Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron

About the book: A mysterious painting breathes hope and beauty into the darkest corners of Auschwitz---and the loneliest hearts of Manhattan.
Manhattan art dealer Sera James watched her world crumble at the altar two years ago, and her heart is still fragile. Her desire for distraction reignites a passion for a mysterious portrait she first saw as a young girl---a painting of a young violinist with piercing blue eyes.
In her search for the painting, Sera crosses paths with William Hanover, the grandson of a wealthy California real estate mogul, who may be the key to uncovering the hidden masterpiece. Together, Sera and William slowly unravel the story behind the painting's subject: Austrian violinist Adele Von Bron.
A darling of the Austrian aristocracy, talented violinist, and daughter to a high-ranking member of the Third Reich, Adele risks everything when she begins smuggling Jews out of Vienna. In a heartbeat, her life of prosperity and privilege dissolves into a world of starvation and barbed wire.
As Sera untangles the secrets behind the painting, she finds beauty in the most unlikely of places: in the grim camps of Auschwitz and in the inner recesses of her own troubled heart.

Purchase a copy:

About the author: Kristy Cambron has been fascinated with the WWII era since hearing her grandfather's stories of the war. She holds an art history degree from Indiana University and received the Outstanding Art History Student Award. Kristy writes WWII and Regency era fiction and has placed first in the 2013 NTRWA Great Expectations and 2012 FCRW Beacon contests, and is a 2013 Laurie finalist. Kristy makes her home in Indiana with her husband and three football-loving sons.

Find Kristy online: websiteFacebookTwitter

My Take:This book is a wonderful debut novel by Kristy Cambron.  There are two plot lines, one set in WWII and one in present day.The story starts in present day and grabs you and draws you in and you won't want to put it down.  Both story lines are great and the author puts the whole thing together wonderfully.  The whole Holocaust is a hard time period to read about but Kristy does a great job.  

I received a review copy of this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Audio book review of The Half-stitched Amish Quilting Club by Wanda Brunstetter

The Half-Stitched Amish Quilting Club (The Half-Stitched Amish Quilting Club, #1)
The Half-Stitched Amish Quilting Club by Wanda Brunstetter  narrator Renee Ertl

Join the club of unlikely quilters who show up for Amish widow Emma Yoder’s quilting classes. A troubled young woman, a struggling couple, a widower, a rough and tough biker, and a preacher’s wife make up the mismatched lot. But as their problems begin to bind them together like the scraps of fabric stitched together in a quilt, they learn to open up and lend a helping hand. Is this what God had in mind to heal hurting hearts and create beauty from fragments?

My Take:  I got this book because I like Amish Fiction and my husband and I are going to see the musical that is based on this book next weekend.  I thought the story was engaging after the first little bit.  This story is really not all about the Amish as most of the story has to do with the members of the quilting class.  I did find myself not liking certain characters and liking others more.  I did figure out the major plot twist before it was revealed in the book but it did take my husband by surprise.  I am curious how they will make this into a musical but the play has been well received.  
The narrator did a good job of reading the book.  

This book is from my personal library. 

Pennywise by Neta and David Jackson

About the book: Penny Wise introduces us to yet another family in "the neighborhood"---the Jaspers, busy with demanding jobs, busy with church, busy volunteering, parents of three active teenagers, juggling sometimes crazy schedules. All good things. Until all those "good things" feed into a series of crises that affects the whole family. Something's gotta change!

The third in the Windy City Neighbors series, Penny Wise is a contemporary peek at an urban family wrestling with the spiritual and practical challenges of real life. The series employs the innovating storytelling technique of "parallel novels," each with its own drama and story arc, but whose characters' lives become intertwined with their neighbors and affect one another. Welcome to Beecham Street---a typical, isolated American neighborhood that is beginning to come out of its shell . . . for better or worse.

Purchase a copy: 

About the authors: Dave and Neta Jackson are award-winning authors living in the Chicago area where their parallel novels from the Yada Yada House of Hope and Harry Bentley series are set. As a husband/wife writing team, Dave and Neta Jackson are enthusiastic about books, kids, walking with God, gospel music, and each other! Together they are the authors or coauthors of over 100 books.

