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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Remember Me

Penelope Wilcox is the author of Remember Me, the sixth book in The Hawk and Dove series where the reader is immersed into the life of William de Bulmer, a monk of the St. Alcuin who falls in love with Abbot John's sister Madeline and we open the book to find him finally confessing his love and true feelings for her. In this part of the series, we get a more in-depth look at what the life of a monk is like through the eyes of William and it's not always an easy one but this shows his true life struggles with despair, pride and humility pertaining to his feelings towards not only Madeline, but also toward the church and his devotion to serving God.

William also has to come to terms with the loss of the abbey's money that he finds himself solely responsible. How does one deal with these feelings when he is supposed to be walking a narrow path serving God? Is he truly cut out for the life of a monk after all, or will he simply choose to deal with the consequences of his actions and leave his faith entirely for love? I would recommend picking up the first book in this series dealing with William de Bulmer to see why the character is at the place he is when this novel opens. I think it would provide a more solid foundation of the storyline and character development than to simply pick this one up and try to follow along through the tidbits you glean as you read through the book. The first book, The Hardest Thing To Do is followed by The Hour Before the Dawn and these book have been previously well received through other reviews.

I received this book compliments of Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for my honest review and seeing the storyline develop for the character of William, I am hoping to go back and begin this series from the first book to get a better idea of where this novel falls into place. As a stand alone, I rate this one a 3 out of 5 stars but hope to increase this after reading the entire series.

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Remember Me
Crossway Books (July 31, 2012)
Penelope Wilcock


PENELOPE WILCOCK is a full-time author living in Hastings, Sussex, on the southeast coast of England. Her blog, Kindred of the Quiet Way, is about a simple and spiritual Christian lifestyle. Her other books in The Hawk and the Dove series are The Hawk and the Dove, The Wounds of God, and The Long Fall.


Remember Me is the third of a trilogy of books focusing on the character of William de Bulmer, his conversion of life and heart, and the flowering of his ability to love. After the brothers of St. Alcuin take William into the abbey (in The Hardest Thing to Do), he falls in love with Abbot John’s sister (in The Hour Before Dawn) and now has accidentally lost all of the abbey’s money (Remember Me). Seasoned author Penelope Wilcock unlocks the story of one man’s struggles, mistakes, and heart’s longings, and traces the possibility of what it means to get things wrong and begin again. As with each novel in this series, the reader is encouraged to explore a universal aspect of the Christian faith—in this case, the cost of allowing God to do what is necessary to make one whole.

If you would like to read a chapter excerpt of Remember Me, go HERE.

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway (July 6, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1433526638
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433526633

Monday, July 30, 2012

15 Seconds ~ Giveaway and Review

What would you do if you arrived in town heading for your hotel and you got lost? What if you wound up at a busy intersection facing a one way street and you would be going in the wrong direction if you went through it? What if you decided instead of taking the wrong way onto a dead end street and turned left instead on a red light and suddenly found yourself with flashing red and blue lights in your rear view mirror of your rental vehicle? What if the police officer pulled you over and instead of simply listening to your story, wrote you a ticket not only for running a red light, driving without insurance and driving the wrong way on a one way street? What would you do?

I think you'd probably wonder just where the hidden cameras were or if you were having a bad dream and kept wondering when you were going to wake up right?

What if it only got worse, that instead of merely accepting the ticket, you decided to argue with the cop because you didn't really do any of those things except maybe the red light issue. So now Officer Martinez asks you to get out of the car and tells you that you're under arrest for obstructing an officer from doing his job and now the entire police force shows up. After a few minutes, they decide that perhaps they have been a bit too harsh with you and offer to give you just the red light ticket after all and all the police buddies leave. Whew, right? You'd be glad to sign that one and get on your merry way, but then a car pulls up and shoots the police officer point blank and leaves him dead. Now what would you do? You know all those local police boys know that the only person Officer Martinez was with was you and you were a bit upset by all this. Would you call 911 or would you flee?

Well now you are in the shoes of Dr. Henry Steadman, a local plastic surgeon who decided to do both and is now on the run from the cops and his life will only grow more interesting in the latest novel by Andrew Gross, 15 Seconds!!! This is a heart-stopping, edge of your seat thrill ride from the very first page and one that you won't be able to put down until you finish your final page.

I received 15 Seconds by Andrew Gross compliments of TLC Book Tours and William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins Publishers for my honest review. I have to say I inhaled this one. I was turning pages as fast as I could read to see what could possibly happen to Dr. Steadman and how was he going to deal with being framed after killing a local police officer. Now the man hunt is on and what you and Dr. Steadman will want to know is who it is and why is this all happening? A truly exciting suspense filled book at weighs in at a perfect 5 out of 5 stars. There is some profanity in the book in regards to a couple of the characters in the book that he encounters but overall a great novel!!!

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

You can also read more reviews from this book tour, by clicking here.

Thanks to the generous folks at TLC Book Tours, I am giving away a copy of this book to one lucky reader and here's all you need to do to enter:

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

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

3. "Like" my Facebook page, Reviews From The Heart. If you've already done that, then leave me a comment on my Facebook page letting me know you were there.

4. Leave a comment below telling me what you would do if this scenario presented itself to you. Don't forget to leave your email address as well so I can notify you if you're the lucky winner. You can use the words (at) and (dot) instead of the symbols.

The giveaway will end on August 6th and I will notify the winner via email. So please don't forget to include it with your comments. I will also be posting it to my Reviews From The Heart Facebook page.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Love Finds A Way

I love it when you find a unique book that gives you more than what you were expecting and I find this in Wanda Brunstetter's novel, Love Finds A Way. This is a beautiful collection of three short romance stories that capture the essence of finding love in a wide variety of circumstances and offers hope when you think you have just about given up hope in finding love.

In the first story, Blueberry Surprise, we meet a widow, Loren Patterson who has spent the last year getting over the death of her husband Ron who was killed in a tragic motorcycle accident. Now living with her in-laws, she has been working two jobs to make ends meet while she put her husband through medical school and now is trying to pay off all the medical bills. She has given up the prospect of finding love again and spends most of her evenings working as a waitress at Farmen's Restaurant in Seattle, Washington. Taking the advice of her friend Chris and her mother-in-law, Ann, she returns to college to pursue her own education at Bay View Christian College as a music teacher. Evan Bailey is doing the same thing with his own life since leaving the Airforce and is now looking to further his own education at Bay View as a child counselor and hopes to also someday find a sweet Christian wife. In the meantime, he spends his evenings sampling online recipes in hopes that adding cooking to his skills will make him a marketable husband. Will they find the perfect recipe for love?

In the second story, Grandma's Doll, Shelia Nickels has come to Casper,Wyoming as her Grandmother prepares to sell her house and move into Mountain Springs Retirement Center. She tells Shelia to visit her home one final time and take anything she wants from the house before it's sold and she knows exactly what she is looking for. As she heads to the attic to begin her search, she discovers the treasure she is searching for, is missing, a Bye-Lo baby that was her favorite when she visited her grandparents house as a young child. When she asks her Grandmother about it, she learns it was sold to The Older the Better Antique Shop across town now owned by Dwaine Woods. It just so happens that fate intervenes today when her grandmother asks Dwaine to stop by to appraise a piano she needs to sell and he and Shelia will discover that there are more than material treasures to be found if they are only willing to look hard enough. Will they discover the true treasures of the hearts?

