Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Real Deal Snacks Review and #Giveaway! @RealDealSnacks

I am one of those people who is dieting. I try to eat healthy without a bunch of fake food and meal replacement shakes, etc. I want to still be able to eat good foods without feeling like I am eating plastic. But I also like to snack. And good snack food are hard to come by, especially ones that taste great. So when I was given the opportunity to try out Real Deal Snacks, and to give away a pack of them, I was excited to see how they would pan out. And pan out they did!

I received three big bags and three small bags of assorted flavors. I will focus on the big bags as the smaller ones are the same flavors, just snack size. When I first opened them the children were kind of hesitant to try them. After all, they do look like peas that have been flattened and hollowed out. One of them even went so far as to say it looked like a finger nail:) But, once they tried the one flavor, all doubts went away. To be replaced with a healthy desire for this tasty treat.

Our favorite, hands down, would have to be the Aged White Cheddar. Man this is good! I opened it, checked them out and cautiously stuck one in my mouth.

The flavor rush is amazing! I could tell it was veggie, and not a normal chip, but the cheddar definitely makes a big difference, especially to the children. I could easily eat half a bag in one sitting so I had to pull out a hand full and put the bag in the kitchen. The texture is like a chip and I really had no qualms about eating these at all.

The Original flavor was just okay in our opinion. Good but nothing to really make them pop. On the other hand, the Sriracha flavor definitely has bang.

A hot, spicy bang at that. Sriracha is a type of hot sauce made from chili peppers, vinegar, salt, garlic and sugar and it sure gives these chips a kick! My dad really enjoyed these. He is a big fan of hot and spicy foods so it was right down his alley. I like them, but I much more prefer the cheddar ones. Still, if you have a penchant for spicy foods, definitely give these a try.

I personally want to look for some of their other products. Ones like the Cheese Crunchies, or the Snack Mix? Oh they look delicious! Great for people who are vegetarian, these chips are the perfect way to snack. Look for them in your local grocery store

Chicago: Sunset, Roundy’s/Mariano’s, Strack & Van Til, Walts, Woodmans, Pete’s, Caputo’s, & Tony’s

They can also be found at the following retail stores nationwide. I will be making sure to pick some up while I am traveling in a couple weeks.

St.Louis: Dierbergs, Schnucks, Shop N Save
Chicago: Sunset, Roundy’s/Mariano’s, Strack & Van Til, Walts, Woodmans, Pete’s, Caputo’s, & Tony’s
Milwaukee: Roundy’s/Mariano’s, Woodmans, & Piggly Wiggly’s
KC: Cosentino’s, Balls, Queens, McKeevers, Green Acres, Lucky, Checkers, Dillions/Kroger
NY: Wegmans, Shoprite, Price Chopper, Tops, Fairway, DeCicco’s, Gourmet Garage, Zabar’s
New England: Price Chopper, Marketbasket, Wegmans
Salt Lake City: harmons, Good Earth Natural, Smiths
San Diego:Baron’s, Keils Grocery, Albertsons, Whole Foods
OH: Kroger, Whole Foods
Nashville: Kroger, Whole Foods
Atlanta: Kroger, Whole Foods, Earth Fare
Phoenix: Fry’s

So, anyone interested in trying some out for yourself? One reader will win their own pack of the three flavors. These are really good and I know you will enjoy them! Giveaway ends 2/08 and winner will be chosen through They have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen. Enjoy!!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Where She Belongs by Johnnie Alexander

Where She Belongs

by Johnnie Alexander

Can love redeem a broken past?

Shelby Kincaid is ready to move forward after the death of her husband left her devastated. With high hopes for the future, she longs to purchase her family's homestead, Misty Willow, so she can raise her young daughters in the only place she ever truly belonged. She plans to transform the abandoned house into the perfect home of her memories. But she has her work cut out for her.

AJ Sullivan never wanted Shelby's family homestead in the first place. His grandfather left it to him as punishment for not following his wishes, and he's let it fall into ruin. AJ's more than happy to unload it to this spitfire of a woman. But even after angry exchanges over the state of the house, he can't get her off his mind.

With writing that evokes a strong sense of place and family history, Johnnie Alexander deftly explores the ties that bind us to home--and the irresistible forces that draw us to each other.

MY THOUGHTS- I recently discovered this author, Johnnie Alexander, and fell in love with her writing style. She makes the characters come alive in a way that draws the reader fully into the story, totally losing track of time, often ending in the wee hours of the night:) 

Johnnie's first novel was a historical one, and while this one is contemporary, I still found the same writing style that I loved so dearly in her other story. Shelby is the single mother, moving back home to take over the old place. She wants to take her girls out of Chicago, slow down a little and maybe hold on to the bitterness she has towards the Sullivan clan. Only problem comes from AJ Sullivan, the man she just can't keep her anger against. It isn't like AJ is going out of his way to win the love of her girls, or help in the battle to save the place, she just isn't supposed to like him! Harder to say than to do.

