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Monday, October 20, 2014

When Calls the Heart - Change of Heart



As the series comes to it's close for the first season for When Calls the Heart on the Hallmark Channel, we find our favorite characters on the verge of making some tough choices. In the DVD release of Change of Heart, which includes episode 9 and 10 from the series, we find Elizabeth Thatcher and Jack Thornton finally being able to do what we, the viewers, have been hoping for all along, their first official date and the acknowledgment of those feelings we see just below the surface each time these two find themselves in close proximity of one another. Jack works with Abigail to make preparations to impress Elizabeth and show her just how fond he is of her and to let her know how serious he is about their courtship since their first date took place in the saloon. Jack has definitely stepped up his game and impressed Elizabeth.

But just as Jack believes his personal life is finally moving forward, he receives notice that his request for transfer that he put in when he first arrived in Coal Valley has been approved. Now he is unsure what to do. If he refuses the transfer, it may end his career as constable for the mounties, but if he takes the position, he is unsure how it will impact the courtship he has with Elizabeth and if she will even want to wait for him.

Elizabeth's sister Julie arrives on the stage as a surprise to Elizabeth in hopes of finding out what living out west is truly like. She wasn't planning on finding a wounded man, Nathaniel, in a cabin while out riding, in need of medical attention and secrecy to his condition. He convinces her that he's been trying to get away from being part of the Tolliver Gang that his brother has been forcing him to be a part of. He simply wants a better life away from being a wanted man and trying to start over fresh in hopes of starting a marriage and family if he can find the perfect woman.

Mr Gowan attempts to further his business partnership with Abigail Stanton who runs the cafe in town. Jack tells Abigail that he has discovered that the mining accident that killed most of the men in town, including her husband and son, may not been an accident. It may have been caused by Mr. Gowan cutting a few corners and he hopes to find the evidence to prove it. Abigail takes it upon herself to be the one to do it if she can find a way into Mr. Gowan's office. Soon all three paths will cross and fate may claim more than one life in the process, but it will forever change all of their lives.



I received When Calls the Heart: Change of Heart compliments of Word Films and Edify Media Group 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 has been one of my favorite shows on the Hallmark Channel this year and I love that it is available on DVD. Michael Landon Jr is executive producer on the series inspired by the novels of Janette Oke and is definitely one the entire family can enjoy together. It inspires us that in the face of adversity, hope can still be found in banding together with family and friends. If you LOVED Little House on the Prairie, I would encourage you to check out this series. For me this one easily claims a 5 out of 5 stars.

For more information about When Calls the Heart: Change of Heart, Word Films, or where to pre-order a copy of this DVD that release in December, please click on the links below:


You can find When Calls the Heart on Facebook to stay up to date with all the latest information on the series.

To find out more information about When Calls the Heart, please visit Hallmark Channel's website. 

You can find Word Films on Facebook to learn more about the family entertainment they are providing.


Friday, October 17, 2014

Beauty and the Beet - Giveaway and Review



Taking a lesson straight from the Bible and putting it into terms that kids and even adults will love is what has made Veggie Tales so successful. In the episode Beauty and the Beet, Kelly Pickler guest stars as the voice of Mirabelle, the lead singer of a rising band called the VeggieTunes. As they are working hard at finding new and bigger places to sing, they finally get the break they were hoping for, singing in Vegetable Square Garden. Only in order to get their in time, they will need to take the tour bus on the road during a snow storm. Against their better judgment, they find the road conditions are too hazardous to continue and find lodging at the Alpine Sweets Motel.

When they arrive, they find that the motel is friendly enough but there is only one other guest in the motel. With dreary interiors, they decide to stay for one night but they can only afford one room for seven guests. Bob Tomato stars as the hotel cook who prepares a sumptuous feast but when the guest claim they can't afford it, the Beet, makes his conditions known. No one gets anything free in his motel. Unable to pay for the room or the meal, Beet agrees to let the band work to pay for their stay by cleaning the room and performing for the dinner show.

