Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Book Review (and Giveaway): Replication by Jill Williamson

Someone is covering up multiple secrets…

Martyr—otherwise known as Jason 3:3—is one of fifty Jasons kept in a remote underground facility. Told that he has been created to save humanity, Martyr has just one wish before he is scheduled to “expire” in less than a month - to see the sky.

Abby Goyer just moved to Alaska, and she has a feeling something strange is going on at the farm where her father works. But even this smart, confident girl could never have imagined what lies beneath a simple barn. Or what would happen when a mysterious boy shows up in her room asking about the stars.

As the reality of the Jason Experiment comes to light, Martyr is caught between two futures—the one for which he was produced and the one Abby believes God created him to have.

I love Williamson's Blood of Kings fantasy, so I jumped at the chance to review her new book, Replication. Yes, it's a young adult book written about cloning (not my particular cup of tea), but that doesn't matter when the author is as talented as Williamson.

I started the book with the plan to read it over the course of a week or two, but I couldn't put it down. The story pulls you right in, right into the lives of Marty and Abby. You do have to suspend some level of rationalization to believe that for some reason a high school junior can outsmart a bunch of scientists, but isn't that what fiction is all about?

If you or a young adult near you enjoys sci-fi, you'll love this book. In fact, it's so much fun that I'm going to help you enjoy it - I'm going to give you my copy! Leave me a comment and with your name and email address for your chance to win! I'll pick a winner at the end of the month - good luck!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Mega-Meal Monday

I got this cool menu board from my sister for Christmas. It's been a lot of fun, but I'll be honest - I don't actually cook the meals on the days that they're scheduled. I tend to fix everything in two days. This week, I went for Sunday and Monday. I've dubbed today Mega-Meal Monday. I wasn't actually planning on making such gigantic meals. It just happened. Here's how things worked tonight.

It started with a box of soup.

As you can see by the price tag, I got a good deal on this quart of soup. It's a yummy, sweet soup, but it's not very filling. I could eat the whole quart and still want to eat. The pretty picture on the cover gave me an idea. I chopped up some onions and bell peppers, sauteed them with some garlic, then browned a pound of ground beef. Toss in a few hands full of spinach, some salt and pepper to taste, and viola!

This is quite possibly one of the tastiest soups I've ever made. I just wish I'd measured everything out so I could duplicate it. (I'm sure I can make it close enough)

Even though the pan is huge, it won't feed Matt and I all week, so I had to whip up something else. Matt's two favorite things in the world are macaroni and cheese and tacos. My mom turned us on to this casserole, which I, of course, have modified.

A couple of boxes of Annie's organic mac & cheese, one pound taco meat, some of the sauteed onions/garlic/peppers, a handful of shredded taco cheese, 1/2 jar of salsa. Mix. Bake. Magic!

Just look at that ooey, gooey, greasy goodness. I think I'll let Matt eat the bulk of this one. 

Between the two meals, we'll be full all week. Bon appetite!

Monday, January 09, 2012

Book Review: Mind Over Madi by Lynda Schab

Madi McCall admits her husband lacks a little in the romance department, but all in all, he’s been a good husband, a good father. Now, though, she suspects Rich is having an af  air with Fawn Witchburn, the mother of one of his fourth-grade students. To say Fawn shows of   her “assets” more than should be legally allowed in public is an understatement, and Madi’s insecurities kick into high gear. When, in a heated moment, she asks Rich to leave and he complies, Madi is forced to deal with her issues. Issues of love and trust she’s tried so hard to avoid. Issues that trail all the way back to her childhood and make her act like a total moron.


Mind Over Madi is the debut novel of my on-line friend Lynda Lee Schab. This book touches on a sore spot for many women today - the insecurities that come from living in a world focused on appearance. Madi not only struggles with her insecurities, but also with the crazy way she acts while trying to deal with her issues. Can she figure it out in time to save her marriage? Take a peek and find out!


