Sunday, July 31, 2016

Colorado Summer

 We went on a drive not far from where we live. It's so beautiful and green!

 This house had a conservatory, we couldn't go inside because it was closed but wow so neat!

 Train ride!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Deadly Encounter Book Review


About the Book
Airport Ranger volunteer Stacy Broussard expected a peaceful Saturday morning ride around the perimeter of Houston's airport. What she encounters instead is a brutal homicide and a baffling mystery. Next to the body is an injured dog, the dead man's motorcycle, and a drone armed with a laser capable of taking down a 747.Though FBI Special Agent Alex LeBlanc sees a clear-cut case of terrorism, his past has taught him to be suspicious of everyone, even witnesses. Even bleeding-heart veterinarians like Stacy. But when her gruesome discovery is only the first in a string of incidences that throw her life into a tailspin, Alex begins to wonder if Stacy was targeted. As a health emergency endangers Stacy's community, and the task force pulls in leads from all directions, Alex and Stacy must work together to prevent another deadly encounter. (Goodreads)

My Review


Saturday, July 23, 2016

June Book Review


About the Book 
From the New York Times bestselling author of Bittersweet comes a novel of suspense and passion about a terrible mistake made sixty years ago that threatens to change a modern family forever. 

Twenty-five-year-old Cassie Danvers is holed up in her family’s crumbling mansion in rural St. Jude, Ohio, mourning the loss of the woman who raised her—her grandmother, June. But a knock on the door forces her out of isolation. Cassie has been named the sole heir to legendary matinee idol Jack Montgomery's vast fortune. How did Jack Montgomery know her name? Could he have crossed paths with her grandmother all those years ago? What other shocking secrets could June’s once-stately mansion hold?

Soon Jack’s famous daughters come knocking, determined to wrestle Cassie away from the inheritance they feel is their due. Together, they all come to discover the true reasons for June’s silence about that long-ago summer, when Hollywood came to town, and June and Jack’s lives were forever altered by murder, blackmail, and betrayal.

As this page-turner shifts deftly between the past and present, Cassie and her guests will be forced to reexamine their legacies, their definition of family, and what it truly means to love someone, steadfastly, across the ages. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts

 Note: This book is not Christian so for those that frequent my blog be aware there are a few things that would make some cringe (sexual scenes, language, etc.)

I'll be honest in saying I was really doubtful that I would enjoy this book. I really didn't like Bittersweet by this author but this story line drew me in. I actually enjoyed this novel immensely. I love hidden past, history stories and this one is full of all the good stuff. Cassie discovers she could be related to a famous actor from some past affair. The setting is great and the characters are flawed along with a crazy life that makes the book worth reading. I loved the flashbacks to 1955 and then to present day. 
If you like a little romance and some history I think you would like this book. 

"I received this book from Blogging for Books for free in exchange for an honest review."

Friday, July 22, 2016

Happy Harvest Precious Moments Book Review


Celebrate the harvest season with the bestselling Precious Moments®characters.  Full of the beloved artwork and timeless messages of gratitude, Happy Harvest is a sweet reminder to enjoy every season together.

As the leaves change and fields yield their fruit, it is time to celebrate a Happy Harvest with all of God’s creation! Talk with your children about God’s beautiful world in autumn and all the joys it holds—falling leaves, big round pumpkins, warm cider, and crackling fires that bring us closer together.

This charming board book will remind you of all your favorite aspects of the harvest season and invite you and your children to thank God for His abundant provision. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts

What an adorable little book! I have always loved Precious Moments and was thrilled to see this next book come out. Autumn is my favorite time of year so this book is perfect. It’s a board book, which is necessary with little ones it seems. This book is a collection of poems and little phrases, not a story. There are verses included and then titles such as, seasons, apple picking, campfires, and little prayers. If you are in search for a fall theme children’s book this is a great addition to your collection.
Five stars.

“I received this book from BookLook Bloggers for free in exchange for an honest review.”

If My Husband Would Change I'd Be Happy: And Other Myths Wives Believe


About the Book
Like most brides on their wedding day, you no doubt were filled with love for your husband and the hope of a happy life together. But perhaps today, as the realities of life together have settled in, those happy expectations are going unfulfilled. And it's tempting to think, "If only my husband would change, I'd be happy."

