Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Butterfly and the Violin {review}

The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron


About the book

A mysterious painting breathes hope and beauty into the darkest corners of Auschwitz---and the loneliest hearts of Manhattan.

Manhattan art dealer Sera James watched her world crumble at the altar two years ago, and her heart is still fragile. Her desire for distraction reignites a passion for a mysterious portrait she first saw as a young girl---a painting of a young violinist with piercing blue eyes.

In her search for the painting, Sera crosses paths with William Hanover, the grandson of a wealthy California real estate mogul, who may be the key to uncovering the hidden masterpiece. Together, Sera and William slowly unravel the story behind the painting's subject: Austrian violinist Adele Von Bron.

A darling of the Austrian aristocracy, talented violinist, and daughter to a high-ranking member of the Third Reich, Adele risks everything when she begins smuggling Jews out of Vienna. In a heartbeat, her life of prosperity and privilege dissolves into a world of starvation and barbed wire.

As Sera untangles the secrets behind the painting, she finds beauty in the most unlikely of places: in the grim camps of Auschwitz and in the inner recesses of her own troubled heart.

My Thoughts

When I saw the topic of this book I knew I wanted to review it! I have always been fascinated with anything related to World War II. The Butterfly and the Violin is two stories-one from the past and one from the present intertwined. I was fascinated to learn that the prisioners in the death camps were forced to perform their music and had created art work while in captivity. I sometimes think we don’t put a face to the name or stop to realize that the prisoners in the death camps had real lives, real talent, be it doctor, or housewife, banker or musician or artist.

The story while sad and heartbreaking in places also portrays hope were there seems to be none, finding God when he seems unreachable in the depths of despair.

The Butterfly and the Violin is an exceptional story that you will not want to put down!


You can learn more about The Butterfly and the Violin by visiting the Litfuse website!

About the author

Kristy Cambron has been fascinated with the WWII era since hearing her grandfather's stories of the war. She holds an art history degree from Indiana University and received the Outstanding Art History Student Award. Kristy writes WWII and Regency era fiction and has placed first in the 2013 NTRWA Great Expectations and 2012 FCRW Beacon contests, and is a 2013 Laurie finalist. Kristy makes her home in Indiana with her husband and three football-loving sons.

Find Kristy online: website, Facebook, Twitter

Welcome to the launch campaign for debut novelist Kristy Cambron's The Butterfly and the Violin. Romantic Times had this to say: "Alternating points of view skillfully blend contemporary and historical fiction in this debut novel that is almost impossible to put down. Well-researched yet heartbreaking. . . ."

Kristy is celebrating the release of the first book in her series, A Hidden Masterpiece, with a fun Kindle Fire giveaway and meeting her readers during an August 7th Facebook author chat party.


 One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on August 7th. Winner will be announced at The Butterfly and the Violin Author Chat Party. Kristy will be connecting with readers and answering questions, sharing some of the fascinating research behind the book, hosting a fun book chat, and giving away some GREAT prizes. She will also be giving an exclusive look at the next book in the series, A Sparrow in Terezin!

So grab your copy of The Butterfly and the Violin and join Kristy on the evening of August 7th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 7th!

disclosure: I received a copy of this book from LitFuse in exchange for my honest opinion. No other compensation was received. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Revealing {review}

The Revealing by Suzanne Woods FIsher

About the book: 

Naomi King, soft spoken, loyal, and easily overlooked, has a gift. She sees what others can't see. Intuition, she calls it. Others in Stoney Ridge don't know what to make of it and dismiss her hunches and inklings altogether.
When a young woman arrives at the Inn at Eagle Hill with a shocking secret about Tobe Schrock, Naomi fears the worst. She can't ignore the feeling that something sinister is at work--- something more than a threat to the tenuous love begun between her and Tobe.
As signs mount, they begin to point to Jake Hertzler, the elusive mastermind behind Schrock Investments' downfall. Soon, events spiral hopelessly out of control and Naomi must decide whether to listen to her head or her heart.
In this riveting conclusion to The Inn at Eagle Hill series, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher pulls out all the stops with a fast-paced tale of deception, revelation, and just the right dose of romance.

My Thoughts

If like me, you have come to expect the best from Suzanne Woods Fisher! I have read many of her stores and they are wonderful from the two previous books in this series, The letters and The Calling and now The Revealing! You will not be disappointed! 

In The Revealing! Suzanne once again delivers an excellent read in her third and final book in the Inn at Eagle Hill series! 

I have loved the characters in these stories from the start and I really enjoyed the way this series ended. As sad I as I am for a series to come to an end it eventually has to happen!

