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Thursday, 31 December 2015

Reading Challenge Update - 2015 Final


I didn't quite finish the pile. Just one book left, but it won't get finished. It is also a carry over from the 2014 Challenge. Some times I don't think I'll ever finish it, but it's actually a really good book.
I'm happy that I got most of the books read.

I won't be doing a TBR Pile Challenge in 2016, but maybe one day if my TBR pile gets some on there for a long time again.

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Now this challenge I did finish! Some books were hard to choose, but I did have fun.

I've given updates through the year, but I thought it would be fun to list them all here now.

  • Takes place in your state or country: In All These Things by Marjorie Buckingham
  • Makes you cry: Not My Will by Francena H Arnold
  • You loved as a child: The Circus Collection by Enid Blyton
  • Your best friend recommends: Knowing God by David Egner
  • Has a great cover: Ghost Writer by Rene Gutteridge
  • Features someone who shares your eye colour: The Promise by Jane Peart
  • Is over 500 pages long: The Bible
  • Begins a series: Buried Secrets by Irene Hannon
  • Is in a genre you don't normally read: The Land Uncharted by Keely Brooke Keith
  • Has a child main character: Swallow Me Now by Melissa Gijsbers
  • Takes place in your favourite time period: My Brother's Crown by Mindy Starns Clark & Leslie Gould
  • Is written by an author you've never heard of: Andrew Murray: Destined to Serve by Olea Nel
  • Was made into a movie: The Christmas Candle by Max Lucado
  • Reminds you of someone you love: Sisterchicks in Gondolas by Robin Jones Gunn
  • Includes a Christmas scene: The Christmas Joyride by Melody Carlson
  • Is a classic you've never read:  Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell
I'm still figuring out if I'll be doing any reading challenges for 2016, but if I do choose to do any I'll post it in the next few days.
Happy New Year and happy reading!

Monday, 7 December 2015

ACRBA Tour - Star! Stable! Saviour! by Cameron Semmens


6 - 10 December
is introducing

Star! Stable! Saviour!
(Wombat Books 1 December 2015)

By

Cameron Semmens



About the Book:
“Forget the kids! It was me who loved this in our house. OK the kids did too!” – Sally Smith
The traditional Christmas story has been told and re-told for nearly two thousand years – but never quite like this. Poet Cameron Semmens’s quirky and alliterated re-telling of it in Star! Stable! Savior! brings a totally fresh perspective on the ancient Christmas story.

Originally published in 2007 under the title The Story of The Star, The Stable and The Saviour, the book sold out after only a few years. Now it’s back with a fresh, punchy new title.



About the Author

Cameron Semmens is a poet, entertainer and poetry educator with 15 books to his name. He makes his living through words: performing, running workshops and book design. He lives in the Dandenong Rangers with his wife and two children.


My Thoughts:
This is a funny take on the Christmas story ... and a real tongue twister!!
A good idea for the kids in your life who have already heard the Christmas story a million times and can probably tell it better than you can!

Monday, 2 November 2015

ACRBA Tour - Intertwined by Jennifer Slattery



2 - 6 November
is introducing

Intertwined
(New Hope Publishers September 2015)

By

Jennifer Slattery




About the Book:
Abandoned by her husband, an organ procurement coordinator fighting to keep her job and her sanity encounters an old flame facing an unthinkable tragedy.

For Tammy Kuhn, being an organ procurement coordinator is more than a job. It’s a ministry. But when her husband of sixteen years leaves her for another woman, struggles with childcare, her absentee ex-husband, and an altercation with a doctor threaten her job. Embittered and overwhelmed, she fights to maintain her sanity when a late night encounter with an old flame stirs emotions long since buried but the ICU is no place for romance.


About the Author


Jennifer Slattery writes missional romance novels for New Hope Publishers. Her debut, "Beyond I Do", releases in August. She also writes Christian Living articles for Crosswalk.com and devotions for her personal blog, JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud; Internet Cafe Devotions; and Takin' it to the Streets', a ministry serving Omaha Metro's working poor and homeless. 

When she's not writing, she enjoys reading, hanging out at the mall with her teenage daughter, enjoying her real-life hero husband, or serving in her church or community.


My Thoughts:
This book shows just how messed up life can get - especially when divorce is a factor. It shows the hurt for the adults involved and also for the children, and the way children can be manipulated by the adults who are trying to hurt each other.
I found it hard to put this book down because I needed to know that it all worked out in the end.