I really have a hard time when characters don't follow the path I think they should. But I realize it is the mark of a good author when they make you feel emotions such as I did while watching Shelby go down a trail I knew wasn't right for her. The plot is entertaining but it isn't all fun and love. There are many times of soul searching, heartache and realizing what is really important in life. A little bit of a mystery thrown in keeps the reader on edge until the end. I had an inkling at the back of my mind about what had happened but couldn't believe that was how it would be played out. Yes, this is an author who isn't afraid to startle her readers! All in all it is a story that you will want to keep on your shelf and re-read many times. An intriguing, enjoyable roller coaster of a ride. You have done it again Johnnie!

**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, January 20, 2016

Interesting Novel from Ellis Island! @cindyswriting


Sofia's Tune is the third book of the Ellis Island series. I have read one of the previous books in the trilogy and was happy to see Annie make an appearance, as well as Grace from the middle book I haven't finished yet. I absolutely love the cover, makes the reader think of happy times with their pets, and the plot is a sure draw for those who enjoy a bit of a mystery with their stories.

The characters in this novel really made me happy for the people who surround me in my life. Sofia's mother is quite depressed and when her daughter finds out that they kept a secret from her, the mother spirals even further downward. And yes, this secret is a pretty big one, but I just wanted to shake her out of her misery and remind her of those who still needed her. The situation drives Sofia from the house and she ends up staying at Hawkins House. Antonio was a good match to Sofia, at times being a friend and at other times needing her friendship. His story brings a lot of mystery with it as he tries to find out if his father was really murdered or if it was just an accident.

This book deals a lot with the immigrant community. I really enjoyed learning more about those who immigrated to Ellis Island, what they went through while striving to find their way in a strange new world. It was definitely eye opening for me. I am a fan of Irish history so I have read some other books about the immigrants coming over, but this one had some interesting tidbits. There is also a little furry friend who plays a big part throughout the whole book. Not many Christian fiction stories have dogs as main characters and it added quite a bit to the fun. A great book that I thoroughly enjoyed! I will tell you, this story can be read by itself, but it is nice to read them in order.


**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, January 19, 2016

Art Naturals Arabica Coffee Scrub #Review

I love it! Scrubs are something I enjoy using on a regular basis. Facial or body, they are refreshing and make my skin feel cleansed. And this one is at the top of my list. Why? Because of the smell! It has this amazing coffee scent that almost makes me feel like I am bathing in coffee:)

The scrub is a good sized jar, definitely enough for many uses. The minute you open it this awesome smell of coffee invades the room, leaving me in bliss. I could just smell the stuff and be refreshed! This is a dry scrub and while I only mixed mine with a tad bit of water, I think you could also use something such as coconut oil, your regular body wash, etc.

While this is touted as being used in reduction of cellulite, I loved using it as a natural scrub. It gives a deep scrub, try using it with a loofah, and leaves you feeling invigorated. I also like that it has an oily feel but doesn't leave your skin feeling oily, rather moisturized. With the cold weather I have been using this every few days, sloughs off dry skin and adds moisture! Now if I can keep the girls hands off of it :)

**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, January 18, 2016

Amazing Novel! Where Treasure Hides by Johnnie Alexander with #Review

Artist Alison Schuyler spends her time working in her family’s renowned art gallery, determined to avoid the curse that has followed the Schuyler clan from the Netherlands to America and back again. She’s certain that true love will only lead to tragedy—that is, until a chance meeting at Waterloo station brings Ian Devlin into her life. Drawn to the bold and compassionate British Army captain, Alison begins to question her fear of love as World War II breaks out, separating the two and drawing each into their own battles. While Ian fights for freedom on the battlefield, Alison works with the Dutch Underground to find a safe haven for Jewish children and priceless pieces of art alike. But safety is a luxury war does not allow. As time, war, and human will struggle to keep them apart, will Alison and Ian have the faith to fight for their love, or is it their fate to be separated forever?

MY THOUGHTS-WWII is a hard time period for me to read about or watch. It was a dark time for many people and as such, I often shy away from it. But the plot for this novel here drew me in and while I wasn't sure how well I would like the book, it turned out to be in my top three list for the year. Yes, I loved it!

Mrs Alexander does an excellent job with research, causing the reader to feel like they have been picked up and set back down in a different era. The attention to detail allows you to hear the violin as little Josef plays, smell the scones at Minivers, brush the rain from your shoulders as you rush with Alison from the car to the house and even feel the despair as Ian makes a decision to take a life in order to save another. These characters were so real, the book would be excellent made into a movie, that at times I felt like I knew them.

One of my favorite aspects was the history. I had heard of the Dutch Resistance but I never realized all it detailed. What went into the rescuing of Jewish children, hiding them and forging the passports, while risking their own lives to do it. Also the hiding of art from the plundering of the Germans. I found myself going to the internet and searching for more information, especially about the artwork being hidden in caves. All in all it moved me like no other story has yet this year. Brilliant writing that draws the reader into that time period, steadily moving along on a ride of ups and downs. My heart ached for Ian and Alison, so much in love and yet held apart by more than just distance. The secondary characters were just as much a part of the story, including young Libby (a refugee in her own right), Ian's sister Trish, and even Theodor, the German in love with Alison. My only complaint? the story just ends, leaving you with a teaser! Definitely not right! My fingers are crossed for a second installment shortly. Again, an amazing book that I would urge everyone to pick up and read, even if WWII is not your favorite genre. A+!

**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, January 15, 2016

Secrets She Kept by Cathy Gohlke #Review

All her life, Hannah Sterling longed for a close relationship with her estranged mother. Following Lieselotte’s death, Hannah determines to unlock the secrets of her mother’s mysterious past and is shocked to discover a grandfather living in Germany. Thirty years earlier, Lieselotte’s father is quickly ascending the ranks of the Nazi party, and a proper marriage for his daughter could help advance his career. Lieselotte is in love—but her beloved Lukas is far from an ideal match, as he secretly works against the Reich. Yet Lieselotte never imagined how far her father would go to ensure her cooperation. 
Both Hannah’s and Lieselotte’s stories unfold as Hannah travels to Germany to meet her grandfather, who is hiding wartimes secrets of his own. Longing for connection, yet shaken by all she uncovers, Hannah must decide if she can atone for her family’s tragic past and how their legacy will shape her future.

MY REVIEW-Secrets She Kept is an interesting book, though somewhat of a dark, wartime story. It jumps back and forth from WWII, to the 1970's. Hannah is a young woman trying to figure out her past and discovers that her mother was keeping many secrets, taking them to the grave. But Hannah is persistent and goes on a journey to Germany, finding a grandfather who is keeping secrets of his own.

I liked the story better when it was dealing with Lieselotte, seeing her fire and what she did to save others. The author does an amazing job at describing the feelings of those who lived in that era, watching the Nazi's destroy the lives of the Jewish people, and wanting to do something about it. It is a story fraught with despair and yet there was a hope there that kept me turning pages. A great story that might have you in tears at points but also happy tears.

**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, January 7, 2016

Every Girl Gets Confused Book #Review


Katie Fisher and Brady James may be a match made in heaven, but that doesn't seem to guarantee them a happily ever after accompanied by angelic choirs. In fact, the sounds being heard at the bridal shop where she works are on the contentious side lately, as a bride- and groom-to-be try to mediate the growing rivalry between their basketball-obsessed families in the middle of play-off season. On top of that, Katie's parents are nagging her to get out of Dallas and come home to tiny Fairfield where her former boyfriend Casey is waiting for her, ready to rekindle their relationship. Oy vey! What's a girl to do? And will she ever be able to wear that gorgeous wedding dress she won?

MY THOUGHTS-Janice Hanna Thompson is an author you pick up when you want something light-hearted and that will make you laugh. She engages the readers in a fun trip that will have you in tears at times over something the character is going through, but don't let that trick you into thinking the book is all fluff. She also allows you to learn lessons as you follow this same character on their journey and growing with them.

In Every Girl Gets Confused, Katie has moved from small-town Fairfield to big city Dallas. If you haven't read the first book in the series, I would urge you to read it before this one. Things will make more sense and believe me, all the characters can really get confusing:) Anyways, Katie has left behind her ex-boyfriend Casey and moved on to the big world of Brady and his basketball. She is totally in love with him, wanting to stand by him as he goes in for surgery on his injured knee, also getting caught up in the world of weddings and the confusion that comes with them. Brady is kind and sweet, almost having me fall in love with him so I can see why Katie loved him.

This installment in the Brides with Style series is a good continuation. We see Queenie preparing for her wedding to Pastor Paul, Stan and Madge finding out that they might have feelings for each other, and you also get to see Brady and Katie realize some things. The underlying theme in this book is seasons. We all go through them and sometimes they are good seasons, other times bad. But it is only for a time. It kind of hit home for me as I have been dealing with some things and it made me realize that it will only be for a season. Again, an excellent book from Janice that is a joy to read. Loved it!

**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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