Friday, January 20, 2017

Child of the River by Irma Joubert

"Child of the River" by Irma Joubert is the story of Persomi: middle child of poor, white sharecroppers in South Africa during apartheid and World War II.

"As Persomi navigates the changing world around her -- 
the tragedies of war & the devastating racial strife of her homeland -- 
she finally discovers who she truly is, where she belongs, 
and why her life -- and every life matters." 

The distinction made in the novel between "real" children and those that are children of bywoners (sharecroppers) is significant in understanding where Persomi comes from.  As the novel progresses, Persomi is continually trying to find her place in the world -- a world that isn't always welcoming of an intelligent girl from a poor family.

With the arrival of World War 2, Persomi finds herself caught between conflicting views of war as they are represented by the people she loves most.  Themes of apartheid affect her life as well and she finds herself standing up for the equality of all races -- even though many of those closest to her disagree with her stand.  The main stand she takes is against the Asiatic Land Tenure and Indian Representation Act -- where the location of residences and businesses were determined by racial classification.  After putting herself through law school, Persomi fights for the rights of her East Indian friend and his family.

Learning more about South Africa's history through the eyes of Persomi was enlightening, but Persomi's personal story is also intriguing.  Plagued by family secrets and overwhelmed by a longing for love, Persomi's story is compelling to read.

Thankfully there is no foul language in this novel, but please keep in mind there are certain mature themes at the beginning of the book that are minorly addressed.  This book is a good read for any adult reader -- especially if you like reading historical fiction.

~❀~ Chelsey ~❀~

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Hidden Figures

My family and I recently went to see "Hidden Figures" which is based on the untold true story of three women who overcame racial and gender barriers at NASA.


Elijah (10) said when we left the theater:
 "That was a movie I could really relate to!"  :)

When I asked him what he found he could relate to most about the movie he said he liked how the women stood up for what they believed in.  What a great source of inspiration this should be for all of us -- to stand up for what's right and make a difference in our world.

Check out History vs Hollywood (after you've seen the movie of course!) for a comparison of the movie and real life.  Katherine Johnson -- the main character in the movie -- is currently 98 years old and says of the movie: "It sounded good...  It sounded very, very accurate."

~❀~ Chelsey ~❀~

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Books I've Read in 2017

I love reading books meant for all ages.  Any book with stars by it is one I'd consider reading again in the future (or would consider having my kids read in the future) so presumably you (or your kids) might like it too.  If you've read (or wondered about) any of these books feel free to comment -- I'd love to chat with you...  Oh and if you love a book I don't (or vice versa), we can still be friends.

Trixie Belden and the Secret of the Mansion (Book 1), Julie Campbell 
I used to read Trixie mysteries back in the day and found this a refreshing read after Nancy Drew #2 was so simply solved.  Aimed at pre-teens.

Elizabeth Gail and the Mystery at the Johnson Farm, Hilda Stahl
I grew up with Elizabeth Gail books so this was a nostalgic read.  I found out this was turned into a movie back in 1989!  Aimed at pre-teens.

Randi Rhodes, Ninja Detective, Octavia Spencer
I like the writing style of this novel and the main character, Randi.  But, I am so confused as to why Octavia Spencer did not have her main character be black.  Spencer has been disappointed about the roles available to black people in Hollywood and this would have been a great way to 'ensure' a role in a future movie for a young, black actress in a leading role.  Aimed at pre-teens.  Desiree highly recommends it.

A Piece of the World, Christina Baker Kline
This novel tells the story of Christina, who was the inspiration for artist Andrew Wyeth's painting "Christina's World".  Farm life, love, bitterness and living with disability are themes in this novel.  I prefered the author's book "Orphan Train". 

X -- The German Girl, Armando Lucas Correa 

An interesting premise, but a difficult read.  It was hard to know which character was which since the two girls sounded so similar despite being generations apart.  Tuesday: "the worst day of all" became very tedious.

X -- Nancy Drew #2 -- The Hidden Staircase, Carolyn Keene
I've read Nancy Drews before, but found this one so tedious.  Very unrealistic, simple resolution to the mystery.  Aimed at pre-teens. 

Out of the Silent Planet, C.S. Lewis
I love the Narnia series, but this wasn't as much my style.  Ransom is kidnapped and taken aboard a spaceship to another planet.  I feel like I'd like this better as a movie...

X -- Two by Two, Nicholas Sparks
Ordinarily I like a Sparks novel for a quick read, but this was like watching a marriage fall apart from the inside.  The last of the novel was better than the beginning, but it took so long to get there...     

Pinky Pye, Eleanor Estes
Published in 1958, this novel is the continuing story of the Pye family and their newest addition -- Pinky the cat.  I didn't enjoy this book as much as "Ginger Pye", but owl fans may enjoy it.  Aimed at kids. 


*Child of the River, Irma Joubert*
Check out my review here

~❀~ Chelsey ~❀~

Saturday, October 22, 2016

"When Calls the Heart" Season 2

If you haven't heard of "When Calls the Heart" yet, you've been missing out on some great family entertainment!


When Calls the Heart is a tv series produced by Michael Landon Jr. and based on the book series by Christian author, Janette Oke.

To sum up: Elizabeth Thatcher, a new teacher from a wealthy family, travels west to teach in a small coal mining town.  Set in 1910 in Western Canada, Elizabeth overcomes many obstacles, often with the help of the local mountie, Jack Thornton.

