Summer Giveaway Hop

Welcome to Living, Learning, and Loving Life! If you’re looking for the Summer Giveaway Hop entry page, just click on Summer Giveaway Hop on the strip at the top of the page. Or click here. I’m giving away a copy of Here Burns My Candle by Liz Curtis Higgs. 
Good luck!

Summer Rental by Mary Kay Andrews – Book Review

I’ve actually had this book since April. Like many reviewers, I tend to have a shelf full of books waiting to be read. It looked like a good book; I just never got around to it. My books are somewhat in the order in which I received them, but sometimes I want to read a book on my personal TBR list or I need to switch to a new genre for a break or a book just looks really interesting and I move other stuff back.

At the library one day, I was checking out the Bestsellers list while waiting in line and saw that Summer Rental was #14 (it eventually made it all the way to #5) and decided that it should be the next book I read. That was a couple weeks ago. I’m a bit behind on reviews.
Summer Rental
Yes, there was a point to all that rambling. (Sort of.) I wish I hadn’t waited so long to read this book! Summer Rental is a story of three childhood friends, now in their early 30’s, who rent a house together for one month for some long-overdue girls-only time. Between the time Ellis, Julia, and Dorie plan the vacation and when it actually happens, the lives of all three women change and when they come together, they are all at a crossroad with heavy decisions to be made.

Then there’s Ty, the cute guy next door who has some pretty serious problems of his own. Into the midst of all this  upheaval (and a budding romance), comes Maryn. Her issues make the other problems look mild in comparison.

It’s fun reading the interaction between life-long friends, and the banter between Ellis and Ty is so funny. Throughout the book, we get to watch as new friendships blossom, old ones are strengthened, and love sneaks up on two unsuspecting people.

Content warning: There is a flashback scene that includes incest and sex with children.

I won this book in a Goodreads First-Reads giveaway.

Doesn’t “Pizza Crusting” Sound Yummy?

Quick Bennett update today before the storm moves in. I really need to start writing in the mornings.

Despite the fact that he doesn’t usually eat pizza crust, this morning, when I finished my pizza, he asked me, “Can I eat you crusting?” No, I don’t know why it was suddenly “crusting”. It’s always been crust before. I don’t question these things.

The other day our power went out. There was no storm; it just went out. Bennett decided he wanted something to drink. He ran for the fridge and I told him to wait and let me open it, because he likes to stand there with it open. I explained that with the power out, we needed to have the door closed as much as possible, so the cold air wouldn’t get out. He grabbed the door anyway, and when it opened, he exclaimed, “The ‘fridgerator DO work!”

Potty news warning.
We seem to be in the home stretch on this potty thing. After several false starts, Bennett has stayed dry for the past four days. He hasn’t quite mastered everything. He’s still scared to poop on the potty. But he asks for a diaper, and doesn’t go in his underwear. He also switches from diapers to underwear all day long, but he won’t go in the diaper. He’ll dance around like kids do, even if he’s wearing a diaper, but he’ll end up using the potty. I’m not real worried about him staying in diapers forever. He’ll either outgrow them (soon) or he’ll move on.

Of course, he has to wash his hands every time after he uses the bathroom. “I do it by myself!” This morning, he told me, “I have to wash the blue stuff off my hands.” I finally figured out “the blue stuff” are his blood vessels. I had to explain that those aren’t coming off. Neither is the birthmark on the back of his hand. I think we have a long 15 years ahead of us.

The Rites & Wrongs of Janice Wills by Joanna Pearson – Book Review

As a former high school nerd, there probably wasn’t much chance of me not liking this book. Fortunately, unlike Janice, I was never required to enter a local (or any other) beauty scholarship pageant. In Janice’s case, it’s either participate in the Miss Livermush pageant or be shunned forever. She really doesn’t care. As a budding anthropologist, she is content to watch from the sidelines as her family and friends (and enemies) go through life. Her mother, however, has decided that life as she knows it will absolutely end if Janice doesn’t enter the pageant.
The Rites and Wrongs of Janice Wills
So, with several goals in mind, including adding a chapter about coming-of-age rituals to her ever-growing anthology paper, she finally agrees to enter. The experience changes Janice in ways she never expected.

In The Rites & Wrongs of Janice Wills, Janice learns more about herself and how she views the world (and how the world views her) than she does about the pageant. And I learned what livermush is. Ewww.

