About Me

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Mysteries, polka dots, California Rolls, TJ Maxx, cozy blankets, rainy days and getting the first spoonful of peanut butter out of the jar make me smile. Spiders, rude people, cold fingers and toes, baby leashes, people that don't wrap their packages before going to the Post Office, poison ivy and Math (pretty much all of it) make me want to scream. My perfect day would be spent with my wonderful husband and sweet girls- watching movies in our jammies! Of course, having the movie theater to ourselves would be great, too. Please pass the popcorn and M&M's.:) I am saved by the grace of God. He is my constant companion and hears my every prayer. What a blessing! I'd love to hear from you! Lori at toosillysisters@cox.net

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Sisterchicks On the Loose by Robin Jones Gunn

My Thoughts:

The Sisterchicks series, by Robin Jones Gunn, has everything I love in a book.  Laughter, adventure, and friendship along with characters I can truly identify with.  You know, moms that are imperfectly refreshing!  They love their families but long for a bit of adventure.  They also love the Lord and He shines through their words and actions- even when things don't go exactly as planned.  Every story reads like a warm hug, complete with lots of giggles and a few tears.  Friends, Robin Jones Gunn knows what she's doing.  I've read three of the Sisterchicks books- Sisterchicks in Gondolas, Sisterchicks do the Hula and now Sisterchicks on the Loose.  They just keep getting better and better…

Sisterchicks On the Loose follows Sharon and her best friend, Penny Lane, as they travel to Finland and England.  Sharon is quite reserved and afraid to go while Penny is an absolute free spirit- "crazy like a daisy"!  My heart ached for Sharon as I'm SO much like her!  Penny is searching for the aunt whom she's never met and Sharon agrees to come along.  (Sisterchicks do courageous things like this for each other.)  And so the adventure begins!  Along the way,  luggage is lost (in China!), there's a crazy escapade involving a sauna and a night under the stars, and later the ladies meet Miss Molly, the attacking chicken!  Through it all, the friends share heart to heart confessions, encounter the nicest people, and allow God to guide them.  From the beginning, I knew I wanted to be a sisterchick.  I bet you will, too.

About This Book

Sharon has lived calmly in Chinook Springs, Washington, her entire life. All that changes when her best friend of twenty years, Penny, takes an impulsive trip to seek out her only living relatives in Finland -- and brings Sharon with her. The land of reindeer and saunas holds infinite varieties of zaniness for these two unlikely friends -- Sharon is a quiet mother of four and Penny was a motorcycle mama before she came to Christ -- who return home with a new view of God, a new zest for life, and a big impact on those around them for decades to come.

Get set for adventure as the sisterchicks drive, float, or fly off to faraway places—exploring new territory and delighting in the soul ties that forever bind their hearts.

Sisterchick n.: a friend who shares the deepest wonders of your heart, loves you like a sister, and provides a reality check when you’re being a brat.

Meet unlikely best friends Sharon, quiet mother of four, and Penny, former flower child/motorcycle mama. Connected as young moms, their twenty-year friendship is about to take a surprising leap! Penny hatches plans for a “post-kids” trip to seek out her only living relatives—somewhere in far-off Finland.

Oh, Penny Girl, what have you done? 

The land of reindeer, Finnish saunas, and starry, starry nights holds infinite promise for the free-flying sisterchicks, who feel their hearts fill with a new zest for living…and a fresh view of the One who flung the galaxies across the heavens!

Robin Jones Gunn

Robin Jones Gunn
Robin Jones Gunn, bestselling author of the much-loved Christy Miller Series and co-author of Praying for Your Future Husband, has had more than 4.5 million copies of her books sold worldwide. Her frequent speaking engagements have taken her around the globe. Robin and her husband live in Hawaii and have a grown son and daughter.

*I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest opinion.  No other compensation was received.*

Friday, December 27, 2013

The Scent of Fear Blog Tour

First came The Moses Conspiracy, now comes..... The Scent of Fear.

The Zimmermans enjoy the tenuous peace in the wake of their hair-raising year battling the New Patriots. Unexpected visitors once again throw them into turmoil.

Jim Kenneman, Director of National Security, masterminded the plan to break up a hate group ravaging the Christian community. Now, his enemies are out to eliminate him. Should he make a run for it or stick by his tried-and-true negotiating skills?