Find Neta and Dave online: website

My Take: I have read a few of the Yada Yada Prayer group series and really enjoyed them so I thought I would give this book a try.  This book is the third book in a series but it stands just fine on it's own.  I could really relate to the Jaspers and how busy they were.  My Dad was a minister and he and my mom were always going to different meetings and committees.  My Mom is still doing that.  When my kids were younger we were always going to different things for them.  I always joked that I didn't know why it was called homeschooling because we were never home.  I think alot of families get caught up in the busyness of life and don't spend alot of time enjoying the family.  This book emphasizes the fact that we need to slow down and really think fi we really need to be doing all that we are doing.  I got out of the mindset that if I didn't do it then nobody would do it.  I started to really pray about things and decided what was on the top of my priority list and go from there.  If no one else volunteered then maybe it was time to give that particular program up.  I had to put my family and myself first then work my way out from there.  Same with the Jaspers .  Good book Good reminder.  

I received a review copy of this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest opinion.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Audio Book Review of The Women of Duck Commander by Miss Kay, Korie, Missy, Jessica, Lisa Robertson and Alex Robertson Mancuso

The Women of Duck Commander: Surprising Insights from the Women Behind the Beards About What Makes This Family Work

The Women of Duck Commander

From Good Reads:

An Inside Look at the Robertson Women 

In the pages of this book, you'l find both fun and inspirational stories . . . 

Kay shares the honest story of her relationship with Phil and his wild and philandering years and the challenges of being a teenage mother. Even more amazing, she shares the forgiveness she offered Phil and how they have now celebrated forty-eight years of marriage. 

Korie tells of her first encounter with Phil when she was in just the fifth grade. At that first meeting Phil came right out and told her what good husbands his boys would make and that she should keep an eye on them. She also shares the reaction her parents had when she told them that she and Willie were getting married when she was only eighteen. 

Missy tells the story of their daughter, Mia, who was born with a cleft palate, and their adjustments to this condition and Mia's joyful spirit that inspires them all. 

Jessica recounts her first conversation with Jep and how unimpressed she was when Jep bragged that his dad was the Duck Commander Phil Robertson. She told him she'd heard of Daffy Duck, Donald Duck, and Duck, Duck, Goose but not the Duck Commander. 

Lisa reveals the serious marriage problems she and Al had problems that almost ended their marriage for good and how they worked through those issues to have a more stable and loving marriage than she ever imagined possible.

My Take:  I really enjoyed getting to know the women behind the beards in this book.  These women each have their own trials that they had to go through and there lives have not been all the glitz and glamour that they have today.  It is nice to hear how the family comes together for others in the family and rallies behind them when they are in need.  
Each women reads the sections that have to do with them and their families except Miss Kay who only reads the scripture before her sections and her granddaughter reads her sections.  Each women does not sugar coat there lives they share the bad along with the good but this is not a tell all book it is a book about life and all the mess and beauty that comes along with being humans.  

I received a review copy of this audio book from Simon and Schuster Audio in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Audio Review of Classic Radio's Greatest Comedy Shows Volume 1

This collection contains twelve of the greatest comedy shows ever broadcast during the golden age of radio. You’ll hear Ozzie and Harriet Nelson in The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet, Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll as Amos ’n’ Andy, Robert Young in Father Knows Best, Jim and Marian Jordan as Fibber McGee and Molly, William Bendix as Chester A. Riley in The Life of Riley, Lucille Ball in My Favorite Husband, Eve Arden as English teacher Connie Brooks in Our Miss Brooks, plus many others, including The Fred Allen ShowThe Aldrich FamilyThe Great GildersleeveLife with Luigi, and Lum & Abner.
Relive twelve of the best classic radio comedy shows from yesterday and hear the legendary stars who made them great in this incredible collection.
Contents include:
The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet, “Housekeeping,” starring Ozzie Nelson and Harriet Hilliard
The Aldrich Family, “Henry Forgets to Mail a Letter,” starring Ezra Stone
The Amos ’n’ Andy Show, “Andy Gets a Job as Charles Boyer’s Valet,” starring Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll, with special guest Charles Boyer
Father Knows Best, “The Elusive Card Game,” starring Robert Young
Fibber McGee & Molly, “Jewelry Store Robbery,” starring Jim and Marian Jordan
The Fred Allen Show, “The Chicken Surplus,” starring Fred Allen, with special guest Orson Welles
The Great Gildersleeve, “Gildersleeve vs. Golf,” starring Willard Waterman
The Life of Riley, “Staying Out Late,” starring William Bendix
Life with Luigi, “The Traffic Light,” starring J. Carrol Naish
The Lum & Abner Show, “Baby Cedric the Mind Reader,” starring Chester Lauck and Norris Goff
My Favorite Husband, “Trying to Cash the Prize Check,” starring Lucille Ball and Richard Denning
Our Miss Brooks, “Trying to Sell a Trailer,” starring Eve Arden

