The Tutor’s Daughter by Julie Klassen (Book Review)

A girl will go to any lengths to help her tutor father, but she might fight more mystery and drama than she had bargained for when they move to a cliff-top home of a baronet and his sons.

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Title: The Tutor’s Daughter
By: Julie Klassen

ISBN: 9780764210693 (Paperback)
ISBN: 9781441261090 (E-book)

You can watch a video trailer or read an excerpt.

My Review: Four Stars
After leaving the boarding school and their only family behind for a live-in tutoring position, Emma and her father are dismayed at their less-than-warm welcome in their new cliff-top home. The Westons have their share of secrets and Emma still can’t bring herself to trust the oldest son Henry after his cruel pranks when he attended the boarding school. Still, she is glad to find a friend in Mrs. Weston’s ward, Lizzie. Philip Weston seems to be happy to resume their friendship where it left off when he left the boarding school years ago. But who mysteriously plays the piano and enters Emma’s room at night? Who is responsible for the theft of her journal and threatening picture left in her room? Why are members of the community and some of the Weston family not interested in Henry’s project to make it easier to save lives during shipwrecks? And how is it that Emma finds herself letting her guard down in Henry’s presence?

The Tutor’s Daughter has a distinct traditional gothic novel feel, with mystery and suspense woven through each chapter. It’s easy to empathize with Emma as she copes with the turn her life has taken and learns that God does indeed answer prayers – just not always in the way we might want or expect. Even when her circumstances are frightening and she doesn’t know what will happen, God is still in control and she needs to trust in Him. In the people around her she can see the dire consequences of not following God. While she is learning these important lessons, she is able to find love and happiness along the way in a place she didn’t expect to find it.

Julie Klassen’s stories are written in the spirit of Jane Austen. The issues are real, the characters are believable, and the settings are vividly described. She is one of my favorite authors and I highly recommend all her books for anyone who enjoys historical romance and drama.

Visit JulieKlassen.com for more information. The book is available from Bethany House, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. Be on the lookout for her new novel releasing July 2015, Lady Maybe.

 

Cover of The Tutor's Daughter by Julie Klassen

Cover of The Tutor’s Daughter by Julie Klassen

DIY – Red-Bottomed Shoes

One afternoon I was lounging around at home with my sisters and my boyfriend. I don’t remember how the topic came up, but shoes entered the conversation. I’m very much a tank-top-and-flip-flops, cheap, maintenance-free sort of girl when it comes to fashion, so I know very little about name-brand…well, anything. My sisters are more fluent in the name-brand language than I am, which I’m used it. It came as quite a surprise, though, when my boyfriend joined in the conversation. He and my sisters were talking about these things called red-bottomed shoes, apparently made by a person named Christian Louboutin. What caught my attention most was when my boyfriend mentioned that he thinks they are cool-looking shoes (red and black being his favorite colors, it makes sense). I like to do what I can to make him happy, so when a special event was coming up I decided to look into these mysterious but awesome red-bottomed shoes…

AND YIKES THE PRICE TAG

Remember I like cheap? I don’t like to spend more than $20.00 on a pair of shoes – $30.00 if they’re really nice, or MAYBE a little more for the right pair of boots. So I’m sure you can imagine my reaction when I saw the prices of these Christian Louboutin shoes. CRAY-ZEE.

Then, as is natural for me when I see something I want that I don’t want to spend the money for, I thought, “I bet I could do this myself.”

And thus began my journey to acquire my own pair of red-bottomed shoes (which everyone likes and no one knows they were DIY until I, in my excitement about the project, tell them all about it as I’m about to tell you).

 

DIY Red-Bottomed Shoes

My Materials:
Shoes – I got a decent, but inexpensive pair of black heels from Payless
Flexi-Dip in a spray can – I went looking for Plasti-Dip at Home Depot, but they only had Flexi-Dip in red. Whatever, it worked.
Tape – I had painter’s tape but I’m sure anything would be fine.
Newspaper

First things first – tape up the part of the shoe you don’t want to be red. I didn’t tape the inside because I would be lying my shoes upside down, but I taped everything else but the sole and the heel. I opted to color the entire heel to give the shoes more color and make it easier with less to tape up. Plus the heels I got were not super tall and I wanted to make sure people could see the red.

