Wednesday, August 31, 2016

If You Were Me

If You Were Me and Lived in Brazil
Carole P. Roman
This book is part of a series designed to introduce children to how other people live in different countries. Using a mixture of illustrations and photography, the author talks about children who live in Brazil and what life might be like if you were a little boy or girl who lived there. She talks about location, family, food, and fun. The difficult or unfamiliar words have a pronunciation beside them and are all included in a pronunciation guide at the back of the book.
My children really enjoy this series and look forward to each one. While the style of the book is laid out like a story, this is non-fiction and more informative. Children will learn quite a bit about the culture of other children around the world while having fun reading. I would recommend this book for family fun or for schools as an addition to curriculum.

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

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

For Better or Worse

For Better or Worse
The Wedding Belles #2
Lauren Layne
Heather, a small town girl, has always dreamed of working and living in New York City. As soon as she graduated from college she moved to her dream city. Now in an apartment in the prime location, she has one last goal before achieving her dream. She must get everything perfect with this next wedding so she can move from assistant to a bonafide wedding planner. But there is one tiny problem - her new neighbor, Josh, is in a band and refuses to stop playing his music in the middle of the night. If Heather can't get her sleep, she might mess up the wedding of the year.

This story started out with lots of fun and kept the pace up the entire book. There were some serious moments, but the feel of the book for me was fun and romance. The author did a great job of creating tension between the two main characters. They both meshed well together, making for a believable spark of chemistry. I liked how she tied in the other members of The Wedding Belles so we could get a glimpse into what was happening since we last read about them. This was a good addition to the series and I can't wait to read the next one.

I received this book free of charge from Simon and Schuster in exchange for my honest review.

Calming Dot to Dot

Calming Dot to Dot
Emily Wallis
Coloring isn't the only stress reliever that adults can now turn to. The artist/author of this book has created some of the most intricate, beautiful dot to dot pictures I've ever seen. Each one can be traced and then colored if the person desires. The pictures vary with a variety of animals, people, buildings, and nature. Each page is on a heavy duty paper that won't bleed should you choose to use markers. The bendable cover and smaller shape makes this a great book for slipping into a purse or book bag to use during those inevitable wait times.

I loved the pictures and the smaller design that made this more relaxing and allowed me to focus. There is a brief instructional description of the book at the beginning that was also helpful to how the author/artist intended the book to be used. This would make a great gift, but I personally intend to keep my copy.

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

Saturday, August 27, 2016

August 2016 CLASH!

Clash of the Titles

Hot! Hot! Hot!
Vote for your Fave!

Scroll through these FOUR new releases and cast your vote for the one you'd pick up first to read.
I know it's hard!

Fight for Liberty by Theresa Linden

Prompted by the inner voice that has guided her for years, Liberty is compelled to bring the freedom she now possesses to others suppressed by the all-controlling government. While unsure of how to carry out this mission, she is willing to risk all to accomplish it.

An Elegant Facade by Krisit Ann Hunter

Lady Georgina Hawthorne has worked tirelessly to seal her place as the Incomparable for her debut season; with money and business connections, but without impeccable bloodlines, Colin McCrae is invited everywhere but accepted nowhere. As their paths continue to cross, they both must decide if the realization of their dreams is worth the sacrifices they must make.

Defying Shadows by Ashley Townsend

Sarah travels back to the twelfth century and discovers that a ghost from her past has returned to Serimone, intent on changing the future. Time is quickly running out to stop him, and her life is put on the line as she must decide between returning to the safety of her world, and entrusting her future with a hero of the past as they attempt to save history.

One Thursday Morning by T.K. Chapin

Running not only for her own life, but that of her unborn baby, Serenah moves across the country to a little town outside of Spokane Washington called Newport. It's here she'll begin to build a new life and go by a different name in the hopes of staying hidden from her abusive husband John. 


