30 March 2012

Books, Old And New Just Waiting To Be Read...

If books have an irresistible appeal for you, you are probably reaching out for one every chance you get!
I understand this feeling very well...Nothing calls to me so much as a good story (unless it is chocolate, and dark chocolate at that!).

Any outing (off island) includes a requisite stop at the local library where I am blessed to receive the loan of countless tomes! I am also happy to say many of the novels I read have been gifted by Authors and Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion. 

And then there are those books I just cannot wait to be loaned or gifted with...Ssst, the ones I must own NOW...(providing I have not run over my allowance or have no more space on the shelves).

Failing that I feel lost! MUST HAVE BOOKS!
Oh dear, does it sound like an obsession? You would be absolutely right!

There are countless ways you can obtain a good paperback/hardback if your local library does not carry the title you are looking for. 
Consider the following if you are not yet familiar with these sites:




and of course for Ebooks readers remember to check the classics at gutenberg.org (36,000 titles to download free)

Happy reading!

29 March 2012


Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass,
It's about learning to dance in the rain... 

I think I'll go back to reading now...

28 March 2012

A Perfect Pet For Peyton, Book Review And Giveaway


This wonderfully imaginative children's hardcover book by bestselling authors Gary Chapman and Rick Osborne, featuring four-color illustrations (with hidden details!) by Wilson Williams, Jr., will help children learn the importance of love. Based on Gary's highly successful The 5 Love Languages®, A Perfect Pet for Peyton tells an entertaining and playful story of five children who each, with the help of Mr. Chapman and the unique pets at his special emporium, discover their own personal love language. Children and parents alike will experience firsthand the power of the love languages as they cuddle up and spend precious time together reading this book over and over again.

The cast of child characters in this whimsical story include: 
  • Peyton, one of the birthday celebrants, loves to help others, and appreciates it when others do little things for him.
  • Penny, Peyton's twin sister, who receives love best when others spend quality time with her.
  • Jayla, one of Penny's close friends, is always saying nice things about people. Her love language is words of affirmation.
  • Kevin, one of Peyton's close friends, enjoys giving things to people.
  • Sofia loves to pet the animals, and to show her love for others with special hugs.
My personal thoughts:

If you are not yet familiar with Gary Chapman's 'The 5 Love Languages' series I can only say you will enjoy finding more about his children book!
In 'A Perfect Pet For Peyton'  you will find a hands on interactive story describing the many personal ways we receive and give love!
The joy of 'rediscovering' these love languages! So simple and so precious! Quality time, words of affirmation, physical touch, acts of services and gifts!

A wonderful way to reach out and share with young children (and not so young!) reading time! You will notice special highlighted words matching activities and clues to a 'love language' whilst also having opportunities to look for hidden objects together! 

A quiz for kids (and their parents!) is included at the end certain to make this a rewarding time for all!

With its beautiful and eye catching illustrations this large hardback children story is sure to allow for plenty of imagination and I can see why any child would love this book! Each will soon find his/her favourite pet in this wonderful story whilst learning about those special gifts!
'A Perfect Pet For Peyton' is the perfect gift for any child! 
5 Stars!!

About the author:
New York Times Best selling author Gary Chapman teamed with Rick Osborne and Wilson Williams to produce this amazing children book. 
Find out more about the author at his website (here)

Note to readers: A Love Language quiz for adults is available at 5LoveLanguages.com.
I will also be reviewing also 'The 5 Love Languages of Children' next month!

Here is your opportunity to win a copy of this wonderful book to share with a special child! 
Just place a comment on this post including a valid contact email (i.e. 123 at yahoo period com) before midnight on 2 April 2012. 
A winner will then be chosen through Random.org and the sponsor will send book!

I received this book free from PROPELLER as part of their blogger review program. I was not asked to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.
I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255 'Guides concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising.

27 March 2012


Just back from the mainland...
A little glimpse of the view from the island (North beach)

Waiting patiently...

 Corner for deep thinking (and not so deep)...

There is always some time for Frisbee ...

And time for snoozes...
Note the sun!! (not for long though, nasty rainy blustery weather coming our way!)

