Friday, April 29, 2011

Book Review: A Cowboy's Touch

A Cowboy's Touch (A Big Sky Romance)

Abigail Jones intends to spend just one summer in middle-of-nowhere Montana with her Aunt Lucy.  Time away from her job is just what Abigail needs to reassess her life.  The slow pace has her breathing deeply for the first time in years.  And the majestic scenery encourages her to get reacquainted with herself...and God.

What she didn't count on was the handsome widowed cowboy who owns the ranch where her aunt lives.  When the rancher loses his daughter's nanny.  Abigail decides to lend a hand for the summer.

Wade Ryan can't help being attracted to Abigail.  But he's given up everything to protect his daughter, and he's not about to risk it all on a pretty face.

Under Abigail's care, Wade's home and daughter thrive.  And with Wade's touch Abigail's heart feels at home at last.  But Abigail knows this elusive rancher is hiding something.  Will her own secrets separate her from the cowboy who finally captured her heart?

This is a good love story, interesting and sprinkled with a bit of humor, but yet this book doesn't have the depth that I have become used to in reading some of my recent books.  Don't get me wrong, this is an enjoyable read, just a fairly pretty basic and predictable plot with a twist!

I would suggest this book for a lazy summer read for yourself or even your teenager!

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from the B and B Media Group.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

CFBA Book Review: Who is My Shelter

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Who is My Shelter
Thomas Nelson (March 1, 2011)
Neta Jackson


Neta Jackson is the author of the popular novel series, *The Yada Yada Prayer Group*, and a spin-off series called *The Yada Yada House of Hope.* These novels were inspired by a real women's Bible study and prayer group that, as Neta says, "God has used to turn my life upside down and rightside up." Neta and her husband, Dave, are also an award-winning writing team, best known for the Trailblazer books--a forty-book series of historical fiction for young people about great Christian heroes (see The Jacksons are members of a multi-cultural church in the Chicago area, and the parents of three grown children, including a Cambodian foster daughter, all with families of their own.


In Jackson's fourth Yada Yada House of Hope Christian evangelical novel, Gabby Fairbanks is now settled in her new apartment at the House of Hope. But she is being pulled in several directions at once and has some hard decisions to make.

Philip, her estranged husband, is in a lot of trouble with a rogue cop from whom he borrowed money and also with his partner at the commercial development firm after he takes company money to cover his gambling losses. Lee Boyer, the Legal Aid lawyer who has become a friend to Gabby, now wants to be more. Gabby must decide whether to give Philip another chance, as their sons, Paul and PJ, hope, and she turns to the folks at Manna House, where she works, and the Yada Yada Prayer Group to help her discern God's plan for her.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Who is My Shelter, go HERE


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Women Who Helped You...a Mother's Day Special Post

Is there a special woman in your life that has helped you through rough times? Or has simply made a special mark in your life, someone who truly stands out…..I’m hoping your first answer is in honor of your mom, but is there anyone else who tops the list?

By now you’re wondering if I’m going to mention someone special in my life, yes mom, you top the list, but for someone else who has touched me I’d have to say my grandmother.

My grandmother and I have a lot in common, she has a terrific artsy side to her that I just love and I wish she were able to help me learn to paint as she has in the past. My grandmother may not always be patient and often blurts out exactly what’s on her mind, such as I do, but I remember her telling me “patience is a virtue” and it took me a long time to learn patience but now I find myself quoting her quite often! My grandparents show a love that you don’t often see in elderly people, and that has shown me how strongly love can grow if you take the time to nurture it, this too relates to patience and as I look to my grandmother I can look to my future, as I look to my mother I look to a much closer future and not only do I see myself in my mother and grandmother but in my daughter as well, the cycle goes on….and on.

Mother’s Day is a special time to honor those around you and I embraced this opportunity to write this post for the Heart of Haiti Mother’s Day series, to learn more, visit Fairwinds Trading.

Through a partnership with Macy’s and their Shop For A Better World' initiative, Heart of Haiti offers artisan-crafted decorative arts and jewelry for sale. All income derived from sales of the products on the Heart of Haiti site enhances an artisan’s family’s nutrition, educates children, and brings access to healthcare and dignity.

