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Friday, July 29, 2016

A Beauty Refined



Secrets. Intrigue. Sapphires. Romance. Suspense. Two Continents. A Family Torn apart. These all fall into the latest novel from Tracie Peterson, A Beauty Refined, the second novel in the Sapphire Brides series. From the family home in Germany, Phoebe Von Bergen and her father are in Helena, Montana in search of the treasures from the Montana Sapphire mines. Said to be of equal quality to those of Ceylon, Count Von Bergen has been hired to construct the latest in jewelry for the Duchess all bearing prize sapphires. But as honest as his intentions may be, deep down inside he holds a secret that will threaten to topple his plans not only for financial success but in marrying off Phoebe to the Duke has he already chosen.

As compliant to her fathers wishes Phoebe is, she believes she is only doing her part as a woman in keeping the family estate going smoothly. It has always been her father's plans to arrange for the same marriage that he, himself, garnered when he wed Phoebe's mother. After all, women need to understand their role and place in society especially in the titled circles they esteem from. Now he needs to tie up a few loose ends and then arrive back home in Germany in time for Phoebe's arranged wedding. Only problem is, that she is not aware that any plans have been made.

All she knows for certain, is that she has accompanied her father to America to see the famous legends she has only read or heard about. Cowboys and Indians, and the famed wild west. While her father leaves for a few weeks to search out the stones he desires from the Montana mines, Phoebe runs into more than just fate. It appears that the story her father constructed of her mother's ill-fated sinking at sea has been just that, a rumor and a lie. She only realizes it when she runs into a woman who looks eerily like her mother working as a maid in the hotel she is staying at. Now she has a few short weeks to uncover the truth before her father returns and she will have to face him and the lies he has built over these years in her young life. Can God really help her? Has God orchestrated this divine appointment just in the nick of time? What role does Ian Harper have to play as the hired lapidary for her father's sapphire purchase? Only time will tell as it all plays out.

I received A Beauty Refined by Tracie Peterson compliments of Bethany House Publishers and Litfuse Publicity for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation aside from a free copy of this novel in exchange for my honest and unbiased personal opinion. We all have secrets in our family at one time or another, but in this case the lies that Count Von Bergen have constructed is a like a game master choosing precisely how each piece will move in accordance to his desires. The only thing he fails to control however, is what happens when it all doesn't go according to plan? What happens when the only control you think you have is all in your own mind? I love it when the plans of evil are foiled by God as only light can truly uncover darkness. Darkness always exists, it just takes light to cause it to pull back and withdraw. Readers of historical romance and fans of Tracie Peterson's novel will love this recent addition to their own personal library much like I have. This one now squeezes in to my own library and garners a 4.5 out of 5 stars.

For more information about A Beauty Refined, Tracie Peterson or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:


You can find Tracie Peterson on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on A Beauty Refined, please visit Litfuse Publicity's website.


Little does Phoebe know that her father's plans—for the sapphires and his daughter—are not what they seem. If you love historical fiction, romance, and adventure, don't miss Tracie Peterson's A Beauty Refined. When Phoebe meets Ian, everything changes. Yet the more he gets to know her, the more he realizes that her family story is based on a lie—a lie she has no knowledge of. And Ian believes he knows the only path that will lead her to freedom.

Join Tracie in celebrating the release of A Beauty Refined by entering to win her Precious Gems giveaway (details below) and by attending her author chat party on August 9!

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One grand prize winner will receive:
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on 8/9. The winner will be announced at A Beauty Refined Facebook party. RSVP for a chance to connect with Tracie and fellow fans of historical fiction, as well as for a chance to win other 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 9th!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

HCSB The Illustrator's NoteTaking Bible




Seems like the latest trend for Bible readers, is called Bible Journaling. It combines coloring and note-taking into one within your Bible. Rather than simply jotting down notes, readers are doing far more than simply drawing simple pictures in the margins of their Bibles and Bible publishers have taken notice.

I had the chance to review one such incredible Bible for those who love the coloring concept taking over the Bible trends but perhaps may be like me, a bit artistically challenged in defining what they might want to add to their Bible. HCSB or Holman Christian Standard Bible has created The Illustrator's Notetaking Bible. Filled with over 600 images including text designs, images and filigree patterns along with adjoining pages that still provide you the ability to create your own designs or utilize them for note taking as well.



These illustrations are done in a light grey allowing you to personalize them in any way with your own color choices or design elements. There are everything from famous scriptures verses, random doodles, florals or leaves, to detailed elements pertaining to a particular passage or chapter that anyone can design to their own personal artistic tastes.