25 March 2012


And Jesus said...
'I am the good shepherd,
I know my sheep and my sheep know me
in the same way that the Father knows me
and I know my Father;
For these sheep I will give my life
 (John 10:14-15)

24 March 2012

Unhallowed Ground: The Fourth Chronicle of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon by Mel Starr, Book review


Thomas atte Bridge, a man no one likes, is found hanging from a tree near Cow-Ley’s Corner. All assume he has taken his own life, but Master Hugh and Kate find evidence that this may not be so. Many of the town had been harmed by Thomas, and Hugh is not eager to send one of them to the gallows ... Hugh must discover which of his friends has murdered his enemy.

My personal thoughts:

Anyone familiar with the talented Brother Cadfael, the Welsh Benedictine monk so engagingly described by Ellis Peters will appreciate my interest in this book! 
I first heard of it on a Publisher's website and felt compelled to pursue this title whose author I had yet to discover! I also hoped for something different and was not disappointed!

'Unhallowed Ground' was my introduction to Mel Starr's and I immediately found his style to be unique and quite discerning! An impressive glossary allows curious minds like mine to discover words and terms the modern English language no longer use.

Mel Starr skillfully weaves a tapestry of intrigue, false leads, adventure and danger rendered  the more interesting by its many historical settings whilst leading the reader on a path of whodunit. 
Within a few pages you are wondering who is friend, who is foe and yes, it is a page turner!

The colourful but tasteful tale follows Hugh de Singleton, bailiff of Bampton Manor, as he is called to investigate the death of a local villager. Amongst his many talents Master Hugh is also noted as a medieval surgeon and a detective of sorts...
Is this a case of suicide or murder? Thus we are introduced to the ensuing intriguing plot!

With its excellent penmanship, 'Unhallowed Ground' is just the sort of book you will read and feel replete! 

I give it 5 stars (and quickly found a little niche for it on our bookshelves!)

On a note of worth, this book is the fourth chronicle of the series. The fifth chronicle 'The Tainted Coin' will soon be released!

About the author:

A student of Medieval Surgery and Medieval English, this history teacher has written 'The Unquiet Bones', 'A Corpse at St Andrews Chapel'' and 'A Trail of Ink'. 
For more on this Michigan author, please visit website (here).

NOTE TO READERS: I was not asked to review this title and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.

23 March 2012

Felis Domestica Or Felis Catus...

When I mentioned canine friends yesterday I felt certain some would feel I overlooked their best friend(s) Felis Catus better known as the CAT!
Not so! Along the years our daughter adopted every wandering feline (some which cost us a notable sum in Veterinarian fees!) as well as other assorted homeless 'pets'.

Our house soon evoked a remarkable resemblance to Noah's Ark. That and the constant rains where we lived must be why ex-RAF hubby often mumbled about finding those 'blasted' blue prints...(Must be that British humour!)

We have however only recently adopted our very own Felis Domestica. Like most of our pets she is a 'rescue', (this time from a nearby shelter!), and she came with her name: Maira.

Maira gets along well with our Corgi which is a blessing of course! 
Their playful antics often includes a tag game which Maira wins by a long shot: MacIntosh has not learned yet that he looses if she 'tags' him and thus keeps running around until eventually the cat's long nails strikes at a tender spot...After which all is forgiven and they rest side by side...

As for favourite feline friends around the globe they include Slow lane life's Scooter, Hamish, Millie, Lottie and Catkin amongst others!

22 March 2012

Furry Paws, Cold Nose: Man's (Woman's) Best Friends...

Man's (Woman's) best friend is the inspiration for today's post! There is nothing like soulful eyes, a big sloppy grin and a happy bark to make you feel welcomed home!

(Focus on those cute little bloomers!)

Today's tours includes some of our favourite canine friends...

Take a moment to see Dancing Beastie dogs ( Scotland) enjoying a nice walk/nap (here),

Then visit Clover (U.S.A.) of Posie Gets Cozy (here), 

Meet Flossie (and Tosca) (Somerset) of Slow Lane Life (here) of course! (Flossie is beautiful!)

And finally witness There and Back again handsome Bear (California) and his search for a new home with his human family (here)! (Sending prayers and thoughts their way as Bear is going undercover!)

Each will win your heart of course, faithful friends as they are! 
Who could resist those looks?!

 (Aren't I handsome?)

Meet here tomorrow to see our feline friends! 

21 March 2012

Spring Is Here...Or Is It?

