About Me

My photo
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

Monday, July 27, 2015

Centralia- Heart-pounding thriller!

My Thoughts:

Centralia, by Mike Dell Osso, is a heart-pounding thriller about a man, Peter Ryan, who awakens one morning unable to find his wife and daughter. He's alone in the house. After a phone call to a friend Peter discovers they've been killed in an accident- or have they? A hidden note left by his young daughter leads him to believe otherwise. To add to the confusion, armed men invade his home and all the while memories that don't make sense are attacking his mind. And you thought Monday mornings were bad! 

The premise of Centralia is quite intriguing. Peter Ryan is a combination of Liam Niasom in Taken and Harrison Ford in The Fugitive. Clever, capable and obviously trained in defense. Where does this knowledge and ability come from? That remains to be discovered. The story is both a quest to find Peter Ryan's wife and daughter (Are they still alive?) as well as a manhunt to track down Peter Ryan- but who wants to find him and why?? 

Centralia is an exciting story that hooked me from the first page. I love a good mystery and the pieces of the puzzle that make up this adventure don't fall into place easily. Mike Del Osso slowly teases us along while maintaining a fast paced ride. Dream sequences and obscure memories were a bit excessive but all in all a thrilling adrenalin rush!

Peter Ryan wakes up on a typical morning only to find his house empty, his wife and daughter nowhere to be found. His world is shattered after a phone call to a friend confirms the impossible: his wife and daughter died in a car accident he does not remember. Haunted by faint memories and flashes of details, Peter becomes convinced that something isn’t right and begins to question reality. When he discovers a note in his daughter’s handwriting, strange memories begin to surface that cause him to second-guess nearly everything he once believed. Suddenly armed men show up at Peter’s home, turning the mysterious puzzle of his past into a dangerous game of cat and mouse. On the run and unsure whom to trust, Peter has to discover what’s real and what isn’t . . . before he loses everything. - See more at: http://www.tyndale.com/Centralia/9781414390420#.VbZZlFyxoso

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

Monday, July 13, 2015

Passport to Purity- A Wonderful Weekend to Remember!

P2P- Passport to Purity is a guiding light for parents. A fantastic tool that can be used with your preteen son or daughter (9-12 is the perfect age) on a fun weekend getaway. (It may also be done at home over 4-5 weeks.) I was beyond thrilled when given the opportunity to enjoy this program with my 12 year old daughter. Everything is laid out for you in the parent's guide- a checklist, activities, questions and more. The CD's do all the talking and all I needed to do was plan our getaway and be ready for when/if my daughter wanted to chat. It's entertaining, engaging, humorous at times and every lesson gets straight to the truth. 

(Below are the activity bags with materials we used for our lessons. They were a lot of fun and the message was illustrated through puzzles, play dough, balloons and more.)

My daughter and I love to shop so I knew a weekend girls' shopping excursion would be perfect for us. I booked a hotel room and we headed out of town! As we drove, we listened to the first CD and  the scheduled activity (a challenge!) was attempted during lunch. My daughter was a bit hesitant at the beginning of our trip (thought it was going to be a lot of boring lectures), but as soon as I pulled out the puzzles she was intrigued. Game on!

Between sessions we shopped, talked, and laughed. The evening plans were dinner at one of our favorite restaurants. I had just as much fun as she did- and we both learned a lot from the Passport to Purity Program. "Running with the Herd"is a term that is repeated frequently in the sessions. Basically, the herd is "your children's friends" and good or bad they have a HUGE influence over them. You can allow your child's friends to dictate the choices they make (peer pressure) OR you, as the parent, can guide your child in their choices. Most of us have regrets from our teen years but history doesn't need to repeat itself. Not at all.

Dennis and Barbara Rainey have entertaining stories and great lessons in this program. Not only that, they have years of experience with teens. They know what they're talking about, which is fabulous, because I need to be guided through the teen years! If you feel that you need a helping hand in this area, too, I highly recommend doing this program with your preteen. Ot even your teen! It's an enjoyable time that neither of you will ever forget. 

I told my daughter many times that weekend how much she meant to me and how special she was. She probably got sick a little sick of hearing it! P2P recommends giving your child a gift on the evening of your special dinner. (It's not necessary but a sweet ending to your weekend.) My husband and I gave our daughter a lovely ring so that could always remember how much she means to us.

