Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Dog Who Was There~ Ron Marasco

The Dog Who Was There
About the book:

No one expected Barley to have an encounter with the Messiah.
He was homeless, hungry, and struggling to survive in first century Jerusalem. Most surprisingly, he was a dog. But through Barley’s eyes, the story of a teacher from Galilee comes alive in a way we’ve never experienced before.
Barley’s story begins in the home of a compassionate woodcarver and his wife who find Barley as an abandoned, nearly-drowned pup. Tales of a special teacher from Galilee are reaching their tiny village, but when life suddenly changes again for Barley, he carries the lessons of forgiveness and love out of the woodcarver’s home and through the dangerous roads of Roman-occupied Judea.
On the outskirts of Jerusalem, Barley meets a homeless man and petty criminal named Samid. Together, Barley and his unlikely new master experience fresh struggles and new revelations. Soon Barley is swept up into the current of history, culminating in an unforgettable encounter with the truest master of all as he bears witness to the greatest story ever told.
My take on this book:
I was drawn to this book because I love reading stories where we see it unfold through the eyes of an animal. With this story we have Barley a dog who witnesses one of the most amazing times in history. Thing is there were parts of this book that I enjoyed, but there were also parts of this book that really didn't click for me. First of all I really struggled getting through the first several chapters. Why you ask? Well the writing was sluggish and for me felt a bit choppy. When Barley finally arrives in Jerusalem things really started to pick up though because he is there during the last days of Jesus. I loved Barley and felt like he was a wonderfully unique character and watching the scenes take place through his eyes were quite vivid and easily pulled me into the setting, and I could just imagine being there. Overall I would have to say that I enjoyed this book once I got  past the first several chapters, thing is I really struggled with getting past them. In my opinion it's not a purchase worthy book instead it would be one that I would borrow from my public library. I would also like to caution that there are some violent scenes in the book as well.
A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes.




{ABOUT RON MARASCO}

Ron MarascoRon Marasco is a professor in the College of Communication and Fine Arts at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. His first book, “Notes to an Actor,” was named by the American Library Association an Outstanding Book of 2008. His second book, “About Grief,” has been translated into multiple languages, and he is currently completing a book on Shakespeare’s sonnets. He has acted extensively on TV—from “Lost” to “West Wing” to “Entourage” to originating the role of Mr. Casper on “Freaks and Geeks”—and appeared opposite screen legend Kirk Douglas in the movie “Illusion,” for which he also wrote the screenplay. Most recently, he has played the recurring role of Judge Grove on “Major Crimes.” He has a BA from Fordham at Lincoln Center and an MA and Ph. D. from UCLA.
Find out more about Ron at http://www.thomasnelson.com/the-dog-who-

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Stitching Tuesday

My progress on the Cat Magnet from last week. I stitch on this a few minutes a day.


So close to having this first block done. I am planning on stitching a cat or heart or something between my name and the year. My stitching plans are to get the first and second block finished on Houses Of Hawk Run Hollow before March 1. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Stitching Tuesday

While I have always been an avid reader I also hold a great love for stitching and crafts in general. Reading and stitching is my way of unwinding after a long work day.  I normally crochet lap robes for local nursing homes but this past fall I finally picked up counted cross stitch again. So I plan on starting a new Tuesday feature that will focus on whatever I am stitching for the week. So let's begin.


I am working on The Houses of Hawk Run Hollow.
Houses of Hawk Run Hollow - Cross Stitch Pattern
 Here is what the project will look like.


Here is my progress. My goal is to finish this by Dec. 2017 by doing a block a month. I started this block last weekend so I really feel like it is a very do able goal. 


I am also working on this quick stitch:



MY PROGRESS:
I plan on updating each Tuesday with stitching progress and even plan on doing posts that revolve around the various stitching tools I use, along with tips, tricks, tricks, techniques, along with links to useful stitching pages. 

If you're a stitcher, or do any type of crafts I would love to read your comments and check out your blog. Happy stitching, and happy reading! 






M is for Mountain State~ By Mary Ann McCabe Riehle

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 3
  • Series: Discover America State by State
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press; 1st Printing edition (July 21, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585361518
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585361519








My take on this book:
I always enjoy reading books about my home state WV, and this little book is certainly a gem. There is plenty of information about the state of  WV written in alphabet form, from the Allegheny Mountains to the golden dome of our capitol building this book is really a delight to read, as well as being informative. The colorful illustrations really add to story and will certainly capture the imagination of young readers. I think this book would be a wonderful way to teach youngsters about the state they live in or even teach them about another state. While it is geared toward young readers I think young and old alike will enjoy learning about the Mountain State and all the beauty that it holds. I will also say that I was delighted to find that there are plenty of other alphabet books about other states which I certainly plan on checking out! If this book is any indication I think that the other state alphabet books will be great. I recommend this book, and books like it to any age group that wants to learn a bit about the state that they live in. 

