Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Book Review: Beyond All Measure

Beyond All Measure (A Hickory Ridge Romance)
Beyond All Measure: A Hickory Ridge Romance
By Dorothy Love
Thomas Nelson, 2011
English, 320 pgs

Ada Wentworth, a young Bostonian, journeys to Hickory Ridge, Tennessee, in the years following the Civil War. Alone and nearly penniless following a broken engagement, Ada accepts a position as a lady's companion to the elderly Lillian Willis, a pillar of the community and aunt to the local lumber mill owner, Wyatt Caldwell. Ada intends to use her millinery skills to establish a hat shop and secure her future.

Haunted by unanswered questions from her life in Boston, Ada is most drawn to two townsfolks: Wyatt, a Texan with big plans of his own, and Sophie, a mulatto girl who resides at the Hickory Ridge orphanage. Ada's friendship with Sophia attracts the attention of a group of locals seeking to displace the residents of Two Creeks, a "colored" settlement on the edge of town. As tensions rise, Ada is threatened but refuses to abandon her plan to help the girl.

When Lillian dies, Ada is left without employment or a place to call home. And since Wyatt's primary purpose for staying in Hickory Ridge was to watch over his aunt, he can now pursue his dream of owning Longhorns in his home state of Texas.

With their feelings for each other growing, Ada must decide whether she can trust God with her future and Wyatt with her heart.

I'm starting to see a formula in the Christian historical romance genre:
1. Woman has something tragic happen and has to move
2. Woman gets in over her head with what she thought she'd be doing
3. Woman meets Guy and isn't sure if she likes him or not or if she can trust him or not
4. Guy has something not quite tragic but still a hurdle to overcome
5. Guy finds out about Woman's tragedy and isn't sure if he wants to take the risk
6. Woman and Guy make it work anyway
7. Throw in a dash of Christian truth in a lesson

It's getting a little old. All that is not to say that the story isn't good. It is. It tugs at your heart in just the right way. It's just entirely predictable. There are little side plots that are nice and do add to the story.

I think this may be my last attempt at Christian historical fiction for a while. Maybe something new will be added to the formula in the near future and I'll be back.

I received a copy of the book from BookSneeze in exchange for an honest review. No additional compensation has been received and all opinions are my own.

Book Review: Gospel for Real Life

The Gospel for Real Life: Turn to the Liberating Power of the Cross...Every Day (with Study Guide)
The Gospel for Real Life: Turn to the Liberating Power of the Cross...Every Day
By Jerry Bridges
NavPress, 2003
English, 199 pgs

Why do so many believers live in quiet desperation?

The gospel of Jesus Christ is the most explosive news of freedom the world has ever heard. Yet, why do so many of His followers experience so little of the gospel’s liberating power? Regrets over our past haunt us, fear and anxiety clutch at us, subtle legalism oppresses us, outright sin entangles us, and we spend much of the day without even thinking of God.

Jerry Bridges maintains that the poverty of actual Christian experience is the result of an impoverished understanding of the depths of the gospel itself. The key is not to try a little harder, but to know more fully the incredible work of Christ on the cross—and to live in a more vital awareness of that grace day by day.

Jerry does not flinch from the hard facts of human sin and God’s wrath—not exactly popular concepts today. But understanding them is absolutely crucial. For without a knowledge of the depth of our sin, we cannot experience "the unsearchable riches of Christ" that are available to us in the gospel. And when we know those riches, we are empowered to live every day "glorying in a sense of acceptance and the experience of grace."

This gospel is not just for the afterlife, but for today—it is the gospel for real life.

It took me a little while to get through this book. Not because it was hard to read or boring. Because it was so dense with truth and I didn't want to miss even a single word of it.

The Study Guide in the back of the book really helped me too. I mean, one of the first questions was "To what extend do you feel insecure about whether God loves or likes you?" Bridges doesn't exactly mince words or back away from the hard questions and truths.

I like that at times, he describes and helps the reader understand hard "church words" like propitiation, expiation, atonement, and redemption.

This is not a light reading book, but it's so good. It would be good for a personal quiet time or even for a group Bible study. Personally, we're probably going to use it in my Sunday School class in place of a curriculum for a few weeks.

I received a copy of the book from NavPress in exchange for an honest review. No additional compensation has been received and I was not required to write a positive review.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Product Review: Travel Guess Who

Travel Guess Who Game
My 4 year old is so hard to travel with. He's too old to sleep most of the way. The travel DVD player doesn't last long enough to watch all of Cars. If there aren't train tracks or something to keep his attention, it gets ugly...quickly.

I was thrilled to get to test Travel Guess Who? for Hasbro. It took a few times of playing at the kitchen table for him to get the hang of what he was supposed to be doing, but we had fun during the process.

It wasn't really easy for him to play it in the car. I think it would be better if two kids were playing with each other, on the same seat or something. It was hard for me to be in the front (not driving) and him in the back. We made it work though and got a few games in before he was ready for the next thing.

The classic guessing game comes in a compact size for plenty of fun on the run! Quick set-up and a self-contained storage tray make it a great game to play anytime, anywhere! The mystery face game is scaled down for plenty of fun on the run!

Travel Guess Who? retails for $4.99 and takes just a few minutes to get it set up. I think I'd recommend it for families this summer. There are also travel versions of Candy Land, Battleship, Connect 4, Perfection, and Hungry Hippos. Hasbro really makes traveling with kids a lot more fun.

I received a travel game in exchange for an honest review. No additional compensation has been received and all opinions are my own.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Product Review and Giveaway: Boogie Wipes

I have told you...many times...I cannot stand runny or stuffy noses. That, of course, cannot be avoided when you have a 4 year old and a one year old who both have allergies. Ugh...the sound of a sniffle makes my toes curl!

