Monday, April 30, 2012

What is beyond the farthest star?

What is beyond the farthest star? No, I don't mean the film I am so excited about. That is a good answer, though ...and means you have been paying attention! This past Saturday was National Astronomy Day! (Well, the Spring edition anyway; I did notice that there is an Autumn day scheduled for October 20.)
This week Beyond The Farthest Star asked their fans the following question:
"What do YOU think is beyond the farthest star?"




More Stars

Not Sure

Here is the link to the video they filmed asking others for their thoughts.

What is beyond the farthest star?

 Now, they want to know YOURS!! Please go to their Facebook fanpage & share your opinion. Then...ask YOUR friends; I want to know what they think too.

Like BTFS on Facebook
Beyond The Farthest Star on IMDb
Beyond The Farthest Star website
Follow @beyondmovie on Twitter

Again, I want to thank Andy Librizzi and Ben Dane for being so generous and patient with me while I wait on their film to my local cinema!! I am so excited!! :)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

"By Faith, Not By Sight" by Scott MacIntyre

A moving story of hope, faith, persistence and the power of dreams.A piano prodigy, a nineteen-year-old college grad, a Marshall scholar, and an American Idol finalist. This guy had it made. He could sing. He could ski blind. What couldn’t he do? Even if you saw him in concert, you might not believe that Scott MacIntyre is blind, and you’d never guess that at nineteen, he faced a diagnosis that rocked his family and nearly took his life.
So how did he do it? How did he overcome the odds?
This is Scott’s story, but he’d be the first to tell you that it’s not really about him. This is the story of how God used a dedicated family, a selfless acquaintance, hardship, and a host of characters to give him life, faith, determination, and experiences most can only imagine.
Peek behind the scenes to see how he learned to overcome his disability, how he made it in the music industry, how he found the love of his life, and how God taught him that in all things, we can truly achieve our dreams By Faith, Not by Sight. (book cover)

Listen as Scott reads the first chapter:

Since I am not a regular viewer of American Idol, I only vaguely remembered seeing  Scott perform, but knew he was a very gifted performer. The odds he overcame to reach this platform are amazing to read though. Legally blind since birth, and homeschooled, he was able to attend college by the time he was 14.  His parents taught him to be as self-reliant as possible and took every step to help their musically gifted son to excel. Scott's parents and his two younger siblings (sister, Katelyn is also blind) are a remarkable family who work, play, and pray together and are very cognizant of being supportive to one another. The love shown and sacrifices made as Scott continued to grow as a musician and a scholar, while battling kidney failure are a testament to their commitment as a family and to Christ as true source of their strength. Even while he was involved with American Idol, his sister was going through the same need for a kidney transplant Scott had undergone earlier.

Some of the chapters covered a bit of old ground too much, as though each could have been used as a separate magazine article, but it was an interesting read. For fans of American Idol, there is a bit of background info that is fun to know. For those who struggle with disabilities, it is a powerful story of how perseverance, prayer, and support of loved ones can enable you to have a fulfilling life despite obstacles. I think Scott is an extraordinary person, and may be a bit hard to live up to, but still an inspiration. His faith, determination, good humor, and ability to meet each challenge head-on will leave you cheering.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided to me by the BookSneeze Blogger’s program in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, April 20, 2012

My Own Worst Enemy by Janet Davis

You know you could do great things if you just stopped getting in your own way. But most days, self-doubt, fear, and the seductive whispers of insecurity have you second-guessing yourself--before you’ve even started.
Now you can learn how to break the destructive cycle of shame and self-doubt to achieve your full potential. Through lessons from her own life and examples of modern and biblical women, Janet Davis shows you how to break harmful patterns in order to live out your purpose in God's kingdom, bringing the sense of fulfillment you’ve been longing for. (book cover)
Within the first few pages, I knew this was a book I could completely relate to, and feel sure that many others will feel the same. As author Janet Davis described a time she had been asked to speak on a topic that she was familiar with and well-versed in, she was full of confidence that this was well within her capabilities. Yet, that insidious inner voice whispered, "Just who do you think you are?" That is a voice I hear so many times, and nearly always let it defeat me. Whether this is a problem you deal with daily, or it just hits now and then, this is a book that will strike a chord with you.

Filled with stories of Biblical women, but often told with a fresh perspective, as well as stories of women Mrs. Davis has counseled with herself, she explores the fears, failures, and lack of confidence that can often strike. Yet each story also brings hope and a glimmer of ability we each have to succeed when we trust Jesus to help each of us lead the life we were meant to have. With the study guide questions at the end of each chapter, this is a good book to utilize to break these chains of fear. This would also make an excellent study for a small group; a support group of friends who will pray, listen, and care about you is essential during those times you find it hard to love or trust yourself.

Check out other books and more info about Janet Davis at janetdavisonline. 
I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House and was not required to give a good review.

