Monday, December 29, 2014

Old Fashioned by Rene Gutteridge and Rik Swartzwelder

Old Fashioned: Former frat boy Clay Walsh has given up his reckless lifestyle and settled down to run an antique shop in a small Midwestern college town. Determined to put his partying ways behind him, Clay has become notorious for his lofty and outdated theories on love and romance. But when Amber Hewson, a free-spirited woman with a gypsy soul, rents the apartment above his shop, Clay can’t help being attracted to her spontaneous and passionate embrace of life.

New to the area, Amber finds herself surprisingly drawn to Clay and his noble ideas, but her own fears and deep wounds are difficult to overcome. Can they move beyond their differences and their pasts to attempt an “old-fashioned” courtship? (publisher synopsis)

My Review: I love the books that Rene Gutteridge writes, and this adaptation of a screenplay by Rik Swartzwelder lived up to my expectations. Filled with quirky yet believable characters that fully engage you and come to life on the page. As the characters developed and the story unfolded, I would frequently find myself laughing out loud, yet was also moved to tears during some moments.

Both Chad and Amber were so determined to run away from their pasts and become opposite of what they once were, yet each were becoming trapped in lifestyles that are difficult to maintain. The attraction to one another, and a longing for something to be a bit different sparks a blossoming romance that is sure to captivate a reader. This really is an old fashioned romance and I am ready for it to make a comeback.

The secondary characters bring an added layer to the story and each presents a slightly different viewpoint. Even the ones that first appeared to have little to add to the storyline were skillfully woven in to add a richness that makes this above many novels I have read. I truly hated to see the book come to an end. On the plus side, the film version is coming to theaters in Feb 2015. I was provided with a few clips to preview and I can hardly wait to see the movie!


Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale Publishers in order to write this review. I was not asked to write a positive review; just my honest opinion.

Old Fashioned movie on Facebook
Tyndale House Publishers has provided you with a complimentary copy of this book - See more at:
Tyndale House Publishers has provided you with a complimentary copy of this book - See more at:

Rik Swartzwelder interview 

Old Fashioned movie website

"Old Fashioned" on IMDb

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast by Kristen Feola

The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast is an inspiring resource for Christians who want to pursue a more intimate relationship with God through the 21-day commitment to prayer and fasting known as the Daniel Fast. As you deny yourself certain foods - such as sugars, processed ingredients, and solid fats - you will not only embrace healthier eating habits, you’ll also discover a greater awareness of God’s presence. Author Kristen Feola explains the Daniel Fast in easy-to-understand language, provides 21 thought-provoking devotionals for each day of the fast, and shares more than 100 tasty, easy-to-make recipes that follow fasting guidelines. In a conversational style, Feola helps you structure the fast so you can spend less time thinking about what to eat and more time focusing on God. You will also discover that “to fast” means “to feast” on the only thing that truly nourishes? God’s powerful Word. For more info, please visit (publisher)

Each January more and more people I know take 3 weeks in January to do the "Daniel Fast". After the excitement and over-indulgences from Thanksgiving on through New Year's Day, the need to refresh, renew, and have a time of cleansing or starting over is strong. The majority of people I know are Christians, so we have just gone through a season of celebration and worship, but it is easier to get a bit distracted. The Daniel Fast is perfect to get your focus on the basics of what you need to survive and thrive both physically and spiritually.

