Monday, 27 June 2011

Book Reviews

Unfortunately our flannelgraph website has had to shut down :( due to downgrading BUT the good news is, you can still read a few of your favourite reviews HERE and HERE for awhile and I have uploaded all of mine HERE. The end of an era but who knows, it might get up and running again someday!

Deception Book Review

Deception is Book 3 in Randy Alcorn’s Ollie Chandler series.

IN A DARK ROOM punctured by a bare hundred-watt bulb, two newspaper clippings on the card table appeared whitish gray, four others dim and yellow. Agile fingers arranged them chronologically so the handiwork could be better displayed. Should they be placed in a scrapbook? What if they were found? Of all places, surely no one would try to break into this one. The world’s full of stupid people, but not that stupid. Most of the people in the clippings had been stupid. But over the years, one by one, they’d been abruptly liberated of their stupidity. And the world had been liberated of them. A penciled list of names dropped to the table, by the playing cards, next to the clippings. It was time for another stupid person to go away. But which one? The liberator brooded thirty minutes, forearm bulging, squeezing hard a small object. Finally, one name rose to the top. The mastermind wrote the name down, then covered it with the ace of spades.

The thing that came across the strongest for me in Deception was its uniqueness. It is unlike any other book that I have read. Even Deadline (which is book 1 in the series) was very different to Deception. Also, each book is complete in itself so there is no need to read the books in order. Randy Alcorn has this amazing sense of humour which is littered throughout the pages providing constant entertainment. I also like the way it is written entirely from a man’s perspective; (Ollie Chandler the homicide detective) his personality, character and struggles coming through to make the novel seem more real. It kept me guessing until the very impressive and surprising ending.

The reason why I only gave Deception a 7/10 rating was because I found it very hard to get into until about half way through the book. It could just be a personality clash (like I said earlier, Randy’s way of writing is extremely unique), but for me, it’s like committing suicide if you haven’t been ‘grabbed’ by the book by at least the 2nd chapter. I think most of the introduction was necessary to establish the characters fully, but it did seem slightly too long to do so.

Overall, a great read and I also loved how Randy can’t help but throw in spiritual references (he is after all also the author of The Ishbane Conspiracy and Lord Foulgrin’s Letters) throughout the book. It really made me think, and gave me some great ideas for sharing my faith!

Rating: 7 out of 10

Click here for Randy Alcorn’s website.

Thunder of Heaven Book Review

The third book in the Martyr's Song Series...
What happens when the evil of terrorism collides with the love of God? Deep in the Amazon jungle a young American woman and the son of plantation owners fall madly in love. For Tanya and Shannon, life is a paradise most only dream about. But today paradise ends. The jungle has hatched more than idyllic love. It has also spawned insidious evil. An evil shrouded in a plot so diabolically brilliant that all of America will be brought to her knees at the hands of a few terrorists. The plan is executed to perfection; America’s worst fears have dawned. Nothing stands in the way of terrible destruction. Except for the love of one woman. Step into the pages of a story taken from tomorrow’s headlines. A story about the true power found in the face of all our fears. The power of love.
I love the way Dekker brings out his characters and works on their personalities. You almost feel by the end of the book that you could know them as intimately as a person in real life. This was what I loved about Thunder of Heaven. I also love the way that a fictional story can speak volumes about real life. Sometimes we need to open our eyes a bit more to see what’s really going on outside of our cosy living room. Thunder Of Heaven is an intriguing story of what can lie beneath the surface of a seemingly picture-perfect world and if left unchecked, what atrocities evil can commit. Thankfully for me, as I despise unhappy endings, Dekker lets good win out as he does in all of his books. I must admit though, the ending did seem a bit far-fetched. But then, who can honestly understand the power of that one small word… love? An emotion, a verb, a noun, all rolled into one and perfectly describing the very essence of God and what He’s about.

So if you’re up to the challenge, I dare you to open this book and see what it’s all about.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Click here to visit Tek Dekker’s website.

