Thursday, 24 December 2015

Book Review: Whispers in the Reading Room by Shelley Gray


About the Book: Lydia's job at the library is her world---until a mysterious patron catches her eye . . . and perhaps her heart.

Just months after the closure of the Chicago World's Fair, librarian Lydia Bancroft finds herself fascinated by a mysterious dark-haired and dark-eyed patron. He has never given her his name; he actually never speaks to a single person. All she knows about him is that he loves books as much as she does.

Only when he rescues her in the lobby of the Hartman Hotel does she discover that his name is Sebastian Marks. She also discovers that he lives at the top of the prestigious hotel and that most everyone in Chicago is intrigued by him.

Lydia and Sebastian form a fragile friendship, but when she discovers that Mr. Marks isn't merely a very wealthy gentleman, but also the proprietor of an infamous saloon and gambling club, she is shocked.

Lydia insists on visiting the club one fateful night and suddenly is a suspect to a murder. She must determine who she can trust, who is innocent, and if Sebastian Marks-the man so many people fear-is actually everything her heart believes him to be.

Purchase a copy:
http://bit.ly/1lujxr6

My Thoughts:  I really enjoyed this book.  It had a bit of everything - mystery, intrigue, romance, and history.  The characters are very well-developed and I love how they are a bit unique from your run of the mill characters that seem to show up in most books.  As an avid reader, I found the setting of a reading room to be quite fitting :)

I enjoyed how the storyline unfolded, however I did feel that the ending tied together a bit too quickly in comparison to the pace of the rest of the book.  I was actually starting to wonder if the story would even get wrapped up in this book and was becoming annoyed that it might have a cliff hanger ending, because I could tell I was nearing the end and yet it didn't seem like it could be over that quickly.  I think the author could have spent a little more time and pages on the ending.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for organizing this tour and providing me with my complimentary review copy.

Monday, 14 December 2015

OAC - Last Minute Gift Idea

OAC-Gift-That-Lasts-All-Year-Facebook-Cover

Tired of the Christmas shopping, the baking and sugar overload, the Christmas festivities that keep you away from your family during the season? Take time special time to spend with your loved ones and invest in your community—with Focus on the Family's help!

You can download a fun gift to give to your friends, family, and community! Each Christmas stocking stuffer card directs you to a special place to hear an Adventures in Odyssey Christmas episode. Plus, you’ll be able to read a special excerpt from Imagination Station #12, “Danger on a Silent Night.” Sign up here to download the free cards.

Plus stop by this page for a slew of crafts, recipes, and stories to share with your family during this special time of year!

Christmas_2015_Cards_Banner 

If you're still looking for one last gift to give your kids this year, give the gift of the Odyssey Adventure Club (OAC). It offers safe and free content for everyone in your family, including an Advent calendar, a broadcast download with tips to create a memorable Christmas, AIO cutouts, and Christmas stocking stuffer cards. Membership to the OAC costs just $9.99 a month — or even less if parents make a six-month or one-year commitment. Enrollment provides more than enough content to keep kids engaged throughout the year:
  • Access to exclusive content and first looks at books and select Radio Theatre dramas.
  • On-the-go access to the OAC app for both iOS and Android users.
  • 24/7 streaming access to nearly 800 AIO episodes.
  • A new, members-only AIO episode every month.
  • A subscription to Adventures in Odyssey Clubhouse Magazine, and more.
To learn more about the Odyssey Adventure Club, visit www.oaclub.org, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

OAC - Strengthen Your Child's Faith



OAC-Gift-That-Lasts-All-Year-Facebook-Cover

The holidays are a busy time . . . but life can be even more hectic! In the midst of work, after-school activities, grocery shopping, and business trips, how are parents supposed to find the time to build within their families a lasting foundation of faith?

Focus on the Family wants to step in and give you some tips. Sign up by clicking here for a free e-book called 101 Surefire Ways to Strengthen Your Child's Faith. With creative ideas on weaving faith into everyday conversations, turning family activities into learning opportunities, and having faith-filled holiday celebrations, this book is jam-packed with fun and interesting, easy, faith-building ideas for your family.

Another way to invest in your child's faith is through the Odyssey Adventure Club (OAC). It offers safe and free content for everyone in your family, including an Advent calendar, a broadcast download with tips to create a memorable Christmas, AIO cutouts, and Christmas stocking stuffer cards. Membership to the OAC costs just $9.99 a month — or even less if parents make a six-month or one-year commitment. Enrollment provides more than enough content to keep kids engaged throughout the year:
  • Access to exclusive content and first looks at books and select Radio Theatre dramas. 
  • On-the-go access to the OAC app for both iOS and Android users. 
  • 24/7 streaming access to nearly 800 AIO episodes. 
  • A new, members-only AIO episode every month. 
  • A subscription to Adventures in Odyssey Clubhouse Magazine, and more. 

Another fun way to build your child's faith: have a family craft night and use it as a faith-building opportunity! Click the image below for a printable Town of Odyssey cutout set. Bonus points if you listen to an Adventures in Odyssey episode while you put together your town!






