Saturday, April 24, 2010

Updates, Award & Contest

First of all I need to thank Deborah over at Butterfly Journey. She has given me the Sunshine Award.
This award is traditionally passed on to those bloggers that inspire others and show positivity and creativity. So, in that spirit, I picked my nominees from blogs that I visit regularly and are very informative and inspiring to me.
The rules for accepting the award are:

1) Put the logo within my blog or on my post

2) Pass the award onto 10 fellow bloggers

3) Link the nominees within my post

4) Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blog

5) Share the love and link to the person whom you received this award from.

Here are my nominees, please visit them and check out their blogs! As you know we all live for comments!

1. Renee @ Black 'n Gold Girl's Book Spot

2. Lori @ Some of my Favorite Books

3. MaryLu Tyndall @ The Cross and Cutlass

4. Angie @ Never a Dull Moment

5. Carrie @ In the Hammock

6. Christy @ Southern Sassy Things

7. Susan @ Journeys of Love ... Inspired by Faith

8. Ashley @ After All ...... Tomorrow is Another Day

9. Katy @ A Few More Pages

10. Alexandra @ Stories From My Bookshelf

Now, for the news I promised. I know many of you have been praying for us about the job situation. I posted in the comments section of my last blog that we have been offered a position and are in the final stages of the process. They are doing a background check right now and have not finished it - though we thought it was supposed to only take 24 hours. The only thing we're concerned about is that he's had some speeding tickets and they issue a company car (because the job involves travel) so that may red flag us. We had to turn down another job opportunity because we accepted their offer but they still haven't told us that everything is okay yet.

On Monday we are supposed to get a call from the company to find out the details about relocating and what all they will help us with. They do provide some help - if we do it their way. We will live somewhere in the state of Missouri, but we're not sure where yet. Also, we just refinanced this house (to try and save money) and it was purchased just four years ago (and property values have gone down the last two years) so we haven't made any progress on the loan. I'm afraid when I think of trying to sell the house. With no paycheck for so long - and no equity on the house, we have to sell it for what we owe and we have only a couple months before we have to be living in MO.

Plus I have my college student son living at home (to save money). He is close to school here, but can't move with us. His job barely pays for gas, books and his little incidentals and emergency expenses for the car. He can't afford an apartment. He is looking, but hasn't found a job - especially one that works around his school schedule. So we need prayer for him to find a place to live and a good job.

So, we are pretty sure and are happy, but it does create a few more things to lay before God. :o)

We have normal spring cleaning to do plus trying to get things organized to move and sell the house. I'm way behind in reviews ... I hope to try and do better at keeping up but I hope you'll be patient with me until life slows down a little bit.

In honor of being offered the job and wanting to praise God for that, I am doing a giveaway. Francine Rivers is one of the best writers of Christian fiction and I am offering 4 hardcovers by her ~ Books 1-4 of the Sons of Encouragement: The Priest, The Warrior, The Prince and The Prophet. These books have been sitting on my shelf for a while, but I haven't read them (too many books - not enough time). I did notice that one of them has a place where the inside flap of the dustcover is rubbed down towards the pages and the top part of a couple pages are bent and have small tears. :o( It must have happened in shipping. The rest of the book is pristine - as are the others - other than shelf wear. I thought about leaving it out, but I hope whoever wins will enjoy it despite the small bit of damage.

In your comment leave an email address, let me know if you are a follower, if you chose to become one, or if you chose to share about the giveaway on your own blog. That will earn you extra entries. This is only open to the US, and void where prohibited by law. I will announce a winner May 1st. So entries have to be by midnight central time on April 30th. Good luck.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

She Walks In Beauty

Title: She Walks In Beauty
Author: Siri Mitchell
ISBN: 978-0-7642-0433-3

From Goodreads:

For a young society woman seeking a favorable marriage in the late 1890s, so much depends on her social season debut. Clara Carter has been given one goal: secure the affections of the city's most eligible bachelor. Debuting means plenty of work--there are corsets to be fitted, dances to master, manners to perfect. Her training soon pays off, however, as celebrity's spotlight turns Clara into a society-page darling. Yet Clara wonders if this is the life she really wants, especially when she learns her best friend has also set her sights on Franklin De Vries. When a man appears who seems to love her simply for who she is, and gossip backlash turns ugly, Clara realizes it's not just her heart at stake--the future of her family depends on how she plays the game.

