Category Archives: Reviews

Family Movie Night

The Jensen Project

Image via Wikipedia

Last night, my son and I received a long awaited package that I had won over at Kristine McGuire’s site back in January. Kristine McGuire often does movie reviews and had a chance to win a movie night package. When the package arrived yesterday, we were excited. In it were two Family Night movies sponsored by Walmart. (If you don’t know anything about Walmart’s new Family Movie Night push, click here.) We had received the movies, A Walk in My Shoes and The Jensen Project, a box of Dots candy and a bag of movie butter popcorn (my favorite!). With all the problems we’ve been having lately, I wasn’t sure that I wanted to suspend Stephen’s grounding from electronics last night, but I decided that we needed some time together and this would be a good thing to do. So, we watched The Jensen Project. It was a good, clean movie that both of us could watch. One of my favorite actresses was in the movie, Kelly Martin, some familiar actors, but not in recent shows, as well as a good bit of new actors that I had yet to see. I was worried this movie would be cheesy, as a lot of family oriented movies can be. (It seems Hollywood didn’t know how to make family oriented movies for years without being cheesy.) It turned out to be a good movie! And from the plot of the movie, I was able to show my son how the small step of lying could lead to the big steps in the long run. It was a good example I could use to teach the truths I am trying to instill in him right now.

So, thank you Walmart and P&G, a huge thank you to Kristine McGuire for a movie that gave us some laughs, some adventure, and a lot of good lessons about life!!


Posted by on February 18, 2011 in Reviews


Book Review: The Price of Trust by Amanda Stephan

PhotobucketChecking out some new blogs late last year, I ran across a blog for an up and coming author, Amanda Stephan, who had written a book called The Price of Trust. The story line of this book really intrigued me and I knew I would want to purchase it the first chance I could. And because the book is also available on Kindle, it didn’t take long to buy it and was well worth the read!

The Price of Trust follows a young woman who is running from an abusive relationship that she had left years before. By God’s grace, she finds herself in a small town where she begins to finally feel at home and settle down. Just as things are almost perfect, her world comes crashing in. He’s found her and he’s not letting her go without a fight.

To keep from spoiling this fantastic story for you, I will leave it at that. One author stated:

“Amanda Stephan has managed to take equal parts faith, intrigue, humor, and love and turn them into a delicious recipe called “The Price of Trust”. This enchanting story of a frightened and lonely young woman fleeing an abusive ex fiancee kept me on the edge of my seat from beginning to end. The journey the main character Carly undertakes with the Lord turns her from a terrified victim into a confident, stand-your-ground, loved, and cherished woman. If you are looking for a christian romance with lots of spice and zest thrown in for good measure, then look no further than this book.”

~Aileen S. – author

I loved that the main character had faith in God from the very beginning, even when she had been on the run for so many years. Later in the story, when she thinks it’s time to run again, the author points out that she realizes that even though she “knows” God is in control, she hasn’t fully trusted Him in that.

The love story between the main character and her new beau is a beautiful story of two people who have to fight old demons from past relationships as well as her abusive ex and still find a way to trust each other and God in the process. They stay pure in both the physical and emotional sense as well as keeping all appearances of the contrary out of their lives.

This book is just a fantastic read! So good, that I finished it within about two weeks, even with my crazy schedule! To order your copy, you can go to Amazon or download it to your Kindle today!


Posted by on January 26, 2011 in Reviews, Uncategorized


CMT’s Working Class- New TV Show Premiere Review

I have always been a fan of Ed Asner and Melissa Peterman, so I was very excited to be given the chance to see this premiere episode of CMT’s new TV show Working Class!

The new 12 episode, multi-camera series follows Carli Mitchell
(Melissa Peterman), a single mom from a rough and tumble
background, trying to give her three kids a better life by moving them
to an upscale suburb. She quickly finds that making the transition to
“the good life” is harder than she thought. She’s unwittingly
befriended by her cranky neighbor, Hank (Ed Asner), her only
“career” prospect is a glorified deli job at the local grocery store, and
the man she falls for not only already has a girlfriend – but he’s also
her boss, Rob (Patrick Fabian). With her ladies-man brother, Nick
(Steve Kazee), to help her out (when he’s not acting like one of the
kids himself), Carli faces the challenges of parenting, dating, and
making friends in her new community by doing more with less,
staying true to herself and approaching each day with a touch of
working class. (from CMT release)

This premiere episode is a hoot! I love Peterman and Asner in this and the supporting characters are good as well! The episode walks us through Carli’s life as a single mother. The show follows her at home, work in the grocery store where she mistakes her boss for a co-worker, which turns around in her favor later, an embarrassing engagement scene, which is too funny, and back at home to be a parent again.

As a single mom, I can relate to her struggle to make ends meet, hold down a good job, parent her children and still keep her sanity. Peterman brings a touch of the quirkiness we all fell in love with in her role as Barbara Jean on Reba.

All in all, I am looking forward to this new series and hope that it proves to be as funny as it can be with characters such as Asner and Peterman. Also, I am looking forward to guest appearances in future episodes such as Reba, Ryan Stiles (Whose Line is it Anyway; Drew Carey Show) and Lesley Ann Warren (In Plain Sight; Desperate Housewives).


