Saturday, December 31, 2016

Holiday Hibernation....ahhhhh



Do you know what I LOVE to do during the Holidays? I Love to cozy up with my favorite blanket, and a pile of pillows, and watch cheesy holiday movies and indulge in some yummy snacks!

 I LOVE Hallmark movies! I am pretty sure I've seen 90% of the Holiday movies they show, and I've even DVR'ed some of my favorites to watch  later! Oh how I'm going to miss them until next year once they are gone in a few days! Sigh....

But until then, I have my Holiday Hibernation Essentials Checklist, brought to you by the good people of Casper.com makers of the latex memory foam mattress in a box, right here so you can enjoy the last few days of Christmas in Hibernation Style! So check them out, and check out this check list, then cozy up for a relaxing day full of movies, snacks, and comfort! Ahhhhh!!!!!!




What could be better than a seriously comfy mattress piled high with soft, fluffy pillows while snuggled in your favorite holiday PJs? Well snacks like hot chocolate (or my favorite Cappuccino thanks to my brand new Keurig!) chips, veggies with ranch dip, cheese cubes, and of course my Hallmark Christmas Movies! That's really all I wanted for Christmas. Just some ME TIME where I could relax and veg out all I wanted! And I must say, it was fantastic!

Friday, December 30, 2016

Goodbye 2016

2016....wow. It's really hard to believe we are at the end of another year. This year has flown by. And really, given all that has happened this year, that's probably a good thing.

Even Mr. B said it didn't seem like it should be Christmas already, and he was right. Maybe it was because we were delayed getting our decorations out and up. Maybe it was the weather. Maybe it was all of the loss we have experienced this year. Whatever it is, I'm truly hopeful that 2017 will be a brighter year for us all.

2016 wasn't all bad. M was blessed with a new job, and we didn't have to experience the same type of layoff situation so many around us have had to endure. The lawsuit finally came to an end, and that is a ton of stress and anxiety off of my shoulders. My step dad discovered he can walk again, so long as they numb a particular nerve in his neck. And we got into some great doctors for Mr. B.

On the flip side, I'm still dealing with the sudden loss of so many friends and family. My dear cousin Michael was more like a brother to me than a cousin. We were only 3 months apart in age, and we grew up together. Just before Christmas I signed on to Facebook to find out a dear friend who had helped me so much just a month ago had died suddenly the night before. He was only 38, and left behind a wife and 5 children. I can't even imagine the heartache they are facing this Holiday Season.

I'm not even going to touch the election. That'd take more time than I have right now. Sigh...

2017 is shaping up to be another busy one with reviews and appointments. That's a good thing, I think. I can't wait to see what's in store, and I pray for blessings. I know on the review front, there are some dandies headed your way, so please stay tuned for all of those!

Until then....so long 2016. I truly hope 2017 is a better year for all of us.


Thursday, December 29, 2016

Michèle Phoenix’s ‘Of Stillness and Storm’ Bookworm On-the-Go Prize Pack

A tale of troubled love and honorable intentions gone awry—don't miss Michèle Phoenix's new intimate and bold release, Of Stillness and Storm. It took Lauren and her husband ten years to achieve their dream—reaching primitive tribes in remote regions of Nepal. When a friend from Lauren’s past enters her life again, the tension of coping with the present while reengaging with the past might be too much. Will it be the family's undoing?

Take Michèle's new book with you on your winter vacation and enter to win her Bookworm On-the-Go Prize Pack (because you can't take a stack of books with you when you travel).

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One grand prize winner will receive:
Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on December 31. The winner will be announced January 3 on Michèle's blog.

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My Thoughts: 

I LOVED IT! I was hooked from the start. The cover would make you think it is like a mystery'ish book, but it's  not. It's a drama filled book that is no holds barred. The author doesn't hold back in the least. The imagery and writing is raw, gritty, and nailbite inducing. I really enjoyed this, and felt myself frequently thinking and reflecting upon my own life. Well done. Very well done.