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Hacker by Ted Dekker Ebook Review

Hacker (The Outlaw Chronicles #3)

Hacker by Ted Dekker

From Amazon:

My name is Nyah and I'm a hacker. I know things most people would never believe. Things that shouldn't exist, but do. 

Seventeen year old Nyah Parks is a genius hacker who makes a living by cracking the firewalls of the world's largest corporations. But when the biggest job of her life goes wrong she's plunged into a desperate situation with only one way out: one last hack that will either save her or kill her. 

So begins Hacker, a modern day parable that examines the staggering world around us, the seen and unseen, and reminds us that there's far more to who we are than meets the eye.

My Take:  This is another great book by Ted Dekker.  The book starts with a bang with Nyah trying to Hack into a company and things go bad and Nyah finds out some things that are secret.  She is trying to make some money to help with the care of her mother.  She goes to meet her friend who has cancer and he tells her about an experiment he has been conducting and how it could change both of their lives.  The rest of the book is the wild ride that follows.  Great suspense and thrill ride.  Dekker at his best. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Book Spotlight of A Question of Honor by Charles Todd

A Question of Honor (Bess Crawford, #5)

A Question of Honor by Charles Todd

From Good

In the latest mystery from New York Times bestselling author Charles Todd, World War I nurse and amateur sleuth Bess Crawford investigates an old murder that occurred during her childhood in India, a search for the truth that will transform her and leave her pondering a troubling question: How can facts lie?

Bess Crawford enjoyed a wondrous childhood in India, where her father, a colonel in the British Army, was stationed on the Northwest Frontier. But an unforgettable incident darkened that happy time. In 1908, Colonel Crawford's regiment discovered that it had a murderer in its ranks, an officer who killed five people in India and England yet was never brought to trial. In the eyes of many of these soldiers, men defined by honor and duty, the crime was a stain on the regiment's reputation and on the good name of Bess's father, the Colonel Sahib, who had trained the killer.

A decade later, tending to the wounded on the battlefields of France during World War I, Bess learns from a dying Indian sergeant that the supposed murderer, Lieutenant Wade, is alive—and serving at the Front. Bess cannot believe the shocking news. According to reliable reports, Wade's body had been seen deep in the Khyber Pass, where he had died trying to reach Afghanistan. Soon, though, her mind is racing. How had he escaped from India? What had driven a good man to murder in cold blood?

Wanting answers, she uses her leave to investigate. In the village where the first three killings took place, she discovers that the locals are certain that the British soldier was innocent. Yet the present owner of the house where the crime was committed believes otherwise, and is convinced that Bess's father helped Wade flee. To settle the matter once and for all, Bess sets out to find Wade and let the courts decide.

But when she stumbles on the horrific truth, something that even the famous writer Rudyard Kipling had kept secret all his life, she is shaken to her very core. The facts will damn Wade even as they reveal a brutal reality, a reality that could have been her own fate.

It's Monday What are You Reading?


It's Monday What are You reading? is a great weekly Meme hosted by Sheila over at Book Journey.  It's a great way to see what others are reading and loving or not loving.  Warning your TBR list will surely grow.

According to my blog posts I have not participated in this meme for almost a year.  Wow I knew it had a been awhile but I didn't think it had been that long.

