icRKphJXQm-ezth8lntKydifkDg The Loose Screw: October 2013

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Children's Book Review & Giveaway~Audrey Bunny

This month, the sweetest children's book was released by B & H Publishing.  Audrey Bunny, written by Angie Smith with illustrations by Breezy Brookshire, is a 32-page hardcover with a dust jacket.  This book was such a huge hit with my grandson Daniel, that I now have it memorized!

Audrey Bunny is the story of a lonely stuffed bunny who lives in a store in a barrel, hoping to be chosen by a child.  But other animals are always chosen, because this bunny has a stain on his chest.  One day, a little girl named Caroline chose the bunny and named her Audrey.  The story continues with their adventures together, and Audrey Bunny learning that she is special and loved, even though she is different. 

The story itself is just so heartwarming, and the illustrations, which are on every page, are beautiful! I think the text is for established readers, not brand new beginners.  But I think this is the perfect book for adult and child to read together. 

Here is grandson Daniel, 2, with Audrey Bunny.  (He's in that stage of only being able to be cheesy for the camera!)  The first time I read him Audrey Bunny, when we were done with the story he went to his toys and pulled out a bunny he received last Christmas.  Next thing I know, after just hearing the story once, he was acting out  Caroline and Audrey reading together, playing together, and dancing together.  It was the sweetest thing, and I didn't think he was paying that close of attention while I read!  Ever since that first time reading Audrey Bunny, he asks for it every time we read and he always has to hold his bunny-who now, of course, is named Audrey :)

Author Angie Smith is a best-selling women's author, and wife of Todd Smith, the lead singer of the award-winning group Selah.  To learn more about Angie, visit her website. 

To purchase your own copy of Audrey Bunny (it is HOT on Amazon right now!), here is the Amazon link.  This book would make a wonderful Christmas gift!

Other helpful links:

I have a copy of Audrey Bunny to give away!!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. 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."

Friday, October 25, 2013

Win a subscription to Ladies Home Journal!

Ladies Home Journal has been a favorite magazine of mine for years.  I first read it when my Mom subscribed when I was young.  As I've gotten older I appreciate the stories, tips, and advice the magazine is full of.  Purex is giving away free subscriptions  through October 31.  Enter here.  If you are a winner, come back and let me know in the comments section.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Product Review~Dr. Scholl's Active Series Insoles

A few weeks ago, Influenster sent me a pair of Dr. Scholl's Active Series Insoles. These insoles help reduce the shock to your feet from impact during athletic activity.  According to Dr. Scholl's, their Active Series Insoles 'reduce shock by 40% and, for those with Shin Splints, Runner's Knee and Plantar Fasciitis, helps relieve and prevent the pain.'  Now, I'm not a runner.  Due to my spine problems, and the fact that there are unstable areas in my spine currently, I can't do most high impact sports.  So I use an exercise bike that has a back to it, and I like to walk.  I was excited to try out these insoles and see if they helped reduce the impact.

Here is a picture of the front and back of the insoles.  What you do is take your current insole out of your shoe, lay it on top and trim the Dr. Scholl's insert to match.  I lucked out and my current insoles are the exact same size, so I didn't have to do any cutting.  They make it easy if you do have to trim with the lines printed on the insoles.  Just put your Dr. Scholl's Insoles in your shoes and you are ready to go!

Dr. Scholl's Active Series Insoles are made with Triple Zone Protection:
*Heel-Heel pad absorbs impact yet is very responsive.
*Arch-Unique arch design improves transition of weight from landing to push-off.
*Ball of Foot-Thick ball of foot helps distribute pressure throughout push-off.

Here are my shoes, all ready with the insoles in them.  I've used them several times, and only have positive things to tell you!  They are very comfortable, definitely giving me more cushion than I previously had.  The arch support was my favorite part-I really felt a difference.  My arches get sore easily, and this arch design helped prevent the pain. 

To learn even more about Dr. Scholl's Active Series Insoles, go to Dr. Scholl's website.

