Friday, May 31, 2013

Book Review: Sherlock Holmes and the Needle's Eye

Sherlock Holmea and the Needle's Eye
By Len Bailey
Thomas Nelson, 2013
English, 336 pgs

Embark on a journey through the Old and New Testament with Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson as they explore exotic and spice-laden places in search of clues.

The detective and the doctor travel back in time with the help of a Moriarty-designed time machine to investigate ten Bible destinations, unlocking clues to ten Bible mysteries. The most fascinating crime cases are those that are already solved, those that have been investigated by the police and brought to a swift, satisfying, and almost inevitable conclusion. So it is with Bible stories which the reader may consider familiar and unremarkable. But under close scrutiny these stories give up their hidden clues, their long kept secrets. Like a jewel newly polished, they sparkle and shine with a fresh, introspective light.

This book can be read as either a novel (starting at the first page) or as a Bible Study (starting with questions in the back, then reading the chapter). Either way, it's really interesting!

Holmes travels back in time to answer 10 questions from the Bible. Things like: Why did Ahithophel hang himself? What did Jesus write in the sand:? What did Luke mean when he said Satan left Jesus for a more opportune time?

The questions are well researched and I learned a lot of new things. After each chapter (I chose to do the questions first) I sat the book down and told my husband "this is so cool!"

There were a couple of places where I thought the story was a bit laborious and it was a little annoying to figure out if they were "spectators" or "visible" in each story line. It was tedious to hear Holmes' non-faith view, but interesting to see that Watson was written with Biblical faith. I'm still not sure why Holmes bothered with Biblical mysteries if he doesn't believe in any of it. And he sure had a lot of Scripture memorized for someone without faith.

Even though it was extremely far fetched and at times maddening (isn't that just like Holmes...), I liked this book a lot and had a lot of fun reading it.

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

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Book Review: A Noble Groom

A Noble Groom
By Jody Hedlund
Bethany House, 2013
English, 368 pgs


From the Back Cover

Michigan, 1880

Annalisa Werner's hope for a fairy tale love is over. Her husband failed her in every way and now his death has left her with few options to save the family farm. She needs a plentiful harvest. That, and a husband to help bring it in. Someone strong, dependable. That'll be enough. A marriage for love...that's something she's given up on.

So her father sends a letter to his brother in the Old Country, asking him to find Annalisa a groom.

Then a man appears: Carl Richards, from their home country of Germany and a former schoolteacher--or so he says. He's looking for work and will serve on the farm until her husband arrives.

With time running out, she accepts his help, but there's more to this man than he's admitting. He's also gentle, kind, charming--unlike any man she's ever known. But even as Carl is shining light into the darkness of her heart, she knows her true groom may arrive any day.

I enjoyed this book. Like any Christian romance novel, you can figure out what's going to happen pretty easily, but this one is still fun to read.

The story is centered around a family of German immigrants and a daughter, Annalisa, whose husband dies suddenly. She has to save her farm and to do this she needs a husband. Her dad "orders" her one from his brother in Germany. However, a man shows up with a note saying that he's there to "fill in" until the real groom can raise enough money to make the voyage.

The conditions in the family were harsh. Women didn't eat with the men. Women didn't do anything their husband or father didn't say was okay. People looked the other way with abuses. I have a hard time with believing a father wouldn't stand up for his daughter. Then again, I am not a German immigrant in the 1880s so I don't know what conditions were really like back then.

The love story is sweet and gut wrenching at the same time.  The description hints that Carl is hiding something and I honestly kept expecting it to surface at any minute.

Annalisa fights not only nature but a ruthless businessman to save her farm and family. She is a strong woman and it was good to see her soften as the book went on.

 I received a copy of the book from Bethany House for the purpose of this review. No additional compensation has been received and I was not required to write a positive review.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

The winner of the Star Wars Angry Birds giveaway was:

Comment #1 by Ana. Your address has been sent to the company.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

May the Fourth Be With You (Giveaway)

It still cracks me up that May 4th is Star Wars Day! I don't know how I missed understanding that for so many years! To celebrate Star Wars Day our family has been watching one movie a weekend for the past 5 weeks with Return of the Jedi to be our last movie this weekend.

Another way we're celebrating is with Hasbro's new Angry Bird Star Wars AT-AT Battle Attack Game and Angry Birds Star Ward Foam Flyers toys.

We're big fans of Angry Birds here and my kids have been known to make buildings with their cheese cubes, beans and pretzels to knock down.

I think I like the toys better.

Both boys played with these all day when they came in. This is the AT-AT Battle Attack Game.

(Approximate retail price: $39.99; Ages: 5 & up. Available: Now)
Stack, launch, and destroy with the AT-AT ATTACK BATTLE GAME, which includes 21 blocks to create the signature AT-AT, a LIGHTSABER LAUNCHER and 12 ANGRY BIRDS STAR WARS figures — including two that are exclusive to this set! Players can also unlock ANGRY BIRDS STAR WARS in-app content with a special code in each pack. 

My sons are 6 and 3 and both had a blast. We had to build on the box because it was a little hard to get it to stand on carpet. They were able to get it to stand far better than I was able to do it! 

There was a bit of a learning curve with them understanding that it didn't have to be built exactly like the picture and instructions showed...but once they understood that...the battle was on!!

I like how the birds attach to the launcher. This is better than the previous Angry Birds games we've had where the bird just sits in the launcher and hopefully stays in it while you aim.

The birds are a little small so I don't let the 3 year old play by himself, but they really love them. They fought over who was Darth Vader and who was Han Solo.

The foam flyers are also available now.

(Approximate retail price: $9.99; Ages: 5 & up. Available: Now)
Toss around these 3.5-inch soft foam, iconic characters for a new way to play ANGRY BIRDS STAR WARS! Available in LUKE SKYWALKER, CHEWBACCA, DARTH VADER and STORMTROOPER. Each sold separately.

We were sent Darth Vader to play with.  However, there isn't a picture because Darth is in time out for flying toward Momma's head. Neither boy claimed the deed, so the toy got the punishment. It's a soft foam and kinda feels like a squeeze stress toy. 

They keep walking by it on the "time out" shelf and telling him "We'll see you soon Darth." I think I'm going to have to get more of them just so we don't end up having fights over them!

Use the Promo Code SWFANDAY for 20% off any Star Wars toy on, only on May 4th!* That means you can pick up some of Hasbro's great Angry Birds Star Wars games and toys, based on the hit mobile game from Rovio Entertainment!

I have the honor of getting to offer a toy to one reader. This is a 24 hour giveaway. Simply post a comment with your favorite Star Wars character.

Winner will be picked, via the random number generator, at 8AM Saturday, May 4th. Winner will be required to respond to an email with mailing address (no PO Boxes) for the company to send the prize. 

I received the toys from Hasbro in exchange for an honest review. No additional compensation has been received and I was not required to write a positive review. Many thanks to Brittany at Hunter Public Relations for including this blog in the fun! 

*20% Off STAR WARS Fan Day, One Day Only-May 4th
20% off offer may only be redeemed through the website toward the purchase of STAR WARS products currently available on the site. Discount applies to pre-tax and pre-shipping amount. This offer cannot be combined with any other coupon or offer. Offer cannot be redeemed for cash. Valid only while supplies last. Not valid on previous orders. Offer may expire without notice due to error, fraud or other unforeseen circumstances. Offer valid in U.S. only. Void where prohibited. Subject to terms and conditions of use and policies. Offer expires May 4, 2013 at 11:59 PM (ET). ©2013 Hasbro. All Rights Reserved.