Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Book Review: Soul Painter

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Soul Painter
WhiteFire Publishing (March 15, 2014)
by
Cara Luecht


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A Word from the Author:
I never planned to be a writer. In fact, it took me a while to finish college. But I did, and here I am. And I now I can’t imagine not being a writer.

By day, I am an English Instructor at MATC, Marketing Manager for Degnan Design Builders, Inc., mother to four amazing children, wife to an eternally patient and supportive husband, and Worship Leader for Living Hope Fellowship in Sun Prairie, WI. In the evening, when I can squirrel away some quiet time, I read and write historical fiction.

I have a B.A. in English Lit. from UW Whitewater and an M.F.A in Creative Writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, NJ.

If you have a question for me, or if you are local and would like me to stop by your book club or writer’s group, please drop me a line via the “Ask the Author” tab. I always love the opportunity to meet with others who share my love of books.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Miriam paints the future…but can she change it?

Chicago – 1890

Miriam watches the people jostle their way below the windows of her warehouse home, never thinking to look up at her as she paints their faces. But Miriam's gift as an artist goes beyond a mere recording of what is: Miriam paints their futures. Only once was she wrong. One woman doesn't match the future Miriam saw. The bright girl was supposed to grow into a respected businesswoman. Instead, Ione disappears nightly into the shadowed alley next to the cathedral with the other prostitutes. Then one night, while walking through the city fog, Miriam finds Ione broken and beaten. Miriam is forced to open her home to the stranger whose face she knows so well and open her life to change she never could have foretold. Women are missing—some found floating in the river, some never seen again. The deacon from the cathedral is the first to help. Soon Miriam’s solicitor, Michael, aids her in rejoining society so they might uncover the evil at work in the corrupt city...and awakens feelings she had never considered before. Finally engaged with the world she has so long observed, finally stirred by love and friendship, Miriam realizes the responsibility of her gifting. No longer can she just paint what will be. She must now help Ione find the future she is meant to have...and find her own along with it.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Soul Painter, go HERE.

My Thoughts:  Good story.  I really enjoyed this book it is different from anything I have ever read, but I ended up really enjoying it. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Book Review- Masterpiece Marriage

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Masterpiece Marriage
Abingdon Press (December 16, 2014)
by
Gina Welborn


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
After Gina Welborn earned a Communications degee from an Oklahoma university, she thought the perfect career choice was working at a news radio station writing commercial copy, public service announcements, and news reports. A PSA writer, sadly, can only be so creative when describing ketchup and Geronimo’s grave. (No, she never combined those two elements in the same script, but now that she thinks about it, she wishes ... ) Thus Gina "retired" to focus on goal, motivation, and conflict within her family before discovering her niche in writing romances. A member of RWA and ACFW, Gina has four published novellas, including one in the ECPA-bestselling Mistletoe Memories, and three short historical romances: The Heiress's Courtship, The Marshal's Pursuit, and Masterpiece Marriage. A moderately obsessive fan of Community, Once Upon a Time, and Chopped, Gina lives in Oklahoma with her pastor husband, their five Okie-Hokie children, a box-lab, two rabbits, four guinea pigs, and a fancy Russian dwarf hamster named Tom Bob Deucalion. Gina is represented by the Steve Laube Agency.


ABOUT THE BOOK

After a flood damages the looms at Zenus Dane’s Philadelphia textile mill and the bank demands loan payment, Zenus turns to his aunt for help repurposing his textiles. Trouble is . . . his aunt has already been hired by the lovely yet secretive Englishwoman Mary Varrs. Eager to acquire his aunt’s quilt patterns, Zenus attends the summer Quilting Bee, a social event his aunt has uniquely designed with the secret purpose of finding Zenus a wife. However Zenus only has eyes for Mary, but Mary has no such desire for him. Though his aunt is determined to design a masterpiece marriage, both Zenus and Mary will have to overcome their stubborn ways. Can he realize that love requires stepping out of his routine? And will she recognize that following her heart doesn’t mean sacrificing her ambition?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Masterpiece Marriage, go HERE.

My Thoughts:  I really enjoyed this book.  It was  written in a style that made the characters feel very real to me.  A good read I defiantly recommend you check it out!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Book Review- Miracle in a Dry Season

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Miracle in a Dry Season
Bethany House Publishers (August 5, 2014)
by
Sarah Loudin Thomas


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Sarah Loudin Thomas grew up on a 100-acre farm in French Creek, WV, the seventh generation to live there. Her Christian fiction is set in West Virginia and celebrates the people, the land, and the heritage of Appalachia. Her first novel, Miracle in a Dry Season, releases August 2014 through Bethany House. Sarah is represented by Wendy Lawton of Books & Such Literary Agency.

A graduate of Coastal Carolina University in Conway, SC, Sarah once dreamed of being a marine scientist. But her love for words won out and she has spent much of her career in public relations and marketing. She currently oversees fundraising and communications for a Christian children’s home in Black Mountain, NC.

Sarah and her husband Jim live in the mountains of Western North Carolina with Thistle–the canine equivalent to a personal trainer pushing them to hike, run, and throw sticks. Sarah is active in her local church and enjoys cooking and–you guessed it–reading.

ABOUT THE BOOK

In a Drought, It's the Darkest Cloud

That Brings Hope


It's 1954 and Perla Long's arrival in the sleepy town of Wise, West Virginia, was supposed to go unnoticed. She just wants a quiet, safe place for her and her daughter, Sadie, where the mistakes of her past can stay hidden. But then drought comes to Wise, and Perla is pulled into the turmoil of a town desperately in need of a miracle.

Casewell Phillips has resigned himself to life as a bachelor. . .until he meets Perla. She's everything he's sought in a woman, but he can't get past the sense that she's hiding something. As the drought worsens, Perla's unique gift divides the town in two, bringing both gratitude and condemnation, and placing the pair in the middle of a storm of anger and forgiveness, fear and faith.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Miracle in a Dry Season, go HERE.

My Thoughts:
This was a nice read.  I have not read many books set in the 1950's I really enjoyed reading a story from that time period. 

Book Review- A Grand Design

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
A Grand Design
Abingdon Press (August 19, 2014)
by
Amber Stockton


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Words from the author:

Hi, I'm Amber, but my friends call me Tiff, short for Tiffany, my first name. I am in my mid-30's, married to the love of my life since July 2007, have a daughter and a son, and live in Colorado. Here, I am content to do what I love—write, speak, and offer virtual assistance.

Thanks to the gentle nudging of a fellow author -- Tracie Peterson -- in 2002, I joined the American Christian Fiction Writers and wouldn't be published today without them. For those of you who are also fiction writers looking for a wonderful support group, check them out! My very first book, Promises, Promises, sold in December 2006 and released in February 2008. I've been going steady ever since.

ABOUT THE BOOK

When Alyssa Denham, a single career woman, wins a fun getaway for two on Mackinac Island where her grandmother lives, she gives her carefree best friend a call. Together, they tour the old shops and hidden treasures of the quaint island while helping Alyssa’s grandmother piece together an heirloom quilt. Their quest gains them entrance into the homes of many longtime residents of the island, parts of the city that are otherwise off limits to tourists. As the quilt’s story takes shape, Alyssa gains amazing insight into her grandmother’s life . . . and attracts the attention of the handsome Scott Whitman, an island resident in charge of hotel transportation. Will memories of her past keep Alyssa from letting go? Or will the quest to piece together the heirloom quilt restore Alyssa’s fractured heart—and bring healing to her entire family?

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Grand Design, go HERE.

My Thoughts:  
I enjoyed this book.  It was an easy read that was easy to get lost in.  

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Product Review: Apothecary Extracts Tea Tree Oil


Product Description:
One of the most versatile essential oils. Naturally fight Acne, Toenail Fungus, Lice, Yeast Infections, Skin Tags, Cold Sores, Dandruff, Ringworm, Fleas, Warts, Psoriasis, and More.


Use to make your own Shampoo, Lotion, Soap, Face Cleaner, Body Wash, and Toothpaste.



Stop polluting your home and make all natural Household Cleaners, Detergents, Shower Sprays, Bathroom Disinfectants, and Kitchen Sprays.



Every large 4 ounce bottle comes with a FREE 100 PAGE GUIDE. We provide you with all the ways to use tea tree oil to improve your life, and replace harmful cleaners around the house.

Many essential oils are diluted to cut costs. We insist on the absolute best quality. We Have the Tests to Prove Our Tea Tree Oil's Purity and Potency.

My Thoughts:
      I started tusing tea tree oil about a year ago.  I found out it helped keep the lice away and several people we were close with were dealing with lice.  We just put a few drops into the shampoo to detract the lice.  When I knew we were going to really be in close quarters with people inffected I also took a cotton swab and added oil to our hair lines.
    When our apothecary tea tree oil arrived I was impressed by it's size it much larger then the bottle I had bought from the drug store last year.  It also seemed to have a stronger scent, which I took as a good sign of its quality.  I liked the way the hole at the top is a little bigger then most I was able to dip my cotton swab in to get some oil.  (Make sure if you do this to only use clean swaps no double dipping!)  I found a new use for my tea tree oil last week: poison ivy!  While weeding a flower bed I apparently rolled in the poison ivy and got a large rash down the side of my face.  Oh the itching!!  Several times I applied some tea tree oil this gave it immediate relief from the itching and I feel like it helped it heal faster.  This is a great product if you don't have #teatreeoil in your medicine cabinet I strongly recommend you consider buying this product.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Book Review-- A Heart to Heal

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
A Heart to Heal
Love Inspired (July 15, 2014)
by
Allie Pleiter


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Enthusiastic but slightly untidy mother of two, Allie Pleiter writes both fiction and nonfiction. An avid knitter, harp player and non-reformed chocoholic, she spends her days writing books, doing laundry, running carpools and finding new ways to avoid housework. Allie grew up in Connecticut, holds a BS in speech from Northwestern University and currently lives in suburban Chicago, Illinois. The "dare from a friend" to begin writing eight years ago has blossomed into a career that includes numerous public speaking engagements, two books on parenting; Becoming a Chief Home Officer and Facing Every Mom's Fears and now novels for Steeple Hill Books. She is the mother of two children and, most recently, a Havanese dog named Bella.


ABOUT THE BOOK

The Courage To Hope.

Guidance counselor Heather Browning is desperate. She needs a mentor to help Simon, a disabled student who is struggling at Gordon Falls High School. Unfortunately, hotshot Max Jones is her only option. Confrontational and cavalier, Max uses his flashy persona to hide the bitterness he's felt since his life-changing accident. Perpetually cautious, Heather finds Max's bad-boy bravado as intriguing as it is infuriating. But as Heather and Max work together to build Simon's self-confidence, they begin to trust each other. Max has never been slow and careful with anything. Can he be gentle with Heather's heart?

Gordon Falls: Hearts ablaze in a small town.

If you'd like to read the first chapter of A Heart to Heal, go HERE.

My Thoughts: I loved this book!!  It is one in a series, and even though it read fine as a stand alone book I am can not wait to get my hands on the other gooks to read the other stories of the people of Gordan Falls.  The way the characters found healing in helping each other really made for a sweet sweet story! 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Book Review: In the Field of Grace

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
In The Field of Grace
River North; New Edition edition (July 1, 2014)
by
Tessa Afshar


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


TESSA AFSHAR was voted "New Author of the Year" by the Family Fiction sponsored Reader's Choice Award 2011 for her novel Pearl in the Sand. She was born in Iran, and lived there for the first fourteen years of her life. She moved to England where she survived boarding school for girls and fell in love with Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte, before moving to the United States permanently. Her conversion to Christianity in her twenties changed the course of her life forever. Tessa holds an MDiv from Yale University where she served as co-chair of the Evangelical Fellowship at the Divinity School. She has spent the last thirteen years in full-time Christian work.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Destitute, grief-stricken, and unwanted by the people of God, Ruth arrives in Israel with nothing to recommend her but Naomi's, love. Her loftiest hope is to provide enough food to save Naomi and herself from starvation.

But God has other plans for her life. While everyone considers Ruth an outcast, she is astounded to find one of the most honored men of Judah showing her favor. Long since a widower and determined to stay that way, Boaz is irresistibly drawn to the foreign woman with the haunted eyes. He tells himself he is only being kind to his Cousin Naomi's chosen daughter when he goes out of his way to protect her from harm, but his heart knows better.

Based on the biblical account of Ruth, In the Field of Grace is the story of a love that ultimately changes the course of Israel's destiny and the future of the whole world.


If you would like to read the first chapter of In The Field of Grace, go HERE.

My Thoughts:
Last year I reviewed Harvest of Gold by Tessa Afshar and loved it.  This book is no different.  The author has a way of bringing the people of the bible to life.  The story of Ruth has always been one of my favorites, and I loved having Ruth come to life in this story.  This book is a must read! 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Book Review: Firewall

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Firewall
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (July 1, 2014)
by
DiAnn Mills


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


DiAnn Mills believes her readers should “Expect an Adventure.” She is a fiction writer who combines an adventuresome spirit with unforgettable characters to create action-packed novels. Her books have won many awards through American Christian Fiction Writers, and she is the recipient of the Inspirational Reader’s Choice award for 2005, 2007, and 2010. She was a Christy Award finalist in 2008 and a Christy winner in 2010.

DiAnn is a founding board member for American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Inspirational Writers Alive, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and is the Craftsman Mentor for the Christian Writer’s Guild. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops.

DiAnn and her husband live in Houston, Texas. Visit her website or find her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/diannmills


ABOUT THE BOOK

After a whirlwind romance, Taryn Young is preparing to board a plane at Houston International Airport, bound for a dream honeymoon, when a bomb decimates the terminal. Injured but still alive, she awakens to discover her husband is missing and they’re both considered prime suspects in the attack. Further, the FBI is convinced her husband isn’t who he appears to be.

Agent Grayson Hall’s number-one priority is to catch those responsible for the day’s act of terror. All evidence is pointing to Taryn and her new husband. But his instinct tells him her pleas of innocence are genuine. Is her naiveté just for show, or could she truly be another victim of a master scheme, possibly linked to the software she recently developed for her company?

With both their lives and reputations on the line, and the media outcry for justice increasing with each passing minute, Taryn and Grayson have no choice but to trust one another . . . and pray they can uncover the truth before they become two more casualties.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Firewall, go HERE.

My Thoughts: I enjoyed this book!  It was an adventure that kept me on my toes.  It is not the type of book I normally read, but it was a nice change of pace!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Product Review- Carcinia Cambogia Supreme



When I saw an opportunity to review Garcinia Cambogia I was interested.  I had heard all the hupla about it, and seen tons of ads online.  The brand I am reviewing is from Life and Food.  It is called Garcinia Cambogia Supreme.  My biggest concern with taking #Garcinia was the safety of taking it.  I did not want to get started taking something that would be recalled down the road like so many diet supplements.  So I did some research I was glad to find it come from a plant that made me feel much better about trying it.

Product Discription: 
180 Capsules. 80% HCA and 1400 Mg servings, compared to 1000 Mg servings of the leading brand.
This is our highest HCA concentration Garcinia Cambogia product. Completely THIRD PARTY tested, and verified for HCA standardization

Using only premium quality extracts containing hydroxycitric acid (HCA) produced from choice Indian and Asian Garcinia Cambogia fruit rind of the highest quality possible. Studies show HCA in Garcinia can help inhibit glucose absorption as well as promote a balanced, lighter mood by boosting Serotonin levels without the jitters.

NO SOY, NO ADDITIVES, NO STIMULANTS, PURE QUALITY
Our products are sourced and tested to make sure they are of the HIGHEST quality and bio-availability in the market. Absolutely NO fillers, NO soy, WHEAT, eggs, fish, stimulants or any additives.

This product is stimulant free and also promote a balanced, lighter mood by boosting Serotonin levels without giving you the jitters as some weight loss supplements do. Allergen-free, our product uses a vegetable capsule with no fillers or binders, mixing Garcinia Cambogia fruit rind with calcium and potassium for added absorption your body needs.

Made and manufactured in world class GMP certified facilities in the USA. This product is free of contaminants, fillers, binders, or toxins. Quality and safety are a primary focus for all Life & Food branded products.

HOW DOES IT BURN FAT?
HCA is the key component reduces glucose absorption there by leading to fat reduction for those with high glucose levels. We've formulated to optimal dosage helps suppress the appetite while burning fat. It has also shown to improve blood lipid leves, help reduce fate production, curb emotional eating and help improve mood by raising the "feel good" hormone serotonin. It is clinically proven to block the stress hormone cortisol, too. 

My Thoughts: 
I have not been taking to Garcinia Cambogia Supreme long enough to have seen extreme results, but I am hopeful that as I continue to take it and improve my diet and exercising habits that I will see big results.  I have noticed a decrease in appetite and energy level on the days I have taken it.  Honestly at this point I am not sure if those are a result of the #Garcinia or a placebo effect from knowing it is suppose to have those results.  I think only time will tell.  I do give the product 5 stars and am excited to see what the future results will be.

 I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Book Review- Shenandoah Dreams

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Shenandoah Dreams
OakTara Publishers (July 1, 2014)
by
Lisa Belcastro


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Lisa Belcastro lives with her family on Martha’s Vineyard. She loves chocolate, gardening, outdoor activities, cooking, laughing, reading, traveling, a healthy dose of adventure, and her cat Ben, who keeps her company while she spends hours working at the computer.

She was inspired to write Shenandoah Nights, the first book in the Winds of Change trilogy, while chaperoning two Tisbury School summer sails with her daughter, Kayla, aboard the schooner Shenandoah. The weeklong adventure, sans electricity, Game Boys, iPods and modern conveniences, kindled her imagination to dream of an altogether different voyage.

In addition to writing romance novels, Lisa currently pens the cuisine column for Vineyard Style magazine. She has worked as a staff and freelance reporter and photographer for The Chronicle of the Horse and as assistant editor at The Blue Ridge Leader. She has written articles for USA Today, Dressage (London), USA WEEKEND Magazine, The Blue Ridge Leader and Sidelines.

When she’s not at her desk, Lisa is living in paradise, volunteering at her daughter’s school, serving in her church community, planting and weeding her numerous gardens, trying to run a marathon a month, or walking the beach looking for sea glass.

ABOUT THE BOOK

What if she met the man of her dreams...in another century? Tisbury, Massachusetts, Martha s Vineyard. It s just a dream, Melissa Smith whispers as she stares into the intense eyes of a man dressed in Colonial clothes, as though stepping out of an American Revolution movie set. A school chaperone with Holmes Hole Elementary, she d boarded the old schooner Shenandoah for a weeklong educational sail. But they are not visiting Plimoth Plantation, the Boston Tea Party Museum, or the Concord Bridge reenactment. They re sailing the waters around the island of Martha s Vineyard. Yet, when she awakes in Cabin 8, the captain claims to be Isaiah Reed, who sailed the original Shenandoah in the eighteenth century. He cannot possibly be real, Melissa thinks. And traveling back in time is impossible. But days pass, and she s still in 1770. What if Isaiah, who is simply too handsome to be real, is real? What if the fire he ignites in her from barely a touch isn t in her imagination? Can a dream last for weeks on end? If so, how will she find her way home...to the twenty-first century? And can she bear to leave the one man who has captured her heart, when everything in her longs to stay? A Vineyard Romance Romance, history, adventure. Get swept into the exciting Winds of Change series.

If you liked to read the first chapter of Shenandoah Dreams, go HERE.

My Thoughts: I enjoyed this book.  With the fantasy twist of going back in time it was not like the Christian fiction books I normally read. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

How to find giveaways and linkys


Lately I have been looking for new giveaways to enter as well as linkys to add my blog posts to.  The other night I was searching using swagbucks to try and find some lists of blogs with giveaway linkys on them. (That is my swagbucks referral link if you are not already earning those gift cards it is time to get on the band wagon!!)   I found this Linky Tools Directory. This has been very helpful to me in finding different type of linkys that are current.  Anyways happy linky hunting!  Does anyone else have some good tips on where to find blog linkys and giveaways?

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

2 Ingredient Play Dough

I found a great play dough recipe at Simply Moms and Friends
The original recipeI found calls for 1 cup corn starch to 1/2 cup cheap hair conditioner with a few drops of food coloring.  



I used a pomegranate and grapeseed VO5 conditioner.  It smelled so good.  Since my conditioner was pink it gave my dough a pink hint of color, so I skipped the food coloring to make the whole project a little simpler. 
As we measured out our corn starch and conditioners I took the opportunity to discuss a whole and a half.  When I first started mixed I got scared I had a gooey mess.  So added some extra corn starch till I got a consistency we liked.  I think if I had just kept mixing it at first I would have eventually gotten a nice fluffy consistency.  I kept it a little on the dry crumbly side, DD was using the dough with some cars to drive through.  I think our measurements were closer to 1 cup corn starch to 1/4 cup conditioner.  DD had a ball playing with her cars in it.  She loved making tire tracks through it and squeeze it in her hands.  She got  some great fine motor time in with it.  

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