Sunday, October 19, 2014

Keepers of the Covenant {Review}

Keepers of the Covenant by Lynn Austin

About the book:

The Old Testament Comes to Thrilling Life in the Latest from Lynn Austin

In one life-changing moment, the lives of the Jewish exiles in Babylon are thrown into confusion and despair when a decree arrives from the king's palace in Susa. It calls for the annihilation of every Jewish man, woman, and child throughout the empire on the thirteenth day of Adar, in less than one year. Ezra, a quiet Jewish scholar and teacher, is suddenly called upon to lead the community as they seek God for a reason for this catastrophe. When a second decree arrives, authorizing them to fight back, Ezra is thrust into the role of military leader as they defend themselves against their enemies.

When the battles come to an end, Ezra's brother Jude is dead and Ezra is required by the Law he so diligently studies to marry Jude's widow, Devorah, and provide an heir. Fatherhood changes Ezra, and he asks God to make a way for him and the other exiles to leave Babylon for good and return to Jerusalem. His prayers are answered and the exiles move to Judea to revitalize worship at the temple---but the fight to keep God's Law is never easy. As more and more of his community are tempted, a new battle emerges . . . this one for the survival of God's covenant and the souls of His chosen faithful.

My Thoughts

I love Christian fiction, especially good Christian fiction! Lynn Austin delivers! If you have read my blog and some of my reviews you know I am a huge Lynn Austin fan! In Keepers of the Covenant Lynn brings to life the story of Ezra! Starting in Esther and the proclamation of the King to execute all of the Jews. Many of us are very familiar with the story of Queen Esther. However the story is told from the prospective of the Jewish people and the prophet Ezra. The devastation of that proclamation and the meaning it had for the Jewish people.

Keepers of the Covenant is a beautiful story! Lynn Austin brings the old testament to life in a way that will make you want to pick up your Bible and read the story of Ezra! God is always in control even when it seems like a hopeless situation!

Be sure to visit the Litfuse website to learn more about Keepers of the Covenant!

About the Author:


Bestselling author Lynn Austin has sold more than one million copies of her books worldwide. She is an eight-time Christy Award winner for her historical novels, as well as a popular speaker at retreats and conventions. Lynn and her husband have raised three children and live near Chicago.

Find Lynn online: website, Facebook

Lynn Austin is back with the next book in The Restoration Chronicles series, Keepers of the Covenant. Austin weaves together the struggles and stories of both Jews and Gentiles, creating a tapestry of faith and doubt, love and loss. Here, the Old Testament comes to life, demonstrating the everlasting hope displayed in God's unwavering love for His people.

Lynn is celebrating with a Kindle HDX giveaway and a live author chat webcast on October 21st.
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One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle HDX
  • Keepers of the Covenant by Lynn Austin
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 21st. Winner will be announced at the Keepers of the Covenant LIVE webcast event on October 21st. Connect with Lynn for a fascinating evening centered around God's unwavering love for His people. She'll be hosting a Biblical fiction book club discussion, giving away prizes, answering your questions, offering an exclusive peek at the next book in The Restoration Chronicles, and much more!

So grab your copy of Keepers of the Covenant and join Lynn and friends on the evening of October 21st 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!)
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Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by signing up for a reminder. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 21st!

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

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Odyssey Adventure Club iPad Mini Giveaway!

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 The end of summer is in sight, and OAC is giving away an iPad Mini back-to-school bundle! It might seem like summer just began for your kids, so if they need some added motivation to get their homework done, remind them they can jump on the Odyssey Adventure Club after their papers are written and their math problems are solved.

As members, your kids can also listen to Album 58 before the album is released to the public! Sign up today for just $5!

Here's what part one is about (which you can listen to for free HERE):
It’s a time of surprises as Wooton becomes the celebrity guest at Comic-Connellsville and Whit finds himself in conflict over the upcoming “Let’s Get Together Festival” in Odyssey. Plus, hear an interview with writer-director Paul McCusker about the entire 14-part series.
Album 58 was inspired by Focus on the Family’s The Family Project, a 12-session small group experience that explores the theological, philosophical, and cultural underpinnings of the traditional family, and combines that information with inspiring stories and practical tools to help 21st-century families thrive. Plus, here's a sneak peek of a new episode called "The Lone Lawman"!
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Jason, Whit, Red and the gang rustle up herds of fun while performing a new Kids’ Radio show set in the Old West. “The Lone Lawman” features a confused boy getting mixed up with a shifty band of bank robbers. Can a hero on horseback set things right? See just how wild the West can get in this action-packed send-up of old-time radio dramas.