A digital copy of this book was borrowed from my local library.



Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Fifth Petal ~ Brunonia Barry ~ TLC Book Tour

The Fifth PetalAbout The Fifth Petal

Hardcover: 448 pages
Publisher: Crown (January 24, 2017)
“Do you think, inside, every one of us is a killer?”
This is the question that haunts the people of Salem, Massachusetts, in Brunonia Barry’s spellbinding, masterful new thriller, THE FIFTH PETAL (January 24, 2017; Crown), a tale of otherworldly powers, ancient myths, and a gruesome triple homicide. Ten years after her New York Times bestselling debut novel THE LACE READER became an international sensation, Barry revisits contemporary Salem, where the dark history of the paranormal continues to reverberate in the lives of the Whitney family and their neighbors. With its release, THE LACE READER became an overnight success, winning numerous awards and rave reviews from the New York TimesWashington PostTimeNew YorkPeople, and being named an Amazon Best Book of the Month. Barry, born and raised in Salem, now returns with a complex brew of suspense, seduction, and murder in her highly anticipated novel THE FIFTH PETAL.
When a teenage boy dies suspiciously on Halloween night, Salem’s chief of police, John Rafferty, now married to gifted lace reader Towner Whitney, wonders if there is a connection between his death and Salem’s most notorious cold case, “The Goddess Murders,” in which three young women, all descended from accused Salem witches, were slashed on Halloween night in 1989. Now Rafferty must uncover who, or what, is killing the descendants of Salem’s accused witches, while keeping the town’s paranoia—all too similar to the hysteria that lead to the infamous witch trials—at bay.
As Rafferty begins to uncover a dark chapter of Salem’s past, he finds unexpected help from Callie Cahill, the daughter of one of the Goddess victims, who has recently returned to town. Discovered at the scene of the crime when she was five years old, Callie survived the mysterious massacre with only scratches on her arms and a perfect stigmata of a five-petal rose in the palm of her bloodied hand. Now Callie, who has always been gifted with premonitions, begins to struggle with visions she doesn’t quite understand and an attraction to a man who has unknown connections to her mother’s murder. Neither Rafferty nor Callie believes the main suspect, Rose Whelan, respected local historian and honorary aunt to Callie, is guilty of murder or witchcraft. But clearing Rose’s name might mean crossing paths with a dangerous force. Were the women victims of an all-too-human vengeance, or was the devil raised in Salem that night? And if Rafferty and Callie can’t discover what happened that night, will evil rise again?
Grounded in Salem’s true, dark history, Brunonia Barry paints a complex, eerie portrait of a modern New England town living in the past. With magical realism that will appeal to readers of Erin Morgenstern and gothic suspense echoing Deborah Harkness, THE FIFTH PETAL brings the world of Salem to life with Barry’s signature rich and twisting prose. Suspenseful, sinister, and masterfully composed, THE FIFTH PETAL is a haunting novel that will grip audiences long after the final page.


“Banshees, lost memories, and secret pasts each play a significant role in this novel; enthusiasts of the author’s earlier work and readers interested in the history of witchcraft and the occult will enjoy this return visit to Salem.”Library Journal
“[An] entertaining occult murder mystery.”Kirkus Reviews

My take on this book:
One of my favorite types of stories to read is one that grabs me by the hand and drags me along for an intense read where the twists and turns often keep my on the edge of my seat and the characters linger long after the final page. Well The Fifth Petal fit the bill to a tee. What drew me to this story initially was the fact that it reached back to the days of the Salem Witch Trials but it was the intriguing story and the way the plot came together that kept me reading until the satisfying end. The historical elements were interesting and really added to the overall story. The author's writing style flowed between past and present with a fluidity that was easy to follow and really made me feel as if I was glimpsing bits of the past. The mystery was solid, and while I had a hunch that the death from the present might be tied to the past but the how's and why's and the way the author allowed the story to play out really made this story zoom along. After reading this book I realized that this isn't the first book in this series and I so plan on going back and reading it as well because this story was just that good. A new to me author that I am glad to have discovered. 
A complimentary copy of this book was provided to read

