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Book Review: The Captive Heart

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The Captive Heart – By: Dale Cramer

Bestselling author of Paradise Valley, Dale Cramer, has done it again!  I have had the privilege of reading and reviewing another one of his enjoyable works!  If you haven’t read Paradise Valley, I encourage you to do so before reading Cramer’s The Captive Heart, because this 2nd book picks up right where Book 1 leaves off.

Book Description:

Ravaged by disease, preyed upon by ruthless bandits, the Bender family’s second year in Mexico has taken a grievous turn.  Faced with impossible choices, the expatriate Amish discover, more than ever before, what it means to live by faith and not by sight.

But it’s Miriam who must make the hardest choice as her heart takes her on a new and dangerous course.  Domingo.  “He is gentle,” his sister said, “until someone he loves is threatened.”  Is Miriam that someone?

“Cualnezqui,” he often calls her – The Nahuatl word for Beautiful one.  The chiseled native has proven himself a man of principle, grace, and power.  Yet is he the pearl of great price for whom Miriam would sacrifice everything, or is he merely a friend?  Tormented by conflicting emotions, she’s haunted by vivid dreams: Dressed in the coarse cotton pants and shirt of a peasant, she stands on the precipice of a sun-washed ridge searching desperately for Domingo.  Domingo the fierce.  Domingo the protector.

Domingo the forbidden.

This book definitely kept me reading, even more so than Book 1 in the Daughters of Caleb Bender series.  Many suspenseful events occur that keep the story moving and the reader intrigued – illness, a kidnapping, and a rescue in the shadow of a loss of loved ones.  Even though the main story line focuses on the events that involve Miriam and Domingo, Cramer does not forget the perils also faced by Caleb and the rest of the growing Amish community.  His characters are  just as captivating as they were in the first book – each one with their own personality, strength and struggles depicted in ways that forces the reader to want to learn more about them.  Caleb’s faith is pushed harder,  Domingo learns more of the ways of the Amish, and Ada becomes a hero in her own right. This book is another good example of how Faith, Love and Forgiveness can change the lives of others.  There is also the question of whether or not it would be wise to give up the Amish way to follow another way.

If you read this book, let me know how you like it.  I know I am now anxiously waiting to read Book 3!!

Thank you to Bethany House for providing this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 2551

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Posted by on August 15, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Friday Featured Product Review and Giveaway! ~ “Man Shoes” by Tom Watson

"Man Shoes" by Tom Watson

A survivor of child abuse, upheaval and 13 foster homes, Tom Watson learned at an early age to overcome adversity.  Rescued at the age of five by the Watson family, he found new hope and love that helped to heal his deep physical and emotional wounds.  Encouraged by a community of supporters, Tom learned vital lessons in patience, perseverance, laughter and tradition.  Years later, these lessons would be put to the ultimate test as Tom faced heartbreaking losses that threatened to destroy him.  A stunning revelation of one man’s determination to live life to its fullest, Man Shoes demonstrates that new beginnings are possible at any age and at any stage of life, no matter what obstacles get in the way.  This story is an important reminder that we can live a better life and influence others to do the same!”

 

If the above summary (found on the back cover of the book) doesn’t make you want to read Tom Watson’s book, Man Shoes – The Journey to Becoming a Better Man, Husband & Father,  then I don’t know what will!  I read it and was immediately intrigued!  Upon receiving my review copy, I didn’t hesitate to begin reading it and was glad I chose to do so.  Tom Watson is very honest and open about the journeys he encounters during the events that make up his life and the man that he has and continues to become.  With every chapter I found myself anxious to see how he handled the minor and major situations that were thrown in his path, as well as how his life events, upbringing and faith affected his thoughts and actions towards those situations. Through his book, Tom Watson reminds us that we can either allow the hardships in our past to bring us down or we can utilize it and learn from it in order to make the present and the future better and brighter. 