The Bible comes in a brown leather like cover, with ribbon place holder perfect for keeping track of your daily Bible reading. The illustrations were done by Kristi Smith, an award-winning illustrator and hand-letterer at Juicebox Designs, a graphic design firm in Nashville, TN. Her work can be seen in their online porfolio and retail store, the Juice Bar, located at juiceboxdesigns.com.



The only downside I can see on this, is despite all the markers I have tried, they ALL bleed through even highlighters if used repeatedly, to say highlight a particular passage of Scripture and want to deepen the shade of the color. I would LOVE it, if I could find something that works with the quality of true marker colors and hues, but for now, the only thing that I would recommend is coloring pencils of any brand and maker.



The font size is 7 pt and comes with colored maps at the end, a presentation page if you were to give this as a gift to someone, God's plan of Salvation, Commonly Used Abbreviations, Bullet Notes, Daily Bible Reading Plan and a Concordance. Truly this would make a wonderful gift to anyone who truly loves God's Word and adding a bit of color to their Bible alongside their note-taking. The words of Jesus are not red-lettered and the edges are gold tipped.

I received HCSB The Illustrator's Notetaking Bible compliments of B and H Publishing for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation aside for a free copy of The Illustrator's Notetaking Bible in exchange for my personal and unbiased review of the product. Now all I have to do is manage to pick up another one of these because my 17-year old daughter absolutely has inherited this for her own and even takes along a package of coloring pencils for those times when you arrive early to church and need something to do. Well worth all of the 4.5 out of 5 stars in my opinion. There are two color cover choices, tan or purple so there is one for every member of your family who loves to color!

For more information about HCSB The Illustrator's Notetaking Bible, Kristi Smith or where you can pick up a copy of this Bible today, please click on the links below:


You can find Kristi Smith at the JuiceBox Designs on Facebook. 

To read more reviews on HCSB The Illustrators Notetaking Bible, please visit B and H Publisher's Facebook page. 

Monday, July 25, 2016

Caged No More



Did you know that slavery is still happening in the world today? Human trafficking is the world's fastest growing global crime and that every 30 seconds a child is sold into slavery. Don't just think it's happening in some other country. It is happening in our nation as well. Every year 1.2 million children are sold from the ages of 12 to 18 into human slavery. Makes you wonder about all those kids that go missing. Are they simply part of the human slave trade? Did you realize that parents are often the biggest criminals selling their own children into the human slave trade market? An estimated 27 million people are enslaved worldwide. Slavery is not over, it is still happening and we need to put a stop to it now!

Caged No More takes viewers into the heart of a fictional movie inspired by real events. Aggie (Loretta Devine) Prejean, a grandmother on a desperate search to find her two granddaughters, Skye and Elle, who have been kidnapped by their sinister father (Kevin Sorbo). As the details behind the girls' disappearance begin to unravel, they have been discovered to have been taken overseas to be sold into the sex trade, under the guise of a modeling contest in Greece. Aggie enlists the help of the girls' uncle, a well-respected philanthropist, and his son Wil (Alan Powell), who is a former Special Forces officer. A global hunt ensues, and the team will stop at nothing to see the girls safely returned home.

This is not a family-friendly movie, but it is one that cannot be ignored. For far too long many groups that are working to put a stop to human trafficking, are merely overlooked by the public and media groups. Our goal should be to see this come to a halt, whether it is public and national exposure or even working with our local community groups to do all we can to see this crime exposed for the pure evil it is. It might be your daughter, friend, niece, sister or family member that is sold into the human sex trade. We need to ensure that every church and community sees this film, but more than that, to do our part to help. You can find out more information about human trafficking and how to help at CagedNoMore.com. You can even find the nearest group working to end this in your community.



I received Caged No More compliments of Word Films and Edify Media Inc for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation aside from a copy of this DVD in exchange for my honest and unbiased personal opinion. One thing is certain, we need to spread this message and expose the darkness in this world and see an end to human trafficking once and for all. Every family, church and community needs to see this movie. We need to talk to our daughters and let them know that this is a crime that often goes unreported or falls under kidnapping or missing kids. Who are your kids chatting with online or through social media. It's time we all take a stand and protect our kids. I easily give this DVD a 5 out of 5 stars and encourage everyone to watch it. It is rated PG-13 and runs about 97 minutes.