Breach of Promise Book Review

How far will a father go to get back his only daughter? And how will he survive in a legal system that crushes those who can’t afford to fight back? Mark Gillen has the storybook life other men dream of, complete with a beautiful wife and an adoring five-year-old daughter. Then his wife announces she’s leaving him. And taking their daughter with her. The other man is a famous film director with unlimited funds and the keys to stardom and wealth for Paula. How can Mark begin to compete? But the most bitter blow comes when he is kept from seeing his daughter because of false charges . . . and a legal system ill-suited for finding the truth. Forged in the darkest valley Mark has ever walked through, his faith in God may ultimately cost him everything in the eyes of the family law system. But it is the one thing that can keep him sane-and give him the strength to fight against all odds for what matters most.
I like trying out new authors, though there is always that slight touch of hesitancy that comes with unexplored territory; and that the author might not live up to the standard of previously loved and enjoyed writers. James Scott Bell did not disappoint.

Being a huge fan of books that contain anything to do with law and justice, Breach of Promise was right up my alley and I am certain would appeal to a wide range of audiences. It had a well thought out plot line, was just the right length and ended with a jaw-dropping twist which I certainly did not see coming!

I also loved the way the author describes the main character (Mark) and his struggles with everyday life; how he overcomes anger and sometimes just mucks things up and really blows it. He is a real human being, not just some perfect guy we could never become. He tries so hard to do things his way, yet has to learn that God’s way is Supreme and although we may not understand it, it is after all, the best way to go about things.

I couldn’t find much wrong with Breach of Promise. It was a refreshing blast of reality mixed with suspense and I certainly didn’t want to put it down!

Rating: 9 out of 10

Across the China Sky Book Review

Across the China Sky by C. Hope Flinchbaugh involves believable characters battling selfish desires, lust-thirsty cult members, torture and much more. Anyone interested?
While Mei Lin spend her summer rescuing orphans in Shanghai, her fiancé Liko is being seduced into a secret cult by a young woman who claims to be a new house church Christian. How will Liko escape the brainwashing, seduction, and coercion of this evil cult? Will Mei Lin lose both her father and her fiancé to the clutches of the vicious Eastern Lightning Cult?
A sucker for novels regarding China and also great inspirational stories of faith, Across the China Sky was a winner in my books (excuse the pun) as it combined the two ideas in a vivid and realistic way, leaving the imagination running, piercing thoughts for hours after putting it down.

Although it is the second book in the series by C. Hope Flinchbaugh (Daughter of China being the prequel, and I’ll Cross The River being the third in the trilogy), one can still read it as a single story and get a lot out of it. Not knowing that it was a sequel before picking it up, I had a little trouble at first to follow the characters and who they were, but quickly got over it and into the very believable plot line! After having read the back cover blurb, I knew that there was going to be a twist brewing, but when it finally came to fruition I got a fabulous shock and was totally hooked, made a line for my favorite armchair and sank into it until finishing the book!

Not many books tend to scare me, but I must say, this one had my heart racing as the pace of the book picked up and I almost couldn’t get to sleep that night (house-sitting on my own didn’t help). The cult themes it produced were literally torturous and I am so thankful I don’t live in China.

All in all, my faith was challenged, the blood was pumping and it was a great read that I couldn’t put down. As one reviewer put it…
“Sweet scenes of Mei Lin showering Christ’s love upon unwanted children are interjected by scenes of temptation and torture creating a riveting combination.”
Click here to visit C. Hope Flinchbaugh’s site.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Messiah, The First Judgement Book Review

The Chronicles Of Brothers trilogy traces three archangel brother, Michael, Gabriel, and Lucifer, and their harrowing journey from the flawless world of the palace chambers in the first heaven through Lucifer’s banishment with his fallen host to Perdition. Only one can put a stop to Lucifer’s malevolent plans, Lucifer’s arch adversary, the Nazarene.
This is the second novel in Wendy Alec’s Chronicles of Brothers series, and in my opinion, much better than the first book (click here to read the review of ‘The Fall of Lucifer’).

Compelling, at times heart-wrenching and extremely challenging, Wendy Alec takes you on a journey that is like no other; the story of Christ’s ultimate sacrifice for his beloved race of men. She weaves a complex tapestry of descriptions of fallen angels, the Nazarene, Christos, the angels, and man.

The only issues I had with this book is that it is incredibly wordy, in that it uses big words that most ‘normal’ people wouldn’t typically bring up in everyday conversation. Keep a dictionary beside you because I guarantee you will need it! Also I found it jumped a little too often between eras.  I simply could not keep up and found it a little difficult to follow the storyline. Apart from that, this is an incredibly well-written story of the battle between Lucifer and the Nazarene and the Christos’s one act of love towards his favorite species.

