Thursday, October 29, 2009

Review: Always Watching by Brandilyn and Amberly Collins

Always Watching (The Rayne Tour, #1) Always Watching by Brandilyn Collins

My rating: 4.0/5.0

A very interesting young adult read. It took a little bit for me to get into this book as the stage had to be set for the series in the beginning. But once I started getting to know the characters and the setting the book really came alive for me.

About the Book:
This daughter of a rock star has it all—until murder crashes her world. During a concert, sixteen-year-old Shaley O’Connor stumbles upon the body of a friend backstage. Where is God at a time like this? Can she find out who the killer is before he strikes again?
My Review:

The book focuses on Shaley daughter to Rayne who is a popular musician on tour with her band. Shaley is surrounded by people all the time that are with her mom and she is thrilled that her best friend from back home is about to join them on the tour. However before Brittany can show up one of Shaley's dear friends on the tour is murdered and Shaley finds the body.

After that the story focuses on the investigation and on Shaley's thoughts and actions. It's interesting to watch Shaley's interaction with the other characters and also her thoughts. It's also interesting to try and figure out who is behind the murder and what is going on in the big picture. You also get a glimpse into the bad guy and his motivations, but never truly to who he is until the authors want you to know.

Very suspenseful and well-written. I think this will appeal to young adults and adults alike. The ending wraps up this story but also opens the door for the next book in this series which is out and I will have a review up for in a day or two.

I think the mother-daughter writing team did well. It's a great clean book, yet realistic in it's writing. The Christian element in it is very subtle - there is one character that talks to Shaley but she talks in such a way to turn Shaley on to God not away from God. She doesn't push and Shaley really likes her.

It's just an amazing book that I can't recommend enough.

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Review: Mom Needs Chocolate by Debora M. Coty

Mom Needs Chocolate: Hugs, Humor and Hope for Surviving Motherhood by Debora M. Coty

Publisher: Regal
Release Date: April 1, 2009
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 224

I received this through FIRST Wild Card Tours for review.

Rating: 4.5/5.0

About the Book:

What's a rundown, run-ragged mom to do? Her spirit yearns to soar, but her feet---and faith---are stuck in the diaper-by-diaper mud of everyday responsibilities. How can she de-muck when she's chronically exhausted and relentlessly robbed of abundant life by the joy-sucking dully-funks? This offbeat glimpse of reality with a tangy twist pitched in to help busy mothers get in touch with rejuvenating joy and empowering faith!

In mom-to-mom, smile-eliciting style, humorist Debora Coty doesn't lolly gag around the hot topics such as enduring marriage, embarrassing children, defeating depression and grossfully (er, gracefully) aging. Unique insights and outrageous coping tips are shared alongside sisterly hugs and warm encouragement.

Mom Needs Chocolate is a veritable grocery list of mud-between-your-toes issues, tackled with witty frankness and wild abandon. Young-at-heart mothers of all ages will enjoy hilarious and heartwarming stories that apply Scripture to real life and remind them how to hear God's still, small voice about blathering kids, howling pets and snarling traffic!
My Review:

I am enjoying this book so much. I haven't made my way completely through it as I am enjoying it. It's chapters are set up as daily devotions and that is why I haven't finished it. I plan on finishing it though. I am enjoying one devotional a day.

The devotionals are great - they are written in a down-to-earth way by another mom who goes through normal life with herself and her kids. I enjoy her stories and her insights into her behavior and how God can help us get through these moments. So far all have been very pertinent to me. At the end of the devotions are questions to get you thinking about what you have just read and apply it to your life. I enjoy these and if I were a good journaler - these would be wonderful to journal, but instead I just reflect on the questions in my mind throughout the day.

This tiny book is packed with insight for moms at any stage of the game. From babies to teenagers to grown children, I believe all moms can derive pleasure and learning from this wonderfully put together book.

Mrs. Coty has a delightful sense of humor and a love of God that shines through on every page.

For more information see my FIRST Wild Card Tour Post here.