In the final story in this novel, Matchmaker 911, Wendy Campbell is the town of Plumer's barber after taking over from her father, Wayne, who has succumbed to the effects of old age and severe rheumatoid arthritis and she finds herself wondering if a woman working in a predominately man's world is really such a good idea since having so many guys at the shop trying to make a play for her only made things worse. Now she spends her time caring for her father at home. But her father wants to see her with a man of her own to care for and a social life besides running the shop and caring for him. However when she hears a siren and realizes it stopping at her house, she panics knowing her father is at home. Kyle Rogers is the responding paramedic who helped her father out at the hospital before and what is finds when he arrives will be an adventure of a life time.

I received Love Finds A Way by Wanda Brunstetter compliments of Barbour Publishing and Net Galley for my honest review and I have to say I love books like this one. They have so much in them that you truly feel like you're getting a deal having three wonderful Christian romance stories all in one novel. Each one is unique and shows how God works in the details to bring healing, hope and love back into the lives of people who feel they have to accept things they way they are instead of something so much more. I rate this book a true 5 out of 5 stars!

For more information on Love Finds A Way, Wanda Brunstetter or where to pick up a copy of this modern day romance collection today, please click on the links below:

You can learn more about Wanda by becoming a follower of hers on Facebook or by visiting her website.

Friday, July 27, 2012

A Simple Thing

I am so excited when I find books that really speak to the heart of things I had to endure in my personal life before I found God and this is the perfect example, A Simple Thing by Kathleen McCleary. The subject matter is true to life in this imperfect world but yet the story speaks volumes to those of us hurting in so many different ways, that it doesn't have to stay that way. There is hope and there are ways to deal with those extremely painful times and move forward.

Sounder Island is that place for two remarkable women who come to this isolated island for a much more simple life, a place for solitude and a place to deal with things in their own way. Susannah Delaney is having issues in three very different but understandable ways. Her daughter, Katie at 14 is pulling away from her overly controlling mom by sneaking out late at night, attending parties her mother knows nothing about and drinking while seeing a older boy that both parents know is influencing her in negative ways to rebel. When her drinking gets out of hand, almost killing her, Susannah feels that a change in environment is the cure. Her youngest son, Quinn is the subject of being bullied and when he comes home from school, badly beaten up, she feels her decision to move the family to Sounder Island is the right one.

However for two very active kids, they aren't looking forward to complete isolation on the island at a cottage with no electricity, indoor plumbing and living off the land. Yet is Susannah doesn't take action, she believes she will lose one, if not both of her children to a lifestyle she can't control. However, her husband Matt, doesn't believe that running away with the kids is the answer, but Susannah is firmly convinced that the next 9 months will be life-saving to her kids. If Matt won't support her, she'll go anyway. So she pulls the kids out of school and makes plans to rent a cottage and live there until the end of the school year.

Betty Pavalak has moved to the island as well to avoid a very painful past. When her husband Bill wanted a change of pace from his day to day, nine to five, life style, he attempted to convince Betty to move to Alaska so he could pursue a life of a fisherman and provide a more stable financial life for them, but Betty didn't want to give up her family, friends or her job, for the excitement Bill wanted in Alaska. But when she miscarries three of her children, she wonders if a change of pace might just be the thing to restore the distance between her and Bill. However when she compromises and settles for a life in Sounder Island instead, Bill is content, but his commitment to his marriage wavers and Betty soon learns that Bill is having an affair. She doesn't know what to do anymore and feels that she can't live with Bill any longer but doesn't want to divorce him either, now that she learns she is pregnant again. Will she be able to find the peace and love she so desperately needs?

I received A Simple Things by Kathleen McCleary compliments of William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins Publishers for my honest review and I have to say, this book captivated me in a different way than I thought possible. It takes a hard look at the unfortunate set of circumstances each of these women have been dealt in life, and shows you how each of them weathered through them to get to the other side. While faith is rarely mentioned, it does portray each set of problems in very real ways in my opinion. While the choices are not easy made, they do move forward at their own pace, dealing with a wide range of emotions that really tugs on your heart strings. I could relate to so many of their issues, even though teenage drinking wasn't an issue for me. This is a very real and believable book that I think women can honestly relate to. For that reason, I give this a 5 out of 5 stars. While I don't condone the decisions some of these women made, its the believability and vulnerability of the characters, Kathleen McCleary creates that I enjoyed the most and I loved how the story is told from both Betty and Susannah's perspectives in alternating chapters.

For more information on this book, the author and where you can pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the links below:

ISBN: 9780062106230; ISBN10: 0062106236; Imprint: William Morrow Paperbacks ; On Sale: 7/24/2012; Format: Trade PB; Trimsize: 5 5/16 x 8; Pages: 304; $14.99; Ages: 18 and Up; BISAC1:FIC044000

You can also click here to read an excerpt from Kathleen's Facebook page or you can visit her website by clicking here.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Pillsbury Baguette Chips Review and Giveaway Prize Pack

Looking for ways to spice up your snacking routines? Pillsbury knows just how you feel and wants to awaken your taste buds with their new Pillsbury® Baguette Chips! These hearty chips are sliced from oven baked bread and topped with savory seasonings bringing the unique and contemporary flavors of Italian Cheese & Herb and Cheddar Sun-dried Tomato to gourmet snack chips. The delicious flavors and perfect texture of these crispy chips can help you round out any recipe.

  • Enjoy Pillsbury Baguette Chips for a wide range of occasions: eat them alone, add a bit more flavor to your favorite dip, spice up soup, or add some crunch to your salad!
  • With 130 calories per serving (21 baguette chips), and 50% less fat than regular potato chips*, Pillsbury Baguette Chips are delicious snack chips that you can feel good about eating!

If that’s not enough to get your mouth watering, then check out these delicious chips for yourself. To download a printable coupon for $0.75 off one package, you can visit today!

*Pillsbury Baguette Chips (5g fat per 29g serving); regular potato chips (11g fat per 29g serving). See nutrition information for sodium content.

So when General Mills through MyBlogSpark provided me with an opportunity to try this incredible product, I knew I had to try this one for my honest opinion. I can't tell you how much my family has really enjoyed them, especially my husband who claimed all three packages of the Italian Cheese & Herb ones for himself. The rest we took to the beach for a day of great snacks that my teenage girls 13, 14, and 19 all enjoyed!

These are great in soups as a substitute for crackers or in salads in lieu of croutons! I absolutely love the flavors that both of these Baguette Chips provide. Now comes the super exciting part. I get to share a gift pack with one lucky reader of my blog. Here are your details:

1. You must be a follower of my blog, Reviews From The Heart.

2. Leave me a comment below telling me how you will plan to use the Pillsbury Baguette Chips to spice up your snacking routine. Don't forget to include your email address. You can use the words (at) and (dot) instead of the symbols, but without it, I can't contact you if you're the lucky winner.

3. "Like" my Facebook page, Reviews From The Heart and leave me a comment. If you've already "Liked" my page, just leave me a comment.