My Review: The book is divided into 3 separate sections, and I like the way it is set up. First, though, she begins with an introduction on the purpose of fasting and how her book can help you plan in advance. You don't want to jump into a fast, bewildered and not having some type of structured idea of what and why...and how.
  1. The Fast: This section tells you more about the history behind the Daniel Fast, along with other fasts that are mentioned in the Bible. Even Daniel had more than 1 fast, and there are several others mentioned too. There are different reasons for fasting and Feola goes into the different types. I love the way she goes through the various things you should do before you begin to fast and her explanations on the purpose of a Biblical fast.
  2. The Focus: This is my favorite part. The 21 days of devotion and study that allow the reader to feast on the Word of God and nourish her soul. As we focus more on what He has to say and less on what we want to eat (that's why you should plan ahead), we develop a greater reliance on God and enter into a deeper relationship with Him.
  3. The Food: I am not a cook! It is okay to do sometimes, but I honestly don't understand how people can enjoy it. Needless to say, I was a bit chagrined to find over 150 pages of recipes and meal plans. Seriously, I have never even heard of some of the ingredients. However, pretty pictures of some of the meals did get me to look up some of the recipes. Quite a few are things I am never going to have the patience (or money) to try, but enough of them have tempted me to consider trying to make them. There is a large variety of recipes and should be enough to tempt people into incorporating many into their diet plans even after the fast has ended. My biggest complaint is that it all seems a bit expensive, especially for a fast in the middle of Winter.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers 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.”

About the Author

Kristen Feola is the author of the best-selling book, The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast, an encouraging and engaging resource for individuals, small groups, and churches participating in the Daniel Fast. Her blog,, inspires thousands of people around the world. Kristen is a frequent contributor to Pentecostal Evangel magazine, and her writing has appeared in a variety of Christian and health-related publications. She has worked as a personal trainer, fitness instructor, and nutritional consultant. Kristen lives in Springfield, Missouri, with her husband and two daughters.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Men's Bible - Good News Translation

American Bible Society and National Coalition of Ministries to Men (NCMM) have joined forces to create and distribute The Men’s Bible. The first Bible from both organizations with features tailored to meet the unique needs of men, The Men’s Bible contains 72 devotions written by experts in men’s ministry, and is the only Bible focusing on the three most common areas in which men struggle: marriage, pornography, and friendship. 
Using the Good News Translation, The Men’s Bible is divided into three sections: The Tool Kit, The Battle, and The Challenge. The Tool Kit serves as a concordance, providing Scripture references for topical study. The Battle contains 60 devotionals, written by NCMM men’s ministry experts, focusing on Christian purpose, priorities, and living. The Challenge provides additional devotional content focusing on marriage, pornography, and friendship—the three areas of life that NCMM has observed to frequently present stumbling blocks. (publisher's description) 

My Review: I had been searching for a Bible to recommend for a man who was seeking God and wanted to learn more about Christianity. He had some knowledge from his childhood, but had never read the Bible as an adult. So, I jumped at the chance to review The Men's Bible when it was offered to me. I have read through it and looked at the devotions. The Battle, The Tool Kit, and The Challenge were excellent additions that clearly answered questions and brought focus on things a man needs to know as he grows in his faith. However, I also wanted input from the person who was asking me questions. He has not read it all yet, but did go through enough to let me know that it is easy to read and understand, and that he really appreciated finding discussions on some of his own questions.

The Good News Translation is not my favorite, but it is easy to read. What I disliked about this Bible is that there was no room for jotting down notes and that it is hard to read some of the words due to lack of margin in the center. On the other hand, this is a soft cover Bible that is easy to hold in one hand (and I have small hands) as you use the other to turn pages (And hold flat so I can read the middle). I get frustrated when I am trying to hold a Bible to read and it is either too big or the hard cover does not give me the flexibility I need. Overall, I really like this Bible. It is a good tool for men's ministries to have available for guys who do not have a Bible and are just starting on their faith walk. The additions are also easy to find to answer questions when speaking to others about your faith and the devotions from men's ministry leaders are excellent. 

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of Men's Bible from Icon Media Group in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Susie's Hope DVD

Susie's Hope is based on the true story that helped to pass "Susie’s Law" in North Carolina, which seeks stricter punishment for animal abusers. Susie’s Hope brings to life the inspirational relationship between pit bull attack survivor Donna Lawrence and Susie, a pit bull-mix puppy found beaten, burned and left for dead.

