Thursday, May 8, 2014

Smart Money Smart Kids by Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze

This week, I got the wonderful opportunity to read "Smart Money Smart Kids: Raising the Next Generation to Win with Money" by Dave Ramsey and his daughter Rachel Cruze. I cannot say enough how much I enjoyed this book! I have been familiar with Dave Ramsey's methods and books for quite a few years and my husband and I try to manage our money according to Dave's methods and principles.

What makes this book different from the rest? While Dave's other books generally focus mainly on adults and debt, "Smart Money Smart Kids" focuses entirely on children of all ages and how to teach them to smartly manage money. It highlights different age ranges and how to handle chores and "commission" (Dave's word for allowance) for each age. They also talk about how to help teens save for cars, college, and any other major expense that they may have.

I finished this book in a matter of only 24 hours because it was just that good! Before I had even finished the book, my husband and I began implementing Dave and Rachel's principles into how we handle money with our children. We quickly started our oldest on the envelope system giving her three envelopes with the titles "Spend", "Save" and "Give" and created a chart showing her how much money she will earn for each chore accomplished. She will receive her "commission" at the end of each week. For our youngest who is just 2 1/2, we created a much looser system since she is still so young and does not understand the value of money. When she helps with little chores like helping mommy carry the laundry and putting her toys away, she earns change for her piggy bank. Dave and Rachel recommend giving the little ones their money immediately since they don't understand the idea of waiting.

I was surprised to see that most of this book was actually written by Rachel and not Dave. I did not know much about her before reading the book, but was excited to see that she works for her dad, speaking mostly to their younger audiences about money. She had some excellent ideas, and I will definitely be going back over her methods as my children grow older.

I rate this book as 5 stars and would highly recommend it to anyone with children! Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <> 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 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, May 5, 2014

Review of Wildwood Creek by Lisa Wingate

There are actually two parts to this story. In alternating chapters, we learn about Bonnie Rose from 1861, and Allie Kirkland from the present day. Allie's story is largely intertwined with Bonnie's and much of the mysteries surrounding Bonnie Rose is revealed through Allie.

Bonnie Rose and her sister Maggie Mae are just looking for a place to start over after the horrible ordeal that took their parents and younger sister from them 5 years ago. Their past seems to follow them everywhere they go no matter how hard they try to shut it out. They welcome the chance to begin a new life in a new town and so they immediately take Mr. Delevan up on his offer to move to Wildwood Creek, where Bonnie Rose will become the new school teacher.

But all is not as it seems in this small gold rush town, and people soon end up missing without a trace. Ridiculous rumors start milling around town that Miss Bonnie Rose is responsible for the heinous crimes, and that she's some sort of witch. People begin acting strange around her and some even stop sending their children to school in fear of her. Will Bonnie Rose be able to clear her name before it's too late?

Allie Kirkland is a college student just looking to follow in her father's footsteps to have a career in theater/film. She has worked on various small productions in the past, but when she is approached to work on the set of a docu-drama based on the story of Wildwood Creek, she jumps at the opportunity. Something of this magnitude could alter her career.

Despite the fact that Allie was only hired to work behind the scenes, she ends up working as one of the main characters on the set and becomes consumed with finding out the town's secrets. What happened to all of the town's people? Wildwood Creek seemed to have just disappeared into thin air and no one ever solved it's mysteries. Allie soon finds herself in more trouble than she ever imagined and caught in a mystery of her own.

I was expecting this book to be just historical fiction. What I wasn't expecting was how much mystery and suspense it contained! Mystery and Suspense are two of my favorite types of books, so I immediately fell in love with Wildwood Creek. I loved how the author built the story up to a page-turning edge-of-your-seat kind of plot! Though I felt it ended somewhat abruptly. I think I would have preferred the ending to be spread out a little bit and not have all of the secrets be revealed all at once. I did, however enjoy the way that the secret of Bonnie Rose was finally revealed and it was finally explained what had happened to her once the town was gone. I was kind of disappointed though that not much was mentioned of Maggie Mae. I would like to have learned where her story ended.

All in all though, I really enjoyed this book. I found myself taking this book with me everywhere I went just because I wanted to know what happened next. I stayed up many nights past my bedtime to try to get more reading in. ;)  I rate this book as 5 stars and would definitely recommend it not only to someone who enjoys historical fiction, but also mystery, suspense and romance.

I received this book for free from Bethany, a division of Baker Publishing Group in exchange for my honest unbiased opinion.