I will notify the winner of the giveaway on August 3rd, so be sure to tell everyone you know! Here's what you will win:

    Your gift pack will contain:
  • (3) Bags of Pillsbury Baguette Chips in Italian Cheese & Herb
  • (3) Bags of Pillsbury Baguette Chips in Cheddar Sundried Tomato

For more information on Pillsbury Baguette Chips, please click on the links below:

Pillsbury's Website or Pillsbury's Facebook page.

You can also get a coupon for 75¢ when you buy ONE PACKAGE any flavor 7 OZ. OR LARGER Pillsbury® Baguette Chips by clicking here to print your coupon!

Nephilim: The Remnants

In the lands of Lore, an ancient evil is rising up once again to take over the kingdoms and force people into a life of submission to Count Vladimir, the evil ruler who wants to usher in an age of darkness. He will stop at nothing including using his wizard Maylor and Lord Geremy, the Black Knight of Arteah who is a Nephilim, part man, part angel according to the ancient lore of the old books.

When the evil armies begin to consume the towns one by one in the dark of night, they kill any not wanting to join their army and burn all the books to prevent the spread of knowledge to those educated enough to understand their power, especially one book in particular. When Lord Geremy learns that his men are killing innocent women and children, he stops one before they can complete their mission. As the mother of a young boy named Max lay dying, she bestows upon his one of the most ancient books who power is contained in the words that lay inside the covers.

Now King Aeldor of Avolon realizes that he must unite with the other kingdoms left remaining if they are to stand any chance of winning against the evil running through the lands, and he requests that Sir Daniel, the great son of Henders accompany his daughter, Princess Johanna to the land of Etheria to personally ask for their help. They know if the children grow up unlearned without the wisdom of the books, they will all be reduced to controllable slaves, and plunge all the lands of Arteah into Count Vladimir's dark rule.

Will Sir Daniel be able to successfully complete his task as a Holy Knight fighting for good or will the darkness and evil of Count Vladimir and his minions finally rule all the lands?

In the novel Nephilim: The Remnants by David A. Henderson the reader is taken into an ancient medieval time where the Nephilim, an ancient species of half man, half fallen angel, possessing immortality and super human strength from the Bible (Genesis 6:4), are working with Count Vladimir to take over the kingdoms of the land and bring about a true dark age. Meanwhile Sir Daniel, one of the few remaining Holy Knights of old, knows that without his help, evil stands a good chance at success.

I received this novel compliments of David A. Henderson and Christian Fiction Book Reviews for my honest review. This is a book geared for young adults from 11 and up who are looking for a great Biblical fantasy story when the hero consults with his King, the Lord God, through prayer and laced with scripture throughout the story, your child is in for a true treat! I love the idea of the author incorporating a character type from the Bible that many overlook and give a rare glimpse at a fictional account most have never heard of until reading this book. I rate this one a 5 out of 5 stars and consider this to be an outstanding alternative for children looking for a great medieval fantasy fiction that is truly biblical based!

For more information on this book, the author and where to pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the link below:

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Kingdom

This book is the epic conclusion to the Chiveis Trilogy and if you haven't read the first two books in the series, I would highly recommend doing so before picking this one up. It's like reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy and beginning with the Return of the King, you have to struggle a bit to understand it but you would enjoy it more to read it from the beginning to understand where our main characters Teofil and Anastasia are at during this leg of the story.

Overall, I really enjoy this genre of Christian books, much like those who enjoy The Chronicle of Narnia or The Lord of the Rings will enjoy this series as well from author Bryan M. Litfin. This book is based on a post-nuclear earth where everything has been destroyed. All modern technology is gone and the world is forced back into a medieval age where horses, swords and bows and arrow are required to survive.It's almost like it's before the world was created but it is based in the future. Teo and Ana are searching for information on the god, Deus, since very little information has been written on him. This is basically the God of our time, when they met with a man named Popa of Roma who has a version of the book known as the Old Testament but what is missing is the New Testament. However when this gets destroyed, a battle begins between those who want to keep that knowledge a secret and those who want to discover what they are trying to hide. In order to do that, they must figure out what was in the missing text and how that may impact the world they are trying to save.

I received The Kingdom by Bryan M. Litfin compliments of Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for my honest review and have to say, I enjoyed this one more than the first two. It was an incredible conclusion to this series and I can't wait to read more from Bryan in the future. He really creates characters that the readers can relate to and it's nice to know that there are more Christian alternatives for readers that enjoy this type of fantasy fiction. I would rate this one a 5 out of 5 stars!

For more information on The Kingdom, Bryan M. Litfin and where to pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the links below:

You can also become a follower of Bryan's on Facebook by clicking here.

To read more reviews from this book tour, click here.

The Book of Tomorrow

I initially jumped at the idea of reading this book, based on this synopsis from the back cover, " Lonely and bored, Tamara's sole diversion is a traveling library. There she finds a large leather bound book with a gold clasp and padlock, but no author name or title. Intrigued she pries open the lock, and what she finds takes her breath away - for what is written inside is not only impossible and's her future." Sounds like a perfect book to me. What I discovered however lacked the motivation to get me through reading one boring page after another.

So many times, I set this one aside trying to find a reason to pick it up and finish it, much like a meal I know I should eat, but because it lacks in flavor, I find it difficult to attempt a second time. However, pushing through each chapter was lacking in what drives a reader to continue reading. I found it lacked in virtually every area.

The book begins with the suicide of Tamara Goodwin's father who left the father piled in debt and now is being forced out of their home when it's foreclosed on. Rather than face his responsibilities, he took his own life, leaving Tamara and her mother, who lived in an opulent and luxurious lifestyle now forced to living with her aunt and uncle who don't seem to care much other than it's their duty to take family in. Her Uncle speaks in mucus snorts, nods and grunts and her Aunt is so completely consumed in her OCD world, that Tamara is forced to find something to do outside of the home. She is snobby, spoiled and is very vocal on her displeasure with how her life turned out. Your typical spoiled rich girl losses everything and now has to deal with life, type of story.

Her mother is consumed with despair at losing her husband, unbelief that he left them destitute and is now residing with her family to make ends meet. She doesn't seem to care that she still has a daughter who needs her care other than finding them a place to live. Tamara's reckless lifestyle before all this happened with promiscuous sexual encounters, drinking and party's with her rich and wealth friends, made me want to leave this book sitting on the nearest counter and hope never to pick it up again. The only good thing about this particular book was it did end. However that being said, there are some readers that would probably enjoy this book, but for me, this one did not appeal to the book lover in me. I was hoping for more, considering I did enjoy this author's novel, P.S. I Love You but it wasn't something I enjoyed at all.

I received The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern compliments of William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins Publishers for my honest review and I'd have to rate this one a 1 out of 5 stars based on my own personal standards listed on my book review criteria. Readers may be warned that this book does contains strong language and sexual content. I would also caution you that you might want to check out other reviews before making a decision to read this book. Remember that not all books appeal to all types of readers and it's hard when I have to make a tough decision like this to write an honest review based solely on my own personal opinion of what I thought of the novel.

For more information on this book, the author and where to pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the link below:

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling

This is not your Disney water color fairy tale, but something much darker along the lines of the Grimm fairy tales when you open the cover of Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling by Michael Boccacino. You are immediately taken back to the Victorian age and the writing is unremarkable and polished as the writer takes you back to a sinister event, the piercing scream of a women in the dark of night. Charlotte Markham has awakened from a bizarre dream with her dead parents and a Christmas ball, not knowing if the scream she has heard is real or not. As she begins investigating the house at night, she is called downstairs by the staff and learns that Nanny Prum has been violently murdered in the forest. When they question the Constable Brickner's findings he truly believes no man is capable of this act and resolves the answer to an animal killing her. However, Charlotte's friend Suzanna witnessed a man in black hovering over the body and believes he is the one who committed the murder.