Along the way, sweet potato Mirabelle soon charms her way into the heart of the Beet, whose love for music helps calm the savage beast inside of him. Mirabelle tries to teach him to sing, but soon his temper gets the best of him, and soon the band agrees that it's time to leave. As they make their way to Vegetable Square Garden, Mirabelle feels like they still have some unfinished business to attend to with the Beet and even though he doesn't deserve it, they should still try and help him out especially when an undercover news team shows up in hopes of showing viewers what a low star motel the Alpine Sweets really is. Will Mirabelle be able to help Beet save his reputation? Or will his temper simply get the best of him again? You'll have to pick this one up to find out.

I received Veggie Tales: Beauty and the Beet compliments of FlyBy Promotions for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions contained here are strictly my own. Having raised my own daughters on Veggie Tales, I couldn't wait to watch this one. It teaches the value of unconditional love utilizing the idea the no matter how people treat us, we can still show them love just like God shows us. There is even another Silly Song with Larry, "Mac and Cheese" which tells the story of the invention of macaroni and cheese. There are 8 songs in this delightful and truly charming DVD from Kelly Pickler that you will find yourself singing long after the movie is over. Plus there are some great bonus features, a Behind the Scenes with Kelly Pickler, Sing Along Songs from the movie, A Very Veggie Jukebox, Downloadable activities and so much more. The DVD is approximately 56 minutes in length and something you know your kids will enjoy and want to watch over and over. I easily give this one 5 out of 5 Veggie Stars!

Now the very best part, thanks to the generosity of FlyBy Promotions and Propeller Consulting, LLC they are offering a giveaway copy of this DVD to one lucky follower of my blog, Reviews From The Heart. Here are your guidelines to enter:

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

2. "Like" Veggie Tales on Facebook.

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

4. Leave a comment below telling me why you'd love to win a copy of Veggie Tales: Beauty and the Beet. Don't forget to include your email address. You can use the words (at) and (dot) instead of the symbols.

I will notify the winner of the giveaway via email when it ends on October 27th. Enter as many times as you wish just be sure to comment each time.

For more information about Veggie Tales: Beauty and the Beet, Big Idea Entertainment or where you can pick up a copy of this DVD today, please click on the links below:


You can find Veggie Tales on Facebook to stay up to date on all their latest movies and fun.

"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 the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

The Daughter of Highland Hall



For fans of Downton Abbey and Jane Austen, you might just want to pick up the latest novel to debut in the Edwardian Brides Series from Carrie Turansky, The Daughter of Highland Hall. I've been in love with the characters from this series since picking up the first novel, The Governess of Highland Hall, and had to patiently wait for this one to be published. I was not disappointed. In fact, I took my time with this one knowing the third novel might not be out until fall of 2015, so I had to make it last. Oh, I was in love again with the characters of Kate Ramsey, the cousin of William Ramsey who is the heir to Highland Hall. Readers of the first novel first met Kate as she struggled to rebel against Julia Foster who at the time was her governess. Now she is engaged to be married to William and for Kate, she has come to understand that despite all the appearances of wealth and notoriety, sometimes love is worth more than a title or an inheritance.

Now that Kate is finally ready for her presentation into society, her sponsor Louisa is doing all she can to ensure that Kate finds a suitable husband that will allow her a much sought after marriage to the right man. But as hard as Kate tries to appease what others think is the best for her, she can't help but to be drawn to Jon Foster, Julia's brother who is working on becoming a doctor in London's East End. Here life is the far extreme from anything Kate has seen, where the poor out populate the rich, and where orphans and widows struggle to find enough to eat and place to sleep at night. Kate struggles to understand the conflict within her heart as she watches those of elite spend lavishly on banquets and parties while those just blocks from them don't have enough to seek proper health care. Jon works with the local doctor to offer a light in this dark places at Daystar clinic, a place where you simply have to pay what you can afford to get seen by a doctor. In the time, that Kate volunteers there with Jon, she finds something that warms more than her heart. A calling on her life and one that goes in complete conflict with what her Aunt Louisa would desire for her.

When the family name is suddenly cast in an unfavorable light due to the actions of William's brother, David, soon Kate realizes how society views those who are related to the news. Even though Kate isn't the one involved, it is merely being judged as guilty by association and all of Kate's social invitations grow cold in the wake of the investigation. Will God reveal Himself to Kate in the presence of things that are transpiring in her life to put a call on her heart that is more than what she could dream for herself and her future? Only time will tell and the results just might surprise you in the end.