Without giving spoilers, Season 2 is different from Season 1 in that there are storylines that take place in Coal Valley and storylines that take place in the big city of Hamilton, Elizabeth's hometown.  This means that we are introduced to more characters -- specifically Elizabeth's family.  Another difference between Season 2 and Season 1 is the addition of a mystery that weaves its way through multiple episodes...  I'd tell you more about it, but then where would the mystery be?

This boxset contains the episodes of When Calls the Heart as they aired on the Hallmark channel, but also contains a 2 for 1 movie-length version of the episodes so you can choose which way you would like to watch the series.

What I like about When Calls the Heart is that this is family friendly entertainment at its best.  While the storylines are compelling, they aren't extremely scary.  Being set in the 1900s, everyone is on their best behaviour in terms of how they conduct themselves and how they speak.  It's like traveling back in time!

After my family finished watching season 2, Elijah, my 10 year old son, was so curious to find out what happens next.  He could barely go to sleep that night!

The acting in When Calls the Heart is superb and the characters are endearing.  If you are looking for something heartwarming with innocent love triangles and a dash of suspense, this show is for you and your whole family.

Check out: Fish Flix for When Calls the Heart DVDs as well as other Christian Movies "to inspire and entertain"!

Buy It: When Calls the Heart Season 2 AND don't forget:

As a special offer you can get a $5 coupon to Fish Flix
if you join their e-mail list.

Visit: http://www.fishflix.com/5gift/
OR
text 5-GIFT to 44222

Disclosure: I received the above mentioned product for free in exchange for an honest review on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe would be good for my readers.

~❀~ Chelsey ~❀~

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Afters: "Live on Forever" CD Giveaway

"Live on Forever" is the newest album from the Christian band, The Afters.  The soul searching songs on the album are in response to loss and heartache, BUT -- the album is ultimately one of HOPE and JOY!

"Our hope was to encourage people...
[to] remind them that we grow through tragedy 
and God is faithful through it all."
Josh Havens -- lead singer of The Afters

We need to be continually reminded to consider life from God's point of view and not our own temporal point of view.  "Live on Forever" is an album of songs that help us see our life (and present sufferings) in light of eternity.


The song "Battles" reminds us that God is with us and will not leave us in the midst of trying times.  In fact -- He is fighting our battles for us!

One of my favourite songs on the album is "Sunrise":  


"You are the sunrise in my sky
Nothing can hide you from my eyes
A day is coming soon when You'll make all things new.
You are the sunrise in my sky."

If you are looking for encouragement and hope -- give The Afters "Live on Forever" a listen.  You are sure to find a song that meets you where you're at and gives you the message from God that you need to hear.

Check Out: The Afters Official Website or visit them at: Twitter / Facebook / Instagram

Buy It: You can buy "The Afters: Live on Forever" on Amazon iTunes Google Play Spotify

Win It: One Sowing Dandelion Seeds reader will win a copy of the CD "The Afters: Live on Forever"

a Rafflecopter giveaway
"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the
Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant  per mailing address, per  giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

~❀~ Chelsey ~❀~

Thursday, September 8, 2016

"Miracle in Music City" by Natalie Grant

*This post is by guest blogger, Desiree, who is 12 years old.*

"Miracle in Music City" by Natalie Grant is book 3 of the Glimmer Girls series. The series is about twins: Mia and Maddie, along with their younger sister Lulu. Together the sisters solve mysteries as they travel with their famous mother, singer Gloria Glimmer.



In book 3: "Miracle in Music City", Mia, Maddie and Lulu are invited to sing at the Grand Ole Opry for a fundraiser for the homeless. Unfortunately, their friends are jealous of the sisters' singing opportunity. 

One of the things I disliked about the story is that, in the beginning of the book, Mia and Maddie get back from a summer concert tour to find out that their best friends, Annabeth and Emily, made up a dance while they were gone. Mia and Maddie are really offended and a fight starts between the four friends that lasts throughout the whole book. I just think that the dance fight was made into too big of a problem in the book.

One of the best parts in this book is the great moral about helping others. In the story the twins serve soup to the homeless and end up meeting a young homeless girl around their age named Ruby. Mia and Maddie try to come up with ways to help Ruby and her family when an expensive guitar goes missing and Ruby's family is the prime suspects. Can Mia and Maddie solve the mystery and help their new friend at the same time?

I think that this book is good for 7 to 11 year old girls - especially those who like singing and dancing. The themes of helping others and of forgiveness are important morals. 

Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers http://booklookbloggers.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

~❀~ Desiree ~❀~

Monday, July 25, 2016

"All Things Bright and Beautiful" Book Giveaway

"All Things Bright and Beautiful" written by Cecil Frances Alexander and illustrated by Kathy Hudson, is a beautiful hardcover book that is sure to bless anyone who reads it.

"All Things Bright and Beautiful" was originally a hymn published in 1848.  This hymn is one that I sang when I was in a children's choir and so this was a special book to share with my own children.

"How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well."

The illustrations by Katy Hudson are adorable and show three kids enjoying God's creation.  The children see many beautiful animals and flowers throughout the day as they play in the sun and wind.  The end of the book shows nocturnal animals as the family goes to sleep in their tent.  You can't help but feel appreciative of all that God has given us when you read this book.

This book is 'bright' and 'beautiful' and highlights the amazing creation all around us.  

Buy It:  You can buy "All Things Bright and Beautiful" on Amazon

Win it:  One Sowing Dandelion Seeds reader will win a copy of the book "All Things Bright and Beautiful".


"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

   ~❀~ Chelsey ~❀~
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