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Purchase Link

Amazon | Books-A-Million

© Scott Booth PhotographyIndieBound | Barnes & Noble


Brunonia Barry
 is the New York Times and international best selling author of The Lace Reader and The Map of True Places. Her work has been translated into more than thirty languages. She was the first American author to win the International Women’s Fiction Festival’s Baccante Award and was a past recipient of Ragdale Artists’ Colony’s Strnad Fellowship as well as the winner of New England Book Festival’s award for Best Fiction and Amazon’s Best of the Month. Her reviews and articles on writing have appeared in The London Times and The Washington Post. Brunonia co-chairs the Salem Athenaeum’s Writers’ Committee. She lives in Salem with her husband Gary Ward and their dog, Angel. Her new novel, The Fifth Petal will be released in January 2017.About Brunonia Barry

Connect with Brunonia

Website | Facebook | Twitter




Brunonia Barry’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, January 23rd: Books Without Any Pictures
Tuesday, January 24th: A Literary Vacation
Wednesday, January 25th: Reading Reality
Thursday, January 26th: Wall to Wall Books
Friday, January 27th: 100 Pages a Day
Monday, January 30th: Write Read Life
Wednesday, February 1st: Kahakai Kitchen
Thursday, February 2nd: Art @ Home
Thursday, February 2nd: WV Stitcher
Monday, February 6th: I Brought a Book
Wednesday, February 8th: I Wish I Lived in a Library
Thursday, February 9th: The Paperback Pilgrim
Monday, February 13th: Broken Teepee
Wednesday, February 15th: A Bookish Way of Life
Thursday, February 16th: A Chick Who Reads
Monday, February 20th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Wednesday, February 22nd: Thoughts on This ‘n That



Wednesday, January 25, 2017

EDEN BY KEITH KORMAN | BLOG TOUR AND KINDLE FIRE GIVEAWAY

EdenEden: The Animals’ Parable (Liberty Island, April 2016)
“Ask the animals, and they will teach you.” —Job 12:7
Experience the Gospels in a way that you never imagined.
In this beautifully inspired retelling of the Gospels, we see Jesus and his disciples in the Holy Land through the eyes of the animals—especially his intrepid and loyal dog, Eden.
With a wise, old donkey, innocent lambs, and legions of curious field mice—the animals follow their master’s journey across Galilee and onto Jerusalem, rapt with awe and wonder and bearing great tidings—even if they don’t fully comprehend the divine events they witness.
Simple, clear, and spiritually profound, Eden is for readers of all ages, this artful retelling is captivating, moving, and alive with the joy you felt the first time you opened the Bible.

My take on this book:
I find myself enjoying reading stories from the perspective of animals and with this one seeing the stories of the Bible unfold through the eyes of a dog, Eden was unique and told in a refreshing way. She was such a sweet little dog that had a wonderful perspective on what she was seeing.The illustrations were wonderfully done and brought the text to life and the stories really made me think about the Bible stories that I already knew. A book that is perfect to read to youngsters and older children as well as adults will enjoy reading this one themselves. A unique take on familiar stories in the Bible that are written in a way that allow not only the story but the characters to leap from the pages! 
A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review.



Keith Korman

{MORE ABOUT KEITH KORMAN}

Keith Korman is a literary agent and novelist. Over the years he has represented many nationally-known writers of fiction and non-fiction at his family’s literary agency, Raines & Raines. The idea for “Eden” first came to him as a child when he saw the little calf jump across the stable in the prelude to William Wyler’s “Ben Hur.” And he’s been thinking about it ever since.
Find out more about Keith at http://www.edentheanimalsparable.com.




Return to the story of Jesus and read it from a new perspective in Keith Korman’s Eden: The Animals’ Parable. In this beautifully inspired retelling of the Gospels, we see Jesus and his disciples in the Holy Land through the eyes of the animals—especially his intrepid and loyal dog, Eden. Simple, clear, and spiritually profound, Eden is for readers of all ages, this artful retelling is captivating, moving, and alive with the joy you felt the first time you opened the Bible.
Set

Settle in for some winter reading and enter to win a copy of Keith’s book and a Kindle Fire!
One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of Eden
  • A Kindle Fire
Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on January 24. The winner will be announced January 25 on Keith’s blog.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

FUDGE AND JURY by Ellie Alexander ~ TLC Blog Tour


About Fudge and Jury

Fudge and JurySeries: A Bakeshop Mystery (Book 5)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks (January 3, 2017)
Welcome to Torte–a friendly, small-town family bakery where the pastries are delicious…and, now, suspicious.
It’s almost spring in Ashland, Oregon, and the town is preparing for the Shakespeare and the annual Chocolate Festival. Business is cookin’ at Torte, and the store is expanding as Jules’ team whips up crèpes filled with mascarpone cheese and dark chocolate. Torte stands a chance of being this year’s confectionery belle of the ball! Life couldn’t be sweeterunless murder taints the batter.
Evan Rowe, of Confections Couture, makes a chocolate fountain that would put Willy Wonka to shame, and his truffles are to die forliterally? Yes, the world-renowned chocolatier has just turned up dead…right after sampling a slice of Jules’ decadent four-layer chocolate cake. Now all eyes are on Jules as she tries to find the mysterious ingredient in her own recipe. Can she sift out the truth before another contestant bites the buttercream?
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Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes And Noble