I received The Daughter of Highland Hall by Carrie Turansky compliments of WaterBrook Multnomah 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. I absolutely LOVED this novel in part because the characters are so believable. I found myself relating to Kate the most, and wondering how society would react if someone of her social standing suddenly walked away from it all for love. Carrie's writing is superb and gains the respect and favor of traditional regency fans! Now I will simply have to deal with waiting another year for A Refuge at Highland Hall. Not sure what Carrie has planned, but if these two novels are any indicator, it will definitely be a huge success. Hands down another stellar 5 out of 5 stars in my opinion. Just what you would expect in any novel dealing with the Edwardian era, romance and high society among the elite.

For more information about The Daughter of Highland Hall, Carrie Turansky, or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:


You can find Carrie Turansky on Facebook to stay up to date with all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on The Daughter of Highland Hall, please visit Litfuse Publicity's book tour page.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Keepers of the Covenant



When God brought the Israelites through the desert out of Egypt and eventually into the Promised Land, filled with milk and honey, He made a covenant with them. To abide and obey by His laws, the 10 Commandments and to live according to the ways He established for them. As long as they lived as He wanted them, they would receive God's blessings over their land and their lives. But if they failed and went back on their vow to God and instead began to worship the gods of their forefathers, God would lift His hand of protection from them and they would receive His judgment instead. Like their forefathers, the Israelite failed and instead took up the practices of worshiping the false gods and left their one true God. Now that judgment came to their lands and Babylon took possession of their promised land, the people have been exiled in Babylon.

When King Cyrus allowed for them to return to their homeland in Jerusalem, many instead decided to stay and instead continued in their practices of the worshiping of false gods and adhering to the ways of the Babylonian people. This is precisely where Keepers of the Covenant by author Lynn Austin begins. It is the second novel in the Restoration Chronicles and now follows the life of the prophet Ezra at the height of the Jewish people's planned execution by Hamon, the advisor the for King. A decree has been issued to eliminate the entire race of people and once the decree has been issued bearing the King's seal, it cannot be repealed.

Now Ezra is being asked to lead the Jewish people to find an answer for God in how they can survive the coming execution with little less than a year remaining before that happens. While Ezra attempts to search the ancient Torah scrolls for answers, the people begin to wonder just what they can do to ensure their survival. It will truly be a race war between the Jews and the Gentiles as both sides begin to prepare for a one day battle that will pit them against one another unless God, Himself, intervenes and remembers the promise of the covenant He created when He left a remnant of His people behind.

I received Keepers of the Covenant by Lynn Austin 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 contained here are strictly my own. This is such an exceptional book that follows the biblical books of Esther, Ezra, Jeremiah and Nehemiah in breathing life into the struggles that befell the Jewish people that were stuck in exile in Babylon when they refused to leave the first time. It takes you ground level into what it must have felt like on both side as Lynn creates characters to enable you to see things from their point of view, from Devorah and Ezra, Jewish people who love the law of God, and Amina, a crippled Gentile who struggles with finding a place in the city being cast aside by her own family and accepted by an elderly Jewish women Hodaya, who can relate to her in more ways than one. This takes those books of the Bible and expands on them as if you were literally there when it all happened. That is what makes this novel so amazing to read for me. It's historically accurate following the biblical outlines provide from the Bible and casting a set of characters for us to support and follow all the way to the end. Easily a flawless 5 out of 5 stars.

For more information about Keepers of the Covenant, Lynn Austin or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:


You can find Lynn Austin on Facebook to stay up to date with all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on Keepers of the Covenant, please visit Litfuse Publicity's book tour page.


Lynn Austin is back with the next book in The Restoration Chronicles series, Keepers of the Covenant. Austin weaves together the struggles and stories of both Jews and Gentiles, creating a tapestry of faith and doubt, love and loss. Here, the Old Testament comes to life, demonstrating the everlasting hope displayed in God's unwavering love for His people.

Lynn is celebrating with a Kindle HDX giveaway and a live author chat webcast on October 21st.
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One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle HDX
  • Keepers of the Covenant by Lynn Austin
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 21st. Winner will be announced at the Keepers of the Covenant LIVE webcast event on October 21st. Connect with Lynn for a fascinating evening centered around God's unwavering love for His people. She'll be hosting a Biblical fiction book club discussion, giving away prizes, answering your questions, offering an exclusive peek at the next book in The Restoration Chronicles, and much more!

