Monday, November 12, 2012

More book reviews...

This Scarlet CordThis Scarlet Cord by Joan Wolf
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book, The Scarlet Cord. It is a fictional account of the life of Rahab, the "Harlot" from the Old Testament. While one has to remember that it is a novel and not inspired Scripture, it is an interesting peek into what the story behind Rahab's life and choice to help the Israelite spurs may have been. I really felt that the author spent a great deal of time researching the book and making it feel authentic and truly believable. I love that she thought outside the box with the storyline, giving a picture of a young, beautiful girl in the wrong place at the wrong time. While the subject matter of the Israelites slaughter of the Canaanites is difficult, the author does a nice job of presenting it in a believable and inspiring way. She gives a short discussion of this at the end of the book and also of the research and fictionalization of the story of Rahab. Excellent book and highly recommended.

I received  a copy of this book from the editor in exchange for my honest review. 

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Against the TideAgainst the Tide by Elizabeth Camden
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I really enjoyed this book! It follows the main character of Lydia, an orphan who finally finds herself settled in a job she loves as a translator with the Navy. While there she comes in contact with Bane, and takes some extra translating work from him in order to save money to buy her apartment which she's come to love.  Eventually of course, the playful verbal sparring between the two leads to love and adventure!  While Bane loves Lydia, he's sworn off marriage due to a vow to destroy the man who kidnapped him into a life of opium selling. The chemistry between the two is well-written and the adventure/mystery is engaging, creative and well-done as well. While it is a Christian book, the faith aspect is rather low-key, and interestingly done as it is Bane (the underhanded rogue) who is the Christian and Lydia who has not had much interest in religion.  This was an excellent book and I very much recommend it!

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

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What Your Husband Isn't Telling You: A Guided Tour of a Man's Body, Soul, and SpiritWhat Your Husband Isn't Telling You: A Guided Tour of a Man's Body, Soul, and Spirit by David Murrow
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book is a very interesting and open take on understanding your husband.  The author (wisely) states that not all men are the same of course and in light of the book he must generalize, and that's good to keep in mind as you read.  My favorite line of the book? "Men are just like big toddlers."  Cue laughter from all the women, along with vigorous head nodding.  Anyway, he backs up his ideas with research and cultural and historical information.  Some of it merely backs up what I have heard before, and other parts make my eyes bug out! I would love to read this with my husband and get his perspective; it would definitly make for an interesting couples study (if you can get your husband to do that!). The main parts of the book go through helping women understand his body, soul and spirit, and the last chapters of the book offer some practical advice on "freeing" each of those sections (body, soul and spirit). I really appreciate and recommend this book, and it will be one that I reread occasionally to make sure I am taking care of my husband's needs.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review.

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A Hidden Truth (Home to Amana, #1)A Hidden Truth by Judith McCoy Miller
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
A Hidden Truth was a well written book about Dovie, who goes to visit relatives in the Amana Colonies where her recently deceased mother was from. She goes looking for information about her mother's past as she would not share about it with her.  I enjoyed this book, especially the peek into the life in the Amana Colonies, a group of villages where the people have chosen to live communally, sharing in the work and gains.  While parts were similar to the Amish, they are actually very different and I found the historical aspect of the community fascinating.  I enjoyed Dovie's transition into the community as well as her search for her mother's past, though it did seem a bit anti-climatic at the end. It was an enjoyable read and one I would recommend.
i recieved a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 

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If We SurviveIf We Survive by Andrew Klavan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This book was a fast adventure read.  I enjoyed the story of the small short-term missionary group caught in a country just as a rebel group overthrows the government.  It is written for a young adult audience and for that audience, is an excellent book, though there is violence, and the main character shoots and kills a rebel in self-defense.  As an adult, I felt the characters were a bit over the top, especially the 22 year old Meredith, who appears to be completely unafraid of the rebel leader threatening their executions.  I had a hard time believing her character, though I understand what the author portrayed through her.  I also had a hard time believing a group of high schoolers and a 22 year old would be sent with one leader to lay a block wall. What high schooler knows how to do that? I doubt that the average high school reader would worry too much about these items and would enjoy the action and adventure of the book.