This is also a book that highlights the need for organ donation, and the hope it can bring to a family to know that the loved one who they have lost, can live on through the lives of the organ recipients.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

My Lighthouse

I recently discovered this song, and it may just be a new favourite. It is certainly about one of my favourite things.



Saturday, 10 October 2015

Reading Challenge Update 6


Just one more book to add this time, but that means I have only one book left to complete the challenge!!

  • Hear Me When I Call by Charles Swindoll
was the book I finished this time, which puts me at 17 out of 18!

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There is also just one for the Bingo Challenge this time:
  • Takes place in your favourite time period: My Brother's Crown by Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould
It has taken me a long time to figure out what my favourite time period is, but with this book I finally worked it out.
What I really like are books that combine contemporary and historical. These usually involve the exploring of family history and having the stories from ancestors intertwining with current events. This is just such a book.
For me, it doesn't really matter what the historical period is - this one was set in the 1600's; others have been set much later. I think I like this combination because I am very much interested in my family history (although I have not really been able to research it).
If you would like to read my book review for this book you will find it here.

Until next time ... happy reading.

Monday, 5 October 2015

ACRBA Tour - Same by Katrina Roe



5 - 9 October
is introducing

Same
(Wombat Books 1 July 2015)

By

Written by: Katrina Roe Illustrated by: Jemima Trappel



About the Book:
When Uncle Charlie comes to visit, Ivy keeps her distance. He seems different from other people she knows. Can Uncle Charlie find a way to show her that he is not so different after all?
Same is a touching true story about love, acceptance and finding common ground.
Katrina Roe’s debut children’s book Marty’s Nut-Free Party was shortlised in the Speech Pathology and CALEB awards. Same helps a child relate to what is actually the same, in someone who seems so different.




About the Author



Katrina Roe is an author and radio presenter.

Most recently she was host of the morning show on Sydney’s Hope 103.2 radio (www.hope1032.com.au) before leaving to have her second baby. 
Katrina also has a successful parenting blog (www.frommouthsofbabes.wordpress.com). 

Marty’s Nut-Free Party was her first children’s book, followed by Emily Eases herWheezesEmily was listed as a notable book by CBCA in 2015. Same is her latest book, and is scheduled for release in July 2015.
Katrina has also contributed to two inspirational anthologies, All Creation Sings: Psalms of Everyday Christians and a book about miscarriage called In God’s Hands: Overcoming Miscarriage in a Broken World.

In 2009, she completed her Masters in International Relations, just for fun!  Katrina also likes kayaking, bushwalking, reading novels, taking holidays, listening to music and hanging out with friends.  She’s adamant that tea should always be made in a pot and she has a definite weakness for soft cheese.
She lives in Sydney with her three young daughters and her husband Chris.

Jemima is a Sydney-based artist and illustrator who enjoys riding her bicycle. Like many illustrators she was born holding a pencil and uses it frequently to bring words to life. 
She decided to make a career out of her passion, and in 2012, after five years at the College of Fine Arts and the University of NSW, she emerged with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (with honours), a Bachelor of Arts (a combined degree) and the ability to converse in French.
Same by Katrina Roe, is her first book with Wombat Books. Prior to this, Jemima illustrated Wonderfully Madison (2013 – winner of the children's book category in the Caleb awards that year) and Fearlessly Madison (2014) by Penny Reeve (published by Youthworks Media). She is also the illustrator of the short comic, A friend in need, by Karen Bielharz (part of the self-published Kinds of Blue anthology, 2011), and is the linework artist for the short animation Money Tree (2011), written and directed by Hawanatu Bangura. 


My Thoughts:
This is a beautifully illustrated story and is very true to life. Both children and adults have the same reactions as Ivy did in the story when someone who is "different" appears (although adults don't generally run away). This story is a good reminder to look for something that we can have in common with everyone; and such a good way of teaching children.

I'll be donating my copy to the after school care program where I work, so that those children can learn about finding something the same in everyone they meet.

Friday, 2 October 2015

Book Review - My Brother's Crown by Mindy Starns Clark & Leslie Gould

One of the great things about books is that you learn some things about yourself while you read them. For the Bingo Reading Challenge that I've been doing this year, one of the squares was for a book that 'Takes place in your favourite time period.' I had been racking my brain for ages trying to figure out what my favourite time period actually is, and in reading the book I'm about to review I found it (more on that in my next challenge update).


