Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My Favorite Bible - God's Word Translation


by Rondi DeBoer and Christine Tangvald and Illustrated by Ariel Pang

Read the Back:
Bring the Bible alive!

The most treasured stories of the Bible come alive in My Favorite Bible.

Start your little ones on a life-long love of God's word!

This colorful and dynamic gospel-centered Bible storybook guides children through the foundational truths of Scripture. Each story is fully and vividly illustrated and includes a simple narrative with things children ages 4—8 love: repetition, rhythm, and energy, along with a key biblical theme, a key Bible verse, an activity page, and discussion questions.

Adults and children will cherish time together as they grow closer to God.

My Thoughts:
This is the Bible I've been searching for. It breaks the Bible down into terms that young children can understand and it is beautifully illustrated. I also enjoyed the Family Talk and Family Fun parts at the end of each section of scripture. The Family Talk page introduces a Faith Foundation (such as "God Created All Things for His Glory"). There is also a key verse introduced in this part as well as a few easy discussion questions. The Family Fun page has suggestions for activities that the family can do together to reinforce the theme of the previous passage of scripture. I love the idea of doing something that involves the whole family as well as really solidifying what the children have learned from the Bible. I fully intend to purchase a few more copies of this for friends and family members!

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Cali Candy Cane Winner


Congratulations Jule Ann!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Groovy Girls - Cali Candy Cane


Made by Manhattan Toy



Cali Candy Cane is as sweet as they come. Her velvet red dress and green and white striped stockings reveal her tasteful holiday personality. Her hair is full of candy cane colors with a mixture of light blonde and red highlights. Cali Candy Cane is as festive as they come, from her stocking cap to her cute green handbag.

So I have been waiting for a while for this doll to arrive as I knew my now 3.5 yr. old daughter would LOVE her. I was right. The first words out of her mouth were "Thank you mommy, It's exactly what I wished for." LOL. My daughter has a tendency to over dramatize everything, but it still warmed my heart to hear her be so excited!

I absolutely love the groovy girls collection, though, honestly, this is the first one we've actually owned. April and I spent a great portion of the afternoon playing with Cali. The detailing on her is so beautiful. She has a red dress and a small handbag. The dress can come off with the simple snipping of one dart on her back, but I like that it's attached initially giving the parent the option of whether or not they want their doll's clothes to be able to be taken off. I find that my children always like taking the clothes off, but this time I opted to leave the stitch there and told April that the clothes are sewn on so they don't come off. Same thing goes for the handbag. You can take a stitch out if you want it to come off.

April says that her favorite part of the doll is the shoes. I think I better start saving now as April is already showing signs of being a shoe a holic! LOL.

I have to say that I have two favorite parts of this doll. I LOVE the green eyes that she has as many dolls have blue or brown eyes so it's refreshing to see a different color. The second thing is that the entire doll is plush so if you have kids fighting over the doll at least nobody gets hurt in the process :D

This would make a great gift for a little girl or even boy. My 2 yr. old son loves Cali too :D I think he just likes how soft she is and he really likes to pet her hair. All in all a great toy for any child.

Product available online at or a Specialty Store near you.


That's right, Manhattan Toy has offered a Cali Candy Cane doll to one of my readers! This contest is open to US and Canada residents only!

HOW DO I ENTER? Well I'm glad you asked...just follow the instructions below and Good Luck!

"Like" Manhattan Toy on Facebook (HERE) AND Visit, browse their toys, and leave a comment stating what other Manhattan Toy products your child would like and why. Make sure you leave your email address in your comment too. No email address, no entry.

For additional entries -
1. Follow Manhattan Toy on Twitter (HERE) and leave me a comment telling me you did.

2. Tweet about this giveaway and leave a comment with the link to your tweet (one entry per day)

3. Refer a friend to my blog, have them follow it, and have them leave a comment that you sent them. (1 entry per each referral).

THIS CONTEST CLOSES ON NOV. 28th at 11:59 PM so enter soon and often! Winner will be notified on Nov. 29th and will be chosen using

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Lancaster County Christmas


by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Read the Back:
Jaime drove up a long lane, using the fence rails to guide her along the snow-covered road. When she reached the top of the lane, the sight nearly took her breath away. Before her was a farmhouse glowing with buttery lights, smoke from the chimney rising to the sky. A cozy, welcoming beacon in the storm.

From the Cover Flap:
Mattie Riehl was hoping to give her husband, Sol, the Christmas gift they have both longed for--news that a baby was on the way. But as usual, she is disappointed. The holidays bring an acute awareness to Mattie that her dream of a big Amish family isn't likely to become a reality. Will those empty chairs at the table ever be filled?

Then a winter storm raging outside blows an impatient young woman and her husband into the Riehl home on Christmas Eve--and into a much slower pace of life.

Both couples are about to find out if they can weather the storm--and if miracles still happen at Christmastime.