 

At the beginning of each chapter, Tom shares a verse from a country song that he feels relates to the topic discussed.  I found this amusing and a fun feature to look forward to, especially since I’m a fan of country music.  At the end of each chapter, Tom provides a summary of lessons learned and suggestions on how to make your life journey with yourself and others better and worth it.  He also provides a section where you can write down your own reflections and ways you can plan to make your life more meaningful. It helps you think of ways in which you can be a better person for yourself, as a parent, as a spouse and as a friend. I think the key point summaries and areas for reflection were my favorite part of the book because the author invites you to reflect upon your own life, actions and attitudes.  Now that I’ve finished, I’m going to pass my copy along to my husband to read!

 

Overall, if I were to rate this book on a scale from 1 – 10, I would definitely give it a 10!  I encourage you to pick up a copy of Tom Watson’s “Man Shoes” for the husband, father, man in your life.  I agree with the statement “A must read for men of all ages, and for the women who love them”.   Thank you Tom Watson for sharing your story with us and being an inspiration to all!

Tom’s website for Man Shoes is: http://www.manshoes.net

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And now for the Giveaway part!  Here is your chance to win your own signed copy of “Man Shoes”!  To enter, leave a comment at the end of this post stating why you would want to win a copy of this book, as well as “Like” Tom’s page on Facebook – found here.  Be sure to do both actions in order for your entry to count. When leaving your comment, be sure to provide an email address or way for me to contact you in the event that you are the chosen winner of the giveaway.  The winner will be chosen via random.org and will have 48 hours to respond once notified via email.  The giveaway ends at 11:00 p.m. EST on November 10th!  Good Luck!!

 

*Disclosure: I was given a copy of this book in exchange for a review of the product containing my own personal opinion on the product.  I was in no way influenced by the company or individuals associated with this product.  Also note that Facebook has no affiliation with this product, post or giveaway provided.

 

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Friday Featured Product: ~ Sweet Hour of Prayer CD ~

Are you ready for another CD review from Discovery House?  This cd, “Sweet Hour of Prayer“, is perfect for those that enjoy setting aside quiet time to reflect and pray.  It is a classical ensemble with devotional readings from Oswald Chambers, author of “My Utmost for His Highest”.

The cd layout consists of 13 hymns and songs, such as Sweet Hour of Prayer and Just a Closer Walk with Thee, soothingly played by the Wildwood Chamber Orchestra.  While these songs play in the background, Chambers tells of ways we (the listeners) can reflect upon our day, use prayer, and find a purpose to pray during this quiet time.

Sweet Hour of Prayer cd

I personally did not like this cd as much as the ones I had the priviledge of reviewing in past blog posts (see these posts listed on the Friday Featured Product/Giveaways page), only because I don’t set aside “prayer time” during the day.  I would, however, listen to this cd while reading my Bible or just to have as soothing background music if it didn’t have the Oswald readings – I actually find them a bit distracting, especially when I am enjoying a particular song. However, if you are the type of person who enjoys having your quiet time to reflect and pray and finds listening to someone make suggestions on how to use your prayer time, then this is a cd a would recommend for you! 

 

With that being said, I would still give Sweet Hour of Prayer a good rating, and would recommend it to church prayer groups or adult Bible study classes that have prayer time or reflective time during their sessions.  And if you are a fan of Oswald Chambers, then I would add this cd to your collection as well.  If you would like to check out sample tracks from this cd, visit this link from Discovery House Music!  I hope this review was helpful!

 

Disclosure: Please note that I was only given a copy of this product in exchange for a review on my blog. This post reflects my own opinion about the item/product mentioned and was in no way influenced by the company I received the item from.
 
 

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Book Review: Healing Hearts

"Healing Hearts" by: Beth Wiseman

Hello, fellow readers!  Here is another review of a collection of Amish fiction for you! This time, I was able to review Beth Wiseman’s Healing Hearts, a collection of 3 stories previously published in An Amish Christmas, An Amish Gathering, and An Amish Love.