So grab your copy of Keepers of the Covenant and join Lynn and friends on the evening of October 21st for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)
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Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by signing up for a reminder. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 21st!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Land of Dreams



When I had the opportunity to review Land of Dreams by Kate Kerrigan, I really thought this would be a novel I would love. I love novels that take you back to fond times in our history, from WWII, to romance of the glory days of Hollywood in its infancy stages along with struggling to find ways to fit in for immigrants that had come to America searching for a better life. Even the back of the novel offered me a glimpse into something magical that fit the types of novels that I enjoy and find myself coming back to again and again. However this one for me didn't translate over from the premise to the actual story itself. There was a disconnect there I was searching for and never really found.

Being a huge fan of Kate Kerrigan's from Ellis Island, I was hoping for more than what I got by the end of Land of Dreams. Ellie Hogan has been through two marriages in her life time which has resulted in her being a single mother of two boys she didn't give birth to but adopted when their own birth mothers had abandoned them. Neither of the two boys, Leo and Tom were related either. She lives on Fire Island in New York where she makes a living as an Irish impressionist selling her works of art she paints from her time on the island or from her memories in Ireland. Tom, the youngest still lives with her while Leo has been sent to a Catholic boarding school.

She receives a phone call from the school telling her that Leo has simply left school and they fear is headed to California where he went with a schoolmate on vacation and found himself being lured into the magic of being the next rising star by a man he met there. Now Ellie, rushes off to find Leo in hopes of getting him to return home and back to school. When she arrives, she finds 16-year-old Leo in the company of Freddie Dubois, an upcoming agent finding new talent for the movie studios. He believes that Leo will be the next big star to make it to the big screen and has convinced Leo to audition. Ellie is torn between taking Leo back home and realizing that he already lost so much with the death of his father and abandonment of his birth mother, she relents and makes a temporary move to Los Angeles while he tries out. Upon her arrival she has now lost her drive to paint and instead immerses herself in being a full-time mother to Tom, supporting Leo in his career and making her own way in life with the men she meets. She knows she doesn't want to fall in love and get married again, but soon finds the charms of a man named Stan who comes to her aid more than once, a possibility. Soon war is declared and America is now involved with WWII and we see how that plays out for everyone involved including the internment of the Japanese Americans.

I received Land of Dreams by Kate Kerrigan compliments of William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins Publishers for my complimentary copy of this novel. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions included here are strictly mine. I was hoping for more than the novel delivered for me, perhaps dealing with Hollywood a bit more than just a gloss over when Leo was auditioning for the parts, but it was more along the lines of dealing with Ellie as the central character and what that meant as she transitioned to a life she never dreamed of and made the best of for the sake of her children and her friends. There were characters you got introduced to like Freddie, who seemed like filler instead of an actual character we could care about. We see bits of pieces of him through Leo's story but never understood his motivation or why he found himself in places he winds up. Even Leo's story is a bit vague considering Ellie uproots her entire life to chase after him, but he seems like a bit of a ghost in this one. I rate this one a 3.5 out of 5 stars and believe others may have different perspective than what I got. Being a huge fan of old Hollywood and WWII, I was hoping for more than what this one delivered.

For more information about Land of Dreams, Kate Kerrigan, or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:


You can find Kate Kerrigan on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on Land of Dreams, please visit William Morrow's website. 


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Thunder




This week, the


Christian Fiction Blog Alliance


is introducing


Thunder (Stone Braide Chronicles)


Revell (October 7, 2014)

by



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:




Bonnie S. Calhoun is Owner/Director of Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, owner/publisher of Christian Fiction Online Magazine, Northeast Zone Director for American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), and the ACFW ‘2011 Mentor of the Year.”

She loves to write, but it doesn't make her happy unless there are the three B's...body count, blood, and blowing things up. She also has mad skills at coding HTML, and website design. And she lives in a log cabin in the woods with fifteen acres and a pond full of bass, though she'd rather buy fish at the grocery store. Bonnie shares her domain with a husband, a dog, and two cats, all of whom think she’s waitstaff!