If you have trouble viewing the entire survey, August 2016 Clash Surveyclick here to load a dedicated page to the survey

Friday, August 26, 2016

Starving Hearts

Starving Hearts
Triangular Trade Trilogy #1
Janine Mendenhall
Annette is trying to survive under the smothering of her mother. She has an illness that causes her to faint if she doesn't eat regularly. Her mother is ashamed and tries to hide this. She also feels like Annette needs to be married and the highest bidder will get the "prize."
Peter is the second son who has chose the path of a clergy. Definitely not in the running for Annette as far as her mother is concerned. The two must trust that God has control and will work everything out according to His will.

Don't let the title or description fool you - this book isn't just a romance. The author has included twists and turns throughout the entire book. The reader will be kept on their toes the entire time. This book is definitely Christian fiction. The elements of faith are interspersed liberally through the plot and are a key factor in some of the story lines. I really appreciated the way the author handled the subject of slavery and showed the atrocities from a different viewpoint than I'm normally accustomed to. Sometimes the plot felt a little disjointed. The characters were a little flat at times as well. But overall, this was an entertaining book and I look forward to seeing the author grow in her writing. People who enjoy regency romance, suspense, or Christian fiction will find this a fast paced, enjoyable story.

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

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.

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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.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Come to the Family Table

Come to the Family Table
Ted and Amy Cunningham
Family meals aren't just sitting at the table with family members eating a meal. It's about connecting, learning, enjoying, and sharing. The authors have divided the book up in to two parts. The first part is all about the family. Weaving faith throughout each topic, the authors talk about bonding with your family over a shared meal, enhancing and encouraging good memories, and connecting to bring the family closer to each other and God. The second part is about bringing others to the family table and how to make them feel not only included, but to share with them the beautiful blessing of Jesus.

This was a rich, fulfilling, and heartwarming book to read. I was encouraged and inspired. The personal stories and testimonies added to the warmth in the writing style. There are recipes, helpful suggestions, and prayers with almost every chapter. I enjoyed the uplifting, faith filled approach and look forward to implementing a few things I learned in the book. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to enrich their family meal times with a faith based book.

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

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Mother of the Bride

Mother of the Bride
Refreshment and Wisdom for the Mother of the Bride
Cheryl Barker
Mother's of the Bride have a huge to-do list that can often be daunting and overwhelming. In addition to all of the regular work that a mom normally does, she now has to help her daughter plan a wedding. The author has been in this very position twice with her own daughters and has written this book to share her insight and encouragement for other mothers. Each chapter begins with a little quote and then a personal story from the author that will tie in with the thought. At the end of each chapter there are several little key points - A Gem for the Journey, Treat Yourself, Talk It Over, A Bonus Wedding Tip, and Your MOB Musings. These are little thoughts and tips that will help and guide the MOB towards a more relaxing, enjoyable experience. The Musings has a question that gets the reader thinking and then has some journaling lines to capture the thoughts.

I loved the cover of the book. It has the feel of a devotional or journal. There is also a ribbon bookmark that adds to the richness of the book. The fonts, decorative touches, and colors are beautiful and help set the ambiance for the fun, relaxing way the author writes. The author not only shares personal experiences and helpful tips, but addresses the feelings mothers' have about letting their daughters go. My daughter isn't ready for a wedding yet, but I will be keeping this book for the future and can definitely see it being a calming and fun book to read while I'm preparing for my daughter to get married.

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

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Fetching Sweetness

Fetching Sweetness
Dana Mentink
Stephanie Pink has one job - meet the best selling author, Agnes and get her to sign her manuscript with Stephanie's publishing company. But when Sweetness, Agnes's dog, runs away, Stephanie is tasked with finding the dog before she can take possession of the manuscript. Stephanie stumbles upon Rhett in a camp ground. Rhett is a business man, taking a break from the corporate world. He's on his way to heal his relationship with his sister and see if he even wants to return to business. The two join forces to bring a dog back to it's owner and a family back together again. Neither one gets exactly what they planned, but maybe what God planned is actually better.

