August 20, 2014

What Counts Most is How You Finish by Shelia Payton - Book Review and Guest Post

I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.
What Counts Most is How You Finish by Shelia Payton
ISBN: 9781465364982
Trade Paperback

Synopsis: What Counts Most is How You Finish is a book of short essays that shares ideas for addressing life's challenges. The book (which uses experiences from the author's life and the lives of others) is written with two ideas in mind: 
• Each person has to find his or her own way in life 
• We can learn worthwhile things from each other 

To make it easier to find an essay that can help the reader address life situations in real time, What Counts Most is How You Finish is divided into seven topic areas: Being You, Taking Care of You, Dealing with People, Overcoming Challenges, Staying Focused, Achieving Success and Making a Difference.

While the primary audience for What Counts Most is How You Finish is people between the ages of 16-25, the book has received positive feedback from many older than that who say it’s a good reminder for them.

My Review: I have been on a kick of looking for self help books to read. This book was written as a young adult book but is good for all ages. The way the author breaks down the lessons into seven topic areas make them easier to read about and learn. I enjoyed how the author used her life stories to teach us lessons that can be used your whole life. This is a book I will read more than once to get everything out of it. They say you must read/listen to new lessons six times to get everything out of it, so I will be doing that with this book. It is just the right length so as to now overwhelm you but to be satisfying. I recommend this book for parents and teenagers alike. 

Be sure to check out I Read Book Tours (click here) to see all the stops on the tour. 

Author's Bio:

Shelia Payton is an entrepreneur, former newspaper reporter, corporate manager and educator who spent all of her early life and much of her career in a time when people of color and women in this country were pushing for greater inclusion at all levels of society, and seeking greater opportunities to live life to the fullest. Like others in her generation, Shelia had to face and overcome barriers to entering and succeeding in non-traditional jobs, and create a place in civic and leadership settings. Also like others in her generation, Shelia’s motivation has not just been about what she can accomplish for herself, but also how she can open up opportunities for future generations. Shelia’s current focus is on creating books, plays and music that build human connections by breaking down barriers and stereotypes.

Guest Post by Shelia Payton

Building Up Your Self-Esteem Muscle
Motivational speaker and author Zig Ziglar said “Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.” I agree. Someone growing up in modest or difficult circumstances who believes in themselves is more likely to succeed than someone who may be smarter and had more life advantages, but doesn’t believe in themselves.

How do you maintain a positive attitude that can boost self-esteem? There is no easy answer, but the titles of some of the essays in my book, What Counts Most is How You Finish, provide some suggestions:
Who You Hang with Matters: The people you spend time with influence how you feel about yourself, act, and what you believe is possible for your life. Hang with “why not” people—those who see life’s barriers, but focus on life’s opportunities. Doing this can teach you to be more positive and confident in yourself.
Nobody Has the Right to Make You Feel Bad: Some people are miserable and want company in their misery; so they do things to make others feel bad. You don’t have to be their company. As toddlers we’re quick to tell someone “no” and snatch away when we don’t want to do something. If someone tries to make you feel bad, recapture your inner toddler: say “no” inside your head, and physically separate yourself from them.
Playing the hand you’re dealt: You can’t always control what happens in life, but you can decide how you respond to it. There are three basic options: wallow in self-pity, give up or, as songwriter Jerome Kern wrote, “pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again.” Follow Kern’s advice will help build your self-confidence.
Nothing Beats a Failure But a Try: You can’t win a sports championship if you never step on the field or court. It’s the same in life. People often don’t try something new or innovative, or take advantage of opportunities because they’re afraid they won’t succeed. If you don’t try, you’re guaranteed not to succeed. Rather than hold back, find out what you need to do, and do your best.
Focus on the Positive: This is tough. When you experience disappointment or get knocked down emotionally, it’s natural to curl up and lick your wounds. But neither good times nor bad times last forever. Instead of giving up tell yourself: “As long as I’m inhaling air things can get better.” Read books/articles or watch videos at the library about people who overcame life challenges, and follow their lead.
God Don’t Make No Junk: When doubt creeps into your thoughts, remind yourself you are not a mistake or an accident. You are here for a positive reason.
When you’re discouraged, keep this image in your mind: Flowers can teach us lessons about life. Before they blossom and show their beauty, flowers push their way through dirt and debris. Because they’re determined, they eventually break through to enjoy the sunlight.
Live your life with the determination of a flower and you, too, will enjoy the sunlight.

Thank you to Shelia for stopping by my blog and being a guest post. I hope you enjoy her book as much as I did. 

