Friday, August 31, 2012

Litfuse Blog Tour: The Haven

About the Book:
Spring brings new life, young love, and second chances to Stoney Ridge.

On a warm spring day, Sadie Lapp returns home to her quiet, unassertive life in Stoney Ridge after spending the winter in Ohio.

Gideon Smucker, an awkward schoolteacher, has been in love with Sadie since childhood and eagerly awaits her return. But does Sadie feel the same about him?

Will Stoltz, a charming and impetuous college student, has been banished for a semester and sent to babysit endangered peregrine falcons nesting at the Lapp farm. He'd rather be anywhere else . . . until he befriends Sadie.

As the hopes and ambitions of these three young people converge, life in Stoney Ridge may never be the same.

Once again, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher intrigues and delights with a story that explores the bonds of friendship, family, and tru
e love in this captivating series

My Review:
The Haven 
is book two in the "Stoney Ridge Series", though because of the extra information Suzanne provides, it 
can stand alone. (If you haven't read book one, then you might want to, in order to get the full recap.) Having read part of The Keeper (book one), I was well acquainted with several of the main characters.

I have a fascination with the Amish. Their way of life appears to be tranquil and it is a drastic comparison to my busy city life. I realize that the Amish are not perfect people and neither are the rest of us Englichers. I found several characters of this book to be selfish (and they haven't changed), unrepentant of their sinful behavior and unmoved by their hypocritical ways. I know that we all struggle with sin, but there wasn't any indication of repentance. Perhaps the author wrote the story the way she did to show another side of the Amish.

The Haven takes readers on a journey into the daily lives of the Amish... with a twist. After a bomb-shell discovery, I found myself shocked! I enjoyed piecing together a "mystery" of sorts. 

The plot was definitely engaging. After reading this book, though, I came to an obvious conclusion: The problems posed in the beginning of the story (Who will Sadie Lapp choose? What is to be done about an abandoned baby?) weren't solved. 
This type ending leaves just enough room for another book and I'm sure that it will bring closure to a good series.

I liked part of Sadie Lapp's character. She became independent throughout the course of this book, learned to speak up and stand up for what is right. She blossoms into womanhood all while trying to figure things out for herself. Her attitude and how she kept her composure when finding a little bundle is commendable.

In my honest opinion, no one writes Amish fiction better than Beverly Lewis. Her characters, plot and romance are all well- written and well- incorporated. 

I'd rate this book 4 out of 5 stars. It was slightly flawed in my opinion but did have many strong points. I enjoyed it's three dimensional characters, nostalgic location and intriguing ending that  left me partially satisfied. I look forward to see how book three begins and ends and whether or not there will be closure to the problems brewing. I received this book from Litfuse Publicity in exchange for my review.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Be Still: Guest Post by Shannon

To be still…
To simply stop.
The hustle and bustle of the day is overwhelming. Circumstances are confusing. Emotions are rising. You heart is being pulled in a hundred directions at once.
Hush now. Be still.

Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
~Psalm 46:10~

So many times we can get busy and distracted. Distracted from what truly matters… distracted from our desire to the glory the Lord and not ourselves…. and forgetting who has all things in control.
It is not an option… but a command. He calls us to be still before His presence and remember He is the one who gives us our every breath.
When life is running by too fast; when you come to the place where you can’t go any further; when trials abound, be still before the Lord… and know that *He* is God.
When the days are full of joy, smiles, gladness, and sunshine, be still and know that *He* is God.
Delight in His presence, in His mercy, and in His unending love.

Being still involves reading His words to you…pouring your heart before Him… trusting Him… and surrendering all of yourself to Him.
Being still means stopping to praise Him for who He is, and reminding yourself of who you are in Him.
“Commit your way to the Lord;
     trust in him, and he will act.
  He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
    and your justice as the noonday.
 Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him….”
Psalm 37:6-7

I encourage you to stop and ponder on all that Christ is… His mercy and grace in your life… to simply be still.

About the author…
 Shannon is a 17 year old young lady who delights in being a redeemed daughter of the King… she loves spending time with her family, reading, playing the piano/violin, photography, being outdoors, and embracing God’s gift of femininity as she strives to be a Godly young lady. She blogs at and would be delighted if you stopped by for a visit.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Winner: The Last Temple

Whether you're a history buff, fiction lover, or just an avid reader, you'll like this refreshing story. It's honest characters and fascinating plot are sure to please. I'd rate The Last Temple 4 out of 5 stars.