Posted by on January 17, 2011 in Reviews, Uncategorized


Book Review: Tandem by Tracey Bateman

I was given the chance by Blogging for Books to review a copy of the book *Tandem* by Tracey Bateman. As an avid book lover and knowing that Tracey Bateman wrote good Christian books, I was excited to read this one. The cover detail from the book made it sound like a great story.

A little bit from the cover…
“Six months ago, brutal murders shook the small Ozark town – murders that stopped after a house fire reportedly claimed the killer’s life.” “Two women brought together by questions that seem to have no answers. Can they overcome the loss and darkness threatening to devour them – or will their own demons condemn them to an emotional wasteland?”

The book starts off in first person, which normally is a turn off for me, however, this one worked because it was also mixed with normal narrative writing as well. The writing style of *Tandem* is done very well and is easy to follow. Tracey does a good job of keeping the reader involved in the story.

It doesn’t take long, however, to realize that the evil and dark forces that the cover discusses is about vampires. Now, to be honest, I have read another author’s book that included something akin to vampires but it turned out to be a major contrast at the difference between good and evil written as if it were a retelling of Jesus and Satan at war for a woman’s soul. This book, *Tandem* however is not like that. It includes vampires in every day society as if it were normal. If you know me, you know that I don’t particularly like this. I don’t believe in vampires and don’t believe that they should be used in a Christian novel unless they are metaphoric or the overall book is metaphoric. This book uses them as if they were humans who had feelings and emotions and were to be respected and praised. And to be honest, I find that disturbing for a Christian author to do. It seems that the mainstream culture of vampirism and such has become something that authors are trying to infuse into the Christian realm as well. I for one do not recommend this book because of it. I do not think we, as Christians, need to glorify vampires and make them out to be good things.

I will give Tracey Bateman this, her use of God in causing the lead vampire character to turn her back on drinking blood of any kind was good. But honestly, there were very few references to God at all in respect to what there could have been.

Overall, I just can’t recommend this book as a good Christian read.


Posted by on January 17, 2011 in Reviews, Uncategorized


Review: Community (December 9, 2010 Episode)

I am reviewing this episode prior to airing thanks to One2One Network at

When given the chance to review this Christmas episode of Community prior to its release tomorrow, December 9th, I wasn’t sure what I would be getting into as I have never seen an episode of Community before. But since it was in stop-motion, I thought I would give it a shot; after all, I loved stop-motion as a kid!

As I said, I have never seen Community before, so I was unsure of who the characters are or what the general story line is, but the episode was quick to point out who believed what about Christmas within the first few minutes. The story follows Abed’s character (Danny Pudi) as he tries to find the meaning of Christmas. Abed is the first to notice that the group is in stop-motion character and because of this, the group becomes worried and gets Abed to a therapist. Following Abed through his mind’s eye and his search for the meaning of Christmas, the group all become different Christmas characters. At the end of the episode, it is made known why Abed views them all in stop-motion and they all discover the meaning of Christmas.

To be honest, aside from the stop-motion characters, I did not like this show. It was odd and wasn’t really funny either. The group discovers that the meaning of Christmas (to them) is whatever you make of it. Normally, I can watch a show or movie that does not necessarily point out that the meaning of Christmas is Jesus and take it for what it is (a work of fiction) and enjoy it (such as the Santa Clause triology), however, this show just rubbed me the wrong way. It contained language that I don’t think is necessary in any show but especially on mainstream television. The ending I think is what bothered me the most. Christmas is not about whatever we make of it. Christmas is about the celebration of the birth of the Savior, Jesus Christ.

I cannot honestly recommend this episode to anyone. I would not even recommend watching Community at all.


Posted by on December 8, 2010 in Reviews


Book Review: Adopted Ed

The Adopted Ed website states, “This simple and beautifully illustrated story is about an adopted little boy and his journey through his early years. Sensitive and likable, we’re with Eddie the moment he learns he’s adopted. At school when he is teased by bullies about being adopted, his mom coaches him through the situation, which ultimately sets the course of his life with personal empowerment. Over time, Eddie feels a strong “void” and becomes curious about his biological parents, which ultimately leads him to find out more. ADOPTED ED concludes with a section of famous people who were adopted.”

When I was given the opportunity to review this book by Darren Maddern from the One2One Network, I jumped at the chance. For those of you who regularly read my blog, you know that I have a brother who is adopted. Because of this, adoption is very near and dear to my heart.

When I received the book, I noticed right off that the character of Ed looks a lot like Jimmy Neutron. The illustrations, done by Erin Fusco, are vivid in color and precious to look at. The book appears to be geared toward children under 10, probably around the age of 8 or younger based on the look.

There are things about this book that I liked and things I didn’t. I love that the book was done in rhyme. It lends a sweet, sing-song quality to it. I liked that Ed’s parents told him he was adopted. I liked that the author shows how Ed had a normal childhood. I appreciated that Ed was upset at being picked on for being different and that his mom told him how special he was because he was adopted. I also liked that the last page of the book tells who some famous adopted people are.