The first story, A Choice to Forgive, centers around mother and widow – Lydia Smucker. Lydia has loved two men in her life. Daniel, who disappeared one Christmas Eve long ago, leaving only a note saying he wanted to live in the Englisch world. And Elam, Daniel’s brother, to whom she had been happily married for 15 years. When Elam dies, Lydia gives up on ever loving again. But she is shocked when Daniel wants to return to the Order and her life.  Daniel is finally able to make known to Lydia the truth about what happened that Christmas Eve in hopes that she can and will at least forgive him.  I will not tell you if she does or not, because that would ruin the outcome of the story for you.  However, I will tell you that the story reminds all of us how important trust, honesty and forgiveness are in our lives.  They just might mean the difference between which path our lives take and lead.

A Change of Heart is the second novella included in the collection. Leah is a writer in a community that does not encourage such fruitless endeavors. She lacks the skills necessary to be a good Amish fraa. Aaron knows these things about Leah, but his heart is captured by this spirited young woman. See how Leah’s stories influence the people around her, and touch some hearts close to her in unexpected ways!

“Healing Hearts” Levina Lapp and her husband Naaman are alone for the first time in 30 years. When Naaman left to visit cousins in Ohio, Levina wasn’t expecting him to be gone a year. Now that he’s back, will they be able to move beyond this estrangement and fall in love again? Even though the story focuses mostly on Levina and Naaman’s marriage and the trials and attempts to get it working again, I found it interesting how Naaman’s visit away from wife and kinner had and would impact the lives of so many people.  This story is not just a reminder of how love and trust are important aspects of a strong marriage and family.  Healing Hearts also reminds readers that God has a purpose for events and things that we do with our lives, even though such things are not understood at the time they happen.

 

I don’t want to add too much more to the summaries listed above in case I accidentally give away the endings for those of you interested in reading Healing Hearts.  I was drawn into reading all 3 stories as soon as I started each one.  I hope that you will be too if you choose to read this book. I couldn’t put it down and finished it in 2 days.

 Once again, Beth Wiseman demonstrates through this collection of stories how well she writes and shares such aspects as love, trust, forgiveness and Faith with her readers.  She’s definitely one of the top Amish fiction authors on my reading list!  I’m glad I chose this book to read and review!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
 
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Posted by on August 30, 2011 in Blogging, Book Nook

 

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Friday Featured Product! ~ “World of Praise” CD ~

Ok, so I know today is Saturday and not Friday, but I didn’t want to wait until next Friday to “publish” this post!!

Today’s “Friday Featured Product” is another cd from Discovery House Publishers & Music entitled World of Praise.  Having enjoyed the Stand Up! Big Band Praise cd I had received for review from Discovery House (see previous post here), I was excited for the opportunity to review another cd for them!

World of Praise cd Discovery House Music

World of Praise cd

World of Praise is not your typical instrumental hymns cd.  This cd features traditional and “newer” hymns played with instruments from countries around the world!  For example, how about listening to What a Friend We have in Jesus as played by instruments from Africa?  I especially enjoyed hearing This Is My Father’s World as played by Persian instruments!  The other hymns feature music from Spain, the Middle East, Ireland, China and more!  It’s like traveling around the world while listening to your favorite hymns!

I believe the thing I enjoyed most about this cd was the fact that I was not only listening to some of my favorite hymns with a different twist, but that I was getting the chance to be exposed to musical instruments from other countries that I might otherwise not have considered attempting to listen to.  I think the wide range of countries and music chosen made the cd even more enjoyable and interesting, as opposed to a cd that perhaps might have only had the hymns featuring instruments from just one or two countries.  I would recommend using this cd to Sunday School or Bible Study groups who want to add a bit of culture to their lessons, even if just used as background music.

Overall, I give a positive review for the World of Praise cd and encourage you to listen to the sound clips given on the Discovery House Publishing and Music site. Thank you, Discovery House, for allowing me to review another one of your great products!

Please note: I was in no way compensated for writing this product review.  I was only given the above  mentioned cd and asked by Discovery House Publishing & Music to write a review, whether positive or negative,  that expressed my honest opinion on their product.
 

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Book Review: The Seraph Seal

“An epic tale of good and evil based on the four horsemen of the Apocalypse found in Revelation.

