Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Together We Can Make a Difference

Happy Tuesday my fabulous readers! I usually try not to have two posts in the same day, but this is just too awesome not to post today!

I wanted to share something that my Mary Kay unit is doing right now.

We are adopting the moms at one of the Houston area Women's Shelters for Mother's Day. Some of these women have come to the shelters from situations where they literally packed up and ran in the night and they have had to leave all of the"comforts" behind. Lip gloss would most likely be a "comfort."

So here's how we want to help out. Until May 11, we are asking for people to adopt a mom by purchasing a lip gloss for the mom. We don't know which moms will receive these lip glosses, but we do want each mom to receive one.

You may be asking "How can I be a part of it? Well it's simple really. Here's the details.

1. You buy a lip gloss for $14.00 (wholesale cost is $7...my profit would be $7). Remember this lip gloss will go to the mom and not physically to you.
2. I am paying tax/shipping (out of my profit of the lip gloss - about $2)
3. $2 from the purchase of each lip gloss will go directly to the shelter. (This is out of my profit)
4. $2 from the purchase of each lip gloss will go to the Mary Kay Ash Charitable Foundation for the fight against domestic violence. (This is out of my profit).
5. My profit from this is $1 for each lip gloss.

And that's it. If you are wanting to purchase one (or several), let me know in the comments that you want to help out. Make sure to leave an email address so I can contact you. If you're local, I can meet you to pick up the cash/check.  If you're not local to me (Houston area) and you still want to help, then that's GREAT! Tell me in the comments that you're not in Houston, but still want to help out. You can place an order for the lip gloss off of my website and put the coupon code of Adopt a Mom in the box at the checkout. All payments are secure and all major credit/debit cards are accepted.

And that's it. Really simple.

Also, if you are local and have no plans this Friday night - May 2. We are having Bingo night at my director's home from 6:30-9. Snacks will be provided. You can shop sales tax free, preview the new summer products, play Bingo, win prizes, participate in a raffle where the proceeds will benefit the Adopt-A-Mom program and just have a good time. I will need to know by Noon on Friday (CST) if you want to come.

Have a fabulous day, my reader friends!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Books if you like Romantic Comedies

Ok so I'm new at doing these top ten things. Like this is my first week. Anyway, it's a theme I've seen on several blogs I follow, and I thought it might be fun to join in. I may not join every week, but will as the topic interests me.

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish where every Tuesday a new list of 10 is given.

This week's theme is the Top Ten Books if you like ______ tv show, movie, comic, play, etc. I've chosen Romantic Comedies.

I'm a big fan of romantic comedies. So of my favorite movies are Sweet Home Alabama, Letters to Juliet, 10 Things I Hate About You, Down With Love, and so many more that are classified as romantic comedies. So for this Top Ten Tuesday, I decided to focus on books that would be a romantic comedy. Specifically ones I've read. So in no particular order other than how I thought of them.

1. Weddings by Bella Series, the Backstage Pass Series, or the Weddings by Design Series by Janice Thompson

  • These books are funny and usually wedding related. 
2. Made to Last by Melissa Tagg

  • Her new one will probably fit here too, but as I've not yet read it, I'll stay with one I've read. It had me giggling through out.
3. Stealing the Preacher by Karen Witemeyer
  • Yes it's a historical one, but it's really an awesome book.
4. Meant to Be Mine by Becky Wade
  • The antics of both Ty and Celia had me laughing so hard at times.
5. The Halo Hattie Boarding House Series - Say Uncle...And Aunt, and Raising Cain (and his sisters) - by Suzy Pizzutti

  • These are older books and are out of print now, but I love how Hattie's prayers are answered exactly the way she prays them. Though her boarding house residents don't think so. Still these have me laughing from the first page. 
6. Married By Mistake by Abby Gaines

  • What's a TV station producer/owner to do when the groom starring in his station's new wedding based reality show stands up his bride on live television but to marry the girl himself? 
7. The Princess Bride by William Goldman

  • Probably one of my all time favorite books. And that's reading it AFTER having seen the movie over and over. 
8. Starring Me by Krista McGee
  • This is my favorite one of Krista's books. While not a traditional romance (it is after all a young adult novel), Kara is my favorite character in it.
9. Wild Goose Chase Christmas by Jennifer Allee