That myth is but one of many that Rhonda Stoppe dispels in her easy-to-read exploration of what it takes to experience a truly happy marriage. In the process, she addresses such important topics asunderstanding your husband's need for your unconditional respectrekindling the love that drew you to your husband in the first placerefusing to believe the lie that you'd be happier married to someone elselearning to be content in the midst of financial strugglesthinking about sex from a biblical worldview

If you desire to rekindle the love and hope you felt on your wedding day, this book will go a long way toward making that dream come true. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts
Of course the title of this book grabbed my attention because who in the world writes a Christian book like that?! And then you see the small print, clever! So I would say that this is a good description for those who thought their entire world would be happily ever after once they were married. Also, in reality you do find a lot out about your man once married, even if you have been dating a long time. This book had some great funny stories, some realistic “I can’t believe that just happened” stories, and Biblical truths about marriage. Honestly, the majority of this book was nothing I hadn’t read. I’ve been married almost five years and have gone through more marriage books than I can count. This one is good for those who have been married a little while. If you are just married and read this book, you might not totally understand what the author is getting at.
I would say this is a good book to keep on hand and read every few years. Things change, and she reminds us women why we got married in the first place.

I recommend to the married gals who have had a year or two anniversary. Five stars.

“I received this book from Litfuse for free in exchange for an honest review.”

The Things We Knew Book Review


 About the Book

When their tragic past begins to resurface, can he help her remember the things she can’t?

After her mother's death twelve years ago, Lynette Carlisle watched her close-knit family unravel. One by one, her four older siblings left their Nantucket home and never returned. All seem to harbor animosity toward their father, silently blaming him for their mother's death. Nobody will talk about that dreadful day, and Lynette can't remember a bit of it.

But when next-door neighbor Nicholas Cooper returns to Nantucket, he brings the past with him. Once her brother's best friend and Lynette's first crush, Nick seems to hiding things from her. Lynette wonders what he knows about the day her mother died and hopes he might help her remember the things she can't.

But Nick has no intention of telling Lynette the truth. Besides the damage it might cause his own family, he doesn't want to risk harming the fragile friendship between him and the woman he once thought of as a kid sister.

As their father's failing health and financial concerns bring the Carlisle siblings home, secrets begin to surface—secrets that will either restore their shattered relationships or separate the siblings forever. But pulling up anchor on the past propels them into the perfect storm, powerful enough to make them question all they ever believed in. (Goodreads)

 My Thoughts
There has been a lot of hype around this book so I was anxious to read it. I had a really hard time getting into this book. I thought the general idea was good, as it deals with a lot of present day issues. I just couldn’t click with the characters very well. I liked Grey’s story a lot I just felt like the ending just…ended. I also loved the Alzheimer's disease story that is told, I think it’s avoided and yet it is a part of so many people’s lives. This book has some great reviews so I know it has touched many people. I would give it three stars.

“I received this book from BookLook Bloggers for free in exchange for an honest review.”

Thursday, July 21, 2016

A Beauty Refined Book Review


About the Book

 Phoebe Von Bergen is excited to accompany her father when he travels from Germany to purchase sapphires in Montana. Little does she know that her father's plans--for the gemstones and his daughter--are not what they seem.
Ian Harper, a lapidary working in Helena, finds the young woman staying at the Broadwater Hotel more than a little intriguing. Yet the more he gets to know her, the more he realizes that her family story is based on a lie--a lie she has no knowledge of. And Ian believes he knows the only path that will lead her to freedom.

Meeting Ian has changed everything. Phoebe is determined to stay in America, regardless of her father's plans. But she may not be prepared for the unexpected danger as the deception begins to unravel. (Goodreads)

Purchase a copy:

Tracie Peterson is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than one hundred books. Tracie also teaches writing workshops at a variety of conferences on subjects such as inspirational romance and historical research. She and her family live in Montana.

 My Thoughts

Tracie Peterson knows how to create a unique story line. Pheobe Von Bergen is a good character and I liked how I felt like I got to know all of the characters pretty well. Things moved fairly fast but there was a lot that went on! Past hidden dangers collide with their present day which makes for a tad bit of suspense. The romance is predictable and not my favorite part of this particular story.
While I liked this book it isn’t my favorite as it was rather predictable. Tracie Peterson is a good author and I look forward to her future books.

Four stars.

“I received this book from Litfuse for free in exchange for an honest review.”

Little does Phoebe know that her father's plans—for the sapphires and his daughter—are not what they seem. If you love historical fiction, romance, and adventure, don't miss Tracie Peterson's A Beauty Refined. When Phoebe meets Ian, everything changes. Yet the more he gets to know her, the more he realizes that her family story is based on a lie—a lie she has no knowledge of. And Ian believes he knows the only path that will lead her to freedom.

Join Tracie in celebrating the release of A Beauty Refined by entering to win her Precious Gems giveaway (details below) and by attending her author chat party on August 9!

beauty refined - 400 

One grand prize winner will receive:
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on 8/9. The winner will be announced at A Beauty Refined Facebook party. RSVP for a chance to connect with Tracie and fellow fans of historical fiction, as well as for a chance to win other prizes!

beauty refined - enterbanner

RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK, TWITTER, or PINTEREST and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 9th!

Friday, July 15, 2016

All Things Bright and Beautiful Children's Book Giveaway!


About the book:
First published by Cecil Frances Alexander in 1848, this favorite hymn has become a mainstay of churches and Sunday school classes everywhere. Here artist Katy Hudson brings new joy to the words with her fresh and bright watercolor style. Readers can join in the fun as they follow two little girls and their brother on a day filled with the discovery of “all things bright and beautiful.”

About the artist:
Katy Hudson was raised in Middlesbrough, England, and started her career as a small child drawing on freshly painted walls. Her parents quickly encouraged drawing with pencil and paper instead. The idea stuck, and after earning a degree in illustration, Katy is now a freelance illustrator. Katy works at a desk in a studio within Old London Library and likes to tap dance in her spare time.

Jacketed hardcover
Page count: 32
Reading age: 4-7
Category: juvenile fiction/Christian
Retail price: $15.99


 US and Canada Only!
For one hardback copy of All Things Bright and Beautiful. 
Enter through the rafflecopter below or just leave a comment and you'll be included. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway  

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

 My Thoughts

This is such a beautiful book. I love the hymn by Cecil Frances Alexander and I like that the history of it is added in the back of the book. Each page is vibrant and captivating for younger eyes and the many animals on the pages make it all the more fun. I read this book to the kids I take care of and they just loved it. This is a rather large book (which makes it all the better) and as an adult I couldn't help but love the little butterflies and details throughout the story. Katy Hudson did a wonderful job incorporating the hymn. This is a must buy! 
Five Stars!

"I received this book from Flyby for free in exchange for an honest review."

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Summer is Flying By...

I haven't written very many personal blog posts lately because my schedule has been crazy! I can't believe we are already moving quickly into the middle of July. Life got nuts in June with branding and work and family visiting. Things have slowed down a bit to the norm of this thing called life. 

 I love that this is basically my back yard. I feel so blessed! I just have to remember to take the time to explore. Even when you live in such a place as this you still have regular life and work.

I've been doing a lot more childcare lately and it has been way fun. But I am still trying to figure the nap time thing out. I have to be really quiet or everyone will wake up (small house so noise travels everywhere). So during this time I try to get all of my blogging, reading, pictures, etc done so when the wee ones are awake we can run and play.

So here is my list of my favorite random things/websites lately:

Through Clouded Glass (great blog!)

LJ Photography (Fantastic work!)

The Movie Brooklyn

The Cautious Maiden Book

My Free Product Samples (To those who wonder how I get free stuff : )

Gevalia Columbia Coffee (to keep me sane!)

Thanks for stopping by!

An Elegant Facade Book Review


 About the Book
Lady Georgina Hawthorne has worked tirelessly to seal her place as the Incomparable for her debut season. At her first London ball, she hopes to snag the attention of an earl.
With money and business connections, but without impeccable bloodlines, Colin McCrae is invited everywhere but accepted nowhere. When he first encounters the fashionable Lady Georgina, he's irritated by his attraction to a woman who concerns herself only with status and appearance.
What Colin doesn't know is that Georgina's desperate social aspirations are driven by the shameful secret she harbors. Association with Colin McCrae is not part of Georgina's plan, but as their paths continue to cross, they both must decide if the realization of their dreams is worth the sacrifices they must make. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts

So I didn't read the first book in this series but I felt like I still understood the story. Of course I am now dying to read book one! I loved this book. I thought the characters were wonderful and well developed. The setting is fun and the slight mystery kept me guessing. The ending didn't come as easy as I would have thought so that was nice. Also, the story of redemption and understanding of Biblical truths was very well included. If you like books set in the Regency time period this is a great one to add to your list!! 
Five Stars.

"I received this book from Bethany House Publishers for free in exchange for an honest review."

Monday, July 11, 2016

When Mountains Move Book Review


About the Book
 Millie’s mind is racing and there seems to be no clear line between right and wrong. Either path leads to pain, and she’ll do anything to protect the ones she loves. So she decides to bury the truth and begin again, helping Bump launch a ranch in the wilds of Colorado. But just when she thinks she’s left her old Mississippi life behind, the facts surface in the most challenging way.

That’s when Millie’s grandmother, Oka, arrives to help. Relying on her age-old Choctaw traditions, Oka teaches Millie the power of second chances. Millie resists, believing redemption is about as likely as moving mountains. But Oka stands strong, modeling forgiveness as the only true path to freedom.