Cousins of the Dove #1
by Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould
(Thank you to Harvest House Publishers for my copy.)

Back Cover:

Women of Uncommon Courage

France, 1685
Catherine Gillet knows her brother, Jules, wants to protect her from the sinister threats of the French crown. But Jules is involved in a potentially deadly enterprise, one connected with an encoded document. When his actions put the whole family at risk, will Catherine find a way to save them?

Virginia, present day
Rene Talbot, a direct descendant of Catherine's, is fascinated by the document that's been part of her family legacy for more than three centuries. Certain its pages hold hidden secrets, she takes a closer look - and makes a shocking discovery. But when memories of a childhood trauma are rekindled, she's forced to seek answers of a different kind. Inspired by the faith and bravery of Catherine, can Renee find the truth and face her deepest fears at last?

From the authors of the Christy Award-winning The Amish Midwife comes an epic story of two women, centuries apart, each discovering her own hidden bravery, standing for what she believes in, and finding love in unexpected places.

Authors:

Mindy Starns Clark is the bestselling author of more than 20 books (over 1 million copies sold) including fiction and non-fiction. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, John, and their two daughters. Connect with Mindy at www.mindystarnsclark,com.

Leslie Gould is a bestselling author of 20 novels. She received her master of fine arts degree from Portland State University and lives in Oregon with her husband, Peter, and their four children. Connect with Leslie at www.lesliegould.com.

My Thoughts:

Mindy and Leslie have beautifully woven the stories from these two time periods together. It is a wonderful thing to know your family history and it certainly plays a part in what you do in your life now and why - this was true for Renee as she reflected on the life Catherine lived.
While I had heard of the Huguenots, I was not very familiar with why they were persecuted (not that I really understand persecution in any form - it just should not be, but then we haven't reached heaven yet). The persecution of these people, was yet another example of religious persecution - something that has shown itself in many different forms, during every century.
Faith is at the centre of both of these women's lives. One thing that challenged me, particularly from Catherine's story, is how essential it is to know what you believe and why you believe it.
While there is completion to this book, there are also many questions raised and threads of both stories yet to be unravelled. I look forward to reading the next book in this series: My Sister's Prayer.

Monday, 7 September 2015

ACRBA Tour - Signs in Life by Deanna Nowadnick



7 - 11 September
is introducing

Signs in Life Finding Direction in Our Travels with God
Rhododendron Books (May 8, 2015)

By

Deanna Nowadnick


About the Book:

Signs in Life begins with a late night encounter with local law enforcement. In the harsh glare of a flashlight, Deanna Nowadnick learns the consequences of speeding through a stop sign. Other incidents follow. All are linked to the divine signs she’s encountered in that bigger journey through life.

Deanna shares humorous anecdotes and inspirational lessons from her travels with God. Readers will see the signs in life. She might be speeding through a stop sign–yet again!–while you’re carefully navigating a busy street, but we’re all part of a bigger journey, a greater purpose. We’re all part of God’s great story.

As she used to tell her  young sons, “Buckle up. We’re going for a ride.”





About the Author


Deanna Nowadnick is a native of the Pacific Northwest. When not writing, she serves at the Client Service Coordinator for The Planner's Edge, an investment advisory firm in Washington State.

Deanna is active in her church, playing the violin and editing the newsletter. She loves to knit, adores chocolate, and most important, enjoys a blessed marriage to Kurt. She's also the proud mother of two adult sons. Her first book, Fruit of My Spirit, began as a short story for Kyle and Kevin about how she met their father. It quickly became a much larger story about God's love and faithfulness.

Deanna has just finished her second book: Signs in Life: Finding Direction in Our Travels with God.

Monday, 3 August 2015

Reading Challenge Update 5


I am racing through this challenge! I'm doing so well that there are just 2 books left on my list, and one of them I am in the process of reading right now.

Since the last update, the books I have read are:

  • Let's Talk by Bill Crowder
  • Moving Beyond Failure by Bill Crowder
  • God's Mountains, Meadows and More by Robin Jones Gunn
  • The Circus Collection by Enid Blyton
16 out of 18 is great, and there are still 5 months left of the year!

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As you can see from my Bingo card, I'm getting those boxes filled! 2 columns done!

