Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Need "homemade" cookies???

This time of year is about family and food. Come on...don't argue. You know you eat more and bake more and pass it off as "holiday festivities". Nothing wrong with that.

However, I don't bake. I'm not good at making things from scratch. I can do well with mixes and pre-made dough but they never taste good. There's always that "chemical" taste that you just can't get rid of...no matter what you do to the batters. Scratch just tastes better.

Enter Kroger brand "The Truly Awesome homestyle chocolate chip cookie"...I actually passed these off as home made. They're that good. They are made without added preservatives and with real butter. Chocolate chips are the first ingredient!

My two sons loved them. My husband thought they were really good and I probably ate more than I should have. They're a little more crispy than I prefer. The box suggests warming them and that did help a bit. I thought about putting some in a baggie with a slice of bread to soften them, but that always makes cookies taste like bread and these were just too good to "ruin" like that!

I received sample boxes of the cookies through BzzAgent for the purpose of a review and spreading the word about the product. No additional compensation has been received and I was not required to write a positive review.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Book Review: A Wedding Invitation

A Wedding Invitation
By Alice Wisler
Bethany House, 2011
English, 312 pgs


After returning home from teaching English at a refugee camp in the Philippines, Samantha Bravencourt enjoys her quiet life working at her mother's clothing boutique in Falls Church, Virginia. When she receives an invitation to a wedding in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, she looks forward to reconnecting with her college friend. Instead her life collides with Carson, a fellow teacher and the man who broke her heart, and a young Amerasian refugee named Lien who needs Samantha and Carson's help to find her mother before Lien's own wedding. When the search for Lien's mother reveals surprising secrets from the past, Samantha must reevaluate her own memories and decide whether to continue to play it safe or take a risk that could change her life.
I was excited to get to review this because I really liked Wisler's book Hatteras Girl and wanted to read more from her.

I couldn't get that into it though. It takes a long time to get to the heart of the story and I'm never a big fan of a lengthy introduction. There's nothing wrong with giving background information, but if it doesn't really seem to fit with what's been told in the story so far, it's just confusing.

I gave it as long as I could before I just didn't want to read anymore. There are a lot of personal touches from the author in the story and those are sweet, but the circumstances around them didn't seem to fit with the flow of the story.

I wish I could have liked it. Hatteras Girl has been a book I compare others to for reviews. I hope the next book from Wisler is better.

I received a copy of the book in exchange for a review. No additional compensation has been received and I was only required to be honest in my review.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Book Review: 40 Ways to Get Closer to God

40 Ways to Get Closer To God
By Jerry MacGregor
Bethany House, 2011
English, 189 pages

Sometimes faith demands action. This practical book gives Christians ideas for how to adjust their hearts to get closer to God.

Each chapter contains a unique challenge and a brief explanation that puts the challenge in context. Exercises include acts of service to others, extended prayer, Scripture memory, fasting, a day of gratitude, media fasting (no TV or Internet), evangelism, and much more. The challenges are broad in scope, allowing people with varying personality types and learning styles to benefit from them.

This book is really simple to read. It provides a challenge each day to put your faith into action. It requires you to get up and do something. You can't grow just sitting still, you have to move and do.

You can still get information from the book without doing the challenges, but you won't be growing and you won't be truly learning.

I think this book would be great for a small group or a prayer circle to use within itself. Of course, it's perfectly fine to do it by yourself too. I won't say that the challenges are easy. Some of them require you to get uncomfortable and do something outside of what you're used to doing. Again...growth...

I received a copy of the book for the purpose of a review. No additional compensation was received and I was not required to write a positive review.