I did not like that it states, “But while in his mother, a decision was made. He was to be adopted and by new parents be raised.” The reason I did not like this was because the reasons for giving a child up for adoption are not as simple as making the decision and since those reasons are not simple, it almost makes it look like the author is stating that he child was not wanted; again, not always true and not a simple thing.

I definitely did not like that Ed went back to school after talking with his mother and told the bully, “My parents chose me! Yours were stuck with you!”, for two reasons…1. usually this does not make a bully back down; in fact, I would bet this would make the bully even more mad and he would beat the poor kid up; 2. I don’t like the idea of condoning being mean or rude to someone, whether it’s true or not. No kid should be made to feel that they are not wanted, either by bullying an adopted kid or telling a bully that their parents were stuck with him.

Finally, I did not like that the book talks about having a void about not knowing who the birth parents are; how he needed answers. I don’t think this was appropriate for this book because the book seemed to be geared toward younger children. Most children do not experience that need to know their birth parents until they are much older. Another reason I had a problem with this section is based on a conversation with my mother. Because my brother is adopted, I asked my mother to read this book as well. She was quick to tell me that she did not want my brother to read this book, mostly because of this part about having a void because Ed did not know who his birth parents were. Her explanation for this was that my brother would then wonder if he is supposed to feel a void and that if he doesn’t, is something wrong with him? This would become a sticking point for him and cause him anxiety he did not need. You see, as soon as my brother was able to understand, my parents told him about being adopted, about his birth mom and about choosing him. He has accepted our family as his own and has never had that void to know more (at least not yet). I wholeheartedly agree with my mother. I think that this section is something that is geared toward adolescence or beyond and is not appropriate for the age group that the book appears to be geared toward. However, I will acknowledge that this is the way our family feels. This is not necessarily how every family will feel about this book.

Overall the book, Adopted Ed was cute, but the wording needed to be geared more toward the age group to which is appears to target. I strongly encourage families to read this book off the shelf in the store before purchasing to ensure that it is something that you would want your adopted child to read. This book will not be right for all families, but may be exactly what another family needs.


Posted by on November 30, 2010 in Reviews, Uncategorized


Book Review: Out Live Your Life by Max Lucado

These are difficult days in our world’s history. 1.75 billion people are desperately poor, natural disasters are gouging entire nations, and economic uncertainty still reigns across the globe. But you and I have been given an opportunity to make a big difference. What if we did? What if we rocked the world with hope? Infiltrated all corners with God’s love and life? We are created by a great God to do great works. He invites us to outlive our lives, not just in heaven, but here on earth. Let’s live our lives in such a way that the world will be glad we did. (from the Thomas Nelson Website)

You may sit there and think, but I’m just an ordinary person, how can I do anything special to make a real difference in this world?

Out Live Your Life shows people the small things that they can do to create a big difference in this world and thereby outlive their lives (be remembered). From chapters titled “Open Your Door; Open Your Heart” to “Do Good Quietly” and “Calling Mr. Pot Roast”, Max Lucado discusses ways that you can Out Live Your Life.

To be honest, when I first received this book, I assumed that it would be about sponsoring children or helping build wells in third world countries. Those things are all well and good, but I don’t have the money to do that and when I read articles about that, I am usually left feeling guilty that I can’t and wishing that I could.

What I quickly found out was that this book is so much more than sponsoring, this book is about ways, big and small, that you can outlive your life; make a difference in this world and be remembered by someone. One of the first things that Max Lucado says is “No one else has your version.” He is talking about the life you are living now. No one else in this world was given your version of this life. You are the only one who can live it.

You may be thinking, “So what? I may be the only one to live this version, but I’m a nobody in the grand scheme of things. I am not equipped to make a difference. I am just a mother; farmer; teacher; blue-collar worker.” To this Max has a great answer, one that I have always believed in…

God doesn’t qualify the equipped. He qualifies the called.

God doesn’t care who you are…the simple farmer; the kid on the street who doesn’t know how to read; the mother who is up to her eyeballs in kids and laundry and meals…God just cares that He called you and that you are willing to hear His call!

This book is full of good things like that! It talks about pride, willingness, teamwork, encouragement. And at the end of each chapter is a Scripture and a prayer. One of my favorite prayers in the book is

O Lord, where did I see you yesterday…and didn’t recognize you? Where will I encounter you today…and fail to identify you? O my Father, give me eyes to see, a heart to respond, and hands and feet to serve you wherever you encounter me! Transform me, Lord, by your Spirit into a servant of Christ, who delights to meet the needs of those around me. Make me a billboard of your grace, a living advertisement for the riches of your compassion. I long to hear you say to me one day, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” And I pray that today I would be that faithful servant who does well at doing good. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

That is how the book ends. But Max Lucado doesn’t leave you there. A discussion and Action Guide is included at the end of the book. This section of the book gives you things to think about and some ideas for action on your part for each chapter.

I really enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it to anyone I know!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted by on November 29, 2010 in Reviews, Uncategorized