This was a fun, sweet story. The author used authentic, flawed characters and created a dramatic story that showcased love, forgiveness, and healing. But the humor was what made me love this book. If you mix a crazy dog, two misguided people, and and a very eccentric old woman together the result can only be humor. Faith and a kidnapping certainly didn't hurt the plot either. Overall, this was a really entertaining story that taught some lessons as well. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys Christian romance with lots of humor.

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

(un)Natural Mom

(un)Natural Mom
Why You Are the Perfect Mom for Your Kids
Hettie Brittz
 Everyone has a different personality. But most personalities can be broken down into a four or a mixture of these four. The author has taken this a step farther and given the reader four different mom personalities and how we can take those personalities and become an even better mom. She talks about how each mom is the perfect mom for the kids that God has given her.

I really enjoyed the author's writing style. I found myself laughing or sharing little pieces of the book to my friends or husband as I read. Brittz is honest and open about her faults and fails as well as her positives. She takes an upbeat, positive look at each personality and provides concrete ways that we can change the negative and enhance the positive. She uses her faith to weave a message of hope and promise for each reader. At the end of each chapter are reflective questions that help a mom to focus on what is important in her mothering journey. My only negative about the whole book is that you have to purchase the Tall Trees Parenting Profile that she references throughout the book. And it isn't cheap. Overall, I think this is a great book for parents, as both mom and dad will be able to take important things away from reading.

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

Monday, August 15, 2016

It's Hard to Be Me!

It's Hard to Be Me!
Yehleen Padillo Alana
Sometimes it's hard to be a kid. Gab has some moments during his day that make him think it's really hard to be him. He can't always do things right and he feels discouraged, because he wants to be a big kid. But his mom and dad help him to see that he is very special and he realizes that it really is wonderful to be Gab.

The book is oversized and perfect for little ones to grasp and read. The font is large and the vocabulary is small enough so that an early reader could read it for themselves. The story, while simplistic, talks about acceptance of who you are and learning to not think negatively. It also shows the importance of family in a child's life. My youngest enjoyed the book and it opened up some conversations for us to discuss further. The illustrations are cute and will be fun for children.

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

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Without Warning

Without Warning
Elite Guardians #2
Lynette Eason
Katie is driving home from work when she sees police lights at the restaurant of Daniel Matthews. She knows of Daniel because she has his niece, Riley, in her class, but decides to check anyway. The case of murder and arson quickly becomes a case and Katie finds herself right in the middle of the action. Someone wants Daniel to pay, possibly with his life. Riley thinks her uncle needs a body guard and she asks Katie for help.

Fast paced action, drama, and a little bit of romance make this a fun read. The author uses descriptions to show a picture and bring the reader into the story. The mixture of suspense and faith tie well together and I really enjoyed the secondary characters. The author did a great job of creating interest in the next character in the series and providing a little glimpse into the two people from book one. While this is the second book in the series, I think it could be read as a stand-alone. But since this is a great author and I'm enjoying the series, I would definitely recommend that you start at the beginning. Overall, a good book that readers of Christian suspense will definitely enjoy.

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

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Coloring Bird Mandalas

Coloring BirdMandalas
30 Hand-Drawn Designs for Mindful Relaxation
Wendy Piersall
Coloring can be relaxing, help you focus, and is a peaceful fun way to unwind. This is the 6th book by this artist and has the same style of beautiful, intricate drawings as the others. Each page is made of thick, white, heavy-duty paper that won't bleed through or show indentions. The artist has created 30 birds that almost completely fill each page and offer a wide variety for the imagination to enjoy coloring.

This artist is my favorite when it comes to adult coloring books. I've looked through, and colored, multiple books and I always come back to these books. The books are easy to use when sitting down on a chair since they use such heavy paper. There is no need for a table or desk. The attention to detail is beautiful and allows me to create my own little work of art. I've used this while listening to presentations, as a way to relax, and while waiting for appointments. If you are looking for a good quality, detailed adult coloring book, I'd highly recommend this one. Well worth every penny.