To view the Shop for a Better World / Heart Of Haiti collection in it's entirety (including just added items for Spring), visit:

If you would like to purchase an item from Heart of Haiti, now is the time, use the special discount code: CLEVERGIRLS and receive 15% off Heart of Haiti and Rwanda Path to Peace products valid 5/3 - 5/8…just in time for Mother’s Day! Please take a minute to visit the store, they have some beautiful items!

Happy Mother’s Day to all!

*I was selected for this very special “CleverHaiti” opportunity by Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity. All opinions are my own.


CFBA: Book Review: Abigails New Hope

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Abigail's New Hope
Harvest House Publishers (April 1, 2011)
Mary Ellis


A word from the author:I grew up close to the eastern Ohio Amish community of Geauga County, where my parents often took me to farmers’ markets and woodworking fairs. My husband and I now live within the largest population of Amish in the country–a four-county area in central Ohio. We love to take weekend getaways to purchase farm produce and other goodies, stay with Amish families in bed and breakfasts, attend country auctions and enjoy the simpler way of life.

This is my first series of novels set in the Amish community.

I would love to hear from readers of Christian novels. Please leave me a post at my blogsite.


As an Amish midwife, Abigail Graber loves bringing babies into the world. But when a difficult delivery takes a devastating turn, Abigail is faced with some hard choices. Despite her best efforts, the young mother dies—but the baby is saved.

When a heartless judge confines Abigail to the county jail for her mistakes, her sister Catherine comes to care for her children while Daniel works his fields. Catherine meets Daniel’s reclusive cousin, Isaiah, who’s deaf and thought to be simple minded by his community. She endeavors to teach him to communicate and discovers he possesses unexpected gifts and talents.

While Abigail searches for forgiveness, Catherine changes lives and, in return, finds love, something long elusive in her life. And Isaiah discovers God, who cares nothing about our handicaps or limitations in His sustaining love.

An inspirational tale of overcoming grief, maintaining faith, and finding hope in an ever-changing world.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Abigail's New Hope, go HERE.

Watch the book trailer:

This is a book that you cannot take lightly, the circumstances are so very sad yet the author finds a way to add subtle humor which makes the story take on a bittersweet note.  Despite Abby's troubles I found myself laughing repeatedly over a few of the Amish men in this story, their bluntness and funny thoughts just make you chuckle.    In this book you see the great divide between the Amish and the English and how our different ways of thinking sometimes collide in a way that is good for no one.

I have really enjoyed this book, it is a deeper read than some of the Amish stories I have read and it's one I'll most likely read again.

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

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Book Review: The Dawn of a Dream

Dawn of a Dream, The

      Ann’s mother always wanted to write a book about her ancestors. She felt there was enough material in her collection of family memoirs, which dated back to the 1600’s, to make fascinating reading.
When Ann’s mother died in 1994, she passed those memoirs on to Ann. Over the next several years Ann put stream-of-consciousness reminiscences into chronological order and followed up each “remembered fact” with necessary research.
     Thanks to the computer age, she wrote the book her mother had envisioned and in the late 1990’s distributed it to family and interested historians.
     In the process of researching her family history, Ann discovered that all of the collected memoirs had been written by men. Memories of the American Revolution, the Mexican and Civil Wars, and the westward migration were all told from the male perspective. What was life like for the women who maintained the homes, reared the children, and followed their husbands from place to place? That question sparked her interest in writing fiction to fill in the gaps. Over the next several years Ann learned her craft by attending classes, reading books, and, yes, collecting a few rejections. 

  (Taken From Back Cover)

  Her Dream is within her grasp-but can she leaver her past behind?
Luellen O'Connell is stunned when her husband of just one month tells her he is leaving-and his reason devastate her.  Deeply wounded by his betrayal, Luellen decides to follow her dream to become a teacher, a desire she had set aside when she married.  But can she truly hide her past?  Or will it destroy her ambitions forever?

Loved this book....a new story line instead of just husband leaves, wife is sad and finds new man!  This book had some depth and adventure.  Luellen is one woman who simply is NOT going to give up her dreams and fights for herself even when the odds are against her.  Luellen is definitely not a weak character but one who has gumption and I think you will like her, as well as the other characters, although she does have a rather silly sister, but then again if everyone in the book had the same personality it would make for a pretty boring book!  This book does have a few different stories going on at once but they are all intermixed and make for a very good read.  The only think I didn't like about this book was that it ended! 

