Saturday, February 28, 2015

Book Review: Dashing Dish

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"The Dashing Dish"is an inspirational cookbook chock-full of healthy, innovative yet simple recipes, most of which are gluten-free, sugar-free, and abundant in whole grains.

Like many of us, twenty-four-year-old author Katie Farrell has struggled with her weight and healthy eating. As a teen she went through yo-yo dieting and was prone to eating disorders. But through God and a passion for food and cooking, she hit upon the formula that would transform her from unhealthy girl to confident woman.

In warm, accessible language and beautiful photographs, Katie shares100 recipes for clean eating. Every recipe is simple to make and delicious to eat. Katie uses gluten-free oat flour in place of wheat flour, cottage cheese and yogurt in place of fat, and Stevia in place of sugar. Her tips are practical, her tone inspirational. Anyone looking to eat better for the rest of their life will want to own this book."

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Okay, my obsession with cookbooks continues with Dashing Dish which is one dashing book. Yes, I know that was cheesy but I'm one tired mama today. I just spent some time going through this cookbook and I'm still drooling just thinking about all of the amazingly delicious looking recipes in this book.
My loves:

  • Pictures - this book is filled with delicious pictures of every recipe. 
  • Healthy - Since this is a clean eating cookbook, these are healthier versions of our favorites!
  • Layout - Easy to use, easy to read.
My dislikes: 
  • Waiting - The boys and I are going to start doing 1 week cooking sessions from different cookbooks, but we won't have the time together until Spring Break...and I want to eat all of the foods now!
Seriously, if you're looking for healthier alternatives to some seriously delicious recipes, don't hesitate to pick up this book. You won't regret it!


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I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review.  All thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own.

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Friday, February 27, 2015

Book Review: A Path in the Darkness

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The colony ship Intrepid is falling into a star.

The ship’s AI has lost control of the engines and core systems. Battling a saboteur who strives to isolate him, his last act is to wake Colonel Tanis Richards from stasis.

Tanis finds herself alone on a dying ship, unable to contact the AI. She must discover what has happened and save the Intrepid from burning up in the star’s angry red light.

Even if she is successful, the journey to the colony world of New Eden is just beginning. With decades of travel ahead, she will have to find a path in the darkness.

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I read the first book in this series and nearly had a heart attack when it was a cliffhanger. Then, I received this one and I devoured it in one night. Thank goodness it was a quiet night so I could start earlier! I haven't had near enough sleep lately and this one would have kept me up all night. This book is filled with mystery, action, adventure and yes, even a little bit of romance. Of course, it's another cliffhanger, but the series is so good (and so outside of my normal genre) that I can forgive it! Fingers crossed that the next part finds my desk soon!

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I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own.
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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Book Review: The Trouble with Patience

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Patience Cavanaugh has lost hope in romance. The man she yearned to marry is dead and her dreams are gone with him. Now she is consumed with the restoration of a dilapidated boarding house in order to support herself. Despite her desire for solitude, Jedediah Jones, the local sheriff with a reputation for hanging criminals, becomes an ever-looming part of her life. It seems like such a simple arrangement: Patience needs someone with a strong back to help her fix up the boardinghouse, and Jedediah needs a dependable source of food for himself and his prisoners. But Patience gets more than she bargained for as she explores the depths of the "hanging lawman"--and finds both betrayal and love.




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Another book full of wonderful imagery, even when it's the imagery of just how tough it was to have lived in a time and place that was at times, anything but sunshine and roses. The characters weren't the type that I immediately fell in love with. In fact, it took me a bit to warm up to them. The story, however, pulled me in from the first page and didn't let me go until the last. I will say that the story did drag in parts, but not enough that it made me put it down or walk away from it. Did I mention that there's a mystery that needs solving? You know my weakness for mystery and romance...heck, if this was somehow a cookbook too, I'd never put it down!

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I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review.  All thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own.

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Book Review: Betting on Hope

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Saddle up for a new romance from novelist Debra CloptonBetting on HopeIn Wishing Springs, Maggie finds what she has always been looking for: a community and a home. But when her past catches up to her, it threatens everything, even the tender hope that this town holds all of her heart’s desires.

Enter to win a Kindle Fire HD 6 to celebrate the release of Betting on Hope

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One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • A copy of Betting on Hope
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on March 8th. Winner will be announced March 9th on Debra's blog.

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A bet gone wrong. A small town's meddling. And a cowboy intent on saving his ranch.

Maggie Hope is an advice columnist whose background leaves her with little advice to give . . . and it's beginning to show. When Maggie fills in at an interview with champion horse trainer Tru Monahan, the on-camera chemistry between them is undeniable. Maggie's bosses know this is the opportunity she's been looking for to launch her career--and their bank accounts. In order to save her column, Maggie takes Tru up on the bet that he can teach her to ride a quick-stepping cutting horse like any cowgirl, despite the fact that she has never been on a horse. And in the meantime, she can get the scoop on the man under the cowboy hat.