My Take:

This is one of those books I wanted as soon as I saw it listed. One of the reasons was because of the author. She always puts ... depth into her stories that make them even more beautiful than what they are if you don't notice that deeper message. Then there was that cover. I'm ashamed to admit it ~ but it has to be one of the most beautiful covers I've seen and I am guilty of being drawn to a beautifully decorated book.

Clara is a young woman who feels a little more like a beautifully dressed pawn being moved about in a game she isn't even sure she knows the purpose of. She knows she is supposed to catch the heir. Why ~ she isn't certain, the how she can't always abide and seems not to be in her best interest most of the time. Plus she is competing for him with her very best friend. She doesn't even like him.

When she does find someone who likes her for herself alone and doesn't make her uncomfortable, she is confused between what her head and heart tell her and what her family tell her is her duty to them. Add a mysterious newspaper column that seems to know her every move and makes accusations about her family and Clara is not sure what the right course of action is.

The author did a wonderful job of painting a picture of what these debutantes went through trying to achieve the fashionably beautiful look and how that could hurt their health. Clara not only was forced to endure these techniques, but she was used by those who should have loved her the most in order to achieve their own ends. This is wonderfully contrasted by finding someone who accepts her for who she is and tells her about God, who values and loves her just as she is because He created her.

Women today still struggle with whether or not they are beautiful. They have a hard time accepting it no matter what their loved ones say. Beauty is more than fashion ~ fashion changes. Beauty is knowing and understanding that you are loved by your creator - who makes no mistakes. Don 't accept anything less than that in your life.

This is a beautiful love story and one of my very favorites this year. I hope you enjoy it as well.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Thicker Than Blood

Title: Thicker Than Blood
Author: C.J. Darlington
ISBN: 978-1-4143-3448-6

From Goodreads:

Christy Williams finally has her life on track. She’s putting her past behind her and working hard to build a career as an antiquarian book buyer. But things begin to unravel when a stolen Hemingway first edition is found in her possession, framing her for a crime she didn’t commit. With no one to turn to, she yearns for her estranged younger sister, May, whom she abandoned after their parents’ untimely deaths. Soon, Christy’s fleeing from her shattered dreams, her ex-boyfriend, and God. Could May’s Triple Cross Ranch be the safe haven she’s searching for? Will the sisters realize that each possesses what the other desperately needs before it’s too late? A stunning debut from the latest Christian Writers Guild winner.

My Take:

I was looking forward to reading this book for a long time and I didn't feel let down a single bit by it. This doesn't read like a debut book ~ and certainly not by someone so young. There is real emotional depth to the characters and nothing formulaic about the plot.

I know my standard fare is romances, and this book has a twisted romance and one relationship that reads like it shows promise for a romance ~ but it is a book about relationships. One of the main ones focused on is between the two sisters, May and Christy, and how that is changed by the guilt that Christy has allowed to come between her and basically everything good in her life. She listened to the lie instead of the truth.

There is the relationship both sisters have with God and with their family, friends and co-workers and how what Christy, May and others do change those relationships for the better or worse.

What I think the author did best of all was not paint her characters in all black or white. Christy had many weaknesses and faults, but she also had strengths and good points. May was a strong Christian, but when Christy shows up unexpectedly and doesn't even apologize for walking away, she still feels hurt and angry.

This was a very well written book that deals with tough topics in a realistic way. I can't wait to read more from this author.