My boys also have the affliction that I have in that our noses run when we cry. (Maybe all people have this. I don't know. Please keep your boogers to yourself...) And teething is really making my one year old cry. Just this morning I was having to chase him down to clean his yucky little schnoz. 

The thing is...regular tissues make their noses hurt when we have to keep wiping and wiping throughout the day, making them run from the tissue box. That's what's so great about Boogie Wipes. They're made with saline to help keep noses protected and that little bit of dried booger, that all kids seem to have, just comes right off. (Works on the dried boogers on the stuffed animals too...ick...)

May 6th is National Provider Appreciation Day, and in honor of the day Boogie Wipes has created an exclusive Boogie Wipes Teacher Kit which contains: a poster with Save the Sleeve pledge guidelines, 50 Boogie Wipes samples, $.50 OFF coupons, 2 classroom canisters and 10 Free Boogs. Boogie Wipes are a unique saline nose wipe that are much softer and gentler on young noses than tissues, and the fun scents like Great Grape encourage children to remember the importance of not using their hand or sleeve to wipe a messy nose, keeping clothes clean and helping prevent the spread of germs.

I personally think that all teachers should have these in their classrooms. I have a memory of sniffling in a classroom and the teacher making me go blow my nose...hmm...wonder if that's where my dislike of blowing my nose in front of people comes from....but I digress.

Hypoallergenic • Alcohol Free • Unique Formula Moisturizes with Added Chamomile, Vitamin E and Aloe • Gentle Enough for All Ages • Lightly Scented

 In honor of Provider Appreciation Day, Boogie Wipes is going to give one of my readers 2 30-count packs of Boogie Wipes and some coupons. 

Entry Methods:
First, and mandatory, entry: Go to the Boogie Wipes website and tell me something else you learn about the company or the products . (1 Entry)

Other entries (leave a separate comment for each) Please notice that some entries have changed:
2 entries - Become a Facebook fan of Boogie Wipes. 
2 entries - Follow Boogie Wipes on Twitter
2 entries - Become part of the Boogie Bunch (you get a coupon too!)
1 entry - Become a public follower of my blog. The link is on the right hand side of the page. If you're already a follower, leave a comment letting me know.
2 entries - Blog about this giveaway, with a link back to the giveaway (leave a link in your comment so I can verify)
1 entry - Become a Facebook fan of Faithful Finances, let me know if you're already a fan.
1 entry: Place my button on your site (You must leave a link so I can verify) 

Giveaway Rules: Please be sure you read these before you start posting comments. 
Giveaway open to residents of the US and Canada only. Winner will be chosen, with the True Random Number Generator (Random.org), Friday, May 20 at 10 PM CST. Winner will be notified via email and will have 24 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. All entries MUST have your email in them. To keep Spam Bots from snagging you, put your address like this: name(at)server(dot)com

I was provided with products to test from the company. No additional compensation has been received. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review of the product. My sincere thanks to the company for allowing me to test the product and give some away to one of my readers. I enjoyed working with you!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Product Review: Country Crock

I have used Country Crock at least as long as we've been married, maybe even before then. I love that I can spread it easily and that it cooks into recipes beautifully. It also is good just smeared on toast!

Go HERE for the Country Crock recipe builder.

Shedd’s Spread Country Crock® enjoys the privilege of being America’s favorite spread, and repays that loyalty by maintaining a consistently high standard of taste and value. For well over two decades, Country Crock® has answered cravings for simple, basic foods with an incredibly creamy, country-fresh taste that’s known for its easy spreadability, as well as being a delicious topper and recipe ingredient. Country Crock® provides a deliciously creamy alternative to butter, with 70% less saturated fat, 30% fewer calories, and no cholesterol*. And all of the Country Crock® spreads are a good source of Omega-3 ALA and Vitamins A&D**.

*Contains 70 calories and 7g total fat (2g saturated fat) per serving. Butter contains 100 calories and 11g total fat (7g saturated fat) per serving.
**Contains 280-400mg of Omega-3 ALA, which is 17-25% of the 1.6g Daily Value for ALA.

I received, from Smiley360,  a coupon for a free tub of Country Crock as well as coupons for my friends in exchange for this review. No additional compensation has been received and I was only required to be honest.

Book Review: Just a Nice Guy

Just a Nice Guy
Just a Nice Guy
By Phil Torcivia
CreateSpace, 2011

Is it true that nice guys finish last? It sure seems that way as a divorced man fights his way through a comedic dating scene. Will he ever find his soul mate?

Phil has been called the male version of Carrie Bradshaw. Enjoy his humorous essays about relationships and the struggles we all have finding and keeping lovers. Women appreciate his open view into the minds of men.

Artist Mike Swaim adds to the hilarity with his brilliant sketches, giving another dimension to Phil's quest for love.


In the absence of a "Handbook on Men" something like this collection of essays (one other reviewer said journal entries...I like that description) will help women, and not just single ones, understand what men are thinking. I hesitate to say that it's indicative of all men, but these are frank, tell-it-like-it-is insights.

There were a few times reading that I felt slightly uncomfortable knowing what the author was thinking in a situation, but there were so many more times that I laughed out loud and even a few when I felt kinda sorry for him.

My favorite chapters were "Men Over 40 Shouldn't", "Artsy Fartsy" and "Quarantine".

Reading this isn't going to make you an expert on the male mind, but it will help you see what some (more than a majority?) are thinking in certain situations.

I received a digital copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. Additional compensation is at the discretion of the author.