Shoes, taped up and ready to go

Shoes, taped up and ready to go

After the shoes were ready, I set up a place in the shed to work on the project. Ideally, this should be done outside or somewhere with excellent ventilation. Let me tell you, Flexi-Dip vapors are strong. I made it work in the shed because of weather and time of year, but would have preferred to be outside. One good thing is the smell goes away overnight for the most part. I covered the area I was using in newspaper and laid the shoes upside-down.

The painting has begun

The painting has begun

After you have everything set up, get to spraying! Read the directions on the Flexi-Dip can. I had to do several coats over the course of a couple days to get the shoes really red. I still would have liked to do a couple more coats but I ran out of time. It also probably would have worked better for me if I did lighter coats and more of them. But I’m still pleased with how they came out!

Painting is finished - time to remove the tape

Painting is finished – time to remove the tape

When you’re satisfied and everything is dry, you can remove the tape. Be careful you don’t pull off any Flexi-Dip with it because the Flexi-Dip all wants to stick together. I had some red get under the tape, but it rubbed right off just with my fingers. Again, if you have to do this, be careful not to take off any Flexi-Dip you don’t want to.

After I rub off the red that leaked under the tape, the shoes will be finished!

After I rub off the red that leaked under the tape, the shoes will be finished!

This is where I stopped. In the time since then, it’s been recommended I look for a top coat/sealer type of thing that is used over Plasti-Dip/Flexi-Dip. I haven’t tried that yet, but I imagine it’s probably a good idea. The red did start wearing off the bottom where the shoe touches the ground after only a couple of wears. But most people don’t see that part of the shoe anyway and since I like low-maintenance, I haven’t done anything with it. The rest of the shoe and heel still look good and red. I wore the shoes to work and got a lot of comments on my cool red-bottomed shoes. It was exciting for me to be able to tell people I did it myself! See, I can be stylish if I try!

Probably this would be a fun project to try on different shoes in different colors. It’s not likely that I will, but it’s nice to know that I can if I want to!

Have you ever tried something like this? What did you do differently? Or what do you WISH you had done differently? What other fashion DIYs have you tried?

Right and Wrong Doesn’t Come in 50 Shades of Any Color

Many of my Facebook friends are boycotting a certain movie that’s coming out this weekend (and, presumably, the book that inspired it). They are, in turn, encouraging all of their Facebook friends to do the same thing. They don’t want to promote and support sexual assault/abuse, they say, and that is what they claim the story is all about. That’s why they have a problem with it.

I have also been boycotting the same book/movie, and will continue to do so. In fact, I have been boycotting it so much that I wasn’t even going to acknowledge its existence. But the things I’ve been seeing and hearing lately on the subject prompted me to address it.

Just as some of my friends plan not to, I of course will also not be supporting this book/movie. But my perception is slightly different from theirs. I’m not boycotting it because of whatever the story is all about. I’m not even entering that debate. My line of thinking didn’t even go that far when I was presented with the book/movie material. My line of thinking stopped immediately upon the realization that this work of fiction is nothing short of pornography. From what I can tell, the entire story line revolves around the intimate and explicit details of a couple’s physical relations – an unmarried couple, at that.

What a mark of where our society is. A book/movie is built entirely on lewd content and people don’t have a problem with that.

Wait, what? When did this type of material and behavior become okay – even welcomed in polite society?

What we see, hear, think about has an effect on us, one way or another. The more we give in to pornographic material, the more we compromise our character. We lessen the value of (real!) relationships, we entertain sinful thoughts which can lead very easily to sinful actions, we contemplate things that we should never be dwelling on, we accept certain behavior that should not be accepted. It’s disrespectful to ourselves and every human being around us. Why are relationships are in such sad shape and falling apart? Because if this is the kind of trash we consume, then we are not going to appreciate the true worth of something valuable when we are presented with it.