For more information about Caged No More, Word Films or where you can pick up a copy of this DVD today, please click on the links below:


You can find out more about Caged No More, by visiting their Facebook page.

You can find Word Films on Facebook to stay up to date on all their latest DVD and movie releases.





Friday, July 22, 2016

Watchdog



When you think of the word Scandal, you are probably thinking something to do with Washington right? It is hard especially when you consider everything from the Benghazi murders, to the corruption that seems be never ending at all levels of government. You begin to wonder who is running this country and more and is there truly anyone out there willing to expose the truth?

In the book Watchdog, Darrell Issa, gives readers real stories behind the headlines from the Congressman who exposed Washington's biggest scandals. As I began to read this book, the one thing that really hit home is besides exposing these scandals, what else has been done? I believe more has to be done besides simply exposing this corruption, but it is holding people accountable from the bottom all the way to the top. It seems however that lately those committing this crimes are getting off with nothing more than a hand slap.

While the book Watchdog gives readers more of an inside look at the background of Darrell Issa, along with some of the biggest scandals he was responsible for investigating, it just seems that lately more needs to happen. Working on the Oversight Committee just means that he investigates and attempts to provide information necessary for further charges to be administered, but like most things in Washington, it all gets buried under more red tape.

The book does give you insight into how broad the corruption really is from bribes to money laundering, to uncover what is really happening in the Obama Administration and Hillary Clinton's state department. The one thing you really come to understand is while the truth might be exposed, there are those who will stop at nothing to ensure that these issues never come before the public, while paying off the media to simply look the other way. Makes one wonder if there is any hope for some real change. Guess we owe Nixon a huge apology for the way things were handled today in light of everything happening from Obama Care to the many issues with Hillary Clinton. One thing is certain, while people might want the truth, when it is exposed, nothing happens and that is where the true problem in Washington lies.

I received Watchdog by Darrell Issa compliments of Center Street Publishing, a division of Hachette Book Groups for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation aside from a free copy of this book in exchange for my fair and unbiased personal opinion. I was hoping for more than I honestly got and even though it really dug deep it saddened me as an American citizen to know that all we are seeing now is the tip of the proverbial iceberg. There is so much much more happening that we don't even get to see and part of that is given in this book. The worst part is that is seems like this monster is growing and there seems to be nothing to stop it. What will the world look like in another 10 years is downright frightening. I give this book a 4 out of 5 stars.

For more information about Watchdog, Darrell Issa or where you can pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the links below:


You can find Darrell Issa on Facebook to stay up to date on all his ongoing progress.

To read more reviews on Watchdog, please visit Center Street Publishing's website.


Thursday, July 21, 2016

BugzOff Electric Fly Swatter Racket - Product Review

 
 
I have always been fascinated by Bug Zappers, in fact I begged my husband for one since having one in our backyard many, many years ago, and since moving to the desert, anytime we turn on a light, bugs are inevitably attracted to the light. We have strong LED porch light that we keep on at night and whenever we attempt to enter our home at night, after being out, we have tons of flying creatures we have to duck and avoid just to make it inside our front door.

My dad has an electric bug zapper similar to this one and I really wanted to try it, especially now that summer is here and with all kinds of flying pests whenever you want to eat outside, I thought this might be fun. It takes 2 AA batteries in order to operate the zapper portion of it, and you simply press the red button on the side to activate the device.

Pros: Easy to use, and operate. Adding the batteries can be done without using a screwdriver, just simply put on the battery cover and insert the batteries.

Cons: The portion on my battery cover is extremely sharp and not well made. I can see cutting myself if I don't file it down a bit. Also when I attempted to push the button and swing the device, it sparks without hitting anything randomly. It took almost seven pops of the zapper to kill a simple wasp. I was a bit afraid to set it down on anything since I didn't want anyone to get zapped by it accidentally, since when I set it down the first time on a plastic tub, it zapped without having the button depressed. Not sure I would want this laying around for any child to touch by accident even if you don't depress the button.

Overall, I was NOT impressed by the quality of the product. It feels cheaply made considering other devices out there that do the same thing, and based on the issue I had with it discharging without depressing the button, I would not recommend using it around pets or children. I received the BugzOff Electric Fly Swatter Racket compliments of BugzOff and VIP Power Club for my honest opinion. I did not receive any monetary compensation aside from a free coupon to try the product in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion. Based on the device I received, I would only give this a 3 out of 5 stars in my opinion.
 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Family Tree



I don't think there hasn't been a time or two in anyone's life where they didn't second guess the "What if's in their life." What if I had taken a different job, dated a different person, had kids, not had kids, moved away, followed a dream to the end. Life can sometimes be that paradox for some, as it is in the case of Family Tree by Susan Wiggs.