The Forgiven Duke by Jamie Carie

Tethered by her impulsive promise to marry Lord John Lemon - the path of least resistance - Alexandria Featherstone sets off toward Iceland in search of her parents with a leaden heart. A glimpse of her guardian, the Duke of St. Easton - the path less traveled by - on Dublin’s shore still haunts her.
Will he come after her? Will he drag her back to London, quelling her mission to rescue her treasure-seeking parents, or might he decide to throw caution to the wind and choose Foy Pour Devoir: “Faith for Duty,” the St. Easton motto. The Featherstone motto Valens et Volens: “Willing and Able,” beats in her heart and thrums through her veins. She will find her parents and find their love, no matter the cost.
The powerful yet wing-clipped Duke of St. Easton has never known the challenge that has become his life since hearing his ward’s name. Alexandria Featherstone will be the life or the death of him. Only time and God’s plan will reveal just how much this man can endure for the prize of love. (~ back book cover)
The Forgiven Duke is the 2nd book in the "Forgotten Castles" trilogy written by Jamie Carie. The misadventures of Alexandria Featherstone did not cause me to smile as much as they did in The Guardian Duke, but there was still the excitement and tension that kept me glued to the pages. Alex's determination to search for her parents, no matter what or whom wants to stop her is as strong as ever. Gabriel's pursuit of his recalcitrant ward while battling the Prince Regent, Spaniards, his deafness, and growing love for Alexandria is a great example of perseverance against all odds. The nonstop action and the emotional entanglements make this a good read. It is faith-based with no foul language or explicit scenes, so it is suitable for any age group. Plus, I enjoy Regency-era books and think they are fun to read. This one also ends on a cliff-hanger, so I look forward to the opportunity to read the final book when it comes out.
GIVEAWAY: Propeller has offered to provide a copy of this book to one of my readers!! Make sure you leave a comment on the blog to be entered into the drawing. The contest ends on Thursday, April 26, 2012 at 10pm CDT.
 “Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or
services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. 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.”

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Girl In Progress

Girl In Progress, due out in time for Mother's Day 2012  is a story of a dysfunctional relationship between a mother and a daughter. A single mom,  Grace (Eva Mendes) tries to balance work in a nearby restaurant, bills, and her affair with a married doctor (Matthew Modine). Her teenaged daughter, Ansiedad ( Cierra Ramirez), has tired of the constant flow of men, moves, and dead-end jobs in her mom's life and decides to take matters into her own hands. Inspired by the coming-of-age stories she is reading in school, she enlists her best friend (Raini Rodriguez) to help her to devise a series of steps she needs to experience so she will be ready for an early adulthood, and a better life than she now has. 

 I was given an opportunity to see an advance copy of the film recently, and I admit to a few mixed feelings. During the first few minutes, I admit I had doubts, but decided to proceed with the viewing and not just make a snap judgement. Both mother and daughter had too much responsibility to handle and a lack of maturity that caused poor choices. Grace was kicked out of the house when she became pregnant at 17, and was stuck in jobs beneath her capabilities, and felt trapped. She dreamed of better things, but made poor choices. Ansiedad felt like she was having to take on an adult role, so her plan to speed things up and escape had both shades of comedy and pathos. This is not a film for younger children and I was glad to see that it had a rating of PG-13. There are scenes of bullying, drinking, sexual references, and, of course, the mom's affair with a married man. However, there is no bad language or graphic nudity. I have teenaged grandkids and would not object to them seeing this film. There were consequences to decisions made, and lessons were learned from mistakes. I felt a sense of hope for the future of these characters as the film came to a close.

Check out more about this film on Imdb and Facebook:
Girl In Progress on IMDb:
Girl In Progress on Facebook:

Thanks to Buzzplant for giving me to see this film and do a review. I was not required to give a favorable review and all opinions are my own.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Song Of My Heart by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Sadie Wagner has always been devoted to her family. So when her stepfather is injured and can't work, she decides to leave home and accept a position as a clerk at the mercantile in Goldtree, Kansas. Goldtree also offers the opportunity to use her God-given singing talent--though the promised opera house is far different from what she imagined. With her family needing every cent she can provide, Sadie will do anything to keep her job. Thad McKane comes to Goldtree at the request of the town council. The town has been plagued by bootlegging operations, and Thad believes he can find the culprit. Thad is immediately attracted to the beautiful singer who performs in Asa Baxter's unusual opera house, but when when Sadie appears to be part of the very crimes he's come to investigate, is there any hope the love blossoming between them will survive? ~ from the publisher

Once again Kim has gathered well-defined characters whom you quickly care about with a story that hits a few unexpected twists and turns along the way. Sadie has the opportunity to both help provide for her family and to follow the desires of her heart, but sometimes gets torn between doing what appears to be right and simply trusting God when doing the right thing may lead away from her dreams. Things and people aren't always what they appear to be, and family loyalties also provide a few stumbling blocks also. While you feel certain that justice will prevail at the end, the story is filled with enough excitement and characters...both quirky and keep the reader fully engaged from beginning to end. This was a very enjoyable read that both delivered a few laughs and restated the importance of trusting God in all things and letting Him guide your path.