**I received a copy of this free in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions expressed are my own or those of my family.**

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Taking some family time....

The blog will be a bit quite for a few days as I'm taking some much needed family time.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Tanika Fitzgerald’s ‘Miscarried Joy’ Prize Pack Giveaway

Are you in a season of waiting—waiting for an answer from God, waiting for a change? Be encouraged by Tanika Fitzgerald's new book, Miscarried Joy. Tanika transparently shares her deeply personal and disappointing experiences of losing her babies due to miscarriage. There were times when she felt God was the cause of her pain. Miscarried Joy has something for anyone who needs help pushing through incredible pain to conquer discouragement, walk in faith and birth their purpose. God’s delay in your life could be a set up for your greatest calling to be fulfilled.

Conquer discouragement with the help of Miscarried Joy and enter to win Tanika's Hope Fulfilled Prize Pack.

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One grand prize winner will receive:
Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on December 18. The winner will be announced December 19 on the Miscarried Joy blog.

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My Thoughts: 
This can be a trigger for those who are still undergoing emotional healing after miscarriage. I have suffered miscarriages, and found a great sense of hope and help in these pages. I really can't put into words the emotions I have had reading this, but I can say I felt better afterwards. I know this is a short review, but really....that's all I can say. Just...read it. 

**I received this in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions expressed are my own or those of my family.**

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Pursuing Gold REVIEW


 

About the book: 

Pursuing Gold (Elk Lake, October 2016)
With his father dead and his business partner incapacitated, Peter Chandler inherits the leadership of a bank in economic crisis.
With only a newly-minted college degree and little experience, Peter joins his partner's daughter, Mary Beth Roper, in a struggle to keep C&R Bank afloat while the Civil War rages around Chattanooga. Political pressure for unsecured loans of gold to the government stirs up trouble as tempers and prices rise. Their problems multiply when Mary Beth discovers counterfeit money with Peter's forged signature. Can they find the forger before the bank fails? The two friends must pursue gold on behalf of their business, as they learn to pursue their heavenly Father to find hope and peace.


Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/2gCb1pb
About the author:


Cynthia L Simmons and her husband, Ray, have five children and reside in Atlanta. She has taught for over thirty years as a homeschool mother and Bible teacher. She's a columnist for Leading Hearts Magazine and she directs Atlanta Christian Writing Conference. Cyndi has a heart for encouraging women in today's crazy, upside-down world. She loves history and peppers her speaking and teaching with fascinating vignettes from the past. Her first book, Struggles and Triumphs, was nominated for 2008 Georgia Author of the Year. She co-founded Homeschool Answers and hosts Heart of the Matter Radio.



My Thoughts: 

 It's Christian based, but not overly churchy. There's a nice balance of suspenseful mystery and sweet romance, but there is an overabundance of dialogue. I enjoy a lot of descriptive imagery, etc. and less on the wordy back and forth conversations. I nice balance is good for me, and I felt this was a bit heavy on the conversation side. I am not a fan of the cover. I know...I  know...can't judge a book by the cover, but this one is not one I'd look at and say "WOW, I want to read that!" The daughter as the caregiver for her dying father was an emotional trigger for me, as I cared for my own dad as he was dying. I wish the pace was better, and I think it could have been with less conversation and more description. The overall plot is a nice one, for sure. 

**I received this free in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions expressed are my own.**

Scripture Doodle REVIEW



Are you looking for a fun devotional? Love to color? Well then you are in for a treat! Scripture Doodle combines coloring book fun with a 6 week devotional that you are going to love! 

