Thursday, September 29, 2011

Book Review: Deeply Devoted

About the Book:  (Back Cover)
When Catharine Olsen leaves Holland for Wyoming as a mail-order bride, she brings some extra baggage with her:  two sisters, her mother's set of Blue Willow china, and a tragic past.  As she steps off the train, Peter Andersen is glad to see that she is everything her letters showed her to be.  But he is a bit perturbed by her unexpected companions.  How will he support them all?  And what other secrets might Catharine be keeping from him?

Filled with sweet romance and vivid characters, Deeply Devoted highlights a clash of cultures as a highborn European and a simple wheat farmer learn to love one another and trust God with the past - and the future.

My Thoughts:
I have read a few books about mail order brides and this book while entertaining, was fairly predictable.   I like the strength portrayed in Catharine and her sisters, as well as Peter, they all handled their situation quite well, at least until Catharine's big secret was revealed!  The secret of Catharine's past surprised me, it was a surprise to me, and helped keep the book from becoming overly predictable!  The 'villain' in the book was quite entertaining as well!

If you like a sweet, romance you'll enjoy this book, a great cuddle up with a blanket on a cool night kind of read!

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

“Available September 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

CFBA Book Review: Dangerous Mercy

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Dangerous Mercy
David C. Cook (October 1, 2011)
Kathy Herman


Suspense novelist Kathy Herman is very much at home in the Christian book industry, having worked five years on staff at the Christian Booksellers Association (CBA) in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and eleven years at Better Books Christian Center in Tyler, Texas, as product buyer/manager for the children’s department, and eventually as director of human resources.

She has conducted numerous educational seminars on children’s books at CBA Conventions in the U.S. and Canada, served a preliminary judge for the Gold Medallion Book Awards of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association , and worked as an independent product/marketing consultant to the CBA market.

Since her first novel, Tested by Fire, debuted in 2001 as a CBA national bestseller, she's added sixteen more titles to her credit, including four bestsellers: All Things Hidden, The Real Enemy, The Last Word, and The Right Call.

Kathy's husband Paul is her manager and most ardent supporter, and the former manager of the LifeWay Christian Store in Tyler, Texas. They have three grown children, five almost-perfect grandchildren, a cat named Samantha. They enjoy cruising, deep sea fishing, and birdwatching—sometimes incorporating these hobbies into one big adventure.


Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. —Matthew 5:7

When eighty-five-year-old Adele Woodmore moves to Les Barbes to be near the Broussards—and her namesake, their daughter—she wants nothing more than a comfortable, quiet life. Employing men from Father Vince’s halfway house for the homeless to do odd jobs and landscaping, she delights in the casual conversation she has with them, the fledgling friendships, and the idea that she is helping them get back on their feet.

A series of murders in Les Barbes has cast a pall over the town and, in fact, one of Adele’s handymen becomes a person of interest to the police. But Adele cares for these young men, she knows them, and continues to show them kindness in spite of her friends’ concern. And then one day a murderer walks through Adele’s defenses, sits down at her kitchen table...and they begin to talk...

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

I have not yet received my review copy, once I do and have a chance to read it, I will post my thoughts!

I am writing this review for CFBA.

CFBA Book Review: Captive Trail

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Captive Trail
Moody Publishers (September 1, 2011)
Susan Page Davis


From Susan: I've always loved reading, history, and horses. These things come together in several of my historical books. My young adult novel, Sarah's Long Ride, also spotlights horses and the rugged sport of endurance riding, as does the contemporary romance Trail to Justice. I took a vocational course in horseshoeing after earning a bachelor's degree in history. I don't shoe horses anymore, but the experience has come in handy in writing my books.

Another longtime hobby of mine is genealogy, which has led me down many fascinating paths. I'm proud to be a DAR member! Some of Jim's and my quirkier ancestors have inspired fictional characters.