It seems that Charlotte has a bit of history with the man in black who appears whenever death has been near, first with her father, then with her late husband Jonathan and now the sighting of him near Nanny Prum's body. Hired as a governess to work for Mr. Darrow, who has also lost his wife, Lily, Charlotte now assumes the role of carrying for the young children, Paul and James since Nanny Prum's death. Charlotte is warned by the housekeeper, Mrs. Norman that she tried to warn Nanny Prum of her fate and now warns her that she must be watchful and keep her eyes open as well, but offers no explanation as to why. It seems that death is watching over the house of Everton and with it keeping those inside bound to a half life, one between the living and mourning over the loss of those who have died.

One afternoon during a worrisome day of teaching, Charlotte invites to boys to take to drawing or writing prose about one of their dreams which provides her an insight she never truly imagined before. James, the youngest, draws a picture of the Spider Queen whom he tells Charlotte, lives under his bed eating goblins that would seek to torment him. When she inquires that that should be a good thing, he replies, that she gets mad at him. When she pushes even further, he tells her that he is gathering parts of her silver strands of web to save his mother.

Paul, the oldest, explains that his drawing is of a map showing the forest at the edge of their property. Beyond that lies an orchard and a house with he believes his mother waits for them. Charlotte realizes that both of these boys are still dealing with the death of their mother in remarkably different ways and when challenged by James to follow the map, she doesn't see any harm in showing them that dreams don't bring back the dead. Until as they begin to follow the map beyond the forest, where a misty fog lies that blocks out the sun, an orchard and The House of Darkling await them all.

I received Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling by Michael Boccacino compliments of William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins Publishers for my honest review. This is a dark fictional book where the worlds of life and death literally lay buried in the fog and where the middle ground between the two world lies ripe for a war for human souls. I love the writing style of Michael Boccacino who has used his own experiences with the death of his mother and the way he dealt with the grief as his inspiration for the writing of this novel. I rate this one a 4 out of 5 stars and can't wait to read more books from him in the near future.

For more information on this book, the author and where to pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:

ISBN: 9780062122612; ISBN10: 0062122614; Imprint: William Morrow Paperbacks ; On Sale: 7/24/2012; Format: Trade PB; Trimsize: 5 5/16 x 8; Pages: 320; $14.99; Ages: 18 and Up; BISAC1:FIC000000

You can also learn more about Michael Boccacino by visiting his website here.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Wedded To War

"No one knows, who did not watch the thing from the beginning, how much opposition, how much ill-will, how much unfeeling want of thought, these women nurses endured. Hardly a surgeon whom I can think of, received or treated them with even common courtesy. Government had decided that women should be employed, and the army surgeons - unable, therefore, to close the hospitals against them - determined to make their lives so unbearable that they should be forced in self-defence to leave. It seemed a matter of cool calculation, just how much ill-mannered opposition would be requisite to break up the system.

Some of the bravest women I have ever known were among this first company of army nurses. They saw at once the position of affairs, the attitude assumed by the surgeons and the wall against which they were expected to break and scatter; and they set themselves to undermine the whole thing." ~ Geogeanna Woolsey, written in 1864

Anyone who has benefited from the Red Cross owes a nod of gratitude to the United States Sanitary Commission, the forerunner of one of today's most recognized charitable organizations.

The Sanitary Commission set up supply stations and hospitals, hired nurses, collected donations, sent inspectors to Union hospitals (to evaluate hygiene conditions that directly affected men's health), and taught troops in camp how to cook food properly to prevent the spread of disease. They also organized and staffed a fleet of hospital ships both in the eastern and western theaters of war.

Though Wedded to War by Jocelyn Green is a work of fiction, the story inspired by one Sanitary Commission nurse, Georgeanna Woolsey, whose letters and journals, written 150 years ago, offer a thorough look of what pioneering women nurses endured during those turbulent times. Charlotte Wavely is only 28, hardly of age to apply for the nursing program she had seen an advertisement for in the paper, but since trying to find a husband has proved futile, she longs for a way to contribute to the war efforts besides merely gathering medical supplies. While she knows her mother would not approve, she applies for the program anyway and is more than surprised to be accepted by Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, one of the first women to become a doctor.

Phineas Hastings however, has plans to wed Charlotte and when he proposes, he expects her not only to accept his proposal but to also give up the notion to join the nursing program and learn to be a proper wife. So when Charlotte refuses to accept, he seems convinced to win her at any cost.

Caleb Lansing has been a close childhood friend to Charlotte and even helped her care for her ailing father when he came down with cholera until he passed away despite all their best efforts. Now after he has completed all his medical training, he has joined in the war in an effort to keep Charlotte off his mind, but no matter what he does, he can't give up the notion that he is truly in love with her. His only hope is the written letters Charlotte sends him to remind him a bit of the life he has left behind and learns she is training to become a nurse. While one man demands his way, another one encourages her to use the gifts God has given her, yet her heart is torn between the two. Will Charlotte's heart, survive the war long enough to find true love?

I received Wedded to War by Jocelyn Green compliments of Christian Fiction Blog Alliance and River North Publishing for my honest review. I am a huge fan of history and never before really understood just how difficult it was for women to help out in the war simply by becoming nurses, something you would think men would whole heartily accept since they are natural caregivers, but through the historical research Jocelyn Green did, you learn that this wasn't an easy path for women to follow. It took more than strong stomachs to endure the horrors of what they had to deal with along with a strong determination to stand their grounds against male stereotypes that did their best to discourage them in ever way possible. I rate this one a 5 out of 5 stars and a must read for anyone interested in the roles women played during the Civil War. Even though this is a fictional novel, it's a real as it gets based on the facts and research Jocelyn did to make this one as believable as if you were right there in the trenches with them.

For more information on Wedded to War, Jocelyn Green or where to pick up book 1, in the Heroines Behind the Lines Series, click on the links below:

You can also read more reviews from this book tour, by clicking here.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Monumental: In Search of America's Treasure

I had the rare opportunity to capture on my DVR, Kirk Cameron's new documentary, Monumental: In Search of America's Treasure and let me assure you, I can bet this will NOT be seen on the Discovery Channel or the History Channel or even debated on any of the major networks because it goes against everything happening in our government today including how we arrived at the current economic crisis we find ourselves faces with today. It's also one that liberals and those in the government would prohibit from being shown but if you truly value the truth that this country was founded on, I would seriously encourage you to watch this for yourself, do some of the research on the things sited and answer the question yourself, is there an answer to get ourselves out of the mess this country is in right now? Is the government the answer? Or is the answer to our world-wide dilemma much simpler than we ever thought possible?

I challenge you to watch this documentary and decide for yourself. The documentary itself opens with Kirk Cameron asking the question I think every person in this country is asking themselves and especially us as Christians, is this world going to hell in a handbasket? Why aren't we doing anything about it? Some merely sit back with an attitude that if the world is going into chaos, isn't it good because it simply means Jesus is coming back sooner than we had anticipated? If that is the case and as Christians, we sit back and actively do nothing to stop it, isn't this then becoming a self-fulfilled prophecy? This is perhaps the best line in the film for me as a Christian to sit up and take notice. We have the power to change it, despite what our current government may want to tell us, that this is a nation, the United States, that was founded on Christian (Biblical-based) principles, it always has been and it's been changed along the way.

The documentary begins where the birth of America began with the Pilgrims coming to this country and what their true purpose was in coming here. Kirk takes a trip back to England and talks with an English historian to learn about what their religious beliefs were and what was happening in their country during this time. I caution you, this is NOT the stuff I was taught in school and found it so interesting. It is in fact, what my daughter is learning in her home school/charter school class however, and thus provides the foundation for the drive for the Puritans to leave England under the power the Catholic church was demanding as the government for the King at that time. (Funny isn't it, how church and state at that time, were working as one, however not as God designed, as man had a need for power and greed).

Kirk than heads for Holland because due to the beliefs of the Puritans, they were considered outlaws since they were going against the beliefs of the church at the time, not against the beliefs of the Bible and they were wanted men. We then learn after 12 years of learning about God's word in the only place that they could find religious freedom, they went back to England, hired out two ships, the Mayflower and the Speedwell, but when the later ship cracked they had to go back. Only half of the citizens were able to set sail on the Mayflower and arrived 8 weeks later in America.

I won't get into more of the movie at this point so you can enjoy your own discovery but I did love knowing about the National Monument to the Forefather in Plymouth, referred to in the documentary as the Matrix of Liberty, built 130 years ago as a way for America never to forget how this nation began and the principles that would work to help our country get back on track should it ever begin to fall apart. You can learn more about this incredible monument here. This the blue print to restore America and one I never heard about until today and am astounded that I never learned this as part of our American History.

This is such an powerful movie that I would encourage every single person to watch this and see for themselves just where we fell short and why we are in the mess we are in today. Why violence in the schools is running out of control; why our constitution and laws from our forefathers are being questioned and redefined; why our education system is failing and why what our kids are being taught is out of our hands; why our country that was once blessed and prosperous is rapidly falling apart at the seams. Isn't this worth a look at to judge for yourselves?

My review of this documentary is based on my honest opinion and I received no compensation for my review from any one in regards to this documentary but it is one I think every single Christian American should be watching. We still have it in our power to change things. We don't have to sit back on our hands while the government does nothing but steer us in the wrong direction. God gave us a plan and it's time to rise together and begin with our families. To educate them, to raise up a generation that will pick up the pieces before it all falls apart and we should be willing to do whatever it takes to make that happen. I rate this film as a 10 out of 10 stars and look forward to hearing your thoughts on this documentary. I can only hope we learn from our history, and not repeat what happened in the Roman Empire for it we do, we already know what happened to that one.

For more information on Monumental: In Search of America's Treasure, Kirk Cameron or where to purchase this DVD today, please click on the links below:

You can also follow the movie page on Facebook and learn more interesting facts about this nations history by clicking here.


Take four women who are some of the best authors of Christian Fiction, and have them collaborate and design four unique characters, each with a bit of their own personalities, create a storyline and a place and put it all together and you have the makings of the novel, Smitten. It was written by Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt and Denise Hunter with each of them writing a specific chapter geared around the small town of Smitten, Vermont, who has come under hard economic times. Faced with the mill closing which employs 500 people, the town rallies around the idea of creating a play on the word of their town's name, Smitten, which they believe implies the feeling of love.

Their idea is to create a tourist town that will draw people to it, honeymooners, lovers, people celebrating such milestones as weddings and anniversary's and those simply looking to find love to the town of Smitten. Most of the town is excited about the prospects this could mean for new business opportunities but also a great place to call home. However when Carson Smitten hears about the idea, he is greatly opposed and thinks there is a better way, but he can't quite come up with one that will work fast enough and slowly the town's residents begin to warm his heart up to the idea.

In the first installment of the book, "Natalie: Birthday Wishes" by Colleen Coble takes the story first when the idea is presented to the town council. Natalie Mansfield, is the owner of Mountain Perks, and who is also raising her niece Mia, now 5, since her mother, Lisa abandoned her and left town. Rumors circulate that Carson Smitten is the father, although he denies ever being with Lisa long enough for that to happen, but Natalie can't help but wonder why he won't subject himself to a paternity test to prove it. While working together to find ways to remodel the town for the new look of love, she finds herself working closely with Carson to help renovate his fishing cabins which remain seriously outdated and less than booked for the season. Natalie learns that Carson's brother has a great idea to help kick start the town's new launch and it may boost more love in the town than anyone recognized.

In the second installment of the book, "Julia: Small Town, Big Dreams" by Kristin Billerbeck, the emerging story of the character of Julia we caught a glimpse of earlier in the book continues to grow with her story as one of Natalie's closest friends. Julia Bourne is trying to do her part with the town of Smitten to redefine itself as a romantic destination and desires to open a upscale spa. Since leaving New York, she reaches out to contact Devlin Stovich, a successful New York spa owner and someone who has the money she needs to invest in her idea. When he agrees to come to Smitten, he finds the location of Smitten Grill, a former restaurant geared to the logging industry as the perfect location that now lies abandoned and vacant. However upon closer inspection they both learn that the owner, Zak Grant has ideas of his own on how to renovate the space. Will they be able to work together for the good of the town or will Julia be sent back to New York instead?

In the third installment of the book, "Shelby: You've Got A Friend" by Diann Hunt, we meet the third in this group of 4 best friends, Shelby Evans who arrives to her home in Smitten and meets the local fire department there to put out a fire in her Victorian Home. Nick Majors, a volunteer fireman stops her from entering along with her Shih-poo, Penelope until it is safe to go inside. Shelby was using the downstairs for Classes for Social Graces, a program to help young girls become ladies while she lived upstairs. She learns through Nick, that she is responsible for leaving a glue gun unattended and apparently there are more that just sparks flying between the two of them. Will romance be fanned into flames or will they simply be smitten with one another but remain friends?

In the final installment of the book, "Reese: All Along" by Denise Hunter, we get the opportunity to meet Reese Mackenzie, the local girl who is your all around sports enthusiast who is trying to launch her own business of opening a sporting goods store and is working with her friend, Griffin Parker. What makes this difficult for Reese is that the whole town is rallying around recreating their town and making it the newest romantic destination to compare with the Poconos but in addition to this is the celebrity wedding to their town's newest country star, Sawyer Smitten, Reese's former boyfriend, who is planning on using the town to host his own wedding. Will Reese be able to define her own feelings for Sawyer or is she about to be smitten with someone from her past instead?

I received Smitten by these amazing and talented authors compliments of Thomas Nelson and Net Galley for my honest review. I really enjoyed these individual but connected mini romances found inside the cover of this book. You truly feel like you're getting 4 books in 1 and this is one of the reasons I rate this one a 5 out of 5 stars. This novel is geared to the hopeful romantic in all of us.

For more information on Smitten, Colleen Coble, Diann Hunt, Kristin Billerbeck or Denise Hunter, or where to pick up a copy of this heartwarming novel today please click on the links below:

You can be a part of the town of Smitten by visiting the website here.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

A Perfect Square

Shipshewana, Indiana is about to be involved once more in a mystery that will rock the entire town and change people's lives forever. When Deborah and Esther along with their younger children, stop just outside of the Fisher farm to pick some flowers, they find a body of a young girl floating face down in the pond. Not knowing who she is, Deborah runs to call for help. As they wait for the police to show up, Reuben Fisher and Deborah wonder just who the girl is. It seems as though she isn't from around here based on the details in her Amish attire.

When the county sheriff, Shane Black arrives on scene, Deborah and Esther cringe based on their previous encounters with the sheriff involving other murders involving them both. Seems like murder just follows them around. However when the sheriff begins to question Reuben, he maintains his silence and refuses to answer. Is it possible he knows more than he's willing to say and that leads Shane Black to believe that Reuben might be the murderer. When a search reveals blood inside the Fisher's family home, Shane has no other choice but to arrest Reuben.

Esther Zook believed that God finally was blessing her life with a new future until her fiance's cousin, Reuben is arrested. Just two weeks from her wedding she now feels that Tobias will put it on hold while he attempts to figure out what happened at the farm and why Reuben refuses to talk. Unless he does, he will be sentenced for murder and spend the rest of his life in jail.

Deborah believes that there is more to this story that just what the evidence is pointing to, so she begins to investigate alongside the local reporter from the Gazette, Trent McCallister to show the town that Reuben is innocent and for her best friend, Esther to finally have the happiness she truly deserves after the death of her husband, two years earlier.

I received A Perfect Square by Vannetta Chapman compliments of Zondervan Publishers and Net Galley for my honest review. This is a different take on your standard Amish novels and deals with both the English and Amish working together to figure out just who murdered the girl in the pond and who she is. It appeals to lovers of both Amish Fiction and Crime/Mystery genres and involves a couple of different plots buried withing the pages of this book. I would rate this one a 4 out of 5 stars and it does have a great moral lesson to be gleaned by the end. This is the sequel to Falling to Pieces but can be read as a stand alone!

For more information on A Perfect Square, Vannetta Chapman and where to pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the links below:

You can also stay up with the latest from Vannetta Chapman by becoming a follower of hers on Facebook.

  • Reading level: Ages 18 and up
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (March 31, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310330440
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310330448

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Romanov Conspiracy

"Ekaterinburg, Russia.

I believe that the greatest secrets lie buried and only the dead speak the truth.

And in a way that was how I came to be in the woods that morning when we found the bodies. It was raining in the City of Dead Souls, a heavy downpour that drenched the summer streets. I reviewed the thick clutch of pages, the results of my work for the last three months. This was my first visit to Ekaterinburg and our team came from all over: forensic archaeologists, scientists, and students from America, Britain, Germany and Italy; and of course, our host, Russia. The brief our our cooperative venture was simple - to dig in the forests for evidence of mass executions during the Russian Revolution's Red Terror.

Many thousands perished, not least the Romanovs, the Russian royal family - the tsar and tsarina, and their four pretty daughters and their youngest son, fourteen-year-old Alexei - shot and bayoneted to death, their skulls smashed by rifle butts and their corpses doused in sulfuric acid.

Something else I had counted on that summer's morning as we pulled up beside one of the tents. I came to these resin-scented woods to exhume the ghosts of the past. Yet absolutely nothing could have prepared me for the bizarre secret that I was to stumble upon when the frozen Siberian earth offered up it's dead.

For with the dead came the truth.

And with the truth came the first whispers of the most incredible story I have ever heard." (excerpt pg 1-4)

In the latest novel from Glenn Meade, The Romanov Conspiracy, he once again takes his readers on an explosive investigation and historical fiction into the background of one of the most unsolved cases still haunting the history books today. Based on partial truth mixed with fiction to complete this novel, the answers using long-lost clues may yet reveal an intricate conspiracy, one that may well answer the twentieth century's most enduring mystery. But as to which part is truth and which part is fiction, the author leaves that up to the reader to decide.

I received The Romanov Conspiracy by Glenn Meade compliments of Howard Books, a division of Simon and Schuster for my own personal honest review. This being my second novel from Glenn Meade, the first being The Second Messiah, I knew I would really enjoy this one as well. Glenn is articulate in his fact findings so as to keep his readers as close to the actual events as much as possible. The writing is sound, engaging and guaranteed to keep you turning pages as fast as you can read. I once again rate this one a 4.5 out of 5 stars. Not knowing much about the Russian history surrounding the disappearances of the Romanov's I found this one an exceptional novel.

For more information about The Romanov Conspiracy, Glenn Meade or where to pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the link below:

  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Howard Books (August 7, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451611862
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451611861

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Obituary Column - Giveaway and Review

Tracy Chapman has a very unusual job. It arrives with the morning paper and involves reading the obituary column. She isn't interested in treasure hunting but helping those out that appear to have no family to speak of in the obituary. She has become a self appointed detective trying to make sure people don't die without someone knowing about them. She has taken on the task after her brother went missing for 5 years without a trace. Then she tracked down a clue that lead her to her brother being labeled a John Doe that had been murdered in Florida. Since none of the missing person descriptions matched him, he was buried as a unknown and she vows to make sure that it doesn't happen to any other families.

Tracy is also the owner of an antique story, Another Tyme and along with her partner Amy, they offer to buy furniture and other items at auctions from family estate sales. Only this time when investigating the death of Mr. Samuel Levine, she finds out that there are others out there who have been looking for Mr. Levine for quite some time. As she digs deeper into the contents of Mr. Levine's small apartment, she comes across a journal from his time in Germany during the Holocaust written in German and hopes she can find out if Mr. Levine had any family she can contact.

On her way back home one evening, she is almost forced off the road and killed in a game of cat and mouse with the driver of an unknown vehicle. Thinking nothing of the event and the connection between the two, she begins to unravel a story that she hopes will unite Mr. Levine with the family he left behind and was never able to contact during all his travels in America. However someone else from Mr. Levine's past is out to make sure that never happens and will do whatever it takes to find what he's been searching for all these years.

In the novel, Obituary Column by Sandra and Dan Farris, Tracy Chapman works with a team of close friends and detectives to try and piece the past of an old man's life together to reunite a family separated by war while trying to work time in to compete in a kickboxing tournament and settle a long-distance relationship with a cattle rancher named Michael. This is a great story line for a murder-mystery crime novel and one that is short enough to feel like a full length one. It keeps the reader engaged and on the path to help solve this mystery.

I received Obituary Column compliments of Sandra Farris for my honest review and have to say I really enjoyed this one. The premise was entertaining and different from your typical murder/mystery novels and is subsequently being made into a movie, called the Treasure Within. I guess it's every author's dream to have their books made into a movie and I know you'll love the story you'll find within the covers of this one, and or that reason, I rate this one a 4 out of 5 stars.

For more information on this book, the authors and where you can pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the link below:

You can also follow Sandra Farris on Facebook by clicking here.

Thank to the generosity of Sandra Farris, she is offering to personalize a copy of Obituary Column to one lucky reader of my blog who leaves a comment. Here's your guidelines:

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

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4. Leave a comment below telling me why you'd love to win a copy. Don't forget to include your email since I need a way to contact you if you're the lucky winner. You can use the words (at) and (dot) instead of the symbols.

The giveaway will end on August 9th, and I will notify the winner by email and also post it on my Reviews From The Heart, Facebook page.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Rare Earth

Marc Royce has been hired as the new supply officer employed by Lodestone, a US company contracted to bring in emergency supplies and do so for a profit in Africa for the UN. A volcano near the border between Kenya and Uganda, that has been dormant for centuries has erupted at the base of Mount Elgon and the destination for aid is in the city of Kitale.

Lodestone had recently become one of the largest suppliers of humanitarian equipment in Africa. Theirs was a specialty service. Their clients included every major aid agency, along with the United Nations. Whenever and wherever a crisis erupted, the agencies turned to firms like Marc's to deliver emergency supplies, and do so fast.

But there was a problem. One so large it had rung alarm bells eight thousand miles away. Which was why Marc had been brought in. An outsider who some thought had no chance of success and even less of survival. Before departing for Nairobi, Marc had been repeatedly warned of unseen foes who would make it there business to assure he never made it back alive. Marc had responded that he would have had it no other way. Marc wondered at his habit of landing in impossible situations.

He learns from Kitra Korban, a nurse rendering aid, that her brother, Serge, a medical technician is believed to have been abducted and believes that Lodestone might be a possible connection in his disappearance. They both begin to believe that whatever Lodestone is hiding, they value it far more than human life. But one of the tribal elders, Phillip believes that Marc Royce is the answer to a long awaited dream he has of saving this land and the people in it.

Davis Bunn once again brings his readers in for a heart-stopping, action-packed suspense novel, Rare Earth, where they are reunited with Marc Royce, who is working undercover from the State Department to discover what it is the Lodestone is hiding and he soon realizes, that this might be a mission he might not make it back from. It appears he is not the only one, who believes this may in fact, be his last mission and some with stop at nothing to make sure that's exactly what happens.

I received Rare Earth compliments of Christian Fiction Blog Alliance and Bethany House Publishers for my honest review. Having read a Lion of Babylon, the first book in the series of Davis Bunn's novel's featuring the character of Marc Royce, readers will not be disappointed. You can pick this one up as a stand alone, but once you read this one, you'll want the rest! I rate this one a 4 out of 5 stars and love how well Davis puts his character in the heart of the action and truly makes him believable. He's not invincible, and is flawed and that is one of the reasons this book works so well for me. I can't wait to see more of Davis Bunn's novels in the future.

For more information on Rare Earth, Davis Bunn or where to pick up this book today, please click on the links below:

You can also keep up with the latest on Davis Bunn by becoming a follower on Facebook. To read even more reviews from this book tour, click here.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


I'm watching you. It's just a matter of time before I get you
and your little girl. You'll never get away from me.

Fear and panic rose inside of Elizabeth Lynn Engel once again as she held the blue envelope now torn open in her hands and read the note again. Just who is this person outside her home with a red cap lingering in the shadows watching her? What does he want?

She will do anything she can to protect her and her six-year-old daughter, Charity. Despite all the accusations of Lizzie stealing money from Harbor House, she can't prove she didn't do it. The evidence is so overwhelming against her, she fears the only answer now is running back to Kingdom, Kansas.

Back to the life she lived in her childhood. She ran away from there once when she learned she was pregnant and her father refused to let her live there any longer. Ashamed and lost, she feels her life has come full circle and the only place remaining she can turn to is back to her home and hopes that the last five years has healed the wounds in her parents hearts.

In the latest suspense novel from author Nancy Mehl, Inescapable takes us into the heart of a prodigal daughter returning home to escape a threat that seeks to bring harm not only to her but to her daughter as well. Lizzie's only hope is that enough time has passed and perhaps her parents are ready to make amends. But there is more awaiting her in Kingdom besides her family, her childhood friend Noah Housler is still there and has vowed since childhood to always protect her. Is it possible he still feels the same way as he did when he was a child towards her? Will Lizzie and her daughter, Charity find a safe haven or will every place they turn, be a place they can no longer hide from the terror that continues to pursue them and put everyone she loves in danger?

I received Inescapable, the first novel in the Road to Kingdom Series by Nancy Mehl, compliments of Litfuse Publicity for my honest review. I was captivated from the first chapter and could not put this one down until I knew who was hunting down Lizzie and Charity Engel. If you love a bit of suspense in your novels along with some Romance, then I just know you will want to pick this one up. I will be following this series through to the end. Nancy creates such amazing characters and details in her story, you feel as though you've been there and know these people personally. You'll find yourself rooting for them the entire way through the novel. I for one, would love to visit a place like Kingdom. It seems times are a changing, and the changes are definitely going to make the town a perfect place to live and raise a family. This one rates a perfect 5 out of 5 stars in my opinion.

For more information on Inescapable, Nancy Mehl or where you can pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the links below:

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You can also find more reviews on this book tour by clicking here.

Win a Handmade Mennonite Quilt from @NancyMehl! RSVP for her INESCAPABLE Facebook Party 7/26!

Celebrate with Nancy by entering her "Inescapable" Giveaway and connecting with her during the Author Chat Party on 7/26!

Find out what readers are saying here.

One winner will receive:

  • A Handmade Mennonite Quilt

  • A copy of Inescapable by Nancy Mehl

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on July 25th. Winner will be announced at the "Inescapable" Author Chat Facebook Party on 7/26. Nancy will be hosting a book chat, testing your trivia skills (how much do you know about the Mennonites?) and giving away some great prizes!

So grab your copy of Inescapable and join Nancy on the evening of the July 26th for a chance to connect with Nancy and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book - don't let that stop you from coming!)

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

Don't miss a moment of the RSVP today. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 26th!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Almost Amish

If you've ever read anything about the Amish lifestyles, you know that they live a much simpler life, no electricity, no technology, no cars and just a whole lot less stress. So when the Lisa Lee show gets an idea for a new reality show called Almost Amish, a modern family from California is going to get a lot more lessons in life than simply learning how to be Amish.

Susan Reynolds is a Martha Steward in training. She's a bit of what most would call overly assertive, a bit of a perfectionist, and willing to do whatever it takes to make sure not only she's on top of her game but also her young daughter, Angie as well. Since being divorced from her husband James, Susan's working harder than ever to make sure she provides the type of life she believes her daughter deserves even if it means pushing her a bit harder than most parents. So when an opportunity becomes available not only to sell her cookbooks, but also to star in a reality series based on a simple lifestyle, she jumps at the chance. Since the program is revolving around the Amish lifestyle, she manages to convince her sister in law, Julie Charlton, to join her with her kids for the summer shooting the series.

Julie Charlton has never been good at anything except the ability to overschedule and over commit herself to virtually everything happening in her families lives, from helping her husband Thomas out with work, attending to committees for her son Brian and her daughter Whitney, including all those after school sports events they are both committed to. Still Julie feels she is less than perfect. Even the cupcakes that she makes for the semi-formal, eight grade, parent- child dance come out wrong. They are lumpy and lean to the left or right, sometimes both, and even the frosting looks like a huge mess. So when Susan's offer for a simple lifestyle challenge is presented, she literally jumps at the chance to slow it down.

However what they all fail to realize is that this is a reality show based on ratings, the higher the ratings, the better the show, and the only way sometimes to generate that is to create the chaos going on with the family that now finds itself dropped off, on a dirt road, with only a mail box on the edge of a field as their only guide to the home they will be staying at. Not only that, they only have 60 seconds to retrieve their belongings before the driver takes off with them.

Almost Amish by Kathryn Cushman is such a breath of fresh air from your standard Amish fiction books. There is something in this novel for everyone. Think of it like the show Survivor but geared to how a modern family can make it living like the Amish. It is both funny, emotional and there is a lesson in it for all of us, who simply wonder if there is a better way at life, than the busy ones we find ourselves in. So what about you? If you had the opportunity to spend three months living a simple life like the Amish, would you do it? You may just want to pick this book up first to see just how "simple" it really is!

I received Almost Amish compliments of Christian Fiction Blog Alliance and Bethany House Publishers for my honest review. I LOVED this one, such profound wisdom can be found throughout the pages, mostly in the words of Rosemary Foil, who comes to teach the women how to quilt but instead imparts such sage advice on thirsty soil in the hearts of them women who listen to her stories. She encourages, inspires and teaches them to look deep inside themselves to see why they have some to participate in this show. I rate this one a 5 out of 5 stars and once again, Kathryn Cushman takes her readers to an unexpected place of pure enjoyment and speaks to the heart of a book lovers everywhere.

For more information on Almost Amish, Kathryn Cushman and where to pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the links below:

You can also read more reviews on this book tour by clicking here.

Sunday, July 15, 2012


As a girl, Felicia had asked God why her adoptive parents couldn't love her. Why had they taken her into their home if they hadn't really wanted her? She would never know the answer to that question, not in her lifetime anyway. But it was time to let go of the wound it had left on her heart. Now as Felicia Brennan Kristoffersen prepares to leave one life behind and begin another, she knows God will be by her side the whole way.

Boise, Idaho - 1887

Felicia's newest venture in life after leaving behind the life of caring for her adoptive parents, Britta and Lars Kristofferson who died hours within each other in their older years, is moving to Wyoming and taking on the job as the new school teacher for Frenchman's Bluff. It hadn't been an easy decision to make ever since learning that the only reason the Kristofferson's adopted her was because they had been childless, in their 60's and were looking for an older girl to help Britta in the kitchen with chores and to be a comfort to them in their old age.

After Felicia's mother died when she was a young girl and their father left them, she and her younger sister and older brother were placed in Dr. Clay's Asylum for Little Wanderers until they were each adopted and went their own separate ways. Now with the Kristofferson's deaths, Felicia is finally able to begin a path in her own life that doesn't have anyone telling her what to do. Her only desire is to pour forth her passion into teaching and forget all about love and romance.

Colin Murphy, proprietor of Murphy's Mercantile in Frenchman's Bluff isn't looking forward to the towns new teacher. He was one of two that voted against hiring Felicia Kristofferson and instead wanted a man to come and teach. The past teachers had been more concerned with finding husbands that they were in the welfare of the children they were teaching. Now he finds just caring for his young daughter, Charity and running the store will keep him from ever searching for love again. His wife Margaret died at an early age of 26 when Charity was only 3, so she really never knew her mother, but Colin couldn't forget her. But will God have different plans for Colin and Felicia?

In the novel Belonging by Robin Lee Hatcher, the reader is taken back to a simple time back in the 1800's and the story is here is one of belonging. For Felicia, it's trying to find not only her siblings that have been long separated through adoption, but also trying to find her own place in the world. For Colin, it's trying to find out what God's calling is in his own life, he faces being a single father that is often frowned upon by the wealthy Summerville family, who sees that Charity can use a mother's influence in her tom-boy like ways and they have the perfect person picked out for him, their own daughter, Kathleen, who also is widowed with two young girls.

As the story builds, you can see the town's people coming together in a variety of different ways and even using Felicia's own experience being adopted to help two boys that are being adopted by the Carpenter family that are being difficult at trying to fit in as well. Through it all, God's love always comes shining through and soon the town will see that each person is needed to make a body complete. This novel is part of the Where The Heart Lives Series and one I received compliments of Zondervan Publishers and Net Galley for my honest opinion. I absolutely LOVED this one and rate it a happily ever after, 5 out of 5 stars.

For more information on Belonging, Robin Lee Hatcher or where to pick up this book today, please click on the links below:

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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Tall, Dark and Determined


3 men, ages 24-35.
Must be God-fearing, healthy, hardworking single men with minimum of 3 years logging experience. Object: Marriage and joint ownership of sawmill.
Reply to Hope Falls, Colorado, postmaster by May 17

Braden Lyman convinced 4 women to invest in a Colorado mining town, Hope Falls. When the mining town suffers a tragic mine collapse, leaving Braden himself a victim now bedridden, the town itself is on the verge of collapse. The women who were in Charleston at the time, rush back to Hope Falls after learning Braden has miraculously survived, it's only to hear him denounce them as fools. Lacy, Braden's sister convinces the women that despite the mine collapse, she has an idea that could help the town recover. She proposes turning the mining town into a sawmill by buying up the surrounding land, but they need to hire men - and they need investors - or husbands and that is where the idea for the ad came into play. Little did the women imagine that these men would show up in person to apply not only for the job but for potential husbands as well.

Chase Dunstan, has tracked one of his former brother in laws, Robert Kane, to a jail cell to learn about his own brothers death in a mine collapse that left his sister, Laura now a widow using what little money there was as a settlement to start a new life. He has to know the answers to the reasons behind the collapse, the way it was handled afterward, what current plans pushed Braden to stay in Hope Falls and what did any of this have to do with the incredible ad. He believes that there is more to this collapse than what he knows and sets out to investigate in Hope Falls, when the ad arrives in the paper looking for experienced logging men/husbands. Might just be the perfect way to get to know the owners of the town and look for clues to what might have happened to his brother in law.

When he arrives in Hope Falls, Chase sees men being forced on to the train against their wishes to go. He also sees a man, Granger, who he used to work for three years back working as a guide through prospective timberland higher in the Rockies. Having Granger here in Hope Falls, the claim they're trying to build a sawmill gains credibility. Grangers know lumber like no other family in North America. But why were the men calling him Creed? These men were the rough customers who insulted ladies and brawled in the streets, and now caught fighting were being ordered to leave town on the next train out of Hope Falls.

What exactly was really going on in the town of Hope Falls and just what did the ladies behind the ad have to do with it all? You'll have to pick up a copy of Kelly Eileen Hake's novel, Tall, Dark and Determined to find out. This is the second book in the Husbands for Hire series and draws an interesting parallel on the mail order brides idea. This book does have a confusing start, but once you iron out the details of who is whom, you're off on a really great adventure. At times, it seems the story is a bit faced paced and I found myself going back to re-read parts of it again to clarify what I had missed. I would have preferred to see this one slow down a bit because the premise behind it all was a great reason to draw my initial interests in.

I received this novel compliments of Barbour Publishing and Net Galley for my honest review. Being a huge fan of the western romance genre I was hoping for a bit more than I got. However, I am determined not to give up on this series just yet. I rate this one a 3 out of 5 stars and look forward to picking up the first book in this series, to see if I may have missed something that would have aided me in understanding the story of these characters more.

For more information on Tall, Dark and Determined, Kelly Eileen Hake or where to pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the link below:

Tall, Dark and Determined by Kelly Eileen Hake