Tru has been on the competition circuit for longer than he'd like, but he knows it's the only way he can afford to keep the Four of Hearts Ranch that means so much to his ailing grandfather. So when his sponsors see the opportunity for Tru's fans to get to know the star on a more intimate level, he knows he must oblige. To his dismay, Maggie not only invades his small town of Wishing Springs, but she also invades his heart, and that is something he cannot let any woman do--for her own good.

In Wishing Springs, Maggie finds what she has always been looking for: a community and a home. But when her past catches up to her, it threatens everything, even the tender hope that this town holds all of her heart's desires

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Just when I was in the mood for a sweet romance, Betting on Hope came along. Filled with characters that pull you right into their world, this was another one night read. Thank goodness that wrestling season is winding down so that I can catch up on some sleep on the weekends! This book is filled with not only wonderful primary characters, but secondary characters that sometimes steal the scene, but in the end, it all comes together. Debra Clopton is another author who rarely has anything more than a home run and this book isn't any different.

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I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own.
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Monday, February 23, 2015

Book Review: Aoleon The Martian Girl Part 2

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Aoléon and Gilbert receive a special mission from PAX, a wanted criminal and leader of the Martian resistance movement to investigate the Luminon of Mars, who he suspects is planning an invasion of Earth to steal its milk cows. Gilbert has an encounter with the Luminess (the mate of the Luminon) and discovers something strange about her during a procession, and the duo are chased by the Royal Paladin Guard.

At Aoléon’s home, Gilbert meets Aoléon’s family, her sister Una, mother Phobos and father Deimos as well as her overzealous pet Zoot. He is also introduced to Bizwat, a covert operator and Procyon Commando, who uses his Saturn Pizza delivery job as a cover.

Gilbert then gets to visit the Martian Space Academy (Aoléon’s school) where he encounters Aoléon’s nemesis, Charm Lepton and her friend Quarkina, as well as receiving a history lesson on the Martian people by Plutarch Xenocrates. After class, Gilbert and Aoléon get to train in zero-G and Gilbert is treated to a Psi-ball match between Martian Space Academy and Martian Science Academy.

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Brent is back with part two of this series and if you loved part one, you're going to love part 2 even more. The story continues to move along and this time, we're introduced to life on Mars as Aeleon knows it. Just like in the first part, the illustrations are beautifully done in a style that fits perfectly in with the story. I will say though that they really need to be seen in color to be fully appreciated, so if you're trying to read this on a black and white e-reader, check it out on your computer. You'll be glad that you did. Honestly, I could go on and on about how great the dialogue is, how fun the story is, and that's all true but what I want to say is go and get this series...if you'll have any complaint is that you have to wait for the next segment to come out.

Looking to get it now? Click here.

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I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review.  All thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own.

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Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Trouble With Being a Nerd

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The other day, I was approached about writing for a site that considers themselves to be a nerd blog. Now, I  confess that I've read all of one post on their site, but my immediate reaction was that I don't think I'd have anything to possibly contribute. I know that one of the two contributors writes about comics/games and I have no idea what the owner writes about. It bothered me though that I was so quick to reply with, "I have nothing to offer."  It bothered me more than the fact that the owner immediately responded with something along the lines of me not being a fit, after all.

Why was I so quick to jump to that answer?  Is it because I really believe that I have nothing to offer to a nerd blog? Is it because I run a geek site of my own and I rarely write for it so it'd almost feel traitorous for me to start writing someplace else? Or is it because it's really hard to be a nerd within the nerd kingdom sometimes?

The term nerd these days encompasses just as much as the term geek.  It used to be that these were very separate terms with different definitions. To some, they still are. For the most part though, I hear them interchanged without anyone blinking.  The problem is that they encompass so much. It's become overwhelming. The idea of picking just one subject to write about is like asking a person to reach down into a pile of gemstones and pull out the one tiny chip of a diamond that's in there, but you can't look as you reach. It's a blind pull.

So, when I was asked, my brain panicked and tried frantically to sift through any and all of my interests to find the one thing that would make my writing worth writing.  A panicky brain is not a good brain. I blanked. If asked the same question right now, I would have the same answer. I don't know. There are too many options and so many that I don't feel like any sort of expert in.
This leads me to the other problem when being asked to write for a site like this, nerd panic. This is a very really thing, folks. It's that feeling you get deep inside when someone asks about your fandom. It's that series of thoughts that go buzzing through your head:  "What if they don't like my fandom? What if I don't do a good job of representing it? Will all the nerds/geeks hate me?"

I would love to say that even a geek/nerd as secure as myself and who stands up every single day for the individual and that your fandom is not my fandom and my fandom is not your fandom, but no fandom is better than another, is immune to this, but I'm just not.  It can be hard to be a nerd in today's kingdom of nerdom. There are so many things to be a fan of and each and every one of these has a handful of ultra-nerds that know every single detail about whatever it is. Those are the ones who scare us; the ones who not only know everything, but will be the first in line to tell you that you're wrong.  The last thing any of us want to hear is that we're not really a geek or a nerd or a part of the community.