Passport to Purity is something every parent should enjoy with their child. It's easy to use and entertaining, and will give you a plan for the future. Will your children's friends guide them or will you? Be the light in their life as well as their cheerleader, greatest fan and protector. It will effect the rest of their lives in the most wonderful way!

*Right now they are offering 25% off the getaway kit when you use the promo code PASSPORT on their website.  This promo code is good through 8/31/15.*

About the getaway kit:
(1) Tour Guide for the parent, (1) Travel Journal for the preteen including 25 follow-up devotions, and (8) CDs containing 5 sessions, scripture memory songs and downloadable MP3s:  Session 1: Beginning the Journey - Challenges, Traps, and Choices; Session 2: Running With The Herd - Friendships and Peer Pressure; Session 3: Ready For An Upgrade? - Changes in Him, Changes in Her; Session 4: Destination: L├ę Pure - Setting Boundaries; Session 5: Crossing The Date Line - Seeing Dating Differently

Your child begins the journey into adolescence in a world of sexting, bullying, online stalking and moral defiance.  Innocence is under attack, and you cannot win the battle with a single awkward talk or a strict set of rules.  The primary defense for your child is a strong relationship with you and with God.  FamilyLife developed Passport2Purity (P2P) to assist you in building heart-to-heart communication with your preteen while laying a foundation of purity that will prepare him or her for the turbulent years ahead.  Through the shared listening experience, object lessons and guided conversations of a P2P weekend getaway, you can set your son or daughter on a journey of moral integrity - and strengthen the bond between you.  It is designed to be used by a mother and daughter or a father and son when the child is a preteen.  It is suggested that the materials be completed over a weekend away from home, as the child may be more open to discussing the topics away from his or her normal environment.  If this isn't possible, the material can be completed over a period of four or five weeks.

Twitter: @FamilyLifeToday @DennisRainey @BarbaraRainey 

*I was given the Passport to Purity program from FlyBy Promotions in exchange for my honest opinion. No other compensation was received.*

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Picture Perfect Love by Melissa McClone

My Thoughts:

Picture Perfect Love, written by Melissa McClone is a Year of Weddings novella (short version of a novel).  It's the story of Jenna Harrison and Ashton Vance, who planned on getting married until an unfortunate deception caused them to go their separate ways. Two years later they meet again. The attraction is still there but there's no guarantee that trust will be making an appearance...

Perhaps I'm not a fan of novellas, but this book felt rushed and shallow to me. I didn't care for Jenna or Ashton. Ashton offers to pay for wedding expenses that Jenna had to pay (due to his ignorance- or was it self-centeredness?) and then wants to hire her for his sister's wedding. Jenna turns him down (after all, he broke her heart!). Later he shows up with a "rescued" puppy from a photo shoot. What a hero. It was just too easy. 

I appreciated the story's message that God has a plan and His timing is always right. I adore love stories with second chances. I thought it was charming that the author named her hero (Ashton) after a member in her daughter's favorite boy band. (5 Seconds of Summer?) I just couldn't love this book. It's a sweet story but not one that I'd recommend to my friends.

About the book:
Picture Perfect Love (Zondervan, May 2015)

When image becomes everything, it's up to love to refocus the heart.

Photographer Jenna Harrison wants every bride and groom to look picture perfect on their special day, putting her heart into every wedding to give the couple memorable images of their love. But her own heart is still broken, the unworn wedding dress hanging in her closet a reminder that relationships aren't always as perfect as they look through her camera lens. But Jenna has faith that she will find true love. Until then, she must be patient and trust in God's plan and His perfect timing.

Attorney Ashton Vance is the one that got away. When an embarrassing Photoshopped picture of put an end to his political aspirations, he blamed Jenna. So what if the photo led to his being offered a dream job and changing his life for the better? Jenna betrayed his trust, and two years later, Ashton's heart still hasn't recovered.

It was me. His younger sister's three words turn Ashton's world upside down. He must ask Jenna's forgiveness, but can he risk his heart a second time? Even if Jenna can forgive him, dare he hope for a second chance at her love?

Purchase a copy: 
About the author:
Melissa McClone has published more than thirty novels with Harlequin and Tule Publishing Group. She has also been nominated for Romance Writers of America's RITA® award. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three school-aged children, two spoiled Norwegian Elkhounds and cats who think they rule the house.