What a charming and heart-warming tale. I think that any reader can find a character within this story that they can relate to. As always, I enjoy reading further about the lives of characters that Suzanne has introduced me to in her other books. I feel that by reading more and more of her books I really get to understand the characters and how they interact as well as get a general feel for the landscape of Lancaster County. This story takes us through a Christmas weekend when young couple C.J. and Jaime end up stranded at an amish farm. It's refreshing to read a book that openly talks about how things happen for a reason and that God always has his hand in life's happenings. I enjoy how through the simplicity of Amish ways, God's plans and love for all shines through. This book is an absolute treasure and I would recommend having your Kleenex ready as it will tug on your heartstrings in many different ways.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Rocket Boost Iron Man


Designed for Ages 3 & Up

Product Description:
Power up and prepare for battle with this awesome electronic Rocket Boost Iron Man figure! When enemies start to engage, make this figure’s battle cannon accessories spring into place, so he’s ready for whatever they throw at him. His light-up eyes and rocket pod accessories show he’s prepared for a knock-down, drag out battle and, when you press his chest button, you’ll even hear battle sounds and phrases like, “Hero up!” When the moment is right and it’s time to really shake enemies to the core, press his foot trigger for jet battle sounds and deploy his “wings” to their full 11 inches! No bad guys can possibly win against you and this mighty “metal-clad” warrior!

Includes 2 “AA” batteries.

My Thoughts:
I bought this for my 2 yr. old for his birthday and he just loves it! At this age he really enjoys pushing the buttons to hear all the sounds and phrases as well as opening and closing Iron Man's wings. A friend's almost 3 yr. old son was at my son's b-day party where Iron Man was in attendance and he was playing much more interactively with Iron Man. He was making him fly around the room and moving his arms and legs. I really like the chunky design of this toy as it makes it easier to move the parts and I just feel like it's not going to fall apart on me. The effects are well done and the phrases are clear and easy to understand. This would make a great addition to any little boy (or girl's) toy collection and can be found at most major retailers.

DISCLAIMER: I was in no way compensated for this review. All opinions are my own. I purchased this item on my own.

Playmobil's My Take Along 123 Noah's Ark


Designed for Ages 1.5 yrs. and up

Set Includes:
Noah & his wife
One Ark w/ Loading Ramp
2 Giraffes, Elephants, Zebras, Lions, and Doves
Feed Bag
Water/Food Trough

Removable Deck for Storage
Latched Roof on Deck
Boat Floats
Handle for Easy Portability

I love Playmobil 123 sets as they are built for little hands. The pieces are chunky and well built so there is no worrying about parts making their way into airways. I purchased this set for my son's 2nd birthday and he just loves it. He was immediately drawn to the toy because of the handle on top. He grabbed on and walked off with it (once we got it out of the box)! One of the reasons I bought this toy was to try it in the bath. While the box didn't specifically state in words that this toy would float, it did show a picture of the boat in water so I decided to hope for the best. I was so glad I did. This boat is PERFECT for the bath! My son really enjoys making the animals get in to the ark and his laughter as each of the animals float around in the water is priceless. Since this is a high quality toy I made sure to set everything to dry after playing in the bath, but the pieces are designed to get wet and dry very easily. The only down side to this toy is the fighting over who will play with it in the tub! This would make a great Christmas gift to any little boy or girl and is available at many different retailers.

DISCLAIMER: I was in no way compensated for this review. All thoughts are my own. I purchased this product on my own.

Mooney's Bay Bistro


Located at:
731 Ridgewood Ave.
Ottawa, ON

We decided, on a friend's recommendation, to stop in to Mooney's Bay Bistro for a nice Sunday Brunch. We were not disappointed! My breakfast consisted of two eggs, ham, home fries, toast, and coffee for $4.99! Each of my kids had an egg, toast, bacon, and home fries and juice for $3.99! I really like the fact that you can switch out your home fries for fruit for an additional $1. This makes eating healthier that much easier. Our waitress was very polite and was kind enough to bring out mega blocks and coloring supplies for my 2 & 3 yr. olds. The food was amazingly prepared as asked and was delicious to boot! Can't wait to head back there again :D

You can view their menu HERE. Please check them out and let me know your thoughts here when you do!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Deadly Pursuit (Guardians of Justice #2)


by Irene Hannon

Read the Back:

A stalker with deadly intent . . .
A woman who protects children . . .
An ex-Navy SEAL turned police detective.

Social worker Alison Taylor has a passion for protecting children. But now it seems she needs protecting. When her tormentor's attentions take a violent turn, she calls in reinforcements--her police-detective brother, Cole, and his new partner, ex-Navy SEAL Mitch Morgan. As her relentless stalker turns up the heat and the danger intensifies, Mitch takes a personal interest in the case. Because protecting Alison has become more than a job; his future depends on keeping her safe.

Filled with nail-biting suspense and heart-melting romance, Deadly Pursuit is Irene Hannon's storytelling at its very best.

My Thoughts:
Irene Hannon does it again! This book had me hooked from the very first chapter. This book contains the characters in Fatal Judgement, but is more focused on Alison. True to Irene's style there is an ever budding romance aspect as well as the action and suspense we've come to love. This book is a great read and keeps you entertained the entire way through. If you loved Fatal Judgement, you'll love this one too. If you haven't read Fatal Judgement that's okay as the characters are reintroduced throughout Deadly Pursuit so you need not read the books in succession. Pick up your copy and enjoy!

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Friday, September 30, 2011

The Queen


By Steven James

Read the Back:

While investigating a mysterious double homicide in an isolated northern Wisconsin town, FBI Special Agent Patrick Bowers uncovers a high-tech conspiracy that ties together long-buried Cold War secrets with present-day tensions in the Middle East.