For many years I worked for the Central Maine Morning Sentinel as a freelancer, covering local government, school board meetings, business news, fires, auto accidents, and other local events, including a murder trial. I've also written many profiles and features for the newspaper and its special sections. This experience was a great help in developing fictional characters and writing realistic scenes. I also published nonfiction articles in several magazines and had several short stories appear in Woman's World, Grit, and Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine.

My husband, Jim, and I moved to his birth state, Oregon, for a while after we were married, but decided to move back to Maine and be near my family. We're so glad we did. It allowed our six children to grow up feeling close to their cousins and grandparents, and some of Jim's family have even moved to Maine!

Our children are all home-schooled. The two youngest are still learning at home. Jim recently retired from his vocation as an editor at a daily newspaper, and we’ve moved from Maine to Kentucky.


Captive Trail is second in a six-book series about four generations of the Morgan family living, fighting, and thriving amidst a turbulent Texas history spanning from 1845 to 1896. Although a series, each book can be read on its own.

Taabe Waipu has run away from her Comanche village and is fleeing south in Texas on a horse she stole from a dowry left outside her family’s teepee. The horse has an accident and she is left on foot, injured and exhausted. She staggers onto a road near Fort Chadbourne and collapses.

On one of the first runs through Texas, Butterfield Overland Mail Company driver Ned Bright carries two Ursuline nuns returning to their mission station. They come across a woman who is nearly dead from exposure and dehydration and take her to the mission.

With some detective work, Ned discovers Taabe Waipu identity. He plans to unite her with her family, but the Comanche have other ideas, and the two end up defending the mission station. Through Taabe and Ned we learn the true meaning of healing and restoration amid seemingly powerless situations.

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

I really enjoyed this book, Taabe Waipu has great strength and I think this book shows that we can achieve our goals if we truly put our hearts into it.  Taabe was abducted by the Comanche then was able to do what most don't, she escaped.  This is a book that will keep you on edge as you learn of Taabe's captivity and wonder if she'll ever find her true family again, and of course, there's romance in the air as well!

If you enjoy Historical Romance, you'll enjoy reading this book.

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


Monday, September 26, 2011

Book Review: A Lancaster County Christmas

Lancaster County Christmas, A

About the Book:
Jaime drove up a long lane, using the fence rails to guide her along the snow-covered road.  When she reached the top of the lane, the sight nearly took her breath away.  Before her was a farmhouse glowing with buttery lights, smoke from the chimney rising to the sky.  A cozy, welcoming beacon in the storm.

My Thoughts:
Suzanne Woods Fisher never disappoints me, and this story line was quite fun to read!  A spoiled Englisher meets up with an Amish family, sounds like a key to disaster, but in reality maybe it's just what she needed.  I enjoyed reading about Jaime and her ability to become close to the young Amish boy, Danny and as you read you'll see just how similar Amish teens are to Englisher teens!  I can't call this a cozy book, because the snow storm in the book causes too many problems to make you feel cozy, but the book will warm your heart.

Join the Facebook Party with Suzanne Woods Fisher on Tuesday 9/27

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


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Book Review: A Heart Revealed

About the Book: (Back Cover)
Ten years ago, Emma Malloy fled Dublin for Boston, running for her life.  Her emotional wounds have finally faded, and her life is now full of purpose and free from the pain of her past.  But when she falls for her friend Charity's handsome and charming brother, Sean O'Conner, fear and shame threaten to destroy her.  Could Sean and Emma ever have a future together? Or is Emma doomed to live out the rest of her life denying the only true love she's ever known?

 Filled with intense passion an d longing, deception and revelation, A Heart Revealed will hold you in its grip until the very last page.

My Thoughts:
This is the 2nd book in the Winds of Change Series and is every bit as good as the first.  The character line is continued but it's definitely a stand alone story.  Julie Lessman is a woman with spunk and it certainly shows up in her characters.  Once again Julie has written a very entertaining story with characters that are so much fun that you wish they were a part of your life, which of course, is why her books are so easy to read!

