The Princess Spy By: Melanie Dickerson

I’ve always been a fan of fairy tales. There is just something about them that captivates an audience. There are so many versions of fairy tales out there from movies, to Disney, to books. However, Melanie Dickerson has quickly become one of my favorite authors. Taking stories we have all heard before and transforming them into something fresh and new they we will love even more. Dickerson has found a way to take fairy tales and weave in Christ to each story. The Princess Spy is her latest in a great set of books.

The Princess Spy is the story of Margaretha, an avid fan of talking, but when she meets Colin she learns a secret about Lord Claybrook, the man currently pursuing her. She must continue to act as if she knows nothing when around him and keep her mouth shut or it could cost her the lives of everyone she loves.

I loved The Princess Spy! You will not want to put this book down until the very end, with twists and turns throughout you will be on the edge of your seat. Make sure to check out the book and the rest of Dickersons! These books are great for all ages!

I received this book complimentary through the BookLook Blogger Program in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

-Elle

Susie’s Hope: A Review

What I thought:

Susie’s Hope is an inspirational, true story that shows the effects of what animal abuse can cause to humans and to the animals affected. This is a good movie for those interested in learning more and those who have a soft spot for animals, make sure to bring a tissue box.

I’ve always been a fan of movies based on true stories and enjoyed this one, you may want to screen it before sharing it with kids because of a few scenes that may be a little graphic for a younger audience. The quality was better than I expected although the movie didn’t keep me tuned in through the entire thing it is still worth watching and will open your eyes to animal abuse.

About the movie: Run time 105 minutes

Based on the true story that successfully passed Susie’s Law in North Carolina, which seeks stricter punishment for animal abusers, Susie’s Hope brings to life the inspirational relationship between pit bull attack survivor Donna Lawrence and Susie, a pit bull-mix puppy found beaten, burned and left for dead. Recognizing reflect and abuse were to blame for the tragic attack that nearly claimed her life 10 months earlier, Donna resumes the battered animal and accepts her as family. Together, they learn to heal, love and forgive as they lead a historic effort to seek justice and protection, not only for Susie, but all animals. Starring Emmanuelle Vaguer (40 Days and 40 Nights), Burgess Jenkins (Remember The Titans) and Andrea Powell (Ender’s Game, Twilight: Breaking Dawn Saga: Part 2), Susie’s Hope is an incredible story of love, loss and redemption.
Watch and share the Susie’s Hope trailer here!
 
About Susie:
Susie was found nearly dead in Greenfield Park in Greensboro, North Carolina on August 20, 2009. Just a puppy, Susie had licked the face of her owner’s newborn baby. Her owner became violent—she was beaten so severely her jaw was broken. That wasn’t enough, though. She was then set on fire and left for dead. Incredibly and against all odds Susie survived. Donna Lawrence adopted her two months later. Susie is now a trained therapy dog and even won the American Humane Association’s American Hero Dog this year!
Check out and share Susie’s Hero Dog Award Video here!
 
This website is a GREAT resource for all things Susie / Susie’s Hope related
I received this movie from FlyBy Promotions in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

Lumo Project: The Gospel of John #JohnOnNetflix

What I thought:

As of this past Monday you can now watch the Lumo Projects the Gospel of John on Netflix, and it is worth adding to your list. The Gospel of John is a full length film using the actual text from John without edits or changes. You can view the film in the King James Version, New International Version and it is also available in Spanish. The Lumo Project will eventually have all four Gospels available.

The Gospel of John is not your typical movie, it wasn’t created to sell out theaters, or adapted to please audiences, the script come directly from the Bible and the film is used to add to and give context to what is already written. The Gospel of John is a new way to experience the Bible by not only hearing the Word spoken but by seeing what it would have looked like during the time. This film will enhance what you have read by showing you what the world looked like when Jesus lived. This is specifically great for people that are visual learners because they can see what is happening along with the text. I really enjoyed this film and think that it will be an amazing resource for people and give them an entirely different experience when interacting with the Bible. I am excited to see the rest of the Gospels as they come to life through these films.

About the Film and Lumo Project:

FOUR GOSPELS. FOUR FILMS. ONE JESUS STORY. FOR EVERYONE.

