Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Luther and Katharina by Jody Hedlund


BY JODY HEDLUND

She was a nun of noble birth. He, a heretic, a reformer…an outlaw of the Holy Roman Empire.  




In the 16th century, nun Katharina von Bora’s fate fell no further than the Abbey. Until she read the writings of Martin Luther.
His sweeping Catholic church reformation—condemning a cloistered life and promoting the goodness of marriage—awakened her desire for everything she’d been forbidden. Including Martin Luther himself. 
Despite the fact that the attraction and tension between them is undeniable, Luther holds fast to his convictions and remains isolated, refusing to risk anyone’s life but his own. And Katharina longs for love, but is strong-willed. She clings proudly to her class distinction, pining for nobility over the heart of a reformer. They couldn’t be more different. 
But as the world comes tumbling down around them, and with Luther’s threatened life a constant strain, these unlikely allies forge an unexpected bond of understanding, support and love. 
Together, they will alter the religious landscape forever.



MY THOUGHTS-Martin Luther is a name well-known in our house. The stand he took and the 95 Theses that were nailed to the door of the Church are things I know. But in the pages of this new book by Jody Hedlund, I found information about the man that is not widely publicized. The passionate husband, distressed follower of the Lord and the leader who wanted to do nothing more than teach others about what he had learned.

A fictional story always draws me in more than a biography. Not that I don't read biographies, I do, but it seems to make the time go faster and be more enjoyable. Needless to say, it definitely did with this one! Jody Hedlund makes the romance come alive, the harsh struggles and battles that Luther fought seem real, and the temptations and trials that Katharina had to deal with I felt were brought to life. It also made me want to go back and research some things. Did Katharina really sign with the other nuns? Was she born of noble birth and have issues over being a servant? I have seen the Luther movie and it portrays Katharina as desiring Luther from the beginning, but this book shows their love as blooming and growing, even to the point of her not liking him from the start. In fact, they seem to battle more with each other than say anything gracious:) Again, an excellent book from Jody! I love her fictional books that bring the past to life!





**DISCLOSURE: I was given a free product in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given, and all thoughts are 100% mine. Please read my full disclosure policy HERE.**

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Another Sponsor for my 2015 Holiday Gift Guide @iCoffee



You all know about my upcoming Holiday Gift Guide, right? Well, here is another company that will make you all happy to see my gift guide go live. iCoffee is well known for their SpinBrew technology and I am excited to tell you all about my experience with the new Opus Single Serve Brewer during my guide. Be sure to check the systems out and remember them when it comes time to go shopping for the holidays. Great gifts for co-workers, friends, family, etc. They have single serve systems as well as regular multi-cup brewers. And yes, I am totally in love with mine!




Bruce Burrows was never satisfied with the taste or quality of the coffee he made at home. After trying what seemed like all of the various drip and K-style single serve brewers on the market, he consistently found the taste of the coffee to be substandard at best. It couldn’t come close to the smooth and non-bitter taste of the expensive brews he enjoyed at his neighborhood coffeehouse.

Bruce was also frustrated by the widely reported quality issues of K-style single serve brewers which led to premature brewer life and the ongoing hassle of  boxing up and returning defective brewers to where they were purchased.

Bruce realized that the only way to have great coffee taste at home was to re-invent how coffee was brewed at home. So he did just that by inventing SpinBrew™ Technology for single serve brewers and SteamBrew™ Technology for multi-cup brewers. Both technologies spin, steam and stir throughout the brewing process to open up the grounds, unlocking and releasing all the exquisite coffee flavor in a way that has never been done before. What you get is Impossibly Smooth™ coffee taste with the familiarity of a drip coffee maker or the convenience of a K-style single-serve brewer.




**DISCLOSURE: I was given a free product in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given, and all thoughts are 100% mine. Please read my full disclosure policy HERE.**

The Lost Heiress by Rosanna White Book #Review


THE LOST HEIRESS
BY ROSEANNA WHITE



 Brook Eden has never known where she truly belongs. Though raised in the palace of Monaco, she's British by birth and was brought to the Grimaldis under suspicious circumstances as a babe. When Brook's friend Justin uncovers the fact that Brook is likely a missing heiress from Yorkshire, Brook leaves the sun of the Mediterranean to travel to the moors of the North Sea to the estate of her supposed family. The mystery of her mother's death haunts her, and though her father is quick to accept her, the rest of the family and the servants of Whitby Park are not. Only when Brook's life is threatened do they draw close--but their loyalty may come too late to save Brook from the same threat that led to tragedy for her mother. As heir to a dukedom, Justin is no stranger to balancing responsibilities. When the matters of his estate force him far from Brook, the distance between them reveals that what began as friendship has grown into something much more. But how can their very different loyalties and responsibilities ever come together? 
And then, for a second time, the heiress of Whitby Park is stolen away because of
the very rare treasure in her possession--and this time only the servants of Whitby can save her.