My take on this book:
A cozy mystery that revolves around chocolate well what could be better than that!  I need to start this review by saying that this book is the fifth in a series but honestly it really didn't take me long to figure out who the characters were because the author does a fantastic job of giving enough background information to allow me to dive right into an intriguing murder mystery that takes place during a chocolate festival. I felt like I had stepped right into the story with the author's descriptive storytelling from describing her decadent sweet dessert concoctions, to the not so easy to solve murder. The plot whirls  along quicker than a stand mixer or high speed the zips and twists kept me guessing and truthfully I didn't figure it out until the end. Fudge and Jury was a well written who-dun-it that has this reader adding all of the other books in the series on my must read list for 2017. Cozy mystery fans who enjoy reading this story there are even a few recipes to try out which is an added bonus.

I received a complimentary copy of this book which I voluntarily reviewed.



Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetEllie Alexander writes the bestselling Bakeshop Mystery series for St. Martin’s Press, set in the Shakespearean town of Ashland, Oregon and featuring a romantic, artisan pastry chef, Juliet Montague Capshaw.

About Ellie Alexander:
Ellie is a Pacific Northwest native who spends ample time testing pastry recipes in her home kitchen or at one of the many famed coffeehouses nearby. When she’s not coated in flour, you’ll find her outside exploring hiking trails and trying to burn off calories consumed in the name of research.
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Connect with Ellie

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


Ellie Alexander’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, January 2nd: Books and Bindings
Wednesday, January 4th: All Roads Lead to the Kitchen
Thursday, January 5th: WV Stitcher
Friday, January 6th: View from the Birdhouse
Monday, January 9th: Write Read Life
Tuesday, January 10th: A Bookish Way of Life
Wednesday, January 11th: In Bed with Books
Friday, January 13th: Reading is My Superpower
Monday, January 16th: A Chick Who Reads
Tuesday, January 17th: Kahakai Kitchen
Wednesday, January 18th: I Wish I Lived in a Library
Thursday, January 19th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Monday, January 23rd: Dwell in Possibility
Wednesday, January 25th: Art @ Home

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Grace For The Moment ~ Max Lucado


  • Imitation Leather: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson; Lea edition (December 20, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0718089774
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718089771








The devotional that has touched millions of lives with inspirational thoughts for every day is now available in a gorgeous new package, and large, easy-to-read type.

Grace for the Moment offers inspiring devotions to grow in your faith as you embrace the hope of the Lord every day. Each daily reading features devotional writings from Max’s numerous bestsellers as well as a Scripture verse selected especially for each day's reading.

This deluxe, large edition of the classic devotional makes a handsome gift to commemorate a special occasion. It offers a leather-flex cover, beautifully designed pages with large type, and a ribbon marker.

Whether you already know and love Grace for the Moment or you’re looking for a new way to draw near to the Lord, this gorgeous, deluxe version will inspire your heart.


My take on this book:
With a new year I like to start out with a new devotional and the one I have started reading is Grace For The Moment by Max Lucado, which is filled with inspiring devotions that just might help the user connect with God. First of all I must say that I love the cover of this book even though it is imitation leather it is really butter soft and very pretty, the picture really doesn't do it justice. Inside there is a pretty plain presentation page a brown ribbon marker and pages that are cream colored and very sturdy. Each devotion consists of one page and begins with a scripture verse and then the devotion follows below it.The devotions are easy to read with larger than average print. The devotions themselves are easy to read and cover a wide variety of topics.  While I really like this devotional I do wish that there had been a few  blank pages at the back so that I could jot down thoughts through the year. Overall a quality devotional that would make a wonderful gift but is also wonderful for personal use. 

A complimentary copy of this devotional was provided.