A ground breaking, multi-language biblical film resource transforming the way we discover, study and engage with the life of Jesus through the four New Testament Gospels.

The Lumo Project is a ground breaking, multi-language biblical film resource transforming the way we discover, study and engage with the life of Jesus through the four New Testament Gospels: redefining the standard of visual Biblical media. The Lumo Project presents four films – one for each Gospel account – that will revolutionise the way we all experience the story of Jesus and the world of First Century Palestine in which he lived.

THE GOSPEL OF JOHN

The Gospel of John takes the story of Jesus from John’s gospel with its own unique characteristics. For John, Jesus is the Word of God made human. John is clear that that when encounter Jesus, we encounter God.  The gospel writer points to the miracles (the ‘Signs’) and teachings as evidence of Jesus’ special relationship as the divine Son of God.

This full-length feature film about the life of Jesus takes the actual Gospel text as its script, word for word, unedited. Five years in the making, this epic production has been critically acclaimed by leading religious scholars as a unique and highly authentic telling of the Jesus story. Narrated by leading British actor David Harewood (‘Homeland’, ‘Blood Diamond’, ‘Merchant of Venice’) it is based on the latest theological, historical and archaeological research. With specially constructed sets and the extraordinarily authentic villages and countryside of rural Morocco, it immerses the viewer in the world of first century Palestine. 

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

For More Information:

Official Website: http://www.lumoproject.com

I was provided access to the Gospel of John in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

-Elle

 

God Gave us Angels By: Lisa Tawn Bergren

I have always loved the God Gave Us… series from Lisa Tawn Bergren, and this one is no exception. Bergren does a great job of using a children’s book to share a story with a Biblical perspective, not only do kids get to enjoy a beautiful story with amazing art work but they are also learning about what the Bible declares as true.

The story of God Gave us Angels is all about angels with questions that most kids would ask at some point ‘do angels really have halos?’ ‘will I become an angel?’ and other similar questions and Bergren tackles each question so that kids will understand that angels aren’t what we see in pictures and what their purpose is.

I received this book complimentary through BloggingForBooks in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

-Elle

50 Ways To Be A Woman

Elle:

This is worth the read!

Originally posted on Thought Catalog:

shutterstock_145396549

1. Practice good personal grooming habits. If you are going to have colored hair, keep your roots covered. If you are going to have fake nails, keep them filled. Take care of your skin, take care of your teeth. 

2. Dress modestly. Gain attention through who you are rather than the parts of your body you choose to expose. It is worth far more in the long run. 

3. Certain fashion staples will always remain timeless. A few conservative dresses, a string of pearls, a nice handbag and a good pair of pumps should always be in your wardrobe. 

4. Write thank you notes. It is one of the best ways to make a good impression and literally takes five seconds. It is a dying art that so desperately needs to be revived. If someone is nice enough to give you a gift or recommend you to a position, the…

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Roaming Reindeer By: Angela Meju

Head to RoamingReindeer.com and use the code ROAM2014  for 5$ off until November 27!

Roaming Reindeer Review

Roaming Reindeer is a cute story book that includes two stuffed reindeer toys, in the book both reindeer are all about team work and responsibility, reindeer 2 is always around, but if reindeer 1 disappears it means that they have seen something and have gone to tell Santa. The book tells the store of the reindeer and how they wanted to help Santa. Much like the elf on the shelf (only less creepier) the reindeer are there to watch over children to make sure they are behaving.

This is a nice story for the holidays and shows how the reindeer work together and share responsibility to get the tasks completed. My only issue with Roaming Reindeer is that it feels like a tactic to scare children into behaving around Christmas and that you should behave when someone is watching rather than teaching why it is important to behave even when no one else is around.

I received this book complimentary from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Q and A with the Author Angela Meju

  1. Give us a brief summary of Roaming Reindeer.

Roaming Reindeer is a story about two of Santa’s reindeer, Gus and Sam, who see that Santa is overwhelmed with the naughty and nice lists for Christmas. They decide to help Santa by visiting girls and boys. Sam is saddened and runs away whenever he sees someone being naughty. Gus and Sam decide to work together, side by side, to visit each home. Whenever Sam runs away, he should report to Santa, while Gus sticks around to keep watch. When they run out of time to visit all of the rest of the children, the two reindeer decide to enlist their friends in pairs of two to help. They create a system for Reindeer 1 disappear to report to Santa about behavior, while Reindeer 2 sticks around. All of the reindeer leave on Christmas Eve to help Santa deliver the gifts.