Using the four horsemen of the Apocalypse to symbolize the four Gospels, four transcendentals, and four forces of the universe (air, water, earth, and fire), Sweet and Wagner weave a fast-paced, end-times tale of good vs. evil and the promise of a new dawn for humanity.

The Seraph Seal

Set in 2048, when planet Earth is suffering from the damaging effects of years of misuse and abuse, cultural history professor Paul Binder receives a mysterious letter that leads him to examine a lost 2nd-century Diatessaron manuscript. Ancient prophecies, cryptic letters, and strange events set him on a course to uncover the missing clues that could lead humanity into a new age. Layered with forgotten symbolism from the ancient, Jewish, and Christian traditions, the novel is a type of engaged fiction in which the main character’s lost journal serves as a guide to the reader in interpreting clues and understanding the novel’s conclusion.”

 

I was very disappointed with this book.  I was hoping it would have been engaging like something from Dan Brown, but unfortunately I found it to be everything but.  The authors of The Seraph Seal, Leonard Sweet and Lori Wagner,  considered their book to be “engaging fiction”.  I found it extremely hard to get into, even as the plot eventually tied together all of the different settings, characters, and such from the beginning of the book.  Sure, there’s a lot of detail involving the clues and such that the characters use to figure out how to “save the world” from the end of times, but I found them to be a bit redundant and drawn out.  If you can get past the beginning of the book with the way it constantly jumps around between characters, plots and settings and you can manage to follow it all until the main story plot ties them all together, then you deserve a medal!!  I usual like books filled with mystery, problem solving, and the like (such as The Da Vinci Code), but this particular book is definitely on my “I’m not going to read this again” list.  

 

If you would like to add this book to your reading list, then by all means I wish you luck and hope you enjoy it.  I, unfortunately, found The Seraph Seal unenjoyable and disappointing.

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

 
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Posted by on June 25, 2011 in Blogging, Book Nook

 

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Friday Featured Product: Seminar from Proactive Parenting

Are you an avid user of “time out” with your preschooler?  Do you find that you have to repeatedly correct an undesirable behavior with your child?  Would you like to try something new that will end the power struggle between you and your child while at the same time having a positive learning experience for your little one?  If your answer to any of these questions is “yes” (or maybe “YES!!!”), then let me suggest the audio seminar I just listened to from Proactive Parenting called “Calm, Firm, Loving Discipline”.

 

The “Calm, Firm, Loving Discipline” audio seminar is narrated by Sharon Silver, author of Start Reacting Start Responding.  She provides us with 4 simple steps that puts a positive twist to the age-old method (and may I add, very warn out method) of “time out”.  In fact, Sharon even refers to the “time out 2.0” with a new name: the “Remembering Spot”.  According to Sharon, this “remembering spot” gives you a better chance to explain to your child what behavior you would like to see, as well as give your child a chance to think about it and to process or understand what is being expected of him/her.  This takes away the punishing aspect that time out has turned into.  It also puts an end to the power struggle you may be facing with your child.  Along with the explanation of what the Remembering Spot is and how it works, Sharon takes her seminar a step further by providing a few examples/scenarios that demonstrate the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of the time out method and the remembering spot method.  I found these examples to be very helpful because, being an applicable learner myself,  it helped me to better understand how the remembering spot would help me to effectively get the desired behavior I want from my 3 year old without either of us hitting our frustration levels.

Sharon Silver of Proactive Parenting

 

I would enjoy telling you more about what I learned from the “Remembering Spot” seminar (Correcting the Willful Child)  I reviewed from Proactive Parenting, but I think it would be more effective for you if you listened to it yourself.  Sharon also has other seminars available for purchase on the Proactive Parenting site, as well as her book Start Reacting Start Responding.  If you would like to see my previous review on Sharon’s book, you may do so by clicking here, or by visiting my Friday Featured Product/Giveaway page.  

 

I hope my review was a bit helpful in learning more about what Proactive Parenting has to offer!  Thank you Sharon Silver of Proactive Parenting for allowing me once again to review one of your products.  Also, a Thank You goes out to Mommy Perks and your Reliable Bloggers list, through which Sharon found my blog and  gave me the opportunity for this review.

 

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