Out of the Ordinary by Jen Turano review

There are a handful of authors that I enjoy their stories strictly because they add humor to them. Although they are generally put under historical fiction or historical romance they seem to add some comedy in the mix and I definitely would consider it more historical romance comedy.  Not that category even exists but maybe it should.

Anyway, as I mentioned above there are a handful that do this and Jen Turano is one such author. She writes in a way that makes reading her stories a joy and you leave the book feeling good.  This particular book is one such story. Let me tell you a bit about it:

9780764217951Out of the Ordinary by Jen Turano

Bethany House Publishing

“With all the charm of a Regency romance, the humor of a drawing room farce, and the swoonworthy delight of a fairy tale, Turano’s first Apart from the Crowd historical absolutely sparkles.”–Publishers Weekly on Behind the Scenes

Working as a paid companion may be quite commonplace, but Miss Gertrude Cadwalader’s eccentric employer makes her job unpredictable, to say the least. She finds herself carrying out an array of highly unusual tasks, including wearing peculiar outfits and returning items the woman pilfered. But when the wealthy Mrs. Sinclair catches Gertrude sneaking around the Sinclair yacht with some of the missing items in her possession, she immediately jumps to the wrong conclusion.

Shipping magnate Harrison Sinclair is caught in the middle of a misunderstanding between his mother and Gertrude, but he can’t help coming to his friend’s defense. Even as he hopes their friendship might become something more, Harrison is unprepared for the outlandish escapades that seem to follow the lovely, anything-but-ordinary Gertrude at every turn.

Jen Turano is the USA Today bestselling author of nine books and lives in a suburb of Denver, Colorado. Visit her website at www.jenturano.com.

I really did enjoy this story. Even though it is part of a series you really can read it as a stand alone story. However, I totally recommend that you go and pick out all the other books in the series because they are all just as good.

The story is fun and the situations that Gertrude seems to get into, whether by her own mishaps, or due to her eccentric companion or even her best friend, Permilia, who happens to have her own story, they are so funny. You will laugh out loud as you hear the descriptions of the trouble she gets into with her creatively designed bustle. But even better is the description of Permilia and her betrothed dancing. Oh my, I was almost in tears.

The chemistry between our dear Gertrude and her ruggedly handsome, albeit a bit unfashionable, highly sought after, Harrison, is unmistakable.

If they ever decide to make a movie based on one of Jen’s books I highly recommend this one. I seriously want to see how this would play out on the big screen.

This is a book that can be read in a weekend so if you are looking for a story to read over your holiday break I would definitely suggest this one. You will laugh with the interesting situations and cheer on Gertrude and Harrison as they work to find their happily ever afters.

You can click here  or the book image above to purchase a copy of this book.

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Bethany House Publishers for providing me with a free copy of this book to review and post. Opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.

*This post does NOT contain any affiliate links. I will NOT be compensated if you purchase through the links above.

Reviews, Sales, Holidays and More

Well I just can’t seem to get up to blogging every week like I used to. But oh well, such is how life works. We tend to go through seasons. And as we do, things change. Priorities change and some things aren’t as important any more.

I’m not saying you, my friends are not important, just that I have had some slightly more important things come up in my real life that has to be taken care of.

So here is an update: I’ve been “working” from home with a company to make a “real” paycheck, as blogging has not “paid” off for me as of yet.

My oldest daughter has been taking some ACT tests and both our oldest and middle daughters have picked up a lot more hours working for our church as child care workers.

We’ve been homeschooling and that of course will continue. We are joining a co-op and I will be teaching two classes for it. I’ve been working on the Magazine and new products that are in the works.  Speaking of products you should check out this post on my PKP blog about an amazing sale.

I’ve been spending much more time with my family and my hubby. Been cooking more and living in the moment. We did do senior pictures with Sierra. I’ll post a few of those soon.

Also for Aspiring to Be Magazine email subscribers there is a freebie for Advent that I created but you have to be an email subscriber to get it AND that offer will be expiring soon.

Next week I will be posting a book review for a really great book by Jen Turano. I think you all will enjoy that. So watch for that post.

I think I am caught up for the time being and I really can not make any promises that I will be on here on a regular basis as my time and energy has made a shift. But I will try to update when I am able.

I hope you all have an awesome Christmas and I will see you all soon. If you would like to keep up with me you can follow me on Instagram.

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Kutless Alpha/Omega Review

I was so thrilled to get the opportunity to review the CD for Kutless new album Alpha / Omega. My husband was a fan of theirs for years as he loved their hard rock sound. I became more of a fan when they started pulling more worship into the mix. With this album we are both hooked.