MY REVIEW-Roseanna White is an author I thoroughly enjoy, enough that I have every book she has written on my keeper shelf:) My favorites so far have been her Culper Ring Series but once I got about 15 pages in this one, I knew it would be a close tie. It is a different series but very much the same style, minus the intrigue and undercover suspense of the other one, though this one does have some mystery in it.

Brook is a young woman who has been surrounded by mystery her whole life. Never sure of who her parents really were, she is sure of only two things. Her best friend Justin, and her "grandfather". When Justin uncovers who she really is, a lost heiress who was taken away from her father at a young age by her mother, she goes to find out if it really is home. And while Justin wants her to fit in, he doesn't want her taken away from him either, since he has quickly fallen in love with this fiery independent young woman.

The book is well written, plenty of pages to read and lots of good parts. I laughed, cried and even wanted to hit someone at one point:) Okay, maybe a couple times. There is a mystery in the plot about the "Fire Eyes" but I seriously just enjoyed reading this one for itself. And you know it is good when that happens. I am hoping the next book might deal with a friend Brook makes, Duke Worthing. Another excellent page turner from Roseanna White!



**DISCLOSURE: I was given a free product in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given, and all thoughts are 100% mine. Please read my full disclosure policy HERE.**

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Wedding at Orange Blossom Inn by Shelley Shepard Gray Book #Review


About the book: 


A Wedding at the Orange Blossom Inn (Avon Inspire, September 2015)

A wedding brings together two young widowed parents . . . and gives them a second chance at love.

Emma Keim was heartbroken when her husband, Sanford, passed away, leaving her to raise three young daughters alone. Though several years have passed, her relatives have made it no secret that they expect Emma to remain a widow, mourning Sanford indefinitely. But when she meets Jay Hilty---a handsome widower with three young sons of his own---Emma is delighted to have a new friend who understands her struggles. Still, she is dismayed that her family is so opposed to their friendship---and the idea of it ever becoming anything more. She honors her husband's memory every day, but is she destined to be alone forever?

Emma's gentleness with Jay's boys stirs something in his heart that's been quiet for far too long. But when his oldest son becomes engaged to a local woman, suddenly Jay, Emma, and their children are swept up in wedding preparations. Witnessing his son's joy, Jay wonders if it's time for him to move forward, too, and find happiness again.

Once again, love has come to Pinecraft. But can these two parties of four become a happy, healthy family of eight?


Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/1USUEQM

MY THOUGHTS-This series of books here are one of the few Amish stories I have on my keeper shelf. They are so interesting and different from the normal Amish novel. They are fun people who you like and their stories are not depressing. Yes, bad things happen but the overall bent of the story is not sad.

In this one, the ending of the trilogy, there is a happy pizza-loving Beagle, 6 rambunctious youngsters and you guessed it, a wedding! The two main characters are widowed and I felt such empathy for them. It was hard to see them go through what they did but the prevailing message is hope and joy. An amazing story that makes you laugh and enjoy the life of the Amish in Florida. The funny thing is I have been in Florida and seen the Amish and Mennonites in the area this would be set in. So I felt like I knew them:) Great ending to a series Shelley!




**DISCLOSURE: I was given a free product in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given, and all thoughts are 100% mine. Please read my full disclosure policy HERE.**

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Captive Movie Book #Review & #Giveaway! #FollowYourPurpose

Overview


CAPTIVE, based on a miraculous true story that drew the attention of the entire nation, is a thrilling drama about the spiritual collision of two broken lives.  When Brian Nichols - on the run as the subject of a city wide manhunt and desperate to make contact with his newborn son - takes recovering meth addict Ashley Smith hostage in her own apartment, she turns for guidance to Rick Warren’s best-selling inspirational book, The Purpose Driven Life.  While reading aloud, Ashley and her would-be killer each face crossroads where despair and death intersect hope.

MY REVIEW-Captive is a film I have heard a lot about. Brian Bird, screenwriter for the movie, is a friend of mine and someone I am proud to know. So when he let us know about the new movie, I just knew I had to see it. Imagine my surprise when I was offered the chance to review the book, and giveaway a copy to one of my readers!