You could read the book as a stand alone….if you really wanted too. However I don’t recommend you do that! Once again we are back at Eagle Hill Inn where we find  mystery, love, humor and some familiar faces, some new faces as well! The story also has some twists and turns and keeps you reading to find out what will happen!  You will not want to put it down! 

Reading The Revealing was like revisiting old friends! I tremendously enjoyed all of the books in this series! I think you will too! 

Be sure to visit the Litfuse website to learn more about The Revealing!

About the author:

Suzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling author of the Inn at Eagle Hill series, Lancaster County Secrets series, and the Stoney Ridge Seasons series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace. She is also the coauthor of a new Amish children's series, The Adventures of Lily Lapp. Her interest in the Anabaptist cultures can be directly traced to her grandfather, who was raised in the Old Order German Baptist Brethren Church in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Suzanne is a Carol Award winner and a Christy Award finalist. She is a columnist for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazines. She lives in California.
Download Suzanne's free app!


In The Revealing, the riveting conclusion to the Inn at Eagle Hill series, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher pulls out all the stops with a fast-paced tale of deception, revelation, and just the right dose of romance.

Suzanne is celebrating by giving away THREE iPads!


  THREE grand prize winners will receive:
  • An iPad
  • PickPocket Tablet Accessory Pouch (A stylish storage pouch designed to hold all your tablet accessories. Info.)
  • The Inn at Eagle Hill series (The Letters, The Calling, and The Revealing)
Five second place winners will receive:
  • The Inn at Eagle Hill series (The Letters, The Calling, and The Revealing) by Suzanne Woods Fisher
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on July 20th. All winners will be announced July 21st at Suzanne's blog. AND ... if you're looking for more in the Inn at Eagle Hill series, be sure to pick up the ebook novella, The Rescue, for just $1.99!

Suzanne is also giving away two 10-book mystery prize packs!

One of the major themes of The Revealing is learning to trust your intuition and instincts. These are God-given qualities that we sometimes are too timid or unsure of to act on. For a chance to win one of the 10-book prize packs, leave a comment on this blog and share about a time when your intuition or instinct saved the day—or a time you ignored it and missed an opportunity.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to visit Suzanne's blog on the 21st to see if you won one of the great prizes! (Or better yet, subscribe to her blog and have the winner announcement delivered to your inbox!)

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from LitFuse in exchange for my honest opinion. No other compensation was received. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Experience History through Music {Review}


For the last several weeks we have had the opportunity to learn history in a way we have never experienced before! We were given the opportunity to review Experience History Through Music  by Diana Waring!

Our entire family loves history! We just cannot seem to learn enough! We love to read living books about history, take field trips, watch documentaries! Our learning opportunities are endless! History naturally shows up in so many subjects and gives us the opportunity to incorporate history throughout our daily learning such as math, science and geography! 

Experience History Through Music is unique in that we are learning through music! Learning in this way keeps our studies lively and interesting! I don’t know about your kids but my boys also love music! Being able to combine history though listening to music and reading makes for some awesome learning time!

These books and CD’s are wonderful! The music is not just any music, but music of the particular time period covered! Music that shares what is was like in that particular time period!

What did we like about these books and CD’s?  The music transports you back to another time and another way of life! The history of America! As a young girl I learned many of these songs when I went to school and I am delighted to have them available to teach to my own children! As soon as I saw the song Boll Weevil on the Westward Ho CD it transported me back to grammar school and learning these wonderful songs of America’s past!

The books that go along with the CD’s are wonderful too! These book are filled with illustrations, photographs and drawings and put together along with the back stories for each of the songs on the CD’s. 

Experience History Through Music is great for all ages and makes a wonderful addition to any American History curriculum!

Did we have a favorite? Honestly it is very difficult to choose! All three are wonderful! If I had to choose I think I might choose the Laura Ingalls Wilder one! We are very familiar with The Little House on the Prairie stories and these songs just gives you a feel for what life must have been like! It truly was difficult to choose our favorite!

Whether you choose just one or all three you cannot go wrong! The music and stories are just wonderful!

So what exactly do you get?  Each book/CD set is $18.99 each…if you order in the month of July you can purchase all three for $50!

From the French and Indian War to the first transcontinental railroad, America is a chronological tour of American history through its music. Enjoy the songs and stories of our past that have been shared from generation to generation—songs that make you laugh, make you cry, and make your patriotic spirit soar.

