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Monday, March 18, 2013

Home Run, Freedom is Possible–A Review and Giveaway


I quickly answered the request to review Home Run a novelization by Travis Thrasher based on the original movie. This movie follows after similar genres such as Fireproof and Courageous. As those movies were to Marriage and Fatherhood – Home Run is to Addictions and Celebrate Recovery. On the whole, the book is rather predictable, and knowing that “no one is beyond the healing of God” one is pretty sure that the main character Cory Brand will come to his senses.

As far as fiction books go – I really enjoyed this one. The story pulled me in quickly and it was a great weekend afternoon read. The story’s main  line runs through Cory Brand’s anger and recovery. At the beginning of each chapter you get a peek at his childhood and growing up years to see why he developed alcohol addictions and anger.

From a mom’s perspective – I’d question how much of this story would occur in the real world. Many women may read this book or watch the movie thinking it might be as powerful as the first two. However, I am not sure how much this over the top story will leave people identifying with the characters.

So I have to give it two opinions – One – As a Fictional Christian Based story-  it ROCKS. Second – Thinking this would really show me a lot about Celebrate Recovery and how people go through it – I’m not sure that this book will pull people in.

For a disclaimer – to the book and the movie – this guy’s life is really raw. Drinking. Girls. Stories of Incest and Rape. One nighters. Children who are physically and emotionally abused.  I can’t recommend this as a family film to watch with the 10 and under crowd.

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  • Author: Travis Thrasher
    Book - Paperback Trade 
    ISBN: 0781408385
    ISBN-13: 9780781408387Item #: 125960

    From the Publisher: Baseball star Cory Brand knows how to win. But off the field, he's spiraling out of control. Haunted by old wounds and regrets, his future seems as hopeless as his past.
    Until one moment-one mistake-changes everything. To save his career, Cory must go back to the town where it all began. His plan is simple: coach the local baseball team, complete a recovery program, and get out as fast as possible. Instead, he runs headfirst into memories he can't escape ... and the love he left behind.
    Faced with a second chance he never expected, Cory embarks on a journey of faith, transformation and redemption. And along the way, he discovers a powerful truth: no one is beyond the healing of God. A novel based on the major motion picture starring Vivica A. Fox and Scott Elrod, Home Run is an inspirational story of the hope and freedom God offers each of us.

About the Author

Travis Thrasher is the author of more than a dozen works of fiction, including The Solitary Tales series, Isolation, and Ghostwriter. His writing is known for its honesty, depth, and surprising twists. Thrasher lives with his wife and daughters in Chicago.

"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in 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."


Comment below to be entered into the drawing

. Comments will be counted and a random number will be chosen by a third party. I will contact the winner by e-mail. If a e-mail isn’t easily found, a second winner will be drawn. The book will be mailed to the winner within 2 weeks of winning.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Firefly Island

This is a strange little book; strange in a good way. I enjoyed the journey of a congressional staffer changing her life from Washington DC to living by a lake in Texas.  I worked professionally for many years before having kids, and remember some of her journey as my own.  She gets married soon in the book, so there isn’t the book long love romantic story. But it does talk through how two people combine their lives and live out in love, bringing in the love of a child.

One thing that I liked – was the beginning of each chapter. A quote to start them out. We are memorizing a children’s poem by Ogden Nash, so it caught my attention when I saw “To keep your marriage brimming, With love in the loving cup, Whenever you’re wrong, admit it; Whenever you’re right, shut up.” Ogden Nash.

This was my first highlight out of 11 for this book in my Kindle Fire. I love the way she writes, “It wasn’t’ in the tides that the breath of God could be found, I decided, but in the water itself, in the endless rhythm of it, ever present, ever constant, louder amidst the storms of life, softer in the peaceful times. Not a god only moving twice a day like the mythical Tangaroa, but a God moving countless times. Always. Continually A God present in the deepest parts of our lives, sometimes crowded out by all the surface clutter as we stroll along the shore, our minds preoccupied with things that seem important. Then a wave rises higher than the rest, strokes soft and cool over sun warmed skin, and we hear it again, the constant breath of God. We think, How could I not have heard that all along?”

As you can see from above, I just loved it when Mallory ‘thought’ in the book. My other connection with Mallory – was that she turned to blogging to log her adventures. Which, when we moved to Devils Lake – is what we did. Mallory shares, “An amazing thing had happened to me in my first weeks of blogging. Because I was writing about adventures, I started not only  seek them out, but to see them all around me. In seeing the adventure of this place, I’d begun to truly live my life, rather than hiding from it and complaining about it.”  I did find it a bit cheesy that she was the ‘Frontier Woman’ and one of my favorite bloggers is the Pioneer Woman. She’s not really in the Frontier, and it was just a little too close for me, but I quickly got over it.

Bottom line – I really enjoyed this story. The story has many paths. There is never a time reading it where you think you know where it is going and decide to read it out to make sure. I recommend this book for sure.

Book Description

Publication Date: February 1, 2013
At thirty-four, congressional staffer Mallory Hale is about to embark on an adventure completely off the map. After a whirlwind romance, she is hopelessly in love with two men--fortunately, they're related. Daniel Everson and his little boy, Nick, are a package deal, and Mallory suddenly can't imagine her future without them.
Mallory couldn't be more shocked when Daniel asks her to marry him, move to Texas, and form a family with him and motherless Nick. The idea is both thrilling and terrifying.
Mallory takes a leap of faith and begins a sweet, mishap-filled journey into ranch living, Moses Lake society, and a marriage that at times reminds her of the mail-order-bride stories. But despite the wild adventure of her new life, she discovers secrets and questions beneath her rosy new life. Can she find answers on Firefly Island, a little chunk of property just off the lakeshore, where mysterious lights glisten at night?


Dislaimer: I received a Kindle Fire Download for free in exchange for an honest review on my blog.

Sweet Scent of Justice–Debbie Wilson

From the first paragraph, I was drawn in. Which surprised me because I found this book when Debbie Wilson contacted me a while ago to review a book she wrote about her story. I said yes, wanting to hear it, but not with full confidence of thinking it was going to be a great non fiction novel.

The story is written in first person. From Debbie’s perspective. It is gripping. Each page leaves you wanting to flip to the next.  What happened? Will they ever know? And as I read this story that goes through many years, my heart started to break with Debbie and her family. Feeling her pain. I was hearing the story in a day, the heart breaking one that she lived her life with.

Without giving the ending away – We have had two instances where resolution came in the exact same manner as her story this week. Two criminals that had done something to our family, and their capture was just like the Sweet Scent of Justice.

Looking for a wonderful read? Are you nervous about many of the books out right now? This one will pull you in, race with adrenaline, bring you on the edge of your seat to scream unfair, yell at the family to get it together, cry on their shoulders and rally to justice together. It’s a good ride. I could see this becoming a film in the future.

Thank you Debbie for sharing your story with wonderful words and transparency. Thank you for sharing your story with me.


Sweet Scent of Justice WilsonTwenty-two years had passed since Kathy, a sophomore in college and a girl dedicated to living for her God, was brutally killed in her small college town. Twenty-two years of silent holidays and hidden family portraits kept the painful past under control, until Debbie Wilson ascended into the attic of her parents home on a secret quest to uncover the truth of her sister's unsolved murder and bring her killer to justice. Wilson could never have imagined how the triumphs and trials of her pursuit would force her to test her faith in God, belief in justice, and duty to forgive. Sweet Scent of Justice is a true crime memoir by a sister who experienced the miraculous ways God works in the lives of His children when they need His guidance the most. It offers hope and encouragement for those experiencing trials and tribulations in their lives. Wilson's personal tragedy strengthened her faith and belief in Christ, and it will strengthen yours too. Debbie Wilson

Disclaimer – I received a free PDF of this book to read on my Kindle in exchange for a review on this blog.

Monday, March 11, 2013

JJ Heller Loved, a Giveaway


I must have been living in a music hole under a rock – since I  have not been introduced to JJ Heller until this month. I received the JJ Heller LOVED CD to review. Before I agreed, I watched the video above, Who You Are. It is one of my favorite songs on the CD, and one that keeps playing when I walk about or swipe a dish.  “I don’t know what you’re doing, but I know who you are”. It has been a theme in my personal life the last few months for sure.

JJ Heller has a quite quirky style. Maybe the female Christian version of Jack Johnson or Owl City? Her style is quite unique and her videos are fun, simple, enjoyable to watch.

I need music to lift my spirit, direct my thoughts, and to help with exercise.  Before I review a CD I like to bring it through those paces. I started with the CD playing at home during the morning. The music is light and quiet. Not distracting to other conversations. The first time through, other than “Who You Are” the lyrics did not pull at my attention.

Next I put the CD on my Amazon Cloud Player and downloaded the songs to our iPods and MP3 player. (I use a cheapo MP3 Player on the water.) Washing dishes and doing chores, I let it take over my thoughts during the mundane of the day. This is when my thoughts can turn to the what if’s, the need to’s, the don’t wannas – and I  depend on music and memory verses to pull out.  I enjoyed focusing on the lyrics. Some are quite raw, yet full of encouragement. “The pain is real, you can’t erase it, sooner or later you have to face it down”. “If I can talk, then I will sing for you, if I can walk, then I will dance for you, as long as I can Breathe, My heart will beat for you”.

I didn’t get to paddle with this CD, but I did get a nice long beach walk. I found myself hitting replay on “Stay”. When you can’t feel a thing, after too many stings, when you forget about grace, the world is a lonely place.” She encourages us to open our eyes, let in the light, and stay. I listened to the simple lyrics several times, and they just spoke to me. “Create in Me” was another one that got the re-play. Before I knew it, I was at the Inn at Spanish Head and moving back to the parking lot. It kept my feet moving and my thoughts lifted up.

JJ Heller’s LOVED comes out on March 12th – I recommend this for a purchase!

About JJ Heller's LOVED

When JJ Heller and her husband/co-writer, Dave, began writing for their sixth studio album LOVED, life looked a few shades darker, more painful and confusing than it had during the work on their work of the recent past. Over the past few years, the duo steered much of their material toward the whimsical and simple joys of life, love and new parenthood. But, when confronted by illness, death and broken marriages within their community, the Hellers chose to stay true to the weight of their season of life when crafting lyrics this time around.

"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in 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.



Comment below to let me know you’d like a chance to win a CD!

I will draw for a  winner and the CD will be mailed out.

Friday, March 1, 2013

VeggieTales–The Little House That Stood–Giveaway!


We spent a fun evening watching The Little House that Stood. There are a couple of short films and a couple of songs on this new VeggieTales video. Even at the older ages, the boys still hung out to see what would happen. This would make a great gift for your family – or for a family with little ones. I think you will enjoy it! We did.


About The Little House That Stood

When the Three Little Pigs roll into Cabbageville looking to build some new houses, they meet one builder with a plan and two without a clue! Larry builds with hay, Mr. Lunt with bricks, but only Bob builds his houses on a firm foundation - following the wise plans from the Master Builder's Handbook! Will the Little Piggies make the right choices when it comes to building their houses - and their lives - on solid ground? Find out in this parable that shows kids when they follow God's blueprints, then can stand strong when the storms come! 

"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. 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."