I recieved a copy of this book for review from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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Understanding World Religions in 15 Minutes a Day: Learn the Basics Of: Islam Buddhism Hinduism Mormonism Christianity and Many MoreUnderstanding World Religions in 15 Minutes a Day: Learn the Basics Of: Islam Buddhism Hinduism Mormonism Christianity and Many More by Garry R. Morgan
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
If you are looking for a brief, fairly academic synopsis of various world religions, then this book is for you.  "Understanding World Religions in 15 Minutes a Day" does just that- gives you a fairly easily readible chapter on religions such as Christianity, Roman Catholic Christianity, Eastern Orthodox, Native American religions, Africal traditional, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Islam (several chapters on different aspects), Christian Science and Scientology, Mormonism, Jehovah's Witnesses, etc.  I believe my main problem is that I expected something different.  I was hoping for a book from a Christian viewpoint discussing religions' differences to Christianity and how we can relate to them from an evangelistic standpoint.  In fact, it is exactly what the title says.  The basics of many world religions.  It wasn't at all what I wanted and i honestly found myself struggling to keep my attention on the reading. If you are looking for an explanation of "key beliefs, histories and practices" (as the back cover states), then this is it, as the chapters are definitely manageable. The book is well-written and researched.

I recieved a copy of this book from the publisher Bethany House for my honest review.  

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Tangled AshesTangled Ashes by Michele Phoenix
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was a great book. Its a novel set in a castle in France with a historical mystery!  The book centers on the (seriously flawed) character of Beck, alcoholic, angry, and basically out of control. He goes to France to renovate an old castle for his business and while there, begins to work out some of his issues thanks to Jade, the owners' children's nanny, who has some issues of her own.  I appreciated the honesty in the characters' struggles and the fact that Jade, while the Christian character of the book, is not a perfect, sweet, Bible touting Christian girl, but a woman struggling with her own issues and a snappy attitude to boot! She does talk about faith with Beck, but you don't feel like that's the reason for the novel as you might in some other Christian lit. The modern story of Beck and Jade is interspersed with chapters of the history of Marie and Elise, 16 year old French girls working for a Nazi "baby factory" which was housed in the castle.  There are some strange happenings around the castle and a semi-mute, reclusive old man squatting in the gatehouse thrown in as well. While I wanted more at the ending, I love that the author kept it realistic and intelligent; it was much more satisfying that a lot of sappy romance based books. I would definitely recommend this book to those looking for a great, clean (historical) mystery.

I recieved a copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review.

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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Sew your own leggings!

I had the chance to test a pattern for Andrea at Go To Patterns, a site with lots of downloadable patterns for men, women and children.  The one i got to try out was the Go To Leggings Pattern. (Use my affiliate link here or click on the ad on the sidebar to use my link!)

I love that there are so many options!  Just look at that list!  

We chose to do the peekaboo leggings. Once your pattern is printed, cut out and taped, these come together SO quickly!  The waistband elastic is such a simple method (one I'll be using again!). These are simple enough for a beginner project.

Disclaimer: my pictures are awful. Super quickies... and I was lazy and didn't put on the bows yet... :) and don't mind my daughter's crazy hair... anyway...

 I love the way the peekaboos look on capris (as in the designers photo), they do get a bit lost on the longer ones, at least until she gets a smidge taller.  And plus she keeps trying to use them as stirrup pants.... is that coming back around or just in her head?!

Below is the option with the attached skirt and capris.  I love the way these patterns are sized, there is so much room for them to grow. She definitely will be able to wear these for a few years.  

One of the things I love best about sewing clothes?  These outfits cost me 29 cents and 58 cents respectively! (Plus thread and elastic- unless you too save elastic you cut off your husbands old boxer briefs before they go out with the trash...) They are upcycled from clothes I found at our Goodwill which has sales on certain tag colors. 

Depending on how you cut, you can save a little work by using existing hems (which i did on this striped skirt and leggings above)! 

At first I wondered if I would be able to fit a pair of leggings- but it worked!  the flowered ones above are from a size large womens shirt. And for the longer pair, I used a knit nightshirt.  You can always find knit pants or dresses to reuse as well. 

I would definitely recommend this pattern! With so many sizes and options, it will last you for many years to come! Check out her shop for this and other patterns!