After all, humans are meant to be a part of things. We're meant to seek out those like us and to join with them. To be told that we can't be a part of that is not only humiliating, but on some levels, it's also painful. It's as if a piece of your identity is being ripped away and depending who you are, that can be a tiny piece or it can be a huge part of who you feel that you are. There are some of us who live very solitary lives and when we connect with a group of people and we feel as if we're a part of something, it is a very big deal.  We've finally found a place where we fit in. Knowing that there are those who could rip that away from us is very scary. It's why people won't speak up about their fandoms or they keep them secret. Yes, there are closet bronies, browncoats and whovians. They exist and they exist because these shows represent a piece of their own personality and there is a fear that if they speak up about them, someone may judge that piece of them. Sometimes, it's more than a show, a comic, a movie; it's a piece of us on paper or screen.


So, why didn't I jump at the chance to do something that I love (writing)? It's probably a blend of all of the reasons, but the biggest one? A fear that my fandom, my geek girlness would come under attack and it's easier to accept that someone doesn't see you as one at all than to have them see a piece of your very self and have them rip that apart. Remember folks, that just because someone may not know what color the blade of grass was on some far off planet on some far off date doesn't mean that they don't heavily relate to some character who is standing on that same blade of grass and because they relate, it's like watching themselves. Each of us is entitled to not only our own fandoms, but our own level of fandom.  Next time someone asks me to write, I'm hoping that I remember this and I step out, even if I'm afraid, and I write some kick ass piece for a site that celebrates that very premise. 

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Friday, February 20, 2015

Book Review: The Babylon Contingency

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A riveting international adventure-mystery

Investigating a burglary at an English country house, Detective Chief Inspector Robbie Peele comes face to face with one of the most mysterious objects in world archaeology, the Phaestos Disk--and with the Middle Eastern terrorist cell determined to steal it.

The vital clue is a long abandoned Muslim village in Crete, where a Victorian gentleman explorer witnessed horrors that were meant to be secret and recorded what he saw in coded diaries. Seeking the truth about the Phaestos Disk, Peele and his assistant, Sarah Shipton, are on the cusp of solving the mystery when they are caught in an ancient Egyptian burial chamber during an earthquake.

In the end Peele has to ask far harder questions than simply who committed the original burglary. The origins of the Phaestos Disk are inextricably bound up with the Middle East peace process in ways that frustrate and astound him.

Certain to draw readers into a world of ancient secrets and international intrigue, The Babylon Contingency is the first in a riveting new series from experienced journalist and broadcaster Clifford Longley.

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Another book that had amazing potential but just fell a little bit short. This book is filled with abbreviations that unless you're familiar with the British police system, you're just not quite going to get it right away. The book is also told from the first person point of view, which is fine but it did seem to limit the amount of character development that happened within the book. Sadly, the pacing was off as well. Just when you thought it was going to crank right along, it slowed down and then right at the end, everything sped up to wrap it all up in a hurry. My recommendation is that the author, who is by trade a journalist, work with someone who has more experience with writing fiction.

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I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review.  All thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own.
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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Book Review: The Crimson Cord

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Wife to a gambler who took one too many risks, Rahab finds herself sold as a slave to cover her husband's debt. Forced into prostitution by Dabir, counselor to the Syrian king, Rahab despairs of ever regaining her freedom and her self-respect. But when Israelite spies enter Jericho and come to lodge at her house, Rahab sees a glimmer of hope and the opportunity of a lifetime. In one risky moment, she takes a leap of faith, puts her trust in a God she does not know, and vows to protect the spies from the authorities. When the armies of Israel arrive weeks later, Rahab hopes they will keep their promise, but she has no idea what kind of challenges await her outside Jericho's walls--or if she will ever know the meaning of love.


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How many of us are familiar with the story of Rahab in the Bible? I confess that it's been many years since I had read or heard it and to be honest, when I read the description of the book, it didn't click with me. That's okay. Not all of us fall into the same religious beliefs or level of biblical knowledge, but hopefully we can all enjoy a well written book. This particular book is divided into three sections and each flows seamlessly into the next. I found her story to be fascinating. The book covers not only her life, but the laws of the Israelites and how they were explained to Rahab and how they applied directly to her life. If you're interested in amazing women, Biblical fiction or just a well written book, I suggest that you check out this one.

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I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review.  All thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Book Review: Baby Comes Home

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Unlike most baby care books, expert pediatrician and health communicator DR. PAUL Roumeliotis takes a unique approach by emphasizing what scientific advances have confirmed-that what happens early on in life affects one's overall health decades down the road. Baby Comes Home communicates the latest science that explains how positive or negative early childhood experiences can have lifelong consequences. The book begins by describing the vital changes that occur in a baby's brain during the first 18 months. It then explores the new "Science of TLC," that shows how tender, loving, and caring relationships with babies help to positively shape their brains. The book then presents important practical information on safety in the home and outdoors, baby routines/patterns, immunizations, injury prevention, nutrition, and more. To complete this useful guide, DR.PAUL also reviews common baby care issues and concerns as well as illnesses and conditions commonly seen during the first few years of life. Whether you're a parent, grandparent, daycare teacher or child caregiver, this book is an excellent reference resource for your baby's current and future health, wellness and prosperity.