Full of descriptive, colorful characters there are a few unexpected twists in this story, and you feel the pain and anguish that Emma has lived with, but yet, she keeps a smile on her face and is at peace with her life, she is a character with a very big heart!

I loved this story and can't wait to read Julie's next book!

“Available September 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”


Friday, September 23, 2011

CFBA Book Review: Naomi's Gift

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Naomi's Gift
Zondervan (September 12, 2011)
Amy Clipston


From Amy:

A native of New Jersey, I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I often joke that my fiction writing “career” began in elementary school as I wrote and shared silly stories with a close friend.

In 1991, I graduated from high school, and my parents and I moved to Virginia Beach, Virginia. My father retired, and my mother went to work full-time. I attended Virginia Wesleyan College in Norfolk, and I graduated with a degree in communications. I met my husband, Joe, during my senior year in college, a few days after my father had a massive stroke. Joe and I clicked instantly, and after a couple of months we started dating. We married four years later.

After graduating from VWC, I took a summer job with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Norfolk District, which turned into an eleven-year career. I worked in the Public Affairs Office for four years and then moved into Planning as a writer/editor.

One day while surfing the Internet for a professional editor’s group, I accidentally found a local fiction writing group, Chesapeake Romance Writers. I attended a meeting and I met writers in all stages of their careers. The group helped me realize that I did want to be an author, and it was my dream to see my name on the cover of one of my novels. Through Chesapeake Romance Writers, I learned how to plot, write, and edit a novel, and I also learned how to pursue an agent. I signed with Mary Sue Seymour at the Seymour Agency in 2006, shortly before Joe and I moved my parents and our sons to North Carolina.

My dream came true when I sold my first book in 2007. Holding my first book, A Gift of Grace, in my hands was exhilarating and surreal.


Take a trip to Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania, where you'll meet the women of the Kauffman Amish Bakery in Lancaster County. As each woman's story unfolds, you will share in her heartaches, trials, joys, dreams ... and secrets. You'll discover how the simplicity of the Amish lifestyle can clash with the 'English' way of life---and the decisions and consequences that follow. Most importantly, you will be encouraged by the hope and faith of these women, and the importance they place on their families. Naomi's Gift re-introduces twenty-four-year-old Naomi King, who has been burned twice by love and has all but given up on marriage and children. As Christmas approaches---a time of family, faith, and hope for many others---Naomi is more certain than ever her life will be spent as an old maid, helping with the family's quilting business and taking care of her eight siblings. Then she meets Caleb, a young widower with a 7-year-old daughter, and her world is once again turned upside-down. Naomi's story of romantic trial and error and youthful insecurities has universal appeal. Author Amy Clipston artfully paints a panorama of simple lives full of complex relationships, and she carefully explores cultural differences and human similarities, with inspirational results. Naomi's Gift includes all the details of Amish life that Clipston's fans enjoy, while delivering the compelling stories and strong characters that continue to draw legions of new readers.

If you'd like to read the first chapter of Naomi's Gift, go HERE.

This book is not a Christmas book per-say, as the Amish don't celebrate the holidays like we do, but I do think that the Christmas spirit in this book it one that we all should have but so many times forget about in the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season.  There is nothing really new in this book, except an Amish girl with a reputation and some gossiping women which you don't always see in Amish stories which gives the story a fresh twist.  This is a quick and easy read which will get you thinking a bit about the holidays!


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fall..a great time to be outdoors

I love fall, it seems so magical with the leaves falling off the trees, crunching under your feet as you walk through the woods, what a great time to play outdoors with your children!

It seems like so many kids have a hard time coming up with something to do besides watch TV and Play handheld games, Play Station or the WII. What happened to the great outdoors?

I remember playing outside on summer nights with my brother, we would hit the badminton birdie back and forth until it was so dark we could no longer see it, this is something my own children love to do. Fresh air is so good for you, and wow…it makes the kids sleep well!

My kids have always enjoyed playing outside and I have the laundry piles and holey jeans to prove it.

I remember playing in the woods, building things with sticks and stones, finding frogs and tadpoles and playing in the creek…the outdoors is a world of fun and adventure!

Playing outside means getting down and dirty which in turn means a lot of work for moms which is why Clorox Bleach is a moms prized laundry possession!

I remember playing in the barn with my dog, who in turn tripped me up and caused me to fall, down…down…..down splat into the manure pit, grazing my head on the cement block along the way. My mom found me crying down there covered from head to toe in POOP, that’s right, dripping up, down, all over the place. Imagine what she was thinking! She hosed me off, not once, not twice but at least three times if not more before allowing me to enter the house to take a bath, not one bath, but several! She was pregnant at the time. Can you imagine the state of my clothing? If it were me I probably would have just thrown them away, but she washed them, probably more than once and hopefully using some Clorox Bleach! True Story!

Go on over and visit Clorox for your chance to win a trip to Yosemite, my absolute favorite park!

Can you imagine playing outdoors in the great Yosemite Park? The beautiful waterfalls, the hiking trails and the majestic mountains all calling out for adventure, skinned knees, great photos, and yes, dirty, tired and hungry kids!

How many of you are going to take the Clorox Pledge to play outside? It’s the perfect time of year, enjoy it before the wind begins to howl and the snow begins to fall.

I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Clorox2 blogging program, for a gift card worth $40.  For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

CFBA Book Review: Here's to Friends

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Here’s to Friends
David C. Cook (September 1, 2011)
Melody Carlson


Over the years, Melody Carlson has worn many hats, from pre-school teacher to youth counselor to political activist to senior editor. But most of all, she loves to write! Currently she freelances from her home. In the past eight years, she has published over ninety books for children, teens, and adults--with sales totaling more than two million and many titles appearing on the ECPA Bestsellers List. Several of her books have been finalists for, and winners of, various writing awards. And her "Diary of a Teenage Girl" series has received great reviews and a large box of fan mail.

She has two grown sons and lives in Central Oregon with her husband and chocolate lab retriever. They enjoy skiing, hiking, gardening, camping and biking in the beautiful Cascade Mountains.


Once upon a time in a little town on the Oregon coast lived four Lindas—all in the same first-grade classroom. So they decided to go by their middle names. And form a club. And be friends forever.

Decades later, they're all back home in Clifden and reinventing their lives, but the holidays bring a whole new set of challenges. Abby’s new B and B is getting bad reviews and husband Paul is acting strange. Still grieving for her mom, Caroline is remodeling the family home, but boyfriend Mitch keeps pressuring her to go away with him. Artist Marley, distracted by a friend's family drama (and a touch of jealousy), can't find her creative groove. And Janie’s drug-addicted daughter has just appeared up on her doorstep! When a long-planned New Year's cruise turns into a bumpy ride, they learn once again that, in your fifties, friends aren’t just for fun—they're a necessity!

If you would like to read the first chapter of Here’s to Friends, go HERE.

This book was a slow start for me, and I found Abby to be a bit irritating, but I did warm up to her!  I think she was missing 'bit' of confidence.  If you've ever had a close friend you'll find this book touching and it will bring back memories.  This book is a great lesson on friendship and how it can survive through thick or thin, as well as how good friends will be there when you truly need them.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Book Review: The Queen


While investigating a mysterious double homicide in an isolated northern Wisconsin town, FBI Special Agent Patrick Bowers uncovers a high-tech conspiracy that ties together long-buried Cold War secrets with presnt-day tensions in the Middle East.

In his most explosive thriller yet, bestselling author Steven James delivers a pulse-pounding, multilayered storytelling tour de force that will keep you guessing.

This is my first Steven James book and after reading this mostly fast paced book I'm sure I'll be back for more.  This book begins about 20 miles north of my home town of Wausau, taking place at a trailer park in Merrill, WI which brought back a few memories, although I can't remember anything too overly dramatic happening in Merrill in my childhood it was fun to imagine the crime in the book taking place there!

I enjoyed the suspense, the drama, and the evil portrayed in the book, the characters are quite real and the plot twists and turns in a way that keeps you on your toes straight through to the ending.  By no means is this a fast book with over 500 pages but if you're into suspense you'll be drawn right into The Queen!

“Available September 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for review from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, I was not otherwise compensated for my honest opinion.


Chance to win Express Jeans!!!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Express for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I have always had the worst time finding a pair of jeans that actually fit....if they're long enough the waist it too big, if the waist fits....too short, you get the picture!  I'm sure if I went well out of my budget I'd have an easier time finding jeans, but every now and then I come across some that I really like and  you'll find a lot of options with Express jeans.

Right now Express has a great sale on,women's jeans, buy 1 pair and get the 2nd pair at 50% off, they have some great styles to choose from, personally, I don't think I could pull off this red pair, but I love them!  I love the fun, bright colors of the Color Block Collection!



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Thursday, September 15, 2011

CFBA Book Review: The Doctors Lady

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Doctor's Lady
Bethany House (September 1, 2011)
Jody Hedlund


Jody has written novels for the last 18 years (with a hiatus when her children were young). After many years of writing and honing her skills, she finally garnered national attention with her double final in the Genesis Contest, a fiction-writing contest for unpublished writers through ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers).

Her first published book, The Preacher’s Bride (2010 Bethany House Publishers), hit the CBA Best Seller list on two different occasions and has won multiple awards.

Her second book, The Doctor’s Lady, released this September. She has completed a third book which will be released in 2012. She’s currently busy researching and writing another book!


Priscilla White knows she'll never be a wife or mother and feels God's call to the mission field in India. Dr. Eli Ernest is back from Oregon Country only long enough to raise awareness of missions to the natives before heading out West once more. But then Priscilla and Eli both receive news from the mission board: No longer will they send unmarried men and women into the field.

Left scrambling for options, the two realize the other might be the answer to their needs. Priscilla and Eli agree to a partnership, a marriage in name only that will allow them to follow God's leading into the mission field. But as they journey west, this decision will be tested by the hardships of the trip and by the unexpected turnings of their hearts.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Doctor's Lady, go HERE.

Watch the book trailer:

This is one of those books that grab you and take you right into the book and along on a journey with the characters.  This is one of those books that no matter what you think or say, you won't be able to stop reading!

I enjoyed the love story and the true, deep strength in the characters and they traveled the Oregon Trail to do their hearts calling.  I can't imagine marrying someone for the reasons Priscilla did, but this book will show you that love finds a way if you open the door to it.  I loved each and every character, the author brings them to life with her descriptive wording and this is a book that I wish had never ended, this is a book that will be passed along to friends and family, I think you'll enjoy it as well.

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


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

CFBA Book Review: Wings of a Dream

Wings of a Dream

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Wings of A Dream
Bethany House (September 1, 2011)
Anne Mateer


While I have been writing for what feels like my whole life, I began seriously studying the craft in 2000. Since then I have completed five novels, had several pieces published in local periodicals, attended six writing conferences and managed to final in ACFW's Genesis contest in 2006, 2008, and 2009. My first historical novel, Wings of a Dream, will be released in September 2011, with another historical novel to follow in 2012. But writing is only a piece of my life.

I am mostly just a woman trying to live her life in a manner pleasing to the Lord. That involves being a wife to Jeff and a mother to my three teenagers--neither role coming easily but both roles stretching me, requiring me to press in closer to Jesus. And because of this, Jesus has taken an insecure, fearful, sometimes angry girl and is turning her into a more trusting, peaceful, grace-filled woman. At least some of the time. There is still such a long way to go! 


Rebekah Hendricks dreams of a life far beyond her family's farm in Oklahoma, and when dashing aviator Arthur Samson promised adventure in the big city, she is quick to believe he's the man she's meant to marry. While she waits for the Great War to end and Arthur to return to her so they can pursue all their plans, her mother's sister falls ill. Rebekah seizes the opportunity to travel to Texas to care for Aunt Adabelle, seeing this chance to be closer to Arthur's training camp as God's approval of her plans.

But the Spanish flue epidemic changes everything. Faced with her aunt's death, Arthur's indecisiveness, and four children who have no one else to care for them, Rebekah is torn between the desire to escape the type of life she's always led and the unexpected love that just might change the dream of her heart.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Wings of A Dream, go HERE.

This is a very sweet but sad book, life doesn't always goes as planned or as we like and Rebekah has high hopes and ambitious dreams, she embraces life and takes what comes to her with grace.  I was a bit surprised at the harshness of Rebeka's mother, but as you get to know her she becomes understood and Rebekah is a character that you can't help but love.  If I had been Rebekah and thrown into a situation such as hers at the beginning of the book I think I would have sat down and cried, but she's one tough woman and full of heart.  I think you'll enjoy this book.

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


Book Review: The Crystal Prince, Love is the Only Way


About the Book (back cover)

Escape into a world of spellbinding adventure, a world where kindness is ding, a world where faith and imagination separate life from death, a world where love is the key that unlocks both mystery and magic...Escape into the world of The Crystal Prince.

Jeanette Clinger Hurley transports you to a land where darkness and light are in constant battle, a place where good & eveil equally wage war on the heart...challenging both faith and destiny.

Come along and join the charmed Prince Xabian and the beautiful Jenevieve on their enchanted and courageous journey, as they discover....The heart is mightier than the sword, that faith conquers fear and that the true magical and transformational miracle of life is simple and pure...That love is the way, love is the only way.

Illustration from book

Illustration from book

My Thoughts
This is a wonderful children's book perfect for a tween or a bed time story for younger children.  This book is beautifully illustrated, but some of the pictures may be a bit scary for very young children.  Kids may have a difficult time pronouncing or reading the character names in this book, parents as well!  All in all, this is a very sweet story that teaches about love and forgiveness, a wonderful fairytale that I cannot wait to read to my nieces and nephews.

To learn more about The Crystal Prince, visit the website HERE

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


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Book Review: Passion to Action

Passion to Action

 How God Uses Ordinary People in Extraordinary Ways
by Jay and Beth Loecken

Jay and Beth Loecken were an ordinary family searching for meaning in their lives. They seemed to have all they needed in life, yet something kept pulling at them—a stirring, a sense that they were being called to a greater purpose in life.

After coming home from a mission trip to Africa, the Loecken family returned to their comfortable lifestyle, but they all knew they wanted something more.  In April of 2008, the family made the daring decision to sell their home, purchase an RV, and begin traveling the country serving communities in need.

In Passion to Action, the Loeckens share the remarkable story of how their life was turned upside down and fulfilled them more than they ever thought possible.  It will inspire readers to discover their own passions and put them into action.

Something kept pulling at Jay and Beth Loecken, telling them there's more to life than the pursuit of a large home, nice cars, and all the trinkets and trappings for a suburban family of six.  They felt something stirring, a feeling that God had a different purpose for them, and they knew they had to do something-something big-to get started.

Passion to Action is one ordinary family's tale of pursuing an extraordinary dream.  It's a story about asking big questions, seeking answers every day, and along the way discovering a big faith.  What happens if you make a dramatic change?  How does God sustain you in your new life?  What will the people around you say?  Find out for yourself what happens while reading about the journey of Jay and Beth Loecken.  See just how far God takes them in their desire simply to serve-as a family-in soup kitchens, community projects, and churches across America.

This is one book that just may make you feel a bit spoiled or overburdened by worldly possessions.  Can you imagine giving up everything you have, leaving friends and family to give yourself, your love to others?  Beth and Jay are a great example of what it means to live equally and to live Godly.  Of course, we don't all need to go to the extremes that Jay and Beth did, but they are a great example of how to follow our passion.  Sometimes we need to just let go and follow our dreams, this is a great book, and I enjoyed every minute of it.

* I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for review from the B & B Media group.  I was not otherwise compensated for my honest thoughts and opinion.