Friday, February 27, 2009

Book Review: The Trophy Wives Club by Kristin Billerbeck/3 Stars

About the book:

Haley Cutler is the consummate trophy wife. Perhaps was is the more accurate term. Haley married Prince Charming when she was only twenty—back in the day when highlights came from an afternoon at the beach, not three hours in the salon.

Unfortunately, after seven years as Jay Cutler's wife, a role that provided significance and what she thought was love, Jay walks out, and Haley finds herself with few life skills that translate to the real world, not to mention a sense of amnesia about who she used to be. But before Haley can find her way, she must meet with Jay's lawyer, the strikingly handsome Hamilton Lowe. Although she can't stand his self-righteous contempt for her divorce, she takes his suggestion to attend a group at his church called "The Trophy Wives Club," a Bible study composed of women who have been dealt a raw deal. Haley's never been into the whole Jesus thing but could really use some friends to walk her through this phase (how do you apply for a credit card anyway?).

As Haley begins to realize that she really can stand on her own two feet, she also learns that sometimes in losing we find the real reward . . .

My thoughts:

This is my third experience reading Kristin Billerbeck's books, and I can always count on her books to give me a good laugh. And while there's a good dose of humor in this book, The Trophy Wives Club deals with a very difficult topic: divorce. I cannot imagine being blindsided with a divorce after being married to a man I thought loved me, but apparently, never did. This is exactly what Haley Cutler experiences, and this book follows her journey of self-discovery.

Personally, I know I would've immediately reached for the tub of chocolate frosting as well as had a TV marathon with Maury and Judge Judy just like Haley did. But I also know that after a few days of doing that, I would realize that it's time to try to turn my life around. The good news for Haley is that she has a wonderful new group of friends from a local church--The Trophy Wives Club--who have experienced everything that she is just now getting a taste of. Through these great friends, Haley turns her life around dramatically, and has a few things handed to her that I thought weren't very realistic. Honestly, how many people do you know that have million-dollar condos that they don't live in, and will let you live there rent free? Not to mention, friends that have connections in the film industry, and just happen to have a job waiting for you?

Overall, I liked the premise of the story, and I definitely had a good laugh (blondes walking into walls is a hilarious mental image). But as I kept reading, this book slowly kept going downhill. In addition to the things I just mentioned, I have to admit that the ending ruined the book for me. I already knew how it would end, but I was so hoping for something different from everything else out there.

The Trophy Wives Club by Kristin Billerbeck was published by Avon Inspire and was released in 2007.

3 Stars

Southern?  No
Sass?  A little

Friday Fill-in!


1. I'm __here___, I'm __there___, I __am everywhere___ (literally).

2. Why do I have __free time___ and not __enough of it___.

3. How does this __html thing___ work, anyway?

4. Every morning, I put __makeup___ on my __face___. (It would not be a pretty scene if I didn't.)

5. I consider myself lucky because __of the wonderful family that I have been blessed with___.

6. One day we’ll see __Jesus face to face___.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to __making jewelry___, tomorrow my plans include __going to a wedding___ and Sunday, I want to __do nothing___!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Booking Through Thursday: Collectibles

Here's this week's Booking Through Thursday question(s):

Hardcover? Or paperback?
Illustrations? Or just text?
First editions? Or you don’t care?
Signed by the author? Or not?

I have a larger collection of paperbacks than I do hardbacks, and I really have no preference on either. However, if I'm collecting a series of books, I prefer them to either be all paperback or all hardback. Just helps with the flow of things.

I could care less about first editions....not into book collecting that much! :o)

I have a handful of autographed books, some that are personalized. I don't mind passing along the autograped books to someone else, but the personalized ones I will not part with. :o)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wednesday Whatnots

It's time for a new blog feature, and one that I've wanted to start doing for awhile now. For those of you that don't know, I LOVE making jewelry. It's one of my favorite de-stressing hobbies. Usually, I'll pop in a good movie, sit for a couple hours, and make some new jewelry. Most of what I make I try to sell (except for when I make something that I can't live without!). I'm also trying to get a separate website started just for jewerly, but it is still in the works.