Any way since I have been completely slaking off I totally missed mentioning on my blog that June was Audio Book Month.  So I did a few audio book discussion question from past audio book weeks on the blog.  I also posted a new audio book review.  I have quite a few books that I need to write reviews up for so maybe I will get caught up soon.

Any way on the Blog Last Week.
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Adventures in Odyssey Adventure Club

Child of Mine

Mini Review and Book spotlight of Child of Mine by David and Beverly Lewis

Book Review of The Revealing by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Good Call: Reflections on Faith, Family, and Fowl

Audio Book Review of Good Call: Reflections on Faith, Family, and Fowl by Jase Robertson and Mark Schlaback

Current Reads are in the Sidebar

Coming up on the Blog this Week

A Question of Honor (Bess Crawford, #5)

Book spotlight of A Question of Honor by Charles Todd

Penny Wise

Book Review of Penny Wise by Neta Jackson and Dave Jackson

Coming Up

What Strange Creatures

What Strange Creatures by Emily Arsenault

The Butterfly and the Violin (Hidden Masterpiece, #1)

The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron

In Perfect Time (Wings of the Nightingale #3)

In Perfect Time by Sarah Sundin

Audio Book Discussion 5

Where do you learn about great audiobook titles? Buy your audiobooks? Share your secrets with the rest of us! We’d particularly love to know what narrators or publishers are active in social media or do a great job communicating with listeners.

I usually learn about great audiobook titles from other bloggers, publisher's emails, new arrival lists at Audible. 

I buy my audiobooks from  I have the 2 credit a month plan.  I also get books occasionally from the library but it is a very small selection.  I do reviews for Audiobook Jukebox, Simon and Schuster,  I use to belong to but decided I would rather up my credits on Audible.  I have used Librivox in the past and just recently have gotten my husband to listen to Shakespeare on it. 

I receive an email from Simon and Schuster every month with a list of books available.  I also get an email from twice a month with two books to choose from (I need to review one book every 3 months to stay in the program).  I haven't really had much contact with narrators but am open to explore this area. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Audio Book Discussion 4

What do you do while you listen? Any particular tasks or games that you find amazing for audio time?

 I find that I am like many other audio book fans.  I listen while I drive to work.  Since we live in the country and basically have to drive 1/2 to go into Lancaster I usually have an hour whenever I go anywhere.  I have about a 35-45 minute drive to work four days a week so that is about an hour and a half a day .  I listen occasionally while I am on the computer if I am really caught up in a book.  I don't listen often while I do housework but I have started doing it more.  I always listen for at least a half an hour before I go to sleep.  I make sure it is something that doesn't have to much action to it.  That does the opposite of what I want which is to relax.  I have played Candy Crush Saga while listening a few times but there again I was really into the book. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Audio Book Discussion 3

Current/most recent audiobook:

The Women of Duck Commander: Surprising Insights from the Women Behind the Beards About What Makes This Family Work

Current/most recent favorite audiobook:

The Half-Stitched Amish Quilting Club (The Half-Stitched Amish Quilting Club, #1)

Listened to this book because my hubby and I are going to see the play that is based on this book.  I have the next in the series but have to decide when it will come in order to listen to it. 

Confessions of a Murder Suspect (Confessions, #1)

This was one of this summer's Sync titles.  I was so excited to see a James Patterson title being offered this year.  I enjoyed this book alot even though it is considered YA. 

Favorite narrator you’ve discovered recently:

I don't have a new narrator that I have discovered.  I do like Davina Porter and I hope to get to the last couple books of the Outlander series in the near future. 

One title from your TBL (to be listened) stack, or your audio wishlist:

Code Name Verity (Code Name Verity, #1)

another Sync title  really looking forward to listening to this

Gone Girl

have had this in my audible library for awhile but just haven't gotten to it. 