To learn more about the Odyssey Adventure Club, visit www.oaclub.org, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Book Review: Another Way Home by Deborah Raney


About the Book: Sometimes God's ways are not at all what we expect . . . and exactly what we need.

Grant and Audrey are adding grandchildren to their family left and right, but middle daughter, Danae, and her husband, Dallas Brooks, have been trying for years with no baby in sight.

Though Danae is ready to consider adoption, Dallas will not even discuss it. Despairing of ever having a family of her own, Danae decides to pour her passion and energies into volunteer work with a newly opened women's shelter in town. Looking for a good cause to fill her lonely days, she never expects to give her heart to the hurting women she meets there. She's finally learning to live her life with gratitude, but then heart-wrenching events on Thanksgiving weekend threaten to pull the entire Whitman clan into turmoil-and leave them all forever changed.

Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/1NQhjf8


My Thoughts:  I really enjoyed this book!  It tackled some heavy issues - infertility, adoption, domestic abuse - without becoming a heavy read.  It reminded me how quickly we can allow our struggles, no matter what they are, to create a tunnel vision effect in our lives where we become so wrapped up in our struggle that we can't see outside ourselves which, ironically, is exactly what God uses to help us get through our struggles.  When we take our focus off of ourselves and shift it to God and to others around us who are also suffering, it's amazing what it does for our perspective and how it helps heal our own pain.

The author definitely draws you into the story, captivating you with the characters and storyline.  I particularly love how God's sovereignty is on clear display throughout, but particularly in the last 1/3 of the book.

Though this is the 3rd book of the series, it was not a problem that I had not read the first two.  I highly recommend this one!

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for organizing this tour and providing me with my complimentary review copy.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

OAC - Simplify and De-stress your holiday season

Holiday to-do lists often become longer and longer as we get closer to Christmas. From holiday parties to host, Christmas pajamas to coordinate, family pictures, gifts to buy, travel plans to finalize, and more, the joy of the season can often be lost in the midst of the hustle and bustle.



Adventures in Odyssey and Odyssey Adventure Club have you covered. Karen Ehman and Glynnis Whitwer, authors of Everyday Confetti, share ideas and tips for simplifying and taking the stress out of the holidays. Pointing to the real reason for the season, they offer ideas to help you keep Christ at the center. Click here for a free broadcast download to learn how to simplify and de-stress your holiday season.

Speaking of de-stressing, let me help you out with your last-minute gift shopping. One of my top recommendations: the Odyssey Adventure Club (OAC) because it offers free content for everyone, including an Advent calendar, a broadcast download with tips to create a memorable Christmas, AIO cutouts and Christmas stocking stuffer cards. Membership to the OAC costs just $9.99 a month — or even less if parents make a six-month or one-year commitment. Enrollment provides more than enough content to keep kids engaged throughout the year:
  • Access to exclusive content and first looks at books and select Radio Theatre dramas. 
  • On-the-go access to the OAC app for both iOS and Android users. 
  • 24/7 streaming access to nearly 800 AIO episodes. 
  • A new, members-only AIO episode every month. 
  • A subscription to Adventures in Odyssey Clubhouse Magazine, and more. 
To learn more about the Odyssey Adventure Club, visit www.oaclub.org, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Check out these other gift ideas:
  • Lego, K'nex
  • bowling, mini-golfing, or another "date" opportunity
  • art or cooking classes
  • arts and crafts supplies
  • tickets to a show, sporting event, or movie
  • one thing they want, one thing they need, one item to wear, one book to read
  • magazine subscription
  • calendar to fit their personality or hobbies
  • a watch
  • games or puzzles


Monday, 30 November 2015

Day 30 - One Thing You're Excited For

Day 30 - One Thing You're Excited For

Just one?!  I'm excited for Christmas coming up; for our cruise (just Nathan and I) in February which, this year, will include cruising out of Orlando/Port Canaveral, then renting a convertible to drive down to Fort Lauderdale to watch the Jets play the Panthers; as well as our family trip to Florida in late March/early April.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Day 29 - 21st birthday


Day 29 - The Night of Your 21st Birthday

Well, that was pretty long ago, and not a memorable one that I can recall.  I would have been married without kids so I'm assuming Nathan and I went out for dinner - but we weren't going to The Keg yet then, so I don't know where we would've gone.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Day 28 - Words


Day 28 - The Word or Phrase You Use Constantly

This is probably easier to do for someone else than yourself.  I can't really think of something I say constantly - other than maybe "Love you, babe" to my girls and "Love you, buddy" to my son.


Friday, 27 November 2015

Day 27 - What You Wore Today


Day 27 - What You Wore Today

Today was a day off of school for the kids, followed by hockey practices in the evening and a get-together for Emma with her youth friends.

So, I wore my exercise clothes until I finally got around to exercising, and then yoga pants with an UA shirt after that.  

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Day 26 - Ex

Day 26 - Things You'd Say to an Ex


This is sort of a weird one.  I don't think of my exes, and don't really have anything to say to them, other than that I hope they have a relationship with Jesus and wish them the best.



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