So, Wednesdays on Southern Sassy Things will now be devoted to jewelry, and it will be called Wednesday Whatnots. Each week, I plan to post at least one picture of a new piece that I've just created, maybe 2. I hope you like some of what you see. :o)

The black and white beads in this design were from Blue Moon Beads with some other small black beads that can be found anywhere. The toggle clasp and earring wires have a silver finish.

The pearls in this set were actually from 2 other pieces of jewelry (one brown and one that's a weird orange shade) that I tore apart, and have reused and combined together to make this set. The barrel clasp and earring wires have a gold finish.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Faith 'n Fiction Saturday: Biblical Fiction

(Sorry this is a day late!!!) :o)

My Friend Amy's blog hosts Faith 'n Fiction Saturday every week. Every week, she posts a new question that always relates to something about Christian fiction, and invites anyone to share their answers on their own blog.

Here's what we're talking about this week:

One of area of Christian fiction that is thriving is Biblical Fiction. Biblical fiction, in case you don't know, is when an author takes a story from the Bible and imagines more of the details. Tosca Lee's Havah would be a recent example of Biblical fiction.

What I want to know today is how you feel about Biblical fiction. Have you ever read any Biblical fiction? Did you enjoy it? Do you think Biblical fiction helps us to understand people who lived during Biblical times better or do you think that it's unnecessary? Have you ever read any Biblical fiction that offended you?

Biblical fiction happens to be one of my favorite genres in Christian fiction. My first experience with it was Lynn Austin's Chronicles of the King series. I recommended those books right and left after reading them! Also among my favorites are the Lineage of Grace and Sons of Encouragement books by Francine Rivers Hadassah by Tommy Tenney, Come to Me by Laura Davis, and Legacies of the Ancient River series by Angela Hunt. I've loaned several of these to my dad, with him asking, "Are there any more like this?" :o) I love reading this genre because it does give me a greater understanding of Bible stories that I've been reading all my life. I often use these books for my quiet time, and compare them to what is in the Bible.

The least favorite of any Biblical fiction that I've read would be The Red Tent. I did not like this book at all, and I was so very glad to be rid of it once I finished it. It was a similar feeling when I read the Women of the Bible series by Ann Burton. I liked those a little more than The Red Tent, but it was abundantly clear that all of them were written and published by secular authors and publishers. It also disturbs me when I find these books mixed in with the Christian books at the bookstore.....please put them with the rest of the secular books.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday Fill-in!


1. Give me _chocolate_ and I'll _always be your friend_. :o)

2. Whenever __LOST comes on tv, I drop everything to watch it___.

3. I wish __I could keep more of the jewelry I make__!

4. __Carrot cake from J. Alexander's___ was the last thing I ate that was utterly delicious.

5. To live in this world __can be hard sometimes___.

6. Other than this one, _My Friend Amy's blog_ is the last blog I commented on.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to __making jewelry with my aunt___, tomorrow my plans include __cleaning the house___ and Sunday, I want to __relax___!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Booking Through Thursday: Storage

This is a meme that I've wanted to participate in for some time, but I can never seem to get over there on a Thursday! Probably not a big deal, but it would drive me nuts to post it on a Friday. Anyway, courtasy of Booking Through Thursday, here's this week's question:

This week’s question is suggested by Kat:

I recently got new bookshelves for my room, and I’m just loving them. Spent the afternoon putting up my books and sharing it on my blog . One of my friends asked a question and I thought it would be a great BTT question. So from Tina & myself, we’d like to know “How do you arrange your books on your shelves? Is it by author, by genre, or you just put it where it falls on?”


My hubby and I were living in an apartment a year ago, and all I had was 1 bookshelf with 5 shelves. I really couldn't think about having my books in any kind of was more about what really skinny book will fit in this last little bit of space! Anyway, back last April we found our first house. I knew this was the one, too, especially considering all the other ones we had looked at. I walked into the master bedroom, and there in the corner (with a beautiful glow surrounding it, I might add....well, not really, but work with me here) was a built-in bookshelf from floor to ceiling. We're talking 8 deep shelves that were just waiting for all my books. :o) I immediately turn to my husband and ask, "Uh, you weren't wanting this, were you?" He sweetly replies, "No, dear. It's all yours."