 Rating: 7.5 out of 10

Click here to visit Alec’s Chronicle of Brothers site.

The Fall of Lucifer Book Review

Three Archangels…
Three Brothers…
One Turned Renegade.
A sweeping epic of origins and mysteries. The Fall of Lucifer tells a tale older than the universe itself. Set in opulent palaces and frightening hell worlds, this is a timeless saga of doubt, of demons and Angelic Warriors. Of obsessive love and treason, and of an ancient evil that knows no bounds.
Soon the universe itself will be rocked by war…
A war between three angelic brothers…
A war fought for the greatest purpose in the universe…
That war for the race of men.
This is the first of Wendy Alec’s Chronicles of Brothers, and the thing that instantly struck me about this book and its 292 pages, was how shockingly real it plays out. Writing from the perspective of the heavenlies is certainly no easy undertaking, yet the way Alec breathes life into the characters and carries their personalities with such ease makes the book read more like a true-to-life biography than a fictional story. Where it branches into a part with some angelic scientists was a little odd, but it allowed Alec to show some stunning facts about the human race.

Be warned that you will be wanting a dictionary handy while you read, as Alec’s vocabulary is rather expansive. In most novels I find myself wanting to look up a few words over the course of the book, whereas in The Fall of Lucifer I was checking words at least 10 times a chapter. Also be wary that there are a myriad of characters interweaving their stories through this book, and you probably won’t catch the significance and meaning of them all on the first read.

But were these lengthy descriptions and host of characters what caused me to give it a rating lower than 5? Surprisingly no, they are actually rightly fitting to the requirements a story of this nature needs, and I came to greatly appreciate the attention to detail and the poetic writing before story’s end. The reason for my rating is that I felt the book didn’t have as much of a climax at the end as I would have liked, and some parts were quite slow.

Don’t get me wrong, it was tense and sets you up for the sequel nicely. I actually think that my problem with it lies more with the fact that the scenes would be so much more real on the silver screen, when you are completely immersed in the atmosphere rather than reading from a comfortable seat in your lounge. Bring on the motion picture!

So does it come with a personal recommendation? Absolutely. There’s a lot of mixed reviews about it, but it is really something you have to make up your own mind about. If you were deeply moved by The Passion of the Christ, I would say that this book will most likely lead you down a very similar path of insight, into not just the existence of Christ’s love, but the overwhelming depth of it. Even when it is being hurled back in His face. That, ladies and gentlemen, is what it’s all about.

Reviewed by Stephen Garton, Rating: 9/10
Click here to read a review of the second book - Messiah

Nephilim Book Review

Two years ago, Art “Mac” Mackenzie was a respected newspaper journalist with a wonderful family and a great future. Now he lives by himself, eking out an existence as a freelance writer. His faith in God, humanity, and virtually everything else is gone. What’s left is a pile of bills and the ache of his eldest son’s death. Enter a woman in a psychiatric ward, with an off-the-wall story of how aliens abducted her, created a baby within her, and later stole it. From her seemingly twisted account springs the potential media story of the century . . . and more trouble than Mac has ever imagined. In this engrossing page-turner, Mac follows his story to Israel, where he comes across the remains of one of the Nephilim: an ancient biblical giant, sired by demons and born of human women. Mac’s encounter is just the tip of a terrifying supernatural iceberg — for the Nephilim are back on earth. And Mac has stumbled onto their secret. Nephilim winds from the Holy Land to the Nevada desert, through mind-numbing dangers and choices that will affect the future of the human race. Just one hope stands between Mac and destruction: the power of the risen Messiah. But can it save Mac and his children from the evil spiritual forces that spawned the Nephilim? Or fulfill his agonizing quest for meaning and purpose in life? Nephilim. Giants. Aliens.

Fact or Fiction?
I personally find the topic of aliens/UFOs/extra-terrestrial life very fascinating so this book had me intrigued right from just looking at the front cover. In my opinion, Marzulli really knows how to write a good story. I loved his in-depth description of all his characters, how he described all of their emotions; anger, laughter, fear, loneliness, envy and hate (to name just a few) in an open and realistic way. You feel as if you could be a part of the story and any of the circumstances could happen to you in real life.

He has done his research superbly well and the theories that he presents are unfortunately, scarily believable and enough to put fear in to any self-respecting person’s heart. However, being a Christian author, he certainly doesn’t leave the reader without hope.