  1. What was the inspiration behind the book?

My children were just starting to understand the concept of Santa Claus, and I wanted to write a Christmas book they would enjoy reading year after year.

  1. How did you decide to include two plush reindeer for families to enjoy?

We’ve tried other Christmas book traditions in our home and felt that they didn’t exactly cater to our schedules, and didn’t reinforce any positive behavior for children. I know that children tend to be visual learners, so I wanted to create cute, lovable reindeer who were visually identified as being together as a pair. Children associate 1 and 2 together, so if Reindeer 1 has disappeared, it is more of a visual reminder that the two aren’t together. I think that this allows children to be consciously aware of their behavior, while also teaching them about cause and effect. For children with siblings, it is a great tool for working together.

  1. How does your family use Roaming Reindeer?

Well, my children were exposed to “Gus” and “Sam” (that’s what our Reindeer 1 and 2 are named) very early on—long before Christmas. Our Reindeer 1 and 2 do a lot of travelling, so we have a lot of pictures of them in various (and sometimes random) locations. My children LOVE to play with the reindeer but we officially start our Reindeer countdown after Thanksgiving.

  1. What do you hope children get out of their experience with Roaming Reindeer?

Roaming Reindeer is not a tool for punishment, it’s an activity to help promote positive behavior. My hope is that children have fun playing with the reindeer and see them as friends who want to stick together. I’ve had parents joke with me saying that they want their reindeer to stick around all year long. My hope is that children will continue with these habits of teamwork and great behavior throughout the year.

  1. What kind of research did you do for the book?

A lot. The children’s book industry is so competitive. To have a book published and be taken seriously, you have to read and know your market. It’s also important to have an experienced editor and illustrations that will help to tell your story.

  1. What are other holiday traditions your family has?

It is a big event in our family to take pictures with Santa. We actually give out holiday mugs to family members each year with pictures of our kids with Santa.

  1. This was your first book. What was your favorite part of the writing process?

My favorite part of the writing process was getting to know the characters and their personalities as I was writing. The best feeling was seeing the illustrations and allowing the characters to come to life.

  1. Are you planning on writing any other books in the future?

Possibly….”wink, wink”

  1. Tell us where we can find your book and more information about you.

More information and the book is available at www.roamingreindeer.com and on Amazon.

 

 

Q and A with Elizabeth Haydon

Tree of Water

Interview with Elizabeth Haydon, documentarian, archanologist and translator of Ven’s journals, including The Tree of Water

Little is known for sure about reclusive documentarian and archanologist Elizabeth Haydon.

She is an expert in dead languages and holds advanced degrees in Nain Studies from Arcana College and Lirin History from the University of Rigamarole. Her fluency in those languages [Nain and Lirin] has led some to speculate that she may be descended of one of those races herself. It should be noted that no one knows this for sure.

Being an archanologist, she is also an expert in ancient magic because, well, that’s what an archanologist is.

Being a documentarian means she works with old maps, books and manuscripts, and so it is believed that her house is very dusty and smells like ink, but there is no actual proof of this suspicion. On the rare occasions of sightings of Ms. Haydon, it has been reported that she herself has smelled like lemonade, soap, vinegar, freshly-washed babies and pine cones.

She is currently translating and compiling the fifth of the recently-discovered Lost Journals when she is not napping, or attempting to break the world’s record for the longest braid of dental floss.

We had the chance to ask her some questions about the latest of Ven’s journals, The Tree of Water. Here is what she shared.

  1. Dr. Haydon, can you give us a brief summary of The Tree of Water?

Certainly. Ven Polypheme, who wrote the, er, Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme, lived long ago in the Second Age of history, when magic was much more alive and visible in the world than it is now. His journals are very important finds, because they tell the story of ancient magic and where it still may be found in the world today.