Her sites are:

http://bonniescalhoun.com

https://www.facebook.com/bscalhoun

https://www.facebook.com/bonniescalhoun

https://www.goodreads.com/BonnieSCalhoun

http://www.pinterest.com/bonniecalhoun/

https://www.youtube.com/user/BonnieCalhoun



ABOUT THE BOOK



In post-apocalyptic America, Selah Chavez is crouched in long grass on a shore littered with the rusted metal remnants of a once-great city. It is the day before her eighteenth Born Remembrance, and she is hunting, though many people refuse to eat animal flesh, tainted by radiation during the Time of Sorrows. What Selah's really after are Landers, mysterious people from a land across the big water who survive the delirium-inducing passage in small boats that occasionally crash against the shoreline. She knows she should leave the capture to the men, but Landers bring a good price from the Company and are especially prized if they keep the markings they arrive with.

Everything falls to pieces when the Lander Selah catches is stolen by her brothers--and Selah wakes up the next morning to find the Lander's distinctive mark has suddenly appeared on her own flesh. Once the hunter, Selah is now one of the hunted, and she knows only one person who can help her--Bohdi Locke, the Lander her brothers hope to sell.





With evocative descriptions of a strange new world that combines elements of scientific advances, political intrigue, and wilderness survival, Bonnie S. Calhoun weaves a captivating tale of a world more like our own than we may want to admit.


You can read Tremors, the prequel to the series for FREE on Amazon HERE.



If you'd like to read the first chapter of Thunder (Stone Braide Chronicles), go HERE




The Promise



The one thing Mallory Hammond knows is that she vowed to save a life when the promise she made to her cousin at 17, was over rulled by her parents and left her cousin to die when they refused to let her donate a kidney. Now it is the first item on her bucket list and now that she is older, she can make those decisions for herself even if her parents object. When she tries to donate her kidney years later, she is determined to have a genetic disposition for pre-diabetes that once again robs her of the desire to help someone and fulfill the promise she made so many years ago. Tate Webber has hoped that some day he and Mallory might get married but until she is able to fulfill her promise she will keep Tate at arms length and refuse to make plans to get married.

When she learns that a child suffering from leukemia in Pakistan, a niece to the man she works for Ismail at his office, she believes this may in fact be the last opportunity to save a life. With little time left for Majida to get treatment to come to the United States, Ismail and Abdul are convinced the only way to expedite things in time is to find someone to marry Abdul in name only, and allow Majida and Abdul to be able to travel to the United States for treatment. Now if they can only convince Mallory. Fortunately Abdul knows just what will motivate Ismail to help convince Mallory to come to Pakistan and marry him and that will mean threatening his future fiance' Soraya with harm. It is a fear that Ismail has lived under long since leaving his own country, but the hand of his family and father can make it more than just a threat but reality as well.

When things between Tate and Mallory seem to go south in terms of their relationship, Ismail knows just the time to ask Mallory if she might consider helping Majida get treatment to save her life, since the medical care in Pakistan is limited and not likely to help her survive. For Mallory feeling like she has no options left to fulfill her promise agrees to talk to Abdul over the phone to see what they can work out and come to an agreement. Mallory knows if she tells her family or Tate what she is considering, neither of them will support her decision. So she decides to take a risk that may lead to more than she is bargaining for.

I received The Promise by Beth Wiseman compliments of Thomas Nelson Publishers 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 is based on real life events from a friend close to Beth Wiseman who found herself in similar circumstances when she fell for an offer of marriage to a Muslim man and found herself being held against her will. It conveys how very different the two cultures are and how often women are misled to make the trip to foreign countries only to find themselves trapped and unable to return. A very chilling reminder to be a warning to women who may be considering the very same thing as Mallory. It conveys just how different it can be in two very different countries and just because you maintain citizenship in the United States, you lose much of that control being married in a Muslim country now controlled by your husband. I rate this one a 4.5 out of 5 stars and applaud Beth for sharing this story that may help other women from making these same mistakes in their own lives.

For more information about The Promise, Beth Wiseman or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:


You can find Beth Wiseman on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on The Promise, please visit Litfuse Publicity's book tour page.