Find Melissa online: websiteTwitterFacebook

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

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Married 'til Monday by Denise Hunter- Your Summer Must Read Romance!

My Thoughts:

Married 'til Monday is absolutely wonderful. This summer's *must read* romance! A shattered marriage, two broken hearts, and life goes on. Or so it seems. Ryan McKinley (hunky name- Am I wrong?) is still in love with Abby and he intends to pursue her (swooning) until she is back in his arms again. (double swoon) Abby has begun a new life with a new career in a new town and wants Ryan to stay in her past. But a phone call from Abby's Mom changes everything. You see, Abby never told her parents that she was no longer married...

And so the story begins. A road trip in a tiny, "yellow meringue" Fiat. Just Ryan, Abby and little Boo, her dog. A little too close for comfort and an ocean of time for unspoken words. Denise Hunter has a gift for dialogue and creating tension between her characters. Her Chapel Springs series (Dancing with Fireflies, Barefoot Summer, The Wishing Season) including Married 'til Monday has been such a thrill to read as members of the McKinley family find love. But Married 'til Monday just may be my favorite. Maybe. Now that I think about it, while reading them I've had to put each one down from time to time to get my heart rate back to normal. In the words of Martha Stewart, "It's a good thing." ;)

I loved everything about this book. I adored the way Ryan pursued, flirted and at the same time protected Abby. Getting into the minds of both characters allowed the reader to understand Abby and why she is so hard hearted and tough on Ryan. Her backstory is one you won't soon forget- and you'll love her for it. I'm going to let you discover that on your own, but here's a little snippet of Married 'til Monday...

   "Life just goes on like this never happened, is that it, Abby?"
   "Yes, that's it!"
   He turned her face toward him, "Well it did happen. I kissed you and I told you I love you. I spilled my guts. Didn't that mean anything to you?"
   Her eyes went blank. "Is this where you call me cold and stone hearted?"
   "I said I was sorry!"
   She jerked away, anger tightening the corners of her mouth. "Get out of the car, Ryan."
   His chest squeezed so tight he couldn't breathe. "Come on, Abby."  The ache in his throat choked off his words.
   "Get out." She turned away, looked out the passenger window, her hair a curtain over her face.
   His heart beat up in his throat, his pulse beating erratically. She frustrated him, she made him angry. But he still loved her. And he couldn't make her love him, not if she didn't want to.
   "I'm not the same man who let you walk away before. I'll give you time, but it's not over, Abby. Not by a long shot."

 Download a sample on amazon today or run out and grab a copy of this book at Barnes & Noble.  It's absolutely wonderful and you'll likely finish it in a weekend like I did. You won't be able to put it down, unless you're letting your heartbeat stabilize or need to fan yourself to recover from the passionate banter. Married 'til Monday is summer romance at it's best. Thank you, Denise Hunter!

Book Description

With a big anniversary party in the works for her parents, Ryan will pretend to be Abby's husband for just one last weekend.
Ryan McKinley has tried to move on from his ex-wife, Abby. He's sulked, he's gotten angry, and ultimately he bought her dream house. Big mistake. Living alone in the massive 2-story has only made him miss her more. When her parents call him out of the blue about their anniversary party in Summer Harbor, Maine, Ryan believes God has dropped a golden opportunity straight in his lap.
Abby McKinley never exactly told her parents about the divorce. A strained relationship with her dad has culminated in a distant relationship with her parents, but she's finally succumbed to her mom's pressure to make the drive for their 35th-anniversary party.
Then Ryan shows up on her doorstep, looking as devastatingly handsome as ever. When he insists he's going to Seabrook, with or without her, Abby knows she can't say no. Her parents still think they're married and now Ryan knows it too. Besides, he only wants to check in with his best friend from college-her cousin Beau, who just lost his dad. It's just a one-week road-trip with the man who broke her heart. What could possibly go wrong?
About the Author
Bestselling novelist Denise Hunter has received the Holt Medallion Award, Reader's Choice Award, Foreword Book of the Year Award, and is a RITA finalist. She lives in Indiana with her husband and their three sons. Twitter: @deniseahunter Facebook: authordenisehunter
*I received this fabulous book from Lookbook Bloggers in exchange for my honest opinion. No other compensation was given.*