For those of you who may be new to Kutless here is a little bit about them.

Kutless Band

Since signing to BEC Recordings in 2001, Kutless has transformed from a new rock band to a staple artist in the industry that has multi-format, top-charting hits, sold millions of records and more than eight million streams. Launched by original members Jon Micah Sumrall (lead vocals) and guitarist James Mead, the band formed first as a modern rock/worship band at Warner Pacific College in Portland in 2000. Kutless has two RIAA Gold-selling albums for Strong Tower and Live from Portland. The band has had 12 No. 1 radio singles across all formats including their major hits “Strong Tower,” “What Faith Can Do”and “Carry Me To The Cross.”
After more than 15 years together and reaching fans around the world, Kutless continues to be focused on sharing the Gospel with a younger generation that is searching for answers.
“We really believe that music can make a difference in people’s lives,” shares Jon Micah
Sumrall. “Music is an incredibly powerful tool that can break down walls and allow us to
communicate a message of hope to people who may not listen otherwise. We are still recording and performing because we really do believe it makes a difference. We hear stories all the time from people who share with us how a concert or a song has radically impacted their life, and it’s these types of testimonies that keep us going year after year.”
In 2012, Kutless formed EOTA Ministries (End of The Age) to expand their evangelistic outreach around the globe. EOTA is the non-profit arm that aids Kutless in hosting large, free outreach concerts and events. In 2015, they partnered with other organizations to bring concerts to Kiev, Ukraine and other cities for six events – the largest of their kind in that country. The next year, Kutless returned to 11 cities in Ukraine as well as in Belarus, a communist country, where more than 100,000 heard the Gospel and over 40,000 commitments to Christ.
With their upcoming album ALPHA / OMEGA, Kutless has created a collection of rock and worship songs of both original and cover tracks that are true to who the band has been for the last 17 years. They wanted to create a project that would engage the Christian community and have the greatest impact. The songs are true to who the band is at their core – rock and worship. ALPHA / OMEGA features a new version of “Strong Tower” as well as the debut radio single “King of My Heart.”

Kutless Alpha Omega

In my opinion this will be an album that I will play over and over and over again as it has exactly what I am looking for. Good, praise and worship. The sound is awesome and fresh. You want to just lose yourself in the music as you close your eyes and throw your hands up and just worship right along with them.

I’m so appreciative of their ministry and their heart for God which flows through this cd. It’s an awesome addition to worship. I love that you can actually hear the edginess of their sound come through without it being too overwhelming. It’s straight up good music. Uplifting and full of the Spirit.

As far as a favorite song. It’s really hard for me to pick as they are all so good. But I am a bit partial to Strong Tower. It’s been a great song over the years and one we have sang often. The other is Your Great Name which again I heard many years ago and just fell in love with.

I suggest you check it out and purchase the album which you can do that here or by clicking the image of the album above.

To see a video of King of My Heart you can click here or watch below.

I hope you all will head over and check it out as I think you will be very blessed by this album. I’m looking forward to more by them.

“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 a sample of this product. 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.

Jeremy Camp “The Answer” review

I was super excited to get the opportunity to listen to and review Jeremy Camp’s new album “The Answer”. And guess what? TODAY is RELEASE DAY for this album. Yay!!!

If you have never heard of Jeremy Camp let me just say you have been living under a rock. He is such a talented musician. I’ve been listening to him for years. Pretty much since he hit the Christian music industry as I follow a lot of music. Many of his songs I’ve considered hard core worship music. Jeremy has always had a great sound and you can see his growth from each album. His stuff is always encouraging and uplifting.unnamed

This album has 11 new songs that are all amazing but I have to say one of my favorites is “My Defender” as I believe that we are never left alone and that Jesus always comes to our defense.

Seriously I love it. But don’t take my word for it. You can jump on over here and check it out for yourself.

It’s available TODAY on iTunes and in stores.

If you would like to learn more about Jeremy Camp and his music you can check out his about page on his website.

If you can’t see the video above you can click here to watch the music video “Word of Life”

Check out the video about the story behind the song “Word of Life”.

Watch the video for the title track “The Answer” here.

Of course I can’t leave this post without posting the video to my favorite song…. although they are all so good.

The video for “My Defender.”

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“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.

Cherished Mercy by Tracie Peterson review

9780764213298Cherished Mercy (Heart of the Frontier Book 3)

As Oregon Territory teeters on the brink of armed conflict, one woman strives for peace.

Mercy Flanagan survived the Whitman Massacre as a child, and now her heart’s cry is for peace between the native peoples and the white settlers inhabiting Oregon Territory. Unfortunately, most of the settlers want the tribes removed from the land completely, one way or another.

At the request of family friend Eletta Browning, who is experiencing a difficult pregnancy, Mercy travels south to the Rogue River Valley to help. At the Browning Mission, she meets Eletta’s brother-in-law, Adam. Despite her attempts to befriend him, Adam seems determined to focus on ministering to the local tribes and keeps her at arm’s length. Why is he so intent on pushing her away?

When tragedy strikes and tensions in the territory reach the combustion point, Mercy is pushed to the limit of her strength. She and Adam will have to rely on their faith in God and on each other in order to make it out alive.

My review:

I loved this book. Of course Tracie Peterson is a favorite author and as you all know I read the previous two books in this series. So I was really looking forward to the release of this book.

Mercy story happens about 6 years after Hope’s ended. So we see that she has grown up quite a bit. She is trying to find her place in this life and an opportunity arises but it will be just as challenging as when she was held hostage at the Whitman Mission. Through it all she stands strong and finds a man for herself that only God could have found for her. We see how strong Mercy is and how she has continued to grow in compassion.

I won’t spoil it for you but I believe if you have read the other two you will be very happy with this story as well. I feel like the story has ended well and even though there is much turmoil it was tied up in a great way. Of course there could always be a room for a sequel as you will soon see but if there is not the story ends on a very nice note.

But don’t take my word for it. Check it out for yourself.

You can purchase this book by clicking here or the title of the book above.

*Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Bethany House Publishers for providing me with a free copy of this book to review and post. Opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.

**This post does NOT contain any affiliate links. I will NOT be compensated if you purchase through the links above.

Of Mess & Moxie by Jen Hatmaker review

Of Mess & Moxie by Jen Hatmaker

New York Times bestselling author Jen Hatmaker, with playful hilarity, shameless _225_350_Book.2334.coverhonesty, and refreshing insight, assures readers they have all the pluck they need for vibrant, courageous, grace-filled lives.

Jen Hatmaker believes backbone is the birthright of every woman. Women have been demonstrating resiliency and resolve since forever. They have incredibly strong shoulders to bear loss, hope, grief, and vision. She laughs at the days to come is how the ancient wisdom writings put it.

But somehow women have gotten the message that pain and failure mean they must be doing things wrong, that they messed up the rules or tricks for a seamless life. As it turns out, every last woman faces confusion and loss, missteps and catastrophic malfunctions, no matter how much she is doing “right.” Struggle doesn’t mean they’re weak; it means they’re alive.

Jen Hatmaker, beloved author, Big Sister Emeritus, and Chief BFF, offers another round of hilarious tales, frank honesty, and hope for the woman who has forgotten her moxie. Whether discussing the grapple with change (“Everyone, be into this thing I’m into! Except when I’m not. Then everyone be cool.”) or the time she drove to the wrong city for a fourth-grade field trip (“Why are we in San Antonio?”), Jen parlays her own triumphs and tragedies into a sigh of relief for all normal, fierce women everywhere who, like her, sometimes hide in the car eating crackers but also want to get back up and get back out, to live undaunted “in the moment” no matter what the moments hold.

My review:

Jen Hatmaker has a refreshing way of being blunt and brutally honest. Although I don’t necessarily agree with everything she says but for the overall message of the book it is very good and very encouraging to see we are not alone. We don’t have to do life alone and the importance of friendships, love, forgiveness and the grace of God.

I found the book to be a refreshing read and I do recommend that you do not just take my word for it, read it for yourself. I like her honesty and the way she writes and I enjoyed the fact that she is real and not hiding behind a facade. Life is messy and as women we need to be full of moxie to get through. Lets lean on our tribe and do life together.

To purchase this book you can click here or on the image or title above.

*Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Thomas Nelson for providing me with a free copy of this book to review and post. Opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.

**This post does NOT contain any affiliate links. I will NOT be compensated if you purchase through the links above.

Unraveling by Sara Ella

Unraveling _240_360_Book.2307.cover

What happens when happily ever after starts to unravel?

Eliyana Ember doesn’t believe in true love. Not anymore. After defeating her grandfather and saving the Second Reflection, El only trusts what’s right in front of her. The tangible. The real. Not some unexplained Kiss of Infinity she once shared with the ghost of a boy she’s trying to forget. She has more important things to worry about—like becoming queen of the Second Reflection, a role she is so not prepared to fill.

Now that the Verity is intertwined with her soul and Joshua’s finally by her side, El is ready to learn more about her mysterious birth land, the land she now rules. So why does she feel like something—or someone—is missing?

When the thresholds begin to drain and the Callings, those powerful magical gifts, begin to fail, El wonders if her link to Ky Rhyen may have something to do with it. For light and darkness cannot coexist. She needs answers before the Callings disappear altogether. Can El find a way to sever her connection to Ky and save the Reflections—and keep herself from falling for him in the process?

This is a great series. This is book 2 in the Unblemished Trilogy. You can read my review of the first book “Unblemished” by clicking here.

This second book takes you on another amazing adventure and I’m going to tell you that you are immediately thrown in to the adventure following El, Joshua and Ky as they have to figure out what they are supposed to do in order to help restore the Callings and the Reflections.

The twists and turns that this book takes surprised and intrigued me. It’s a great story. I really had a hard time putting this book down as I was intrigued by all the twists that I just had to see what happened next. I’m telling you that you will be pleasantly surprised by all that transpires.

I am excited about the next book in the trilogy as this one leaves you on a cliffhanger. Oh my and what a cliffhanger it is. I won’t spoil it for you but this is a must read series.

You can check out how to order this book by clicking on the title of the book in the quote or the image above.

*Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Thomas Nelson for providing me with a free copy of this book to review and post. Opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.

**This post does NOT contain any affiliate links. I will NOT be compensated if you purchase through the links above.

 

Patterns of Evidence Exodus a review

For those of you who have been following my blogging journey for a while now you know that there are two subjects I’m pretty passionate about, history and the Bible. So when the opportunity for this review came up I quickly jumped on it. It combines these two of my favorite things. poe header (1)

 

I absolutely love when things come together to prove the Bible is real and can be counted on as a historical document of real facts and the real history of the Jewish people. I mean if it wasn’t true then what are we basing our beliefs on?

So before I get into the review I want to share some information about the DVD and the filmmaker behind it.

Patterns of Evidence Exodus

About the filmpatterns of evidence exodus

  • Won 13 awards on the film festival circuit in 2014, including a Gold Remi Award winner for Best Director at the Worldfest Houston Intl. Film Festival, the Gold Crown Award for Best Picture and Best Documentary at ICVM 2014, and Official Selection at the Soho International Film Festival in New York.
  • Supplemental resources associated with the film include a nearly 400-page hardcover book, small group Bible study, Movie Event kit, youth version (called Young Explorers), homeschool curriculum and others.
  • It includes powerful interviews with some of the top experts in the fields of archaeology and Egyptology as well as people of influence in the Middle East.
  • The film has an objective, fair-minded and balanced approach. It allows viewpoints from all sides to be heard in a respectful way while asking honest questions of the Bible and scholars’ views. It does not preach and lets the evidence speak for itself. This allows the film to be very shareable with those of different viewpoints.

About the author/filmmaker/producer

Tim Mahoney founded Mahoney Media Group, Inc. (MMG) in 1989. MMG focused its business on television and video production for regional and national companies. In 2014 Tim founded Thinking Man Films & Media as an international documentary & publishing company with a focus on education and the Bible. Tim produced numerous productions for Christian organizations including the Billy Graham Association, World Wide Pictures, and Compassion International. Tim also served as the President of the board for the International Christian Visual Media Association (ICVM). Tim’s first full feature documentary film, “PATTERNS OF EVIDENCE: THE EXODUS”, released in January 2015. The film took 12 years to develop and takes a scientific approach to investigate the events of the biblical Exodus. The overall vision for his film company is to explore “patterns of evidence” that support the biblical narrative and engages the world in a conversation. The film takes a balanced approach and leaves the audience to decide for themselves if the Bible is real history or myth.

My review: 

Oh how I enjoyed this documentary. If you love history and the Bible and seeing how it all fits together you will enjoy this film. The filmmaker captures your attention from the beginning. The intrigue and the mystery and the findings…. oh my.

I thoroughly enjoyed watching this. I was halfway through the first hour of the DVD when my hubby came home from work and we started it over. I mean it was so good I could definitely watch it again.

I enjoyed the fact that he used secular interviews as well as those who believe the Bible is true. It is funny to me how the secular interviews keep saying how it couldn’t possibly be proof of the Exodus but yet it lines up perfectly with what the Bible says. It’s awesome. I really don’t know how to describe it.

He went about this film in a very scientific way, looking for the pattern of this historical event. Yet the non-believers didn’t want to admit what they had found. I don’t want to spoil it for you so I don’t want to say much about what they had found but I do want to say from a teaching perspective the documentation they found is just phenomenal.