Monty Addison, a topnotch operative, carried out his assignment in Bird-in-Hand. A plot to destroy his boss sends him on a mission. Without agency sanction, it may cost him everything - his career, his family, and maybe his life.

Dr. Abby Weaver strives to save infants and toddlers in Holmes County, Ohio. When she meets two strangers, she can't get the tall, handsome one out of her mind. Will their paths intersect again or will dangerous times keep them apart?

The Scent of Fear is available at:
susan j. reinhardtAbout the Author
Susan J. Reinhardt’s publishing credits include her debut novel, The Moses Conspiracy, as well as devotionals, short articles, and contributions to anthologies. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.
A widow, daughter, stepmom, and active church member, Susan resides in Pennsylvania. When not writing, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, couponing, gardening, and finding small treasures in antique shops.
You can connect with Susan at her Blog, on Twitter, and Facebook.
the scent of fear blog button
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code. Winning entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter and announced here as well as e-mailed, and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Diane at http://dianeestrella.com/">That’s What I’m Here For…

Monday, December 16, 2013

Tempest's Course by Lynette Sowell

My Thoughts:

A hidden diary, an antique Mariner's Compass quilt, and an elderly gentleman with a mysterious agenda.  Tempest's Course is like an ancient treasure chest.  It opens slowly, teasing readers with a glimpse of what's to come.  Kelly Frost has been hired to restore an antique quilt at Gray House, an old whaling captain's home.  Well, mansion is more like it.  While living alone in Gray House she discovers Mary Gray's diary, over 100 years old.  The words written inside are fascinating but also quite tragic...

Tempest's Course, written by Lynette Sowell, is a pleasing historical romance where not all is as it seems.  My favorite character was 102 year old Jonas Plummer.  Hard headed, crusty Jonas Plummer was a delightfully crafted curmudgeon.  He gave life and incredible purpose to the book.  Have a look...

   "Best not to talk about it now, not with the reporter here,"  Mr. Plummer tightened his trip on the rolling walker and continued his shuffle.  "One thing I've learned, you don't have to share everything you know. Not until the right time, anyway."
   "I see." She moved ahead of him to open the pocket door to the ballroom a little wider.
   "Are you sure you see?  I'll share this with you."  He glanced toward Megan, who was typing on her phone, then back at Kelly.  "Come closer."
   She took a step so the rolling walker was the only thing between her and the elderly man, then leaned her head toward his.
   "I know your secret, too," he whispered.

Bravo, Lynette Sowell!  I also enjoyed Mary Gray and Kelly Frost's story lines but felt that they could've been developed a bit more.  In addition, the relationship between Kelly and Tom Pereira was a bit "cheesy" at times...  

"I've wanted to do that for a long time," he said.
"I'm glad you did." He worked out, and she could tell. 


...but the ending of Tempest's Course was delightful- and that's all I'm going to say about that.  No spoilers here.;)

About the book: Kelly Frost, a textiles conservator, is invited to the Massachusetts coastal town of New Bedford to restore a 150-year-old Mariner's Compass quilt, with one stipulation: she must live and work in Gray House where the quilt is stored. Tom Silva, whose heart seems as hard as the rocky coastline, is the caretaker employed by the mysterious absent owner of Gray House.

Over the long-lit months as Kelly works to restore the quilt, she is drawn out of her self-imposed shell and embraces the family God has given her after her own family failed her. As Kelly reads stories in a journal penned by Mary Gray, she learns there is no transgression beyond God's forgiveness, but the real obstacle is forgiving herself. During her and Tom's journey to grace and love, an unknown force works to keep both of them from discovering a long-buried truth that will change their lives forever.

About the author: Lynette Sowell is the award-winning author of five novels and six novellas for Barbour Publishing with sales topping 250,000. In 2009, Lynette was voted one of the favorite new authors by Heartsong Presents book club readers. Her historical romance, All That Glitters, was a finalist in ACFW's 2010 Carol Awards. 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 on the doorstep of the Texas hill country with her husband and a herd of cats who have them well-trained.

Learn more at: http://www.quiltsoflovebooks.com

Lynette Sowell's Tempest's Course is the newest book in the Quilts of Love line, and Lynette is celebrating with a fun giveaway and joining Vannetta Chapman and Lisa Carter for the Quilts of Love "Christmas Bee" Facebook Party on December 10th!