Realizing that abuse was largely to blame for the tragic attack that nearly caused her to lose her life 10 months earlier, Donna rescues the battered puppy. As they both heal and recover from their life-threatening injuries, Donna and her friend, Ramona, lead a historic effort to seek justice and protection, not only for Susie, but all animals. Starring Emmanuelle Vaguer (40 Days and 40 Nights), Burgess Jenkins (Remember The Titans) and Andrea Powell (Ender’s Game, The Twighlight: Breaking Dawn Saga: Part 2), Susie’s Hope is an incredible story of love, loss and redemption.

Watch and share the Susie’s Hope trailer!

My Review: The film deals with many tragic events, but does so in a manner that does make it acceptable for family viewing. There is recovery and healing, but also a strong message to portray about the neglect and abuse of pets. I confess that I don't quite understand people who treat their pets as children, but I do love animals and definitely think those who abuse them should be punished. My only negative to the film was that I felt like the audience was being manipulated during the courtroom scene. I found it distracting. Of course, that is also to be expected for a film that is not only telling a story, but also is supporting a cause. You want the audience to be entirely on your side.

I did watch with my teenaged grandson, who does have pit bulls, and does not have the prejudice toward that breed that many others have. His opinion of the film: "It was very touching." I think the film could be used as an educational tool to raise awareness of the tragedy behind the abuse of animals and to demonstrate what a difference it makes to treat your pets with kindness and care for them. The relationship between Susie and Donna was healing for both of them and for Donna's husband, Roy.

"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.
GIVEAWAY: Propeller Consulting, LLC also has a DVD for one of my readers. Please leave your name and a comment on the blog post to be entered into a drawing. Drawing will be Mon, Dec 15th at 1pm CST. 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.

About Susie:
Susie was found nearly dead in Greenfield Park in Greensboro, North Carolina on August 20, 2009. Just a puppy, Susie had licked the face of her owner’s newborn baby. Her owner became violent—she was beaten so severely her jaw was broken. That wasn’t enough, though. She was then set on fire and left for dead. Incredibly and against all odds Susie survived. Donna Lawrence adopted her two months later. Susie is now a trained therapy dog and even won the American Humane Association’s American Hero Dog this year!

Check out and share Susie’s Hero Dog Award Video here!

This website is a GREAT resource for all things Susie / Susie’s Hope related

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Jesus is the Good News! What's in the Bible? Vol 10

What's in the Bible? is a 13 volume set of DVDs that explain the Bible to your kids from Genesis to Revelation in a way that is fun and informative. VeggieTales creator, Phil Visher, is the creator and host of this series that is filled with entertaining characters, music, and valuable basic knowledge about the Bible.

Volume 10: Jesus is the Good News, an introduction to the New Testament, includes TWO 25 minute episodes:  

God’s Perfect Timing - Buck Denver and crew learn about the 400 years between the Old and New Testaments and how Jesus arrives at just the perfect time.

The Messiah Has Come! - Learn about the life and ministry of Jesus-how He died for us and rose again to launch the kingdom of God in the world and in us!

The DVD contains the following:

  • Intertestamental Period
  • John the Baptist
  • Jesus’ Miracles, Healings & Teachings
  • Jesus Feeds 5,000
  • The Kingdom of God
  • The Last Supper, Jesus’ Arrest and Trial
  • Jesus’ Crucifixion and Resurrection
  • Jesus’ Ascension

My Review: I loved this DVD. Phil Vischer has a way to reach kids on a level they will understand, yet still provide entertainment for the adults who are watching. Even more than the entertainment, though, is the wonderful lessons learned. Actually, there was even one thing taught from an angle I had never considered. At least I had never given it much thought. There were also a few things that I did not realize until I was an adult, so it is refreshing to see kids learning about the Bible, the significance of events, and the authors of the books. I highly recommend this DVD, and have no doubt that the others are also top-notch. It is recommended for 1st-4th grade...but I enjoyed it immensely. 

What's in the Bible? website

What's in the Bible? on Facebook

"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.
Congrats to winner, Gayle Aycock!