I was hooked from the beginning and couldn’t put the book down. With some excellent twists, some sober moments and some intense action, I believe this book has something in it to satisfy everyone: Sci-fi, action, thrills, romance and drama all intertwined with a blatant Christian worldview.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10

Click here to visit Marzulli’s blog/wordpress page.

The Oath Book Review

For those of you who have read The Hunted by Mike Delosso, this book is very similar to it. I say that and not the other way around because I read The Oath second. However, I liked and disliked things about both books and I would happily read both again and don’t fancy one over the other.

This must be one of the very few novels I have ever read that actually scared me. Even though I read it during the day, I was still spooked by the smallest of sounds and had to keep looking around the house to make sure I was alone! I don’t think it was the ‘fantasy’ part of the novel so much as simply realising what atrocities that evil can commit through human beings when allowed. When the mind dwells on that instead of the saving power of Jesus, one cannot help but feel helpless and lost. However, Peretti certainly allows his readers to believe that things will certainly turn out better than they seem.

Superbly written and delicately crafted as have been the tradition of all the Peretti books that I have read so far.  He draws his readers in piece by twist-turning piece to gradually end up with the finished puzzle being not quite what you expected. A fantastic writer and certainly right up there with the best authors I have come across.

As you journey with the main character of the story, you find yourself feeling sorry for him when he gets hurt, cheering him on when he does the right thing and really drawn in to the story as if you were part of it. The way Peretti makes the characters come alive is quite spectacular and realistic.

All in all, a great read (certainly not at night though) and I would highly recommend it. If you like a bit of fantasy, drama, action, and spiritual themes all combined into one, then this book is for you!

Rating: out of 10

Click here to visit

Through the fire Book Review

Firefighting burns in Aidan O’Neill’s blood, but his innate gift for reading flames has made him overconfident and sometimes puts lives in danger. When one call goes horribly wrong and a rookie is hurt, Aidan ends up suspended and finds himself questioning everything.

An arsonist is targeting Reno, leaving a scorched path of destruction. The department needs Aidan back, but his return is troubled. The gift he relied on for so long has gone silent . . . and it’s as though the fires are coming for him, hunting him down. Teaming with a beguiling fire investigator who may know more than she’s saying, Aidan must discover where his trust rests as the flames burn ever closer.
This book had the potential to be really really good. Unfortunately, it seemed to lack something and filed to grab me right from the start. Usually I love books to do with fire fighting, but I wasn’t so impressed with Through the Fire.

The twists and turns, instead of leaving me wanting more, left me more confused.  I loved the ending, but felt it needed to be a bit longer and perhaps in other parts shorter to keep interest high and concentration levels from waning.

In spite of my disappointments though, I did enjoy this book.  If you are in for a light thriller/mystery, with a little bit of ‘life’ drama and romance thrown in, then this book is for you.

Rating: 6 out of 10

Hidden Book Review

When Anna decides it’s time to leave her abusive boyfriend, she doesn’t know where to turn. Rob has completely won over her parents and the entire community, with his good looks and smooth charm. Only Anne has seen his dark side.

Desperate, she runs to the only place she’s ever felt completely safe – the Amish Brenneman Bed and Breakfast, where Anna met life-long friend Katie Brenneman. The family welcomes her in and with few questions asked allows her to stay, dressed in Plain clothing, and help around the inn.

Katie’s older brother Henry is the only one who doesn’t take too kindly to the intrusion. He tries to ignore Anna, knowing no good would ever come from caring for an Englisher like her. But as he gets to know Anna, he discovers her good heart and is surprised with her readiness to accept their lifestyle.

The more time Anna spends with the Amish, the more she feels like she’s found a true home. But how can she deny the life she left behind? And will her chance for happiness be stolen away by the man from her past?
I saw this book in our local library, took one look at the cover and thought, “Oh yeah that’ll be a typical romance novel…”, but decided to give it a try anyway. What followed was indeed so much more than just a soppy love story.

It gave insight into violent men and how hard it can be to get out of an abusive relationship. How even men who look so charming on the outside and say all the right things to people can be like a volcano waiting to erupt given the right (or wrong) conditions. How anger and the need to control, left unchecked can often lead to violence.