1. Yankee Doodle  
2. Star Spangled Banner   
3. Erie Canal   
4. Oh, Susanna   
5. Sweet Betsy From Pike   
6. All Night, All Day   
7. Old Dan Tucker   
8. Wade In The Water   
9. Johnny Has Gone For A Soldier   
10. When Johnny Comes Marching Home   
11. Shenandoah   
12. Git Along L'il Dogies   
13. Drill Ye Tarriers   
14. Polly Wolly Doodle   
15. She'll Be Coming Round The Mountain   
16. Old Joe Clark



America's westward expansion is amazingly rich in stories and songs.  In Westward Ho!, you will find the pioneer spirit that stirred the hearts of thousands of Americans to leave the safety and comfort of home expressed in folk songs of or about that time.  Now you can experience the pioneers' adventures, dangers, joys, sorrows and hopes as you join in and sing along.

1. Apple Picker's Reel   
2. Boll Weevil   
3. Missionary's Farewell   
4. Oh, California   
5. Ho! For California   
6. San Juan Pig War   
7. Chisholm Trail   
8. Westward Ho!   
9. Home On The Range   
10. Little Old Sod Shanty   
11. Strawberry Roan   
12. Old Settler   
13. Gooey Duck   
14. Little Cabin in the Cascade Mountains

The well-loved stories of Laura Ingalls Wilder will come to life all over again as you listen to the songs that were a part of life for the Ingalls and thousands of other pioneering families.  Written by William Anderson, noted Laura Ingalls Wilder biographer, the book also includes beautiful photos by internationally known Little House photographer, Leslie A. Kelly.

1. Wait for the Wagon   
2. Green Grows the Laurel   
3. The Old Chariot                        
4. Buy a Broom                         
5. Sweet By and By                           
6. Rock Me to Sleep                            
7. Buffalo Gals                      
8. A Railroad Man for Me                        
9. Beware                
10. Pop! Goes the Weasel                        
11. Oft in the Stilly Night                           
12. The Girl I left Behind Me   
13. My Sabbath Home

About Diana Waring


Author of Beyond Survival, Reaping the Harvest and Diana Waring's History Revealed world history curriculum, Diana discovered years ago that "the key to education is relationship." Beginning in the early '80s, Diana homeschooled her children through high-school—the real life opportunities to learn how kids learn.  Mentored by educators whose focus was honoring Him who created all learners, and with an international background (born in Germany, university degree in French, lifelong student of world history), Diana cares about how people learn as well as what they learn.  Audiences on four continents have enthusiastically received her energetic speaking style.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Summer Activities for Adventure in Odyssey Fans


Summer is officially here! Don't let your kids' boredom run rampant. Adventures in Odyssey is here to save the day. Below are some must-try ideas for summer fun! Want even more summer fun? For the month of June, you can join the Odyssey Adventure Club for only $5! More details can be found here.

Summer Activities

As a parent you are probably a big proponent of reading. Encourage your kids to dig into a book or two this summer with Adventures in Odyssey's On Your Marks Summer Reading Challenge. Bonus points if YOU create a reading challenge for yourself as you read along with your kids!

Looking for something hands-on?
Create Matthew in 3-D! Invite a few of your kids' friends over for a play date, print off the activity sheet, and let them have at it for the afternoon (with the promise of cookies and lemonade once they've finished constructing Matthew).

Maybe your kids aren't into reading, but they love math. If that's the case, have them
solve Eugene's Sudoku!

The laundry needs to be done; the dishes need to be put away. But your kids are begging you to take them out to the zoo. Let them take a whack at
Matthew's Decoder in the morning, then make an agreement that if they figure out how to use the decoder, you'll take them on an afternoon adventure. That'll give you the morning to finish up your to-do list!
disclosure: I received a 3 month membership to Odyssey adventure Club in exchange for posting my honest thoughts. No other compensation was received. All opinions are my own!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Writing with Sharon Watson {Review}

I have thought about starting Justin on a writing curriculum quite a bit this last year. However it was really not in my budget this year. I had been looking around at various curriculums and knew I just couldn’t fit what I wanted in our budget for this school year.

I was so excited when the opportunity to review a new writing curriculum from Writing with Sharon Watson and Apologia! What a blessing to be provided with a curriculum that we really needed!

Since Justin is somewhat of a reluctant writer. I chose Jump In: A workbook for Reluctant and Eager Writers!

I am really happy with our choice! There are enough lesson included In Jump In for 2 years! (240 lessons) and the book is written to the student which Justin really likes! The lessons (labeled a skill)take the student anywhere  from 5-20 minutes each day.

At the end of some skills there are longer assignments that can take  from two to ten days to complete.  What I like about these longer assignments is they include a suggested writing schedule, making it easy for Justin to plan out his days work. I am working with him on planning out his school day and giving him more control and independence over his school assignments and these schedules help him plan how to use his time wisely.

