Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Book Review: Unwrapping the Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp

Based on the overwhelming success of The Greatest Gift, Ann Voskamp has expanded her presentation of the timeless Advent tradition of the Jesse Tree so families can celebrate together. Each day, families can read the provided Scripture passage (in connection with the original book), engage with a specially written devotion to help children of all ages understand the Advent theme for the day, and participate in suggested activities to apply the theme.

This special edition is beautifully illustrated. It can serve as a precious guide to help recapture the sacredness of the Advent season and to help the entire family understand and celebrate the epic pageantry of humankind from Adam to the Messiah.

My Thoughts/Review

I am so excited that I was able to review this amazing book! I have really been wanting to start doing Advent with my family, but had no idea what would be good for our family. Now I know there are other books out there that would also be good for us, but this one is almost perfect.

The devotions are spectacular and very eye-opening. They are a little long for our 2 year old, but I plan to summarize so it will be shorter for him when we start as a family. However the message is spot on for each one as well as in line with the Bible.

My favorite part however is the variety of family activities mentioned at the end of each devotion. They truly get the family involved together which I love (outside of doing the Christmas ornament for the Jesse tree and  discussion)! Also the pictures are so beautiful!

I highly recommend this to families who are looking for a new way to prepare for Christmas not only individually, but as a family. It will change the entire family's outlook on the real meaning of Christmas and bring a fresh heart of thankfulness.

I give Unwrapping the Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp 5 out of 5 stars!

*(I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts expressed are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.)*

About the Author

Ann Voskamp is wife of one good farmer, the home-educating mama to a half-dozen exuberant kids, and author of the New York Times Bestseller, The Greatest Gift, and One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, a New York Times 60 week bestseller that has sold more than one million copies, the royalties of which the Voskamp family has given all away, the joy always in giving the gift back.
Named by Christianity Today as one of 50 women most shaping culture and the church today, and a partner with Compassion International as a global advocate for needy children, Ann's a regular loser of library books, usually has a sink full of soaking pots, sees empty laundry baskets rarer than a blue moon, and believes that the sky and fresh mercy over the farm is large and all is grace. Her blog, one of the Top 10 Christian blogs on the web, has become a daily well for the weary and soul-thirsty:

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Author Interview with Mary L. Ball

About the Author...

Mary L. BallMary L. Ball writes Christian fiction. She lives in North Carolina and weaves stories about real life problems, blended with romance.

Mary hopes to encourage people to see the wonder of love and divine guidance.

When she's not working on her latest story, she enjoys fishing, reading, and singing with her husband at various functions. Readers can connect with her on Face Book and Twitter.

About the Book...

Redemption in Big Fork LakeCan he be forgiven?

Only after Robert Turner hurts a woman does he realize how much of a hold alcohol has on his life.  

 For Robert, a chance meeting with an Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor offers hope. A new devotion to the Lord and a relationship with Belle McBride gives him expectations for a better future.

His life appears to be on the right track, until he comes full circle with his past and faces the one mistake that haunts him daily. Can forgiveness-free Robert? Or will heartache drive him to return to the life he once had?

Purchase on Amazon

 Let's Chat!

Welcome Mary! It’s a pleasure to have you at Crafty Booksheeps! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Thanks Laura, I live in North Carolina. I’m an associate pastor’s wife and a grandmother. (That’s only a couple of the hats I wear) 

I write stories about real-life problems, blended with romance. In my books, you'll find the characters kissing and dealing with temptations. I like to create novels about trials faced, from a Christian perspective and hope to encourage people to see how we can overcome through the love of Jesus and His divine guidance.

Christmas at Angel Ranch | Mary L. BallWhen I'm not working on my latest story, I enjoy fishing, reading, and singing with hubby at various functions.

My novels include, Escape to Big Fork Lake, Stone of Destiny, Postmarked Ever After, Christmas at Angel Ranch and Redemption in Big Fork Lake.

What inspired you to write Redemption in Big Fork Lake?

After I wrote my debut novel Escape to Big Fork Lake, many readers asked me what happened to Rob, one of the secondary characters.  That triggered Robert’s story about his path toward forgiveness.

Did you face any challenges in bringing this story to life when writing? What were some of the joys in bringing it to life?

I had to do a lot of research. I wanted to get the trials of the addiction correct and the role that Alcohol Anonymous plays in helping someone overcome.

In creating the plot, it strengthened my belief that all things are possible with the Lord’s guidance.  It also helped me to understand that a person’s will power to prevail over the addiction is what will make a difference.

One of my favorite things about Christian novels is the Biblical message that is weaved into the lives of the characters. Is there something special that God taught/showed you while going through the process of writing Redemption in Big Fork Lake?

Yes. I understand now, the importance of letting go of the things in the past that hold us back. Forgiveness has many angles, and it is just as important to accept that forgiveness from within, as to extend it to others.  

What’s next for you in the writing world?

I have a work in progress, titled Sparks of Love. This is a romance with suspense elements. I’m toying with the idea of making this into a series. 

Lastly, where can readers find you online?

My website is:
I’m on Twitter at:
My novels can be found on most online stores, but here’s my Amazon author page:

Laura thanks so much for allowing me to be on your blog. I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday.

Thank you so much for stopping by Mary! It was such a pleasure having you here today!

Monday, November 24, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

"It's Monday! What Are You Reading?" is a weekly meme hosted by Book Journey where we share what we're reading and our goals for the week.

What I Read This Week...

Last week I started the Enslaved Series and the first two were so good! This series went above and beyond my expectations! Here's my review of the first novel Vanquished and my review of the second novel will be up tomorrow.

What I'm Reading Now...

I'm so excited about the conclusion of this series! The beginning is off to a great start!

What I Plan To Read Next...

Still haven't read this one yet even though it was randomly chosen for my November Random Read. Hoping to change that this upcoming week, but not sure since Thanksgiving is this week.

Blog Posts

Cover Reveal: Holly Lane by J.B. Morgan
Book Review: The Christmas Cat by Melody Carlson
Cover Reveal and Free Ebook Giveaway From Alana Terry
Author Interview (and GIVEAWAY) with Amber Stokes
Book Beginnings: Deliverance by Katie Clark
Author Interview with Melanie Dickerson
Book Review: Vanquished by Katie Clark

Happy Early Thanksgiving!

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