It offered a beautiful look at the Amish people and the way they do things so differently from Western society. Nothing is rushed, their relationships with God are so real and personal, and they don’t rely on modern technology to get things done. A rewarding lifestyle.

It covered how true-love transcends race, culture, differences of background and how, if you are willing to work hard at a relationship, it really doesn’t matter if you have any of those things in common or not. It’s the same with God, a relationship with him is indifferent to race, culture, gender, what our past has been like.
The author has written this book in such a way that I was gripped right from the start and came away at the end with a feeling of satisfaction that even with all the cunning twists and turns in the plot-line, it turned out just right and didn’t leave me disappointed.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Hidden is book one in the Sisters of the Heart series. Click here to visit Shelley's website.

Tears in Bottle Book Review

Becky Taylor lies in a secluded recovery room of an abortion clinic when she hears a man’s angry voice, then gunshots amid cries of terror. Lying still behind the curtain, she holds her breath in fear. But the silence that follows reveals the icy truth: She’s the only one left alive…
If you’re a wee bit squeamish on abortion details then I wouldn’t recommend reading this book. However, if you’re after a wonderful portrayal of the truth, then I would read this masterpiece cover to cover a few times over. In saying that, it’s probably not ‘bloke’s book’ (whatever that stereotype is) so if you’re a male then it may not appeal to you. For most females for whom the whole area of pregnancy and motherhood can often be quite an important part of their lives, then go ahead, pick it up and start your journey.

Tears In A Bottle describes the anguish of a young girl with somebody else’s morals forced upon her, the gradual hardening of a doctor’s heart towards women, the heartache of a middle-aged woman who will never be able to bear children, through to the path of a lost soul bent on revenge at all costs. A story of unconditional love battling merciless evil. A tale of peer pressure and living up to unrealistic expectations. Justice, freedom, value and worth. Things you cannot put a price-tag on.

For those who have struggled with the guilt of having an abortion, those who are contemplating it as an option, or even those who simply want to find out more about the issue, then I highly recommend this book.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10

Click here to visit Sylvia Bambola’s site.

Monday, 20 June 2011


I haven't had a lot of time to blog lately because I've been busy making things :)
Here's a few pics of my latest endeavours...
Up-cycled Toddler Ruffle Skirt
Carry Bag

Toddler Ruffle skirt
Baby Shoes

Upcycled Baby Bib

Bib with Tie

Baseball Bib
These writing boards were inspired by a story about a certain Miss Adelaide wanting to 'write' on little post it notes everywhere and stick them all around the house. So I endeavoured to make her her very own board and carry bag to do that with. I think they turned out ok.

Princess Adelaide's writing board

Toddler Man Bag

Toddler ruffle skirts

Thursday, 16 June 2011

The way it was

So I was supposed to have this (hopefully) really cool Vlog all loaded up and ready to go for Things I'm loving today, but to top off my worst birthday ever haha it wouldn't work for me :( so I'll stick some photos up instead. Maybe next week!


Friday, 10 June 2011

Honey mustard chicken

I made this delicious chicken recipe the other night and with comments from hubby to make him 'nice' rice attempted to add a bit extra to that too :)

Honey mustard chicken

1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup dijon mustard
2tsp curry powder
1 onion
6 chicken breasts or thighs

Fry onion in butter until soft and tender (use however much you like) I used about 2tbsn. Add rest of ingredients except chicken and stir. This is the sauce.
Brown chicken on each side
Put chicken into shallow dish and pour sauce over the top. Bake at 190 degrees for approximately 30-40 minutes or until thoroughly cooked.

Serve with rice. I prefer to use either jasmine or basmati rice. I mixed the juice of 1 lemon and reduced the amount of water by that amount then sprinkled lemon pepper over the top while cooking. You could add tumeric instead to add some more heat. YUM! Enjoy

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Merino PJs...

So I have finally finished ONE of my projects yay!! I have found that with all the pjs in the store, it is always a mission to find any that fit Master T properly as he has very short legs and arms but is wide and chubby and uses cloth nappies :) so I endeavored to make my own. Besides that, the merino ones are always super expensive and who wants to spend 30 odd dollars on some clothes that will only last maybe 2months at most! Not me. So I found some cheap merino fabric on trademe and used a pattern a friend gave me (yay for spotlight having freebies). They turned out pretty good in my humble opinion and they are a tailor made fit!

More makings to come...