Tuesday, November 26, 2013

If you love Jane Austen, I have a Novel you do not want to miss reading!

 Disclosure: I was given a free copy of this book for the sole purpose of writing a review.  I was not compensated in any other way.  All that is written  here is my own words and my honest opinion.  

I am a fan of Jane Austen's novels, and this book does a great job in honoring her story through Sam and Mr. Knightley.

A little bit about the book:
Author Reay has the main character,Samantha Moore, who has gone through a rough childhood up till her current age at 23.  Living in and out of foster homes is hard enough, but the reason why she is out of the foster homes is simply for the fact of not being able to relate at all to the foster parents.  Now her age of adoption or foster homes have gone, and she finds herself under the care of Father John at Grace House.
 But she is still  struggling to get her feet on the ground--trying to find her spot in life...without the help of anyone.  She finds life's answers through the  pages of Jane Austen's novels.  Her escape, her mask are none other than the beloved characters within Austen's novels.  Hoping to be a Jane Bennet or Emma she quite often fears she is more of a Harriet Smith.

Yet through a scholarship to Medill School of Journalism she finds hope to be something more than a failure.  Through a series of letters to a "Mr. Knighley" she finds herself taking steps she never dreamt to have taken!

What I loved about this book:
Not to mention a little bit of romance!  What kind of Jane Austen type of novel would this be without it?

I have to admit my little college goofy self came back for a while as I read this.  My husband rolled his eyes at me for squealing at different times in this book when I uncovered the mystery behind the letter.  In short, the quotes were perfectly placed, and felt natural coming out of the different charactersn

I quite enjoyed the fact that Samantha was a bit of an outsider.  Her awkwardness appealed to me.  I can relate to awkward!  Author Reay wove so many elements in which a person can be closed off to life and to people.  And yet in the end, it was amazing how those same closed doors opened up to a life full.  I absolutely love the ending in which Samantha becomes apart of so many lives.

Katherine Reay created so many characters that just really rends your heart!  We have Kyle who is one of the orphans that like Sam is in and out of foster homes.  But he still has a chance to get adopted.  He will not let anyone in.  Then we have Cara another orphan who seemed to fall through the cracks.  Cara's relationship with Sam is rough and a stormy one, but also helps transform Sam's person.  There are other memorable characters...that you will fall in love with such as the Muirs.  I can tell you,  you will love this book.  It is a book that one has to pick up and read twice and a few times over!

Enjoyed this Review and Want MORE?
Reay’s debut novel follows one young woman’s journey as she sheds her protective persona and embraces the person she was meant to become.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Man with the Violin {Children's Book Review}

I did receive a free copy of this book for the sole purpose to write a review. This did not affect my thoughts on the book or influence a more positive review.

My Review:
Such a fun book for little readers as well as adults. As a parent myself, I enjoyed this book specifically because it reminded me to stop and enjoy the world. The world we live in is vast and awe inspiring for children...and as an adult we can quickly by pass the wonders and splendors right in front of us. I find it quite a keeper of a book, and one that I would want to keep in our personal library. The illustration is entertaining for both child and adult. And what is more, I feel like the illustrations tell the story in and of themselves!  The artwork by Dušan Petričić was perfect, meaningful in various ways, and fun. Petričić captures what Author Stinson writes in words. I love it!

In short, Another must have and one I personally do not mind reading over and over again.

A little bit about the book:
We find a child whipped about and speedily following after his mother.  What catches his eye are ordinary things, but he observes more than his mother.  Along the way to the train, he is mesmerized by the beautiful sound coming from a man playing the violin.  Surrounded by passersby the only person who seems to appreciate the sound and the music, is the boy.