 One winner will receive:

  • A Kindle Fire HDX

  • Tempest's Course by Lynette Sowell

  • The Christmas Quilt by Vannetta Chapman

  • Aloha Rose by Lisa Carter

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on December 16th. Winner will be announced on the Quilts of Love Facebook page on December 17th.
But wait! There's more. RSVP for the "Christmas Bee" Facebook Party on December 10th and connect with the authors from the Quilts of Love series, Vannetta Chapman, Lisa Carter, and Lynette Sowell, for an evening of book chat, quilt trivia, and Christmas traditions and gifts, PLUS get an exclusive look at January's Quilts of Love book!

So grab your copies of The Christmas QuiltAloha Rose, and Tempest's Course and join Vannetta, Lisa, and Lynette on the evening of December 10th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the books, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by clicking JOIN at the event page. Spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway and party via FACEBOOK or TWITTER. Hope to see you on December 10th!

*I received a copy of this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest opinion.  No other compensation was given to me.*

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Blame it on the Mistletoe by Joyce Magnin

My Thoughts:

Blame it on the Mistletoe is a fun read filled with senior citizens not acting their age, a zany Hawaiian themed Thanksgiving, a mysterious gentleman who creates magical Christmas water, a love triangle, Don Quixote and the Fountain of Youth.  90 year olds ride tricycles, Rose Tattoo lives up to her name and the retirement home residents are accused of drug use?  Yes, it's all in there!  It's a one of a kind mystery, perfect for those who need a break and a few giggles this holiday season.  My favorite characters was Griselda.  She's the glue that holds Bright's Pond together.  Not only does she care for her 700 pound sister, Agnes, she also operates the town's library, and is always available to help a friend as well as solve a mystery.  I was curious to see if she was going to marry her long time boyfriend, Zeb, or if pilot Cliff Cardwell had stolen her heart?  You just never know what's going to happen in Bright's Pond and that's exactly while you'll enjoy each and every page of this quirky slice of life.

Read and excerpt of the book here!

Is There Really a Fountain of Youth in Paradise?

Welcome back to Bright's Pond, where strange happenings are afoot at the Greenbrier Nursing Home.  Strange even for Bright's Pond.  The residents suddenly act like kids again riding trikes, climbing trees, and of all things falling in love.  Some of the townsfolk blame it on the crooked new gazebo, or its builder, a quirky little man who quotes Don Quixote, collects water from the fountain at the Paradise trailer park, and disappears on a regular basis.

While Chief of Police Mildred Blessing investigates the mystery, Griselda and her friends deal with a luau Thanksgiving, preparations for the Christmas pageant, and maybe even an upcoming wedding.  Only, in Bright's Pond, nothing ever really goes as planned…

*Abingdon Fiction gave me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.  No other compensation was received.*

Friday, December 6, 2013

A Marriage in Middlebury by Anita Higman

My Thoughts:

 A Marriage in Middlebury utterly and completely captured my heart.  I'm a quick reader and yet I found myself intentionally slowing down just so I could make the story last longer!  Charlotte Rose Hill is charming, kind and lovely with her quaint tea shop and friends flocking all around her.  Yet, Charlotte's heart has been aching for over a decade since she turned down Sam Wilder's proposal of marriage.  Now, Sam is back but he's brought his fiancee with him…

A Marriage in Middlebury is so wonderfully written that I could almost see and hear the characters.  Oh, I loved them all! Here are some of my favorites:

  1) Charlotte- She has an endless supply of love, patience and wisdom.  She also has the gift of making every one she meets feel special. I adored her.
2)  Sam- Kind, faithful and so very confused!  Does he still love Charlotte?  But what about his fiancee, Audrey??  He makes it his mission to assist those in need and right past wrongs.  I loved him, too. 
3) Nelly, Sam's cook- She reminded me a bit of Minnie (The Help).  A woman of many talents and so very clever.  She had a few choice words for Mr. LaGrange, the atheist, over dinner!  She speaks her mind and you'll love every word!
4) Justin Yule- He's an enigma of the best kind.  Full of wisdom, yet he appears to be the town bum?  It was a pleasure getting to know him and uncovering his secrets.  
5) Obie- A 9 year old boy with so much sadness.  He adores Charlotte, though.  She was a light in the darkness for this precious child. 

I saw glimpses of The Help, Andy Griffith Show, and Steel Magnolias in A Marriage in Middlebury.  Of course, the book has a delightful flavor all it's own.  I wish this town and these people truly existed as I'd be happy to be a part of their world.  Grab a copy of the book and you'll see what I mean.

