Thursday, November 26, 2015

BY THE RIVER by Jennie Hansen — #books #reviews #amreading

BY THE RIVER by Jennie Hansen. I had a hard time getting into this story. I thought it would be easy to jump in but for some reason it wasn't. When that happens I like to figure out why, and I haven't been able to put my finger on the answer to that question yet, other than I wasn't into it this time around. The characters were good, solid characters and the story began with a bang, right in the middle of things, but for me, it seemed to fizzle out a bit after that. It is a good, clean read that I can recommend for those who love a good romantic suspense though.

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It was supposed to be a relaxing early morning run, but the path along the river trail quickly turns into the scene of a nightmare for recent college graduate Kira Paxton. An unintended exploration of a secluded riverbank leads to a gruesome discovery that sets her on a collision course with danger: it is the body of a young woman. In shock, all Kira can manage to do is scream . . . From the moment Ford Kettering hears the cries for help along the trail, he is drawn irrevocably into a mystery in which he plays a shocking role. Ford, a local high school teacher, had a recent classroom clash with the victim—now, he’s a person of interest. As Ford and Kira bond over their shared ordeal, they work together to prove Ford’s innocence—and soon, their attraction is undeniable. But it seems that Kira’s nightmare is far from over. What begins as a series of close calls and acts of vandalism soon escalates, putting Kira’s own life in jeopardy. It appears that Kira saw something that day along the trail, something that has made her a target. With Ford’s help, she is determined to track down the killer—before she becomes the next victim.

*I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review.

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Monday, November 23, 2015

A RARE NATIVITY by Sam Beeson — #amreading #reviews #christmas #books

A RARE NATIVITY by Sam Beeson. This book had me curious from the get go. Just the title alone caught my attention, although I had my doubts about it. Then, when I opened it and began to read, my doubts rose. I couldn't see how this book would pull together all the "gifts" that were given to an enemy into something beautiful. It surprised me and I was touched at the end and ashamed at my judgements. This book has a very poignant, sweet message on forgiveness. It is a great book that is for everyone of all ages, especially those have been or who have hurt someone. It is a beautiful way to look at forgiveness.

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We've all heard the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas," and we've all seen the traditional Christmas creche. Now, author Sam Beeson and photographers Nina and Terral Cochran combine these two classic Christmas icons to create A Rare Nativity.
Upon reading the first lines of the book, it's clear the narrator holds a bitter grudge as he sends his enemy crude and discarded gifts:
On the first night of Christmas I gave my enemy a briar from a tanglewood tree.
On the second night of Christmas I gave my enemy two broken eggs.
Night after night the "gifts" pile up - shards of glass, rusty nails, gnarled twigs, and more. What the narrator's enemy decides to do with each of these odious gifts is nothing less than a Christmas miracle. The photographic creation of the rare nativity at the end of the book is both a work of art and a wonder to behold.
Forgiveness is something we all need to give and receive, and A Rare Nativity opens our eyes to the act of forgiveness and the true meaning of Christmas. It's a universal message to be shared with readers of all ages. Christmas is a season for giving. Make it a forgiving season.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

PUZZLE PIECES by Betsy Brannon Green — #bookreview #books #amreading

PUZZLE PIECES by Betsy Brannon Green. This was a fun mystery that had me thinking on my toes. I loved the characters and the setting. The first chapter had me excited to turn the page. It slowed down from there until the mystery began to unfold. So for me it felt like it was a slow start to the story. I loved it though and would recommend it to anyone who loves a good mystery.

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Presley DeGraff is a young woman on the run. With nothing but the clothes on her back, her escape from the ruthless manipulations of her former fiancé leaves her with little time to hide. There is only one person to whom she can turn, only one place she may be safe . . .
Haggerty, Georgia, is known for its Southern hospitality and quirky inhabitants. For Presley, her Aunt Violet’s home in the tiny town is a lifesaving haven. Her aunt, along with a cast of delightful friends and neighbors, warmly welcomes her. For the first time in so long, she feels hope—a hope that hinges on hiding her past. But the dreams of solitude that she had envisioned quickly fade when a disturbing discovery is made in her aunt’s backyard: a human skeleton. At the first hint of crime, Haggerty’s own amateur sleuth, Miss Eugenia, is on the case. Along with handsome Haggerty resident Mac and sprightly ninety-nine-year-old Loralee, Presley is quickly drawn into a mystery spanning generations of Haggerty’s history. But when news coverage of the investigation digs up Presley’s own secrets, it’s up to her new friends to come to her aid, by whatever means necessary.

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Thursday, November 5, 2015

MIRACLE MAKER — #MiracleMakerFilm

MIRACLE MAKER. I cannot say enough good about this delightful movie. It shares the message of kindness, love, and forgiveness in a way that is attainable to everyone. It's a message that everyone needs to hear. The acting is wonderful and it's easy to get swept up in the movie. I have loved this story for the first time I had the privilege of reading. They did a fantastic job of turning Ann's short story into a wonderful movie. My kids loved watching it with me and have asked questions about it since. I highly recommend this movie to everyone.

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"The Miracle Maker is coming!" If any town is in need of a miracle, it’s Woodhaven, a tiny town hanging on the edge of the American frontier. It’s nearly Christmas, but it’s hardly a season of celebration. Work is scarce, money is tight, love is lagging, and spirits are down. Maybe the Miracle Maker can turn things around. The town anxiously waits for someone magnificent who can change their lives. But the ragged traveller who appears isn’t what anyone expects—except for one small silent boy and a precocious little girl. It seems this man can barely take care of himself, let alone fulfill the dreams of others. But miracles can come in all shapes and sizes—and sometimes from unexpected places. Your entire family will love this Christmas tale of hope, love, and miracles.

Questions answered by... John Lyde - Director of Miracle Maker

How long did it take to pull the entire film together? 

The film was only a 12 day shoot during the summer. But the process of putting the film together took a few years. The executive producer, Ron Brough, has been tyring to make this film for almost 2 years. He loved the short story it is based on and was looking for the right script to make it come to life. After a few writers and several drafts, everyone fell in love with the script by Sally Meyer. Casting and locations were all set in the month of May and filming began the end of June. The edit was relatively quick and the film was finished the end of September.

What was your personal favorite scene?

I love all the scenes with Agnes and Bessie. They cracked me up while filming and even more while editing the project. I always enjoy their scenes each viewing. I really love the scene with Cooper Johnson and Jasen Wade towards the end. I can't go into too much detail because I don't want to give anything away :)

Visually my favorite scene is one of the flashbacks with Thomas and Lily on the carriage. I love the natural lighting and the colorist really brought out the beauty of the scene.

There are always those scenes that don't make it into the final edit or outtakes. Is there a scene you wish would have been kept? Is there an outtake you're glad didn't make it?

99% of the time I am really happy that scenes get cut or trimmed and left out of the final edit. I am a big fan of cutting it out if it doesn't belong. Sometimes scenes work really well on their own, but in context of the whole film, they don't fit. In this film, there were no scenes edited out, just small trims here and there.

What did you learn from this story?

I personally learned that filming with mice is almost impossible. There are 2 really short shots of a mouse in the movie. It was by far, the hardest shot of the movie. I tried two different mice I bought from the store. They were crazy, would not hold still, not even for mice treats or cheese. After a hour of just rolling a camera on them, I finally was able to get a small snippit to use in the film.

What do you hope the audience will take away from this film?

I hope they can see that we can create our own miracles. That we shouldn't wait around for them, but we can solve our own problems and help bring miracles to others.