Publisher's Description
Who is playing that beautiful music in the subway? And why is nobody listening?
On January 12, 2007, the world-famous violinist Joshua Bell took part in an experiment conducted by the Washington Post. What would happen if Bell played his violin in a subway station? Would anyone stop to listen? Dressed as an ordinary street musician and with his priceless Stradivarius in hand, Bell played for 43 minutes in the L’Enfant Plaza Station in Washington, D.C. Over 1,000 busy commuters rushed past. Only seven stopped to listen for more than a minute. Many children had wanted to stop, but an adult inevitably rushed them along. Inspired by this event, author Kathy Stinson imagines what a child who had wanted to stop might have experienced. From this emerged the lovely story ofThe Man with the Violin.
When young Dylan hears the beautiful music, he tries to get his mother to stop and listen, but like everyone else rushing past, she is focused on catching the train. The strains of the music linger in his head all day long until that evening, when he hears the same music being played on the radio. The announcer reveals who the violinist was and why he was playing in the subway station. As Dylan is swept up again by the gorgeous sound, his mother finally stops and listens too. 
Award-winning illustrator Dušan Petričić eagerly embraced the challenge of rendering Stinson’s lyrical text in a way that would capture Dylan’s emotions while interpreting the sounds he heard. With his skillful use of color and imaginative depiction of all the sounds in the subway station, Petričić succeeds in providing the perfect match for the poignant words. Together, Stinson and Petričić have created a picture book classic that reminds us all to open our eyes and ears to discover the beauty around us.
A short biography of Joshua Bell, a recap of the story that inspired this book, and a postscript by Joshua Bell enhance this wonderful tribute to the power of music.

Enjoy this Video about the Book:

Jesus is Greater than Religion {Book Review}

I did receive a free copy of this book for the sole purpose to write a review. This did not affect my thoughts on the book or influence a more positive review.

My Review: 
Author Jefferson does a great job in addressing common problems and issues in matters of religion. He is down to earth, real, and shamefully honest. I say shamefully because, I am convicted myself of some of the thought patterns and actions that are wrong that he confronts in this book. I love that he is fearless and unafraid in his writing. Jesus > Religions puts the focus back upon Jesus, and dismisses the religiosity and "good enough" ideal held by many. As Jesus had done so long ago, Bethke, overturns religion and rules and points back to the basics, back to God. What I enjoy about this book is that he writes through his own experiences. He writes in a manner that is understandable and relatable to a wide audience.

What caught me in this book, was how he was in college writing this. He shares with us the struggles of those he comes across in the dorms. As a floor leader/dorm counselor kids come to him for advice, help, and more. Fueled by words like "tried religion but it didn't work for me" he is moved to write this book and change the mindset of so many--that Jesus is Greater than Religion.

I would recommend this book specifically for those who are struggling with a work first kind of faith, hurt by "religion, christianity, church groups", and as a thermometer for checking if their faith is alive or dead. It woke me up and reminded me and be wary of what I see alot in the church and in myself.

Hands up, a must read.
Description from Publisher:
Abandon dead, dry, rule-keeping and embrace the promise of being truly known and deeply loved.
Jefferson Bethke burst into the cultural conversation in 2012 with a passionate, provocative poem titled “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus.” The 4-minute video literally became an overnight sensation, with 7 million YouTube views in its first 48 hours (and 23+ million in a year). The message blew up on social-media, triggering an avalanche of responses running the gamut from encouraged to enraged.
In Jesus > Religion, Bethke unpacks similar contrasts that he drew in the poem—highlighting the difference between teeth gritting and grace, law and love, performance and peace, despair and hope. With refreshing candor he delves into the motivation behind his message, beginning with the unvarnished tale of his own plunge from the pinnacle of a works-based, fake-smile existence that sapped his strength and led him down a path of destructive behavior.
Bethke is quick to acknowledge that he’s not a pastor or theologian, but simply a regular, twenty-something who cried out for a life greater than the one for which he had settled. Along his journey, Bethke discovered the real Jesus, who beckoned him beyond the props of false religion.

Also Here's a Video by Bethke I thought you might enjoy! Watch the whole thing :)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

TreSemme Coupons and Cottonelle Toilet Paper Coupons plus MORE!

I am Proud to post up these coupons as part of the Escalate Network! If you'd like to join up click the Proud Deal Blogger below!  You get access to coupons you can share with your readers for your own blog.  Thank you so much to all my readers as each coupon you print earns a little bit to to help my family with a little bit of extra income!  Thank you!