  • There's just a touch of romance, but the fun is in following the heroine through her adventures to get answers pertaining to an inheritance especially when the hero thinks the quilt was left to him! 
10. That's all I could come up with. Well there's always the Harry Potter crack fiction that several of my friends and I spent time writing because we were bored. It's not even a true fan fiction as it's based off the characters in a  fan fiction. And it's not a romantic comedy either. It's just hilarious. Anyway, Jamie & Leah, you'll remember it. :) So my 10th one would be a shout out to the House of Gator's crack fiction. :)
This House of Gator Crest was made by the fabulous cybobbie

What about you? What books would make your top ten list? Let me know in the comments.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Pelican Bride - A Review

Published - April 2014, Revell Books, a Division of Baker Publishing Group

Author - Beth White

Series - The Gulf Coast Chronicles #1

Title - The Pelican Bride

Format - paper, ebook

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Genevieve Gaillian and her sister Aimee left France in the hopes of new beginnings as mail order wives to men in the New World. Genevieve knows that she must keep her Protestant beliefs a secret and appear to adopt the teachings of the Catholic church as she begins her new life. When she falls in love with Tristan Lanier, she hopes that she has finally found someone who will allow her to be herself. Yet the New World is ripe with peril. There is sickness, primitive conditions, and the threat of war with Britain. When Tristan is sent on a peace keeping mission between warring Indian tribes, Genevieve wonders if she'll ever see him again. There is a plot to discredit her. Genevieve's future and Tristan's safety rest in the hands of a local Indian girl. Will her testimony be enough to bring peace?

To say that this book is enchanting and enthralling would be a gross understatement. It is both of those and so much more. I started this one evening and finished it the next afternoon.

I think that this may have been the first book that I've read set in the French colonies of early America - what is now Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi. The setting itself was rich in detail. And the characters only served to heighten it.

I loved both Tristan and Genevieve from the moments they walked onto the pages. Their fears and struggles were very well written. I found Aimee to be a spoiled brat. But I think that was how she was supposed to come across. The supporting characters would both delight me and exasperate me at times. I was really rooting for a happy ending for Tristan and Genevieve.

I'm looking forward to the next book in this series.

I received this book for free from Revell Books for the purpose of reviewing. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of American history, historical romance, Jody Hedlund, Liz Curtis Higgs, Joanne Bischoff

Rating - 5 stars

Monday, April 21, 2014

Meant to Be Mine - A Review

Published - May 2014, Bethany House Publishers

Author - Becky Wade

Series - A Porter Family Novel book 2

Title - Meant to Be Mine

Format - ebook, paper

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Celia Park has had a crush on handsome cowboy Ty Porter since their days in high school. A trip to Vegas to watch him in a rodeo soon turns into a whirlwind romance. When he proposes and they get married, Celia thinks it's a fairy tale come true. She wakes up the next morning fully prepared to be his wife. Yet Ty is not ready to be a husband. He leaves her and breaks her heart in the process. When their paths cross five and half years later, Ty is shocked to discover Celia's struggling to raise their daughter - the child that he never even knew existed. When a bull riding injury ends his career, he will do anything in his power to ensure that Celia and their daughter are in his life and nearby. Celia's afraid to trust him again after all these years. Will Ty's persistence wear her down and will they figure out their feelings for each other?

Oh my goodness. I LOVED LOVED LOVED this book! Let me start my gushing with the cover. It's eye catching and I love the colors of it. Plus the couple just looks like they are having a fun time.

The chemistry between Celia and Ty was amazing. I loved how they would tease each other. I also loved how they knew the other better than he/she expected.

The way that they both searched out what it means to be forgiven and that they struggled with it was something else that I loved.

While I've not read My Stubborn Heart, I have read Undeniably Yours (the first in this series). In my opinion, this one is so much better than Undeniably Yours and I enjoyed that one.

I received this book for free from the author as part of her Cheer Squad. I've been asked to help promote the book, and I've agreed to review it on my blog, Amazon, Goodreads, FB, Twitter, and Pintrest. The author has also graciously handed me several bookmarks to give out as well. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of chick lit, romantic comedies, Karen Witemeyer, Becky Wade, Janice Thompson, Katie Ganshert, contemporary romance

Rating - 5 stars

Distortion - A Review

Published - March 2014, Zondervan Books

Author - Terri Blackstock

Series - Moonlighters Series book 2

Title - Distortion

Format - paper, ebook, audio

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Juliet Cole watches her husband murdered before her eyes. As she and her sisters navigate her new reality, Juliet unearths her husband's secret life. Did she really know the man she married? As the search for answers continues, Juliet realizes that she has put her sons in danger now too. What will she do to get to the truth?

