Monday, July 27, 2015

In Good Company by Jen Turano

book review of In Good Company by Jen Turano (Bethany House) by papertapepins

After growing up as an orphan, Millie Longfellow is determined to become the best nanny the East Coast has ever seen. Unfortunately, her playfulness and enthusiasm aren't always well-received and she finds herself dismissed from yet another position. 

Everett Mulberry has quite unexpectedly become guardian to three children that scare off every nanny he hires. About to depart for Newport, Rhode Island, for the summer, he's desperate for competent childcare.

At wit's end with both Millie and Everett, the employment agency gives them one last chance--with each other. As Millie falls in love with her mischievous charges, Everett focuses on achieving the coveted societal status of the upper echelons. But as he investigates the suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of the children's parents, will it take the loss of those he loves to learn whose company he truly wants for the rest of his life?

This is a silly, lighthearted upstairs downstairs story about a nanny and her employer in New York's gilded age. Mille Longfellow is a nanny who loves children but can't keep them or herself out of trouble and keep a job. She is fun and mischievous and does not heed societal norms or rules such as children not being seen or heard. The children all love her, of course, but not so much their stuffy parents. She's just been let go again when she bumps into (literally) Mr Everett Mulberry whose three wards keep running nannys off. How he came to be their guardian is a bit dubious but it's necessary for the story.

Everett Mulberry is, in the beginning of the story, quite highly esteemed within elite society and very nearly engaged to a lady very much of the same social standing. That he would have hired the likes of Millie to nanny the children is not likely, and of course he loses the boorish idea that he is superior to servants and common folk, but when this happens it's very quick and thorough and doesn't seem to affect his standing in the community too greatly, other than some whispering behind his back. It would, and it would likely affect his business as well. It's fun to read about these sort of 'forbidden romances' but it would have to be handled very differently and for a man of his status, who has been born into this life, it would take him a little longer to fully come around I think.

It's a comical look at life both 'upstairs' and 'downstairs' in a wealthy household from a time gone by, but it's a bit forced, as if the author is trying a bit too hard to be witty, and to wrap up any and all loose ends in a neat and tidy bow. Oh, and there's a murder mystery that's thrown in there as well, almost as a third storyline that suddenly comes to the forefront 3/4 of the way through the book. I didn't find the end of that to be terribly satisfactory either.

The cover drew me in, and the write up on the back, but that's what I liked most about this book. I would not read another book by this author. 

This book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.


  1. Jen Turano
    Sara Karam Photography

    Jen Turano

    Jen Turano, author of six books, is a graduate of the University of Akron with a degree in clothing and textiles. She is a member of ACFW and lives in a suburb of Denver, Colorado. Visit her website at
    Continue reading about Jen Turano

Thursday, July 23, 2015

How I Limit Screen Time - A Free Printable List

How I limit screen time - a free printable list in 2 versions

I have a daily struggle in my house to balance time on screens with the rest of life. We are a family fond of electronic devices of any kind. My kids do not own phones, but we have tablets and computers and tvs and an iPod. I came across this post about the Momentum Optimization Project by Narrowback Slacker. Yes! This is what I need. I implemented it recently with tears from one kids and enthusiasm from the other. I plan to tweak this as needed, and keep it going year round. I think it will be less important to limit screen time because they will not be asking so early in the day, and hopefully this will help them find other things to do before jumping straight to computer games or tv however screen time will never be truly unlimited. Bedtime is also enforced here, even in the summer although it is generally later than through the school year.

I used the Momentum Optimization Project as a springboard but made it my own. I have two printable versions below. In the second one I took out the two things that are more likely to not apply to other families. 

Just click on the one you want for a larger graphic and right click or (CTRL + click) to save and print.

My kids have certain chores they do every morning and I'm adding on a small one: tidying the main bathroom every day. It's not my mess in there. I've made a list for tidying their rooms and for the new bathroom job loosely based again on the lists Narrowback Slacker posted regarding the Momentum Optimization Project.

Again, just click on the black and white lists below and save or print. I also printed them out on coloured paper just for fun.

a free printable checklist for tidying bathroom daily

a free printable checklist for tidying bedroom daily

I love the idea behind this and I'm hoping it sticks in our house.

What are your requirements for screen time for your kids?

Monday, July 13, 2015

Beyond The Cherokee Trail by Lisa Carter

Book review of Beyond The Cherokee Trail by Lisa Carter (Abingdon Press) by papertapepins

180 years may not be long enough to heal the wounds of the past…

When Linden Birchfield arrives in the Snowbird Cherokee community to organize the 180th commemoration of the Trail of Tears, she runs head on—literally—into arrogant former army sniper Walker Crowe. A descendant of the Cherokee who evaded deportation by hiding in the rugged Snowbird Mountains, Walker believes no good can result from stirring up the animosity with the white Appalachian residents whose ancestors looted the tribal lands so long ago.

Though at odds over the commemoration, Linden and Walker must unite against an unseen threat to derail the festival. Together they face an enemy whose implacable hatred can be traced to the events of the Trail, a dark chapter in America’s westward expansion. When called to resurrect his sniper abilities, Walker must thwart the enemy who threatens the modern-day inhabitants of tiny Cartridge Cove—and targets the woman who has captured his heart.

This is my favourite hands down of Lisa Carter's books so far.  I have a few reasons for this, such as for the story, which is present day blended every chapter or so with an 1800's storyline telling first hand the story of the Trail of Tears. This is a method I often find irritating but it was done top notch here and I was equally invested in both stories. I really appreciated the deeper themes woven in dealing with grief and fear, and finding your home not in a place or family but ultimately in God who is the only one who will never fail you.

Linden Birchfield is attempting to run away from her troubled past and has landed in Cartridge Cove to live with her Gran who is turning an old family home into a B&B and she has also been hired to organized the 180th anniversary of Trail Where We Cried. I didn't know what the Trail of Tears was or about the Cherokee being forced from their homes and land in the 1800s in vast numbers and forcibly marched west so I learned a lot from reading the historic side of this.

Walker Crowe has come home to Cartridge Cove after an overseas stint as an Army sniper. He's finding it difficult to readjust to society and finds it easier to hide away at his tree farm. He is opposed to the commemoration, not wanting to dredge up old prejudices and hurts between the white Appalachians and the Cherokee who descended from those who escaped the forced march and returned home. As a leader in the community however, he is appointed to liaison with Linden, and help her win over some of the older generation.

Beyond The Cherokee Trail is a well written story, rich with history and makes you think deeper than you may have expected to, but it is not slow nor does it drag at any point. I was not tempted to skip ahead a few pages, or breeze over the sermon (there are none), you know how that can be. It's fantastic, add this one to your reading list!

I received this ebook from Abingdon Press and Netgalley for the purpose of an honest review. My opinion is my own. Thank you Abingdon Press!

About the Author

Lisa Carter is the author of Carolina Reckoning and Aloha Rose, and a writer and teacher whose articles have appeared in FamilyFun, Thriving Family, MomSense, and Christian Parenting Today. She is a frequent speaker and vocalist at women’s ministry events and has taught at the collegiate, high school, and middle school levels. Lisa is a member of ACFW, RWA and Sisters in Crime. When she isn't writing, Lisa enjoys traveling, quilting, and researching her next romantic adventure. She and her husband have two daughters and make their home in Raleigh, North Carolina. Visit her online at

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