In the first three journals we saw how Ven came to the mystical island of Serendair and was given the job of Royal Reporter by the king of the island, a young man named Vandemere. The Royal Reporter was supposed to find magic that was hiding in plain sight in the world and report back about it to the king. As you can imagine, this could be a fun but dangerous job, and at the beginning of The Tree of Water, we see that Ven and his friends are hiding from the evil Thief Queen, who is looking to find and kill him.

Amariel, a merrow [humans call these ‘mermaids,’ but we know that’s the wrong word] who saved Ven when the first ship he sailed on sank, has been asking Ven to come and explore the wonders of the Deep, her world in the sea. Deciding that this could be a great way to find hidden magic as well as hide from the evil Thief Queen, Ven and his best friend, Char, follow her into the Deep. The sea, as you know, is one of the most magical places in the world—but sometimes that magic, and that place, can be deadly.

The book tells of mysterious places, and interesting creatures, and wondrous things that have never been seen in the dry world, and tales from the very bottom of the sea.

  1. The main character in The Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme series is Charles Magnus “Ven” Polypheme. Tell us about him.

Ven was an interesting person, but he really didn’t think so. He and his family were of a different race than the humans who made up most of the population where he lived, the race of the Nain. Nain are an old race, a little shorter and stockier than most humans, with a tendency to be on the grumpy side. They live about four times as long as humans, are very proud of their beards, which they believe tell their life stories, don’t like to swim or travel, and prefer to live deep in the mountains.

Ven was nothing like the majority of Nain. He was very curious, loved to travel, could swim, and longed to see the world. He was actually a pretty nice kid most of the time. He had the equivalent of a baby face because only three whiskers of his beard had grown in by the time The Tree of Water took place, when he was fifty years old [around twelve in Nain years]. He had a great group of friends, including the merrow and Char, who were mentioned earlier. It is believed that his journals were the original research documents for two of the most important books of all time, The Book of All Human Knowledge and All the World’s Magic. The only copies of these two volumes were lost at sea centuries ago, so finding the Lost Journals is the only way to recover this important information.

  1. What kind of research do you do for the series?

I go to places where Ven went and try to find relics he left behind. Usually this is with an expedition of archaeologists and historians. I am an expert in ancient magic [an archanologist] so I don’t usually lead the expeditions, I’m just a consultant. It gives me the chance to learn a lot about magic and lets me work on my suntan at the same time, so it’s good.

  1. What is/are the most difficult part or parts of writing/restoring the Lost Journals?

Here’s the list, mostly from the archaeological digs where the journals have been found:

1] Cannibals

2] Crocodiles

3] Sunburn

4] Sand flies

5] Dry, easily cracking parchment pages

6] The horrible smell of long-dead seaweed

7] Grumpy members of the archaeological expedition [I could name names, but I won’t]

8] Expedition food [when finding and retrieving the journal for The Tree of Water, we ate nothing but peanut butter and raisin sandwiches, olives and yellow tea for six months straight]

9] When salt water gets into your favorite fountain pen and clogs it up. This is very sad.

10] Unintentionally misspelling a word in the Nain language that turns out to be embarrassing [the word for “jelly” is one letter different from the word for “diarrhea,” which caused a number of my Nain friends to ask me what on earth I thought Ven was spreading on his toast.]

  1. What do you enjoy about this series that cannot be found in any of your other books?

Getting to write about a lot of cool magic stuff that used to exist in our world, but doesn’t anymore. And getting to travel to interesting places in the world to see if maybe some of it still does exist. Also getting to show the difference between merrows, which are real, interesting creatures, and mermaids, which are just silly.

  1. What do you hope readers take away from this book?

I hope, in general, that it will open their eyes to the wonder of the sea, which takes up the majority of our planet, but we really don’t know that much about it down deep. There is a great deal of magic in the sea, and I hope that if and when people become aware of it, they will help take care of it and not throw garbage and other bad stuff into it. I have a serious dislike for garbage-throwing.

Probably the most useful secret I learned that I hope will be of use to readers is about thrum. Thrum is the way the creatures and plants that live in the ocean communicate with each other through vibration and thought. As Ven and his friends learn, this can be a problem if you think about something you don’t want anyone to know about when you are standing in a sunshadow, because everyone gets to see a picture of what’s on your mind. Imagine how embarrassing that could be.