I have seen it on countless blogs, heard it 'officially' on the news (BBC of course) and witnessed a pale glimpse of it in the backyard...(Don't let these photos fool you: we had snow two days ago!)
Spring is finally here! Or is it? We had frost last night!

 Meanwhile the woodpile is growing smaller...Sigh...

From the island we can still see snow falling in the mountains! It feels like the longest winter to date!

19 March 2012

And The Winner Of 'The Woodcarver' DVD Is...

It is always nice to give something to a faithful reader!
Thanks to PROPELLER a copy of 'The Woodcarver' DVD (see review here) will be going to...


Hi Noelle the Dreamer - I'd love an opportunity to win this movie. It would be great to show the teenagers in my Sunday School Class and a nice addition to our new and improved church library. Thanks for the review and the giveaway. ~ Abby

CONGRATULATIONS ABBY!! Thank you for your participation! I will contact you shortly to confirm the mailing address and pass it on to the sponsor!

18 March 2012

The Jesus We Missed by Patrick Henry Reardon, Book Review


Who was Jesus and what was His mission? The Gospels present us with an obvious but profound and compelling thought, that the eternal Word of God became a real man of particular weight and height, with a specific temperament and particular traits of character. He was a Jew, part of a small village community. He became hungry and tired. He felt anger and was moved to compassion. He had a mother and friends. His name was Jesus.
How are we to understand this mystery of Jesus being fully God and also fully man? How do we correctly speak of the real Jesus without falling prey to the skepticism that marks the so-called "quest for a historical Jesus"? In The Jesus We Missed, pastor and scholar Patrick Henry Reardon travels through the Gospel narratives to discover the real Jesus, to see him through the eyes of those who knew him best-the apostles, his community, believers who vividly portrayed him in stories filtered through their own faith. Through these living, breathing accounts, we contemplate who God's Son really was and is-and we understand how he came to redeem and sanctify every aspect of every human life.  

My personal thoughts:

'The Jesus We Missed: The Surprising Truth About The Humanity Of Christ' brings readers an amazing amount of insights into the life of the man we call Jesus. Richly detailed and perfectly flowing, it gives anyone who wishes to know more about Jesus' life, an entirely different perspective on this charismatic persona we think we know. 

Patrick Henry Reardon argues that most Christians know little about Christ's childhood since the Apostles mentions little prior to his baptism at the age of 30. The author also reminds us the Gospels of Mark and John the Evangelist begins Jesus' history at the ministry of John the Baptist whilst clearly both Matthew and Luke Gospels reveal much more information on a younger Jesus. Most of these facts are well known to believers and non believers but have we perhaps overlooked something?

For those of us who yearn to learn just a little more, this is a wonderful compilation of biblical facts we need to rediscover! Chapter after chapter the author showcases the 'real' Jesus growing up, his wisdom at a very tender age, his baptism and warm relationship with John the Baptist to give just a few examples.
Let me share my favourite: Chapter 7, Jesus at prayer... 
A remarkable insight on Jesus' human side from a truly gifted scholar! 
Note: Be sure to check the extensive notes, a treasure in itself!

A compelling recount of the Jewish carpenter we call Jesus and the life he gave for us!
Brilliant! 5 stars!!

About the author:


A gifted scholar who provides his readers with careful attention to historical and literary details Father Patrick Henry Reardon is also Touchstone Senior Editor. If I had to describe the author I would do so in two adjectives: Conservative and Eclectic! Read more (here).

I received this book free from BOOKSNEEZE/THOMAS NELSON as part of their blogger review program. I was not asked to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.
I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255 'Guides concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising.

17 March 2012

Love's Sacred Song by Mesu Andrews, Book Review


Standing in the massive shadow of his famous father, young king Solomon wavers between fear and bravado, wisdom and folly. In the uncertain world of alliances and treachery, Solomon longs for peace and a love that is true and pure--a love that can be his cornerstone.

A shepherdess in the northern city of Shunem, Arielah remembers the first time she laid eyes on Solomon in Jerusalem when she was just seven years old. Since then she has known that it was her destiny to become his bride. When her father, a leader of their tribe, secures a promise from King Solomon to marry Arielah as a treaty bride to help unite the kingdom, it seems her dreams may come true.