In his most explosive thriller yet, bestselling author Steven James delivers a pulse-pounding, multilayered storytelling tour de force that will keep you guessing.

The Queen is the latest Patrick Bowers thriller from the author Publishers Weekly calls a "master storyteller at the peak of his game."

My Thoughts:
This is the 5th book in the Bower Series by Steven James. Preceding books are: The Pawn, The Rook, The Knight, and The Bishop. This is, however, the first book by Steven James that I have ever read and I must say that he did NOT disappoint me in one bit! I didn't feel lost from not having read the other 4 books, which, to me, is an important thing within series of books.

This book is packed full of interesting characters in a great variety of situations. There is action on every page! This is another book that initially runs parallel story lines so that takes a little getting used to. I also found some of the initial descriptions of a crime scene to be a bit graphic, but it didn't distract from the story so that's a bonus!

This has a good blend of action and suspense as well as the "romantic" side too. I felt fulfilled by this book as it read just as if I were watching a movie. It was a quick read and it was enjoyable the entire way through.

I will definitely be reading the others in the Patrick Bower series and I recommend that you pick up a copy of Steven James' The Queen for yourself!

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Realms Thereunder


By Ross Lawhead

Read the Back:


A homeless man is stalked by a pale, wraithlike creature with a mouthful of needle-sharp teeth. Maimed animals and a host of suicides cluster around a mountain in Scotland. And deep beneath the cobbled streets of Oxford, a malicious hoard besieges a hidden city.

Freya Reynolds is a university student with a touch of OCD and an obsession with myth and folklore. Daniel Tully is living rough on the streets of Oxford, waging a secret war against an enemy only he can identify. Years ago, they found themselves in a world few know is real. They have since gone their separate ways and tried to put that adventure behind them.

But the mythical world is now bleeding into our reality -- a dark spiritual evil that is manifesting itself in forgotten corners of the British Isles. Alex Simpson is a Scottish police officer who specializes in hunting mythical creatures. Together, they must confront the past, the present, and points beyond to defeat the ultimate threat to humanity.

Nothing they've seen so far prepares them for what The Realms Thereunder.

My Thoughts:

I had a very strong Love/Hate relationship with this book from the very beginning. At first, I hated it. I found it very hard to follow and was getting annoyed with the languages that were presenting themselves. Then, once I figured out the general layout and flow of the book, I enjoyed it more and more. (though I still didn't like dealing with the language).

The action and adventure that is in this book is amazing and I did find myself holding my breath a few times. The characters and creatures in this book are presented in such a way as to allow the reader to really imagine and extrapolate on how the author describes them. I enjoy this about a book. It lets me imagine things how I think they'd look.

The story lines are easy enough to follow, but there were a few parts, honestly, that I skimmed. However, I feel that it was the author's intent for the reader to do so and, as you'll see when you read this book, it helps the reader to really relate to the character of Freya in that moment.

There is a whole lot going on in this book and it really has you discovering new twists and turns right up through the end of the book. I definitely recommend picking up a copy and I look forward to reading the next book in Sept. 2012.

Book has been provided courtesy of Thomas Nelson and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Thomas Nelson.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Stuck DVD Study


By Jennie Allen

Read the Back:

We are often so stuck in invisible struggles in our hearts and minds, we barely have space for God. These deep struggles, these stuck places, are familiar to every one of us: brokenness, anger, discontentment, fear, and sadness. Stuck takes on these struggles within us so that we can encounter God. Because until we recognize that we are stuck and in need of God, we will miss what He has for us.

Jennie Allen's Bible studies are designed to draw women close to God and to each other. These shorter studies dig deep quickly, creating experiential conversations and allowing women to wrestle with Scripture in a deep and authentic way throughout the week.

Features include:
- 8 sessions on DVD
- Study Guide with story-driven teaching, Scripture study, and short
five-day-per-week lessons
- Leader’s Guide for facilitating group study
- Conversation cards help to facilitate more spontaneous and authentic
- Promotional resources for churchwide campaign

Additional Stuck study guides can be purchased separately (ISBN 9781418548742).
One kit is recommended for each group of 8-12 women.

My Thoughts:
This study is really different from many studies I've done and that's a good thing :D The chapters in the study are: Intro, Broken, Mad, Discontent, Scared, Overwhelmed, Sad, and Unstuck. The titles really describe what the chapter deals with. I was given the chapter of Mad, which was really ironic as I have been talking with my husband about anger management and this really spoke to me.

Basically the best way for me to review this is to explain how it is I think this curriculum would best work. I could see a group of women gathering and opening with prayer for the session. Then the video clip for the chapter (which ranged from 5-10 min. long) would be played. The corresponding scripture listed in the book would then be read. There are responses to the scripture that could be discussed with the group as a whole. The next section of the book is an inward reflection on yet another scripture and each individual's life. This would work well as a "take a few minutes by yourself and think on this, we'll then come back together as a group and share if you feel comfortable" section. Then there is a section with projects that could be done at the gathering or at home as a sort of "homework".

I enjoyed the DVD clips greatly as the pictures that accompany Jennie's speaking are so metaphorical and really drive home the point that she is making.