Audio Book Review of Good Call by Jase Robertson and Mark Schlaback read by Jase Robertson and Missy Robertson

Good Call: Reflections on Faith, Family, and Fowl

Good Call: Reflections on Faith, Family and Fowl by Jase Robertson and Mark Schlaback
Read by Jase Robertson and Missy Robertson

The closer we look at the Robertson family, the more we discover the substance and authenticity below the surface of these well-known TV characters. In this enlightening book, Jase Robertson gives us a deep look behind his funnyman exterior. In addition to stories of life in the Robertson family and epic tales of hunting of all kinds, readers will get an inside look at Jase 's personal faith in the Creator of the outdoors he so dearly loves: 

My first thoughts about God came in a duck blind as I gazed upon the diversity and beauty of creation. There is nothing in nature that can be reproduced or equaled by humans. None of our computers, microchips, or cell phones can duplicate what God has put forth. Viewing the details of this magnificent earth is better than any sermon from any preacher I have heard about the evidence of God. 

More than a behind-the-scenes look at this beloved Duck Dynasty character, readers will be inspired and encouraged to implement Jase good call reflections on faith, family, and fowl into their own lives.

My Take:  Although I don't regularly watch Duck Dynasty I have enjoyed listening to all the books that the Robertson's have released over the last year or so.  This book is no exception.  I enjoyed listening to Jase's and Missy's story.  The part I especially liked was how they handle the knowledge of Mia's special needs and how they eventually helped other families in the same situation.  All of the Robertsons seem to be exceptionally nice people and they are people that I would like to know.  I like the way that they always turn to God in whatever situation they find themselves in.  Even though they are well off now it wasn't always that way and they seek out the Lord in all their situations.  Jase seems to have always had a good solid foundation and was always trying to witness to others.  He even relays a story of when he had a confrontation with a girl's boyfriend and he witness to him in the midst of everything.  That boyfriend ended up coming to church and getting baptized and is now a good friend of the family's.  This book is just packed full of similar stories.  I think you would like this book if you are a fan of the show Duck Dynasty or you just want an uplifting experience. 

Audio:  I sometimes like it when authors read their own books especially in the situation like this.  I thought that Jase and Missy did a good job of narration but you could tell that they aren't professionals.  

I received a review copy of this audio book from Simon and Schuster Audio in exchange for my honest opinion. 

The Revealing by Suzanne Woods Fisher

About the book: 

Naomi King, soft spoken, loyal, and easily overlooked, has a gift. She sees what others can't see. Intuition, she calls it. Others in Stoney Ridge don't know what to make of it and dismiss her hunches and inklings altogether.

When a young woman arrives at the Inn at Eagle Hill with a shocking secret about Tobe Schrock, Naomi fears the worst. She can't ignore the feeling that something sinister is at work--- something more than a threat to the tenuous love begun between her and Tobe.

As signs mount, they begin to point to Jake Hertzler, the elusive mastermind behind Schrock Investments' downfall. Soon, events spiral hopelessly out of control and Naomi must decide whether to listen to her head or her heart.

In this riveting conclusion to The Inn at Eagle Hill series, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher pulls out all the stops with a fast-paced tale of deception, revelation, and just the right dose of romance.

Purchase a copy: 

About the author: 

Suzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling author of the Inn at Eagle Hill series, Lancaster County Secrets series, and the Stoney Ridge Seasons series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace. She is also the coauthor of a new Amish children's series, The Adventures of Lily Lapp. Her interest in the Anabaptist cultures can be directly traced to her grandfather, who was raised in the Old Order German Baptist Brethren Church in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Suzanne is a Carol Award winner and a Christy Award finalist. She is a columnist for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazines. She lives in California.

Download Suzanne's free app!

Find Suzanne online: websiteTwitterFacebookPinterest

My Take:  This is another great installment in the series The Inn at Eagle Hill.  I enjoyed revisiting the characters that live in and around The Inn.  This is the third book in the series and the final book.  Although you don't have to read the other two books to enjoy this book you will want to read them just so you can enjoy these characters that much more.  There are many twists and turns in this book and many of the issues are resolved in ways that you will find enjoyable.  I was kept guessing about alot of the situations that I had no idea how they were going to be resolved but was happen with the resolutions.  I did not want to see this series end as I have grown to love these characters.  A must read for anyone who enjoys Amish fiction. 

I received a review copy of this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Audio Book Discussion 2

How do You Choose Your Audiobooks?
How do you decide what you’ll listen to? Do you mostly listen, or split time between listening and reading? Particularly if you split time, how do you decide what you’ll consume in audio and what in print? 