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


Monday, April 25, 2011

Book Review: How To Be God's Little Princess

How to Be God's Little Princess: Royal Tips on Manners and Etiquette for Girls

This is the sweetest little book for girls.  "When it comes to princesses, and (of course) everything pink, there's always fun ahead!  How to Be God's Little Princess is a delightful how-to guide to help girls polish their royal flair in manners and etiquette and to discover their true beauty."

This book includes quizzes, how to wear a tiara and which tiara is best for the shape of your face, do you have royal table manners?  With this book you are sure to learn!  With the royal wedding coming up this weekend little girls around the world will have princesses on their minds and this is the perfect book for them!  I loved the short, fun-filled chapters which are sure to keep the little girl in your life quite amused.  The quizzes in the book would be great party material as well as the fun little recipes.

As with all Thomas Nelson books How To Be God's Little Princess is Christian based with a small bible verse at the beginning of each chapter.  I think this book is a gem and best for lower grade school children.

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

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

Happy Easter!  Did you know that over 90 million chocolate Easter bunnies are made each year?  The world's largest jelly bean weighs over 6000 pounds, and where do you start when eating a bunny...the ears, tail?  Well, over 76% of those eating a chocolate Easter bunny start with the ears!

On a more serious side, we all know that symbols such as the cross and the lamb are a big part of Easter and the history of Easter dates back more than two thousand years, but do you know what the bunny and egg stand for?

The bunny rabbit and the egg stand for new life and rebirth and the reason Easter tends to move around the calendar is because it goes by the phases of the moon.

Churchgoers tend to wear at least one new item to church on Easter, it is a symbol of good luck, are you wearing some new today?  I am not, I hope that doesn't mean anything, but I am learning more towards the real meaning of Easter today even though the random fun facts are quite a bit of fun.

Have a blessed day.


Saturday, April 23, 2011

PMD Personal Microderm Review

I received the PMD Personal Microderm At-Home Microdermabrasion System in exchange for review from the Fringe Network.  Image being able to do microdermabrasion at home instead of costly visits to the Dr.!

About the product from the website: Get the results of a professional microdermabrasion treatment in the convenience of your own home. PMD Personal Microderm is an at-home microdermabrasion system that puts the potential of younger looking skin right in your hands. Using the same technology of aluminum oxide crystals as the expensive equipment in doctor’s offices you will get the same results without spending a fortune.

The technology for microdermabrasion has been around for years, but never before has it been so easy to access at home. In just a matter of weeks, you will notice a reduction in age spots and skin imperfections, giving you more youthful, glowing skin.

For best results when using the PMD Personal Microderm, use a cell renewal or gentle skin resurfacing cream in conjunction with the microdermabrasion tool, such as Boske Molecular Repair or M2 Skin Refinish. This powerful system for skin treatment combines some of the finest serums and creams for cell renewal and skin resurfacing on the market with the enhanced results achieved through microdermal exfoliation. One without the other will not give you the significant results that both combined do. Use either the M2 or the Boske products with this tool and see for yourself how powerful this combination is. 

I was so excited to receive this product, before accepting the offer I did a bit of research and read the reviews already out there on the PMD.  I have some acne scarring from problems during my two pregnancies and thought this just might be the answer.

I have used the Personal Microderm System for 3 weeks now, once per week.  If you receive this product do NOT use it without watching the product demo, this is extremely important, without watching the demo you could seriously hurt damage your skin.

The first day I used the product I was EXTREMELY careful, yet ended up with red streaks down my cheeks which ended up scabbing and some brilliant red circles on my cheekbones....I needed to attend a meeting that evening and quite a few people commented wondering what on earth happened to me.  At this point I was pretty leery since I wanted to help my skin not harm it.  It took almost a week, but my face healed up and I bravely gave myself a second treatment, it worked perfectly.  I think the trick is to be certain you only go over each section of skin only one time and be sure not to hold in one spot for any length of time.  After my third week I feel that my skin is much smoother and softer, I did notice the softness immediately.

The downside is that I can't seen to get the hang of using it on my hands, but it's a personal problem and in my opinion it is not a fault of the system.
There are two creams that are suggested for use with the PMD and I think it's a good idea to use them as well.  I really like the PMD and do recommend it, just use a gentle hand. 

For the few minutes it takes to use the PMD, and the results it has given me I think it is very well worth every penny.  At $179.00 it really is a bargain if you compare the price to getting the same results at a Dr. office.  

....I am currently giving away a $25 Apothica gift card which you could use towards the purchase of the PMD system, HERE's the link to the giveaway!

* I received the PMD system in exchange for review from the Fringe Network, I used this product as directed for three weeks and this is my honest opinion of the product.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Book Review: Tomorrow's Garden

Tomorrow's Garden

I agree with Thomas Jefferson when he said, "I cannot live without books." Some of my earliest memories are of my parents reading books to me or -- in the case of my father -- telling stories he made up. And even when they weren't reading to me, my parents could often be found, book in hand. Is it any wonder I decided to teach myself to read? Once I did learn, it was hard to find me without a book. My husband will tell you that that's still the case.

At least in my mind, it's only a small step from being an avid reader to wanting to be an author. From the time I was seven, I was convinced I should be a writer. The type of writing varied with the seasons. For a few months I fancied myself a playwright. Fortunately the teachers in my elementary school indulged me, and my class produced my two plays: "All About Thermometers" and "Hawaii." Neither, I am happy to report, made its way to Broadway.

There was a brief time when I aspired to be a newspaper reporter, but that was soon eclipsed by my determination to be a novelist. All the while, though, I knew that writing was not the easiest way to earn a living, and so it was always going to be a second career. That's why I went to college and majored in French, fully intending to teach at the university level. When I graduated, I took a "temporary" job as a computer programmer. Although it hadn't been part of my plan, that turned into a permanent career in Information Technology.

Along the way, I've had a chance to do a lot of writing, including four technical books and what I describe as "enough technical articles to cure insomnia in a medium-sized city." (My budgets were also considered to be works of fiction.) Now, though, I'm able to write full time, and for the first time, all I'm writing is fiction.

No doubt about it, I've been blessed. I had parents who nurtured my love of reading and a husband who's not just my best friend but who also hasn't lost his sense of humor, even when dinner is late because I have "just one more scene" to write.

When people ask why I write, the answer is simple: it's part of who I am and who I was meant to be. I truly believe this is God's plan for me, and that's why it is my fervent prayer that my books will touch my readers' hearts and strengthen their faith in Him.

If you're looking for more information about me, you may enjoy this TV interview on a Denver-area cable network. My portion starts around minute 12. 

(Back Cover)
Harriet Kirk is certain that becoming Ladreville's schoolteacher is just what she needs--a chance to put the past behind her and give her younger siblings a brighter tomorrow. What she didn't count on was the presence of handsome former Texas Ranger Lawrence Wood--or the way he slowly but surely claims her fragile heart. But can Harriet and Lawrence ever truly put the past behind them in order to find happiness?

Harriet is a woman with a lot on her mind, taking care of her siblings keeps her on her toes and I really enjoyed reading this book.  This is a book that shows a woman who uses her strength and wit to overcome some pretty rough situations and I loved how she just kept on going despite her hardships and never stopped loving because of the circumstances surrounding her.

This book has left me wanting to read the first two in the series and wondering what Amanda will write next!  Go on out and get yourself a copy!  A great summer, lazy day read.

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


Thursday, April 21, 2011

CFBA: Book Review: An Eye For Glory

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
An Eye For Glory
Zondervan (February 28, 2011)
Karl Bacon


A word from the author:

I grew up in the small picturesque town of Woodbury, Connecticut. After graduating from Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, I returned to Connecticut and found employment in manufacturing. “Just a job” turned into a professional career, much of which was spent working for a Swiss machine tool company. In 2000 I started my own business to provide services to manufacturing clients across the USA. This change also allowed time to develop my writing craft.

From youth I’ve been a serious student of the Civil War. The draft of An Eye for Glory took ten years from conception to completion. Thousands of hours were spent researching every detail through copious reading, Internet research and personal visits to each battlefield so the novel might be as historically accurate and believable as possible. I live in Naugatuck, Connecticut with my wife of thirty-three years, Jackie.


Michael Palmer is a good man, a family man. But honor and duty push him to leave his comfortable life and answer the call from Abraham Lincoln to fight for his country. This 'citizen soldier' learns quickly that war is more than the battle on the field. Long marches under extreme conditions, illness, and disillusionment challenge at every turn. Faith seems lost in a blur of smoke and blood...and death.

Michael's only desire is to kill as many Confederate soldiers as he can so he can go home. He coldly counts off the rebels that fall to his bullets. Until he is brought up short by a dying man holding up his Bible. It's in the heat of battle at Gettysburg and the solemn aftermath that Michael begins to understand the grave cost of the war upon his soul. Here the journey really begins as he searches for the man he was and the faith he once held so dearly. With the help of his beloved wife, Jesse Ann, he takes the final steps towards redemption and reconciliation.

Using first-hand accounts of the 14th Connecticut Infantry, Karl Bacon has crafted a detailed, genuine and compelling novel on the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. Intensely personal and accurate to the times, culture, and tragedy of the Civil War, An Eye for Glory may change you in ways you could have never imagined as well.

If you would like to read the first chapter of An Eye For Glory, go HERE.

Watch book video trailer:


This is a very touching book written in the voice of the main character, Michael.  This story will take you straight into the battle fields and you will feel the fear, the pain and the horror as if you are Michael himself.  You will also feel as though your soul is tortured.  Loving God, Michael becomes a bit lost as he begins to kill more and more of the enemy, to him it's become a way to get home to his family more quickly.  The cost is great and as you read this book you will feel not only the pain of the battle between North and South, but also the battle of the heart.

This is a very moving book, books about war generally are not my thing, but from time to time I like to read something new, and this book was a great choice for me, I recommend it to love who love a bit of history, war and romance, this is a story of love.  Love that is found in many places.

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


Debbie Macomber is Coming to my Blog!
I feel so honored to have met and interviewed Debbie last year! I first interviewed her on the phone and then met her in person at the Mall of America when she was promoting her book.

Guess what? I am interviewing her again next week and then I will be giving away her new book A Turn in the Road. This is where you come in.

What kind of questions would YOU have for Debbie if you were interviewing her?  Leave a comment with a question or two and then when I post my giveaway which I assume will be in a week or two, you will be able to have EXTRA entries to win her new book!!!

I can't wait to hear your questions....I interview Debbie on Wednesday 4/27 (tentatively) so after Wednesday questions will not count towards entry comments when the giveaway is posted.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Cake Pops...I'm addicted!

Yesterday was our monthly 4H meeting and it was our turn to bring snacks. I just can't take the easy way out and buy a pre-made snack, it just isn't me. So I had the brilliant idea to make Cake Pops, you see, Bakerella has my daughter and I inspired!

I began the process on Sunday evening, baking the cake and forming the balls. I made a strawberry cake and a vanilla cake, thinking the kids would love the strawberry.

Monday, I dipped the balls in white chocolate and good old milk chocolate! This was quite the process, I learned quickly though, you need to keep your balls on the smaller size!

My snacks were a hit, the strawberry cake balls dipped in milk chocolate almost taste like a truffle, and the vanilla cake dipped in white chocolate is much better than dipped in the milk chocolate! My two cakes made a total of 84 balls and I used 3 bags of chocolate wafers! Unbelievably...and I didn't even try...but each cake made the exact same number of balls!

These are so good...I can't keep my hands off of them, and it was so fun to see people's eyes light up when they bit into them last night!  Time consuming but worth it.

Thanks Bakerella for a great idea!

Monday, April 18, 2011

CFBA: Book Review: He Said, She Said

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
He Said, She Said
Lighthouse Publishing (February 14, 2011)

Eddie Jones and Cindy Sproles


Eddie Jones and Cindy Sproles are the cofounders of Christian Devotions Ministries. Their He Said, She Said devotions are syndicated in a number of newspapers across the eastern seaboard and they host the weekly He Said, She Said Radio, Friday nights at 6:00 p.m. est. on Blog Talk Radio. Eddie and Cindy are popular speakers and teachers at Writers Conferences across the country.

Eddie is the author of five non-fiction books and his newest fiction release, The Curse of Captain LaFoote, a middle grade book. While Cindy is the author of one non-fiction and two compilations.

Together they teach writing with Eddie and Cindy have been writing the He Said, She Said devotions since 2008, taking one scripture weekly and looking at it from two perspectives--His and Hers, with the idea that learning more about scripture from two perspectives helps one to delve deeper in God's word and know Him better.


He Said, She Said: A Devotional Guide to Cultivating a Life of Passion, or How Newlyweds, Couples and Singles Can Draw Closer to God and Their Mate Through Daily Devotions

Do you sense something vital missing from you relationship with your spouse, children and God? Are you easily distracted by the busyness of life and left feeling drained, bored, and discouraged? Do you sense you were meant to enjoy the richness of life, but spend your days feasting on crumbs? This heart-warming collection of stories (54 in all) will inspire you to reach for the true source of joy: a life lived for and through God.

These deeply personal (and sometimes humorous) devotions offer biblical insights and spiritual truths from the unique perspective of one man and one woman. Learn to cultivate a life of passion. Perfect for your quiet time, these moments of meditative reflection illustrate the importance of allowing God to work within you and speak through you. No matter if you are newlyweds or newly retired, this book of devotions will help you put the spark back into your love life and explore the precious relationships God desires for you. He Said, She Said touches the heart, tickles the funny bone and brings you to your knees in worship.

If you would like to read an excerpt from He Said, She Said, go HERE.

Watch the book video:

Cindy and Eddie are not only good friends of mine, but a regular source of my spiritual renewal. It's a great idea, the he-said/she-said concept and I always enjoy their devotionals. Both are not only grounded spiritually, and super nice people but they both keep me laughing. It's that humor and heart that makes the spiritual more relatable in the most practical sense.

~Gina Holmes, author of Crossing Oceans~

I've know Eddie Jones and Cindy Sproles for a few years. Each has a way of tickling my funny bone, so I wondered what a devotional book by them would be. I can heartily recommend it. The humor is there, but it's coupled with deep truths that go straight to the heart of the problem. You'll find a path that winds closer to God through He Said, She Said.

~Ane Mulligan, Editor of Novel Journey~
He Said, She Said is a book full of short stories.  Before each story is a Bible verse pertaining to the story, at the end of the story is a short prayer and a building block as well as a journal to jot down and remember your thoughts..what a great idea!  Women and men get fair play in this book, as there is a story for each of them for each Bible verse which I think is just plain brilliant. 

We all know men and women think differently and this book is a great way to see how one verse can lead each sex to have different thoughts, a great way to see how the other side 'works'!  This is a great book to read with your spouse or to pass along to loving couples as well as those who are struggling.

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


Friday, April 15, 2011

Book Review: Beside Still Waters

Beside Still Waters: A Big Sky Novel (Big Sky Novels)

About The Author:

Using her own experiences as a teen mother, and leader of today’s generation, Tricia’s vision is to be a voice of hope and possibility for teenage girls, pregnant teen girls, mothers and wives through her educational and inspirational speaking, workshops and books. Her intention is to serve ordinary women by encouraging extraordinary things with God’s help. Tricia expresses real life, real hope, for real women.

About The Book:
Marianna Sommer believes she knows where her life is headed. Nineteen years old and Amish, her plan is to get baptized into the church, marry Aaron Zook, and live in the only community she's ever known.

When Marianna's family moves from Indiana to Montana she discovers life and faith will never be the same. As she builds an easy friendship with local guy, Ben Stone, Ben not only draws her heart, he also gets her thinking about what loving God and living in community is all about.

My Thoughts:
I have read other books by Tricia, and I am amazed and impressed by her diverse writing styles. Each book that I have read is completely different from the last yet each book is wonderfully written and quite enjoyable.  I have always enjoyed Amish stories, and this is did not disappoint me.  I always like to see a new twist, since Amish stories can be a bit predictable, Besides Still Waters had a twist that kept me quite entertained.  This is one family that has suffered, and as they leave town in hopes to heal you wonder if it will only cause their daughter even more pain.  This book is about healing and an unexpected relationship between the Amish and the English and all in all and very enjoyable light read.

* I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for review from Litfuse Publicity Group


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Apothica Review and $25 Giveaway!

Have you heard of Apothica?  They are my newest blog sponsor and I recently tried some of their awesome products with my sponsorship funds!  They have several lines to shop from, Apothica, SkinCareRX and Skinbotanica, and you receive 5% back in rewards points with your purchases!

Each quarter SkinCareRx offers a Beauty Cache that is simply amazing and at only $29.95 you can't beat it!
The cache came with everything you see pictured above, and yes, a $20 off coupon to use for future purchases.  While there are many different products in the cache, some are full sized, other are trial sized, but you definitely get a bang for your buck.

My all around favorite is the Epionce Lite Lytic Lotion for dry/sensitive to normal skin, a close second is the Pure Fiji hydrating body lotion; coconut infusion.  The Epinonce Lotion is extremely light and has a wonderful scent, it left my face feeling wonderfully soft, the Fiji lotion has a very light coconut scent and did wonders for my itchy dry skin. 

All of the products I have tried in the cache have been excellent, the best way I can describe them is LIGHT, they're not greasy, the scents are not overbearing, and they all worked quite well.

Another product I received was the Caldrea Stainless Steel Spray, that's right....Apothica also sells home items, cleaners and candles!  All of my appliances are stainless and I have the most difficult time finding a product I like, usually when I find one, it disappears from the store shelf never to be found again!

I love this product, it works extremely well, and leaves a nice lavender, pine scent, I'm anxious to try some of the additional cleaners in this line!

The three stores are linked for easy shopping, all goes into one cart, and there is free shipping on orders over $49.  What's even better is that you can speak with a Licensed Esthetician if you have any skin care concerns or questions.  I did call into customer service and they were wonderful, extremely helpful and welcoming.  Definitely a great shopping experience!

Also carried through Skincarerx is the PMD personal microderm and Kinerase! You'll hear more from me about the PMD soon!

Here's your chance!!!

For the giveaway:
Mandatory:  Leave a comment along with your email address and tell me what you would purchase with your $25 gift card, be original! You can use THIS link to shop!

Extra's: Be sure to leave a separate comment for each entry or it will only count as one!
+1 Like SkinCareRx on Facebook
+1 Follow SkinCareRx on Twitter
+5 Blog about SkinCareRx and a product you love. Link to SkinCareRx
+3 follow my blog publicly via GFC

The giveaway will end at midnight on 4/30, I will use Random.Org to choose the winner and the winner will be notified via email and have 48 hrs to respond or a new winner will be chosen.


**Special thanks to Apothica for sponsoring my blog and offering this giveaway.  I used my sponsorship funds to purchase the skin care cache and did this review simply because I wanted to, it was not a requirement for the giveaway!


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Coca-Cola Memories

What is your SODA drink of choice? Mine…..Coca-Cola all the way! I actually love the Coca-Cola Zero, has great taste, none of that diet taste to it at all!

When you do you drink soda? I used to work with a girl who kept a case of Diet Coke under her desk. She drank it warm throughout the work day! Generally, I save the soda for a bad migraine or for pizza night. Sometimes with a burger, there just seem to be certain meals that cry “SODA”, don’t you think?

My mother-in-law is a Coca-Cola fiend, I’m not fooling with you, so years ago when I went to Las Vegas I visited the Coca-Cola store and bought her a tourist case of soda and a cookbook…..have you ever seen how many recipes you can put soda in, have you tried it?

If you’re not sure of the results and how they’ll go over, make cherry jello, replace the cold water with soda, add some cherries and a dollop of whipped cream….quite delightful!

Thinking of soda, remember the great cases you could buy back in the day, a cold tall Coca-Cola straight out of the fridge….so much better than how it is now, aluminum cans, and plastic bottles, just not the same!

I remember once, after grocery shopping we returned home and my cousins were at our house. My older cousin offered to carry in the soda, now I can’t remember how it happened but he fell and of course the soda bottles broke all over and he cut himself….I not sure what I felt worse about, losing all of the soda we just spent our money on, or the fact he was hurt! Doesn’t sound very nice, but, hey, I was a kid…I knew my priorities, great Classic Coca-cola from a glass bottle, or a cousin that picked on me!

Remember when they’d have the Pepsi or Coca-Cola challenges? They’d set up a table at the local stores and give you a drink of each and then you’d have to tell them which one was which…I haven’t seen any challenges lately, have you? I wonder if they still do them, if I remember correctly, they always gave out coupons…gotta love a good coupon!

We also used to play games, drink our cola and have popcorn and or ice cream on special evenings….most fun was when we played Aggravation! I’m certain if I thought a little longer I could come up with more fun memories, but I’d love to hear some of yours!

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Coca-Cola® blogging program. If I am one of the first 100 blogs received by SocialsMoms, I will receive a $25 gift card. For more information on the program, click here."


CFBA: Book Review: Blood of the Prodigal

Blood of the Prodigal: An Amish-Country Mystery (Amish-Country Mysteries)

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Blood of the Prodigal
Plume; Reprint edition (September 28, 2010)
P.L. Gaus


Paul took an interest in writing fiction in 1993, and with the advice and encouragement of author Tony Hillerman, he began writing mystery novels set among the Amish in Holmes County, Ohio. The first of Gaus's mysteries, Blood of the Prodigal, An Ohio Amish Mystery, was published by Ohio University Press in June of 1999, and a total of six novels have appeared in this series: Broken English, 2000, Clouds Without Rain, 2001, Cast a Blue Shadow, 2003, A Prayer for the Night, 2006, and Separate from the World, 2008. A seventh novel in the series is in preparation.

All of Paul's stories have now been republished by Plume (a division of Penguin Group USA) as The Amish-Country Mysteries, and these editions have been embraced by Christian retailers such as, Family Christian Stores, and LifeWay. Future mysteries in the series will still first be published in hard cover editions, as The Amish-Country Mysteries by Ohio University Press, with Plume bringing out the soft cover editions some time later.

Paul and his wife Madonna still travel frequently in Holmes County. He lectures widely about Amish culture at libraries, bookstores, literary societies, and the like, and his books have been featured at Book Expo America and similar professional shows around the country. Paul's novels have been reviewed in prominent journals and newspapers, for instance, Kirkus Reviews, ForeWord Magazine, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Booklist, Ohioana Quarterly, and the New York Times Book Review.


For Jonah Miller, shunned by his Old Order sect and cast into the wider world, the summer begins with his decision to kidnap his ten-year-old son from the home of the bishop who had exiled Miller a decade earlier. In his desperation to retrieve the boy, the bishop appeals for help to the only "English" men the sect would ever approve.

Professor Michael Branden and Pastor Caleb Troyer had been looking forward to the kind of sleepy rural summer they had enjoyed as boyhood friends growing up in the small college town of Millersburg. Instead, they plunge into the normally closed Amish culture to find the boy. When the kidnapping leads to murder, they can no longer keep the case from the law. Working sometimes at cross purposes with his friend Sheriff Bruce Robertson, Professor Branden digs through the past to uncover truths that many would prefer to leave undisturbed. Little does he suspect that even the anguished bishop, torn by an insoluble moral dilemma, tragically does not tell everything he knows about the case. Suddenly the vast tangle of Amish and Mennonite settlements that sprawl among several thousand small farms and homesteads seems less bucolic than unknowable and impenetrable.

As they inquire delicately among the peaceful ones, Branden and Troyer learn that the troubles of Jonah Miller began far earlier than the kidnapping, with his Rumschpringe - the customary wild year before taking Amish vows. But his grand Rumschpringe had exploded into a decade of drugs, whiskey, and women, in the company of people no Amish person should meet.

In the tradition of Tony Hillerman, P. L. Gaus depicts a culture that successfully stands outside the mainstream yet interacts with it in complex and fascinating ways, a culture that is every bit as susceptible to the undertow of the human spirit as any we might know.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Blood of the Prodigal, go HERE

This is a very different type of an Amish read.  This is not an Amish book full of love and sweetness, but instead one that harbors ill-feelings, great loss and of course, mystery!  This book just goes to show you that we all have trauma, deception, murder and secrets.  It doesn't matter how strong your faith, what matters is how you deal with your problems.  Secrets have a tendency to blow up and they don't always lead you within
your comfort level, and there are many secrets and half truths in this story.

If you're looking for a different, and intriguing Amish read, this is the book for you!

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