About the book: One decision changed both their lives . . . but will love win in the end? Charlotte Rose Hill enjoys a comfortable life serving up country delicacies, uniquely blended teas, and matchmaking advice for her quirky, devoted customers. The only thing lacking is someone to share it with. At eighteen she denied Sam Wilder's marriage proposal after his family convinced her to walk away from their relationship. They both moved on . . . or so she thought. When Sam walks back into her life more than a decade later, Charlotte is surprised that her heart still quickens. But is it because of his presence? Or because of the presence of Sam's new fiancée? A second chance at love doesn't happen often, but their past may keep them apart. Is it too late for Sam and Charlotte?

Meet the author: Best-selling and award-winning author, Anita Higman, has over thirty books published (several coauthored) for adults and children. She's been a Barnes & Noble "Author of the Month" for Houston and has a BA degree, combining speech communication, psychology, and art. Anita loves good movies, exotic teas, and brunch with her friends.

Connect with Anita at: http://anitahigman.com

Anita Higman is celebrating the release of her latest book, A Marriage in Middlebury, with a double Kindle Fire giveaway (one for you & one to give away!) and a "Tea for Two" Facebook Author Chat Party on December 12th.


One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire for you AND a friend

  • A Marriage in Middlebury by Anita Higman (one to keep and one to give away!)

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on December 12th. Winner will be announced at the "Tea for Two" Facebook Author Chat Party on December 12th. Invite your friends and connect with Anita for an evening of book chat, prizes, and an exclusive look at Anita's next book!

So grab your copy of A Marriage in Middlebury and join Anita on the evening of December 12th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by clicking JOIN at the event page. Spread the word — tell your friends about the giveaway and party via FACEBOOK or TWITTER. Hope to see you on 12/12!

*I was given a copy of this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest opinion.  No other compensation was received.*

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The God Puzzle by Valerie Ackermann

My Thoughts:

I used The God Puzzle as part of my 10 year old daughter's home school curriculum.  There are 36 lessons and each one is broken into manageable parts:

-Get the Facts
-Read It
-Talk About It
-Talk to God About It

The lessons also include fill in the blanks, crosswords, drawing, matching, etc. to add a bit of fun!  My daughter, 10, did most of the work independently and then we discussed the "Talk About It" section together with her big sister (age 15).  As a mom, I appreciated the ease of the lessons as well as how they engaged my child.  At one point, my daughter asked if we could do The God Puzzle activities every day!

About the book: The God Puzzle is a colorful, easy to use tool to help you communicate to your child the rich truths about God, His ways, His will and His love. The God Puzzle will help you address doctrinal themes of the Christian faith in a kid friendly way, present Bible lessons in an interactive way  will hold the child's attention and deliver quality teaching with no preparation needed. 75% of children leave the church when they leave home. Something isn't working. Sunday School isn't doing it all. Kids need answers, good ones. And they need them from you, the parent. This book enables you to give them simple, clear answers.

What makes The God Puzzle unique?

- ready made discussion questions for parent to ask their child in each lesson

- can be done at any pace that works with your 
family . . . every night, once a week, 10 minutes here, 30 minutes there . . . it fits into realistic family life

- puts the pieces together for a child to understand God, the Bible, and the Christian faith

- in each lesson the responds to the truth so they understand their relationship to God is personal and life transforming

- any parent, whether they know nothing, or a lot about God can start teaching their child today with no prep

- deep theology put into language a child can understand

- deeply Biblical, each lesson points to Christ

- put in an order that starts with creation, and teaches the Bible as one story that all points to Christ

- child stays engaged by filling in blanks, crosswords, drawing, matching and using their Bibles as they learn

About the Author: Valerie Ackermann has a BA in Theology and has been a full time Children's Ministry Director at Parkwood Community Church in California for over 10 years. She is also a weekly Sunday school teacher, wife, and busy mom of two boys ages 9 and 11. She has hands-on experience as a children's ministry professional, teaching and leading children of all ages. Growing up in a Christian family in the small town of Saskatchewan Canada, she has wonderful memories of knowing God from an early age. She has a passion for kids to know the deep truths of God. 

Find out more at LeadMeToGod.com.