About the books: 

 by April Knight  
Coloring Devotionals
David C. Cook

With inspiring exercises and prompts, this unique interactive guide introduces readers to a creative connection between Bible study, artistic expression, and worship.
Often, in the busyness of life, Christians forget that God created them to enjoy creativity. With guided instruction and completed examples, this beautiful book invites readers to draw closer to God through their own art.
More than a coloring book, ScriptureDoodle is a combination of Bible study, creative expression, and artistic community with artwork shared online at #scripturedoodle. Exploring topics such as being generous, finding rest, and facing grief, ScriptureDoodle gives the heart the creative space it needs. This book stimulates the reader's imagination and helps integrate God's Word into everyday life.

ScriptureDoodle God's Promises refreshes believers who are feeling burned out or stuck in a rut in their relationship with God. Each of the creative worship prompts in this interactive guide includes biblical encouragement and ideas for worship through art. Artist April Knight includes creative lettering tips, color ideas, and completed examples to inspire readers to respond to promises in Scripture related to trust, faith, and the power of God's Word in all circumstances.

This unique blend of Bible study and creative expression provides the opportunity to connect with God as Creator in a new, life-changing way.
 Meet the Author
 April Knight is a worship artist based in Asheville, North Carolina. Knight's work includes live worship painting and leading ScriptureDoodle workshops online and at conferences and retreats around the country and internationally. Her family of four is her greatest joy, along with serving alongside her husband at their local church.

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The pages are sturdy, and I found I had no issues with using colored pencils or gel pens (my preferred coloring methods. The author also includes some tips in the front of the book for coloring. The pages are beautifully illustrated and the devotionals are great. This is a really lovely set! 

http://litfusegroup.com/author/aknight


**I received this in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions are my own or those of my family.**

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

FREE Holiday Christmas Cupcake Topper PRINTABLE!

Cupcakes are one of my FAVORITE treats! And I love cute toppers for them! Here's a neat little printable I designed just for my subscribers! Just join my subscriber list so that you can have this super cute and fun cupcake topper, too! This is great for Christmas gatherings!

This is best if you print on heavy card stock!














Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Sometimes

Sometimes....

I just want to get out of the house, hang out with friends, maybe go to a museum.

Sometimes....

Mr. B just wants to stay home, watch TV, and do some fun, hands on science things.

Sometimes....

Our days for wanting these things fall on the same days. Like now. Sigh...

I guess it's a good day to dig for martian rocks, build a scale model of the rover, Curiosity, and just chill at home. Though, I really did want to go to the museum. But that's our life. Sometimes, we both want different things at the same time, and it's ok to give in. I could have pulled the mom card. I could have forced him to go. And for what reason? Because I just wanted to? You know what? I'm perfectly content just sitting here at home, too. No harm done at all. All too often I see parents just force their kids because they can. I'm told I'll spoil him, or ruin him, by not putting my foot down at times like this. But am I really? Or am I showing him that I can respect his wishes at times, and teach him to respect mine, too?

A Royal Christmas Wedding REVIEW!

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To purchase your copy, click here.

About the book


Click to purchase
Click to purchase

Genre: Christian Romance/Christmas
Release Date: October 18, 2016
Book Format: Paperback & Ebook
Avery Truitt aches for true love—the kind she once shared with Prince Colin. Can she dare to hope for happily ever after, or is a fairy-tale ending beyond reach?
College volleyball star Avery Truitt has not seen her former flame, Prince Colin of Brighton Kingdom, since he suddenly pushed her away five years ago. But now, the sadness of losing her father and the joy of her sister Susanna’s pregnancy have brought Avery back to Brighton just in time for Cathedral City’s enchanting Christmas season.
Avery knows she can’t avoid seeing Colin—now the Kingdom’s most eligible bachelor—whether or not her heart is ready to relive the pain. But seeing him again might bring her the closure she needs after all this time.
When Colin finds himself at the center of a centuries-old Brighton tradition, he must decide whether to follow the path laid out before him or follow his heart to the only woman for whom he would ring the Pembroke Chapel Bell.
Can Colin convince Avery to meet him at the chapel on Christmas morning—as tradition dictates—or will Avery run back to her St. Simons home and pursue a coaching career as planned?
In the fourth installment of the Royal Wedding Series, New York Times bestselling novelist, Rachel Hauck, weaves a charming story of holiday romance as two broken hearts seek the love they once knew.

About the Author

rachel-hauck-hr-1Rachel Hauck is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestselling, and award-winning author.
A graduate of Ohio State University with a degree in Journalism, Rachel worked in the corporate software world before planting her backside in an uncomfortable chair to write full-time in 2004.
She serves on the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers and leads worship at their annual conference. She is a mentor and book therapist at My Book Therapy, and conference speaker.
Rachel lives in central Florida with her husband and pets, and writes from her two-story tower in an exceedingly more comfy chair. She is a huge Buckeyes football fan.
 My thoughts:
Oh how I wish I had the first 3 books! This is a good standalone, but I liked it so much, it'd be nice to have read the others. If you like cheesy Christmas Rom-com movies, then you'll likely enjoy this book. Avery has enough to deal with when she decides to go back to Brighton. Colin is the Kingdom's most eligible bachelor, but he's not interested in anyone....except Avery, and she's having none of that. Colin is the one person Avery really doesn't want to see, but Avery is the one person Colin really wants to see. See the issue here?! Rachel Hauck does a magnificent job at relaying the inner turmoil of the characters, and writing the characters in such as way that they come alive on the pages. This is a really good, easy and light, must read for the Holiday Season! 

Guest Post from Rachel Hauck

I don’t think we can ever get enough of royals or Christmas, do you? The two just seem to go together.

The Bible tells us eternity is written on our hearts. (Ecc. 3:11) I wonder if it’s also written on our hearts to be princesses in a grand, beautiful, perfect kingdom.

That being said, welcome to The Royal Christmas Wedding blog tour. My deepest thanks to all the bloggers, reviewers, and readers for hosting and visiting this tour. I’m excited to share this story with you all.

The hero and heroine, Prince Colin and Avery Truitt, first met in Once Upon A Prince at King Nathaniel’s coronation.

I hadn’t planned to write a spinoff story with the two of them. In fact, I didn’t even know Prince Colin existed until Avery walked into the abbey for the coronation and glanced across the sanctuary into his eyes.

Here’s his introduction:
Lean, aristocratic with an outdoorsman ruddiness, he nearly made Susanna swoon when he winked at Avery.

I liked Colin immediately. So did Avery. As well as a lot of you.

When my publisher asked me to write their story, it would be two years before the book would release. Plenty of time, right?

But “time crunch” is the name of the game with most writers. Between life, rewrites, edits, and promotional activity, we often find ourselves hurrying toward a deadline. Well, at least I do.
In the fall of 2015 I was writing The Wedding Shop and A Royal Christmas Wedding at the same time.

I’d also dealt with a physical issue that left me shaky. Could I write two books in five months? Did I want to even make the attempt?
If I said no, publication dates would be pushed out, causing a year delay on A Royal Christmas Wedding. And I knew that was something I did not want to do.

Publishing is a long game. Books are contracted and due 12 to 18, even 24 months, before release dates. Time must be carved out for rewrites and editing, marketing and promotion. Review copies go out at least five months in advance.

So I agreed to write both books. I told my editor, “Diamonds come from pressure.”

Coming up with Avery and Prince Colin’s story wasn’t as easy as I’d planned. Since they met in Once Upon A Prince as teenagers, I struggled with how to advance their age and relationship, and how to present them as the book opened.

Where had their relationship gone “between the books?”

When I came up with the idea of the Pembroke Chapel bell, the story magic began to happen. One of the things I love in the royal wedding books is the fairytale aspect. Looking for something out of the ordinary.

Even though my writing time was tight, writing Avery and Colin’s story was a joy. Once again I wish I could visit Brighton, eat a puff, and royal watch for the Strattons!

I hope you found a few sweet spots in the story, all wrapped in Christmas holiday cheer, and enjoyed your time with me in Brighton Kingdom.