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It's been a long time since I've had babies. My two are 14 and 15 now, but I remember those early days with fondness and sometimes a sense of longing. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't precisely start over now, but there is something amazing about those first couple of years of life and whether you're a parent, grandparent, babysitter, or just someone who spends a lot of time with small children, this book holds something for you. Filled with valuable information, this is one of those books that you're going to want to keep on the shelf and pull down whenever you need it.

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I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review.  All thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Book Review: Defcon Darcy

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Fisher Stanton, Valley High School’s Nantucket wannabe, has a cheating girlfriend. When he hires Darcy Walker to chase her to a local club, in true Darcy fashion she stumbles upon a dead body. Thing is, this body has secrets...and Darcy’s mysterious friend, Jaws, and the reporter, Tito Westbrook, have a vested interest. Both enlist Darcy to find the person responsible who has eluded them for years, but Darcy doesn’t solve crimes for free anymore, especially where Jaws is concerned. Knowing Darcy’s Achilles heel, Jaws blackmails Darcy into working for him. In a true test of wills, Darcy and Jaws battle head-to-head to see who can outsmart the other—Jaws needs Darcy to help him end a bitter grudge war; Darcy needs Jaws to divulge the mystery surrounding her mother’s death. Haunted by a past that shaped her present, Darcy will stop at nothing to get answers. Even if it means breaking the law and being disloyal to her new boyfriend, Dylan Taylor, in the process. DEFCON DARCY gives Darcy’s demons a name and ties up loose ends that made Darcy into the verb that she is. What she thinks she knows as truth, isn’t. What she wishes wasn’t true…is. The problem is, when your life goes DEFCON 1, not everyone lives to tell about it. Put Defcon Darcy on your TBR list! Goodreads

Buy on Amazon

 

AJ LapeAbout the author:

A. J. Lape is the Amazon bestselling author of the Darcy Walker Series. She lives in Cincinnati with her husband, two daughters, an ADD dog, a spoiled hamster, and an unapologetic and unrepentant addiction to Coca-Cola--and a lifelong love affair with bacon. If the FBI ever checks her computer, she'll be wearing prison orange due to the various "wiki" articles she looks up…all in the name of career research, of course. Find out more about A. J. at http://www.ajlape.com

 

Find A.J on:

Twitter | Darcy's Twitter | FaceBook | Fan Club & Street Team | Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Sometimes I think that books come in and across my desk in groups. Sometimes, it's cookbook, other times it's fantasy and right now, there seems to be quite a few in the young adult category. When I started reading this series (this is book 3), I wasn't sure what to expect. You have a teenager girl who seems to manage to get into all sorts of trouble without even meaning to. The books are filled with pretty much every type of person that you have ever met and your feelings regarding them may change as the books progress. I know that mine did. I would say that I would suggest these books to my boys, but they're still in that weird "omg, the main character is a girl, no way" stage. I don't get it, but I'm not a boy either.

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I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review.  All thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own.
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Book Review: Remember the Lilies

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This gripping new tale from Liz Tolsma, Remember the Lilies, is a must-read for fans of WWII-era fiction. When Irene is attacked by a sinister Japanese guard and their secrets are exposed, she and Rand must learn the true meaning of forgiveness—if they can stave off starvation until the American troops bring freedom.

Help Liz celebrate the release of Remember the Lilies with a Kindle Fire giveaway!

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One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • One copy of Remember the Lilies
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on 2/19. Winner will be announced at Liz's Remember the Lilies Facebook author chat party. RSVP for a chance to connect with Liz and WWII fiction fans, as well as for a chance to win some great prizes!   

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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 19th!

Irene and Rand come from very different walks of life. Will they find common ground in their fight to survive?

Irene has grown up in the jungle as a missionary with her Aunt Anita, but now she and countless others are imprisoned by Japanese soldiers at the Santo Tomas Internment Camp in the Philippines. Irene and her aunt are safe there, and she keeps busy with her duty of delivering censored messages to the camp’s prisoners, but like everyone else, she prays for the war to end and for her freedom. Rand is a wealthy, womanizing American, whose attempted escape from the internment camp has put himself and others in danger. When Rand and Irene’s Aunt Anita meet one another in the hospital, Irene learns more of his story and her heart is determined to save his family. But the danger outside the walls of the hospital worsens every day, and life in this exotic place is anything but luxurious. Can Irene find Rand’s family before they disappear forever? And can a humble missionary woman and an arrogant man find common ground in the face of their biggest fears?