I definitely think that the conversation starting cards that come with the kit would give an added value to it, but I didn't have the opportunity to see those. This is not designed to be a solo study, and although you could do it by yourself, I feel that the encouragement and discussions that would come from doing this in a group would be greatly beneficial to anyone.

This curriculum would definitely be great for any group of women. It would be a nice retreat curriculum too if you broke it down into several chunk sessions.

Samplers of the Book and DVD have been provided courtesy of Thomas Nelson and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. DVD-Based Study available October 2011 at your favourite bookseller from Thomas Nelson.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Amish Values for Your Family


by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Read the Back:
"Amish Values for Your Family is charming! It will lift your spirits and bring you closer to the Amish."--Cindy Woodsmall, New York Times bestselling author of When the Soul Mends

When it comes to strong families that know how to truly enjoy life together, there is much we can learn from the Amish. Just how do they establish such strong family bonds, such deeply held values, and such wonderful family traditions? In Amish Values for Your Family, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher shares the secrets of Amish family life. In this inspiring and practical book, you will meet real Amish families that are a lot like yours. Through their stories you'll discover how to

* slow down
* safeguard family time
* raise children who stand strong in their faith
* prioritize what's truly important

Amish values like community, forgiveness, simple living, obedience, and more can be your family legacy--without selling your car or changing your wardrobe.

My Thoughts:

This was an absolutely lovely book to read. Just in reading it I could feel the stress of the world lifting away. I love how this book reminds us of how even the simple things in life can make the biggest impact! The Amish Proverbs that start each chapter are truly words of wit and wisdom. Again, I found myself thinking about printing some of them off and hanging them around my house!

The section of the chapters titled "Road Map: Getting There from Here" are full of questions that the reader can use to examine how things are in their own lives and how they can challenge themselves to change the negatives into positives. I really enjoyed these sections as they got me thinking a lot about how I approach things in my life especially in relation to my children.

This book would make a great gift for anyone! I highly recommend it :D

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Busy Bug Count & Match Dominoes™ Game Review & Giveaway!



Includes 27 wooden dominoes with cute-as-a-bug illustrations for each number. These colorful dominos will provide hours of fun filled play. Tiles come in a portable bug habitat with sliding mesh window that is easy to take anywhere. Ages 2+.


Skills Learned/Practiced & Lessons Taught

When I first received this product to review, I wasn't quite sure how I felt about it. Dominoes? Really?! I never played dominoes until I was much older and, to be honest with you, I often found it to be a boring game. However, now that I'm a parent, my views have changed drastically and I'll explain why.

This Busy Bug Count and Match Dominoes Game is great for young children. My daughter is 3 and we sat down together today and played this game. There are many different skills that she is learning and practicing by playing this game. She practices her counting by counting out each player's starting tiles (for her and I this was 7 tiles each). Next the instructions tell you to stand the tiles on their sides in a line. It was obvious that the fine motor skill of standing flat things on their sides needed to be worked on some more. While she got frustrated when the dominoes kept falling over, she persevered and was able to stand all 7 of her tiles up. She had such a smile on her face after accomplishing that small task.

Next the player with the highest totaled domino plays first. This part I had to help her with, but if I had been patient we could've easily counted all the bugs on each of her tiles and mine to see which tile had the most (wasn't quite that patient today :D).

Both times she had the higher tile so she played first. The next skill that presented itself was matching. My daughter was able to look at the two playable spots and match her tiles to them. After once or twice of explaining if she had no matches that she needed to pick a new tile, she learned to do it on her own when no matches were available. I was quite amazed at how quickly my 3 yr. old picked up on the rules of this game.

Mommy won round 1 and round 2 went to my daughter. The final skill learned from this game is good sportsmanship! Having lost the first round, my daughter became a bit upset that she wasn't the winner. I used this as a teachable moment and explained to her that you can't win every time. I asked her if she wanted to play again and she said yes. When she won the second round she proceeded to taunt me. Another teachable moment to explain that it's not polite to taunt a loser, but that you should instead shake hands and say good game.

I absolutely love the lessons I can teach by playing a simple game like dominoes!

Quality and Craftmanship of the Game

A wooden box encases 27 wooden tiles. The box and tiles are both very well made. The tiles are chunky enough for small hands. The pictures on the tiles are simple and colorful. The backs of the tiles sport a multi-colored stripe pattern that matches nicely with the color schemes of the rest of the tiles. The carrying case for the dominoes doubles as a bug habitat, but personally I'd be too worried about losing one of the dominoes when they are out of the case and I wouldn't want the beautiful case to get dirty. That's just me though! It would certainly work well to contain bugs and has a sturdy carrying handle!

The size of this game is great too. It'd be an easy game to throw into your carry on to play on the plane or in w/ your camping gear for a family game night! Very good size measuring around the size of a box of Mac - n - Cheese (only slightly deeper).

This is a great product for young kids and it is available online at or at a Specialty Store near you.

As an added bonus to my readers, Manhattan Toy is offering free shipping* on any order at from Today – August 31st, 2011. Simply Enter promo code TRAVELTOY.


This contest will run until July 25th, 2011 (since it's my big 30th b-day that day!) All entries must be received by midnight on the 25th to qualify!

Manhattan Toy has graciously offered to send a Busy Bug Count & Match Dominoes Game to giveaway to one of my lucky readers! Just follow the steps below to enter! Winners will be chosen using and will be contacted via email if they win.


1. Like Manhattan Toy on Facebook and leave me a comment telling me you did.
2. Visit Manhattan Toy's website and leave me a comment stating what other Manhattan Toy your child would enjoy and why.

**These 2 items must be completed to qualify for the giveaway and before you can be eligible for any additional entries!

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An Amish Love (Three Amish Novellas)


by Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller, and Kelly Long



HEALING HEARTS by Beth Wiseman

He left to find himself. She found her way without him. Now Levina and Naaman Lapp are together again, feeling miles apart. Although coming home was the right thing to do, Naaman must regain the trust and respect of his wife who, in his absence, has learned to trust God like never before. Could it be that their prior years together have simply been a preface to a greater love than they have ever known?


Abigail Kauffman is looking for a way out; Joseph Lambert is seeking a way in. Since her mother's death, Abby has lived alone with her father and longs to escape the emptiness of the farmhouse that has never felt like home. Joseph Lambert is a newcomer in their close-knit community. Only after they find themselves suddenly married to each other do they begin to understand the tender truths of life-long love.

WHAT THE HEART SEES by Kathleen Fuller

When Ellie Chupp loses her sight in an accident -- and then her boyfriend shortly after that -- she believes love will never be in her future. But Christopher Miller has returned home, five years after fleeing from the tragedy that broke his heart. When Ellie and Chris meet again, sparks fly. Could true love be a matter of seeing with new eyes?


This book came to me in the mail MONTHS ago and I have just now had the opportunity to read it. I'm glad that it didn't get lost among all the other review books I have because it really is a treasure of a book! The three novellas in this book are each their own story, but the characters from each story intertwine among all the stories. It gives the reader the feeling of congruency.

Each of these stories is beautifully written. Having grown up just a short distance away from several different Amish communities, I was familiar with the look of the characters and that really helped make the characters real to me.

My favorite thing about this book, however, is how it kind of caught me off guard. I was really hit hard by the unconditional love that these characters felt towards one another. There were many times I was teary eyed simply because of a heartfelt gesture or phrase that one of the characters would use. It made me take a look at the way I treat those around me (especially my hubby)and to cherish those things. I think it also makes me long for the type of relationship and romance that you see throughout this book. It's like once you're married, the romantic part drifts away. I miss the small things my husband would do for me to show me he cared. Now we are all so busy with the kids and such that life just gets in the way.

I really like that this book is broken down into three separate stories. By doing this, each of the stories has its own significant impact, but at the same time the reader meets new characters and sees how their lives fit into the lives of the characters they met in the previous story.

As an added bonus feature of the book, the authors have included several Amish recipes for treats found throughout the stories as well as a Reading Group Guide to help with discussions about the book once finished. The authors even state that the "guide contains spoilers, so don' tread before completing the novellas". This group guide allows the readers to delve deeper into their relationship with Christ. What a wonderful addition to be used at the readers' discretion.

Word of advice: If you are going to read this book, don't do it near your time of the month otherwise you will need to buy several boxes of tissues! Otherwise, I highly recommend this book! :D

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Lady of Bolton Hill


by Elizabeth Camden

Read the Back:
When Clara Endicott and Daniel Tremain’s worlds collide after twelve years apart, the spark that was once between them immediately reignites into a romance neither of them thought possible.

But time has changed them both.

Daniel is an industrial titan with powerful enemies. Clara is an idealistic journalist determined to defend underprivileged workers.

Can they withstand the cost of their convictions while their hearts – and lives – hang in the balance?

My Thoughts:
You definitely can’t judge this book by its cover. The image on the front does not fit the author’s description of Miss Clara Endicott’s personality one bit! I found this book captivating from the very start. You are introduced to Daniel as a boy and you learn about some of his and Clara’s back story before you are fast forwarded to 12 years in the future.

The passion with which these characters interact really made this story come to life for me. The author’s use of imagery also throws the reader into the action and drama as it unfolds. I found, however, that when the second, parallel storyline was introduced it initially disrupted the flow of the story line, but eventually it all came together nicely.

This book was a relatively quick read once I found the time to sit and just read it. A beautiful love story that will leave take you on a roller coaster ride of emotions. The Lady of Bolton Hill was just a delight to read.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Danino Go Yogurt Drinks


As a mother of two young children, I find myself constantly struggling to find foods for my kids that are healthy, convenient, and that both of them like. I often find that the foods my kids like are hard for them to eat while we are on the go. Then, I stumbled upon Danino Go Yogurt Drinks. These are really convenient! I can bring them along easily and I simply grab a straw for each kid, poke it through the foil lid, and presto...instant mess-less breakfast or snack.

Danino Go comes in three flavors; Strawberry, Raspberry, and Strawberry Banana. I have only tried the strawberry banana yogurts with my kids and they slurp them right down. My oldest asks for a yogurt drink more often than for cookies or "treats" as she calls any other special/sugary food.

Another added bonus to these yogurt drinks is that they provide the calcium and dairy servings that my kids need. My children are NOT milk drinkers at all, but they love their yogurts & cheese.