August 7, 2014

The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron Review and Giveaway for a Kindle Fire as well as Facebook Party on 8/7

The Butterfly and the Violin
Hidden Masterpiece Book #1
By Kristy Cambron
ISBN: 9781401690595
Trade Paperback

Synopsis: A mysterious painting breathes hope and beauty into the darkest corners of Auschwitz—and the loneliest hearts of Manhattan.
Manhattan art dealer Sera James watched her world crumble at the altar two years ago, and her heart is still fragile. Her desire for distraction reignites a passion for a mysterious portrait she first saw as a young girl—a painting of a young violinist with piercing blue eyes.
In her search for the painting, Sera crosses paths with William Hanover, the grandson of a wealthy California real estate mogul, who may be the key to uncovering the hidden masterpiece. Together, Sera and William slowly unravel the story behind the painting's subject: Austrian violinist Adele Von Bron.
A darling of the Austrian aristocracy, talented violinist, and daughter to a high-ranking member of the Third Reich, Adele risks everything when she begins smuggling Jews out of Vienna. In a heartbeat, her life of prosperity and privilege dissolves into a world of starvation and barbed wire.
As Sera untangles the secrets behind the painting, she finds beauty in the most unlikely of places: in the grim camps of Auschwitz and in the inner recesses of her own troubled heart.
My Review: I loved this book the thing that pulled me in first was the cover, I love a good cover. I was not sure at first that I would enjoy it as I found out it is about the Holocaust and I am not big on those books but this one grabbed my attention and held it until the last page. Another thing that I liked is that this told the story of someone from the past and I enjoy stories like that. This book is an emotional book so if you are a person who cries at books be sure to have the kleenex at hand. Great character development and setting description. Kristy did a great job in her first book and I look forward to the next one. 

    About the Author

Kristy Cambron has been fascinated with WWII since hearing her grandfather’s stories. She holds an Art History degree from Indiana University and works as Communications Consultant. Kristy writes WWII and Regency fiction and placed first in the 2013 NTRWA Great Expectations and 2012 FCRW Beacon contests. Kristy makes her home in Indiana with her husband and three football-loving sons. Website: Twitter: @KCambronAuthor Facebook: Kristy-L-Cambron-Author

Welcome to the launch campaign for debut novelist Kristy Cambron's The Butterfly and the Violin. Romantic Times had this to say: "Alternating points of view skillfully blend contemporary and historical fiction in this debut novel that is almost impossible to put down. Well-researched yet heartbreaking. . . ."

Kristy is celebrating the release of the first book in her series, A Hidden Masterpiece, with a fun Kindle Fire giveaway and meeting her readers during an August 7th Facebook author chat party.


 One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on August 7th. Winner will be announced at The Butterfly and the Violin Author Chat Party. Kristy will be connecting with readers and answering questions, sharing some of the fascinating research behind the book, hosting a fun book chat, and giving away some GREAT prizes. She will also be giving an exclusive look at the next book in the series, A Sparrow in Terezin!

So grab your copy of The Butterfly and the Violin and join Kristy on the evening of August 7th 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 todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 7th!

August 6, 2014

In Perfect Time by Sarah Sundin Review and Giveaway for a Kindle HDX and a set of books

I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review from Litefuse Group
In Perfect Time by Sarah Sundin
Wings of Nightengale Series #3
ISBN: 9780800720834
Trade Paperback

Synopsis: Bold, sophisticated, and flirtatious, Army Air Force flight nurse Lt. Kay Jobson collects hearts wherever she flies, leaving men pining in airfields all across Europe. So how can ruggedly handsome C-47 pilot Lt. Roger Cooper be all but immune to her considerable charms? In fact, he seems to do everything he can to avoid her.
Still, as they cross the skies between Italy and southern France, evacuating the wounded and delivering paratroopers and supplies, every beat of their hearts draws them closer to where they don’t want to go.
Can they confront the fears and misunderstandings in their pasts?
My Review: As with the other two books in this series, I enjoyed them. The author does a good time of developing the characters and getting the setting just right for the story. Even though this is the third in the series you can read it as a stand alone but I can almost guarantee you will want to go back and read the other two. I liked how Sarah touched on more than one area affected by the war not just the battlefront. Another thing that I like is that there was a little drama with some romance. A good ending to a great series of books.
Be sure to check out Litefuse Group (click here) to see all the other stops on the tour.
 Purchase a copy: 
About the author: Sarah Sundin is the author of With Every Letter and the Wings of Glory series. In 2011, A Memory Between Us was a finalist in the Inspirational Reader's Choice Awards, and Sarah received the Writer of the Year Award at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. A graduate of UC San Francisco School of Pharmacy, she works on call as a hospital pharmacist. During WWII, her grandfather served as a pharmacist's mate (medic) in the Navy and her great-uncle flew with the US Eighth Air Force in England. Sarah lives in California with her husband and three children.

Find Sarah online: websiteFacebookTwitter

Don't miss Sarah Sundin's hot-off-the-press novel, In Perfect Time. Publishers Weekly gives it an enthusiastic thumbs up: “Sundin excels at well-researched historical detail . . . with such accurate depictions of culture and setting that we are fully immersed in the times as well as in the story. The strength of relationships forged in war and the apprehension of God in times of trouble infuse this well-crafted novel with substance and light.”