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How many of you have contemplated what happened to Americans living overseas when war broke out? I know that it's not something that I've spent a lot of time thinking about. This book will put you right into the middle of it. The intensely written imagery caused me to put this book down more than once, but I seemed to keep coming back to it. The book isn't without flaws though. There are some circumstances that just didn't seem realistic and the characters didn't seem as fleshed out as they could have been. So, this book is on my well, it was pretty good but perhaps not one that I'll return to time and time again.

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I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review.  All thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own.

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Monday, February 16, 2015

Book Review: Sanctuary

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In a heart-racing thriller described as Falling Skies meets The Walking Dead, Jennie struggles to find a safe place for what’s left of her family. But it seems as though there is no place sacred, no place secure. First the aliens attacked the sun, making it dimmer, weaker, and half what it used to be. Then they attacked the water supply, killing one-third of Earth’s population with a bitter contaminate. And when they unleash a new terror on humankind, the victims will wish for death, but will not find it…When the world shatters to pieces around her, will Jennie find the strength she needs to keep going?




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Holy bajeezus, what did I get myself into with this book? I've loved Pauline's writing in the past, so when this book was offered to me, description unseen, I jumped on it. Little did I know that I was getting myself into an end of days, aliens, zombies, scare myself to death kind of book! As with all of her other books, Pauline's control of imagery is outstanding. The book keeps moving and I keep putting it down to take a few deep breathes before my curiosity demands that I pick it back up and keep reading. If you are at all into any of the above, don't hesitate, pick up Sanctuary.

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I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review.  All thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own.
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Free Books! : Riot Girls

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RiotGirls


Riot Girls: Seven Free Teen Books With Girls Who Don't Need A Hero: A Young Adult SciFi, Fantasy, Dystopian, and Paranormal Box Set Get for FREE on Amazon! Riot Girls: Seven Free Teen Books With Girls Who Don't Need A Hero is a collection of Young Adult Speculative Fiction (Fantasy/SciFi/Dystopian/Paranormal) for readers who like it when a girl can take care of herself. These teens don't sit around waiting for someone to rescue them from their situation, they act! The collection has something for everyone--dystopian societies, trained assassins, strange creatures (faeries, vampires, werewolves, and zombies), super heroes, and witches. What binds our stories together is our heroines--girls who have the inner and outer strength to take care of themselves. Included in the collection:

  xGeneration 1: You Don't Know Me - Genre: SciFi / Superhero - Full Length Novel (95,000 words). Fourteen-year-old Janis Graystone is mostly worried about soccer, school, and keeping her older sister from running her life. But when strange things start happening to her including out-of-body experiences and the sense someone is watching her, she finds herself working with an unlikely but loyal ally to discover the source of the danger she senses around her. Rated PG-14 (Language).

  The Blemished: Blemished #1 - Genre: SciFi / Dystopian - Full Length Novel (85,000 words). Below average and imperfect in a world of stunning clones, Mina Hart is denied an education and a normal life. But when she meets a new friend's mysterious brother, she finds herself willing to share a dangerous secret...

  Xoe: or Vampires, and Werewolves, and Demons, oh my! - Genre: Paranormal - Full Length Novel (50,000 words). Xoe Meyers liked her normal small-town life. But things change fast when the new guy in town turns out to be a werewolf who goes after her best friend in a big way. Determined to save her friend, she finds herself allied with creatures she never knew existed in a battle that threatens all their lives. Rated PG-13 (Language).

  Magic Unbound: Book One in the Fae Unbound Series - Genre: Contemporary Urban Fantasy - Full Length Novel (45,000 words). Not-quite-sixteen year old Lizbet Moore expects a boring last month of summer vacation. What she wasn't expecting was a fifteen-hundred-year old fae hiding in her back garden. Murderous monks, memories of her past lives, and the race to save the fae from destruction change her summer in ways she could never have imagined.

  Avoidables: Book 1 - Genre: Fantasy / Dystopian - Serialized Novella-length Fiction (25,000 words). Hope is an Avoidable in a world that belongs to the Perfects. She was born with only one arm, but when she discovers that her disability is actually a gift, she joins a group of rebels who are determined to change the rules of her society. Rated PG-14 (Language, Mature Situations).

  Chronicles of Steel: Raven 1: Episode 1 - Genre: Fantasy / Steampunk - Short Serialized Novelette (17,300 words). Raven was trained by her father to be a Reaper. Just as she's saved enough lives to redeem the ones she's taken, she agrees to take on a last mission that's too important to ignore. Will it force her back into the life she's trying to escape?

  Halloween Magic & Mayhem by Stella Wilkinson - Genre: Paranormal / Comedy Romance - Novelette (15,000 words) . On her sixteenth birthday, Emily Rand discovers she is a powerful witch. Her experiment with a spell accidently turns a ghost back into a boy and reanimates a group of zombies. It will take all of her power to undo what she has done. Rated PG-13 (Language).

  Please note: Riot Girls contains books by authors from both the United States and Great Britain. Spelling, punctuation, and sentence construction can be different from what is correct grammar on the "other side of the pond".

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Sunday, February 15, 2015

Food Review: Cadbury Daim Eggs and Double Decker Bar

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What does a blogger do when an amazing friend surprises you with a box full of British chocolates? You collect up a kid and do a taste testing for "review" purposes! In this case, Ben was more than willing to help me delve deep into the box and choose two candies to try out. I know that it's a real struggle and trial for him, but he seems to be pretty good natured about it.

Today's choices are the Cadbury's Double Decker bar and the Cadbury's Daim Eggs. Since he's being so good natured about this, I let him choose and I'll reveal his opinions first.

Cadbury Daim Egg (Solid Milk Chocolate Eggs with Caramel Almond Pieces) : 

Ben - This doesn't taste like Hersheys but it's good. I could taste a lot of caramel and the nuts. The chocolate was sweeter than what we usually eat. It might be too sweet for me.

Mom - I agree with Ben. It is certainly more sweet and I was immediately hit with the caramel flavor. However, I never got the almond pieces. Perhaps I was expecting something a bit chunkier when it came to the nuts, though. Overall, it's honestly a piece of candy that I could have one of, enjoy and be good for the rest of the day. It might be great for those trying to cut back on candy consumption!

Cadbury Double Decker Bar (Layers of crispy cereal and nougatine wrapped in delicious Cadbury milk chocolate. )

Ben - I enjoyed this one better than the other one. I liked the crunchiness of the cookie portion. It wasn't as sweet, either. I could eat this for breakfast every day, even if it's not healthy.

Mom - I agree with Ben, again! (Wow, agreeing with a teenager twice in a row has to be a new record of some sort!) This one certainly wasn't anywhere near as sweet as the Daim. Thank goodness! When I tried the nougatine (that so sounds like nicotine in my head), I got a very strong flavor of coffee and even after eating it together, I was left with a coffee aftertaste in my mouth. Oddly enough, while the individual components had good flavor, when combined, it mellowed out into something that wouldn't stick out in my mind.

All in all, British chocolate is in a class all its own and we're looking forward to trying out all of the other flavors in this box!

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Friday, February 13, 2015

Book Review: Return to Exile

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A twenty-first-century doctor travels back in time to third-century Carthage to rescue her husband, but the arrival of a deadly epidemic forces her to make an impossible choice in this fast-paced second novel in The Carthage Chronicles series.
Dr. Lisbeth Hastings salvaged two things from her accidental trip to the third century: her mother's stethoscope and her child. Making a life for her daughter Maggie back in the present is difficult, but returning to ancient Carthage is impossible. However, when Lisbeth learns her husband is slated to die a martyr's death, she must find a way around the impossible to save him.
Cyprian Thascius returns from political exile a broken man. He's lost his faith, the love of his life, and his purpose. When Ruth, an old friend, proposes he marry her to restore his position and protect his estate, the disgraced nobleman accepts. But when Cyprian's true love suddenly reappears, his heart becomes as imperiled as the fledgling church.
As Lisbeth and Cyprian reunite to battle a new epidemic and save the oppressed community of Christians, the chasm between the two of them seems too wide to bridge. But when Maggie contracts typhoid, Lisbeth must choose: stay and save the man she loves, or return home and save her daughter?
Filled with gripping action and raw emotion, this incredibly compelling adventure of star-crossed lovers will keep you engrossed with every turn of the page.

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This one is a tough one for me to write. I've spent days trying to decide what to say about this book. I love the ideas in this book...time travel...love...today's medicine being attempted in ancient times...I enjoyed the writing and the historic details and imagery were wonderful. It was the story that I struggled with and in the end, put the book down and said I'll get back to finishing this eventually. I don't want to give you any sort of spoilers, so I'm just going to say that the way one character handled herself really bothered me along with the lack of dealing with the issues this caused. In fact, the author chose to "fix it" by not fixing it. I know this is vague, but I really don't want to spoil the book for anyone who wishes to read it.

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I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review.  All thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own.

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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Book Review: Riding for Redemption

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Desperate to find her place in the world, Sara Beth dreams of applying for the Miss Wrangler Montana competition that tours with the rodeo circuit.
Riding horses has become her anchor until a near fatal accident takes more from her than she’d ever willingly sacrifice.
Determined to prove his business training, Johnny seeks out the Rourke family to call in an old favor. When he embroils himself in Sara Beth’s life, he has to prove they’re nothing more than friends.
Seeking independence, both Sara Beth and Johnny lean on each other more and more, until love threatens their friendship. Will they seek out each other or be confused by their dreams?
Can either of them leave their past and embrace their future?

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Have you ever found an author that you're pretty sure can do no wrong? Bonnie R. Paulson might just be one of those authors for me. No matter which of her books I pick up, I find myself reading way too late into the night. Then, I find myself groggily attempting to be functional the next day with negative amounts of regret. With this book, it picks right up where Romancing Redemption leaves off, so make sure that you pick that one up first and give it a read! Then, dive right into this one and then right into the third book in the series. Trust me, if you love romance with well developed characters that just continue to grow, you're going to love this entire series.

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I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Book Review: From Frights to Flaws

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Twelve-year-old Alyssa McCarthy can no longer stand the toughness of her uncle and wants a better life. But one day she discovers not only the existence of magic, but also a villain hunting her down. The villain uses magic and magical technology to kidnap Alyssa to the Fiji Islands. As much as she wants to go home, she has to face some dangerous challenges first. Not only that, the villain himself must also be defeated. Can Alyssa succeed, even with the help of her mentors?





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Every once in a while, a young adult book crosses my desk and I get excited. I have two teen boys who I would love to get reading more so I consider it an opportunity to find them something they might love. This book, however, isn't it. The book starts out well, but just doesn't hold up. I found the characters to be flat and some of the situations/responses to be odd. For example, Alyssa meets these two people who are suddenly her mentors and she's just like, "oh, okay..." I don't know a single child who would have that sort of response. The parents have the same sort of reaction after finding their children were missing because they were kidnapped. It just doesn't work. There is also a scene where Alyssa and her friends are sitting around trying to figure out how to kill another character. I found this rather disturbing. Also, more than once, I read a section and thought, "Harry Potter."  That's not good. It's fine to take ideas and make them your own but when a reader blatantly can place the reference, it means the author hasn't really made the idea their own.

On a positive note, I do think that the story has a lot of potential. This is the first in a series so it is possible that the characters will round out and the story, while fantasy, will become more plausible.


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I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review.  All thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own.
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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Book Review: The Dandelion Field

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Get ready for Valentine's Day with a new story of romance and falling in love in Kathryn Springer's The Dandelion FieldThe handsome firefighter makes a living “coming to the rescue,” but Gin is used to fighting her own battles. Can a woman who doesn't believe in happy endings take a chance on a new beginning? 

Celebrate a second chance at love and family with Kathryn by entering her Kindle Fire giveaway!

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One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • The Dandelion Field
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on February 15th. Winner will be announced February 16th on the Litfuse blog.

dandelionfield-enterbanner 

{NOT ON FACEBOOK? ENTER HERE.}

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This handsome firefighter makes a living coming to the rescue, but Gin doesn't need a man to fight her battles.

After Raine s dad walked out, Ginevieve Lightly never lived in one place too long, a rambling lifestyle that defined her daughter s youth. When their car dies in Banister Falls, Wisconsin, Gin promises Raine they can stay until she finishes her senior year of high school. Gin will do anything to make sure her daughter has a bright future . . . a future that s compromised when Raine reveals she s pregnant.

Dan Moretti has only ever called Banister Falls home. After losing his best friend in a tragic accident, Dan devoted himself to responding to fires, rescuing the helpless, and guiding Cody Bennett, his best friend's son, through life. With Cody being the epitome of the good kid, it was an easy job. Until he says four little words: The baby is mine.

Knowing gossip of Raine's pregnancy will erupt sooner or later in the small town, Gin's reflex is to grab the suitcase and escape to a new city, a new life. But with each passing day, Gin's feet stay rooted in Banister Falls, and she falls a little more for this local firefighter who shows her not all men abandon women at the first sign of smoke.

As Gin and Dan do the best they can to guide the two teenagers through their early entry into adulthood, they discover together that romance can bloom in the rockiest of situations. And God can turn the pieces of a broken past into a beautiful new beginning.

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Romance is always a weakness for me, no matter if it's real life or in a book. This book was a solid source of reality, romance, being caught between people and just trying to survive. The characters were not only solid, but they were real. They had real emotions and real reactions. As a parent, I read the parent/child interactions and wondered what my own relationship with my boys will be like in a few years. As a single mom who has been in a few bad places, I understood Gin's desire to grab a suitcase and run. As a person who has been there for others and somehow wound up in between people, I understood Dan's plight. I think everyone can find some part of a character and relate to it. The dialogue was wonderfully written and the story moved along at a pace that didn't feel rushed and it didn't drag. Overall, a wonderful book of courage, hope and love.


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I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own.
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Monday, February 9, 2015

Book Review: It's Not Who You Know, It's Who You Are

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We live in a culture obsessed with celebrity. When we're not trying to make a name for ourselves, we're following the big names on Twitter, liking them on Facebook, and taking selfies with them if we are lucky enough to run into them in real life. We love winners and we want to be winners. But take it from a man who knows more famous people than most of us will ever meet--it's not who you know that's important, it's who you are inside.
With short, story-driven readings, Pat Williams draws from over fifty years of brushing shoulders with the greats, offering readers motivation to do their best, be themselves, and continually strive to be the people God made them to be. He shows that being a "winner" is more about character, attitudes, values, and faith than it is about coming out on top. Stories from legendary sports figures, leaders, and fascinating people from all walks of life help readers develop true character that speaks for itself.

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Have you ever really needed a book that you could put down at anytime and you knew it'd be right there waiting for you when you got back, sort of like an old friend? If this makes any sense to you, this is that book. Filled with short narratives from every type of celebrity imaginable, you can read one or you can read ten and when you come back, there is more waiting. This is one of those books that you're going to get from it what you put into it. It can be read casually and you'll just enjoy the stories. It can be read with some depth and you're going to take away a life lesson from each and every one. The author doesn't always tell you what the lesson is, but it is always there. For me, this came at just the right time and it's going into my "life lessons to access" bin of books that sits on top of my dresser. Few make it in but this one won't be going anywhere.

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I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review.  All thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own.

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Friday, February 6, 2015

Book Review: The Abbott's Agreement

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My life would have been more tranquil in the days after Martinmas had I not seen the crows. Whatever it was that the crows had found lay in the dappled shadow of the bare limbs of the oak, so I was nearly upon the thing before I recognized what the crows were feasting upon. The corpse wore black.Master Hugh is making his way towards Oxford when he discovers the young Benedictine - a fresh body, barefoot - not half a mile from the nearby abbey. The abbey's novice master confirms the boy's identity: John, one of three novices. But he had gone missing four days previously, and his corpse is fresh. There has been plague in the area, but this was not the cause of death: the lad has been stabbed in the back. To Hugh's sinking heart, the abbot has a commission for him . . .

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If you enjoy series, medieval mysteries and whodunits, then this could be the series for you. While this book is the 7th in the series, it works wonderfully as a standalone. That being said, if you enjoy things like Agatha Christie or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, I'd suggest that you find the other books and enjoy them all. I love that this book stays true to the time period that it was written for. After all, who of us would investigate a murder in exchange for a Bible these days? It would be much easier to leave it to the police...oh wait, there wasn't an official police force back then. I really enjoyed the variety of characters in this book...everything from Sir Hugh (a surgeon and bailiff) to the various characters within and outside of the monastery. It seems that every type of person you could expect was represented. The book moves along at a good pace and before you know it, he's solved the crime and you're left wondering when the next book is coming out!

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I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review.  All thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own.
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Book Review: A Brush With Love

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They've helped orchestrate the perfect day for countless couples. Now twelve new couples will find themselves in the wedding spotlight in the second Year of Weddings novella collection.

This hair stylist has adorned many a bride with the perfect bridal tresses. Now, she must overcome her past in order to realize that she, too, can find true love this January.







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Ahhh! It's back! You guys know I loved, loved, loved this series last year and I am so excited to see it back. Oddly enough, I'm reviewing it through a completely different outlet this time around, but I don't care! I love the fine folks that I get to work with and I love them even more since they brought this novella to my attention.

Now, looking at the book description above, I can imagine that you're all thinking something along the lines of, "But what is this book really about?"  I thought the same thing. It's about a girl..who meets a boy...hehe... Seriously, it's about this woman named Ginger, who like most of us, is somehow wounded by her past, including our main male. They meet again and it's time to find out if they can put the past in the past, heal and move towards the future. I'm not going to give any spoilers, but I will say that this novella is full of real turmoil and has characters that you'll find some small piece of yourself in. It is a Christian novella and you will see that in this novella. However, it isn't so in your face that, if you don't share those beliefs, it will get in the way of your enjoyment of the story.

Summary? The characters are relatable, the novella actually has really good closure, unlike some, and I'm already hoping to review the remainder of this year's series.


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I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review.  All thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own.
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Thursday, February 5, 2015

Book Review: Paper Hearts

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Abigail Pressman would never have guessed that love notes penned on paper hearts by an anonymous couple could restore her belief in love. As a business owner in a quaint town at the base of the Rockies, she's poured everything into dreams of expansion . . . and resisting the matchmaking efforts of the Valentine Volunteers, who gather in her store to continue Loves Park's tradition of stamping mail with the city's romantic postmark.When Abigail is unwillingly drafted into the Volunteers, she encounters the paper hearts, a distraction that couldn't come at a worse time. A hard-to-read doctor has become Abigail's new landlord, and he's threatening to end her lease to expand his practice.As she fights a growing attraction to this handsome man crushing her dreams, Abigail is inspired to string the hearts in her store, sparking a citywide infatuation with the artsy trend. But when a new batch of hearts reaches the Volunteers, it appears something tragic has happened to the couple. Will uncovering their story confirm Abigail's doubts about love, or could it rescue her dreams . . . and her heart?

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A love story, just in time for Valentine's. The funny thing is that I didn't even intend that when I requested this book. Romance books, especially this time of year, can be hit or miss and I am so happy to say that this one was a hit. While I wasn't able to read it all in one setting, I wanted to and I kept coming back to it every chance that I got. Each of the characters in the book had their own pasts, their own secrets and things that haunted them. This didn't take away from the story at all. Instead, it added to it. On top of that, there were so many wonderful secondary characters and I sincerely hope that some of them get books of their own. I would love to read their backstories and find out what the future holds! I love the fact that while this is a work of fiction, the paper hearts can serve as a wonderful reminder about honoring and celebrating the love in all of our lives.

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I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review.  All thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own.
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