  1. Are there more books coming in this series?

Well, at least one. In the archaeological dig site where The Tree of Water was found was another journal, a notebook that Ven called The Star of the Sea. We are still working on restoring it, but it looks like there are many new adventures and different kinds of magic in it. The problem is that it might have been buried in the sand with an ancient bottle of magical sun tan lotion, which seems to have leaked onto some of the journal’s pages. This is a very sad event in archaeology, but we are working hard to restore it.

As for other books, it’s not like we just write them out of nowhere. If we haven’t found one of Ven’s journals, there can’t be another book, now, can there? We are always looking, however. We’ve learned so much about ancient magic from the journals we have found so far.

  1. You are a best-selling author with other books and series for adults. What made you want to write books for young readers?

I like young readers better than adults. Everyone who is reading a book like mine has at one time or another been a young reader, but not everyone has been an adult yet. Young readers have more imagination and their brains are more flexible—they can understand magical concepts a lot better than a lot of adults, who have to deal with car payments and work and budget balancing and all sorts of non-magical things in the course of their days.

Besides, many adults scare me. But that’s not their fault. I’m just weird like that.

I think if more adults read like young readers, the world would be a happier place.

  1. Tell us where we can find your book and more information about where you are these days.

You can find The Tree of Water anywhere books are sold, online and in bookstores. There are several copies in my steamer trunk and I believe the palace in Serendair also has one. I also sent one to Bruno Mars because I like his name.

At the moment, I am on the beautiful island of J’ha-ha, searching for a very unique and magical flower. Thank you for asking these interview questions—it has improved my mood, since I have only found weeds so far today. I am hoping for better luck after lunch, which, sadly, is peanut butter and raisin sandwiches, olives, and yellow tea again.

All the best,

Dr. Elizabeth Haydon, PhD, D’Arc

This is the Greatest Place! By: Brian Tse

This is the Greatest Place! By: Brian Tse

This is the Greatest Place! is a great children’s book all about the Forbidden City in China. This book is full of beautiful pictures and shares an amazing story about the inspiration behind the building of the Forbidden City. Although, this is probably suited better for kids that are a little older and can sit still a bit longer as it is significant in length compared to many children’s books. However, it is still a great addition to your library and is a great tool to teach kids about other cultures and places in the world.

The pages tell an adorable story but is also filled with historical information that will teach everyone about the Forbidden City.

I received this book complimentary from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

-Elle

VIP from @ManicDrive and Giveaway!

This is the first CD I have listened to of Manic Drive and definitely worth listening to. If you are searching for some fun, upbeat, inspirational music to dance to that the whole family will enjoy Manic Drive’s latest album VIP is the perfect choice! VIP is full of energetic music that also has a message of faith in each song.

The entire album has a very nice flow song to song, all the songs keep up the energy of the album and even though some of the songs are a slower pace such as “King of Mercy” all the songs stay true to the album. This is an album and a group you need to check out.

For a chance to win a copy of VIP leave a comment by Sunday at midnight central time!

-Elle

I received this CD complimentary through FlyBy Promotions in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Evergreen By Susan May Warren

With Halloween behind us, the holidays are just around the corner, and even if you aren’t ready to start listening to Christmas music just yet Susan May Warren’s latest novella will be something to curl up with as the colder weather moves in.

Evergreen: A Christiansen Winter novella is a story of Ingrid and her husband John, as Ingrid begins to face empty nest syndrome as all her kids have left, while her husband is planning a romantic getaway for the holidays. However, as he begins to plan, their much loved dog becomes ill and Ingrid and John spend most of their savings to rescue their dog. With some unexpected surprises along the way Ingrid struggles to understand who she is when the kids aren’t around.

Warren has once again provided us with another Christiansen story, the only problem with this one, is that since it is a novella it is just too short! I loved the story but every time I reach the end of a Christiansen story I want it to keep going! Escape from the chaos of the holidays and be sure to curl up with Evergreen! You will be glad you did.

-Elle

I received this book complimentary from the publisher in an exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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