From a mom who teaches homeschool students I say this would be an awesome film to show your students. Or if you teach history in a co-op or Christian school you should definitely check in to this. This would be a big asset for anyone teaching ancient history. I believe this is something that could be utilized in the education of our children.

This made me love history even more. Seriously you should totally pick up a copy of this DVD.

You can purchase a copy by going to the Patterns of Evidence store. AND for my readers I have a special coupon code for you to use and get $3 off of your purchase.

Use code: MK1

poe coupon code

 

“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.  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. The link above is not an affiliate link and I will not be compensated if you purchase via this link.

Beloved Hope by Tracie Peterson

9780764213281Beloved Hope

Shackled by Her Past, One Woman Searches for Healing, Forgiveness, and Love

Hope Flanagan survived the massacre at the Whitman Mission, but at terrible personal cost. Safe now in Oregon City, the gentle rhythm of tending her family’s flock of sheep is slowly healing her mind and soul, but her precarious new peace is shattered when Hope is asked to testify against the Cayuse responsible for the massacre. She’s not sure she can bear to relive the events of those horrific days, but neither can she risk her attackers being released if she doesn’t tell her story.

As Hope struggles to make her choice, an Army lieutenant named Lance Kenner becomes an unexpected ray of light in her life. Perhaps she is still capable of love after all. But will Lance still want her if he learns the whole truth of what happened to her at the mission? Or are the secrets that lie in his own past more troubling?

The second book in the “Heart of the Frontier” series follows, Hope, the middle Flanagan sister. In the first book we saw how the attack on the mission she was in by a group of Indians affected her older sister, Grace. You can click here to read my review on the first book “Treasured Grace”.

Hope must heal in order to move forward in her life but she has to learn how. Enter, Lance, someone who also must learn to heal after having learn to hate for so long. How the stories and lives of the characters intertwine is remarkable. The power of forgiveness goes a long way not only in this fictional story based on some true events but also in reality.

I love how Ms. Peterson shows us the importance of forgiveness and how it really doesn’t hurt the one you hold a grudge against but it actually hurts you. I really enjoy reading books by Tracie Peterson. And I really enjoy reading fictional books that also have a back drop of real historical events.

Tracie has a way of intertwining the real with fiction in a way you don’t really know where one stops and the other begins. It flows well with each other. I am anxiously awaiting the third book in the series which will follow, Mercy, the youngest of the Flanagan sisters.

To find out how to get your own copy click on the image or book title above.

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Zondervan for providing me with a free copy of this book to review and post. Opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.

*This post does NOT contain any affiliate links. I will NOT be compensated if you purchase through the links above.

With You Always by Jody Hedlund

With You Always by Jody Hedlund

Could Following the Opportunity of a Lifetime Cost Them the Love of Their 9780764218040Lives?

One of the many immigrants struggling to survive in 1850s New York, Elise Neumann knows she must take action to care for her younger sisters. She finds a glimmer of hope when the New York Children’s Aid Society starts sending skilled workers to burgeoning towns out west. But the promise of the society’s orphan trains is not all that it seems.

Born into elite New York society, Thornton Quincy possesses everything except the ability to step out from his brother’s shadow. When their ailing father puts forth a unique challenge to determine who will inherit his railroad-building empire, Thornton finally sees his chance. The conditions to win? Be the first to build a sustainable community along the Illinois Central Railroad and find a suitable wife.

Thrown together against all odds, Elise and Thornton couldn’t be from more different worlds. The spark that ignites between them is undeniable, but how can they let it grow when that means forfeiting everything they’ve been working toward?

The book about this particular subject is very interesting. I found Jody Hedlund’s story about Elise and the struggles and immigrant families during this time in our country’s history as an intriguing back drop to the book. I am also enjoying that this is the first book in a new series that I am very likely to finish reading once the other books come out.

The characters are realistic and I can see this type of story play out during this time period. I feel that this could very have been a true story and yet it was not. Ms. Hedlund has done a fantastic job of making Elise and Thornton along with the other many characters as real as possible. There are still things that have been left undone in the story which lets you know that there is more yet to come.

If you enjoy good historical fiction stories then I recommend you pick this one up. It’s great fun and an easy read. You get caught up immediately into the worlds of Elise and Thornton.

You can purchase this book by clicking the book title or image above.

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Bethany House Publishers for providing me with a free copy of this book to review and post. Opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.
*This post does NOT contain any affiliate links. I will NOT be compensated if you purchase through the links above.