Life So Sweet ~ Mandy Gawley

As I’ve mentioned I have an extremely diverse taste range when it comes to music. I always find myself coming back to my “country roots” over and over again though.

One of my favorite things to do here in Boston is to crank it up when I’m stuck in traffic. Hearing about dirt roads and sunshine makes me picture being out fishing on a cloudless day in Wyoming–rather than being stuck in traffic in the rain here in New England! It was funny that in her song Biscuits & Chicken on Life So Sweet Mandy expresses the same kind of sentiments!

Mandy Gawley reminds me a little of Sugarland in some of her songs, but she definitely has her own unique, yet very country sound. There are a good mix of fun and funky songs, but my favorites on the album are the softer sweeter songs like The Love We Leave Behind and What I Know Now.

Hop on over to Amazon so you can listen for yourself and read what other listeners are saying!

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The Donkey No One Could Ride by Anthony DeStefano

The only holiday related books that stay in our bookcase year round are those that have to do with Easter.

The way I see it the story of Easter is relevant year round–every day in fact!

This year Amber got The Donkey That No One Could Ride in her Easter basket and we have been enjoying it ever since! A story about the little donkey who was used for Jesus’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, it focuses on an often over looked but crucial part of the Easter Story.

The story is simple, yet powerful, and the pictures are absolutely amazing!

Continue reading The Donkey No One Could Ride by Anthony DeStefano

Oil by Jeff Nesbit

Far different than my usual book fare of historical romantic novels and helpful non-fiction Christian books on being a wife and parent-at first I was unsure how I would feel about sinking my teeth into a political novel–particularly one with the title Oil and that was 360 pages long! However, now I’m glad that I was sent this book to review!

I found the book to be one that you had to focus on while reading–this is no light and fluffy storyline that you can just waltz through. With intricate stories lines that weave in and out of each other and deeply developed characters you definitely need to pay attention or you’ll get lost. Other than that, however, I found the story to be extremely interesting, even for me, and it kept me turning the pages. Even with how huge it is I was able to finish it off quickly–going faster as I neared the end to find out what was going to happen! I’ll warn you though-it ends in a cliff hanger! I enjoyed it to the point that I will definitely want to read the next book to find out what is going to happen. I loved the ever so subtle hints of Christianity woven throughout the book, and the way it portrayed all the different characters and their many facets. This is a great read, even if it is not your usual genre!

A Good Girls Guide to Great Sex by Shelia Wray Gregoire

Oh yes…you DID read that title right….and yes–you are on MY blog. See if you know me very well you probably never expected to see the “S” Word (you know….sex) on my blog….ever.

Well to be honest I didn’t really think it ever would show up either! But especially after reading this book–I wonder why I thought that. But maybe I should back up a little and explain how exactly we arrived at this point….

Continue reading A Good Girls Guide to Great Sex by Shelia Wray Gregoire

This Means War Date Night #CouchCritics

At the beginning of this year I decided that every Friday night that Bob was home was going to be Date Night for us. Seven years into our marriage I feel that keeping the flirt and the spark in our marriage is super important! Since he’s in the military we’re thousands of miles away from both our families and move so often getting a babysitter for a “real” date only happens once in a blue moon.
So we just do the next best thing–an at home date night once the kiddos are in bed! I always make sure that on Friday’s I “get pretty” you know–actually doing my hair, my makeup, and putting on some cute clothes and my best perfume. Although sometimes we play Phase 10 or sit around chatting, our favorite at home dates are watching movies together snuggled on our amazing comfy couches.
Yesterday I decided to go on a trek to rent This Means War from Blockbuster Express and pick up some snacks for our weekly date night. 

Mmmm…..yeah. I *thought* that I could beat rush hour traffic by leaving at 2 p.m. There I go thinking again! If I ever have a *brilliant* idea like that again will someone please slap me? Repeat after me “Don’t go *anywhere* if it involves driving on the interstate on holiday weekends in Boston.

Here is me after 2 hours of stop and go traffic. I also spent the time bouncing up and down and dancing to some random British folk pop group (I took Bob’s vehicle and forgot to grab any cds) and listening to Piano Concerto #5,895 play in the minor chord of e. Amber decided to catch up on her beauty rest–can’t say as I blame her!

 But at long last we completed our trek to the  BlockBuster Express and got our movie with great success!

Then it was time to make some goodies–because what’s a date without a few treats right? I opted to go for my ultimate secret weapon….my world famous chocolate chip cookies! I’m *pretty* sure they’re why Bob married me in the first place! 😉

Can’t you just taste the melty chocolatey goodness??!!
Then finally it was date time!

Of course the most fun part of watching any movie is getting to be a couch critic–so here is my take on This Means War (rated PG-13)
The Goods:
  • I actually love action movies even more than “chick flick” kinds–so the fact that the movie combined the two was a lot of fun for me!
  • The main characters were awesome! I’ve been a huge fan of Chris Pine since the new Star Trek (oh yeah did I mention I’m a closet geek?) and you can’t help but adore Reese Witherspoon–she’s just so stinking adorable. And Tom Hardy…well….let’s just say that I have a thing for British accents 😉
  • The flow of the movie was great and had a nice mix of funny, serious, and action packed scenes.
  • Funny!!! I was giggling and giggling through the entire movie–and hubby laughed out loud several times too (despite turning up his nose at any “chick flicks”)

The Bads
  • Chelsea Handler plays Trish–the obnoxious older friend. She was supposed to bring an extra dose of funny to the movie but all I found her to be was annoying. Maybe it’s because I’m a little “uptight” but her crude remarks and jokes about sex and drinking constantly were just dumb and really didn’t add any value to the movie.
  • Umm…since when is cheating no big deal? Last time I checked if a girl was seriously dating two guys at once it was more skanky than cute
  • No realism–yes, I get that it’s a comedy so that is part of it–but as hubby said–shooting a predator out of the sky just because you don’t want it spying on you??? You realize that’s 4 million dollars right??!!!!!!!!
  •  The ending ~ though they did manage to pull it off the practical side of me shakes it head. I know (ahem…maybe from personal experience…..maybe more than once….anyways moving on) that anytime there is any kind of “love triangle” where two guys are interested in the same girl the result is a big blow to their friendship long term–and that’s when the girl doesn’t even choose or date either one of them in the end (again…possibly speaking from personal experience here, pleading the fifth though 😉 )
 The Verdict
Overall I would give this movie 3.5 out of 5 Couches
Oh–and the best part of at home date nights? Getting to watch a movie in my holey favorite sweat pants and barefoot!!!
If you’d like to check out the rest of my journey to BlockBuster Express and Wal*Mart for my goodies please check out my Google+ Album!

This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. #CBias All dancing, traffic jams, and references to former love triangles are my own.

Beyond Hopes Valley by Tricia Goyer

So, just in case you somehow missed the Memo….I’m a bit of a book worm. Ok, ok….so more than a bit! I always have been and it still is the perfect way for me to de-stress, unwind, and get some much needed “me” time in at the end of each day. Lately I’ve been seeming to need it even more than normal…which means I have a great big ol’ stack of books to review this week!

Today’s book is Beyond Hope’s Valley by Tricia Goyer it’s the end of the Big Sky Novel’s and I have to admit I felt a little bit like the picture above–that I of course found on Pinterest! 😉

Continue reading Beyond Hopes Valley by Tricia Goyer

The Black Shard by Victoria Simcox

Not too long ago I dished about the fact that I’m a closet nerd who loves to read Young Adult books–it’s true! And after reading The Magic Warble naturally I would want to read the next novel in the series The Black Shard. I just love series…I never feel like characters and story lines can grow the way they should if everything is wrapped up into a single book. In my mind the best stories always come in series!

It was fun getting reacquainted with an older Katrina in this book as well as the other characters like Werrien, and Hester and Davina of course too! Fun and easy to read I loved and was surprised at the crazy twist at the end of the book–for someone who prides herself on “calling” things I definitely didn’t see any of the twists coming! The book ends on a cliffhanger…so I’m definitely looking forward to the *next* book even more! This is the book I gave my sister for Christmas and she enjoyed as well. Although it does play off of the Magic Warble it serves well as a stand alone book also. The Black Shard was a very fun read–I’d recommend it for young adults (and slightly older adults… me hehe) as well! Be sure to hop on over to Amazon to read some more reviews–so far it has 5 stars!

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The Woodcarver DVD

Although we don’t watch a ton of TV at our house hubby and I both enjoy snuggling up at the end of the day or on weekends and watching a good movie or one of our favorite TV shows together. My favorites are good clean films that also have a great, unique storyline, good production value, and great acting. And unfortunately that’s usually extremely hard to find!

Well I now have a new movie to add to my favorites list! The Woodcarver blew me away! I watched it last night and it was truly awesome. It made me laugh, and it made me cry (real tears–more than once!) and it left me with that warm fuzzy feeling inside that great movies leave me with (am I the only one that happens to?) I loved all the the characters and the acting was extremely good (which is always harder to achieve when you have several tense/tearful scenes) as was the production value.

The story line is about a troubled teenager whose parents are in the midst of a divorce and a lonely man who has lost his wife of 40+ years to cancer. It gives a great view of very real and common problems in life and how God can work through them all. I’d highly recommend it for the entire family!

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

The Clouds Roll Away by Sibella Giorella

About The Clouds Roll Away – “Beautifully written with exquisite descriptions, Giorello’s mystery also features well-developed characters…”
—Booklist, starred review

I agree with the Booklist review above 🙂 The Clouds Roll Away did contain very interesting and intriguing descriptions and characters. I enjoyed the story line and the twists and turns of it. I especially enjoyed how it delved into deep serious issues like the problems and heartache that Christmas brings to many and the problems with racism. I thought that it was interesting that the churches that were mentioned were Catholic though I was left a little confused as to whether the main character was Catholic or not. I’m not used to that in Christian book so that left me with some questions.   As this is the second book in the series and I didn’t read the first I feel that contributed to my questions-. There were other aspects of the story I felt didn’t get fully resolved–but since it’s a book in a series that makes sense and makes me want to read the following stories.

It was an interesting, easy to read story and would make a good cozy read for anyone who loves a good mystery! Be sure to hop on over to Amazon and check out other readers thoughts-so far it has 4 stars!