*Disclosure: I received this product free to review from Influenster in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Book Review and Author Giveaway~The Bargain

The Bargain is the first book in Stephanie Reed's new series, Plain City Peace.  I had not previously read anything by this author, so I was excited to read Amish fiction by a new author (new to me, that is). 

Betsie Troyer is a 19-year old Amish girl who lives with her younger sister and parents.  She has agreed to help out her cousin by learning the leather business while he is serving in the military.  Her cousin had purchased a leather business from a family in another city, and Betsie is to live with this family during the week and train in the business. 

Just as Betsie begins this new job, her parents announce they are leaving the Amish faith and home.  They leave Betsie and Sadie behind, and send their elderly aunt to live with them.  The girls are distraught, and decide not to tell anyone in the community that their parents have left the Faith, in the hopes of changing their minds.

With everything going wrong at home, Betsie's life at the Sullivans is not any better.  They are an Englisch family, and Betsie has quite a time learning their ways! Their son Michael, who drives her back and forth to home and work, is a confused young man who is intrigued with Betsie's peaceful Amish ways. 

What I Thought: The Bargain was a great story, with a few aspects I've not read before in other Amish fiction, like  Betsie's parents leaving the Faith and leaving them behind was, as well as Betsie living with a modern, Englisch family.  Stephanie Reed is a talented author, and the story flowed well and kept my attention through to the end.  The characters were interesting, especially the Sullivan family and Michael.  I look forward to reading more in the Plain City Peace series! 

The end of the book includes discussion questions, and two very yummy recipes!  To learn more about  Stephanie Reed and her books, go to her website.  You can purchase The Bargain here.  To read more Litfuse reviews of The Bargain, visit http://litfusegroup.com/author/sreed. 

Stephanie L. Reed is celebrating the release of The Bargain, the first book in her new series, Plain City Peace, with a Kindle Fire 'Bargain Bundle' giveaway!
  One winner will receive a 'Bargain Bundle':
  • A Kindle Fire
  • The Bargain by Stephanie Reed
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 27th. Winner will be announced at the Litfuse blog on October 28th.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to stop by the Litfuse blog on the 28th to see if you won. (Or, better yet, subscribe to their blog {enter your email in the blog sidebar} and have the winner announcement delivered to your inbox)!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book free from Litfuse Publicity. 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."

Book Review~The Christmas Quilt by Vanetta Chapman

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Christmas Quilt
Abingdon Press (October 15, 2013)
Vannetta Chapman

A Word From The Author:

I hold a BA and MA degree in English, and I am proud to be represented by Mary Sue Seymour, AAR. I have published over one hundred articles in Christian family magazines, and have received over two dozen awards from Romance Writers of America chapter groups. I am honored to be a member of Romance Writers of America, American Christian Fiction Writers, and Faith Hope and Love.

I live and teach in the Texas hill country with my husband, cats, and a rather large herd of deer. Our four children have flown the nest; however, we are fortunate that they all live close enough to visit.

I have always felt that my faith was at the very center of who and what I am, and I am thrilled beyond words to be able to now write about something that is so near to my heart. At various times I have served as a pianist, teacher, church secretary, and worship team member. While living in the Dallas area, I served as an adjunct professor of English Literature at Dallas Baptist University. When we moved to a small town in Central Texas, I continued teaching for a few years, but I now write full-time and I play the keyboard in our church’s praise band.

My grandfather was born in Albion, Pennsylvania, and I am currently researching whether I might have Amish roots.


Annie's life is deliciously full as the Christmas season approaches. She helps her husband, Samuel, attend to the community's minor medical needs. She occasionally assists Belinda, the local midwife, and most days, she finds herself delivering the buggy to her brother Adam. Annie’s sister-in-law Leah is due to deliver their first child before Christmas morning, and Annie is determined to finish a crib quilt before the boppli arrives. With six weeks to go, she should have no problem . . . but God may have a different plan. Leah is rushed to the English hospital when the infant arrives early, and Annie discovers the Christmas quilt may hold a far greater significance than she ever imagined.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Christmas Quilt, go HERE.