Since I now have the bookshelf from heaven, I'm much more organized with how my books go in it. I have all of my large paperbacks stored in the built-in bookshelf, and all of my hardbacks and trade-size paperbacks in my old bookshelf. It is a tad bit annoying to have everything broken up like that, but I find that it gives me more space in the long run, so I can deal with it. Unfortunately, when I need to add books to the built-in bookshelf, it's quite an ordeal since all of my books are organized by authors last name, and I even go a step further by organizing them by date of publication (no, I really don't have OCD). Trust me, it can be a 2-3 hour job filing new books away. But hey, I got myself into this mess.....I am not going to complain. :o)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Book Review: In the Shadow of the Sun King by Golden Keyes Parsons

About the book:
Madeleine's shared history with the king holds the key to her family's life...or death.

Seventeenth century France is an unsafe time to be a Huguenot. By order of King Louis XIV, all French Protestants must immediately convert or face imprisonment--or death. The king's dragoons ferret out the nonconformists, pillaging villages and destroying homesteads.

When the king's soldiers descend on the Clavell estate, the family's fate hangs in the balance. Quickly, quietly, they send their two sons into hiding, trusting that the young age of their daughter will guarantee her protection. But the dragoons will not be dissuaded; they hold the manor hostage looking for clues of their guilt or innocence. However, Madeleine Clavell, the lady of the manor, holds a secret--one possible chance to save the family. She and the king share a past.

Once a beautiful young lady in the French court whom Louis loved, Madeleine travels to Versailles to plead for mercy from the fickle king, hoping to regain his favor and save her family. It's a gamble, but she is left with no other choice. Madeleine soon faces an agonizing decision--one that changes her family forever.

My thoughts

There are not enough words to describe how great I think this book is. I love it when I discover a new author, and their first work is a masterpiece. That was certainly the case with In the Shadow of the Sun King. It is a book rich with history and detail, and one that will be on my keeper shelf for years to come.

I have a limited knowledge of French history, and don't typically read books that are written for that point in history. I've only ever heard about the Huguenots by name, not about what they went through for what they knew was truth. I cannot even fathom what it would have been like to live then, and be persecuted for my beliefs. I also cannot comprehend the constant fear that soldiers could be nearby at any time, waiting to raid homes and separate families.

With all that in mind, my heart was deeply engrossed in this family's story. Madeleine's stubbornness is something that I see in myself, and I know I would've insisted as much as she did about making the trip to see King Louis to plead for protection from the dragoons. Francois' gentle spirit even reminds me of my own husband, who, in the face of adversity, would never renounce his faith in Christ. This is a story that you definitely want good to triumph in the end, and it does not disappoint. I am eagerly awaiting the next book in this great series, which is scheduled to release sometime later this year.

In the Shadow of the Sun King by Golden Keyes Parsons is published by Thomas Nelson and was released in 2008.

4 Stars

Southern?  No
Sass?  No

Friday, February 6, 2009

Friday Fill-in!


Here's this week's Friday Fill-in!

1. Please don't tell _anyone that I am a complusive shopper when it comes to books (shhhh!!!!)_.

2. Can you __please let me sleep in___ in the morning?

3. The color __blue___ makes me want to __sleep___!

4. I have a craving for __Chick-fil-A___.

5. If my life had a pause button, I'd pause it __on the weekends so I'd have some extra free time___.

6. Eyes are the _ window to the soul (definitely some truth in that statement__.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to __making some jewelry___, tomorrow my plans include __going to a gun show and watching my Memphis Tigers play some basketball against Gonzaga (GO TIGERS!!!!)___ and Sunday, I want to __get my house cleaned up___!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Book Review: Vengeance by Donna Dawson

This week, the Christian Fiction Review Blog is featuring

Vengeance by Donna Dawson.