The 3 boxes that I filled since my last update are:
  • Remind you of someone you love: Sisterchicks in Gondolas by Robin Jones Gunn
  • You loved as a child: The Circus Collection by Enid Blyton
  • Your best friend recommends: Knowing God by David Egner
As a child, who didn't want to run away to the circus?! I'm not sure that I did exactly, but going to see a circus was on my wish list (I have seen one since then). In The Circus Collection, Jimmy does just that! Joins the circus, along with his family.

As for the rest of the squares, you'll just have to wait and see!

Friday, 26 June 2015

Reading Challenge Updates 4


I'm doing really well with this challenge. It's now the middle of the year and I have only 6 books left to finish and 1 of those I am currently in the middle of reading.

The latest ones that I read are:

  • Snow on the Tulips by Liz Tolsma
  • 12 Questions to Ask Before You Marry by Clayton and Charie King
  • From God's Word to a Woman's Heart by Janice Hanna
So 12 out of 18 puts me at 2/3 finished the challenge.

Snow on the Tulips is set in Holland at the end of World War 2, and focuses on the work of the Resistance just before liberation. The story is actually based on the experiences of members of the author's family.

I had started 12 Questions to Ask Before You Marry several years ago as I was reviewing it for a blog tour (you can find my post here). It was good to finish it, and I plan to read it again when I am in a relationship heading for marriage.

I enjoyed From God's Word to a Woman's Heart. It is a devotional which I have been reading a section of each day for the past few months. I recommend this one for anyone contemplating marriage, and even if you don't ever marry, there are many things in it that can apply to life in general.

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Just one more bingo square marked of for this challenge, but I am in the middle of reading 2 others.
One of those will mean I finish a line; and one I won't actually finish until the end of the year, so that will be revealed in my final challenge post!!

Begins a Series: Buried Secrets by Irene Hannon

This is the first book in her new Men of Valor series.

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In other reading news, I am in the process of checking out some books that I have purchased for the kids at work. Some are from authors I have read and these books are junior fiction, while others sounded good so I'm giving them a go. There were also some that I read and loved as a kid that have been reprinted, so there was no need to re-read them.

It's a bit of a switch for me. Back when I was a kid, my Mum used to preview books for me - that is until I read so fast that she couldn't keep up. Every single book that she and Dad gave me as a gift or I got as a Sunday School prize, Mum would read to make sure it was suitable. I like it that my parents cared for me in that way - to make sure that what my mind would be dwelling on lined up with Philippians 4:8 "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things." (NKJV)

Monday, 8 June 2015

ACRBA Tour - Mirage by Jeanette Grant-Thomson


8 - 12 June 2015
is introducing

Mirage
(Ark House Press)

By

Jeanette Grant-Thomson





About the Book:
Miraim is desperate. Her mind is a fog of drug-induced forgetfulness. She has forgotten her past, her family, even who she is. But who is the disturbingly familiar girl in the shopping centre?

Enmeshed in Soleternity, a cult in the Queensland outback, Miriam is pregnant. She believes her future - and that of her baby - lies with the cult.


Bronwyn is determined to rescue Miriam. She has not bargained on falling in love with the journalist helping her.


Away from Soleternity, Miriam faces conflicts. Sol . . .Soleternity . . .and now Anna and Christianity
. How can she know the truth? Who is to be trusted?




About the Author

Jeanette Grant-Thomson has been writing since she was a child, having short pieces published. Her first book was Jodie's Story (Anzea 1991 and two later editions), followed by two more biographies and two novels. She is a teacher and a writer, living in Redlands.


My Thoughts:
I was initially reluctant to read this book because of the subject matter that it deals with - cults.
It's not something you think about much, and they are not really heard about much, unless something goes wrong and there is a news story about one, or an expose on one of the current affairs programs. In reality, you don't want to have to think about them, but you do need to be aware that they do exist; and the reason they exist is because we live in a sinful, broken world.

The way this book was written also makes sense in light of a recent blog post that Jeanette did about her own search for God. Not that she was in a cult, but she was searching for God and He did draw her to Himself.
It makes me think of something I read a long time ago, where Blaise Pascal brought up the context of all of us having a "God-shaped hole".
“What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself.” 
- Blaise Pascal, Pensées VII(425)

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

ACRBA Blog Tour - Too Pretty by Andrea Grigg


4 - 8 May 2015
is introducing

Too Pretty
((Rhiza Press), August 2014)

By

Andrea Grigg





About the Book:


Being beautiful isn’t easy – just ask Ellie Paxton.

Frustrated by a long string of empty relationships, Ellie makes a promise to God not to date for six months, a promise she’s determined to keep.