I'd like t0 thank all of you for entering the giveaway for a coupon for The Last Temple! I greatly enjoyed it and hope that the winner will too. And the winner is...


Karen please email me your address and I'll be sure to get the coupon out to you ASAP :) When you read the book, I'd love to know what you thought of it.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Book That Made Me A Reader

I love to read. Plain and simple. When I find a spare moment, I pick up a new book and read for as long as possible. I can sit for hours fully immersed in the plot of a well written book, preferably fiction, enjoying quiet time or as I call it, "me time."

This wasn't always the case. I would read for a few minutes and then get a weary, droopy eyed and bam, I'd fall asleep. How did that happen? 

In the 5th grade, my mom bought me a series of books that fully grabbed my attention and opened my eyes to a new world of enjoyment. When I picked up the first book in the series, I was interested. I began reading and to make things funner for me, my mom would read the book with me. We'd read on the bus, at home and on my way to school (back when I was in public school.) Before I knew it, I had already finished the first book, then the second and third, the fourth, the fifth and then the sixth! The boxed set came with six books and after I finished them all, I was at a halt! What book series am I talking about?

My mom bought me the Left Behind: The Kids series. For those of you who haven't heard of this series, it presents the Rapture and Tribulation through the eyes of four young friends—Judd, Vicki, Lionel, and Ryan. As the world falls in around them, they band together to find faith and fight the evil forces that threaten their lives. source

After I finished this series (and several Sisters in Time books), I began reading a few American classics such as Little Women, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Little Princess and so on. Reading through these books was a breeze because they interested me and again, I was at a book halt. Thankfully, a dear, dear friend of mine gave me a wonderful birthday gift. I got the next two books in the Left Behind: The Kids series! At this point, reading was a joy and I read through books pretty quick. I remember nights that I'd stay up reading by the light of a small flashlight. That same friend referred me to a few great publishers and publicists that are offering free books in exchange for honest reviews. Can you believe that! An unlimited supply of books at my disposal! (Check out her list of publishers and publicists here)

My home library has grown and consists of about 180 books! I can barely believe it my self! So, if you don't like to read, don't give up! Someday, you'll find the book that will spark your interest in reading. When you do find the right books and genre for you, I'd love it if you came back here to tell me about the book that made you a reader.

Are you a reader? What type of books do you like to read?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Book Review: The Last Temple + A Giveaway

About the Book:
Set in the turbulent years just before one of the most horrendous events in Jewish history, The Last Temple concludes the trilogy of The Last Disciple and The Last Sacrifice. Vitas is reunited with his wife and retires to Alexandria, determined to live a quiet, domestic life. But he can’t avoid the debts that he owes to the men who saved him, and he becomes a key figure in the plot to rid the empire of Nero. It sweeps him into the “year of four emperors,” when the Roman Empire is nearly destroyed, and takes him back to Jerusalem as Titus lays siege to the great city. Only then, as the prophecy of Jesus begins to unfold, does Vitas discover the true mission set before him and the astounding conspiracy behind it.

My Review:
This was one of those books. The one that you are dreading having to read but when you flip through the first few pages, you don't want to put it down. I was pleasantly surprised by the level of intrigue I experienced while reading this book.

The main character, Vitas, was one that the reader could identify with. His struggles were credible for a man living circa 67-70 A.D. on the run for his life. The questions that lingered in his mind are the thoughts of many, doubting the identity of the Cristos or Christ and having trouble fully accepting the Christian faith. 

The plot is set among ancient Rome’s emperors, gladiators, soldiers, and slaves all fighting for survival and prestige. Imagery- provoking scenarios exposed the gritty truth to the barbaric, and brutal behavior (don't mind my alliterations) so common in those days. I enjoyed the historical elements of this book as well. 

The historical elements were so on point as were the scriptural elements. I was interested by the mention of the Temple's destruction. 

I am a stickler for reading trilogy's in order but the authors did a splendid job with recapping the previous two books. I haven't read the preceding stories, but didn't feel as if something important was missing, in fact, I didn't realize that this was a trilogy until I flipped to the last pages.

Whether you're a history buff, fiction lover, or just an avid reader, you'll like this refreshing story. It's honest characters and fascinating plot are sure to please. I'd rate The Last Temple 4 out of 5 stars. I received this book free form the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

****If you'd like to win a copy of this book, leave me a comments saying so and I'll pick a winner on Friday August 24, 2012***

Saturday, August 18, 2012

August Photo A Day Challenge Day 11-17

Summer had gone by like this *snapping of the fingers* and I've so enjoyed my time out in the sun, learning how to swim, and of course taking photos of all of the amazing things that cross my path each day.

