Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Flowers of Grace: A Book Review

I love getting lost in a book.  Most of the time when I read books it is solely for entertainment, to be taken on a ride of emotions.  Flowers of Grace by Teresa Hirst, which I was given a copy to review, did just this. 

The Book:
Set in an upscale St. Louis boutique amid a fragile economic climate when retail customers are trading brick and mortar stores for online shopping, Flowers of Grace is a story of love and loss, friendship and forgiveness.

Still mourning a broken engagement, Grace inherits a hibiscus with a legacy she fears she will kill. Doubt in her capacity to nurture anything prompts her to bring the plant into the clothing store she manages, and the dynamic personalities of the female staff band together to help it bloom. Grace and the hibiscus blossom through a wedding and a birth, but its unexpected death pushes her to face false assumptions, opening a path for new love to appear.

The simple gift is more than a plant. When it blooms, so does she. But when it dies, she fears love will too.

My Review: 
The story felt very real. It isn't a light hearted beach read, in fact much of the story left me sympathizing with Grace and wishing for better things and just that peace and the life Grace is hoping for, is almost felt a little depressing at times.  I found myself almost wishing for the story to go faster just so that Grace could find that happiness I hoped she would eventually find. After I finished, as I looked back and reflected, I realized the speed and flow of the story actually helped in the depth of the lessons and kept the story true to itself and helped it be not too cliche. The author does a wonderful job subtly teaching many lessons, many of which Grace herself has to learn.  

I did wish for the end to play out a little more, wanting more of the 'future story' as by the end I had really come to love the characters and didn't want the story to end. 

This book is a clean book free of language, graphic imagery and violence.  I do recommend this book.

Get the Book:
You can purchase the book at the following:
  Amazon//Barnes and Noble//Kobo Books//iBooks//

Find the Author at:

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Best of the Blogosphere Link Party: Week 8

Are you ready for another round? It is week 8 of the #BestOfTheBlogoshpere.

Each week we not only show the four posts that you loved but we each also pick our favorites as well!  The top four are featured on 10 different blogs! So come link up.

My favorite this week came from a post at Life at 523 called Does a Language Barrier Only Exist in Adults.
I love how honest she is about her eye-opening experience and it definitely made me pause and think about my own behavior.  Definitely go read it.

Now here are last week's top four: 
Working Woman
Raisin Bread Toasts with Braided String Cheese & Honey 1

  Come meet us and join the fun to discover what week 8 brings! Best of the Blogosphere Graphic
Party Rules:
        • Follow your hosts! Take a moment and give us some love! Follow us on social media so we can promote you!
        • Link up your best post of the week. Be sure to add the link for a specific post, not your homepage. And, please link up only one post.
        • Please link up family friendly posts- nothing political or religious. Also, please do not link up posts to promote giveaways, link parties or shops. Guess what? You can link up a sponsored post if you feel it’s your best post of the week. We’re cool with that.
        • By linking up with the Best of the Blogosphere Linky Party, you are giving permission to us to feature your post with a link back to you- either as a weekly winner or our own personal favorite post
        • Take the time to visit a few blogs and vote for your favorite post of the week.
        • Tweet about us #bestoftheblogosphere

Friday, February 27, 2015

Friday 5: Franklin, Black-tie and Rain

Friday-which means Friday 5!  Easy way to end the week by sharing 5 thoughts and 5 pictures from the week.

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5 Thoughts

1. Lucas had a big report due on Benjamin Franklin this last week.  Not only did he have to research and write a big essay but he also had to make a puppet and plan an oral presentation.  Last weekend we made the puppet and he was going to write his paper on Monday.  He had already done the research at school, which was written on a paper that was in his folder.  A paper I accidentally threw out with his other papers.  Needless to say Monday I did a lot of research on Benjamin Franklin.  (Who is amazingly fascinating and has done way more than I ever realized by the way)

2. It doesn't rain that often here in Southern California, we really need it to rain a lot more to end our drought, but this last week we actually got some rain.  It was wonderful.  Except for when it was time to take my kids to the dentist.  Hadn't really rained all day, started to sprinkle during school pick up.  Got to the dentist and literally as we were parking the sky burst open.  We tried to wait it out a bit, five minutes later we said forget it and hurried in through the pouring rain. But can't complain since we need it.