Tired of being continually misjudged because of her looks Ellie moves to Sydney for a fresh start. But when her path keeps crossing with the darkly handsome Nathaniel, that promise becomes much harder to fulfil.

As they battle with their attraction for each other, Ellie is not the only one to discover it takes more than simply looking in a mirror to find out who you truly are …

Could it be that God has a bigger plan? Could this really be one of those matches made in heaven …?



About the Author

Andrea Grigg grew up in Auckland, New Zealand, but has lived more than half her life in Australia. 

Andrea lives with her husband on Queensland’s Gold Coast, where they have raised their three adult children – two daughters and a son.

Recently retired from teaching ten-year-olds, if she isn’t being a domestic executive or socialising, Andrea can be found in her cave, writing stories.

My Thoughts:

This book was really interesting in the way family dynamics affect the way people feel about themselves and how they respond to things that happen in their lives. I also liked it that there were boundaries in how far characters would go physically in their relationship.

By working through the issues that came up for the characters, you also learn that you don't have to be (and really shouldn't be) defined by your past. Things from the past need to be learned from, but should not consume you. Yes, there may be consequences, but it is possible to move beyond your past.

The only thing I didn't like was the cover of the book. It nearly put me off reading the book. I just don't like having the face that big on the cover, and it seemed really artificial. Normally I don't comment on covers, but this one was just a bit too much for me.

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Reading Challenge Updates 3

Since my last post I've done some reading that covers both of my challenges this year.

3 more books read to reduce my TBR pile (although I have just bought some more books to add to it, but they won't be part of the challenge this year).

  • Before Amen by Max Lucado
  • The Pledge by Jane Peart
  • Hunter's Prize by Marcia Gruver
9 out of 18, takes me to half way through the challenge (and it's not even half way through the year).

I had read The Pledge years ago, so it was interesting to read it again, particularly since I was still a teen the last time I read it. This was also one of the books that I didn't get through in the 2014 Challenge, so I'm glad I've read it now.

Both The Pledge and Hunter's Prize are historical fiction, so they haven't been as appealing to me to read/ I'm not sure why or when I stopped being interested in historical fiction - it used to be what I read all the time. I guess all of us have times when our tastes in reading change, and for me that means I'm not interested so much in historical fiction. The main kinds of books I want to read at the moment are contemporary novels. I don't really want romance, but mystery and suspense are fine. I just don't want to only read those. What I'm really looking for are more books like the Sisterchicks series by Robin Jones Gunn. They aren't romance or mystery/suspense; but they are about women living their lives and doing some really interesting things.

Before Amen by Max Lucado is one of the best books I've read about prayer. I wish I'd had it years ago, It makes prayer seem like something I can do and it doesn't have to be flowery words or hours long. Some days it might just be that you call out God's name because your heart doesn't know what else to say. If there is just one book that you pick up to read this year, this is one that I recommend.

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I also marked off 2 more boxes in the 2015 Bingo Reading Challenge.

  • Is written by an author you've never heard of: Andrew Murray: Destined to Serve by Olea Nel
  • Features someone who shares your eye colour: The Promise by Jane Peart
It's pretty hard to find a character with the same eye colour as me, and I was kind of stretching it with this book. My eyes are a greenish hazel, that change slightly depending on what I'm wearing or how tired I am. The character in this book has hazel eyes.

I have no idea which books to read to go on with this challenge, so you'll just have to wait and see.

Monday, 6 April 2015

ACRBA Blog Tour - Andrew Murray: Destined to Serve by Olea Nel



6 - 10 April 2015
is introducing

(Clairvaux House (own imprint), 1 October 2014)

By

Dr Olea Nel 





About the Book:


For those who love Historical Fiction about Christian heroes of the faith"Historically accurate, and based upon Andrew Murray's letters and early biographies"

A boyish and fun-loving Andrew Murray arrives back in South Africa after being ordained at the Hague on his twentieth birthday. He soon discovers that his preaching lacks the power displayed by his heroes of the faith. He therefore decides to embark on a quest to become a powerful preacher filled with the Holy Spirit.






About the Author

Dr Olea Nel was born in Cape Town, South Africa. After completing her training as a teacher in Andrew Murray’s heartland of Wellington, she relocated to Australia to further her studies. Besides attaining a PhD in Linguistics, she also has qualifications in Information Studies and Theology. Having now retired from her position as a senior librarian at the National Library of Australia, she is able to pursue her passion for research, especially within the fields of church history and biography. Her aim is to share her findings with fellow Christians.