I was familiar with the background of the story but I had not read any detailed information on it. So it was a pretty good shock when I read Ashley's background, the account of her husbands murder, and then her drug abuse. And to think that God used all this in His timing and for a purpose. We don't always know why things happen, or what will come from our circumstances, but God does. And when we are often at the point of being lost to ourselves, that is when God steps in and does His best work. I realized that more than ever as I read this story of a brave woman who hung in there and calmly talked a man down and had the guts to talk to him about the Lord. You don't see that often. It strengthened my resolve to use my situations and follow my purpose. To do what the Lord commands and desires, even when being held captive.

*Caution* Just as a precaution, there are some hard subjects in here. Drug abuse and drug references are talked about as well as violence from her husband. And of course the peril she is in with the hostage situation. The movie is rated PG-13 so I would just urge anyone to use caution when they read this or watch the film. Not for children:)




THE GIVEAWAY!
One reader will be able to win a copy of Captive on my blog.This is the book, not the film. The giveaway will end 9/25 and winner will be chosen through Random.org. They will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen. USA ONLY!

Diary of a Jackwagon #Review #FCBlogger

Okay, for those of you who know the name Tim Hawkins, you will understand what I mean when I say this book, Diary of a Jackwagon, was so entertaining but yet it made me realize this man is sooo not normal! But he sure knows how to make a person laugh:)


This book is set up in tiny little chapters that definitely reflect on who Tim Hawkins is. There is no semblance of order or organizing. They swing from marriage to shoes to Krispy Kreme to colonoscopy. And yes, that is what is really in there. If you have ever seen him, he writes exactly the same way he does his shows. Jumping from one subject to the other with a comedic bent that makes you laugh so hard you might cry! It is super entertaining and I loved it. A couple things he hit on that I thought might have been too descriptive for me but that is personal preference. Oh, and his Tweet Thoughts are amazing! Super fun to read:)





**DISCLOSURE: I was given a free product in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given, and all thoughts are 100% mine. Please read my full disclosure policy HERE.**

Monday, September 14, 2015

The Mill Fudge Factory Gift Sponsor + Discount Code!! @MillFudge

So, I am really getting excited about my Holiday Gift Guide this year and all the companies I have contacting me, as well as the ones I have pitched. Plenty of toys, household products, books, and food items like the one I have here today. Now, this company asked to be included in my Gift Guide which will run later this year. But I also wanted to let you know about them early, since it might help with other holidays, or shopping early for Christmas. Plus, they have given me a discount code for all my readers to use and I knew you would want to use it. You ready for this?? May I present, The Mill Fudge Factory!



Nestled in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire is a quaint, historic 1700’s grist mill overlooking the Newfound River. It’s the home of The Mill Fudge Factory, where we make handcrafted, small batch fudge, all natural ice cream, and delicious cafĂ© fare. We are family-owned and operated, serving the highest quality fudge and ice cream since 2006. Our mission is simple: to make people happy.
Our fudge is made with all natural, fresh ingredients like Callebaut Belgian dark chocolate, Cabot butter, pure honey, and cane sugar – you won’t find any corn syrup, preservatives, artificial flavors or colors in there! We follow our family’s traditional Scottish recipe that calls for just the right amount of sweetness and gives our fudge an incredibly pleasing texture and density.



Now, you all hungry for a bit of fudge? I will be featuring this great company during my Gift Guide and just wanted to give you a sneak peek early. Plus, you can get a chance to use the following code. This will take $5 off a minimum order of $10 and it expires 10/31/15.

So, get ready to go shopping at The Mill Fudge Factory!! 

USE CODE: 
GINA5 
AND GET $5 OFF A MINIMUM ORDER OF $10





**DISCLOSURE: I was given a free product in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given, and all thoughts are 100% mine. Please read my full disclosure policy HERE.**

Friday, September 11, 2015

Daughters of the Heart Blog Tour with Caryl McAdoo + #Giveaway!



God’s perfect plan is sometimes so hard to determine. Gwendolyn, Cecelia, and the youngest, Bonnie, make a pact never to break their father’s heart like their big sister did. Then their determination is sorely tried when suitors show up, and he gets so pigheaded with his rules.

Will Henry survive his daughters coming of age? Will they endure and keep their promises to each other?

From one man asking to court her—who Daddy sends packing—Gwen goes to three! How can she ever decide? Cecelia knows exactly who she wants, but she’s still a year away from Daddy’s acceptable courting age. What if her beau doesn’t know or won’t wait? And Bonnie hates being the baby and wants to be grown-up more than just about anything...except her man. She is for sure and for certain in love.

In his life, Henry Buckmeyer has never been so beside himself. His little girls are so young, just babies, too young. He hates the whole idea of men coming to take them away and is inclined to shoot every one of them, but praise God for a level-headed, loving wife and step-mother! She helps keep him sane amidst the female chaos. 

Packed with fun, romance, deception, action, heartbreak and tears, this delightful Christian novel keeps the twists and turns coming.Will the Buckmeyer home ever be settled and peaceful again? Will any of his daughters find true love...a man he'll approve and to whom he can give his blessing?


MY REVIEW-Oh my word! Talk about a book that opens up with some laughs and then takes you for a jaunt and a skip through western town. Daughters of the Heart is such a fun read that I opened it for a quick peek and ended up reading half of it! The writing style was a little different but I have read one of Caryl's previous books so I knew her writing. Sometimes conversations can get confusing over who is talking, etc. But I really enjoy a book that teaches and instructs while making no qualms over having a good laugh.

This one here deals with 3 sisters who are a real hoot! One is just breaking up with a man, one a year young to court and one far too young to be thinking about men. But they all get in over their heads with gentlemen coming to court and the father has no idea what to do with them all! The step-mother is so sweet and I love the way she deals with the girls. And the guys coming calling? They are quite interesting as well. If you enjoy a good historical that isn't dry and stuffy, you will enjoy this one! I sure did!

THE GIVEAWAY!

Enter the giveaway through the form below! Just click and enter. 





**DISCLOSURE: I was given a free product in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given, and all thoughts are 100% mine. Please read my full disclosure policy HERE.**

Thursday, September 10, 2015

90 Minutes in Heaven The Movie! Book #Review and #Giveaway #HOPELIVES #FLYBY

Well, I just have to say something. This is sooooo not fair!! For the promotion of 90 Minutes in Heaven the Movie, I was sent a screener view of the opening scene. Yep, you heard that right, ONLY the opening scene. How could they?? Need I say that I am hyped about this new movie coming out tomorrow in theaters? Be sure to see it on September 11th at a theater near you.



To appease my minor frustration over not being able to see the whole movie, I also received a copy of the book, 90 Minutes in Heaven. This is the new movie edition, but also contains the original part of the book as well as updates from Don Piper. I also have to admit that I had never really sat down and read the whole book, though I have skimmed different parts of it in the past. So it was like sitting down to read a new book for me. Which I did in exactly four hours. The story thoroughly amazed me and I found myself enthralled not only with the account of what happened in heaven but also the authors life afterwards. Sent chills through me. Seeing the car wreck and reading how this man was dead, being prayed over for 90 minutes and then what he was actually seeing on his side. Wow, what an amazing true account!



So, anyone interested in going to see this in the theaters? I would urge you to go. I cannot wait til it is near me. The book is good but I really want to see the movie. You can check out the 90 Minutes in Heaven Movie site and find out showtimes, more about the film, etc. Also be sure to watch the trailer above.



THE BOOK GIVEAWAY 
One reader will win a copy of the 90 Minutes in Heaven book. It is the movie edition like my copy. The giveaway will end 9/22 and winner will be chosen through Random.org. The will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen. Enter through the form below.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Upcoming Holiday Gift Guide for 2015! #holidaygiftguide

Well, I have good news for you all. I was debating over whether to host my annual holiday gift guide as it really is a lot of work. Takes up much of my time with pitching companies, lining them all up, reviewing the product and then posting, especially when I like to take this time for family. But, I have had so many companies contact me within the last month or so and ask if they could be included if I was running my Gift Guide. Soo, guess what that means?? Yes!! I will be running it this year. Already have plenty of companies lined up, though willing to accept more obviously, and these are all top of the line brands I am excited to share with you all. Candy, household items, beauty, etc. You will love it!



Readers, are there any companies you specifically would like to see included? If so, leave a comment below. Whether it is a brand, a product you want to know about, or maybe an author you love, just let me know and I will see what I can do.

Companies or PR, would you like to be included in my 2015 Holiday Gift Guide? Posts will include pictures as well as social media links and shares. The reviews will also be posted on connecting blogs as well. Just email me through the contact button at the top and we can discuss details.



**DISCLOSURE: I was given a free product in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given, and all thoughts are 100% mine. Please read my full disclosure policy HERE.**

Monday, September 7, 2015

Sick But Back Later!

Hey everyone, just wanted to apologize to you all for being a bit absent. There is a flu bug going around and I finally caught it, the head cold part only, but the headaches have been really bad and my head feels filled with fluff:) So I will be back, hopefully tomorrow but at least later this week. Got a couple great reviews and giveaways, including SinfulColors Nail Polish and iCoffee. Until then, please keep me in your prayers! Thanks ya'll!



**DISCLOSURE: 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Choosing By Rachelle Dekker Book #Review

ABOUT THE BOOK: THE CHOOSING


Like all citizens since the Ruining, Carrington Hale knows the importance of this day. But she never expected the moment she’d spent a lifetime preparing for—her Choosing ceremony—to end in disaster. Ripped from her family, she’ll spend her days serving as a Lint, the lowest level of society. She knows it’s her duty to follow the true way of the Authority. But as Carrington begins this nightmare, rumors of rebellion rattle her beliefs. Though the whispers contradict everything she’s been told, they resonate deep within. 
Then Carrington is offered an unprecedented chance at the life she’s always dreamed of, yet she can’t shake the feeling that it may be an illusion. With a killer targeting Lints and corruption threatening the highest levels of the Authority, Carrington must uncover the truth before it destroys her.


MY THOUGHTS-I went into this book a doubting person, but came out on the other side a firm believer in the writing talents of Rachelle Dekker! When I first accepted it for review, I did it because I knew the name Dekker, and that it would be good. But by the time I was halfway through, Rachelle was standing on her own name with no help from her father! I am not really the type of person who likes books set in the future. And this one is set in 2055. I was wondering how in the world I would get through it! But man alive, I was finished in two days and totally became engrossed from the first chapter.

The world as we know it is totally changed. People are given tasks and if they are not chosen, then they are nobodies. There are those in charge who set down all the rules and everyone follows them for fear of punishment. I totally loved how Rachelle wove the morals into the story and how it corresponds to our life today, not just in the future. The message Aaron gives, wow! It gave me chills as I read it, as well as tears. A powerful book that I thoroughly enjoyed and will be waiting anxiously for the second one in the series. Even if you don't care for books set in the future, I would urge you to read this one. This author has made a fan of me!



**DISCLOSURE: I was given a free product in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given, and all thoughts are 100% mine. Please read my full disclosure policy HERE.**

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Susan Anne Mason’s ‘Irish Meadows’ Kindle Fire Giveaway and Author Chat Tonight!!



About the book: 
Irish Meadows



Faced with an uncertain future, sometimes all you have left is the courage to dream.

Brianna and Colleen O'Leary know their Irish immigrant father expects them to marry well. Recently he's put even more pressure on them, insinuating that the very future of their Long Island horse farm, Irish Meadows, rests in their ability to land prosperous husbands. Both girls, however, have different visions for their futures.

Brianna, a quiet girl with a quick mind, dreams of attending college. Vivacious Colleen, meanwhile, is happy to marry---as long as her father's choice meets her exacting standards of the ideal groom. When former stable hand Gilbert Whelan returns from business school and distant relative Rylan Montgomery visits Long Island during his seminary training, the two men 
quickly complicate everyone's plans.

As the farm slips ever closer to ruin, James O'Leary grows more desperate. It will take every ounce of courage for both sisters to avoid being pawns in their father's machinations and instead follow their hearts. And even if they do, will they inevitably find their dreams too distant to reach?


Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/1Mi7dDS


MY REVIEW-As I entered the fun and exciting world of Irish Meadows, I found myself intrigued. The story is written so well and the characters are realistic, that I literally read this book in two days. Between the priest who falls in love with the vivacious young woman who flirts with everyone, to the other sister who is sadly in love with someone her father views as a brother.

About four pages in I did not want to quit the story, even though I had to go start lunch. It seriously is that well written. I cannot wait to see who the next story involves! Keep em coming Susan!!




THE KINDLE FIRE GIVEAWAY!
Will Brianna and Colleen have the courage to stand up to their father's schemes to save their horse farm and instead pursue true love? Don't miss Irish Meadows, the newest book by Susan Anne Mason! As the farm slips ever closer to ruin, their father grows more desperate. It will take every ounce of courage for both sisters to avoid being pawns in their father’s machinations and instead follow their hearts. And even if they do, will they inevitably find their dreams too distant to reach?




Join Susan in celebrating the release of Irish Meadows by entering to win her Kindle Fire giveaway and RSVPing to her September 1st author chat party!






irishmeadows-400 



One grand prize winner will receive:



  • A Kindle Fire HD 6

  • One copy of Irish Meadows


Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on 9/1. The winner will be announced at the Irish Meadows Facebook party. RSVP for a chance to connect with Susan and other readers, as well as for a chance to win some great prizes!





irishmeadows-enterbanner


RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK, TWITTER, or PINTEREST and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 1st!






**DISCLOSURE: I was given a free product in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given, and all thoughts are 100% mine. Please read my full disclosure policy HERE.**



**DISCLOSURE: I was given a free product in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given, and all thoughts are 100% mine. Please read my full disclosure policy HERE.**
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