Monday, January 2, 2017

The Beginner's Bible~ Timeless Children's Stories


  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Series: The Beginner's Bible
  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Zonderkidz; Revised edition (October 4, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031075013X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310750130



The Beginner’s Bible® has been a favorite with young children and their parents since its release in 1989 with over 25 million products sold. Now it’s redesigned with fresh new art that will excite children for many more years to come.
Full of faith and fun, The Beginner’s Bible is a wonderful gift for any child. The easy-to-read text and bright, full-color illustrations on every page make it a perfect way to introduce young children to the stories and characters of the Bible. With new vibrant three-dimensional art and compelling text, more than 90 Bible stories come to life. Kids ages 6 and under will enjoy the fun illustrations of Noah helping the elephant onto the ark, Jonah praying inside the fish, and more, as they discover The Beginner's Bible just like millions of children before. The Beginner's Bible was named the 2006 Retailers Choice Award winner in Children's Nonfiction.


My take on this book:
The Beginner's Bible is filled with colorful illustrations that are paired with an easy to read text that shares many of the most popular Bible stories in a fun way that will allow youngsters to learn about God.  The first thing that I always check is whether there is a presentation page, why is that important well for me I am always looking for quality books to give as gifts and some of my most cherished books have beautiful notes written on the presentation page something that I like to do whenever I give a gift. Another great feature is the table of contents that separates the Old Testament stories from the New, making it easy to find your favorite story or character. The illustrations are beautifully done and the colors are so vibrant that they are sure to capture a youngsters eye as well as imagination. There is also a small dictionary as well. This is a wonderful way to share God's word and introduce youngsters to the many characters of the Bible. A wonderful gift and a valuable resource for homeschooling or  using is a Sunday school setting. I also think it would make wonderful bedtime reading. 

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

KJV, Journal The Word Bible, Large Print, Hardcover, Black, Red Letter Edition


  • Hardcover: 2016 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson; Csm Jou Lr edition (November 15, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0718090799
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718090791








The KJV Journal the Word™ Bible, Large Print allows you to creatively express yourself every day with plenty of room for notes or verse art journaling next to your treasured verses. With unique and sophisticated covers, this single-column large print edition features thick cream-colored paper with lightly ruled lines in the extra-wide margins, perfect to reflect on God’s Word and enhance your study.
Excellent for a gift or for personal use, it can also be a cherished heirloom to pass on to future generations with your personal writings inside!
Features of this treasured Bible include:
  • Lined, wide margins for notes, reflections and art
  • Thicker cream paper for enduring note-taking
  • Large print 10-pt font eliminates eye strain when reading
  • Words of Christ in red
  • Lays flat in your hand or on your desk
  • Ribbon marker
My take on this Bible:
This Bible is really wonderful! I have been looking for a journaling Bible for quite some time. What I was normally finding was small print and not a lot of space to journal in. Well The KJV Journal the word Bible has plenty of lined space in the margins and the print is easy to read! First of all I think the quality of the cover is really nice and will hold up with extended use. There is a presentation page which makes this Bible great for gift giving. I like the thickness of the pages and they almost have an antique white look to them. The New Testament has the words of Jesus in red and there are footnotes peppered through out. While there are a few lined pages at the end of the Bible for notes it would have been nice if those pages would have been placed between each book of the Bible as well. Overall though this is a great journaling Bible and it is lightweight enough that its easy to carry to church. This Bible would be great for gift giving.

A complimentary copy of this Bible was provided for review.

Charlie the Tramp ~ Russell Hoban with illustrations by Lillian Hoban


  • Age Range: 3 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Plough Publishing House; Gld edition (October 3, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0874867800
  • ISBN-13: 978-0874867800








Charlie the Beaver wants to be a tramp when he grows up. “Tramps don’t have to learn how to chop down trees and how to roll logs and how to build dams. Tramps just tramp around and have a good time. Tramps carry sticks with little bundles tied to them. They sleep in a field when the weather is nice, and when it rains they sleep in a barn.” Charlie sets off with his bundle. But when he hears water trickling, he can’t get to sleep. Will he be able to resist the urge to make it stop? As Grandfather Beaver says, “You never know when a tramp will turn out to be a beaver.”

My take on this book:
When Charlie the Beaver's grandfather asks him what he wants to be when he grows up the answer is to become a tramp instead of working as a beaver so that he can live an easy life of wandering around and having no responsibilities.  It doesn't take Charlie long though to realize that perhaps working as a beaver isn't all that bad! 

A story that provides a few valuable lessons such as work ethic and family. I loved how Charlie's parents decided to let Charlie try out the tramp lifestyle. The family feel of this book is wonderful and the illustrations which look like pencil drawings really bring the story to life.  While this is a charming little story I think that parts of the storyline might be a bit dated, such as mom running off to cook for the men, I got the feeling that men worked and women stayed home and cooked,  but that is to be expected because it was originally released fifty years ago.  Overall it is a cute little read with a few valuable lessons woven in.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review.