Reviews

Persecuted by Robin Parrish – Review and Giveaway

Have you ever felt that you were the victim of religious persecution?  What exactly does persecution mean to you?  I just finished this awesome book called Persecution, by Robin Parrish, and it’s got me thinking.

 
About the book:

book-1072e3fbc4efc1558c4c3e0867600b5fThe question is not IF attempts will be made to limit religious freedoms, but when.  John Luther simply wants to share the Gospel and enjoy a quiet life with his family.  He never asked to be at the center of a political controversy, but an ill wind has been blowing through the halls of Congress, and supporters of a new religious-equality bill see Luther’s endorsement as critical.  When Luther refuses to lend his support, he unknowingly sets in motion an explosive plan bent on destroying his reputation and undermining everything for which he stands.  His once-normal life is turned upside down as he becomes a fugitive left with only one dangerous option — putting everything he holds most dear at risk while he fights to expose the truth.  It is a mission that brings him face-to-face with the coming storm of persecution that could threaten the very fabric of our nation’s freedoms.
 

As I was reading this book, I was overwhelmed with the thought, “This needs to be made into a movie.”  It is SO action-packed, suspenseful, and thrilling.  Uncomfortable at times, which to me simply means it was written well enough that it engaged me fully, in the joyful moments, as long as in the tense ones.  John Luther, the main character, is so incredibly real….he is a man who wants to follow and preach God’s word, a man who has a troubled past and has turned over a new leaf.  An innocent man trying to do the right thing, who becomes the victim of a horrific conspiracy.

Mr. Gray, another character, is so cold, so…evil.  He does his “job” without emotion, without hesitation, and in reading from his perspective, I was completely drawn into his “world”.  I honestly couldn’t go to sleep the night I started it – I couldn’t get it off my mind!  This novel is so, so engaging; the perfect thriller.  I’m giving it a full 5 stars.

I was so excited after reading it to discover that it is, indeed, coming to theaters!  Yep, the MOVIE Persecuted is coming to theaters July 18.  Knowing the story, I can guarantee I’ll go see it.  Want to see the trailer?  Head over HERE.

 

Have I intrigued you yet?  I hope so, because I’ve got a copy of the book to give away!  The giveaway is open to US and Canada residents, and ends on July 15th at midnight MDT.  Good luck!  Enter below:

 

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification

Canvas Champ Review and Giveaway

Y’all, I love canvas prints.  I LOVE them.  They can be expensive, but they look so great!  This is why I’m excited to introduce you to Canvas Champ.  They have the lowest canvas prices that I’ve seen yet.  Here’s a little more about them:

logoAre you searching for large canvas prints – say, 16 x 20 canvas prints or even larger, like 30 x 40 custom large cheap canvas prints? You’re at the right place – anything you want for your canvas print deals is available right here with discounted price inexpensive canvas prints as compare to other online shops.
 
If you are new to discount canvas prints, let us explain a little. Our cheap canvas prints begin with sturdy frames with artist canvas stretched over them. They are ¾” or 1” deep, and our gallery collection allows you to stretch the printed surface right over the edge and around the sides. Hang yours with or without an added frame – it’s your choice.

Did we mention our 100% quality guarantee, or our lowest price guarantee? They’re worth checking out, along with free and fast shipping, simple ordering and gift certificates.

I chose to use a nature shot I’d taken, to see how that turned out on a 10×8-inch canvas.  I loved it!  Next time I’ll do one bigger.  The product shipped quickly, and was packaged very carefully.  I wish I’d taken a picture of the wrap, because it was done so well.  It took me five minutes to get it completely open!  I like that Canvas Champ will take such care to make sure my product gets to me safe and sound.

Canvas Champ 12x8" canvas

Buddy Boy approved

They also do more than just canvas.  Customers can order custom metal prints, photo boards, and peel and stick products, among other options.

 
 
So…does this pass the “Better on a Budget” test?  Yes, yes, yes!  The quality of the canvas is fantastic, and I have been nothing but impressed with the customer service and handling of the product.  And of course, there’s the price, lower than other canvas places I’ve seen.  I’d highly recommend Canvas Champ to my readers!

