Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Cinderella Governess

The Cinderella Governess
Georgie Lee
Joanna has no idea who her family is, or where she came from. She appeared on the steps of a ladies finishing school when she was a baby with only her name pinned to her clothing. Now, as a young lady, her deepest dream is to be part of a family. She hopes that being a governess will lead her in that direction. But the family she is with is not her idea of a good family. And what is she to do when she falls in love with Luke, someone way beyond her station.

This was a regency Cinderella story of sorts. It involves several families and doesn't exactly follow the fairy tale, but elements of it are there. It's sweet, romantic, and has a few tiny suspenseful moments. The chemistry between the two main characters fit well with the story and made the romance believable. There are some bedroom scenes so I wouldn't classify this as a clean romance. The author did a great job of showing the scenery and pulling the reader in. She also created some hints as to the other books in the series, making me curious about Joanna's other friends. Overall, this was a well written story that had all of the classic elements of a regency romance and I enjoyed it.

I received this book free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Service Tails

Service Tails
More Stories of Man's Best Hero
Ace Collins
A dog is man's best friend. But sometimes he can be our hero too. Collins has pulled stories from all over about service dogs and the millions of ways they protect and save their owners. Service dogs have provided many people with the ability to regain their lives after a disability that wouldn't have been possible without their furry companion and helper. The authors fresh and authentic writing style add a entertaining element to these heartwarming stories.

First, love the cover! But it's the stories inside that make this book a real winner. I loved all of the different ways that a service dog can be of use to their companions. The author did a great job of creating a back story so that the reader realized just how much the person's life was devastated by their disability and then saved when they got their service dog. Some of the people are very well known, but others are just ordinary people who wanted to return to their ordinary lives. I really enjoyed this book and think it would make an excellent gift to someone who enjoys animals or loves reading true stories of heroism.

I received this book free of charge from Litfuse Publicity in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Until Then

Until Then
Cornerstone #2
Krista Noorman
 Michelle doesn't have the best home life. So when her grandparents force her to attend a Christian college in hopes of "saving" her, she's not impressed. Michelle's experiences with Christians so far has not been good. But when she arrives she finds friends that make the experience a little easier than she'd anticipated.

The book begins in college so has a definite YA feel. It spans quite a bit of time, ending when the main character is a middle age adult. The story reads a bit like a saga because it deals with family drama and spans such a length of time. The author wove Christian elements into the story and made the situations realistic and authentic. There is some elements that might make this a more adult book such as references to substance abuse, depression, sex, and family neglect. But the author handled it discreetly and left the story still feeling "clean". Overall, this would be a good book for anyone who enjoys redemption stories, clean romance, or YA novels.

I received this book free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

There is a give-away for this book. So if this sounds like a book you would enjoy, follow the link below.

For Better or For Kids

For Better or For Kids
Patrick and Ruth Schwenk
Marriage can be difficult at first, but add kids to the mix and some people begin to understand the part in the vows that says "or for worse". We love our little ones, but they can definitely interfere with couple time. The authors have drawn from personal experience and their experiences in ministry to write a book for those married couples struggling to find each other amongst the children. Each chapter has relatable stories, bullet points, questions, and take-away thoughts that will show the couple how to have a beautiful and meaningful relationship with children in the home.

This was not only an informative book, but it was also one that I enjoyed reading. The writing style is relaxed and friendly, like visiting with two friends who share your troubles and concerns. While the book is faith based, I think anyone would benefit from the advice, conversation starters, and stories the authors have shared. The subjects deal with communication, establishing date nights, and finding balance. Overall, this was an enjoyable way to take a refreshing look at how marriage with children can be a wonderful thing.

I received this book free of charge from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Justine Johnston Hemmestad

by Justine Johnston Hemmestad

In 1990 my car was broadsided by a speeding city bus as I turned out of a parking lot - I was in a coma and had sustained a severe brain injury. I was paralyzed when I woke up from my coma, though I worked hard to walk again within a few months, and to relearn how to perform the basic functions of life.

I began to write when I was carrying my first child Megan, less than two years after my accident, as tool or a way to cope with feeling so alone in my disability and misunderstood. Writing, throughout the darkest part of my recovery—when everyone looked down on me and I had no one to talk to or relate with me—helped me to get my thoughts in focus, to learn new things, and to remember what was important to me. I felt bullied, my thoughts and perception were skewed, and I felt emotionally alone, isolated by my personal lacking (my speech was slurred; my reactions were slow, etc.).

But writing was my Savior. When I was so afraid and so filled with guilt for being disabled, writing offered me a safe and comforting place to go, where I could cry and feel loved. Writing was my confidante and gave me hope when the world was crushing me. Writing even helped me find out who I was, since everything about "me" seemed to have melted away with my TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury). Writing helped me find my words to speak again. Writing was my purpose, and writing was my healing.

http:// products/truth-be-told
My novella, Truth be Told, is essentially the story of my recovery wrapped up in fictional characters in a different time and place. Everything is symbolic in my novella because symbolism itself taught me how to travel deep inside my thoughts and search until I found the answers. Symbolism aided my memory by the weight of its meaning.

The old man in my novella is symbolic of God, prayer, love of my children, and the inner truth I found when I dug deep, the challenges that stretched my mind and that I knew I had to face when I wanted to give up on life completely.

The Lady is the aspect of my recovery in which I felt lost, even to myself—I didn’t know who I was—but in prayer and meditation I learned to focus my mind, calm my thoughts (which were drowning in the guilt I felt for being disabled) and listen to God’s answer…what defines me?

The knight is the aspect of my recovery that was assaulted by PTSD. Not only was I recovering, but I was recovering amidst a torrent of fear, pain, and false persecution. He represents the survivor’s guilt I had for living as brain-injured, and the part of myself that felt I deserved the lies that people told about me simply because it was easy to lie about me. I illuminated my purpose— the purpose that any recovering person needs to be able to climb out of the darkness—symbolically as Jesus. When people lied about me, writing defended me and made the truth immortal. My purpose, as writing, was the well within me; writing saved me and gave me direction in life (even when I no longer had any sense of direction due to my TBI). There were people who tried to point me in the wrong direction, but my prayer, and written prayer, was always brimming with truth.

My purpose in writing raised me out of the darkness and set me on a new path. As my characters in Truth be Told founded one of the first Universities in Europe, my purpose led me to enter into college, to study tirelessly, and to set goals and reach them. For a person with a TBI, these things stretched my mind to the breaking point. And yet my savior, writing, was always there, so much that my purpose and my goals became intertwined. Every class I’ve had brought me new challenges; every professor’s pushing has helped me more than they were ever aware.

My husband and I now have seven children and I'm still writing, for both have truly been essential to my recovery. I've also earned a BLS through The University of Iowa and am now working toward a Master's Degree in Literature through Northern Arizona University. I’m grateful to have written a book that I felt so strongly, all along, could be of help to survivors, for them to recognize themselves in the characters and to know that they're not alone. I would have recognized myself in this story and it would have given me hope. My mission now is to give other survivors hope.

Facebook   **  Twitter

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Breach of Trust

Breach of Trust
Jodie Bailey
 Meghan left her military career to work with children. As a former foster child, she has a soft spot for the abandoned children. When an old college friend offers her the chance to become part of a foundation to help foster children she jumps at the opportunity. But a hacker from her past has resurfaced and is out to get Meghan. A friend from her unit, thought to be dead, is helping her try to figure out who is trying to kill her. But he may end up in the cross hairs as well.

This was a fast paced, exciting story. The timeline was short, but the author packed a lot in and kept the suspense up the entire time. The two characters meshed well together and their love for each other was real. It's a clean Christian romance and the author did a great job of creating chemistry while keeping the story clean. I also enjoyed how she wove a deep faith into the characters while still showing them as flawed humans. The secondary characters were also well written and seemed to have their own story. While the other characters hint at more to their lives, the book can definitely be read as a stand-alone. This was a new author to me and I look forward to reading more of her books in the future. This was a great book to fill my rainy afternoon and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys romantic suspense.

I received this book free of charge from Goodreads in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Coloring Flower Mandala Postcards

Coloring Flower Mandala Postcards
Wendy Piersall

Relaxation isn't just limited to coloring books. Grab this little book of postcards and share the beauty with someone else. Twenty oversized postcards have flower mandalas on one side and a decorative space for a note on the opposite side. The mandalas are a smaller version of what you will find in the flower mandala coloring book.

I'm a huge fan of Wendy Piersall and adult coloring books so this was a nice addition to my addiction. My children enjoyed coloring a couple of the postcards to send to family who lives in another state. These are small enough to slip in a purse or bookcase and pulled out for those inevitable times one has to wait. If you love to color, I highly recommend these beautiful little postcards.

I received this book free of charge from Ulysses Press in exchange for my honest review.