Each week I challenge myself to find a unique interpretation and am happy with the way this weeks photos turned out.

What do you think?

Right off the bat, I love this one!

Little sister playing with her friend.

A drawing from a sweet, sweet girl:)

You can probably tell that I haven't kept up with my piano lessons...

your scent:
Little sister knows that she is allowed only two "schpritz" (spritz said with a German accent)

something blue:
Well, hello to you too!

Roses are such beautiful, delicate little things.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Litfuse Blog Tour: The Stars Shine Bright

About the Book:
After the FBI suspends her for bending its rules, Special Agent Raleigh Harmon is looking for a chance to redeem her career and re-start her life.

Sent undercover to a thoroughbred horse track, Raleigh takes on a double life to find out who's fixing the races. But when horses start dying and then her own life is threatened, Raleigh realizes something bigger-and more sinister-is ruining Emerald Downs.

Yet she's never felt more alone.

Her one contact with the FBI is Special Agent Jack Stephan's, a guy who seems to jump from antagonistic to genuine friend depending on the time of day. And she can't turn to her family for support. They're off-limits while she's undercover, and her mother isn't speaking to her anyway, having been confined to a mental hospital following a psychotic breakdown. Adding insult to her isolation, Raleigh's fiance wants them to begin their life together-now-precisely when she's been ordered not to be herself.

With just days left before the season ends, Raleigh races to stop the killing and find out who's behind the track's trouble, all the while trying to determine if Jack is friend or foe, and whether marrying her fiance will make things better-or worse.

Raleigh is walking through the darkest night she's faced, searching for a place where the stars shine bright

My Review:
This is the first Sibella Giorello novel that I have read. When I ordered this book, the plot seemed to incorporate a quality of exciting curiosity. I was interested by this FBI novel and wanted to see what a contemporary Christian fiction suspense novel had to offer. My expectations weren't set very high (I had never heard of Sibella Giorello before) but this novel sure did exceed the little hopes I had for it and then some! I wish that I had read the other four novels in the Raleigh Harmon series!

The main character, as you may have already guessed is Raleigh Harmon. She is presented as a well- rounded character with believable struggles and battles. I enjoyed "getting to know her" through her humor, her courage and her heart of gold. The secondary characters were all well-developed with personalities of their own, some sinister, some humorous and some touching. It is obvious that Sibella put a lot of effort into forming believable characters.

The setting of this book is a racetrack and it alone provides a stage for sinister characters. I thought that the plot was very creative a bit out of the box. I also found myself laughing at the humor that is peppered all throughout.

I know that most books include this potion of text,
This novel is a work of fiction. Names, character, places, and incidents are either products of the author's imagination or used fictitiously. All characters are fictional, and any similarity to people living or dead is purely coincidental.

but I found it strange that the two romantically involved characters, Raleigh and Jack, have the exact same names as the main characters in Trauma Plan, except the "Raleigh" in Trauma Plan is spelled Riley.

After having read the last few words, I am let in the dark concerning what exactly will happen next. This was definitely a cliff hanger ending when I get the chance, I look forward to reading the preceding and succeeding books in this series.

I'd reccomend this book to all you FBI readers. You''ll definitely get your crime solving fix. At 400 pages, I assumed that this was going to be a long read, but the pages seemed to turn themselves and before I knew it, I was up to the final words, "Can I come?" (I didn't spoil anything, trust me:) I rate it 5 out of 5 stars.

I received this book from Litfuse publicity in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review: Tidewater Inn

Tidewater Inn (Hope Beach, #1)About the Book:
Inheriting a beautiful old hotel on the seaward shore of Hope Island could be a dream come true for Libby. The inn cries out for her restorer's talent and love of history. She's delighted to learn of family she never knew she had. And the handsome Coast Guard lieutenant she's met there on the island could definitely be the man of her dreams.

But Libby soon realizes that only way she can afford the upkeep on the inn is to sell it to developers who are stalking the island. The father who willed her the inn has died before she could meet him, and her newfound brothers and sisters are convinced she's there to steal their birthright. Worst of all, her best friend and business partner has been kidnapped before her eyes, Libby's under suspicion for the crime, and her handsome lieutenant clearly doubts her innocence.