Most of the time I decide what books to listen to depending on what I am in the mood for.  I have been doing quite a bit more audio books for review lately so I will admit I feel a need to listen to those books sooner than later but I have decided that I will listen to one of my personal books before I go to sleep at night.  I split time between print and audio but audio seems to have gotten alot more time this year.  I think this is because I can consume audio so much easier as I can multitask.  There are certain books that I prefer in audio like James Patterson books and The Outlander Series but I am also an equal opportunity reader/listener of other genres like Amish fiction (my husband enjoys these books too so I will get alot of them) .  Lately whenever I see a book that caught my eye on the blogosphere I will quite often check to see if it is on audio and see if I can get it for review or I will put it on my wishlist on Audible and use one of my credits for it the next time my credits are renewed. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Audiobook Discussion Number 1

Are you new to audiobooks in the last year? Have you been listening to them forever but discovered something new this year? Favorite titles? New times/places to listen? This is your chance to introduce yourself and your general listening experience. 

I have been listening to audio books steadily since 2006 when my Husband bought me a MP3 player that came with a trial membership to Audible (because I had mentioned that I wanted to fill my 1/2 hour one way commute time more constructively) and I haven't turned back since (I actually wore that MP3 player out.  I use my phone most of the time for listening now).  I generally listen in the car but I do occasionally listen while I am doing stuff on the computer .  I also use my audible app to listen before bed as I can set the app to go off by itself.  I also listen while I am walking  for exercise.  I actually like to listen to longer books most of the time. I think I like to listen to longer books because that way I can read shorter books and get more read that way.  I have listened to most of the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon.  I listened to Under the Dome by Stephen King.  I have to the first  Game of Thrones book. and I need to schedule the next ones in the Outlander series and the Game of Thrones series.  It was a little difficult to listen to the Game of Thrones because so many of the names sound alike.   I almost exclusively listen to James Patterson books on audio, They make a good filler book as I will quite often take a break in the middle of the longer books and listen to a shorter book. I also like to listen to Ted Dekker  books on audio. I have noticed that I also like to listen to biographies and autobiographies on audio and it is usually a plus when the book is read by the person it is about (I listened to two books read by Carol Burnett and one read by Kristin Chenowith)  One series of books that did not work for me on audio was The Hannah Swensen series by Joanne Fluke.  I didn't like the recipes read to me.  They are a more visual experience for me.

Where was I Last month

I cannot believe that I let the whole month of June go by which was Audio Book month without even mentioning it.  I usually participate in Audio Book Week which didn't seem to happen this year or I just missed it.  I have been listening to alot of audio books.  I consistently read books in this media more so than in any other media because it is just habit to turn on my audio book on the way to and from work.  I hope to post some audio book reviews in the remaining days of July.  I will also take some of the old questions from past audio book weeks and update my answer for my current situation.  My job has changed as I am now working third shift which has changed my whole life and the way that I do things.  Thus I have been finding it harder to write review posts but I will make an effort to do a better job in this area.

Mini Review and Book Spotlight of Child of Mine by David and Beverly Lewis

Child of Mine

Child of Mine by David and Beverly Lewis

Bestselling Author Duo Delivers Heart-Stirring Drama 
Jack Livingston has been raising his nine-year-old adopted niece, Natalie, since the accident that took her parents' lives. While he travels for work, Natalie is lovingly cared for by Laura, an Amish nanny who loves her as her own. 
Kelly Maines is nearing the end of her rope. Her baby was kidnapped, the apparent victim of a black market adoption ring, and for eight years, Kelly has tirelessly pursued every lead to its bitter end. Now, there's one last lead from a private investigator: Just a few miles away lives a girl who matches the profile. Could this, at long last, be her beloved child? 
Desperately, Kelly initiates a "chance" meeting with Jack Livingston. It goes really well. So well, in fact, that Jack asks her out. One date leads to another, and before she can come clean with her original motives, Kelly realizes Jack is falling for her--and she for him. 
Now how can she tell Jack why she's really here? And having gotten to know Natalie, what if she isn't her long-lost daughter, after all? This was all supposed to be so simple. 
But nothing in Natalie's world is simple.