Christians, I’m speaking directly to you now – God has graciously provided instruction on what love is, how relationships should work, how to respect one another, how to bring glory to God. Too much of what we seek and too much of the way we live is exactly the opposite of this, and is harmful to us.

So forgive me, but I will not boycott this book-about-to-be-released-as-a-movie because of whatever assault or abuse you think is contained in it.

I will boycott it because it flies in the face of everything I should stand for as a Christian, because of the rank pornography and sinful lifestyle it promotes, because THAT is the real issue here, not my opinion of one fictional character’s intentions toward another fictional character.

Visit Carnelia with Cheryl Koevoet (Book Review)

A young woman is swept right into the middle of political turmoil in another dimension.

Title: The Carnelian Legacy
By: Cheryl Koevoet
ISBN: 978-1-4497-8089-0 (sc)
ISBN: 978-1-4497-8090-6 (hc)
ISBN: 978-1-4497-8088-3 (e)

My review: Four Stars

Marisa is still reeling from her father’s death when she is sucked into another dimension and flung into the political turmoil of the land. Her new friends are trying to preserve an ancient law commanding that whoever holds the crown be of a pure bloodline, and in doing so prevent the kingdom from descending into war. The young man who is challenging them and attempting to claim the throne takes a fancy to Marisa as soon as he meets her. His interest complicates the situation, and soon it is up to Marisa to decide the fate of the kingdom. She wants to do what’s best for everyone…but can she do that and still be happy? More importantly, can she learn to trust in the Creator to guide her?

The Carnelian Legacy contains monsters, swordfights, flowers, beautiful landscapes, a ring, good guys, bad guys, a handsome prince, and tough decisions. The excitement doesn’t stop. The reader feels the struggle along with Marisa as she tries to find her place in this new world and cast her cares on the Author of the universe. Geared toward young adults, this book will appeal to anyone who has ever wondered what another dimension might be like. I’m looking forward to reading the sequel.

Visit TheCarnelianLegacy.com for more information and to buy the book. Also available from WestBow Press, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

The Carnelian Legacy

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Disclosure of Material: I can, and do, think for myself, therefore all opinions here are my own. The <a href=”http://booklookbloggers.com/” target=”_new”>Book Look Bloggers</a> book review bloggers program was kind enough to provide me with a copy of the book to review. Because the government thinks it has to control everything, I am disclosing this in accordance with the <a href=”http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html” target=”_new”>Federal Trade Commission’s CFR Title 16, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”</a>

Experience the Protestant Reformation with Karen Dees (Book Review)

A woman during the Protestant Reformation must decide where her loyalties – and her heart – lie.

Title: The Ruby Ring
The Ruby Ring
By Karen Rees
ISBN: 978-1-936746-46-0

My rating: 4 stars

Jane Horne is living in England during the time of the Protestant Reformation. She envisions a future with one man who is loyal to William Tyndale’s efforts to produce and share an English Testament. This dream is ripped away when Owen Alton must leave the country. Jane struggles to find where her loyalties lie in this conflict, while facing turmoil in her personal life when she discovers secrets about her past. In the end she must decide whether to make God’s Word or her own desires the priority.

Rees presents another side of the Reformation not taught in the history books – the personal side. While the heroine was not seeking to be caught up in the drama of the Reformation, she is confronted with it and must decide who is in the right. She watches others suffer the consequences of their desire to learn from God’s Word for themselves, even including death. The struggle Jane Horne faces is applicable to the reader today as each of us must decide who we will follow – God or ourselves.

After reading the back cover and the description on the front it might sound as though the book focuses more on the historical facts surrounding William Tyndale’s pursuit of an English Testament. However, the story is more personal than that, delving into the lives of Jane Horne and Owen Alton as they try to do what they think is the right thing even if it isn’t always easy. This is an excellent story for anyone who enjoys history and likes to imagine what individuals’ personal lives were like.

Available from Crosslink Publishing and on Amazon.com

The Ruby Ring

The Ruby Ring

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Disclosure of Material: I can, and do, think for myself, therefore all opinions here are my own. The BookCrash.com book review bloggers program was kind enough to provide me with a copy of the book to review. Because the government thinks it has to control everything, 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.”