*Litfuse gave me this book in exchange for my honest opinion.  No other compensation was received.*

Monday, December 2, 2013

Stones for Bread by Christa Parrish- A journey to find God, survive loss and craft bread

My Thoughts:

Stones for Bread is an up close and personal encounter with a shattered little girl- who has grown up to be a driven, but troubled, woman.  Liesl McNamara longs to understand God, forgive her mother (who struggled with depression), love herself as well as create masterful bread.  She's succeeding in the bread department as it's the one thing she truly has control over.   Flashbacks woven through the story reveal Liesl's past- both the joy and the tragedy.  

The characters in Stones for Bread are quirky, full of personality and oh so easy to love.  Through their eyes I grew to love Liesl, despite her reluctance to become attached to people.  (We learn why she's this way as the story unfolds and we ache for her.)  Seamus, the delivery man, and his daughter Cecelia are like shining stars in a dark night- patiently waiting to guide Liesl.  Precious.  The relationship between Xavier, the head baker, and his grandson Jude is beautiful, pure and simple.  Tee, the brash cook, is delightfully rough around the edges.  Under her crusty exterior is a person looking out for the wounded- a secret hero.  

Stones for Bread is filled with memories, family secrets, a cooking show adventure, tragedies and victories.  There's also love, forgiveness, kindness and bread recipes!  A wonderful book to snuggle up with (and cook with!) over the holidays.

About the book: A solitary artisan. A legacy of bread-baking. And one secret that could collapse her entire identity.

Liesl McNamara's life can be described in one word: bread. From her earliest memory, her mother and grandmother passed down the mystery of baking and the importance of this deceptively simple food. And now, as the owner of Wild Rise bake house, Liesl spends every day up to her elbows in dough, nourishing and perfecting her craft.

But the simple life she has cultivated is becoming quite complicated. Her head baker brings his troubled grandson into the bakeshop as an apprentice. Her waitress submits her recipes to a popular cable cooking show. And the man who delivers her flour --- a single father with strange culinary habits --- seems determined to win Liesl's affection.

When Wild Rise is featured on television, her quiet existence appears a thing of the past. And then a phone call from a woman claiming to be her half-sister forces Liesl to confront long-hidden secrets in her family's past. With her precious heritage crumbling around her, the baker must make a choice: allow herself to be buried in detachment and remorse, or take a leap of faith into a new life.

Meet the author: Christa Parrish is the award-winning author of three novels, including the 2009 ECPA Fiction Book of the Year Watch Over Me. When she's not writing, she's a homeschool mother of three wonderful children. Married to author and pastor Chris Coppernoll, Christa serves with him as co-leader of their church's youth ministry as well as serving as a facilitator for a divorce recovery ministry. She is now also slightly obsessed with the art of baking bread.

Learn more about Christa at: http://christaparrish.com

Christa Parrish is celebrating her fourth novel, Stones for Breadwith a KitchenAid Mixer giveaway.

#StonesforBread KitchenAid Mixer Contest #ChristaParrish http://bit.ly/1aBTNz9

Easy steps to enter:
1. Follow Christa Parrish and TNZ Fiction on Pinterest.

2. Then Pin the Stones for Bread book cover (below), the contest graphic (above), or both, and link to this post (using this URL: #StonesforBread KitchenAid Mixer Contest #ChristaParrish http://litfusegroup.com/campaigns/stones-for-bread-by-christa-parrish).

3. Then fill out THIS SHORT FORM to let us know. (There are also some additional ways to earn extra entries, as well as an option for non-Pinterest users. It's true—people like that do exist!)

Questions? Email info @ litfusegroup dot com.

Winner will be announced on 12/9 on Christa's Facebook Page.

*I was given a copy of this book by Litfuse in exchange for my honest opinion.  No other compensation was received.*

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Creating a Beautiful Little Christmas by Teri Ahlm- Lovely Inspiration!

My Thoughts:

Christmas.  I look forward to it all year and yet dread it at the same time.  The shopping, the endless To Do lists, the family gatherings, the STRESS.  Sometimes I just want to crawl into a hole and sleep until it's all over.  But, thanks to Teri Ahlm I'm going to be much more intentional and less frantic this year because I've got a secret weapon.  This little book.

Creating a Beautiful Little Christmas is a lovely e-book filled with simple, easy and fabulous ideas to make Christmas fun again.  Teri Ahlm is my hero!  She explains how...

…it is possible to create a beautiful little Christmas.