Libby's dream-come-true is becoming a nightmare. Can she find her friend and establish her innocence? Must she sell Tidewater Inn and lose her family again? Or can she find a home for her heart on the beautiful shores of Hope Island?

My Review:
I loved that this book immediately drew me in. It immediately piques the readers interest with heart pounding suspense. I was completely immersed in the plot which contained storm-invoking drama and action that held my attention until the very last word. 

I thought that the messages Colleen wanted readers to capture such as forgiveness and redemption were clear and well spaced, without being over powering. Libby's spiritual journey was touching as well.

As I read a book, the character's traits is something that I try to pay close attention to. Libby, Alec and the peripheral characters were all believable and relatable. My favorite moment of the book was when Libby began to contemplate, "WWJD?" What Would Jesus Do? in areas of her life. Like every human, Libby failed, but she mentally acknowledged her failures and confessed them to the pages of a notebook.

The plot, characters and cover were all great, but the book held one or shortcoming. As I read, I couldn't find a reasonable explanation as to why Nicole, Libby's business partner, was kidnapped. I really don't like untied strings in a book and that flaw deducts from my experience. I almost didn't notice it until I finished the book because the spiritual journeys captured my attention. Also, the language used in the romance parts was  a bit outdated.

If your looking for a book with emotion, suspense and a dash of historical element or just a good, ol' fashion love story, don't hesitate to read Tidewater Inn. It will keep your interest high. I'd rate this book 4 out of 5 stars.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

August Photo A Day Challenge Day 4-10

I can barely believe that it's already August 11! Time flies when you're having fun! This challenge has been a blast but also a bit trying (in a good way:) To find creative things to photograph everyday is an assignment for us, girls and by the looks of it, by the end of the month, we'll have completed our mission. Now for the fun part:

Scrap fabric makes for a fabulous object

little ones:
Kids will be kids


Blue skies make me smile

where I stand:
I don't have a garden... per say:) The trials of a city girl... 

Rustling leaves in the twilight times

morning routine:
Never stop praying!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Litfuse Blog Tour: Live to Give

About the Book: 
Want to do something for God but don’t know what? Want to help others but don’t know who? Want to know what it is you’re really good at doing? Your gifts may feel small and insignificant. But God can use them to work a miracle! 

Inspired by the biblical story of the feeding of the 5,000, "Live to Give" delivers a message of hope that we all have something to give. Written in the down-to-earth, candid voice of the gifted young man who as a kid founded a relief ministry that has saved and improved countless lives in Africa, "Live to Give" is the message that every teen needs to hear: You are more special than you know, and you can do big things. 

Jesus proved that no gift is too small when He used five loaves and two fish to feed a crowd of thousands. And if no gift is too small, too ordinary, or too random, there is no limit to what the youth of today can accomplish! 

A teenage philanthropist who has built a high school, two medical clinics, and a dormitory in Africa—all before the age of 16—Austin Gutwein shares how to take what may seem like the simplest of talents, gifts, and interests and use them for something Jesus can use to move mountains. 

My Review: 
I rarely read non-fiction books, but after this read, I came away with a deeper desire to find out what I have to give to others. I was surprised to find out that this book was written by a teenager and that alone was encouraging. 

The first chapter was very clear: God doesn't need your help. But He definitely wants it. This concept reminded me of the verse found in John 15:16,

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit--fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 

Austin is wise beyond his years and it shows through his writing and thought-provoking study questions. The message of giving spoke to my heart and encouraged me to give more of myself in God's service. Through this book I've become more aware of the struggles of others and aware that, if even in a small way, I can help. 

I found Austin's writing to be jam-packed with humor. After reading a few chapters, this boy's love for food is obvious and he uses that to his advantage in teaching and making the message more understandable. Jokes here and there, real life experiences and internal struggles help in making the read relatable. Aside from the fun, this study was also very scripture based which I loved. His writing style appeals to teens but his message applies to everyone. 

Each chapter provided practical and profound action steps to discovering what I have to give. I also found insight in each chapter as Austin prepared the reader for controversies and conflicts (like bullies) that would arise when they would seek their purpose.

The reason that I love fiction books is that within their pages, "there are stories that touch your heart." I found a few of those here. Just between you an me, I almost cried when Austin shared the story of George on page 175 and said, "her son had lived to give." Those words caused tears to trickle down my face as I realized how even the smallest things, like a pink soccer ball, could make a difference in some one's life. 

I rate Live to Give 5 out of 5 stars! This Biblical-based study is sure to open your eyes, spur you "on toward love and good deeds", and definitely make you laugh. I would recommend it to everyone! Don't think that because this is a non-fiction book, that it's boring. It's the exact opposite. I read the book in two days! Austin wrote that after I finished the book that I had to give it to someone else. I may just consider doing that:)

About Austin: 

As founder of Hoops of Hope, Austin started what is now known as the worlds largest Free-Throw marathon. Austin's Hoops of Hope has raised more than $2.5M to help orphan children in Africa. Austin also serves as Co-Chair of Arizona Governor Jan Brewer's Youth Council. As a highly sought after speaker, Austin has spoken and shared his heart in venues around the world. In 2009, Austin was selected into the Caring Hall of Fame as one of the top 10 most caring Americans. 

Austin's first book, "Take Your Best Shot" shared stories that captured readers hearts and won a Moonbeam Award. For information on booking Austin or general inquiries, please visit

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Litfuse Blog Tour: Love Finds You on Mackinac Island

lovefindsyoucover.jpgAbout the Book: 
As the Gilded Age comes to a close, Elena Bissette's once-wealthy family has nearly lost its fortune. The Bissettes still own a home on fashionable Mackinac Island, where they will spend one last summer in the hope of introducing Elena to a wealthy suitor. But Elena is repulsed by the idea of marrying for money.

Quickly tiring of the extravagant balls, Elena spends most evenings escaping back into Mackinac's rugged forest. There she meets Chase, a handsome laborer who shares her love for the night sky. The two begin to meet in secret at an abandoned lighthouse, where they work together to solve a mystery buried in the pages of a tattered diary. 

As Elena falls in love with Chase, her mother relentlessly contrives to introduce her to Chester Darrington, the island's most eligible bachelor. Marriage to the elusive millionaire would solve the Bissettes' financial woes, and Elena is torn between duty and love.

My Thoughts:
What a great book! From the very beginning, I was intrigued by the controversial love story described in the blurb of this book. Melanie wittingly words her novel and causes a reader to be surprised when the truth comes to light. After a hasty glance at the blurb, I decided that, as is common in most romance novels, the protagonist would marry the man whom she really loved and though being a poor woman, she would be truly happy. I was in for a surprise!

The plot of parents forcing their daughter into a marriage for financial benefits has been done many times over but Melanie's rendition was refreshing, unique and quite cunning. All throughout the read the only thing that you want for Elena is that she marries for love and not for money. You'll have to read and find out if that is indeed the case...

I felt that this book included well-developed character's but was also detailed, even in the smallest  historical facts. Imagery played a major role in my reading experience and allowed me to also be a visitor on Mackinac Island. From her description of the hidden lighthouse and the nagging winds, I could almost envision such a haven. Melanie was able capture the grandeur of the gilded age and added a touch of mystery with the lighthouse and it's hidden letters.

If you're looking for a sweet summer novel, then don't hesitate to read,  Love Finds You In Mackinac Island, Michigan. The romance, historical aspects and plot will definitely satisfy you. Page-turning events keep you interested and reading late into the night... when you should have been asleep:) For those very reasons, I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars!

I received this book from Litfuse Publicity in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author:
Melanieheadshot.jpegMelanie Dobson has written ten contemporary and historical novels including five releases in Summerside's Love Finds You series. In 2011, two of her releases won Carol Awards: Love Finds You in Homestead, Iowa (for historical romance) and The Silent Order (for romantic suspense). 

Melanie received her undergraduate degree in journalism from Liberty University and her master's degree in communication from Regent University. Prior to her writing career, Melanie was the corporate publicity manager at Focus on the Family and a publicist for The Family Channel. She later launched her own public relations company and worked in the fields of publicity and journalism for more than fifteen years. 

Melanie and her family enjoy their home in the Pacific Northwest. The entire Dobson family loves to travel and hike in both the mountains and along the cliffs above the Pacific. 

When Melanie isn't writing or playing with her family, she enjoys exploring ghost towns and dusty back roads, line dancing, and reading inspirational fiction. 

For more about Melanie Dobson and her books, visit

Friday, August 3, 2012

August Photo A Day Challenge Day 1-3

The month of August is upon us and that means that our August photo challenge has begun! I've interpreted each day's challenge and tried to capture an awe-inspiring shot. 

What do you think?

“Like all magnificent things, it's very simple.” 

"There's really nothing quite so sweet as tiny little baby feet"

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”

I hope that you enjoyed my photos. I'd love to know if you participated and see your photos too! It's never too late to join the challenge.

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