What I Thought: I just finished The Christmas Quilt last night-what a sweet story of Faith.  Leah, pregnant with twins, goes into premature labor and must stay in the hospital far from home to stop the labor.  Her sister-in-law Annie, also pregnant, stays with her while they wait for the babies to be ready to be born.  Annie got a late start on a quilt she was planning to make for Leah's babies, a nine-patch quilt.  As she works on the quilt while sitting in Leah's hospital room, the quilt turns into something more special than either of them could have imagined. The Christmas Quilt was a wonderful story of Faith and Love. 

Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Wordless Wednesday~New Addition

My daughter Alyssa got a new puppy.  He is half Schnauzer, half Maltese.

His name is Java :)

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Book Review~All-In 2 Night

As my oldest two children begin their adult lives, I look back and wish I had more time with them as young, impressionable children.  There are so many amazing resources out there for parents.  I've just reviewed one of those resources, All-In 2 Night by Lynne Burgess.  This book follows All-In Night, which introduced the concept of the All In Night. 

All-In 2 Night is full of lots of information to help you connect with your children and as a family.  The book explains how an All-In Night works: You pick a night of the week everyone will be home, and keep it age appropriate and short (10-20 minutes).  All-In 2 Night then gives you 40 weeks (enough for a school year) of topics and ideas to use for your All-In Nights. Along with a different topic for each week, there is a Purpose for the week/topic, a bible verse, ideas and activities, Life Lesson, and a peek into the next week.

The topics cover many different issues: Courage, Prayer, Drugs, and Healthy Work Ethic to name just a few.  You might be thinking these topics wouldn't work for your younger children.  That's what is great about how All-In Nights work-you can modify to fit the different ages in your household. 

I think All-In 2 Night is a wonderful tool for Christian parents-I wish I had it many years ago when my youngest were little.  The book is full of wisdom for connecting to your kids while imparting important life lessons, and I look forward to making All-In Night a regular part of our lives.  So far everyone has enjoyed the All-In Nights we have had.  Compared to other family devotional-type activities we have done in the past, the older kids appreciated the short time commitment.  So even if everyone is really busy, you can carve out ten minutes together once a week. And if you have more time, make a fun evening of it!  The author even gives dessert suggestions for your night together. 

Just a warning, Lynne Burgess is from Australia, so some words may be a little different from what you are used to-like 'Mum'.  I highly recommend this book, and if you start your own All-In Night, I'd love to hear how it goes!

For more information, go to www.allinnight.com.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookCrash.com book review program, which requires an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's CFR Title 16, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Wordless Wednesday~My Loves

Left to Right: Daniel (2), Nick (22), Chad (10), Tulip (2), and Alyssa (18)

Book Review~A Plain Disappearance

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
A Plain Disappearance
B&H Books (September 1, 2013)
Amanda Flower


Amanda Flower, an Agatha-nominated mystery author, started her writing career in elementary school when she read a story she wrote to her sixth grade class and had the class in stitches with her description of being stuck on the top of a Ferris wheel. She knew at that moment she’d found her calling of making people laugh with her words. Her debut mystery, Maid of Murder, was an Agatha Award Nominee for Best First Novel. Amanda is an academic librarian for a small college near Cleveland.


USA Today recently hailed award-nominated author Amanda Flower for A Plain Death, calling it “the first Amish rom-com . . . bring on the next one!” As the enthusiastic reviews continue to mount, she’s back with her third Appleseed Creek mystery, A Plain Disappearance.

It’s Christmastime in Amish Country, and Chloe Humphrey has begun settling into her life in Appleseed Creek excited to see where her new relationship with Timothy Troyer will lead. Unfortunately it leads to murder when the couple discovers the body of Amish teenager Katie Lambright while on their first date.

Near the scene there is evidence that Timothy’s friend and auto mechanic Billy Thorpe is involved with the crime. The police reveal Billy is not really who he said he was and has been living the last decade in Knox County under a stolen alias. Now, Chloe and Timothy must find Billy, bring him to justice, or prove his innocence.

If you would like to read the first chapter of >A Plain Disappearance, go HERE.