 

And now…for the most exciting part.  Canvas Champ has generously offered to give one of our readers a FREE canvas print!  Enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


 
*I received a free canvas print from Canvas Champ in exchange for my HONEST review.  The opinions are mine, and mine alone.

The No-Gun Man by L. Ron Hubbard Audio Book Review

Who needs tv when you can listen to an incredible audio book?  L. Ron Hubbard brings another high-action story, and a multicast performance brings it to life:

No-Gun-ManAbout The No-Gun Man:

Monte Calhoun finally returns to his hometown of Superstition after several years back East going to school and making a name for himself in what he calls “civilization.” His triumphant return is quickly tempered when he discovers that his father has been murdered in an attempt to steal his gold mining claim, the Deserter Lode.

Now the entire town expects—in fact, demands—that Monte avenge his father’s death, something that he morally cannot abide. All Monte wants to do is take custody of his younger brother Dick and head far away from the rough-and-tumble Old West.

As blood lust and gold lust rapidly boil over in town, events gallop forward, triggering a conflict within Monte that is both unexpected and fateful.

My thoughts:

The multicast performance in the audio is so highly entertaining!  I’d honestly rather listen to these stories than watch television.  The story from L. Ron Hubbard is action packed from the beginning, and highly imaginative.  Galaxy Audio has taken a well-written story, and turned it into a cinematic masterpiece.  The audio includes music and sound effects.  Featured is David O’Donnell, who is an accomplished actor.

I like that I can get all the detail from the book and yet all the action from the “movie” side.  I can see the characters as clearly as if I’d been watching a screen.  The main character of The No-Gun Man, Monte Calhoun, is so pure and good.  He’s a very likeable character who has to face ugly truths, truths that shake him to his core.  His younger brother is much less naive, but every bit as likeable.  Honestly, there wasn’t a thing about this story I didn’t like.  If you are a fan of Westerns, you’ll enjoy this.

If you like a good audio book, you’ll LOVE the audio job done with this!  I’m giving it 5 stars.  I highly enjoyed it!

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*I received a copy of the book from Galaxy Press Media in exchange for my honest review.  The opinions are mine and mine alone. 

Shadows From Boot Hill by L. Ron Hubbard

Galaxy Press Media sent me an audio and print copy of the book, Shadows from Boot Hill by L. Ron Hubbard.

STORY SYNOPSIS: Every man walks with a shadow . . . but what happens when he acquires a second one? Just ask Brazos—a dead ringer for Jack Palance who’s a cold-blooded killer for hire with blood on his hands and a posse on his tail.

 

Desperate for cash, Brazos accepts $200 to gun down a local man named Brant. He’ll earn every penny . . . but in the end there’ll be the devil to pay.

Because to put a bullet in Brant means putting one in his partner as well—an eerie stranger schooled in the black art of witchcraft. This is one killing that brings with it a deadly curse—and a second shadow.

 

As Brazos is about to discover, the Wild West doesn’t get any wilder than when a man is damned to live—and die—in the Shadows from Boot Hill.

Also includes the Western adventures The Gunner from Gehenna, in which a plot to steal a miner’s gold reveals how a good man can go bad . . . and a bad man can do good, and Gunman!, the story of an aging gunfighter turned lawman who shows his town what a real man is made of.

I read the stories and enjoyed them.  Easy to read, short stories that are action packed from the beginning.  If you like Western-style stories, you’ll like these!  I liked that I was able to read them all in an afternoon.  Because they are short stories, there isn’t much, if any room, for dragging the story.  The action starts quick and continues to the last page.   The creativity with which L. Ron Hubbard wrote continues to surprise me.  Very engaging read!

Some more fun info:  Did you know how superstitious the Old West was? The Old West was very superstitious.

 
For example the horseshoe was used to protect and attract good and thwart bad fortune in many homes of the Old West.