Interesting fact: Danino Go is a source of calcium and vitamin D. A single 93 ml serving provides 3 g of protein! It also contains 30% less sugar than their original recipe did.

Overall, a great choice for busy moms on the go. I highly recommend them!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Heaven Is for Real


by Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent

Read the Back:

When Colton Burpo made it through an emergency appendectomy, his family was overjoyed at his miraculous survival. What they weren’t expecting, though, was the story that emerged in the months that followed – a story as beautiful as it was extraordinary, detailing their little boy’s trip to heaven and back.

Colton, not yet four years old, told his parents he left his body during the surgery – and authenticated that claim by describing exactly what his parents were doing in another part of the hospital while he was being operated on. He talked of visiting heaven and relayed stories told to him by people he met there whom he had never met in life, sharing events that happened even before he was born. He also astonished his parents with descriptions and obscure details about heaven that matched the Bible exactly, though he had not yet learned to read.

With disarming innocence and the plainspoken boldness of a child, Colton tells of meeting long-departed family members. He describes Jesus, the angels, how “really, really big God is, and how much God loves us. Retold by his father, but using Colton’s uniquely simple words, Heaven Is for Real offers a glimpse of the world that awaits us, where as Colton says, “Nobody is old and nobody wears glasses.”

Heaven Is for Real will forever change the way you think of eternity, offering the chance to see, and believe, like a child.

My Thoughts:

Read It! Simply put. This book was an amazing read. It took me only a matter of hours to get through it. I could NOT put it down!! I would recommend this book to EVERYONE! If you weren’t a believer before reading this book, you would probably reconsider becoming one after.

This book has forever changed my perspective on death and life for that matter. To hear the words of such a young boy and the beauty of heaven as he describes it is truly a blessing. I have always suffered with a fear of death (as most people, yes even Christians, do), but this book has renewed a longing for getting to see Jesus on my final day!

I love the simplicity of how God uses Colton’s experience to touch so many lives. There is an underlying message of hope and restoration for all the readers.
As a parent I found certain portions of the book difficult to get through. I was suffering right along side the Burpos as they watched their little boy becoming sicker. There were several times where I was crying while reading this book. I love when a book can stir such emotion in me as it means it’s well written and relatable.

Read it…share it…talk about it.

Book has been provided courtesy of Thomas Nelson and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Thomas Nelson.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Project Dad: The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide for Becoming a Great Father


By Todd Cartmell

Read the Back:
What does it take to build a great dad?

Men like to build things. We like to take parts and put them together to make a whole. Did you know that this do-it-yourself talent can help you become a great dad?
In his fresh, humorous style, Todd Cartmell takes you on an action-packed journey to help you become the dad God made you to be and that your kids hope you will be. You will learn the five key areas that every great dad needs to renovate, including how you look at, talk to, connect with, act toward, and lead your children.

Cartmell shows you that you already have the raw materials at your disposal, then gives you the blueprint for putting them together. Begin your Project Dad today. Your family will never be the same.

My Thoughts:
While this is a book written for men, I found it a useful tool as a mother too. There are many great suggestions to be a better role model for your children. I also thought it would be good to read it as my husband is not usually into the self-help type of books…not enough sci-fi in it for him :D Todd Carmell surprised me in this book. I was laughing and crying most of the way through. He reminds us that nobody is perfect and his humor (while probably more funny for the men) was the laugh out loud kind. I found myself looking around several times while reading to see if my laughing had drawn any sort of attention to me.

I really enjoyed the re-caps of the key points in each chapter. There is also a “Getting to Work” section that actively draws the reader to examine where they stand with God and their kids.

I recommend this book for any dad, but especially for Christian ones as it really digs into what God has planned for us and how to build our relationship with Christ in order to build our relationship with our kids.

The part of the book that struck me the most is: “Look at your children the way that God looks at them, and you will help them become what God made them to be.” How true is that? I plan to make a print out of it and post it where I can see it daily.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Thanks to the wonderful people at Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin, I have a copy of Project Dad to give away to one of my lucky readers. To enter is simple.

To Participate:
Leave me a comment stating one positive thing about one of the men in your life (i.e.: husband, brother, father, etc.) and include your email address. THIS ENTRY IS MANDATORY.


Additional Entries:
1. Subscribe to my RSS Feed at the top of this page and tell me about it.
2. Follow me (benjiesluv) on Twitter and leave me your user name.
3. Follow me with Google Friend Connect on the right hand side of my page and tell me about it.
4. Follow me on Networked Blogs on the right hand side and tell me about it.
5. Link to this giveaway on Facebook and tell me about it.
6. Tweet about this contest and give me a link about it (one entry per day).
7. Blog this contest and give me the link. (3 entries) – leave 3 separate comments with your link and email address.


Open to Canadian Residents Only! will be used to determine the winner. If you win, you will have 24 hours to contact me and give me your mailing address to receive your prize.

Deadline: End of the day on June 10th, 2011.

Saturday, April 9, 2011



Head on over to Canadian Ladybug Reviews' blog to enter to win a PJ Tots doll for someone special in your life. Be sure to read the instructions for the giveaway carefully and good luck!!

While there be sure to read some of her reviews as she has reviewed many new and interesting products as well as a variety of software for home schoolers and parents.

PJ Tots are a product of Manhattan Toys and would be a great gift for any little girl (or boy).