I enjoyed and appreciated each and every page of this book.  I'd like to tell you about a few sections that were really insightful to me as I have a feeling they may be a help to you, too.:)  

#1-Family gatherings.  Yes, family is wonderful.  But, family gatherings aren't always easy.  For example, how do you enjoy family time after a divorce?  How do you handle Christmas after the loss of a loved one?  What do you do when you are spending the holidays alone?  Teri Ahlm highlights these issues and deals with them in a caring and inspiring way.  

#2- Taking Care of Yourself during the Holidays.  Did you ever even consider this??  I don't think this is even on my To Do list and yet it's the most important of all things.  Yes, it is.  The author tells you how to pamper yourself, because you. are. worth. it.  If you're taken care of, you'll be better equipped to take care of others.  Her Comfort Kit idea is genius.  We all need one!

There are delicious recipes and even special diet solutions!  Gluten free and dairy free guests coming to your house?  NO worries.  I can't wait to try the Slow Cooker Hot Artichoke Spinach Dip!

Need gift ideas?  They're all here.  Ever heard of the the 4 gift plan?  Something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read. Using it this year.  Love, love, love.   

Decorating Tips galore!  And many without spending money at all.  Shop around your house!  For example, move furniture away from the walls to create an intimate conversation area.  And how about pinecones, nuts and berries for decorating your mantle?  Pretty and found right outside your door.  The key is to keep things simple.

There is also a section on Creating New Traditions.  I know my husband would enjoy a marathon of Breaking Bad and I think a Scavenger Hunt would be a blast!  Perhaps this will be the year.

Creating a Beautiful Little Christmas is just what you need to get through (and enjoy!) the holidays.  With a smile and a master plan.:)

*I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.  No other compensation was received.*

Sunday, November 24, 2013

My Paris Connection by Anna Alden-Tirrill- A Homeschool Moms Dream!

My Thoughts:

Homeschooling, art thieves, danger and true friendship all take place in My Paris Connection!  It's a mystery/adventure involving Annie, a 13 year old, living in Paris with her parents.  While touring Le Louvre museum, she accidentally sees something she's not supposed to and her life is plunged into danger!  Throughout the whole story, Annie and her family trust in the Lord for his guidance and protection.

My Paris Connection isn't just a story, it's also a quick tour of Paris, a mini course on the French language as well as a Bible study.  It's a homeschool moms dream!  I enjoyed the mystery and the relationship that Annie had with her parents.  At the beginning we find out that Annie, a polite and thoughtful young lady, is adopted and feels quite special as her parents "chose" her.  I loved this.  I also appreciated the educational aspect of the book- the tour of Paris and the introduction of French words.  There are pictures on every page so the story is engaging even for younger children that aren't quite reading yet.  The art thieves are intimidating and cunning which kept my daughter and I engaged.  We wanted to know what was going to happen to Annie!  What made the book shine is the faith that Annie and her parents have in God.  The Bible is quoted often, "Lord, You've promised to keep us in perfect peace when we trust in You" (Isaiah 26:3) and God reigns supreme!  But what happens when an on-line friend is not who they pretend to be?  The game of cat and mouse kept me guessing!  You'll have to read this book to see what happens after Annie gets kidnapped!

My Paris Connection is one in a series of five books.  It's similar to the American Girl series except Annie is homeschooled (my 10 year loved this!) and the stories are focused around God.  The pictures aren't the best quality but it didn't distract us from the story line which was enjoyable and exciting.  I'd recommend the books for ages 7-12.  They would make a wonderful Christmas gift!

*I was given this book from White Cottage Publishing in exchange for my honest opinion.  No other compensation was received.*

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Christmas Quilt by Vannetta Chapman

My Thoughts:

The Christmas Quilt offers a glimpse into the lives of two Amish couples.  Leah and Adam are expecting their first children- twins- and life has become quite stressful as they prepare for their arrival.  Annie, Adam's sister, and Samuel, on the other hand, have a close relationship and are praying for Leah and Adam.  They sense that something is wrong but they don't want to intrude.  

My favorite characters were Annie and Samuel.  They are important members of this Amish community, offering care to those in need, whether it's assistance with a heart attack or tending to a woman in labor.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading how Annie and Samuel worked together- in their marriage as well as when they helped others.  Their easygoing nature and love of the Lord made them engaging as well as inspiring.