3. I have a "black-tie optional" event to go to with Eric in a couple of weeks.. now I have to decide if any of my old dresses are good enough or if I need a new dress.  Probably need a new one.

4. Tomorrow I am going to be attending a mini-blogging conference.  It is a special one for LDS bloggers.  I am excited to see several of my blogging friends, should be fun.

5. I am glad it's Friday.  Sometimes that is really all there is too it.  

5 Pictures
Playing school and helping him practice his letters 
Lucas' Benjamin Franklin puppet
Horrible picture of me but my baby fell asleep on my lap!
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Another from the newborn twins shoot that I just had to share
Enjoying the weather on our drive home from school
What is your five this week?  Join in!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Lazarus Game: A Book Review

I was given a copy of the Lazarus Game to review.  

The Book:
   Carter Chance is the boy who thinks he has it all figured out. He is a boy genius, still in high school by choice of course as he is a boy-genius, smart enough he could already graduate.  He likes to use his genius and the help of his friends to solve crimes around the city. 
   When a new video store comes into town, the entire town soon seems to be sucked into and addicted to this new store and the games it offers. While Carter is trying to figure what it is about this game that has the whole city's attention, he meets the creator of the store and the Lazarus Game. Carter is offered riches and opportunities beyond his wildest dreams in exchange for his help to create the new version of the Lazarus Game. The more Carter learns, the more he realizes there is much more to the game than he originally thought.  

The Lazarus Game by Stephen J. Valentine is a fast paced adventure story that leaves you wondering what sacrifices are okay if it means helping the greater good. 

My review:
    I will admit, it took me a while to get into this book. Carter is extremely intelligent and extremely arrogant because of it. Not only was he not very relatable but also annoyed me quite a bit. While I knew right away there was something off with the game store and the game, I did not predict or guess the true depth of the game.  
   As Carter begins to realize the truth, his understanding and his character become much more likable. In that sense, it feels like someone truly growing and maturing in a way that made me almost forgive him for how he was in the beginning.  

   As the true nature of the Lazarus Game is discovered it raises some great questions about the value of life and what should and should not be sacrificed. This book is free of language. It does have fighting, death, and even some subject matters that might be a little intense for a younger reader, however it is written in a way that makes it not too morbid or graphic.

While this book was a very rough start for me, I did enjoy the story and the progression of the characters in the end.   I think teenage boys would truly enjoy this book and it raises a lot of good questions to discuss in the end. 

You can find out more about the book and the author on his website or on Facebook

You can purchase your own copy of the book at: Amazon// Barnes and Noble 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Ten Things to Smile About This Month

The last Tuesday of every month, I stop to look back and find things that made me smile.  Little things, big things.. whatever it may be, no matter how bad or good the month may have been, there is always something to smile about.

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Join me for 10 Things to Smile About this Month!  Linky will be open for two weeks, so plenty of time to join in.

Ten Things to Smile About in February

1. Love and celebrating it with family on Valentine's Day

2. A month with amazing sunsets- seriously so many this month
though this picture was technically taken right a the end of January, but there were good ones in February

3. Basketball games with the family

4. Sibling love

5. Alex conquering her fear (with some bribery help) and going on a crazy big roller coaster.

6. Alex doing an awesome job with her speaking part in her school program

7. The creeper club that my kids started- complete with passports and a list of activities that they will do together everyday to help cut down on their screen time.  Also the fact they did this 100% on their own, yeah happy mom!

8. Getting to photograph my first newborn twins.  I always love the cuddle time I get during these sessions, but something about these twins (probably because they were the same size as my Ryder when he was born) just brought back a flood of emotions.

9. Lucas was student of the month (and yes he isn't that much shorter than his teacher)

10. My sleeping boys!  Sometimes no matter how good church is, you just get a little sleepy.
What made you smile this month?