$2.00 off any TRESemme Product $1.00 off Energizer Brand Batteries or Flashlight $0.55 off ONE (1) COTTONELLE Toilet Paper$1.00 off ANY THREE (3) DOLE Canned Fruits $1.00 off Crayola 8 ct. Washable Markers
Food (+ Drink)
Personal Care
In the Home

Energizer 1.00 off Coupon and Gerber Good Start Formula Coupon PLUS....

I am Proud to post up these coupons as part of the Escalate Network! If you'd like to join up click the Proud Deal Blogger below!  You get access to coupons you can share with your readers for your own blog.  Thank you so much to all my readers as each coupon you print earns a little bit to to help my family with a little bit of extra income!  Thank you!

$1.00 off ONE CRYSTAL LIGHT Sugar Free On the Go $0.50 off TWO BOXES Betty Crocker boxed Potatoes $2.00 off any flavor of 72ct LISTERINE Pocketpaks$1.00 off Energizer Brand Batteries or Flashlight $1.00 off any ONE CRYSTAL LIGHT Liquid Concentrate

Friday, November 1, 2013

$75 Amazon.com gift card and a copy of the Others

I did receive a free copy of this book for the sole purpose to write a review. This did not affect my thoughts on the book or influence a more positive review.  Giveaway prizes will be fulfilled by sponsors.

About the book:
This book got me intrigued with the first few chapters.  The book takes no time in getting the story.  I like that it is fast paced.  We find Ryen in Zhimeya in upheaval.  There are flickers of "governmental Tribunal" hostility and social splits as a result of belief.  They are looking for a savior.  They have scientists, Masters of Technology, developing ways to figure out about a certain "Light" or "savior" exists.  On the watershed of war, Ryen and the team of researchers head to earth to find any kind of evidence of the savior believed to have lived and died on earth.

Ryen is smitten after a few months living on earth, and author Kristin Bryant complicates things as the hostility within Zhimeya comes to a head.  Her book sort of turns into an action packed read.  I like the historical references the researchers talk about, and the ideas that play throughout this book reference the bible from time to time.  Though I have to say, it is not a preachy book, it's more of a science fictional book.   Overall it is a fun easy read.  

From the Back Cover :
A dangerous adventure to save a distant world Ryen is just a normal guy trying to do his job. Unfortunately, that job includes trying to save his distant world on the brink of disaster.

Ryen is on a mission to Earth to find the answers to his distant world's most critical questions. While searching the Yucatan Peninsula for a mythic figure-a savior-who would live a perfect life and ultimately die to save their souls, Ryen meets Savannah, a beautiful woman hiding a painful past. On their dangerous adventures together through the untamed jungles of Mexico, he can't help but fall in love with her. As his time runs out, Ryen must decide if he is willing to give up everything he has ever known and loved to stay on Earth with Savannah.

The Masters, a powerful clan of corrupt leaders, are plotting to take back Earth, the sacred planet, from the humans. Ryen and Savannah are thrust into the middle of The Masters' plot.

Kristin Bryant is a teacher, author and, most importantly, a mom. She teaches anthropology and psychology for a virtual high school and lives in Orange County, California with her husband and two sons. Visit her at kristinbryant.com.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Do you enjoy Disney Music?

Disclaimer: I am participating in a blog post campaign from One2One Network and Walt Disney Records. All opinions are my own.

If you are like me, I loved the Disney Classics!  The music was memorable, and I remember belting out "Aaaaaa, Aaaahh, Aaaah" to the Little Mermaid.  My family I know laughed, but I loved singing!  
The music from Disney's classics I think is what made me love the movie.  

My favorites are Beauty and the Beast, Little Mermaid, and Aladdin.  So many memories when I rewatch the same movies with my daughter...mainly because of the music!  I remember singing with my sister when we were kids....and to this day sometimes sing it when the mood arises.  

This Disney Classics Boxed Set would be a great Christmas gift idea for the kids in your family or for maybe even the older ones....like me! The Disney Classics Boxed set will be available November 12, 2013, and the good news is that you can preorder the Disney Classsics boxed set on Amazon.  

The Disney Classics box set will be available wherever music is sold on November 12, 2013.
 For more information on Walt Disney Records’ releases, please visit Disney.com/music.
 Become a fan at Facebook.com/disneymusic or follow us at Twitter.com/disneymusic.  

Also here's a compilation of the songs on each disc!

Disney Classics Box Set Song List – 94 Songs

Disney Modern Classics 
1. Under the Sea – The Little Mermaid 
2. Be Our Guest – Beauty and The Beast 
3. Seize the Day – Newsies 
4. A Whole New World - Aladdin 
5. What’s This? – Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas 
6. Circle of Life – The Lion King 
7. Colors of the Wind - Pocohontas 
8. You’ve Got a Friend in Me – Toy Story 
9. Out There – The Hunchback of Notre Dame 
10. I Won’t Say (I’m in Love) – Hercules 
11. Reflection – Mulan 
12. The Time of Your Life – A Bug’s Life 
13. Strangers Like Me – Tarzan (Phil Collins) 
14. When She Loved Me – Toy Story 2 
15. Whopp-de-Dooper Bounce – The Tigger Movie 
16. If I Didn’t Have You – Monsters, Inc. 
17. Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride – Lilo & Stitch 
18. Look Through My Eye – Brother Bear 
19. One Little Slip – Chicken Little 
20. Happy Working Song – Enchanted 
21. Dig a Little Deeper – The Princess and The Frog 
22. I See the Light – Tangled (Mandy Moore) 
23. We Belong Together – Toy Story 3 

Disney Theme Park Classics 
1. The Tiki, Tiki, Tiki Room – Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room 
2. Swisskapolka – Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse 
3. Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me) – Pirates of the Caribbean 
4. Splash Mountain Medley – Splash Mountain 
5. The Bear Serenade – Country Bear Jamboree 
6. Grim Grinning Ghost – Haunted Mansion 
7. It’s a Small World – it’s a small world 
8. There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow – Carousel of Progress 
9. The Great Outdoors – Country Bear Vacation Hoedown 
10. Space Mountain – Space Mountain 
11. Soarin’ – Soarin’ Over California 
12. It’s Tough to Be a Bug – It’s Tough to Be a Bug! 
13. California Screamin’ – California Screamin’ 
14. The Best Time of Your Life – Carousel of Progress 
15. Space Mountain – Space Mountain (2005) 
16. Universe of Energy – Universe of Energy 
17. Kitchen Kabaret Medley – Food Rocks 
18. One Little Spark – Journey Into Imagination 
19. Canada (You’re a Lifetime Journey) – O Canada! 
20. Golden Dream – The American Adventure 
21. Finale – Fantasmic!  

Disney Timeless Classics 
1. Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf – Three Little Pigs 
2. Whistle While You Work – Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 
3. When You Wish Upon a Star – Pinocchio 
4. When I See an Elephant Fly – Dumbo 
5. Little April Shower – Bambi 
6. The Three Caballeros – The Three Caballeros 
7. Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah – Song of the South 
8. Lavender Blue (Dilly Dilly) – So Dear to My Heart 
9. A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes – Cinderella 
10. All in the Golden Afternoon – Alice in Wonderland 
11. You Can Fly! You Can Fly! You Can Fly! – Peter Pan 
12. What a Dog/He’s a Tramp – Lady and The Tramp 
13. Once Upon a Dream – Sleeping Beauty 
14. Cruella De Vil – 101 Dalmatians 
15. Let’s Get Together – The Parent Trap 
16. The Ugly Bug Ball – Summer Magic 
17. A Spoonful of Sugar – Mary Poppins 
18. The Monkey’s Uncle – The Monkey’s Uncle 
19. Fortuosity – The Happiest Millionaire 
20. The Bare Necessities – The Jungle Book 
21. Ev’rybody Wants to Be a Cat – The Aristocats 
22. Whistle Stop – Robin Hood 
23. Someone’s Waiting for You – The Rescuers 
24. It’s Not Easy – Pete’s Dragon 
25. Best of Friends – The Fox and The Hound 