My Thoughts:
I don't often read biographies, so for this to be a biographical novel it made it much easier to read. It made it more personal, more like you were there with Andrew Murray, hearing his thoughts, sharing his life, rather than just hearing "so and so did this, went there, talked to x ...".

Olea has done a really good job of painting a picture of what life was like for Andrew Murray during this time of his life - and the story is not done yet. This is just the first in a series of books, and I'm really looking forward to the next one.

Before I read this, I had heard of Andrew Murray, but didn't really know anything about him. This book is about his first few years in ministry.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Reading Challenges Update 2

I've been having fun with my 2015 Bingo Reading Challenge!

The hunt has been on for books to fit the categories and for some of them I still haven't figured out with book to read, but that's okay because it's still early in the year.


So the books for the next squares are:
  • Makes you cry: Not My Will by Francena H Arnold
  • Has a child main character: Swallow Me, Now! by Melissa Gijsbers
  • Is a classic you've never read: Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell
I'm currently reading one more (you'll have to wait for my next update), but then I'm all out of ideas, at least for now.

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I've also made a little progress on my 2015 TBR Pile Challenge.

3 more books have been read for this with another in progress and one about to be started.

  • Spoken For by Robin Jones Gunn and Alyssa Joy Bethke
  • It's Just You and Me, Lord by Marion Stroud
  • The Spotlight of Faith by Bill Crowder
This takes me to 6 of 18 read - I'm 1/3 through the pile related to the challenge. My TBR pile did grow recently with a purchase of books during a recent sale at my favourite book store.





Monday, 2 March 2015

ACRBA Tour - Swallow Me, Now! by Melissa Gijsbers



2 - 6 March 2015
is introducing

Swallow Me, Now!
(Lilly Pilly Press, October 2014)

By

Melissa Gijsbers





About the Book:

All Sam wants to do is to fit in at her new school. Feeling alone, and desperately trying to find her place in the world, she concocts an AMAZING story - BUT it backfires on her, and she becomes known as the 'Evil Genius's Daughter!' Can her life get any worse?






About the Author



Melissa Gijsbers started writing when she was in High School during the 1990s, even winning some awards for a short story and a script. For many years, life got in the way of creative writing, however she did start blogging around 2006.

She currently lives in Melbourne, Australia with her two sons and a pet blue tongue lizard.


My Thoughts:

This is a book I would definitely recommend for you to share with your children if you are trying to address the issue of bullying. It is also a good one for thinking about children who are coming to a new school and the things they are affected by, particularly those who have come from other countries.

I look forward to reading the next book in Melissa's Green Oaks Primary School series.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Reading Challenges Update 1

Yes! I've been reading books. Not all for challenges, but a few. Some I'm still getting through, but they will be read before the year is out.

I thought I'd do an update for both challenges - 2015 TBR Pile Challenge and 2015 Bingo Reading Challenge.

First up is the 2015 TBR Pile Challenge.

Create your own banner at mybannermaker.com!

I'll get on with what I've read shortly, but there has been one change. Two books on the pile have been removed from the challenge. My sister read the books before I did, and recommended that I don't read them. Her opinion is one that I highly value and listen to, so I won't be reading Strong and Stubborn by Kelly Eileen Hake and An Honest Heart by Kaye Dacus. This means there are now a total of 18 books for the challenge.

So far I have finished 3 books and am currently in the process of reading 3 others (those 3 are all non-fiction and at least 2 are devotional books that I read a small section of each day).

The 3 books I have finished are:

  • Light Force by Brother Andrew and Al Janssen (this one was one that I didn't read in last year's challenge)
  • Finding Spiritual Whitespace by Bonnie Gray
  • The Land Uncharted by Keely Brooke Keith
I found Light Force to be really interesting. It is a sequel to Brother Andrew's first book - God's Smuggler - and talks about what he has been doing since the publishing of that book made it impossible for him to continue his ministry in Europe. I found it most interesting the way his ministry focus has changed to focus on Palestinians - both Christians and Muslims - and the way his life has impacted world leaders and the influence he has had on the way Palestinian Christians have outreached to their own community, particularly in the face of war and terrorism.

Reading Finding Spiritual Whitespace has become part of a study for me, this year, on what true spiritual rest is. Over a few week I was often left with the thought that rest was important in my life and wanted to discover how I could rest in the middle of a busy life. Many people have a word for the year, and this year my word is REST. I'm not talking about getting enough sleep (although that is important), but true rest that is offered by God. The journey is not over, even though I have finished this book - there is still much more to learn on this topic.

So with these 3 books read and 2 books off the list for good, I'm at 3 out of 18 read.

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And now for the 2105 Bingo Reading Challenge.

My Bingo card has just one book read, but I'm working on how to read a few more. I will have one other square filled soon (thanks to a book I got to review).

The book I read for a genre that I don't normally read was The Land Uncharted by Keely Brooke Keith. It was a science-fiction book, and that is something I really don't usually read, but you might have read the blog tour and review post I did about it. Yes, it made it on both of my challenges for the year! But that's not against the rules.

So that's where I'm at with my reading challenges this year. Stay tuned for further updates, reviews and whatever else I think about and post!

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Go To Movies

Do you have any movies that are your "go to" movies?
By this I mean when you don't know what to watch or your have particular emotions going on or there is a particular event happening - are there movies that you just watch at those times?

I have a few - depending on what's happening.

Sabrina is one of the movies I watch when I'm feeling lonely or just don't know what else to watch. I've probably watched it at least 10 times.

Triple Cross is another of my "I don't know what else to watch" movies - I watch this one when I want a little more action (plus I like Christopher Plummer).

Mr Magorium's Wonder Emporium is the movie I watch when I'm unsure of what is going on in my life or I'm really feeling down.

Muppet Christmas Carol I watch when I need a little bit of Christmas! Any time of year is good, and I love the songs (I also have the soundtrack!!).


And this is what I watch around Valentines day - mainly because I really don't like Valentines Day (not having a significant other is the reason for this).

How about you?
Are there movies you watch time and time again for a variety of reasons?


Monday, 2 February 2015

ACRBA Tour - The Land Uncharted by Keely Brooke Keith



2 - 6 February 2015
is introducing

The Land Uncharted 
Edenbrooke Press

October 2014

By

Keely Brooke Keith





About the Book:

Lydia Colburn is a young physician dedicated to serving her village in the Land, a landmass in the South Atlantic Ocean undetectable to the outside world. When injured fighter pilot Connor Bradshaw’s parachute carries him from the war engulfing the 2025 world to her hidden land, his presence threatens her plans, her family, and the survival of her preindustrial society. 

As Connor searches for a way to return to his squadron, his fascination with life in the Land makes him protective of Lydia and her peaceful homeland, and Lydia’s attraction to Connor stirs desires she never anticipated. Written like a historical, set like a scifi, and filled with romance, The Land Uncharted weaves adventure and love in this suspenseful story of a hidden land.






About the Author

Keely Brooke Keith, author of the Uncharted series, is a bass guitarist and frequently performs and tours with her husband, singer/songwriter John Martin Keith. When she isn’t writing stories or playing bass, Keely enjoys dancing, having coffee with friends, and sifting through vintage books at antique stores. Keely resides on a hilltop south of Nashville with her husband and their daughter, Rachel.



My Thoughts
I wasn't sure of this book initially and how to describe it. Keely describes it best (of course it is her book):
"The Land Uncharted is written with the feel of historical fiction, set like science fiction, and of course there is romance."
I generally don't read science fiction, but this definitely felt more like historical fiction, so I did, in fact, enjoy reading it.
The story ticked so many boxes - good characters and character development, a bit of mystery, romance (but not over the top), and an ending that gets you hanging out for the next book in the series.

Keep up the good work Keely!

Friday, 2 January 2015

2015 Bingo Reading Challenge

I found this challenge at the Bethany House Fiction blog and thought it would be a bit of fun.

"For those of you up for a novel dare, here is the Unofficial 2015 Bethany House Reading Challenge! Print it out, keep it on your fridge, tuck it in your ereader, share it with your friends! I’m going to give it a try myself.
A few rules (since this is such a serious and official endeavor): You may re-read books for this (but try to make at least half new books). You don’t have to read just BHP books. And a book may only fulfill one category. So, for example, if you read Les Miserables, which made you cry and has been made into a movie and is way more than 500 pages, and you’re from France and don’t normally read in that genre…it still only counts once. Nice try."

I think I'm going to have a lot of trouble finding a character with the same eye colour as me - mine are on the green side of hazel!

So jump on board and have some fun!