On the other hand, I had a much more difficult time warming up to Leah and Adam.  I had a really hard time with this:

Adam's jaw clenched and he snapped the reins, signaling to their pretty black gelding to continue down the lane. "Ya. We'll be staying and you'll act like a happy fraa, whether you feel like it or not."

To be fair, this was at the beginning of the book, but I almost didn't want to read any more after that statement!  It was way too harsh for my taste.

Adam and Leah are experiencing marital stress- like all couples do at some point- and a lack of communication on top of that.  Not a good combination.  Adam, in particular, goes through a dramatic transformation throughout the book which makes for a satisfying ending.  Those that enjoy Amish fiction will be pleased.

About the book: Annie's life is deliciously full as the Christmas season approaches. She helps her husband, Samuel, attend to the community's minor medical needs. She occasionally assists Belinda, the local midwife, and most days, she finds herself delivering the buggy to her brother Adam. Annie's sister-in-law Leah is due to deliver their first child before Christmas morning, and Annie is determined to finish a crib quilt before the boppli arrives. With six weeks to go, she should have no problem . . . but God may have a different plan. Leah is rushed to the English hospital when the infant arrives early, and Annie discovers the Christmas quilt may hold a far greater significance than she ever imagined.

Meet the author: Vannetta Chapman has published over one hundred articles in Christian family magazines, receiving over two dozen awards from Romance Writers of America chapter groups. She discovered her love for the Amish while researching her grandfather's birthplace in Albion, Pennsylvania. Chapman lives in the Texas hill country with her husband.

Find out more at: http://www.quiltsoflovebooks.com

In honor of their new Quilts of Love releases, The Christmas Quilt and Aloha Rose, authors Vannetta Chapman and Lisa Carter are gearing up to ring in the Christmas season with a Kindle Fire HDX giveaway and a "Christmas Bee" Facebook Party on December 10th with fellow Quilts of Love author Lynette Sowell!


One winner will receive:

  • A Kindle Fire HDX

  • The Christmas Quilt by Vannetta Chapman

  • Aloha Rose by Lisa Carter

  • Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 30th. Winner will be announced at the "Christmas Bee" Facebook Party on December 10th. Connect with the authors from the Quilts of Love series, Vannetta Chapman, Lisa Carter, and Lynette Sowell, for an evening of book chat, quilt trivia, Christmas traditions and gifts, PLUS get an exclusive look at January's Quilts of Love book!

    So grab your copies of The Christmas Quilt and Aloha Rose and join Vannetta, Lisa, and Lynette on the evening of December 10th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the books, don't let that stop you from coming!)

    Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by clicking JOIN at the event page. Spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway and party via FACEBOOK or TWITTER. Hope to see you on December 10th!

    *I was given a copy of this book by Litfuse in exchange for my honest opinion.  No other compensation was received.*

    Tuesday, November 19, 2013

    big 11.

    big 11.
    a night to remember!

    props were created.

    happy birthday, boo!

    daddy acted as chauffeur.
    and butler.
    and chef.
    and all around awesome guy.;)

    the rooms were booked.
    embassy suites rocks!

    the door was decorated.

    room was stocked.
    had to fill those 14 hours!

    balloons functioned as place cards.

    loved the polka dots!

    once the girls arrived we headed for the pool!

    such sweethearts.


    picnic with chik fil a nuggets & fruit. (did you know their fruit tray comes with caramel sauce?  yum.)
    daddy went to taco bell for our little vegetarian friend and also bought gluten free nuggets for our celiac friend.  (thanks, sweetie.)

    i hated how my phone pics were all yellow.  so i tried it with the flash.

    there.  much better.
    i think i saw eyes like this in a horror movie once.

    but seriously, it was such a fun evening!

    one of my favorite group shots.

    bathing beauties.

    my favorite moment captured.
    this picture says it all.:)

    remember those props?
    time to put them to good use!

    it's all about the photo bomb these days...

    katie did an amazing job with the masks.
    glitter and feathers are every girl's dream!

    yep, they played headbandz, too.

    i shut down the show at 3 am.
    didn't want the girls to miss the amazing breakfast in the morning!

    i highly recommend slumber parties at the embassy suites.
    my advice:
    -reserve adjoining rooms early
    -attend the manager's reception (free fun snacks and drinks) 5:30-7:30
    -request empty rooms on either side of you- just in case
    -request extra towels to be brought to room (you'll need them)
    -arrive early to decorate rooms and relax
    -have fun!