Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Cake Decorating

Do you bake and decorate your own cakes, or do you buy them at the store?  Waaaay, back when my daughter was born I decided to take Wilton classes so I could do my own.  I thought store bought tasted awful and the decorating usually left quite a bit to be desired.  So began my journey!

I took Wilton levels 1-3 and went crazy!  My nieces and nephews love to 'order' their birthday cakes from me....they call me the 'Cake Lady'...not very original I know..but it works!


After 18+ years of cake decorating, word has spread that I make cakes, I now get occasional orders, which is kind of fun, just yesterday I posted an ad on a local face book group and received 2 cake orders within 30 minutes, kind of exciting.

So, I thought I'd share some of my cakes with you...I like to do a lot of gourmet style cakes, I highly dislike fondant, guess I'm old school that way.

Cupcakes are fun too!



How about you, do you decorate cakes?  Want to share any tips, photos, favorite flavors?  I'd love to hear from you!

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Friday, September 5, 2014

CFBA: Driftwood Tides

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Driftwood Tides
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (September 1, 2014)
by
Gina Holmes


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Gina Holmes is the founder of Novel Rocket, regularly named as one of Writers Digest’s best websites for writers. Her debut, Crossing Oceans, was a Christy and Gold Medallion finalist and winner of the Carol Award, INSPY, and RWA’s Inspirational Reader’s Choice, as well as being a CBA, ECPA, Amazon and PW bestseller. Her sophomore novel, Dry as Rain was a Christy Award finalist. Her latest novel, Wings of Glass has been named as one of the best books of the year by Library Journal and was a SIBA Okra pick and a finalist for Romantic Times’ Reviewers Choice Award. She holds degrees in science and nursing and currently resides with her family in southern Virginia. She works too hard, laughs too loud, and longs to see others heal from their past and discover their God-given purpose.

ABOUT THE BOOK

He made himself an island until something unexpected washed ashore. When Holton lost his wife, Adele, in a freak accident, he shut himself off from the world, living a life of seclusion, making drifwood sculptures and drowning his pain in gin. Until twenty-three-year-old Libby knocks on his door, asking for a job and claiming to be a friend of his late wife. When he discovers Libby is actually his late wife’s illegitimate daughter, given up for adoption without his knowledge, his life is turned upside down as he struggles to accept that the wife he’d given saint status to was not the woman he thought he knew.

Together Holton and Libby form an unlikely bond as the two struggle to learn the identity of Libby’s father and the truth about Adele, themselves, and each other.

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

MY THOUGHTS
Wow...this book was fabulous.  A page turner that kept me engrossed for hours.  Who needs to eat, clean or do anything else when they have a book this great in their hands!?

The characters were so down to earth and believable that you could be reading about your neighbor, your friend or a relative.  Of course, some characters are warm and fuzzy, while others take a bit of time to warm up to, but that's ok, it's not fun when everyone is charming and likable.

The way that author, Gina Holmes, writes about this tough subject is amazing, you will most definitely want a box of tissue nearby, no worries, you'll find yourself smiling too, but this book will stir up your emotions.

Can't wait to see what Gina has up her sleeve for her next book, it can't come fast enough!

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for review from CFBA

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Book Review: A Grand Design

Don’t miss this month’s Quilts of Love book, A Grand Design by Amber Stockton. Who hasn't struggled to let painful memories go and move into God's healing? You’ll be sure to love this heartfelt and encouraging tale set on historic Mackinac Island.

Celebrate August’s release by entering to win a Kindle from Quilts of Love and RSVPing for the "Fall into Fall" Facebook author chat party.


Quilts of Love Kindle HDX Giveaway, Amber Stockton, A Grand Design

  One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle HDX
  • A Grand Design by Amber Stockton
  • Hidden in the Stars by Robin Caroll
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on September 16th. Winner will be announced on the Quilts of Love blog. Plus make sure you RSVP to the October 7th author chat party with Amber Stockton and Robin Caroll for an evening of book chat, quilting tips and tricks, prizes, and more!

RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on October 7th!



New From Quilts of Love || A Grand Design
A getaway on a charming island may be just what Alyssa needs—if only she can let go of her past.

