ending on 8/10. I'll also be having another book giveaway sometime next week so come back soon and enter!

Shadows on the Sand goes to - Brooke

Congrats!

I have already emailed the winner. If I don't get a response in the next 48 hours, I will have to choose someone else.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Giveaway Winner

Thank you to the ladies who stopped by and entered. You can still enter my giveaway for Shadows on the Sand, which ends today. I'm also having a Blogoversary giveaway that ends on 8/10. Now for this giveaway...

A Short Life Well Lived goes to - Megan

I have already emailed the winner. If I don't get a response in the next 48 hours, I will have to choose someone else.

Blogoversary Giveaway!!!

I can't believe it's almost been two years since I first started this blog! Time has just flown by hasn't it? Well to celebrate these two awesome years of blogging and reviewing, I'm giving away TWO $10 Amazon Gift Cards! Yay! The giveaway starts today and ends on my Blogoversary, August 10th.

Giveaway Details:
- To enter you must follow this blog at least one way - GFC(publicly), Twitter, or via an email subscription.
-U.S. residents only please.
- Leave a comment on this post letting me know you want to be entered and how you are following.
- Leave a valid email address so I can contact you if you're one of the winners. Remember to disguise it like this: anotherbooklovingirl(at)yahoo(dot)com (If there is no email in your comment you will not be entered.)
- I'll be emailing the claim code to the winners, so make sure you put the correct email address in your comment.
- You have until August 10, 2011 to enter. I will be using Random.org to choose the lucky winners and I will be announcing who they are by August 15th.

-Extra entries:
 Post about the giveaway on your blog(+1) 
 Tweet about the giveaway(+1)

Happy Reading!
Crystal
 
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