My Thoughts: A Plain Disappearance was an enjoyable Amish mystery.  I had not read the first two books in the series, and although A Plain Disappearance was fine to read alone, there were a few times that comments were  made about something happening previously that I did not understand.  Now, I'm excited to go back and read the first two books. 

The mystery of who murdered Katie Lambright kept me guessing until the end.  The author did a great job with different twists and turns in the plot.  I also enjoyed how the storyline had Amish kids who had become Englisch, yet their Amish family still welcomed and supported them.

*Disclosure: I received this book free in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Book Review~For Every Season by Cindy Woodsmall

For Every Season is the third book in the Amish Vines and Orchards series.  I enjoyed the first two books, and you can read my reviews of them here:
#1: A Season for Tending
#2: The Winnowing Season

For Every Season continues the story of the King and Byler families, as they settle in at their new orchard in Maine, far from their families and any other Amish .  Rhoda and Jacob are in love and hope to marry, but Jacob's brother Samuel is deeply in love with Rhoda as well.  The tension between the three of them becomes unbearable in this book. The families are struggling to get the orchard thriving, and an early frost causes much trouble for the families.  Rhoda begins seeing and  hearing things again, this time involving an Englisch neighbor.  Will her visions cause trouble for her like they did in her hometown? 

I loved getting back into this story, the characters are unique and the storyline grabs and keeps your attention all through the book.  I was thrilled to learn that there will be a fourth book in the Series!!  Cindy Woodsmall is one of my favorite authors-she is a master storyteller.  Also included in the book are a glossary of Amish words, a summary of the main characters from the series, and a few yummy apple recipes!

Click here to be taken to Waterbrook Multnomah's website, where you can learn more about For Every Season and purchase the book.  To learn more about Cindy Woodsmall, visit her website and Facebook page. 

Disclosure: I received this book free in exchange for my review.  All opinions expressed here are my own.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Children's Book Review and Giveaway~Rufus and Ryan Go to Church!

Rufus and Ryan Go to Church is an adorable new board book for ages 2-5.  It is one of the first titles in a new series of inspirational books for preschoolers.  The book is written by Kathleen Long Bostrom and illustrated by Rebecca Thornburgh.  It is published by Ideals Books. 

Ryan is a little boy who loves his stuffed monkey, Rufus, and takes him wherever he goes.  In Rufus and Ryan Go to Church, Ryan shares his experiences going to church with Rufus.  The vocabulary is perfect for this age range, and the illustrations are bright and colorful.  Here is my grandson Dan enjoying the book:

To purchase Rufus and Ryan Go to Church, visit www.idealsbooks.com.  You can also visit them on Facebook.  Scroll down to the bottom of this post for an extra resource to help introduce your child to worship.

I have one copy of Rufus and Ryan Go to Church to give away!  I will email the winner when the contest is over.  Enter using the Rafflecopter form below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway


1.   Attend a child-friendly church.
A church that invites children to attend worship, that has a children’s time during worship or a service in which children are included, will not mind the noise and commotion that comes with having young children in worship.

2. Bring your child to church on a day other than Sunday morning.
Call the church office and make an appointment with a pastor, Christian education director, or church school teacher. Go on a tour of the church facility, and locate the Sunday school rooms and bathrooms as well as the sanctuary. Let your child explore the sanctuary, see how it feels to sit in the pew, and leaf through the Bibles and hymnbooks. Look behind the pulpit, Communion table, and baptismal font, and explain the use of these. 

3. Take home a worship bulletin and go through the service at home.
Show your child that there are times to sit, to stand (and in some places, to kneel), to sing, to pray, and to listen. If the Lord’s Prayer is used, write down the words and let your child practice at home. Prepare offering envelopes and let your child put money in the envelope, and explain why the offering is important.

4.    Play “Let’s go to church” at home.
Practicing the worship service at home will help your child feel more comfortable with what happens in worship.

5. Read the Bible and pray at home.
Purchase an age-appropriate Bible for your child and read the stories. Let your child handle the Bible and encourage questions. You can explain that the Bible is where we learn God’s story, and how we are part of that story. If you let prayer be a part of your everyday life, not just something you do at church, your child will understand its importance.