A Grand Design, Amber StocktonWhen Alyssa Denham, a single career woman, wins a fun getaway for two on Mackinac Island where her grandmother lives, she gives her carefree best friend a call. Together, they tour the old shops and hidden treasures of the quaint island while helping Alyssa’s grandmother piece together an heirloom quilt. Their quest gains them entrance into the homes of many longtime residents of the island, parts of the city that are otherwise off limits to tourists.

As the quilt’s story takes shape, Alyssa gains amazing insight into her grandmother’s life . . . and attracts the attention of the handsome Scott Whitman, an island resident in charge of hotel transportation. Will memories of her past keep Alyssa from letting go? Or will the quest to piece together the heirloom quilt restore Alyssa’s fractured heart—and bring healing to her entire family?



Find our more and purchase a copy at the Quilts of Love website.

Amber Stockton

Amber Stockton is an award‑winning author, a national speaker, and a direct‑sales brand partner with Nerium International. She lives with her husband and fellow author, Stuart Vaughn Stockton, in Colorado. They have a daughter and a son, and an Aussie/retriever mix named Roxie. Three of her novels have won annual reader’s choice awards. Find out why readers love her by visiting her website AmberStockton.com.

Find out more about Amber at http://amberstockton.com.






MY THOUGHTS
Another stand alone book in the Quilts of Love series.  This book will take you to Mackinac Island, MI when time moves a little slower with only bikes, horse drawn carriages and your own two feet to get you around.


Alyssa has some catching up to do when she returns to her beloved island where she hasn't visited her grandma for 15 years....she's understandably nervous.  Alyssa learns to relax and have a bit of fun, how can she not with her best friend along....and the two men they meet on the boat ride over!


How does this tie into a quilt?  Well, grandma has her own agenda, one that will take Alyssa down memory lane, as well as form new ones.


A fun, cozy read.  If you've enjoyed this series, you'll be sure to enjoy this book as well.


*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for review from Litfuse publicity.


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Friday, August 22, 2014

Book Review: A Bouquet of Love


Cover Art
She didn't expect to fall in love--but roses aren't the only thing blooming on Galveston Island
Cassia Pappas has found herself in a nearly impossible situation. She wants to spend her time immersed in her new job at a Galveston Island floral shop, arranging blooms and brightening occasions with her lovely creations. But her boisterous Greek family--especially her father--has other ideas. They've all relocated to Galveston to open up a new family restaurant located on the Strand--directly across the street from iconic pizza place Parma John's--and they want Cassia's full participation.

To make matters worse, as Cassia is trying to develop a strong professional relationship with Galveston's premier wedding coordinator, Bella Neeley, her own father is intent on stealing all of the Rossi family's faithful customers. Not exactly the best way to get into this former Rossi's good graces!

Still, at least Alex, that hot delivery guy from the nursery, is always hanging around the flower shop . . .


Janice Thompson is a seasoned romance author and screenwriter. An expert at pulling the humor from the situations we get ourselves into, Thompson offers an inside look at the wedding business, drawing on her own experiences as a wedding planner. She is the author of the hugely popular Weddings by Bella series and the Backstage Pass series, as well as Picture Perfect, The Icing on the Cake, and The Dream Dress. She lives in Texas.

Learn more at www.janiceathompson.com.

MY THOUGHTS
A sweet, fun, romantic read....probably more on the goofy side if you factor in Cassia's crazy father!  Have you ever wondered what happens when you mix a few Greeks and Italian's?  Passion....loud, crazy, fun passion...that's what.

Cassia is in quite a bit of a tangle, she loves her family, but she loves flowers as well and is quite ready to cut back on the Gyro making....but she smartly fears her father...I would too if my father wore super hero costumes!

If you've read any of the other books in the Weddings by Bella series you'll meet up with some old friends, and learn to love even more new friends....definitely a stand alone story, but so fun you'll want to read them all.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for review from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
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Friday, August 15, 2014

Book Review: In Perfect Time

Book #3 in the Wings of the Nightingale series

Bold, sophisticated, and flirtatious, Army Air Force flight nurse Lt. Kay Jobson collects hearts wherever she flies, leaving men pining in airfields all across Europe. So how can ruggedly handsome C-47 pilot Lt. Roger Cooper be all but immune to her considerable charms? In fact, he seems to do everything he can to avoid her.

Still, as they cross the skies between Italy and southern France, evacuating the wounded and delivering paratroopers and supplies, every beat of their hearts draws them closer to where they don't want to go. Can they confront the fears and misunderstandings in their pasts?

Sarah Sundin seamlessly weaves together emotion, action, and sweet romance into a tale that transcends time and calls us to believe in the power of love.






My Thoughts
This book will take you back in time, you'll fly the skies with flirtatious men and women helping fight the war.

Kay is one of the main characters, she comes off as quite the player, dating many men and breaking many hearts a long the way, she just doesn't want to settle down...but, it may keep her from the very job she wants.

It's funny how when people try to protect themselves from being hurt how they end up being hurt anyway, sometimes their protective 'shield' causes more harm than good.

Kay learns a few things along the way, some good, some bad, she learns some secrets...and she learns to care.

This is a very enjoyable read, every good as the last two books in this series!

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for review from Baker Publishing Group.
 

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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Book Review: Surviving Henry

Sometimes you seek out love. And sometimes it broadsides you.

Cover ArtYou don't always know what you're getting into when you bring home a puppy. You hope for laughs and cuddles, long walks and a wagging tail. And sometimes you get . . . Henry.

Henry is a boxer who suffers from Supreme Dictator of the Universe Syndrome. He vandalizes his obedience school, leaps through windows, cheats death at every turn, and generally causes his long-suffering owner Erin Taylor Young to wonder what on earth she did wrong that God would send this dog to derail her life.

But this rogue torpedo of a dog wasn't sent to torment his owner--well, not just to torment her. Through all the hair-pulling and questioning of her own sanity, Erin learns something very powerful from Henry, a dog who brings new meaning to the concept of unconditional love.

Through his laugh-out-loud antics and jaw-dropping escapades, Henry will careen into your life and steal your heart.


Erin Taylor Young 
Erin Taylor Young is a humor writer who works in a library, where she gets to wander among books. She has written for Today's Christian Woman, Outdoor Guide Magazine, and MidWest Outdoors. A finalist in the Phoenix Rattler 2011-2012 writing contest and in the Genesis 2012 contest for her contemporary fiction, Erin lives in Oklahoma with her well-meaning husband, two polar-opposite sons, and a noncompliant dog. Find out more at www.erintayloryoung.com.




My Thoughts
I am a dog lover....but wow...Henry made me TIRED, he made me glad I have a nice, quiet, sweet, Golden Retriever!  Henry is a 'bit' of a terror.  Just a bit.

When I first began reading this book I was a bit annoyed with the author/owner as well as the dog....I just felt like WOW...they don't get it, but then I got into the story, I got the humor, and yes, I fell in love with goofy Henry.  Actually, Henry rivals Dennis the Menace, I don't think I'd have the patience for him.

Henry has a lot of character, he's lucky to have the family he has, and after reading his story I feel lucky to have met him..for many reasons!

If you're an animal lover, you'll enjoy this book...just be prepared for a wild ride....at times this will be the case, literally!

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for review from Baker Publishing Group.




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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

CFBA: A Heart to Heal

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


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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


ABOUT THE BOOK

The Courage To Hope.

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

Gordon Falls: Hearts ablaze in a small town.

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

MY THOUGHTS
I thought the topic of this book was great.  I think this is the first book I've ever read with such a topic, so that in itself was quite refreshing.

This may be a small book, but it has a lot packed into it.  Bitterness, love, hope....it's difficult to have hope when bitterness takes center stage, and it's difficult to break down the barriers that bitterness builds, but this story shows that all of that can happen and more when you open your heart, learn to step a bit outside of your boundaries, and trust.

The characters were all easy to like, even the most difficult characters had reason for being so, ok...maybe 1 or 2 characters weren't so likeable, but what's a book without a few villains?

A very heartwarming read, very enjoyable...a quick read with a though provoking theme.


**I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for review from CFBA

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