Annie Rush had a life some would envy but deep down inside, I believe she wishes it was different on many levels. Sure she had her dream of taking a cooking show centered around one "key ingredient" and making it a hit of the same name. Married to an incredibly handsome man, Martin who is also the star of the show, and you'd think you have the definition of success. Just when she thinks she has achieved the proverbial "cherry on top" when she discovers she is pregnant, she rushes off to tell her husband the great news only to discover he has been sleeping with his co-host.

Now that her dreams are coming undone, she also finds herself the victim of an industrial accident only to wake up after being in a coma for a year to have everything over in a nutshell. Her husband has divorced her and moved on taking the cooking show with him, and she has landed up back with her family in Vermont with a fresh start ahead of her. Perhaps this is where she will get to take the road less traveled and get an opportunity at a second chance for happiness in life when she runs into her high-school sweetheart Fletcher. Now it is time to see what the road ahead looks like as she has to begin all over again, despite all the short-comings of her past life.

I received Family Tree by Susan Wiggs compliments of William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins Publishers for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation aside from a free copy of the novel in exchange for my honest review. While this will appeal to some contemporary romance fans, most of my reader base will not like the moral dilemmas facing Annie with her lifestyle choices between Martin and Fletcher's romantic interludes. For this reason, I have given this one a 3 out of 5 stars. Not that situations like this don't happen every day, but for a majority of my readers will not like the sexual content that is covered between the pages of this novel. When reading the premise for this novel I had expected something quite different than what this one delivered for me. This novel does spend quite a bit of time toggling between past and present day for those who might not enjoy that in a novel.

For more information about Family Tree, Susan Wiggs or where you can pick up a copy of this novel due out in August 2016, please click on the links below:


You can find Susan Wiggs on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on Family Tree, please visit William Morrow's website.


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Writey Board Stick On Whiteboard and Markers



If you home school or have a home office, you are sure to have use for a dry erase board and markers. I know for the duration of 11 years I used one for my home school children from everything to spelling tests, to math homework and everything in between. For a busy executive like I have, a monthly dry erase board helps keep track of business meetings, deadlines, travel plans and more. So when I was asked to review Whitey Board Stick On Whiteboard and Markers, I had to try it. I will break it down into two groups, what I liked about each product and what I didn't care for, along with a sum up of the review in conclusion.

Writey Board Stick On Whiteboard and Markers is a blank, monthly dry erase board in a sense that it is a peel off sticky board. You simply peel it off, and apply it where you would love a monthly dry erase board. It does come with warnings to ensure if you have recently painted a surface within 30 days, it might remove the paint and to take caution before using. It also comes with 4 dry erase refillable markers, red, black, green and blue, chisel tips. This was depending on how you use it, you can get a broad or fine edge to your lettering.



Pros: Love the thickness of the dry erase board, if you can call it that, since it is a peel off. It is really study and I could see simply using thumb tacks instead of peeling it off and applying it to use it. Love the blank month and days, so I can simply update it depending on the month. It comes pre-packaged in a cute dry erase marker shape. The colors of the markers are vibrant and clear and don't smell as strong as your typical dry erase markers. The white board measures 2 feet by 3 feet.



Cons: Since it is a peel off and apply dry erase board, you have to be cautious on which surfaces you apply it to, as I mentioned above. Not sure how you might test it in a long term situation, to ensure there is no damage to the surface you apply it to. The markers leak. I was surprised when I opened the cap to the red one and it literally dripped all over the carpet, my jeans and fingers. Not what you want when using a refillable marker. I was pretty happy with the product until that happened. It does wash off easily enough and haven't washed my jeans to see if the red dye comes out since I just tried it today. Since this applies to a surface, caution must be used to ensure you don't wipe off the markers onto the wall when erasing the ink.



Overall, based on the markers, I would rate this product overall a 3 out of 5 stars. I would keep the Writey Board Monthly Calendar and use another set of dry erase markers that don't leak. If you are using them with younger children, these could become a bigger mess than it is worth. I would avoid using these for younger children due to all the precautions mentioned above. I received Writey Board Stick On Whiteboard and Markers compliments of Omni-Deals and Writey Board for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation aside from a Writey Board and Markers to try in exchange for my personal and unbiased review.

For more information about Writey Board Stick On White Board and Markers, please click on the links below: