Thursday, January 30, 2014

Book Review: Shadowed by Grace

About the book: She found peace in a time of war.

Desperate to save her dying mother, an American woman accepts her newspaper's assignment to travel to Italy where she takes photographs dangerously close to the front lines during World War II. But Rachel's real motive in this journey is to find the father she never knew, an artist she hopes can offer the comfort and support both she and her mother need to survive at such a desperate time.

In her quest, Rachel becomes involved with what will become the Monuments Men effort to save great monuments and works of art from the Third Reich. Soon enough she will find more than she ever imagined---in war, in love, and in God.

Purchase a copy:


About the author: Cara C. Putman graduated high school at 16, college at 20, and completed her law degree at 27. The best-selling author of more than a dozen books, Cara is active in women's ministry at her church, teaches graduate courses at Purdue University, practices law, and is a homeschooling mom. She lives with her husband and 4 children in Indiana.

Learn more about Cara at:

This book is one that will make you think, think about the war and what people really went through.  It is a sad story, as well as one of great happiness.  A story of finding oneself and of learning.

Rachel learns so much in this book, she learns about her past, about her mother and her father...learning what she does, paves the way to her future, and teaches her a lot about herself along the way.

An excellent read that will take you back in time.

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


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

CFBA: Scraps of Evidence

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Scraps of Evidence
Abingdon Press (January 21, 2014)
Barbara Cameron


A Word from the author:

CBD, CBA, and ECPA bestselling author of 35 books (including new series upcoming for Abingdon Press in 2011/2012) including fiction and non-fiction books for Abingdon Press, Thomas Nelson, Harlequin, and other publishers.

I sold three films to HBO/Cinemax and am the first winner of the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award.

My two novellas won the 2nd and 3rd place in the Inspirational Readers Choice Contest from the Faith, Love, and Hope chapter of RWA. Both were finalists for the novella category of the Carol Award of the American Christian Writers Award (ACFW).


Tess has taken some ribbing from her fellow officer, Logan, for her quilting hobby. He finds it hard to align the brisk professional officer he patrols with during the day with the one who quilts in her off-time. Besides, he’s been trying to get to know her better and he’d like to be seeing her during those few nights a week she spends with her quilting guild. Then one afternoon Tess and Logan visit her aunt in the nursing home, and the woman acts agitated when Tess covers her with the story quilt. Aunt Susan is attempting to communicate a message to them about Tess’s uncle. There’s a story behind this quilt, they realize, one that may lead them to a serial killer. Will they have a chance to have a future together, or will the killer choose Tess for his next victim before they find him?

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

Who would think that something as innocent as a quilt would be the center of a mystery?  A cozy quilt, a mystery, a killer....all wrapped in one little book, what a great mix!

This was a great read, the book kept developing from chapter to chapter, and several times I was surprised at the turn of events.

If you've been following along with the Quilts of Loves series, you'll be sure to enjoy this book, if you haven't, what on earth are you waiting for?!!!

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


Friday, January 24, 2014

Book Review: For the Love of Pete

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
For the Love of Pete
B&H Books (January 15, 2014)
Debby Mayne


Debby Mayne is a best-selling author who has published more than 25 books and novellas, 400 short stories and articles, and devotions for women. She has also worked as managing editor of a national health magazine, product information writer for HSN, a creative writing instructor, and a copy editor and proofreader. Her novel, Love Finds You in Treasure Island, Florida received 4-1/2 stars from RT Book Review, and was named a Top Pick for the month of July. She and her husband Wally have two grown daughters, and live in Palm Harbor, Florida.


Widow Bethany Hanahan is trying in vain to fill an empty heart and an empty nest. The result is a home filled to the brim, but something is still missing. That’s when her new gardening club friends come to the rescue, encouraging her to let go of the past as well as the present clutter –emotional, spiritual, and physical. It’s not long before Bethany is finding friends, not bargains, to fill her days. But has her life become too full for someone like Pete Sprockett, a childhood friend, for whom her romantic feelings are beginning to bloom? Join the quirky, loving community of Bloomfield as they do what they do best – poke their well-meaning noses in and intervene in times of need –in author Debby Mayne’s second novel in what has become a five book series about a community where life is simple and love is real.

If you'd like to read the first chapter of For the Love of Pete, go HERE.

My Thoughts
This is one of those books that will make you say, "Good Grief"...but it's a good thing!   When you get a bunch of older ladies together, all trying to do their eyes....well, you know what happens!  The old ladies in this book take the cake, they even make their 50 something kids seem like little children, especially when they connive and try to create romance.

Then...there's the parrot, Murray, he's quite the squaker and he tends to speak his mind...could be why one relationship doesn't seem to move forward!

This really is a funny story, a bit quaint, taking place in small town America with festivals galore, a town where everyone seems to know everything and everyone.

The namesake of the book, Pete, seems to have his feet firmly on the ground, someone has to, he knows when to talk, when not to, he's a good guy, he just has to keep something great from slipping through his fingers!

I could go on about the characters, they were all so much fun, but I'll let you wonder and read the book for yourself, a real treat!

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


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Mod Cloth is having a sale!

Get ready for Valentine's Day today! ModCloth just launched their Most Loved Sale. You can get 20% off their most loved dresses, accessories, tops and more! Here are a few of my favorite pieces,they also have some really cute plus size clothes too, so go shop your little heart out, you're worth it!

Barcelona Balcony Dress from ModCloth Aisle Be There Dress in Rose from ModCloth The Evening Unfolds Dress in Red from ModCloth Raspberry Iced Tea Dress from ModCloth


Monday, January 13, 2014

Shirt to Skirt Tutorial

I was going through my closet the other day, found a few shirts I was going to take to the local consignment store...but decided to try turning one into a skirt....I took photos as I went, I'm not a tutorial pro, so let me know if you have questions!

 Here's the shirt...cute t-shirt....but just didn't flatter me

 You're going to need a t-shirt, scissors, elastic band, pins, and a sewing machine!

 Lay out your t-shirt nice a flat, make sure the bottom edges of front and back are even and line your cutting tool under the arm pits, if you don't have a cutting tool, draw a line with a fabric pencil

 Now you'll have 2 pieces, throw away the top, save it for a fabric flower, etc.....

Next...measure your waist or wherever you'd like your skirt to hang from your waist/hip area and add 1/4 inch...take your elastic, (which you can find at JoAnn Fabric..this is wide elastic),and cut it....

Then, sew your elastic with a 1/4 seam so it forms a circle...I used a regular stitch for this

..and now the fun part, pin your shirt/skirt to the elastic, your fabric will not be the same size as the elastic band so you'll have to stretch here and there to even things out.  Leave about 1/2 to 5/8 of fabric overlapping the band for your seam.

Now, you're going to sew your pieces together...this is NOT use a straight stitch because your stitches will pop and rip apart when the elastic stretches.  Set your machine to a stretch zigzag stitch...this stitch does not look like a zigzag, but does a small back/forth stitch that will give your finished item a stretch w/o tearing the seams! 


 ....and here's the not so good photo of the finished product, knobby knees and all!  You don't get to see my head because I had the idea to make this in the shower, so as soon as I was out (and dressed) I whipped this up, wet hair and all!


Saturday, January 11, 2014

Walmart....Shop or Not?! This is not a nice post :)

NOT ME......but read on and you'll see the reason for the photo 

Last night I was laying awake, couldn't sleep and started to think about Walmart...pathetic, right?  You have to understand....we have a history with Walmart in our family.

We have traveled during the winter for the past 8 years or so.  We are self-employed and home school our kids, so we had the perfect opportunity to do so....and if you can, why not give your kids the experience of traveling, seeing new things, meeting people, etc.

Anyway, when you travel with an RV it's common knowledge that you can park overnight at most begins my adventure.

When it would get to 'that time of night' we'd plug Walmart into our GPS, we'd park and I'd always go inside, buy dinner groceries and ask management if we could park for the night.  They pretty much always said 'yes' unless there where city ordinances.

Many a night were spent parked next to a rumbling semi....ahh, the memories.

All went smoothly on our many travels, until......the fateful night in Texas....

As usual, we parked, I shopped, asked management, they said "yes".....we set-up 'camp' for the night, sat down to eat only to hear a voice over a loud speaker, "come out of the camper, now"  so....I was the chosen one to poke my head out the door, only to find several cop cars and cops with speakers shouting at me.  What was I doing there, who was with me?  Really?  I'm eating, sir, with my family,sir...CHILDREN sir.  Seriously.  Once the air was cleared and I assured them management said it was ok, we were left to eat our dinner in relative peace.

Off to sleep, BAM BAM BAM loud rapping right at our heads at about 5am.....what a way to wake up.....apparently the morning shift management was NOT notified that we had approval to stay, after he yelled at us, we were more than happy to get out of  there.

That Walmart is forever on our 'do not stay' list, 'do not shop' list, and just about every other list you can think of.

Currently we are in AZ, we are not in an RV, but I still have a tendency to veer towards Walmart for my grocery needs, especially when the local Fry's gives me sticker shock.

Will I buy fruit there?  NOPE, clothing?  NOPE...ok call me a snob, but NOPE.  Meat?  Depends......boxed goods are really quite safe, unless you are at a store where there are birds trapped inside, then you may find droppings on your cans, boxes, etc.

...........speaking of droppings, yup.....this is gross a particular Walmart in MN, I was in line, looked down, and apparently the elderly lady in front of me had a moment, yes....droppings on the floor....a little trail.....I told the cashier, who called over the manager who proceeded to grab a paper towel, scoop the poop, throw it in the trash under the register and walk on to the next cashier needing help.  Ummmm, really?  REALLY.  Didn't wash his hands, poop in the can by the register, didn't call somone to scrub the floor.  To give the cashier credit, she was as appalled as I was.

Then there is the funny, the lady in NM who was walking around the store with her 'sugar daddy' and her skirt tucked into her nylons....I was NOT a nice person that day, I just couldn't tell her, I was trying too hard not to laugh....ok, not nice.

And then....the people, do the people at your Walmart scare you?  Depends on where you are.  At my MN Walmart I shop among people in their pj bottoms and slippers, camo coats, butt cracks peeking at me and muffin tops.  Not overly appetizing.  At the AZ Walmart where I shop there are some very classy ladies, dressed to the nines, people wear day clothes, I have yet to see a pair of slippers, a pair of pj's, a muffin top or a butt's so very nice.

Now....I'd like to hear from you have any Walmart stories?  Any great stories from any other stores?  I don't want to give just Walmart a hard time...just seems as though that's where my interesting sightings tend to happen!

FYI....after writing this I decided I needed a photo, did a google image search, when I typed in Walmart, 'people of walmart' popped up....look for yourself....


Friday, January 10, 2014

CFBA: Songs of the Shenandoah

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Songs of the Shenandoah
B&H Books (January 1, 2014)
Michael Reynolds

Michael K. Reynolds is a writer with more than two decades of experience in crafting fiction, non-fiction, journalism, copywriting and documentary production. He is the author of a series of Irish historical novels published by B&H Publishing Group. These highly acclaimed books are available in bookstores and libraries across the nation and beyond.

Michael is the writer and producer of an Emmy and Telly award-winning series of documentaries titled, Crystal Darkness. These thirty minute anti-meth films have been heavily promoted and broadcast in cities and states throughout the United States and Mexico. They have been viewed collectedly by more than 10 million people and the message has reached more than 30 million to date.

He also has wide experience as a speaker and on-air personality and has been interviewed on a variety of newspapers, radio stations and televisions networks throughout the nation. Michael earned his B.A. in Creative Writing from the University of California, San Diego and lives in Reno with his wife and three children. He is active in marketplace, marriage, small group and men’s ministries as a leader and speaker.


At the onset of the Civil War, Seamus heeds his wife’s wishes to return to her beloved family farm in the South, where he takes a post as chaplain for General Stonewall Jackson’s brigade. As Seamus ministers to the troops, his sister Clare ministers in a different way—by being a powerful voice in the Northern cause toward freeing the slaves. All this while their youngest brother Davin, who became wealthy during the Gold Rush, struggles to find love and identity in a fallen world. It’s a clash of loyalties and beliefs that threaten the entire family, each of them trying to hear God’s encouragement in the midst of the tragedy of war. The dramatic conclusion to the acclaimed Heirs of Ireland Series.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Songs of the Shenandoah, go HERE.

This is the third book in the Heirs of Ireland series...I have not read any of the previous books.  (hmm, wonder why?...what was I thinking?!)  For the second book of my year I'm still off to a great start!  I'm really going to have to read the previous books.

On to the really don't need to read the first two books in this series, but wow...with a book this good you just SHOULD!  On a serious note, not reading the first two did not make me feel confused or wonder what was going on...definitely a stand a lone book.

I had a hard time with the beginning, I just couldn't get into the book, but I'm glad I kept going because it was well worth it.  The Civil War story line will draw you into the horror of battle between brothers, friends, slaves and the love story is simply divine.

At the end....I was so in love with the characters and the story line that I didn't want it to end....I think you'll enjoy this book, especially if you like reading about the Civil War era.

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


Athleta Skirt Review

I've decided that this year I need to make my blog more exciting, books are exciting, yes...but I want to add more, so I'm going to begin adding my sewing projects and other DIY projects, cooking, crafting, and even reviews on random purchases I a nutshell....things I love!

Maybe even some I don't.

Should I change the name of my blog, or keep it? I thought about starting an entirely new blog, but decided to just go with the flow! begin I have to tell you about the most amazing skirt...ever. Ever? Probably not, but for the moment it is! In the past year I have fallen in love with Athleta, if you haven't heard of them they carry Yoga, sporty clothing. Now, I'm not into exercise...sounds terrible I know, I'm trying to do better, but I really love active wear. Yes, Athleta is spendy, but I have a GAP visa credit card which I use everywhere and earn points which help out my purchases...and then I go through swagbucks and earn points there as well! It's all in the technique my friends! latest find was the Wherever Skort. It was a birthday present to myself....I anxiously waited and waited for it to it appeared, I immediately took it out of the package, ironed it, and put it on. LOVE IT. I life must be a bit lame if that's the highlight of my day.
Wherever Skort
Wherever Skort...mine is Khakini, instead of this color!

I'm about to take my pooch on a walk, he's been looking at me through the door with sad puppy eyes, you know, those eyes that make you melt?  ....and yup, I'm walking in my new skort...I'll probably bike in it too, on my vintage Schwinn Breeze...that's another story!

I am not affliated with Athleta in any way, just doing this review for fun, the skirt fits true to size, very flattering, does wrinkle easily, and unlike many of their skorts there is no rubber around the legs which makes it more comfy....some do not like the extra fabric around the waist....I think it's cute and does not add any bulk.  The fabric is very lightweight, not your usual sport skirt fabric.  Pretty sure I'm going to own one in another color sooner than later!

What's your favorite store for sport fashion?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

CFBA: Tempest's Course

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Tempest's Course
Abingdon Press (December 17, 2013)
Lynette Sowell


Lynette Sowell is an award-winning novelist. Her most recent novel, Tempest’s Course, is part of the Quilts of Love line from Abingdon Press. When Lynette’s not writing, she divides her time between editing medical reports and chasing down news stories for the Copperas Cove Leader-Press. Lynette was born and raised on the Eastern Shore of Maryland but makes her home in Coppress Cove, Texas, with her husband and a herd of cats who have them well-trained.


Kelly Frost, a textiles conservator, is invited to the Massachusetts coastal city of New Bedford to restore a 150-year-old Mariner's Compass quilt. But there is one stipulation: she must live and work in Gray House, a former whaling captain's home, where the quilt is stored. There she meets Army veteran Tom Pereira, the caretaker of Gray House, whose heart seems as hard as the rocky Massachusetts coastline. Over the long-lit months as Kelly works to restore the quilt, she and Tom grow closer. And as she reads stories in a daily journal penned by Mary Gray, she learns the secrets of the quilt and Mary's own sad tale of regret. Then Tom learns secrets of his own family's past, and both Tom and Kelly learn they are tied to Gray House in ways they never imagined.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Tempest's Course, go HERE.

Well, if the first book that I'm reviewing this year is to be any indication of what I'm in for this year....I say I'm off to a great start!

I have been enjoying the Quilts of Love Series, they are all so different and it's amazing how many stories can be tied to a quilt!

Tom and Kelly have their ghosts...and problems that they need to work through.  Both hired by the elusive owner of the mansion...whom they've never seen, they can't help but wonder...who owns the home.

Kelly, although jumpy, finds an old journal and becomes rather swept up in it, the more she reads, the more confusing things become.  As Tom and Kelly grow closer their secrets seem to close in on them, what will their secrets reveal?  Will they ever come to terms with their past...or will their ghosts haunt them forever?

What a fun read....full of a bit of romance and mystery, enough to keep you wondering....

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