Wednesday, August 24, 2011


I received a copy of VEILED ROSE by Anne Elisabeth Stengl, from Bethany House. It is the second book in the Tales of Goldstone Wood series. The first book is HEARTLESS and the third book is MOONBLOOD. The end of VEILED ROSE contains an excerpt from MOONBLOOD, which sounds exciting.

VEILED ROSE is now one of my favorite fantasy novels. The pace flows along smoothly, the characters are engaging, and the dialogue is realistic. Clearly, the author had a lot of fun writing it. There are complex comparisons to Christian theology and fairy tales, but with new twists that keep them interesting. The names are unique, such as Beana and Foxbrush.

The story begins with an eleven-year-old boy, Leo, staying at a manor for the summer. He travels into the woods seeking adventure, and hopes to slay the “monster” everyone in the village fears. Instead, he meets a girl, Rose Red, who is a few years younger than him. She lives in the mountain and covers herself with veils. Together, they spend their summer exploring the woods and developing a close friendship. Rose Red keeps her secret well hidden, until the end of the book, and part of the secret came as quite a surprise. The “monster” secret was a little more obvious, but didn’t ruin the book for me. Leo also possessed a secret, as did Beana, Rose Red’s nanny goat. VEILED ROSE culminates when a Dragon attacks the kingdom. Leo sets out to kill it and Rose Red decides to protect his family in the meantime. The ending wasn’t what I had expected, but it was pleasing.

The characters are very entertaining to read about. Leo isn’t the average hero. He isn’t filled with bravery, nor does he possess dashing good looks – yet, he has a kind heart and remains steadfast in his relationship with outcast Rose Red. The fact that he isn’t “perfect” made it more enjoyable for me to read about him.

Anyone who loves fantasy, Dragons, or a refreshing new read will love this book. The cover itself is sure to catch many eyes – a Dragon clasps the image of Rose Red, hiding behind her veils.

Monday, August 22, 2011


I received a copy of TURNING YOUR DAY TOWARD GOD: RIGHT FROM THE HEART: A 365 DEVOTIONAL by Bryant Wright, from Thomas Nelson via BookSneeze. I first became interested in devotionals a few years ago when my uncle gave one to my mother for Christmas. He had received the same devotional as a gift the year before (from a different family member) and it had really changed his life for the better. My mom and I also loved it, and she read a page a day to the family before bed, as a closing for the day and an opening for the next, something pleasant to dream about and ponder.

This devotional, RIGHT FROM THE HEART, offers that same sense of warm wellbeing. The pages are labeled one for every day of the year (without a year date, so it can be used for any and every year). The entries are short, so they are easy to read in a day, and really get the mind flowing for their insightful, significant, yet easy-to-understand ideas. Each page comes with a quote from the Bible, and the pages that start each new month also include a quote.

Since I needed to blog about the book, I flipped through the pages, rather than refraining from reading ahead (as the author requests in the Introduction – sorry!). I read the one for today, and I also read the one for my birthday. Now that I have a good feel for the book, I will stop looking ahead and stick to that day’s.

My family and I look forward to the entries. Since this book will be kept in the living room, I have a feeling guests will enjoy looking up their birthdays and becoming inspired. The book itself is beautiful. The richly colored covers are textured and designed to look old-fashioned, while the pages are beautifully decorated. This devotional makes a great keepsake, as well as a spectacular, heart-felt gift.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Fleur de Leis Necklace

I found some charms at the craft store (on sale, woohoo). I hung the chandelier charm off the fleur de leis charm, which I strung on black ribbon. I sewed clasps to the end.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


I received a copy of ACROSS THE WIDE RIVER by Stephanie Reed from Kregel Publications. It is an historic novel for teenagers, about the Underground Railroad during the Civil War. I love historical fiction and this book didn’t fail to live up to my expectations. What is better, it is based on a true story. The Rankin family really existed.

The story centers on Lowry Rankin. He begins as a child, but quickly matures. His family leaves Kentucky to live in Ohio, where they participate as a station on the Underground Railroad. Lowry’s father is a minister, and the family strongly supports the abolitionist movement.

I have my Bachelor’s degree in elementary education, and while I read, I kept thinking about how perfect this book would be for a social studies class. It not only fits well with the Civil War era, but it is easily relatable for teenagers. Lowry leaves his treasured home in Kentucky for Ohio; moving is something many people have dealt with. He also learns how to fully welcome God into his life, and highly values religion, which is another positive trait for young adults. Lowry discovers how to deal with shyness, which is a new obstacle for him once he moves to Ohio. Many people, myself included, have had to overcome being shy around others. It is inspiring to know that if he can do it, so can the reader. He even worries it will keep him from becoming a proper minister, similar to how I once worried about being a teacher despite my shyness. Lowry also deals with bullies, family, and standing up for what he believes in – an end to slavery. Stephanie Reed paints a poignant image of the cruelties slaves faced, and their troubles with escaping.

I enjoyed this book, and recommend it to anyone interested in history.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Wrist Warmers

I knitted a pair of wrist warmers using yarn left over from my ruffled shirt!

First, I cast 30 stitches onto size 8 needles.

I made 7 rows of knit 2, purl 2 rib.

I made 24 rows of stockinette stitch.

I made 7 rows of knit 2, purl 2 rib again.

I sewed up the sides and left a space for the thumb hole.

Beaded Necklace

I found some old beads and decided to string them into a necklace I tried the string to jewelry clasps, and then added drops of glue to hold them in place.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


I received a copy of STUMBLING INTO GRACE by Lisa Harper from Thomas Nelson through BookSneeze. What first caught my attention about the book was the cover, which depicts a little girl. She is wearing sneakers, a frilly skirt, and what appears to be her mother’s pearls: the classic child finding her way in the world. The book is that and so much more. Essentially, it is about finding your way in the world.

The book is divided into three parts: Real Life, Real Gifts, and Real Growth. Each chapter involves Jesus and something else in life, such as Jesus and Scary Things (Chapter One). Lisa Harper mixes true life occurrences with things normal people can identify with, such as wearing too-tight jeans. She applies real problems with ways Jesus can help us overcome them. She also included some group discussions and journal entries, to help us explore ourselves in depth. There are also chapters that explore Gifts and how Jesus helps us heal.

Overall, by the end of the book, my heart felt lighter, and I felt as though I knew Lisa Harper personally. I strongly recommend this to anyone who is going through a challenging time or wanting to reconnect with Jesus.