FIRST Wild Card Tour - Mom Needs Chocolate: Hugs, Humor and Hope for Surviving Motherhood by Debora M. Coty

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

My review will be coming later today.

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Mom NEEDS Chocolate: Hugs, Humor and Hope for Surviving Motherhood

Regal (April 1, 2009)

***Special thanks to Rebeca Seitz of Glass Road Public Relations, LLC for sending me a review copy.***


Debora M. Coty is the author or contributor to several books, including Mom NEEDS Chocolate: Hugs, Humor and Hope for Surviving Motherhood. A resident of Florida where she lives with her husband, Coty raised two children and enjoyed a dedicated career as an Occupational Therapist before beginning to chase her God-given dream of writing. She is known for communicating sound biblical concepts with a refreshing, light-hearted style. Her writings can be read in her monthly newspaper column, Grace Notes: God’s Grace for Everyday Living.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Regal (April 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0830745920
ISBN-13: 978-0830745920


My Cups Runneth Over


A baby is an inestimable blessing and a bother.

Mark Twain

As for you, be fruitful and multiply; populate the earth abundantly and multiply in it.

Genesis 9:7, NASB

There are a few things I’ve learned while fulfilling the “be fruitful and multiply” mandate.

Pregnancy draws you closer to your spouse. During an emergency stop in our driveway while I tossed my cookies in the grass, my husband, Chuck, tried to comfort me. Soon we were throwing up side by side. It was the most romantic thing he’s ever done. Those two brown spots on our lawn were the envy of all my friends.

Childbirth classes are invaluable informational sources. At the country hospital we’d chosen, one young farmer raised his hand the week after we learned about Braxton Hicks false labor contractions. He earnestly addressed the nurse instructor, “Ma’am, my wife’s been miserable all week. Could you tell us again about them Briggs and Stratton things?” He was the same strapping fellow who confided the first week, “We ain’t ever had any babies, but we’ve birthed a lot of cows.”

The budding momma’s swelling belly and the ledge over her innie-turned-outie navel aren’t the only evolutions in the body’s profile. Average-sized breasts become huge globes that bump into everything. It’s like having volleyballs attached to your chest. These alien chest globes take on their own personalities. I called mine the Bobbing Twins, Freddie and Flopsie. I addressed them directly: “Freddie, stop bouncing around or I’m going to fall off this bike,” or “Flopsie, you’re gonna have to squeeze into this DDD cup—there is no E.”

Finally, you’re in your ninth month. Ah, but the surprises are not over. After hours of sweating, teeth grinding and PUSHing, you are rewarded with a tiny screaming miracle. The little bugger has a surprisingly strong sucking reflex, and when he latches on, it feels like a vice grip to this incredibly sensitive part of your anatomy. You’re awfully glad you did that desensitization with the washcloth beforehand. I once commented to Chuck after performing this unpleasant ritual that rubbing myself with terrycloth made me empathize with that old table he was sanding.

“Hmmm. Yes, dear,” he answered, only half listening. I later overheard him inform his sister on the phone, “Debbie uses sandpaper on her chest to get ready for the baby.” No wonder his family thinks I’m weird.

Shortly after giving birth, my friend Julia (also a nursing mother) and I decided to take a well-deserved tennis break. Leaving the babies with their daddies, we headed for the courts. The blissful quiet was shattered by a wailing infant in a passing stroller, triggering that mysterious internal milk breaker switch. Julia and I simultaneously clutched our chests like gunshot victims at the incoming flood.

“Stop it, Freddie! Not now, Flopsie!” I pleaded with the Twins as two dark, wet spots appeared in strategic locations on the front of my white tennis shirt. Julia and I mopped ourselves between points with a soggy sweatband, bringing strange new meaning to the term, “bosom buddies.”1

Son of Man, thank You for the blessing of family and the miracle of babies. Make me more like You because they may end up being like me.


1. Adapted from “My Cups Runneth Over” by Debora M. Coty, first appearing in Today’s Christian Woman, November/December 2004 issue. Used by permission.