About the book:

FBI agent James Benedict thought he was going on vacation. He thought he would have two weeks of relaxation and rest aboard the cruise ship bound for Hawaii. But he was wrong. Within hours of setting sail, a passenger dies, covered in horrendous boils that have eaten deep into flesh and bone. When more and more of the ship's inhabitants die of the same strange condition, it is feared that a virus has been let loose. James is the only one who can find out if there is a connection between the select victims--if he doesn't fall prey to the illness himself.

Dr. Julie Holding struggles to focus on her own FBI appointed tasks while the man she loves is stuck in the Pacific aboard a floating time bomb. Little does she know that she too will become embroiled in the conspiracy and intrigue that has taken hold of the ship and its passengers.

Vengeance will keep you on the edge of your seat as you discover the atrocities hidden in the pages of history and the struggle to keep faith and focus in a crazy world.

My review:

Wow, what a heart-pounding, edge-of-your-seat, don't-you-dare-put-me-down book! It only took me all of one day to read this awesome book because I literally could not put it down. I thought the characters were solid, the suspense was amazing, and the ending was something I never could have predicted. It was evident that a LOT of research went into this book. While most of the terminology went straight over my head (and most of it I couldn't even pronounce), I appreciated the time and effort the author took to include it in the book.

The Christian aspect of this book was not in your face. However, the message was not something that could be ignored. I easily got the point that vengeance belongs to no one but God even though popular opinion says otherwise. It is not our place, certainly as Christians, to try to get revenge when someone has done us wrong. Those who have done wrong will be held accountable when they stand before God, and that is all we need to worry about.

On a side note, it is always fun when a personal connection can be made to any book. That's not something that happens too often. So, when I read that Dr. Holding was a stamp collector on the side, I couldn't help but smile. I've been collecting stamps since I was in high school, and it was a hobby passed down by my brother. Also, I got a little chuckle that James Benedict liked knitting! Personally, I abhor anything to do with yarn, but there's plenty of other crafts that can take it's place. :o)

(Back to the point here...) Reading Vengeance has whetted my appetite for more from this talented author. I'm very eager to read more of her books in the future! Be sure to visit some of the other pages of those participating on this blog tour!

4 Stars

Southern?  No
Sass?  No


Read a free excerpt from Vengeance

Purchase Vengeance from Barnes & Noble or Amazon

Visit Donna's Website

Check out these other member blogs this week for more info.

Picture Tag

Ahhh!!! I've been tagged!!! Thanks to Donna for including me on this one....I appreciate it. :o)

Here are the rules:

Find your 5th photo file folder,then the 5th photo in that file folder.

Post that picture on your blog. Tag 5 others to do the same.

Here’s my picture:

This pic was at a friend's wedding in Portland, OR, and it also happened to be the day after my husband proposed to me. :o) Sorry that it's so little!

Oh, and here's who I'm tagging to participate in this fun little thing:

Patty at Reading Pal

Laura at Christian Author Laura Davis

Cathi at Cathi's Chatter

J. Kaye at J. Kaye's Book Blog

Have fun! :o)

Monday, February 2, 2009

What's On Your Nightstand--January

I love finding new memes to participate in, especially ones that help me stay on track with reading. :o) I've got 3 different reading challenges that I'm doing this year, and this meme is perfect for me to start some goals for each month so that I can get all of my challenges accomplished. So, let's get to it, shall we....

1. Vengeance by Donna Dawson (I'm halfway through this one, and it is one great book! Be watching later in the week for my review.)

2. Indigo Waters by Lisa Samson (Another book I've started on, but having a hard time staying interested.)

3. Her Captain's Heart by Lyn Cote

4. The Priest by Francine Rivers (I have put this one off for far too long!)

5. In the Shadow of the Sun King by Golden Keyes Parsons

6. The Trophy Wives Club by Kristin Billerbeck

7. Love Finds You in Last Chance, California by Miralee Ferrell

That should be enough to keep me going this month! :o)