Merry Christmas!

Blog Stops

December 8: New Horizon Reviews
December 8: inklings and notions
December 9: Redeemed Hope Dweller
December 9: Book by Book
December 10: Blossoms and Blessings
December 10: Pause for Tales
December 11: Quiet Quilter
December 11: Ashley’s Bookshelf
December 12: Bibliophile Reviews
December 12: Lights in a Dark World
December 12: Splashes of Joy
December 13: Moments Dipped in Ink
December 13: Neverending Stories
December 14: The Power of Words
December 14: Counting Pinecones
December 14: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS
December 15: Genesis 5020
December 15: CTF Devourer
December 16: Lighthouse Academy
December 16: Christian Bookaholic
December 17: Smiling Book Reviews
December 17: God is Love
December 17: Simple Life, really?!
December 18: A Holland Reads
December 18: The Scribbler
December 18: Faith * Love * Books
December 19: By The Book
December 19: Karen Sue Hadley
December 19: Southern Chelle
December 20: Faithfully Bookish
December 21: ASC Book Reviews

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card plus a copy of A Royal Christmas Wedding and a copy of The Wedding Shop. Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post to earn 9 extra entries in the giveaway! https://promosimple.com/ps/aaeb

**I received this free from CelebrateLit in exchange for my honest opinion."

Sunday, December 11, 2016

I almost did it.

Every year I say I'm not going to do this again. What is "this" you may be asking? Go overboard for Christmas. I'm proud to say I was a good girl, and didn't go overboard!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Undiscovered Treasures REVIEW

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Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book


front-cover
Click on picture to purchase

Caroline Gibson is co-owner of Undiscovered Treasures, a shop of antiques, collectibles, and junk in rural West Virginia. Inside the shop is a music box that Caroline particularly relates to, believing that her own life is similar: forever spinning and never going anywhere.
She dreams and prays for the right man to turn up. But when family and friends hint that the local artist could be the guy, Caroline forgets about trusting God and takes matters into her own hands.
Besides, she could never love a man who paints such depressing pictures.
Andrew Carrington, painter of said depressing pictures, insists there’s always one redeeming trait to each of his works.
He’s loved Caroline since they were kids and thinks he’s not handsome enough, strong enough, or rich enough to impress this woman. But when God—or is it?—suddenly sends contracts begging for his signature, Andy thinks this just might be the way to win the only woman he can ever love.
But there’s a hitch in their plans. Someone is stealing Andy’s pictures, and why would they do that when he’s an unknown–so far? Do they know something Caroline and Andy don’t know? Is it mischief? Or something deeper that neither understand? Andy gets the chance to work with Caroline, and she must put aside her on-going battle to avoid Andy and his art so they can discover the art thief in Appleton before Andy loses the chance of a life time to ‘make it big.’


My Thoughts: 
When I heard of this book I knew I just HAD to read and review it! I LOVE West Virginia. The people are so kind, and so welcoming, and the land is just....it's probably the most beautiful place ever! There's a reason why it's called "Almost Heaven." This book is set in rural WV, in a little town called Appleton. As far as I know, this is a fictitious town, but it could be any little town I've been in in that wonderful area. The characters are well written, and their faith in God shines through. But with that said, it's not a preachy book at all. It is 3rd in the series, and I would have liked to have read the others first. BUT, it's not necessary. I only wish I would have because the characters all know each other, and it's obvious that their histories go back a ways. It's nice to see their history and personalities develop across a series, so I wish I had read the others. But again, it's not a requirement to understanding the plot of this one. This one has some mystery, love, and just genuine good hearted feelings. 

About the Author

caroleaug14-14-croppedBesides being an active participant of many writing groups, Carole enjoys mentoring beginning writers. She loves to weave suspense, tough topics, romance and whimsy into her books, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?


Guest Post from Carole Brown

Fun Tidbits About Undiscovered Treasures
(Book Three of the Appleton, WV Romantic Mystery series)
By Carole Brown

  • Why did I write this book? Several years ago, my agent urged me to write a romance novel for a certain publishing group. I did, and while I was at it, decided to write about three friends, all living in the made up town of Appleton, WV. Each had their own story, but the romance books didn’t go anywhere (because I’m not a “per se” romance writer. But when a current editor asked me for a new series, I thought about these three books and wondered if I could turn them into light mysteries. Ta da: the Appleton, WV series was born!

  • How much of myself do I put into my books? Almost always little dabs of this and that. I love antiques and flea markets, cats, flowers (including Caroline’s favorite: daisies) and coffee. If I drink tea, I’m a Tea Snob (same as Caroline). I’m clumsy and fall over practically nothing (Caroline too!).

  • What is your main characters like? In Undiscovered Treasures, Caroline Gibson, is a “home-town” girl. She doesn’t have a lot of confidence in her own looks, is clumsy, and sometimes quite outspoken. But she’s loyal, trustworthy, and soft-hearted, always watching out for the “underdog,” helps her brother run a successful business, writes plays, and oversees the local youth organization at her church.

  • Andy Carrington, on the other hand, is quiet, but confident in his own abilities, friendly, a dedicated Christian, and an up-and-coming famous artist. He’s best friends with Caroline’s brother, and grew up with him and Caroline. Best of all, he’s loved Caroline forever and trusts God to direct his and her life.

  • Where did I get the title for this book? When I plotted for the third friend (Caroline), I decided a junk/antique/collectibles store would be fun and unique. It also fit her personality. Having a brother and sister run the store worked well with the plot and giving them both a bit of wittiness added interest to the novel. I also thought this title played into the emotional love story part of the plot. Caroline, always dreaming of a real live prince for her life, doesn’t realize that she already has one. It’s only when she discovers Andy’s virtues that she finally clasps the truth: Andy is her treasure, chosen by God, just for her.

  • Why a cat in the story? It played into Caroline’s personality very well. I can just see her volunteering at the local pet shelter. Angel, the cat, also was a ready (or not) listener when Caroline needed a sounding board.

  • How does the music box play into the plot? It’s a constant reminder–and not a very welcome one–that her life is somewhat unsatisfactory. She thinks it’s because she doesn’t have a “prince” riding up to save her from a mundane existence, but really, it’s more like the proverbial ostrich inserting his head into the sand, and unwilling to accept the will of God for her life.

  • Why have Caroline travel out of the U.S. when she’s such a homebody? Having her travel, which she isn’t totally fond of, forces her to climb out of her comfort zone. She knows what she has to do–make an apology–whether everything turns out the way she wants it to or not, and because she has to travel a distance, she has plenty of time to ruminate on her “follies.” Overall, a good disciplinarian action for her.

  • Is there a spiritual thread? Yes. Accepting God’s will for our lives. We can’t make things happen the way we want, and if we force the issue, most times, it turns out to be an unsatisfactory situation. Caroline has to learn that, and once she does, she couldn’t be happier.

Blog Stops

November 30: autism mom
November 30: Carpe Diem
December 1: Quiet Quilter
December 3: On Jenna’s Shelf
December 4: Pause for Tales
December 6: bigreadersite
December 8: Karen Sue Hadley
December 9: A Reader’s Brain
December 10: Moments Dipped in Ink
December 11: Blogging With Carol

Giveaway

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To celebrate their tour, Carole is giving away a themed basket including (but not limited to) 2 kitchen towels, 4 fun coasters, a travel journal w/ photo frames, a “happiness” picture, a recipe box and recipe cards, a fridge magnet, a magnetic phone list w/notepad, and a print copy of Undiscovered Treasures! Click the link below to enter. Be sure to comment on this blog post to claim nine extra entries in the giveaway! https://promosimple.com/ps/a934

I received a copy of this for free in exchange for my honest opinion.