I received a free copy of this novel from Bethany House for review purposes. My opinion is my own, and I was not required to give a good review.

The 5 Love Languages Of Children

All children have the need to feel loved in able to do their best. Sometimes, though, there is such a disconnect between your interaction with one another that you feel like you are not even speaking the same language. That is the concept of Dr. Gary Chapman’s groundbreaking Five Love Languages series which has helped millions of couples communicate love more clearly, and Dr. Ross Campbell M.D. has applied the innovative system to children as well. The 5 Love Languages of Children gives practical suggestions for learning how your children interpret love and creating a sense of security in which they can thrive.

There may be several ways of expressing love to another, but you need to recognize whether your child best relates to Physical Touch, Words Of Affirmation, Quality Time, Acts Of Service, or Gifts. Not only can it clear up a few misunderstandings, but  goes a long way toward helping your child develop healthy positive relationships with you and with others. Anyone with children knows that they are seldom alike, so it only makes sense that they have their own idea of what love means to them.

This book also contains helpful ideas on using a child's main love language to help with discipline, anger, and interacting with others. There are also chapters on marriage and specifically for single parents. There are many helpful ideas to help you to strengthen your bond and create a healthier relationship with each individual child, including a fun Love Language Mystery Game to play. Also, check out more from the following:

GIVEAWAY: I have a copy of this book available for a giveaway. Just respond with a comment no later than Monday, April 16, 2012 by 5pm CDT. Thanks!!

 “Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or
services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it 
on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally 
and believe will be good for my readers. 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.”

Monday, April 2, 2012

Beyond The Farthest Star book giveaway #2

A twist of fate brings the national spotlight to a forgotten Texas town and a once famous preacher has an opportunity to regain his former glory or seize one last chance to restore his fractured family. Narrated by his fifteen-year-old daughter, we watch as Adam Wells, a minister driven by the prospect of achieving greatness as the next nationally-syndicated TV Evangelist lays down his opportunity at “celebrity” and even his own life in order to become something even greater... A loving husband and father to his wife and daughter.

That is the premise of  Beyond The Farthest Star ...both the film, and the novel that has been adapted by Brock and Bodie Thoene.  The reviews have been overwhelmingly in favor of the book, and I know that is has certainly whet my appetite to see these characters come to life on the big screen later this year. Although the Thoene's books are frequently historical fiction, I do love this contemporary novel that is based on the screenplay by Andrew Librizzi. There are many scarred and hurting people in this book, but the message of hope is truly inspiring.
 Check out the audio of the first chapter, read by Bodie Thoene:

 This Zondervan novel in E-Book, Paperback and Audio versions are available at all major online sources and major booksellers, including Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Christian Book Distributors 


 I also have a paperback copy available to give away. Just leave a comment on the blog to be entered into a random drawing. The drawing will be held on Wed., April 11, 2012 at 11am CDT.

Harriet Beamer Takes The Bus

Aging and recent widow Harriet Beamer insists she's getting along fine with her dog Humphrey in Philadelphia ... until she falls for the fourth time, injuring her ankle, and causing her son and daughter-in-law to cry foul. Insisting Harriet move in with them in California, they make a bet that her ankle is broken, and she foolishly promises to move if they're right. Four x-rays later, Harriet's ankle---and her heart---are broken. She packs up, ships her huge salt and pepper collection to California, and prepares to move away from the only life she knows. The only catch? She's doing it her way. Just wait till her daughter-in-law hears Harriet will travel cross country only by public transportation and alternate means. What follows is a hilarious, heartwarming journey by train, metro bus, ferry, and motorcycle. Along the way, Harriet discovers that although her family thinks it's time for her to be put out to pasture---God has a different plan. (publisher's description)

Watch the promo video below:

I must admit, this book was a fun read. Harriet accepted the changes she was having to make in her life, but didn't just give up when she gave in. As she packed her beloved salt and pepper shaker collection, she realized that they were all gifts from friend's from places they had visited, except for the one set she bought from the only place she and Max ever went to on vacation. Realizing that this was her last opportunity to fulfill her dream of visiting The Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum of Gatlinburg, TN (yes, it is a real place!), Harriet chooses to travel her way. Sometimes she had to compromise or readjust, but she handled it all with grace and style, undaunted by the challenges and remaining true to her core beliefs. The adventures Harriet has along the way, and the interesting characters she meets, made me giggle more than once.

The book is also a reminder to not give up on dreams. I tend to be more pragmatic about possibilities & probabilities, but the story captivated my imagination, held my interest, and encouraged me to do my best to live my life in a way that leaves fewer regrets. Harriet is a person I would like to be when I grow up!! I certainly want to read more of Joyce Magnin's books.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher. 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."