But how can this simple shepherdess live as part of Solomon's harem? Can Solomon set aside his distractions to give himself completely to just one woman? Or will he let duty, deception, and the daily routine divide his heart?

My personal thoughts:

For generations the 'Song of Solomon' with its eight distinctive chapters has captivated Christians and non Christians. Its flowing and sensual descriptions of the love of one king for his queen mesmerized the senses of countless lovers .
Mesu Andrews is however the first storyteller who gave me a vivid  sense of what this beautiful love story might have been. Such was the attraction I can only say I will have to read this one more than once!

Since I am much more a New Testament student than of the Old Testament I was immediately gratified to notice the Character List. Here was a chance for me to understand and place each of the supporting cast in this wondrous tale. 

Having read others works of fiction of the same period I was also happy to note the author did not 'drown' readers with her knowledge of the Old Testament. Rather she penned her story with clear rich details giving the opportunity for the reader to 'see' each tableau.

'Love's Sacred Song' is first of all of course the story of King Solomon's love for his Shunemite Queen but for me, it has been also a magnificent tapestry of intrigues and into historical and biblical facts. With its rich colours and exquisite details, this story becomes alive in a unforgettable way. Mesu Andrews is the sort of storyteller who will captivate her audience with her writing!

As a treaty bride the 'Lamb Of Israel' or Ariel-ah captured the love of a King but also the loyalty of Israel. Her humble beginnings as shepherdess, the love of her family as well as her faith in God enabled her to reach out to a man who clearly was divided betwixt his duty and hopes for his country's future and his loyalty to Jehovah. Saying nothing of keeping 60 wives happy...

With 12 years of research behind 'Love's Scared Song' storyteller Mesu Andrews paints a much more interesting picture of the wise Solomon and his beautiful Queen, life at court with its many deceptions and a magnificent love which still captivates to this date!

Excellent story and worth every one of its 5 stars!

About the author:

Mesu Andrews is as colourful as her stories and I found her site to be most entertaining! Starting with her unusual name (read here) you will enjoy reading more about this storyteller on her website (here).

I received this book free from BAKER/REVELL as part of their blogger review program. I was not asked to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.
I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255 'Guides concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising.

15 March 2012

Please Observe A Moment Of Silence On Friday..

(Daily Mail)

Friday at 10:00 GMT a minute of silence will be held by many in remembrance of the children and teachers who died on 14 March 2012 in a road accident in Switzerland following a ski trip. (more here)
Belgium will also observe a day of mourning on Friday...(details here)

Keeping the many Belgian and Dutch families and friends who have lost so much, in our thoughts and prayers! May God be with you during this time of sorrow!

14 March 2012

God's Little Children...

There is nothing like sad news to remind you we have little control over life and we are all in God's hands!
This morning it is with deep sorrow we heard of the death of  15 Belgian children, 7 Dutch children and 6 adults on their way back from a ski trip in Switzerland. (more here)

There is no words to express our horror and we pray the many families will find the strength to face the days ahead!

We then learned our favourite little angel Madeline is back in hospital and her Mum and Dad are in very much needed of prayers at this time once again!

For just a moment today, please pray and keep each and everyone of them in mind!

Psalm 23

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
 he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul:
 he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, 
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: 
thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: 
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

12 March 2012

The Woodcarver, Faith & Family Films DVD REVIEW/GIVEAWAY


Matthew Stevenson is a troubled kid from a broken home. When he vandalizes the local church to get back at his parents, Matthew has to repair the damage to the church to avoid criminal charges. 
While working at the church, he meets Ernest (John Ratzenberger), an accomplished wood carver who created the intricate woodwork decoration that Matthew destroyed. 
Ernest has become something of a hermit, but reluctantly comes out of reclusion to help repair the church. Now Ernest and Matthew must work together to preserve the church's beautiful antiquity, and along the way, they also manage to restore their faith in God and in life.

My personal thoughts:

This is one movie I would like to recommend to anyone and in particular, I would like to suggest every Pastor/Youth Group Leader shows it at their very next meeting! Make that an open house and be sure parents sees it as well!

A heartwarming story of people just like you and I, of hurting youth and bewildered parents who try very hard to do the right thing. It is sure to open discussion betwixt generations and communication is so important!

I do no think much has to be said about John Ratzenberger's acting skills. His presence alone with its quiet demeanor and simple and honest faith guarantees any movie to be a winner. Dakota Daulby plays your average angry teenager in need of someone who cares and understand the anger factor behind the vandalism.

The story in itself is nothing new. We see it around us everyday, perhaps even in our own family. But in 'The Woodcarver' the message is clear and sure to reach out no matter how estranged we feel from the ones we love: WWJD? With this simple question, 'Ernest' reaches out to the teenager who destroyed his beautiful carvings and even Matthew's parents. Amazing, the reactions to such thought!

I found the part of the grieving widower to be played with exquisite taste! Love such as 'Ernest' describes is not found everyday. I shall credit the director for knowing when to apply just the right emotion  to the right scene!
As to the beautiful house used as set for this movie, be sure to check out the special features! I am ready to move in!

For my part, I have started to believe angels comes in many shapes (see What if?) and John Ratzenberger might well counsel youths in lieu of acting one day!

A must see for any family and worth 5 stars!!

Here are the details for the GIVEAWAY

Thanks to the sponsor's generosity I am able to offer one (1) reader the opportunity to receive a copy of this amazing movie.
All you have to do is place a comment on this post before Sunday 18 March 2012 at midnight PDT. I will then use Random.org to choose one entry and contact the winner via email! 
That's all!

I received this book free from PROPELLER as part of their blogger review program. I was not asked to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.
I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255 'Guides concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising.

10 March 2012

Sarai By Jill Eileen Smith, Book review

Sarai, the last child of her aged father, is beautiful, spoiled, and used to getting her own way. Even as a young girl, she is aware of the way men look at her, including her half brother Abram. When Abram finally requests Sarai's hand, she asks one thing--that he promise never to take another wife as long as she lives. Even her father thinks the demand is restrictive and agrees to the union only if Sarai makes a promise in return--to give Abram a son and heir. Certain she can easily do that, Sarai agrees.

But as the years stretch on and Sarai's womb remains empty, she becomes desperate to fulfill her end of the bargain--lest Abram decide that he will not fulfill his. To what lengths will Sarai go in her quest to bear a son? And how long will Abram's patience last?

My personal thoughts:
With amazing storytelling skills, Jill Eileen Smith introduces a whole new way to look at well known biblical stories! Her exquisite details into the lives of Sarai and Abraham in Book 1 in the 'Wives of the Patriarchs' series will fascinate readers!
The Old Testament is a wonderful source of material for fiction writing and this author deserves much respect for the quality of her novels! Had Ms. Smith been my religion teacher I might not have dozed off as often as I humbly acknowledge!

From page one you find yourself opening a very large window on the past! Every possible human emotions is carefully described, every event researched in meticulous ways to present the reader with a remarkable story.

Personally I never thought of Sarai (or even Abraham) as anything else than mere figures in the Old Testament. We know God spoke to Abraham on more than one occasion and the ensuing drama unfolds in the Scriptures as factual as faith allows us to believe.

But what do we know of the life and the love Abraham and his half sister Sarai shared? Beautiful Sarai was also in her seventies when she gave birth! Do we understand the scope of Sarai's sacrifice?

What of their faith and commitment to God? What do we know of their families and friends? Sarai's story brings us their voices also!

Sarai is a work of fiction but it encompass all the emotions experienced by these men and women of the Old Testament whilst helping readers like you and I to discover a culture few of us can even imagine.

In this novel Jill Eileen Smith's love for biblical stories comes trough in an unforgettable way. Her many characters will bring you a story of deep emotions and surprisingly will remind you of the  joys and disappointments experienced by men and women all over the world! 

And there was my problem...

Despite some curiosity in the lives of all protagonists, I felt more appreciation for Jill Eileen Smith's excellent historical depictions than the story itself.  I would not recommend it to young adults due to thematic contents.
Once over,  I  promptly shelved it!

I give it 3 stars!

 “Available March 2012  at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

About the author:
Jill Eileen Smith is the author of the 'Wives of King David' series and her research into the lives of biblical women has taken her from the Bible to Israel.
Visit her website (here) for more on this interesting author!

I received this book free from BAKER/REVELL as part of their blogger review program. I was not asked to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.
I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255 'Guides concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising.