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Friday, February 28, 2014

No Turning Back

Before we all became believers we all made mistakes in which we needed to find God in order to gain an understanding of who He is and about the forgiveness of sin. When we struggle in the darkness, it is hard for us to see what believers see so clearly. The hallmarks of a sin-filled life. They watch us struggle to come to terms with our sin, our anger, our pain and hurts before we find such a freedom and release in learning to hand all that over to God and find redemption and forgiveness in its place. Such is the case for Katy Thannen, an Austrian born sixteen-year-old who is struggling with just that very issue. While she has some basis for a faith in God, she becomes resentful when others point out what God is doing in their lives and how it can help her as well.

Growing up for Katy hasn't been easy. Her mother has worked hard to give Katy what she can, offering her schooling in a local convent but soon Katy realizes the value of hard work and obtains a job working for a wealthy family as a maid. There she finds herself the center of attention from the son of a wealthy Austrian bureaucrat, Alex Meissen, who sees nothing wrong with falling in love with Katy. That is, until he confesses his intentions and feelings to his parents which are met with less than expected results. They send Alex off to the small town Egg to gain a better understanding of the business world and in the hopes, he'll give up marrying Katy.

But like all great love stories, love is the greatest thing in life, and no matter the distance, Katy and Alex defy all the odds when they make a plan to leave Austria and head to America to leave their families behind. However since they remain distanced, Alex provides Katy the money and directions to meet him at the dock to board a ship bond for America, but they never find one another. Alex's train is derailed and since he can't get a message to Katy, she believes that Alex may have changed his mind and she heads to America without him. Now arriving in New York City alone, Katy realizes that a chance encounter with Alex has left her pregnant. She finds a place to stay with a local convent who helps immigrant women arriving in America find a job and a place to stay but once again Katy meets an unlikely adversary with another immigrant who finds her work in a laundry facility and offers to share rent in flat in town.

Through a series of truly unfortunate events, Katy makes a series of bad decisions which alter how she views Alex and her life in general. When Alex finds comfort in learning more of God's provision, Katy only rebels further away from him. It seems the closer Alex moves to God, the further Katy moves away and soon it will take a miracle of sorts to get Katy to view the circumstances in her life as something that can be redeemed no matter how great she believes they are. It may in fact take her to the brink of death before she can see what has been in front of her all along. But will she see it before it's too late?

I received No Turning Back by Joanne Wilson Meusburger compliments of Ambassador International Publishers for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed are strictly my own. My first impression upon reading this book was I did not believe it to be a Christian novel at first based on the series of events that happen to both Alex and Katy and the decisions they make. But like all of us, we have all found ourselves like sheep being led astray til we discover the truth about life and how God can redeem and forgive us once we establish that relationship with Him. This is just what happens with Katy and Alex, it's the struggle between unbelievers finding hope and love in the midst of some of the most difficult situations life has to offer. We don't always make the right decisions, but in the end it enables us to be able to use those for the good of others and I think that is precisely the message the author provides in this novel. That nothing is too great to keep us separated from God. I give this novel a 4.5 out of 5 stars in my opinion.

For more information about No Turning Back, Joanne Wilson Meusburger or where to pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:

You can also find Joanne Wilson Meusburger on Facebook to stay up to date with all her latest novels.

For more information on No Turning Back, visit Ambassador International Publisher's website. 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Shepherd's Song

As Kate McConnell is rushed into surgery, she vaguely remembers the car accident that brought her to  where she is presently. As she tries desperately to piece it all together she remembers the fight she had with her son upon finding a note she wrote to him that simply contained the words of the 23rd Psalm on it. Tucked away in his coat pocket she had hoped that one day he might find his way to Jesus but once again he fought her constant efforts to remind him of his shortcoming in still remaining the prodigal son. Now as she slips into that perfect sleep brought on by the administrations of medication before surgery, she releases her life to Jesus asking only that He make her life count somehow.

As John McConnell rushes to the hospital hoping to meet his son Matt there, neither of them can understand how Kate has managed to be in an accident. She was literally the rock that kept the family together, and after meeting with her doctor, he can only provide them with a vague answer that she might be able to pull through despite the odds against her. Now all Matt and John can do is to pray that God will return Kate to them. All Matt can remember is their argument this morning and how despite his mom's best intentions, he never meant for these to be his final words to her. He struggles with understanding that his mom isn't looking to interfering with his life, but to enable him to find a source of peace and contentment in including Jesus in it. He only wishes he can have the opportunity to tell her himself.

In the novel, The Shepherd's Song, by authors Betsy Duffey and Laurie Myers, as known as the Writing Sisters,  they take a simple random event like the notation of the 23rd Psalm and show how God can take something simple and connect all the dots along the way. It reminded me of Mitch Albom's The Five People You Meet in Heaven. How each person who encounters Kate McConnell's handwritten note containing only the 23rd Psalm makes life changing moments occur all around the world, from a young man who wears the coat on the snowy night that Kate is rushed to the hospital with life-threatening injuries, knowing he will return the coat to the cleaners in the morning and finds the note in the pocket, to a chance meeting in a coffee house where he passes the note along to a girl he meets there who is writing to her brother in the war in Iraq. From there it finds its way into the hands of just the right person who needs to hear another line in the 23rd Psalm, where it winds up full circle again to the man who needs to hear it the most.

This is one of those novels that once you read it, you walk away with a feeling of touching something inspiring and touched by God. It really makes you consider all those random moments we have every single day that when it is all said and done, Jesus shows us where it all those ripples lead and how we are each connected to one another in remarkable ways. The authors compare this much to Andy Andrew's The Butterfly Effect which I agree. I thought the ending would be different than what I imagined but love where they took it instead. This is the perfect book for those that often wonder what their life's purpose is and just where God is at in all the day to day happenings in our life. I easily give this book a 5 out of 5 stars in my opinion. I received this book compliments of the authors Betsy Duffey and Laurie Myers who reached out to me and asked I would review this for them. I am so humbled and honored that they did! I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own.

For more information about The Shepherd's Song, Betsy Duffey, Laurie Myers or where to pre-order  a copy of this book that is due out in early March of 2014, please click on the links below:

You can find out more information about Betsy Duffey and Laurie Myers, as known as the Writing Sisters by visiting their Facebook page. 

To read more reviews on The Shepherd's Song, please visit Howard Book's website. 

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Howard Books (March 11, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1476738203
  • ISBN-13: 978-1476738208
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.9 x 0.9 inches

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Ether: Vero Rising

To say that Vero Leland is not normal is a true statement but only for those that really know the truth. For everyone else, they think he's a freak of nature. It's not always easy fitting in at school especially in middle school as a 12-year-old boy. It's a good thing your best friend, Tack,  is someone the most fear and is a whole lot taller than everyone else. Ever since Vero was young, he had an irresistible urge to fly. He tried leaping off of tree limbs, large fences and even once the roof of his house, believing in his ability to be able to fly one day. Only that day was still far in the future.

Vero was a special child and since the day his parents adopted him, only his mother knew the special circumstances surrounding his discovery and in keeping him safe at all costs. Now as Vero struggles to understand things happening around him, he finds out that he is not who he thought after all when he is taken to the Ether, a place in between heaven and earth when the spiritual forces of good and evil battle for the protection and souls of the humans they are assigned. Vero learns that he is a guardian angel in training, being born as a human, he has 18 years to train before his earthly body will experience death and he is taken from the family he loves on earth.

But Vero is no ordinary guardian angel in training, God has granted Vero the ability to do things even the archangel Michael doesn't possess and with those powers now Lucifer and his demons are out to make sure that Vero doesn't accomplish his purpose and once they learn who Vero loves the most, those people will be easier targets to draw Vero out to wage warfare in the Ether. But in order for that to happen, Vero's training must begin in the Ether and the first order of business is finally learning to fly. But like all great challenges, we need a little help from our friends and Vero will soon meet fellow guardian angels in training, Kane, Ada, Pax, Greer and X who will all learn that no one person is strong enough to defeat evil on their own.

I received The Ether: Vero Rising by Laurice Molinari compliments of Zondervan Publishing and Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed are strictly my own. This is the first novel for middle school age children on spiritual warfare. Being a huge fan of fiction based books, I love where Laurice took this one. The power of prayers in the hands of angels is a wonderful way to teach the power of prayer to anyone. I love how things don't flow smoothly for Vero as he struggles with the same feelings that a young boy would in discovering his emotions and how they impact things in the spiritual realm known in this series as the Ether. He has a great support system both in the spiritual world as well as through his sister and best friend and I think that is part of the reason why this series will be a huge hit for teens. Finally something written just for their age that enables them to gain a simple understanding the mysteries of the spiritual world. Think Piercing The Darkness and This Present Darkness but for kids! I rate this one a 5 out of 5 stars and can't wait to read even more!

For more information about The Ether: Vero Rising, Laurice Molinari or where to pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:

You can also find The Ether: Vero Rising on Facebook to stay up to date with all the latest novels coming soon.

Dating, Dining and Desperation

Daphne Ballinger doesn't have to worry about her biological clock ticking away to find the right man to marry, she has the contingency of her late Aunt Dee's will doing that for her. Daphne has just ten months left to find a man and marry him before the contents of her Aunt Dee's Victorian home, the remaining money in the bank, car and home will be sold. With all her hopeful prospects running out, Daphne isn't quite sure what the point to all of this rush to find a husband was if she loses everything her Aunt Dee ever owned. While maintaining and writing Dear Daphne, her late Aunt's advice column in the paper, she spends her day looking for love in quite literally all the wrong places.

Even the men she has a slight interest in, suddenly seem to be giving off mixed signals from her Aussie landscaper Mick, to the shy and quiet Ricardo, owner and chef of Midge's Dinner. Even her Aunt Dee's attorney Jake seems to have found interest in someone else and thus Daphne doesn't know quite where to begin looking for love any longer. That is, until her new neighbor moves in, outgoing and gorgeous Southern Belle, Sabrina Fontaine, who takes it upon herself to find Daphne the perfect husband. Now if she can only get Daphne to take a hard look at herself in the mirror and see that she hasn't been exactly laying out the welcome mat to eligible suitors in the way she's been maintaining her own personal appearance. But soon Daphne finds more than just the motivation she needs in her friendship with Sabrina, she finds someone that needs her as much as she needs to be needed. Along with her obnoxious wiener dog she has faithfully named Tootsie Roll, soon Daphne is introducing her new neighbor to everyone in the neighborhood. What she doesn't understand is why she is suddenly jealous when all heads turn when Sabrina smiles, especially at her landscaper Mick!

In her latest novel in the Dear Daphne series, Dating, Dining and Desperation, from best selling author Melody Carlson seem to wrap up just what the reader will find in the second novel in this charming and humorous series. I couldn't help but find myself picturing Kristin Chenowith as the delightful Sabrina Fontaine. Now on the mend from her own divorce, Sabrina uncovers just why Daphne needs to find a husband and she takes it upon herself to boldly go where Daphne won't finding her dates with all the local single men in town. Even manages a surprise speed dating session where it seems like Daphne has met her match. You truly gain a sense for how wonderful it would be to be a part of the town of Appleton, to stop for a bite to eat at Midge's where Ricardo's culinary creations are literally out of this world.

I received Dating, Dining and Desperation by Melody Carlson compliments of Christian Fiction Blog Alliance and B and H Publishers for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation and the opinions expressed in this review are strictly my own. I can't wait to read the next novel in this series, because Melody breathes such life into her characters that you truly believe your there with them in the town of Appleton. Crossing my fingers with whom she might end up with but most of all, it's seeing how much Daphne has grown since coming to the town of Appleton and how she truly has a genuine love for every single person she meets, not just the eligible men! I easily give this one a 5 out of 5 stars!

For more information about Dating Dining and Desperation, Melody Carlson or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:

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

To read more reviews on Dating, Dining and Desperation, please visit Christian Fiction Blog Alliance's Book Tour Page. 

  • Series: A Dear Daphne Novel
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: B&H Books (March 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1433679310
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433679315
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.4 x 0.9 inches

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Princess Ever After

What would you do if someone you never met before came up to you with news that you are a royal heir to the throne? That's right a bonafide princess! Would you believe him? Would you be willing to give up your current life right now and head for a country your grandmother used to talk about but one you never had though had any significance to your family before today?

Welcome to Regina Beswick's world as of today? While she insists that everyone call her Reggie, she finally believes that she is following the dream she was always meant to have, restoring old vintage cars. While her father wanted her to pursue a career as a CPA, it wasn't her life calling and she walked away from the accounting firm. Now while she has successfully restored her first car, a 1971 Dodge Challenger and is dreaming of the day when she'll have more opportunities, in walks Tanner Burkhardt. He's been sent on behalf of the King Nathaniel II to locate the only heir to the throne, the Grand Duchy of Hessenberg, which leads to Reggie.

They have only less than a month remaining to convince Reggie to come back to Hessenberg and assume her throne or the island country will revert back to Brighton as the one-year entail ends. But how can you convince someone like Reggie that her duty is to assume the throne when all her life, she has never heard of anything more than fairy tales her grandmother Alice shared with her. She's just suppose to walk away from her home, her family, friends and her promising new business and leave it behind to be a princess? She always dreamed that fairy tales would come true but she never for once considered it just might be true and happening to her!

But perhaps she can just fly over to Hessenberg, restore the country to it's proper order and then walk away leaving the responsibility to someone else, but when Tanner learns that the governor of Hessenberg is challenging Reggie's ability to manage the country, it might mean that the country will default to no government after all. The new governor is trying to use the media to create a fire storm of controversy that Reggie is American born and thus has no right to rule over a country and people she cares little for. Will Tanner be able to convince Reggie to do what she can to help the country or will it fall into history as being a city no more?

I received Princess Ever After by best selling author Rachel Hauck compliments of Litfuse Publicity and Zondervan Publishing for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation and the opinions are strictly my own. This is the second novel in the Royal Wedding Series and I loved it just as much as I did the first one. I think every little girl grows up with the fantasy of being a princess some day and that is why I believe this novel really appeals to women. It creates the possibility that fairy tales can come true and perhaps there is a handsome prince just waiting out there for the right girl to come along and save the day being just the person she is without having to change. I easily give this one a 5 out of 5 stars. There is also a reading group guide at the end that is perfect for book clubs! I can't wait for A March Bride coming soon!

For more information about Princess Ever After, Rachel Hauck or where you can pick up this novel today, please click on the links below:

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

To read more reviews on Princess Ever After, please visit Litfuse Publicity's Book Tour Page. 

Rachel Hauck is celebrating the release of her latest "swoon"-worthy romance,  Princess Ever After, with a fun $200 "Princess" prize package giveaway and a Facebook "Princess" party on March 6th. Grab your tiaras and RSVP today!


  One winner will receive:
  • A $200 Visa cash card (buy your very own "princess ever after" gown or tanks of gas for your "royal" ride)
  • Princess Ever After, Once Upon a Prince, and The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on March 6th. Winner will be announced at Rachel's "Princess" Facebook Party on March 6th. Connect with Rachel for an evening of "royal" book chat, princess-themed trivia, laughter, prizes, and an exclusive look at the next book in the Royal Wedding series!

So grab your copy of Princess Ever After and join Rachel and friends on the evening of March 6th 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!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 6th!

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Girl Who Came Home

Well over one hundred years since the fateful sinking of the Titanic, people are still interested in the many stories that have been written about that night on April 15, 1912. When the unsinkable ship met its match when it encountered an iceberg despite the many warnings of sightings in the area and yet they failed to reduced their speed and tempted fate. So many mistakes and so many to blame, but what we fail sometimes to remember is that people did survive despite the odds from both first class passengers to steerage and even a handful of dogs, while even more lost their lives from babies to older couples in the prime of life.

For those that did survive, they have passed along their stories of what it was like that fateful night, when so many had left their homes in search of a better life in America but never reached it. Those that kept that night long buried in their memory never wanting to talk about it to even their close family and friends. If you think about it now, there are no survivors left from that night. They have all died but their stories live on in the lives of those they did share their secrets with.

In the novel, The Girl Who Came Home by Hazel Gaynor, she takes a different spin on all the other novels that have been written choosing instead to focus on handful that survived among a group of fourteen that left Ireland for better opportunities each personal in their own way. It is based on fact but then filled in with some fiction as filler but the story remains the same. People struggled to survive from all social classes and on that night it was literally everyone for themselves. The reader is introduced to Maggie Murphy who is leaving Ireland despite her wishes to find new hope in America with her Aunt Kathleen. Kathleen has agreed to take a group of Irish immigrants to America if they can secure a ticket. She will make sure they all arrive as promised.

For Maggie, she is leaving behind more than just her childhood home, she is leaving behind the one man she had hoped to marry, Seamus Doyle. They agree to write one another as much as they can, but Seamus believes that Maggie will return home to him one day when she is older. He vows to wait for her, despite not being able to accompany her on this trip because of his ailing father. He only hopes the pack of letters he has written her, one for every month they have been in love, will help to pass the time for Maggie. Neither of them could ever imagine how this trip would end for either one.

The novel toggles between various characters from Maggie's journal she writes in to pass her time on the ship, to their steward Harry Walsh who has fallen for one of Maggie's friends on board, Peggy Madden who wishes to be married to a wealthy man and thus raise herself in the social class but for now has to settle for her lot in life. Grace Butler is Maggie's great granddaughter who also tells her story of what learning about survival means to her moving forward in her own life, leaving behind a man she loved to care for her father. Maggie and Grace soon learn that life is too precious to waste and thus must be embraced every single day.

I received The Girl Who Came Home by Hazel Gaynor compliments of William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins Publishers for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed in this review are strictly my own. I've been a huge fan of the Titanic for quite some time and LOVE reading everything from fictional based novels to non fiction about the lives that were forever changed that night. This one tells the survival story of how a third class steerage passenger was able to live to tell her tale and how it changed how she moved forward in the remaining years of her life in America. The novel also uses the authentic Marconi messages from the Titanic and Carpathia to begin each section of the book. There is a section at the end where the author provides the factual information she obtains as the basis for her novel and a reader discussion guide as well. I easily give this one a 5 out of 5 stars in my opinion.

For more information about The Girl Who Came Home, Hazel Gaynor or where you can preorder this novel that is due for release in April of 2014, please click on the links below:

You can also find Hazel Gaynor on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on The Girl Who Came Home, please visit William Morrow's website. 
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; First Edition edition (April 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062316869
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062316868
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.9 inches

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Where Courage Calls

For as long as I can remember, I've always loved the Old West and when Hallmark launched the television series, When Calls The Heart by best selling author Janette Oke I was completely addicted. Even my youngest daughter at thirteen, truly loved the movie. So when the opportunity became available to review Where Courage Calls, a special companion story to the When Calls the Heart TV series, I knew I had to read this one. If you've already read When Calls the Heart, you may remember Elizabeth Thatcher has left her wealthy lifestyle to head west as a teacher for Coal Valley, a small coal mining town who is in desperate need of a school teacher for the children of the town. Along the way she was escorted by Edward Montclair, who was sent to keep an eye on her by her father to ensure her safe arrival in Coal Valley.

However like all great stories, this one has a twist. Upon arriving in Lethbridge, a larger town on the outskirts of Coal Valley, Edward makes the mistake of letting a porter take their bags only to realize later than they have been robbed. The porter was really a thief in disguise and now Elizabeth has only the clothes on her back and no school supplies. Edward feels personally responsible since Elizabeth's luggage contained a valuable violin that her father gave her as well as a compass that he used to own. But Elizabeth is determined to fulfill her year contract with Coal Valley and the school board even though the school takes place in a saloon during the day.

The women of Coal Valley have taken it upon themselves to fund Miss Thatcher's employment believing that an education is necessary if they want a better life for their children than becoming coal miners which claimed most of the men and older boys in a mining explosion. In Where Courage Calls, Elizabeth's adventures are detailed in what could be future episodes on the Hallmark TV series in each chapter, from dealing with financial difficulties of the mining families when the begin to run out of food during a blizzard, what happens when Elizabeth comes down with the flu, when new miners appear in town to work in the mine but don't speak English and most of all how Elizabeth can keep the love of learning alive during her first year in Coal Valley while finding more than one man who in interested in her beside Edward, which introduces us to Jack Thornton, a Canadian Mountie who shares a common interest with Elizabeth in being the local police in Coal Valley. So more than just sparks will fly between them!

I received Where Courage Calls by Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan compliments of Litfuse Publicity and Bethany House Publishers for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed are strictly my own. This novel concludes at the end of Elizabeth's first year of teaching in Coal Valley and the reader is left hoping that more will come in the very near future. I absolutely LOVE this series both the books and the TV series! I love the strong determination that Elizabeth digs deep to find especially when all the odds are against her. She refuses to accept failure at any turn and her love of not only teaching but the children and women she meets is apparent in the many times she goes out of her way to help people in need. Even though she comes from a wealthy upbringing, she becomes one of the women and gains so much more insight into her own strength and character, especially when her sister comes for a visit and gets more than she bargained for. I easily give this one a 5 out of 5 stars!

For more information about Where Courage Calls, Janette Oke, Laurel Oke Logan or where you can pick up this novel today, please click on the links below:

You can find Where Calls the Heart on Facebook to stay up to date with all details from the series.

To read more reviews on Where Courage Calls, please visit Litfuse Publicity Book Tour Page. 

Janette Oke's newest book, Where Courage Calls (co-written with her daughter, Laurel Oke Logan), is receiving rave reviews. It is the companion story to Hallmark Channel's TV series When Calls the Heart, set in the Canadian west.

Janette and Laurel are celebrating with an iPad Mini giveaway and a Facebook author chat party on March 4th.
One winner will receive:
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on March 4th. Winner will be announced at the Where Courage Calls Facebook Party on March 4th. Connect with Janette and Laurel for an evening of book chat, trivia, laughter, and more!

So grab your copy of Where Courage Calls and join Janette and Laurel on the evening of March 4th 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!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by clicking JOIN on the event page. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 4th!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Thief - Giveaway and Review

The part about being a book reviewer that I love the most besides reading amazing books, is discovering talent I would have never discovered before, which leads me to authors whose ability to write does more than simply tell a story. They take you there by the hand and create a place so vivid and rich in details that you feel like you are part of the story itself. That is just what I discovered when I picked up Stephanie Landsem's latest novel, The Thief. It is the second book in her Living Water Series and after reading this one, I will DEFINITELY being going back to read The Well.

Stephanies's writing style is like that of best selling author Tosca Lee who takes a simple character found in the Bible and takes us on the journey of just how they arrived to that historical point in the story we all remember them from but now they aren't just a supporting character, they are the part of the headliners.

Stephanie begins the novel of The Thief with the character known simply as Mouse, a young boy who makes his living in Jerusalem stealing jewelry, coins and whatever he can lay his hands on to support his family. His older brother Cendron has been born blind and barely makes enough begging to help support his family. His father spends all his time, losing money playing dice and getting drunk, while their mother drinks herself into a stupor and fails to even cook and clean. Without Mouse's thieving, the family would be out on the street and hungry.

Mouse's ally is an elderly man named Dismas who takes Mouse under his wing and teaches him how to work the system to avoid getting caught. If you are caught stealing, you are publically flogged and cast out. If you use a knife or rob at night, it means death by stoning, something Dismas and Mouse have to make sure that doesn't happen to them. While spending the day, stealing, Mouse sees a crowd of people enter Jerusalem with a man they believe to be a prophet with claims he can heal the blind and sick. Cedron vows to do whatever it takes to see this man they call Jesus to see if he can in fact heal him of his blindness so he can help provide for his family as a believer in God. But when things don't go according to plan for Mouse, he vows to find a way to give up his life of stealing before he gets caught.

I received The Thief by Stephanie Landsem compliments of Howard Books, a division of Simon and Schuster Publishers for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed in this review are strictly my own. I literally was transported to the streets of ancient Jerusalem during the Feast of Tabernacles and became on the people witnessing everything that happened. It was so life-like and real I had a hard time believing I was simply reading a novel in the comfort of my living room. I can only hope a screen-writer grabs this one and turns it into a movie because it is simply that great. If you ever wanted to read a truly exceptional novel about living in Jerusalem as the famed thief from the Bible, you will definitely want to pick this one up. Trust me! YOU DON'T want to miss this one. I easily give this one HANDS DOWN 5 out of 5 stars!!! I can't wait for her next novel The Tomb coming soon.

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

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

To read more reviews on The Thief, please visit Howard Book's website. 

Now the best part, thanks to the generosity of Howard Books, they are providing a giveaway copy of The Thief to one lucky follower of my blog, Reviews From The Heart. Here are your guidelines to enter:

1. "Like" Howard Books Facebook page so you don't miss out on any of their amazing books!

2. "Like" Stephanie Landsem's Facebook page! Trust me you will LOVE her novels!

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

4. If you have a Twitter account, make sure you follow Howard Books and "Tweet about this giveaway using @Howard_Books @stephlandse in your tweet!

5. Leave a comment below telling me why you'd love to win a copy of The Thief along with your email address. You can use the words (at) and (dot) instead of the symbols. But if I don't have your email address, I can't notify you if you're the lucky winner. Trust me, you don't want to miss this one!

I will notify the winner by email once the giveaway ends on March 10th to give you plenty of time to enter. .Remember you gain an entry for every one of the guidelines you complete and you can enter as many times as you'd like. Simply leave comments on Howard Books and Stephanie Landsem's Facebook if you have already "Liked" them.

Simply Revelation - Review and Giveaway

"As we look upon the world today, we see the uneasiness and difficulties of each nation dealing with their own problems. Jesus taught there would be distress of nations with perplexity upon the earth in the last days (Luke 21:25). One might ask the question, where are we at in the timeline concerning Bible prophecy? Jesus said in Luke 21:24. "And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." One day as Jesus was coming into Jerusalem he looked upon the city and wept over it because he knew there was coming a day when the enemies of the Jews would come and build a trench around the city, and destroy her (Luke 19:41-44). This happened in 70 AD when the Romans came and destroyed Jerusalem, and scattered the Jews among the nations."

"On May 14, 1948 Israel became a nation once more. After the six day war of June 5-10, 1967, Israel gained Jerusalem back as their capital, and ended the control of the city by the Gentiles. Now we are waiting for the time of the Gentiles to be fulfilled which will take place at the rapture of the church. Jesus said during this time there would be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; and the sea and the waves roaring (Luke 21:25). With the invention of the telescope and the knowledge of the safe techniques such as solar filters the sun can be viewed and studied in a manner that was impossible before. Today we understand the effects of solar flares coming off the sun can have upon the earth. In 1969 man landed on the moon just two years after Jerusalem was taken by the Jews. With the help of the Hubble telescope and the internet you can find images of the Cross in the Whirlpool Galaxy, the Eye of God, and the Crown of Thorns in the constellation Indus, and the Hand of God all signs in the stars. Genesis 1:14 says, "God created lights in the firmament for the heaven to divide the day from the night, and let them be for signs." In the past decade we have witnessed the effects of tsunami, and the destruction it can cause. These things happening in the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world will cause men to fear even to the point their hearts fail them (Luke 21:26)."

"Simply Revelation by author Edward L. Brownlee is a commentary on the book of Revelation. His overall intent is to give you a simple overview of this book, although he does, in part, go into detail. Throughout this book he uses the King James Version of the Bible so you will want to have your Bible handy for looking up scriptures he references in this book. Three is a blessing that comes in reading the book of Revelation. Revelation 1:3 says, "Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand." Revelation 22:7 says, "Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the saying of the prophecy of this book." (pg 9-11).

I received Simply Revelation by Edward L. Brownlee compliments of Tate Publishing and the author for my honest review of this book. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed in this review are strictly my own unless otherwise noted. For some the book of Revelation is a mystery because of the symbolism is contains. When John was exiled to the island of Patmos, he received the vision to write all he saw in this last prophetic book of the Bible. It tells of what will happen in the last days as the seven years of the tribulation unfold to those people that remain on the Earth after the rapture of believers. For them, unless they come to repent of their ways, it will literally be Hell on earth. But Revelation isn't just a book to scare people into believing in God, it offers hope to a fallen world. It shows us what life is like without Jesus Christ as our Savior. It is the ONLY book in the Bible where they is a blessing bestowed upon whoever reads the words and keeps what the book says in their hearts.

Edward L. Brownlee does an great job at providing a simple overview without confusing the reader. This is a great resource to those that want a study guide to accompany them as they walk through Revelation, verse by verse. He uses Bible scripture found throughout the Bible to bring clarity to the verses in Revelation. If you are looking for a thorough in depth look at the book of Revelation, this is not it. I do love the details he does examine in different segments in Revelation when it pertains to the four horsemen and its correlation to the prophecies in Daniel and Ezekiel. I only wish the entire book was like this for me! I easily rate this however a 4.5 out of 5 stars and it does create a desire to go deeper once you gain the basics in what Revelation speaks about.

For more information about Simply Revelation, Edward L. Brownlee or where you can pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the links below:

You can also find Edward L. Brownlee on Facebook to stay up to date on all his latest books.

Now the best part, thanks to the generosity of Edward L. Brownlee, he is offering a signed giveaway copy to one lucky follower of my blog, Reviews From The Heart. Here's what you need to do to enter:

1. Be a follower of my blog Reviews of 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 have already "Liked" it, leave me a comment so I know you stopped by!

4. Leave me a comment below telling me why you would LOVE to win a signed copy of Simply Revelation along with your email address. You can use the words (at) and (dot) instead of the symbols. I will notify the winner via email so if its not with your comment, I can't notify you if you're the lucky winner.

The giveaway will end on March 4th, and I will notify the winner by email at that time. Please feel free to enter as many times as you'd like.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A Sky Without Stars

Pine Ridge, South Dakota
Frankie Chasing Bear

I did not come to quilt-making easily. The urge to piece together shapes and colors wasn't my gift.

But when I was twelve, Grandmother said soon the quilt might be all that was left of what we once were. By the time your children wrap quilts around themselves, she told me, the star and all it stands for may be a dim memory, lit only by the fire of ancestors, clouded by ruddy smoke hanging in the sky.

Just before she died, Grandmother and I sat together one last time. She stopped to smooth a small wrinkle in the quilt top. "Lakota were favored among tribes," she said. "Our people stood at the top of the hills. The buffalo and the deer bowed to our warriors, and we lived together in peace. The peace pipe showed us how to live, and the stars helped us find good hunting grounds. One day, the sun rose on white men. They brought their religion, but they often did not listen to their God's teachings. We were brought low and herded like animals. They had no explanation, except to point to their Book. We were to love their God and love each other."

Grandmother laughed. "Lakota need no instruction on love." Tears glistened in her tired black eyes. She'd seen something terrible in the smoke, she said for the hundredth time. A red rose, unopened. Blood, a river of blood. Another day was coming, she said, when words from the Book would take place: We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.

I dared not remind her she prayed to the God of the Bible. That she stood in two worlds, fully Lakota, fully Christian. I worry it's not possible for me. Indians who go to the church are shunned by their kin and by the whites. Outcasts, their feet in no world at all.

Before we traveled to Arizona, Grandmother made me promise to make this Lakota Star for my son. Sew love into every stitch and remember: a bed without a quilt is like a sky without stars. The quilt will help this child remember who he is, she said. The star will tell him how much he is loved and the light will save him at the last day." (excerpt Prologue).

A Sky Without Stars is the latest novel in the Quilts of Love Series by Linda S. Clare as she takes a Native American turn at storytelling. We meet Frankie Chasing Bear who has begun the task of trying to make it on her own as a single mother leaving her to care for her son, ten-year-old Harold. After growing up among men who drink, first her father and then her husband, Frankie knows that she must do all she can to make sure her son does not follow in his families footsteps. But Harold is facing his own challenges being bullied by a white boy named Orval who finds picking on the Indian child to be his lot in life. No matter how much Frankie tries to help, somethings can only be learned by going through life and enduring the tough trials. Soon Frankie and Harold find an ally in Nick Parker, a Federal Agent who is half Lakota as well and both will find that learning to embrace new challenges and giving up some of the past prejudices are just what is needed for them both to move forward to a new life.

I received A Sky Without Stars by Linda S. Clare compliments of Christian Fiction Blog Alliance and Abingdon Press for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation and the opinions expressed are strictly my own unless otherwise noted. I love this take on the Quilts of Love series with the Native American twist for the 15th book in the series. I love how they embrace their heritage and the ways that have been passed down from generation to generation much like the quilt that Frankie is creating for her son, Harold. Quilts are like that in that they generally tell a bit about the person who handcrafted it with love and blessings as pieces are stitched together creating a beautiful work of art, much like how God uses our circumstances to create the person He has in mind as we grow and mature. I give this novel a 4 out of 5 stars and it even includes a reader discussion guide at the end.

For more information about A Sky Without Stars, Linda S. Clare or where you can pick up a copy of this novel, please click on the links below:

You can also find Linda S. Clare on Facebook to stay up to date with all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on A Sky Without Stars, please visit Christian Fiction Blog Alliance Book Tours Page. 

Smitten Book Club

What happens when you combine authentic friendship and the love of writing together? You find warmth, love and the best of Christian Romance with the amazing talents of Colleen Coble, Denise Hunter, Diann Hunt and Kristin Billerbeck in their latest novel Smitten Book Club. Welcome to the town of Smitten, Vermont, now a designated small town romance capital where love abounds where you least expect it! The town has all pulled together to help one of their own, a widow Molly Moore who lost her firefighter husband when a building collapsed on him during a fire. Now struggling to make ends meet, the town rallies around her to lend a hand to a book sale fund raiser at the library to cover the funeral costs. Her friends and fellow book club members Heather DeMeritt, Abby Gray, and Elliana Burton discover a rare treasure buried in the piles of books, The Gentlewoman's Guide to Love and Courtship by long-time town resident Pearl Chambers. The ladies discover a true treasure inside when clues seem to point the way to a undiscovered gold mine which could really bring life changing financial relief to Molly if they can find it. This is where the journey begins as each well-renown author takes a spin at working with each book club member and carries the story through to the end.

Colleen Coble picks up with her story, Love By The Book which picks up with Heather DeMeritt, who discovers the man she loved and lost has returned to Smitten as part of a more permanent move. Heather has been assigned working with Paul Mansfield to develop a plot of land the town has donated as an organic farm. Along the way, Heather is able to interest Paul in helping her discover what she believes may in fact be the entrance to the gold mine on the vacant property.  But will the two be able to put their past differences behind them into order to see what the future has in store for love?

Kristin Billerbeck picks up the novel with her addition, Shelved Under Romance, takes Abby Gray out of her comfort zone as the town's librarian. Since the death of her father, she has now taken over the care of her elderly mother and along the way, has lost her true identity buried beneath the layers of sweater seats, oversized clothing and comfortable shoes. But is she willing to take a leap of faith with sports extremist Wyatt Tanner as they continue to unravel clues to the buried treasure and discover love where she least expected it?

Diann Hunt captivates the reader with her addition, A New Chapter in which Elliana Burton who has a fear of doctors suddenly finds herself in need of a dentist when she loses a filling. She never dreams that romance could be hiding beneath the white coat of dentist Joey Oliver, the man she had given her heart to in grade school and had never gotten it back. Will she discover that there is more to life than Anne of Green Gables could predict?

Finally when Denise Hunter concludes with Happily Ever After with Molly Moore realizing that after all this time, the secrets she uncovers about her marriage with Curtis will lead to a very different path than she ever dreamed possible. But will she be willing to let her business competitor Gage Turner help provide the sound business advice she needs before Smitten Expeditions goes under for good?

I received Smitten Book Club by Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt and Denise Hunter compliments of Thomas Nelson Publishers and Litfuse Publicity for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation and the opinions are strictly my own. The best thing about The Smitten Book Club is getting a taste of four different romance writers in one novel. The stories flow so seamlessly you don't realize your making the move from one characters story into another one. The treasure hunt continues as each of the ladies finds more of the clues as they each take turns with the old book of dating and love advice from Pearl Chambers that showcases each new chapter within the short stories. You'll find yourself wondering just how true this really are to current day romance tips and along the way you'll find yourself charmed by the residents of Smitten who show us all what the real meaning of unconditional love really means. I personally give this one a 5 out of 5 stars. Author Diann Hunt lost her courageous battle with cancer in 2013 and now has been promoted to her heavenly home. A true lasting legacy to this series and her friendship!

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

To read more reviews on Smitten Book Club, please visit the Litfuse Publicity Book Tours.

You can find each of the authors on Facebook by clicking on their names below:

Colleen Coble
Kristin Billerbeck
Diann Hunt
Denise Hunter

The Smitten gals are back with their newest release, Smitten Book Club! Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, and Denise Hunter are celebrating with a Kindle Fire giveaway, a Facebook party on February 20, and a nationwide book-club brunch on March 22.

One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire HDX
  • The Smitten books (Smitten, Secretly Smitten, Smitten Book Club)
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on February 20th. Winner will be announced at the Smitten Book Club Facebook Author Chat Party on February 20th. Connect with Colleen Coble, Denise Hunter, and Kristin Billerbeck for an evening of book chat, trivia, laughter, and more! The Smitten gals will also be taking questions from the audience, giving away books and gift certificates, and sharing news about their upcoming nationwide Smitten Book Club brunch on March 22nd. (Sign up to host today!)

So grab your copy of Smitten Book Club and join Colleen, Denise, Kristin, and friends on the evening of February 20th 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!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 20th!

Sign up to host a Smitten Book Club Brunch on March 22nd!

Smitten Book Club Brunch Coble, Hunter, Billerbeck, Hunt

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Up At Butternut Lake

Sometimes the hardest thing for anyone to do is to move forward in a difficult situation like losing the love of your life when you least expected it. Even well meaning friends and family often times mean well with what they say, but it's still a bitter pill to swallow. Especially when you have a young son to put your best face on for. How do you find the strength to go on? Do you simply walk away from all those memories, your home, your friends? Or do you stay put and hope that one day it will hurt less than the day before?

For Allie Beckett, losing the only man she ever loved to a war on foreign soil seemed to occupy all her thoughts. Everywhere she looked, there were reminders of Gregg. Now she simply needed a break, a way to catch her breath. So she sold her home and moved into the families cabin on Butternut Lake. Was it the smartest decision she could make? For now, it was. Her son, Wyatt, needs to start over as well. He needs to realize that while his dad can't always be there he knows that he is watching over him in all he does from heaven. At first it was just Allie's cabin on the lake, but now she realizes she has a new neighbor, Walker Ford who manages the local boatyard.

Walker is dealing with his own issues with his failed relationship with Caitlin and dealing with his unresolved feelings of guilt and pain. She was the only women that he had wanted to make things work with even if the circumstances surrounding their marriage was left than perfect. But then again, that is what life has to offer. It doesn't come in cardboard boxes all wrapped up neat and pretty, more than likely it is an unexpected surprise in the making. Now he find himself drawn towards Allie as he spends time fishing with her son Wyatt and learning a bit about himself in the process. Something that he had never considered until he met Wyatt. Will they be able to forge a bond that will allow them both to heal from the pain of their pasts?

I received Up At Butternut Lake by Mary McNear compliments of William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins Publishers for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed in this review are strictly my own. I love the small town feel of the town of Butternut Lake that Mary has so beautifully created. From the warmth from Caroline and the coffee shop she runs while dealing with her own empty nest to Allie's best friend Jax she knew growing up spending her summers at the lake. Now that Jax is happily married, she too must come face to face with her past which may very well jeopardize the happy ever after life that everyone believes she has with her husband Jeremy and their four kids. It seems that everyone in this charming novel finds healing through helping one another realize that sometimes we all need to rely on others to help us move forward on our own. The death of a loved one, deception, a failed marriage, the darker parts of our past - all of these things can threaten the present and overshadow the future unless we can confront them head-on, and this is what each of these characters do in this novel. I easily give this one a 5 out of 5 stars and hope that Mary McNear will chose to add more novels with her characters from this novel in future books!

For more information about Up At Butternut Lake, Mary McNear or where to preorder a copy of this book which is slated for release in April of 2014, please click on the links below:

You can find Mary McNear on Facebook to stay up to date with all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on Up At Butternut Lake, please visit William Morrow's website. 
  • Series: The Butternut Lake Trilogy (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (April 8, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062283146
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062283146
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.9 inches

Monday, February 17, 2014

Neutrogena Triple Repair Hair Products Review

Not too many people that I know have found a shampoo, conditioner or leave in product that does what it claims. Neutrogena's launched a new product line called Neutrogena Triple Repair which features a shampoo, conditioner and leave in product that is proven in 80% to mend split ends, strengthen brittle hair and protects from breakage for dull and damaged hair. But does it work? Here's what I discovered as a BzzAgent that sampled full size bottles of all three.

Neutrogena Triple Repair Shampoo. It claims to be clinically proven for 80% stronger hair.
PROS: Nice fragrance, great lather, safe for color treated hair, great size for travel
CONS: Small bottle size 8.5 oz for every day use.

Neutrogena Triple Repair Conditioner. 8.5 oz. for dull and damaged hair.
PROS: Great fragrance, coats hair well, very thick for a conditioner, rinses out well.
CONS: Have to use quite a bit to work effectively, and need to leave in for a few minutes to work. Once you rinse it out, hair still feels very dry.

Neutrogena Triple Repair Leave-In Treatment. 5.1 oz for dull and damaged hair.
PROS: Great fragrance, easy to apply.
CONS: Leaves hair feeling heavy and greasy, after drying hair still feels dull and lifeless.

Overall comments: I would have a difficult believing the claims of this product. As a 50-year-old woman with color treated hair, this actually made my hair feel worse. After using the product for 3 days, I hated the way my hair felt. It felt dirty and in need of re-washing in part based on the leave in product even though I used a very small amount. I could finger style it and it would stay. The only upside to this product line is that even though I have been losing quite a bit of hair due to breakage when I blow-dry it, I did notice not as much after using the product. I would also have a hard time paying for the product in such small containers So overall for me, this product rated a 1 out of 5 stars in my opinion. While the product may work to reduce breakage, if you aren't happy with the way your hair feels afterwards, it's not worth it..

I received these Neutrogena Triple Repair Product samples compliments of Neutrogena and BzzAgent for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed in this review are strictly my own.

The Turning

What happens when a random collection of five ordinary people respond to God's calling from all over the United States? You gain the premise to the latest novel from best selling author Davis Bunn in The Turning. John Jacobs was simply an assistant manager for the Midwest depot of the nation's largest shipper of fresh produce but during a church service, he answered God's call to "Take the turning, and walk the unlikely road." For Alisha Seames, she lead one of the world's largest gospel choirs who were called back every single year to share in a gospel choir concert and she knew God has spoken to her, and that was a fact. After a lifetime of praying, it had actually happened, and she dreaded what was coming next. Because as soon as God had said, "Take the unlikely road," Alisha had known just exactly what that turn was. She didn't want to do it. She hated the very idea of what was coming next. But God had said He would meet her there. And that left her with no choice. None at all.

Jenny Linn had to make restitution with her parents before she could answer the calling. Not something easily done when both her and her father Richard Linn had iron wills and strong Chinese traditions of honor to your parents. Neither one wanting to bend to make things right between them, but this time, Jenny knew what God had called her to do. She was to restore the relationship with her parents because she would need them as allies in her walk of faith with Christ. Now drawn to New York, they will meet with John and Alisha in a coffee shop where they will connect with Ruth Barrett, wife of one of the great evangelists of the twentieth century. Since her husband's death, she had become well known in her own right, speaking and writing about Christians maintaining a strong prayer life. An olive skinned manYussuf Alwan from Damascus, introduced himself to the group as he told them he was drawn here by reasons that he didn't understand. And that he can only hope that it is my Savior's voice I've been hearing.

Now that God has called them together, He will begin to put a plan in place to work against the rising tide of corruption to stem from the media giant Mundrose Global Communications. It is a collection of businesses including its own television studio, movie studio, magazine company, advertising and marketing division, music recording company, book publishers and electronic gaming division. Now working with an idea that Trent Cooper has that will utilize all the divisions working together to create a new trend that will literally make them millions. It appeals to the generation Xers and Millennials who often lose interest in new trends after a short time, but this idea is guaranteed to last longer than anyone would ever dream possible. It is to simply instill a simple idea in their minds that Hope is Dead. Now is the time to take care of yourself at all costs and there is nothing anyone can do to stop this rising trend!

I received The Turning by Davis Bunn compliments of Edify Media Inc and River North Publishing for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed are strictly my own. This is a chilling look at what may in fact be our very near future if a mega corporation decides to take on Christianity and religion and garner the world's attention that we don't need God any longer. That bad things happen and God doesn't seem to care about anyone. Now working as one under the leadership of Trent Cooper, they gain momentum to take over the world by claiming our younger generation first and in doing so hope to crush the spirit of God's hope once and for all. I rate this book a 4 out of 5 stars and a Bible study will be available soon online at

For more information about The Turning, Davis Bunn or where you can preorder up a copy of this book today that is due for release on April 1, 2014, please click on the links below:

You can also find Davis Bunn on Facebook to stay up to date with all his latest novels.

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: River North; New Edition edition (April 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802411681
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802411686
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches

Saturday, February 15, 2014

A Road Unknown

If she ever wants a future, she will have to return home to resolve the issues from her past. Elizabeth Bontrager had run away from home even though she was twenty-years-old. She needed a break from being the oldest of nine children and having all the responsibility of helping to care for her brothers and sister was simply more than could handle. It was rapidly changing her outlook on what marriage and having her own family should look like, and now it was the furthest thing from her mind. Even though she was still in her rumschpringe, a period of deciding whether she wanted to be baptized into the Amish faith or walk away, she figured out some distance is what is needed to help her decide.

Only she didn't plan on fate intervening on a bus headed for Paradise, Pennsylvania as Saul Miller took a seat beside her. She had no plans to have a conversation with him and simply wanted to be left alone with her thoughts, but Saul had other things in mind. He wanted to know what someone as beautiful as Elizabeth would leave home if she wasn't taking vacation or enjoying her rumschpringe the way most Amish do. It seemed to Saul that she was running away from something and he hoped he might convince her to let him help in any way he could. Even if it was simply sharing a Big Mac and fries on the bus to Paradise.

Elizabeth plans to stay with her English friend Paula who is attending college to become a nurse and has offered Elizabeth a place to stay. When Paula learns that Elizabeth can cook, the agree to deal where Elizabeth will do the cooking and Paula will pay for the groceries. Now all Elizabeth has to do is find a job in Paradise. But with limited skills working in a fabric store in Goshen, she isn't sure it will be that easy, until fate plays its hand again. She literally is given a job at a country store selling Amish products while Miriam goes on maternity leave for a couple months. Guess who her employer is? Yup Saul Miller. Now it seems God has more in store for Elizabeth and Saul as they realize that all roads to the future lie where God guides.

I received A Road Unknown by Barbara Cameron compliments of Abingdon Press and Litfuse Publicity. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed are strictly my own. This is the first novel in the Amish Roads Series, from Barbara Cameron and I LOVED it. I always wondered if the Amish oldest girls often got tired of the weight of helping raise children and what would they do, how would they act. I think Barbara captured this very essence in Elizabeth's character. In no way was she disrespectful to her parents but simply looked for a breather to gain the right perspective. I love how Saul enabled her to see things clearly in the end and can't wait for the next novel in this series. I think it's going to be a favorite of mine. There is a readers discussion guide at the end along with a sneak peek at Crossroads, the next novel in this series. I personally give this one a 5 out of 5 stars!

For more information about A Road Unknown, Barbara Cameron or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:

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

To read more reviews on A Road Unknown, please visit Litfuse Publicity's Book Tour Page.

Barbara Cameron is celebrating the release of A Road Unknown with a $200 Visa cash card giveaway and a fun "Amish Roads" Facebook party.

One winner will receive:
  • A $200 Visa cash card
  • A Road Unknown by Barbara Cameron
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on February 27th. Winner will be announced at Barbara's "Amish Roads" Facebook Party on February 27th. Connect with Barbara for an evening of book chat, Amish trivia, laughter, prizes, and more!

So grab your copy of A Road Unknown and join Barbara and friends on the evening of February 27th 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!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 27th!

Prime of Life

"Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it." ~ Hebrews 13:2 (NIV)

If you're looking for an exceptional book that has just a little bit of everything tucked just inside the covers, humor, kindness, reflection, humility and a powerful message that ties them all together, than look no further than Prime of Life by P. D. Bekendam. The is a treasure just waiting to be discovered and I promise you, that you will NOT be disappointed when you get to the end.

It takes place at Heritage Gardens, a retirement home for seniors where we meet our main character, who simply goes by the name of Ben. He works as a janitor not only as a way to earn a living but to escape his past that refuses to stay in the past. When one of the retirees, the Professor, discovers that Ben used to be a doctor, he sets out to discover just why Ben would give up a high paying career saving lives to spend it cleaning toilets for a bunch of old folks.

Soon you will find that in Heritage Gardens, humor abounds in the unlikeliest of places. Frank and Marvin have grown up trying to out do each other since they were children and it hasn't changed now that they reside in the same senior home. It's a never ending job for Ben cleaning up each others messes as each one tries to get back at the other. When a younger woman named Betty Boestra, who been nicknamed Betty Boop, moves into the home, suddenly Frank and Marvin try to out do one another seeing who can attract her attention first.  The elderly ladies in the home, spend their time gossiping about Betty or spend their time in the beauty shop trying to look better for all the men who suddenly seem interested in the newest resident.

It's really to story of Ben that readers will find themselves drawn to as Ben becomes a bit of an obsessive compulsive person addicted with numbers, especially prime ones, and everything he does revolves around how many tiles he walks over to how many steps he takes getting from one place to another. It all has to end in a prime number. He refuses to wear anything with zippers and even his striped polo shirts or ties, have to have a prime number of stripes or he won't buy them. Yet along the way, you can't help but be drawn in to Ben's past and how it will soon resurface in a way he never imagined and his life will become full circle.

I received Prime of Life by P. D. Bekendam compliments of Worthy Publishing for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed in this review are strictly my own. I love how this story concludes and probably the highlight for me when you see how it all comes together kinda of like a hidden treasure. What you don't realize is the whole time, clues are being given which you miss until the end. It's then you have that "Aha!" moment and discover what the whole thing has been about. Truly a brilliant author who uses his god-given talents without being overly religious to get his meaning across in an unforgettable way. I easily give this one a 5 out of 5 stars for this heartwarming debut novel that feels a bit like Grumpy Old Men meets Cocoon! The best part is proceeds from his writing go to help fund his activities in developing countries as he works to bring cataract surgery to the needlessly blind!

For more information about Prime of Life, P.D. Bekendam or where you can pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the links below:

You can also find P. D. Bekendam on Facebook to stay up to date with all his latest novels.

To read more reviews on Prime of Life, please visit Worthy Publishing's website. 

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Worthy Publishing (February 4, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1617952273
  • ISBN-13: 978-1617952272
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 1 inches

Friday, February 14, 2014

Bounce Back

"In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." ~ Albert Einstein

Most women desire to be women of faith, with spiritual depth and maturity, but how can you do that when dealing with pain, anger, sadness, discouragement, hopelessness and desperation? Why can you find encouragement while life hands you a truck load of lemons? How do you push past the emotions that are longing to keep your bound to your current lot in life when all you want to do is leave it all behind and move forward?

How do you overcome dealing with a spouse that has walked away from your marriage, leaving you a single mom with responsibilities of dealing with bills, the house, kids and going back to work?

How do you deal with losing someone you loved to death or disease when you know God could have healed them?

How do you push past the pain from abuse in your childhood that happened decades ago and now are having to confront the nightmares and emotions even though you thought you left it all behind?

How do you deal with a spouse that has walked away leaving you holding the bag while they move on with a women half your age and now years later he wants your forgiveness while you are still holding on to the bitterness and resentment?

How do you deal with the fifth miscarriage in your life while hoping to fill your home with the sounds of a family and children and are now told you can't have any more?

Do any of these terms describe you or perhaps all of these?

  • Overstressed
  • Overworked
  • Underappreciated
  • Underpaid
  • Burnt out
If you are like most women, you can lay claim to one or more of these terms even if you don't want to. Most of us simply don't know how to break out of being burdened, in bondage or carry emotional baggage that is too heavy for one person to carry. We realize we are broken but don't know how to fix it.

We want to be set free, to break out and to bounce back!

That is the reason for the book, Bounce Back from Julie Clinton, that has been written to show you how you can not only break free but to bounce back and see your life from a completely different perspective, using stories she has gained from women going through those very things mentioned above. She shows you how to have hope again. That God does love you and He wants a better life for you. He does have a way for you to move from where you are, to the better life of your future and that you can bounce back from what has been holding you back.

I received Bounce Back by Julie Clinton compliments of Worthy Publishings for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation and the opinions expressed are strictly my own. I think every woman at some point in her life can look back and see times where her own set backs have held her back more than she wanted. Julie's book not only shows you that God is with you every step of the way, but through the stories she shares of what other women went through and got through, you can share in the hope we can bounce back and move forward through our circumstances no matter how difficult. They are all 100% survivable! I easily give this book a 4 out of 5 stars!

For more information about Bounce Back, Julie Clinton, or where you can pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the links below:

You can also find Julie Clinton on Facebook to stay up to date with all her latest books.

To read more reviews on Bounce Back, please visit Worthy Publishing's website. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


Webster's dictionary defines hopeful as exciting hope; promising advantage or success and in her latest series, Return to Sugarcreek, Shelley Shepard Gray does just that for two remarkable characters in her book Hopeful. Miriam Zehr wants to have hope. Being twenty-five among the Amish and without any romantic aspects in her future, she is considered a bit of an outcast by both friends and her family. That make Miriam all the more subconscious about being a little overweight and not the prettiest young woman in her opinion. In fact, no one has ever given Miriam a passing glance. She finds solace in working as a waitress and baker at the Sugarcreek Inn, but even there she comes up short, she can't even make it to work on time. It's a good thing she is such a great baker and hard worker or she would have lost her job awhile ago. But something has to change for her.

When Junior Beiler arrives at the Inn and asks to meet with Miriam at her house after work, she finally feels that God is about to answer her prayers. She thinks Junior has come to court her! She has had her eye on Junior for quite some time and is finally willing to believe something good is coming her way. Even her parents are thrilled to hear that Junior is making plans to come to the house to talk to Miriam, However, when Junior arrives all he wants to know is if Miriam can help set him up with her best friend Mary Kate. In one instant, all her hopes and dreams are dashed in pieces. Yet Miriam will never let anyone know that she set herself up believing for one minute that Junior was interested in her and plays it off in front of her parents and Junior. To Junior, she is willing to be that "friend" he needs to get to Mary Kate, but she can't let her parents and family think that Junior doesn't want to court her, so she begins to live a double life of sorts, not being honest to anyone but most of all not even herself.

Judith Graber has learned after her last miscarriage that she can no longer have any babies and she wonders just what kind of wife can she be to Ben, if she can't give him the family he has wanted. No matter how much Ben assures her that his only concern is for her to get better, no amount of love seems to be enough for Judith to come to terms with only being a wife to Ben and not a mother of his children. She's isn't even willing to consider adoption. Knowing many women who have lost babies, she believes she might find the answer with another doctor, but what if this is the choice God has in store for her, to remain childless. Can she live with that fact forever?

I received Hopeful by Shelley Shepard Gray compliments of Litfuse Publicity and Avon Inspire for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation and the opinions expressed in this review are strictly my own. I found myself relating to Miriam's character quite a bit, willing to put her true feelings on the back burner to make everyone else happy. She is undoubtedly a people pleaser. I can see her struggle with her own self image and when things don't work out the way she likes, it seriously affects her self esteem. She finds herself second guessing herself at virtually every turn. I see so much of myself in Miriam's character, I felt like Shelley was writing about me. For me, this was one of the closest character parallels I've ever come across in a novel. It was like watching myself in this novel. I love how it turned out, and I won't give this one away, but trust me you'll want to check this one out. I personally give this a 5 out of 5 stars.

For more information about Hopeful, Shelley Shepard Gray, or where to pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:

You can also find Shelley Shepard Gray on Facebook to stay up to date with all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on Hopeful, please visit the Litfuse Publicity Book Tour Page.

Welcome to the blog tour for Hopeful, the first book in Shelley Shepard Gray's new series, Return to Sugarcreek. Critics have already given their thumbs up for Hopeful: “Lovable characters and a good story, full of romance and suspense . . . a must read." (Library Journal)

Enter to win one of FIVE copies of the book. 


Five winners will receive:
  • Hopeful by Shelley Shepard Gray
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on February 23rd. All winners will be announced February 24th at Shelley's blog.

Enter today and be sure to visit Shelley's blog on the 24th to see if YOU won one of the books!