 

 

 

Here are some horseshoe basics you need to know:

 

To hang a horseshoe with the ends pointing upwards is good luck as it catches all sorts for any good luck.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To hang it with the ends pointing down, is bad luck as all the good luck will fall out.

 

So make sure you hang your horseshoes properly! :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

*I received a copy of the book from Galaxy Press Media in exchange for my honest review.  The opinions are mine and mine alone. 

Truth Be Told by Carol Cox Book Review

I recently read Truth Be Told by Carol Cox.

9780764209574When Amelia Wagner takes over her father’s newspaper in 1893 Granite Springs, Arizona, she vows to carry on the paper’s commitment to reporting only the truth. But Amelia soon learns that even the truth can have serious consequences. Her father’s revealing articles about the Great Western Investment Company have caught the attention of the wrong people, and pressure mounts for Amelia to retract her father’s statements.

Determined to find out the real story, Amelia begins her own investigation. She’s joined by Benjamin Stone, a Great Western employee who’s been assigned to keep tabs on her for the good of the company, a man Amelia finds both perplexing and intriguing.

What they uncover stuns them both–and has far-reaching implications for not only Ben and Amelia but all of Granite Springs. Can they reveal the truth before the enemy finds a way to silence them for good?

My Thoughts:

Okay, so I liked the story, but I didn’t love it.  It’s a nice, easy read, so if you’re looking to be relaxed and entertained without having to think too much, it’s great!  The main character, Amelia, is a hard working, honest, likeable woman.  I could probably say that about all of the “good guys” in the novel as well.  Likeable characters, loyal, kind, and human (you know, relate-able).

The main plot was unpredictable, and kept my attention.  The romantic side of the plot, not as much.  It was pretty predictable and fairly cheesy.  For those who like the cheesy, make-you-giggle romance, it’ll be great!  I definitely appreciated that this novel kept things appropriate language and romance-wise.  I didn’t have to feel guilty reading any of it.

I give Truth Be Told by Carol Cox 3 stars.  I liked it.

*I received a copy of the book, Truth be Told by Carol Cox, from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.  The opinions are mine alone.

How High Will You Climb? by John Maxwell – Book Review

_225_350_Book.1162.coverWhen given the opportunity to read and review John C. Maxwell’s latest book, How High Will You Climb, I jumped on the chance.  The book did not disappoint, and lived up to my excited expectations.

Have you ever heard the saying that motivation doesn’t last forever?  It says something about how neither do showers, and that’s why we need them everyday.  This is one of those books that will motivate me when my motivation wears off – when I need positive reminders.  Thank heavens for the inspiration and encouragement provided here!  John C. Maxwell provides resource after compelling resource teaching us about the absolute importance of our attitudes, and shares many great insights to help us achieve the right mindset, or attitude in our lives.

I understand that How High Will You Climb is an abridgement of a previous book written by him.  I haven’t read the other one, so this was all fresh to me.  I LOVE how he make biblical references to make his points, but never in a “preachy” way.  It’s refreshing to me to read from someone who has plenty of worldly knowledge, but always draws from somewhere deeper as well.  John D. Maxwell’s How High Will You Climb will stay on my shelves to be pulled out time and time again.  I’m giving it 5 stars:  I love it!

 

Book Description

How high will you climb? John Maxwell says it all depends on your attitude.

Nose up or nose down? Just as the angle of an airplane determines its altitude, so does the approach we take-to family, to work, to life in general-determine the attitude we present the world. The way we solve a problem is often secondary to the approach we take in facing the problem, our outward expression every bit as critical as the inward struggle. When the skies above appear stormy, how will you steer that internal plane we call attitude?

With How High Will You Climb?, author John Maxwell presents detailed lessons on the single invaluable quality that has become a person’s primary force toward success. As the world around us delivers challenges-all the while marching on at its own inevitable pace-the attitude we choose affects each of us individually. And yes, an attitude can be chosen. Attitude is easy in times of joy and progress. But how do you handle the failures sure to interrupt the attainment of goals? What happens to us is often quite different from what happens in us.

*I received a copy of the book, How High Will You Climb by John C. Maxwell from BookLookBloggers in exchange for my honest review.  The opinions are mine alone.

Product Review – Ozeri 4X3 Motion Pedometer

Ozeri, being as generous as they are, sent me a new product to try out!  I received the 4X3 Motion pedometer a few weeks ago.  Before I share my thoughts, let me tell you a little more about the product:

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  • Records steps, distance, speed, calories and time with the world’s most advanced Tri-Axis technology.

  • 3 Recording Modes: Today, Split & Total — with a split screen display for multi-data views.

  • New 3D Tri-Axis Sensor (X, Y, Z plane detection) provides superior accuracy in any position.

  • Counts up to 1 million steps with 7-Day Memory, and includes a built-in Clock, Calendar & Sports Timer and Auto Sleep Mode technology.

  • Used by professional athletes, the 4x3motion boasts an ultra slim design that fits in any pocket, and features a blue backlight for night viewing.

  • 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed.

I have mixed feelings about this product.  I was extremely impressed with the accuracy of the step-counting.  I wore it around my neck, in my pocket, and sometimes held it in my hand and looked at it as I walked.  It always seemed to recognize and accurately count my steps, which is a big deal!  Lightweight and comfortable, I would forget I had it with me when it was in my pocket.

The downside was that in the 1st week of using the pedometer, it froze on me.  Twice.  I couldn’t do a thing to “reset” it, except for taking out the battery and putting it back in.  I would then have to set the entire thing up again, and all my previous info was lost.

I contacted Ozeri, and they immediately sent me out a replacement, which I loved and was grateful for!  Unfortunately, the replacement did the same thing, only it froze twice in the first 36 hours of me using it.  I decided that it’s not worth it if I have to take the battery out, lose all my info, and reset the pedometer again every day.

That being said, I read a lot of reviews on Amazon, and a lot of them are quite positive! Based on my own personal experience, though, I can’t in good conscience recommend the product.

*I am not affiliated with Ozeri in any way.  I received a copy of the pedometer for free from Ozeri in exchange for an honest review.

Reasons My Kid Is Crying by Greg Pembroke – Book Review

When I was given the option to review this book, it was a no brainer.  I knew I wanted to read it!

www.randomhouse.comHere’s a little info about it:

There’s nothing quite like a toddler meltdown. Kids can be set off by the smallest thing—a broken toy, meeting Santa, being told to stop licking their shoes—and their fits are often unintentionally hilarious. That’s the idea behind Greg Pembroke’s hit website, Reasons My Son Is Crying, recently named one of the Most Viral Tumblrs of 2013. Now there are even more laughs in the new book, REASONS MY KID IS CRYING (Three Rivers Press; Trade Paperback Original; $15.00; On Sale April 1, 2014).

Like the irresistible blog, REASONS MY KID IS CRYING pairs full-color photos of adorable kids having not-so-adorable fits, along with deadpan descriptions of why these tots are freaking out. Every miniature melodrama and child-size crisis is proof that parenting is always an adventure in absurdity, and sometimes all you can do is laugh.

If you don’t have the book, get it.  It’s great!  If you can’t get the book, go over and check out the facebook page for the theme.  There are a lot of hilarious posts there, posts that are sure to brighten your day and/or lighten your mood.

I really get a kick out of this book!  I laughed out loud at times, and my day was brighter after having browsed through the many reasons that our kids cry.  My 11-year old daughter also enjoyed it quite a bit, and I had a blast listening to her giggle in her room as she turned the pages.  My 7-year old son wasn’t sure he understood the concept of the book (he has autism and doesn’t always get sarcasm and/or jokes), but even he won’t stop reading the thing!  He’s in it for the adorable pictures. :)

Cute pictures, great captions, hilarious stories.  I loved everything about this book!  I’m giving it a full 5 stars.  If you’d like to take a look and see a little more about what the book is about, you can go HERE to read an excerpt.

 

I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.

Undetected by Dee Henderson – Book Review

 

9780764212437I received a copy of Undetected by Dee Henderson  from Bethany House to read and review.  Before I share my thoughts, here is a little more about the story:

Commander Mark Bishop is deliberately low-key: “I’m in the Navy.” But commanding the ballistic missile submarine USS Nevada, keeping her crew trained and alert during ninety-day submerged patrols, and being prepared to launch weapons on valid presidential orders, carries a burden of command like few other jobs in the military. Mark Bishop is a man who accepts that responsibility, and handles it well. And at a time when tensions are escalating around the Pacific Rim, the Navy is glad to have him.

Mark wants someone to come home to after sea patrols. The woman he has in mind is young, with a lovely smile, and very smart. She’s a civilian, yet she understands the U.S. Navy culture. And he has a strong sense that life with her would never be boring. But she may be too deep in her work to see the potential in a relationship with him.

Gina Gray would love to be married. She has always envisioned her life that way. A breakup she didn’t see coming, though, has her focusing all her attention on what she does best–ocean science research. She’s on the cusp of a major breakthrough, and she needs Mark Bishop’s perspective and help. Because what she told the Navy she’s figured out is only the beginning. If she’s right, submarine warfare is about to enter a new and dangerous chapter.

 

My Thoughts:

I’ll be honest, this book started out very slowly.  I felt like nothing really started happening until after I’d read 60 pages, and I was frustrated initially with that.  Once the long background and detail had been laid out, however, I enjoyed the story. It is well written with a lot of “bumps” in the road, keeping it interesting and keeping me engaged.  Fairly predictable, but sweet.  This is the first Dee Henderson novel I’ve read, but I’m definitely curious about them now, particularly because of the tie-in this story had with a previous novel, Unspoken.  I will give this book 3.5 stars.  I liked it pretty well!

 

*I received a copy of this book for free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

Signed, Sealed, Delivered, Hallmark Televesion Series

I love a feel-good show.  I love ‘em best when I don’t have to worry about my kids’ (or me) seeing something less than tasteful, and when I can feel good about what I’m allowing to be viewed in my home.  If you are like me in that sense, then I encourage you to check out this uplifting series from the Executive Producer of Touched By An Angel:

Signed-Sealed-Delivered-MarthaGroup

I was given the opportunity to preview the upcoming episode from the Hallmark Television Series Signed, Sealed, Delivered.  Here is a little more about the show:

Signed, Sealed, Delivered 

The new original series “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” is a wonderful combination of romance, comedy and drama that follows the lives of four postal detectives who transform themselves into a team of detectives to track down intended recipients of undeliverable mail. Their missions take them out of the office where redirected letters and packages can save lives, solve crimes, reunite old loves and change futures by arriving late but somehow always on time. The team includes charming Oliver O’Toole (Eric Mabius), the group’s leader is a man of faith who prayerfully approaches his work with the goal of making a difference in people’s lives; new team member, Shane McInerney (Kristin Booth), a technophile who brings 21st century sensibility to the group; free-spirited, “girl next door” Rita Haywith (Crystal Lowe) who has a photographic memory; and lovable Norman Dorman (Geoff Gustafson), a master in conventional research methods.

The show airs SUNDAYS, 8/7c on Hallmark

This incredible series even incorporates scripture in its themes and in the conversations between characters.  In FACT, The American Bible Society has built a bible study to go with the series,

Sign up for that here: http://www.americanbible.org/features/signed-sealed-delivered

*This reading experience is free, but is only available for a few days, so don’t delay!

 

Episode_1006_BadgeI’d never seen the show before, but in watching the upcoming episode I found it wasn’t hard to catch up on who is who, and to get the main gist of the storyline.  The upcoming episode, Future Me (it airs May 25), is a sweet one.  The characters are sweet, sincere, and a bit quirky.  Those guest starring played precious roles, and I came away with my heart having been touched.

Don’t forget to watch it!  It airs this Sunday at 8/7 Central on Hallmark!  If you want to learn more about the show, check out their facebook page as well!

 

*Better on a Budget is not affiliated with Hallmark or with the show Signed, Sealed, Delivered.  All opinions are mine alone.