I won this book in a Goodreads First-Read giveaway.

Fairer Than Morning by Rosslyn Elliott – Book Review

Fairer Than Morning is the first book in The Saddler’s Legacy. From the book cover: “The Saddler’s Legacy Series is a work of fiction inspired by a real family in American history – the Hanby family, who are to this day the most celebrated citizens of Westerville, Ohio.”
Fairer than Morning (A Saddler's Legacy Novel)

In 19th-century Ohio, Ann Miller is helping her widowed father raise her younger sisters. She’s been courted for years by the “perfect” man, and is convinced God has brought them together. Then she meets Will, a saddler’s apprentice, and starts to wonder if she’s really doing what God wants her to do with her life. Meanwhile, Will has problems of his own.

Some books are hard to review simply because I don’t want to say too much and give away any of the story. Fairer Than Morning is one of those books. This is romance, but it’s also about finding God, and obedience, forgiveness, and grace.

There were some parts that made me want to hit certain characters over the head, but that just means I was involved in the story. 🙂 I’m looking forward to reading more in this series.

I won this book in a Goodreads First Read giveaway.

Mine Is the Night by Liz Curtis Higgs – Book Review

If I could only use one word to describe this book, it would be “delightful”. Whereas the preceding book, Here Burns My Candle was dark, and full of betrayal, war, and menace, Mine Is the Night is full of light, humor, love, and friendship. I read this book one evening until my eyes were burning, then picked it up and finished it the next morning because I had to know how it ended.
Mine Is the Night: A Novel

Mine Is the Night is the second half of a semi-modernized retelling of the story of Ruth and Naomi. Elisabeth is a widow in Scotland after the 1745 Rebellion. Rather than return to her own mother, she chooses to stay with her mother-in-law, Marjory. Throughout the story, we watch as the bond between the two women is strengthened, along with their growing faith in God. Unlike the first book, in which I disliked most of the characters, this book is filled with new friends and new love. It really is a beautiful story of hope and redemption.

You can read an excerpt of Mine Is the Night here.
If you missed my review of Here Burns My Candle, you can read it now.

Rank this review for a chance to win your own copy of Mine Is the Night.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own.

Wanna Go to Women of Faith With Me?

Because the date is getting closer, the first person who leaves a comment (you don’t have to use the form, just comment below) will get the ticket. If someone else has already commented when you get here, go ahead and leave your info anyway. If for some reason, the first person can’t attend, and if I have enough notice, I’ll still give the ticket to someone else.

In case you missed it, I recently applied for and was selected as one of several bloggers to attend the Women of Faith conference. This included admission for two. There is only one of me. So now I have an extra ticket for the Women of Faith Conference at Philips Arena in Atlanta on August 12 & 13. Who do I invite? I have several women with whom I’d love to hang out, but if I ask one and she can’t go, then I have to ask someone else, and risk hurting her feelings if she finds out she was the second choice. I don’t even want to think about having to ask a third person. So I finally decided that I would just pick randomly from those who are interested and free that weekend.

I’m not advertising this on contest sites (like I do with the book giveaways), so the only people who will see this post are friends, family, and my regular blog readers. (This is open to my blog readers, btw.)
*I still don’t want to post this on a contest site, but since it’s been three days with no comments, feel free to share this with others via Twitter or Facebook.*
**I’ve already widened the circle as much as I can, so I’m going to post this on the contest sites I use for my book giveaways. Feel free to share via email or your social networks.**

Just a few rules:
1. You have to live near Atlanta or be very sure you can be in Atlanta on Friday, August 12 and Saturday, August 13, 2011. (Sessions start at 10 am on Friday and run through 5 pm on Saturday.)
2. This is for admission (and a box lunch) for the conference only. This does not include accommodations or any kind of travel expense or parking fees.
3. Just leave a comment to let me know you’re interested. Make sure there is some way to contact you, either through your linked profile or in the comment. Please don’t just leave your name, because even if I am sure who you are, I may not have your contact information.
4. I’ll close the comments on August 3, and pick the winner using I’ll contact the winner and she’ll have 48 hours to get back to me. If the winner doesn’t get back to me, then I’ll pick someone else. I want the winner to have plenty of time to make any arrangements necessary.
5. If for any reason, the winner is unable to attend, and gives me suitable notice, I will pick another winner and  give someone else a chance to attend.
6. Ladies only!
7. Please read all the rules before you leave a comment.