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Friday, January 30, 2015

Beyond All Dreams



Never in her wildest dreams did Anna O'Brien ever expect her life to be anything but ordinary. She achieved what she wanted for her career as a librarian working in the map department in the Library of Congress. It wasn't a job that was offered usually to women and as such her job as well as those of a handful of women working in the library were offered on a temporary basis to see how it might work out. For Anna, it was her dream job. As a lover of books, she adored simply being in the library, and working in the map department kept her close to her father, who died aboard a ship lost at sea, while working on mapping the ocean floor.

One of her many tasks was doing research for the congressmen who might need facts about the ocean currents, the location of various sea life found near the coastlines, as well as a handful of any other subjects dealing with the maps in which she took great pleasure in keeping in a meticulous manner. Her best friend was a boy she grew up with Neville, who was teased all through school for his nervous ticks and twitches. Anna could relate to him more than most when her father forced her to drink lye while he was drunk when he caught her swearing. It forever changed her voice and made her extraordinarily self conscience when anyone heard her voice.

She knew previous women had lost their position in the library when they were found flirting with the many attractive congressmen and members of the government that stopped into the library. Anna vowed that would never be an issue for her until she met Luke Callahan, a congressmen who needed her assistance in research to help win back the position he had lost when a rival childhood friend decided to make an example out of Luke's behavior and demoted him to working for the fisheries commission, but Luke wasn't prepared for the spitfire that Anna was either. Not used to the determination offered by Anna, she called Luke on his less than professional attitude whenever it seemed fitting and he found her a breath of fresh air in a world of politics and lies.

When Anna learns that her father's ship may not have sank where the Navy claims it did, she believes it is in her best interest to correct the facts. The more she digs, the more she ruffles a few feather in the U.S. Navy and they will stop at nothing to ensure that Anna gives up her research even if it means removing her from her position as librarian. Anna isn't willing to give up so easily just because a handful of Navy officials pressure her into giving up. She isn't about to let anyone bully her, and hopes to gain Luke's help in searching for the truth.

I received Beyond All Dreams by Elizabeth Camden compliments of Bethany House Publishers and Litfuse Publicity for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own. The best part of this novel is the strong determination of Anna's character. She isn't willing to lay down her convictions that the truth may be discovered and believes her father may in fact still be alive. I love her convictions to follow the research wherever it leads and found myself relating to her quite a bit. She isn't willing to let a man rule her heart and tries to do all she can to assert herself despite all of Luke's attempts to win her heart. You are rooting for them both at so many times throughout the novel but it seems like something always gets in the way. I love that this one is based on the true story surrounding a ship that was apparently lost at sea in a way to keep the truth a secret during a time of difficult relations with Spain at the time that would have led to war. For me, once again Elizabeth Camden has capture my heart in this story and deserves 5 out of 5 stars! I can't wait for her to write another novel and she is one of my favorite historical romance authors!!!

For more information about Beyond All Dreams, Elizabeth Camden or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:


You can find Elizabeth Camden on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on Beyond All Dreams, please visit Litfuse Publicity's book tour page.

Travel back in time to the U.S. Capitol and the Library of Congress in Elizabeth Camden's newest release, Beyond All Dreams. From the gilded halls of the Capitol where powerful men shape the future of the nation, to the scholarly archives of the nation's finest library, Anna and Luke are soon embroiled in secrets much bigger and more perilous than they ever imagined. Is bringing the truth to light worth risking all they've ever dreamed for their futures?

Elizabeth is celebrating the release of Beyond All Dreams with a Kindle giveaway and Facebook party on February 17.
 
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One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • One copy of Beyond All Dreams
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on 2/17. Winner will be announced at Elizabeth's 2/17 Beyond All Dreams Facebook author chat party. RSVP for a chance to connect with Elizabeth and historical fiction fans, as well as for the opportunity to win some great prizes!

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RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK, TWITTER, or PINTEREST and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 17th!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Roadmap Genesis - Review and Giveaway



What do you think when you hear the word, "Genesis?"

It is sad when you ask random people on the streets and hear what they have to say. When was the last time you read the book of Genesis?

If you look around the world today you can see the change it is going through and it isn't a good one. We are seeing a decline in values and kindness.

But did you know that the book of Genesis from the Bible offers us guiding principles for how to create a healthy functioning society?

The book of Genesis shows us the keys for how to build a better economy, how to value relationships, how to build a family, how to speak to one another, how to combat racism, and how to plan for the future.