I read the first in this series last year and enjoyed it. I found this one to be much more interesting than the first. I loved Juliet's search for the truth. I also loved how she wanted to shield her sons from their father's criminal activities.

In this book, I found the characters more developed than they were in the first. I really enjoyed Holly and Juliet. I thought the action was fast paced. I literally read this book at work during lunch/breaks over the course of a week. So it probably took me about 6 hours total to read. It drew me in from the first page and kept me going til the end.

I received this book for free from Thomas Nelson/Zondervan's Booklook Blogger program for the purpose of reviewing. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of suspense, Lynette Eason, Dee Henderson, Irene Hannon, Dani Pettrey

Rating - 5 stars - This may very well be my second favorite book by Terri Blackstock.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Blossom Street Brides - A Review

Published - March 25, 2014, Ballantine Books

Author - Debbie Macomber

Series - Blossom Street

Title - Blossom Street Brides

Format - ebook, hardcover, audio

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Lydia Goetz is the owner of A Good Yarn. Her shop is a popular one on Blossom Street. Lauren and Bethanne are just a couple of the customers who come in to purchase the yarn for the baby blanket in the window. Lauren's younger sister has excitedly announced that she's pregnant. Lauren is happy for her sister but also feels that her life isn't going the way she'd planned it. When she gives her long time boyfriend an ultimatum and he stands her up again, Lauren decides to cut herself free from him. Meeting a man that she thinks she has nothing in common starts to bring new hope to her heart. Will her happily ever after be on the horizon? For newlywed Bethanne, she is struggling to balance a long distance marriage and an ex-husband who wants her back. The news that she'll soon be a grandmother has her in the shop buying yarn. But will this news draw her back to her ex or will she remember that her marriage is worth fighting for? As the lives of Lauren and Bethanne intersect in the yarn shop, Lydia also realizes she's got some problems that need the care of these women. Lydia's adopted teenage daughter is having traumatic nightmares and doesn't want to talk about them. Plus who is responsible for all of the baskets of knitting projects showing up around town? Lydia seeks the answers to those questions and finds more than she thought.

For some really strange reason, I believe that this is the first Debbie Macomber novel I've read. I seriously don't know why it's taken me this long to find her, but after having read this book, I can easily see how she is so popular.

I really enjoyed this book. And while it is a part of the Blossom Street Series, it stands alone. Other characters from other books are mentioned, but what I loved about this book was the relationships. The relationships between the women and the relationships that extended into their families and work lives. My overall favorite character was Rooster, the man that Lauren happens to meet. I loved the depths to each of the main characters. I also loved how this book split perspectives from one character to another. Yet those transitions didn't allow for the reader to get lost. Instead it allowed for a rich reading experience.

I received the Kindle copy from Random House via NetGalley for free for the purpose of reviewing. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of women's fiction, Debbie Macomber, Irene Hannon, Robyn Carr, Fern Michaels

Rating - 5 Stars

Readers, if you are like me and have never picked up one of Debbie's novels, I highly recommend this one. True it is not Christian Fiction, but there was nothing in it that would be considered "questionable."

Monday, April 14, 2014

Broken Kind of Beautiful - A Review

Published - April 15, 2014, Waterbrook Press

Author - Katie Ganshert

Title - A Broken Kind of Beautiful

Format - ebook, paper

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Model Ivy Clark is willing to do whatever she can to salvage her career. She's almost twenty-five and the magazines are wanting the younger girls to be their models. When the opportunity arises to return to Greenbriar, SC to be the new face of her stepmother's bridal gown line, Ivy balks at first, but then sees it as a chance to make it the best shoot of her career. She arrives aloof and wanting to hold people at arms length. She doesn't count on her stepmother's gentle love, the enthusiasm of Sara, a childhood acquaintance, or her photographer, Davis Knight. Davis has put his cameras away ever since an accident injured his sister. He is happy and content working at the maintenance man at the church. Yet he can't resist when his aunt asks him to be the photographer for her new advertising campaign. True it puts him in close contact with a woman who longs to remain in the high paced fashion world. But as he gets to know Ivy, he sees her for who she really is. Can he show her that what she's searching for is right there in front of her? And will he be able to surrender his own desires as well?

I was thrilled to pick up this newest book by Katie Ganshert. I'd loved both of her previous ones. This one is a stand alone and not connected to her other books.

Once again, Katie has written a story that not only pulls at the heart strings, but also causes the reader to care. Ivy is broken. She knows her father never wanted her. Her mother pushed her aside. A stepmother loves her, but Ivy has too many walls built around her heart that prevent her from caring about Marilyn. The modeling world has been her life since she was 14. She dived right into the glitz, glamour, drugs, etc that are connected with that world. She doesn't understand what love really is.

 As I read what all Ivy went through, my heart ached for her. I wanted her to realize that she was beautiful. There were a couple of things that ran through my mind as I figured out Ivy. The first was that she reminded me a lot of Jenny in Forrest Gump. The second is the song "More Beautiful You" by Christian Recording Artist Jonny Diaz. Both of those things showed someone longing for something else. The YouTube music video is at the bottom of this post.

There were times when I wanted to shake Davis. He needed to learn that he's forgiven for what happened to his sister and that he didn't need to sacrifice his own calling. But it's a tough road for him. I can understand how he feels.

Overall, this book is about redemption. About finding out how God takes a broken soul and turns it into something beautiful.

I really do think that this is my favorite book of Katie's so far.

I received this book for free from Waterbrook/Multnomah's Blogging for Books program for the purpose of reviewing. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of Karen Kingsbury, women's fiction, Denise Hunter, Becky Wade

Rating - 5 stars

More Beautiful You Video 

Please rank my review.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A Vow Unbroken - A Review

Published - Howard Books, March 2014

Author - Caryl McAdoo

Format - ebook, paper

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Summary (from Amazon)
A spunky young widow hires a farmhand with a bad reputation to help her get her cotton to Jefferson to meet the wagon train, and sparks fly—but can she love a man who doesn't love the Lord?

Susannah Abbot Baylor reluctantly hires Henry Buckmeyer to help her along the Jefferson Trace, the hard stretch of land between her Texas farm and the cotton market, where she is determined to get a fair price for her crop. It’s been a rough year, and she’s in danger of losing the land her husband left to her and the children, but she’ll need help getting both of her wagons to Jefferson safely. She knows Henry’s reputation as a layabout and is prepared for his insolence, but she is not expecting his irresistible good looks or his gentle manner. Soon they are entwined in a romantic relationship that only gets more complicated when Susannah learns that Henry doesn't know God the way she does. Dangers arise on the road—but none as difficult as the trial her heart is going through.

Will Susannah and Henry’s love overcome their differences? And will she get her crop safely to the cotton market with enough money to save the farm? In this heartening and adventurous tale, a young woman’s fortitude, faith, and heart are put to the ultimate test.

This is the first book I've ever read by this author. To be perfectly honest, I really failed to connect with the characters. I found the narrative to be long and descriptive, and when I was at 30% finished (I had a Kindle copy), I was feeling that I should have been a lot further along. I ended up skimming the rest of the book to find out what happened, but I wasn't invested in the story. This is one of those books that I could have put down and not returned to.

I liked the premise of the book - a young widow needs to get her cotton crop to the market and enlists the help of a neighbor man. Yet, I really found it to be slow moving. I didn't need to know EVERY little detail on the journey. I really didn't.

I also didn't see what it was about the heroine that made the hero love her. To me, she was a rather flat character. On the other hand, the hero, Henry, was very well developed. I enjoyed the various layers and depths to him. Sure, he was a little rough around the edges, but I did find him to be very kind and caring.

I've recently read an article by one of my favorite authors where she explains seven different things that can stop her from finishing reading a novel.  As I read her article, I really felt that she was describing my feelings regarding this book perfectly! I found myself not caring about the characters,  and I thought it was too slow moving to name a couple of things.

I may give the author another try. But truthfully, I'm not sure.

Still, I know others may enjoy this book, even though I didn't particularly care for it. Please don't just take my opinion on it. There are several really positive reviews on Amazon.

I received a Kindle version of this book for free from Howard Books via NetGalley for the purpose of reviewing. I was not required to like the book or give a positive review. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of historical fiction, wagon trains

Rating - 2 stars - I really couldn't care about the characters