My Mini Take:  I am calling this a mini review because I haven't finished reading this book yet.  I have been hooked on Beverly Lewis Books ever since I read her Abrams Daughters Series.  This book is turning into a great book just like those were.  I find myself turning the pages just to find out what happens next.  Although there is a picture of an Amish woman on the cover of the book this book is not really about the woman although she is an important character in the book.  So if Amish fiction isn't your cup of tea don't toss this book aside.  The book is very well written and you will find yourself caring about the characters.  This is a great story. 

I received a review copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Family, Community, and a Free Episode of Adventures in Odyssey

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 For a limited time, you can listen to a new episode of Adventures in Odyssey for FREE! Album 58, The Ties that Bind, will be available this fall for digital download and CD purchase, but if you join the Odyssey Adventures Club, you can listen to the full album now! Guess what? The $5 special held last month was extended through the end of July, too, so you can join in the fun for only $5! Here's what part one is about (which you can listen to for free HERE):
It’s a time of surprises as Wooton becomes the celebrity guest at Comic-Connellsville and Whit finds himself in conflict over the upcoming “Let’s Get Together Festival” in Odyssey. Plus, hear an interview with writer-director Paul McCusker about the entire 14-part series.
Album 58 was inspired by Focus on the Family’s The Family Project, a 12-session small group experience that explores the theological, philosophical, and cultural underpinnings of the traditional family, and combines that information with inspiring stories and practical tools to help 21st-century families thrive. One way families can carry out God's design for families is by serving their community—right where God has planted them, being His hands and feet together. Want to serve your community with your family, maybe make a day of out it? Here are some fantastic ideas from some Adventures in Odyssey bloggers and club members:
  • Make scarves through the year and deliver them to your local homeless shelter at the start of winter, or regularly donate food to your local food bank. —Shirley 
  • Our family likes to help with Meals on Wheels. We also do reenactments of the Civil War and WWII to help educate people on history. I like to show my kids that we should be servers and givers by taking meals to people who need them (i.e. baby just born, someone died, someone had surgery, etc.). —Erin 
  • We have been visiting a nursing home with friends once a month. The kids just sing and then we fellowship, but the ladies love it! —Lisa 
  • We make lap blankets for nursing home residents and take the time to visit with them. We also collect food for the local food pantry. —Donna 
  • We make blessing bags to give to the homeless when we encounter them. We also donate clothes and food to a local shelter. —Amy 
  • Our MOPs (Mothers of Prechoolers) group supports our local Pregnancy Support Services with donations, gifts, and notes. We also supports the Durham Rescue Mission, which helps people break free from addictions and restore families. —Melissa 
  • We live in a very rural area. Our church serves two of the poorest zip codes in the state, and about a decade ago, they started operating a food pantry out of a closet. It has expanded since then, so we now use the closet for storage, but the pantry is basically a classroom. The kids and I serve over there a lot. My 17-year-old and I go to Care & Share (50 miles away) to get food to bring back to the pantry. All of us help unload and stock shelves. On pantry days, everyone can get involved with helping people go through the line, playing with the kids, carrying boxes out to cars, etc. There are so many hungry folks, especially in the summer when school breakfasts and lunches aren't available, and helping a bit to put food on some tables is such a blessing for us all. —Debra 
  • We pack food bags each month for the homeless and needy through a thrift store that offers an outreach to the community. We also help clean our church and our Sunday school. —Michele 
  • We work through our AHG troop to do several service activities a year. My girls just recently made bracelets they are selling, which 100% of the profits goes to Hope House in Africa to help young girls. —Sarah 
  • Our church works with a homeless shelter in downtown Atlanta. We cook food ahead of time, and when our schedules allow we ride down with the group to serve the food. My son always reminds me when we haven't been for awhile, so it's something he looks forward to. —Maria 
  • We do lots of random acts of kindnesses within our community: pay for others' meals, leave change at a vending machine, hand out Gatorade/granola bars to people on the side of the road asking for food. We also love to support Mobile Loaves and Fishes. —Kathryn
Did that provide some ideas to give your family service activity the kick-start it needs? What other ideas do you have for serving your community? Share in the comments!