We, as human beings have lost that sense of caring for the earth in hopes we might share it with future generations. We've taken advantage of things and now we are forcing nature into our own standards.

Are we leaving this place, better than it was before us? Or are we hoping that someone else will come along and take care of it?

In this eye opening documentary Roadmap Genesis, Nolan Lebovitz, a well known movie maker, turns his talents into what he believes holds to key to making our world the place God had designed it to be. Relying not only on what he learned in seminary school but interviewing some of the worlds most profound educational minds and leaders in our country, he shows us just how simple things would be if we were willing to go back to our biblical roots and God offers us the road map to do just that in the book of Genesis.

Roadmap Genesis invites Americans of all faiths to engage in a dialogue about the relevance of the Bible in the modern age. Through interviews ranging from Gov. Mike Huckabee of Fox News Channel to Rabbi David Wolpe, from Alan Dershowitz to the Archbishop of Chicago, Cardinal Francis George, from Erick Stakelbeck of the Christian Broadcasting Network to Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis and the Creation Museum, and many, many more, Nolan explores the rules that God has set forth to help us maintain a successful and working society.



I received Roadmap Genesis by Nolan Lebovitz compliments of Propeller/FlyBy Promotions for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review. I had never considered the simplicity of the answers for everything that has been plaguing the world could be found by going back to basics, back to the beginning and seeing God's way outlined so beautifully before. It certainly changes your perspectives on everything and offers spiritual insight into the chaos our world is becoming along with the solution to fix it. However it forces us to see things outside our own world and to learn to get along so we can make the world a better place. Individualism is ruining things and the more we think about only our needs the more chaos we will continue to see. I absolutely LOVED this documentary and believe it is well worth all 5 out of 5 stars in my opinion.

Thanks to the generous folks at Propeller/FlyBy Promotions, they are offering a copy of Roadmap Genesis on DVD  to one lucky follower of my blog, Reviews From The Heart. Here are your guidelines:

1. Be a follower of my blog, Reviews From The Heart. 

2. "Like" Roadmap Genesis Facebook page. 

3. Be a resident of the US or Canada or have a US or Canadian mailing address. Please No P.O. Boxes.

4. Leave me a comment below in the comment box telling me why you'd love to win a copy of this documentary. Don't forget to include your email address as well otherwise I have no way to contact you if you are the winner. You can use the words (at) or (dot) instead of the symbols.

I will email the winner by email once the giveaway ends on February 12th.

For more information about Roadmap Genesis and where you can get a copy of this amazing documentary today, please click on the links below:


You can find Roadmap Genesis on Facebook to learn more about how we can make this world a better place.

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. 
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Heaven Help Heidi



Sometimes as a book reader/reviewer you come across a novel that is written so well, it doesn't feel like you're reading a story, it feels like you're a part of it. Sally John is one such writer. This is a first for me reading any of her books and now I know, I have quite a few to add to my to-be-read pile from her. In Heaven Help Heidi, we see life not only through the eyes of the main character Heidi Hathaway, but from the secondary characters as well that intersect her life in profound ways.

Heidi was living an ordinary life until the accident changed everything. Once strong willed, athletic, determined and successful, completely independent from anyone, she would now how to re-evaluate her life. This was a divine calling in her life, one she won't see played out in greater detail until more time passes, but now she will have to give up some of her independence and learn to rely on the family she has as well as the people God so graciously brings into her life. Knowing she can't live in her high rise condo any longer while she is recovering from a car accident that should have claimed her life, she meets Piper Keyes who takes her to Casa de Vida where a small 1927 cottage is available completely furnished just waiting for her. It's perfect and there seems to be an unexplained peace coming from just being inside the 12 foot high walls that keeps this sanctuary a secret from the outside world.

It is here that everything will change for Heidi. She will learn what is means to have friends that will go above and beyond for you. She'll experience that the childhood friends she once had are changing now that Heidi is living at Casa de Vida. The business she helped create is about to undergo a transformation that will change everyone who is part of it. Like a carefully orchestrated complex piece of music, by the time you get to the end of the novel, you can see how God masterfully created great things to come from the trials everyone had to face. It will show you that while you may not see what is going on, just knowing God is in control of it all is something worth being a part of. I love the relationships Heidi develops not only with Piper, but with her childhood friend Adam, her twin brother Hudson, and the motherly wise angel Olivia who dispenses love as freely as she does prayer to those who need it the most.