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

Friday, August 12, 2016

How to Graduate Debt Free

How to Graduate Debt Free
The Best Strategies to Pay for College
Kristina Ellis
College is expensive. Any parent or college student will tell you that the thought of ending college with a mountain of debt is not a good one. But how is a parent with little to no savings or a student with only a part-time job able to handle college without paying for it years after graduation? This books takes the best strategies and ways to pay for college, thus saving the parents and students a world of headaches and stress.

As a parent, the idea of paying for two college tuitions is daunting. So I was excited to read this book and see what the author had to say. She takes her own personal experiences and her degree in business to write a well thought out and understandable plan that can be tweaked for anyone. I was expecting a lot of information. But I was not expecting how entertaining and interesting the author was able to make it. I was able to read through the book quickly and didn't get bored or bogged down in the details, but I also gleaned quite a bit of useful information that I can use to start planning for my children's education. The author has an easy, smooth writing style that feels personable and well informed. I would recommend this book to anyone with children or any student getting ready for college.

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

Thursday, August 11, 2016

The California Gold Rush

The California Gold Rush Romance Collection
Nine authors come together to write historical romance novellas centered on the California gold rush. Each author takes a different look at the hardships, triumphs, and relationships that steamed from the fervor the gold caused. The connection between each story is the faith that is woven throughout the plot, the location and topic of each story, and the romantic story.

I enjoyed reading this book. It was a great glimpse into each author's writing style. Some of these are authors that I've enjoyed in the past, but a few were new to me. A couple of the stories felt very rushed in the timeline of the romance. But overall, all of these were sweet, romantic, filled with faith, and were a wonderful entertainment on a rainy day. The stories are short and since they aren't really connected can be read alone. This makes this a great book for those times when you only have a short time to read. Overall, I think this was an entertaining book that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys clean, historical romance novellas.

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

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Modern Potluck

Modern Potluck
Beautiful Food to Share
Kristin Donnelly
Potlucks have been around for years. And sometimes the recipes are outdated or don't do well with the heat or long table time that potlucks often entail. So the author has created 100 recipes that work well with crowds, can sit on the table for a long time, and work well with the various food preferences that are around now. The recipes have notes about whether they are or can be made gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, or dairy free. Each recipe is has easy to understand instructions and the book is loaded with beautiful color photography.

I loved the photography in the book. Between the titles and the pictures, I was very hungry when I finished looking through the book. I appreciated the effort the author took into showing how the recipes were or could be altered to fit the various dietary needs. The recipes weren't your old tradition standards like green bean salad or macaroni & cheese. While the recipes were delicious, I did wonder if some of them were a bit too "different" for the mass majority, which is what you are trying to appeal to when cooking for a potluck. But maybe I'm wrong. Overall, this was a neat concept and I really enjoyed looking through and trying a few of the recipes. It's a book I'm going to keep and continue to use.

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

For Baby's Sake

For Baby's Sake
Janice Maynard
 Lila and James are neighbors. They had a brief romance. But neither of them could reconcile what they saw their future being. Now three years later James is startled to see Lila get out of her car with a little baby. Lila has been awarded custody of her niece. And she desperately needs James to help her with some renovations, and perhaps some tips on parenting. James has lots of family and is comfortable around babies. Perhaps if he can show Lila that parenting isn't scary, she'll change her mind about being a career woman and settle down with him and some little ones.

This was a sweet story. I related to the conflict that the main female character had with balancing work and parenting. The story was very predictable and followed the typical formula of romances - attraction, conflict, resolution. The main male character was a bit too bull headed and domineering for me. But it fit with the story and the romance was sweet. Overall, this was a quick read that I would recommend if you enjoy romances with children and want a quite book for entertainment.

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

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The CEO Daddy Next Door

The CEO Daddy Next Door
Karen Booth
Ashley and Marcus are next door neighbors. But after one date, that went horribly wrong, they've been at each others throats. But both Marcus and Ashley need each other for their business's. So they agree to pretend to date. When a fire breaks out in Ashley's apartment, she reluctantly moves in with Marcus.

This was one of those very predictable, but fun to read romance plots. It's classic boy and girl don't get along, but must pretend to be together for some reason. Then they miraculously learn more about each other and fall in love. It was a fast read with some bedroom scenes, but overall was just sweet romance. The characters didn't really jump out at me and I couldn't really engage with them. And this probably led to my not connecting with the story on a deeper level. But I still enjoyed the plot. I think this would make a great beach read or a book to take along when you have some waiting time. Nothing highly dramatic or suspenseful, just fun.

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

Wolf Creek Wife

Wolf Creek Wife
Wolf Creek Book 5
Penny Richards
Blythe married a man and then found out he was already married. She fled her home town and headed to Wolf Creek in hopes of starting over. But she has no interest in a man and is actually questioning her judgment when it comes to men.
Will's wife left him when she found someone who was more well off and could provide her with more things. She promptly filed for divorce. Will was left with no money and a broken heart. His marriage had been far from what he imagined, but her leaving left him with doubts and a hole in his heart. He has no intention of ever marrying again.
When Blythe finds Will unconsciousness and lying in the woods she has no choice but to drag him into his house and wait out the storm that comes shortly after. But the next morning the door bursts open and the local pastor and her brother demand that the two get married as soon as Will is recovered. They finally agree to a marriage of convenience, but what if love can grow from respect?

I've read a couple of the other books in the series, but not all of them. Either way, I think this book could be read as a stand alone. It would be better to read them in order so you would have the background on each of the secondary characters, but it isn't necessary. I enjoyed the plot and the characters fit well with the story. The author did a great job of creating flawed, but likable characters. The chemistry was sweet and believable between the couple. The added elements of faith were subtle, but nice. Overall, I enjoyed the story and will be checking out the books I missed in the series.

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

Monday, August 8, 2016

A Different Beautiful

A Different Beautiful
Courtney Westlake
Courtney's world was changed completely when shortly after the birth of her daughter she was given the news that Brenna had a severe skin disorder. Courtney's dreams for what her future with her daughter would look like were instantly changed. Courtney shares her insights and thoughts on what she's learned in the four years since receiving the diagnosis.  Her concept of beauty was changed as God worked on her heart while she cared for her daughter.

The book is written simply, yet eloquently. Courtney shares from the heart about how her experiences have changed her, but she also shares a few personal details about her precious daughter Brenna. This book changed some of my thoughts and gave me a glimpse into another perspective. The book is touching, heartwarming, and thought provoking. The writing was real and honest and it felt like it came from the heart. It has stories that break up the thoughts, making this an interesting read as well. I think this is a book that everyone should read. We all need to step out of our comfort zones and preconceived ideas to take a look from someone else's view point.

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

God Made You Just Right

God Made You Just Right
Jill Roman Lord
 God created each of us just right. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. Using a verse from the Bible, the author and illustrator have taken a beautiful concept and brought it down to a child's understanding. As the child flips the pages the lyrical, rhyming words fit perfectly with the gorgeous illustrations and help to show the child all of the wonderful things about them that God has designed. The board book design makes this perfect for small children to hold and turn the pages. 

Parents will love the inspirational message and the Bible verse. Children will love the whimsical artwork that includes animals, flowers, and small children. They will also appreciate the flow of words and larger print. I know that my children would have really enjoyed this book when they were toddlers. This book would make an excellent addition to any family library or church nursery.

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

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Annette O'Hare

Authors get stories from so many different places and experiences. It's always interesting to discover where the inspiration comes from. Today, we'll hear from debut author, Annette O'Hare. Her historical romance, Northern Light has already garnered some terrific reviews!

From the first sentence to the book’s stunning conclusion, Annette O’Hare’s brilliant first novel Northern Light captured my heart. O’Hare’s storytelling is flawless and her grasp of Texas history is spot on. This tenth generation Texan heartily approves! Do yourself a favor and savor this meeting of North and South on the Bolivar peninsula. I promise it will be the best book you’ll read in a very long time! —Kathleen Y'Barbo, best-selling author of over 40 titles

My Inspiration For Writing Northern Light

By: Annette O’Hare

Annette O'Hare
There’s a wonderful phrase known to authors that says, write what you know. This simple idiom by Twain, or was it Faulkner, no…I think it might have been Thurber, no it was definitely Twain who said it. Whoever it was knew what they were talking about and that’s why I wrote Northern Light. The setting for my debut novel is the lighthouse on the Bolivar Peninsula on the Texas coast; a place near and dear to my heart. A place I know very well.

When I was a child growing up in Houston, Texas in the 1970’s, my family visited Bolivar every summer for fishing, swimming, and shell hunting. My father would drive our family of five to Galveston, and then onto a short ferry ride connecting Galveston Island with the Bolivar Peninsula.

The ferry ride was a favorite part of the vacation. We made playful bets concerning which ferry we would ride. Would it be the Cone Johnson, the E.H. Thornton Jr., the R.S. Sterling, or the Gibb Gilchrist? We knew each boat by name. My two older brothers and I would save back French fries and pinches of bread from our fast food meals. After the boat was loaded and the captain gave the safety speech, we would bolt for the back of the boat to feed the seagulls and dolphins.

I always knew the exact place the ferry would dock at the peninsula because Daddy told me to look for the landmark. It was hard to find at first, but the closer the ferry came to Bolivar, the bigger it became. By the time the boat landed, the Bolivar Point Lighthouse was as big as a skyscraper in this little girl’s eyes. off the boat we drove past the iron lighthouse. Her light extinguished, she no longer lit the way for ships coming in or going out of Galveston Bay. Daddy always pointed out the two, abandoned keeper’s houses beside the lighthouse. He showed how one of the house’s nameplates read Boyt and the other, Maxwell. I didn’t understand the significance then, but later I realized the connection. Daddy’s aunt, my great aunt, was married to a Boyt, and she and her sister, my grandmother, were born with the surname Maxwell.

You’re probably wondering if my daddy’s family were the lighthouse keepers. No, the truth is that Mr. Boyt, my great-uncle, bought the lighthouse and property at an auction and it has been owned by that family ever since.

The original Bolivar Point Lighthouse dates back prior to the Civil War. In fact, it was during that war that the Confederates completely dismantled the lighthouse. Some accounts say it was so the Union wouldn’t use the light to
their advantage. Others say the Confederate army used the iron for weapons and artillery. Nevertheless, the lighthouse was rebuilt shortly after the war. The great conical tower has seen over 150 years of United States history and it still stands tall on the Bolivar Peninsula to this day.

Visit Annette at

About Northern Light

Civil War has robbed Margaret Logan of all she holds dear, including her beloved New Orleans home and her fianc├ę. When her family moves to the desolate Bolivar Peninsula to manage a lighthouse that is no longer there, all her hopes for a normal future are dashed. Her world is rocked once again when a wounded Yankee soldier washes ashore needing her help. Despite her contempt for the North, Margaret falls in love with Thomas Murphy. As their love blooms, Margaret’s sister is overcome with neurosis, and her mind slowly slips away. Bitterness, psychosis and depression yield a decision fueled by contempt. Will one fatal choice cause Margaret to lose the man she loves and condemn Thomas to death?
Purchase Northern Light in e-book or paperback

The Jersey Shore Cookbook

The Jersey Shore Cookbook
Fresh Summer Flavors From the Boardwalk and Beyond
Deborah Smith
The author, a native of New Jersey, is a food blogger. She has taken her experiences with the restaurants and diners around the Jersey Shore and created a tasteful cookbook. The colorful photography will please you visually and the recipes will be sure to please your tastes buds. Each page has a brief history of the restaurant it was taken from. The recipes all have easy to understand instructions and well laid out descriptions. At the back of the book is the usual contributors list, metric conversions table, and index. But there is also a neat little map with all of the restaurants listed. 

I loved the color and vibrancy of this book. The writer was able to entice me with her descriptions and the history of each little dining place was fascinating. With the excellent photography, colorful graphics, and variety of places featured, I'm sure that any cook will fall in love with this book. I've tried out a couple of the recipes and they were delicious. Overall, this is a cookbook, that will appeal to a much wider audience. It can be treasured for its history and photography as well.

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

Saturday, August 6, 2016

If You Were Me and Lived In. . .

If You Were Me and Lived In. . . Renaissance Italy
Carole P. Roman
Want a fun and entertaining way to learn more about other kids in a different place or time? Join the author on a trip back in time to learn about how life would be like for you if you lived during the renaissance time in Italy. The book, set in a story style, will tell how they lived, worked, ate, and played. It talks about the life during that time and the people who might have influenced you.
Teachers, parents, children alike will love the engaging way of teaching history. The illustrations provide visual aid in helping tell the story. My children enjoyed the book and it sparked quite a few questions. This would be a good supplement to any classroom or history curriculum. Make sure you also check out the other books in the series.
I received this book free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, August 5, 2016

How to Be You

How to Be You
Stop Trying to Be Someone Else and Start Living Your Life
Jeffrey Marsh
 Have you ever felt lost, misunderstood, or not quite yourself? Join the author, a famous video blogger, on a journey to find out who you are meant to be and how to be the best and most authentic you possible. The author uses coloring charts, questions, lists, and stories of famous people to create an interactive look into finding out more about what makes you authentic. The author uses the personal experience of his growing up years and his advocating work to create a book that will hold appeal across generations and genders.

The book has a sweet, simple, child-like feel to it that will make it not only fun to use, but it can be read and enjoyed by children as well. I liked the personal stories the author included. They added an authenticity to the exercises. The stories of the famous people were inspiring and helped tie together the theme. Overall, this was a great little book that would make an excellent book or resource.

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

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Dana Mentink’s Sweetness Unleashed Pack Giveaway

A recipe for love and loss, merriment and mayhem, fun and faith in the backwoods of the Pacific Northwest can only be found in Fetching Sweetness by Dana Mentink. It should have been so simple for Stephanie Pink: Retrieve a reclusive author's valuable new manuscript and be promoted to a full-fledged literary agent. But when the author's canine companion, Sweetness, makes a break for it and Stephanie has to track Sweetness down, she meets Rhett Hastings. They’re in for a surprising string of adventures and misadventures.

Celebrate the release of Fetching Sweetness with Dana by entering to win the Sweetness Unleashed Prize Pack!

fetching sweetness - 400 

One grand prize winner will receive:
fetching sweetness - collage 

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on August 24. The winner will be announced August 25 on Dana's blog.

fetching sweetness - enterbanner

A Heart Most Certain

A Heart Most Certain
Melissa Jagears
 Lydia knows what it is like to be poor and embarrassed by the actions of a family member. So she joins the Moral Society of her church. When the leader, her future mother-in-law, tasks her with getting money from the stingiest man in town. If she can get the money than she'll be considered worthy and a the type of wife that Sebastian needs for his political career. But Nicholas isn't really stingy. He just prefers to do his charity work anonymously and under his own terms. So he agrees to a wager of sorts with Lydia in hopes of showing her his side of things. Neither one gets exactly what they bargained for.

I've enjoyed all of the books by this author so far. But this one is my new favorite. I loved the uniqueness of the characters, the bit of drama/suspense that was thrown in at the end, the beautiful pictures she painted, and the strong faith of the main characters. The story is definitely entertaining and I had fun reading it, but it also had some deeper elements that made me think about charity, Christian giving, and faith. The female character was devoted to her mother and showed a Christian love that was willing to sacrifice personal wants for others. The well written plot and detailed descriptions brought the story to life. This book would be enjoyed by someone who enjoys clean romance, deeper issues, a little bit of drama, and fun, historical characters. Overall, this was a wonderful book that I really enjoyed and I am looking forward to the next book by this author.

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

To Love a Stranger

To Love a Stranger
Colleen Coble
Bessie is horrified to learn that her sister has been writing to a man out west, named Jasper, using her name. But now Lenore has found someone that is local and she likes better, so she hands over the letters and the paperwork stating that Bessie is now married by proxy to Jasper. Jasper is shocked to discover the mousy, timid woman standing at the train station is nothing like the gorgeous picture he received in his letters. Both of them will have to either find a way out of the marriage or learn to adjust their expectations. Wild Indians, abandoned babies, and spiders are only a few of the hardships they'll have to endure together. 

This was a fun little story. It wasn't what I'd come to expect from this author so I wasn't surprised to find out later that it was one of her early books. It has a sweet, fresh feel to it. Although it lacks the suspense that Coble has written into her more recent novels, it does have drama and lots of sweet romance. The author wove a threat of faith throughout the story and handled some issues of race well. The secondary characters helped round out the story and were as authentic as the primary ones. Overall, this was a nice book that will be a re-read when I want something quick and romantic. I hope the publisher puts out more of her earlier books.

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

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Child Training Boot Camp

Child Training Boot Camp
A Thirty-Day Bible Study
Pam Forster
 Life can get crazy busy with little ones running around. Moms often find little time alone to spend in study. But God loves mothers and has a special message of hope for them in His word. The author has put together short studies on motherhood and child rearing that can be taken a few minutes at a time. They each end with Bible verses and thoughts that can be shared with the children to draw them into the study.

I'd previous reviewed one of the Busy Mamas Bible Study and really enjoyed it. So I was really looking forward to this book. But the format was completely different. It was all done through a website that I found slightly confusing. Unless the reader has a tablet they will find themselves at a desktop using this study. And that really doesn't work for me. I went ahead and did most of the studies, but found that the difficulty of navigating the website and trying to read all of the instructions in the book distracted me and made it difficult to focus. The material was good, but I got so lost in the details that I missed so much. It was also not as easy to move my quiet time to the desk, which is in the middle of our open concept living area. I would have preferred to take the book and my Bible to my quiet place on the back patio. Perhaps if I'd used a tablet this would have been slightly better. Overall, I think this would be a great little Bible study had the author followed the same format as the previous books.

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

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Lord Bachelor

Lord Bachelor
Tammy L. Bailey
Edmund's father put a ridiculous clause in his will stating that Edmund must be married to a wealthy woman by a certain date to get his inheritance and title. Edmund is use to the richer things in life and the thought of no money is terrifying. So he flees to the US in hopes of finding a rich, American woman who will fit the requirements of his late father's will. He meets an old friend who convinces him to a crazy reality tv idea; one that might land him a wealthy wife. But then he also meets Abby, a poor, beautiful woman who changes everything he thought about himself and his future.

This was a contemporary, magical romance with a bit of lords and fairy godmothers. The story line was sweet and romantic with a bit of angst thrown in. The characters were authentic and engaging. I loved the idea of the rich guy meets poor girl and the fact that it didn't quite end the way I had anticipated. Overall, this book would be enjoyed by lovers of romance and fairy tale endings.

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

Monday, August 1, 2016

Silent Sabotage

Silent Sabotage
First Responders #5
Susan Sleeman
 Emily left her job and moved back home to help her aunt with her bed-and-breakfast. Her aunt is showing signs of dementia and Emily will do anything for the woman who took her in as a child. But almost immediately bad things begin happening that Emily can't explain. In a hostage situation at the mall she comes face to face with a man determined to kill her. Only the quick thinking and negotiation skills of a deputy named Archer save her. Now the whole team is trying to find out who has a vendetta against Emily.

Fast paced, drama filled, great characters, attraction, sweet romance, and strong family ties are all words to describe this wonderful story. Once I started, I couldn't put it down. It has all the elements that I love in a romantic suspense. I'd been waiting a long time to read about Archer and this book didn't disappoint. The author does a great job of refreshing the reader's mind about previous characters without making it redundant, while also wording things in such a way that this book could easily be read as a stand-alone. But I would recommend starting at the beginning. You won't be sorry. Can't wait for the next book by this author.

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