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Search


by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Read the Back:


As a child caught up in a crisis, Lainey O’Toole made a split-second decision with far-reaching effects. Fifteen years later, when her car breaks down in Stoney Ridge – the very town in which that decision was made – she is forced to face the past and discover how her decision has impacted so many.

Bess Reihl is less than thrilled to be spending the summer at Rose Hill Farm helping her intimidating grandmother, Bertha recover from surgery. It doesn’t take long for Bess to realize that her grandmother coaxed her to Stoney Ridge for an entirely different reason. But once Bess meets hired hand Billy Lapp, the summer starts to hold some promise.

Lainey’s and Bess’s worlds are about to collide, and the secrets that come to light will shock them both.
Beautifully written, The Search is a skillfully woven story that takes you through unexpected twists and turns on the long country road toward truth. Immerse yourself in this heartwarming – and surprising – tale of young love, forgiveness, and healing.

My Thoughts:

Suzanne Woods Fisher does it again. What an amazing story this is! I love a book that can keep me guessing right up until the end, and I especially love a book that makes me think I’ve got it all figured out and then surprises me. This book does just that.

The characters are warm, endearing, and very relatable (even to someone who is not Amish). I can remember feeling the same way as both Bess & Lainey as I grew through my teenage years and my early 20s. My favorite part about this book, however, was catching glimpses of the characters from the first 2 books in the series (The Choice and TheWaiting) and seeing how all the characters tie in together within the community.

Be sure to have your tissues handy throughout this book as it really tugs at your heart strings quite frequently. Also, be sure to allot yourself some time to read as it is hard to put this book down!

This is a must read for someone that has read the prior two books, but is a stand alone book as far as story line goes so ANYONE can pick up a copy to read and I encourage you to do so!

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Promises to Keep


by Ann Tatlock

Read the Back:

A MOTHER fleeing unspeakable danger to keep her children safe…

TWO YOUNG GIRLS guarding secrets in a “cross my heart and hope to die” pledge…

A FATHER desperate to be reunited with his family…

Award-winning author ANN TATLOCK skillfully blends her well-drawn characters into an inspiring tale of unimaginable courage and selfless love.

My Thoughts:

An edge of your seat kind of book from the very first page! This book really delves into the life of 10 yr. old Roz and the entire story is narrated from her point of view. This gives realism to the characters and the events that unfold. It reminds the reader of the innocence and pure love of a child. This story also touches on the civil rights and war issues that were present during the 60’s & 70’s. I absolutely love the characters in this story. I love that the author gives each of them strength and wisdom beyond their years while still reminding us through naivety that some of them are just kids.

This book was a tear-jerker in parts and had you guessing until the very end what would happen next. I love the ending of this book and I hope that you’ll pick up a copy too so that you can find out what happens to Roz.


Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications Inc. Available now at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Paradise Valley


by Dale Cramer

Read the Back:

I would do a great many things for you. Even at sixteen, Jake’s handsome features hold the calm certainty and patient confidence of a man, and Rachel Bender knows – Jake Weaver is the one.

Rachel will grow into a strong young woman with powerful gifts – but in a faraway country, without her Jake. In 1921, Ohio’s new law forces Caleb Bender’s family to seek sanctuary in the wilds of Mexico, where the government will not interfere with their Amish way of life or take their children from them. Nor will it protect them from the bandits terrorizing the countryside.

In an unfamiliar land where no one speaks their language or knows their ways, the Benders establish a homestead in exile. Sisters Emma, Rachel, and Miriam find strengths unimagined, gifts unexpected, and yearning beyond their deepest dreams. Even steadfast Caleb is compelled to wrestle with the demands of faith, only to discover that love has its own demands.

My Thoughts:

Gripping from the very start. Within the first 5 chapters of the book I was hooked! It’s rare that a book can grab me that quickly, but I’m glad it did. Dale Cramer’s book differs from most Amish books in that it adds an adventure side to it as well. There were parts of the book that were very suspenseful and parts where you could just soak up the emotions of each character.

I really love the character of Jake Weaver. He is the hopeless romantic type that most women can only dream of. Each character has their uniqueness to them and I really love that about Dale’s writing. You can vividly picture each character and the emotions they feel are raw and grip the reader.

I also found myself still learning new things about the Amish culture and language. I just love the way that the Amish dialect is peppered throughout the book and it intermittently reminds me that the characters are Amish as sometimes you can forget or your imagination can drift away from who the characters really are.

Thank you to Dale for writing such a beautiful piece of work. I recommend this book highly to anyone!

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Fatal Judgement


by Irene Hannon

Read the Back:

U.S. Marshal Jake Taylor has seen plenty of action during his years in law enforcement. But he’d rather go back to Iraq than face his next assignment: protection detail for federal judge Liz Michaels. His feelings toward the coldhearted workaholic haven’t warmed in the five years since she drove her husband – and Jake’s best friend – to despair…and possible suicide.

As the danger mounts and Jake gets to know Liz better, he’s forced to revise his opinion of her. And when it becomes clear that an unknown enemy may want her dead, the stakes are raised. Because now both her life – and his heart – are in danger.

Full of suspense and romance, Fatal Judgment is a thrilling story that will keep you turning the pages late into the night.

My Thoughts:

This book took me a little while to get into. It’s the first time I’ve read a book with the premise of a U.S. Marshal so being a little unfamiliar with the background of a U.S. Marshal’s job could’ve played into that a bit. Initially the plot felt highly predictable, but as I got further into the story I became more directly involved in the story. The way the author describes the characters via another character’s eyes really helps the reader to feel the emotions that the describing character is feeling. I was quite surprised to find out about a character ½ way through that I thought I’d spend the whole book guessing about, but it really helped his character develop more and fit the story well.

When I finally hit the ½ way point of the book I found it harder and harder to put down. There was a lot more action and suspense and I was becoming so engrossed in the book that it was as though I was watching a movie. There were several times I had to remind myself to breathe because I had been holding my breath in anticipation of what was going to happen next.

I really loved the way the characters interacted with each other from the jeering and the way the author describes each character’s facial expression throughout. It really helped the vividness of the story. My suggestion to anyone wanting to read this book is to pick it up for sure, but be sure to give it time to work its magic. Stick with it and you WON’T be disappointed!

This review was made possible because I was provided a copy of the book from Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available now at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room


by Nancy Guthrie

Read the Back:

Draw nearer to God – and to each other – every day during Advent.

How many Christmas mornings have you found your family gathered around the tree with presents beautifully wrapped and a scrumptious feast on the table – but with hearts that have not been prepared to truly take in the wonder of God’s becoming human? Not this year.

Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room, a family Advent devotional from Bible teacher and mom Nancy Guthrie, is designed to bring your family together during a season that is often too much about programs and presents and simply not enough about Jesus. Along with devotions for every day in December, this resource includes explanations of some hard-to-understand elements of popular Christmas carols and discussion questions that will draw your elementary through high school age kids into the conversation, transforming this time together from a dry lecture into a treasured family experience.

My Thoughts:
I really enjoyed this book. The readings were short and sweet which is important when you have a 2 yr. old trying to listen to your words. I really enjoyed the interspersing of well known Christmas carols and the explanations of what some of the words mean within them. The discussion starters are great for adults, but are definitely not for young children. The prayers are meaningful and relate perfectly with what each reading is trying to get across. There is also a section within each days’ reading that guides the reader to other scriptures that reference the theme of the day. For example, on the day that is titled Eagerly Waiting the author gives the readers two scriptures that talk about “Waiting for Jesus to Return”. These particular scriptures are ones that I wouldn’t necessarily have found on my own (Titus 2:11-14 and 2 Timothy 4:8).

This beautiful hard cover edition would make a great gift for the holiday season and its compact size would mean it would mail well (cheaper than bulky gifts) so why not surprise a loved one next Christmas?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Pink Espresso Giveaway


What is PINK Espresso?

PINK Espresso is a proud Canadian fashion and beauty company (e-commerce), based in Ottawa, Ontario. They retail products include: Jewelery, Beauty and Organic/Vegan cosmetics, Nail products and Brand name bath and lotion products. Most of their products are made in Canada and from Canadian companies.

Their website is very easy to use and customers can purchase a variety of fashion and beauty products all at one stop only with their finger tips, perfect for busy moms and gals.

They also wholesale jewelery and they are seeking jewelery distributors which is perfect for moms if they are interested in starting their own business while taking care of their family at the same time! (text courtesy of Canadianladybug Reviews).


You can win a 1.75Ct. 18K White Gold GP Solitaire Pendant with one 18K White Gold GP Chain - 18inch /18KGP-SC2 as well as a pair of earrings of 3.0Ct Stud Earrings. It's simple...visit Canadianladybug Reviews blog and follow the instructions to win.

Best of luck to everyone!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Voices of the Faithful


Read the Back:


Loving the world as God does involves extreme sacrifice. It also has radical effects, demonstrated in these 366 true accounts of fellow believers from around the world.

A Christian claims the names of God at knifepoint and lives to tell about it…
Prayer revives a coma victim, in defiance of village witch doctors…
A Bible verse between friends helps a Hindu family discover the light of Christ…
An abused seven-year-old asks, “Do you have any pills that would give me hope?”…
A former Muslim finds forgiveness in the Jesus she denied…

Voices of the Faithful brings you the amazing stories of hundreds of Christians worldwide who daily go to the outer limits of spiritual devotion and are living the passionate, courageous life Jesus challenged us all to live.

If you’re bored with your comfort-fit Christianity, if you’re ready for God to shake you awake, then take the challenge. Find out in these pages what on earth God is doing in your generation…and discover your role in making a difference in the world.

My Thoughts:
This is an amazing devotional. Each day starts out with a verse, followed by someone’s story, and ends with a prayer. The stories are truly impactful and really open your eyes to what’s going on around the world and what sacrifices people are making in the name of God.

I really enjoy the length of each day’s devotion as well. Being a busy mom, I constantly struggle to find time to be with God each day. These bite-size devotions are just perfect.

I love the vine artwork throughout the book. It really reminds us to bear good fruit. Another great feature is at the beginning of each new month, Beth Moore writes a couple of pages explaining what will be the focus for the month. It’s a great overview and it allows the reader to easily transition from one focus to another.

This review was possible because I received a free copy of Voices of the Faithful from Thomas Nelson Publishers.