The topics covered in Jump In are:

  • Prewriting Skills
  • Opinion
  • Persuasion
  • Exposition (which include Biography, Book Report, Newspaper Article, How-to, Compare and Contrast)
  • Description
  • Narration (Storytelling)
  • Poetry

The lessons are engaging and fun! Justin is enjoying them and is grasping the concepts as they are presented. The workbook is colorful and has small graphics on many of the pages but not enough to be distracting.

The student workbook is consumable with plenty of space to write. We are using a notebook since I am hoping to use this with Kaden in a couple of years!

From the lessons that Justin has done so far Jump In is helping him understand the reason behind why it is important to have good writing skills. Jump In his helping him to become a better writer! He is still not thrilled to be writing, but Jump In is making it more enjoyable for him. (and me!)


Sample pages available here.


The Lifeguard’s Locker is the parent/teacher manual that goes along with Jump In.  What an excellent resource this is! It is packed full of important information to help not only the parent but the student as well.

This manual is filled with tips and ideas to help a reluctant writer. There is a section on grading which I found very informative.

My favorite parts of the manual are the 10 minute writing plunges. If you have a reluctant writer the writing plunges are a gentle and easy way to introduce your student to writing using a writing prompt. Writing for such a short amount of time helps your student not to feel overwhelmed at the prospect of writing. The prompts encourage the student to think and help to spark ideas to express their thoughts!

There is a helpful grammar resource in this manual that I found very helpful!

The last section of the book has the answer key for Jump In.

Another point I want to mention about this writing curriculum is that it is very affordable. Jump In is a solid writing curriculum!

You can find sample pages here.

Jump In and The Lifeguard’s Locker can be purchased at Writing with Sharon Watson or Apologia. The books can be purchased together for $40 or individually: Jump In $30 and The Lifeguard’s Locker for $10.

You can read more reviews of Jump In and also other writing curriculum from Sharon Watson over at Home & School Mosaics!

Disclosure: I received a copy of Jump In and The Life Guard’s Locker in exchange of my honest opinion. No other compensation was received. All opinions are my own.


Saturday, June 21, 2014

Edwin: High King of Britain {review}


Edwin: High King of Britain by Edoardo Albert

The Northumbrian Thrones #1

Being a history buff and having a huge interest in British history, I was intrigued by Edwin High King of Britain.  I admit that I knew very little of King Edwin. So little that I did not realize that he was responsible for bringing Christianity to Britain!

Edwin a widower marries a queen who brings her religion along with her. Christianity. Edwin’s decision to embrace this new religion of worshiping one God is foreign to him and his people. His decision to become a Christian changes Britain forever!

The story tells Edwin’s story before his conversion to Christianity and after and the changes that it brings to his life and his people.

Although the story is a work of fiction the author has done a wonderful job in telling the story of the first King of Northumbria! I plan on having Justin read it when he goes into high school as part of his required reading for history! I highly recommend this book!

disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Kregel in exchange for my honest opinion. No other compensation was received. All opinions are my own.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Join the Odyssey Adventure Club for $5!

Are your kids in need of a safe and fun environment where they can explore, create and imagine, all while developing their faith and learning biblical truth? Enter the Odyssey Adventure Club (AOC)!
For a limited time, you can join HERE for only $5 (regular monthly membership costs $15 for up to six users)!

Families will be able to stream the Adventures in Odyssey library, plus listen to exclusive new monthly episodes.  Busy families will find 24/7 access to the content through the Odyssey Adventure Club mobile iPhone app.

Children can also read daily devotions, interact with hands-on activities and view video documentaries featuring a behind-the-scenes look into the production of the Adventures in Odyssey stories. Parents can feel confident their children are safe on the Odyssey Adventure Club website — Focus on the Family staff will be monitoring all comments before they’re publicly posted.

A portion of each Odyssey Adventure Club membership will benefit Focus on the Family partner relief organizations, including Christian Veterinary Mission, Operation Christmas Child and Compassion International. This provides parents with an opportunity to teach children about the value of giving and serving others.

Coming in July, Odyssey Adventure Club members get to listen to the brand new album, "The Ties That Bind," FIRST before it's available ANYWHERE ELSE!

Click here to join for only $5!

Want more summer activities for your kids inspired by the Odyssey Adventure Club? Check out this post.

disclosure: I received a complimentary 3 month membership to the Odyssey Adventure Club through Litfuse in exchange for posting and sharing here on my blog and via other social media outlets. No other compensation was received. All opinions are my own.