NOW . . . on to the iPad Mini back-to-school bundle. One grand prize winner will receive:
  • An iPad Mini
Hurry, the giveaway ends on August 27th. All winners will be announced August 28th on the widget on this page.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to visit this page again on the 28th to see if you won! (You'll see the winner's name in the widget.)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Odyssey Adventure Club – join today for just $5!

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Have you had a chance to join the Odyssey Adventure Club? We have been listening over the summer and we just love these stories! We really do! Even my 13 year old loves them!  The are wonderful wholesome stories that share Biblical lessons we apply to our everyday life! It is really a fantastic series!

For a limited time, you can listen to a new episode of Adventures in Odyssey for FREE! Album 58, The Ties that Bind, will be available this fall for digital download and CD purchase, but if you join the Odyssey Adventures Club, you can listen to the full album now! Guess what? The $5 special held last month was extended through the end of July, too, so you can join in the fun for only $5! Here's what part one is about (which you can listen to for free HERE):

It’s a time of surprises as Wooton becomes the celebrity guest at Comic-Connellsville and Whit finds himself in conflict over the upcoming “Let’s Get Together Festival” in Odyssey. Plus, hear an interview with writer-director Paul McCusker about the entire 14-part series.
Album 58 was inspired by Focus on the Family’s The Family Project, a 12-session small group experience that explores the theological, philosophical, and cultural underpinnings of the traditional family, and combines that information with inspiring stories and practical tools to help 21st-century families thrive. One way families can carry out God's design for families is by serving their community—right where God has planted them, being His hands and feet together. Want to serve your community with your family, maybe make a day of out it? Here are some fantastic ideas from some Adventures in Odyssey bloggers and club members:
  • Make scarves through the year and deliver them to your local homeless shelter at the start of winter, or regularly donate food to your local food bank. —Shirley 
  • Our family likes to help with Meals on Wheels. We also do reenactments of the Civil War and WWII to help educate people on history. I like to show my kids that we should be servers and givers by taking meals to people who need them (i.e. baby just born, someone died, someone had surgery, etc.). —Erin 
  • We have been visiting a nursing home with friends once a month. The kids just sing and then we fellowship, but the ladies love it! —Lisa 
  • We make lap blankets for nursing home residents and take the time to visit with them. We also collect food for the local food pantry. —Donna 
  • We make blessing bags to give to the homeless when we encounter them. We also donate clothes and food to a local shelter. —Amy 
  • Our MOPs (Mothers of Prechoolers) group supports our local Pregnancy Support Services with donations, gifts, and notes. We also supports the Durham Rescue Mission, which helps people break free from addictions and restore families. —Melissa 
  • We live in a very rural area. Our church serves two of the poorest zip codes in the state, and about a decade ago, they started operating a food pantry out of a closet. It has expanded since then, so we now use the closet for storage, but the pantry is basically a classroom. The kids and I serve over there a lot. My 17-year-old and I go to Care & Share (50 miles away) to get food to bring back to the pantry. All of us help unload and stock shelves. On pantry days, everyone can get involved with helping people go through the line, playing with the kids, carrying boxes out to cars, etc. There are so many hungry folks, especially in the summer when school breakfasts and lunches aren't available, and helping a bit to put food on some tables is such a blessing for us all. —Debra 
  • We pack food bags each month for the homeless and needy through a thrift store that offers an outreach to the community. We also help clean our church and our Sunday school. —Michele 
  • We work through our AHG troop to do several service activities a year. My girls just recently made bracelets they are selling, which 100% of the profits goes to Hope House in Africa to help young girls. —Sarah 
  • Our church works with a homeless shelter in downtown Atlanta. We cook food ahead of time, and when our schedules allow we ride down with the group to serve the food. My son always reminds me when we haven't been for awhile, so it's something he looks forward to. —Maria 
  • We do lots of random acts of kindnesses within our community: pay for others' meals, leave change at a vending machine, hand out Gatorade/granola bars to people on the side of the road asking for food. We also love to support Mobile Loaves and Fishes. —Kathryn
Did that provide some ideas to give your family service activity the kick-start it needs? What other ideas do you have for serving your community? Share in the comments!
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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!

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.

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 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! http://bit.ly/10Tygyi

  

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!

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  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!
BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE!

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

 
 
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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!
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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!