Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Review: Final Approach by John J. Nance

Final ApproachFinal Approach by John J. Nance
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Final Approach takes the reader through the politics and mystery surrounding a devastating airplane crash in Kansas City that will keep the reader guessing to the end. The story begins when a plane comes down for landing during a dangerous thunderstorm with windshear. The plane crashes into another plane that was waiting to take off on the runway. Not only was the conditions outside treacherous for landing a plane, there were other issues that could have caused the plane to crash. This book investigates this mystery of who is at fault and what should be done afterwards to prevent accidents in the future. The different explanations are fully explored through the book until the revealing end. For example, did the pilot purposefully drive the plane into the other one or was there a conspiracy to murder a radical senator on board one of the planes? Were powerful radio transmissions turned on to disrupt the flight controls? These are one of several scenarios that Joe and his team explore.

I felt like this book truly has all the elements that make it a good suspense thriller. Between the budding attraction between Joe and Susan, tragedy and loss, mystery of who is at fault, drama between the characters and who they are representing, and finally justice for the survivors. One thing that I really like about the book is that it takes place in the Dallas area. In some of the parts I can see exactly where the character is at and what the scenery looks like down the highway - that was really neat! I never read anything from this author before Final Approach but I'd really like to read more from John J. Nance. I give Final Approach a 4 out of 5 stars. The story was a really long but good read. I received this book free of charge from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review

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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Unplugged Diet UPDATE

       So it's been over a week and I guess you could say I only lasted one day without tv, computers, and my phone...pathetic I know! As my new years resolution I decided to limit how much time I spend on the computer, watching tv, and checking the phone. This day and age we waste so many hours staring at a screen and not paying attention to the real world.  I'm sure you've heard of people looking at their phones while walking and end up falling off the edge of a pier or cliff, crazy right?!  If you haven't heard about it google it.  
     Although I didn't stick to my original plan of tech time for one hour a day I have limited myself quite a bit each day.  I no longer pick up my phone to check email and facebook upon waking.  Putting my focus first on getting ready and chores done.  Another thing that I've changed is choosing to check my phone only a few times during the day for maybe 10 minutes at a time.  The tv stays off for most of the day until about 6pm or when it starts to get dark outside.  Since I've started this diet, more cleaning actually gets finished.  We spend more time outside enjoying the nice weather (I know it's February but the weather has been unusually mild so far), and more of my projects are getting done.  
       On Saturday I binged on the phone usage and I actually felt so guilty for wasting hours on it.  Why do I need to waste that time on Facebook when I could be out enjoying life.   I don't think I could completely cut the cord on technology but using my time wisely and being more aware of the time I spend on my phone/tv/computer makes my life more fulfilled.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Review: Amish Sweethearts by Leslie Gould

Amish Sweethearts (Neighbors of Lancaster County, #2)Amish Sweethearts by Leslie Gould
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Amish Sweethearts is the sweet romantic story of Lila and Zane. The story takes place in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania where Amish girl Lila grew up with her childhood friend and neighbor, Zane. Zane's family are not Amish like most of the community however they are friends with their neighbors. At a time of uncertainty of the future and as an act of rebellion, Zane enlists in the Army which takes him half a world away from his family and his best friend Lila. During this time, Lila must choose between doing the right thing by marrying an Amish man her father approves of or to follow her heart and choose the man she truly loves. "Be still and know that I am God" Psalm 46:10 is the passage that carries them through the uncertain times. Through it all Lila and Zane keep their faith in God to show them the way.

The characters in the story were very well written. The main character Lila is emotionally strong and hardworking. She puts her family duties like taking care of her sick grandmother and younger siblings above her own happiness. Always the dutiful daughter she spends her days between doing her daily chores and working at the local buffet to help keep her family financially secure. Zane on the other hand is straightforward and isn't sure what he wants out of life. He loves the Amish way of life and seems more Amish in his way of thinking than some of the others who are Amish such as Simon. Simon, Lila's brother is my favorite character. He's the rebellious son who dreams of life as a soldier in the Army against his father's wishes. He and Zane are like polar opposites. I like the introduction of Beth to the story as she seemed to calm down Lila and Simon's father and help him understand his children better. Casey is an Army friend of Zane who I could picture striking up a relationship with Simon. I feel like the people in this story could be people I'd be close with or who I'd like to have as friends and neighbors.

A story of reconnecting old friendships and realizing the true power of love, Amish Sweethearts is definitely a must read for any Amish fiction readers! I couldn't seem to put it down especially late at night when I needed to be sleeping. I rate this story 5 out 5 stars! I received this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

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Friday, February 5, 2016

Unplugging From it All

My new years resolution is to decrease my dependence on technology.  Technology being my smartphone,  TV, computer, and Netflix.   I decided to shut everything off except for 1 hour a day.  For that 1 hour I can check email, texts, watch a TV show,  update facebook status, post here on my blog,  or just anything I want or need to do. Next Wednesday February 10th is the starting date.  Anyone up for joining me on this challenge?  My husband bet I wouldn't last more than 3 days.  I'm set to prove him wrong!  FYI: I wasn't driving in this selfie! 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

A Merry Little Birthday Tree

     There is a birthday tradition in our family which we call the birthday tree.  Like a traditional Christmas tree, several weeks before my birthday I would bring out a little pink tabletop tree with a colorful string of lights, and my girly colorful ornaments.  The ornaments include pink and purple balls, Barbie, Disney Princesses, Strawberry Shortcake and even Care Bears themed!
       It all started sometime in my high school years or perhaps my early college days.  I went to Walmart for their after Christmas sales.  There I saw the cutest Disney Princess Christmas tree set for 75 percent off.  I couldn't resist it especially with the discount Barbie ornaments hanging up next to it.  What would a grown woman want with a children's Christmas tree you ask.  Well I've always been a bit of a child at heart.  I still love going down the Barbie doll aisle at the store.  When my daughter and I go we enjoy picking out the dolls we like best.  My husband teases that he has to drag us out of the toy section!

     After buying the tree and getting ornaments to go on it, I was ready to take it out and decorate.  However, it was the week after Christmas when a lot of people start taking down their Christmas tree and decorations.  I would have felt silly just putting my little pink one up.  That's when a light bulb went off in my head.  I remembered I have a birthday coming up in January so why not make this tree special and only put it out for my birthday!  Not only is it something I look forward to every year after Christmas but it makes birthdays that much more memorable.
    Well now that I'm a mom with 2 girls of my own I'm carrying down this fun birthday tradition to them. We enjoy decorating a tree year round for all of our birthdays except my husband...maybe we should get him a blue one with fishing and hunting themed ornaments! That would make a great gift idea for his next birthday!!  What kind of birthday traditions does your family celebrate?