I received Heaven Help Heidi by Sally John compliments of Harvest House Publishers for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own. This is such a beautiful novel that illustrates the importance of faith, family and friends in our life and makes me wish I lived at Casa de Vida. This is such a wonderful and heartwarming novel about adversity, second chances and making the most of what you have in life and for that I easily give this one a 5 out of 5 stars. This is second novel in the Family of the Heart Series and includes a Reader Discussion Guide at the conclusion of this novel.

For more information about Heaven Help Heidi, Sally John or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:


You can find Sally John on Facebook to stay up to date with all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on Heaven Help Heidi, please visit Harvest House Publisher's website. 




Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Bird Box



"Here, his mind could sometimes almost grow quiet. Only, here, cradled in the soothing, whispered hush of the forest. Away from the constant attack of noise and commotion that plagues the rest of the institution. Birds in a box. That is what they were. He'd tired to tell the staff that birds could not thrive in a box. It was a violation of nature. That they would become dependent and needy. In time, they would forget their desire to fly free." (pg 67).

The Bird Box is not your usual novel as its setting is based in 1954 at the Lakeshore Insane Asylum. Here you can find all types of patients will various ailments. Some have been here for as long as they can remember, some are self checked in, and others have been committed by family members when they lost their grip on reality. It is where doctors and nurses try various types of experimental therapies, treatments and drugs in hopes of returning the patient back to a normal mental state, but sadly most never leave. Some of the doctors and nurses have questionable moral characters when they know that it is their word against a mental patients so things have a tendency of being overlooked when moral lines of patient care are overlooked.

Here you will find a cast of characters unlike anything you can remember, except if you have seen the movie One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. Mrs. Anna Mason who has been institutionalized for twenty three years even though in her mind its only been 2-3 years. She writes letters to Dr. Gerald Davidson, the head of the facility explaining what is going on that he doesn't see at the facility and offers to provide names and details once he notifies her husband she is ready to come home now. She believed she was coming to the hospital for a short rest, and doesn't realize just how long it has been or that her family has moved on believing her long dead.

It is Jakie  Hewitt, who is the main character in this story, a man who hears voices and believes he is part of the forest even though he faces an extreme paranoia over the grass growing on the grounds, believing it is the Red Sea and would someday swallow him up. He has a penchant for hiding things like the daily medications he is supposed to be taking and escapes from his room nightly to care for the gardens on the property. It is something that Dr. Davidson has let side because he is simply good at what he does, even though he can't figure out how he does it. It is Jakie discovery that forever changes his life, a abused and battered woman who is chained to a tree that he can't get out of his mind. It will up to Jakie to find a way to connect with the woman in a unremarkable way in spite of the terrible treatments being conducted at the institution.

I received The Bird Box by KJ Steele compliments of the author for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions contained here are strictly my own unless otherwise notated. This is definitely NOT the novel for everyone and as such know that there are some disturbing practices that are discussed in the novel from Electroconvulsive therapy to lobotomies, Thorazine and even violence against the women by some of the hospital staff. It really makes one wonder what really went on in some of these facilities when treating mental ailments was in its infancy. We can shudder to consider the reality that not all of these people deserved to be there, but at some point succumb to their environment and become victims themselves. I'd rate this one a 4 out of 5 stars in my opinion and does contain some graphic descriptions of treatment and abuse.

For more information about The Bird Box, KJ Steele and where to preorder a copy of this novel which is due out in late February, please click on the links below:


You can find KJ Steele on Facebook to stay up to date with all her latest novels.

The Bird Box by KJ Steele
Publisher: The Story Plant
Paperback: 294 Pages
ISBN-13: 978-1611881868
ISBN-10: 1611881862

Monday, January 26, 2015

23 Blast - DVD Review and Giveaway



Growing up Travis Freeman was your typical boy who loved playing football. In fact between Travis and his best friend Jerry Baker, they were a true all American pair who could read each other like no one else. It was no surprise when in their senior year, Travis and Jerry would find themselves playing for the RedHounds in a small Kentucky town. Knowing this could simply be an unforgettable year for the team Travis is ready for scholarship opportunities during this season. Yet when a sinus infection invades his body, antibiotics refuse to work and subsequently lead Travis to losing his sight. How does a young man who has all his hopes and dreams laid out in front of him respond to having it all taken away?

That is the true story behind 23 Blast, a new inspirational movie from Ocean Avenue Entertainment, Toy Gun Films and Touchdown Productions. Travis will need to learn to be dependent on not only his parents, his mobility coach, his best friend and his former team to help him through this dark storm. It will take not only his athletic ability, but the courage and perseverance to digger deeper than he ever dreamed possible to find a way to play football again against all the odds and people who oppose the coach wanting him to play again.

This is truly a must see for fans of movies like Rudy and Facing the Giants, and teaches us the value of not letting anything define who God created us to be. .There truly is nothing we can't achieve with the love and support of our faith, friends and family. This movie is rated PG-13 due to the brief drinking of alcohol on school property). It runs for 98 minutes and comes loaded with some amazing special features like The Travis Freeman Story, Whatever Happens to Jerry Baker?, Bloopers, Behind the Scenes Featurette and more.



I received 23 Blast compliments of Propeller Consulting, LLC, for my honest review and did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review. The only flaw I found in the film was that it moved pretty fast in the beginning to get to Travis's blindness. At one point he has swelling in his eyelids and is diagnosed with a sinus infection and in the next scene he is being taken into surgery because the antibiotics aren't working. There is a scene in which the doctor comes out of surgery but the discussion he has is not heard in the movie. The parents are the ones to explain to Travis when he wakes from surgery what has happened. You learn through the Travis Freeman Story and subsequent information on the website that the infection destroyed his optic nerve which rendered him blind. That would have been helpful to understand in the movie. Overall a great film that teach how to move past obstacles and find the light at the end. I rate this one a 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Thanks to the generosity of Propeller Consulting, LLC, they are offering a giveaway copy of this DVD to one lucky follower of my blog. Here are your guidelines.

1. Be a follower of my blog, Reviews From The Heart. 

2. "Like" 23 Blast's Facebook page.

3. Be a resident of the US or Canada or have a US or Canada mailing address. Please No P.O. Boxes.

4. Leave a comment below, telling me why you'd love to win a copy of this DVD. Don't forget to include your email address otherwise I won't have any way to contact you if you're the lucky winner of this giveaway.

I will email the winner when the giveaway ends on February 6th.

For more information about 23 Blast and how you can get a copy, please click on the links below:


You can find 23 Blast on Facebook to stay up to date with all the latest from the movie.

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. 

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Friday, January 23, 2015

A Stitch in Crime



The latest novel in the Quilts of Love Series, introduces us to Cathy Elliot in A Stitch in Crime. For fans of crime and mystery this one will sure to be a hit for you. This is the 25th book in the series, and doesn't need to be read in any order to enjoy any of the books. Each talented author lends their talent to creating a story utilizing a quilt as their backdrop.

In A Stitch in Crime, Thea James has been named co-chair for the Larkindale's first quilt show. Hoping it will be a success, she is a bit stressed when things begin to unravel the night of the preview for some of the towns invited guests in Mary Alice Wentworth's garden. First, she is critiqued for her fashion style by Renee Fowler, newly married and co-owner of the Heritage Inn where all the guests have found lodging. Then she critiques her contribution to the dessert buffet saying that the crust is poorly constructed in her Blueberry Tartlets and she should have used another fruit instead if she wanted to impress those in attendance.

As Thea masters dodge those comments with holding her tongue and smiling, she ventures off in search of Dr. Cottle who is expected as a guest judge and well-known in his expertise in quilts. No matter where she looks he doesn't seem to be anywhere. When she goes in search of Mary Alice, she almost frightens the woman to death when she comes up behind Thea unannounced. Mary Alice is frustrated while looking for a letter she has misplaced and Thea offers to help. It's when Mary Alice goes upstairs to see if she misplaced it there while getting dressed that a scream is heard. When Thea arrives she finds that Mary Alice is unconscious on the floor and a strange women is standing over her. They will learn that Mary Alice's diamond brooch worth $25,000 is now missing. Is it really or has it simply been misplaced as well?

I received A Stitch in Crime by Cathy Elliot compliments of Abingdon Press and Litfuse Publicity for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions contained here are strictly my own. This novel reminded me of an Angela Lansbury episode of Murder She Wrote. The elements are all there from the strange woman no one knows who found Mary Alice, to the overly anxious relative Louisa Wentworth Carver who seems to be more interested in the diamond brooch than Mary Alice's condition. The cast of characters is what you would expect in a crime novel to keep the reader from figuring out who did it too soon! While this wasn't one of my favorites, it is bound to appeal to mystery fans who love this genre. I would rate this one a 4 out of 5 stars in my opinion. There is a group discussion guide at the conclusion of this novel as well as a sneak peek into the next novel in the Quilts of Love Series Beyond the Storm.

For more information about A Stitch in Crime, Cathy Elliot or where you can pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the links below:



You can find Cathy Elliot on Facebook to stay up to date with all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on A Stitch in Crime, please visit Litfuse Publicity's Book Tour Page.


Don’t miss the newest Quilts of Love book, A Stitch in Crime by Cathy Elliott. Thea's first quilt show begins to fall apart at the seams. Will she be able to piece the mystery together and save the town’s investment in the quilt show before another attack happens . . . with far worse results.
Enter to win a Kindle HDX! 
 
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One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle HDX
  • A Stitch in Crime by Cathy Elliott
  • Masterpiece Marriage by Gina Welborn
  • Swept Away by Laura V. Hilton and Cindy Loven

Enter today by clicking the button below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on February 8th. Winner will be announced on the Quilts of Love blog February 9th.

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Enter today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

An Honest Heart



Kaye Dacus is one of my favorite must watch authors since reading her first novel, Follow the Heart and she came back in a big way with An Honest Heart. Captivated in your traditional regency style, Kaye mixes this one up with a dramatic twist with the upcoming opening of the Great Exhibition just at the height of the Industrial Revolution.

In An Honest Heart combines two very distinctive love stories, the first being with Cadence "Caddy" Bainbridge, a seamstress who has made a life for herself opening her own dressmaking shop in the heart of Oxford, England in 1851. She uses her valuable skills not only to create the equivalent fashions of the higher end shops in London, but also incorporating those same skills to create attire for the lower class residents who also need clothing. She spends her free time teaching sewing skills to the women housed in the poor houses and prisons so that they can have a skill to fall back on much like she did. It's her way of simply giving back to the heart of the community. She was sent to a finishing school by her father who had connections with high end schools through his friendships with head masters as a way of hoping to raise her opportunities for marriage to a fine gentleman in the future.

She meets quite by fate and accident, Dr. Neal Stradbroke, the town's new doctor as he brings her mother home late one afternoon who has fainted on her daily walk. Dr. Neal Stradbroke advises Caddy that her mother has heart issues and needs to make sure she is taking better care of herself, but Caddy's mother sees a fine prospect for a husband in Neal instead and will stop at nothing to ensure that the two see what is right in front of their eyes.

The secondary story involves Edith Buchanan, a fine upstanding but often times cold-hearted wealthy women of a prominent family who is searching for a well deserved husband complete with a high end title. When her father arranges for Lord Thynne, a single viscount to arrive at their home in hopes of a possible connection for Edith, he instead has interests in her American cousin, Katharine Dearing, an heiress to a railway fortune instead of the Ice Queen. She plots to find a way for Katharine to do something that she can use to engineer her downfall and thus enable Lord Thynne to fall in love with her instead. She makes a bet with Oliver Carmicheal, Lady Carmichael's eldest son and future baron at Chawley Abbey that if neither of them secure a better match for themselves by the close of the Great Exhibition, they will agree to marry one another.

Yet Oliver Carmichael has his own sites set on Miss Bainbridge after making a bet with his close friends at a gentlemen's club when he is snubbed and dismissed by Miss Bainbridge. He believes he will have no problem in getting her to fall in love with him, since he has never been turned down by any female in his life and wagers 100 pounds that he can do it by the day the Great Exhibition opens on May 1st.

There are so many different twists and turns in this exceptional and wonderfully written novel, you truly feel like you're at the heart of something amazing as you watch things unfold between the different classes set in this novel. You are cheering that some will get what they truly deserve and you definitely have the good and evil characters in this one. I often found myself seeing the characters of Caddy Bainbridge played by the actress, Anne Hathaway and Dr. Neal Stradbroke by Hugh Jackman, while the opposing characters Mr. Oliver Carmichael portrayed by Billy Zane and Edith Buchanan played by Charlize Theron. I can't wait to see what Kaye Dacus comes up with next and this one easily rates a 5 out of 5 stars.

I received An Honest Heart by Kaye Dacus compliments of B and H Publishing Group for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation and the opinions expressed in this review are strictly my own. This is the second novel in the Great Exhibition Series.  For more information about An Honest Heart, Kaye Dacus or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:


You can also find Kaye Dacus on Facebook to stay up to date with all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on An Honest Heart please visit B and H Publishing's website. 

  • Series: A Great Exhibition Novel
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: B and H Books (October 15, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1433677210
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433677212
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches