Thursday, May 31, 2012

FIRST WildCard Tour for Mary's Blessing

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!




You never know when I might play a wild card on you!









Today's Wild Card author is:







and the book:





Realms (May 15, 2012)




***Special thanks to Althea Thompson | Publicity Coordinator, Charisma House | Charisma Media for sending me a review copy.***

MY REVIEW-I was blessed to be able to review Lena's first book in this series and I was so excited to get this one for review as well. She writes excellent books and this one was no exception. Great plot for this series and I can't believe the ideas some authors get:) This one is about a little girl who is one of three babies separated at birth. Her mother died giving birth and two of the little babies were given away while one was kept by the father. I don't mean to make this sound uncaring but a single man had no way to take care of three little ones. And in this book, Mary is a hard-working young lady, whose mother has died. Her father never got over his grieving and is very bitter.

I don't want to give away any more of the story but I will tell you, it was well written. Talking about her father, I could just imagine how he looked by Lena's description. Even down to the dirty clothes and unkempt person. This author is a great one for detail! Loved this book and CAN'T wait for the next one!



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:







Lena Nelson Dooley is an award-winning author with more than 650,000 books in print. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers—where she received the Mentor of the Year award in 2006—DFW Ready Writers, and Christian Authors Network. She lives in Hurst, Texas, with her husband of over 45 years.



Visit the author's website.





SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:









Mary Lenora Murray was adopted by parents who had recently lost a child while on the last wagon train west in 1867. When she is thirteen years old, Mary’s mother and her two older sisters die in the cholera pandemic, leaving her the oldest child with four younger siblings to raise. Her father, in his grief, pours himself into keeping the farm going, leaving the running of the home entirely in Mary’s hands.












Product Details:

List Price: $13.99

Paperback: 304 pages

Publisher: Realms (May 15, 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1616386177

ISBN-13: 978-1616386177








AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:








"Pa?” Mary Lenor a Murray shouted back over her shoulder as she picked up the heavy picnic basket. “You ready to go?” Why does he always drag his feet when we’re going to

church?

Her father came through the mud room into the kitchen, letting the screen door slam shut behind him. He smelled of heat, hay, and sunshine, with the strong tang of muck from the barn mingled in. By the looks of his clothes, attending church was the farthest thing from his mind. His ratty trousers held smudges of several dark colors. She didn’t even want to guess what they were. And the long sleeves of his undershirt, the only thing covering his torso, were shoved above his elbows. Grayed and dingy, the shirt would never be white again, no matter how hard she tried to get it clean.

Mary bit her tongue to keep from scolding him as she did her younger brothers and sister when they made such a racket entering the house. No doubt he would give her some excuse about having too much work to go to church. Not a big surprise. She’d heard it all before too many times.

He set a bucket of fresh water beside the dry sink and gripped his fingers around the front straps of his suspenders. That always signaled he was about to tell her something she didn’t want to hear.

“I’m not going today.” This time he didn’t really make any excuses, just this bald-faced comment.

She took a deep breath and let it out slowly, trying to calm her anger. She’d give him a sweet answer even if the words tasted bitter in her mouth. “The new pastor is coming today. We’re having dinner on the grounds after the service. Remember, I told you when we got home last Sunday.” She flashed what she hoped was a warm smile at him and prayed he couldn’t tell it

was fake.













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“What happened to the last one? He didn’t last very long, did he?” Pa started washing his hands with the bar of homemade soap she kept in a dish on the shelf. “Don’t understand why that church can’t keep a pastor. Someone musta run him off.”

Mary couldn’t keep from huffing out a breath this time. “I told you about that too.” She clamped her lips closed before she asked the question that often bounced around her mind. Why don’t you ever listen to me? At seventeen she was close enough to being an adult to be treated like one, and she’d carried the load of a woman in this household for years.

“His wife died, and his father-in-law begged him to bring the grandchildren closer to where they live, so he headed back to Ohio. Living in the same community as their grandparents, he’d have a lot of help with the younger ones.”

Mary had never known her own grandparents, none of them. Not her mother’s parents. Not her father’s parents. Not the par- ents of whoever gave birth to her. She didn’t wonder about any of them very often, but today her heart longed for someone who really loved her.

With bright red curly hair and fair skin that freckled more every time she stepped into the sunlight, she didn’t resemble anyone in this family that had adopted her as an infant. Since they were black Irish, they all had dark hair and striking blue eyes, not like her murky green ones. And none of them had ever wanted to know what she thought about anything—except her mother.

“Well, I’ve gotta lot to do today.” Her father reached for the towel she’d made out of feed sacks. “You and the others go ahead. I might come over that way at dinner time.”

No, you won’t. Mary had heard his statement often enough to know he was trying to placate her so she would leave him alone. So she would.

“Frances, George, Bobby, come on. We don’t want to be late.”













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Lena neL son DooLey





She shifted the handle of the loaded basket to her other arm. “Frances, you grab the jug of spring water. We might get thirsty.” Her father’s icy blue eyes pierced her. “Pretty warm out today.

No sign of rain.”

“We’ll be picnicking in the field between the church and Willamette Falls. It’s cooler there, especially under the trees with the breeze blowing across the water.” She started toward the front door.

“Keep your eyes on the boys.” His harsh command followed her. “Don’t let either of them fall into the river. They could drown. Water’s fast right there.”

She nodded but didn’t answer or look back at him. All he cared about were those boys and getting them raised old enough to really help with the farming. He already worked them harder than any of the neighbors did their sons who were the same ages.

Six long years ago her mother and older sisters contracted diphtheria when they went to help Aunt Miriam and Uncle Leland settle in their house on a farm about five miles from theirs. On the trip to Oregon one of them had contracted the dread disease and didn’t know it until after they arrived. No one knew they were all dead until Pa went looking for Ma, Carrie, and Annette a couple of days later. He saw the quarantine sign someone nailed to a fence post and didn’t go closer until he had help. When he came home, he told Mary she would have to take over the keeping of the house. Six long years ago.

When did my life become such drudgery? Had it ever been any- thing else? At least not since Ma died, which seemed like an

eternity ago.

































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4 4 4





Daniel Winthrop whistled while he dressed for church. He looked forward with anticipation to the moment when he would lay eyes on Mary Murray. Even her name had a musical ring to it.

He’d been waiting and planning what to say when he approached her. Today he would start his subtle courting. With the situation at the Murray farm, he knew he would have his work cut out for him to convince her she could start a life of her own with him. After he achieved that, he’d ask her father for her hand.

Visions of coming home to her each night and building a family together moved through his head like the slides of photo- graphs in the Holmes stereopticon they had at home. He loved her already, but more than that, he wanted to get her out of that house, where she was loaded down with so much work and responsibility.

Daniel had often gone with his mother when she bought fresh produce from the Murrays, so he knew what her life had been like since her mother died. Their families came to Oregon on the same wagon train, so he’d known her all his life. He was only three years older than she was, and he had watched her over the last few years as she blossomed into a beautiful young woman.

Mary needed to be appreciated and cared for, and he was just the man to do it.

“Daniel, we’re leaving soon.” His father’s voice prodded him from his dreams.

With a final peek into the tall cheval glass, he straightened his necktie before he headed out the door of his room. “I’m on my way.”

He bounded down the stairs and took their picnic basket













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from his mother. “Something really smells good.” He gave a loud sniff. “Do you need me to test and make sure it’s all right?”

He welcomed her playful slap on his hand that crept toward the cover on the basket. Her laughter reminded him of the chimes he had heard in the larger church in Portland.

“Not a single bite until dinner.” Like a queen, she swept out the door Father held open for her.

Their familiar ritual warmed his heart. He looked forward to creating family rituals with Mary. Once more he whistled as he headed toward the brougham. Nothing could cloud his day.

When they pulled up to the Methodist church, his father guided the team toward the back, where a large area paved with fine gravel gave plenty of space for those who arrived in horse- drawn vehicles. While Father helped Mother down from the open carriage, Daniel took the reins and tied them to one of the hitching rails that outlined the space. He chose the rail under

a spreading black cottonwood tree where the limbs were just beginning to show the leaf buds.

He scanned the lot, looking for the Murray wagon. Not there. Disappointed, he stared at the ground. Please, God, let Mary come today.

Clopping hoofs and a jingling harness accompanied a wagon

taking too fast of a turn into the parking area. Daniel cut his eyes toward the advancing disaster. Two of the wheels did indeed lift from the ground. Before he could get a shout out of his mouth, he heard Mary’s sweet voice.

“Lean to the right, boys!”

George and Bobby, Mary’s brothers, scrambled across the seat, followed by Frances. The wagon wheels settled into the gravel, and Mary pulled on the reins.

“Easy. Settle down.” Even though she spoke to the horses, he

heard every word.













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His heart that had almost leapt from his chest also settled down when he realized she was no longer in danger. Thank You, Lord.

The wagon came to a standstill, and Mary put her dainty hand to her chest and released a deep breath. The green cotton fabric, sprigged with white flowers, looked good on her, setting off her red hair, pulled up into a bunch on the top of her head. Without a hat or bonnet covering it, the sun danced across the curls. He loved seeing the wisps frame her face. That’s how he pictured her when he dreamed about their future.

Mary sat a moment without moving. She was probably scared out of her wits. Where was her father? He should have been driving the wagon, not her. How long had it been since the man had attended services? Daniel couldn’t remember the last time. It was not a good thing for a man to neglect his spiritual nature. He’d just have to pray harder for Mr. Murray.

Daniel hurried toward them. “Hi, Mary.”

She looked up, straight into his eyes, fear still flickering in the back of her gaze. “Daniel. Good morning.” Her words came out riding on short breaths.

He took hold of the bridle of the horse nearest him. “I can hitch your team under the trees for you.”

After releasing another deep breath, Mary nodded. “Thank you. I’d like that.” She turned toward her siblings. “Frances, you get the picnic basket, and George, you carry the jug of water. Go find us a pew, perhaps near the back of the sanctuary, and put the things under the bench. I’ll be right in.”

The younger children climbed out of the wagon and followed their sister’s instructions. Mary watched them until they’d gone around the side of the building toward the front. Then she stood up.

Before she could try to climb over the side, Daniel hurried to

















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help. He held out his hand to her. She stared at it, then looked at his face.

“I’ll help you down.” He gave her his most beguiling smile. For the first time since she arrived, she smiled back, and pink

bled up her neck into her cheeks. Her blush went straight to his heart. Oh, yes, he loved this woman.

Mary slipped her slim fingers into his hand. Even through the white cotton gloves, he felt the connection as warmth sparked up his arm like fireworks on Independence Day. She glanced down so she could see the step. When she hesitated, he let go of her hand and both of his spanned her tiny waist. With a deft swing, he had her on the ground in seconds. He wished he had the right to pull her into an embrace. Wouldn’t that just set the tongues a-wagging? He couldn’t do that to her. Mary needed to be cherished for the treasure she was. And as far as Daniel could see, her father really didn’t treat her that way.

He watched her walk toward the front of the building, enjoying the way her skirt swayed with each step, barely brushing the tops of her black patent shoes. That is one beau- tiful woman. He turned back to her team. Walking beside the horses, he led them toward the hitching rail where his family’s brougham was parked, hoping it would give him the oppor- tunity to help her back up onto the wagon seat. As he crossed the lot, several other conveyances entered, and he waved and exchanged greetings with each family.

The church was the first one established in Oregon City. At that time, it was the Methodist Mission but grew as the town did. Along the way, members of this body had a great influence on what happened in the burgeoning city. And that was still true today. His Winthrop ancestors, who settled nearby, had been instrumental in both the growth of the church and of the

town. He felt a sense of pride at being a part of something that













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important, and he wanted to increase the town’s assets, because he planned to raise his own family here. Maybe establish a dynasty of his own, watching his sons and daughters, then his grandchildren, prosper.

His woolgathering slowed the progress of tying the horses to their spot. He needed to hurry so he wouldn’t miss the begin- ning of the service. As he opened the front door, Mrs. Slidell struck the first chord on the new Mason and Hamlin reed organ. The church had ordered the instrument from the manufacturing plant in Buffalo, New York. When it arrived only a couple of weeks before, the music added a special feeling to the worship and helped most people stay on the right tune better than the old piano did. He hummed along with the introduction to “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” his favorite hymn.

Glancing around the room, Daniel finally spied Mary and her siblings sitting on the second pew from the back on the right side of the aisle. He squared his shoulders and confidently approached the wooden bench. He asked if he could sit with them, and she scooted over to make room. Just what he wanted. He would be sitting right beside her.

Throughout the service, Daniel had a hard time keeping his mind on the proceedings. Mary sat close enough for him to touch her if he leaned a little to his right. He was so tempted to bump against her arm, but he held back. He imagined clasping her hand in his and holding it for longer than just a few seconds while helping her down from a conveyance or through a doorway, really wrapping his large fingers around hers and intertwining their fingers. Just thinking about it caught his breath.

He whooshed it out, and she turned toward him, her eyes wid- ening with a question. After flashing a smile at her, he glanced up at Rev. Horton. The man’s delivery was smooth, and his words

made a lot of sense. He’d be a good pastor for them, but Daniel













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couldn’t keep a single word of his message in his mind. Not while he could feel Mary’s presence with every cell in his body.

Instead, in his mind he searched up and down the streets of Oregon City, seeking a place to turn into a home for him and his beloved. If the right house wasn’t for sale, he could build her one. She could help him choose the design. That’s what he’d do. Build her the home she’d always dreamed of. His heart squeezed with the knowledge of what he planned to do. He could hardly keep the idea to himself. He hoped it wouldn’t take too long for him to convince her that they should marry.

He’d even hire servants to help her manage their home. Whatever her heart desired, he’d do everything he could to present her with all she wanted. He only hoped it wouldn’t take too long. At twenty years old, he was ready to move on to the next phase of his life—with Mary by his side.

“Now let us bow our heads in prayer.” Rev. Horton raised his hands to bless the whole congregation.

Daniel dropped his head toward his chest. How had the man finished his sermon without Daniel noticing? Next Sunday he’d have to listen more closely. He really did want to get to know the new pastor and his family.

“Amen.” After the pastor pronounced the word, several other men echoed it.

Daniel watched his father rise from the second pew near the front on the left side of the aisle and take his place beside the new preacher. He placed his arm across the man’s shoulders. “Dear friends, on your behalf, I welcome our new pastor. Now let’s all meet his lovely family.” He waved toward a woman sitting on the front pew. “Mrs. Horton?”

The woman stood and turned toward the congregation. She was pretty, but not as young or as pretty as Mary.

“And,” Father’s voice boomed, “these are their children.”













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Four stair-step youngsters stood beside their mother. The tallest, a boy. The next, a girl. Then another boy, and the shortest, a cute little girl. As if they had rehearsed it, they bowed toward the people in unison.

Several women across the sanctuary oooed or aahed before a loud round of applause broke out. The three oldest children gave shy smiles, and the youngest tugged at her mother’s skirts. When Mrs. Horton picked her up, the girl waved to the people, clearly enjoying the attention.

“I hope you all brought your blankets and picnic baskets.” Father beamed at the crowd. “We’re going to spread our food together. I believe there are plenty of sawhorse tables set up near the building. And you can pick a spot under the trees to settle for your meal. Just don’t forget to take the time to greet our new ministerial family while you’re here.” Father led the Horton family down the aisle and out the front door.

Daniel turned back toward Mary. “Perhaps you and your brothers and sister could spread your blanket beside my family’s.” A tiny smile graced Mary’s sweet mouth. “If you’re sure your

mother wouldn’t mind, I’d like that.”

“Oh, yes. I’m sure.” He stepped into the nearly empty aisle and moved back to let Mary and her family precede him, and he quickly followed behind.

His heartbeat accelerated just thinking about spending spe- cial time with the object of his affections. Without thinking, he started whistling a happy tune.

Mary glanced back at him. “I didn’t know you whistled.”

“Oh, yes. I’m a man of many talents.” His heart leapt at the interest he read in her gaze. Things were well on their way to working out just the way he wanted them to.



Great Ending to Hanover Falls Series After All!

AFTER ALL BY DEBORAH RANEY!!

Eighteen months after the tragic Grove Street Fire took the life of her husband, David, and four other heroic firefighters, Susan Marlowe thinks she’s finally beginning to heal. — But then she discovers that David carried a secret to his grave. — A secret that changes everything she thought their marriage had been. — For the sake of their sons, can Susan forgive the unforgivable?

Andrea Morley lost her closest friend in the fire. But she has no right to mourn him. Instead, she must forever grieve in silence -- because her dearest friend was someone else’s husband.
Peter Brennan carries the weight of the world on his shoulders. As Hanover Falls’ fire chief, he was responsible for the brave firefighters who lost their lives that awful November night.


Can he ever shake the feeling that he should have somehow prevented the tragedy?

As he tries to rebuild the team at Clemens County’s Station 2, it seems he might find comfort in the arms of the woman he least expected.

MY REVIEW-I have long been a fan of Deborah Raney's books. She writes about subjects that other authors would shy away from and this makes her books one of my favorite reads! This novel is the last book in the Hanover Falls Series and was a perfect ending. It makes me wish there were other books to this series to show more of these peoples lives:)

Susan is quite a strong woman and I found myself liking her, even when she would get on my nerves. I guess this is kind of how Peter Brennan felt, huh? I kind of picked up that Andrea Morley was not a nice lady and I wanted to slap Peter when he kept asking her out or thinking of her. I felt bad for Davy for all he was going through and his troubled life. Even though at times he was definitely wrong I kind of felt for him. There is mystery in this book along with some romance. There are several characters who show up from the previous books which made it all better for me. I enjoy when a series has previous characters and you see more into their life.

Overall this is an excellent ending and wraps up some loose ends that you will have after reading the other books in this series. This deals with a delicate subject but is done in a good way. It opens up some ideas you might want to hold back your position of until after you are done with the book. Check out the reading group questions at the back of the book. Loved this and can't wait for the next series from Deborah!!

I received a copy of this book for review purposes. I did not receive any monetary compensation. All thoughts are 100% mine.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

CFBA Tour Spring Hope by Martha Rogers

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Spring Hope
( Realms (May 15, 2012)
by
Martha Rogers




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Martha Rogers is a freelance author of both fiction and non-fiction and a speaker. Her stories and articles have appeared in a number of compilations and magazines. Her first fiction novella was released in 2007.



Her experiences as a public school teacher, Sunday school teacher, youth leader, First Place leader, Mom and Grandmother give Martha a unique field of ministry.



Martha is am alumni of CLASS and is available to speak at Women's Retreats, conferences, and luncheons on topics of interest to women of all ages.



As an author, she is available to speak at writing conferences and workshops on a variety of topics of interest to writers.



ABOUT THE BOOK



Can runaway Libby Cantrell finally get a new start?



Libby Cantrell’s life has gone from bad to worse since her mother’s death. After working in a brothel to support her abusive father, she sees no hope for her future until one cold winter night when she finds the courage to escape.



When she collapses in Portersfield, Texas, exhausted, ill, and hungry, Sheriff Cory Muldoon finds her and takes her to the doctor. Against Cory’s better judgment, Seth and Erin Winston take her in and offer her a job as a nanny for their young son. As a minister, Seth sees it as his duty to take care of her. As a deputy, Cory needs to know the truth about her even as he is attracted to the waif of a young woman.



As Cory’s feelings for her grow and winter becomes spring, will he be able to accept her as she is now and truly forget and forgive her sordid past?



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

MY REVIEW-I have read so many of Martha Rogers books I have almost become used to them. But she still has that element of surprise that comes out and grabs you! This one opens with a Sheriff finding a young woman sick in the freezing cold. If you have been following her Seasons of the Heart Series you will recognize many of the characters in this book. If you have not read the previous books, I would ruge you to as the characters can be a bit much. Even with me knowing them I had trouble a couple times remembering who was with who.

Cory is a great hero but somewhat overbearing at times. I guess overprotective would be the right word, but even protective is sometimes too much for a person. Libby needs that quiet protection without the overbearing. She is scared of men and tired of being used by them. She is very sweet with the children and she longs for a family but realizes men will have nothing to do with her after her past. This causes some friction once she finally tells the Muldoon clan but Cory comes through with flying colors. The subject of her past is dealt with very carefully and delicately, which I appreciated.

Overall a great historical novel that is a good ending. I know Martha has done some prequels, etc to her other series so maybe we will see something like that in the future for Season's of the Heart. Great book!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Krema Peanut Butter Review + Giveaway!

Most of you already know my penchant for peanut butter. I love it on sandwiches, with fruit, by the spoonful, you get the point:) So, when I was offered the chance to review a new peanut butter, I jumped at it! Krema sent me two jars of their peanut butter and have offered to host a giveaway as well. Check it out below!

I received one creamy and one crunchy peanut butter. Krema is known for their all natural peanut butter. Get this, the only ingredient listed is....peanuts!! This has no added salt, sugar or hydrogenated oils! You get only peanuts. I LOVE it! Because this is natural and doesn't have all the added junk, it is very oily when you first open it. I have used peanut butter like this before and this came as no surprise. You have to stir it very well to mix the oil in and it will still be somewhat oily but that comes from being all natural. Remember only peanuts here:)

My favorite type of peanut butter is crunchy. The rest of the family likes creamy but I try to buy crunchy for myself. Like I said above, this needs mixed very well. If you don't know better, you will think you have it done but there is a lot that settles on the bottom so you really get a workout mixing. I got mine opened and started in mixing it. My mouth was watering by the time I was done though. Look at the amount of peanuts in here! This smelled delicious and looked even better. I cut up a banana and had it with peanut butter. This is one of my favorite snacks to have in the afternoon. This has such a full flavor and the roasted peanuts taste delicious! And the nice thing abou this is, I can have my snack without having all the trans fat and nasty additives that I normally get with my peanut butter.

The creamy is very oily and you have got to mix it well. It will still be more runny as it doesn't have the pieces of peanuts like the crunchy. But I enjoyed having this on a sandwich. I used peanut butter and fluff for a lunch and boy was it good! Nice and smooth. I am telling you, natural peanut butter has really spoiled me for anything else. There is just nothing like the taste and the rich flavor of this.

So, are you ready to try something new? Or maybe you use natural peanut butter all the time and would like to get a chance at winning this? Either way, Krema Peanut Butter is one of the best I have tasted in a while. One winner will receive the same thing I did, two jars of Krema Peanut Butter. Get your entries in below.

USA ONLY!

Giveaway will end 6/12. Winner will be chosen through Random.org and will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen.

I received product for review purposes. I did not receive any monetary compensation. All thoughts are 100% mine.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Interview with Tessa Afshar and Giveaway!

Today I have an interview with a lovely lady, Tessa Afshar, author of the new book, Harvest of Rubies. I am actually reading this right now and am really enjoying it. Beautiful telling of a time in history and the writing is excellent. Anyways, not to get into my review, which will be coming up soon, but you do have a chance at winning a copy of Harvest of Rubies by entering below! Check it out:)


Thank you for being with us today, Tessa!!
Thank you for inviting me on your blog, Charity! It's a pleasure to hang out with you and your readers.

How long have you known you wanted to be an author?
Since I was in grade school. I was always a voracious reader and loved writing essays. They never felt like work to me. Math on the other hand...!

Can you tell me a little bit about your newest book?
Harvest of Rubies is the story of Sarah, the prophet Nehemiah's fictional cousin who can speak several languages, keep complex accounts, write on tablets of clay, and solve mysteries. As a result, the talented Sarah is catapulted into the center of the Persian court-working long hours, rubbing elbows with royalty and becoming the Queen's favorite scribe. Yet a devastating past has left Sarah with two conclusions: that God does not love her, and that her achievements are the measure of her worth-a measure she can never quite live up to.

And then she meets Darius Pasargadae, a man accustomed to having his way. A wealthy and admired aristocrat, the last thing he expects is a wife who scorns him. Throw two such different people together and the sparks fly as Sarah learns to overcome the idols that bind her.

When a reader gets done with your book, what do you want them to come away with?
I want them to have laughed and cried, and perhaps even seen a little bit of themselves in Sarah. Many of us struggle with finding our worth in our accomplishments as Sarah does. Harvest of Rubies asks the primal question of identity: who are we? What gives us value? Do we live as if we belive our own theology?

This novel also grapples with human pain: How do we deal with a good God who sometimes allows bad things to happen(even if He may not be the author of them?) Can we trust Him in the midst of our shattered dreams?

Is there a place you have always wanted to visit? A vacation spot, historical monument, overseas, etc?
I have lived on 4 continents, and been a citizen of three countries. I feel truly blessed for the diverse experiences in my past, which have taught me that the greatest privilege in my life is to be a citizen of heaven. I confess that all this traveling has turned me into a homebody who loves nothing better than the companionship of my close friends and family. Having said that, I wouldn't say no to visiting a sunny Caribbean island where I can enjoy the warm ocean lapping at my feet.

If you could have dinner with 2 people, who would they be?
Jesus, of course, because I can't imagine anything more fulfilling than spending time with Him. And because there are a few questions I would still like to ask. Also, Laura Hillenbrand, who has written two of my favorite books. She has suffered from debilitating illness for many years and yet she manages to write convincingly about overcoming impossible odds.

What one event would you love to be at? Historical or future?
That's a hard one to choose. The resurrection. The Pentecost. The day God parted the sea for Israel to walk away from Egypt. The day Jesus returns. How can you pick only one?

Do you have a favorite hobby?
Reading and writing, of course. Hanging out with friends and family. Decimating desserts that contain whipped cream. Knitting. Cooking. Watching movies, especially BBC dramas. Sleeping. Sleeping while eatching BBC dramas.

Is there something about you most people wouldn't know?
I am trying to become healthier in my eating habits. This means that I sometimes mix kale or spinach with my bananas and pineapples and have it as a shake for my breakfast. It may not sound it, but it can be really delicious.

Do you have any suggestions for the aspiring writer?
We can drive ourselves crazy with depressing statistics, discouraging circumstances and impossible odds. However, there is a truth we sometimes misplace: God is strong. He is able. He is an ever-present help in trouble. He can cover our gaps and our shortcomings. He is the best agent, the best marketer, the best editor you can find; after all, He too is a writer. Our destiny is in the palm of His hands, and though we are buffeted by the winds of adversity and the wiles of our enemy, God is far more powerful than both.

Any last thoughts for your readers?
Don't give up on your dreams!

And how can they connect with you?
Charity, thank you so much for inviting me on your wonderful blog. It's been an absolute pleasure. If your guests would like to visit me on my website, it is TessaAfshar.com. Or visit me on my Facebook author page where there is always some discussion going on.

Readers, Tessa has graciously offered a copy of her book, Harvest of Rubies for a giveaway! I am telling you, if you love a good historical novel, this is one you won't want to miss! Of course, you might want to read her first book as well, Pearl in the Sand. Enter through the form below!

USA ONLY!!


This giveaway will end 6/11. Winner will be chosen through Random.org and will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Blog Tour for A Love Forbidden by Kathleen Morgan

Up next is a blog tour for the second book in the Heart of the Rockies Series by Kathleen Morgan. A Love Forbidden is a neat read that I enjoyed. Find out more below!

Moved by the desire for adventure and a yearning to help the Ute Indians, twenty-year-old Shiloh Wainright impulsively accepts a teaching position at the White River Indian Agency in northwestern Colorado. The new job, however, isn't what she imagined it would be, and Shiloh soon finds herself caught in the cross fire between the Utes, their unyielding Indian Agent, and the unrealistic demands of the US government. Her unexpected encounter with Jesse Blackwater, an embittered half-breed Ute and childhood friend, only complicates matters as they battle their growing feelings for each other amidst the spiraling tensions threatening to explode into a catastrophic Indian uprising.

Set amongst the wilds of the Colorado Rockies in 1879, this is a tale of a forbidden love and a faith tested in the cauldron of intolerance and the harsh realities of life on the untamed frontier. Bestselling author Kathleen Morgan deftly explores themes of mercy, fidelity to one's beliefs despite what others think or do, and compassion for those different from oneself as she plumbs the depths of the human heart and the healing power of God's love.

MY THOUGHTS-I have read a couple of Kathleen Morgan's other books but those were all part of her Highland Hills Series so this was somewhat of a different read for me. But I definitely enjoyed it! I liked how the storytelling makes you feel like you are really there in the rockies. The author portrays how wild and vicious it was back then in a manner that makes it come alive for the reader.

I had mixed feelings over the relationships in this book. I think nowadays it is looked upon as nothing for two people of mixed heritage to marry. But back then things were a lot different and this was seen as almost a sin. Personally I felt bad for Jesse and I had no problem with the growing friendship between Jesse and Shiloh. Jesse has gone through so much heartache and still tries to be strong but it is hard. Shiloh was a great female character and I loved her attitude.

If you want a good historical book that doesn't gloss anything over, this is one you will want to pick up. I can't wait for the third book in the series!

Available May 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group

I received a copy of the book for review purposes. I did not receive any monetary compensation. All thoughts are 100% mine.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Vacation Traveling!

Hey everyone! Been a long week and we have friends visiting so I feel like I am not getting anything done here on my blog. Just one of those things. But I wanted to talk to you all a little about traveling. Have you ever gone on a fun trip? Maybe sight-seeing? I love taking trips like this, so long as they are once in a while, not all the time:) I prefer doing a big one once every couple months or so. Rather than taking trips constantly. But sometimes it feels like we do that a lot.

Anyways, I have a couple favorite places to visit and I figured I would share some of them with you. One of my absolute all time favorite cities to visit is Chicago, Illinois. Talk about a great city! It is only a couple hours away so I kind of consider it local. There is so much to do and so many places to see while you are there! From the parks to the musuems, the restaurants and the night life, you can't escape the fun of this city. And if you have kids, it is all the better! Whether you go in the summer time or during the fun of winter snow, there are plenty of things to do. We even went ice skating a couple times!

The other place I really like to go is Louisville, Kentucky. We visit at least once a year and this is a place that really gets to you. I enjoy the history and all the historic downtown district is fun to wander. Now, don't get me wrong. There is a lot more to this city than what happened in the past. We also love the antique malls, the thrift stores and don't forget the book stores! There are museums to visit along with some other great places. The horses are one of those things you kind of can't miss in Louisville:)

Now, one thing you have to have though is money. And whether that is through the US Money Reserve, savings, etc, you will have to make sure the funds are flowing when you visit these places. Just so much to see and do!

My Weight Loss Success Story

I don't know about you, but I am always looking for ways to help lose weight and be healthy. There is nothing more that encourages me than weight loss success stories. It helps to know others who are having this same battle and struggling with it every day. People all over the world and some near me! So, I decided to give you my story and some tips as well that I have found useful.

I was always thin and skinny growing up and could eat anything without putting on pounds. But once I reached my early 20's, I put on weight in a way I never thought I would. So, I decided to go on a diet without having a specific diet. I would use right eating, exercise and healthy habits that would change my life in more ways than one. I have outlined some of them below so maybe they can help others as well. I have now lost about 10 lbs and still losing steadily. I want to lose more but I am going to do it in a manner that is healthy. Check out my tips and leave any you might have in the comments!

1.Use Portion Control.
This is something major and I am so happy that this is working for me. It is amazing how big our portions have become in America and what they used to be. I am really digging in on this and using portion control. I eat smaller portions and try to leave some on my plate. I know it goes against what we all heard as children to eat everything off your plate and don't waste, but this really works!

2.Exercise Daily.
I do cardio and weights daily. My cardio is anything from an exercise DVD to walking. But I get in a good amount of time doing this. And my weights I do at least 3 times a week. I don't use a large amount but I do enough that it tones the body quite well.

3.Drink Lots of Water.
This is something I learned from a friend who kept pushing me about this. I was pretty good about drinking water on a regular basis. But now that I have it with me constantly and drink when I feel hungry, it has made an amazing difference! Water is so healthy for you and it really helps curb the hunger.

4.Use a Fitness Tracker.
One thing that has really helped me is being accountable to friends. I joined a fitness tracker and we all help each other check in. Amazing!!

So, leave any tips or helpful info in the comments below. I am all for losing more weight and am sure my readers might find it interesting to see what worked for you!

This is a sponsored post for Xango, however, all the points and views are
my own.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Honey Bunches of Oats Review + 2 Winner Giveaway!

Okay, remember how many times I have said one of my favorite benefits with blogging is introducing new products to my readers? Well, this is one of those times! Honey Bunches of Oats is not really a new item, but they just recently came out with, Honey Bunches of Oats with MORE bunches!! I LOVE it! The granola bunches are my favorite part of the cereal and this just made it better:) I will be having a giveaway where 2 winners get 2 coupons for a free box of Honey Bunches of Oats cereal so make sure you enter at the bottom!



I am someone who likes to eat food that is better for you. Whether that means not eating cereal period, or finding one like this, I do what I have to. But I also like when my food tastes good! Have you ever eaten some of these cereals? They can taste pretty bad:) But I have no fears of that with Honey Bunches of Oats. I can't wait to try their other new one, Fruit Blends. It looks yummy! This one that I received for review is the Honey Roasted with more Granola Bunches.

This cereal has 10 grams of Whole Grain! I am a big fan of getting whole grains and this is an excellent way to start off. After having my breakfast I have already had 10 grams! It is also heart healthy and only has 6 grams of sugar per serving. Like I said, I really like this aspect and this is just the start for a great cereal.

I have always liked Honey Bunches of Oats. It is a good cereal with a good flavor. I like how it is sweet and crunchy and I often have this for my dinner as well;) The extra bunches of granola taste really delicious. I love the flavor and the crunch! This is a cereal you will really enjoy if you like a good taste and delicious crunch. Excellent breakfast or dinner:) Even the children like this cereal adn that is saying a lot! Just look at the bunches of granole in that picture below:) YUMMY!

Readers, there will be two winners that are going to receive 2 free coupons. This is good on any box up to $4.49.

USA ONLY AS I AM SHIPPING!!

This giveaway will end 6/4. Winners will be chosen through Random.org and will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen. USA ONLY!!

Post provided a free sample of their Honey Bunches of Oats-Honey Roasted so I could review them. However, all the opinions expressed here are my own.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

How to be Fashionable and Still Wear Modest Clothing

As a young lady who wears modest clothing all the time, I am a big advocate of being fashionable and still modest. I mean, really, who wants to be modest and yet look dowdy or frumpy? Not me, that's for sure! So, below are some tips I have found useful in the past and still use today. Check them out!

1.Pair Cotton Shirts and Skirts.
I love the cotton t-shirts that are light, airy and yet fashionable. You can get a shirt with pretty much any statement on it or design. Pair this with a light cotton skirt. I like the maxi tiered skirts and love wearing one with a t-shirt on top.

2.Use Peasant Blouses.
I personally like peasant blouses. They are very pretty and they have almost nothing to them! You can wear one without feeling like you are wearing too much on the top. This is great for the summer time where you don't want to be sweating in your denim tops.

3.Must Have Maxi Dress.
These have just recently come back into style and the Maxi Dress is a really cute look. I think the cotton ones are a great way to be fashionable and at the same time keep your modest look.

4.Wear A Hat.
Now, I like a baseball cap. But another one that is great for looking cute and modern is a floppy hat. You know the wide brimmed ones that many people wear at the beach? That is what I am talking about! They are great for being fashionable!

So, these are just some of my tips. Leave a comment below if you have another one for me. I am all for being fashionable while being modest and I like to see what other ladies have to say.

This is a sponsored post for Downeast Basics, however, all the points and
views are my own.

Monday, May 21, 2012

FIRST WildCard Tour Lisa Troyer A Place To Belong CD

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!




You never know when I might play a wild card on you!









Today's Wild Card artist is:







and the cd:





℗ 2012 LifeWay Worship




***Special thanks to Rick Roberson for sending me a review copy.***

MY REVIEW-This CD is such a blessing!! Lisa Troyer has a beautiful way of bringing things to mind through song. Some of these were a little bit the same but I personally liked a lot of them. Some of these I didn't care for but that is my personal opinion. Just a bit of a different style. If you want something that speaks of a walk with the Lord, this CD is the one to pick up!



ABOUT THE ARTIST:





Radio personality, recording artist, speaker and author Lisa Troyer finds herself heart-deep in ministries that are changing lives forever. Her incredibly successful Circle of Friends women's ministry, formed over a decade ago, is growing in all directions. With ministry and songwriting partner Dawn Yoder, Lisa and her Circle of Friends offer women's conferences, leadership training, counseling services, worship music, life skills classes and marriage/family resources. No matter the outlet or the venue, Lisa uses her gift of encouragement, her influence and her resources to open doors for women everywhere to discover their significance and belonging through Christ.





Visit the author's website.





SHORT CD DESCRIPTION:



Every woman needs acceptance, love and a place to belong. That's the underlying theme of the new music CD, A Place to Belong (Lifeway Worship), from singer/songwriter Lisa Troyer, president of Circle of Friends Ministries. Refreshingly authentic and dynamic, the companion worship CD to Troyer's recently released book, A Place to Belong: Out of Our Comfort Zone and into God's Adventure (Barbour Publishing), tenderly draws women into a place of true freedom and belonging in the very heart of God.






To order go HERE.



Product Details:



$7.92 or $0.99 per song

Genres: Christian & Gospel, Music

Released: Mar 23, 2012

℗ 2012 LifeWay Worship










AND NOW...A SAMPLE SONG OFF THE CD:






Saturday, May 19, 2012

Buying Chickens for Your Backyard

In our household, we like chickens. Whether for laying or eating, or even the cute chicks that the kids love. I had never really thought about purchasing them online until this website, californiahatchery.com was brought to my attention. I mean, who ever thought of buying chickens off the internet? I know you can buy a lot of things but the thought of chickens just never crossed my mind. How do you ship them? Don't they die? Check it out below!

This website offers the lowest prices and shipping online. After finding them I went and browsed some other sites and they really do offer great prices. And the variety of chickens are amazing! From the rare breeds like the Black Copper Maran down to the everyday Barred Rock and Jersey layers, they have them all! And not only chickens but ducklings! I have always loved ducks and when I had some property we had several that had run of the yard.

So, if you are looking for chickens for sale, check out this company. Lots of great prices, feed, etc that you can choose from. And they even have a safe arrival guarantee.

I have not purchased from this site but have browsed. All thoughts are 100% mine.

The Pursuit of Lucy Banning Book Review

This next book review is one that was somewhat of a different plot and I enjoyed this debut read from a new author.

She has a secret to keep. But will she give her heart away?


Lucy Banning may live on the exclusive Prairie Avenue among Chicago's rich and famous, but her heart lies elsewhere. Expected to marry an up-and-coming banker from a respected family, Lucy fears she will be forced to abandon her charity work and squeeze herself into the mold of the well-dressed wife who spends most of her time and money redecorating.

When she meets Will, an unconventional young architect who is working on plans for the upcoming 1893 World's Fair, Lucy imagines a life lived on her own terms. Can she break away from her family's expectations? And will she ever be loved for who she truly is?

Get swept away into the lavish world of Chicago's high society as Olivia Newport brings to life an age of glitz and grandeur, stark social contrasts, and one woman who dares to cross class lines for what she believes.


MY THOUGHTS-This book is based around the time frame of The World Fair in Chicago, IL. I found this aspect pretty interesting as I often travel to Chicago and I love history! The Pursuit of Lucy Banning was a good read and one of those that you enjoy without even realizing where the time went. There are a lot of little sub plots in this book as well.

Lucy is somewhat forward thinking in her views of women attending college and learning things instead of just being wallflowers for some man. I do think she was kind of deceptive in her attending college without her parents knowing, them thinking she was helping out children at an orphanage. I realize things were worked out later but at the same time, it was deceptive and the aunt was helping out. Charlotte is one of the minor characters but I can't help being happy that the next book in this series is about her! I actually loved her character and couldn't help feeling sorry for her at times.

Overall a good book that was a great opening to this new series. Can't wait to read the next one and find out more about Charlotte. Great debut novel!

Available May 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

I received a copy of this book for review purposes. I did not receive any monetary

CFBA Tour Chameleon by Jillian Kent

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Chameleon
Realms (May 15, 2012)
by
Jillian Kent




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Jillian Kent is a busy writer and the alter ego of Jill Nutter, a full-time counselor.



Jill spent the first semester of her senior year of college at Oxford studying British Literature, where she fell in love with England. During this season, she came to appreciate the written word, the rich imagery of romantic poetry like The Highwayman, and historical novels of many types, including Jane Austen and all things Regency.



Jill received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Bethany College in West Virginia, and her Masters Degree in Social Work from WVU, and she brings her fascination with different cultures and societies into her writing.



Jill has always been a romantic at heart, so readers will find a good dose of romance woven through each of her novels. Jill, her husband Randy, and children Katie and Meghan are animal lovers. They currently own two dogs, Boo-Boo and Bandit and a menagerie of cats, Lucky, Yuma, Snow, and Holden. Critters of all assortments make their appearance in her stories.



ABOUT THE BOOK



How much can you really know about someone?

Lady Victoria Grayson has always considered herself a keen observer of human behavior. After battling a chronic childhood illness that kept her homebound for years, she journeys to London determined to have the adventure of a lifetime.



Jaded by his wartime profession as a spy, Lord Witt understands, more than most, that everyone is not always who they pretend to be. He meets Victoria after the Regent requests an investigation into the activities of her physician brother, Lord Ravensmoore.



Witt and Victoria become increasingly entangled in a plot targeting the lords of Parliament. Victoria is forced to question how well she knows those close to her while challenging Witt’s cynical nature and doubts about God. Together they must confront their pasts in order to solve a mystery that could devastate their future.



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

MY REVIEW-This book was late in arriving so I have literally just finished it earlier today. Needless to say, it was a great read!! I have always liked regency style books and this is one writer that I will be keeping an eye on in the future. Jillian writes this book in a way that makes you feel like you are there. There is a good portion of romance with tingle but also mystery that makes you jump! Loved both of the main characters and they were very likeable. If you love a good historical novel that makes you think, pick up this book from your local store!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Genesis Code DVD Review + Giveaway

It is not often that you run across a good family film. But that is just what I was expecting from this new film, The Genesis Code. Learn more about it below and then find out my thoughts about the film. Then make sure you enter the giveaway at the bottom!


ABOUT THE GENESIS CODE:

Kerry Wells (Kelsey Sanders), a college journalist and committed Christian with an effervescent personality, has been assigned to do a story on Blake Truman (Logan Bartholomew) the college’s newest and very popular hockey superstar. As a relationship between them begins to develop Kerry finds that Blake, who hides behind a tough and independent fa├žade, is actually struggling through a difficult personal crisis and that he bears the cross of a secret he has kept hidden for years. Blake rebuffs Kerry's suggestion that prayer might help ease his burden; he is convinced that modern science completely disproves the Bible, especially the opening verses of Genesis. Kerry — who is herself suddenly confronted with a challenge to her faith on another front — sets out to prove that science and Genesis are not in conflict and her quest leads to a startling revelation. Could it be that what science teaches us about creation and the Story as told in Genesis are both true!



MY REVIEW-This is supposed to be a Christian film about both the Bible and science being true. I was somewhat impressed with certain parts but then there were a couple things I felt were out of place or kind of confused me. But please read through this review so you know what I am talking about and if you think it would be appropriate for your family to view.

The whole plot of the film sounds great. I was very excited because our family is big into the whole science going along with the Bible and how science backs up what the Bible says. So I was pretty happy when I heard about the plot. Our family goes from an 11 year old up to 27. So we all sat down to watch this family film. It is rated PG for thematic elements(pretty much expect that with anything Christian nowadays) and for innuendo(which I hadn't realized until afterwards). At the beginning of the film I was very impressed with how tactfully it is talked about Kerry being chaste and pure. You don't often see that in movies, even Christian ones. I thought it was very well done. Overall the film was good but the following things are what I had a problem with.

Kerry and two of her friends go to a sports bar with Blake and his friends. During this time some of the college guys are getting drunk and one of them bites into a glass, shattering it all over. This to me was a little overdone and might scare little kids. Then some things are said here that to me were inappropriate. Just having to do with a mens room. But I muted the sound and we went on with the film. The science part was very interesting and I thought it was well done. I think you have to be careful and explain this with your kids though. They make it sound like the Big Bang and evolution are all explained with the Bible. Basically God saw things in 6 literal days and we see it as thousands of years. Not quite the literal 6 days of creation. But we talked over this as a family and dealt with the issue. Some of the graphics in this part are pretty good! Then near the end is another issue. The pastor, Kerry's father, is dealing with a woman who is not saved. He points out that there are absolute truths and this is done very well. But then he brings up something that I think had no place being brought up. Or if he did, it could have been discreet. It just kind of shocked me when he said it and I immediately muted the volume. With children ages 11 and 14, they didn't need to hear this, or the term he used. I didn't need to hear it.

The acting was pretty good and if you have seen the Love Comes Softly series, you will recognise Blake as Willie Lahaye. Kerry is pretty decent in her acting job and I liked the film overall. She is bold in her beliefs and the pastor is shown as a man, not a sissy or weak preacher. He actually shoots and works out:) So, if you have a guardian that will take out the language that is not needed, you might be in for a treat. Or you can watch it beforehand and catch where these parts are. I also think little children are not going to be interested in the scientific parts as much. I thought it was neat but even the 14 year old was not real interested in it. Otherwise, a pretty good film.

Readers, one of you will win your very own copy of The Genesis Code. Get your entries in below!

US ONLY

Giveaway will end 5/25. Winner will be chosen through Random.org and will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen.

Monday, May 14, 2012

CFBA Blog Tour for My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
My Stubborn Heart
• Bethany House Publishers; Original edition (May 1, 2012)

by
Becky Wade




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:







Becky Wade is a graduate of Baylor University. As a newlywed, she lived for three years in a home overlooking the turquoise waters of the Caribbean, as well as in Australia, before returning to the States. A mom of three young children, Becky and her family now live in Dallas, Texas.





ABOUT THE BOOK



A Sensational CBA Debut in Contemporary Romance!



This summer author Becky Wade makes her CBA debut with a fun -- and funny -- contemporary romance. Amidst the light-hearted banter and laugh-out-loud moments is a compelling spiritual journey of one woman's choice to listen to God and wait on him. Filled with humor and authentic romance, My Stubborn Heart is shaping up to be the hit of the summer.



Kate Donovan is burned out on work, worn down by her dating relationships, and in need of an adventure. When Kate's grandmother asks Kate to accompany her to Redbud, Pennsylvania, to restore the grand old house she grew up in, Kate jumps at the chance.



Yet, she discovers a different kind of project upon meeting the man hired to renovate the house. ;Matt Jarreau is attractive and clearly wounded -- hiding from people, from God, and from his past. Kate can't help but set her stubborn heart on bringing him out of the dark and back into the light... whether he likes it or not.



If you would like to read the first chapter of My Stubborn Heart, go HERE.

MY THOUGHTS-I was excited to read this debut novel from author Becky Wade. It sounded like an interesting plot and I couldn't help but smile over the back cover. I was somewhat disappointed in this novel and please stick with me as I tell you about it. I don't want to tear a book apart, and I hate doing this to an authors baby, but I feel like this is something I have to post about in my honest review.

The prologue made me tear up. I have never read a beginning to a story like this and it was very beautiful. I just wish the rest of the book had been like that. The story is about a young lady in her early 30's. She has had her share of the dating game and is now with her grandmother restoring an old house. The contracter is a handsome but brooding man who has turned his back on God after losing his wife to brain cancer and then leaving the hockey career. I was about 20 pages or so in when I ran across my first problem. There were a couple words that I normally don't use but they weren't swear words. I figured I could bypass them. Some people use terms that I don't care for and I could live with it. This happened several times and I was starting to get irritated with it. There were also a couple times of referring to a ladies chest that I thought was a little crude. But again, I figured, this is a book for women, I am sure we can handle it.

Then came something that shocked me. The hero uses a term that means he is upset with the heroine but not a term I use at all. And it is considered to be a swear word. Now I have had a couple swear words before in books, but never this term. I figured I would try a little bit more. And then another word was used and I just said forget it. This term is very crude and I don't believe it was allowed in a Christian book, much less penned by the author. It is often used in the outside world but I believe it should never have been allowed in a Christian book. I understand going through things and making the characters lifelike, but he is supposed to be already turning back to the Lord at this point. It just amazed me that it was in here.

I wouldn't feel comfortable even posting some of the term on here but definitely not a book I would recommend to anyone. Don't pick up this book unless you don't mind crudity and swearing. I hate ever having to post a review like this, but I felt to be honest I had to post about this. The book was entertaining, well written but yet, this was too much. I didn't finish the rest of the book after that term was used.

I received a copy of this book for review purposes. I did not receive any monetary compensation.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Skip Bins

This is seriously something I had never heard of before. I mean, I guess you know this has to be done, but you don't really think about it. I am sure by now you are asking what I am talking about? Well, I am talking about skip bins. Skip Bins Perth in reality. And that gave you no information whatsoever:) So, here goes.

In all actuality, this is about dry waste recycling bins. Those articles that you can't take to a regular dump or just throw in the garbage but need extra care and handling. That is where these bins come in handy. This is for household or commercial use or you can hire them. Check it out if you are in need of a recycling waste bin!

I have not used this site. All thoughts are 100% mine.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Some Flower Pictures!

I just took some pictures of the flowers in my front yard and wanted to post some of them on here. Hopefully you enjoy them:)


Pretty multi-colored pansies.



One of the light pink roses.


And this one is my favorite. What a beautiful color!


These were all taken by me and from my own flowers. Leave a comment if you like them:)

Vacation Time and Virginia Beach!

Well,that time of year is coming up where we all are planning our vacations. Where we want to go, what we want to do and who will go. I often like to plan where we go and what we will do while we are there. And while looking for a nice area, I ran across Virginia Beach. This area is a beautiful place and I kept coming back to it every time I really thought about it. Check out some of the neat features I found and places I would go below!



One of the first things I check when I want to go somewhere is the food. I mean, who wants to go on vacation and only eat fast food? Not me, that's for sure! With the beach area the seafood is abundant and this is something I would definitely try out. There are only three people in our family that like fish and I am one of them.
There are several local restaurants that just have that dining flair and there are also your regular diners that you can find pretty much anywhere. So whether you go out on a date with your spouse at Aldo's Ristorante for some fine dining or you have a fun time with the kids at Dough Boys California Pizza, you can have all your bases covered while in Virginia Beach!

My other must have at a vacation place is fun and interesting sight seeing places or tours. And believe me, by the time I was done checking out what is available to do while in Virginia Beach just made me want to go even more. There are things to do with the whole family or maybe that romantic evening with just your spouse;) So you can head to Grommet Island Park and Playground with the children and they could be busy there all day! This place is huge and even as an adult I was tempted. And you know how you plan for everything and then the rain comes and you can't go to the park? Well, VB has plenty of fun spots for those rainy days as well. From the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center to Laser Quest, there is still plenty to do. And one place we would definitely have to hit up is the Young Chefs Academy.

One other place I would have to visit before we left is the Cape Henry Lighthouse.
I have long been a fan of lighthouses and love taking pictures of them! My visit would not be complete without a stop here.

So, if you are looking for a place to vacation, check out Virginia Beach. You can plan your stay at Visit Virginia Beach and make all your stops ahead of time. Wonderful place to vacation!

I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Virginia Beach blogging program. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

New Cheesy Bites Pizza at Pizza Hut Review + Giveaway!!

I am a fan of a good pizza. I think anyone out there loves a pizza with a lot of cheese on it, right? It just isn't good pizza if the cheese is not oozing out of it and dripping down the sides! Well, when I heard about the new Cheesy Bites coming from Pizza Hut, I jumped at the chance to review this baby. And readers, one of you will win $20 in gift cards to Pizza Hut so you can try this pizza as well! Don't miss your chance.

“From our signature Stuffed Crust to recent creations like P’Zone® and the Big Dinner Box, Pizza Hut is known for pushing the envelope on innovation and building menu items that keep consumers talking,” said Kurt Kane, Pizza Hut CMO. “But nothing captures the attention of our customers quite like the fan favorite Cheesy Bites Pizza. With Cheesy Bites, you’re getting our mouth-watering pizza surrounded by cheese-filled miracles that can take pizza night from good to great.”

From start to finish, each bite of the Cheesy Bites Pizza is stuffed with cheese, giving pizza fans the ultimate cheesy flavor they crave. To make Cheesy Bites Pizza, Pizza Hut takes a large pizza and surrounds the perimeter with 28 cheese-filled bites that take the place of a traditional crust edge. The pizza is accompanied by marinara sauce, perfect for dipping the bites. A large 1-topping Cheesy Bites Pizza is $11.99 and is a limited time offer.

The first thing that drew me to this pizza was the cheese. My little sister LOVES cheese and she was smiling when she saw this one. I was able to order this to take-out as we were in town for the afternoon. The closest Pizza Hut is about 20 minutes away so we have to plan ahead. But it was well worth it, believe me. So I ordered ahead and I was very impressed as the food was ready right on time. I also ordered their $10 box as I had some extra on the gift card and one pizza just won't feed 8 of us. After we picked it up, it was sheer torture!! We opened the box once to get a picture and it was so tempting to just take a bite right there! Well, we headed home and guess what? We got stuck on the way back! There was an accident on the road and we couldn't get past. Needless to say, we all had a piece of pizza in the car. We were stuck for almost an hour so there was no way I was going to let it sit there.

The cheesy bites pizza is a pepperoni pizza with little cheese bites around the edges. This really makes it delicious! There was supposed to be a marinara sauce with it but we didn't get one. If you do get one though, you can dip the cheesy bites for a wonderful flavor. This pizza is delicious and I can't tell you how well the bites make the pizza! It is totally awesome! If you are needing a pizza for a game, a family night, or just one of those nights you don't feel like cooking, this will definitely be a big hit. Order it next time you go!

Readers, one of you will be the winner of $20's in gift cards. For mine they sent me 2 $10 gift cards and I was able to use both of them at the same time. This will let you get one of these and something else. Get your entries in below!

This giveaway will end 5/21. Winner will be chosen through Random.org and will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen.


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