LYNDA LEE SCHAB got her writing start in greeting cards  (Blue Mountain Arts, Dayspring)  and from there  went on to write  articles and short stories (Mature Living, Christian Home &  School)  and in many places online (including www.Examiner.com and  www.wow-womenonwriting.com), but  her passion has always been fiction.  

Mind Over Madi, her debut novel, is near and dear to her heart.  Lynda admits  she has a lot in 
common with  the character of Madi. Not only are they both  addicted to ice cream, chocolate, and computer games,  they  struggle with the same types of insecurities and continually require a hefty dose of God’s grace. 

Lynda works behind the scenes at FaithWriters.com and is a member of ACFW. She is a regular book reviewer for FaithfulReader.com and is the Grand Rapids Christian Fiction Examiner and the National Writing Examiner for Examiner.com.  Mind Over Madi  received Runner-up in the 2007 FaithWriters Page Turner contest, was a finalist in the 2007 RWA Get your Stiletto in the Door contest, and won second place in the 2008 ACFW Genesis contest, Chick Lit category. Lynda lives with her husband, Rob, and two teenagers in Michigan

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Is it a cold, or is it the flu?

Well, I didn't make it past Christmas without coming down with a cold. I debated whether or not I should go to work. I mean, I didn't feel great, but I can't stay home every day I'm not feeling 100%. Since there weren't many people in the office, I risked it. Then I came home and opened my latest copy of Fitness Magazine. 

Guess what I found?

This chart (see below). Just tell it your symptoms and it will help you determine whether or not your fighting the flu or just a cold. I figured this is a good time of the year to share it.

(And if you've never used a Neti Pot, GET ONE! I used it daily when I was sick and made the cold so much more bareable!)

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Isaiah 12 - for 2012

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In case you haven't figured it out, I believe in God. Even more than that, I believe that the Bible is His word, it is truth, and if anyone will accept it as such, God will not only save you, but guide you through every step of your life. That doesn't mean life is easy and nothing bad will ever happen, but God will always be there. He just loves us all that much.

I like to talk to God, too. I call it prayer. Not the kind of praying most people do (Dear God, I need this and this and this. Thanks.), but an actual conversation. I pour my heart out, then I listen.

Each year on December 31, I ask God about the coming year: how can I prepare? This year I didn't have to ask. I didn't even have to wait until New Year's Eve! Friday night at church, God showed me a few things about 2012 and my life.

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1. Twelve. That's an important number this year. I'm not sure why, but it is. Twelve is the perfect number, signifying perfection of government, or of governmental perfect. It also reappears in the Old and New Testaments on multiple occasions: 12 sons of Jacob, 12 tribes of Israel, 12 Apostles, 12 gates of heaven guarded by 12 angels. I don't yet know why 12 is important this year, but it is.

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2. Isaiah 12. I don't read Isaiah very often. I tend to think of that book as containing long chapters of prophecy or woe that my brain doesn't wrap around very easily. I couldn't shake the feeling, however, that I needed to read Isaiah 12. Wow. I've decided to adopt this chapter for the year. I've been obsessing over music and worship for the past few weeks. I know that reading this chapter wasn't just coincidence.

Isaiah 12 (NLT)
In that day you will sing; "I will praise you, O Lord!
You were angry with me, but not any more. Now you comfort me.
See, God has come to save me. I will trust in him and not be afraid.
The Lord God is my strength and my song; he has given me victory."

With joy you will drink deeply from the fountain of salvation!
In that wonderful day you will sin: "Thank the Lord! Praise his name!
Tell the nations what he has done. Let them know how mighty he is!
Sing to the Lord, for he has done wonderful things. Make know his praise around the world.
Let all the people of Jerusalem shout his praise with joy!
For great is the Holy One of Israel who lives among you."

That's what 2012 has in store for me. I'm excited to see how this year plays out. I pray that you'll see God's plan for you in the new year, too.