Sarah is celebrating the release of her book with a fun giveaway!

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Kindle HDX
  • The Wings of the Nightingale Series (With Every Letter, On Distant Shores, and In Perfect Time)
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on August 24th. Winner will be announced August 25th at Sarah's blog.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to visit Sarah's blog on the 25th to see if you won! (Or better yet, subscribe to her blog and have the winner announcement delivered to your inbox!)

August 4, 2014

Through the Deep Waters Book Giveaway

Through the Deep Waters by Kim Vogel Sawyer
ISBN: 9780307731296
Trade Paperback

Synopsis: A past filled with shame can be washed away with a love that conquers all

Born to an unloving prostitute in a popular Chicago brothel, timid seventeen-year-old Dinah Hubley was raised amidst the secrets held in every dark, grimy room of her home. Anxious to escape, Dinah pursues her dream of becoming a Harvey Girl, waiting tables along the railroad in an upscale hotel. But when she finds out she isn’t old enough, her only option is to accept a job as a chambermaid at the Clifton Hotel in Florence, Kansas. Eager to put everything behind her, Dinah feels more worthless than ever, based on a single horrible decision she made to survive.

The Clifton offers a life Dinah has never known, but blinded to the love around her, Dinah remains buried in the shame of her past. When a handsome chicken farmer named Amos Ackerman starts to show interest, Dinah withdraws further, convinced no one could want a sullied woman like her.  Despite his self-consciousness about his handicapped leg and her strange behavior, Amos resolves to show Dinah Christ’s love. But can she ever accept a gift she so desperately needs?
Praise for Through the Deep Waters“Kim Vogel Sawyer paints a picture of redemption and forgiveness in not one but many lives in Through the Deep Waters. Just as weary travelers found comfort in Mr. Harvey’s hotels, readers will find comfort in this wrenching tale
of one woman’s shameful past and one man’s struggle to look beyond her indiscretions and accept the woman she has become—a woman redeemed by grace. Ms. Sawyer’s historically accurate novels tug the strings of the heart
while giving hope to those who feel unworthy.”
—Pam Hillman, author of Claiming Mariah
“Kim Vogel Sawyer’s careful attention to detail and heartfelt writing make her one of the industry’s favorites.”
—Lori Copeland, author of The Healer’s Touch
“Kim Vogel Sawyer has crafted an emotion-packed novel about two damaged souls whose faith and courage ultimately come shining through. Readers will root for Dinah and Amos to overcome the wounds of their troubled pasts in order to find love and hope for the future. With its vividly rendered settings and well-rounded characters, this lovely story is sure to please Ms. Sawyer’s many fans.”
—Dorothy Love, author of Carolina Gold
- See more at:

The Giveaway is for one paperback copy and will run from now through August 20th, to fill out the form: 

August 1, 2014

Butternut Summer by Mary McNear

I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review

Butternut Summer by Mary McNear
The Butternut Lake Trilogy #2
Published August 12, 2014
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780062283160

Synopsis: Every summer on Butternut Lake, the tourists arrive, the shops open, and the waves lap up on its tree-lined shore, just as they have for years. But this season, everything changes for Caroline and her daughter Daisy, who have always called the lake home. Caroline’s ex-husband Jack has returned for the first time in years. He is just as handsome and charming as she remembers, but has he changed his irresponsible ways? Caroline is tempted to let him back into her life, but is skeptical following the heartbreak she felt so long ago. For Daisy, summer is filled with surprises, such as reuniting with a father she hardly knows, and falling in love for the first time with Will, the town “bad boy” whom her mother doesn’t approve of.

A summer full of surprises, Caroline and Daisy come to realize that even if Butternut Lake won’t change, life will. Readers will absolutely love this dual mother-daughter love story, set in one of the most scenic, romantic places imaginable.

My review: This second installment of the series was just as good as the first one. I like how it makes me feel as if I am back home again as I am from the Midwest. The author again does a great job in developing the characters and their relationships to make this story believable, it could be any mother daughter. Butternut Summer is a love story but at the same time a story of a great mother - daughter bond. This book would make a great end of summer read that will have you flying through the pages. Although this book is part of a trilogy but you are able to read it as a standalone but you will find yourself wanting to go back and read the first one Up at Butternut Lake

Mary McNear is a writer living in San Francisco with her husband, two teenage children, and a high-strung, miniscule white dog named Macaroon. She writes her novels in a local donut shop where she sips Diet Pepsi, observes the hubbub of neighborhood life and tries to resist the constant temptation of freshly-made donuts. She bases her novels on a lifetime of summers spent in a small town on a lake in the Northern Midwest.