Together, Bump, Millie, and Oka fight against all odds to create a sustainable ranch, all while learning that the important lessons of their pasts can be used to build a beautiful future. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts
You know it’s a good book when you are still thinking about it days after reading the end. I have mixed feelings about this novel. I love the setting and the characters are so very well written. I felt like I really got to know everyone in the story. This is book two and I hadn’t read the first one. I know I missed some things but I enjoyed it and still understood what was going on. So I’ll try to break this down because my thoughts are jumbled.
The Good
Wow, talk about writing about real life! From the start the story revolves around a terrible rape that occurs in the previous novel. (Don’t worry I didn’t spoil anything it’s in the first page!) Nothing is graphic about it, but it’s still the knowledge that someone did that. Anyway, there is that and then a marriage and all the many trials it can bring, including some shocking news. There is in depth family struggles and moving on in life struggles. Not that these things are good but they create a great story. I just really loved the overall aspect of this entire storyline. I think the author did a splendid job on creating characters and a solid novel. 

The Part That I’m Not So Sure About
Keep in mind, while I loved this book there are some things that I’m not so sure about. This book is promoted by a Christian publisher but some of the things were in the grey area. Cheating (nothing graphic) not only physically but mentally fantasizing of someone else. Though I get the point I don’t think remorse or guilt was addressed hardly at all.  There is also a bit of Native American history and that includes the mention of palm reading and their religion. (Which I find very interesting because of the culture but it was accepted as truth in this book). God doesn’t seem to be in this book much though implied. I only mention these things because it’s promoted by a Christian publisher. Lastly there is a really gruesome chapter involving a mountain lion that I thought could have been edited a bit. (Probably bothers me more than most because I know we have mountains lions everywhere where I live. : ) 

Otherwise it’s a beautiful tale written with a lot of talent.

“ I received this book from BookLook Bloggers for free in exchange for an honest review.”

Friday, July 8, 2016

Fraying at the Edge Book Review


 About the Book

Family, community, faith, and love.
These quilt blocks sewn together made Ariana s beautiful life.
When they are pulled to pieces,
will anything familiar remain?
The Old Order Amish life Ariana Brenneman loved vanished virtually overnight with the discovery that she was switched at birth twenty years ago. Now she s immersed in the"Englischer"world, getting to know her mother, and under the authority of her biological father, an atheist intellectual with resolute plans to expand Ariana s worldview. Only Quill Schlabach, a childhood friend living"Englisch," can help steady Ariana s tilting ground between the two worlds, but can she trust him after so many betrayals?
At the same time, Skylar Nash is forced to choose rehab or spend several months with her true relatives, the large Brenneman family and their seemingly backward life no electricity, no technology, no fun. What the young woman can t leave behind is her addiction to illegal prescription drugs and deep emptiness from the belief that she doesn't belong in either family.
New ties are binding Ariana and Skylar to the lives they were meant to have. Can they pray for the wisdom and strength they ll need to follow God s threads into unexpected futures?
"Fraying at the Edge" is the second novel in The Amish of Summer Grove series." (Goodreads)

My Thoughts

This is the second book in a series and suggest that you read book one in order to fully understand Fraying at the Edge. Cindy Woodsmall has such a way of capturing Amish life and making it an enjoyable story. She makes life real and not fluffy. This book continues the crazy lives of Ariana and Skylar. They are totally lost in their new worlds and we get to see their journey. So not only do you read about Amish life, but how different it is from the outside world. I liked the secondary characters as well and I am curious to read what happens next. The book left me hanging so I'm sure there will be a third addition. Cindy Woodsmall is my favorite Amish author so I recommend all of her books!

Four stars. 

"I received this book from Blogging For Books for free in exchange for an honest review."

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Sunday, July 3, 2016

The Great Carp Escape Children's Book Review


 About the Book

 Tadpoles, clams, and minnows wow! For siblings Beth and Paul, growing up on a lake is fun... until they are startled by a fishy find along the shoreline. When they discover the scaly, moustached carp, they become afraid.

Seasons pass, and Beth and Paul avoid the swampy reeds at all costs until a flood brings about a life-or-death situation for the creepy looking carp, right in their own backyard!

With guidance from their father, will Beth and Paul be able to overcome their apprehensions about the carp and help save them before it s too late? Watch the Trailer!

The Great Carp Escape "truly captures the magic between children and nature. The story paints a beautiful picture of how all creatures on earth are God-given and shows how compassion shouldn't be based on popularity or defined beauty. This delightful and touching story carries such an important message of acceptance and simply joy. A pleasure to read and surely a popular addition to any child s home library. " (Goodreads)

 My Thoughts

I really enjoyed this little book! I think it is a fun story for children with a good message. The illustrations are lovely and the overall back story is that God made all things for a purpose, even when we think things are ugly. We shouldn't be quick to judge and need to be kind and this story teaches children what that means.

"All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small, 
All things wise and wonderful, 
The Lord God made them all."

All Things Bright and Beautiful by Williams Henry Monk.
(From the book)

"Thanks to the author for a free copy in exchange for an honest review."