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Monday, July 22, 2013

Dandelions on the Wind, a Review

I enjoyed this historical fiction novel based in Saint Charles, Missouri.  Although this does have a “romantic” story line as the center, we also get to meet some wonderful characters in town and learn about what the women are doing in this time.  Many have come from the East Coast to build their lives in Missouri, and are now feeling the pull to join the trains of wagons headed further west.

The main character is deep and insightful. Loosing her eyesight is a secondary theme of the book. We get to hear about her close friends and the choices they have for pursuing their life passions.  This was a quick read for me. I usually dislike series style books as they just seem to drop the story on the last page. This one fills your heart with the time, the town, the characters – and gives a wonderful breaking point for the story. I long to read the second book, but the characters are safely tucked into a great stopping point in the story. I recommend this book for a great weekend read!

Maren Jensen, a rejected mail-order bride from Denmark, works as a domestic on Elsa Brantenberg's farm and helps care for Elsa's granddaughter. Maren's failing eyesight has made having a family of her own seem impossible. When Rutherford "Wooly" Wainwright returns to the farm, now a Civil War veteran, he discovers that Maren has become an important part of his mother-in-law's and daughter's lives. Maren soon realizes there isn't room for both she and Rutherford on the farm and takes a job at a store in town, making it possible for Rutherford to start fresh with his family, but her absence in the home affects them all. In the end, Maren realizes God has been lighting her path all along.
Story Locale: St. Charles, MO, 1866

"Like a warm breeze ripples across a lake, Dandelions in the Wind offers a gentle crossing in this first-in a-series novel. Mona Hodgson gives readers characters we care about, a bit of intrigue, love, and a satisfying ending that promises more in the second series book. Well done!"
-Jane Kirkpatrick, bestselling author of Where Lilacs Still Bloom.

"Dandelions on the Wind is a sweet tale about the merging of two hurting hearts. The characters drew me, and I can't wait to read more about their lives…and their love!"
-Tricia Goyer, best-selling author of 33 novels including The Memory Jar

I received this book on my Kindle for free in exchange for a review from Waterbrook Press.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Flowers for Fannie, a Review


I was contacted by the Director/Screenwriter Sharon Wilharm to review Flowers For Fannie.  I am always on the lookout for great Faith Based movies so I said yes!

However, when it came, the back of the DVD case was a grave and the front of the DVD case was the two characters above, but with a graveyard in the back instead of clouds. I really like the DVD case above a lot better. I held on the to movie for a couple of weeks until I had time to watch it by myself without the boys interrupting.

I must confess, I didn’t expect a lot out of the film. I was pleasantly surprised when, quite quickly, I was in love with Fannie and wanted a friend for her. The characters introduced as family, church members and people in town are all enchanting.

The settings are beautiful, an old time town with a square and old homes that are furnished beautifully. You really want to have an invite to Fannie’s house for lunch.

I was really pulled into this story. I laughed, and was choked up, and delighted. I worried for a too sad ending – and was again, delightfully surprised with how they topped it off.

Set to be in stores in October 2013, I recommend this movie as an excellent feel good family film, suitable for all ages.

Flowers for Fannie - Movie Website

Facebook - Flowers for Fannie

I received a free copy of the DVD from the Director in the hopes that I would review the movie after watching.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Boundaries for Leaders, A Review

Boundaries for Leaders: Results, Relationships, and Being Ridiculously in Charge

By Dr. Henry Cloud
Published by Zondervan

I originally requested this book to review from BookSneeze to help out a friend, in a new office management position.  I thought I’d read it to glean some tips for my hubby who is in Retail Management.  I ended up reading every single page, and enjoying the entire read. I like the way Dr. Henry Cloud writes, how he explains human behavior and our reactions to people’s actions.

Chapter by chapter I could see circumstances and results in my own life and that of my friends. My favorite section was The Emotional Climate That Makes Brains Work. My husband works in an extremely hostile work environment, has for the last 4 years.  I could see the choices of management and the fight or flight reactions. It helped me to see what he is going through. A fresh new manager came to the store a few months ago – ready to run the company and rule the world. He has how chosen Flight and switched retail establishments throwing away a thriving career path. Nothing anyone could say to him could change his mind and make him stay. I couldn’t figure it out until this chapter. I wish I had the guts to hand this book to the three executives in charge of our store. sigh.

If you are in charge of people, and are trying to figure out how to pull your team together – this is the book for you.  If you are like me, Type A. Take Charge. Run in and Fix. – then this is the book for you.  He gives so many example of how the same things can be said and presented, in just a bit of a different twist – to take your team to a winning level. I feel like a lot of what I say is misunderstood, and this book helped to explain reactions to me.

I have enjoyed the other Boundaries books, and this was no disappointment.

From the Publisher:

Book Description

An expert on the psychology of business and a co-author of the classic bestseller Boundaries explains how the best leaders set expectations and limits to get the results they want from their employees and from themselves.

In Boundaries for Leaders, Dr. Henry Cloud combines his knowledge of human behavior, business leadership, and neuroscience to help executives lead effectively, build organizational culture, develop strong teams, and get results from themselves and others.

What is a boundary? Simply put, a boundary is a property line that defines ownership, control, and responsibility. It sets limits on the behaviors and activities allowed on the property. Similarly, leadership success depends on shaping and defining organizational boundaries. When leaders set appropriate and healthy expectations that are in line with the ways people actually behave, organizations and their employees thrive. Beginning with a lucid description of how brains actually work, Dr. Cloud then applies those principles to the most critical aspects of a leader's work: how to manage teams, coach direct reports, and instill an organization with strong values and culture.

Filled with inspiring and practical examples, Boundaries for Leaders is essential reading for executives and those who aspire to lead-professionals who want to create successful companies, with more satisfied employees and customers, while becoming more resilient managers themselves. Its practical advice brings clarity and direction, helping leaders cut through the chaos and confusion, resulting in organizations that are positive and results-oriented. In short, it defines the essential boundaries that leaders must provide for their vision to become reality.

I received this book from Book Sneeze for free in exchange for a review on this blog.