6. Sit near an aisle or in a place where you can make an exit if needed.
If your child needs to go to the bathroom, or is feeling overly stimulated or having a disruptive day, don’t be embarrassed. Walk your child out of the sanctuary until she can work off a little energy, and then come back in. This is much easier if you don’t have to crawl across a row of other people in the pew!

7.   Be prepared with a worship notebook or bag.
Many churches provide materials for children to use during worship, but if not, bring your own supplies. Colored pencils can be used to mark the parts of worship in the bulletin as you go through them one by one. Get to church a few minutes in advance and use a bookmark to mark the hymns that will be
sung that day. Have some coloring pages from a Bible coloring book for your child to color, or some blank pages for doodling. This is not disrespectful, and can help your child listen more attentively. Have the words of the Lord’s Prayer printed on a page for the child to follow, if he or she is of reading age. Let your child draw a picture of the anthem or hymns being sung, or the sermon, and give this to the choir director or pastor afterwards.

8. Teach basic church etiquette.
Speak to people before and after worship, and teach your child how to shake hands and greet others.  If your child is shy, don’t force it, but practice at home and let your child see you greeting others. Let the child put the hymnbook and Bible away after use, and be sure to take your bulletin with you, rather than leaving it in the pew. Meeting other people and taking care of the church facility helps a child feel that “This is my church!”

9. Get to know the pastor.
Pastors of child-friendly churches love to get to know the children of the church. Introduce your child to the pastor after worship, and participate in other church activities so that the pastor becomes a friend and not a scary adult.

10. Don’t give up!
It may take awhile for your child to become comfortable in worship, and to learn how to sit quietly. The best way for this to happen is to attend worship on a regular basis. There may be days when it doesn’t go well, but don’t let this stop you from coming the following week. Practice makes perfect!

*Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book free in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Book Review and Author Giveaway~A Christmas Gift for Rose

About the book:
Born in the midst of the hardships of The Great Depression, Rose grew up in Berlin, Ohio, in the arms of a loving Amish family.  But she is overwhelmed by self-doubt when she learns that she was born Englisch and abandoned when her family moved West in search of work. 

Was she meant to be Amish or would she have been better off growing up with her own kind-Englischers? When the man she loves leaves her behind, Rose is certain he left for good.  Yet Rose discovers sometimes our greatest gifts are the ones we fear.

What I Thought:
Tricia Goyer is one of my favorite Amish fiction authors.  I have enjoyed many of her books over the past few years.  A Christmas Gift for Rose is her first Christmas novella.  A Christmas Gift for Rose had elements that were close to my heart, that aren't typically in Amish fiction: The Great Depression and adoption.  I was adopted, and I adopted one of my children.  Also, my parents were growing up during the  Depression, and it is fascinating to listen to their memories from that era. 

Tricia Goyer does an amazing job of pulling you into the story right from the beginning, and holding your attention throughout.  The character of Rose was so complex, with many things going on.  I really felt her struggle with her feelings, not knowing where she belonged.  She had to learn to accept that God had put her where she was meant to be.

To learn more about Tricia Goyer and her writing, go to her website: www.triciagoyer.com.  You can purchase A Christmas Gift for Rose at several retailers, including Amazon.  Read more reviews of this book here.

Tricia Goyer is celebrating the release of her first Christmas novella, A Christmas Gift for Rosewith a Christmas Gift giveaway! 

Enter to win a NEW Kindle Fire HDX for you AND one for a friend!


One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A brand new Kindle Fire HDX and one to give away to a friend!
  • A Christmas Gift for Rose, by Tricia Goyer for you and your friend!
Four second place winners will receive:
  • A Christmas Gift for Rose Christmas pack (includes a recipe card, bookmark, a signed book plate, discussion questions, and a Gathering & Giving handout!)
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 19th. All winners will be announced October 21st at Tricia's blog.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to visit Tricia's blog on the 21st to see if you won one of the great prizes! (Or better yet, subscribe to her blog and have the winner announcement delivered to your inbox!)

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book free from Litfuse Publicity. 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."