Disney Television Classics 
1. Mickey Mouse March – The Mickey Mouse Club 
2. The Ballad of Davy Crockett – Davy Crockett – King of the Wild Frontier 
3. The Triple R Song (Yippi-A, Yippi-I, Yippi-O) – The Adventures of Spin 
and Marty 
4. Theme of Zorro – Zorro 
5. Scarecrow – The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh 
6. Winnie the Pooh – Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree 
7. Minnie’s Yoo Hoo – The Mouse Factory 
8. Who, What, Why, Where, When and How Day – The New Mickey Mouse 
9. Gummi Bears Theme – The Adventures of the Gummi Bears 
10. Duck Tales Theme – Duck Tales 
11. Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Rescue Rangers Theme Song – Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Rescue 
12. Darkwing Duck Theme – Darkwing Duck 
13. Theme to Lizzie McGuire (Extended Supa Mix) – Lizzie McGuire 
14. Rockin’ at the House of Mouse (Extended Version) – House of Mouse 
15. The Naked Mole Rap – Kim Possible 
16. Cheetah Sisters – The Cheetah Girls 
17. Aloha, E Komo Mai – Lilo & Stitch: The Series 
18. Hot Dog! – Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 19. Get’cha Head in the Game – High School Musical
20. Nobody’s Perfect – Hannah Montana 2
21. Gitchee Gitchee Goo – Phineas and Ferb 
22. This Is Me – Camp Rock 
23. What Time Is It – High School Musical 2 
24. Everything Is Not as It Seems – Wizards of Waverly Place 
25. Mickey Mouse Club Alma Mater – The Mickey Mouse Club 

Wrtie a Letter, Raise a Giant

“Disclosure: The information and prize pack have been provided by Green Giant® through MyBlogSpark.”
Now I have heard alot of news in schools and parents about the issue of bullying. I have experienced it first hand amongst even the little toddler/preschooler crowd! I have never thought of writing a letter and encouraging my daughter to help her become a "GIANT". I love this movement from Green Giant and I find it encouraging. I hope this post helps you as a parent to encourage your child to speak out and to be aware of bullying and how to deal with it.

For more information and other examples check out www.raiseagiant.com and also included in this post is a video clip on  how to encourage our kiddos!

At Green Giant® we know it takes a lot more to raise a healthy child then just getting them to eat their vegetables. Kids these days live in a world that is bigger and scarier than the world we grew up in, and they need help and encouragement to navigate that world with confidence and pride.
Unfortunately one of the hardest things kids have to deal with is bullying. When a child is bullied by a peer it can turn his or her life into a daily gauntlet of fear and anxiety.
That’s why Green Giant® is partnering with PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center and We Day Minnesota to help parents RaiseGiant and put a stop to bullying in their community.
What Does it Mean To Be A Giant?
Being a giant isn’t about being the biggest or the best. Being a giant means standing up for others. It means lending a hand to those who are in trouble and speaking up for those who sometimes find it hard to speak up for themselves.
Studies show that an effective way to stop bullying is for kids to simply speak up and say, “That’s not okay” when they see bullying happening.
But asking kids to have the courage to stand up to bullying is a tall order and that’s why they need our help.
How Do You Raise A Giant?
We’re asking parents to write a letter to their kids telling them how special they are and encouraging them to be part of the bullying prevention solution by being a giant.
To get started parents can visit our community at RaiseAGaint.com and read the letters others have written.
Here's my Letter to our Daughter:
Dear Sophia,
You are so special, you are not only God's creation, but a gift to us.  You are one of a kind, and are growing up so fast and learning so quickly!  You keep us on our toes for sure.  Sophie, you are only three, and are past toddler age, but I wanted to let you know that not many in the world will be kind.  There are times when other kids seem scary!  When other kids seem scary and mean to you, tell them to stop.  When Other little kids may push or yell at you, tell them to stop.  If you are scared to tell them, tell mom and dad, a teacher, or a grownup. 

Do not be afraid to tell them, "That is not nice, you are being unkind.  Do not yell or push me.  Be gentle, and use kind words." Or simply say, "Stop". It is not nice for other kids to treat you in an unkind way.  It is okay to let them know that they are unkind or rough and rude.  Tell them to use nice words and be gentle.  
Always know that you can ask Mommy and Daddy for help.  I will do my best to listen to the words you say.  We love you very much, and want others to treat you kindly and not hurt you.  It is okay to stand up for yourself by telling another kid, NO, STOP!
With love,
Mom and Dad.

“Disclosure: The information and prize pack have been provided by Green Giant® through MyBlogSpark.”